Thursday, June 30, 2005

Georgia on my Mind...

Two funny things.

So I'm taking a break from freelancing to eat my crappy sandwich from 7-11 and I decide to see what part of "Risky Business" HBO was on. Thankfully, it was the scene where the young, still-believing-in-drugs Tom Cruise is having sex with the prostitute on the train. And I'm all, well, my sandwich tastes like loosely packed sand with turkey on it and freelancing sucks and I'm too busy to make a booty call so I should watch this. The part where they're pretty convincingly miming sex on a train comes on, I'm chewing on my sandwich, and life is great.
MEEEP. A red screen pops up, and a guy's voice booms "THIS IS AN AMBER ALERT. PLEASE TURN TO CHANNEL EIGHT OR YOUR LOCAL NEWS OUTLET." Except the government, in the name of the children, has seized control of my remote control and I cannot change the station. The television talks about the missing kid and how I should call the cops if I know anything and the red (get it? RED, like STATES and POLITICIANS and DIRTY COMMIES) screen was judging me and I felt like the biggest perv in the world for watching a sex scene on TV while some little girl is stuffed in a minivan with some dudes, scared out of her mind. I am also afraid that the voice of Tom DeLay or Jerry Fallwell will come through the television the next time I'm watching something sexy and boom out "THIS IS A SEX ALERT. WE'VE DETECTED THE SLIGHTEST HINT OF AROUSAL IN THIS VICINITY. PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE TELEVISION AND READ SOME HOLY WRIT THIS INSTANT."

The freelancing broke my brain.

So the freelancing I'm doing is making up endless quizzes from a history book used in Georgia to make sure that the kids are learning according to the criteria that the Georgians see fit to teach their kids. I resisted (mostly) the temptation to posturize about how the North kicks the South's ass in all manner of evolution. I think I did slip in a "What do the fossils found in Africa PROVE about the tens of thousands of years humans have been on Earth" in there, but it wasn't the dig I wish I could have done. As I was inserting the benchmarks the questions meet into the file, my iTunes shuffle started playing "Georgia" by Ray Charles. And, for the next couple of days, Georgia will indeed be on my mind.

Dirty, Dirty Water

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Yeah, I'm confused too, Bronson.
Please tell me this was a hallucination brought on by the state of Georgia and too many generic Robitussin capsules. (ETA: Link doesn't work. Crap. It can be found on It is a video for Bronson's version of "Dirty Water.")
Other than giving me the shivers because BroYo sounds exactly like the dude from Creed, there's just something wrong here. First of all, what? Dude, you play baseball. Why do you have to pull a Diddy and have three thousand careers that will make you oodles of money? It's like musicians becoming children's book authors. People, you're already famous. Give the rest of us a shot at glory. Also, you sound like Creed.
And Johnny Damon does not need another platform with which to pimp himself. I'm surprised Michelle didn't show up to hand out lemonade to Bronson and Youks while offering the guy with the Rip van Winkle beard some grooming tips. So now Johnny's got a book, a Sprint commercial, a movie cameo, a few magazine covers, AND a music video under his belt. Next thing you know we'll be seeing the Johnny Damon Home Highlighting Kit on the QVC. "It is a really great way to make your hair look awesome, much like mine is. If you order now, you will also receive a complimentary copy of Bronson's CD and a Theo Epstein Home Bondage For Beginners Kit. Both are awesome like my hair is."
I also think Bronson put Youks in the video to try and land him some dates. "Yeah, Kevin, you can totally be in my video. You stand next to Johnny and try to reflect his handsomeness like the moon reflects the sun. Say some cute things. Smile. The girls who I reject because I'm married will totally call you."
Bronson, don't make me lecture you like I did Johnny at the beginning of the season. I don't want you distracted by your other careers. Do you know why Diddy's music sucks? Because he's too busy making overpriced hoodies, crappy R&B groups and babies to focus. You need to focus on what got you in the door, buddy. Pitching. Remember? Throw the ball so the other team can't hit it? Do that. Let Sting or Bright Eyes do the music.

"America Rules! Let's Blow a Piece of it Up!"

America! WHOO!
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I love the Fourth of July.
Not because I love America. Well, I do love America, but not the jingoistic celebration of America. I love late-night diners, reality television, mullets, our desire to be thin but not eat right or exercise. The America I love is made of tiny moments and single people that come together to form a big mosaic of squee-enducing "I love this place!" moments.
I love the Fourth of July because it's like New Year's Eve with better weather. You get drunk, and somebody who's less drunk than you drives you around in some sort of motorized vehicle (motorcycle, motorboat, car, dangling out of the bed of a truck). You watch fireworks. During the Fourth, you may light a few explosives off. You may even keep your hearing and all ten toes if you play it right. You get to sing "God Bless America" all day in an off-key tone. You can wear American flag paraphanelia and not be called a conservative. You hang around outside, sweating your ass off, the beer in your hand slippery from the condensation, everything wet and hot and smelling of grilled meats. You get a little teary at the pictures of soldiers dying they air on television, especially if they died in Iraq for no good reason. Yeah, you heard me. No. Good. Reason.
And the smell of sulfur reminds you of being a kid, in perhaps one of your earliest memories, watching the sparks of fireworks land on the blanket your mom brought, afraid it will light the blanket on fire, but it just fizzles out. You watch the explosions dance across the faces of your mom and dad, wonder how man can put stars in the sky, however temporarily. The smoke from the fireworks hanging in the hazy New England air, getting tired because it's past your bedtime. Feeling your father pick you up over his shoulder and carry you back to the car, half awake, half protesting because the fireworks aren't over and you want to keep watching, but your eyes sink and you fall asleep.
Maybe that's why my ideal Fourth is spent outside Boston (done the whole fireworks thing twice, thanks) in some kind of rural setting with cool people, sweating and swimming, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and watching fireworks on the water. I love that the Fourth celebrates everything stereotypically American-- meat, beer, war (fireworks and patriotic tunes), chicks in bathing suits and gluttony. It's a kitschy portrait of what America is, and I love the kitsch. So enjoy your nice long weekend, and hopefully I'll see you all on Tuesday (yeah, that's right!) with all your appendages still attached.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Kill Me, Please

I'm begging you. End my life. Or do some of this work for me. Whatever it takes.
9-5 work is super-busy. No time for love. Also, no time to work on any of the massive freelance project I have. Which gets bigger every time I think I'm seeing the end of it. More questions, please, by Friday. A chart too, while you're at it. I very much want to die. But I got myself into the quagmire where I need the money to pay the bills, so I have to suck it up.
Why am I taking the time to write this, then? Because it has nothing to do with world history, Georgia or a project that has spiralled out of control. Thought I'd be out of it by the weekend. Now looks like it'll ruin America's birthday for me. Boo hiss.
Oh, and I'm also sick. My head is stuffy, my brain is slow and all I want to eat is Doritos. That is the true sign of a cold. Dorito love.
Okay, back to it. Thanks for listening. Expect some intelligent content next week.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Weekend 1, Amy 0

