normalcy is coursing through my veins
Tuesday, April 30, 2002
I've still got a long way to go

One last little thing and then I really have to get to work. I had a dream last night in which my friends and I were working in a gumdrop factory. Specifically, spiced gumdrops (don't ask me why that detail was important, but it was). The gumdrop factory owners were not nice to us. They did not let us sleep and they only fed us gumdrops, which we did not want to eat because they were too sweet and we had cavities. And here's the worst part, they only played one song on the factory loudspeakers. And that song was "Sneaky Feelings" by Elvis Costello. Not his finest work, let me tell you, and definitely not what you want on repeat in your head all day. I should know, as I have been humming it all morning.

Now, there is an explantion for why this song is in my subconscious. There is someone out there I hold directly responsible. You know who you are and I expect a prompt letter of apology. In the meantime, I'll just try to maintain my sanity despite the sudden urge to burst into musical dance routine.

Crisis in aisle 6

Mark posted something a while back about liking miniature Mr. Goodbars but not liking the full-size version. I sort of feel that way about Morningstar Farms Chik products. It's not that I dislike the patties, but the nuggets just taste better, despite the fact that they have identical ingredients. Why is this? Does something change in the distribution? And why does my local grocery store only carry the patties? And is anyone else as icked out by the word "nuggets" as I am?

Yes, these are the thoughts that race through my head as I stand in the freezer section trying to figure out what to buy for dinner.

Good grammar is apparently not in the stars today

So I have this passing interest in horoscopes. I don't live my life by them or anything of the sort, but I like to read them. I, in fact, have two different daily horoscopes sent to me via email. It used to be that I read them at the end of the day, to see if they had been relevant. These days I read them in the morning. I am fascinated by the way they are worded--vague enough that they could apply to anyone, but with a few little details that, if you are looking for guidance, could possibly convince you that they were written specifically for you. They are full of rhetorical tricks and I like to figure out how they work.

This morning, I received a horoscope that contained this line: There is a strong, fact-orientated force that is working to combat your aims, and you will find that it is equally powerful and stubborn.

Um, wouldn't that be fact-oriented? Horoscopes with bad grammar sort of ruin that whole "message from the stars" illusion. I see you, little man behind the curtain, and I think maybe I'm smarter than you are.

Jackie-O is my hero because she knows I am as well-read as a third grader and sends me excellent books in the mail to remedy that.

Monday, April 29, 2002
There was going to be an entry here about my totally overbooked (but fun) weekend, but then it got all information report-y and I got bored writing it and I thought that really did not bode well for those of you out there reading it. So now it's gone and there is just an apology for the lack of posting that will occur today. I plead exhaustion, copywriting responsibilities, and a sudden talent for making even interesting things sound yawn-inducing. Go away now, I can't stand for you to see me this way. I mean it, go away. I'll even give you a few destinations:

Read about Billy Wilder and look at great movie posters here. Find more links for more info about him/his films here. (This all comes from having seen a double feature of Some Like It Hot and One, Two, Three this weekend. You too can go see a great American comedy. In fact, I encourage it. I think my face still hurts from laughing.)

Friday, April 26, 2002
More linkage:
I have been meaning to link scurvy boy for a while now, but as we've already established, I am often lazy and prone to forgetfulness.

I just got my favorite work memo of the year, the one announcing that summer hours start in less than a month. Mmmm, half-day Fridays, I had almost forgotten you. Why had you been away so long?

See, publishing does still have a few perks....

Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Yet Another Tale of Subway Woe
(The Latest Installment of the Ongoing Adventures of Jackie-o, Girl in the City)


Will someone please remind me to stop taking the 4/5 train to work in the morning? I always mean to take the Q instead, but then I'm on autopilot mode in the morning and my feet are just walking and suddenly I find myself on the platform at the station I didn't mean to go to, thinking "Drats, I did it again!" Yes, I actually think the word "Drats!" I am secretly a superhero and so all of my thoughts are in words that would be appropriate for cartoon thought bubbles. I also think "Wham!" and "Kapow!" on a regular basis as I am jostled about by my fellow riders. Every morning I vow to be conscious enough the following day to remember to turn left instead of right outside of my building, but, alas, it does not happen. ("Curses, foiled again!")

So this morning I get on the train and am fortunate enough to get a seat. Not only a seat, but a seat on the end, so that I only have to be smushed up against one stranger instead of the usual two! I settle happily into my seat with my book. Life is good. ("Everything is peaceful in Trainville.")

And then, just two short stops later, the woman sitting next to me exits the train and an adorable little girl of about two years of age comes barrelling toward the empty seat, eyes gleaming. At the same time, a man of about thirty years of age comes from the opposite direction and steals the empty seat right out from under the little girl. Her face begins to crumple, and she looks up at the woman holding her hand and says,"But mommy..." in the saddest voice ever. "Shhh, I know," says her mother. I glance sideways at the man now sitting next to me, who has much longer legs than the little girl and so had an unfair advantage in the race for the seat. Besides which, who steals a seat from a cute kid? I then offer my seat to the child ("Jackie-o to the rescue!"), who grins as she plops herself down. The mother thanks me. ("Shazaam! Danger has been averted once again!")

