27 September 2006


Dear Technology Companies,

When you're done patting yourselves on the backs for being all "revolutionary" and for "redefining" the "paradigm" -- whatever that means -- and you're not too busy plotting where to put the next climbing wall at headquarters to promote "synergy" amongst team members during "trust training" or whatever the hell corporate trainers are promoting these days, do me a favor.

Everybody all get together and decide on one -- ONE! -- cable design for connecting all my gadgets to an outlet, and another one for connecting them to my computer's USB. Developing a USB was nifty and all, but it doesn't do me a fly's eyelash worth of good if all the other ends of those nifty "universal" cables are as individual -- and as special! -- as snowflakes.

I'm talking all MP3 players, digital cameras, and cell phones. One cable to connect each to an outlet, if that is how they charge, and one to a computer, if they like to make talky-talk with computers. These universal cables must work for all my devices. All of them! I am sick! of! this!

With every new gadget I buy, I add another garden snake to my drawer full of gadget cables. And then I have to go through the embarassing ritual of inspecting the shape and size of each device's lady parts so I can see which cable-y doinky goes in the hole.

YES I AM SEXUALIZING MY GADGETS. Seeing as their lady parts get far more action than mine do, I think it's only fair.

If there were only one type of cable none of this would be necessary. Get on with the revolution, please.

And with your bad selves. Thanks for all the cool stuff, keep it coming.



23 September 2006

the rain in spain

I just had the most lovely conversation with one of my favorite people on the internets, Tony. He lives way over in the UK, and some months ago he talked me into getting a microphone so we could chat over the computer wires, a feat which I am still amazed and flummoxed by. I can hardly believe that we are able to do such a thing, never mind that we don't get charged for it!

How cool is it to talk to somone in another country for free for a few hours? Man, I am so easily impressed by technology. If technology keeps improving at the same rate it has been, I am just going to spend the rest of my life with my eyes all wide, silently mouthing the word "cool" all the time.

Tony and I used to write weekly columns for the same website, and sometimes I secretly think he actually looks something like his old avatar there, which was kind of a squished up Tony Blair face, which is really nothing like how he looks at all, and even less how he sounds.

So I gave him my best My Fair Lady impression and he asked me why I was dropping the "haitch" off of my "haitches" -- like that makes any sense in the world.

At one point I yawned ever so slightly (so rude!) and he assked me if I wanted some whore licks, which I thought was perhaps even ruder than yawning, but it turns out he meant this which, if nothing else, is pretty much the slickest website I've yet seen. Really. The product itself is probably pure evil, probably liquid heroin or something used to control the masses, but the website kicks serious ass. Check it out.

So yes, Tony, I believe I do need some whorelicks. Bring on the whorelicks.

In short, he's just adorable. Also, he has long lashes and green eyes. So I'm going to start writing for him here. Unless he has some other website in mind, with webcams and nefarious eBay items for sale and all other manner of whatnot, in which case I might need to renegotiate my pay.

Right now I'm going to bed, but soon -- maybe tomorrow! -- I will start writing for him on occasion about sports and books and regional accents and why I have such a posh one.

I'll keep you posted. Right now, I'm knackered.

17 September 2006

the queen of refuse, the queen of filth

How did I ever allow my life to be filled with such trash?

Literally! I just went into a totally unscheduled cleaning frenzy on the back porch, which, granted, we use as a mudroom and trash/recycling center, and I ended up hauling TEN LAWN-SIZED TRASH BAGS TO THE DUMP. And that's not even counting the extra load of broken chairs and dead keyboards and cd players and cardboard and packaging materials from all the crap we bought recently.

I can't even begin to understand how I -- hater of all clutter and disorder -- could possibly allow things to get so bad!

I married a slob and a pack rat, that's how. And I'm usually too damn passive to make things stay the way I like them.

There seems to be some kind of planetary alignment conducive to chucking shit out, because we've been doing it at work, too. And I don't just mean that unfortunate person who just got "eliminated," either. We have been routinely carrying huge trash bags full of crap to the dumpster at the end of every day, and every day we wonder where the hell all the crap came from, and why we were content to live with it for so long.

I am renowned in my professional life for (1) wearing black all the time, common in other places but less so here in the land of the pink and green whale-print pants, and (2) keeping an immaculate office. I straighten all the items on my desk before I leave for lunch, not just at the end of the day. I have all my pens facing the same direction. I buy perfectly shaped and sized plastic containers at Staples for all of my various files and storage needs, and keep things sorted and tied down like we were at goddamn sea.

I am widely suspected of being a practictioner of secret feng shui rites in my office, so free of clutter and disorder is it.

I was known in college for having a dorm room you could waltz in, so enamored of clean, open space was I.

Why is my house a mess?

My car is not a mess. My office is not a mess. I am less of a personal mess than I have been in the past.

Well, at least my porch is, for now, in order.

Porch, east

Porch, west

10 September 2006

princess and the peahead

I came down with a most strange, unidentified virus this week that impelled me -- against my will and all prior training -- to spend great towering piles of money on home furnishings.


It started with my growing displeasure with our continued use of a fifteen-year-old futon as a couch. The damn thing was so uncomfortable to sit on that I usually opted for the floor directly in front of the futon, and only found the futon itself only useful as a backrest. Sure, the cats liked it -- they ought to, it smelled so strongly of them.

