Tuesday, November 30, 2004

You PAID FOR IT!!

The local Fox news station never ceases to amaze me. I'm beginning to suspect that it's run by Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. I can see him, shadowy and menacing in some gargantuan leather chair, secretly piloting the hard-hearted public's attention toward his You Paid For It!! segment, his ultimate brainwash, the final step in his evil plan for complete domination through indoctrination. No, for real, driving home from work in the last week or so, I've heard commercials for these segments:

You PAID FOR IT!! Rock n' roll...you may love it, you may hate it. But either way, they're TEACHING it in our SCHOOLS! And...you PAID FOR IT!!

First of all, is this 1962? Did I miss the big vinyl bonfire in the town square? Are they really, actually trying to incite people to action based on their hatred of rock and roll? Is that a term people even use anymore? And what do you mean, they're "teaching" rock and roll? Are you suuure you didn't just watch that Jack Black movie? Cause I think you might be confusing journalism with HBO-on-Demand and bad taste in film. I would also like to point out that the You PAID FOR IT!! part is sung over a Whitesnake-worthy squealing guitar riff. But we have to stop that rock n' roll nonsense! If you listen to it you'll go blind and if you play the Evanesence album backwards it'll make you Jewish!

You PAID FOR IT!! The homeless...sexual predators...put up in MOTELS to get them off the street! And guess what? You PAID FOR IT!!

By the partition postulate or some such theorem, I think Fox News would have us believe that our tax dollars are permitting homeless people, all of whom are sexual predators, to shack up with the minor of their choice at the Hilton. Maybe even with a Hilton. If this is indeed the case, I'm enraged that my money is being spent in such a disgraceful fashion. I do have an inkling, though, that this report is probably about the city of New York paying for homeless people in dire need of a place to stay to sleep in a motel for a few nights, presumably because shelters are crammed beyond capacity. Call me crazy, but I'll throw a few bucks at that idea. As for labeling every homeless person a sex offender: shut up. Seriously, shut up.

Monday, November 29, 2004

On a High Horse

Last night, Kai and I drove to the track not to exercise, but to eat onion rings and read our futures with her trusty deck of tarot cards. Rumor has it that Brad's near future holds a period of carefree fun, a bunch of money made on creative pursuits, a new job that will bring him notoriety and power, and a possible move in February. Kai will bring "the World" as her date to Kelly's wedding, and it looks like she'll meet her slightly depressive new boyfriend sometime this month. As for me, supposedly I'll be annoyed by my boss in December and look for new employment in January.

During February, however, you better watch out for this girl. I got "the Devil," which apparently means general mischief and mayhem for me and everyone I know. Kai explained that even if I'm still working where I am now, I'll be "the office bad girl...you'll be the one staying out late and sleeping in late, and people will be talking about you." Hey, I'll take it.

As for the direction of Cupid's arrows, it looks like he'll be aiming elsewhere until possibly the spring. Woe! Fie! Blast! Drat! O, Fickle Phantom of Love!

I'm not one to take fortune telling too, too seriously. However, Swami Kaileen Farrell, the Mystic of Yorktown, managed to predict my entire first two years of college in one sitting. I wrote down everything she said, and every once in a while I'd find the piece of paper folded up in my desk. Everything happened to the letter. To. The. LETTER. So, I pay Attention-with-a-capital-A when she hauls out her deck.

Now, for the obligatory holiday update: Thanksgiving was nice. I slept in until at least 1:30, woke up and realized it was only 9:00, and cursed the system that has made me a "morning person." My dad was out in the driveway wrangling my car's broken CD player (can CD players be bulimic? It seems to really relish vomiting out every album I feed it), so my mom and I watched the parade. The undisputed highlight was the Blair-Witch style shot captured by the cameraman clotheslined with a high-school marching band's banner.

My not-so-favorite part of the parade was an excerpt from the musical Bombay Dreams starring American Almost-Idol Tamyra Gray. Don't get me wrong, I think Tamyra has an excellent voice and I'm very pleased that she has work. I just have a bone to pick with whomever it was that cast the show, and knowing Broadway, it was some old, white guy. Apparently it's okay to just throw anyone vaguely brown in a musical about Indian Bollywood movies, because, hey, you know, as long as people aren't white they're all the same, right? Tamyra is the star, with a crew of dancers that appeared to include several Puerto Rican guys, one or two Asian women, and one guy who, I swear to God, I think was Italian and had a visible self-tanner line. It's not that I expect the show to feature only Indian performers; it just seemed that the multi-cultural blend of dancers were there not because of a principle of inclusivity, but because of an ignorance of their differences. This kind of cultural blending seems to happen only when the roles being filled aren't traditionally white. I mean, when was the last time you saw a whole lot of Black orphans in Annie? All performers who are people of color shouldn't be lumped into some kind of general "ethnic" category to be dealt like a deck of cards into different cultural identities depending on what rich, white, New York tourists want to see on stage.

End speech.

Like an asshole, I left my phone on my desk all weekend. I was so surprised when my boss told me I could go at 3:30 on Wednesday that I just ran blindly for the door before she changed her mind. So, I missed a call from Andy, who was home for the weekend. I would've really liked some company, too, because I went by myself to the first free Friday of the new MoMA. It wasn't a big deal, because I actually like going to museums by myself, but it did get a little lonely and cold waiting on the two hour line to get in. It bears mentioning that I was surrounded by foriegn couples, all of whom were speaking beautiful romance languages and keeping each other's ears warm with their adorably mittened hands, so my solo status was somewhat magnified (at least in my own head, which is the only place that matters when you're by yourself).

