Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Dome

Why Are Ticket Sales Down? That's a Head Scratcher...

Well. Just got back from seeing Revenge of the Sith, but the action in the theater was threatening to become a re-creation of the rumble scene from The Outsiders. Just remember: Do it for Johnny, man!

The Mr. and I usually hang toward the back when we go to the movies. I'm not sure what his reasons are, but mine are that it's easier to spread out and put your feet up on chairs if you're so inclined. The downside is that the back tends to be the domain of theatergoing punks.

I don't hear all that well to begin with, but thankfully, Sith is loud as hell, so I wasn't having much trouble. During some of the few quiet scenes, I thought I could hear laughing and talking, but before I could discern whether I was just imagining things, Sith would pick up again and I'd forget about it. About an hour in, I finally heard it, loud and unmistakable: the couple behind us and to the right were talking like they were watching the movie in their living room. I asked the Mr. if they were ever going to shut up, then turned and said, "Shhhh!"

That's when their buddies on the left of us started acting up: dropping cups, rolling things on the floor. Kids today are so savvy. They like to be obnoxious in surround sound. How technologically advanced of them! I always hated the cheapy mono effect of just one person in the theater yapping incessantly. It was all somehow fitting for an effects-laden blockbuster, too.

Five minutes later, the right kids are still going. It's always a delicate balance in these situations. I've found certain people are more apt to pipe down when asked than others, such as kids under 15. Between 15 and 20, you're likely only going to encourage them further. After I decide whether to say anything at all, I decide how nasty I'm going to get. The kids tonight were late teens, so it could go either way. They were being so loud that it was difficult to just let this slide. So I figured firm, loud enough to be heard but polite and sans swearing rampage was the way to go.

I sat up and yelled, "Could you please be quiet?" That should do it, I thought. The Mr. didn't seem to agree, so he shot up and said, "Would you shut the f*** up!? I paid $8.50 for this movie, and you can either refund my money, or YOU CAN SHUT THE F*** UP!!" I heard someone in front of us let out a low "whew..." Hey, I liked it, though: he gave them options. He's all about freedom of choice, that guy. I know some of you who know the Mr., who is otherwise quiet and pretty mild-mannered, are thinking I'm making this up, but I swear to you, this happened. And this isn't even the first time!

What was almost as annoying as the yappers was the lack of support from the rest of the patrons. There was no reaction, no affirmation of support, no solidarity. Thanks, guys. If one of them had gone off on the kids, the Mr. and I would have let out a few cheers in a show of unity. That's just us, though.

I am, of course, thinking that after the movie, we are soooo dead and wishing that I owned some brass knuckles, maybe. Or at least that I had a helmet to absorb a few blows. I could curl into the fetal position while they kick and get away with my mental faculties still intact. And while they didn't make another peep, they did see fit to stare us down as they exited the theater. I kind of looked for a mystery object in my purse, while the Mr. stared back and said, "Yeah, hey, how you doing?"

As we went to get in my car, the Mr. said, "Look out for the red truck." "What? Why?" "Those are their friends. They might be coming after us." He says this as casually as "We might need to stop for some gas on the way home." Yes, this is how my life is going to come to a close: in a theater parking lot after episode III. I wish the Chili's salad and Jelly Bellys hadn't been my last meal.

I see them turn the corner and rev around behind my car. I didn't hear it, but the Mr. says they yelled "Bitch!" before peeling away. Ooh, aren't they tough! I had to laugh at that. Come on, that's nothing I haven't heard before!

On the way home, the Mr. said, "I hate to sound like an old person, but really, I wasn't like that when I was their age!" I started to say, "Yeah, me either!" when I remembered: I was worse. So much worse. My stepbrothers and I used to sit up toward the front, crack jokes through the whole movie, lick gummi bears and throw them on the screen. And nobody once ever asked us to shut up or to please maybe not stick candy on the screen. I don't know how we weren't permanently banned from the theater or carted off to jail.

Karma. That's the bitch, right there.

Language Lesson

Pilates (p-'lä-tEz): Latin for "Satan." Invented by Joseph Pilates, aka, Joseph Satan.

Lights

Monday, May 30, 2005

Mmmm...Cheesy Goodness


Last night, mr. and mrs. jasclo, maliavale and myself had fondue. We never want to eat again.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I Still Wish He'd Kill Bugs

Here's a dirty little secret: I don't really care for DVD extras all that much. I don't know why. I've tried. For real, I have. Maybe it's the fact that I just sat through a 2-hour movie. Makes me less inclined to want to sit through another 90 minutes of making-of featurettes and crappy deleted scenes that clearly were meant to be deleted.

I don't like watching the movie with commentary, because it's like having two people competing for your attention and focus, one in each ear, and they don't ever shut up. Plus, as I said, I just watched the movie. Now I have to sit through it again while the Assistant Director of Photography and the Best Boy talk about working with the guy who played Bartender #4?

It took a long time to admit all this to myself, because I've bought DVDs in the past simply because I heard they had good extras. "Say Anything" springs to mind. But the various takes of Lloyd "All Null and Void" Dobler standing outside Diane Court's window left me drooling. Because I fell asleep, not because it was John Cusack.

