Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Arrivederci, bitches

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My bags are packed (mostly). I'm ready to go. I leave on a jetplane in less than twenty-four hours.


I love guidebooks. I still have the Let's Go from London when I went in 2002, and I like keeping them as a memory of what a city was when I went there. I have been reading my Rick Steves guidebook today. I recently got into Rick Steves (damn you, PBS!) and I prefer his writing style to the Let's Go book Alicia bought (at my encouragement). Rick Steves reads like a storybook, a promise of all the adventures you'll have. Let's Go is more of a factual, occasionally funny look at a city. As my neighbors played their chords long into the night, I talked to the Whatever about the merits of Rick Steves.

"That guy has the best job ever," the Whatever said. "You should aspire to that kind of travel writing."

"No kidding. I hate him. But he does wear pleated pants a lot, and I can't do that for any job."

"He also gives off a hint of a child-molester vibe."

"Yeeeeeeah," I sighed. "He does. But his tour book is great."

"'The best little boys come from France.'"


"Are you packed yet?" The Whatever asked.

"NO! I mean, I have stuff in my suitcase, but there's way too much stuff. I have to unpack it and actually think about what I need. I am having a meltdown over here. WHICH WOULD ABATE IF MY NEIGHBORS SHUT THE FUCK UP!"

"Well, you said they go to Berklee. They must play whole songs from time to time."


"You know," the Whatever said, attempting to change the subject, "I watched a woman give packing advice on Rick Steves' television program, and she said to bring a scarf. It was really quite lovely. Like a sarong."

"I don't want to wear a sarong. That doesn't work in a city. And I'm not a fifty-year-old woman."

"There is nothing wrong with a scarf. Rick Steves said so."

So tomorrow I depart for Italy, sans sarong. I do not plan to update from there since I am not that huge a dork, and will not be able to tear myself away from cappuccino(not after 11am!) or wine (anytime after 11am) to be bothered to find an internet café. But I have a digital camera (thanks, Mom) and a notebook, so hopefully I will have many good stories to tell upon my return. Have a good week, y'all, and I'll meet you back here in cyberspace sometime in March.

Dinks and the T

Let me say this: The T will pry the $.25 extra per ride out of my ass, because I am not giving it up easily.

I left the gym last night at 6:30 and walked through the blistering winds to Copley. The Feminine Mystique came out, I leaned against a post, and waited for my C train. One came after about ten minutes, but it was kind of crowded and I didn't feel like cramming myself in. I'll just take the next one, I thought.

God, what an asshole I am. Of course, there were no trains for ten minutes. Then the next one laboriously chugged into the station, letting out a hiss when it stopped, and emitted a puff of smoke. People actually tried to get on the train, which had no branch displayed on the front and was puffing smoke, but of course it went out of service. After another few minutes, the broken train lugged itself off the platform to my slow clap. Then the parade of backed up trains came through, of which the C train brought up the rear. I did get a seat, so I grumpily sat and continued reading.

At Hynes, a scrubby Berklee student got on the train, stood by the door, blocking the large crowd's entry with his guitar backpack and laptop bag. He scowled at the passengers until he figured out that he's a dink, and he moved back. Yeah, I'd love to pay an extra quarter for the pleasure of my commute. I began to wish I'd walked home and suffered frostbite.

We pulled into Coolidge Corner, and the driver expressed the train to Cleveland Circle. I actually was moved enough by this to roll my eyes and murmur "Jesus Christ" and joined the rush to the blustery cold outside. Slowly, the train pulled out and the next one came up. I got back on, face on full bitchface mode, and practically ran to my apartment.

And the dink who blocked the doors at Hynes? Is none other than my dink upstairs neighbor who loves to practice his guitar at loud volume ALL GODDAMN NIGHT. I may not attend Berklee, but I know that amps come with headphone jacks. Learn how to use it, you scrubby, ugly, inconsiderate ass. Yeah, you have long hair, but your Mom stuck up for you when we complained to you about the noise. You are nothing but a spoiled brat, and I am counting the days before I move out and pray the porch collapses during one of your keggers.

I need my vacation. Now. It is too cold to live here right now.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Suze and Me

My Mom loves watching Suze Orman. I do not love Suze Orman, mainly because I am of the mind that people who are over the age of forty should not attempt to use "hip kid" phrases or dress like said "young people" and Suze Orman does both these things. I also didn't like that she threw her "it makes good financial sense" endorsement behind a certain car company a few years ago since that made a major conflict of interest in my mind. In any case, I do own her book for the hip kids, and when my Mom watches her show when I'm home, I'll watch with her.

Saturday's show was about buying real estate. Suze gave a rough guide to inform viewers when they should consider buying a house. The formula she gives is monthly rent, times twelve, times twenty. So, take your yearly rent, multiply it by twenty years, and you should be looking for a property for about that price. As an experiment, I did this this morning, and it turns out I could afford a house/condo that costs $150,000.

Yeah, okay.

Then I decided to see what's going for $150,000 on craigslist in Boston. The results are not pretty. The first ad that comes up is an ad for online forclosed property auctions. Uh-huh. Another choice listing is a two-bedroom trailer in Ayer. My personal favorite is an ad for literal shacks for sale on the South Shore.

If you step outside 128 and head for my home state, things get a little better. A cute 2-bedroom in Providence. But then I'd have to invest in a car and a huge T Pass, so that shoots down all the money I'd save anyway.

I'd also like to know what these people who call Suze do. One girl called, and she was 24-years-old and owned a condo someplace, and she's making about $80,000 a year. What is she doing? How do I get in on that action? I could afford to pay my student loans AND a mortgage with that kind of money.

Cold and Colds

Good Christ it is cold outside. Not in the "I have a touch of the gooseflesh" cold, but in the "I would skin the goose's flesh to warm myself" cold. Of course, it couldn't hold off until I dragged my laundry back from Rhode Island to get cold. I don't know what I want to bring yet, so I decided I would wash all of it. My grandfather also gave me a gallon of Southern Comfort that he didn't want, so I had a lot to carry. I managed to convince the Whatever to pick me up at Back Bay (I couldn't convince him to come all the way to Little Rhody, sadly) which was a huge help. I had spicy calamari at a sushi place for dinner, but I was still cold.

That, and everyone is sick. My coworker's cute baby had the stomach flu. Another coworker is hacking up a lung. My roommate may have bronchitis. I am going to become one of those people on the train who wears a surgical mask and washes their hands compulsively. Every time I get near a sink, I wash with scalding hot water and soap. Then I come back to my desk and lube my hands up with Neutrogena hand cream which is made of every type of petroleum known to man. Still, my hands split and are very susceptible to paper cuts. I am also freebasing Zicam. I have that tired, droopy-eyed, kind of scratchy throat thing that could be a cold, but could also mean I need to go to the gym since I haven't been since Thursday.

I finally got my last 1099, so I had to go outside and mail the forms to my Mom so she can bring them to the accountant this week. I walked down Stuart Street, tears forming in my eyes and instantly freezing. I was wearing a cashmere sweater, a wool sweater and my coat, but it felt like I had nothing on. I dragged my ass to the Dunkin Donuts a few doors down and felt like I'd just walked the arctic. Unfortunately, the coffee tastes like ass and is only lukewarm. I think I may sleep in the office tonight. But I will rally, and I will drink the SoCo until I fall asleep tonight (hopefully around 8pm) and be well for my trip. If I am not well, I do not care. I have sick time for when I get back. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to snort more Zicam and explain myself to the perplexed stares of my coworkers.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Now I am Stoked

I am in the fine state of Rhode Island as I write this. My Mom has gone to bed, and my brother has yet to return from work, so I'm experiencing the joy of a quiet house. It used to be my favorite time of night when I was a teenager, when everyone was asleep or busy with other things and I got some time to myself.

I came down to have dinner with my grandparents before I left for Italy. It's the winter doldrums at my grandmother's house. Before Christmas, she busies herself with making crafts to sell at shows. In recent years, she's taken to making Santa Clauses and snowmen out of gourds. They're beautiful, intricate, difficult things to make and take up a lot of her time. In the spring and summer, she tends to her garden. But after New Years until there's a reliable thaw, she's bored out of her mind, so she's taken to filling her time with cooking instead of the cleaning she always says she's going to do.

We never know what she's making until we get there. Unless it's someone's birthday, we're at her mercy. My Mom, brother and I arrived around 7:30 and went into the warm house. We ate some cheese spread my grandmother made until she announced it was time for dinner. She started us off with a salad. It had eggs, shrimp, avocados and sesame seeds spread on baby spinach. It was heavy and filling, but tasted delicious.

"Mom, this would make a great summer meal," my aunt commented. "Definitely keep the recipe."

My grandmother nagged us to eat the rest of the salad, which we mostly refused. "Come on, guys. If I'd known you'd be this way, I would have invited Aunt Vi."

Aunt Vi is my grandmother's aunt. She's about ninetysomething and skinny, but she eats and drinks more than any of us, raving about how delicious everything is. Somehow, on my father's side, there are a number of women named Violet. My grandmother's sister is also a Violet, which gets confusing at Christmas when there is "Auntie Vi" and "Aunt Vi."

