Thursday, October 28, 2004

Foolish Games

Karma-wise, I'm not sure whether the two dollars in dimes I recieved out of the parking machine this morning was retribution for something I've already done or an indicator that the scales have to balance out on the good side for the rest of the day. I did accidentally forget to turn off my brights this morning and nearly blinded another (half-asleep) driver, but really, is that two dollars in dimes bad? I'm going to choose to believe I've got two paper bucks worth of good coming down the pipe. It is payday, and it is Grudge day, not to mention the fact that my newspaper-selling friend even left me alone. So today has the possibility to be a solid B+, maybe even an A-.

Apparently the picture of Mr. Flowers that I hung in my cubicle is causing quite a ruckus. A ruckus, I tells ya, not a commotion, or a bunch of hoo-ha, but a full-fledged ruckus. I only had one thing to put up on my bare-ass walls, which was Brad's Halloween painting, and I happened to have the Spin issue with the Killers in it in my bag, so I tacked up Brandon's big old face. Not only have people asked me to my face who it is, if I know him, and whether he's my boyfriend ("A singer." "No." "Not yet. Also, this is clearly ripped out of a magazine, because, see, it has a caption, while, to my knowledge, most personal photographs of loved ones do not.") but yesterday when I was typing something Brian watched some weird Journals editor creep up to my cubicle, peer over the wall, and then mime an entire conversation asking the intern who sits next to me who it was in my picture. I didn't realize you could be so boring and still such a woman of mystery.

You're BREA! KING! MY HEAAAA-AAAA-A-AA-ARRRRT.
You're breaking my. Hear. T.

Foolish Games by Jewel may be the greatest karaoke idea I've ever had. That song. Oh, that song. She sounds like a duet between Tom Jones and Shirley Temple, if Shirley had eaten Tom, and then a drag queen had eaten Shirley.

Speaking of karaoke, I wish the best of luck to Vicky (who will never read this) on Saturday in the final round that's gonna win her a thousand clams and a ticket out of a shitty apartment.

I found out last night that Ken Jennings, my little mormon Jeopardy! idol, actually works as a healthcare software developer. Health informatics, folks. Health infor-fucking-matics. It's all connected.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

On Gonads, Victory, and Minutiae

Yesterday was the pinnacle of my accomplishments as a human on this planet. After a month of commuting--silently honing my skills, watching and waiting for the perfect chance to take unsuspecting middle-aged, Monday-weary men by surprise--I won. I won the race. I was the FIRST goddamn person off the train, the FIRST person out of the station, and the FIRST motherfucking car out of the lot. I won. I am the best commuter in Cortlandt. I won the race. Maybe I'll let someone else win today. I don't know. I'm not adverse to wielding my power graciously, but one shove, one sideways glance from even one man in an overcoat with polished loafers, and I'm going to beat him. Again. Because I won yesterday.

When I told my parents this story, my mother responded, "My daughter. She's growing testicles." I wish my mother could've seen me dancing on the bar at the 'sco, or getting in a screaming match guy who looks like a bald, goateed refrigerator. The testicles descended a while ago, Mommy dearest, oh Mom of mine.

Every morning that I don't end up meeting Brian in the Grand Central 6 stop I walk the eight or so blocks to work alone. This is fine, because Spring Street is pretty great, and in the morning it's not filled with rich, shopping Italian tourists. There's a little old guy who sells the Daily News on the corner of Crosby and Spring. When I'm walking with Brian, he doesn't say anything. At the most, he might nod or smile. But, every single time that I'm alone, he says:

HihowareyouIlikeyourlegs.

All one sentence, just like that. This wouldn't be so astounding, except for the fact that today I was wearing not only a skirt, but boots and pants underneath. Including my socks, there were no less than four layers of clothing seperating him from my legs, no part of which were visible to the human eye.

What is it with old men and me? I don't understand whether I have some old, old man attracting pheremone, or whether I just happen to consistently be in the wrong place at the wrong time with Viagra-crunching geriatrics. Just once, can't it be some wonderful, respectably-dressed, sanity-possessing guy around my age to mutter "HihowareyouIlikeyourlegs?" I don't feel like I'm asking for all that much.

Brandon Flowers has come out in Spin magazine. As a Mormon. It's really upsetting to learn that your heart, your love, your star-crossed soulmate is a secret religious zealot. I mean, I'll forgive him and I'll convert and everything, but damn, what a shock to my fragile constitution.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

On a Monday...I am Dubbed

Last night was the Chinatown-Karaoke-Extravaganza with Raha and some other CPC folk. Excellent night all around, but the most unexpected occurrence was the one-and-a-half year old kid who ended up our drinking buddy.