The museum is astonishing. I forgot just how many insane things they own. I may have to bite the bullet and pay the twenty clams to get in on another weekend, though, because there were so many people there during the free hours I had trouble really seeing anything for more than a second. On one hand, I was really happy that so many people were excited to see contemporary art and would even drag their kids out with them. On the other hand, at certain points I wanted to indiscriminately open fire on the crowd. Yes, MoMA owns Starry Night. Yes, it is very famous. Yes, I suppose you have "seen all there is to see now, so let's just hit the gift shop." No, that painting you're pointing at is not a Van Gogh self portrait, mostly because it is a Matisse. No, it's not okay if your kid dances around in front of the projectors showing the video piece I wanted to see. No, even if something is a sculpture and it's installed on the floor, you can't touch it. And for fuck's sake, you instantly lose all of the points you get by suavely answering your phone "Yeah, I'm at the museum," because you ANSWERED YOUR PHONE (WHICH HAS A NOVELTY RING, A GODDAMN NOVELTY RING) IN A MUSEUM.

End speech.

I started my Christmas shopping yesterday, meaning I bought three things for myself at H&M, but then bought Brad a gift and got his family a housewarming present. Although, really, one of the small things that makes up the housewarming care package is also for you, Brad. It's something you wanted, except there are FIVE. And they're MINIATURE. It's strange that I can find something you like, and be reasonably assured that you'd like to recieve it as a gift, but if I find it in miniature I know that you'll LOVE it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Exhibitionism

If I'd known that adulthood would involve stretches of picking "natural cinnamon and streusel topping" from a vending machine coffee-cake out of my scarf, I might not've signed up. Or, at least, I would've gotten a pass to get out of the first few periods.

In other not-so-grown-up moments, yesterday I got called into the VP's office to discuss "the timecard situation." It's not as dire as it sounds; he called in all of the editorial assistants to confirm that, indeed, we can sign in and out for lunch and get paid for the actual hours we work, instead of having an hour a day automatically taken out of our checks. The VP then tried to make a joke about how we should take a full hour, lest we end up old and over-worked like him, and, ha ha ha, how we obviously think he's so stern because look, one of us brought a pad to take notes! He then turned towards me, and said "Well, not that you need a pad, you seem to think writing notes on your hand is just fine. I guess we're not bringing you to any exhibits."

To which I responded, "I AM an exhibit."

He dismissed us shortly thereafter without so much as cracking a smile, and I sat around my cube feeling pretty smug for a while. Granted, no, the way to ingratiate yourself to upper management is probably not through unmitigated wise-assery. But come on, I really couldn't care less. I'm not exactly aiming to rocket to the teetering heights of scientific publishing aristocracy.

In exchange for writing Kai's gym paper (sidenote: why make fully-grown people, people very near to being certified to manage your health and well-being, attend gym class? Nevermind the exercise in total absurdity that is forcing them to crap out five hundred words assessing their personal levels of fitness? Isn't that your job, Coach Drank-your-way-out-of-a-shot-at-the-Minor-Leagues-and-into-this-moronic-position?), I was treated to Chili's last night. I got in either a real or imagined fight with our waitress, who was arguably curt with me the whole time. For a final flourish of surrealism, the couple at the next booth over prayed for SO LONG before eating. Kiddos, I believe in my heart of hearts that Jesus doesn't want your tacquitos to get cold. You don't need to say a whole rosary every time you eat a Tic Tac.

I just got paid, and I can leave fifteen minutes early today to catch the earlier train home. Today could be worse.

(Note: That is not a dare.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Hell in a Handbasket

The recent uproar of NFL fans about the opening of Monday Night Football is the last straw for me. I am flabbergasted over the debacle a Desperate Housewife's feigned nudity has caused; I feel it bears pointing out that yes, while the Lord may condemn Nicollette Sheriden for touching a fully clothed member of the opposite sex, the bosom she pressed to his chiseled physique was pictured only in viewers' minds and never once on the screen. Between this and

-the acceptance of "moral values" as a valid phrase instead of a redundant catch-all term (a term which is rapidly becoming the excuse to exorcise anything in our culture that makes us even slightly uncomfortable),
-the recent NY Times/CBS News poll that shows more than SEVENTY PERCENT of Americans believe that music, television, and movies are "lowing the moral standards" of our culture,
and
-the fight over network airing of Saving Private Ryan on Veteran's Day,

I'm beginning to worry that I'll be tried for saying that I think the first amendment is going right down the shitter in favor of a hey-just-use-a-Glade-PlugIn-instead-of-finding-out-why-the-dog-farts-so-much social cleansing. Expressing moral outrage at every mention of human sexuality (or even human fallibility or human diversity or human complexity) will never change the fact that humans are sexual, fallible, diverse, and complex.

Just like my grandmother wasn't actually cleaning my face with her spit/tissue method, erasing sex and violence from the airwaves will not remedy what the public sees as deeply troublesome social flaws. Even if, from now on, we never even alluded to the existence of boobs on network television, I would still be able to find an old guy violating a XsxxXX BArELY LEgaL Teen!!! of either gender on the Internet. On the flipside, thirteen-year-old boys would still be able to whack-off to the yearly Miss America "scholarship competition." All this new urge to purge accomplishes is damming the flow of fruitful discussion on any topic not covered in a Sunday service.

The Bush administration's head-in-the-sand, blatant revision-of-reality attitude seems to have infiltrated the public sphere, and I'm afraid of an artistic witch hunt. Instead of playing "Where's Dildo?," I wish that just once, expounders of righteous malarchy would look backwards without such a finite and focused lens. Pop-stars have always been whores, relative to cultural mores. TV has always talked about sex, even when it was the subtle, yet infamous queen-size bed on the Dick van Dyke show. And before the Internet put a smorgasboard of filth at the fingertips of every cretin who could peck out S-E-X, there were magazines, and paintings, and dirty jokes dating back to the minute this species figured out how to fuck.

