29 June 2005

The right tool for the right job

I had a bit of a to-do to attend tonight, and in somewhat of the capacity of host/emcee. I was kind of excited about having an appropriate occasion at which I could wear the stunning new top I bought when I was last in the big city.

(It occurs to me now that I never did chronicle my thrilling adventures in Boston earlier this month when I went to see the most awesome band ever, Ozomatli. Not only had I not been "over the bridge" since December, I hadn't been to see live music in about 75 million years -- that's right, before the dinosaurs experienced their "extinction event", as we geologists so euphemistically like to call it. If you know Ozomatli, you know I was drenched in sweat from dancing and that i did my best to hunt down the trombone player after the show and make out with him. Mission: Failed. But I did touch his sweaty arm and thank him for a great show. If you don't know Ozomatli, then you really really should, and that's that. They tour like maniacs, so you have no excuse to not see a live show. In any case, just before the show I did some shopping, and bought the best and sexiest black-lace-and-velvet shirt ever. This is the shirt I wanted to wear, finally, for the first time tonight.)

I generally tend to be a no-make-up, t-shirt-and-jeans kind of gal, so when I clean myself up, I clean up gooooood. Meaning: People suddenly notice I'm a girl, and it kind of throws them for a loop. So, natch, I give it my all.

So I carefully applied my favorite shade of lipstick, touched up my bitchin' red toenails, slithered into my flowy black shirt and my favorite black pants, and checked myself out in the mirror.


Oh... crap crap crap crap.

You could totally see my too-pale bra through the awesome shirt, thus negating any inherent awesomeness.

Then I remembered I still had a favorite black bra, but I hadn't seen it in ages (so rarely do I clean myself up in such a manner). I spent an hour flipping clothes madly into the air, creating an Eiffel Tower of clothes that really only serve archival purposes, trying to find this damn bra.

I sporadically returned to the full-length mirror in my office to confirm the fact that I really couldn't wear this shirt with this bra, and holy christ I was so into wearing this shirt tonight, I honestly was going to throw a toddler tantrum if I couldn't wear it, and I'd have to be given a time -out and sent to bed early, that's how steamed I was.

I had already peered under my bed with a flashlight, under the couch, behind the bureau, in the dark corners of the closet, and was just about to reluctantly change my shirt because it was waaaay past time to leave the house when I thought to look between the bed and the wall and PRESTO.

In truth, it probably made no difference, because the room was dark at the event and all, but I know that I carried myself like I was new and improved with 100% More Sass because I knew I was Pretty On The Inside, or at least Sexy On The Underneath. And I think I did turn one of my secretly favorite heads, but I give the lipstick the credit for that.

25 June 2005

Sweet dreams, baby

I know we all sometimes dream we can fly, and everyone eventually will have the dream about being naked and having to give a public talk, or sitting for an exam we never studied for in a class we never attended, and then there's always the old chestnut of all your teeth falling out for no reason whatsoever.

But will someone please explain to me why my most common anxiety dream is that I'm trying to put in my contact lenses, but for some reason they are three times the size of my eyeball, so they have no chance of fitting? My dream reaction is always, "h'mmm, that's strange -- they fit fine yesterday...."

When I had this dream last night, I even gave a kind of nervous giggle after trying to put in these supersized contacts, and commented to my nearby friend that this was "just like those weird dreams I have sometimes where my lenses are too big to go in my eyes!" (nervous giggle!!)

I hate it when my dreams refer to themselves as dreams. It's like my brain is an Escher drawing, and it makes me crazy. So stop it, stupid brain. Yeah, thanks and all that for the frequent and awesome erotic dreams with hot celebrities and co-workers you regularly toss my way, but can you please can it with the self-referential meta-levels?

Yeah, thanks. Much appreciated.

P.S. On a completely unrelated note, I've been asked to start writing for this other crazy website that has a roster of several different writers -- each person gets one day of the week all to themselves. I get Sundays -- beginning tomorrow -- which is great, because that means I can have all of Saturday to think up lame ideas about what to write about, discard them all one by one in a growing spiral of shame and despair, and then cobble something together late at night out of desperation. This is how I always wrote my finest papers in college.

And since everybody who is anybody knows that Sundays are the lowest traffic days on weblogs, go ahead and click on over and show your support. Or don't, and rot in hell. Totally your choice.

22 June 2005

Doubtful guest

Back when he was alive, Edward Gorey used to live around here. Then, sadly, he died, and he didn't leave a forwarding address.

But I know his old address, and that's where I went last night for a most delightful soiree. Seems they unearthed some of the original sketches for The Gashleycrumb Tinies, and are putting them up on exhibit at the museum that was once Gorey's house.

I ran into my old English teacher again... you know, that one..., and we did the kissy-huggy thing and then I asked her if she remembered that night that we met the damn guy (see previous link)... and she didn't.

