Tuesday, January 30, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

Okay. First you break my aspiring fashionista's heart by telling me that the Filene's Basement in Downtown Crossing is closing for two years for a remodeling job like so many of the women who shop there have done to their faces. Fine. Except it seems kind of sketchy and maybe Filene's won't ever open again, leaving me bereft.

But the real kicker is this bit of news:

Filene's Basement, the Boston landmark that birthed the bargain, said it will close its original downtown store this year, and it's unclear whether it will retain its famous "automatic markdown" system when it reopens after two years of renovation.

What? What is Filene's Basement without the Automatic Markdown? It's like peanut butter without jelly. Sonny without Cher. Mitt Romney without his hair. It's just not the same. I walk by the Filene's Basement on Boylston Street on a daily basis and I never go in. To me, Filene's Basement isn't plasma-screen TVs, mannequins and doormen who aren't homeless guys looking for T fare. Filene's Basement means waist-high bins full of coal with the rare diamond somewhere inside. Filene's Basement is a bunch of bargain-hungry bitches burrowing through clothes like starving animals tear through prey. Filene's Basement is the paper signs with the same handwriting on each. Filene's Basement is the torture of bearing your cellulite to all the other women in the dressing room in the hopes of looking great in that bargain-basement find you tore out a chunk of some bitch's hair for. That is Filene's Basement to me, not this glorified Marshalls angle they've recently taken.

I don't know what's wrong with the Basement as it is now. It is not a thing of beauty but it's not meant to be. Since the Basement as it is now remains one of Boston's top tourist attractions and is recommended by endless local magazines as the best place to find a steal on designer clothes, I don't see why Filene's Basement needs to fix what ain't broken. Why can't the Basement elect to age gracefully?

Dizzy Walking in a Straight Line


The Police will reunite to open the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on February 11, The Recording Academy said on Tuesday, fueling speculation that the hit 1980s band is planning a reunion tour.

I will pay any amount of money for tickets if the Police do a reunion tour. I will sell my body on these cold city streets to a john with tickets to see my beloved Sting perform the songs he wrote at the zenith of his musical career. (Yes, The Soul Cages, Ten Summoner's Tales, and Brand New Day are pretty good, but come on. None of them are "Roxanne" or "Bring on the Night" or "Bed's Too Big Without You.") Anything! Any amount of money!

This is wonderful news. Excellent!

Monday, January 29, 2007


Remind me to never, ever, ever move again.

After nearly six hours, three trips with varying numbers of automobiles, one bent and broken fingernail, six pizzas, numerous beers, several threats of cannibalism, three highly confused children, and a very sore back, I'm almost out of the shithole. I have an atlas laying on the dusty floor that Annette was reading while she waited for the van to return and some garbage I left laying on the floor to clear out, but that will take all of twenty minutes. Then I leave the keys behind, never again to return.

I owe a great debt to my friends, who handled my spaciness with relative good will and entertained the kids while Jeff, Dan, Annette and I loaded stuff into a minivan and Dan's Jetta while literally playing in traffic on Beacon Street. I also owe the people I babysit for dinner, since they fed me all three meals yesterday. The kids stole glimpses into my room, asking who was in pictures. The baby was especially curious and somewhat behind the curb on names.

"Who's that?"

"That's my friend Sharon and I."

"Who's that?" She asked, pointing at me.

"That's me."

"Who's that?"

"That's Sharon."

"Who's that?" She asked again, pointing at me.

But there are no rats in this new place (except the stuffed one Kristen and Marianne gave me to the delight of the kids) and it's very quiet in the evenings, which is nice. There's also the built-in entertainment of the kids. Last night, the baby wandered into the kitchen. She's learning how to use the toilet, so her father asked her if she had anything on her bottom, meaning underwear or a diaper.

"A rash," she said, then wandered out of the room while itching her butt. Try the veal, she'll be here all week.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Idiots of the Week

You've got to be fucking kidding.

The principal of the Saint Rose of Lima School banned talking at lunch after three students choked in the cafeteria.

Hold on. Wait. Back up. I don't think I can shut enough of my brain cells off to understand this kind of stupidity. None of the kids can talk because three morons can't figure out how to control the flow of food and air through their bodies? The snippet doesn't say what age group these kids are, but even if they're kindergarteners, they should have the basic body control to figure out HOW NOT TO CHOKE WHILE EATING if they're able to attend school. Also, it's absolutely the dumbest thing I've heard this week (including Bush's "I'm the boss of this family and what I say goes" comment) is the diocese's plan to try and regulate how the kids eat their food. And, strictly speaking, the real problem is that the kids have to breathe and eat at the same time. So really, the kids should be told not to breathe at all in the cafeteria while eating lunch. Perhaps the nuns should go around and cut the kids grapes in half and chop up their hot dogs too. God.

Sweet fancy Christ. That's the absolute dumbest thing I've heard all week. I fear getting old since the future of America can't even chew it's own food properly. How are they going to manage the blender to turn my food into mush I can gum?

You Say Goodbye, I Say Goodbye

Goodbye, shitty apartment.
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Goodbye, bathroom that lights on fire for no reason.