Winnie's is a small, family run place. One of the many daughters of the couple who own the bar showed up at around midnight last night with her baby in tow. Emily, as we soon learned she was named, can't speak yet; however, she knows the karaoke joint like the back of her very small and sticky hand. The kid would hold the mic for people doing their numbers, applaud wildly when they finished, and put the mic back in the stand. She would find one of the song books and flip through pointing to different titles, and (the BEST) would demand you clink your beer against her bottle full of milk before you or she drank. She also demonstrated frightening proficiency with my cell phone. Her mom had no problem with her just joining our table and sitting on all of our laps. We managed to keep her entertained drawing with one of the bar's little golf pencils on some pages I tore out of my note book, and when she got bored with that I let her smash my phone against the table for a while.

It was great to see Raha, Sarah and Sadie again; CPC reunions are much better when it's only people I completely approve of. Raha came with a friend, who also came with some friends, and I enjoyed all of them. Where can you go wrong with a chick (legally) named Antigone, a girl who's the lead singer in a Depeche Mode and sometimes Duran Duran cover band, and a cute hipster named Eric who can fit his entire cellphone in his mouth?

Things:
1. Ry Russo-Young is on the cover of the New York Times Magazine.
2. Ashlee Simpson fucked up royally on Saturday Night Live last night; they accidentally played the on a Monday...I am waiting vocal track, which she was supposed to lip sync, while her band played the standing in the SHADOOWWWS song. She got confused, did a little dance, and then just walked offstage. Her band, which immediately recognized the wrong vocal track and switched songs, played for a little while and then they cut to commercial. Good TV.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It's Nearly Nine, Which Is My Bedtime

Update on the Halloween costume front: old-timey waitress. That's the verdict.

Today I edited the preface of a book that's coming out in a few months. Not that anyone will be running to snap up their copy of this fascinating tome, but it was the first real Editorial-with-a-capital-E thing I've gotten to do. I technically did it by accident. My editor handed me a rough copy of the preface and asked me to read it over and let me know what I thought of it. Years of creative writing workshops have made me unable to read something double-spaced without marking it up; this turned out for the best, though, because after reading it over, my editor said I could just type up my changes, e-mail them to the author, and then send it over to production. It's hard to believe they farm out work like that to freelancers, spending shitloads of money to have someone else edit what the EDITor and EDITorial assistant seem to think is too difficult.

There's a blonde guy I see on the 6 every morning. He's very attractive in a he-looks-like-he-might-eat-oatmeal-for-breakfast kind of way. The surprising thing, though, is that he's reading "A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Steps" every morning. Is he outing himself as an alcoholic? Or is he a social work student at NYU? Either way, it takes balls to read your 12-step manual on the subway, with everyone watching you admit you're powerless and accept a higher power.

I saw Jeffrey Wright from Angels in America in Grand Central this morning. He was wearing a fabulous jacket.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

White with Small Flowers

You think you're having an normal day. It's raining, but that's to be expected. The trains are crowded, but the streets aren't. You walk to work, you have your coffee, you do some typing, you do some photocopying. You have lunch and you talk about books. You punch out, you leave, you get back on the wet train. A normalish fortyish guy gets on, and halfway through the ride, you notice his pants are riding kind of low. It's nothing big, though, you're packed shoulder to shoulder and it's not exactly like he could pull up his pants if he wanted to. He is, however, wearing flowered Hanes Her Way.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Halloweiner

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It's almost Halloween.

I'm not sure what I want to be. Kai and I are going to the parade in the village, and I feel like I should go as something really clever. Kai might go the sexy nurse route, or otherwise Alice in Wonderland. My friend Brian is doing the Charlie Chaplin thing. Brad might be Brad Darko. But I don't know what I want to be. Whenever I think about it, all I can think of is "cowgirl." I don't know why, but I think that's a really lousy idea. The other idea I had today came while using this machine to stamp numbers on every page of this manuscript at work; maybe I could go as a really, really crummy professional wrestler called "The Paginator."

Maybe I'll go as a 1960's church lady.

Again, I solved the Times crossword in under seven minutes. Even for a Monday, I think that's pretty decent. I also figured out that I have my own personal fluorescent light built into my desk. It's been an uneventful day.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Buttplug-o-gram

Tonight, while half-asleep on the couch, the phone rang. I was the only one home, and the phone is never, ever for me, so I didn't answer it. Here's what was on the answering machine:

My mom's voice: We're not here. Please leave a message.
Douche: Um...buttplug? Ah, buttplug.