Then came the main meal. White fish wrapped around stuffing, potato casserole, Ceasar green bean casserole and bread. The wine went around the table, my aunt making cracks at Sam about how he'd soon be old enough to partake of the drinks with us.

"So when do you leave for your trip, Amy?"


"Wow. Your uncle and I are going to California for the wedding, and to see Topotu. Well, we haven't so much been invited to the wedding, and there hasn't been a birth announcement yet, but we're going out for a week anyway. And your cousin just got back from San Francisco and he was sick as a dog before he left. Hey, Mom, where is Glass Beach? Is that near where we'll be?"

"Oh, hun, I'm not sure. Honey," my grandmother said, patting my grandfather on the arm, "what's the name of that town that Glass Beach is at?"

My grandfather looked at her for a minute as she rubbed her face, sounding out words to guess at the name. "Berna... no, F... F something, something military, Fort something..."

"Do you want me to tell you, or do you want to guess?"

"Give her a clue, Dad!" My aunt piped up.

"First letter, sounds like..." my grandmother murmured.


"Hmmm..." she said, rubbing her face more, the skin on her arms thinner than I remember, "Bro... Bragg!"

"Ding ding! That's it."

"Heeey!" We all clapped for her epiphany.

We talked about the Olympics, and I think I scarred my grandfather by mentioning that all the figure skaters are so small because they're all muscle and haven't hit puberty yet, even though they're in their twenties. He laughed, as did my grandmother, until tears streamed down their faces.

"Wow, Amy," my grandfather said. "That's... something." Which is the equivalent of Kristen's theory that, when you hang out with me, there is always a point in the evening when some line of taste and decorum has been crossed, and she then says "...And there it is."

"Well, it's true," my aunt said.

"That's why she said it," my Mom said. My grandmother wiped the tears from her eyes.

We talked more over the pie and coffee that nobody really had room for. They grilled me on my Italian skills ("Hey, do you know 'get away from me, you creep'?" my aunt asked) and when I'd be back. My grandmother mentioned how the doctors tested her for dandruff to ingrown toenails and everything between and she was fine. "They put me on that treadmill for the stress test and they had it on such an angle I may as well have been climbing Everest and I was fine." I resumbit my plea to the universe that I take after the paternal side in graceful old age as well as physical appearance. I'd love to be damn near eighty years old and able to strip the wallpaper from my bedroom and ace the stress test.

My grandmother slipped me some cash as I was getting ready to leave, and I thanked her effusively. It's a small thing, but it really helps me out. My family called out to me, wishing me a safe trip. I drove out, beeping twice at the end of the driveway as is our tradition, and was extremely thankful for my nutty family.

I think I'm starting to get excited. I got my final 1099 in today (I think, I hope) so I can get my tax stuff ready and hopefully figure out my tax bill. I bought my adapter for the international plugs, some black pants to wear on the plane, a lock for my suitcase in case I buy any fantastic Gucci or Prada something-or-other, and watched a show on the Food Network about Giada De Laurentiis and her tits' trip to Italy. I am going to eat gelato and drink wine until I puke. I am going to throw coins in the Trevi fountain. I am finally going to step foot on the European continent. Sweet. Fuck money, I am going to see and do it all. I am going to buy Alicia a birthday card in Italian. How cool is that? If it works out, I am going to ride on a Vespa with someone, a la Roman Holiday. And, oh, eat. And see cool art. Like Apollo and Daphne.

Well, my brother is home, and his friends are looking for him on the internets, so I'd best get ready for bed. Maybe I'll read my old yearbook. Or just pass out in my twin bed of yesteryear.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Good news.

Bad news.

America, I love you. I tear up at the National Anthem when it plays at sports events. You do have beautiful spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountains majesty, and fruited plains. But unfortunately you also have a lot of people who are so blinded by their own beliefs and by the idea that they are absolutely correct in everything and their values should be the code that everyone lives by. I'm not saying I love abortion. I'm not saying that all groups that support religious, abstinence-only sex-ed shouldn't exist. What I am saying is the government should keep itself the hell out of these groups. As long as a doctor isn't recklessly performing unsafe abortions, which will happen if Roe v. Wade is overturned, they should be allowed to do so without fear of prosecution. I love the tourist dollars that come into Massachusetts, but I do not want those tourist dollars to come from women coming here from South Dakota for abortions. (I want it to be from gay people coming here to get married. Suck it, conservatives!)

I love how it's always men who get in on this anti-abortion legislation. I'm sure there are women who support this measure (somehow) in the South Dakotan legislature, but the governor is a little dink to not veto this thing. It will be a great day when policy-making men are forced to get raped and wear a sympathy bump for nine months to simulate what a horrible experience that is for a woman. Or they must tell their parents that they were careless and got knocked up, and now there's another mouth to feed.

Legislate my Love

The Globe's Ellen Goodman writes about the state of Kansas' law that any sexual activity in children under the age of sixteen, even with another teenager, is sexual abuse. Of interest is this little tidbit:

There was also the testimony of Dr. Elizabeth Shadigian, best known as a stalwart of the abortion-gives-you-breast-cancer misinformation campaign. She said that teenage girls are always the victims of sexual activity because ''there's always a power differential between a boy and a girl." When girls have sex, they aren't doing, she said, ''they have been done to."


I don't even know what to make of this. Is a courtroom the best place to argue about the motivations of sexual behaviors between teenagers? Because some girls I went to high school with were just as good at "doing to" a boy than any jock or Kid Who Plays In All the Bands. Are we so reactionary that we have to overcompensate so much, to hold up the super-conservative ideals and hope that kids fall somewhere between reproductive Fort Knox and Boston Public Library ("Free for All")? Is it possible to legislate a teenager's sexual behavior? Should it be possible to legislate anyone's sexual behavior? What is normal teenage sexual behavior? Does the same thing apply to adults? If we're doing it before our wedding days, does that mean we're sexually abusing a peer? I am asking a lot of questions because I have no solid answers to this.

Goodman also uses the phrase "sexually inert" which is something that belongs on a t-shirt. "No, I'm not seeing anyone right now. I'm sexually inert."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Make it Work

They're making me work for my pay today, so I've been busy. Not much to report anyway. I'm still not completely psyched for my trip yet, but hoping discussing where we want to visit tonight will help that along. I'm in a bit of a funk-- my financial woes, apartment instability and various existential debates are keeping me from being cheerful. I seem to get these midwinter blues every year, but I don't know if a sun lamp will cure what ails me.

Sadly, it's not friends or family that cheers me up as much as I need. Know what does? Exercise, and Project Runway. Last night was the "reunion show" and it was the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. The Whatever called to congratulate me on my rejection letter, and I tried to explain how awesome the program is, but it doesn't quite translate if you haven't seen it. He doesn't believe me, but it is amazing. Bravo reruns it about 700 times a week, so be sure to catch it. Between Evil Santino's impression of Tim Gunn (who is my new crush, and yes, I know he's gay and yes, I know he's old; fuck you, I don't care) singing Nine Inch Nails and the montage of Andre's dramatics, I left Marianne's apartment with a smile. Nevermind the efforts of my real friends to cheer me. It was that, and hot Ace on American Idol's rendition of "Father Figure" that made my night.

I think I need some "sad bubble medicine," as my Mom calls it. Or perhaps a trip to Italy...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My First

I had a long day yesterday. Somehow, I scheduled everything I needed to get done before I go to Italy on one day. My eyebrows were perilously close to overtaking my face, so I made that appointment. I made an appointment for a massage for my next article. I had something that absolutely had to get done at work yesterday, and of course it was fucked up and I needed to fix it. I got it done, left work, had my hairs plucked from my face, and headed for Inman Square. My hatred for Cambridge continued unabated as Inman Street was not marked, leading me on a cold five-minute detour. I stomped down the street, cranky, having the "I've been here drunk before" feeling, and needing to pee.

I found the place, and it was relaxing. I sat in a hot tub for twenty minutes, which was nice. Unfortunately, the magazine's photographer came in and took pictures of me sitting in the tub, which was kind of weird. I always wondered how the girls on America's Next Top Model could get so flustered and confused by having their pictures taken, but now I know. "Amy, scoot over a little," "Put your hands back on your knees." Should I look at the camera? I don't think I was fierce.

I got out of the tub, put on a robe, and had a lovely massage. The first five minutes were kind of awkward since the photographer followed me into the massage room, taking pictures of my bare back, and probably the top of my butt. If you see pictures of me half-naked floating around, don't be surprised. I can only hope they are tasteful semi-nudes. The creepiest thing about the pictures was the "clickwheee" sound of the camera as the flash went off. It sounded like the cameras on CSI, and I felt more like a cadaver mauled in a gruesome fashion than a glorious woman having a massage. But, it was free, so I can deal.

My friend Yvette came up from Rhode Island, which was great. We had some delicious Thai food while we waited for her friends to get home so she could drop something off with them. I hadn't seen her in a month, so we got caught up. Then we went to the 1369 Coffeehouse.