The lone exception is the special edition of "Freaks & Geeks," which has some very astounding extras, all of which I intend to watch someday. But this was one of the best shows to ever air on television, and since it was unceremoniously whacked in its prime, I want to savor every last morsel of it.

When the Mr. and I rent DVDs, the routine is that we'll watch the movie, and as soon as the credits roll, I'm out of the room, onto other things. Rarely am I dying for more. The movie was enough. He, meanwhile, will surf around the extras. If anything is particularly worth watching, he'll let me know.

He's not just a husband, y'all. He's my personal DVD Extras Screener and, also, part-time P. Diddy Umbrella Holder Guy.

I'm So Bored, Therefore You Get This

I had forgotten about the VF Proust Questionnaire, until I saw Editor's Note post it.

What is your most marked characteristic?
The thing I've most consistently been told is how stubborn I am. In fact, sometimes I'm so stubborn, it's kind of a wonder that these people continue to associate with me. I've also been told I'm good at taking the piss out of most situations.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
I've always been a sucker for brains and hilarity above all else.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Again, hilarity and smarts, and also, someone who can hang in Vegas (which, thankfully, my friends can).

What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty, honesty and knowing how to have a good time.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I jump to conclusions a little too quickly. (Maybe I need a Jump to Conclusions mat!) I've also needed to put my foot in my mouth more times than I care to count.

What is your favorite occupation?
Reading, napping, taking pictures.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being surrounded by everything I love and feeling full of it inside.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Loneliness, especially in a crowded room.

In which country would you like to live?
Ireland, Canada or England.

Who are your favorite writers?
Tobias Wolff, William Styron, Jennifer Weiner

Who are your favorite poets?
Ummmm...Sylvia Plath? Dr. Seuss?

Who are your favorite composers?
I have a soft spot for Bela Bartok, because his music is always fun to play on the piano. So loud and bang-y!

What is it that you most dislike?
Lack of compassion really pisses me off. I'll admit that I don't always have it, but I try to be mindful of when I don't so I can try to.

Which talent would you like to have?
I wish I could sing.

How would you like to die?
In the gears of a combine. Sorry, old joke. Well, in my sleep would be ideal. And I would hope that my last thoughts are happy, satisfied ones. Is anyone really going to answer this question, "Old, bitter and alone"? Aside from J.D. Salinger, I mean.

What is your current state of mind?
Frazzled. Hopeful.

What is your motto?
"If you want something done right, do it yourself." I know, isn't that totally cynical? It hasn't always held true, but I do find more often than not that it is for me.

OK, just so you don't go away mad, I'm also a big fan of, "If not me, who? If not now, when?" (which, when you think about it, is kind of a companion piece to the first quote). I've said this to myself many, many times in moments where I've waffled about doing something, whether big or mundane. It's a butt-kicker.

Something That Bugs Me Way More Than It Should

I hate holidays that result in a suspension of mail delivery.

Studio

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Feet

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Fool Who Owns a Dog and His Money Are Soon Parted


"Seriously? $11? That's whack."

In the basement of Marshall Field's, there's a store called Downtown Dog. It's a place just for suckers like the Mr. and I: people who cater to their pets' every whim and put way too much thought and money into toys and doodads and fancy frosted cookies in the shape of a kindly mailman for their pets when all they really want are your smelly, dirty socks. And in the case of certain pets who insist on being gross sometimes, your used Kleenex.

As we eyed the stuffed corgis and $80 leashes and water bowls that no dog would ever appreciate, the Mr. noticed a nice little ball. "Feel this," he said. "There is no way she could destroy this." It did feel more substantial than other balls, I had to admit. Plus, it had a pretty little design that suckered me.

One of Nabby's favorite hobbies is not playing fetch with balls. No, no. Corgis are Queen Elizabeth's breed of choice and they know it, and if anyone's doing the fetching, you are. Rather, she prefers to sit in a corner and gut them. We don't stop her, because once she gets halfway through a ball, she'll carry it around so that the remaining part of the ball covers her nose and mouth, and dammit if it isn't the funniest thing you've ever seen.

So, this ball. Pretty, seemingly indestructible and ... $11. Kind of a lot for a stupid little ball. But it squeaked, and in Nabby Math: squeakier=awesomer. So, I bought it. Because we're goobers, the Mr. and I actually discussed our excitement about the ball, and whether Nabby would like it.

We got home, gave her the ball with the usual fanfare and waited for the excitement. It never came. We spent $11 on her new, fancy, probably not even indestructible ball, and she could not care less. When we throw it on the floor, she watches it roll along, then gets up and walks away.

Now our folly will forever be referred to as "the $11 ball." So far, we haven't been able to guilt Nabby about it by referring to it as such, and if she could talk, she'd probably just point out that we could have gotten her two giant tubs of Snausages for that price.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Overstimulation

I'll Be Riiiight Heeeere

Whenever a new Star Wars movie comes out, it seems to bring on a wave of nostalgia for just about everyone in my age group. One thing I particularly remember is that I actually thought the 20th Century Fox theme song was part of the Star Wars theme song. HBO showed Star Wars so often that it was a long time before I realized the truth.

The other day, a group of us were sharing our memories of our first movie seen in a theater.
Whether it actually was my first movie or not, I don't know, but the first one in my consciousness is E.T.