That should be the end of the story, but this is me we're talking about. And weird things are always happening to me, especially on the subway, so why should this be an exception? The seat-stealer begins glaring at me. I pretend, as I usually do when faced with potentially crazy people, that I do not feel him glaring. He glares harder. Nervous, I finally sneak a glance over at him and realize that he must be on serious drugs, as his pupils are the size of the cute little girl's head. I think I hear him growling. I do not look over again until he yells, "I'm sorry, okay?" and realize he is talking to me. His hands are shaking. He yells it again, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. I'm tired. I. AM. SORRY!" ("Ruh-Roh.")

Oh, help. What does one do with a situation like this, when one is not even awake enough to get herself to the desired train station. When one has not yet consumed any caffeine. When one is beginning to get really exasperated with the fact that she seems to be a magnet for lunatics and evil villains. If one is me, one pretends to be concentrating really hard on the book in her hands when in actuality she has not read a single word since she vacated her wonderful end seat. One wishes to be beamed instantly to her sterile cubicle (alas, flight seems not to be a part of this superhero's package). One wishes for the next stop to be hers, or his.

I seem to have wished hard enough (mind tricks are a part of the package), because the crazy man gets off at the next stop, and without even pushing me on his way out. And then, just as I am about to collapse into the empty seat left by his departure, some muttering woman rushes in to steal it from me. Ready to admit defeat, I stop in my tracks, clutching the greasy subway pole in one hand and my book in the other, resigned to be standing here for the rest of my journey, thinking sadly that perhaps I am not a superhero after all.

And then it dawns on me. An explanation for all of this. I am wearing my glasses. No one recognizes me. The superpowers are never evident when in normal-girl disguise. The book, the glasses....I am obviously in alter-ego mode. Otherwise no one would have messed with me. How could I have missed something so simple?

Never fear, dear readers, tomorrow I will wear my cape and mask and everything will be just fine, I hope....

Tune in tomorrow for the next adventure.

Please welcome Jennifer (or Niccola) to 'the regulars' list at left. She is the latest of my coworkers to be sucked into blogging :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2002
I have read this twice now (and had excerpts of it read aloud to me once) and I have yet to make it through without lapsing into laughter so hard it results in embarrassing snorting and sputtering noises that attract the unwanted attention of the important people meeting in the conference room across from my desk. I expect to be fired any minute now. At least I will be laughing when it happens.

I see I am not the only one posting things about Wilco. This is not so surprising, considering we both bought the album just after midnight at the trusty old Virgin Megastore. I have never purchased an album just after midnight on the day of its release before. But we were right there after having just watched Frailty in a freezing cold movie theatre (my advice: rent it, and watch it in your toasty warm living room instead), and so it seemed like a fine thing to do. They keep the empty shelves marked with yellow post-its upon which are written the names of the artists whose CDs will fill the space. This was funny to me, for some reason.

There was a lot of buying last night, actually.

Items also purchased:
Say Anything DVD
Rushmore DVD (Criterion Collection)
The Stories of Stephen Dixon
Interstate: A Novel (also by Stephen Dixon)
Wittgenstein's Mistress (David Markson)
Sushi

Items not purchased last night, but which will be purchased soon:
Soundtrack to 'About a Boy'
When I Was Cruel (Elvis Costello)

That is all for now. Go follow my links while I get some work done.

"cheer up
honey i hope you can
there is something wrong with me
my mind is filled with radio cures
electronic surgical words"


Look, Liz, I posted a lyric with radios in it!

The new Wilco album is lovely. I am happy that I own it and can listen to it over and over all day long, as I am wont to do with new music that I love. I am also, now, even sadder about the fact that I was unable to get tickets to their New York shows. I am seriously contemplating traveling to Providence to see them, as their show there still isn't sold out. Would that be crazy?

Monday, April 22, 2002
I am thinking of renaming this site You Didn't Ask, but I'm Telling You Anyway....

I am sometimes bothered by things that I am sure don't bother other people. For instance, the fact that I have to take an elevator down to the first floor from the third to get on another elevator to take me from the first floor to the twenty-seventh, which is where the cafeteria is located. It frustrates me to have to go down before going up. It goes against all logic and reason for me. If I am by myself, this is all I will think about the entire time I am in the elevator.

This frustration is the same thing that once caused me to get into an argument with co-workers whom I didn't know that well about which train to take to a reading we were all attending downtown. They wanted to walk up to 51st street to catch the train, whereas I insisted we walk to 42nd (we work somewhere in between). My logic was that we were going downtown, so it didn't make sense to walk uptown to the train. Their logic (which was not really logical at all, in my opinion) was that the 51st street station was (one block) closer. I so couldn't reconcile walking uptown to go downtown that I just started walking the other direction. Eventually, everyone followed me, although I suspect some of them still refer to be as "that girl who freaked out about the train that time."

Sunday, April 21, 2002
Well, that was a fun little change of format now, wasn't it? We here at normalcy hope that you were entertained. We shall now return to our regularly scheduled posting.

