Monday, January 31, 2005

Ticketmasterbation

Remember when Eddie Vedder got all pissed at Ticketmaster, and he was totally all like cool and bad-ass because he refused to sell Pearl Jam tickets through their service?

He had it right.

I've been trying for two hours and twenty-seven minutes now to order two tickets to see U2 at Madison Square Garden. Every time I search for two tickets, it finds nothing. When I search for one ticket, it finds nothing. When I search for any amount of tickets, in any price range, it finds nothing. I know for damn sure the place isn't sold out, and I feel that if I'm going to pay an eight-dollar per ticket "convenience fee" then I should be provided with some modicum of convenience. Ticketmaster is the shadiest of shady companies. I'm fully expecting to find a "repeated failed attempt to purchase tickets fee" or an "insufficently enthusiastic U2 fan charge" or a "use of bandwith without purchase tax" on my credit card next month.

They got me, though. After refreshing the U2 page for what must have been the seven-hundred-thousandth time, I took a chance and searched for Interpol tickets. A couple of impetuous clicks and lo, I will be in row P of the Radio City Music Hall on March 2 to see Interpol, my current very favorite band which employs my future husband Paul. Guys, this isn't a celebrity crush situation. I am utterly convinced, in my heart of hearts, that the lead singer of Interpol and I would be great friends if we were to meet, which we will.

This is the stuff that restraining orders are made of, I know.

The thing I hate the most about Ticketmaster is that you can't even mindlessly refresh until it finds you some friggin' tickets. You have to type in a magic word each time to prevent abuse of the ever-so-convenient Ticketmaster system by "automated programs which block patrons from purchasing tickets."

Fine. Great. First complaint: I think I'd be more successful fighting the ticket-buying robots without your help. Second complaint: where the hell are you getting these codewords from? I've had to type the word myrikyl (undoubtedly someone's little brother's hardcore band), aspirin (I need some, and should I ever meet a Ticketmaster representative, so shall they), outgo (slang for excrement? No? Can it be?) and shadoof (which I can only hope is a new term for shwaggy weed).

Before I return to my third straight (business) day of updating credit lines for the figures in an upcoming literary masterpiece about functional MRI, lemme just say that I did indeed do things this weekend, and I even took pictures of these things, and went so far as to remove the pictures from my camera and resize them, all before completely forgetting to e-mail them to myself. So y'all can wait on the edge of your seats till tomorrow to hear about my weekend.

While you're there, can you order me some U2 tickets?

Friday, January 28, 2005

She Took The Midnight Train / Goin' Anywhere

If nothing else, this job has made me extraordinarly proficient at looking like I'm doing something when I'm really doing something else entirely.

Case in point: whilst perusing imdb.com for information on the Aeon Flux movie [the reason why my pal Charlize's hair was so godawfulbad at the Golden Globes] [note: I'm not sure, but I think I just became a bitchy fashion queen in the span of that aside] I was able to convince several wandering individuals in posession of hiring/firing power that I was actually trying to find copyright information from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

And another: whilst listening to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" on the subway this morning, I was able to feign novel reading and portray general disinterest so convincingly that no one was able to detect the total rock monster blasting from my headphones, thereby avoiding the embarassing explanation as to why it is I'm listening to Journey in the first place [explanation: I love the shit out of that terrible, terrible song].

One more: boss thinks I'm updating credit lines right now.

Since that's obviously not the case, and it's Friday, and I'm getting paid, I'm in such a good mood that I think it's time for a Hot Dad update.

Since your last Hot Dad communique, your narrator:
1. Shared her seat with him only once, but not the usual three-person seat--the two-person bench on the other side of the aisle, the very love-seat of the MetroNorth.
2. Found out what it is he does for a living (her college professor guess was way off).
3. Nearly passed out when he stated he's a drummer in a band (recreationally, not professionally).
4. Reorganized her entire iPod, effectively hiding any guilty pleasure bands should he ever feel like browsing her artists list a second time.
5. Talked about David Sedaris, whom he has seen read live.
6. Been playfully (wonderfully, swoon-inducingly) beaten up with her own newspaper when she was able to complete Thursday's crossword.
7. Discovered he was walking home; saw opportunity to lure him into her car.
8a. Found out reason he was walking home was due to race with co-workers to lose twenty pounds; saw opportunity dissolve into the cold night air.
8b. Re-discovered my penchant for absurd melodramatic verbiage.
9. Discussed shared character flaw of intense midnight snacking.
10. Discussed shared hatred of Walmart.
11. Was thrown into a glass wall by a middle-aged woman.

I feel perhaps the bullet format doesn't quite do justice to number eleven. In the interest of prolonging my credit-line-free work hours, I'll explain. Last night the Hot Dad and I were talking while standing in the aisle in front of a woman who has never been particularly civil to me. Like everyone else with ovaries on the 5:12, she's totally got the hots for my fella.

When we pulled into my station, a conductor shoved past everyone by the door, leaving the Hot Dad several people ahead and me next to the not-so-nice lady. On the way up the stairs, the Hot Dad stopped at the top and held the door for me, waiting for me to catch up.

At this point, the woman shoved me with both arms into the glass wall that encases the stairs and ran past me. At the top of the stairs she made some strange joke to the Hot Dad and awkwardly rubbed his arm in that I'm-touching-your-arm-because-yes-it-may-be-socially-acceptable-to-do-so-at-this-point-in-a-conversation-but-really-beacuse-it-would-be-uncouth-as-well-as-an-arrestable-offense-to-remove-your-pants way.

But I suppose all's fair in love and public transportation, and bitch's got balls. Can't argue with that.

Rather, don't argue with that, or you'll wind up on the tracks.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

How Low? Can You Go?

To my great surprise and counter to long-held socio-religious assumptions, I discovered today that hell is actually freezing.

With wind-chill factor, it was twenty-five degrees below zero this morning in the scenic Hudson Valley. In actuality the thermometer read a cozy four above. I was out in the snow warming my car at 5:45 in the morning and left to get to the station at 6:00. After an unexpected ten-minute train delay (spent futily generating warmth through hopping from one foot to the other gotta-pee-style), I saw the blessed train approaching and the promise of climate control made my previously numb extremities tingle with anticipation.

As the train pulled to a stop in the station, I noticed the first two cars seemed extremely crowded. Eager to find a seat on such a packed train, I shoved some old guys and happily hopped aboard. I entered the third car (strangely--but wonderfully--unpopulated!), threw open the door, and my cry of relief crystallized in front of my face.

The heat. On the rest of the train. Was broken.

I know I may be slightly prone to hyperbole, but I shit you not when I say that I could see my breath inside. It was maybe 35 degrees on the train except for the first two cars, in which every single available seat was populated by the warm and toasty ass of a passenger who had gotten at an earlier stop.

A day that begins with two hours of mind-numbing cold can only get better, right?

A list of strange things I have recently seen abandoned on the street:
1. Toothbrush
2. Pair of sweatpants
3. Large pile of houseplant fronds; no houseplant stem/pot/accoutrements in sight.
4. TINY functioning model of an exercise bike. For reference: chihuahua could tone thighs on said bike.

What Am I, Twelve?

Here's where I become that girl who posts song lyrics on her blog. I promise I'll only do this once, and it's because I'm feeling very metaphorically attached to this song right now. I also swear I'll post something real. But, here it is nonetheless. Download it now: Death of a Salesman by Low.

So I took my guitar and I threw down some chords
and some words I could sing without shame,

and I soon had a song. I played it around
for some friends, but they all said the same.

They said music's for fools, you should go back to school--
the future is prisons and math.

