Sunday, December 31, 2006

Resolve is a carpet cleaner

LJL asked me if I do resolutions for the New Year.


I make them but I rarely end up doing them. And then I remembered that I have resolutions from last year to refer to as a kind of scorecard for the year.

"get a job":
Did that. It has opened my eyes to the world of work and now I just wish I could figure out how to close them again. Working has certain advantages like paying. But there are drawbacks like having to get up early and change out of your PJ's.

"lose my thesis weight":
Did that. Moved to New York and promptly started putting it back on. I am in between sizes now. My grad school pants are too tight. My thesis pants are too loose. I need a belt, some suspenders, some new pants or maybe just a waistband extender.

"Continue to fight my sentimental and acquisitive nature and pare down my material world":
Well, I think I am as sentimental as ever and barring some horrible chain of events, likely to remain that way.

As to my acquisitive nature I have been trying to cut back on the things that I buy. It helps to live in NY without a car. Having to carry everything you buy puts a real damper on any wild shopping spree. I stop at the point where the bags are cutting off circulation to my fingers.

I have had little success in paring down my material world. It's just all boxed up in my parents' basement still.

"Read the news more regularly":
Totally dropped the ball on that one. *sigh*

"write people back faster"
That one was touch and go. Had some very good and very bad phases on that one.

"Read a Winter's Tale"
Didn't happen either. Nor did Bryce Canyon, the Kentucky Derby or the getting organized or the complete works of Shakespeare.

That was then what about now? What about for 2007?

I have run across two quotes that I like for the year 2007:

"We are all on our own journey from the home we were born into toward the home we make for ourselves."
-Frank Warren (creator and curator of Postsecret)

I need to stop looking for a place to call home or a person to be my home. I need to recognize that home is the ground I stand on and what I carry inside me. I need to recognize that my life is not something that is eventually going to happen but what is happening with every blink and breath.

Don't cut funny. "If it's funny and it forces you to look at yourself honestly, how can you cut it? If you're writing and you don't feel embarassed and you don't feel nervous, then you're probably not writing anything interesting."
-Erica Jong

I have been feeling kinda numb lately. I think it's because I have been living too safe and too careful.

Recognize my limitations - honor them 80% of the time

Set deadlines and meet them

Clean my room at least four times in the year

Throw a party or two

Have one pet project for each month

Sleep more
Eat well
Do chores in a more timely manner
Do the hard stuff before the easy
Be better groomed
Do less and do it better

Make more lists

And read the news

The thing I read that made me laugh today

Davidwraith said:

"I just watched Richard Donner's cut of Superman II and Richard Lester's cut of Superman II back to back so that I could compare and contrast them.

On a related note, I would like to publicly thank every woman who has ever had sex with me. Sometimes I marvel at the fact that I am not still a virgin."

Based on the pathetic non-existent state of my love life I am starting to marvel at the fact that I managed to lose my virginity too.

Happy New Year Kids!


Friday, December 29, 2006

I left my heart in the Empty Bottle

Over my trip I meandered up to Chicago and fell in love.

L, EH, KD and I got Moroccan food with other friends of theirs. And then. And then we went to the Empty Bottle. I walked through the door, into the front, past the Ms. Pac-Man, the pool table, the green couch, turned right into the bar proper and at some point during the screening of several episodes of Yacht Rock I looked around and realized that it was love. I had fallen in love with the place. This feeling was cemented after Bobby Conn and his wife Monica got on stage. They were pretty great. (the myspace page)

As is often the case with love at first sight, I can't really say why this place versus another or pinpoint the exact moment when it happened. It just felt good to be there. It felt right.

It's happened two other times that I can recall, at the Milestone in Charlotte, North Carolina and at the Embassy in Urbana, Illinois.

Sometimes I wonder why it doesn't happen more often. Maybe it's because I am getting older, more guarded, more jaded. Maybe it's more difficult to reach in, grab my heart, and squeeze it.

There are other paths to forming a bond with place. Surely over time I could learn to love a place. Getting to know it better, seeing the beauty and the good in it, forming a bond, creating shared memories and all that stuff.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

holiday roadtrip?

This is a canned post. I generally like to post them fresher but this is one that I don't want to forget. And so I share it with you straight from the can.

I left the office at 3:30pm for LaGuardia Airport. My flight was at 6:45pm. The cab driver got me there by 4:30pm. Plenty of time to stand in line, try the express check-in counter, get denied at the kiosk, wait in the wrong line, get in the right line, wait again, and then have the woman at the counter tell me that my flight connecting through Chicago to St. Louis was cancelled. For whatever reason - fog or something several flights to Chicago had been cancelled leaving many people stressed and stranded.

There was one flight direct to St. Louis at 8:10pm that was overbooked but might have room. I could take my chances and try to fly standby, otherwise there was nothing available until after the holiday. The woman at the counter suggested that I go home and have a nice holiday in New York. As if that would be possible. I decided to take my chances.

I checked my bag and went through security to wait at the gate. I called my parents to let them know that I probably wouldn't be coming home this year and got pretty close to tearful about it. Especially when I noticed that there were maybe 17 people at the gate over three hours before an 8:10 flight, probably all hoping to fly standby.

I texted the RM an expression of my despair and she texted back some encouragement. And then, being the best RM ever, called to encourage me to call the other airlines and see if any of them had flights. She even gave me their numbers.

I called and waited on hold and waited and then found out. Northwest had a flight out on the 24th of December for $700. And a roundtrip with flight back for $1100. Delta had a flight out on the 22nd roundtrip for $1390. I sat on the phone with Delta seating bullets over whether I could afford that ticket. The guy on the other end of the line was a customer service agent from across the ocean, perhaps India, with an accent that was difficult to understand, I asked him to repeat everything twice. He sat with me listening to me sweat and try to work it out in my head and then aloud. If I did this, could I still pay rent? Could my outstanding bills wait until February? Could I cover the minimum? Could I survive on raisins, ramen noodles, and stewed tomatoes for the month it would take to cover that? Did I have space on my credit card?