I realize I'm on a soap-box here, and I realize that I'm being just as self-righteous. I just get worried that my (theoretical) kids won't be allowed to discuss sex, or violence, or see it explored thoughtfully and yes, God help me, even humorously in the media. In an age when people are still lighting crosses, (this weekend, in fact, on the lawn of an interracial Long Island couple) why roll back any form of open dialogue?

I'm going cut myself off before I start muttering things and slamming my fists on the desk, and instead end with this:
Courtesy of the NY Times
A preview of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Central Park piece. It's called "Gates," and they're beginning construction on it this week, I believe. See, that's what I like about them; a nice, married couple who makes nice, clean art. There's absolutely nothing you can read into the name "Gates," absolutely nothing about UTERUSES or WOMBS or even, God bless it, VAGINAS.

Monday, November 22, 2004

An Open Letter to the Universe

Dear Universe,

Why don't you lay off my friend, huh? Yes, we all get it. The alpha and the omega, infinitely expanding and all-encompassing, yada yada yada. Gotcha. It's very impressive. But isn't shoveling a whole bunch of new shit onto a kid already up to his knees a whole lot like challenging the proverbial asthmatic grade-school classmate to a race? We know you're going to win. You've already got the advantage. So can't you please, just for a minute, give it a rest?

If it's just some kind of compulsive urge you're indulging here, I've included a list of things you could give in excess to my friend instead of stress and hardship:

Mashed potatoes - Very seasonal; an excellent option.
Pennies - They are annoying. If you've got some cosmic vendetta to work out, you could just innundate him with our most useless currency. I'm sure he'd even be a good citizen and roll them in those wrapper things.
Frequent Flier Miles - I bet he wouldn't even cash them in. You could just pile them up in an account somewhere, to mature or whatever they do, and then take them all back and exchange them for a trip to Atlantic City some weekend. Maybe you're just cranky because you need a vacation.
Beans in a jar - Self-explanatory.
Sharpies - You've been doing this for years anyway. Multiplying the Sharpies his desk drawer ten-fold every two months is as mystifying as it is impressive. Plus, it's an almost Christ-like reference to the whole water-into-wine deal; as literary references go, you can't get much cooler than that. A good option to consider.

I could brainstorm a couple more if you don't really dig any of those But, yeah, so, no more bullshit for my friend, right? Deal? Deal.

Thanks,
Kathy

Friday, November 19, 2004

Images.com-plicated

I just read that in February, Christo and his wife are going to drape 23 miles of pedestrian walkways in Central Park with saffron-colored cloth. I am very, very excited about this.

I'm looking for cover images for this book that's going into production soon, but since all of our books are basically about the same thing, I only ever search some combination of the words health, computer, office, and technology. So, I see the same images every time I have to do this. There's one illustrator who has lots of cool stuff, but everything he has on images.com is accompanied by this strongly worded restriction stating it's not allowed to be used in relation to headache medicine in the United States. I'm sure there's some very boring explanation for the warning, but of course I've imagined all sorts of elaborate scenarios wherein he lives a tortured early childhood with his abusive, alcholic father, until his mother pulls him out of bed in the middle of one rainy night and throws him in their car and they drive until she can barely keep her eyes open, so they stop at a seedy motel and spend the night, and early the next morning when he wakes her because he's really hungry and a little scared, she's still so tired that she just sends him out with a few dollars to get breakfast at the diner next door, where a waitress gives him free bacon and chocolate milk with his pancakes because he's such a sad-looking little guy, but this tough old broad with a heart of gold knows she's gotten to this kid because she watches as he walks back to the motel room with a renewed bounce in his six-year-old step, his faith growing in the promise of this new life without Dad, but when he gets to his room the door is slightly ajar, and his mom is motionless on the bed, and as he begins to understand that something is amiss, he sees it in her hand. The half-empty bottle of Bayer.

You know, either that, or, like, he works for Tylenol.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

They Have No Buns

According to an article in the NY Times, our species evolved into its current form due to the need to run. [One could say that we were born to run, proving once and for all that THE BOSS TOTALLY RULES.] The theory was put forth by Dr. Dennis M. Bramble of the University of Utah and Dr. Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard. While I am fascinated by their discovery, I'm slightly worried about Dr. Bramble:

And there was the gluteus maximus, the muscle of the buttocks. Earlier human ancestors, like chimpanzees today, had pelvises that could support only a modest gluteus maximus, nothing like the strong buttocks of Homo.

"Have you ever looked at an ape?" Dr. Bramble said. "They have no buns."


Dr. Lieberman steps in here to explain how the gluteus maximus muscles help stabilize you as you run, because you can tell that this is the point where Dr. Bramble slips out to picture the strong buttocks of Homos and touch himself inappropriately.

Speaking of strong buttocks, my favorite middle-aged commuter spoke to me yesterday. I usually refer to him as "the hot dad," though I don't believe he actually has any children (side note: when did I start checking men's hands for rings? Do I have a biological clock? Am I going to start doing the pointy-finger old lady dance!?). He is far-and-away the best commuter on the Hudson Line. He's always the first standing by the door, the first up the stairs, and the first to book it to his car.

He's prematurely gray, but in that hot George Clooney kind of way (if anything about George Clooney were actually attractive. See, I'm still young! Right?). He sat across the aisle from me yesterday on the way home; he read the News, I did the Times crossword.

Somewhere around Ossining he got up to go stand by the door, and I figured it would be creepy if I followed him, so I stood near the doors at the opposite end of the car. Due to my excellent commuting skillz (MAD skillz), we wound up next to each other on the stairs. He held the door for me, and on our way down the other flight of stairs he said "Wednesday crossword in pen? I'm impressed."