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Goodbye, ceiling tiles with rats above them. (Of course, since I've agreed to leave I haven't heard so much as a scurry from the fuckers, leaving me thinking oh my God, I've made a mistake. Which I haven't, because being able to save up three months of rent will be good for me, as will not having to rush into another crappy situation. And I'm back in the hizzle with all my friends.)

I was talking to my neighbor, whose apartment I need to move my bed and loveseat out through since my stairs are narrow, and he was shocked to hear I was moving. I reiterated the whole rat/fire problem to him.

"I've lived here nine years," he said, "and I have had those [rats] too. But he fix them. How much you pay?"

"$800 a month," I said.

"Oh. He used to rent that place for $650."

I hate the Boston real estate game. I know it's because Boston is a great place and people really want to live here but the high cost, high deposits, and low quality drive me crazy. I've never had an attentive landlord who wanted to actually fix a problem with the building-- they always want to do the cheapest, half-assiest job possible to shut me up. I've never had a realtor who actually listens to what I tell them about my price range. Some days, when I'm feeling particularly masochistic, I look at craigslist listings in other cities and dream about how nice it would be to have a two bedroom condo for half of what I paid for the shithole.

This apartment went from awesome to craptastic in record time. When I moved in, it was warm and sunny and I had money for movers and I imagined all the time my friends and I would hang out in my cozy nook. I imagined the kitchen island I would buy and all the cooking I could do without someone breathing down my neck to get out of the kitchen. I was dating a guy I thought was good and would be around and I dreamed of how he could come over and bring his dog and hang out without a roommate giving me dirty looks whenever he used the bathroom. Then the guy left, I got broke beyond my scariest nightmares, my apartment got infested with flies, then rats, then lit up in a crack of dawn shithole flambe in the bathroom. Just like the relationship, the apartment was a gigantic disappointment and I'm happy to leave it behind.

Next week: Stories of teaching Eldest, Boy, and Youngest how to not wake me up at 6am because I will not find it funny unless they bring me coffee (cream and sugar) and a bagel. Also, my deep debate with myself on whether or not the Eldest should be exposed to American Idol since it comes on while she's still up, or if I should just put a TV in my room to keep her innocent to in-show commercials and the horrible brain-killing power of competitive reality shows and Ryan Seacrest.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Parent Trap

I am not a parent. Let me state that up front. Never has any spawn issued forth from my womb. I do, however, know quite a few parents. In my twenty-five years on this planet, I have cared for children as young as infants to as old as fifteen in various capacities. Also, I have a mother who didn't let me get away with much. So these are my qualifications to judge the people in this story. Judge me judging these people accordingly.

The Kulesza family was flying from Fort Meyers to Boston last week when their three-year-old daughter got upset and threw a fit. Fifteen minutes after the plane was supposed to take off, the girl still wasn't in her seat and the airline employees booted the family from the plane. While the parents were upset, I'm pretty sure the rest of the passengers stood up and applauded.

Listen, I understand that having a kid isn't easy. They're messy, they don't have much self-control at three, they don't understand terrorism or airplane safety. Just like an adult, they find flying to be a largely uncomfortable and annoying experience but have slightly less capacity to deal with the stress. I get that. However, as a parent, you've got to lay down the law with an unruly kid. I don't mean deploying spanking by any means. Let's imagine this as me at age three being unruly on an airplane with my mother.


Mom: You sit down right this minute.

Me: NO!

Mom: You sit down and buckle your belt before I do it for you and you never again know birthday parties or Christmas gifts.

Me: ::click::

Mom: Thank you.

And, perhaps the most telling bit of evidence that these people weren't victims of a cruel airline policy is at the end of the article.
Julie Kulesza says she was angry when she found out they'd have to wait 24 hours for another flight. AirTran says connections were available, but the family wanted non-stop only.

That's why the kid is an entitled brat; her mother is a brat too. The airline genuinely tried to make the Kulesza family's trouble worth it (they were refunded their money AND offered free tickets for another flight AND another connection the same day) but it wasn't exactly what they wanted to they passed up a very diplomatic solution. Be an adult and realize that you made the choice not to leave the same day. The airline tried to help you out after you created an unsafe situation and a delay for everybody else and you kept on being miserable spoiled brats about it. I'd wager money that Mrs. Kulesza called the media to complain, expecting an outpouring of support for her horrific experience and instead showed herself to be an entitled brat.

I know having a three year old isn't easy. But it is also not easy to be on a plane with a screaming three year old who is delaying your trip and creating a safety hazard, which is clearly lost on the Kuleszas. Just because you've got the future of America having a tantrum doesn't put you above the rules. I think the next time I fly, I'll be looking to fly AirTran.

No Fortunate Son

Dear John Kerry,

Thank you.


Really, there wasn't much else J.K Swiftboat could do in this election's crowded field. Any good will Kerry regained after the 2004 election was swiftly squandered by his poor attempt at his best Jon Stewart impression this fall and immediate quarantine from the public eye during the heat of the midterm elections. Kerry makes a good senator and I don't think he's a bad guy, but he certainly is not a viable candidate for president in 2008.

I still don't have a horse in this race yet, which is fine since we have such a long way to go and last time I genuinely liked someone for the Democratic nomination he got blown out of the water before my state's primary. My early preference is for Hillary because she's a woman with experience in government, but I've got to get more familiar with her politics before I start looking for any bumper stickers.

In keeping with my bid to be Boston's poet laureate, a clerihew.