So I did what they said, now my children are fed
'cause they pay me to do what I'm asked.

I forgot all my songs. The words now are wrong.
(And I burned my guitar in a rage.)

But the fire came to rest in your white velvet breast
so somehow I just know that it's safe.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Your Commemorative Award Medallion

First and foremost, heres a big up to everyone who left a letter to the Universe on yesterday's post. Reading so many heartfelt, tender, kind, and not creepy (I'm lookin' at you, Brad) wishes has reminded me that as a mere mortal it would be unfair for me to assign superiority to one wish above the others. Therefore, I've arrived at a compromise, whereby instead of awarding a single letter to the Universe with a present from this gal right here, I will send a personal, handmade valentine--hand-dropped-off at the post office by my personal mom--to everyone who responded, provided they send their mailing address (even international ones) to me in a timely fashion. As anyone who has received a valentine from me in the past couple of years can attest, your card will be a treasure to be cherished through the ages. I've had a collagin' itch, and I think this may be the perfect way to scratch it. As a caveat: your card will be mailed as soon as I can make it, so there is the slight chance that it will arrive after Valentine's day, but rest assured the sentiment will not expire like so much Velveeta left in the sun.

Now let's get down to business.

A couple of days ago, I received a piece of junk mail so ridiculous, so absurd, so completely bizarre that I felt it needed to be shared with the many, many (read: six) people who read this. I think I wound up on their mailing list through one of those "CLICK MY LINK PLEASE AND I'LL GET A FREE iPOD AND YOU'LL GET A FREE iPOD AND THERE ARE FREE iPODS FOR EVERYONE THEY'LL ACTUALLY JUST START RAINING FROM THE SKY SO GETCHER iPOD UMBRELLA OUT!!" schemes. Needless to say, no iPod was received by any participating party, but I have, apparently, been nominated for a very prestigious award instead. I give you my notification letter, slightly shortened because it gets real repetitive towards the end, and amended only a tiny bit by narration from yours truly:

Dear Katharine,

Because you requested that we notify you of important poetic events [like the Pulitzer?], I am delighted to inform you that in just a few weeks, we will be honoring your poetic accomplishments at poetry.com’s and the International Society of Poets’ Spring 2005 Convention and Symposium [so, not the Pulitzer. Close second, though, I'm sure.], to be held at the Walt Disney World Resort [famous for its poetic locale and writers' colony], Orlando, FL, from February 25-27, 2005.

When you attend the Convention and Symposium, you will present your poetry in front of your fellow poets from around the world (our last convention was celebrated by over 2000 poets from 46 countries worldwide!), and you will be presented with your Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Silver Award Bowl [Award Bowl? Also, only the silver? I guess I shouldn't complain, seeing as I didn't ever submit a poem.].

The Award is a magnificent work of art (a $200.00 value) [Do you even KNOW how much good A-R-T two-hunnert clams'll gitcha?] that measures over 10 inches across and over 11 inches high [Do you EVEN UNDERSTAND how many cans of Spaghetti-O's will fit inside your award bowl? ELEVEN.], handcrafted in silver, with your name custom-engraved on a beautiful cherry-wood base. I’m sure it will merit a special place of pride in your home. Your award is so large and heavy that you may wish to bring an extra suitcase to carry it home!

And Katharine . . . there's much more . .. [No, can it BE? BRING IT, MOTHERFUCKER.]

In recognition of your poetry presentation at this prestigious International Symposium, we will also create and present to you a beautiful and colorful Commemorative Award Medallion to honor your poetic dedication and achievements [Will the prestigious Commemorative Award Medallion allow me to cut the line at Space Mountain?].

36 POETS WILL SHARE $74,000.00 TOTAL IN PRIZES--INCLUDING
THE SINGLE LARGEST POETRY CASH PRIZE EVER AWARDED--$20,000.00!

And don't forget the most lucrative amateur poetry contest ever! Your contest entry poem can be written in any style [How about "bad"?] on any subject [How about "Human Papilloma Virus"?].. . and can be up to 40 lines long.

Your society is also encouraging today's youth to develop and utilize their poetic talents in a positive manner [Instead of letting them fall into that all too familiar pattern of negative poetic development--joining a vicious youth gang of sonnet-penning hooligans]. This year we will award five $1,000.00 cash [cash, for ease in purchase of coke--or as we like to call it, "poetry Fun-Dip"] scholarships to talented young poets attending the Symposium.

Our editors and professors will also be searching for new poetic talent. Twenty poets will be "discovered" ["undressed and fondled"] in the contest reading sessions. These winners will be awarded publishing or recording contracts [following in the footsteps of Robert Frost's famous hip-hop debut, "Bitches like the Blank Verse"] that will generate international exposure for their poetic artistry.

In all, $74,000.00 in cash and prizes will be awarded at this single event!

LIGHTS . . . CAMERA . . . ACTION! [...TROCHAIC HEPTAMETER!]

And that's still just the beginning . . . we've got three very special days planned for you . . . ones you'll never forget!

**You will be officially inducted as an honorary "International Poet of Merit" for 2005.

**You and your poetic achievements will be honored at two Gala Banquets and Award Ceremonies.

**You will enjoy dazzling world class entertainment created especially for you featuring legendary Motown Singing group The Marvelettes. You will be up close and personal when The Marvelettes thrill us with their classic hits including "Please, Mr. Postman" and "Don't Mess With Bill". [and "The Canterbury Tales."] These special command performances will delight you. There will also be many other surprise Las Vegas Headliners and Midnight Dance Parties on both Friday and Saturday nights! [And y'all KNOW how the poets get D-oh-doubleya-EEYN.]

**Florence Henderson, legendary star of "The Brady Bunch" and long time friend of ISP, will be on hand all weekend long to inspire and entertain us. [Also on hand for your poetry inspiration and equally as related as Mrs. Brady is to the art form: a half-eaten bag of Cheetos! Dan Rather! A small piece of the Berlin Wall! Several vacuum cleaner bags! Enrico Fermi's grandson!]

**You will learn more about your craft in seminars, reading rooms, rap sessions [Yeah, just see them try to accuse us of being racist this year...] , and workshops, where you can read and discuss your poetry in informal settings with other poets from all over the world. Back by popular demand are the ISP rap rooms, our famous sunrise poetry readings, the ISP Coffee House, the ISP Open Microphone Rooms, [The ISP Make-Out Closet,] and workshops on how to fine-tune your poetic talents.

**You will have the rare opportunity to get up-close and personal with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W. D. Snodgrass [YOU CAN LICK HIS ARM HAIR!] , Academy of American Poets Past Chancellor David Wagoner, Dr. Len Roberts, Dr. Herbert Woodward Martin, and over twenty other poetry celebrities who will be in attendance.

**You will make friendships that will last a lifetime and will return home with wonderful memories, your Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Silver Award Bowl, your Commemorative Award Medallion, [your tattered dignity, your new case of HPV, that goddamn Mickey hat your goddamn kid wouldn't shut up about and you had to shoplift when that $5,000 second prize just didn't come through] and lots of other special gifts.

DON'T BE LEFT OUT [DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO]

Don't miss this opportunity. Space is limited, and our Conventions routinely sell out. Plan to join your fellow poets at the Most Magical Place on Earth, the Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, FL, February 25-27, 2005, for the poetic event of the year [that has little to nothing to do with poetry]! I am also looking forward to meeting you and celebrating the power and beauty of poets and poetry [and those with disposable income who still, in this day and age, remain gullible enough to be preyed upon in a pyramid scheme]!