Another vacation story:

Key Largo

Key Largo is the kind of place whose population changes daily as tourists come and go in masses. It is also the kind of place where it is not unusual to witness, several times in one day, men riding shirtless and helmetless on motorcycles, with clinging women in bikini tops and cutoff denim shorts clutching their waists as they race at breakneck speed to nowhere in particular. All of the houses are low to the ground, most are pastel-colored and designed in that imitation of Spanish colonial style that seems to go hand in hand with palm trees in the front yard. Those front yards consist largely of a gravel and sand mixture that works its way into my flip flops repeatedly, although there are occasional patches of what, up north, we might call crabgrass.

The main roads are lined with souvenir shops with names like Largo Cargo, selling salt water taffy and refrigerator magnets in the shape of bikini-wearing manatees, as well as salt-weathered shacks of restaurants advertising cracked conch, mahi, and grouper, frozen drinks and waterside seating. We wander into one of them, Snook's, and sit in the sunshine. I drink the kind of drinks I would never order in New York, fruity frozen concoctions that are so icy they make my temples hurt, my eyes crinkling into ice-cream headache face behind my sunglasses.

In Key Largo, the laziness washes over you in waves bigger than those rolling up onto the shore. It is the sun and the alcohol and the heat, but more than that, it is something in the air. The locals refer to it as the Keys Disease. Just park it here, relax, don't move, have something cold, take a nap if you want to, let's have dinner in tonight. It is tempting, I will admit, to give in to whatever siren's call it is that compels people to settle in such places, but I can't quite succumb to it. There is always a part of me anxious to rush back to the city, something about me that can't bear sitting still for any substantial length of time. Even when curled up with a good book on a sunny morning, I have to get up periodically to check the time, refill my water glass, make a phone call, take a walk. I am a restless person, at odds with the balmy breeze and the humidity so thick you could lean back against it and trust it to just barely hold you up.

My friend Joe and his fiance, Carrie, live in Key Largo. They teach groups of kids who come from all over about the local marine life. They enjoy what they do, but when I tell them that I don't think I could ever live here, they agree, already thinking about where to go next. But for now, this is home. Their second-story apartment is bright and sunny, the screened-in porch perfect for early-morning reading. Their cat sleeps curled at my feet on the futon in the living room at night. We buy cream of coconut in the can, so cold it is partially solid, and eat it with a spoon before adding it to our drinks.

I am only there a short while, but it is a good visit. I have known Joe for thirteen years, we realize while talking about who will be attending his wedding, and it is good to catch up with him. It is also good to meet Carrie. It had seemed somehow wrong that one of my oldest friends had found the person he was going to spend the rest of his life with and I had not yet met her, and so visiting them closes a gap of sorts. She is sweet and funny and they complement each other well, and I am excited for their wedding in November. They drive me part of the way back to Naples when it is time for me to leave. I sit in the back. After a while, they seem to forget I am there, lapsing into the kind of couple-talk that generally occurs when company is not present. I half-listen for a few moments before dozing into a content backseat slumber reminiscent of late-night childhood car trips, but I walk myself to the door when we arrive at our destination instead of having to be carried.

dear Jackie-O,

That was a horrible joke.

And just because you either don't remember or more likely were not paying attention to when I asked, "Is that spelled right?" does not mean that you are right. You are, in fact, here, wrong. Believe me for once. If for no other reason than that I am tipsy again. I vaguely suspect myself of having used the wrong "than/then", and if that is the case, I will have to hang my head in a kind of shame, exiting stage left, slouching my way towards Bethlehem.

semi-doubting,
Lee

Saturday, April 20, 2002
Dear Lee,

The only spelling question I answered yes to was the one about the pluralization of bloody mary, which directly resulted in the parenthetical musings in the initial post. Perhaps said bloody marys went to your head and this is why you cannot recall the way the conversation actually went. It's okay though, these things happen, and I forgive you. But we're going to have to have a talk about this drinking and typing thing.

Concerned,
Jackie-o

P.S. I am an ace speler, how dare you question that fact.


dear Jackie-O,

I distinctly recall asking you, "Is that spelled right?" To which you replied, "Yes." I will never trust you again.

betrayed,
Lee.

Ps. My tongue is not in my cheek. I really really will never trust you again. Ace speller my ass.

Friday, April 19, 2002
Dear Lee,

I did cut the "regrettably" from your/our post, although you did suggest it first. I had originally said it was okay to keep it in, but upon re-reading, changed my mind. It didn't seem to fit with the tone of the rest of the post. After saying "our lights are too bright," it seemed odd to switch tones to something negative such as "regrettably." As discussed, I reserve the right to exercise my editorial control, but I would be happy to further discuss this issue with you if you so desire. If you can offer a convincing argument as to why the poor, excised word should be reinstated, I would be happy to consider it.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter. Thank you again for your continued contributions to normalcy is coursing through my veins.

Best,
Jackie-o

P.S. As you know, this whole response is tongue-in-cheek. I actually ended up taking out the word because something looked wrong about it and so I looked it up and found that it had two "t"s. So first I added a "t," but then I took it out entirely. Nothing I say is regrettable, dammit :)

The Pier and the Little Boy

There is a pier in Naples, Florida that is a local tourist attraction. I wandered along it during one of my many beach strolls ( I like the beach, but I am too restless to really lie in the sun for very long, so I end up doing a lot of beachwalking. Oh, and by the way, if I should have used "lay" in that last sentence instead of "lie," please let me know; I am sometimes ignorant about basic grammar rules). It was filled with old men and young families, all of whom were fishing.