John F. Kerry
had very few states to carry
in 2004, he was shown the door
and shall aspire to be President nevermore.


It's fate, people. I'm looking to be more creative in my work; Boston is looking for a poet laureate.

In addition to composing works about Boston, according to a proposal by Councilor John Tobin, the city's poet laureate would be charged with educating the public about the ancient art form. He or she would also compose poems for functions such as the State of the City address, swearing in municipal officials, and high school graduations.

Well, I took the infamous Forms of Poetry with Bill Knott at Emerson, and while the class nearly destroyed my will to live, I did learn quite a bit about the forms of poetry the ancients used to entertain themselves before TiVo. I have a writing degree and a rhyming dictionary. Hire me.

Writing samples? Okay. Here are some off the top of my head in the favored quickie form of the haiku. I do them 5-7-5, though the kids I babysit kick it with the 3-5-3 form. I may be counting syllables wrong. As the eight-year-old tells me, I need to work on my math skills.

Blow cold breeze
nose hairs freeze solid
I dream of sun.

Dunkin Donuts love
America runs on you,
bitter roasted beans.

A form of poetry that doesn't get nearly enough love is the clerihew. Here are a couple.

Mayor Menino
got elected by kissing bambino.
He reacted with gall to the fug City Hall
and for a new one he started to brawl.

The Departed
is a film not for the fainthearted.
It entered Scorsese into the Oscar race,
for him to lose would be a disgrace.

JD Drew
a prospect to leave Boston blue.
Us fans? We don't want him
Trot leaving still has us grim.

I mean, this is some pretty rudimentary stuff here. With the proper time and a good benefits package I could do much better, Councilor Tobin. My email's on the sidebar. I have a resume and references. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Lesser of Evils

Yesterday at lunch, I read an article in the Globe about conservative activist Brian Camenker and his mission to prove that Mitt Romney is not the conservative that he fancies himself, but is in fact the dreaded "flip-flopper." I've talked about Brian Camenker here before in less than flattering terms because his politics and mine certainly don't match up. Frankly, I think Brian Camenker is a bigot, as his record of bullying Macy's into removing a gay pride week display from their Downtown Crossing store last year, his petition to stop domestic partnership benefits, and his very questionable attempt to sit in on a gay rights celebration at Newton North High School illustrate. I'm sure lots of people agree with the guy, but I think he's a bigot with too much time on his hands. A coworker of mine came in while I was reading the article and told me that a friend of his had debated Camenker once on a radio program.

"About halfway through the debate, my friend realized that he was dealing with a person who would never listen to another person, ever, and that he was just talking at someone, not with someone."

But, as the article states, Brian Camenker hates Mitt Romney. Granted, he hates Mitt Romney for the exact opposite reasons that I do. I think Mitt Romney is a conservative moron. Mr. Camenker believes Mitt Romney isn't conservative enough a moron and wrote a report called "The Mitt Romney Deception" detailing Romney's previous close and cuddly relationship with gay rights activists and pro-choice groups in his now notorious Senate bid.

This leaves me with a very unsavory feeling. I disagree with Camenker's politics in just about every conceivable way, but I love that he's caused Mitt Romney to flip his coiffed lid about some jackoff with good research skills and a typewriter. I'm not the only one, either.

"I love it," said Marc Solomon, campaign director for the gay rights group MassEquality. "It's sort of ironic, but I think that in this case, Brian Camenker actually has a point, and I think that's the first time I've ever said that. He is highlighting Romney's just total political expediency on issues related to gays and lesbians."

I really dislike the term "flip-flop" because it makes light of the fact that people can change their views over time. But it's one thing to wish gay couples a happy gay pride week in one decade, and then cut funding to many gay rights groups in the next. It's like Mitt Romney was visited by three spirits that gay pride weekend to show him that if he continued down his liberal path he'd end up dead with people stealing his Aqua Net while cackling about what a liberal he was and he woke up determined to be as strict on individual liberty as possible. If it takes a bigot like Brian Camenker to bring Mitt down a few pegs, I guess I'll have to take it. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, I suppose, but I'm not going to buy him a beer or anything.

Monday, January 22, 2007


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I know not everyone agrees on this. I'm not trying to start a fight. But I'd like to thank the Supreme Court for its ruling in Roe v. Wade, which turns thirty-four years old today. We've got a long way to go on reproductive education and reproductive rights in this country, but making abortion legal was a step in the right direction and I'm thankful I have the right to make that choice for myself.

And, just as a side-note, here is Stealth's effective illustration of George "Right to Life" W. Bush's true feelings on the right to life.
In the week before [Karla Faye Tucker's] execution, Bush says, Bianca Jagger and a number of other protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Tucker. "Did you meet with any of them?" I ask.

Bush whips around and stares at me. "No, I didn't meet with any of them," he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. "I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions, like 'What would you say to Governor Bush?' "

"What was her answer?" I wonder.

"Please," Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "don't kill me."


De Nile

Boy, that sure was a short weekend, wasn't it? It's almost as if Sunday, January 21, 2007 never happened. Especially any events between 6:30pm and 10:30pm. Right? Right? Right.

I don't even want to talk about it. Once I get my ancient laptop back into WiFi range, you'll see the photographic evidence of my unraveling. It's good I got all the swear words out of my mouth before I live with minors.