How do you not remember something like that? That's what I want to know.

Now my favoritest old English teacher thinks I'm making things up, or am drunk, or am at least less than charming, and also delusional.

So I sidled away, feigning interest in the finger food table nearby. She encouraged me to sample a certain tasty spread that her friend had made, but it was clear that she'd rather encourage me to sample some tasty percoset.

Morosely, I picked at the salmon mousse. (not kidding -- there were three platters of salmon mousse.)

Gratifyingly, an older gent in a black Gorey T-shirt then sidled up to me and asked me under what circumstances I had met Gorey, and I told him, and we chatted, and he took my picture.

He believes me, and he wasn't even there. So there, awesome English teacher who thinks I'm on crack!

Among the many highlights of the evening -- besides catching up with an old, dear friend from my childhood, whom I had invited to the reception for that express purpose, and also because we used to act together, and we once did The Gashleycrumb Tinies onstage together (we think she was Susan, we think I was Pru -- it's been quite a while) I think my favorite visual memory of the museum was the life-size doll that was hovering, mid-fall, down the stairs to the second floor, in a perfect imitation of this.

My other favorite moment was telling my friend C. earlier today about this reception I was going to, and his responding "I think anyone who works with children can appreciate The Gashleycrumb Tinies."

Be that as it may (and it be, it be, my brutha), I enjoyed pressing my nose up to the glass of the home of one of my dearest homeys.

19 June 2005

Automator on the fader

It's Dad day, which is a good day for me, since I happen to have lucked into having pretty much the coolest Dad ever. So when other people are half-heartedly sucking up to their progenitors, I am filled with the glow of non-hypocrisy on an officially hypocritical Hallmark Holiday.

Because my Dad rocks.

Yeah, he left us when I was an early teen, and I suppose he could have done it with a little more finesse. But honestly? When you are experiencing a major personal meltdown, finesse is nobody's strong point. My dad and I had a reconciliation when I was about eighteen years old, and I had an epiphany that led me to realize that he did the right thing by striking out on his own, and I told him so.

I said, Dad, I think you did the right thing. By leaving. I hope I would have done the same thing.

This was a bit of a turning point in our relationship.

Dad is a blues DJ in Provincetown, and enjoys a certain renown in these parts. He's the sort of DJ who speaks quietly, calmly, and infrequently, allowing the music to speak for itself. And for him, I suppose.

We all have to have the blues. Some just do it with a certain... finesse that I truly hope to have inherited.

16 June 2005

de nails

Yesterday Matt asked me to paint his toenails, a summertime ritual we have followed for at least five years, possibly more. He wears very revealing sandals all summer, and he likes his toes to look pretty. Who doesn't? I'm happy to oblige.

He prefers glossy red, for the record.

So just now I decided to join in the fun and paint my toenails too, the same color of red. Needless to say, most of the shades of polish in our house are variations on red, since most of the polish exists primarily for Matt's use. I just borrow his make-up when I'm feeling particularly girly.

Which I am today, clearly.

As I was performing the peculiar acrobatics that are required to properly paint one's toenails while sitting on the toilet seat, I was suddenly struck by a memory of painting my nails when I was fourteen.

It was summertime, I was lounging about on my front porch, being fourteen and righteously slothful. Our next-door neighbor was a guy we called Sarge, apparently because he had been in the National Guard for twenty years or something, who knows if that was ever true.

All I knew about the guy was that he was a kinda short, very funny gay guy with bleached blond hair who liked to stand around on his front lawn with a green water hose in one hand and a healthy glass of scotch in the other, watering his lawn. He ran a boarding house next door, and my brothers used to "visit" with him and the other tenants in the evenings to get high and sample his liquor cabinet.

My mother never suspected any of this about him, thinking that National Guard Veteran = Upstanding Member of Society Involved in Nothing Untoward.

Whatever, Mom.

On this particular summer morning, I was sitting on our front porch, painting my toenails a lovely shade of lilac. Sarge sauntered over to chat (scotch-free, as far as I can recall, but what do I know?), and after a few minutes of idle chatter, asked me perfectly amicably if there wasn't some more profitable way I could spend my time than lolling about on the lawn, painting my nails purple?

It's lilac, I said, and I'm on the porch. The lawn is over there.

And no, I added, I'm fourteen, it's summertime. I think this is exactly what I should be doing with my time.

Sarge smiled and gave me one of those little one-fingered tip-o-the-hats (you know? the index finger to the right side of the forehead, then flicked the index finger in my direction? what is that called?) and said -- with I'm pretty sure more than a touch of envy -- touche.

And here I am, it's summer, I'm 33, and I'm painting my nails (hold on, lemme check...) heartbeat frost on a summer evening, and I still think it's the most proper use of my time.