Most kids are pretty on top of stuff targeted for them, but somehow I dropped the ball on this one. I don't know how, because all we did at the babysitter's was sit around and watch TV, when we weren't be punished for some minor infraction (she once punished me for saying I didn't like Zorro...whiggedy whack, she was). How did I miss these commercials?

Mom, thankfully, was all over it. I remember her picking us up one Friday and telling Whack Babysitter that we were going to see "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" (she said the full name, just like that) that weekend.

On the way to the theater, I asked her three more times what the hell the name of this movie was. And, for pete's sake, what is an extra-terrestrial? An alien, she said. I was totally not interested in seeing this garbage. Did my mother not know me at all? Why couldn't we go see a Laurel and Hardy movie instead?

Naturally, I equally loved the movie and was destroyed by the ending. I could barely walk upright as we left the theater, I was crying so hard. Heaving, wracking, blubbering, scene-causing sobs. Why did E.T. have to go home? Why couldn't he just stay with Elliot? They needed each other! Who was going to be Elliot's friend now? Why did the evil government agents have to get involved? It was too much for my 8-year-old brain. The only other movie to send me into such a tailspin of despair at that age was "Wizard of Oz." I made my mom promise that Dorothy was going to be all right without the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow.

Instead of my sobs tapering off as we approached the theater exit and back to reality, they just grew louder. People were starting to stare. Finally, my mom justifiably couldn't take it anymore and grabbed me by the shoulders and shrieked, "Will you just get ahold of yourself?!"

Yes, I come from a long line of scene-causers.

Whee!


...And then there are people who notice you and totally want their picture taken.

Who Wants to Make Out?

Saw Ben Lee last night. Yes, again. No, I'm not all ready to go Kathy Bates, stick him in my purse, take him home and hobble him. For one, the Mr. would quite object.

His incarnation this time was stellar opener for Aimee Mann. Or as he said, his job was to "rock our socks off," but if they were rocked off, not to leave them on the stage because they'd get in Aimee's way later. It was just him and Lara on the keyboards this time (I hear the rest of the band will join up later) and the set list was thus:

Gamble
Apple Candy
No Right Angles
Get Gotten
A song by San Francisco singer Sean Hayes. Ben was quick to remind us it wasn't the guy from Will & Grace, when some douche shouted, "He's closeted!" Ben said, "He's a closeted songwriter? Imagine that!" I'm saying, you cannot not love him. Anyway, the song was abandoned after the first verse.
Bruised (the Bens)
Catch My Disease (Katrina and the Waves, Elton John and NWA were the bands mentioned)
We're All In This Together, sung from atop a crowded table and sans microphone.

During his set, Ben playfully offered to make out with any non-fans (damn!). After the set, I saw him outside sitting on a table and went up to say hello (we're practically family now, you know) and some woman was pointing out a man in a bar who wanted to make out. Probably not what Ben had in mind.

I'm not as super-familiar with Aimee's stuff -- mostly I'm With Stupid, the Magnolia soundtrack and the Forgotten Arm. Thankfully, she stuck mostly to stuff from those albums, so I wasn't completely lost. Before "Save Me," she asked, "Can you believe Phil Collin's cartoon monkey love song beat this?" I, for one, cannot.

She marveled at Ben's ability to banter with the crowd, and said, "He's adorable, isn't he? Almost too adorable." Aww, Aimee has a crush. Get in line, sista. You know, I've heard Aimee isn't the nicest person on the planet, but I just wasn't seeing it last night. She seemed very cool, and I want her skin when I'm her age. She's gorgeous!

We were granted TWO encores, a first for me. I've never gotten the concept of encores. Just say you're going to take a break, you know? Or, you know, just be finished. I doubt most musicians are thinking this, but I always feel like it's a test of power, mixed in with a little insecurity. "Should I go home, or do these people actually like me? I think I'll make them clap like monkeys for 5 minutes to find out! You like me, you really like me!"

So, yeah, second encore. Grab bag request! Awwww yeah. Wouldn't you know, someone requested Voices Carry. And she sang it. I died!

All in all, great show. And I'm going to do it all over again in June, with my Ben-sized purse.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I'm a Freak of Nature, Walking Totem Pole (or Things I'm Weird About)

I've said it before, but I have to repeat it frequently, mostly the the Mr.: don't touch my freaking ankles. I blame a lady at the grocery store who hit my right ankle with her cart when I was 7, thus mangling said ankle, causing great pain and leaving me forever terrified of things near my ankles.

I prefer to be early to everything, by at least 5 minutes if possible. I stress out if I'm late for being early. Showing up right on time is so slack!

Don't crinkle paper around me. I swear I will lose it. This has to be from hearing people crinkle paper at the theater when I was younger (Childhood trauma again! Such a rough life!), thus rendering me unable to hear key bits of dialogue and leaving me extremely irritated. It's happened enough that now whenever I hear paper crinkling anywhere, in any context, I get so tense I feel as though my head might explode. Nails on the chalkboard. It's weird, isn't it? But it's not as weird as the guy I knew in college who got all freaked out by cotton balls.

I must get ready in this order: hair, makeup, clothes. Doing anything out of this order will throw off my entire day and, I suspect, throw the earth right off its axis.