Since I stressed myself out yesterday with the football, I can't even start to think about the 7500 people currently running for president that announced this weekend (I'm still hoping for the Stewart/Colbert ticket) without giving myself congestive heart failure. I can't think about packing anymore. I can't even discuss the mountains of crap piled up against the walls of my little shithole, ready to collapse upon me at any moment without crying. I hate the mess, the disorganization, the fact that my life is yet again in 27 different boxes.

What I want to know from you is this. Is twenty-five too old to get my nose pierced?

Seriously. I can't decide. This weekend, a friend and I were going to go to Providence to the fine folks at Evolution Piercing where I got my ear cartilage done several years back until I ended up babysitting instead. She was going to get second holes in her ears, while I was looking into getting a little stud in my nose. Not a ring, a stud. I've always kind of wanted to have my nose pierced-- another friend of mine who is a second mother to me in age even thought it would look good. However, when I floated the idea by my friend Steph, she was horrified.

"You're twenty-five. That's a college freshman thing to do."

"But I've always wanted one," I protested, "and my friend who is thirty-two just got hers done and it's adorable."

Steph backed off, but I could tell she thought it was a bad idea. So now I'm undecided. If I walked into work with it, nobody would look twice since I'm in publishing and everyone looks weird. However, if I wanted to find a new job, I'm worried it would hold me back. I wouldn't be able to remove the stud for a while without the hole closing up, so it's not like I could hide it right away. If I walked into another company for an interview, dressed professionally and articulating myself well but had a stud in my nose, would it make me look any less employable?

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Notes from a Coffee Shop

It's January in Boston and it's finally snowing. It started out slow, brows furrowed, the expression of "Am I actually seeing this?" Then the flakes dropped faster, following the wind into curls and drafts as people walk down the street with their eyes narrowed against the stinging wind and flakes. Nobody looks upset by the snow, but they look relieved, glad to finally see some evidence of a normal winter. A family ducks into the coffee shop, pulling together two tables, rounding up extra chairs from occupied tables. A small boy in a orange sweater quietly plays with an action figure and eats a cookie. Customers gather toward the windows, glancing up from their coffees and conversations to take in the snow. It begins to cling to handrails and leaves of ivy on buildings. Hats get pulled over heads, gloves are pulled from coat pockets as people prepare to go back outside.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Drink and Fight

Oh, Trotter.

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The Sox's batshit-crazy contingent is down by a lot in this off season. Who's going to participate in any bench-clearing brawls this year? We've got [REDACTED] and Mike Timlin. David Ortiz is too slow to effectively hit anybody and Manny will just run around in circles in left field. We'll miss you, Trot, you crazy son of a bitch.


You have got to be fucking kidding me. (Props to Stealth for the link.)

Rich Little won't be mentioning Iraq or ratings when he addresses the White House Correspondents' Dinner April 21.

Little said organizers of the event made it clear they don't want a repeat of last year's controversial appearance by Stephen Colbert, whose searing satire of President Bush and the White House press corps fell flat and apparently touched too many nerves.

"They got a lot of letters," Little said Tuesday. "I won't even mention the word 'Iraq.'" ...

"They don't want anyone knocking the president. He's really over the coals right now, and he's worried about his legacy," added Little, a longtime Las Vegas resident.

God forbid we hurt the President's dainty little feeeeeeelings. He's so sensitive. A true man of the people. Except he wants to send more soldiers to Iraq to die for a war he should never have started, despite the crystal clear message from voters in every political color that Iraq is a clusterfuck we should politely excuse ourselves from, wipe the fluids from our crotches, pull our pants back on, and do the walk of shame all the way back from Iraq.

The White House correspondents should be ashamed of themselves. This administration has been up to some shady shenanigans and the press has played dead for all of it. Why do they think Americans love Stewart and Colbert so much? Because dudes who broadcast the news on Comedy Central have more balls and show what's really going on more than anybody else on the "big networks." Colbert's speech last year was the number one audiobook download on iTunes for about six months. People are fed up with this puppy dog press.

Since you won't get anyone with any sort of testicles for the Correspondent's Dinner this year, allow the dulcet tones of Colbert to wash over you from last year.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My Mood's Staying Vicious

In the past few years, I've become a gym rat. Not in the sense that the majority of my social interaction happens within the hallowed walls of the gym, but if I don't go to the gym at least a few times a week, I go batty. I get cranky, I can't sleep, and I start feeling the fat cells coagulating around my midsection in earnest. Going to the gym also allows me to eat french fries and drink beer without gaining a ton of weight. Sure, I'm no supermodel, but life is too short to turn down pasta and wine.

I joined the gym I belong to about a year and a half ago. After going to a gym in Brookline for a year or so that was far too small, then not working out while I was dating the Whatever, I'd had it with the lack of physical fitness in my life and noticed a new gym near my office. The gym had been remodeled and had a pool, so I decided to join. It wasn't cheap, but I was there several times a week which made it worth it. Occasionally, I didn't get the piece of equipment I wanted, but I could generally get in and work out with a minimal hassle. This fall, however, it started getting too busy. If I didn't leave work promptly at 5, I would have to wait for any equipment at all to be open. Machines started breaking, making the lines even longer. I dreaded the arrival of the post-holiday crush of people.

