30 August 2004


I was thinking about my old friend George S. for no good reason today. We weren't particularly close, but he did play a somewhat significant role in my life at a couple of points. He was the head cook at the restaurant I worked at in New York, when I was stuck making salads and was desperately trying to get a shift on the line doing something more glamorous, like saute or grill.

The place had a show line, so the more glamorous cooks were out there in the middle of the dining room, making plates spin and fires flare and generally just hamming it up. I was stuck in the back kitchen, chopping lettuce and crumbling wheels of gorgonzola between my fingertips. But all the line cooks had been there for a really long time, and none of them showed signs of budging any time soon. Until, that is, George got drunk one Friday night and slammed his fist into a brick wall.

The next night, after George showed me around the saute station and described the dishes to me, he waved goodbye with his bandaged-up hand and retreated to the salad station in back. Sink or swim, baby, on a Saturday night. I loved it. Love love loved it.

I worked the saute station for four years after that, and developed my own schtick in the hamming-it-up department. Besides always wearing bright red lipstick while on the line, I was known for producing massive plumes of fire in my red-hot saute pans that could almost reach the vaulted ceiling.

My partner on the line, Tom, and I established the best rapport I've ever had the privilege of sharing with a coworker, and most nights it felt like dancing.

George later quit drinking and focused on producing fantastical, breath-taking wood sculpture, his true talent. He started long-distance running, and several times I came across his sweaty figure in the fountain downtown, dousing himself after running all the way from his home in the countryside. We'd chat a bit, then he'd turn around and head back home, striding effortlessly on his long legs.

He looked, for all the world, like Steven Tyler.

I have no idea why I was thinking about him today, but the thoughts made me smile, and seemed worth sharing.

27 August 2004

Call me Ishmael

I have to go to Martha's Vineyard next month.

There's this wedding of a certain inlaw that is a little too blond, slim, and entitled for my taste, but who happens to be the daughter of my husband's father by a later marriage, and, well, I guess I'll suck it up and go spend the weekend on Martha's Vineyard. It's only a quick jump over the water from here, but hey. It's still paradise. Weep for me.

But I hesitated for ages to send in my wee precious little rsvp card, because of a wee precious detail from my own recent wedding that I sort of failed to announce. Like, my last name. And, oh yeah, my husband's last name. And I figured it probably wasn't the most tactful way to announce our new nomenclature while simultaneously indicating our preference for filet mignon over pecan-encrusted chicken breast.

Lemme 'splain.

No, is too much. Lemme sum up.

My man and I got married last October, after a deliciously prolonged eight-year courtship. Once we decided to throw a big-ass party -- I mean solemnize our union -- we discussed the available options for name-changing.

First of all, although we're not fervently committed to having children, it's certainly a welcome possibility. And since we were in effect celebrating our new family unit, with or without children, we wanted to have the same last name. Take it as a given that we don't care for saddling ourselves with a hyphenated last name. Take it also as given that the old system of the gal taking the guy's name suited us not at all. Honestly, what fun is that?

So we decided that it would be best for both of us to change our last names. Wanting to keep it in the family, we dithered a while between my mother's and his mother's maiden names, both of which are very nice, serviceable family names. We decided on his mother's maiden name.

And then we forgot to tell anybody.

Oh, sure, we told the IRS, Social Security, the Department of Motor Vehicles, our employers, and most of our friends, but none of our family. We, um, kind of forgot. Or were cowards, I guess you could say.

So here I sat, with a fey little rsvp card in my hand, knowing I must fill out the proper name in the space provided, and knowing equally well that my father-in-law was the one opening the envelope. So I waited. And dithered. And basically waited for the problem to go away.

And today he emailed me, and asked if we were coming or not, and I emailed him back, forgetting that my email signature would give the game away. He emailed me back, politely inquiring if that was our last name now, and indicating that it was no big deal, and he actually thought it was rather cool.

Then he asked me why we didn't go with "Dread" as our last name, as this is Matt's long-standing nickname, for obvious hair-related reasons.

Then he said that would have been much cooler, because it sounds more like we're pirates.

I reminded him that the wedding is only one day before International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Avast! He replied.