And then the guy interrupted my holiday sweatfest and asked if I would like to be transferred for discounted hotel and rental car reservations. I tried to explain that I would probably have no need for either of those things as I would be staying with family or headed to my apartment and he interrupted me to repeat: would I like to be transferred for discount hotel and RENTAL CAR reservations. *ah.* *Message received* I meekly replied: "If you could transfer me to Hertz I would be so grateful."

I made a reservation for a rental car one way from New York to St. Louis. A really nice lady named Marge was on the other end of the line the two times that I called with regard to my reservation. Which she said in itself was a funny coincidence because there were hundreds of operators standing by.

After all of that I decided to stick around and see if I could get on the plane standby. Why not? If I got on that plane I would have a two and half hour flight vs. a 20 hour drive.

A young woman in a grey sweater heard me on the phone and asked if she could ride with me. To which I said "No problem." She seemed ambivalent about her whole trip to the Lou. It wasn't really clear whether she would want to make the drive or not. She was a strong maybe.

A young man sitting nearby advised me to ask around and try to find other people interested in splitting the driving and the cost.

It turned out that I was 11th on a list of 17 people who wanted on that plane. Grey sweater girl was number 2. I thought for sure that she would be on that plane. The flight was super overbooked. Three people with tickets who arrived on time were bumped from that flight, given car service home, and a "guaranteed spot" on a flight to the Lou at 6am the next day. Although it's not clear why these three people were going to be able to fly home while the 17 of us who were on cancelled flights were apparently SOL. The guy at the counter mumbled something about putting them on standby for the first flight out in the morning.


This whole practice of overbooking flights sucks. On the evil corporate "must maximize revenue" side, I see why they do it. But I don't see why they do it during the Christmas holiday. Even without inclement weather it seems like they would be guaranteed to get all their planes filled through standby ticket holders and the miracle of online booking at the height of the holiday travel season. It's weird to be in a business in which you sell the same thing to two different people, counting on one of them to flake. Yet telling each that they have a guaranteed seat on the plane.

At this point I called AA and asked whether I could refund the first half of my ticket and use the second half. I was told that this is against company policy. If you are not on the flight out they cancel the entire reservation and that is that. If I wanted this kind of exception I had to go to the ticket counter and ask them if it would be okay. I am so glad that I called. I was about to jump in the car and drive off assuming that I had a reservation to fly back. There would have been an ugly scene in the airport in the Lou were it not for this call.

So I waited and waited in line behind sad desperate angry people who did everything in their power to somehow move immoveable airline employees to help them. Weeping, yelling, shouting, cursing, begging, insisting.

While in line some of the other people overheard me discussing my rental car scenario and a Korean woman asked if I was leaving that night. To which I said "Yup."
A blonde woman in a red jacket who looked like she had been near tears asked if she could join us. To which I said, "Yup."
The Korean woman then pointed to a black woman and her daughter and asked if they could join us as well. To which I said, "Yup."

The girl in the grey sweater who said that the trip was not worth it now seemed very sad that she was not able to go. She had bought a beautiful ball gown and super long white gloves for the occasion that she was now missing. But she was assured that she would see her family for Christmas whether she made this flight or not. And she opted to get a refund of her ticket.

Halfway through helping one guy they decided to close the counter at the gate and send everyone down to the ticket counter. *sigh*

So we all walked over there and waited in line again. For what seemed like forever. And then we all walked up to the counter freaking the lady at the ticket counter out. She reacted as if we were an angry mob of villagers and she, a poor Dr. Frankenstein defending her beloved monster from torches and pitchforks.

I calmly and quickly told her that we all had about the same question and proceeded to explain our situation.

Cancelled flights,
Need to get home for the holidays,
I rented a car,
We were strangers who had agreed to road trip out there together,
Could we get our returns confirmed and rebooked
Could we get a refund on the used portion of our trip

Breathe, remain calm, maintain eye contact. Don't shout. Don't cry.
She first told us that we should call the number. I told her that I had and was referred to the ticket counter.
She told us that this was against company policy and unacceptable. We all looked exhausted and desperate. She said that she would go ask her supervisor and was gone for an eternity. We sat and waited with bated breath and some anxiety. This was the best that I could do. After this I was out of options. Or at least my options got very sticky. If the universe was not going to work with me on this ... the universe was a cruel evil bitch and American Airlines was the instrument of her cruelty.

The lady came back and said that she had the supervisor's approval. A corporate miracle brought to us by the mysterious supervisor in the back room and the young lady at the counter. She warned us to drive carefully, to take frequent breaks, and be careful at truckstops.

I call my parents to announce that I am driving to the Lou with four strangers. Three women and a little girl. My mother asks me what I know about these people and I say, "Well I know for sure that they are not carrying, bombs or explosives. And I am pretty sure that they are unarmed," causing her and the three women standing with me to all laugh.

We went to the bathroom got caffeinated beverages, picked up luggage or checked on its travel status and took the bus to Hertz.

At Hertz I insisted that we did not want an SUV. We settled after some discussion on a Toyota Camry. And left LaGuardia at about 11:30pm

We were: me, J - the blond woman, SY - the Korean woman, S - the mother from Tanzania, and N - her 8 year old daughter.

We are wives and sisters and daughters. We are every color of the rainbow. We are all faiths and creeds. We are the arts and sciences. We are the world piled into a Toyota Camry headed for the middle of the country.

I asked J to drive first and we haul out of town. We drive with pit stops for food, gas, and bathroom breaks. Everyone takes a 2-3 hour shift. Some of us napping, some of us driving. My father calls to warn us to be on the lookout for deer while driving through Pennsylvania at night.