Let me say this: I want to support independent coffeehouses. Starbucks isn't great. Dunkin can be horrible. I buy my breakfast and coffees at the independent Dunkin-esque place across the street from my office. So when Yvette and I wanted a nightcap of chai, we decided to support the local shop.

The snotty-ass hipster behind the counter was a dick when he nagged us to order before we'd examined the menu, got exasperated when Yvette asked how the chai was made and if they had soy milk. He looked everywhere but at us as he steamed the milk. Which would have been fine, if it tasted good, but it was sour and tasted like it had coffee in it, not like tea. So fuck you hipster scum, I am going to keep supporting chains until you get it right. Asses.

Yvette kindly drove me home, and I arrived home to find a letter addressed to me in my own handwriting. I was confused at first, since I thought it was a returned letter, but I saw the postage was correct. Then I remembered. I'd submitted a story to the Threepenny Review about a month ago. Since I am mercilessly free of freelance work (but unfortunately broke) I decided I would commit myself to the idea of getting my work published. I sent a personal essay that I'd written my senior year at Emerson that I got a lot of positive feedback on about my car and leaving URI. It sounds stupid but I assure you it is artfully done. The envelope was very light, so I knew what was inside.

"Thank you for your story. Unfortunately, we cannot use it in the Threepenny Review at this time. Wendy Lesser, editor."

I have gone pro. My first rejection letter.

The letter actually excited me. The time-honored ritual of the working writer has begun. I write something, and I imagine the accolades. I imagine myself in Best Short Stories 2006. I imagine Joyce Carol Oates saying, "Damn, this girl is good." But it doesn't work like that, and this reminded me of it. I've got to work my ass off for years, get published in dinky little publications until I build up a name and people are interested.

I plan to send it back out again. I'm not sure where-- I have a cheat sheet that Don Lee gave out at a workshop a few years ago at Emerson on how to get published of good publications to try. I'll check the Threepenny Review off for now, but I shall return to your slush box, Wendy. Maybe I'll hope Ploughshares is merciful towards alumni, but I doubt it matters, and they don't publish personal essays very often. But now I am motivated to get out there. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Drinkin' at HoJos

Happy Tuesday, everybody! I am tired but excited for a short week, especially a short week that leads into an even shorter workweek, which leads to me taking off for Italy. I am excited, but I am not excited deep into my soul yet. I think I won't be until I pack and put my out of office auto-reply on my work email. It's not quite tangible yet. I'd also feel better about going if my finances were in better order, but thus far they are still in shambles and don't show any signs of sorting themselves out. I don't have a fear of charging dinners, shoes, or bottles of wine-- I would just feel better if I could pay cash for them.

This weekend didn't do much to help my fundage woes. Friday I had a relatively tame evening at Cleary's, but it was fucking freezing out, which makes life much more miserable. I wasn't in a good mood-- I hated everyone at the bar, I hated that it was cold, I probably should have stayed home.

Saturday my Mom came up to visit, which was nice. We drove around Cambridge, I showed her where the new Ikea is, and we had lunch at the Sunset. While she was in the bathroom, my friend Jefe called, which is unusual. Unless we end up at a party in Rhode Island together, I usually don't see him. Turns out he was in town to see Flogging Molly with a bunch of the usual suspects from high school, and he had an extra ticket. Since I had no plans, I decided to branch out and see something new.

I met the RI folks at the HoJos behind Fenway. It was unbelievably cold. The wind blew through my ski jacket and sweater and felt like needles on my back. I debated whether it would be warmer to run down Ipswich Street and create more wind but get there sooner or walk slowly and freeze longer. Eyes watering, I made it to the HoJos and went into the room.

They'd been there for only two hours, but the room was already a mess. Empty cans of Coors Light and a couple of empty Forties crowded every surface. The coffee table was assembled between the two double beds, with abandoned hands of the kids game "Apples to Apples" strewn on it. CBS nightly news showed images of the mudslide in the Philipines as we talked.

Jefe was there, as were Dan, Christian, Joel, Mike, and some kid I didn't know but was actually Jefe's brother Greg. Joel's semi-girlfriend Sam came out of the bathroom after I'd been there for five minutes.

"You want a beer, Amy?" Jefe asked. "They're in the tub."

I went into the bathroom, and saw the remnants of a thirty pack sitting in a small pile of ice. A bottle of sour apple liquor sat forlornly amidst the beers. There were some Guinnesses in there, but I stuck with the cheap stuff since I was a guest. I somehow popped the top on the can with my semi-frozen hands and sat on the edge of the bed and listened to the familiar banter.

I like hanging out with my old friends because I allow myself to do all the stupid, sophomoric things that other people do that bug the hell out of me. My neighbors are loud and obnoxious, but so are my high school friends. They drink sour apple liquor because it's available and leads to a buzz. Jefe and Dan went to schools known for their partying and sports, which I mostly missed out on. It was like walking into a one-night frat house, but in the best way possible.

I drank two beers in about twenty minutes, and took one shot of the appalling sour apple booze before we headed to Avalon. Jefe, Joel, and Dan didn't wear their coats, and Sam almost didn't since she claimed she was "drunk enough not to notice the cold."

"Sam, you should wear your coat. It's way too cold out there without one."

"I drank my first forty on the way here. So I'm a little drunk right now. But okay. Coat."

We stepped outside, and Jefe and Dan immediately regretted their decision to not wear their coats. Sam walked along, saying "I am SO glad I wore my coat. It's fucking freezing out here."

The opening act was just wrapping up when we got past the slowest coat check line ever and into the club. I followed the crowd, which eventually got broken up and I was with Joel and Sam. They pointed in one direction, saying Jefe and the rest of them had gone that way, but they weren't there, and when I turned around Joel and Sam were missing too. I wandered around, awash in a sea of hoodies that said "Defend Southie" and finally ran into Mike, and we found Dan, Greg and Christian hitting on a gaggle of girls. Mike ran off to talk with them, so they pointed Jefe out to me, and I joined him in the thick crowd in front of the stage.

The band took the stage, and immediately the entire floor turned into a mosh pit. I'd suspected as much, and had luckily changed out of my cashmere sweater into my black $4 Garment District sweater. Dan had bought two beers so he wouldn't need to leave the pit to get another, but the full beer sloshed all over my head and onto my shoes. I jumped around between Joel, Sam and Dan so if I fell, someone would be able to pick me up. I didn't mind the mosh pit, really. I hate tight crowds, and a mosh pit gives you license to just shove someone who is in your way. I held up pretty well, all things considered. I took a spill on Dan's spilled beer and had an ass soaked in Miller Lite, but I rallied. As the show went on, I realized I was in over my head. I got an elbow to the nose, and started being shoved into the stairs. I started to fall, and grabbed a guy's chest to keep from falling. "That's my nipple. THAT'S MY NIPPLE!" He informed me. For the last two songs, I joined Greg, Mike and Christian at the bar.

Mike chatted eagerly with a girl in some kind of heinous dress, while Greg played with his cell phone, not looking at anyone. The show ended, and Jefe and Dan emerged from the pit. Dan was sweaty and smiling, but Jefe emerged from the pit with a 34C black lace bra wrapped around him backwards, and holding a drum stick the drummer had tossed into the crowd.

"Where'd you get the bra?" I asked.

"Nevermind the bra, where can we find the girl?" Christian asked, taking note of the bra's size.

We were herded out of the club at 10 to make way for the dance clubbers, and we went back to the hotel to regroup. Christian and I ran back to the hotel since it had somehow gotten even colder than when we left for the show. Our lungs stinging with the cold air, we sat on the bed as the others came back inside. It was early still-- only 10:30-- and we debated where to head next.

"I think we should go to Fanuiel Hall," Mike said. Most people agreed with him.

"It's fucking freezing," I said, "why don't we just stay around here?"

"Those girls are at Fanuiel Hall," Mike chimed in. "I told them I'd meet them there."

Mike went to the hotel phone to call for a minivan cab. It would be a two-hour wait.

"We can take the T over," I suggested.

"It'll cost us just as much to take the T than to take a cab there," Mike retorted.

"Take the T," Christian said.

"Cab," Mike said.

The conversation unraveled as small groups tried to figure out what to do. Mike murmured to Greg, "We'll go to Fanueil Hall, these guys can stay here. Those girls wanted our cocks, man. We should totally go there."

Eventually, we ended up at Jillian's, which is not my favorite place on the planet, but it was better than hauling ass all the way to Fanuiel Hall in sub-zero wind chills. We ate fried foods and danced by the bowling alley. I went back to the hotel with them, but the cots started coming out, so I took off for home.

There was more to my weekend, but the stories are boring me, so I am not going to write any more. For now.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Dear Motherfucking Neighbors

I'm comin' to get you. I do indeed deserve quality of life, and I don't want to have to move to West Roxbury to get it.

You've been warned.