Now, at his bidding, I am packing eyepatches, breeches, and tin-foil cutlasses for my little weekend on Martha's Vineyard. That bridal brunch on Sunday (September 19th) is going to be an event to remember...

25 August 2004

Things fall apart

When I was a child, spending the occasional weekend in my father's house -- the house I now inhabit -- I noticed the ancient soap-on-a rope that hung from the shower head. I believe it's of the Old Spice variety. Yep, it sure is, I just checked. It's severely cracked and faded by now, but you can still read the Old Spice inscription and see the artistic rendering of a clipper ship on the front side. The rope in question is a thick, twisted length of pseudo-hemp in the shape of a loop. I can't believe it hasn't dissolved already, after all these years of hanging under the showerhead, and living in the already damp and humid climate of Cape Cod.

I decided long ago that this soap/rope/showerhead configuration was somehow mystically responsible for holding the house up. Like a baseball player, I am intensely, strangely superstitious. Ladders cause to me pause not a moment as I saunter under them, broken mirrors just mean another trip to the dump, and black cats are pretty awesome. But never will I remove the Old Spice Soap-on-a-Rope that hangs in my father's house -- no sooner than I would stop watching an important ballgame in the eighth inning.

Who knows what catastrophe awaits? The removal of that linchpin could have repercussions that would haunt generations to come.

But today, I saw something I had never seen before. Halfway up the supporting beam in the livingroom, in the center of the house, there is a VERY large nail, driven about halfway in. How did I never see this before? And have I been wrong all this time about the linchpin, the keystone, the center that must hold?

What if it's actually that sublimely centrally-located nail that's holding it all together, and the Soap-on-a-Rope is a mere red herring? Without courting disaster, there's no way to scientifically test either theory.

I shall just have to maintain vigilance that both remain undisturbed.

Although, sentimentally at least, my money is on the soap.

23 August 2004

Naming rights

For a few years there, I owned a nightclub. Matt and I co-owned it; it was a pretty big place, and we gave some of our friends jobs as barbacks, and let most of our friends in for free. So yeah, some of our "friends" were stealing from us, and we probably should have charged more of the ones who weren't, and maybe I wasn't so great as a boss lady sometimes (think: doormat). And we totally lost our shirts and were quite lucky to get out of town without getting tarred and feathered by various creditors. But, all in all, it was a great experience, we had a lot of fun and learned a lot, most of which can be summed up by:

1. Don't buy a nightclub.

2. Don't buy any business that involves having a liquor license that also caters to a very young adult crowd.

3. Be especially wary of businesses that have as their premises a 200-year-old brick warehouse that is partly held up on the backside by a large iron buttress that gives new relevance to the term "jerry-rigged."

4. You'll go far if you can brazen your way through any manner of dangerous/borderline illegal situations. The universe can smell fear. Don't let on that you're wetting yourself.

One of the most difficult things involved in buying a nightclub, though, is deciding what to name the damn thing. We bought a pre-existing business with great name recognition in the area (and in the wider industry), but part of the purchase/sale agreement was that we would change the name.

So we brainstormed. For months. Not surprisingly, we knew lots of pretty wildly creative people at this point in our lives, and so we asked for their input. We actually had some pretty good ideas, but they were either a) already trademarked; b) too obscure; or c) unable to garner consensus approval by all the stakeholders.

Once we had decided on a name, and announced it with much fanfare, it only took two weeks for some yahoo bar owner from three hours away to claim that he had prior claim to the name (it was different by a couple of words, but obviously similar), and to threaten legal action. It was, as they say here in my home state, re-TAH-ded; his joint was a tiny hole in the wall three hours away, ours was the biggest live-music nightclub in the city. But we certainly couldn't afford a legal battle (I doubt he could either, but our lawyer told us he would probably win in court) so we changed the name. AGAIN.

So thrilling.

Why do I bring all this up now? Do I simply enjoy rolling around in the fetid aroma of past ignominy? Well, yes, of course, that's part of it. (and, as I said, it really wasn't all that bad of an experience, now that the insomnia and panic attacks have subsided -- it was actually quite fun to be a fancy-pants nightclub-owner in my late twenties...)