J figures out how to use the navigation device on the car which ends up being kind of cool. It gives us directions on a turn by turn basis with a 2-0.5 mile advance warning of any change in direction and a little map display to let us know where we are going. We eat a lot of fast food. We make awkward conversation on a variety of topics. We are a group of people that would probably not run into each other in our regular lives. We are very polite. The ride is surprisingly pleasant and uneventful. We drive through some pretty nasty rain on a variety of occasions - usually when SY is driving and we speculate on whether it is this weather that caused our flights to get cancelled. We make decent time.

Throughout the drive we pass many a Fed-Ex truck working hard to bring you gifts from loved ones, I am sure. By the next morning N is comfortable with all of us and seeking some entertainment. Some of which was gotten by playing with her Gameboy. Some of which was gotten by braiding people's hair and getting her hair braided. Riding with a youngster is an ice breaker. The best game by far turns out to be persuading truckers to honk their horns. If you are a grown up of a certain age you have watched the "Smokey and the Bandit" movies and you know what the gesture looks like - a fist raised in the air and pulled down as if tugging the cord of a horn. The entire backseat : S, N and SY would gesture as we passed a truck.

A fair number of truckers ignored us. Some honked and had quiet little horns. Some of them honked with gusto. And we were sure the wave like mad and cheer when that happened. One Fed-Ex driver we passed in Indiana gave us the biggest loudest and most sustained honking of any trucker we passed. I was pleased to know that the Fed-Ex drivers could be cool like that.

We rolled into the Lou by about 5:30pm. Settled up the bill, shook hands and all merrily went our separate ways.
So glad we made it.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

this computer has an egg timer

Or something close to it.

I am at the home of my parents in C-ville.
They have dial-up and an ancient computer that seems to run by coal-fired engine and freeze up with some frequency. Probably when it needs more coal.

It's unclear to me how I will manage my itch for internet during the course of my stay.

Whenever I come home things are wacky in a new way. But the wackiness aspect is a given. This year my parents have a new favorite dessert peeled aloe leaves steeped in a tart muscat grape juice, what was formerly my bedroom is now a sitting room and the second floor is under major rennovation. But it's really great to see them. For a little bit I feared I wouldn't make it. The universe might throw up walls to block your path but with the right mindset you can, like a rat, find an opening and get through to the other side.

For now stop a second, take a deep breath, and drink in the moment. This holiday thing is going to work out. Promise.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


This zefrank post I very a lot dig.

My year with Google

People have been writing these really great posts in which they recap the significant events of 2006. I love these posts and generally I love writing them too. It's great to take a moment to look back and get a little perspective on things. See the forest for a change. Perhaps I will do so before the New Year. But for now I find this year has been experienced and processed on the inarticulate side of the brain.

For now I offer you a few of the questions I needed answers to. The burning questions in 2006 that took me to the steps of our to our modern oracle, the all wise, the all seeing - Google.

(brought to you by the "recent searches" function)

A - abecedarian band music microfucking biologist
B - black widow spider eyes
C - cute furry animals
D - dick cheney souht dakota
E - earwax records brooklyn, NY
F - freedom of choice act 2006
G - get in my grill
H - how to clear your inbox
I - insouciance
J - james surowiecki blog
K - krueller donuts
L - long underwear reviews
M - movie curry scotland
N - nancy drew girl detective non fiction
O - oaxaca city mexico
P - play the foreigner " born to be a waste of food"
Q -
R - rent an apartment in NY
S - sayin' all those nouns over and over can really wear you down
T - third wave bandits
U - undermind cincinnati music
V - visual vs. kinetic learning style
W - where are the straight men in New York
X - xml
Y - young barbara mcclintock
Z - zefrank adult

I did not always get a good answer. In some cases I can't remember what the actual question was.
But I did have a place where I could ask.

bad cookie mojo

In recent years, I have been in holiday denial.
I went to the Holiday party. Yes.
I decorated my little part of the office. Yes.
I bought Xmas cards. Yes.
I have received Xmas cards. Yes.

But I am not feelin' it.

So today I have stayed up too late baking cookies. At first it seemed to be working. I measured, pre-heated, I mixed, I stirred, and beat. I was humming christmas songs.

But then it stopped.

The cookies, they were baking up poorly. I have lost my cookie mojo.
They all came out crispy and brown. 30 seconds too baked, 30 seconds from being burned. They are not fit for public gifting or human consumption.

It's something about the butter to flour mix. Or the kind of cookie sheet. Or the position of the rack in the oven. Or the fact that gas stoves bake differently from electric ones. Or using a different cookie recipe.

So I have a new goal for the winter. To practice practice practice until I regain my cookie mojo.
If you would like some of my mistakes, drop me a line with your address. You think that I jest but I do not. Drop me a line with your address, you'll see. Inedible tan cookies to you from me.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

life, the big question mark

I thought that one part of my life was tacked down.
One detail had been hammered into place for the time being.
Only to have it buckle and snap back up on me.

That's what I get for thinking.

Monday, December 18, 2006

when you wish upon a christmas star

I am a how-to junkie. I am not particularly handy with the making of things but I just love reading about the process.
For every "For Dummies" book there is me wishing I had the money to purchase them all and become slightly more educated on a million different topics. Like Napoleon Dynamite, I feel that skills are important.

So I was thrilled to find the wikihow. A wiki how-to manual full of advice and activities. Like "How to Make a Toothbrush Bracelet"

One of today's featured how-to's is "How to Make a Christmas Card Star." The instructions start off looking pretty doable.


Then they get a little tricky.

But if you keep at it you could end up with something really nice.

And a firmer grasp on certain elements of geometry.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

No he di-int

Walking around the neighborhood trying to get errands run I walk by this old man who says, "Chink!" turning his head as I pass him clearly directing the comment at me. This hasn't happened to me since I was in grade school. Okay, maybe high school. Back then it would take so long to register than a person had said something unkind and racist to me that I would say nothing in reply.

