so the avenue q presidential debate was a good stunt, and certainly a new low for my adventures in unemployment and/or mental health: yes, i took candy from a stranger and stood in drenching rain waiting for puppets no one could see. in spite of the umbrellas obstructing most of the stage, i saw john kerry's felt twin pull a large piece of vietnam shrapnel from his nonexistent leg. i would have liked to see a laura bush puppet eat a cabbage patch kid, but we can't have everything we want.

i've baked a pumpkin pie and made spinach dip for tonight's real debate-watching, but the true star of the evening is the disembodied mannequin butt-and-leg i found in the street. can't decide if it should have blue toenails and a yellow thigh-ribbon for the election or a fishnet and a skull-and-crossbones sock for halloween. luckily, it's excellent either way.


getting to know new york, chapter 837: the big museum-ish public library at bryant park, the one with the lions in ghostbusters, is not the place to get a card and check out books. you may already know this, but the security guard at bag check did not, for he sent me to the third floor anyway. i choose, you see, to think of him as uninformed rather than as mean and nasty.

chapter 838: the lending library (at 5th avenue and 40th street) has an intriguing collection of books on tape, but beware - most of the good ones are abridged. so the point of these chapters is that i spent a very long time acquiring three ethan frome cassettes with which to improve myself while sewing.

much easier to begin decorating for halloween. we now have toothy rubber bats named jenna and barbara, as well as purple "spooky lights" that give the windows a festive gay pride look.

costume ideas (ongoing):
- milli vanilli (joe volunteered to be the dead one)
- mary kay letourneau and vili fualauu (i volunteer joe to wear his blonde wig)

costume ideas that aren't quite as tasteless (also ongoing):

- medusa at a day spa
- undead nader campaigners

working on it.

hey, manhattanites with nothing to do at lunchtime on thursday: contentions that the presidential debates will be as spontaneous as a john tesh concert got you down (gotta get my hands on a copy of george farah's no debate, speaking of)? try the avenue q&a presidential debate in father duffy square, from the puppeteers who brought us tunes like "everyone's a little bit racist" and "i wish i could go back to college." seeing little felt people say silly things about our country could lessen the pain of seeing kerry and bush do it.

there's also the wonkette drinking game for the big night itself; i believe dave and the kids downtown are planning to make merry along those lines. i too will finish my glass if anyone uses the phrase osama bin hidin'.


coffee and cigarettes (++1/2). as someone who'd never before seen a jim jarmusch movie, i was warned that he's sporadically awesome, self-indulgent, and exceedingly slow. no argument here, but as i saw c&c alone in the middle of the night, none of those seem like especially negative things. i'll admit that some of the early vignettes were notable pairings in really terrible scenes (roberto begnini + steven wright, iggy pop + tom waits, the lee siblings + steve buscemi), but others were brilliant (cate blanchett + cate blanchett, alfred molina + steve coogan, william rice + taylor mead) [throwaway side note: "cousins?", the comic alfred and steve piece, was filmed at galapagos on north 6th street, thus marking another appearance of williamsburg as los angeles (cf SEA in garden state)]. though sticking around for meaty recurring phrases and mood echoes tried my patience - cups and butts, shot beautifully or otherwise, can't be expected hold a film together - i'll credit jarmusch with some intriguing set pieces. especially if he promises never to use meg of the white stripes again (there's a reason she never talks - who knew?).

the passion of the christ (1/2). saw this one alone in the middle of the night, which exaggerated my two impressions considerably; 1) rosalinda celentano as satan is some freaky shit and 2) the rest of the film is shockingly, inexcusably boring. attending catholic easter services with my high school boyfriend's family and watching him whip jesus in their onstage passion play, now that left psychic scars. watching mel gibson shell out / rake in millions of dollars for what really did prove to be the world's most elaborate snuff film was a waste of my time. next time i hanker for biblical kitsch, i'm dropping my $2.99 on the ten commandments.


hullo despair and boredom, i see you're here at full volume - or what i hope is full volume, as i will not be a very useful young lady if you get much higher. i have been approaching unemployment with the understanding that the state of new york is paying me to 1) figure out what my next Day Job will be and 2) compose, revise and submit a hell of a lot of poetry, but i'm not doing very well with either of those. what could work for 1) is tricky to find and trickier to approach with my resume, and the requisite creativity for 2) ain't there neither. great recent contributions to society include my portrait of johnny cash and various household chores - no, i'm not a very useful young lady.


silly me, forgetting that dozing on a flight gives plane gnomes the opportunity to pour pathogens in my ear. i now have a magnificent affliction involving painless but constant and sleep-thwarting coughs and, this morning, the sudden certainty that i was rotting from the inside out. that has gone away, thankfully, but the hacking continues. it's acutely annoying.