No, I was reminded of our struggle to name -- and then rename -- our club by a recent news item about the legal woes of a New York bar called:

Finius T. Flubberbuster's

When I read this, I could only breathe a deep sigh of relief that at least the name we eventually came up with for our club was WAY cooler than that. Thank God.

At the very least, I can state unequivocally that we never, not for a nanosecond, considered such a manifestly stupid name.

And no, I won't tell you what name we DID come up with, either. Statute of limitations, and all that, you know.

20 August 2004

Ol' George is back on top again

What a manic lifestyle this freelancing thing is.

I get work, I'm busily working for a few weeks, I send it in. I revel in being free and easy for approximately 22 hours -- I'm a professional, they pay me to do this, I get to work barefoot, in sweatpants, and tell people at cocktail parties I'm a fancy-pants editor -- and then the fear settles in.

When will the next job come? Oh God, did I do something horribly wrong and boneheaded on the last job? Shouldn't I have checked it over one last time before handing my precious package over to the nice folks at the UPS store? What if they put the wrong label on it after all -- even though I triple-checked it -- and it's headed for Ibiza, where it will languish in the basement of some tawdry eurotrash nightclub, under a mildewed pile of last season's sarongs?

Why haven't I gotten paid yet for the last couple of jobs? Are they too busy passing the project around the office, each person sticking their snide and demeaning commentaries on each page in variously-colored post-it notes, then getting together over drinks at happy hour to howl over the mediocrity of my so-called work?

I start to read -- daily, compulsively, morbidly -- the local classified ads, wondering if I could get a job as a pet sitter, or perhaps I should deliver newspaper bundles at night, so no one would see how far I've fallen. I was supposed to be somebody, you know -- I had great grades, scholarships, writing awards... why did I ever drop out of grad school? What's wrong with whoring myself out for a little tenure, for crying out loud? It beats this waiting, this belly-deep certainty that it's over, my grand, noble experiment of working full-time as a freelancer has finally reached its ignoble end, it's come to a crashing halt, the fantasy is shattered...

And then the phone rings. Another job is on the way. The friendly voice at the other end tells me how pleased she was with the last job, and how she's bumping me up to a higher level of pay, and passing my name on to her colleagues. For good reasons, mind you, not mockery-based reasons.

The phone rings again, and it's another job.

I put my feet up on my desk, my hands threaded casually behind my head. I breathe a deep, slow sigh of contentment, and firmly tell myself that, throughout this days-long ordeal, I never doubted that the phone would ring again. Honest. Never. A shred. Of a doubt.


lather, rinse, repeat.

18 August 2004


Matt and I went to the WOMR music food and wine fest last night, and enjoyed ourselves heartily, as we are wont to do. The music was good, featuring Sleepy laBeef and Country Joe and the Fish (Yes! 3 of the 4 original fish!), and of course the food was outstanding. Although I did miss out on the Portuguese kale soup my Dad was raving about, I managed two heaping servings of grilled ribs from the Brazilian Grille.

But as is always the case, the best part of these functions is the people watching... and believe me, these people bear watching.

It was a healthy mix of the groovy beautiful people in their flowing hippy robes that they'd like you to believe they bought at some craft fair, but that was really custom made for them back in Aspen (Oh, those lovable wealthy hippies...) and the truly destitute, garbed in impossibly faded carpenters jeans and various seafood company t-shirts, intermingled with the musicians, restaurant workers, and schlubs like us.

My vote for best t-shirt this year goes to the dazzlingly attractive 50-ish woman (about 5' 10", long black hair, lots of black denim and leather accessories) who wore a t-shirt saying "tell your mother to stop calling me."

In the land of WOMR/Provincetown, there are so many delicious interpretations to that one...

16 August 2004


Well, now that I mostly have my voice back, I feel like I can manage typing. And don't tell me that doesn't make sense because you know perfectly well it makes a world of sense. Just maybe not this world, maybe one of those infinite other parallel worlds where you took a right instead of a left, or your mother never existed, or when it rains, it rains donuts.