The Bitch Downstairs

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Livin' Ain't Easy

I hate moving. Hate it. The only things I hate more than moving are the holocaust, the Yankees, George Bush, Mitt Romney, and my motherfucking neighbors. My motherfucking neighbors are "musicians." They go to Berkeley. They have faces full of very alternative and hip piercings. They smoke in the hallways. They turn on their amps at 10:45 on weeknights and practice their chords, the dulcet tones clearly audible in my room as I am trying to sleep. They have keggers on weekends. My roommates, who have gone upstairs countless times to ask them to turn it down, report there is no furniture in their apartment, save a turntable and a beer pong setup in the kitchen.

My roommate E has been in the apartment for four years, roommate Deb and I for three, and A for two. We've been good tenants the whole time-- paid our rent on time, taken good care of the apartment, all the stuff landlords dream of. Since our motherfucking neighbors moved in, we've called the cops on them at least eight times. Eight times. I was barely living there when I dated the Whatever, and he and I called the cops on them three times. We'd go out, get drunk, come back, get chips and soda at 7-Eleven, order pizza, eat it and the party upstairs was still going. You'd think if the good tenants were complaining about noise and threatening to leave, you'd want to get rid of the new punks who pay less rent than the apartment full of quiet, respectful girls. You'd be wrong. E freaked out on my landlord last week, telling him she'd be moving out unless he did something about the noise upstairs. He told her, fine, leave, he's not doing anything.

I'd be happy to leave before September too. I don't want to live with three other people anymore. Sharing a bathroom with three people is difficult. Sharing a kitchen with three people, even if one of them doesn't cook with anything other than the George Foreman, is difficult. Not being able to have a cat because of allergies is difficult. I like the physical layout of my place, the location is amazing, and my room itself is pretty nice. But between the neighbors, the lassiez-faire landlord and the interpersonal relationships between three willful girls, it's time for me to live more civilized.

Ideally, I'd love to live alone in a quiet, professionals-only building. Alicia has a studio with an alcove big enough to make a makeshift "bedroom" out of, and it's lovely. It's quiet. She can watch whatever she wants on TV. She can leave a magazine out on the coffee table without annoying anybody but herself. Unfortunately, she makes way more money than I do, and has far fewer student loans. This is Boston, and the living's not easy. I told Deb that we could find a two bedroom place in the same area we're in now, and she seemed okay with that idea.

I've been perusing Craigslist, but there's not much to be had there. I have pretty tight search criteria ($1450 or less, heated, no basement- or first-floor apartments, in my neighborhood or thereabouts) and I keep getting places that look just as run-down and unloved as my place now is. Out of boredom and frustration with the asshole companies that say there are pictures in their post and it turns out to be a picture of their business cards, I looked at real estate for sale.

That is the promised land.

Look how beautiful this place is. Sweet Jesus. Laundry. A gorgeous kitchen. In the same neighborhood as I am now. A fireplace! In the bedroom! I'd start bringing home random men just to make out with them in front of a roaring fire. I can imagine staying in Boston forever when I see this place. Turning the second bedroom into a nursery when I can afford to adopt a baby. It's all so clear. My life would be nothing but sunshine and tasteful dinner parties in this place.

Then I did a mortgage calculation on how much it would cost. $2,334 a month. Without fees or taxes or utilities or, you know, food. Even if I rented out the second, non-fireplaced bedroom, that's way too much. Even if I freelanced like a fiend, I couldn't afford it. Even if I had a boyfriend and an entire eastern European family living there, I couldn't afford it. And my imaginary cat would probably get out in all the confusion. My dreams of tasteful dinner parties and salacious make-out sessions evaporate as pesky reality awakens me.

There's this place, which is nice, but in a more Allston-y neighborhood. I don't want noisy people carousing outside and barfing on my doorstep. This place costs only $1511 a month, which could be manageable with a roommate, but it doesn't have the sexy fireplace or orgasmically good kitchen.

I can only hope the Powerball tickets I asked my Mom to buy come through for me. I don't need half a billion dollars or whatever the jackpot is-- just $150,000 would do. Enough to pay my loans and put a nice down payment on a place.

If I didn't have student loans, it would be possible for me to save up some money and buy a place. It would take a while, but I could manage it. But spending $400 bucks a month in loan payments is keeping me from that beautiful rite of passage, of buying a condo and an assload of IKEA furniture, waiting for the day when I could begin to replace that stuff with long-lasting, beautiful pieces. Since I've worked at my company, several people have left simply because they can't afford the housing around here. After years of apartment living, of paying out bucketloads of money to lazy landlords, the desire to nest and settle in a place of one's own became too much and the cool people leave. I hope that I can somehow afford a beautiful place near Boston, because I love it here. But as I get older, I want not only a room of my own, but a bathroom I can keep my makeup in and some peace and fucking quiet.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Gun Nut

Sweet Jesus.

Dick Cheney, with the advice of his PR people and the persistent nagging of Democrats who want to know why the White House can prudently wait to discuss a hunting accident before "getting the facts straight," but can't manage to do the same before starting a war, decided to consent to an interview today to answer questions about that fateful day he "peppered" his friend "pretty good" with bird shot. Of course, as Steve Brady points out, instead of a nightly news show, he pulled his tail neatly between his wrinkled, age-spot-riddled legs and limped over to shag the softballs Fox News would throw his way.

"I'm the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry," Cheney told Fox News Channel in his first public comments since the shooting Saturday in south Texas.

Did anyone else immediately think of "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" when they read this? "I don't know why that round hit Harry-- perhaps he'll die."
Cheney described seeing 78-year-old Harry Whittington fall to the ground after he pulled the trigger while aiming at a covey of quail.

"The image of him falling is something I'll never ever be able to get out of my mind," Cheney said. "I fired, and there's Harry falling. It was, I'd have to say, one of the worst days of my life at that moment."

Wow. Imagine how hard it would have been for Dick if he'd gone to Vietnam and routinely killed people, as well as watch people be killed. He'd probably be pretty messed up about the whole thing if watching one 78-year-old man writhe on the ground with Dick's medical team rushing in immediately made his tattered, surgically-reconstructed heart break. Too bad the douchebags in power would have cut veteran's benefits, so he'd have to deal with his baggage by himself.

And was ol' Dickie hammered?

Cheney said he had had a beer at lunch that day, but nobody was drinking when they went back out to hunt several hours later.

Maybe so. Yes, it was several hours, but this guy's metabolism must be fossilized by now. Keep in mind, kids-- guns and drinking don't mix.

"I ran over to him," Cheney said. "He was laying there on his back, obviously, bleeding. You could see where the shot struck him."

He said he has no idea if he hit a bird because he was focused on Whittington.

"I said, `Harry, I had no idea you were there.' He didn't respond," Cheney said.

"Just hold on, Harry! Just. Hold. On. Dear friend! Do not shuffle off this mortal coil so soon! Think of all the environmental regulations that are still in place that we could repeal! Think of all the defense contracts we have yet to no-bid on! I love you as much as a man can love a man without being queer! HARRY!"

Dick's friend appears to be taking this a shade too well.

Through hospital officials, Whittington has declined to comment.

"He still kind of wonders what all the hoopla is about," said Peter Banko, administrator of Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial.

The hoopla is you got shot by the fucking Vice President! You had a heart attack because a bullet lodged in your heart that the Vice President shot into you (...perhaps he'll die!). I can tell you what-- if the Vice President shot me and I had a bullet-induced heart attack, it would be a very big hoopla. The hoopiest of hooplas. I'd be on Al Franken's talk show so fast...

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Dick caresses the cool, hard shaft as his friends look on, enviously...

Not My Finest Hour

Kristen and I had some time to kill before we met our fine friends at Beer Works last night, so we walked to City Sports to browse and stopped at the library. On our way to the library, we walked by the Copley T station, where an attractive young man stood. He had on stylish sneakers, jeans that fit in all the right places, a blue t-shirt, brown suede coat, and a worn Sox hat. He was about 6'5, and he held a single apricot-colored rose in his hand. He scanned the crowd of people emerging from the T station eagerly, with a slight smile on his face.

"Wow," I said to Kristen, "do you think he's waiting for me?" I called out, a little louder than I should have, "Hey, are you waiting for me? Because I'm right here!"

Kristen laughed, because sometimes my voice modulation gets away from me and I'm yelling without even knowing it. The guy totally must have heard me, but he did not chase me down, sadly. We went into the library, and came back out.

"Do you think my new friend is still here?" I asked, smirking.

"Probably not. He probably went to call the cops on the scary girl."

Just then, the guy walked toward us, still holding the rose, looking like he was pacing the entire block while waiting for his dream date to come. I hope she showed up, cute guy. If not, call me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

No Shit, Survey

Well well well. Check these little tidbits out:

Younger singles aged between 18-29 seem to be able to take romance or leave it: 51 percent said they were not in the market for a soulmate.

I wouldn't say I personally am opposed to finding a soulmate, but it's not the most important thing in my life. Right now, that number one priority for me is finding a living situation that doesn't make me want to kill myself.
The survey also lifts the lid on the barren dating scene even for those Americans singles who are playing the field.

Here we go, we get to it.
Thirty-six percent of those "active" on the dating scene said they had not had a date in three months, 13 percent had one. Twenty-two percent had been on between two and four dates, while a lucky quarter had been on five or more.