I'm in love. And, to my credit, I didn't fall down the stairs or throw up on myself or anything! I even managed a response! When I got to my car, though, I admit I did collapse onto the passenger seat and sigh for a while.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Fruits of a Day's Labor

Taken word for word, I shit you not, from the NY Times:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Annual Tradition: President Bush pardoned "Biscuits" the turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House today.

I. Can't. Stop. Laughing.
BISCUITS, for fuck's sake, the fucker's holding a turkey named BISCUITS.

The rest of this entry is completely unrelated to Bush n' Biscuits (though that would make a great comic strip). For your enjoyment, here are a bunch of headlines from Craigslist.com personals (my new obsession) that prove no matter how honorable the intentions of a website may be, it will eventually be taken over by desperately horny mouth-breathers from Jersey.

-Broken hearted Male seeks an Asian
-To the point: I LOVE NICE EYES AND BIG NATURAL BOOBS
-STIRRUPS & SIMULATION
-seeking woman with breast fetish of sorts
-Let's Get Married Please Be Looking For Love
-i like small breasts
-SWM seeks kinky, wild girl to love and cherish forever
-Do ASIANS with BIG BOOBS exist?
-You are a hottie, make me happy and get $30,000
-I'll cook you bring the wine [Note: Please, please put some punctuation in there. There's a felony of a difference between "I'll cook! You bring the wine!" and "I'll cook you. Bring the wine."]
-Are You Having a Latte and You Have to Tinkle? [Note: This is exactly what you're thinking. Apparently, he's willing to travel to a Starbucks right now, get down on his knees in front of you in a unisex bathroom - he specifies "unisex" - and, when you say I want to pee for you now, you can do it in his mouth! Don't worry, he assures us that he does not have yellow-stained clothes or "pee-breath."]

and possibly the funniest use of ellipses in the history of the written word:
-Somewhat horny, nice guy looking to lick...pussy

Really? Pussy? Is that what you were looking to lick? Because, you know, you really threw me for a loop with that dramatic pause right after the oh-so-subtle verb lick. Ha ha ha, it's like an emotional roller-coaster, your ad, I swear! You are so very witty, yet so endearingly frank! Still, I would probably call...the cops if you showed up at my door.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Two-for-Tuesday

How am I so at the mercy of my co-worker/secret-love-interest's wardrobe? All he did was wear a black shirt, and I almost peed my ergonomically-designed chair.

Now back to your No-Boss Tuesday ROCK BLOCK. In the next commercial-free hour of music we've got Radio 4, Mirah, and the Moving Units comin' atcha, and when you hear Motorhead's "Overkill" call in for a chance to win tickets to...well, I might give you a swipe on my MetroCard.

While doing some research on MySpace.com for a JUNK thing I want to write (read: taking advantage of the only opportunity I will ever have in my life to e-mail attractive guys who actively pursue a sensitive, emotionally-vulnerable exterior, because they are in emo bands on Long Island), I spent some time looking through Oberlin friend's friends and pictures of people I haven't seen since last year. I clicked on the wrong thing on a picture of somebody and hit a screen that said "You must be someone's friend to comment."

If ever anyone has accidentally stumbled on the universal law to peaceful human co-existance, I believe it was me.

My mom spent the night at the hospital, but I hear the surgery went well and she should be returning home today stitched back to health. My father was at the hospital pretty late last night, so I took Chris out to dinner and bought him duck. What kid eats duck? He's so cool. Kai called me mid-meal to see what was going on, and I told her to meet us at "the crazy diner." I neglect to realize, on most occasions, how stupidly we've christened most of the places we go. So I was most definitely that girl, yelling into her phone in the middle of dinner, surrounded by very polite waiters and the owner of the place, saying "Yeah, meet us at the crazy diner! Yeah! No, the crazy one!"

I wish I had something fun to do tonight, because my outfit is extraordinarly well-coordinated and I think I deserve some public appreciation for my effort. I gotta come up with something fanstastic, some great, great plan for not watching Jeopardy and then falling asleep during Wheel of Fortune.

I wish people still used ratfink as an insult.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Respect my Privacy!

In a strange turn of events, I found myself on the train this morning sitting next to a girl named Rosemary with whom I attended CCD every Saturday for the first 13 years of my life. It was bizarre to see her because track 2 on the Interpol album (Rooosemaryyyyy, heaven restores you to life) has made me think of her every single time I've been in my car for the past week. I think the last time she saw me was when we were confirmed, so she didn't recognize me. I didn't say anything. I don't think I could've come up with something to say that wasn't completely psychotic, anyway. "Hi Rosemary, um, we were never friends, but we learned about Jesus together for a long time, and, also, I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERY SINGLE DAY, how are you?"

I had kind of a rough weekend. I had a weird headache on Friday that, by the time I got home, had migrated from my head to my nose. It's hard to complain about having a noseache, because you sound like a jackass. Or a total hypochondriac. But seriously, I had a headache in my nose. I went to bed after watching Mystic River, which was excellent in that Sean Penn kind of way, and Mean Girls, which was excellent in that I-want-to-slap-the-shit-out-of-Lindsey-Lohan kind of way.

Total aside: I finally figured out it's my friend Linz singing that crap-ass "Respect My Privacy" song on Z-100 sixty-thousand times a day. She's the latest in a long line of artists breaking the covenant John Q. Public (I have been waiting for an excuse to use that phrase for a long time) has with his pop-stars. It goes like this: we buy their albums and merchandise and make them nauseatingly rich, and they sing songs about love (or lack thereof) and let us think that being rich and famous is really great, as to validate our daily struggle to attain richness (or greatness, but that's not as necessary). Self-referential songs about how difficult it is to be a rich starlet who can't go into a club and act like a whore without ending up on Entertainment Tonight are not part of the deal.

But back to the movie I was watching; I find Lindsay Lohan's knockers totally distracting. They're huge! She's built like Barbie! This took away from my enjoyment of the film as a whole.

