normalcy is coursing through my veins
Saturday, June 29, 2002
Mom always told me I was a winner.

Congratulations to my co-winner, Mrs. Kennedy. And thank you to the judges, helenjane and Adam.

Friday, June 28, 2002

Reading Strunk & White just before falling asleep may result in strange dreams. Last night I dreamt of game shows where contestants grabbed commas from the air with as much fervor as if punctuation marks were hundred-dollar bills.

Thursday, June 27, 2002
The list formerly posted here was long and boring and the product of the end of a very long workday. It has now been removed.

Lesson for the day:

According to these guidelines, authors can nominate themselves for a Pulitzer Prize. I think I always assumed that someone else had to nominate an author. You know, like the same way Phi Beta Kappa members are chosen. But no, any published writer with a healthy enough ego and fifty bucks can submit his/her own work for consideration. Huh.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002
I saw this book of lost pet posters in Virgin the other day and found it oddly compelling.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Enter the Official Que Sera Sera Young Guns II Haiku Contest right this second. I command you.

Is it really pathetic that the installation of two so-new-they-still-have-that-plastic-smell photocopiers on my floor brought me such great joy that I nearly turned cartwheels? I am already plotting how to use the forty-five minutes of my day previously blocked out for cursing at/banging fist against copy machine.

Friday, June 21, 2002
Great mysteries of my universe

Why, when we have a perfectly functional dishwasher in our kitchen, does one of my roommates insist upon stacking his filthy dishes in the sink, where they fill with stagnant water and rotting food scraps until the entire room is filled with the stench of decay?

Why do people still install car alarms, despite the fact that no one pays any attention when they hear them going off? Perhaps more importantly, why does the man who always parks his ugly, shiny blue car directly in front of my building, have a car alarm so sensitive that someone sneezing inside of my apartment seems to set it off? (It's at the point where I find myself humming along with the car alarm, no joke).

Why, when I know that the automatic faucet on the fourth sink basin from the left in the office bathroom does not work, do I stand expectantly with my hands underneath almost every time I go in there?

Thursday, June 20, 2002
It seems that the gods are conspiring to get me drunk today. Someone in publicity just had an impromptu wine tasting in his office after an author sent several bottles as a thank-you gift. In an hour or so, we will be joining our colleagues upstairs for drinks to celebrate some recent successes. And then, as if two work-related drinking occasions in one day were not enough, tonight I will be attending a "literati dinner party" (the hosts' title, not mine) at which all drinks will be paid for by various corporate cards.

This trend will be continued next week, when my bosses take me out for drinks to celebrate because (drum roll, please), I will officially have books of my own on the next list! I've been doing my little happy dance since I found out yesterday. I don't exactly know what to make of this being-satisfied-with-my-job-and-happy-to-be-working-all-the-time feeling, but I guess I shouldn't question it too much right now.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm

I woke up with that song in my head and it's been steadily repeating all day. I think perhaps it began with the opening line ("The ashtray says you've been up all night"), because I had a hell of a time sleeping last night and found myself craving a cigarette in the worst way, even though I don't smoke these days. Whatever the reason, the song won't go away, and I'm pretty sure that Sarah's going to smack me good if I stop by her desk one more time and sing "You finally slept while the sun caught fire" or the like. The upside is that it's a pretty good motivational song, however dark it may be. I've accomplished a lot today.

In other news: I have new hair. I like it now, although I wasn't so sure on Saturday when I had it done. I think I just needed to wash the Aveda products out. I know there are plenty of people who like that stuff, but I can't stand the way they smell. I swear to you, I've washed my hair five times since the haircut and I can still detect lingering traces. I don't like to not smell like me, if that makes sense.

Friday, June 14, 2002
Real news that sounds like it should be an Onion article. (link courtesy of Sarah B.)

My favorite part: They "were on their way downriver to surprise their family." Hmmmm....

That's all for me today. Half-day Friday has arrived. Work week is over. Paycheck has been direct-deposited. Indian restaurant is waiting for me and Sarah N. to come spend our hard-earned cash.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, June 13, 2002
Overdue gratitude

Thanks to the following sites for linking normalcy:
fixing what's been broken
red cardigan
i make no promises
Random Musings

I meant to thank everyone a while ago, but I have this nasty habit of letting things pile up. It's alright though, I like lists.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Some may sing the wrong words to the wrong melody
It's little things like this that matter to me

Beth Orton put on a good live show. I am excited for her new album, Daybreaker, which comes out July 30. The new stuff sounds a little jazzier. In addition to the guitars and keyboards, a good deal of the material was performed with upright bass, cello, and violin accompaniment, with an occasional appearance by a trumpet player whom Beth acknowledged with a giggle each time he came onstage. She started off by saying she had a bit of a hangover, but still played for a very long time--a full set, plus two encores, finally closing with "Feel to Believe," just her and her acoustic guitar left onstage (the band had departed, having exhausted their repertoire).