Despite the problems with this sentence's clarity (stick with percentages or fractions, don't do both) it gets to it. We single ladies are not hideous freaks for not having a ton of dates. 36% of us haven't been on a date in three months. It's fine. Everybody chill out.

Here's where the problems begin to happen:
Where is the best place to meet a partner? : according to the survey, which sampled Internet users on the question, 38 percent of those in committed relationships hooked up at work or school.

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. There are NO single guys at my office. Not one. Not even an ugly motherfucker. And they ALL have girlfriends. ALL OF THEM. There is no way I am meeting a guy at work, because they won't hire any. I'm going to start accepting resumés from guys only. Yeah, it's discriminatory. BUT SO IS KEEPING ME LOCKED UP IN THIS CLOISTER. I can't afford school, and I went to a school full of gay men, so that won't work either. So my next best chance?
A third met through family and friends,

I can't do this anymore. Kristen has instituted a moritorium on her friends dating each other. But this is how I met the Whatever, so I guess I'd better log onto Friendster and get busy. I don't know who in my family would introduce me to dudes. My cousin hangs out with teh gays, and my brother's friends are allergic to holding jobs.
and 13 percent met their match at a nightclub, bar or cafe.

Yeah, okay. I don't find that meeting people while hammered is the best idea. But, to be fair, I met the Whatever this way too. Well, I guess I'll drink up and hope that my beer goggles aren't too strong a perscription.
Surprisingly, given the proliferation of online dating agencies and matchmakers, only three percent of happy couples who are also online met through the Internet.

Well, at least I know that those odds are pretty slim, because I am NOT doing that shit again.


Some show love with roses and candy. Dick Cheney not only busts a cap in your ass, but also delivers part of that cap into your heart and gives you a heart attack. Like I said, this guy is Dick's friend. Allegedly.

I just won't stop laughing if this guy dies. (Not like that... I don't wish that old coot harm.) Seriously. Can't this be involuntary manslaughter or something? Somebody, please, charge Dick Cheney with something...

Somewhere, 50-Cent is like, "I never thought birdshot was so fuckin' gangsta. Shiiiit."

Happy Valentine's Day, Indeed

Massachusetts has ordered Wal-Mart to stock Plan B.

Go forth. Get busy. Enjoy your civil liberties.

Draw Back Your Bow

Happy Crass Commercialism Day to one and all!


I mean, Happy Valentine's Day.

I'm doing much better with the whole idea than I did last year. Last year, I was fresh off a dumping that came completely out of left field. I became addicted to peanut butter cups. I demanded stuffed novelties. (Okay, I'd still enjoy a stuffed novelty, I ain't gonna lie.) But the breakup wasn't unexpected this time, really, and most of the time I'm fine with being single. I do look forward to meeting this theoretical man who may possibly enrich my life, tolerate my drunken stumbling, mood swings and irresponsible spending because said person will realize I am also loyal, generous, up for just about anything, and wickedly smart (a wicked smart-ass). But, what I do have, right now, is a bunch of friends who think my drunken stumbling is hilarious, enjoy the witty writing and ranting that comes from my mood swings, and encourage my irresponsible spending, as well as enjoying all the other good stuff about me. A lot of people don't have the quality of people I have in my life, so I am grateful for that. And, hey, my grandmother sent me a Valentine and $10, and the kids I babysit made me handmade Valentines with crayon bits taped to them, so I can "write something you remember about [them] so [I]'ll remember it forever."

So, if you enjoy spending four times the normal going rate for roses and breaking people's knees in parking lots of expensive restaurants to get their reservation, enjoy today. If you need me, (or Joni Mitchell), I'll be in the bar.

Also, please note these choice highlights from Boston.com's photo essay on Valentine's Day:

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Let the motherfucker burn!

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This guy has NO game. And the AP is going to spread the word far and wide.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dick Shoots His Load Off

And hits his friend in the face.

Sorry. I was just really looking forward to titling this. You all know about this. You all know the White House sat on the incident for 20 hours before letting anybody know about it. Because Dick Cheney? Is a bad-ass motherfucker who will bust a cap in yo' ass. If this is how he treats his friends, I don't ever want to meet him, because I am sure we wouldn't get along.

Nobody's going to Africa to hunt elephants with Dick Cheney.

I can't see a joke through to fruition. My head hurts. No. More. Beer.

Until tomorrow.

Best Idea Ever

Check this out!
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Man, those stations are both so close to my Mom's house. Awesome! Service allegedly begins in 2008. I'll be at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Lovin' Feelin'

Well, this certainly warms the cockles of your heart, doesn't it? A man dies after his health insurance company rejects all the claims he and his doctors made, including a prescription for oral morphine when he was at the end of his life to lessen his suffering. (Thanks for the tip, reader Michael.)

I think Michael Moore reported on something like this on one of his short-lived TV shows, and the only way he got the company to agree to cover the dying man's claims was to stage a funeral outside the building, complete with coffin and bullhorn. I do worry about this-- my company keeps lowering the quality of the plans they offer us (this year it was the dental, but I fear next year it'll be the health care) and I think a lot of healthcare companies are going to try to get away with covering less procedures on flimsy pretenses. Our system of healthcare is flawed, and we have to fix it. I don't know how to fix it, really, but if anybody's got any good ideas, perhaps you should write a letter to your Congressman.

Camera Phone Fun, Weather Edition

I don't know if you heard, but it snowed yesterday. You may have heard about it on the news. Maybe you looked out your window at some point during the day and saw white, blowy flakes swirling off of cars and windowsills.

Since it was a weekend, I kind of enjoyed this storm. I didn't have to trudge to the T and wait for a crammed one-car train to come by. I stayed in bed late. I made pumpkin bread. I resolved to go out and play snow football.

I learned that it is nearly impossible to find a Zipcar before a snowstorm. I managed to get an SUV for an hour and a half on Saturday so I could do a Target run to buy soap, a soft-bristle toothbrush, a small football, and a sled. Unfortunately, the person who had the car before me was running late, so I had to wait in the cold for half an hour and had to do danger stunt driving to get to Target and back within an hour.

I bought the bluest football in the world. I needed a mini-football since my hands, while large, still don't grip a regulation-size football well enough. The mini-footballs at Target were either a shiny, patent-leather blue or red. I chose blue, and bought a sled that resembled a short yoga mat with handles. The top is a thin layer of foam, while the bottom is a slippery plastic. I grabbed at my purchases, and left the mayhem of Target and sang Mary J. Blige songs in the car on the way back home.

Anyway. I organized my underwear drawer, and threw away the inexcusably gross old pairs. I called my Mom. I talked to people online. Marianne called me at one yesterday to see if snow fun was still on. We agreed to go to the Common so the folks downtown didn't have to come all the way out to Brookline. Kristen, Marianne and I got on the T and went to meet Annette at Park Street. While Kristen and I waited, a guy saw me carrying the sled and called, "We're going sledding too! Come on! We're going to the hill!" I waited for him to tell me to bring my green hat. When we got to the Common, Annette hadn't shown up yet, so we tried to go to Dunkin Donuts. People sat at the tables, nursing their coffees. Two Hispanic women came out, and said, "Closed." Then the cashier came out and said they were closed. We loitered inside 7-Eleven with the homeless guys, and then elected to head back outside and play while we waited for Annette.

I was actually pretty warm and dry during the proceedings. Back in high school, my Mom bought me some Gore-Tex pants from the LL Bean outlet, and I still have them, and they work like a charm. I layered them with fuzzy white pants and sweatpants to keep my legs warm. Unfortunately, they are bright teal. And my coat is a pinkish-magenta red. So I look kind of like the nineties exploded when I go out to play in the snow. Much like the bright blue football, at least you know you won't lose me in a snowdrift.

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It is cold and snowing.

Kristen and Marianne started pushing each other, trying to see who could push whom over. I stood on top of the yoga-mat sled, named Wham-O, and tried to snowboard down the path that had a thin layer of snow on it. I didn't get too far. I pulled Marianne along the path, but even that wasn't going so well. I jumped into a snowbank ass-first, and forgot that the snow was really fluffy, and landed hard on my ass. Yet another bruise to add to my extensive ass-bruise collection.

Annette showed up, and we started into the park more to find a hill to try the sled on. We crested the hill and saw scads of kids with various types of sleds and snowboards trying to get down the hill. I set down Wham-O, and inched myself forward. Marianne pushed me. I went about two feet and ground to a halt. Marianne got on the sled, and I pushed her. She ground to a halt. I tried to stand up and slide down the hill and still didn't get anywhere. I think if it had been a wet, hard snow, the sled would have flown. Instead, we used it as a goal marker for snow football.

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Kristen and Marianne survey the playing surface.

Kristen and Marianne were on one team (the Reds) and Annette and I were the other team (the As). The Reds ran the ball first, Marianne being taken down by me right before the goal (the lightpost). They had a successful field goal attempt, and then Annette and I ran the ball in for a touchdown, Marianne around my waist as I fell, the ball landing within the endzone. The Reds ran in a touchdown with a nice fake shovel pass, and Annette and I tried to toss the ball around. Annette QBd, and threw the ball my way. Of course, it hit me in the face and I have a stunning goose egg in relief on my forehead.