I leaned against the far railing, enjoying the breeze coming off the ocean. Next to me was a little boy, about five years old, holding a fishing pole. When the line suddenly went taut, he gasped, both excited and horrified. Slowly, he reeled it in, having caught a small angelfish. His father had wandered off to buy more bait and so the kid looked to me to share this moment.

"I caught a fish!" he exclaimed. And then, solemnly, "It's the first fish I've ever caught." He paused for a moment, in awe of himself, and then the fish began to flop a bit and he shuddered. "Can I touch it?" he asked and I nodded, laughing. He poked at it hesitantly and then quickly withdrew his hand.

"It's an angelfish," I told him.

"I've never caught any kind of fish before," he said. Then, noticing my camera, he asked if I would take his picture.

I snapped a photo, and then thought it might be nice to send him a copy. So I asked him for his name. "Louis," he said, suddenly shy in that way children are when, in the middle of conversation, they seem to realize you are a total stranger and maybe they shouldn't be talking to you. He didn't know his address, just shrugged and said, "We're on vacation."

I waited for his father to come back, but he was gone a little while (long lines for bait at the pier), and it was getting near the time when I had told my grandmother I would meet her, so I left. Now there is a picture of Louis and his fish on my camera, that he will not receive, but will make me smile when I finally develop my film (which will probably be sometime next summer, judging by my usual schedule).

Kasey, my coworker friend, says that she wishes she could rent children. I sort of agree, but I think I prefer it when I run into them in random places. It's more genuine that way. I am always amazed at kids' amazement. Louis and his fish totally made my day.

Dear Jackie-O,

You edited my last post, and didn't even tell me about it. I can not believe it! The total and complete lack of respect for my carefully chosen use of the word "regretably" before the phrase "Jackie-O would like to speak now" and you toss it aside like it was slightly cruel or potentially condescending. I am caught out, weeping for my word. Poor poor word.

I would curse, but what good would it do?

defeated,
Lee.

Ps. I just really need food.

Pps. I am thinking now that it is also possible that I edited the word out before I even posted, and if that is the case then I forgive you. But not for taking away the salt water taffy, which I would like to be chewing right about now.

The vacation will be broken into sections as it is relayed to you. There will be sections within the sections. The sections may be out of order. They may overlap. They may be disjointed. Or boring. I make no promises.

The Grandparents

My grandparents stay up later than I do. When I told them my flight didn't get in until well past ten p.m., they were unfazed, happy to pick me up and then drive the 45 minutes to their house. And then, they wanted to stop at the grocery store. Once we arrived at their house, they wanted to stay up chatting. Don't get me wrong, I was excited to see them. It's just that I hate flying. Spending six hours in airports and on planes, all the while tensing every muscle in my body in anticipation of the disaster I believed must be awaiting me, left me so exhausted I could barely nod. And so they hesitantly let me wander off to bed shortly after midnight.

My grandparents still hold hands wherever they go. I find this to be possibly the cutest thing ever.

My grandmother has this wise old woman quality about her that makes me just want to ask her question after question. She tells me stories about how she first met my grandfather. She offers insight into my father's personality. She dispenses relationship advice in this knowing tone that makes it impossible to argue. At dinner, she drinks margaritas on the rocks with extra salt. The waitresses adore her. She calls people "dearheart" in this midwestern drawl that makes it sound like the highest compliment you've ever been paid. She jokes about the noises her hearing aid makes when she turns it on, telling me she is tuning in alien frequencies, calling out to spacemen. She is crazy and brilliant and I hope I have as much energy as she does when I am her age.

My grandfather is quieter, but equally smart. He calls me "Miss." He respects my wishes to have a quiet afternoon curled up with my book. He leaves me just enough coffee for one cup every morning, with a clean mug and a spoon right next to the coffeemaker. He orders pot roast at a seafood restaurant. He finishes my grandmother's sentences and doesn't seem to mind that they have the same argument about the color of the carpet at least twice daily during the week I am staying with them.

They are charming. They have their old-people quirks, but they're great, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to have spent some time with them. For much of my life, I was fairly distant from most of my family, but lately I have been making the effort to be in better touch and to find out all the things I should have known years ago. It's going well, I think.

Thursday, April 18, 2002
Yes, the long wait is over. I have returned safely from Florida. You can all rest easier tonight. Unless of course, it is too f-ing hot for you to rest, in which case, you can call me up, since I'll also be sleepless and miserable. As you may know, the weather up here is all confused. It seems to think it's August when really it's April (they both start with 'A,' so I suppose I can see how they might get mixed up). If I wrote a letter to the weather, it would say:

Dear weather,

Please stop with this foolishness. Don't you know it's mean to be make it ten degrees hotter in New York than in the tropical state I just left? And that it's even meaner to turn on the summer before certain fourth-floor, right under the roof, brownstone-dwellers have had a chance to purchase and install an air conditioner? We are sorry if we have angered you somehow, but surely we could come to some sort of arrangement other than this heat-wave punishment. Let's talk, okay? Thanks for your cooperation.