In the manner peculiar to such left-over-from-grad-school furnishings, the thing was covered in several layers of blankets and tapestries, so as to cover the proverbial multitude of sins. This meant that the several layers of fabric had to be yanked back up over the frame several times a day, as they tended to sag.

So I finally got the momentum behind me to buy a real, honest-to-god couch. Amazing what having a real, honest-to-god salary will do.

I flirted with CraigsList for a while, but discovered the truth of the axiom you get what you pay for. There is a reason some couches can be sold for only $20. An icky reason.

So I made friends with our local purveyors of brand new furniture and made my purchase. Now, although the futon makes a lousy couch, it makes an outstanding bedframe. So, once my glorious, brand-new, ultra-deluxe couch was delivered, I chucked the raggedy old double bed I had been suffering with for five years and replaced it with the futon.

The idea was to put the old queen size mattress I had in storage at my mother's house on the frame to make it more like a real bed, but close inspection of THAT mattress proved hazardous due to large colonies of MOLD. So I slept for a couple of nights on just the futon frame and fifteen-year-old futon mattress, spinning fitfully and wondering HOW THE HELL I USED TO SLEEP LIKE THIS ALL THROUGH COLLEGE AND GRAD SCHOOL.

Honestly -- for a long time, I slept with just a futon mattress on the floor! Sometimes I engaged in significantly more energetic pursuits than just sleeping on this torture device! This is now unfathomable to me.

Back I went to our local purveyors of fine furnishings. Just like in those awful Hummer ads, PING! went my elegant little forefinger towards an ultra-luxe, premium-thickness, 600-coil, memory-foam, queen-size mattress.

PING! went the cash register! RIP! SLAP! I wrote my check and whapped it down on the counter, using all my feminine wiles to connive the fine young Brazilian manager to deliver TONIGHT not TOMORROW but alas! I was doomed to one more night on ye olde futon.

Sick at heart at the thought of one more night of being forced, through searing back pain, to accept that I am so very much not nineteen any more, I pulled out my trusty old air mattress/guest bed and inflated that on top of the bed of nails I used to call a futon.

The next night I had my premium mattress securely placed under my premium ass.

And hey! Turns out you also need to scheck out fifty more clams for a proper mattress pad! Who doesn't know that?! Everybody knows that!

And what the heck! While you're wandering aimlessly and somewhat embarassed around that section of the department store, dollar bills simply BULGING out of every orifice, don't you REALLY NEED new curtains?

And heavens! what luck! The very bedside lamp you've been looking for!

And what ho! A sale on 400-count sheets, you say! Lay on, MacDuff!

I stopped myself just short of the marble-topped mission-style vanity. I think I pulled a muscle, I stopped so short.

03 September 2006

she wishes for winter, some past, some future

Is there a more fitting end to summer than a cold, wet and rainy labor day weekend? I think not.

If it were sunny and bright and warm, how much more wrenching it would be to say goodbye! As it is, it is evident that summer has already fled, and we are all just loafing around needlessly, hanging on to something that is long gone.

Like that time I waited until the very last day before Christmas break to leave campus, not wanting to miss a minute of relaxing with my friends after finals in our toasty dorm living room, huddled in front of the fireplace, desperate to put off going home to my embarassing family with whom I no longer had anything in common, and their suddenly profoundly irritating ways.

But by the time the last day of semester dawned, all my friends had already left, perhaps blessed with more congenial family lives and a less burdensome sense of self. I wandered disconsolately across campus as if it were the moors of Heathcliff, wrapped in wool and moods, obstinately waiting out the final hours I was permitted to remain on campus before catching the last depressing greyhound bus back to Cape Cod.

Cape Cod in those days was even more achingly empty and bereft of young people then than it is now, and I can remember vainly trying to recapture some of the magic of my favorite off-campus coffeeshop in Northampton by thumbing through the yellow pages for a cafe in which I could sip thick black coffee and muse over my class schedule for the coming term.

I ended up in a Dunkin' Donuts in Hyannis, harshly lit and shared only with off-duty cops and construction workers.

The next day I fled my family and sought out what I considered to be my people by escaping to Provincetown for the day, which was, not surprisingly, even more desolate and boarded up than the relative bustle and hum of the mid-Cape. But it seemed to me a splendid desolation, and I bought a styrofoam cup of kale soup and a fresh sweet bread roll at the Portuguese bakery near the wharf, wrapped my wool scarf about my face and carried my lunch out to the pier where I munched and sipped amid the shivering seagulls and noisily tethered fishing boats.

I have since learned to revel in the isolation and solitude of Cape Cod in the winter and, like many year-round residents, to welcome it. I buy yarn in Harwichport all winter, when there is barely another soul to be seen either on the main street or in the parking lots near the shuttered chamber of commerce welcome center.

I love shopping at that yarn shop in the winter.

It's easy to forget how close so many of our main streets are to the water, having ceded the shoreline to our cherished seasonal guests all summer long. But the yarn shop is a mere brisk stride or two from the Atlantic, and there is a bakery nearby that is favored by locals -- their hot buns are far too sweet for me, but their soups are first-rate -- and one can easily take one's newly purchased wool and scarf pattern down to the shore with some coffee and a cardboard cup of soup.

There will be some chilly-mannered seagulls there, squinting into the offshore wind and pretending, badly, to ignore you. They will share some of the blessed quiet and splendid isolation that has been reclaimed with the coming of the cold and gray winter. You may share with them your roll.