Since we're not kids anymore, we started to get cold. Marianne's eyebrows were thick with snow. We lost interest in tossing the football, and started just trying to tackle each other. We played with a cute dog in a Red Sox shirt. Kristen couldn't put her arms down.

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"Put your arms down when you get to school!"

We then walked toward some odd things half-buried in snow that looked like blue plastic. Annete walked ahead of me, but took a slightly different path. I tripped and nearly broke my head open on this:

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A remnant of the aptly scheduled Winter Festival the day before. We unearthed about five chunks of ice left to die on the ground. I'm kind of mad I didn't have my actual camera with me-- there were lots of lovely shots to be had.

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Such as this one.

I took my hat off to itch my head, and everyone laughed. "Your hair is SO Flock of Seagulls right now," Marianne cried. I went to rearrange it, but Kristen stopped me and had Marianne take my picture.

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How fucking '80s am I?

We got cold, and decided to walk up Beacon Hill with Annette and catch the T home from Park Street. It was a cold, slushy walk, but all the brownstones looked beautiful. It was quiet, except for the random Audi driving by at irresponsible speeds. The cars were snowed in, and, for once, there was not a tourist in sight. Marianne, Kristen and I had an irresponsible amount of beer at the Publick House to reward ourselves for our snow cardio.

Now, while those lazy bastard Boston Public School kids don't have school today, I trudged into work like a responsible person. I am of the mind that if it's dangerous enough for students to stay home, the people who make books for students to learn with should also stay home, since we are the educators of the future, and if we all die off in snowdrifts on the way into work we can't do that job well anymore. Also, I am lazy and a tad hungover.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Douche World Tour

Where in the world is your governor, Massachusetts?

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Mitt takes his inner flamer to Turin.

Bite Outta Me

Between H&M and the Apple Store opening within lunch-break-walking-distance from my office, I am screwed.

Some more.


I have spent too much money eating out. It's one thing I derive a great deal of pleasure from. No matter how hard I try to envision a shiny new iBook on my desk, or a statement from the student loan people saying my loans are paid in full, I cannot bring myself to save up for a rainy day. I've always been this way-- when my Mom would give my brother and I our allowance, he'd still have his at the end of the month, while my pocket was lighter by the end of the first week. I try my best to save, to be responsible, but when someone mentions a dinner at a southern restaurant or an Ethiopian restaurant or Restaurant Week, the visions of responsibility give way to my baser instincts to sate my hunger with delicious foodstuffs.

Anyway. A few weeks ago, I bought a ledger to keep track of the money I earn and spend by the day. And in one week I spent well over $100 on food out. Breakfast sandwiches, Bob's Southern Bistro, Chinese take-out. I don't buy clothes or shoes, but I eat a lot more of my salary than I realized. Thus, I resolved to cook more. It's not that I don't enjoy cooking-- I do, and I'm pretty good at it-- but there's a lack of socializing that bugs me. Also: dishes.

Last night my roommate came over. Which sounds odd, but she basically lives with her boyfriend, so we seldom see her. I had a recipe from Good Deal with Dave Lieberman that I wanted to try and I had most of the ingredients, so I figured it wouldn't be too bad. Sadly, I bought the pork at Whole Foods, and just the meat alone cost $15. But, I rationalized, I'd spend $50 on a good meal out, and this would feed me for days.

I talked to my Mom while I got the risotto going, and I seared the pork on the stove. My roommate has really nice pots and pans, so I could follow the recipe and stick the pan directly into the oven after I'd seared the meat. I hung up with my mother and realized I'd burned the risotto to the bottom of the pan. It wasn't a lost cause, and I managed to scrape most of it off the burned layer without a smoky flavor added. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only thing that would get burned last night.

My roommate came by, and we started talking about her job and her boyfriend. I was thinking about how to get the food ready, that I'd burned the risotto, and the fact that I had to run and get my laundry out of the dryer when the meat was done. I reached into the over with the grabby silicone mitt and pulled out the pan, and set it on my cutting board. I put the mitt down to get something, then went to move the pan off the cutting board. Did you notice the step I missed?

I grabbed a metal handle that was about 375 degrees with my bare hand.

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Needless to say, I spent the rest of the evening with my hand in a vat of ice water, greeted with the burning sensation my my tissues reacting to the damage I'd done them if I took my hand out of the water to let it dry. I tried to sleep, but every time I'd get remotely comfortable the ice would be a shade too warm to keep my hand from erupting into the feeling that the pan was permanently burning my hand. I applied aloe several times. I took huge quantities of Advil. I alternated between sandwich bags full of ice and a cold compress I found in the freezer. I cried and moaned like a baby, and thought about how I would start a bloody charity for burn victims, because if just my hand felt as bad as it did, I can't image what people who have been in fires feel like. I tried to imagine gelato in Italy. I tried to wonder if Venice had a wet and moldy smell. I tried to incinerate my loud neighbors with the power of my mind. Something worked, and I fell asleep, but failed at killing my neighbors. I woke up, well-rested, and tried out my hand. It felt a little sore, but largely okay. I got in the shower, which I like scalding hot in the morning, and stuck my left hand out to avoid irritating the burns.

I think it's going to blister in some spots, but I hope that it goes away on its own. At least we'll have some snow to stick my hand in should it start to hurt again. And I'll have to add the cost of two silicone oven mitts to my ledger so next time I can prevent myself from moronic behavior since I'll leave the mitt on my hand when I grab a hot handle.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

An Open Letter to McMansion Owners

Dear McMansion Owners,

Hi. My name is Amy, and I recently read an article in the Boston Globe about the burgeoning industry that helps people in your predicament. Apparently, there are so many of you buying these gigantic homes that have no idea what to do with the thousands of square feet of space that there are interior decorators that specialize in filling your huge house with crap.

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This is a room. For a dog. The dog has it's own room. Back in my day, the dog's room was called "the kennel" and it was outside. This dog has his own personal shower and storage shelves. This dog lives better than 90% of the people in Dorchester.

Here's an idea-- if you have so much money you don't know what to do with it, give me some. Most of you quoted in this article are a couple, without kids, buying five or six room houses and then lamenting the lack of stuff you have to fill it. Isn't a house supposed to reflect you? Shouldn't you buy a house that isn't twice the size you actually need? There are entire multi-generational families living in two-room apartments while you say, "Gee, Pemberton, our fifth room is looking a little drab, perhaps we should install a home gymnasium?"

For real. Lay off the conspicuous consumption and buy a house that you actually need. Otherwise you're going to have huge financial problems and end up shooting your wife and baby in desperation.

And when the dog dies, please keep me in mind to rent out his room. I can fold up nicely to fit in the little shower. As long as I'm welcome to use your countertop vegetable steamer, I'd be happy to pay rent.



Is it:

a. Porn

b. Willie Nelson using technology to make himself into a cyborg so he can continue making music into the next millenia

c. A line of fuel named after Willie Nelson?

If you guessed C, you are correct. Meet BioWillie.

I saw this on Nightly News last week, and thought the mercury poisoning from my fish was complete, but it's true. Willie Nelson, y'all.

The OC and the IR

Thanks to fantastic New York Matt for this article.

If you find world politics confusing but can figure out every nuance of the OC, this is for you.

You're welcome.

Don't Call Me for Jury Duty

Because this slimy motherfucker is guilty, hands-down, no doubt. Guilty.

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He shows no remorse. He didn't even attend his baby's funeral. I don't care how "private" you are——if your wife and baby are dead, you hire someone to help you through the crowd and don't answer any questions. He didn't even try to make it look like someone else broke into the house. There was no sign of forced entry. He didn't even try to make it look like he'd flown to England just to visit his family. The asshole bought a one-way ticket and left the only car his family had at the airport. He just didn't care at all. But he's still enough of a pussy to run away instead of actually confessing, which is what he did without words by not breaking in, not taking a cab to the airport, not coming back to see his wife and baby one last time. Or, maybe he's just an idiot and forgot that the UK will extradite a criminal back to the US.

I know I'm going to get real sick of hearing about this case, and I know it brings up the whole "white woman and baby are dead, her husband's a skeeze and the media's all over it, but this happens to black people too and the media doesn't care" debate. But, like I've said before, at least Scott Peterson had the balls to look like he was sorry. Neil Entwhistle is even colder than Scott is. I hope Neil rots in jail, because it takes a special brand of evil to resort to infanticide, especially on one's own child.

ETA: From boston.com:

Neil Entwistle was planning a murder-suicide when he shot his wife and infant daughter with his father-in-law's gun in Hopkinton, according to Middlesex DA Martha Coakley, who is now holding a press conference on the matter. Coakley said police believe he had financial problems and killed his wife and child on Friday morning, Jan. 20, before abandoning the plan to kill himself.

Well, I was right on the pussy bit. If financial problems made one homicidal/suicidal, I'd be dead five times over by now. I stand by my opinion—he's still a skeeze, and I hope they let him sit in jail for the rest of his life, with only his bad behavior to think about.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hee. Heeheehee.