Today I went pumpkin-picking with my family, and took some actual pictures on actual film on my actual camera which I am going to do something with. It'll be cool. I also bought large black boots which I thought were "sophisticated" and "sleek" at the time, but on further inspection at home I think they're more "hooker" or "Catwoman." To be clear, I didn't buy these at the pumpkin field. Things I did buy at the pumpkin field include the following: pumpkins, a cookie, an apple. I bought two tiny pumpkins for my desk, and concluded that I, after all my posturing and liberal arts education and left-leaning politics, am nothing but a bitch to the Man with a desk that I want to seasonally decorate.

Speaking of work, I spent the last three days in intensive computer training with my good friend Produckplanung und Managementsystems. I sat next to a nerd who's a new editorial assistant in the math division in our Cambridge office. I can't express what a complete dork he was; if you think of the kind of kid who would go to Harvard and major in math, and then decide to stay in Harvard and work for mathematics journals, I don't think you're quite picturing the giant, giant dork that he was. RobERT, not Rob. I also can't express what a giant, overwhelming crush I had on him. I seriously considered pinning him against a wall and making out with him on a coffee break. I don't know what's wrong with me.

Everyone is baseball insane in New York. All I hear on the train in the mornings are commutermen updating each other on the previous night's game against the Red Sox. I can't say I'm a huge baseball fan, but I honestly, in my heart, believe that you cannot be a good person and like the Yankees. It's like rooting for Starbucks. The Yankees aren't winners because they deserve it, they're winners because they had the best business plan. The Red Sox have heart. I respect the fact that they sponsored a whole bunch of little league teams around New York just to piss off the Yankees. That's balls.

I need to stop buying clothing specifically for the impossible event that I run into Robert Verdi of E!'s Fashion Police. He is my only thought while getting dressed at 5:00 in the morning.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Don't Stop! Believing!

Oh-oh-OOOOH.

If it's possible to be stalked by a very short playlist, it's happening to me. Steve Perry is everywhere, EVERYWHERE I go.

I won't stop believing. And I don't care if you're turning to me with your open troll arms. Any way I want it? How about if I want to light your hair on fire, Steve? That's the way I need it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Photographtertaste

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What the station looks like when I get there.

The debate tonight frustrated me so much I cried.

To bed, to bed, so early to rise. But tomorrow's payday. Money makes my world go round.

Produkplanungs und Managementsystem

4:45 - when I woke up this morning.
5:30 - when I left my house and drove to the train station. Saw four deer, and a skunk, which, may I point out, is a nocturnal animal.
6:24 - when I caught the train.
7:19 - when I arrived at Grand Central.
7:45 - when I arrived in my office and found that none of the lights were even turned on yet.
8:00 - when I went to the computer training session.
8:15 - when I would've gotten to work had I taken my regular train.
8:37 - when actual training started, thereby making my obscenely early commute completely unnecessary.
approx. 10:07 - when I recieved my first German error message for the not-quite-translated "Produkplanungs" system. It involved the word "ungebung," which makes it all almost worthwhile.
12:00 - we break for lunch.
12:30 - we return from lunch.
12:33 - I fall asleep a little.
2:02 - training ends, I resume my zombie-like state on another floor, and pretend to work while actually typing this.

I have pictures to post from home of the train station, and my cube, and also of my head. And my super-slick credentials with my picture. I also may attempt to transcribe the message Kai left me yesterday--a nearly four-minute epic about cleaning up an old woman's volcanic...well, let's call it an "eruption." I think it ends with "I hope you don't get this while you're eating lunch...or like...a brownie or something."

I wish my name was Sabine.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

My Pop-Culture Doctoral Thesis

On the Mats With The Boys:
A Foray Into The Homosexual Subtext of The Killers' Hot Fuss


It’s clear to any listener that the driving emotion of The Killers' album Hot Fuss is jealousy—a jealousy so intense that it ends with a character’s murder. However, it’s only with a certain amount of close listening and some rearranging that the secret plot of the album emerges.

The key to the puzzle, without a doubt, is ”Andy, You’re a Star.” The most transparent of the songs on Hot Fuss, our narrator pines for the seemingly untouchable (and attached) high school jock. On the field he’s incredible and he’s leaving his legacy on the school, but he’s also rolling around on the mats with the boys with more fervor than wrestling demands. The narrator says, explicitly, “in a car with a girl—promise me she’s not your world, ‘cause Andy you’re a star.” Sure, it could be a platonic envy or admiration of a small-town boy with a too-big-for-his-britches star quality, but the town isn’t admiring him; they’re judging him—and the verdict is in. We suspect Andy likes boys. And our narrator likes Andy.