This time in response I took the high road and started yelling at him right on the street.
We had a nice loud exchange of unkind epithets in which he called me a "Chink Bastard" and I called him a "Racist Jackass" and each proceeded along our merry way.

At which point I felt a little bad for yelling at a mean stupid old man.

Then I tried to imagine how much work it would be to say "Honkey" or "Cracker" every time I passed by a white person.
Or how much effort would be involved in saying "Bitch" to every woman I passed on the street.
And I started to laugh.

Friday, December 15, 2006

i don't care if i ever get back

Today is the office holiday party.
As with everything else in an office environment when you party with the office there are rules.

Everyone tells me that they are as follows:
Rule one: eat a lot.
Rule two: drink as much booze as you can.
Rule three: but not so much that you become a story told about what last year's holiday party was like.

In summary: tie one over but not so hard that you inspire the people to gossip.

Sounds difficult. Wish me luck.

Oh man

I am sucking at this daily thing.

It all started off as usual in a sleep deprived haze and from there it was one thing after another.
Manipulating images when all you have at your disposal is powerpoint sucks ass. What I wouldn't give for a copy of Photoshop and Illustrator.

I sat in on the most neato meeting ever. And I wish I was in a position to do more, to call the shots, to make things happen right now because the people at this meeting were just so ... cool. Working with them would be just so ... cool.

Met up with JJP and went to the "geometric shape" show (gss). Things have changed a lot since last I went to one. I was curious to see whether it would bring back memories. The format of the show was diffferent. Instead of being musical variety and comedy it was a proper musical with a proper plot and whatnot. One thing that hasn't changed is getting humor out of asians and asian stereotypes. It's not big news. It's actually nice to be a part of the funny as opposed to invisible. We have come a long way from Long Duck Dong and Mr. Unioshi to Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan. I will let you decide if that's really a very long way. And the asian fella in question was pretty talented. But what was lacking in this case was a certain edginess. The asian stereotypes were brought out *ha ha ha* but that was all. Totally soft pedalled.

Overall I think the show was lacking in edginess. Then again musical theater and acapella group singing tend to be pretty counter-revolutionary when you get down to it. When's the last time you heard a barbershop quartet in cite people to protest with a really neato arrangement of "We Shall Overcome." There are exceptions, of course. Sweet Honey in the Rock being an excellent one.

Bobby Lee gets a lot of mileage out of blowing the asian stereotype but there's something so over the top about it. He is asian, he knows what assumptions you make about him and his kind and he is so going to take it a millions miles further that you would ever dare to - hear him roar.

There is a skit he did in which he and another asian guy are supposed to be doing a point / counterpoint segment about the relations between North and South Korea. They start calling each other a Pa-boh which escalates into a slapfight and well I dunno. I found it hilarious. Though I must confess that I don't know what a Pa-boh is. As a kid I always had the impression that a Pa-Boh was someone who was bringing public shame on themselves but in a little kid crying cause you wet your pants way. Like a Pa-Boh was a crybaby or a whiney pathetic loser or something. At least that's how it always seemed to be used in the context of me. My parents would try to cajole me out of some weepy/whiney fit by saying, "Hey, don't be a Pa-boh."

We will have to wait for RFTHMP! who knows everything to confirm/deny/correct me on this one.

And way back in the day the gss did a song called "I'm a Chinese Jewish Cowboy." It was controversial. In that way that makes you kind of uncomfortable while making its point yet being kind of clever and funny. It was also a pretty nice tune with very clever lyrics. And I can kind of identify as an Asian American chick who has performed in rock bands. Inevitably there is someone who will express surprise at seeing an "Oriental do that kind of thing."

'Cause y'know I'm supposed to play the violin in a string quartet when I'm not practicing medicine, running a dry cleaning business, selling produce, practicing my martial arts and ninja skills, driving poorly, or doing particle physics. Seriously, I think Asian kids in america are in serious need of some rebelling against their parents and society. I kinda wish that I had. This filial piety thing is putting a cramp on our ability to participate in the national cultural dialogue. To have James Iha, and Yoko Ono be the highest profile pacific asian rock people in American culture is ... insufficient. Jump out of the toolbox, divest yourself of your material drives, get disowned, smoke more pot, start a band, damn you! Take one for the team.

And every time my ethnicity comes in the the conversation as a relevant piece of information to my performance, it's a let down. Because ... if you heard me on the radio you would not have given it a second thought and in rip and snort mode, I keep up. I can hold my own if I have to.

Two moments made me feel some connection to this gss and my past. The first is a number they did called "Don't tell mom I'm building a bomb" and thrillingly catchy, clever, and adorable number about a troup of girl scouts who are building a bomb to be used to break into a vault of money. It was pretty brilliant and brilliantly executed as well and in keeping with the stuff I remember.

I actually hatched an idea a skit featuring the Brownies and if I should ever get it together everyone will now think I stole the idea from this gss. Alas. They did get out there first.

The other moment was the kick line at the end. Classic and in keeping with tradition.

If you don't know what the hell I am talking about here, it's all good. This post came out a little salty-er than I intended.
*sorry* I might re-edit later.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

the little little duckies are everywhere

I saw this when I looked down on the way to the subway one morning:


I think it is a sign that maybe (maybe) I spend too much time watching the show with zefrank.

(I'm sorry, folks, hopefully I will pick up a new fixation/internet crush, soon.)

holiday decorating

I know that your curiosity is piqued after my account of holiday decorating. Far be it from me to leave you hanging.

When you decorate for the winter solstice in a scientific way you need to represent:

The Sun


The Earth

We also put up a smaller, lighted version.


We took some flak for not depicting everything to scale and for inaccurate distances between our suns and earths. Everyone is a critic.