Sincerely,
Steve Michaels
International Society of Poets
Convention Chairperson

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Please, Mr. Postman

Yes, I may have watched a couple of Fox's specials on the paranormal, and yes, I do get up too early to really be evaluating the spiritual side of existence with any kind of authority, and yes, I'll admit, I did watch The Craft a few times in my adolescence, and yes, I do own a set of tarot cards and regularly read my horoscope, but bear with me when I say that I think there's something strange going on with the electromagnetic field surrounding my person, or else I've got a poltergiest in my hair somewhere.

I have people who can attest that any lightbulb in my presence suffers an immediate dip in life expectancy. My lamps go through lightbulbs like a Lifetime movie bulemic goes through the Sizzler buffet line. Recently this has extended to streetlights when I drive under them. At least once a day on my drive to work, in the dark, very much alone, a streetlight will mysteriously extinguish itself.

Not only lights today, but every electronic device I touch. My iPod froze today, in the middle of an Arcade Fire song, and even the Apple re-start directions wouldn't work for a while. My computer at work resets my network password at will. My phone is receiving mysterious calls from Washington D.C.

Am I haunted? Or, at least, extremely static electric?

Let's choose to believe I'm spiritually touched, because tonight is a full moon, the very first of 2005, I think. Kai and I are celebrating the occasion by fully embracing our inner thirteen-year-old Craft-watching pagans and writing some letters to the universe asking for all the stuff we want. Yes, I know it's metaphysical hooey, and yes, I know I sound like a hippie, and yes, I'll even admit that it's possibly the lamest thing ever to spend your Tuesday night in the car looking for a decent place to see the moon and write what amounts to a sappy diary entry, but bear with me when I say that it's worked in the past, though I'm not sure by what heavenly mechanism.

Sometimes you've just gotta throw caution, reason, the burden of a Catholic childhood, and Must-See Tuesday Night TV to the wind. And that time, folks, is this evenin'.

ADDENDUM: Y'all should post your letters to the universe here. The rules are simple: address a letter to the Universe, and ask very specifically for whatever it is your heart desires. I will, I swear, mail a present to the author of the very best letter left in my comments.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Secret Mission

I heard on the radio this morning that a recent psychology study found January 24 to be the most depressing day of the year, statistically.

Call me crazy, but shouldn't it be illegal to announce that sort of thing on a morning show? This is Elvis on the Z-Morning Zoo! Happy Monday, folks, to all of you up bright and early, sliding your car across inch-thick ice to get to the train station, where it will be six degrees below zero, and the train will be late! Also, today's going to be the most depressing day EVER! Scientists said so, and you can't argue with that! Don't even hope to be happy for the next twenty-four hours! Here's Ryan Cabrera, comin' atcha from Z-100!

You can't argue with science, though. In fact, my demeanor for the past few days has all but confirmed the whole depression formula; for those of you who didn't click the link, that's 1/8W + (D-d) 3/8 x TQ M x Na. Without wallowing, let's just say that Friday afternoon found me willing myself not to cry on public transportation, because there's nothing more pathetic than blubbering to yourself on the subway severely enough to necessitate your wiping a snotty gloved hand across your splotchy face instead of holding onto the bar, sending you careening into the smooching couple who prompted your fit in the first place.

Kai had experienced a similar glumness at the same time on Friday. I can't presume to know what caused it, but if science has seen fit to come up with an equation I'll choose to believe it's not a personal chemical imbalance. We went out for dinner. I ate some veal. Preying on the (lightly breaded) young of a dumber species always makes me feel a little better. Kai's rant about stirrup pants also helped me realize that life could be worse, as well as made me snort three times in public.

Anyway, all the melancholia, plus the foot of precipitation, plus VH1's The Surreal Life becoming the high point of my weekend has made me make a resolution to give my life a sense of purpose. Except it's one of those resolutions that I'm not telling anyone about until I've at least gotten a good chunk of it accomplished, otherwise I'll sound like a douche.

So eat that. I have a secret mission.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Breaking News

On the heels of finishing a letter I wrote about the many reasons I patronize Starbucks (reasons: nothing else to do in boring suburb), I received a call from Kai informing me that upon arriving at the local library she found three separate news crews setting up to report on a condition she could not readily discern. I was charged with the task of snooping the internet until I found out what was going down and expected to text message any conclusive results without delay.

Turns out someone tried to blow up the library.

Apparently the suburbs are boring, except for when they're violent and deadly.

And poorly planned, it seems. The culprit piled some wood under the gas meter, doused it in something flammable, and lit it ablaze. Had the fire actually reached the gasline it would've leveled the building. But, in a signature move of suburban malaise, the would-be arsonist left the fire unattended (possible motives: boredom? eagerness to watch the new Apprentice? had to be home before curfew or Dad would totally take away his Explorer for the whole weekend?) and a slight drizzle put it out.

People and books alike were left with their spines uninjured and wondering why anyone would want to blow a brand new library to smithereens. Is it those maddening nickel-a-day late fees? Damn the waiting list for The Da Vinci Code! Oooh, he's just not into you, you snotty, book-reading, SHHHHHshy bitches!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

As Life Gets Longer / Awful Feels Softer

I'm choosing to believe that the Hot Dad wasn't on my train yesterday due to the tidal nature of existence [the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, etc.] whereby dizzying highs are necessarily paired with a plunge back into the mundane. I sat next to a middle-aged woman grading essays. I did three-quarters of the crossword and fell asleep. I listened to Modest Mouse--who, despite great personal effort, have thoroughly won me over. Their newest album is brilliant.

Even in a cycle of unremarkability one can have the occasional moment of great achievement, whose actual insignificance makes it all the more special. Well, that, and laughable to anyone else. Case in point: Wheel of Fortune.

I've subjected most people I know to the story of my Wheel of Fortune inferiority complex. My mom and I have watched Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune since I was tiny, and I remember being eight years old and desperately trying to beat her to solving even one puzzle. I threw in the towel (and also a tantrum) when she was able to decode the puzzle Dick Tracy's Yellow Raincoat with only the Y's. Only the Y's.

Last night, however, my mother was dethroned by your faithful narrator. I got the event Presidential Inauguration with no letters. Not even one.

Speaking of, it's happening today (which is why I was able to guess it. Well, that and my exorbitant IQ). This morning's Times published this article about an approval poll conducted on the eve of Bush's official entry into his final term. I may not be the most mathematically adept individual out there, but the numbers in this thing are mind-blowing.

50% of the people surveyed said they believe the Social Security system is "in crisis."
But 60% said they wouldn't invest their Social Security money into the stock market.
"So, I'm totally all for Bush's plan for privatized investing. Just, you know, only invest, like, that guy's money. And put mine in a...what's the word? Lemme call it a "lock box." Damn, that's a good idea...sometimes I even impress myself."

71% believe Bush will appoint Supreme Court Justices who will outlaw abortion.
75% believe a significant number of troops will be stationed in Iraq when he leaves office.
53% believe the war will not be worth the loss of life if weapons of mass destruction are not found.
56% believe the country has "gone off on the wrong track."
80% believe that it is not possible to overhaul Social Security, continue to cut taxes, and fund the war in Iraq without increasing the existing deficit.

Yet amazingly, 60% say they are "generally optimistic" about the administration's next four years.

"Yeah, you know, we're never getting out of Iraq, and, uh, I guess it's kind of a pointless war...and, like, I don't think his math works and it's sending the economy down the shitter, and you know, that's not awesome, or whatever. But like, the twins looked hot today. It'll be fine. Right?"