The crowd was atypical for a Bowery Ballroom show. Lots of people in jeans and t-shirts or tank tops, very few hipster kids, strangely normal. It felt like I could have been at a show upstate, which was kind of nice. It was also very un-smoky for a club. I can't remember the last time I left a show not smelling like an ashtray, possibly never. Also, I have no complaint stories about the people standing next to or behind me--no tall guy with a hat blocking my view, no derogatory remarks, no drink spillage, I didn't even feel crowded-in and claustrophobic like I usually do. The guys behind us did scream "Faith Will Carry!" one too many times, but I think that's pretty forgivable.

Beth Orton is funny. She tells intentionally bad jokes while the band is tuning or switching instruments. She pretends not to understand the guys screaming "Faith Will Carry," responding with, "I'm sorry, what's that? You've got a friend called Gary?" Every once in a while she seems very shy, turning her back and pulling her shoulders up to her ears before turning around to laugh and begin the next song. It's totally endearing.

In a shallow aside, Beth Orton has great hair. Since I am in dire need of a new haircut, I was thinking I would track down a recent photo and try to get mine cut like hers, except with maybe a little less bangs. Perhaps that will be the next big haircut; instead of asking for Jennifer Aniston hair or Meg Ryan hair, people will be requesting the Beth Orton cut. Hmmm, maybe not, but I'm off in search of pictures...

Tuesday, June 11, 2002
Today is better. Most of the files are back. I would prefer that all of them be back, but hey....

The day is busy. The post will be short and point you elsewhere.

Tonight I am going to see Beth Orton at Bowery Ballroom. Beth Orton is supposed to be very good live, so I am excited. She is very tall. I like very tall people because I am pretty tall myself and so they change my perspective and make me feel like I am average height. Not that I think I'm going to be standing next to her at any point or anything, although you never know.

The 'currently reading' choice at left has been updated. I am trying to read some Stephen Dixon before I see him read this Friday with Paul Auster at Housing Works. Lee recently interviewed Mr. Dixon--go check it out, and then read an excerpt of I. here.

Like I said, lots of links. Back to work I go...

Monday, June 10, 2002
Why you should not ask me how I am today

If you ask me, I will tell you the story of my morning. It is not a happy story, so consider yourself warned. My morning began with the alarm going off just a few short hours after I fell asleep. The bedside lamp was still on, the book I was supposed to have finished abandoned at the side of the bed, fifty pages left unread. Still, I managed to make it to the office just after nine (a rare feat indeed), only to find that my computer was being "upgraded." I do not usually like to use ironic quotes, but in this case I feel they are appropriate. I was asked to go away for twenty minutes or so (providing me the perfect excuse to disappear and speed-read those last fifty pages!) and was promised that when I returned, magic things would have happened to my computer, making my work life faster, prettier, and easier. It is true that magic was performed in my absence. It's just that I was not expecting the magic to be a disappearing act. You see, in the course of "upgrading," the computer technician guy managed to delete all of my work files. Upon discovering that the files were missing, I called said computer technician back to my desk.

Jackie-O: All of my files have gone missing.
Technician: What are you talking about?
Jackie-O: My files are missing. Everything I've done, everything I'm working on.
Technician: [takes seat, commences mouse-clicking, typing] Where would they have gone?
Jackie-O: I was hoping you could tell me that,
Technician: Well, I didn't delete your files.
Jackie-O: Okay, but they were here Friday and then you sat down and upgraded and now they are gone. Funny coincidence, huh? [laughs in obviously fake way that indicates she does not think this is funny at all]
Technician: [clicking away] You're sure these were here on Friday?
Jackie-O: Yes, I use them every day.
Technician: Okay, but you're sure you wouldn't have deleted them?
Jackie-O: Why would I have deleted all of my work files?
Technician: I'm just saying that I didn't touch that drive, so they should be there.
Jackie-O: But they're not.
Technician: No, they're not, but I didn't do anything with them.
Jackie-O: [rapidly losing patience] Right, so they must have just disappeared, I see.
Technician: You're sure they were here?
Jackie-O: [through gritted teeth] For the last time, yes. They. Were. Here. Friday.
Technician: [Shrugs shoulders, wanders away]

Perhaps now would be a good moment to add that the entire forty minutes (more than any other technician simultaneously working on any of the other computers being serviced on this floor) Mr. Technician was working on my computer, he was on a personal call on his cell phone, so perhaps he was distracted and can’t remember deleting my files, which is what I am planning to ask him about if he asks me one more time if I’m sure they were there on Friday.

He does not come back. Instead someone from tech support comes by. Clicking, clicking, asking me questions.
Him: Your files are not there.
Me: I know, I thought we had already established that fact.
Him: We should be able to get them back for you.
Me: Should?
Him: Yes, we should be able to find them.
Me: I am not exactly comforted.
Him: It could take a while though, sometimes the guys upstairs don't get to this stuff right away. [Shrugs, gets up.]
Me: You do understand that I can't really do any of my work until the files are recovered?
Him: [looks puzzled] Oh, well I guess I should ask them to rush this then.
Me: [bites index finger, walks away]

So now I am doing all the unimportant mailing and filing tasks, waiting to hear from some mysterious "them" upstairs. If they don't find the files, I am totally fucked. If they do find the files, I'm still a day behind everything. I should have just stayed in bed this morning.