Since the new year, it's been bad. I've been leaving work at 4:58 to get out of the building and walk a few blocks to the gym before everybody else can change and get the equipment. Even then, if I don't change lightening-quick I get stuck on some horrible treadmill I trip on or the rowing machine. Last night, however, I had a meltdown.

I usually take a Wednesday night pilates class because I loathe sit-ups. The pilates is nice because it does all the ab work without all the stupid crunching and flashbacks to the Presidential Fitness Tests in elementary school. The Wednesday class instructor is very thorough, so I try to go to her class. Tuesday nights are better for me time-wise, but the instructor who teaches that class just yells and doesn't check to make sure everyone is doing the moves correctly. Last night, I ran into the locker room from the cold outside at 6:15 to make the 6:30 class. The locker room was buzzing with women. I went to a locker without a lock. There was stuff in it. I opened another lockless locker. Stuff. Stuff. Every locker I opened had someone's stuff in it.

Ladies! If you can shell out $75 a month for dues, you certainly can shell out $5 for a combination lock at CVS. Not only will it keep women who aren't as opposed to stealing as I am out of your stuff, but it clues other people in on whether there is stuff in the locker. I think I am going to resort to vigilante stealing to teach people the value of a lock. Watch your socks, ladies. The next occupied and unlocked locker I open will have me stealing the socks within and making puppets out of them. I will swipe your deodorant on my pits. Steal a spritz of your designer perfume. Read the salacious details of your life on your Blackberry. Don't mess with me.

I started throwing a fit. "I pay $75 a month and I can't even get a fucking locker in this place without waiting? I'm month-to-month, bitches. I'll join Healthworks so fast their heads will spin." Thankfully, Amy was finishing up her shower and she dumped her stuff on the floor so I could throw my things in a locker, put on my workout clothes and head over to pilates so I could hopefully get a spot in the front of the room so I could see the instructor even without my glasses.

When I got to the pilates room, it turned out Wednesday night instructor wasn't in so I had Tuesday night instructor. I would have felt like an asshole walking out before to class even began, so I decided to try and deal with her style of teaching. The class started ten minutes late because there weren't enough foul-smelling mats in the room and Tuesday had to go get some. Many people were new to pilates and had no idea what the instructor was talking about as she barked at us to do moves. "Where's your belly?" she'd ask. "It should be sucked in and up." She didn't walk around to correct people, just kept barking. A few people got up and left in the middle of the class. I sat through it, but I missed my Wednesday teacher. If she asks me where my belly is one more time, I am going to cut her, I thought. If that woman who seems to be a devotee to Tuesday makes an orgasm grunt noise one more time, I am leaving.

I managed to get through the class, made my return to the still-crammed locker room, and got out without stabbing a skinny bitch with her own elbow, but it was a close call. I grabbed one of the "suggestions" forms to fill out at home and drop off tonight. I understand that a gym is a business that wants to make money, but signing up endless scads of new members without even considering the capacity of the club is stupid. Members won't encourage their friends to join (Kristen and I have had several people sign up on our recommendation) if the members that already go can't work out properly. I know that the crowd will drop off a bit once the New Year's Resolution people peter out, but it's frustrating to not get done what you want to get done. I overheard someone else complaining that the pre-work crowd is also too big now. The only decent, long workout I've gotten in was on Saturday afternoon and even then it was much busier than other Saturdays have been. I am not a member of some spandex-clad cattle heard that will just loiter around and chat with the old lady who can't let go of her youth as she uses the stair climber. I want to get in, get sweaty, and get out in time for Idol. If I can't do it in my club, I'll find another.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

...And Out the Door I Went

This weekend, I planned on packing. While I did make quite a bit of headway in packing up all my earthly belongings into boxes I stole from work for the second time in six months, I know I'm going to be in a sleepless panic in a couple weeks when I find nooks and crannies full of crap I forgot I even owned. I do feel a lot less nervous about it than I did last time, mainly because all of my crap is in one room and not strewn about with other people's stuff. But the football games distracted me from my cause (seriously, it took four years off my life to watch the Pats game and dogs all across the North End were deafened by my shrieks) and I will be kicking my own ass in a couple weeks.

I got paid on Friday, so I paid my bills. Since I paid my last month's rent when I moved in, I still had quite a big chunk of change in the bank from the beginning of the month. On Friday, I paid off the balance on my renter's insurance policy, paid a few hundred dollars towards various credit card bills, paid my loans, put some money on my CharlieTicket, and even managed to have a couple hundred bucks to save for deposits on a new place. Even after all that, I probably have enough money to get me to the end of the month.

Not paying rent is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Yesterday, I was in Rhode Island taking my Mom to the surgeon to get the scoop on her newest arthritis-related surgery, and since she was so good at the doctor (read: not openly sobbing) I took her to lunch. Generally, I can't afford to buy my Mom anything much more than a coffee. But I turned away her money and bought the woman a quiche. And it felt good to treat her. I can't do that when I have to pay rent to some slumlord in West Roxbury, but I can when I haven't paid up about a third of my monthly income to have a roof with rats in it. This is just a temporary thrill-- at the end of the month, I have to save what I would spend in rent for deposits on a new place. But for now, it's glorious to have made headway in my debts and have a renter's policy paid in full.