All my best,
Jackie-o


There will be details of my travels, don't you fret. It's just that there are all these pesky work emails and phone calls and bosses to be responded to. Soon enough though, soon enough.

Thanks to Lee, Mark, Jeff, Sarah, and Amy, who were so kind as to post in my absence. You're the bestest blog team a girl could have.

More tomorrow...


Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Jackie-O is in my house right now and we are drinking bloody marys ("Perhaps it is maries? Or even maryeys?" you ask, but, no, you are wrong) and you are jealous and that is why we are better than you. And no, we are not even drunk yet. Look the other way now. Our lights are too bright, and hurting your god damn eyes.

Jackie-O would like to speak now before it is her turn to do so.

She says: It's Hot (yes, do note capital "H"). But at least there is a fan. It is, as Amy says, fantastic. That is all. Goodnight.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Jackie-O moved to Maine in the Fall of 1998 with nothing but a suitcase and a car full of assorted possessions. I'll bet you didn't know that about her. She just up and went to Maine and found a woman on the edge of town who rented her a room. She used to tell me stories about what it was like living with the woman on the edge of town. I'll pass some of those stories on for your reading pleasure.

The room she rented was not actually a room at all but was, in fact, an uninsulated front porch of a house and a small one at that. It was about the size of a bathroom in an average house. It had a wicker chair, a lamp, and a fold out foam chair/futon (Jackie-O says these are sometimes called "Fold 'n' Fucks" in some circles though that's not a term I ever encountered.). Being October and November when she rented the porch, it was often unbearably cold at night. Many blankets were required. Jackie-O would wake from her cozy little shell of warmth only to see her own breath. It is because of the cold that Jackie-O probably has other stories to tell about the woman on the edge of town. You see, rather than reading in the frosty cold at night, she interacted with the other boarders instead. It was something to do with the time.

The woman on the edge of town was in her late thirties with three children, two boys and a girl. Her first husband was a wandering type and so, they were divorced.

Jackie-O used to write me entire letters about how the woman on the edge of town had this man in her life named Eldred. Eldred really wasn't a boyfriend but wasn't really independent either. Eldred liked to spend his evenings drinking a full 12-pack of Budweiser - every night. Eldred didn't get violent when he was drunk - he just talked and talked and said stupid things and said them many times. The woman on the edge of town fought with Eldred sometimes but kept him around because he was handy with the house. The woman on the edge of town told Jackie-O about how her plan was to rent out rooms of the house to boarders to raise money for home renovation while providing Eldred with enough sex and beer to keep him motivated to do the work on the house. The woman on the edge of town had a plan and she stuck to it.

While Jackie-O was renting, there were three other boarders occupying the regular bedrooms. One was named Larry. Larry was staying there because his wife kicked him out of their apartment. Larry spent almost every night on the phone for at least a half hour talking to his wife and just agreeing with her. Larry was desperate to return home so he rarely disagreed with her. It was funny when Larry disagreed with his wife because he would get really angry and start whining on the phone. When the phone call was not going well, Larry would sigh a lot and say, "Awww, come on! Come on!"

Another boarder was named Sue. She was in her late forties. Jackie-O says that Sue wasn't even there half the time.

The last boarder was a man named Steve in his late twenties who worked as a cook in one of the seafood restaurants on the other side of town. The woman on the edge of town noticed that certain laundry items kept inexplicably turning up missing. Already distrustful of Steve because of his creepy demeanor and lack of interaction with others, the woman on the edge of town went into his room one day (knowing that she was breaking some kind of renter's rights rule) only to find that Steve had an assortment of her little daughter's underwear under his pillow and under his bed. Steve and his possessions were on the street within the hour. The woman on the edge of town also called Steve's work to make sure they knew that their employee had molestation fantasies. The daughter apparently was never touched and that relieved the woman on the edge of town as well as Jackie-O.

The woman on the edge of town had a trampoline outside for her kids. Jackie-O jumped around with them all the time. The kids liked her because she was normal. The woman on the edge of town considered Jackie-O to be a role model for her kids.

One time, Jackie-O listened while the woman on the edge of town told her about the time she saw a U.F.O. while coming home from work. She said her co-workers saw it too. The woman on the edge of town also said that a ghost lived in her house. This creeped Jackie-O out.

Eventually, Jackie-O got an apartment of her own in town and moved out. She promised the woman on the edge of town that she would stop by every now and then. She never went back for some reason. The little daughter was sad to see Jackie-O leave. She no longer had a trampoline buddy.

I figure I should use this opportunity to unburden myself of some embarrassing things I've done that have been haunting me. This way I don't have to ever stumble across them on my site, and I can later disavow writing this. (Selfishness is the best thing EVER! It's even better than hyperbole!)