Things that happened while I was sick include:

Matt sort of slightly crashed my car -- or rather, the clueless pushy Festiva-driving moron with HER INFANT SON in the car crashed into my car, which happened to have Matt in it. S'ok, no one was hurt, and I only have a broken headlight, which my main man at the garage is going to replace with a part from the junkyard. Don. My man. And it was the headlight that had some weird piece of rusting metal trapped inside anyway, so it's all for the best.

(PS I love it when people drive/cross streets recklessly when they are accompanied by small children. This chick blazed across four lanes of heavy traffic to take a left turn in front of -- whoops! -- into my car... and there was even a middle lane available soley for the purpose of hanging out while trying to re-enter traffic. ya know, a turning lane. With a small child, in a Festiva, no child seat in sight. She's just lucky Matt wasn't driving our behemoth 20-year-old Volvo. The thing is a tank, and there wouldn't be much left of that Festiva. My other favorite is when people with small children very carefully take the kids' hands before crossing the street, and then confidently charge into the street without looking for traffic, as if to say "I am armed with children! I therefore have an impenetrable force field surrounding me! HAHAHAHAHA!" Nice try. but looking like you're being careful and being careful are not the same thing.)

Hurricane Charley totally stood me up. Not that I want to experience the death and destruction of a class 4 hurricane, but a nice hearty gale wouldn't hurt -- coupla downed branches, maybe a nice power outage. I even bought extra batteries and candles, dammit. Ah well, the season for nature's wrath isn't over yet.

During the fever dreams I was blessed with while I ran a slight temperature for a few days, amid all the usual bizarre sex dreams sadly interrupted by involuntary muscle twitches, I dreamed I was doing a triathalon. (Probably the only non-sex-related activity my mind could conjure for how sweaty I was...) And I woke up and I said h'm.

H'm I said H'm I will H'm.

Not that it's anything I can do this year or anything, but perhaps a workable goal for next year. A mini, fakey, "sprint" triathalon, mind you. Not of that iron man bullshit.

Maybe it was just the fever talking, but I'm better now, and I'm still considering it. We all need goals.

Might have to cut down on the beer, though.

13 August 2004

Folk remedy

I've been battling a seriously nasty head cold this past week, fully accessorized with fever chills and sweats. Early on in this ordeal, I woke up early with my damn sore throat presaging evil times ahead, and visited the grocery store in search of healthful sundries (ginger ale, oranges, the makings for hot-and-sour chicken soup).

I usually go to the smaller, locally-owned store rather than the megalomart across the street, and so the cashier gal (picture a sweet, blond gal of about 17) knew me, saw my purchases, and asked what I was making. I told her about my world-famous hot-and-sour soup, and the reason why I needed some pronto. She nodded wisely and intoned, "A pint inside and a pint outside... that's what you need."

"the what now?" I said.

"A pint inside and a pint outside", she repeated. "My great-grandmother always told us that the best way to fight a cold was to rub a pint of vodka all over your skin (all over), and then drink a pint of vodka."

I opined that this was just a crafty way of enforcing bed rest, because it would be unwise to leave the house smelling quite that strongly of hooch, and anyway the internally taken vodka would knock you out for a few days in itself. She shook her head solemnly and said that it has never failed, and by the way her great-grandmother is in her nineties and rides a motorcycle.

Later that night, propped up on many pillows, armed with tissues and my water bottle, I was watching a History channel show about Napoleon and Waterloo, and heard the narrator inform us that the commander of the Prussian troops, a 76-year-old-whatnot, had his horse killed underneath him, causing the horse to land heavily on both of the commander's legs. When his men reached him, he shook them off, demanded a bottle of gin, rubbed half the contents over himself, and drained the remainder down his gullet. He then mounted a fresh horse and proceeded to survive the battle with distinction.

Now, I'm a seasoned professional of Irish descent, and my eyebrows are still raised in awe and disbelief. Honestly? I'm-a stick with my hot-and-sour soup.