And, if I may get preachy, you MUST get renter's insurance. Seriously. You need to have it. After having the cost of replacing everything I own flash before my eyes as my bathroom burned, it seems like a good deal to pay about $240 a year to have the assurance that someone will help me pay to get all my stuff back if something should happen to it. A friend of mine also recently got broken into (most likely by a crooked maintenance person who had a key) and lost her laptop, digital camera, memory card, DVD player, her roommate's laptop, DVDs and backpack. She didn't have renter's insurance, and is now on the hook to replace all these things herself. It's a small price to pay for the peace of mind that you won't have to worry about the financial hit you'd take in such an emotionally challenging time. My Liberty Mutual guy is really sweet and very helpful. Don't fuck around. Be an adult and get some insurance.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Ahh Friday. Long weekend ahoy! Which is awesome. I'll spend most of it packing my crap and sniffling like Lindsay Lohan when she comes out of the bathroom due to my cold. It seems everyone in my office is under the weather. Is it from the sudden cold snap? I just hope I can avoid the conjunctivitis that's going around. There is nothing worse than waking up with pus-crusted eyes.

I've really got nothing to say this week (clearly, as my writing has been shit). My head is all congested-like and I'm tired, even after a week of vacation.

Here is my prediction for this year. The suffix "-alicious" is going to be added to every phrase ever in the world for 2007. I've seen it happening. "Dorkalicious," "Geekalicious," etc. It's going to get old, and I'm going to implore you to resist the temptation because before you know it your grandma is going to tell you she's "Octogenarianalicious" and it'll be over officially then.

NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup is the best it's been since the late-'90s right now. My Name is Earl is redneck humor at it's finest and Jamie Pressley is a riot as Joy, The Office has me stalking John Krasinski because he is just so darn cute with his shaggy hair and snark, and Scrubs is as excellent as always. I thought of Kristen at least twice during last night's episode, especially during this exchange.

"Seven Car Pileup would be a great name for a rock band."

"I know. You told me that when my uncle died in that accident, JD."

Confidential to Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell: Nobody gives a shit.

The other day Kristen and I went to lunch. We have a cute little sandwich place literally across the street from the office, so we seldom wear our coats to just dash across the street. Unfortunately, we caught it when the light was green and we had to wait to cross the street. A woman in a big down coat looked at us as we shivered.

"It's kind of cold without a coat, isn't it?" She said condescendingly. The light changed, and we hustled into the sandwich place as the puffy coat lady went on her way.

"What am I, five?" Kristen said, "Do I look like I need you to tell me to wear my coat? I already have a mother, lady."

That's all I've got. Have a lovely long weekend, my lovelies.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

To the Right, To the Right

Last night, I elected to do the right thing and watch the President's speech. I was sensitive to the troops as I'd just watched Friday Night Lights and Matt Saracen's dad was going back to Iraq. (As an aside, please watch that show. It's really good and I don't want it canceled.) I also watched a report on NBC Nightly News about an anti-RPG device that could save the lives of our troops because it may conflict with the Army's own system that's in development by Raytheon. Read this article and see if your blood doesn't boil. Way to honor the sacrifices our troops have made by sucking the teat of defense contractors.

I'm sure you've all figured out my stance by now, so I'm sure I don't have to state that I'm against sending more troops to Iraq. However, you may not be aware that even the Herald thinks this is a bad idea. Even this nadir of class in our city knows this is stupid. I do hope that the Democrats can do something about this instead of dithering and passing non-binding resolutions only.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Me and Squinty McGee

Deciding whether or not to watch the President's speech tonight about the increase of troops in Iraq by 20,000 is hard for me. I want to be informed, but I enjoy owning a television and if I watch Squinty McGee stammer about how we'll really fix Iraq now for reals I may throw my beer through the set.

President Bush will tell the nation Wednesday night he will send more than 20,000 additional American forces to Iraq, acknowledging that it was a mistake earlier not to have more American and Iraqi troops fighting the war.

No, the mistake was GOING THERE IN THE FIRST DAMN PLACE. It was a stupid, short-sighted, ill-planned maneuver and I still don't exactly know how it happened. I don't have a security clearance, but I knew that Iraq was the least of our problems after 9/11. Instead of spending money to bolster our emergency preparedness or to completely deal with Afghanistan, we had a nice fireworks show in Iraq at the expense of over 3,000 Americans who died and the Iraqis who died as well. Bush made this mess and he should fix it. In a purely America-centric sense, I don't think sending more troops over is going to help us end this. I think it will lead to many more American deaths and only a marginal improvement in the situation in Iraq. My own theory is that we should get the Iraqis prepared to fight the insurgents themselves and start getting the hell out of there.

In any case, this declaration of troop escalation will be the first test for the new Democratic majority. Nancy Pelosi is making noise about blocking the funding for any additional troops, so we'll see how much the Democrats can shift the direction of the war. As Ms. Pelosi said, voters were pretty clear about not wanting to stay in Iraq any longer than necessary. Let's hope they can get the troops home soon and override Bush's misguided fix for a misguided war.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hot Times in the City

If I may delve into water-cooler talk a little bit here...