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I Can't Really Help It If My Tongue's All Tied In Knots

With a bit of logic, some astrological analysis of planetary alignment, and a casual casting of runes, I was pretty positive that the Hot Dad was going to be back on the 5:12 yesterday. He had been missing since before Christmas, and my commutes since then have been lacking. In his absence I made the brilliant deduction that he probably works at a college; that's the only job that would permit him to be missing from the week before Christmas until the second week of January. If my theory was correct, he should've been on the train as usual yesterday, when most colleges started their spring semester.

5:05 - No Hot Dad.
5:07 - An old guy takes the seat next to me, dashing my hopes of sitting with him should he make an appearance.
5:09 - No Hot Dad, but the nutty lady who Loves-Him-With-A-Capital-L sits in the seat across the aisle, and sheds not only a full length fur coat, but a shawl whose fringe is made out of individual fox tails.
5:10 - My heart is broken, and I'm taking a new train from now on.
5:11 - I'm never even taking the train again. I hate this train, all trains, public transportation, and the Industrial Revolution.
5:11:30 - Time stretches to a spectacular teen movie slow-mo, and, just as the conductor makes the final announcement, the Hot Dad sprints onto the train, out of breath. He walks down the aisle (listening to his new iPod) and takes the only seat left in the car, next to the nutty lady and right across from me.

Like the fourteen-year-old I truly am, I pretended not to notice that he was there. It was probably the audible hyperventilation that betrayed my cool facade, because he poked me and said hi, and I said hi, we whipped out our respective New York Timeses and got to work. He was frequently interrupted by the nut, who fervently wanted to share Cosmo tidbits with him. Her libido downshifted to first gear after 125th street though, and we all sat in silence. Well, I sat listening to the New Pornographers and trying not to turn bright pink, as is my tendency.

Somewhere around Yonkers, the Hot Dad poked me again, and held up his iPod. He snatched mine from me, and I grabbed his in return, and we played the "What've you got on here?" game.

Having someone flip through the contents of your iPod is like having them walk in on you naked in the shower. You're completely exposed. You need to be able to explain yourself. On an iPod artists list, everything appears at equal value. All the Cat Power and Miles Davis and Interpol and Nina Simone can't counteract the Journey and Justin Timberlake and, goddammit, Enrique Iglesias.

He actually only made fun of one of my choices, which was Bryan Adams, but the truth of the matter is I only have one song, and it's my karaoke song, and he had James Taylor and Yes on his, which he couldn't defend at all.

What was on his iPod, you ask? Lemme put it this way: if I were to fall in love with someone knowing nothing about them besides their playlist--this would've been the playlist to do me in. I couldn't have fantasized a more attractive music collection. I was shocked. The fucker's got every album I love with all my heart, or ever wanted to own, or couldn't find, or have been curious about, or thought I should listen to.

The Arcade Fire, for Christ's sake, he likes The Arcade Fire.

And, disgustingly, he had the very same guilty pleasure band--I suppose I must hereby exit the proverbial closet and admit that there is a Gin Blossoms-shaped hole in my heart.

So as not to beleaguer this account much further, I'll skip to the part where, after the nutty lady tries to talk his ear off again, he puts on his coat, collects his bag, and grabs my arm to come with him to the space between the two cars. I, of course, go.

Skip, skip, skip--I'm having his baby.

No, we just talked about the crossword some more, he got a text message from someone he works with saying they'd finished it, he texted back the message Fucker. and I fell in love. And, just when I thought my invisible screenwriter couldn't possibly get more heavy-handed, he broke a long silence by--at long last--introducing himself.

And here, my friends, is where we find ourselves at the border of my actual life and this chronicle. He has a very lovely name, one that will be privy only to myself and my closest personal friends [read: anyone who e-mails me, or cares at all, or guesses, Rumplestiltskin-syle, or has ever met me, or is a stranger on the street if I'm feeling particularly confessional], but will remain unpublished.

So ends my account of the evening of January 18, the year of our Lord two-thousand and five. I wish everyone the very hottest of Hot Dads (or Moms, as the case may be) of their own.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

She / She's Figured Out / All Her Doubts Were Someone Else's Point Of View

After a shopping spree on a bargain basement Russian MP3 site, I'm listening to nothing but Green Day today. In fact, I'll go so far as to declare today Old-School Green Day (Day), and encourage anyone capable to spend as much time as possible listening to the song She and thinking fondly of me, at my desk, resenting authority.

In related Green Day news, I think their new album is fantastic. There's this melancholy, grown-up edge to the record that makes me intensely nostalgic for my former punk rock days which, curiously, never existed.

I may actually be the anti-punk; I did a Crunch Fitness aerobic workout last night from my house in the suburbs after watching Jeopardy! and wondering which pair of stockings are most work-appropriate. [Author's note: Shut up.] The workout video does satisfy my health-conscious conscience, but I'm not sure if it's worth feeling like a total dweeb while admitting I'm walking so funny today because of a "pilates injury". My thighs are on fire.

The thing about workout videos is that they haven't changed even a smidge since their inception. You can call it "pilates," you can call it "power yoga," you can call it "step aerobics," or you can call it "Sweatin' to the Oldies," but any way you package it, it's still eight fit middle-aged women doing the very same routine you know they whip out after six gin and tonics when the DJ spins Funkytown at their cousin's wedding. Still, they can proudly wear a two-piece Spandex outfit, so I have no right to point fingers. [Author's note: Just try and stop me.]

I did do more than pilates during my three-day weekend, though none of it was particularly noteworthy. Kai and I spent an unforgivable amount of time at the good Starbucks. Like a couple of Jane Goodalls armed with grande chai lattes and the ability to communicate through our eyebrows alone, we passed the time observing the mating rituals of two teenage couples. The first strikingly resembled Ashlee Simpson and Ryan Cabrera. We ascertained that the boy was probably a recent vegan (Ashlee: "Wanna go to Wendy's?" Ryan: "Wendy's is so, like, processed."), the girl frequents Starbucks and talks on her cell phone much more than she is willing to admit, and they were both likely in college but in that high-school relationship long-distance dating hangover.

The second couple, much to our cruel delight, broke up right in front of us. Honestly, I wasn't happy that they were breaking up--but it was absolutely fascinating to watch. If they hadn't had their emotional scene, I would've been stuck looking at the vile "guitar face" on the guy practicing his blues riffs two tables away. [Author's note: WHO PRACTICES THEIR INSTRUMENT AT STARBUCKS? I'm taking up the Sousaphone, and I'm taking up right next to the pastry case.]

Anyway, the boy, who was the dumper, hadn't planned his evening well. They arrived visibly angry with each other. After buying a delicious looking torte (which, to Kai's great dismay, went uneaten), the boy said something to the girl that made her storm out. The boy sat there for a while looking depressed and then...

(This is the best part. This part is so good. This part is so very, very good)

...left to join her in the car because he didn't have a license and she had to drive him home.

I can't say I miss being fifteen.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Warning: Terrible Puns Ahead

Alternate Openings to Big Mama Thornton/Elvis Presley's Classic Song Hound Dog
by Katharine Maria Cacace and Bradley Superstar Walsh

-You ain't nothin' but a cockle shell...dryin' all the time.
-You ain't nothin' but a sexually frustrated, somewhat lecherous member of upper-management with a hot new assistant...implyin' all the time.
-You ain't nothin' but a seventeen-year-old druggie on the elementary school playground...supplyin' all the time.
-You ain't nothin' but a secretery who works for a boss who speaks very fast and must therefore use shorthand...scryin' all the time.
-You ain't nothin' but a factory worker at the Charmin plant...two-plyin' all the time.
-You ain't nothin' but a book I haven't read and don't have any idea about...River Kwain' all the time.
-You ain't nothin' but the lead singer of Kajagoogoo trying to revive his career...too-shy-too-shyin' all the time.
-You ain't nothin' but Jane Fonda during the entire Bush administration...publicly decryin' all the time.
-You ain't nothin' but an abusive alcoholic husband with a wife who just doesn't learn...black-eyein' all the time.
-You ain't nothin' but an incompetent computer nerd in 1985...abort? retry?in' all the time.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

This is a Request, Mr. Radio Man

Anonymous said...
write a story involving jelly beans, a hairy toe, nelson mandela, a tractor-trailer, someone's grandpa, and a golf club (a la the picture you had to draw from those very same prompts in my guestbook two years ago). you were right, everything personal is ten times as hilarious after two years. -bräd

Once upon a time, there lived a very scrawny boy named Gustav Klimtmalm. He and his mother lived in a very small house in the magical kingdom of Nujer Zee, and though they were very poor they loved each other and their life in the small house so much that Gustav couldn't imagine a happier life.