Thursday, June 06, 2002
This morning, as I was leaving my apartment, I was excited to find that I had received a postcard from Sarah and Mary, who went to Yonkers last week. They had lots of fun adventures, which I recommend you go read about right now.

Mary is also having a party this weekend. It was just supposed to be a regular old party, but now that she has a new job (!), I guess it's sort of a congratulatory party. Whatever kind of party it may be, I am excited for it because it will give me an opportunity to wear the new dress.

About the new dress:

The new dress was purchased at a store in Williamsburg called Metaphors.
The purchase of the new dress was encouraged by Sarah , who bought a new dress of her own.
The new dress looks like it was made for me.
I love the new dress.
The new dress was expensive enough that I fear I may be able to eat nothing but crackers until next paycheck.
The new dress is a sundress with a loud floral print.
The new dress has amazing lines and a smocked back.
The new dress has been described as "racy."
The roommate called the new dress "very Blanche DuBois," which was the perfect thing to say when I was having post-purchase regret.
I really love the new dress.
The new dress will be worn with curled hair and red lipstick.
The new dress requires the perfect shoes, but for now will have to be worn with flip flops.
The new dress has been referred to all week simply as "the new dress," but perhaps after I wear it this weekend, it will just be "a dress," or maybe "that dress."
The new dress is worth all this attention, I swear.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002
Written on a piece of paper from the mini-notebook I keep on my desk, in my handwriting, is the phrase "crashing bore." This is all the paper says, and I found it pushed toward the back corner of my desk, behind the abandoned Rolodex (I keep all contact info online now) and directly beneath the printout of the year's company-sanctioned holidays. I have no memory of writing it, no idea about the context in which it was written, and no clue how long it has been there. I like that phrase though. Crashing bore. Loudly boring. Boring enough to hurt your ears. Destructively boring. I think I may have to make sure to say it more often.

This morning I overheard the weird-looking security guard downstairs say to his coworker: "You got a nice mom, my mom don't bring me girls."

Monday, June 03, 2002
Sociological experiment for the day

Directions: Set up table outside of conference room directly in front of my desk. Load it up with more breakfast-type food (think croissants, muffins, fresh fruit, bagels) than the people in the meeting could possibly consume. Allow me to serve as observer as various underpaid publishing folk pass table overflowing with free food.

Variables to consider: Hour of day, how much food has already been taken from table, side from which person approaches table (i.e. whether person believes he or she can be seen by head honchos in conference room)

Results: Amount of food taken and amount of confidence with which food is taken increases as hour grows later and trays look as though they have already been ransacked by other eager passersby. Chance of food being taken dramatically decreases if person comes to table from the side that requires they pass the open conference room door.

Observer's notes: I suspect that position has something to do with chosen pillaging techniques. Assistants are apt to make multiple trips, piling plates high each time, possibly taking extra for later. Heads of department are more likely to take a single pastry or wedge of fruit, as if to say, "This will tide me over until my lunch on the company this afternoon." The correlation between salary and amount of food taken can not be proven beyond a doubt, but there is enough evidence to merit a follow-up study. Perhaps next week?

Variations in style have been noted and categorized below:

The mercenaries: Characterized by eyes darting back and forth, making sure the coast is clear, they work quickly, dropping a few randomly selected tidbits onto their plate before dashing away. Willing to settle for something other than what they truly want in order to guarantee a safe getaway. Clear sense of mission, no time for screwing around. Forthright, agile, cool, but sometimes harsh or cruel.

The browsers: Characterized by casual demeanor and feigned nonchalance, often executed under the pretense of innocently contemplating the boxes of Jiffy envelopes piled high above the food table. Always look straight ahead, their expressions calm and blank. Hands move independently to select slowly and carefully from the offerings before moseying down the hall. Unobtrusive, stealth, and with an offhand excuse waiting on the tip of their tongue in case of capture. Possibly deceptive, perhaps having difficulty being honest with themselves and others.

The askers: Unable to make decisions for themselves, they seek permission from some other source. Eager to begin plundering, but nervous, as demostrated by multiple trips past table, and the fact that they shift their weight from one foot to the other, casting hopeful glances at the buffet and then looking away. Often ask nearest person (usually me, the observer) if others have been taking food, just waiting for an affirmation of their guilt-inducing desires. Repressed, indecisive, but with hidden passions.

Note: With this last group, it would be no fun to simply say yes, so I like to shrug and say I haven't noticed. I can get away with this, having hidden my own black plastic plate filled with pineapple and honeydew to the far side of my computer, just outside of their sight line. I think perhaps I may be interfering with the experiment. The results may be biased. You'll have to forgive me, it's just too entertaining to resist. Perhaps I should resign from my post as observer....

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