Chronologically, though, the story line doesn’t start with “Andy, You’re a Star.” It begins with “Smile Like You Mean It,” and “Change Your Mind.” “Smile Like You Mean It” sets the tone for the emotional environment of the relationship between our narrator and Andy. It’s all about denying what’s truly there, yet lamenting the loss of innocence and acceptance as each male character recognizes his actual desires. “Change Your Mind” is the beginning of the connection between the two boys. Mr. Flowers proclaimed the song “the sweetest song” the Killers have done, and it’s true. It’s the most promising, most hopeful song on the album, and reeks of the possibilities of a new romance. Yet because this romance is between our narrator and Andy, the sweetness of the song is still watered down with suspicion, shame, and guilt. Still, they can’t deny that they’ve “both felt like this before.”

Putting the song “Somebody Told Me” next, the story begins to become clearer. The twisted genders of the boyfriends and girlfriends in the chorus become a coded inquiry from our narrator to Andy to see exactly whether or not he’s interested. The proverbial somebody told him he had a boyfriend, who looked a lot like one of the narrator’s old “girlfriends.” The narrator has had it with playing games, and, in the overtly homoerotic “On Top,” the two get together. Still, leaving each other with a cigarette and a handshake after their trysts, they can’t acknowledge what’s going on in front of other people.

The most significant of those other people is Andy’s girlfriend, Jenny. Our narrator’s jealousy over Jenny’s role in Andy’s life permeates the entire album, but is specifically dealt with in “Mr. Brightside,” in which the narrator is not possessive of the “she,” but rather jealous of her time with the “he.” It seems that Jenny is an acquaintance of the narrator’s; she fuels his jealousy with her presence in both his and Andy’s life.

By the Killer’s own admittance, a murder occurs on this album. It’s Jenny, and the narrator commits the murder. This is all a given. The band, however, does not as explicitly state the gay love theme that drives the murder. It seems not only that the narrator kills Jenny (“Midnight Show”), but that Andy was there and may even be involved in the actual process; someone is holding Jenny down, while the other must be driving. Post-murder (which takes place outside, in the rain, but isn’t a drowning; I believe Jenny was strangled in a car), the narrator denies the charges, telling his interrogators that Jenny was a friend of his and he had no reason to commit such a crime. However, if we were to believe that this album depicts a heterosexual relationship, why would our narrator declare Jenny simply a friend?

Guilt sets in after the crime, however, and it seems that the two cannot stay together. “All These Things That I’ve Done” and, finally “Everything Will Be Alright” are the narrators attempts to not only console himself, but the boy he is losing.

Which leaves the listener with “Believe Me, Natalie.” How does it fit in? I tried to make the whole theory work with the narrator having a girlfriend as well, but I just don’t think it’s true. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Killers are too smart not to have a good old-fashioned red herring on the album. It’s sort of in the interest of the narrator’s character to detract attention from the secretive sub-plot with a song that doesn’t relate to the story, but rather talks about 1970’s disco life coming to an end in New York. Still, though the song may be a red herring, it does invite the listener to explore the hidden painting under the “Monet.”

Eat that, fuckers.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Stuff and Nonsense

I just found Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk at Barnes and Noble for four-ninety-eight. That's a deal, even if I can't morally shop there because the fiction buyer called urban African-American fiction "vile." Five dollars for tomorrow's train reading!

No boss tomorrow, no boss tomorrow, dooby dooby doo, I ain't got no boss tomorrow. My dissertation on the Killers is complete and will be posted from work, as my responsibilities for tommorrow are completely encompassed by the following list:

1. Mail seven letters
2. Eat lunch
3. Make a list

I even figured out Natalie. They think they're so tricky. Brandon Flowers, you fucker, you can't fool me. Also, I love you.

Today I thought I was a genius because I finished the New York Times crossword (in PEN) in about seven minutes. Then I remembered it was Monday, so I'm not very smart at all. Then I also remembered that I was commuting like a sucker while everyone else had Columbus Day off, thereby proving I am a moron.

I wore my Burberry scarf today (although I just typed "toady," and then thought about what it would be like to have a Burberry scarf toadie, and wondered if he could carry Febreze around with him to keep my scarf from smelling like the subway, and also pictured him wearing a newsboy cap) and wished I could carry around a sign that said "A COMMITTEE OF PEOPLE BOUGHT ME THIS FUCKING SCARF, YOU DICKS, NOW STOP TREATING ME NICER BECAUSE I'M WEARING IT."