Am I wrong? Am I wrong?

11 June 2005


One of the very few beautification indulgences I indulge in is a regular eyebrow waxing. As you know, I takes my chances on the haircut scene, I am no clothes horse, and I'm something of a "tomboy." But I am the tiniest bit vain about my eyes (which are large and blue-ish, with a ring of gold around the iris), as I consider them my best feature (besides my sparkling wit, natch) so I like to frame my pretty eyes with pretty eyebrows. Go ahead, judge me.

I got lured into this whole waxing thing when I lived in Syracuse, where people dressed far far more showy than they do here, and where, believe me, most of my friends waxed far far more than their eyebrows. The first time I got it done, I kept ogling myself in the rearview mirror as I was driving around town, thinking how fully gorgeous it looked. So I figure, what the hell. Something you can pay a tenspot for that will make you feel rippingly sexy? Pay the fricking tenspot.

But I gotta tell ya.

The best part about this whole waxing thing this time around is that I always go to this fabulous gal who used to do my hair (back when I could afford an expensive haircut) and I feel so bad about not getting her to do my hair anymore that I am religious about the whole eyebrow thing, because I somehow feel responsible for helping her pay her rent...

The thing is, she's known me for a few years, and she's really cool and nice. And she doesn't BS me at all, which is why I love her. And yesterday, she was all, "wow you have lost so much weight!"

Which, of course, I have.

But it often takes a person who you only see every couple of months to actually notice.

See, I'm at that point where I am not shy about the fact that I've lost weight, and I think I'm verging on (not there yet, but gaining on it) being hot again.

And no one. Has. Said. A. Word.

The black capri pants I was embarrassed to wear last summer are now so loose on me that they are officially hip-huggers, and therefore look more like full-length boot-cuts, they are so loose.

Old shirts that I couldn't even button up in February are now billowy on me.

So after I got my eyebrows ripped (as my old haircutter in NY used to call it), after my girl made me so happy by noticing the billowiness of my shirt and pants, I went home and did something I haven't done in a long time.

Weighed myself.

Um, yeah.

Dead sexy? Right here.

07 June 2005

The internet is for porn

So I turned my Dad on to music file-sharing today, walked him through downloading Soulseek and everything. He's a blues DJ in P-Town, so I know that he will get totally into it once he figures it out. He's a pretty hep cat, but, like many of his generation, a bit behind on the whole computer age thing.

So I get him to install the program on his computer (over the phone) and during the lulls that inevitably surface during the conversation (waiting for a page to load, etc.) I tell him funny stories from my life over the past week.

One of them went something like this:

There was an accident near the place I work yesterday. I wasn't there, but my friend/co-worker/crush was, and he told me the story. He was inside, heard the sound of crunching metal, called the ambulance, and went outside to investigate and assist.

I won't go into the details, for fear of incriminating certain people I find deeply sexy and alluringly unattainable, but I will say that the words "vodka" and "roach" were involved.

Everyone was OK, and no one was intoxicated, just for the record. It was just a funny story, mainly because no one was hurt, and there was a pretty good punchline, which, again, I just can't get into here.

So I tell my Dad this story, and he announces that he's in, his download of Soulseek was successful. So I start walking him through the use of the program. And he comes across my username, which of course he recognizes, because he is one of five or so people in this world who know my offbeat middle name, which I often use online.

And he tells me on the phone that he is downloading my files.

Um, Okay, I say.

What? he asks.

No, it's cool, I say, it's just that, um, there are some files in there that are, um, maybe a little racy.


Like what? Asks Dad. Like Frank Zappa songs?

Um, well, no, more like, um, films. Of a certain type.

Oh. You mean Matt...

Well, actually, they're mine.

So yay!

I've managed to mention two types of substance abuse and porn in one conversation with my Dad.

his response?

With all appropriate dryness and dripping sarcasm, he says, I am... shocked. Simply... shocked.

What a great dad.

06 June 2005

No small roles

So I'm stage managing this play. And I find out, after I sign on for this job, that the SM actually is a character in the play, and spends some time hamming it up onstage.

Now, back when I was a kid, I was a big ham. I loved putting on shows in my neighborhood, and omigod did I love performing on real stages. But I kind of let that drop over the years. Prior to the (apparently brilliant -- I'll get to that later) two minutes I spend onstage in this show, the last thing I had done was Godspell, in college. Freshman year. Yeah, that's right. I was a sexy nineteen-year-old, and I sang Turn Back, O Man. And you missed it.

And the other night, after I had done my little bit of vaudeville (I even get to do a big, juicy double take to the audience... not too shabby, really) and changed back into my regularly scheduled stage manager clothes (black jeans, big sexy oversized men's black button down shirt, converse sneaks... of course...) I ran into someone in the lobby, who was bowled over by my performance.