I need to eat regular M&Ms in pairs, and preferably each pair should be the same color. Peanut M&Ms should be eaten one by one.

Whenever I pass a package of something squishy in the store and no one is looking, I must squish it to placate my inner 3-year-old. I squish until it cannot be squished anymore, or when someone makes me stop. In which case, I get in one last good squish before doing so.

I always have a tube of Dr. Pepper lip gloss in my hand or in my pocket if it's not feasible to carry a purse. Just like Bob Dole and the pen. Er, sort of.

When driving alone, the car does not leave the parked position until the perfect song that suits the mood is located. Tonight on the way home it was "Eli, the Barrow Boy" by the Decemberists. It's such a nice late-night, driving home song. And a little depressing, yeah.

Waiting for the El


I love taking pictures of people in big cities. It's a lot easier to blend in and not get caught!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Smile for the Camera

Got Any Cakes and Pies?

Harry has stopped shouting "Heeeeeeeeeey!" when he sees us. I'm surprised by how disappointed I am by this. Now he just solemnly waves at me, and maybe 30% of the time he'll ask for something. I guess he should save his lung power for people who actually give up the goods. Yesterday he spotted me, waved and mumbled, "Ya got anything?" Come on, Harry! We like it when you're oddly specific! Little does he know we actually DO have cake. But no pie.

Henry continues to piss me off daily. I am at least happy to report that I'm not as mental when it comes to juking him out of his regular spot in front of our house. But across the street, there's a section of curb between two driveways with enough room for two cars. Just guess where you would park if you were a totally rude boor with no consideration for anyone else around you. You'd park right in the middle, and so does Henry.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Booky Goodness

Even though B List didn't tag me for this, I'm gonna do it anyway! So there!

Total number of books owned: I have no idea. 600? When it's a slow day, I should count them. The Mr. thinks I should get rid of some. I just tell him HE can get rid of some. I'm keeping mine. I don't like to get rid of books.

The last book I bought: The porn history book I'm reading at the moment. I have generally stopped buying books since I realized one month that I spent $80 at Barnes & Noble. And I hate paying for something I can get for free. An exception was made for the porn book, because my library is a prude.

The last book I read: Looky to the left.

Five books that mean a lot to me:
A is for Annabelle, by Tasha Tudor: My mom read this to me seemingly almost daily when I was little, and I loved everything about the book. The girly pink cover! Z is for Zither! X is for xylophone!

Make No Law, by Anthony Lewis: I had to read this for media law my junior year for my report on the Pentagon Papers. Except I procrastinated and partied until about 3 days before the report was due. When I finally buckled down and started reading the book I devoured it, much to my surprise. It was so good. Completely fascinating. I finished the report and got a B, I think. Until that point, I wasn't huge on non-fiction. I always had the notion that it was dry and boring and only for people who were lonely and bored. But this book made me realize how gripping it could be and commenced a love affair that has grown bigger each year.

Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger: I was fortunate enough to escape reading this in high school English. Which meant that I could read it on my own and actually enjoy it. Apparently I was in the minority on both counts, because I remember reading it one morning on the bus to school and getting all kinds of weird looks whenever I laughed out loud. Which was a lot. Those poor kids were missing out.

Elements of Style, by Strunk and White: For grammar and punctuation sticklers. Hours of fun! And small enough to carry in your purse! Although I don't. I swear.

Me, by Katharine Hepburn: My grandma got me into her, and I remember her wanting Katharine's autobiography the minute it came out. I soon found out why: Katharine just plain freaking rules. Beautiful, smart, no-nonsense, tough as nails, ahead of her time. I love her.

Full-On Photo Assault


Here are some more pics from our fun-filled time in Chi-Town. This is some nifty studio equipment in the Radio-TV-Film building at Northwestern.


Shopping Nirvana, aka Marshall Field's.


Walking under the El tracks in Evanston.


Mmmmm, pizza.


Millennium Park. The dark building on the right, by the way, is "The Building Where Chris Farley Died." They should just go ahead and make the name official, because I haven't heard it called anything else since that sad, sad day.


Rough day at work?


The El


The El


There isn't much that's cuter than an elderly couple holding hands as they stroll, is there?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Yankee...Hotel...Foxtrot


I wish we had more time in the city, because I really wanted to find the exact angle. Something tells me it's in the river. Also, the Mr. and I decided they should rename these buildings the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Condominiums. Every unit sold gets Jeff Tweedy free for one month! Chicago, are you listening?

Tulips


(Now a Photo Friday entry as well..."Green.")

I'm back! You missed me every moment, right? The Mr. and I went to Chicago for a few days. I couldn't really say anything beforehand, since the main purpose of the visit was a surprise party for my mother-in-law, and she checks in here from time to time. No one wants to be the jerk who ruins the surprise.

Everything is better in Chicago, including these tulips on steroids, which I found growing on the Northwestern campus (the smartypants Mr.'s alma mater). Seriously, they're like 4 feet tall.

I took 12 million pictures, give or take, and will post some of them this weekend when I'm not busy at the gym working off all the wine, cake and deep dish pizza I consumed. I'm fairly certain I doubled in size. Oof.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hiatus

I'm taking a few days off, but here are some pictures for you to stare at until I return. I wish they could do something cool if you stare at them long and hard enough, but alas, they do not.