Rock Grrrl's Hot-and-Sour Soup
Try a Pint of This Inside, Before You Do Something Reckless Involving Vodka

1 whole, skinless, bone-in chicken breast
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted and thinly sliced
1/2 pound firm tofu, diced small
3 Tbs soy sauce
4 Tbs rice or white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
minced scallions for garnish
tabasco sauce
dark sesame oil

Place chicken and stock together in a stockpot; bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until chicken is cooked, about 20 minutes. (keep it at a gentle simmer, not a boil, or you'll get scummy soup)

Remove cooked chicken from stock, turn off heat from under stock, and shove chicken into the fridge to cool. When it's cool enough to handle, shred it by hand into nice spoon-sized bits. Discard bones.

Put chicken back into stock, along with mushrooms, tofu, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Lower heat to simmer, and slowly whisk in eggs. Simmer gently for another two minutes, add scallions, a few jiggers of tabasco, and ladle into a bowl. Float a couple of drops of sesame oil on top of each serving. Add more hot sauce to taste.

(loosely adapted from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything)

11 August 2004

Cape Skate

A moment of silence, please, for those of us who came of age in the 80's.

By this, of course, I mean those of us who were born well before the all-important rubicon of the release of Star Wars in 1977. If you were born after this date, then you were neither conscious nor cognizant enough to have been in middle school during the early 80's... and you ought to thank your lucky goddamn stars already.

Let's all reminisce, shall we? C'mon 'round the campfire, kids, and remember the fun, the romance, the good times, and let's not forget...

... the roller skating.

Back in those days of shetland sweaters, polo shirts, bermuda bags, blue eyeshadow, acne, and awful hair, there was one place on Cape Cod where all the cool kids went. Parents loved it, over-acheiving athletic kids exploited it, and were in turn exploited. Ungainly kids with few romantic propects pinned their hopes on that elusive, special Friday night at...

Cape Skate.

The roller skating rink where dreams came true.

Where I fell down more than I skated.

Where I once hid in the girls' room for three hours to hide the run in my stockings.

Where I got my first kiss... on the back of my hand, by the popcorn vendor.

Where the "snowflake dance" purportedly allowed the girls to invite the guys for a turn on the high-gloss pine floors. Not that I would know.

Where the funnest part was the couples dance, set to the tune "Turn Your Love Around" -- every time that lyric was sung, the couple had to change directions and skate the other way. Not that I would know.

Where you would occasionally be treated to the sight of some creepy middle-aged guy taking an "unscripted, spontaneous" turn on the floor, showing all the 7th and 8th graders his best moves in his lycra trousers.

H'mmmm! Sounds like it's time for a reunion to me!

Yeah, boyee, I can't wait. Sign me right up for a trip down memory lane with all the snotty girls, nasty boys, and crippling self-awareness of youth on wheels.

Sign. Me. Up.

10 August 2004

A wild, rank place

In my (newly official!) role as civic activist, I have started attending meetings of a few town boards, including the local downtown revitalization committee for a nearby village that last saw good economic times in 1880 as a whaling port. When some joker found out there was oil in the ground, not just thousands of miles out to sea in the carcass of some leviathan, the whaling/blubber business kind of went bust, and the locals went back to growing turnips and raking quahogs.

Tourists sort of didn't exist back then, unless you count some quack who lived alone on Walden Pond for two years and spouted all sorts of hedonistic nonsense about marching to a different drummer.

And then the village sort of all burned down in 1920.

These days this burg is home to a somewhat morose strip of fifties-era gift and antique shops, a pretty decent Mexican/pizza joint, and a few nasty quik-e-marts, a Ballbuster video store, and an outpost of a soul-crushingly large pharmacy chain. There's a pretty strong contingent of citizens, landowners, and business owners who are pushing a new zoning bylaw through to encourage mixed use and architectural basepoints...

I've already lost you, haven't I.

Well, yeah, that's kind of the problem. Nobody ever said zoning was sexy, right?

So help me out here folks -- we've got a town-wide informational meeting coming up (OK, OK, it's a goddamn spaghetti dinner -- I feel forty years older already), and I need to come up with a way to get people excited about the project. It involves no tax increase, tax breaks for participating small businesses, affordable housing, the reversal and beautification of blight, and free pot for everyone.

If only.

Maybe a kissing booth for each signator on the petition?

A gift certificate to the local brothel?

A year's supply of blubber?