Where is winter? I love warm weather but this shit is ridiculous. It's the second week of January and we've only had trace elements of snow. While I don't relish snow, I do like snow football, sledding, the carte blanche to be late to work, the hush it gives the City, and the fact that I can bitch about something other than the T. Depending on who you ask, there are many factors that could be causing this. The woman I babysit for called this year a "statistical anomaly." Al Gore thinks it's the global warming he's been trying to stop with his pie charts. I personally take the moderate route out and think it's part global warming, part just a warm winter thus far. (I'll take bets on it snowing about 20 feet when I have to move out of my apartment at the end of the month. Winner gets to help me find stray dogs to act as my dogsled team.)

The Globe has a great opinion piece today by a media critic named Monica Collins that accuses the local news media of playing dumb on the fact that this weather is really out of the ordinary and not mentioning the possibility of global warming. Of course, she rags on my boy Pete Bouchard a little bit, but even I have been screaming at the TV. "For the love of God, man, can we at least discuss the possibility that the ocean could flood the rats out of my apartment at any time? I AM AFRAID, PETE!"

Some choice highlights (I would tell Ms. Collins to tone down the Big Words a little, but that's just me)...

By design, the weathercast is a temperate zone, a bastion of prognosticative bromides [WTF?] without any controversy. Weatherpeople tell you to watch out for drizzle during the morning commute. This has been the extent of their cautionary role. They are promotional tools, teasing their forecasts throughout prime time. They are encouraged to chat chummily with the anchorpeople in calm periods and go into full froth during blizzards, thunderstorms, and other disturbances. Each local TV meteorologist presents the image of a weather jockey who loves the ride in severe conditions. ...

In these times, you do need a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing. TV meteorologists are uniquely positioned to make sense of what's happening outside our windows. They have the tools to put the weather into climatic context. With global warming an omnipresent threat, their role becomes more crucial.

Come on, Pete. Don't let that Ken Barlow jerk make you look a fool. Teach us the ways of climate change, O Bald Chief Meterologist, and how we may look to change things now before the bar graphs become more disturbing.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Baby, I Got Your Money

Now that Mitt Romney is no longer in our hair and we are no longer the liberal nits in his perfect coif, he is off to raise money for his futile bid to be America's next president. I am deeply sorry I missed watching Mitt leave more closely, but I was busy learning about meningitis in Rhode Island.

Sure, Mitt could go the normal route and host $500-a-plate dinners to come up with the $100,000,000 he thinks he needs to be a "serious contender" for the presidency. But since Mitt has proven himself an unconventional governor who loves poking fun at us Massholes, I'd like to give him some ideas that will hearken back to his time in Massachusetts and amuse the conservatives he'd like to court.

In a step that would remind us all of Mitt's saving the Olympics in Salt Lake City and his "expert" handling of the Big Dig collapse, he could arrange an event where prominent athletes run through a scale model of the Big Dig tunnel and try to avoid the falling concrete chunks. The folks at Bechtel would certainly be gracious enough to pay out $1000 to watch the races and eat some cheap hors d'oeuvres while laughing at that little hiccup in the system. Of course, this "concrete" would be plaster so nobody would actually die. This time.

Mitt could also get into merchandising. I'm thinking of a Monopoly-like board game where the players' main goal is to limit the rights of homosexual couples as much as possible. "Archdioceses of Boston does not allow gay couples to adopt. Move forward three spaces." "Legislature refuses to allow question on the ballot to ban gay marriage. Skip a turn." "Legislature pussies out and makes progress in putting measure on ballot. Pass go, burn a rainbow flag, collect 200 political points from straight couple in Nebraska who can now sleep at night knowing their marriage is safe."

Mitt could also hearken back to his horrendous record of abstinence-only/-also/-just shut up and don't fuck until you're married sex-ed with a line of babywear available at all Wal-Mart stores. Imagine a onsie that reads "My Momma Didn't Know Condoms Prevent Pregnancy" or "My Mom Didn't Know She Had a Choice" and maternity shirts that read "I Took Sex-Ed and All I Got Was This Lousy Fetus." The right-to-life folks would love those.

Feel free to take any of these ideas and run with them, Mitt. I wish you only the best.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Fergilicious definition

There are many songs on my iPod that I have a hate-love relationship with. Some of you may recall my early dislike for Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack." However, after having it drilled into my head for a few weeks, it grew on me. Now it's totally my jam. On New Year's Eve, we all watched MTV 37 where they play actual music videos and "SexyBack" came on. That is a hot video. All us white dorks started getting down as JT shoved a Spanish actress onto a table and started taking off her clothes.

One song that I can't stand is the new song by Fergie, "Fergilicious." First of all, I do not understand the attraction men have to Fergie. If you ask just about any woman out there, they don't think Fergie is attractive, or will accurately call her a butterface. However, every guy I've dated or had a conversation with since the advent of miss Fergie-Ferg finds her unbearably hot. She's got a cute body, I guess, but her face is busted. I just don't see it. Even ignoring the fact that she's not that hot, "Fergilicious" is just some horrible songwriting.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Not hot!


Fergalicious definition make them boys go loco
They want my treasure so they get their pleasures from my photo
You could see you, you can't squeeze me
I ain't easy, I ain't sleazy
I got reasons why I tease 'em
Boys just come and go like seasons

Fergalicious (Fergalicious)
But I ain't promiscuous
And if you was suspicious
All that **** is fictitious
I blow kisses (mmmwwahhh)
That puts them boys on rock, rock
And they be lining down the block just to watch what I got

That shit just doesn't make sense. What is putting boys on "rock rock" mean? She's so hot men start doing crack? She quit the rock not that long ago. You'd think she wouldn't want others to go through what she has.