On Saturday, I watched Dogville, which no one warned me was four and a half years long. I did enjoy it, though, because any film where Nicole Kidman is chained to a giant iron wheel by her neck is A-OK by me. Since, I've been thinking about whether Lars Von Trier is really as big a misogynist as I perceive him to be, and if I come up with any brilliant ideas I'll put them on here post-haste.

Public Service Announcement to Chloe Sevigny: Please, please do something different, just once. For your good, for our edification, for the sake of art.

I had kind of an emotional day on Sunday, for reasons that seemed kind of huge at the time, but I suppose in retrospect boil down to "I'm kind of lonely." Wrote some letters at the coffee-shop that I still need to mail, sat around in my house for a while, went out to return movies, hijacked post-bridal shower Kai and went to Barnes and Noble, where things got slightly better because I ran into Mike (who may or may not be the ex-boyfriend of someone I may or may not friends with) who I enjoy a lot, and who told me about a new coffee shop (NON-STARBUCKS! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, IT'S NOT CORPORATE COFFEE!), a new pool hall, and now has my number. It would be lovely if Kai and I have successfully expanded our social circle, although I think the best you can geometrically get with only two people is a social line segment.


Friday, November 12, 2004

NO, He's NOT the Best

Today is the shittiest, grayest, ugliest day I've seen in a long time, but I don't particularly mind. I think it's pretty much perfect. Most of the time, it doesn't bother me when the weather's like this (in perfect Brad style, I could break into song mid-sentence: I'm only happy when it RAIIIINS), and what makes today even better is that we might get our first snow tonight. I don't care what anyone says, there's nothing more exciting than the first snow of the year.

Apparently not everyone is coping with the weather as well as me. I passed an old man with an exceptionally cool dog on the way to work today and then again when I was walking to get lunch. We were stopped at a crosswalk together when he saw me looking at his dog, so I smiled at him and said "That's gotta be the best dog in the world." To which he responded: "NO, he's not the best," and crossed against the light. I'm trying not to take it personally. Maybe I remind him of the person who SHOVED A GIANT COAT-RACK UP HIS RECTUM.

Aside from that guy, I noticed today that there are an astounding number of very friendly New Yorkers. I was waiting for Brian to deposit his check at the bank during our break, and a really shocking number of people either smiled or out-and-out said hi to me while I was just standing around. If I was in their position, I probably would have tried to avoid direct eye-contact with me. By my own admission, I was looking kind of shifty--I was standing in the rain wearing my Unabomber incognito coat. The whole experience was comforting, though. Especially because one of the people to smile was a relatively cute guy. At the very least, he wasn't AARP-eligible, as per usual.

I really miss Brad today. Tonight's one of those nights I wish we could get pad-thai (and chive pancakes so I could watch him look at them with a contempt usually reserved for people who've killed your mother--or complimented your dog), watch a movie, and then drink some cheap amaretto sours at the stupid Feve. I don't get Oberlin nostalgic very often, considering I spent four whole years there, but today I really miss the feel of the place; by the end of this past summer, it was like the entire town was my living room. Alas, Brad is five-hundred miles away, and it looks like I've got some quality time to spend with HBO this evening (especially because Kai has a date with Interpol, that bitch, even though I actually hope it's an excellent show and she has a really good time).

Christ, how slow can the day go? How is it not four-thirty? H-O-W, I ask?

News from the homefront: my mother does not have Paget's disease. After Kai and I each did some research and found that the condition she is already undergoing surgery for (on Monday; cross everything y'all can cross) would produce the same blood irregularities as Paget's, we told her to get a second opinion from one of her other doctors. She did, and he promptly called her back and said that, as Kai and I suspected, the original doctor was an asshole. In fact, doctor numero dos payed a visit to doctor numero uno, and apparently chewed him out so royally that he called my mom back to clarify, apologize, and try to cover his own ass by saying she had misunderstood him. She's already got the paperwork to transfer her records to another doctor. Amen.



Thursday, November 11, 2004

Not Even Jail

Alberto Gonzalez, the man who said American soldiers should not have to obey the Geneva convention's policy on humane treatment of POWs, has been appointed head of the Justice Department. JUSTICE department, folks.

jus.tice (noun) - defined by Merriam-Webster as "the administration of law; especially: the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity" as well as "the quality of being just, impartial, or fair."

The stupidity of this situation is causing my head to physically cave in.

Yesterday, after an afternoon of photocopying pictures of hip replacements and knee surgeries, I came home to find out that my mom might have a degenerative, incurable bone disease. She has to go for more tests (after she has surgery for something that may or may not be connected, or causing symptoms of the disease in the first place...who knows? Doctors? Anyone? Do you know?) which is terrible, because she just got done with months and months worth of tests to find out what was wrong with her in the first place.

My mom and my brother have the day off today, because it's Veteran's Day. Apparently Germans don't believe in veterans, or days dedicated to veterans, or holidays at all, because I have to work. Well, come to think of it, maybe it's because our veterans killed a whole bunch of people who would've become German veterans. Maybe it's revenge. Maybe this is a Nazi company with stupid, Fascist rules. Maybe I'm slightly melodramatic. Swoon.

I've been listening to Interpol's new album for the last two days, and it really does get better with each full listen. Not Even Jail is heartbreakingly good. That fucker gets me every time. It's a real shame that one of their members looks just like Crispin Glover.

I just got paid. Lovely.

I spent all morning forging a letter of outrage to Bloomingdale's in Kai's name, in hopes that they'll send her a gift card or something. All I can say is that if this thing works, bitch better share the wealth. Seriously, though, this thing is a masterpiece. I bet it's ten times better than Bertha's* was, because Bertha is a stupid whore.