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I need to sleep. Seriously. I need to sleep for a week without the interruption of a social life, bills, 9-5 work, work after work, family issues or the hot heat of summer. I need to enter a state of suspended animation where my poor battered body can rest, regenerate, and perhaps allow my eyes to return to eyes and not bags that could hold most of my possessions in them.
It started out innocently enough. Kristen and I did some work in the BPL on Friday (with me writhing around as the mice were audible in their peeping, and I expected one to crawl across my bare foot at any moment) and then returned to her apartment to watch the game and drink away the boredom. I got some sleep on Friday, but that would be all the sleep I'd see for the weekend.
More freelance work awaited me Saturday morning as I typed away at my computer, my head swimming with the state standards of Georgia and the history of Russia. I consoled myself with the fact that after a few hours of babysitting in the sweltering heat I'd be on my way to Maine to swim, play volleyball, and drink. The Ex-Whatever would pick me up and deliver me to cool waters and drunken men with heavy Boston accents. The kids and I went to the park to play in the sprinkler. The baby was kicking wood chips with her feet, delighted with the power walking brings, when my phone rang.
"Hey, bad news," the Ex-Whatever opened. "The car's more busted up than I thought. Is there any way we can get a ride up to Maine?"
Some other friends were heading up, so I called them and asked them to pick us up in Brookline. Not a problem. It was early, so I figured the Ex-Whatever would be able to get to Brookline without a problem.
"Didn't you think to have them pick me up here?" He asked when I told him the plan. "How am I going to get over to Brookline from the suburbs?"
"Take a bus?"
"I'm not taking a bus," he sighed. I tried to hold in the profanity as the kids looked at me, waiting for me to get off the phone and pay attention to them.
"Listen, I'll see if they'll pick you up there. It's completely out of the way."
"Yeah, okay, bye."
I fumed for a moment, and looked over to the white minivan that had brought the kids and I over to the park. The kids were red in the face and sweaty, laying on the bottom of the slides without much desire to move. I called their parents, who kindly allowed me to joyride with their kids over to the suburb, pick up some guy they'd met once, and come back. "It's probably too hot for the kids to be outside anyway. They'll love the AC."
On the way over to the Suburb, my phone rang with the delicate ringtone that indicates someone's calling from my Mom's house. Since she called on Friday to inform me that the power was going off every day promptly at 4pm and that her tooth broke as the dentist was examining her mouth, requiring her to sit, mouth agape, for two hours as the dentist yanked the rest of the tooth out, that I should pick up.
I feared she was calling to tell me her mouth had absessed or something else and she'd need an entire set of dentures, and her tone didn't do anything to ease my fears.
"Hey, honey," she cooed in the way that mothers do when they have something bad to tell you.
"What's up?" I asked.
"Are you babysitting right now?"
"Yeah," I said, glancing into the back seat, where the kids glared at me for chatting on the phone again.
"Well, call me when you're done. I have some bad news."
"Mom, you can't just call and say that. What's the problem?"
"The cat died."
"Which one?"
We got the cats after the untimely demise of Boris, the cat we got when I was seven. I think we got the cats when I was nine or ten, so they're about thirteen years old. Sam's cat (we "traded" cats a few times when we were younger) is Hannah, and my cat was Hattie. She was big and dumb and acted a lot like a dog. She'd follow simple commands. She ate Doritos with a passion. She'd chew on freshly shampooed hair with vigor. She'd meet me at the door when I'd visit home with a meow and a big deposit of cat fur on whatever dark clothes I'd be wearing.
"I didn't want to tell you while you were babysitting. I didn't want you to get upset."
"Well, jeez, I thought Grandpa had died or something. What happened to her?" At this point, the kids were yelling "who died? who died?"
"Kidney failure. They said it was too far along to do anything so I had them put her down. Grandpa came with me."
"Well, I'm glad you weren't by yourself. It's not as sad as the when the dog died and you were alone."
"Yeah," she replied, choking up. Hattie was my Mom's favorite of the two cats.
"But now would be a great time to get a dog," I joked. "Sorry. I shouldn't take advantage of you in your weakened state."
She laughed, and I got off the phone since we were nearing the ex-Whatever's house. The kids regaled me with the story of how "our cat's penis was clogged so we took him to the vet and he had his own litterbox so they could see if he peed and then his penis got unclogged and he came home and everytime we go to the pizza place we see where the cat stayed when he had a sore penis."
The kids piled out of the van when we got to the ex-W's house, examining his car as we waited for him to come outside. "It's doesn't look broken."
I feared for the safety of the baby and I on the way to Brookline as both the older kids I babysit and the ex-W were talking without pause for the entire ride, sucking all the oxygen out of the car. They invented a carnival ride based on pinball, something with a splashdown, and discussed places where the rides were fun. It never really dawned on me how childlike the ex-W can be until he was talking to me while the girl I babysit was talking to me, both of them enthusiastic and deeply involved in what they were saying. The ex-W was talking about what he did as a kid, and the girl I babysit was elaborating on her plan to make human pinball a reality. It endeared the both of them to me more.
We dropped the kids off (no doubt inspiring in the ex-W horrible visions of the two of us with actual shared babies) and waited for the ride to Maine. We got picked up and headed out of the city with the windows down. It was hot, but the wind blew my hair around and I listened to the classic rock station, listened to one of the friends singing along quietly and watched Boston slip away and become woods and rest areas. I wait all year for the hot days of summer, for driving out of the city to enjoy nature and libations, enjoying the warmth on my skin and everyone being relaxed.
We got to Maine around seven, and were surprised to see that the party, which had been going for several hours at that point, was still going strong. Kevin's friends played Stump (a drinking game involving wood, nails and a hammer which, yikes, dude) and Butchie's friends stood around drinking. Kristen's dad met me with an enthusiastic "Amy!" and an offer to have a beer and a hot dog. I love her family.
The ex-W and I started drinking, had some food and promised to have a throwdown by the end of the night. We're really good at drinking, pissing each other off and screaming at each other. This is why we don't date anymore, but it makes for an interesting evening. Kristen didn't feel well, so our hijinks weren't up to par. After drinking and eating, we decided to go swimming. The water was cool and felt good after the back sweat from sitting on the leather car seat had soaked through my dress. I got bruises from the Super Bouncer (a floating trampoline) up and down my thighs. They're still there. It looks like I got into a fight with a gnome. And got my ass kicked.
So the drinking continued until well after 1am. I had to pee, so I got up from the swing and made a run for the sliding door. Which I thought was open, but in my pee hysteria/semi-drunkenness, I plowed directly into a glass door. My head made the telltale "THUMP" loudly enough to get the attention of everyone sitting at the bar. I immediately started to laugh because, in the words of Emily Sailers, if you can't laugh at yourself, you'll cry your eyes out. Kevin, instead of asking if I was okay, pointed, laughed and said "Did you see that?" to everyone within sight. They had.
After raiding the kitchen at 2am for leftover kielbasa, we all fell asleep. I woke up at 8am with that illusory wakefulness that happens after a night of drinking. You wake up early, ready to face the day with the bushy tail and bright eyes, but then you stand up, realize the world is really, really bright and decide to sit back down again after being upright for about five minutes.
After a dip in the lake, we piled back into the car for the hot ride back into Boston. The ex-W and I got dropped off at his house since a) it's air conditioned and b) he had no way to get home from Brookline. We ended up taking a nap since we were both exhausted and didn't eat until 11pm. My body decided to revolt, so I started falling asleep on my plate as the ex-W talked about his quest for the perfect wooden chair for his living room.
I woke up today, not rested at all, my muscles screaming in agony from all the swimming and volleyball, head fuzzy from a lack of sleep and proper nutrition. Today's the company Red Sox game, so I have no choice but to attend. Tomorrow and the rest of the week will be freelance work after work. Other than the people I see every day at work, all my friends think I'm dead. I assure you I'm not. I'll just need to have to check myself into the hospital for "exhaustion," emerge twenty pounds thinner, gather myself up and take a nap. Then I'll be my vivacious self again. Promise.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Life is Hard, Man