And then just throw up a bunch of lights and paper flowers and other random stuff.

cube1 me & cube

Et voila!
Oh man. I walked through the day like the living dead.
Stayed up too late last night trying to tie up loose ends.
I am veeeery close ... the knot needs to be tightened a bit.


It took only 12 days to fall off the post every day wagon. *sigh*
I meant to, I really did. I just got caught up in some things.

Well shoot.

Guess we just get back up on that wagon, then.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Did you know?

I just sat here and surfed my way through part of for my greater edification.

Did you know:

That a 30 minute marital spat can slow wound healing? That blister will heal much faster if you refrain from criticizing his cooking.

That people when encountering emotional shocks can suffer a physical condition that presents itself like a classic heart attack but is in fact a reversible condition. They are calling it Broken Heart Syndrome.

That there are studies that suggest that dogs, monkeys, and rats laugh. They tickle rats and claim that the rats like it. *evil*

That there are scientists that believe that prairie dogs speak a language and in different parts of the country they speak with different dialects.

A region of the brain has been identified that plans an action before executing it.

And my favorite:
A group of scientists have done studies on the visual processing of ferrets. They recorded ferret brain activity while watching the movie "The Matrix" and apparently "Ferret brain activity increased just 20 percent when looking at Keanu Reeves compared to looking at darkness..." - Michael Schirber

See, if it had been "Speed" or "Point Break" the brain activity might have increased by more like ... 75%.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Take me out to the black. Tell them I ain't comin' back

"You can't stop the signal"
-Mr. Universe

I just watched Serenity again. So good. I hope that Joss Whedon never stops working. And now, I need to buy the Firefly boxed set at which point you and the rest of the world will not hear from me for days on end.

It was a weekend of lameness. Mostly spent shivering in the cold cold apartment. Oh, and there was a lot of coughing.
It was cold. So cold that I couldn't sleep. The RM watched three movies and I lingered about trying to get warm until 5:30am on Saturday when the heat kicked in.

On Saturday we put plastic on the windows. That was the point at which I discovered another thing that I do not know how to do. I do not know how to put up plastic. I have done it before but for some reason I have become really bad at it. This weekend I discovered that I have forgotten how to live in the cold. How to dress. How to stay warm.

The original plan was to head out to the City to see the decorated shop windows on 5th Ave, perhaps join up with RBe and some of ours friends for the Beer and Deer, and then ice skating at Rockefeller Center.

What ended up happening was we got a slow start, called folks, got some curry, and then we were feeling tired, sick, and poorly and we ended up cancelling and going home. I baked peanut butter brownies from a box and ended up chatting with CKE who's life has been interesting of late a la the Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times." The RM has been living a little too interesting in that way as well, poor thing.

And today I slept my life the day away and the RM did laundry. I need to do laundry too. *sigh* But. Today I got to mention the horrible cold to the Landlord and now we have heat for all that plastic to keep in while keeping out the draft. Delightful, delicious heat. Yay!

The Vibrations off the Delancey Stop

After a ruckus day of the laughing and talking and the doing of stuff
We part company at the station.
You, uptown-bound and me, downtown.
Across the platform I hear my name
It is you - waving
We laugh and shout pleasantries across the tracks until a train rolls in.

Months later, I will stand on my side and hear
echoes of you across the tracks, across the country, all the way from your coast.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Songs for Meanies

"They'll hurt you and desert you. They'll take your soul if you let me. But don't you let them."
-Carol King

My parents warned me from a very young age that there are mean people out there.
All kinds of mean people out there.
When I was young I didn't listen. But y'know, it is only a matter of time before you run into one.

Mean people who are out to get you.
Who will shove you.
call you names.
take what you have.
take what you want.

Mean people
Who shoot down your dreams and aspirations.
Who mock you.
Who celebrate your misfortune.
Who stand in your way, just because they can.

Mean people
who will take credit for your work
who will talk smack behind your back
who will cut you down
and rub salt in your wounds.

This, they do and so much more.

The bumper sticker says "Mean People Suck."
A statement that I agree with - except that I envy mean people. Nice can be a straightjacket.

Mean people are funny. Slapstick comedy is a great demonstration of how funny being mean can be, if you are into that kind of thing.
They profit from your misfortune.
They get to speak their minds.
They get to express themselves.
They always stick up for themselves and look out for themselves.
They are unapologetic.
They don't appear to finish last.
They are seldom crossed because people are afraid of them.
They have loved ones. (which I always find a little baffling.)
They have friends. Friends who hate them but are too afraid to say so.

Seems like they must have pretty awesome lives.
And yet they always seem so unhappy.

follow the leader

A leader, by virtue of position, is granted a certain level of deference.
But ultimately, loyalty comes from the top down.
It is earned through word and deed.

Friday, December 08, 2006

beneath my dignity to climb a tree

The problem. Err. One of the pitfalls of growing up is that it can make you world-weary. You see things. You learn things. And you start to think that you know it all. Not because you do but because, well you've seen a lot. You've got the gist of the way things work, and, how much more could there possibly be?

The RM likes to joke that someday Hugh Jackman will become a widower or divorcee. And then he will meet me and we will marry. Sounds great. But here's the thing, besides the utter unlikelihood of Mr. Jackman becoming single, I am a total dork around anyone remotely famous. Tongue tied and pathetic.

Closer to the realm of reality, I stumbled upon this wikipedia category:People from Brooklyn. That's right it's a list of wiki-worthy Brooklynites.

Which got me another inch closer to the realm of reality and thinking about some of the Brooklynites whom I admire, like Zefrank, OddTodd, Jonathon Coulton, and Joe Piglet of the Stockyard Stoics. Sometimes I fall into a daydream that one of these days I might run into one of them when I stop at a donut shop for a krueller on my way back from a long day at the laundromat.