Except, that is, for the times when he walked along the banks of the Great Brown River, which divided Nujer Zee from the kingom ruled by Man-hat Tan. Man-hat was volatile king, known to behead and fashion apparel from political dissidents, but his kingdom had long ago been charmed by the Green Giantess (who stood guard in its port) to never sleep. Across the Great Brown River, Gustav could hear snippets of music on the breeze as he drifted off to sleep at night and the cries of revellers as he awoke in the morning. To a little boy to whom a little house was the entire world, the Kingdom of Man-Hat Tan seemed a party he would never be invited to.

As Gustav grew, he began to spend more and more time on the banks of the Great Brown River, watching the lights of the Kingdom twinkle across the river. He went home at night to his mother, who would feed him a wholesome meal and send him off to bed, but he longed to know what it was like on the other side of that river.

Finally one night, when he could stand his curiosity no longer, Gustav crept out of his house, along the side of the road, and stopped at the bridge of Jidub El-Yew (a great and powerful ruler of ages past). There he crouched behind the tollman's booth until a large tractor-trailer screeched to a halt. While the driver heckled and yelled at the tollman in Nujer Zeean (as Nujer Zeeans are wont to do) about the fee for crossing the bridge, Gustav snuck into the back of the truck and, with a jolt and a rumble, found himself crossing the bridge to the kingdom of Man-Hat Tan.

When Gustav felt the truck roll to a stop, he hopped out and felt a bright light flood his eyes. Everywhere he looked was a twinkling tower, a blinking beacon, a dashing damsel languishing in the looks of a lingering lad. Faint from hunger and eager to partake in the Kingdom's delights, Gustav headed towards the first inn he could find, and dined on jellybeans until he could spit purple. This, he thought, was heaven compared to his mother's meager meals. When he could eat no more, he took to the streets again. He wandered into a pub, where he fell in with a man named Mort Eeney and his friend Jack Daniels.

Though the bounds of good taste force us to leave Gustav here in the tavern, we may greet him once again the following morning, which finds him on the banks of the Great Brown River once again, this time looking at his homeland of Nujer Zee from the other side. Though his head and, curiously, his loins ached, Gustav could remember almost nothing of the previous night. He was left with the distinct impression that he wanted to go home to his mother, however, and decided to hop the next truck back across the bridge.

While walking along the sand on the shore, however, he noticed a small lump sticking out of the sand. He crouched down, and leaned his aching head towards it. A mighty gust of breath scattered the sand to reveal a single hairy toe, though not a hairy foot, hairy leg, nor hairy person was anywhere in site. Scared to leave an object he assumed someone acutely missed, our dear Gustav scooped it up and resolved to take it to the Kingdom's highest power: Man-hat Tan himself.

Gustav walked and walked until he found Man-Hat's castle, but twenty men stood guard and wouldn't let him pass. He feared to show them the hairy toe, lest the guards think he had committed some nefarious act. He was ready to turn and leave when he felt a tap on his shoulder, and turned to face a stooped old man.

"Can't get in there," he croaked, "without the magic words."

"Do you know the magic words?" Gustav inquired, hopefully.

"Yessiree, boy, I do. But what am I gonna git in return? I may be some old grandpa, lonely and wandering the streets, but you can see I wasn't born yesterday."

Gustav's hopes collapsed. He was a poor boy, and though Man-Hat Tan had made him feel otherwise, a frantic search of his pockets turned up not even a nickel. All he had to offer was a handful of black jellybeans, the ones nobody likes.

"This is all I have, sir."

"Well dagnabbit if thems ain't my favorites. Password's Winnifred," he mumbled, wandering off, mouth full of candy.

Gustav steeled himself. He turned to face the guards, took a deep breath, and yelled the magic word with all his might. All at once the guards disappeared, and Gustav cautiously proceeded into Man-Hat's castle.

Man-hat stood directly in the middle of the cavernous entry hall, intently practicing his putts with a shiny silver golf club.

"Y-your H-h-h-highness?" Gustav stammered. "I think I've found something that you should see. It may be of grave importance to your kingdom.

Man-hat wheeled around to stare at the boy who dared disturb his chambers. He approached slowly, drawing up his full height. Yet when he saw what the boy held in his outstretched hands, he softened.

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I heard some things, my guys not doin' their jobs like they should. I heard some things, but who wants to believe their boys is lazy?"

"What, sir?"

"Lemme tell you a little story, kid. This here toe belonged to a man who ran off with more than a couple of kilos of my jellybeans, if you get my drift. I don't let nobody take advantage of me. But I can't let my fellas be doing shoddy work like this. Thanks, kid. Thanks. In exchange for the service you have done me, I'm gonna give you the secret password to unimaginable fortune and luck with the ladies. Just repeat after me."

With that, he whispered a phrase in Gustav's ear.

"Nelsonmandela," Gustav repeated. A wind rose up, and everything went black.

When he awoke, Gustav was taller, and wearing a black suit cut from the finest fabrics. He slowly approached the mirror, but screamed when his reflection became clear.

"My hair!" he yelled. "Why does it go forward like that?!"

"Don't worry, my dear boy. You are now the richest man in all of the Kingdom of Man-Hat Tan. The most lovely ladies will seek you out. Magic, however, always comes with a cost. That hair is the marker by which you will remember your lowly past. However, we're gonna have to give you a better name. Gustav Klimtmalm just doesn't have the right ring to it. We need something more charmed. How about...Robert Diamond? No. That's not it. Hmm...Jack Spade?"

"How about Donald Trump?," chimed in Gustav.

And he lived happily ever after.

Shallow Work is the Work that I Do

The looks one gets from middle-aged women when one is comparatively a very young woman reading Lolita on a commuter train filled with very old businessmen can accurately be described as flesh-searing. I think I'm really going to test their mettle tomorrow and put my hair in pigtails, wear fishnets and a schoolgirl kilt, and slowly suck on a popsicle while I read.

Until yesterday, the city of Paris had swallowed two-thirds of the population of my regular e-mail buddies. To my great delight (I'll go so far as to say great relief, even) both are back on their respective turfs, and both have shown me pictures of the robot-kid who drums on the roof of the Louvre. The existence of a robot child is creepy, but seeing it perched like a gargoyle scares the bejesus out of me.

Forgive this commercial interruption, but the debut album Look at Me by Brad Walsh is now available for purchase but a mere click away. Already hailed by critics (read: yours truly) as the Best Album of 2005 and All Years That Will Ever Follow That Year, this album will provide you with a lifetime supply of masterfully executed and thinly veiled tunes about people I know. Click it. Buy it. You'll love it this much. Mille grazie.