08 August 2004


"I want all the kids to do what I do, to look up to me, to copulate me."

-- Andre Dawson, Major League Baseball player from 1976 to 1996, on being a role model

Games we may or may not play

Last night Matt and I got all silly listening to records until early in the morning, and then decided it would be fun to play a board game. Then, after perusing our selection, and checking the clock, we decided a nice, tame game of rummy would suit us fine. Yeah, we had to go online to look up the rules, it had been so long since we played it. (I've always been a devoted Hearts player, but it's no good with just two people.)

So, just for the hell of it, here's what we found in our board games box:

The Fellowship of the Ring Game
-- bought at a yard sale, never used

Monopoly, National Parks Version
-- never used

Monopoly, original issue
-- fully intact!

Elfquest Board Game
-- given to me by a friend as a joke after I told her I used to read that chick comic when I was like, 15

Caesar: Epic battle of Alesia
-- I have no freakin' idea where this came from or what it is

Trivial Pursuit, original edition
-- yawn

-- a personal favorite of mine

-- a personal favorite of my husband's

Kismet, lacking score sheets
-- a Yahtzee rip-off, my favorite for while camping

Backgammon set, in a wee little carrying case
-- unused for several years; we used to live above a backgammon fanatic who would come up and play a lot, but no more.

Strat-o-matic Baseball Set, circa 1976
-- so much more fun when you don't know any of the players!

Now, who wants a fresca?

07 August 2004

Churchy la femme

I wish I had a camera (and knew how to post pictures) so I could share the amazing sunset that greeted me this evening, as I emerged from a barbeque benefit at my mother's church. But even the best digital camera couldn't have captured the aroma that accompanied this sunset -- a mixture of sweet barbeque ribs and chicken, pungent grassy soil, and salty ocean air.

Sometimes this place can be so damn bucolic, it's embarrassing.

I grew up going to this church -- sang in the choir, was an acolyte, did readings and blah-de-blah. I got kicked out of Sunday school because they wanted all the girls to be angels and all the boys to be shepherds in the pageant, and I was having none of that sexist crap. But I was pretty into the church thing as a teen. Then I went to college, and, except for a few sporadic forays into the occasional parish church in New York, I've stayed away since, for various reasons. Of course those reasons started out as political, then morphed into the idea that I was exploring other faiths and practices, and then I simply changed priorities, led a late-night lifestyle, and laziness took over. Old story.

But, as is often the case, the church I grew up in remained a fond memory, because of how much support and affection I received there for my first eighteen years. In fact, I had intended to start attending again after I moved back here a few years ago.

Not surprisingly, I was disappointed. The guy in the pulpit was no longer my old, familiar guy, the part-time scallop fisherman and environmental activist who usually wove in references to other cultures -- especially local Native American -- into his sermons. He had been replaced by some cheesy, hearty, "folksy" guy who often quoted (I am not making this up) TV Guide and Hallmark cards as the basis for his sermons, and who adamantly refuses to bless same-sex unions, even though the church allows it.

The awesome choir director, a funny, dynamic, and hip woman who also ran several semi-professional chorales in the area, and was one of my top role models as a teen, had just retired. In her place they had hired some autocratic jerk with lousy taste in music and a prima donna wife who thought she was a soprano. (It ain't just in rock bands that you see the "My girlfriend can sing!" phenomenon...)

And my political misgivings may have been somewhat tempered over the years, but they are still there. And they are still valid. And I'm honestly just not into getting up early any day of the week, never mind Sunday.

But once in a while, like when I've got to go to a fund-raiser to please my mother, and the barbeque is outstanding, and there are kids running wild in the side yard, and people who have known me all my life are so damn pleased to see me, I remember why I used to dig it so much. Sometimes it's just nice to belong.

06 August 2004

Acoustica major

Top five sounds of all time, as they occur to me right now, an insomniac wide awake at 5 am...

5. The sound the summer wind made in the leaves of that stand of birch trees, near where we made camp high up in Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies when I was a senior in college,

4. The noisy business of the ocean against the shore, just prior to a gale,

3. The involuntary mmmmms and oooohs made by friends enjoying a meal you cooked for them,

2. The purring of a cat in the crook of your arm, so loud it wakes you up,

1. The combination of hard rain on the roof and the soft snoring of your love, who has his arm draped over your waist.

...just for the record.