God, when will The Man stop holding Oprah down?
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It's not easy being a billionare, people.
This just proves my theory that Oprah is no longer the everywoman that she portrays herself to be, but is in fact a petulant child who stomps her feet when she doesn't get her way. The store was closed, Oprah. Of course people were inside if there was a private event happening. Private means "not involving you." I know that you've made your millions violating your guests' private lives, so it must be confusing when the word means what it means. Store's closed, come back tomorrow, or shop online 24 hours a day. It's good enough for the millions of us plebeians who watch your show, so suck it up.
Also, if you need Tom Cruise and Pat O'Brien to come to your defense you've got way more problems than being a phony. Tom Cruise is not cute anymore. He was cute and charming in 1983. Now he's creepy and taking shots at women's issues. You must have done a show about post-partum depression in the past, so having the guy who "doesn't believe" in mental problems that millions of people deal with come to your defense may not be the best way to get in good with your audience. And Pat O'Brien? He's worse than one of the dumbass deadbeat husbands that Dr. Phil dragged on your stage. I'm sure you've done a show on creepy guys who call women endlessly and leave harassing messages. The slime you rally against is coming to your aid. Maybe that's your power, but it makes you look bad by association.
Also, according to your BFF, you described the experience as "humiliating." I think the language is a little strong, don't you? I've gotten to Target when the doors are closing and I'd call it more of a "pain in the ass" than "humiliating." Humiliating is a horrible haircut, evidence of your period on the seat of your skirt, or dancing on a couch on national television. A store not allowing you to shop after they've closed and are having a pre-planned private function? That's just playing by the rules.
I know that Hermes is going to kiss Oprah's ass and give her oodles of free handbags and she'll make some sort of racial/fat joke about the whole affair and the Hollywood sycophantary will be back in full effect. It's just nice to see that the rules for normal people sometimes apply to the rich and famous, with hilarious results.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Old Married Couple

I'm a bad ass, okay? I love 'em, I leave 'em. Playa 4 life. I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one. But this?

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This makes my ovaries jump to, makes me renew my subscription to Cosmo so I can learn how to dress, apply makeup and fuck to snag a man forever. Old married couples always make me schmoopy. There's just something about this picture-- sure, the dentistry could be better and I'm willing to wager his pants are pleated, but they're in love. They're not an angry couple that's together only because they don't believe in divorce. They're laughing, they're happy, they're still into each other.
My marital role models are my paternal grandparents. They've been together for a long time-- not eighty-two years, but a long time. For such different personalities, it's an amazing feat. My grandmother is a free spirit, a hippie before they had the name. She's creative. She paints, makes crafts, can create any character out of a dried gourd. She journals about when the birds first appear at her feeders, when it stops snowing, what grows best in her garden from year to year.
My grandfather is stoic. When I was a kid he intimidated me, with his loud voice and literal explanations for everything. He did weatherstripping until a few years ago. He's not much for cracking jokes until a few drinks are in him. He gets frustrated with my grandmother and she rolls her eyes at him.
"Hon, where's my wine?"
"B, I don't know. Caan't you find it?"
"Honey, I was just asking if you'd seen it. I can always get another glass."
But after they argue, she sits next to him at whatever family function, they hook arms and she pats his leg. He's not too affectionate in return, but it's obvious that if she didn't sit next to him and hold his hand he'd miss it. They're individuals, not the mind-meld, plural pronoun-only couples that are celebrated today. They spend time apart but always come back together. My grandmother buys him the tube socks he likes, even though it's a pain in the ass to find them. And despite my aspirations to be a tease, a chronic dater who jumps from guy to guy like a bee to flowers, this is what I want. I want to be old, in the house I bought sixty years ago, in ugly clothes with a hearing aid with the guy I love, being interviewed for a human interest story with young people reading it and hoping to have what I have someday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Baptists Are Going...

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To Disney World!
How sad it must be to live so close and not be able to go for fear of endangering your immortal soul because Disney gives benefits to the partners of gay employees. Thankfully that's over because, well, nothing changed, really. Maybe there is a God who finally answered the prayers of kids who had to go to The Holy Land Experience instead of MGM.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I am a Dingo

Sometimes it takes the perspective of a seven year-old. Monday night Kristen and I dropped her car in the driveway of the people I babysit for and their girl talked to me from the front porch.
"Why are you parking in our driveway?"
"We have to drive all the way to Connecticut tomorrow for our company party," I replied, with disgust in my voice.
"That sounds cool."
"Eh," I said, "it's not great. Some of our coworkers aren't much fun."
"Yeah, well," she said, "hanging out and eating food all day sounds better than work."
Theoretically, it is. Don't get me wrong-- given the choice of proofchecking all day or being handed a free Sam Adams on a sunny day near the ocean, I'll always take the beer and ocean. I just hate having to be nice to so many people at once. Usually during the day I have to schmooze only at the soda cooler. Our department has its own floor, so we're fairly self-contained. During the holiday party and CO, we need to be nice to everyone we seldom see. It's trying for us bookish types.