Smell you later!

Dig

Laundry

Chain

Monday, May 16, 2005

Last Time I Didn't Get a Piece of Cake...

I've been working on the American Airlines story for a couple days now, and it's really not reading that well. But it's a good story. I mean, it's JUST NUTS. I doubt anyone was actually hitting refresh on their browser in hopes that I'd post it.

Anyway, if you are hitting refresh, give your fingers a break because it's going to be awhile. I've got this obnoxious cough that refuses to die, and it's been really difficult to concentrate or think about spinning a decent yarn. All I can think is how much I'd like to not cough anymore. It's like when you have hiccups that won't go away, and you wonder if this is it: you're going to be one of those people who has the hiccups for the rest of their life, and they have to spend their days sifting through the "helpful suggestions" for getting rid of them, and Weekly World News won't stop calling for interviews. Am I going to be the girl with the cough? Are they going to profile me in People? Will the Halls people send me a lifetime supply of Halls? If so, I prefer cherry.

The highlight of the weekend was our first anniversary. Woot, right?! Aside from the whole surviving the first year without any injuries thing, the other plus was year-old wedding cake. Yeah! Actually, it tasted OK. That thing has been staring me in the face every. single. day. for the last year, and there have been so many weak moments where I pondered whether it would really be that bad if I just had a little forkful. Who would know? But I resisted, and as soon as the clock hit midnight, I was all over that sucker. It tasted a little plastic-y at first, but I had another slice tonight and the flavor was much improved, especially in the frosting area, which is the most important part.

Stella!!!


Malia Vale's little sweetie. Except, not little. But so, so lovable.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Every Morning There's a Cup of Coffee and I Wear Your Ring


Happy Anniversary, Homes!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Construction

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Drip, Drip, Drip


.

The Sporting Life

All right, I think it's safe now to talk about the finale to the Amazing Race, which aired on Tuesday. I was holding off, because Malia Vale hadn't yet seen it. I'm pretty sure she has by now.

What happened with Uchenna and Joyce was such a load of BS, steam still comes out of my ears when I think about it.

If you don't watch the show (and why not?! It's the best reality show on TV.), here's what happened: Rob and Amber got tickets on an 11:15 flight, but then decided to take standby on an earlier flight. They got on. Uchenna and Joyce also got tickets to the 11:15 flight, and also got standby for the same flight Rob and Amber did. Thing is, the plane had started pulling away from the gate when Uchenna and Joyce rolled up. In the world I know, that would spell disaster. They begged and pleaded, and the pilot eventually agreed to come back to the gate. Which allowed them to get on and, ultimately, win the race.

Normally, I'd have been OK with them winning. They were my second favorites to win. But they won because of something that would almost certainly not happen in real life, especially in this day and age. Had they won because of a bad break on the other team's part, then hey, that's life and more power to them. But they didn't, and therefore, I don't like them anymore.

More than anything, I was looking forward to Lynn and Alex (who were so totally fixated on what Rob and Amber were doing instead of, I don't know, on their own game) being forced to clap for Rob and Amber as they crossed the finish line first. Sure, Rob and Amber already have their million from All-Star Survivor, and that's nice. But it's not The Amazing Most Deserving Because of Overall Life Hardship Race. They played a better game than anyone, and their scheming took the show to a whole new level. They deserved to win for that alone. They also weren't annoying, which has to count for something on this show.

It also gives me just one more reason to detest American Airlines, which I'll talk about sometime over the weekend.

Breaks

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Please, Stay With Me Here. I Do Have a Point.

I was going to write about how my dad can make friends anywhere, and I think my brother was lucky enough to inherit this skill, a fact of which I am so jealous. The running joke in the family is that we can be anywhere in the world...go ahead, put your finger in a random spot on the map...and my dad will know someone there. Sixteen years ago, we were in an elevator in Rockefeller Center in NYC, all the way across the country for us, and someone asked, "Dave? Is that you?" It's ridiculous. There have been times at Disney World where he's said he'll wait for us while we ride the roller coaster, and when we come back to find him after the ride, he's met some person and they're chatting away like old pals. I've often told him that if he ever wanted to run for president, he could win entirely on a word-of-mouth campaign. My dad is just a good guy whom nobody doesn't like.

Anyway, then I started wondering about the origins of my personality. If I didn't get my dad's affable persona, whose personality did I get?

Then I remembered that until the age of 5 (the year of my parents' divorce), I was happy-go-lucky, to hear my family tell it. Then I became angry and sullen, went to counseling and started bullying this boy on the playground. George. If I ever tried the Flatliners thing and I was Keifer Sutherland's character, I would have been in big trouble.

Poor George. I still feel really bad about that. I don't really remember what I said to him, but I do remember cornering him and taunting him mercilessly. One day, his mother came to school for some class-related thing, and I saw him point me out to her. My face flushed. Karma caught up with me by junior high, though, no worries. I got mine in spades.

My train of thought ended, oddly enough, on an actual train. Freshman year of college. I commuted daily that year, from San Jose to San Mateo. One day on the train, I saw a guy with black hair and dark brown eyes sitting at the back. He was wearing a blue sweater with a white t-shirt underneath.

George. It was him. It had to be.