Two minutes. One double take. A little bit of improvised dialogue with the band.


And tonight, we had a little meeting of folks involved at the shop. Someone idly asked who in the group acted, because most of us were firmly in the behind-the-scenes camp. Several people said "Rock grrrl!"

I swiveled around, as I hadn't been paying any attention to that particular conversation thread at the time, and asked how my name had come up so emphatically.

They said, because you act.

Apparently, I act.

This is a slight shift in my personal identity, as I had convinced myself years ago that I was a lousy actor. And, mind you, nobody actually said I act well. They just thought of my name when the question arose.


I'll try to avoid believing my own press.

But secretly, I'll be happy to provide signed glossies on request.

04 June 2005

Foggy on the inside

Here it is, finally finally acting like spring -- and I finally have the day off -- and the sky is blue and the birds are singing, and all I seem to want to do is stay inside and listen to rainy day music and ponder things.

I tried a couple of times today to wander outside, to do something useful and seasonally appropriate, like garden, or wash my car, or take a walk past the river. I found myself unable to leave the property, wanting only to stay close to home.

I think I might be having a hermit relapse. The most I've been able to muster up the energy for is to take a couple of pictures of the lady's slipper that has miraculously appeared near the back door. Then I took a nother couple of pictures of emerging plant life at ground level, lying on my belly and pulling in for an extreme close-up.

Now it's fully gorgeous out (did I mention finally?), and I'm back inside, wanting nothing more than to listen to the sounds of my latest obsessions and to pad softly from room to room, idly picking up photographs of friends and past loves and getting lost in memory.

I choose to believe that there is nothing wrong with prefering my own company once in a while, and listening to the gentle, vibrating hum inside my head.

02 June 2005

Evelyn Waugh

I have a new favorite movie.

I watched this last night. Then I watched it again. I was on my third time through, with 20 minutes to go (the awful lunch scene, after Midnight at the Oasis...) when Matt came home and I had to break the news to him that I have found a new love.

Maybe it's because, not that long ago, I was an insomniac in Amsterdam. Maybe it's because the movie nailed it as far as what it feels like to be in a different country where you don't speak the language.

Maybe it's because I'm deeply into crushes that are doomed to go nowhere.

But it kills me that everyone talks about this movie (which had terrific music, by the way) as a film about an "improbable friendship." friendship? people?

I know from where I speak. And this, my friends, was maybe platonic, but definitely an affair. I know what love looks like, and Sofia Coppolla obviously knows how to capture it on film. This was love.

That scene where Bill Murray reached out and touched her foot on the bed was just about the best thing I've ever seen.

01 June 2005

Rockin' robin

My Dad gave me a bird feeder a few weeks ago, cause he's nice like that. I've never had a bird feeder before, never really thought that much about birds to begin with, but my next-door neighbors (they of the charming forsythia hedge) have several feeders in their front yard and a bird bath, and I realized I was jealous of all the cool birds hanging out in their yard and not mine, so I mentioned to my Dad that I might like a bird feeder.

Dad's a bird guy from way back. He has one of those clocks in his kitchen that emits a different birdcall at the top of each hour. His cats know the difference between the four o'clock bird and the five o'clock bird, because they get fed at five o'clock. When they hear the five o'clock bird, they come running. How nuts is that?

So this was, like six months ago that I mentioned this. Dad sprang into action and bought me a bird feeder, then forgot to give it to me until a few days ago, which worked out fine, since now it's warm and seasonable bird weather. He even assembled it for me, and gave me some seed to start with, which is great, because the only seeds I had around the house were tamari-roasted pumpkin seeds, and those might not have worked as well.

So that was my project this Memorial Day weekend -- I set up my bird feeder. I dithered around for a while with the whole "squirrel-proofing" thing, but then I just said fuck it, who cares, I'll feed the squirrels too. I got nothing against the little buggers. Then I thought that my one bird feeder looked lonely and out-of-place and kind of ghetto, so i went out and bought a couple more, each with its own kind of seed. Everybody likes a little variety in their diets, right?

And this has absolutely nothing to do with how many feeders my neighbors have in their yard, or with my occasional tendency to get secretly competetive about the stupidest things.

Of course, now I can't help but peek out the window every 17.4 seconds to see if I have any bird friends stopping by for a chat and some nosh. Haven't seen a one yet.

I did see a squirrel slither up the pole and take a few nibbles of suet, but everybody knows squirrels are easy. They'll climb up anyone's pole, if you catch my drift. Sluts.

I want the A-list! Chickadees! Cardinals! Blue Jays! Catbirds! I want my feeder to be the joint, the spot, the hip and trendy new bistro! The place where all the boy birds take their girl birds when they hope to get lucky later that night! I want to be the hot new source for all your sunflower seed needs!

Maybe I need a DJ.