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Welcome to hell.
Kristen, KCee and I drove to Connecticut in Kristen's Soccer Mom Mobile armed with coffee, painkillers and croissants. We listened to the Black Eyed Peas and reviewed the office gossip. It's odd how much adult life mirrors high school. The cliques are still there, and it's disappointing because we've all been told it gets better after high school, that it's all relationship communism and we're all equals. Bullshit. In my office, there's the Mothers, the Bitter Singles, the Happily Marrieds/Relationshipped, the Young Professional Hipsters, the Elder Statespeople. There's some overlap, but it's pretty clear boundaries.
It was disappointing to see that the beer hadn't been set out when we arrived. Granted, it was 10am, but we'd been in Connecticut for hours at that point and needed to break up the monotony. Our carload found our usual posse-- the Seventh Floor. We sat on the stone wall, watching our coworkers attempt to toss a softball around. Two women who I never met could not connect the ball with the glove. Either they threw the ball about twenty feet above the other person, or they didn't understand that the glove must be closed around the ball to keep it from hitting the ground with a thud. Kristen and I wished we'd brought gloves so we could school them.
Some of our coworkers played the annual softball game, but the Bitter Singles broke off from the Seventh Floor clique and sat on the rocks that jut into the ocean. The weather was excellent-- the breeze was chilly, but the sun was warm. I sat in the sun with goosebumps trying to get some sun on my pasty skin. I succeeded-- my coworker told me she could actually see my skin change color before her eyes.
The best thing about my office is the free food. The pay isn't great (really bad if you're paying for the degree that got you the job) but the handouts are frequent. Leftovers from meetings, company affairs and, should worse come to worse, free ramen noodles are usually available. CO is no exception. Our office manager is a crack party coordinator. If party planners were government officials, she'd have a code name. When it was time for lunch, the beer was cold and people were prompt to wait in line for their food.
Some people, however, did not wait in line for food. I will preface my tirade with this-- I do not doubt that these women are good mothers. The kids in tow were happy, healthy and fairly nonplussed by the entire affair. But I was a hungry Bitter Single who'd been in a car for two hours. All I'd had since breakfast was the beer I chugged after coming in from the sun. I was crankier than a kid in church. Mother One cut in front of me, baby in her grasp.
"God, I'm so hungry," she said. "I'm always hungry after nursing."
I shot her a look, knowing that I wasn't making friends with someone I may well have to work with. But she was in my way. Hamburgers and salmon awaited, and she felt that bringing her child into the line was her pass to the front. I waited my turn. I'm hungry too. The end of the line was possibly fifteen people behind me. Bring some Triscuts with you if you know you'll be hungry after nursing and wait. I felt like an angry preschooler on the verge of a tantrum. "Sesame Street taught me to wait my turn and I HAVE WAITED AND YOU ARE NOT FOLLOWING THE RULES BIG BIRD SET FORTH."
Once Mother One got her food and scampered away, Mother Two dragged her preschool aged daughter to the front of the line, grabbed a plate and didn't excuse herself at all. I may have been a little more patient had she prefaced her cutting with, "Hey, I'm really sorry, but we were in the bathroom and she's diabetic and about to slip into shock" or something. But she just hopped in line, showing her daughter that cutting is acceptable and waiting for your hot dog like a normal person is not.
"Next year I'm bringing a kid," I said to KCee, who nodded.
I consulted with Another Mother this morning, who said that she'd have brought snacks to sate her kid's hunger until the line got shorter. She didn't seem as outraged as the Bitter Singles did. When I babysit, I don't use the kids to skip the line. Maybe if a bathroom emergency is at hand I'd ask, but for food? They can wait. If I'd tried to cut a line for food when I was a kid, my mother would hiss out of the corner of her mouth to wait my turn.
Once I got my plate of food and returned to the Seventh Floor table (minus a few people) I ate my lunch and sat through the office manager snapping pictures when I wasn't looking, undoubtably a collection of freeze frames of my mouth wide open, the hambuger being raised to my mouth will be on display when the film's developed. The President welcomed the newbies and thanked the Elder Statespeople for all their help. "We've all been through a lot," she yelled over the din of a passing train. "We stopped drinking, stopped smoking, stopped stressing so much, stopped doing drugs..." to which my Young Professional Hipster coworker and I laughed, imagining our senior editor blowing a line off the page proof of a college textbook.
We loitered for a while longer after the lunch and speeches were over, but hustled as quickly as we could out of the state of Connecticut. After recounting the tribulations of the day, the ex-WHW opined, "We have weekends for a reason. If you like your coworkers so much, you can see them then. The forced togetherness is horrible."
But at least it wasn't proofchecking.

A Mixed Blessing

It's that time of year again. Time to celebrate the founding of the Company by not working, schlepping all the way to Connecticut, playing nice with the NY office, drinking cheap beer and trying to hold together an ounce of professionalism in the face of an open bar. God willing, this will turn out alright. Will report back later.

Monday, June 20, 2005


Upon opening today, I was greeted with this headline:

Tom Cruise gets squirted
And I laughed.
Yeah, I know that he and Katie are "engaged." I keep posting about this because I think the end of days will occur if I keep expressing my general disgust with their "relationship." Perhaps we need a new word for them? Stuntship? The more I post, the worse it gets. I mean, the Eiffel Tower? Cliche, Tom. How about the Empire State Building? Or the Tower of London? Gitmo? Branch out a little, brother. I wager by next week Tom and Katie are pregnant, and will have a TV show on UPN documenting their love. Hell if I won't watch it. As long as it doesn't conflict with Being Bobby Brown.
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Oh Tom. We've all been there. Some jerks just like to get it on your face.

Still Love That Dirty Water

Dear Boston,

I know I cheated on you this week. I assure you that it didn't mean anything, that city with bright lights and severe insomnia. I went to meet good writers and talk about baseball. It was just temporary.
But I wouldn't be lying if I said that New York didn't hold some appeal. New York is a supermodel; flashy, beautiful, but doesn't really have a lot going for it other than the exterior. Boston, you're the plain girl with a heart of gold who'd do anything for me. You're steadfast and reliable, but it's nice to have the glamour sometimes. So take the following suggestions not as requirements. I'll still love you for your confusing streets, uneven cobblestone sidewalks and rabid sports fans. I just want you to try and improve yourself. I want only the best for you.
You need more 24-hour establishments.
You're home to tons of colleges and lots of young single people live in the greater Boston area. So why can I only think of two locations that are open all day? (South Street Diner and IHOP.) Is it some zoning thing? Sometimes a girl just wants a spinach and feta omelet at 2am. It's not yours to question why. I demand, you supply. If I've been at the bar I don't want to work with a hot pan and sloshy eggs. I want to sit in a booth, holding my head up by the sheer force of will until some kind spirit presents me with a plate full of greasy food to soak up the tequila.
You need more trains.
Yes, Kristen and I had problems getting around NYC on Saturday morning. But the rest of the time it was easy. We didn't wait long, the stops were fairly clearly marked. Why is it that I wait forever for a red line train? Also, you should totally do one of those "poetry in motion" things that NYC and London do and post some poems so when I'm "standing by" I have something to read. Boston's been home to many poets-- get on it. I also want 24-hour train service. Not a bus, not a shuttle, but a real train. It doesn't have to run as frequently as it does during the day-- one every fifteen minutes would be fine. It'll be helpful when I need to get to the diner.
Drink specials. We need them.
I've mentioned this before in reference to the midwest-- I want to have the option of drinking myself to death on Long Island Iced Teas for about $40. Kristen and I ate dinner and had several rounds of drinks at the bar on Thursday. We expected the tab to be near $70, but it came to $35. Thirty. Five. Dollars. American. Yeah, I know you have "Happy Hours" but that's just cheap nachos. I want beer for cheap. This is 2005. We're all big kids and know when to stop drinking. Sure, maybe for the first week or so we'd all need our stomachs pumped after imbibing a little too much but the strong would survive and reap the benefits.
Cabs should be cheaper.
If you can't give us 24-hour trains, why can't we have cheap cab fare to get home? I don't want to venture far from home because it'll cost me to get back. Kristen and I went on a twenty minute cab ride and it cost $15 with tip. Also, I want Boston to be crawling with cabs. It always seems that I can never find one when I need one, but I'm always trying to avoid near-death experiences with them at all other times. Also, as a note to both cities, why is it cab drivers never know where I'm going? In London they need to know every alley and street in the city before a driver can be licensed to drive a cab. That is a beautiful thing, so as to avoid ten minutes with the cab driver calling the hotel for directions for the confused tourists.
More bookstores.
Let me say this: I am in love with the Strand. I think I'm going to make bimonthly pilgrimages to NYC just for the half-price review copies. Brookline Booksmith has pretty good deals on out of date editions of books, but nothing like the Strand has. There are many bookish types in Boston-- a bookstore like the Strand would do well.