I sat there, staring at him like a stalker. I was alternately feeling immense guilt for the times I teased him, wanting to ask him if he was OK and feeling scared to say anything. I kept debating with myself about whether I should go up to him, ask if he was the George. And if he was, how would I apologize? "Hey, me and Timmy Geyer used to mess with you at recess! Sorry about that." What if he didn't remember? Would that be good (we didn't make too much of an impression...whew!) or bad (he was so traumatized, he blocked it out)?

For 30 minutes, I debated and wondered and thought the whole thing to death. And then the Palo Alto stop arrived, and it was his. He left, and I missed my chance to make amends.

Anyway, I'm sure he's fine. Most of us wind up fine. But even so, I'm still very sorry.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Climb

The Eye of the Tiger

Jasclo is going to kill me for relating this story, but I thought I'd unearth it when she least expected it. You thought you were safe, didn't you? Oh ho, ho! Actually, I'm unearthing it now only because I just remembered it now for some reason, and that I swore I was going to blog it at the time.

I didn't really write about our traumatic experience at having been very, very lost in our nation's capital a few weeks ago. Believe me when I say I was ready to cry and I wanted my blankie. To anyone considering driving there in the future, here's a tip: do not rely on logic. Oh, yes. Those are letters and numbers. But they don't mean jack. Trust me. (I usually take the wonderful metro, but it wasn't possible this time). So, now you're all like, "Didn't you have a map?" Well, no. You got me there. But I didn't think I needed one. We needed to get from one lettered street to another lettered street, and we knew the intersection we were looking for, which consisted of a letter and a number. Easy enough. Would you think you needed a map? If you say yes, well then, I think you're just being a smart-alek and I want you to stop it. In fact, I know the Mr. is thinking he would have had a friggin' map. He loves maps.

One of the features of the fair city is that you'll be driving along and thinking, "OK, good. This is the way I want to go...wait...roundabout...what the...hey! Where is this taking me?! @$%@#!" and all of a sudden the damn roundabout spits you out in the opposite direction you had been traveling.

It happened to us, oh, 15 times that day. At one point, we found ourselves circling around the Jefferson Memorial.
Jasclo says, "That's where they filmed the scene from Rocky, right?"
"Dude. What?"
"The steps!"
"That was the Philadelphia Museum of Art!"
"SO! I haven't seen Rocky!"
"You should! It's a great movie!"
"I don't want to see a boxing movie!"
"It's not just a boxing movie. It's about one man's will to survive. The triumph of the spirit!"
"Well. OK."

The Synapses, They Fire Sometimes

It so happens that once in awhile, I'm not a total idiot. And lately, I've been finding that somehow I'm at my best on almost no sleep. I went to spinning a couple weeks ago on about 2 hours of sleep and had the workout of my life. It had to have been because I was so loopy and out of my mind that by the time my brain realized what my body was doing and would try to stop me, the workout was over. I highly recommend it!

Anyway, my most regular spinning class is Saturday mornings at 8:30. To normal people with normal schedules, this would be like having a spinning class at 3 a.m., just to give some idea of how whacked out this hour of the day is for me. I drink about 6 cups of coffee beforehand, which generally sustains me through the hourlong workout. Then I stumble home and go back to bed for a few hours. I only do this because I love my teacher -- we can talk about Survivor, and she plays the Replacements for me (Bastards of Young is a great spinning song) -- and because even though I hate getting up at that hour, I'll grudgingly admit that getting a workout out of the way first thing is an excellent way to start the day. If you're planning to work out at all, that is. If you're planning to loaf around all day, that's an excellent day, too.

So, last Saturday, I'm driving home after class, physically and mentally spent (or so I think), and I pass a minivan with the following license plate:
MI 3 XY

Do you get it? Do you? My thought process immediately went as follows, "My three sons! That is so cute. (pause) Holy crap, I can't believe I even figured that out at all, let alone at this hour."

Sculpture

Monday, May 09, 2005

Action


Photo Friday submission

Warped

Just Get On the Floor and Do the New Kids' Dance

Starting around 6th grade, the pimples came. The oil came. If you listened closely, you could practically hear the oil oozing out of my pores. Limited resource, my butt. Not on my face it isn't.

Thankfully, I didn't have the kind of acne that necessitates a round or two of Accutane, but it was bad enough to cause greater-than-average social discomfort. My back, my neck. Sometimes even my legs. I know! Almost no body part was spared.

The cursed among us can't really cover them up, because it only makes the breakouts more obvious when the foundation and concealer cake up and just become overly pigmented circles that dot your face. Add oil to the mix, and you've got a nasty mess on your hands.

In a nutshell, I pretty much had to go through adolescence pretending like that wasn't a third eye trying to grow on my forehead. Yep, everything is normal; move it along, folks. Builds character, right?

I used to wonder about the popular beeyotches: were they popular because their skin was peaches and cream, or was their skin peaches and cream because they were popular? I still don't have the answer to that one.

But eventually you do learn two things: 1) don't pick at your pimples, because it just makes scars and 2) one day, this too shall pass.

Well, number 1 is definitely true, but it's not anything that can't be patched up with some good concealer, unlike zits. Number 2 is a freaking lie. The zits have mostly subsided, I'll give them that. I get a minor breakout about once a month, and that's the extent of it. But the oil. The oil! Lord almighty, make it stop. Puberty is over! The memo was sent out years ago. Maybe my oil glands are the equivalent of Peter Gibbons, and they got the memo, but they just forgot. I'll have to get them another copy.