The FedEx delivery came late to my office, but I didn't care.

My tickets are here!

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I feel much better about spending $1200 on a vacation now that I have something tangible to show for it. Airplane tickets. Airport to hotel transfers. Train tickets. Luggage tags!

Awesome awesome awesome. I'm going to go photocopy them so I have copies of all relevant documents in case I lose the real ones.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I Totally Know That Guy!!

OMG. You guys, a guy I went to Emerson with was on American Idol tonight.

Kristen and I jokingly waited with baited breath this week for the Boston auditions of American Idol. Since our alma mater is overrun with people who aspire to the highest echelons of famewhoredom, we figured a ton of Emerson students would audition. But we didn't think we'd know any of them.

They do these montages of weird/bad hopefuls singing songs, and usually do another montage of people talking about themselves. If you saw a big black man talking about his job, and he deadpans "Drag" and then gets into a slammin' leopard print mini-dress and full make-up, you have met the Emerson legend Freddie Franklin. If you ask anyone who graduated within four years of my class, they will remember the man. He crashed on my friend Stephanie's couch after the cops came to break up their party and he wouldn't leave until the next morning. I think he stopped by one of my roommate's parties during my senior year. As she lamented to me after calling to ask if I'd seen him, "Freddie was always prettier than me."

Unfortunately, Freddie didn't make it to Hollywood, because America isn't ready to vote for an openly gay idol, even though Clay's DNA is on some dude's pants, per Best Week Ever. You were robbed, Freddie. I would have voted for you.


I don't think this is enough. Because of this man's actions, one hundred people needlessly died. For a stupid-ass, dangerous trick which he had no training to perform, Daniel Biechele indirectly caused the death of 100 people, and the injury of many other people. When you work out how much time he'll spend in jail for each person who died, it's about six weeks. It's like sending someone to jail for six weeks for the involuntary manslaughter of one person. I am no lawyer, but it seems a little light, even for a plea deal.

I am apparently still not over this. Almost every time I'm home, I drive by where the Station was. There's a makeshift memorial there, with faded-out plywood crosses and bedraggled stuffed animals and fake flowers around them. I think in any place where 100 people died, it would be a slow thing to heal. But in a small place like Rhode Island, it's harder, especially when you know most of the people there didn't have a ton of money to afford life insurance or anything else to help people out. Some people (shout out to Pete and Mr. Flanagan!) did their best to help. But this plea deal doesn't seem good enough.

Towels, Coffins, and Trash

Hang on a second.

In the past couple of weeks, channel 7 has told me not to ride in the "coffin car" (because, per Annette's Mom, you always die) and that I must wash my towel after using it twice. Nevermind the MBTA has had no commuter rail collisions since I was a newborn and that I've been using towels that haven't been washed in a week or more for my entire life and I have not yet contracted ebola or bird flu, or anything other than a mildly disgusted face after sniffing a stale towel.

But, per the tone of this latest bit of journalistic brilliance, I should pick my food from the trash and eat it.

Listen, I just watch for the meteorologist.

What the Shit

Is wrong with Don Carcieri?

The DMV in Rhode Island is the worst place in the world. Every redneck, white-trash honky motherfucker in the state is there waiting to register his latest shitbox. Everyone I ever went to high school with somehow ends up with me there, waiting my turn to have my unfortunate license picture replaced with an even more unfortunate picture. Closing all the other satellite offices will only make things worse, because the satellite offices actually help alleviate the stress on the main branch. AAA does license renewals now at their offices, which is excellent too. Anything that keeps me out of the DMV is a bonus.

Tax Me

Whaddya know? If the government cuts its main source of revenue, it ends up costing them. Billions of American dollars.

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Right back at ya, Mr. President.

Listen up, government. I'd much rather pay out more money in taxes and know that the soldiers you got into an inadvisable war are safer with the proper body armor. I'd rather have forty bucks less and know that kids without a lot of money will have the subsidized loans that I had when I went to college, or the kids without any money can get Pell Grants. I'd rather know that more elderly people can afford their medicine and housing, which many of them won't with these proposed budget cuts.

I have absolutely no mind for money. But even I know we tried trickle-down economics in the '80s and it didn't work, and that's what Bush wants to do with this budget. It doesn't matter what lofty statistics you toss at me. When blue-collar workers are being laid off in scads and Massachusetts has its highest foreclosure rate ever, the economy is not good. I haven't talked to anyone who feels comfortable with the amount of money they're making. Healthcare costs are high, energy costs are high, and people are getting pinched a little bit everywhere, which adds up to a lot of problems. My Mom filed her taxes this weekend, and she found out that not only is my brother's college raising tuition, but that her tax credit for paying is tuition is less, so she's paying more for his education.

Cutting taxes, especially during a time of war, is the dumbest thing this country can do. War is expensive, and the country needs to pay for it. And not on the backs of my generation, or the next, but now, while it's happening. Bush is trying to pass the buck to the next President by both cutting taxes and paying for a costly war so he comes out looking good. Don't buy into it. These tax cuts, which shouldn't have happened in the first place, should not be made permanent.

Monday, February 06, 2006


This is by far the most offensive thing I've seen on the Internet today. And I went to the "brown and bubbly" web site. ("Thanks" to Coleen for the tip. I'm not glad I saw this, really.)

There's a world of difference between "Poker? I hardly even know 'er" and "Rape is my favorite hobby."

Narragansett Dreaming

I really need to change the wallpaper on my work computer. Right now, it's this. But I think it's messing with my mind.

I'm reading the "tell your story" section on Narragansett Beer's web site, and I came across this story:

Sean remembers his sister's graduation party, when his uncles had a tad too much Gansett. The classic "Give me another Gansett, you sad bastahd," was heard a lot that night.

Which is a pretty rad story. It contains the great New England accents, the drunken ways of us native New Englanders. I'd like to add my own story to the Narragansett memories collection. I bought the two six-packs last weekend with the idea that I'd bring one to the Super Bowl on Sunday and the other to Butchie's house on Saturday. Kristen, Marianne, Annette and I downed the Gansetts upon arriving. We left the empty cans on the counter and switches to Coors light when Fipsy and his girlfriend showed up with two thirty-packs. As we sat watching the fight on TV, Cappy burst into the room with one of the empty Narragansett cans. No, I am not making these names up.

"Who's drinkin' the Gansett?"

Marianne, Annette, Kristen and I raised our hands.

Cappy paused, pointed at us, and smiled. "I knew you girls was cool as soon as you walked in the doah."

Butchie smiled, and said, "I told you those girls ah awesome."

I'm afraid the next Zipcar I rent will have to be a truck, because I am going to buy every packie in the Boston area that stocks Narragansett Beer. I heard a nasty rumor that they may stop brewing it again, but I refuse to believe it. I know of several places around town that stock it now. All I have to do is convince the liquor store around the corner from my apartment to stock Gansett and I'll never leave my neighborhood again.
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Brings all people together.

She's Such a Betty

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Thanks, Betty. You asked in public a question that many women asked themselves in private. Now women can talk openly about what we want from our lives without being considered pinko commies. Well, in this part of the country, anyway.

::goes to put The Feminine Mystique on reserve at the library::

Dead Men Come

During the most American celebration of huge men slamming into each other, when the ads show a man throwing a cell phone at high velocity into the face of another man and Jessica Simpson's newly divorced titties, there is no room for sexual innuendo, which the Rolling Stones learned firsthand at the Super Bowl halftime show.

I have been listening to the Stones since I was an infant. My Mom said she'd leave the house to run some errands, and she would return home to find me and my Dad rocking out to the Stones or Frank Zappa or some other rock music. It bugged my Mom a little, but kids don't get the entendre. It's not like Lil' Kim was playing the halftime show, because that would get pretty explicit. Every year, it's the same shit. Men throw a ball and maim each other for thirty minutes or so, then a band comes on who makes some sexual innuendo or motion that scandalizes America, then it's back to the bone-crunching sport at hand. Is it because or primal brains are set on "kill" for an evening that we can't handle the mention of an orgasm?

Frankly, I wish someone would censor Mick's hip swivels because there should be some kind of law against watching a gangly old man writhe around on a stage like Britney Spears. Good on him— he's been doing this shit for years and he kicks the ass of most performers, then and now— but at one point I actually had to shield my eyes from a particularly salacious grinding motion. Ew ew EW!

Of course, there were major issues with the entire musical performances throughout the show. I looked forward to watching Stevie Wonder kick some ass. Then some other dude came out to sing. What? It's Stevie fucking Wonder. Let him sing his songs. Then Joss Stone came on in a heinous dress. Then India.Arie, who must be sick because her mic was turned way down. Then some dancers came on! Then more! Then everybody sang and crowded the stage! It was horrible.

The Stones, who I figured would save the day, also sucked. Which is too bad, because everyone who has ever seen them live says they're the second coming of Christ in live venue. Alicia saw them a month ago and assured the room they were still good. I think my favorite Super Bowl show was Aerosmith a few years ago. They did a medley with some pretty crappy artists (Britney, I'm looking at you) but it was a spectacle, which is what the Super Bowl is about. I hope that ABC or the NFL relaxes next year and allows some actual fun to happen and not fear The Nipple That Ruined Halftime Forever.