1. I went to a movie theater in Brattleboro, Vermont with two friends to see Magnolia. (I don't know exactly when this was, but movies tend to make it to Brattleboro about six years after the rest of the country, so I'd say it was June of 2005.) We were sitting very near to the front of the theater, perhaps ten rows back. It was a matinee and the theater was pretty empty. Some time during the movie, I got up to buy some Swedish Fish. I bought the candy and returned to my seat. Maybe a minute or two passed before I noticed laughter coming from a couple of rows behind me. The movie wasn't funny, so I turned around to see what the noise was about. I'm pretty sure that's the moment that I realized the people I was sitting next to were not my friends, but were, in fact, two total strangers who looked nothing like the people I was sitting with originally. I excused myself and walked back the three or four rows to my original seat. My friends eventually managed to stop laughing. Magnolia sucks.

2. A couple of years ago, a friend and I went to Montreal for the weekend. I believe now that the sole purpose of the trip was to drink a lot. I can't really remember, but I'm reasonably certain that's all we did while we were there. The last night (it's possible that we were only there for one night), we went to this club and, um, drank a lot. A lot. When we were getting ready to leave we went down to the coat check, but my friend couldn't find the ticket to get her purse. We saw the purse hanging behind the counter, but without the ticket, they wouldn' give it to us. As we were figuring out what to do, the attendant left the coat check area. I decided that it would be a good idea to just go around the counter and grab the purse. I can't remember whether there was a door that I went through or if I just climbed over the counter. I think I might have climbed over the counter. I get into the coat check area and I'm grabbing the purse when the coat check lady comes back around the corner. She starts yelling at me. Just then, my friend finds the ticket and jail time is narrowly averted.

3. I've been running a small online book lending library for the last year or so. It's become sort of popular recently (that is, it's been mentioned in a couple of newspapers and magazines), and I've done some interviews. The first was a profile in an Australian newspaper and it went horribly wrong. (I found out after that the profile was one in a series of pieces about how oddballs use technology -- the piece before the one about me featured a guy who had made a washing machine for dogs.) The next interviews all went fine, and I'd thought that I was getting better at it, so I agreed to a taped interview for a CBC radio program without much hesitation. I did a pre-interview with a producer which went very well and we scheduled a time for the actual taped interview (last Wednesday afternoon). I wasn't worried about it, figuring it would be the same as the non-taped interview. I was wrong. The host of the show was incredibly hyper and topically peripatetic. He kept changing subjects with no warning, which made me very nervous. I have this annoying habit of imitating people's speech patterns, so I kept talking faster and faster and more and more Canadian-sounding. My voice kept getting higher and shriller. I don't know how it happened, but I managed to use the word "dowry" twice. It was a disaster. When I was growing up, I told my mother I wanted to be a radio baseball announcer. She gave me a look that said, "Sure thing, kid. I'll believe it when I see it." I finally understand why.

I think we can agree this was neither amusing nor therapeutic, but at least it was time consuming!

Monday, April 15, 2002
Things That I Do Not Like That Everyone Else Seems To (or) Reasons That I May Not Be Human Afterall:


1. ER. Yes, I watched it in the George Clooney days and ought to watch it now just for this guy, I but I just can't bring myself to do it. There is something about gaping chest wounds and medical saws (excuse my ignorance, I don't know the technical name) cutting into skulls that really just puts a damper on my day. Plus, this show gets an automatic 10-point deduction for ever giving Kellie Martin a role.

2. Chocolate ice cream (chocolate syrup, chocolate shakes, chocolate milk...). This has shocked and appalled many people. All I can say is that I'm sorry.

3. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I wonder if anyone is even bothering to read anymore?

4. Friends. I think this one was funny for, maybe, the first two seasons. Now it's the limping-dying-begging-to-be-put-out-of-its-misery horse that no one wants to shoot. Speaking of dead animals...

5. Steak. It's bloody, fatty, lined with gristle and used to moo. Wait, why don't I like it again?

6. Elvis. Maybe it's the peanut butter and banana sandwich thing. Maybe it's the fact that I don't like his music. Maybe it's all due to a little diddy known as "Blue Christmas."

Friday, April 12, 2002
A frantic request from my friend Ann got me to thinking yesterday.

Hi Sneers,

do you or anyone there know what the plastic thing that keeps a 6-pack of beer together is called? Desperately need to know and am e-mailing around the world to find out.

Anniex


Not knowing the answer myself, I queried some of the smartest people and biggest lushes that I know. Some of their more knowledgeable responses:

1. "in my house it was always referred to as 'the plastic thingy,' which was also used as reference for myriad other plastic objects of vague nomenclature. Example: 'scott has the plastic thingy stuck around his wrists again'..."
2. A dolphin choker
3. strangulation tool
4. Accessory to murder [2-4 are from someone with an obvious, latent urge to kill her mother…]
5. beer holster
6. string of pearls (worn exclusively by strangling fish and/or ducks especially attached to the beauty and prowess of barbara bush)
7. the 6 rings of hades
8. fuck tokens (some people saved the little levers on the tops of cans (rings intact of course) for kisses...well, those that use this term have chosen to think on a more progressive slant)
9. utility belt attachment mechanism (U.B.A.M.)
10. Seagull control devices
11. drink noosies

*favorites denoted by bold type

So, as most of my friends are seemingly as daft as I am, I propose that anyone who can correctly give name to the plastic beer holder thing will get a large, gooey gift from Amber in the mail upon her return from vacation. Maybe a humongus wedge of salt water taffy.