Yesterday I went to the mall to get some new foundation, and was talking with the salesgirl about the Oil That Doesn't Quit. She claims it will pay off big someday, to not lose hope, and as the New Kids On the Block say, Hang Tough (oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!). She noted that if you compare women who are the same age and one has dry skin and the other has oily skin, the difference is astounding. Dry-skinned girls have it much worse, goes the story.

I said, "Yeah, yeah. Deep down, I know you're right, and one day I'll appreciate this. Like when I'm 80, and I still look 30. But right now, I just can't see it happening."

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Aww, I Like Them

Looks like Bennifer v2.0 is going to have a v2.1!

Fence

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Last Gasp of Spring

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I Heart Locke, and I Have No Idea Why

Am I the only person alive who thinks Locke on "Lost" is a good guy? Maybe his backstory gave me a giant soft spot for him. Didn't you just totally cry when they wouldn't let him go on the walkabout because he was in a wheelchair? Or when his dad bailed after snookering him into giving up a kidney? But despite mounting evidence to the contrary, I believe that sticking to my guns on this one is going to pay off big.

Every week during Lost, the Mr. and I have the same conversation:

(Locke does something creepy/dubious/bad)
"See?!" says the Mr. "Locke is a bad guy."
"Nooo!" I cry. "He has a good reason! It's going to make sense soon! I love Locke! J.J. Abrams just wants us to think he's bad."

Don't let me down, homes. If you do, I'm going to be on the receiving end of a giant "in yo' face" dance and I don't think I can take it.

Weird Random Playground Thing

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Lemon Fresh

Advertising, Looks and Chops a Must, But No Big Hair!

I finally realized that when I hit a dry spell when it comes to blog topics, such as the case is this week, there's no shortage of things to expound on in my 100 Things list.

I'll start with the first two entries for now, both of which involve the color of my hair. Growing up, brown is the last hair color I wanted. Even red, with its attendant fussiness as far as clothing color choices, would have been a more desirable, exotic option. I had a good shot at red. I coulda been a contenda! My dad's side of the family couldn't be more Irish. Instead, I picked up mom's more Eastern European side (Polish and Czech). The childbearing hips weren't enough, you see. Y'all had to go and torture me with straight brown hair and a love of poppy seeds (all the better to fail drug tests with), too.

In high school, I took matters into my own hands. First, I shaved my head in such a way that the shaved part was only visible when I wore a pony tail. It looked super cool, and was multipurpose: it was the perfect style for looking badass in front of your friends, while still managing to look angelic in front of your parents, so long as there wasn't a stiff breeze. I should have patented it as a haircut for rebellious kids who are really big chickens under the rebel without a cause exterior.

I still remember the first time I shaved my head. "Chasing the Night" by the Ramones was blasting in the background. I used the electric shaver my grandma bought me for shaving my legs (not my head). I was only 14, but I felt ready to take on the world. Me and my little electric shaver. We were going to New York! To do...something! Something very bad and rock-star like! Yeah! That is, until Grandma saw me and damn near had a heart attack. I didn't feel so powerful then. Even less so when she called my mom into my room, and I sat on my bed while the two of them hyperventilated.

At 15, I moved on to coloring my hair. I didn't go too crazy (fear of the parents, again); I played it safe with burgundy and black. That's not to say I didn't get in trouble, but I would remind them that blue was my first choice, and I did them a favor in exercising such restraint. At 21, I started getting blond highlights. The first time was a straight-up disaster: the stylist first made them orange, then attempted to rectify the situation by covering my entire head with bleach and putting me under a dryer for a half hour. As she was washing everything out of my hair and I was having a freak-out she said, "Oh, chill out. One girl here today had her hair come out pink." Ahhhh, much better now!

Nevertheless, the highlighting (from other salons, natch) continued for about 4 more years, when I finally woke up one day and realized my natural hair color wasn't so bad, after all. It glints a reddish-gold in the sun. It gets natural caramel highlights in the summer. It only took 25 years to realize that I should enjoy it while it lasts, and with that, I stopped coloring my hair.

It's been a short run. I've been finding gray hairs, on average, once every other day for the last few weeks. The little bastards try to hide under my top layer of hair, but I am good. I always find them. And I'm not ready for these damn things. I figured not having kids would buy me a good 4 to 5 extra years of somewhat youthful appearance. I base that on nothing but my own presumptions, however.

When I complained to Jasclo earlier this week, she said she didn't notice any gray hairs. I said that was because I had been plucking the suckers out as soon as I find them. My stylist has been warning me not to do that, as the new ones supposedly grow back sticking straight up. But that's what pomade is for, right?

So here we are, full circle. I think by the end of this year I'll be going back to the blond highlights. Ah, natural hair color, we hardly knew ye.

Jungle Gym

The Brain Damage Is All In Your Head

For real. I tried a couple top ten lists, but my brain is fried. Could this be the culprit? If so, boy, am I screwed.

So, I've seen a few entries around lately where people are talking about old college roommates, and last night I saw a story about some dude who murdered his roommate, then hiked her body up north and set her on fire. Allegedly.