In younger days, this reverie would end with in some steamy torrid love scene or a creative collaboration that brings us both fame, wealth, glory and the legendary cultural political influence that could change the world for the better. *yep*

However, now. These daydream scenarios are always interrupted by the rattle of the rocks in my head.

In reality, I would probably gape and stare a little and then slink off with my donuts. Because while I love their work, what do I really know about these people? The fact that I like their work does not mean that we have anything to talk about or that we share common interests or any of the usual things that help you make friends. It doesn't even mean that they are nice people. What would be the spark, the hook that would lead to more than an awkward hello?

Let's say I did make an attempt to interact -

Me (through a mouth full of Krueller): "Hi, I really like your work."
Famous Dude: "Gee thanks, so do I."
Me: *smiling like I have rigor mortis*
Famous Dude: "Soooooo ... do you want something or are you just going to blush and sweat and smile at me with donut all over your face?"
Me: "Uh, that one time, when you, like, played that song? And you were all dancing at stuff? Oh, Man! That was the best."
Famous Dude slowly backing away: "Yeah. Right. Uh, look it was nice running into you. Glad you like my work. Maybe I'll see you around."

And *zoop* he is gone.

Especially since my limited social skills have greatly atrophied. The best I could hope for is to remember the manners my mother tried to teach me and offer Famous Dude a donut.

The Science of Food

The New York Academy of Sciences has put together a seminar series entitled: The Science of Food.

Next Monday they tackle the science of wine, with a wine tasting after the lecture, of course!

And then the Science of Beer and then the science of Flavor and then ... the Science of Cheese. *Yes*

I am so there.

I wish you were here as well, so you could come with.


It's really cold today.

I wish I had two dogs to curl up with me for warmth.
And electric socks.
And well-insulated windows in my bedroom.
And a heated seat pad for my office chair.
And the right sort of clothes to be warm and stylishly business casual.
And some concept of how to wear layers of clothing to fight off the cold.
And a winter hat that actually fit my head.

Eat something fatty, get thee a comforter, and a cup of something steamy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

the making of lists

Feeling much better today. Dayquil is new love of my life. Hugs and kisses to Dextromethorphan HBr and Acetaminophen.

There's all kinds of things going on right now. None of it to me. Except for the internal battle between my immune system and some icky virus that wants to make a home of me and subvert my systems to its own replicative ends.


So why is there nothing going on with me right now?

As always I have my theories. My top two are the following:

The East Coast humbles me too much. I am so overwhelmed and cowed by being here that I cannot counter Hamlet's ongoing quandry: "To be, or not to be," with a wholehearted "Do be do be do" a la Sinatra.

Instead of making my life happen I started letting my life happen to me.
It hasn't been all bad. Some very nice things have happened. But all the same, this has left me feeling like an extra in the movie of someone else's life. Wait, it's true. I am an extra in the movie of any number of people.

One thing that I have noticed is that I stopped making lists of things to do. Mind you, the irony of me making lists is that most of us associate lists with people who get things done. And if you know me you would know that I have never been much of an accomplisher. And in accomplishing things I have never shown much virtuosity my accomplishing. Those lists of things to do kind of sat around and got crumpled and yellowed and ignored and lost.

But a month or two later, if I ran across that list it was interesting to see what got done and what didn't. Usually things like: "defrost the fridge" were left undone but others would get done. Some of my lists of things to do were actually lists of things to buy. And I found that most of those things that I listed for purchase were not really all that important. I think watermelon pepperomia plants are charming but clearly they are not a must have. (and with my horrible lack of plantcare skills, the peperomia family is better off without me - sorry BBFK!)

All that talk about goals and deadlines and tasks, I have always poopoo'd, but in fact I have done it too. My ability to meet the deadlines that I set is pretty shaky. But the ability to complete tasks is there. It gave my subconsious somewhere to go and something to chew on besides my self-esteem.

things to do in NYC when the weather outside of frightful:

go ice skating - there is a rink at Rockefeller Center, there are two rinks in Central Park, and many others to consider

see a museum - the Met, The Moma, The Cooper Hewitt, The Whitney, Natural History, Mocca, Folk Art, Art and Design, transit, brooklyn

Get a fancy cup of tea

go to the movies: The Angelica, The IFC, BAM Rose Cinema, The Film Forum, The Quad Cinema, The Symphony Space, The MOMA, and ... well there so many damn movie theaters in this town ... google or yahoo it.

same with the theater ... they are out there ... go to it.

Go to a live show: the knitting factory, the irving plaza, The Bowery Ballroom, The Mercury Lounge, The Bowery Presents, Tonic, Union Hall, Southpaw, Magnetic Field, The Cake Shop, Arlene's Grocery, and so on

Go out and have a nice meal.

Order in a really nice meal.

Make winter foods: bake cookies, bake brownies, make soup.

Learn to knit.

Play board games with the ones you love.

Go. Pursue happiness.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Refineries and whinery

I am sick as a pack of dogs all lolling about and leaning on each other, sighing, whimpering, and wuffling.

Throat swollen like I tried to swallow a sandpaper covered football and got it caught in my throat.
Alternating between sweaty and chilly.

My teeth hurt.
My ears hurt.
My cheeks hurt.

My sinuses have taken over my life.

Close to hallucinating that the cat is speaking to me in English and insisting that he be allowed to drink from the toilet bowl.

Stayed home from work.
Should be taking Theraflu and other such drugs kinda sick.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


This meme is brought to you via the RM.

Used to be, years ago (pre-college pre-boyfriends) that when I couldn't sleep I would try to list every boy I had ever had a crush on. Inevitably, I would drop off to sleep somewhere in there. It was fun. It was before lessons learned and hands burned and hearts scarred and squished.