Secret Aaaaygent Girl

Writing from work until someone notices, or I have something to do. I've recently discovered the divine decibel level at which I can play music on my computer without anyone noticing. I'm listening to the Radio 4 album I found yesterday at a Best Buy, which I also found yesterday, and dancing eversoslightly in my seat. It's like being a secret agent of fun.

I should take a picture of my cubicle. Although, pretty much, it's square and gray, and I doubt anyone out there could be picturing it incorrectly. Are you picturing my personal pair of scissors and stapler, though? Those are a mark of STATUS, lemme tell you.

Portobello mushrooms over spinach for lunch for seven dollars. So good. So broke.

There's a rumor that I might actually get a paycheck on Thursday. How is it possible that I can fill out paperwork for a corporation that just underwent a weird merger and complete change of location, whose buisness headquarters is in HEIDELBERG, and get paid in a week, yet at a fine institute of higher learning like Oberlin it took almost a month to get a paycheck?

I'm in a gray cubicle, and someone is eating Cup O'Noodles. There is nothing more depressing in the world than the smell of Cup O'Noodles in an office.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Skunk's Misery

Today was not, as originally thought, installment two in my two-woman tour of the greatest hits of the Hudson Valley's abandonded mental health institutions. Instead, Kai and I drove way the hell up in Duchess county, promptly finding ourselves completely lost the minute we crossed the Putnam County border. When we try to lose ourselves and find creepy places around the monastary, there's no getting it done. We always end up right back on Route 6. Three and a half feet into Duchess county? We have no idea where we are.

We did, however, see some excellent abandoned houses.
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If it's a total shithole, I love it.

Excellent points of today: new legwarmers from target, munchkins (the doughnut, not the oppressed fictional people), cornfields, Skunk's Misery Road (I swear to the LORD I did not make that one up), Sinpatch Road ("Don't you ever let a boy touch your sinpatch until you're married!"), Sybil Ludington, an interesting tarot card reading.

Poor to very poor points of today: tommorrow.

I think Kai may be the reincarnated spirit of Sybil Ludington. Revolutionary War diva for whom the bustling metropolis of Ludingtonville, NY is named, she apparently rode a long-ass way on horseback to let local troops know the British were approaching. Paul Revere, only with tits. Her route became what is now Route 6, which Kai finds herself inexplicably drawn to when she has nothing better to do (and occasionally when she does). There is nothing she would rather do, some days, then drive what we discovered was Sybil's exact route. My point? There is a very scary statue of her where she looks like she's going to eat a small child. Kai actually eats small children. Coincidence?

I think tomorrow I'm going to work on my Grand Unified Theory of The Killers' Hot Fuss from the office. It'll totally blow your mind. And it's infinitely, INFINITELY better than looking at even one more picture of a tumor treated by radiofrequency ablation.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Slowly Crazy Going Am I

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Little brother showed me how to get pictures in here. That's the nuthouse.

The First One

Granted, I'm not completely sure why I'm starting this, but I think it has something to do with living in a town where the big, big, event of the year is the auto-body place having a small fire. It was in people's away messages. My little brother had heard all about it, because he works at 7-11 and it was the hot small-talk topic of this afternoon. I can barely wait for the North County News's extensive coverage of the fire that could've been put out with a solid, post-coffee pee.

My point is: I think that by writing stuff down I'd feel like something was happening. Otherwise, I may have to start actively lighting fire to buildings as opposed to waiting for them to burn down on their own.

Today, Kai and I drove to an abandonded mental hospital. Not the good abandonded mental hospital, the other one. Yeah, that one. Strangest part of the abandonded mental hospital? The still-operating church that stands smack in the middle of the property, right between the electroshock buildings. "Our Lady of Solace." Or, as Brad and I had discussed, "Our Lady of Sticking A Needle WAY Into Your Brain Through Your Eye Socket So You Don't Want To Have Sex With Your Mother Anymore." I took a couple of good pictures, but we weren't allowed to get out and walk around. Tomorrow we're going to the really good abandonded mental hospital in Connecticut where you can (shh) get into the buildings and poke through everything they left there.

I don't even know if I'm going to tell anyone I have this thing. Maybe. I don't know.

I need to go pick up my little brother at the mall. This time, I swear, I won't be singing along in an obnoxious falsetto to that let's-break-it-down part of "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" with all of the windows open as my poor brother says goodbye to his friends.
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