There was some football too, which was okay. Since Tom Brady just did the coin flip and not the quarterbacking, I wasn't too vested in the outcome. Thanks to Katherine and Sebastian for hosting a fine party, and I'm glad you guys got your fifth ring. Enjoy it, because we'll be wanting the Lombardi back next year.

Friday, February 03, 2006


I am going to send Channel 7 my laundry bills for inflicting this trauma on me. For fuck's sake. Can you imagine the cost of washing and drying seven towels a week? I follow the same rule for towels that I follow for my bedsheets—if nobody's sharing them with me, then I'll wash when I'm good and ready. Because, all of a sudden, the skeeze will hit me, and I remember that film we watched in seventh grade about all the grody bugs that live in sheets and I can't beat a path to the laundromat fast enough. But until I catch that grody whiff of dirty towel, I'm saving my money for irrational beer purchases.

Red, Pink, White and SIN

I just threw up in my own mouth a little bit with this article. (Thanks to kcee for the tip.)

You know, when I was in third grade and had to write Valentines for everyone in my class, I wasn't thinking about doing Lisa with the freckles. I think I was more concerned with the fact that writing out everyone's name on the "to" line and repeating my own name in my wriggly, illegible cursive on the "from" line sucked. And I wanted some candy.

Come on, people. Valentine's Day is not a day for sex. It's about the least sexy day of the year since everyone has major performance anxiety due to the immense commercial pressure to give the best gift, reserve a spot at the most romantic restaurant, and to at least not be alone. And if you're looking to reach high school kids about remaining pure, perhaps you should use prom season. Nobody I went to high school with hooked up with someone for the first time on Valentine's Day.

Be sure to visit the Day of Purity's website. (The Day of Purity is brought to you locally by the Massachusetts Family Institute, who are the same fine people lobbying to ban gay marriage.) I think the best thing on the Day of Purity's website, aside from the excellent t-shirts, is the testimonials page. It starts out fairly reasonable:

I think this is a wonderful thing you have started! It's about time somebody took some action in making things better rather than harping about how bad they are. . . . I had a baby when I was 16 years old, which I placed for adoption (open adoption).

Oh. Yeah. Once you've had a baby, you kind of have a leg to stand on on teaching abstinence. But then, the testimonial heads south:
I am now using my testimony at middle schools and different church youth groups in an attempt to educate my generation on why they should remain abstinent. Once again, I applaud your efforts! (K.G. 12th Grade)

Ah, yes, the Church. I can see teaching kids that abstinence is the best way to remain disease- and baby-free. I do not support keeping kids in the dark on the other options, however.

The lunacy continues:
On my left hand, ring finger, I wear a ring that symbolizes my promise of purity to God. I did not make this promise because my mom told me to, I did it because God told me to. I am a virgin and proud of it, despite my friends that have already broken this, I will stay strong. . . . I want people to know that it is the greatest gift to give to our spouse on your wedding night. I want people to know they have a choice before they make a mistake! (J.M. 10th Grade)

I love that this girl is all, "my Mom didn't even force me to wear this! No siree! I'm a happy happy virgin in my bobbysocks and I hate that sinful old Elvis Presley!" Also: news flash, kid. You and your future husband are going to be hammered after your wedding. And you will need to be because your first time sucks. It hurts. You will not like it. It is not all angels and puffy clouds, but is pain. If you want to give your spouse a gift, buy him a TV.

And, finally, the bitchiest newlywed ever:
“I am 21 years old and newly married. All growing up I watched my friends around me go through short term relationships one after the other. I knew I was waiting for the perfect guy that the Lord had picked out for me, but something in my heart still longed for what they had. I waited and waited wondering how long it would be before I found the special guy to spend the rest of my life with. Now looking back I am so happy that I donÂ’t have previous relationships as baggage. Let me tell you girls. It is worth the wait. Enjoy singleness and when God wills, He will send you the man of your dreams. It will be beyond anything that you could ask or think.” (A.M. Newlywed in N.C.)

Just hold on, single girls! The Lord is going to set you up soon! Don't work at a relationship, don't succumb to your biological urge to mate, don't do anything because God wills a man into your life. You don't find him, he comes to you, and when he does everything is fine! Your intercourse will be trasncendent and glorious, and all your single friends who have short-term relationships to learn what they want from a man will have to learn that the best way to meet your One True Love is when the Good Lord brings the man to you like a cosmic drive-through.

Oh my God. I am going to go neuter myself, because I can never raise enough kids with a brain to offset all these wackjobs. Since they don't have sex ed, they don't know about contraception and they breed faster than I can ever hope to keep up with.


I think, for the first time in my life, I realize I have an alcohol problem. Not that I drink too much alcohol—although if you ask those ludicrous magazines that say a woman should have no more than one drink per night I do—but that I am willing to rent a car and drive to buy one particular brand of beer.

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Yes, I drove myself in a Zipcar all the way to bloody Dedham to buy cheap beer. Paying $35 to rent a car and drive to the cheap beer kind of defeats the purpose of buying cheap beer. Maybe I was homesick for the salty shores of Narragansett (I have wanted to make a beach run for the past couple weeks). Maybe the fact that I have Narragansett wallpaper on my work computer has subliminally swayed me to stop at nothing to acquire this lovely brew. In either case, I got in the car with my sketchy Google maps directions, and headed south.

I know Dedham fairly well now, since the Whatever lives near there and runs to Dedham for shopping instead of Natick like us Brooklineites do, so I had a vague idea of where Google was sending me. I drove along, singing along to terrestrial radio (the XM radio wasn't working) and rocking my ass out to Kelly Clarkson. I drove down Centre Street, and headed on Grove Street toward Dedham.

Grove Street, which is pretty busy closer to the city, becomes a rutty, patched-up, pitch-black stretch of road once you cross Washington Street. I tried to read the directions, but the dim streetlights weren't providing enough light. I drove by a spa that looked like it could have been the liquor store, but the sign had fallen off and the backlighting was off, so I couldn't read the name. I continued on for a while, then saw the liquor store when it was too late to stop. I pulled an adventure-driving U-ie and pulled into a small lane next to the store.

I walked in, and was greeted by the typical suburban packie. "Open Sundays during football season" read the sign on the door, along with several beer company posters celebrating Boston sports teams. There was a small island-sized wine rack in the center of the tiny store, surrounded almost entirely by thirty-packs of Miller, Bud and Coors light. A twelve-pack of Sam Adams lingered in the corner, and at the back of the store there was a small deli. One guy was finishing up a sale with the cashier, another guy was lingering around, and I felt like I'd disturbed a guys-only poker night.

I went into the walk-in cooler and didn't see the Narragansett anywhere. "Son of a bitch," I muttered, frustrated at the prospect of driving ten miles out of my way for beer. I walked out of the cooler, and heard the lingering guy talking to the cashier in French, I think.

"Can I help you?" The cashier asked me as I walked up to the counter.

"Yes. Do you have Narragansett Beer by any chance?"

"We usually do," he said, walking out from behind the counter toward the cooler. "One of my dear customers loves it, so I keep it in stock just for him."

We walked back into the cooler, and he pulled down a six-pack of sixteen-once cans from the back of the top shelf. "Here we go."

"Can I trouble you to pull down another one?"

"Sure thing. Let me carry this for you. I don't want you to do all the work," he said, pushing open the cooler door for me.

"Well, I do appreciate that," I said, carrying my six pack to the counter.

He rang up my sale, reading me my name off my credit card. "And, Amy, you smell really good. But don't let your boyfriend know I said that."

I signed my slip and grabbed the heavy bag full of my precious beer. "No boyfriend here," I called, watching the door close behind me.

It's always nice to hear you smell good when you left the gym not two hours before, and especially nice to hear that you smell so good that it's assumed you have a boyfriend. So thanks, liquor-store dude, for both the beer and the compliment.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

i'M Deaf

Oh come on.

Sometimes, I shudder to think of the future, where I will undoubtedly feel lost in a sea of people who have no sense of personal accountability. For fuck's sake. If it's too loud, turn it down. Problem solved.

I wonder if U2 is named as a codefendant in this suit.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Okay. I'm not a lawyer. But I have an ounce of common sense, and let me say this:

If your wife and daughter are found murdered, wouldn't you fly home for the funeral? Wouldn't you fly home as soon as their bodies were found? I mean, even if you did it, wouldn't you want to have some time, or perhaps engender some goodwill and at least look sad? Scott Peterson had that idea, and he doesn't look that bright, frankly. And even if you had some psychotic episode or genuinely wanted your wife and baby dead, grow some balls and own up to it. Don't go hide in England with your Mum and Dad. Once the authorities in the USA get the evidence, they'll come get you there too, clown.

Man. Sometimes, I am sad and single. But when I hear stories about people's respectable-looking husbands selling porn sites on the internet and then shooting their kids, I think maybe I'm better off to pull an Angelina and adopt a kid first and hope the guy thing eventually works itself out.