Kai has demanded that I post something today, which is the only reason I'm still writing despite my not having a single worthwhile word to say. How about this? I'll take requests. You leave me a comment with something you want me to write about, and I'll do it. Anything. Leave me a question, leave me a list of words you want me to craft into a fairy tale, leave me a request for a haiku to yo momma, anything. In the words of Janet Jackson, it's all for you.

And in the slightly less applicable words of Joanna Newsom, to whom I have been listening all day, "I killed my dinner with karate."

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Assistant's Manifesto, a.k.a. Cacace's Call to Revolution

I fear that my kindergarten-era fantasy of adulthood has come true. I go to work on a TRAIN and I have PINK BELT and I still get to wear SNEAKERS and you know what else? There's a vending machine? And it has THREE KINDS OF SKITTLES? And I have so many QUARTERS in my PURSE. And I get to make COPIES ALL THE TIME AND THERE ARE FREE PENS. AND no one makes me do ANYTHING, EVER.

There isn't much I can say about the business world that hasn't been muttered a hundred thousand times, then parodied in a Dilbert strip, snipped out, and tacked in a cubicle in the most infuriatingly ineffective stab at either entertainment or rebellion from management.

If one were to uncap the roof of my building and examine my office from above, it would appear to be a poorly designed rat maze. Every path leads to a square dead end, though each does offer a computer, coffee-cup and an occasional neglected fern. It gets me that it's a given that the office world is brainless, heartless, fundamentally humorless.

Most criminally, it's a fruitless system whose only great achievement has been constructing its own support beams. A hierarchical structure emphasizes downward dependence, which gives the impression of significance, but if you zoom out even for a second the absolute absurdity of innumerable mid-levels will smack you in the face. It's no great secret that only a miniscule portion of the billions of man-hours fed like Cheetos to the great Corporate Couch Potato produce something necessary.

Take my Rolodex, for example. It's sitting on my desk, looking right at me. Out of approximately two-hundred and fifty blank, Rolodex-specific cards, three are filled out. The handwriting is different between the three cards, which means this particular Rolodex has been virtually useless during the tenure of at least three assistants.

Aside from the fact that I hate this stupid piece of crap, it makes me nearly homicidal to think that there is a Rolodex Corporation, with a Rolodex President, who employs hundreds of Rolodex Employees that manufacture these fucking things to sit on desks and never be filled in. There is a Rolodex sister factory who produces the notched Rolodex cards, which demonstrate their Darwinian superiority to the 3x5 card by having evolved trademark Rolodex voids at their bottom edge. They are also lineless; Rolodex permits you to exercise the freedom of writing however large or small you choose.

Worst, there are Rolodex PR people who spend eight hours a day, fifty weeks out of the year promoting the virtues of the Rolodex--and in the Rolodex microcosm, these people are providing a valuable Rolodex service. They are integral to the Rolodex team, and therefore must be so to the world at large.

While the Rolodex PR person may spend their hours convincing people to upgrade their two-hundred and fifty blank cards to five-hundred blank cards, the most useless person in the known world is his or her assistant.

On a universal level, assistants are the corporate equivalent of a gold star sticker. You've done a great job! Accept this recent college graduate of a token of our esteem. Though you have to walk past the fax machine to get to your assistant's desk, your assistant will now do all of your faxing for you. He or she will also update you on hip lingo, fashion trends, and new movies! Impress your co-wokers! Lend your assistant out to other employees! Collect all seven: Listless Liberal Arts Grad, Wait-Listed Law Student, Perma-Temp, I'm-Gonna-Be-A-Writer! Guy, Business School Kid Whose Degree Still Only Got Them This Shitty Entry-Level Job, Girl Who Never Worked a Day in Her Life Before Today, and The V.P.'s Assistant's Cousin.

Humans have yet to prove or disprove the existence of God, but because I am an assistant I will exert the greatest portion of my mental energy on my Theorem of Who Ran the Copier Out of Toner Already. I have not accomplished my goal of reading all of Shakespeare's comedies. I have not consumed nearly enough Oscar Wilde. Because I am an assistant, the only witty anecdote that will even enter my sphere of consciousness today is the delicately nuanced Tale of the Receptionist Who May or May Not Have Seen Someone Wash Their Feet in the Kitchenette Sink.

Assistants, unite! Under the flag of ludicrousness, lay aside your compulsive e-mail refreshing, your Fantasy Football team, your record-breaking paper-clip chains! There is little we can do about our positions; instead, let us transform the office. Let us speak to each other in the hallway. Let us not eat lunch at our desks. Let us unplug our earbuds and instead share our music audibly, perhaps engage in a little shuffle, step, ball-change at the water cooler.

We can no longer rely solely on bands with umlauts in their names to express our emotions for us. Can we make just a little of our own rock n' roll each day? Please? For my sake?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I May Not Have a Lot to Give / But What I've Got I'll Give to You

Sometimes you ride the subway alone, reading a book, listening to some music. Other times you're standing, squashed against an old man's butt. But every once in a while you get to sit across the aisle from one of your favorite singers, whose album will always remind you of nighttime in the summer, driving outside of Cleveland. However, this reverie will be punctuated by a man and his five children breaking into their rendition of "Can't Buy Me Love," complete with tambourine and guitar.

Actually, I would give an arm to be listening to anything right now, including a tambourine at close range. I forgot to bring any CDs with me and my friggin' iPod is dead because, well, because I forgot to charge it, so I guess I can't really pass the blame on any of this. Instead of humming along to something and secretly tapping my foot, I'm listening to the hum of the photocopier and catching the occasional line of inappropriate conversation drifting out of the offices. You'd be surprised by the amount of lascivious verbal offal that finds its way to my ears. Highlights:

You think he wanted to SLEEP with me? He didn't want to SLEEP with me! He's MARRIED. [Creepy pause] You think I could've slept with him...?

[on the phone] Yeah, so, you know, we went out to dinner, saw the movie, told everyone goodbye, you know, then went home and made A WHOLE LOTTA NOISE.

Minus the naughty bits, the majority of what I can hear is just desperately boring office conversation. It's actually so boring I'm convinced there's a way to use it as a weapon. This, I swear to God, is the conversation going on right outside my cube right this very minute:

Man 1: This looks okay. It's kind of fuzzy.
Man 2: Yeah. It is a little fuzzy. It's okay, though.
Man 1: Shame.
Man 2: It would be okay if it weren't so fuzzy.
Man 1: Did they try to blow it up or something? Is that why it's all fuzzy?
Man 2: I don't know. It is pretty fuzzy.
Man 1: Well, I'll call down. I'll see if we can get a good one. One that's not so fuzzy.
Man 2: Yeah, it'd be okay if it weren't so fuzzy.

The only way I can make it through the rest of the day is by convincing myself they're talking about Man 1's genitals.

You know who I find more fascinating than anyone else in the world? Those people who manage to look naked even when they're wearing the most conservative of outfits. There's a naked girl who works in my office who wore a full suit yesterday and still managed to look positively stitchless. It's a weird and paranoia-inducing circumstance; does she know she's a naked person? Jesus, am I a naked person? Are you? Why, oh why wasn't this covered as one of Descartes' Meditations? Was he a naked person?

If you're picturing Rene Descartes naked right now, my job here is finished.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Breaking News

Most disgusting phrase in the English language:

Fistula-in-ano

That is all.

Just Listen To The Rhythm Of My Heart

In between re-typing captions for algorithms from Principles and Practice of Surgery for the Colon, Rectum and Anus, Second Edition, I bit the proverbial bullet (It was hard. It tasted like a nickel.) and began applying for new jobs.