Boston, I love you. You are indeed my home, as evidenced by the fact that I embraced a steel support beam in South Station after exiting the bus. I just want you to try a little harder for me sometimes. I'm not going anywhere, baby.

Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Disjointed Thoughts of NYC in Verse Form

Eyes weighted by strangers faces
tired and wired simultaneously.
The subterranean rumble under tired feet
that don't stop
can't stop
the pulse of the city pounds
until body and city are the same.
The sun shines down but it can't be seen
everyone dances the stop go stop go go
of stoplights, shoes needing to be tied
Something to be bought
something to be consumed
something to be grateful for
something blinking, something blaring
something at all times.
For now it feels good to be lost
in the press of humanity and cement
dwarfed by the collective will
to build up, build beautifully,
to own the ground and the sky.
I wish it was the place for me,
twenty four-hour diners
half-price tickets
but a city needs its beauty sleep.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Happy Day After Flag Day, Indeed

Know how America stands for freedom? Know how the symbol of America is this?:

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Well, don't try doing this:
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Because it may soon be against the law.
Get this. We can't pass a law against lynching. In fact, the Senate just apologized this week for not passing legislation against lynching in the past. Not letting the measure fail once. Not twice. Not even fifty times. Two hundred times the Senate had various anti-lynching bills it could have passed, but didn't. Seven presidents tried to get the Senate to pass anti-lynching legislation, but it didn't. So the Senate has apologized, but not passed any laws against lynching, even if a symbolic gesture. Just an "oops, sorry" to the nearly 5,000 people killed in lynchings. So, in short, the Senate has the time to pass laws against this:
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But this
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is still not a federal crime. Let that sink in. You may be federally prosecuted for burning a piece of fabric that represents the United States, but if you mob-kill someone you're under your state's regulations. The only thing being hurt in a flag burning is some fabric and, in the case of the image above, that guy's fabulous white-trash mullet if the wind shifts. Flag burning is offensive but that is the point. Free speech can be offensive. Grow some balls, Senate, and protect the minority who wants the right to express themselves. Other people can call them traitorous assholes because that's their right under free speech. (I'd just call them uncreative, myself. Use your words, people.) Stop handing about apologies (not changing laws, but just saying "I'm sorry, so sorry") to various groups you've left to languish (the Native Americans are up next) and pay attention to what you're actively fucking up now.

These Vagabond Shoes are Longing to Stray

Imagine Sars as Jeter, and me as Johnny. Polite derision is the order of the evening.

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Beat the parade drum/ hit all the bars/ I want the moon and stars/ But I'll take New York... --Tom Waits

Perhaps meeting one of your favorite online writers should not happen when the plan is to discuss something you cannot disagree more on: baseball. Perhaps this is an especially bad idea given that you're voyaging into enemy territory to do so. Especially bad when going with your rabid Sox fan/Yankee detractor friend. But I'm young, feisty and the Yankees are sucking harder than a black hole right now so I'm fairly confident things will go well.
I love visiting New York, but the idea of living there makes me feel queasy, and not just for the obvious baseball-related reasons. New York is huge. The subway map has more colors and letters than a box of Alpha-Bits cereal. New York is more expensive than Boston. New York has fewer trees, more people, more noise. I enjoy feeling dwarfed by the size of the skyscrapers for approximately a day, then it starts to wear on me. There is one thing you have to give New York: people love to write songs about it.
Maybe it's the Woody Allen/immigrant ideal that makes New York such fodder for songwriting. For a hundred years, New York has been the place to go to "make it." Madonna lived there in the '80s and worked at Dunkin Donuts and ate popcorn for every meal. Writers, poets and playwrights try to work there. Trump branded his name all over the city. Things may be changing-- it seems most people that I know now view L.A. as the promised land with streets paved with silicone and gold. But not many songs have been written about L.A.
Yesterday the slow, torturous breakdown of Kristen's remaining sanity began with me singing "New York, New York" in an exaggerated Sinatra voice.
Kristen laughed politely.
"I'm so excited to go to New York again!" I said, clapping my hands in glee.
"I can tell," she replied in the tone of voice usually reserved for a kid going to Disney World.
Then I called our hotel to see which subway stop to take, and the very brisk receptionist told me to take the L. Then I started singing "L Train" by Shootyz Groove. "Riding on the L train/ I don't got no problems no more no more no/ Riding on the train/ Cruising on the L train/ I will reach my destination for sure I know..." Kristen pretended not to hear me.
Now I've got an annoying hybrid of the Ryan Adams song "New York, New York" (not the same as Ol' Frankie's) and the Tom Waits song "I'll Take New York" in my head. I wish that Boston had more songs written about it. "Dirty Water" is the first song that comes to mind, mainly because it's the most modern hit explicitly about Boston. "Please Come to Boston in the Spingtime" mentions Denver, L.A. and Tennessee as (far inferior) alternatives. I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but I'd love for someone to write a hit about contemporary Boston free of treacle and references to the costs of the Big Dig. Not an improv skit set to music-- a real song about what it's like to be in this city built on fill.
So wish us luck in NYC. Hopefully it'll be good times for both Kristen and I. I can only promise to attempt not to sing songs about New York for the entire bus ride to Manhattan. Take up a collection to post her bail if she kills me.

ETA: Oh yeah. And "No Sleep till Brooklyn." Because there won't be. Because it'll be daytime.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Hey, did you hear? I know it's buried in the back of the Globe and especially the Herald, but Michael Jackson's not guilty. I am an intrepid blogger, trying to get to the bottom of things for you.
Honestly, is this shocking? To anyone? The guy had a huge legal team that made a mockery of the evidence the prosecution presented. Why do we care? It's not like the OJ trial where it was pretty clear that OJ treated Nicole like shit for years, that there was blood in his car, that big neon signs showed that OJ had the capability to kill his ex-wife and her new boyfriend. It was this kid's word against Michael Jackson's, neither of whom have spotless backgrounds to work with. The kid and his mother had a history of asking celebrities for money to help with the kid's cancer treatments. Which, you know, sad thing the boy had cancer, but when kids in my hometown were sick we put on a play or did a steak fry to raise money. We didn't call up the cast of Providence or the Farrelly Brothers to give the kid money.
But Michael Jackson is a nutter. Any parent who allows their kid near him is a fool. Maybe he's a really nice guy-- I don't know. But a lot of really nice guys (ie, priests) have really bad predilections. I think Michael Jackson, despite his large wealth of money and talent, has lived a pretty sad life. His father isn't the nicest guy around, he grew up hugely famous and he's slid into irrelevance. All Michael Jackson has known for his entire life is fame and accolades, and now that he's not getting that it must have messed him up.
I'm just glad this trial didn't go on for a painfully long time like OJ did. It happened fairly quickly and I'm glad it's over. Hopefully Jackson will stay away from little kids for a while so we can live in peace. Or, maybe he could make a good album that will save us from the pop music doldrums.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Big News