04 August 2004


Well I've taken one step further in maintaining strict isolation from the outside world, and if you've been around me a while, you probably share my unease with this move. It tends to lead to keening in the shower after months of almost zero human interaction, which leads me to go to Ibsen plays and pant noisily over anyone who shows me a scrap of attention. Amusing sport for some, I'm sure, but I'd rather not have a replay of that particular little meltdown. I mean Ibsen's cool, and all. But you just can't always count on there being a production nearby when the keening starts.

To sum up: I have been working from home for lo these many months, and hap- hap- happy am I. As my favorite tired joke goes, ya can't beat the commute, and I've never worked with a better set of co-workers. (Brief digression: I have a Was Not Was cd from I think the early nineties that has a song whose lyrics are, in part, "I was transferred to the moon -- worse pay, better hours. I was transferred to the moon -- worse pay, better fellow workers," which about sums it up nicely.) Now, I'm not a total misanthrope, I like people, I'm just perfectly happy to be left alone to work, and not have to deal with "office" politics (like I've ever worked in an office -- HA!) but you get my drift.

But I still had to drive over to the next town to the UPS store to ship the projects back to New York, which has sometimes proven to be a precarious journey, as my eyes are often dried out and bloodshot from hours of meticulously poring over pages and pages of text, and I probably forgot to eat for a while there too, hence the shaking. Well, those days are past, my friend.

I've just set it up for UPS to not only drop off my packages at my front door, but to pick them up at home as well. Yeesh, if I wanted to, I could turn into quite the little psychotic recluse. So I tried to counterbalance this step by going to town hall and volunteering for a bunch of very high-profile and influential town committees, like the Downtown Revitalization Committee, The Library Board, and oh, a few other committees that I think review the work of other committees. Sort of meta-committees.

Because although there may not always be an Ibsen play afoot, you can betcha there will always be mind-numbing committee work to be done. And I'm on the job.

01 August 2004


In the latest installment of A Loose Cadre of Folks Who Know Brooks Comparing Lists Online (also dig these cats: sven, chele, i see monsters), I have completed my homework assignment and come up with my ten "desert island" albums. Oddly enough, I listen to a lot more blues and funk than this list would suggest, but we agreed that compilations and anthologies were "out" so I was at a bit of a loss in those genres.

So here goes, in absolutely no particular order whatsoever...

John Prine, Sweet Revenge

I seriously love John Prine, and usually listen to his most excellent double-cd greatest hits anthology, but this album has several of my favorite songs on it. Not, alas, Angel From Montgomery.

Radiohead, OK Computer

One of those great albums you can listen to straight through, as a coherent whole, and also has several stand-alone singles that I adore.

Moby, Play

I actually don't listen to this one that often any more, but every time I do, I wonder why I don't. Clear?

Stevie Wonder, Musiquarium

For me, Stevie Wonder is indispensible, and it might as well be this album as any other. (I don't think it's a greatest hits, is it? If it is I'll just pick another Stevie Wonder.)

Stevie Ray Vaughn, Couldn't Stand the Weather

I can't believe the guy went and died before I could see him live. My husband did get to see him, twice, and I'll admit it's put a strain on our relationship.

Johnny Cash, Live at Fulsom Prison

Whoops, there I go again, breaking the rules. But am I wrong? Am I wrong?

Tom Waits, Nighthawks at the Diner

Sometimes I feel like not enough people truly appreciate this terrific cd. And then I get over it, and I'm fine.

Peter Gabriel, Us

Although I can't argue with the merits of So, and I am tempted to instead list a Gabriel-era Genesis album, it comes down to this: Us is the one that I literally burned through the tape of in my car one summer, the first summer my eventual husband and I were shacked up together.

Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon

I used to pooh-pooh Floyd, saying I was disqualified from liking them on account of never having been a thirteen-year-old boy. I was wrong. Call me a dork if thou must.

David Bowie, Space Oddity

yum yum.

Does this mean I have to go and do actual work that I actually get paid for now?