It seems, though, that everything else out there is equally impossible to tolerate for eight hours a day. A somewhat promising advertisement for an editorial assistantship at a really great company turned out to be in the "craft lifestyle" department. It's a tough call; is health informatics better or worse than dog hair knitting? At best I think it's a step sideways, which is very different than a step up.

While I search MediaBistro, I'm listening to the Kathy's A Bitch Mix Brad made me for Christmas and fervently hoping no one else notices it's a homemade album with Hoku, Celine Dion, Enrique, Jewel, and even a phone prank on it. They wouldn't understand even if I tried to explain it. Any person who even presumes to judge these questionable musical selections has no right to do so until they too have driven through Oklahoma (pop. approx. 7) with Brad singing Shania Twain the whole way. How many times have you listened to "Ka-Ching?" Is it less than sixty? Then zip it.

Even if he has me listening to "Cherries in the Snow" at work, Brad's leaving today made me sad enough to cry in the car on the way to the train station. Between that, and all the anal surgery pictures, and the fact that the soda machine wouldn't give me a soda, and then only returned two of my three quarters, effectively making me pay twenty-five cents for the privilege of walking to and from the soda machine empty-handed, I'm having kind of a rough day.

Rather than dwell on my own dark clouds, I'd like to change the subject and address any screenwriters who may be reading this. Brad and I have viewed three horror films in the last week: White Noise, Dawn of the Dead, and Darkness. I have a small bone to pick with any of the writers of these films, and I will pick away publicly on the off chance that either (a) one of them reads this or (b) my fiery words, like the Pied Piper of Hamlin's hypnotic song, will incite a revolution among the movie-going public.

The unwritten contract betwixt a screenwriter and a horror movie viewer is, admittedly, a loose and inconsequential one in the context of greater wordly woes. Yet when I pay ten dollars (roughly 1.25% of my total biweekly paycheck) to be delightfully scared, I do expect to have ten dollars worth of delightful scares delivered to me in the ensuing ninety-minute window.

Regrettably, the writers of White Noise, Dawn of the Dead, and especially Darkness have cast aside this covenant.

To ensure that my trust is never again breached, I will now provide (in convenient, easy-to-read bullet format) a list of guidelines gleaned from the aforementioned films and directed at all horror screenwriters, in the (however hopeless) hope that future scary movies will be even the slightest bit scary.

-Children aren't scary (unless they are moving in creepy sped-up motion, in which case they are very scary, but only if they're wearing old-timey clothes).
-Naked old ladies aren't ever scary. They are always very, very funny.
-Cricket noises aren't scary, they are soothing.
-Stained glass isn't scary, it's pretty; some of you have repeatedly tried to make it ominous (I'm looking at you, Darkness and House on Haunted Hill).
-Old men with moustaches aren't scary, they are gross, or else they are funny, but not as funny as naked old ladies.
-Water isn't scary, it's wet. Dark ponds are very scary, and Brad will tell you that whales are very very scary, but bathtubs, sinks, and rain aren't very scary at all.
-Zombies are only scary if they aren't grunting or balding.
-DVD extras aren't scary, they are deadly boring.
-Unknown movie actors aren't scary, they are untalented, and paid far more than I am, which, granted, is a little scary, but not in the jump-out-of-my seat kind of way.
-Shaky camera earthquake-vision isn't scary, it is nauseating.
-Anna Paquin isn't scary.
-Sarah Polley was on Avonlea and therefore really really isn't scary.
-Michael Keaton may be the least scary thing in the world.
-Naming your movies after neo-hair-metal bands isn't scary, it just gets "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" stuck in my head.
-But spandex unitards are very scary, so maybe you're smarter than I think.

Friday, January 07, 2005

2 Legit 2 Quit

Because I am now a grown-up and have the power to do this kind of thing, I declared yesterday a personal snow day. Using a complex algorithm involving air temperature, wind speed, millimeters of precipitation, units of encouragement from my boss to stay home if the roads were bad, and several quarts of "spending the day with Brad" bonus points, the decision seemed pretty clear at around eight in the morning when everything in sight was coated with ice.

Making your own snow day, while still enjoyable, is nowhere near as exciting as tuning in to the local Lite-FM station hoping to hear your school rattled off by the DJ with the kinda sleazy, Michael-Bolton-dedicating voice. He always made it sound like something he was whispering into a hooker's ear mid-coitus. "Uhhh...uhhhhh....Briarcliff has a two hour delay. Oh yeah. Yorktown's closed. Mmmm...who's got the power, baby? Ooooh yeah. That's right. Daddy does."

Anyway, I stayed home yesterday. The day was spent in perfect snow day fashion: on the couch, in the sweatshirt I slept in, watching movies until I thought my eyes would fall out, and eating Chinese food.

Actually now that I think about it, I may have earned the power to decide when I don't have to show up for work, but I am not a grown-up and may never fully achieve status as such. Case in point: my pants. Today I decided to make like a full-fledged adult and not wear jeans to work. I put on the classiest (read: least visibly stained) sweater I own and my nice pants, and for once felt pretty legit standing around at the train station. Of course an hour later I noticed that the reason I never wear my nice pants is because they have a big-ass rip in the hem from the time I tripped over my own heel.

My first thought after noting the unsightly rip? I've got a stapler on my desk. Problem solved.

As non-grown-up as slapping your foot up on top of your desk and trying to staple your pants back together may be, it is far less grown-up to find out that the stapler won't work and you actually have to rig up an elaborate system of paper clips to keep from tripping over the hem. The paper clips hit the ground every time you walk, but that's not too bad, because you are not a grown-up, and can therefore pretend that you are a tap dancer.

In closing, I would like to say that seeing my friend Asher's band (Adult Situations)the other night has cemented my suspicion that bass players are born and not made. A condition I shall refer to as "bass player neck" is written into the DNA of anyone destined to play that most integral of rock instruments. I'd like to thank Asher's neck (as well as Asher in totality and the rest of Adult Situations) for an evening of foot-tap-inducing music. I would also like to thank the folks at Pabst Blue Ribbon for finding a way to make good money on urine, that heretofore untapped natural resource.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

What? What?

This morning I took the 6:24 to Grand Central because I got to Cortlandt too early to justify hanging around for the train I usually take. The only reason to do so would've been the comfort of habit, which the comfort of a warm train trumps.

Because I was on an earlier train, my whole morning was thrown off. I got to Grand Central with too much time to kill, so I visited the ATM, walked a lap around the "dining concourse" and decided to get a bagel. I've grown to hate Zaro's because the bagel kids are either rude or stupid (and often some charming combination of the two), so I took a chance on Oren's, which I pass every day but have never tried.

There was no line, so I walked right in and asked the guy behind the counter for an everything bagel with cream cheese. I had every reason to presume a normal bagel-related interaction would follow.

While the guy was making my bagel, another Oren's employee finished putting some money in the register, came over to me, and very curtly said "Man, first she comes in here by herself before, and now you come in by yourself."

I had no idea what he was talking about, so I kind of smiled and focused on the minutiae of my bagel production. He, however, took this as an opportunity to expound. "You too good to walk with people now? You just leave your "friend" or whatever?"

A businessman had entered a few seconds before. After ordering his coffee, he chimed in, "Yeah, well, I think they broke up."

I thought maybe I was being crazy, and they weren't talking to me at all. I actually performed the classic, straight from a sit-com turn-and-look-around-for-the-person-they-must-be-talking-to-behind-you move, but both had definitely spoken to me, and were now looking at me expectantly for an answer.

I paid and got the hell out.

A series of logical assumptions:
(1) Oren's employee believes me to be a regular patron who normally purchases bagel with "friend."
(2) Oren's employee believes "friend" to be patron's "girlfriend".
(3) Patron's girlfriend appeared alone this morning.
(4) Oren's employee is too involved in the lives of his customers, most likely because
(5) Straight guys like lesbians.