Jackie-O once wondered, out loud to me, about whether bad movies on video receive noticeable increases in viewership when their stars later rise to success in Hollywood and the makers of the bad movies go back and change the movie summary by leading with "Academy Award Winner" or "Golden Globe Winner" as if to indicate that the award was won for the bad movie and not a movie made many years later.

Case in point: Nightmaster starred Nicole Kidman back when she would probably do anything but porn. This movie is probably so bad that the studio that owns the rights (visit the link provided) doesn't have a figure for the running time because no one there has probably ever made it through the first half hour of viewing ("Good God, shut it off! Just put 'Not Available' for the running time and let's move on!").

Note the description provided:
"Golden Globe Winner Nicole Kidman and Tom Jennings star in an extreme contest to become champion! By day, Robbie and Amy are ordinary students. By night, they are the top contenders in a highly competitive simulated war game designed to test athletic prowess and intellectual superiority...."

Do people in the video store think, "I thought she was good in Moulin Rouge but she won a Golden Globe for this Nightmaster? Yeah, I'll get Nightmaster and Mrs. Doubtfire tonight."

Thursday, April 11, 2002
Cat and Girl is the best thing I've seen on the web EVER! My favorites: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

(I was shown Cat and Girl by my friends V and Steve, who apparently watched the Maryland-Indiana game last week with Lee, whom I don't know and who may or may not have written the last entry. I'm contractually obligated to now say, "It's sure a small world!")


In keeping with Miss Jackie-O's play-by-play semi-confessional manner of writing, I offer the following anecdote about this very evening, as I am typing. Next door there seems to be moaning and squeaking and some kind of rythmic noise-making going on. I put my headphones on, but then afterwards realized that it just sounds like I turned off my music to listen to whatever is happening on the otherside of what should be a cinder block wall. That idea is probably very disturbing to my neighbors, but I find the headphone donning to be totally in line with the normalcy that courses through these my veins.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002
Have a lovely week, everyone. As soon as I change my voicemail message, I am officially on vacation. There will be no blogging from me for the next week, but I've enlisted some friends to help with the upkeep. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 08, 2002
Rick Russo's 'Empire Falls' just won the Pulitzer! This is exciting for two reasons: 1) He is a very nice man and a great writer (and I'm not just saying that because I happen to work for the company who publishes his books). 2) I had already decided that the paperback edition of this book was coming with me on my vacation, and so now I am quite pleased with my exquisite taste :)

For those of you who like to be in the know, a complete list of winners can be found here.

Oh, before I forget: Thanks to Koji and Ferra for helping me to fix my (formerly) broken April 1 post.

Re: The White Stripes show. They were good, but not great. Immediately after walking onstage, Jack came up to the microphone and said, "I'm Jack White and I have bronchitis, but I'm going to do the best I can." Very endearing. Even more endearing was the fact that his voice cracked like a thirteen-year-old boy's on occasion throughout the set. Not so endearing were the frat boys standing behind me who felt the need to spend half an hour talking about Meg's breasts (they said "tits," but I kind of hate that word, so I include it only in parentheses for authenticity's sake) and how they moved when she played the drums, prompting me to give them a look that directly resulted in one of them saying, "Dude, that girl hates us." Very perceptive, guy.

The show was good, but not great. I had fun, but the crowd just didn't seem that into it. When they played 'Fell in Love with a Girl,' the applause was negligible and Jack commented upon it: "What are you guys, too cool for school?" I think that was the general feeling. People seemed to be working to be unimpressed. I mean, yes, he was sick, and I was expecting them to be a little more high-energy, but I thought they were better than the crowd's reaction indicated.

I am curious as to how the remaining three (!) shows went. His voice was close to shot on Friday, so I can only imagine what he sounded like last night.

I had a great weekend. It was great because of small things. And so, a list of small things that made me happy:

--An impromptu after-work shopping trip and fast-food binge with Mary
--Listening to the White Stripes play 'You're Pretty Good Looking'
--Running into Lee (and his just-arrived-in-the-mail Beat Happening box set :) ) on the street while walking to the gym
--Having dinner at a newly-opened restaurant with Sara and Mark and having the waitress tell us that the preparation of our white sangria in the kitchen was "like a Benny Hill sketch"
--Waking up early on Sunday, seemingly unfazed by the time change, and wandering around my Brooklyn neighborhood with a cup of tea
--Sushi and green tea ice cream
--Talking with Joe on the phone and finalizing my plans to visit him this coming weekend
--Knowing that vacation is just a few days away
--Finding out that Sleater-Kinney has added two New York shows and that I haven't totally missed my opportunity to see them live again soon (which almost, almost makes me feel better about not being able to get Wilco tickets...almost)

Quote of the day, courtesy of my friend, Daniel (re: Molly Shannon in 'Superstar'):

"She kisses trees. It's so funny....and so sad."