I have to say, I've been fairly lucky in the roommate department, especially if whether I wanted to murder them is the standard by which all roommate situations are judged.

The highlights, or lowlights:

The Twins, Sophomore Year
I don't remember their names now. Stacy and something. They were fraternal twins in their senior year, and made up one-half of our apartment population. The most annoying thing about them is that they chose their senior year as the year they would finally cut the apron strings and try living away from home, and they weren't adjusting too well.

As much as I was a kid in a candy store my first year away from home, they were still completely attached. Their mother would call daily, visit once or twice a week, every weekend was spent at home, they were never apart. And if the twin whose name I can't remember had to be away for a night, Stacy would have her boyfriend (who lived upstairs) spend the night. Yes, that was a riot. I've never seen two people before or since so pathologically needy. Oh, and Stacy demanded quiet time every afternoon, always at times convenient for her and no one else. Also, she needed the TV at a set time each day so she could do her step aerobics.

The Bulimic, Sophomore Year
She was actually a lot of fun, except for when she was complaining that her hip bones didn't stick out enough. She also reminded me often that the size 8 clothes in her closet were from when she gained a "ton of weight" after her father died.

Sumie and Katie, Sophomore Year
Sumie and Katie were the biggest slobs I've ever seen in my life, male or female. When I stopped by over winter break to drop some things off, I had to lean on the door to open it, because they had piled up so much stuff in front of it, and everywhere else in the apartment. Clothes, CDs and dirty dishes covered every available surface.

The amazing part was, they hadn't even been there more than a few weeks. Yet there were 2 semesters' worth of garbage piled up. They had also seen fit to make use of a lot of my things, since hey, I wasn't using them. When most normal people do that, they clean said things and put them back to hide the evidence. Sumie and Katie were absolutely not normal.

Trish, Junior Year
Trish actually still has the letter telling her that we were going to be roommates. We didn't talk on the phone beforehand, but one day before the semester started I swung by, and she was sitting on her bed reading. I knew I had found a friend for life when she suggested we go to the A&W and steal some mugs. It was only the beginning.

Christie, Junior Year
Christie knew everything. There was nothing on which she wouldn't happily share her knowledge! Sometimes when you were cooking, she'd just walk up and take the spoon away from you and tell you how it really should be done. Just like Julia Child, that whacky girl. Funny that she didn't know how ridiculous her blond, curly afro looked, or how not to behave like a know-it-all jerk.

A few days after moving in, she called a roommate meeting. I know, don't you just want to throw up? She wanted to hammer out a schedule for chores, and a schedule for this and a schedule for that, and who gets what spots in the refrigerator. Suddenly, I wasn't looking so anal anymore.

The last order of business was the voicemail password. She wondered why it was set up to be my birthday. I said that I just happened to be the one to set it up, and those were the numbers that just popped into my head, because it's all about me, baby.
"Huh! Well. I have an idea," she said. "Why don't we change the password to GOALS. Because, like, we're in college, and we all have goals."
Trish said, "I don't have any goals."

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

On the Boulevard of Broken Wonderwalls

You must hear this.

As much as it cracks me up, it's not as funny as the time I heard a mash-up of two Nickelback songs that sounded almost exactly alike. Good lord, they suck.

My Grandma Can Take Your Grandma

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, my Grandma and Grandpa were finishing up dinner. After the last morsels were swallowed, Grandma said, "I'm going to watch 'the Honeymooners' now."
Grandpa replied, "Like hell you are. You're going to clear the table first."
Grandma took her arm and swept it across the table, effectively clearing it. As the dishes banged around the floor she announced, "The table is cleared."

Don't you just love her?

Hopscotch

Monday, May 02, 2005

Just Like Groundhog Day, Except Without All the Answers to Jeopardy!

Last night, Jasclo and I were talking about a person we know who takes the same vacations every year, at the same time, to the same locales. I hope he enjoys it, and it seems like he does, but it made me feel a little sad. For him, because of how much he's probably missing out there, and for me, because I could totally see myself ending up like that.

I have my routine. You can practically time me on it any given day. Most days it's get up, eat oatmeal, drink coffee until mild buzz is attained, surf about 10-15 favorite web sites, go to the gym for 90 minutes, come home, walk the dog, shower, do hair, put on makeup, eat lunch, go to work. Even on the weekends, the time of fun, the time to goof around, I've got a routine on those days, too. My laziness is even scheduled (Tuesdays from 2-5). Some of my friends even know that they shouldn't be bothering me about doing something at x day or x time, because that's the day I'm doing x. Not actual X.

I live in mortal fear of my routine being somehow disrupted.

How lame and sad is that? But these last few weeks have shaken up the routine a little. Going to shows, drinking a bit (by that, I mean, a lot), staying up past normal bedtime (1-1:30 a.m.) and generally just enjoying my friends and life. I didn't even do my nails this week (Thursday nights during Apprentice), or put away my laundry until just last night (usually I do that Thursday nights after Project Greenlight). Scandal!

But the world didn't blow up, so I had that going for me, which is nice. Anyway, I think I'll try and live like this a little more often. Even though my nails look like crap and my clothes are all wrinkled, it's nicer on this side.

Last Cigarettes Are All You Can Get

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Taps