Hopefully I can talk Kai into going to Danbury tonight. I had a dream or something about getting coffee there; I woke up with the distinct impression that my destiny lies in that far off, magical Starbucks.


*Code-name; part of secret mission "Prevent Kai's Ass from Being Kicked."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

AROMATIC

Who got free parking this morning? I got free parking this morning. After driving across the frozen tundra that is northern Westchester in November, I arrived at the train station to find that two of the parking machines were frozen and the third (as usual) still refuses to accept any form of American currency. By the time I had given up hope and resigned myself to a third parking ticket (which would be the second this week), a bunch of commutermen had gathered around the machines. I politely explained the situation, and they politely ignored me and each tried all of the machines anyway. I started walking toward the train, halfway to which an old guy barked at me, "Okay, leave, but you're just gonna get a ticket."

Well, fuck you, old dude. I got the number of the parking company off the machine and called them when I got down to Soho. They profusely apologized for all of my inconvenience, took down all of my information, and promised that I would not get a ticket. Being that I couldn't pay at all, though, spot 223 is mine for free aaaaall day long. I explained to the parking guru that I wasn't the only one who couldn't pay; in a rare moment of true altruism, I was attempting to look out for all the crochety old men of the Hudson Line. There had to be forty or so people from my train who couldn't pay. To which the operator responded, "Well, they'll all just have to call, then." Which the old guy won't. Serves him right [end altruism].

I nearly killed myself and another driver last night in a fit of maniacal road rage. Not only was I stuck behind a car travelling thirty miles an hour on a fifty-five mile an hour road, the car had a license plate that said AROMATIC. That's it, just AROMATIC. Brad pointed out that, at the very least, it hadn't been spelled AEromatic, at which point I would've gladly driven away with their bumper (or, I don't know, say, left arm) as a souvenir.

Oh no! I really do have to go to the two-hour production open-house! This is terrible!

Over and out.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Oh Lord, won'tcha buy me...

I've already told this story to both of the people who read this thing, but I believe it bears repeating. Plus, I secretly hold out hope that there is a silent mass of people who read this, breathlessly refreshing the page in hopes that I've posted something new, enraptured by the honey-sweet words that flow from my fingertips. That, and it's another no-boss Tuesday and I'm unabashedly going to post all day long and read the Onion, so I might as well keep typing.

Anyway, the story goes like this: I'm walking to the 6 yesterday after work. All the Spring cross-streets are tiny little cobblestone goat-paths, so it's really tough to negotiate them when you have a big vehicle and there lots of parked cars. I'm walking somewhere around Crosby, where a line of cars is waiting to make a left onto Spring. A big old SUV turns, but has to slow down because another car is trying to parallel park. The brand new black Mercedes behind the SUV makes a quick, stupid left and smashes right into its back bumper.

Here's where it gets great: with a noise something like a giant snap-up winter coat being undone, the SUV very slowly and deliberately starts driving away, knowing full well he is tearing off the Mercedes's bumper as he goes. Bumper still dangling, he takes off down the street. The Mercedes rockets after the SUV and catches up to it at the next light. Mr. Mercedes gets out of his car and starts screaming "YOU JUST RIPPED THE BUMPER OFF A NINETY-THOUSAND DOLLAR CAR, YOU FUCKING MORON!!" to which the SUV guy just kind of snickers and says, "Yeah, uh, I didn't see it."

I just managed to nearly brain myself with a large binder clip. It was out of control and smashed me right in the middle of the forehead, which now has a weird welt on it. I can see it in the reflection on my monitor. This will be the most exciting thing to happen to me all day.

I think chimera is one of the most disgusting words in the English language.

I take it back; the most exciting thing to happen to me all day is currently happening, which is that the crazy, crazy receptionist has just decided that I work in the Journal Fulfillment department, and has begun directing something like 5 calls a minute to my desk. Which I "accidentally" hang up on. The last time I had any kind of extended interaction with the receptionist, I was waiting to ask her if I had any faxes while she was giving some kind of deposition over the phone about how the "crazy lady" in her apartment building had called the cops on her again for "no reason."

Monday, November 08, 2004

I am a Big White Toad

I had a great existential moment yesterday at, of all places, a Buddhist monastery. I was there by myself because Kai has a giant test coming up and needed to spend the day at the library. I spent a while walking in the woods around the lake, took a lot of pictures, and sat down after a while in my usual chair to write some vaguely metaphysical letters. It took me almost forty-five minutes to realize how completely pretentious it is to go to a Buddhist monastary by yourself to write in your journal. But after another forty-five minutes or so I realized that, really, I wasn't being pretentious because for the first time in my life I hadn't gone somewhere by myself to have people notice that I was by myself. Really, I went out alone because my whole house smelled like chili, I had just spent four consecutive hours knitting and watching Comedy Central, and it was nice out and I didn't want to be inside. Period. Even six months ago, if I went someplace alone it was at least half driven by a desire to have someone notice that I was alone. I don't know what that says, but most of me wants to say it means I'm a grown-up now, nanny-nanny-poo-poo.

I'm looking through the archives of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, which would be boring, except for the fact that I just found an article entitled:

REFLECTIONS: I am a big white toad.

Why, oh why can I not read the entire article? Maybe it's better this way; it's probably about something lame like chronic arthritis pain. Or irritable bowel syndrome.

I'm currently reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. I am probably the last person in the world to read it, but still, I feel the need to communicate just how great a book it is. I'm only about halfway through, but I'm already having that what-do-I-do-when-this-book-is-over?! anxiety. I have a $5.98 copy of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis waiting in the wings (thank you Barnes & Noble super-extra-clearance table), but I think I could only be truly happy if Kavalier and Clay just went on for the rest of my life.