Friday, April 05, 2002
In the 'seemed like a fine idea at the time' department:

So I'm going to Florida next week. I will be visiting my grandparents (yes, my grandparents live in Florida--shocking, isn't it?) and an old friend. I am very excited. So excited, in fact, that I did a little shopping to prepare for my trip. I bought a bright red beach bag and a bright blue (one might even call it 'electric blue,' if one were into giving colors ridiculous names) bikini.

The bikini was a total impulse buy. I bought it without trying it on. You might be wondering: Who the hell buys a bathing suit without trying it on? Well, boys and girls, if you had witnessed the sight that is the line for the fitting room at H&M, you might just have done the same thing. But you would have been making a big mistake. Colossal, even. Because, let me tell you, it looks ridiculous. It's not exactly that it doesn't fit. It does....in a 'I look like I should be sprawled on the hood of a souped-up Lexus in a hip-hop video' kind of way. Which is just fine, I suppose, if that's what you're into. It's just that it's not my thing.

Too bad swimwear is nonreturnable. But at least it came from H&M, and so I only wasted like thirteen dollars. Meanwhile, if any of you has a music video audition coming up and needs a, um, costume, you know who to contact.

'she's so lackadaisical, should have been a west coast bride'

'Lackadaisical' is one of my favorite words ever, in case you were wondering.

White Stripes tonight. I got a good night's sleep last night so that I'd be ready to rock out this evening. (And yes, I do realize how old that makes me sound). I'm a little concerned after a friend sent me a lackluster (oooh, another good 'lack' word!) email recap of the Boston show and then slatch posted a less-than-stellar review. Still, I'm excited.

Thursday, April 04, 2002
Random word fact for today:
(inspired by yesterday's IM conversation with Jeff)

The singular form of the plural noun 'pierogies' is either 'pierogi' or 'pirogi.' (I prefer the former). I didn't know that until yesterday, and so I thought I'd share. Exactly when this singular form would be useful is unclear since I will never, ever eat just a single pierogi, but still, it's good to know these things.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002
A businessman walking behind me on the stairs in Grand Central this morning told me, "Getting to look at your ass for those two flights totally made my day." Response in head: "Like, ohmigod, why didn't anyone tell me about my ass's magical powers sooner? What am I doing working when I could be out there using my ass to brighten people's days?" Actual, out-loud response: "Um, that's really pathetic." Ah, spring in the city, the season of sunshine, sandals, and dramatically increased sexual harassment....

Tuesday, April 02, 2002
Posted on the outer door to the women's room is a computer-printed piece of paper announcing the death of a freelance copy editor/proofreader. Now I know they're trying to reach everyone, and they must have figured that we all go to the bathroom at some point during the day. I can see the logic and all...but wouldn't an email have been, I don't know, just a little bit classier?

Monday, April 01, 2002
Oh, and one more thing. If you live in the NYC area, come see Shelley Jackson read tonight. She's nice. And talented. We like her. She will be reading with Ben Marcus at the Astor Place Barnes & Noble at 7:30 pm. I recommend getting there early, as that Marcus fellow has been getting a lot of attention these days and so I'm betting it will be crowded.

Okay, enough with the easter candy already. I mean, I know it's the day after and the stuff's all fifty percent off or whatever, but come on. If I turn a corner and see one more giant basket/pink foil-wrapped bunny/goddamned marshmallow peep, I just might lose it and start clucking like the Cadbury bunny. And trust me, no one wants to see that.

'You were my oxygen, the thing that made me think I could escape'

Perhaps it was that I started out by getting loads of sleep on Friday. And it certainly didn't hurt that Saturday was a gorgeous spring day. Add to that a small shopping spree, a great workout, a Le Tigre show, two fun celebrity sightings, and a brunch with Gab at an outdoor table at a French cafe in the West Village, and you just might have the recipe for a perfect weekend.

A couple of lists and then an account of a show--

Shopping spree: beaded prairie skirt, ruffled white tank top, cute sandals, camisole, Wilco's 'Being There' (to replace the copy that went missing somewhere along the way between upstate and the city when I moved)

Celebrity sightings: Beastie Boys (at the Le Tigre show), Michael Stipe (walking past our outdoor table at brunch on Sunday, accompanied by a very attractive young man)

The show: Amazing. Went with seven girls, which I feared might be too many people, but it worked out just fine. I had one drink and then decided I was too revved up from my fabulous day to have any more. We stood right up by the stage, the crowd was great. I danced the entire time. I haven't left a show that exhilirated (and sweaty) in a long, long time. They had their multimedia presentation in the background, complete with films made by Kathleen and sing-along words to 'FYR.' Any band who can get an entire room full of people to dance and scream along to lyrics like, 'Can we trade Title IX for an end to hate crime? RU486 if we suck your fucking dick,' is alright by me. (And yes, I realize that by quoting those lyrics, I am inviting every porn searcher on the net to my site. Well, I can only hope that they're as horribly disappointed as I imagine they will be.) The vibe was better than the last time I saw them, much more high-energy. Their outfits and their choreography were, as usual, aces. Kathleen is my heroine. I'm having that I-wanna-be-in-a-band-now feeling. Again. And that's my recap. If you're into that postmodern, multple-perspective thing, you can ask Liz and Sarah for their versions; they were there and I'm sure they'd be happy to share.

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