However, this is pretty brilliant:

I'm Fergalicious (so delicious)
My body stay vicious
I be up in the gym just working on my fitness
He's my witness (oooh wee)
I put yo' boy on rock rock

I love that "up in the gym just workin' on my fitness" line. It's pretty funny. I think I'm going to sing it while I'm at the gym working off my holiday cookies.

With all that said, I cannot stop listening to this piece of shit song because it's just so deeply entwined with my semi-memories of Kerri's wedding. A mutual friend of ours, Jamie, loves cheesy pop like Gwen Stefani and Fergie. Since graduating from high school I've maybe seen her a couple of times, but in the past couple of months I've seen her several times and it's been good to catch up. I've found that since I'm much less miserable than I was in high school, Jamie brings out the silly dork in me. At the reception, Jamie and I gave the Groom the "Night at the Roxbury" treatment, which I generally don't do. At the bachelorette party, Jamie was excited to go out dancing and hear "Fergilicious."

"I hate that goddamn song," I said.

"Whaaaaat?" She replied, "that's a wicked good song."

After copious amounts of alcohol and the Bride and I getting the entire bachelorette party kicked out of a bar for knocking over a table, we went to the Fish Company in Providence where, finally, "Fergilicious" played. Jamie grabbed me, and we danced on risers with stripper poles. I think my dancing was pretty poor (which Jamie corroborates) but I do remember dancing to that song.

At the wedding reception, Fergie struck again. I think it played right after a slow song, which found my single guy friends and I hitting the bar for another drink, and the Bride ran back across the room in her big dress to dance with her sister. Watching a girl in a puffy dress get down to "Fergilicious" with her sister who's in seminary school was one of the funniest things I'd seen all weekend. Jamie ran out onto the dance floor in her bridesmaid dress and we reprived our dancing from the bachelorette party (but without the stripper poles). Even the Bride's six-year-old half-brother was getting down in his wifebeater and formal shoes to Fergie.

So, despite my best judgement to the contrary, I downloaded "Fergilicious." I know it's a piece of shit song, I know Fergie is busted (no matter what the men say), but I will always remember it as a big part of celebrating my friend's marriage. As long as this doesn't happen with anything by the Pussycat Dolls (which should have stopped when it was a burlesque troop because THEY AREN'T MUSIC ARTISTS!) I think I'll be okay.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Insane in the Membrane

Holy moly. Not only do I fear stepping into my old school for emotional reasons, now I can fear catching walking pneumonia and encephalitis.

The case of suspected meningitis was reported late Wednesday in an unidentified student at Hopkins Hill School in Coventry. Health investigators are looking into whether the latest case is related to mycoplasma, an infection blamed for encephalitis that killed a Warwick student and sickened two other children in the last few weeks.

Mycoplasma pneumonia, or "walking pneumonia," is common but very rarely progresses to a serious case of meningitis or encephalitis. Meningitis is an inflammation of membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord, and encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain.

While this isn't my district, I do worry since those little horny tots have cars and will travel. Oh well. At least I'd then have an excuse to stay home from work a little while longer. Though the swelling of my brain is a high price to pay.

If you ask my Mom or our cousin, it's because it's been so warm that these especially virulent germies are not dying. I am tending to agree with them.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Make Me Someplace I Can Call a Home

Being in Rhode Island is both wonderful and hell on earth. In the days following the non-stop drinking binge that was the nuptuals and New Year's Eve, I've been sleeping for nine hours a night for the first time in months. The only noise is the sound of my brother rolling over in his sleep and my Mom's preparations for work. No noisy boiler, no rats, no fires, no sirens. However, all this time at home means I'm spending time at home. While I love my mother and brother, it's hard to adjust to being home as an adult. I'm used to my own schedule, my own television habits. My Mom has forced me into watching about twenty hours of QVC against my will. There is a perfectly good America's Next Top Model marathon on VH1, but I'm watching some guy named Bob rave about a fugly sweater. I know she's watching it because she doesn't feel well and isn't up for shopping in stores, but it gets on my nerves. And since I returned the rental car, I'm at the mercy of our two cars to get out for a while. Luckily, I do have some people to visit over the next couple of days so I won't be home quite as much.

One of the places I always debate visiting is my old high school. I'm sure many of you feel this way, but walking through the doors of my high school puts me right back in the mentality I had nearly eight years ago. Which kid is going to laugh at me? Which kid thinks I'm fat? Which bitch of a teacher is going to come up and try to take credit for making me the semi-functioning adult I am today? I'm surprised I don't develop hives from the stress. But there are some completely awesome teachers who taught me how to appreciate literature and words that I haven't seen in a while who I'd love to see. Because as much as I hated high school and relished driving away after I graduated with both middle fingers in the air (seriously), those experiences did make me the intelligent, liberal, somewhat neurotic person I am today. And I probably know some of the kids from when they were six and I took care of them at the school's summer recreation program.

I know I said I'd do a photo essay, but I'm lazy and have to help get rid of some mildew in the bathroom before I take my brother out shopping for some new clothes.