I have fallen in love with Stella by Stella McCartney perfume. I don't own any of it because it's kind of pricey, but it's the best smell in the world. I've been thinking about it since my trip to Sephora with Virginia last Thursday. In other perfume news: Beyonce's True Star is foul. Apparently a true star smells like Robitussin.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Shake. That. Thing.

If life were orchestrated by TV Guide--as opposed to the divine being of your choosing--Brad would be living The O.C. At least, his life for the past couple days. He's had more excitement in the last, say, four hours than I have had since puberty. Prior to that, an empty cardboard box was pretty exciting, so I don't think that counts. Also, I've never actually seen The O.C., but I figured using a Dawson's Creek reference here would reveal how completely uncool I am, so I did the ol' switcheroo. Topical humor, my old foe, you've won again.

Today was a day of strange wish fulfillment, I suppose. After an hour's worth of drinking Starbucks and wishing boys would rain from the sky, a cute little feller chased Kai all the way to her car to return the credit card she didn't know she'd dropped. I, on the other hand, wished for Sean Paul to be on the radio and found him on K-104 simultaneously. I think I need to dream bigger.

The Danbury Starbucks did afford me the chance to drink some chai without the threat of the impromptu high-school-ex-friend parade I constantly brave in Yorktown. It also gave me the chance to yell at and do a strange dance for a woman who looked disapprovingly at my (granted, I know they're a little shiny to be sophisticated) boots from her SUV.

I think I have developed a devastating crush on someone within the past four days. If anyone is curious, apparently all you have to do to win my heart is wear a really well-fitting sweater over the same button-down you've worn for the last six consecutive days. It seems I'll be putty in your hands.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I'm a Little Bit Political...I'm a Little Bit Sexually Harrased

The final politically charged thing I wanted to say, as the dust of this election clears, is in response to something I read in another online journal. I don't want to call this person out, or start a fight, or anything like that, so I'm just going to paraphrase what they said and respond to it. In a pre-election-day journal entry, this person wrote that they cannot understand how someone would concievably cry about the outcome of the election, no matter who wound up as president. They went on to say that the rights we exercise daily, regardless of who wins, will be virtually the same after election day.

I'm not ashamed to say I did cry when I found out Bush had won a second term. It was out of frustration with the current administration, disappointment that the candidate I truly believed in had lost, and utter outrage that young voters (who could have decided this election) had yet again rendered my passion, my vote, and my voice useless because they refused to exercise theirs. I cried because I cared about this election that much, and I would rather be emotionally invested in the way this country runs and cry a little when I'm let down than let myself become apathetic. I think it's irresponsible to care only when politics directly touch my life--which, let's face it, is extremely rare.

Aside from that, I also wanted to say that while my right to choose is in jeopardy, I probably will not have to exercise that right any time soon. I'm not a queer person seeking legal marriage. I'm not a gun-owner, nor am I in the military, nor am I trying to put children through college. These are rights and privileges that this election called into question, and it's true that while I have strong convictions about them, they do not impact my daily life.

But, as someone who commutes on public transportation to New York City every day and spends eight hours in a tall building downtown, there is a fundamental right I have lost with Bush in office for another four years. My right to feel safe has been taken away from me. It has been made clear to us in the last week that if America continues to purse the aggressive kind of foreign "diplomacy" we are now involved in, tragedy will strike again. This administration has also made it clear that they are going to "stay the course" and pursue only actions that fall within this potentially deadly foreign policy.

With the outcome of this election, my right to step on the subway and think only about the Times crossword has been taken. My faith that I can get up, go to work, do my job, and come home safe has been replaced with a constant, nagging fear as I board the train every day that yeah, maybe today's the day. This is not hyperbole for the sake of political righteousness. It's truly something I cannot help but think of after reading paper every morning at the train station. I'm not so naive as to say that something couldn't have happened with Kerry as president. But, I am saying that the foriegn policy advocated by the Kerry-Edwards campaign was one that would have encouraged global cooperation over armed "freedom-spreading," the very action that prompts resentment, hatred, and violence towards the US.

On a totally different subject, my newspaper selling guy offered me a free paper today if I'd talk to him. I declined. After I turned down the paper and I was walking away, he asked me: "Are you a Republican Jew?" I mean, realistically, that's probably not what he said at all, but that's sure as hell what it sounded like. But back to the paper: I'm not one who normally turns down free stuff, or can really afford to at this point in my life. But, he was offering me the Daily News. Apparently, I'm not a New York Times. But, I guess I can take solace in the fact that, at least, I'm not a Post.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Addendum

"You know, I've learned a lot of lessons in my life. Two of the most important are first, there will always be heartache and struggle. You can't make it go away. But the other is that people of good and strong will can make a difference. And we can make a difference. Rest assured, we will make a difference."

--John Edwards



"I promise you, that time will come, the time will come, the election will come, when your work and your ballots will change the world. And it's worth fighting for."

--John Kerry

Treatise

I woke up this morning with the remote still in my hand, Chris Matthews still yelling at me on MSNBC, and the presidency all but wrapped up with a bow under Bush's Christmas tree. I haven't cried yet, but I know that once Kerry finally gives a concession speech (which he and Edwards swear won't be until every vote in Ohio is counted), I'll be inconsolable.

Bush won the popular vote. He's going to get the electoral vote, and he's going to be our president for another four years. The fact that his re-election is legitimate is more frightening to me than the specter of another term of potentially deadly decisions on his part. More than half this country voted for Bush.

If this is what it means to be an American, then maybe I just shouldn't be one. I got an e-mail this morning from a kid in my publishing course who is leaving the country, permanently. All I could think about was how Bush's election four years ago was through a loophole in our peculiar system; it is possible for a president to assume leadership of this nation even when the majority of our people vote against him. I tolerated the last four years of fear, ignorance, and leadership based on a faith I do not share because I could still believe that it wasn't truly what the people voted for. This time, there's no arguing with the fact that the majority of American voters wanted him to lead again.