So in the past twenty minutes, my constant refreshing of the Yahoo! main page to check my email (come on, the toolbar alarm isn't always accurate and PEOPLE NEED ME) and several items of note have come to my attention:

Katie Holmes is converting to Scientology. For the love of God, someone stop her. There needs to be some kind of bitch-slap/common sense asylum in Hollywood where a good New Englander with an once of sense slaps the shit out of these nutty L.A. twentysomethings. "Lindsay Lohan, don't you dare go in that bathroom. I know you just ate. And stop jumping rope to burn the calories... you'll get your spectacular God-given rack back if it's the last thing I do. Katie Holmes, you've been dating this guy for three months. Nevermind the icky father-figure issues, but you're willing to give up your religion for some freaky-ass Sci-fi Top Gun thing. After three months of dating? Do you know who's more normal than any of you girls? Angelina Jolie. She's homewrecking old-school style. So eat a sandwich, you skinny bitches, and stop being idiots. That'll be $5,000." If stars will pay thousands of dollars for doggie collars they'll certainly pay me to make them more normal. I'd like an agent, but without the sycophantic tone. So, Katie, please stop. Please. No matter what you do, he's still going to like men.

Destiny's Child is breaking up. This is no shock since the moment Beyonce humped Jay-Z in the "Crazy in Love" video the death knell of Destiny's Child rang in the form of a "Rocky" sample. It does make me a little sad (and a little angry that Beyonce's dad dragged bystanders into his daughter's career to launch her into success and leave them as R&B roadkill when she became strong enough to stand on her own) to see the group break up, since they gave us such gems as "Soldier," "Bug-a-Boo" and "Bootylicious." They gave me the power to love my body, y'all. So fare thee well, Michelle and Kelly. We'll see you on VH1 in a few years on a retrospective show.

The Michael Jackson Comeback Trial 2005 is almost over. I paid little to no attention to this complete waste of time because this trial is so 1993. If he's guilty, I won't be surprised. If he gets off (pun unintended but apt) I won't be surprised. Fame gets you far in this country, and the evidence against him doesn't sound that strong. I don't like any of the people involved so I just want it to be over so maybe we can elevate the public discourse to talk of Katie Holmes and whether or not porn should have its own domain name on the internet.

So let's gather around the television so we can tell our grandbabies where we were when the verdict of the Trial of the Century (so far) was read. I'll always have a special place in my heart for the OJ verdict (waiting for the school bus to leave at the end of the day, that Cute Kid running along the row of parked busses screaming "Not guilty!") so this is kind of "meh." Back to work...


Well, all I've got today is whining about the weather and vomit. I wish I had some deep and meaningful revelation this weekend that I could share with you, but instead I sat on the couch in the midst of a tequila-fueled hangover with my skirt hiked up, my tank top rolled up, arms spread wide apart to allow as much humid "air" onto my flesh as possible, watching "America's Next Top Model" reruns to keep the brain activity slow. I did housekeeping in waves. I had to wash the bedsheets because I foolishly drank to excess, ate a bunch of lo mein and barfed. I don't think I hit the sheets, and I thankfully missed the ex-WHW who was innocently (and relatively soberly) talking with me. I did, however, hit the floor and my rolly suitcase en route to the wastebasket. There is nothing better than putting your suitcase in the shower and hosing the lo mein and Red #40 off the canvas, especially after it had the afternoon the marinate in a steamy room. Except, you know, not barfing in the first place. But I needed to wash under my bed, and this provided me the perfect reason to do so.
I love my wastebasket. My friend bought it for me before I went away to college and it is with me still. At my Mom's house she has these wicker baskets in the bathrooms, so any loose deposits into the bin will end up on the floor. The wastebasket I have is a solid purple plastic number, so even if I've neglected to put a grocery bag in to line it, the bucket doubles as a puke holder. I thank the design wizards at Bed, Bath and Beyond for designing wastebaskets for the college freshman in mind. "Better make that thing so it holds liquid. Some college girl in Boston may drink too much and not have the presence of mind to get out of bed and run for the bathroom once she gets the spins."
But it was a good day before the puke. I drove Kristen's car down to RI to help my Mom clean my grandfather's bathroom to her liking so she'd be able to use it without gagging when her bathroom gets remodeled in a couple weeks. After sweating all over the clean bathroom, the Boston contingent met me at my Mom's and we drove down to Narragansett to enjoy the beach. I finally got a good amount of sun even though it was slightly overcast. I wish there were some way I could work from Rhode Island during the summer. When I lived there, I'd work at the daycare until 5, which left me a good three hours to enjoy the beach after work. Now I have to plan far in advance to get to Rhode Island, make sure the fleet of cars in my Mom's driveway is operational and get myself back to Boston in time to babysit or drink in Kristen's living room.
It was the ideal summer day on Saturday-- a minimum amount of work; a new CD in the stereo; friends chatting as you drive along, telling them stories about the stretch of road where you puked when you were three and on your way to the clam shack and got motion sick in the backseat of your Mom's new station wagon; taking a shower and washing the sand off your slightly red skin; driving with the windows open after the sun set; meeting new people (hi, watergirl!); not being entirely a grown-up.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dork Crown is in the Mail

From the Pete Bouchard files.
Oh. My. God. You guys. Check this shit out:

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I am an official member of the Pete Bouchard fan club. Well, you know. It's kind of like an Army of One. My friend Alicia showed me this gem as we drove around Newbury Street looking for a place to park and get our nails done.
"I told Pete 'Pete, my friend Amy really loves you. She watches you every day, so can you autograph one of those pictures you have of yourself for crazy people for her? It would make her month.'"
Sadly enough, it pretty much did. I realized it's a 5 x 7, so I popped that sucker in a frame as soon as I got it home. Pete's currently sitting on my stereo, smiling at me, thanking me for watching. I am far too excited about this. I think I'll send him a thank-you email, because I am that lame (or polite, depending on your view).
Hee. Pete Bouchard said I rock. Awesome. And he sang a song as he signed the crazy people head shot about Amy, which I wish I could have heard.
Also, check out today's weather writeup on channel 7's website:
Speculate on the Arlene's strength at landfall? I'd rather wear assless chaps and drive a moped to Bike Week. Suffice it to say, given the "cooler" early season water temps in the Gulf of Mexico, Arlene should stay below hurricane status.

That is not hot, but the mental image of a whitle, balding meteorologist riding through Laconia with the Harley guys is hilarious.
Happy Friday, indeed!