Discussion questions on remaining mysteries, even if all the above is true:
(1a) Is it possible for me to resemble this other girl so much that, even after seeing her every single day, he could mistake me for her?
(1b) Is it possible that the other girl is the twin a ten-dollar psychic named Bonnie told me I had? Have my parents been lying to me, right to my face, all these years?
(2) How is the businessman involved? How could he possibly know anything about the sapphic romance in question?
(3) Could the Oren's employee have thought that this would work as a pick-up line? What chemical imbalance would cause him to think so?
(4a) Given the prevalence of reality TV, could I have accidentally wandered into someone else's show?
(4b) Am I on my own show? Truman-style?

Any illumination would be deeply appreciated.

In other apocolyptically weird news, there may or may not be a N.O.R.E./Jay-Z video being shot on Varick street today. Brian the Co-Worker recieved a call from a very nearly certifiably insane mutual acquaintance last night. She requested his presence between Spring and Vandam (coindicentally--or not--this is right outside where we work) at nine this morning, and, oh, by the way, could he wear a white suit? When I forced him to call the nutbag this morning at a quarter past nine, she again insisted that she is producing a Jay-Z video (isn't he retired? Isn't she a 22-year-old schizotypal editorial assistant?), that they would be filming later today, and that she needs him to wear white because he's going to be a KKK member (shouldn't that kind of information be provided up front?).

Updates will be posted as soon as this situation takes its swan dive into an Olympic-sized pool of crazy.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep / I Pray Whitesnake My Soul To Keep

In writing an e-mail to someone yesterday asking about their New Year's Eve debauchery, I suddenly remembered one of those completely repressed, terribly embarassing moments of my pre-adolescent life. Consider my sharing it your New Year's gift, a couple of days late.

Because I wasn't even marginally cool in late middle school and early high school, I never had anything to do on New Year's Eve. I think I spent every December 31 in my parents' living room, though they had undoubtedly both gone to bed by ten-thirty--but not before robbing any vestige of excitement I had about midnight by reminding me that if you've seen a ball drop once it's plenty.

Do you remember when you were a kid, and you became convinced that the smallest, weirdest actions would have an effect on something completely unrelated? My younger brother was compelled to look in every garbage can he came into contact with during his fourth year, and my younger younger brother had to say "checkamail" every time he passed a mailbox in the car when he was about a year old. I remember truly believing that if I didn't wait for the schoolbus on the right side of a crack in my neighbor's driveway I would have a horrible day.

My New Year's must have grown out of that kind of impulse, although at twelve I was probably too old to believe that whatever I was doing the second the ball dropped would determine the tenor of the whole year. But, I swear, I really, really believed it.

Which is why during my seventh and eighth grade years, I would spend the fifteen minutes leading up to midnight looking for my portable CD player and rooting through the pantry for a couple of AA batteries that looked like they might be younger than me and have four minutes worth of life left in them, all so that at the stroke of midnight I could hit play and single-handedly force the cosmos into submission with one song, the only melody powerful enough to make even my twelve-year-old, non-existent love life blossom with soap-worthy vigor.

That song, of course, was Bon Jovi's Always.

Picture me, bespectacled, orthodontiaed, flanneled over tye-dye, orange Dorito-dusted, passionately rocking out to Always, convinced in my soul that this heavenly combination of guitar and electric piano, the true music of the spheres, was dancing into place the perfect alignment of planets, stars, and locker assignments to land me with my crush at the next canteen.

And they say kids today don't have religion. I prayed intensely at the Church of St. Jovi of the Big Hair.

News briefs: it's raining today in New York. Brad, Kai and I ate s'mores last night, a lovely experience which was only minorly marred by a preteen in way-too-short-shorts. Brad and I saw the Lemony Snicket movie, which I enjoyed the crap out of. Kai's winging it to Paris this very evening.

May St. Perry, patron saint of the Journey, be with her.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Throw Your Hands Up At Me

I came to fully realize that my life has been, well, let's call it "outside the box" when I was able to recognize a drag queen's shoving a Destiny's Child poster into my netherregions as an affectionate greeting. My homecoming to Bounce night club (the site of this peculiar salutation) as well as the greater Cleveland area was nice after three solid months of back-breaking photocopying and spirit-crushing book ordering.

I flew to Cleveland after work on Thursday ("work" consisting mostly of "eating soup" and "cutting paper snowflakes") on one of the tiniest planes ever to take to the sky. However, before I was allowed to board, I was yet again singled out for a special security check. I understand that with my nerdy glasses, impractical hot pink heels and completely superfluous belt I do look like I might take down a plane in a fit of fundamentalist religious rapture. However, do they have to refer to me as a "detainee" while they're searching my stuff? It's embarassing enough having to stand shoeless in an airport while someone picks through your underwear, but do they absolutely have to scream out, Guantanamo Bay-style, "WE'VE GOT A FEMALE DETAINEE OVER HERE, CAN WE PLEASE GET SOMEONE TO PAT HER DOWN?"

The rest of my trip was mainly uneventful, except for the man sitting next to me who consistently picked his nose throughout the entire one hour and nine minute flight. From take off to landing, he emptied the contents of his sinuses onto his fingers, the seat in front of him and, God help me, the in-flight magazine.

Brad picked me up in mini-glamour in the gold Mini-Cooper, and I saw his mini-dog (puppy) and very full-sized new house, all of which I grande liked. I also met my very favorite mini-person, Bella, who despite being sick showed more personality at the ripe old age of three months than I do now.

Brad and I spent a weekend of quality time in the flattest state in the Union watching The Office, touring the mall, picking up appliances from hot (if somewhat gaunt) guys, eating Taco Bell, watching some drag, and listening to his cat wheeze. We rang in the New Year ten seconds after a drag show finale involving much hair-flipping, two splits, and two middle-fingered salutes, and all in all I think it represented a solid begging to the oh-five.

We drove back to my house on Saturday. In the interest of engaging you, the undoubtedly snoozing reader, here's a game for you. Which of the following horrible recording artists did Brad and I not listen to on the eight hour drive?

(a) Hoku ("Another Dumb Blonde")
(b) Enrique Iglesias ("Escape")
(c) Britney Spears ("Toxic")
(d) The Sounds ("Anything They Ever Recorded Is Bad")
(e) Dolly Parton ("Me and Little Andy")

And the answer is: ha, trick question, we sang along to each and every one of those, bitches, and that's why so few are man enough to survive the drive with us.

On Sunday we jet-setted our way to the rock-star photo shoot, and, as protagonist, the only picture I'm going to share is the one of me, included for your edification below.
I call this outfit Flight-Attendant-Chic.

The photo shoot went well, and the band was nicer than I expected them to be. The only teeth-gnashingly stupid part was when the two musicians Brad was photographing took a five minute diversion from the conversation to muse about how rough it is getting people to take your music seriously when you're a really really hot girl. I mean, it's tough. People just look at you and they don't care that you play the bass because you're JUST SO HOT. I swallowed my creeping bile and enjoyed the rest of the shoot, which they were very nice to do for us, although any niceness or enjoyment on may part have been the direct result of a contact high. Like I said, jet-setting.

Afterwards on the subway on the way home, I saw the most devastatingly attractive man I've ever seen in my twenty-two years walking this planet. The idea that we were not making out almost brought me to tears. It's hard to come up with a good pick-up line on the subway, though. Maybe I should just have some invitations to my vagina printed up. Come on, it's a party in there. Destiny's Child's played the other night.
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