mom's show on friday was a rousing success - norm's turned wood pieces complemented her sculptures quite well, and she sold three that night. inspired by her industry, i finally finished the debbie harry needlepoint (soon to be uploaded here, i should think) and designed a johnny cash piece. he'll be more intricate (perle 5, 18 pt.) and will take a long time, but i'm pleased with what's coming out thus far. discovered a needlepoint shop on the upper east side that seems to be the antithesis of trendy knitting joints - it has a workroom in back where middle-aged ladies chat and make flowers and cottages. if i tire of listening to JC as i sew him, i'll head up there.

good news on the publication front - norm at hazmat tells me that two issues are at the printer and should be on their way to stores soon. though i've misplaced my submission notebook and can't quite remember what he accepted, i should pop up in both volumes. onward! upward! burt ward!


unemployment mini-perks cont'd: the freedom to pick on cindy adams in mixed company. it's not especially productive to bag on gossip columnists, but the recalibration that follows a year of professional ass-kissing is a delicate process. great swings begin with little wiggles.

on the subject of snarky posts, i thumbed through the latest issue of zyzzyva in berkeley this afternoon. look, ma, i appeared in print by accident!
http://www.kidchamp.net/2003_06_01_archive.html: "6/28/03 - jay rubin translated the short story "kangaroo communique" for ZYZZYVA in the fall of '88 - probably the first time murakami appeared in english? i should give cranky editor howard junker et al. more credit.
today's fun facts, then, are that 1) howard junker (like santa claus) knows if you've been bad or good, 2) it's deeply weird to bump into yourself at the bookstore, and 3) i'd better write the best cover letter of all time if i expect to pop up as a poet in those pages.


any thoughts of returning home as the glamorous new york daughter died at the airport: for the second time in two weeks, someone looked at my driver's license and asked me why i cut my hair. at my boyfriend's request, i said.

counter guy: and why would he ask you to do that...?

me: ...so no one else would want to go out with me?

counter guy: right!

and this was in a friendly tone. setting aside the fact that it would take years to get my hair past my shoulders again, who the fuck says that to a complete stranger?

having established that i'm one of those rare people who actually looks worse in person than in her license photo, i then sat next to a little punk on the plane who said i looked like kelly osbourne. gentle readers, i long only for death.


and with that, whatever passes for normalcy in manhattan is once again dominant. a few last notes on the convention:

i attempted a wee social experiment by strolling around midtown on thursday in a big old hillary clinton tee shirt. i was hoping to get heckled, but as is the case in so many situations, apprehension quickly became boredom. the girl in the 'I heart GWB' shirt had nothing to say, there was no sign of the formerly massive police presence in front of the news corporation building, and the few groups of republicans on the sidewalk were more interested in hot dogs than in me.

on to dinner with joe, dad and part of my stepfamily. had an amusing conversation with caroline about the bush daughters' performance; due to my occasional cluelessness and her consistently down-to-earth poise, i briefly forgot that, oh yeah, her father is also a prominent republican who spoke at the convention. though i seriously doubt a stump speech would ever happen - she is in no way a budding conservative - at fifteen she could already teach barbara and jenna a thing or two. a good kid, that one.

on bushie's speech itself, it probably was the performance of his career. i've long argued that we should have a king and a prime minister: it's fine to have a public figure who tears up to satisfy the hoi polloi and cuts ceremonial things with giant scissors (W could, i hope, manage to do that), but it's unbelievable that the public refuses to hold him accountable for his administration's abject failures. we need a president who expects and takes substantive heat for his missteps, and a leader who trades solely on his personality will never have to do that. i'm sure america loved his visible emotion and didn't even notice his failure to mention osama bin laden, and barring a miracle from the kerry camp, that pure suspension of disbelief will win this election for the republicans. our faith, in turn, that voters will do their homework is kicking our asses yet again. god, i hate us.


shout-out for my hip mom: as of this friday, she's having her first gallery show in davis (~1 hr. east of oakland). if you're into art collection, i suggest you move quickly - she got too expensive for me years ago. beautiful work, ma - i'm proud of you.

i'll be in town 9/7-9/13 for her reception, captain paul's birthday, and other northern california festivities. as my car has moved on to a better life with sister emily in san francisco, i'm not especially mobile, but i have big plans for mastering amtrak.

lest i make john mccain's mistake of criticizing something i haven't seen, i've been tuning in for the convention. i think it was rather mean of the organizers to tell the bush daughters they were presenting an MTV video music award rather than introducing their mother; one would assume they might have turned down the banter if, say, they grasped the purported gravity of the occasion. don't make me conclude that they thought it was appropriate to make light of their undergraduate stupidity and their papa's sniffing'n'chugging - no one wants that.