Somebody should help the girl. I hope they donate some proceeds to the cause:
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Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Okay, okay! I am a good American. I will go see Mr. and Mrs. Smith as soon as possible! Just shut the hell up about Angelina and Brad! Angelina and Brad. Angelina and Brad. Brad and Angelina. Billy Bob. Jennifer. Brad and Angelina. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Trees. Bees and birds.
Listen, I don't give a shit who tied up whom, I don't care if Brad was boning Angelina while still married to poor spinster Jennifer Anniston. They're beautiful people. Breathtaking. Both of them. Do I care about their lives? Would I Google search them to find as many details as I can about what they eat, where they vacation, how they stand when next to each other in public? No. But everytime I load or Yahoo! I cannot help but be deluged with links to the latest bit of gossip about Brad and Angelina. I'm hearing their names in my sleep. Brad and Angelina. I am sick of looking at them, together or individually. They are people. Just people. Named Angelina and Brad. They make movies. They play dress-up and pretend and get paid more than the President to do so. You know who else plays dress-up? Kindergarteners and transvestites. They don't get put on the cover of US Weekly or People or inSight or Star.
The mission has been accomplished. Despite my fortitude, the advertisements have broken me down. Brad's chisled and handsome face, Angelina's captivating eyes. I cannot. Look. Away. I. Will. Shell. Out. $10. To. See. The. Movie.
...Katie and Tom can keep trying, but there is no way I am going to see either Batman or War of the Worlds. At least Brad and Angelina don't have herpes. This week.

Up in Smoke, Rhody-Style

I love when my home state sticks it to the Man like the state's founding fathers did.
A scant day after the Supreme Court said it would not interfere with the prosecution of severely ill patients who use marijuana to relieve their suffering, the RI Senate passes a bill to allow ill patients to use pot under a doctor's supervision. Governor Don "Fuck Your Retirement" Carcieri said he will veto the measure, but the Senate has the votes to override.
Pot's not my thing-- I have bad lungs so I cough like an asthmatic in a burning building when I inhale smoke. The time I tried it, I sat on my front stoop with a bag of Pirate's Booty and a glass of orange juice, noshing like mad as the cops drove by to make sure the row of college kid apartments wasn't in a riotous wreck. I felt tired and hungry which is how I feel all the time anyway. Give me the inhibition-lowering power of hops and ferment any day.
But if I were sick and didn't want to feel pain, I'd be learning how to smoke without hacking up a weak lung. Leave people alone-- if little kids aren't smoking up on the monkey bars during recess, who cares? If people want it, fine. So good job, Rhody. I am proud to be a native of your fabulous shores.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

::slaps forehead::

This is the best you could do, Democrats?
Jesus, I know you were all higher than John Lennon at Bob Dylan's house in Amsterdam during the '60s, but the best you could do was run a candidate whose grades were even worse than Dubya's? A man who cannot pronounce "nuclear?" A man who nearly killed himself with a pretzel? A man who was becoming an alcoholic crack fiend while at Yale? Kerry got worse grades than that clown? Kreeeist.
I know it's not feasible, but isn't Hillary looking better and better by the day? If you're going to run an indecisive guy who nearly failed Political Science, you may as well run someone with brains who has the unfortunate circumstance of having a cooter. God knows grades aren't everything, but, come on. If I'd graduated from college with a 76 average, my mother would have kicked my ass. Hillary's mom probably would have too.

D.C.: Where Idealism Goes to Die

I am not a politician by nature. Sure, Leos are supposed to be great schmoozers, great butter-uppers, great at working a room and I guess I am, to some extent. But I use this skill to a) find a boyfriend or b) make friends with someone who will help me find a boyfriend c) get myself out of trouble. The idea of showing up at work, calling people who have no interest in talking to me, fielding letters from angry old ladies and pot-smoking liberal arts students and trying to stick to my ideals in the face of large sums of money to just fucking forget it isn't my cup of tea.
Until Friday, I'd never been to D.C. Somehow I avoided weekend-long field trips in high school (since I wasn't in band) and never made it down during college. Since my Mom and I were driving right through on our road trip, we decided to spend the afternoon in our nation's capital. My mother clung to the door, flinching as I navigated the traffic by Union Station and didn't relax until I parked her SUV in a narrow parking spot and turned the car off. We went into the station to find the trolley tour. My Mom has near-crippling arthritis in her right hip (the left hip was replaced last year). We navigated the train station slowly as she limped along. It was difficult for both my Mom and I-- she's relatively young, so she gets frustrated with the lack of mobility and I get frustrated because we can't do as much. So we decided to take a trolley tour that would bring us by all the monuments we wanted to see without walking.
After scarfing down a wrap, we waited in the drizzle for a less-crowded trolley to come along. One finally came, and we boarded the trolley. Our driver's name was Butch (not Butch of the South Shore, Boston, but Butch of The South, USA). He was amiable enough, but my Mom had a hard time understanding him with his low voice and heavy Southern accent.
We pulled out of Union Station, Butch navigating the thick traffic expertly in the large green and orange bus. The Capitol Building came into view in pieces through the trees. As we got closer, Butch stopped the trolley at a checkpoint.
"We're about to be boarded, y'all," he informed us in a conspiring tone, "just hang tight."
Butch opened the door to the federal agent, who literally climbed onto the bottom step of the bus, peeked his head up like an infant playing peek-a-boo, scanned the bus with his blue eyes, saw that no brown people were on the bus, nodded to Butch and allowed us to pass. Before the agent left the bus I was laughing and my Mom was rolling her eyes.
"Good thing I tucked the dynamite under my sweater this time," I murmured to my mother. She shushed me, but she was laughing.
The Capitol is huge. It looks big on television, but when it's right in front of you it cuts a much more imposing figure than the wide pan on NBC Nightly News leads you to believe. That much white marble, that many white pillars and a dome huger than Lindsay Lohan's bobblehead are scary sights to behold. I guess the earlier inhabitants decided to make everything grandiose and huge to intimidate any invaders who may pass through. "That's a big fucking building, you guys. Let's just trash the Gap instead."
"At one end of Pennsylvania Avenue is the Capitol Bulding," Butch said, "and on the other end is the White House. You used to be able to see one from the other, but Andrew Jackson put a building in the way. He didn't want to see no 'rapscallions in Congress' from the White House. Now if y'all know what a rapscallion is, please let me know. I don't know what no rapscallion is, but I know that the man didn't like the people in Congress. So that's where the treasury building is."
We went by the Japanese-American Soldiers of World War II monument, which is also the monument to people who died in internment camps. We drove by the Washington Monument. We drove by the World War II memorial. The Jefferson Memorial. The FDR Memorial. The Korean Memorial. The Vietnam Memorial. Ford's Theater. Memories of dead people everywhere. As Butch played a clip on Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech over the speakers I got a little choked up. I saw the huge monuments to men who gave their lives to America, who worked hard in that city to make America the place that idealists believe it can be-- a place of equality, where everyone is taken care of, where people are as close to equal and free as they can be-- and thought about Dr. King, who worked so hard and was killed for his beliefs. Then I thought about modern politicians, who play only to their popularity, who try to rock the boat as little as possible. There are some politicians who try to stick to their beliefs. Howard Dean gets into trouble bimonthly for saying something inflammatory about the Republican party. In my very short visit in D.C., it seems to me that idealism dies in that town. People go with the best of intentions, but the weight of the marble buildings and the raging tide of "just do what's best for you and say the right things and someday you'll be President, boy!" pulls them away and a) burns them out or b) turns them into the same mindless suit-wearing drones on 24-hour news channels.
I'm down on America a lot of the time-- my room has more United Kingdom paraphanalia than a tourist store in Heathrow airport, I make endless toothless redneck jokes-- but I really want America to be what it set out to be. I want America to be a place where people can make their own choices about reproduction, about who they marry, about what God they believe in or don't believe in. This country is like a particularly bright student who just doesn't give a shit-- America has all the potential to be great and squanders it on pointless wars and poll numbers. I love this crazy country, with it's Bible-thumpers, the housewives, the ruthless businesswomen, the frustrated writers (whoot!), it's go-get-'em attitude, french fries, drive-through liquor stores, endless television violence but no televised boobies. I like that we're weird and annoying, but I want us to try to better ourselves and lead by example for real.
Then our little orange and green trolley drove by the White House. Oddly enough, the White House looks much more imposing and grand on television than it does in person. It's on a hill, but it looks dinky compared to the Capitol.
"The flag's on the roof," Butch said with reverence in his voice, "which means the President is at home."
Most of the bus oohed and snapped pictures, but I found the one lull in noise to make an audible wild animal hiss in the direction of the White House. I figured I wouldn't be that close to Shrub for quite some time, so I decided to send the bad vibes his way while I was within earshot of the secret service super-tuned microphones. Thanks for fucking with social security, a woman's right to choose, stem cell research and church and state separation, jerk.
Butch drove by some more museums, but it was getting late and my Mom was wincing from sitting on the hard seat for an hour and a half so we didn't get a chance to stop and see anything. I'd like to return to D.C. on a day when it's not consistently drizzling and I have the chance to walk around these huge monuments to dead idealists. I hope that the idealists are still around, trying to change America for the better.