All those red states. If that is what this country believes in, then I don't belong here. I stopped going to church once I got to college because I didn't belong in a place that is intolerant of queer people, oppressive to women, and hateful in its ideology. Similarly, if this is a nation made up of a majority of people who do not believe in civil rights for every citizen, women's reproductive freedom, global cooperation, and leadership detatched from a sense of divine right, I can't be a part of it.

Ten out of eleven states voting on the "definition of marriage" decided that it is only legal between a man and a woman. A senator was elected in South Carolina (of course) who believes that all abortion should be banned, and that queer people and unwed mothers should not legally be allowed to teach in public schools. If it weren't for Barack Obama's overwhelming victory, I'd be sobbing right now.

I don't want to talk much more about this, because it's pretty much all been said more eloquently than I can put it. There are two more things that I want to say, though, because I feel like it bears noting.

1. In exit polls yesterday, New York and New Jersey voters were asked if they feel safer than four years ago. The two states most effected by September 11th, with many of the people killed in the Twin Towers either New York residents or New Jersey commuters, resoundingly cried "no, we do not feel safer." A majority in both states of over 60% answered negatively to the question of safety. Both states elected John Kerry. Additionally, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C., the sites of the other tragic September 11th events, elected Kerry.

To the president who said a terrorist attack would not happen on his watch, and that Americans are safer now than four years ago: it did happen on your watch, and those voters most touched by the attack clearly voiced their feelings on national safety. If you are elected, all I ask is that you do not continue to insist that the American people feel safer with you in command. Forget about Nebraska, and Kansas, and Wyoming, the bastions of your support, and consider that those whom terrorism has touched have told you otherwise.

2. Youth voting has apparently doubled since the last election. In the most recent statistics I can find, this brings it from 7% of the total electorate to roughly 14%. That is the most enraging thing I've read all morning. All that talk of this being the year that young voters finally rally behind a candidate, all the bullshit about finally making a difference so politicians have to acknowledge our concerns, and fourteen fucking percent is all we can come up with. We deserve what we fucking get.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Uneventful, at Best.

To begin once again with karma: my commute was so, so atrocious today that John Kerry has to win the presidency. If he doesn't, I'm either going to hit the lotto or run into Jude Law on the street. I got up at 4:45 today to take a shower before work, got to the train station on time, realized I forgot my wallet, drove back to my house to get it, missed two trains on the way, took a late train with seemingly no seats on it, found two empty seats next to each other, enjoyed the breathing room for half a stop, at which point a big 'n' tall guy sat down next to me (he was thirteen and half feet tall and weighed somewhere around seven hundred pounds) and yelled across the aisle to his co-worker through the entire ride. I managed to get to Grand Central with my virgin criminal record intact, but found out that the downtown 6 wasn't running because a train was stalled at 23rd street, which is a totally bullshit stop anyway. So, everyone had to cram onto the expresses, the first of which was too full to get on and a little subway cop shined his light at me and told me to get back. After all of it, when I finally got on a 6 at 14th street, an old man laughed at me for fixing my hair in the window. See? Kerry wins.

Color me hormonal, but I was really, really sad when Brad left yesterday. I cried to Kelly Clarkson on the way home from work in the car. I'm not saying it had anything to do with the aforemtioned Ms. Clarkson ballad, I'm just trying to provide ample atmosphere in which to picture my sorry self. I also wanted to cry on the train today reading about Kerry at the last Wisconsin rally, and I'm positive I'll cry if we end up with that little monkey at the helm of our proverbial ship again, so maybe it really is just due to my being in a womanly way. Regardless, I was really sad.

Brad came up with a brilliant plan over the weekend; every once in a while, we split the Pennsylvania difference and meet at a motel for a weekend. It's a great idea for numerous reasons, the most significant of which being:

1. I'd get to see him more often.
2. If we picked the right motel, we could possibly convince people we are having an illict affair, which would would mean that
3. I get to wear a head scarf and sunglasses, and look around furtively.

Halloween was Halloween, and the curse of "Brad and Kathy have Sub-Par Holidays" continues. It seems like no matter how hard we try, holidays turn out uneventful at best. I'm not even going to go into either of our birthdays this year. New Year's was fun, but that seems like it was a fluke. Anyway, on Sunday we went down to the Village parade dressed as a waitress and Donnie Darko (you guess who was who) with a Witch for Kerry and--well, I'm not sure what Vanessa was--in tow. Maybe she was an extra from The Craft? Or Kai in eighth grade?

When we finally got down to Spring Street, Kai and Vanessa went in search of burritos, and Brad and I stood around and saw a fabulous pirate, a couple of iPods, Einstein, and a woman whose costume was apparently "strange woman with Don King hair yelling on the corner of Prince and Sixth Avenue for a guy named Vinnie for about fifteen minutes." If that was what she was going for, she totally nailed it. We watched the parade for a while, and then sat in a Starbucks for a while, and then took the (new! so clean!) train home again. After an emergency taquito-sorbet-some kind of frozen pasta with "voila!" in the title-run to the A&P, we watched about half an episode of Queer as Folk before I fell asleep like a tool.

The night before Halloween, Brad, Kai and I went to see "The Grudge." Kai kept her cool through the whole thing (funny, because this is the girl you couldn't pay to go near a sewer after she saw IT), but Brad and I were holding on to each other for dear life through the entire thing. Middle of the movie conversation:

Brad: Let go of my hand.
Me: whimper.
Brad: Man, it feels like I've been masturbating for like, TWENTY HOURS.
Me: whimper.

Off to read more CNN.com and look for images for the cover of a book no one will ever read, though I'm sure they will all be sent back to me anyway because the author doesn't like them.
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