If Sharif Mebed should ever stumble up on this blog, Dude! Write me! I'd love to hear what you're up to now.
(I know. It's pathetic to be invoking the powers of google.) *shrug* *sorry*

As a young girl, I had a major crush on River Phoenix.

from topic/river-phoenix-actor

I used to carry a tube of pink lipstick in my purse as a pre-teen. When asked why I said, "Someday I might be in LA crossing the street. Looking up I'll see that the car at the intersection is an ice blue convertible. Rivier Phoenix is behind the wheel. And we will look at each other and he will peek his head around the windshield and say, 'Hey. Want a ride?' To which I would say, 'Sure.' Then I'd hop in the car, put on some pink lipstick and we would cruise around town." Of course the jerk died of a drug overdose before this scenario could actually play out.

Then there was Andrew McCarthy


John Cusack

I read this article about how John Cusack is every Gen X girl's other boyfriend. Has the ring of truthiness to me. I still have a thing for John Cusack. He gets better and better. Even through according to we have no physical chemistry and are better off being just friends.

DB Sweeney


and Johnny Depp


More recently my crushes have been on guys based on total admiration for what they do:

I have a major crush on Zefrank.

Before that there was Chuck Klosterman


Big Poppa E (alas, he has a girlfriend)


Jonathon Coulton


Bob Burnquist (also has a girlfriend)


Hmmm. So yeah. That's the crush meme and I tag: Searching for Mr. Darcy

More pictures from the first day in the UK

So where was I?
Right. We settled in a place called Cafe Rio for a proper English breakfast. Or at least our interpretation of what that might be. It was fried bread. Which was bread soaked in some kind of cooking fat and crisped up on the grill. Fried eggs over easy (runny yellow yolks) and bacon. Bacon that looked like a cross between bacon and ham and nothing like canadian bacon. Meaty, salty, not crispy with big pieces of rubbery fat streaking on the side. Potatoes. I had green tea. The waiter seemed a bit taken aback at having to break out the stuff.

We did not go for the traditional English baked beans and we did not have the blood sausage or regular sausage for that matter. If I have missed some other crucial element please do leave a comment.

After that we walked to the British Museum. Groovy walk. It was a bit confusing trying to figure out where to cross the street at the circles but I think that's true anywhere you go in the world.

The British Museum was amazing. Built on a breathtaking scale -

british museum interior

Befitting their magnificent collection -

lionesses goddess statues

lioness goddess statue

These Dudes brought back some really big souvenirs -

big fist / little fist

I did have my picture taken with the Rosetta stone, as did the RM but I am going to be coy and keep that special moment to myself. It was a major attraction.

The museum people print up sheets of paper that list all the highlights in the museum. and they will hand them to you if you ask nicely. So if you are in a rush you can rush right to the big sites and leave the rest for another trip. So efficient.

I don't think this is one of them but I like the baboon.

baboon statue

There is something about moving from egyptian or assyrian stuff the greek and greek influenced stuff that just makes you feel the earth move.


The feeling is completely different. The Elgin marbles from the Parthenon are amazing.

elgin marbles left

centaur torso

knees locked metope

elgin left angle

elgin marbles right

horsehead sculpture

The RM and I tried to hit as many of the highlights as we could. Until we were delirious and dizzy with fatigue. There was much left unseen to be revisted on another day. We stumbled back to the hotel, checked in, and took a nap.

Monday, December 04, 2006


A new word for my vocab: Cantilever. I don't quite have my head wrapped around it yet. When I do I will be sure to share.

My mother has been insisting that I need to eat breakfast. So I bought a big container of oatmeal. Today is oatmeal day number three. Oh man. Oatmeal is the kind of thing you probably learn to love at a very young age. Kinda like grits. Me, I was raised as a cream of wheat. Raisins make a world of difference on this journey. Perhaps a switch from honey to brown sugar will help even more. After this I am going to develop a relationship with Vegemite.

3c. I have spent many many days reading the archives of The Show with Zefrank. He has greeted me in the morning and pontificated me to sleep. I am now all caught up. I guess it's time to move on to the other things on his website. And being a daily regular sportsracer. I need a power move. Hmmm.

"And remember, be yourself. Unless you're an asshole."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Life's many pursuits

Today was spent in the pursuit of things. It was Target Day.
The RM and I took the bus out to Flatbush Ave. to this very end.

After a day of pushing and shoving and shopping.
Of pricing and comparing and considering.
Of picking up and putting down, and circling, only to pick up again.
And of sticker shock, even at a Target. Oy Vey!

And then there was the struggle to bring it all home by foot and by bus.
All the way I cursed myself, I cursed Target, I cursed my puny arms, and I missed my car.
New York living can be a real pain in the ass.

Still, as a result I now have Xmas cards in case the holiday spirit hits me.
I have an air mattress, a comforter, towels, and bedding for guests,
gifts to donate to Toys for Tots,
a coffee cup for use at work,
a stock pot to make soups,
small pens for my purse,
a pair of pants for work,

And, I am pleased to report that now not only is there room at the Inn, there are also flannel sheets.

Afterwards we pushed the envelop and went grocery shopping while starving. The RM, being a generous sort, was further ladden down with ingredients for holiday sweets. Suger. So Heavy! And as a result we had more really really heavy bags to carry back to the house. Again missing having cars. I think if someone were to measure my dimensions right now, my spine would be shorter and my arms would be longer.

Saturday, I met up with RBe. Among many activities of the day he took me to the Strand - 18 miles of books, Baby. Can I get a Hell Yeah from the Choir?

*Hell Yeah!*

I was too bedazzled to purchase anything. But I cannot wait to go back. I am now in search of a place that sells 18 miles of music. Any suggestions? I know, I know, I am supposed to be filesharing or buying online or something. But I can't help it, I love loitering at the music store. I love the obnoxious know it all clerks that mock you when you come up to the counter to pay for your purchases. And I love the walls of flyers and posters and the zines and postcards and the free CD samplers with all those crappy songs on them.