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Sadly, the rain prevented me from my dream of sitting on the Capitol steps and singing "I'm just a bill" very quietly. I'm just a bill, yes I'm only a bill, and I'm sittin' here on Capitol Hill...

Monday, June 06, 2005


Oh, Lindsay.
Lindsay Lohan, once my favorite kiddie actress (the Olsen who?) is now a sad shell of her former self, both literally and figuratively. Look at this:
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And look at this:
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Girl needs to eat a damn sandwich. I know the fine ladies over at Go Fug Yourself have been on her and those Olsen girls to eat, but the obsession with Hollywood worshipping malnourished women is disturbing and needs more voices to the chorus. Lindsay Lohan is a naturally beautiful woman. She's got amazing red hair and curves in the right places. She's got a great smile and, up until recently, didn't look like a walking famine like her friends Nicole and Paris. Her face looks hideous and pointy as it is now-- she looks way better with her round face. Jeans don't look good on stick-figure women (nor do red dresses, apparently) because an ass is necessary to carry them off. I can only hope Lindsay's mother gets some time off from avoiding her stalkerish ex-husband to smack some sense into her daughter. Mother Lohan, do it gently so you don't break anything.
And, Lindsay, the paparazzi will think you're an easy target if you're too weak to run away. Jesus.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Another White Dash

Just got back from my trip South with my Mom. Both of us are tired, but in high spirits. I think I have carpal tunnel from holding the steering wheel for 900 miles. A new and oddly placed callous cropped up on my foot where my flip-flop rubbed when I accelerated. We didn't do as much as I would have liked (limited by time and my mother's arthritis) but we saw a great deal. I hope to write something more articulate when I haven't been in a car for 12 hours, but here are some initial thoughts.

  • New England needs to get better with their rest stops. Some of the fabulous rest areas/service plazas of the mid-Atlantic states are inspirational. Rest stops in New England seem like places where sexual predators lurk in wait for you. The places in New Jersey seem like bustling hubs of commerce. People pee. People buy more drinks. People buy "Jersey Girl" shot glasses. People learn about famous New Jersians. In New England, you get a seedy McDonalds employee saying "I'll give you sumthin' to remember Connecticut by, baby. Here's my number."
  • I love living in New England. I love that people are into healthy food and not frying all of God's creatures and serving them with fries. I love that people don't swat their kids in public. I love that people here don't get into a hot tub and moan rapturously, "Thank the LORD" in a way that leads you to believe that she thinks God is actually logging a call from Housewife en route from Pennsylvania to South Carolina thanking Him for the mediocre hot tub in a skeezy Holiday Inn. I love our Godless people who take the Lord's name in vain more than they take Tylenol at the thought of traffic.
  • As much as I am captivated by New York City and as much as I'm looking forward to visiting in a couple weeks, I am so glad I don't live there. After spending about 2 hours in traffic on the Cross-Bronx Expressway and/or the George Washington Bridge, I'll take a backup on Storrow Drive any day. I don't think that humans are meant to live in apartment buildings that huge in such a small place. It's a fascinating place, New York. But that dirty water calls to me every time.
  • Washington, DC is the saddest place I've ever been.
  • Ponderosa kind of sucks. But anyplace where I can eat unlimited corn isn't so bad.
  • As much as I complain about being pudgy, it's really not so bad in the grand scheme of overweight people in this country.
  • Whenever an IKEA crosses the horizon, I will freak out, clasp my hands, and squeal.
  • Fuck toll roads.
  • Fuck toll bridges.
  • Fuck inexplicable traffic in Bumblefuddle, MD.
  • I have learned that the sense-of-direction gene is on the father's side. My mother sat in the passenger seat for 900 miles, clasping the door and wondering how I knew where I was anytime we came to any split or exited the highway. "You're so good," she'd say, patting my shoulder. While it's a small thing, it's always good to hear your Mom say you're skilled at something.
With that, I must go to bed so I am ready to (hopefully) get to the beach tomorrow since it's allegedly going to be fantastic.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


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So I'm going on vacation with my Mom. My coworkers have asked me who I'm going with, and they can't decide whether to flinch or smile when I tell them. No younger brother since he's got work and school. No other person who doesn't remember where she was when Kennedy was assassinated. Your beloved writer friend and her fiscally responsible mother are hitting the road.
We also don't know where we're going. I've been phenomenally busy at work lately (I didn't take a lunch break, people!) and that's usually where I do my research for travel. Last summer I went out West with Stephanie, and my Mom and I have never been further South than New York (unless you count flying to Florida, which I don't). So we're going to attempt to drive South until my breaking foot wears out or her severely arthritic hip cannot stay in one place any longer.
It's definitely going to be a clash of personalities. My Mom likes to have everything planned out and under control while I am far more comfortable with the idea of stopping when I get tired or going on a 200-mile detour to see a giant pink cow statue. I've assured her that we'll be able to find accommodations without booking them a week in advance. I'm also sure we'll be able to find something to do that will accommodate her bad hip and my desire to get out of the car and move.
Wish me luck. Unless we find a hotel with a computer room or something, I'll be incommunicado until next week sometime. Hopefully a beautifully written epic travel essay will be posted upon my return. Failing that, a string of cuss words and the news I've been disowned.