I dragged RBe to Saint's Alp Teahouse which has a really unpleasant ambience but I did like the tea with Agar. RBe didn't like it so well. Pearl Tea is an acquired taste. Not everyone likes to have a drink that eats like a snack. But it does occur to me after five months I am as unfamiliar with NYC as I was the first day and perhaps it is time to sniff around a look for the places that could act as my City Oases.

RBe and his friend H are going to an event called Beers and Deers which as far as I can tell consists of vegans and vegetarians doing a pub crawl to across the City to places that have the arcade game "Buck Hunter" to drink beers and shoot virtual deers. Sounds like excellent fun.

Having been introduced to Buck Hunter by RBe, I recently bullied some coworkers into trying it out. Interestingly they were all much better at shooting birds than deer. I was not good at either activity.

Friday, the RM and I went to a place called Ivo and Lulu's and had roasted duck for not much money. It was a cute tiny little place where you could bring your own bottle of wine. (We did. A nice bottle with a cute name: the New York Cab) We the only non couple at the place. All stages of love were represented: first date, double date, honeymoon phase, committed long term couples and so on.

Afterwards we went to Madison Square Garden to see Tenacious D. It was a hell of a show. It was a mini rock opera and a fine old time. Sort of a dorky rock guy cross between Faust and "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" done with the deepest of committment and conviction. And now I must go see the movie.

Added to this was the fact that when you buy a beer at MSG it is served in a plastic mug with a beer pretzel stuck in a holder drilled into the handle. it's hard to describe but actually kinda cool. I wish I had brought them home.

We met up with Kat E, JS, CS, and T for drinks and food. Good times. And best birthday wishes to the gorgeous and talented CS, may this be his year, his most fabulous year evah.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

do you beta?

The RM will kill me if I don't switch to beta now that I have been asked to.

But well, I just ...

Change is hard even if it ends up being a change for the better.
Even if it's better the one thing about it that's not better is that it's different.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thanksgiving without Turkey

If you are a regular reader of the RM's blog you know that she and I spent Thanksgiving in the UK. Because we could.
The British Airways flight was delightful. Although the pre-flight booking process was irritating in both directions.

Corporate rules are very inflexible as are their computer systems. If you do not do things early enough and properly you are in for plenty of wackiness. That or BA just hates me. Which is also entirely possible.

The food was very bland and I spilled a full cup of water on myself right after the plane took off. On the plus side they gave us a travel toothbrush with a tiny little tube of toothpaste and dark blue socks. Socks!

The flight itself was good although foolishly instead of sleeping the whole way I watched two movies: "Trust the Man" which was not horrible and occassionally quite funny and "The Ant Bully" which was scientifically inaccurate. I would like to see more children's movies about space aliens and mythical creatures because what they are "learning" about "nature" in these movies is misleading at the least.

We arrived at Heathrow at 7am very tired. The RM didn't feel like she was in a foreign country yet b/c airports all look the same. I beg to differ. Looking out the window I could see a tree and a very well tended hedge right on the tarmac (is that what it's called?) I have never seen a hedge, much less a well manicured hedge in an American airport landing or tarmac area.

And after getting off the plane I am confronted with further differences:
This is the symbol for Women's room in at Heathrow:

brit women's room

In fact the men and women's signs are both different in proportion:


Walking into the bathroom aka: "toilet" or "loo" I found that the RM and I did not need to pack a toothbrush because in the UK they have:

chewable toothbrush

The RM thought I had lost my mind taking pictures in bathrooms at the airport. I mean we hadn't really seen anything yet. Cracked out from air travel and sleep deprivation, she was probably right.

The guy at the visa line thought that the RM and I were sisters. I was too tired to be able to tell if he was kidding.

We got our luggage and proceeded to discover that the Train and the Underground are two different things and asking for one will not get you directions to the other.

After a long ride on the Underground while it was above ground in which we did much giggling we arrived in London. Our stop was at Piccadilly Circus. Here we dropped off our luggage at the Regent Palace Hotel with a exterior and a name a bit more grandiose than it's modest interior and went out to get breakfast and see the Rosetta Stone.

On the way we ran into a Tardis.

me & phonebooth

Sadly, it was not working and disappointly small on the inside. In fact, I couldn't even figure out how to use it as a phone booth either for most of the trip. It just kept eating my coins and giving nothing back.

Getting into the holiday groove

Our office is having a holiday decorating contest. And for whatever reason, my cubicle section decided to participate. We decided yesterday and the deadline was today. I think because the cubicle section next door to us has put up a very elaborate and impressive display in honor of Festivus. It's awesome.

One thought was to go with a Winter Solstice theme. I was all for going Pagan. But in researching Pagan winter solstice traditions it turned out that the Christmas holiday has stolen almost all of them. And outside of having a representation of a horned god or Odin riding an 8-legged reindeer there was little to be done to differentiate a Traditional Christmas from a Pagan Winter solstice celebration.

We ended up throwing some lights and paper flowers around our section and putting up geeky science displays of the sun in relation to the earth at Winter Solstice which is the shortest day of the year and I think falls on December 22nd this year. If they have an award for Dorkiest entry I am confident that we will get it.

The funny thing is that several of the senior people grudgingly admitted that while they are not down with the whole Xmas holiday but they could get behind our position on the earth with respect to the sun. *Lucky Thing*

Of course while I should have Christmas carols running through my head I was actually decorating our section to the tune of zefrank's song "If the earth were a sandwich" in my head.

My Nanowrimo was a crash and burn, friends. *sigh* Hats off to those who kicked Nano Ass this year. Maybe next year will be better. LJL has found a site that will help you write a novel in 100 days. New challenge for the New Year? At the rate my life to work ratio decreases, probably not. But I will meditate on it through this month.