101 in 1001: 094 win at least $10 with a lottery ticket [completed 12.25.05]
if our holiday festivities were a film, they'd be a lifetime original movie directed by john woo. while the ruckus will probably translate into four-figure shrink bills years down the line, it created a luck vacuum that i was happy to exploit in order to knock silly things off of my list. joe realized (with remarkable foresight) that he would need martinis to shepherd him through the day, so we made an 11 am post-gift-opening trip to the local small-town liquor store (which, bless northern californian agricultural communities, was open). in addition to novelty spirits sold in bottles shaped like tommy guns (vodka), pistols (tequila), and rifles (ditto), the store had a $3 ticket that won me exactly $10. net gain: minimal. disproportionate sense of accomplishment: priceless. compensatory christmas miracles continued the next day when i managed to

101 in 1001: 019 leave a casino with more money than i had when i entered [completed 12.26.05]
woodland has more than its share of faults, but lack of proximity to a cheesy big-ass casino is not one of them. though my august attempt to walk out with a profit ended in tears (and the collective loss of $60), holiday luck held, and i hit an early 'jackpot' that earned about $50. i will not talk about the fact that having the balls to wager more than 45 cents might have resulted in substantial gains, nor will i discuss the extreme concentration of disabled seniors at neighboring slot machines. i will simply say that my winnings came to $43.90, and that i'll refrain from including list items that indulge my fascination with chance in the future.


and in happier news, we were finally compelled to settle on a wedding date. previous calculations were moot for the ceremony site, as an overseas studies conclave and a shakespeare conference knocked out most of july and august. pushing into september would have run into michaelmas term at oxford, and stepping back into the summer would leave me no time to plan; we'll be getting married, then, on

sunday 4 (august 20)
- warsaw pact troops invaded czechoslovakia
- trotsky was assassinated in mexico
- the stones' "satisfaction" topped american charts
- benjamin harrison, h.p. lovecraft, don king, and robert plant were born
- three popes (john xiv, pius vii, pius x) died
- national radio day

what is it with the popes, man?

12.21.05 / 12.23.05

transit strike: cluster fuck.

since i've returned to the land of free computing, i can expand on that a bit. from where i'm sitting, the strike was awful for everyone (everyone other than ed koch, that is, whose re-aired 1980 marches across the brooklyn bridge got nearly as much play as union president roger toussaint did). i sympathized with the workers: it did seem wrong that the MTA was crowing about its billion-dollar surplus just as it was asking its employees to retire 7 years later, contribute to health care, and forgo meaty raises (though i would note that most transit workers already make more and have better benefit packages than i do). that said, the MTA's final offer around midnight on monday was decent; when the (unevenly supported) strike decision was announced at 3 am, toussaint himself noted that it had more to do with management's perceived lack of respect for the union than with the offer itself. he looked like a pissy child, and he behaved like one.

martin (++1/2). unquestionably the best-received dvd i've ever nominated for rental;* george romero's vampire movie got the nod from george, dave, and joe (the horror-hater). the title character is a foppy drifter (like anne rice's louis and lestat, but much less annoying) who wanders around during the day, brings meat to lonely housewives, and delivers most of his lines over the phone to a local radio deejay. romero isn't famous for subtlety in the context of his zombie** flicks, but he's crazy for it here; one could argue that martin (the fop) isn't a vampire at all, given that he trucks around during the day, is indifferent to religious paraphernalia, and was born into his condition, whatever it is. martin (the flick) is a pleasant hybrid of moog-drenched social commentary (a la the dead franchise) and revisionist vamp history (a la nadja and the hunger) and should be remade immediately.

*this will hold until my sister and her boyfriend arrive this weekend, at which point i'll brandish the gingerdead man (about a serial killer [gary busey] who becomes a cookie) and save christmas.

**speaking of zombies, urban dead ("a massively multi-player web-based zombie apocalypse") has been a source of great amusement in the down time since our most recent issue of the magazine shipped. down time remaining after wedding business and obsessive-compulsive holiday decorating, that is.

woke up to a positively outstanding snowstorm this morning - hearty, nickel-sized flakes, our pooptastic fire escape dignified with drifts. quicker than you could belt out "snow day" to the tune of "slow ride," it had turned to sleet - but hey, what a way to get the party started.

friday morning

on the wedding front, we're thisclose to settling on an official date: the folks at the reception venue have finally forwarded me an estimate for our shindig, and everything looks lovely and deposit-worthy. this is good, as i was beginning to feel that making deals with british people would always involve a three-week dance of pleasantries / hints / veiled threats. it's diverting the first few times around, but i'm trying to save my bridezilla moments for other negotiations. someone has to have the energy to throw cars around when the flower market doesn't have any fritillaria. or, you know, if king ghidora shows up.


101 in 1001: 005 sell handmade (by me) goods at a craft show [completed 12.03.05]
at long last, my bean-filled felt fish have reached plush rush and the consumers of ohio. as they are now part of the online store (as bekko, kawarimomo [sic] and kohaku) and available to consumers of The Internets, it might be time to conclude that i went a little overboard with their asking prices (since they didn't sell at the holiday fair). that said, i worked my ass off on those fish. you hear me, Internets? fork it over!

on things that are full of beans, i threw together an amusing recipe the other night.

wily chipotle chili

- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 can corn (drained)
- 1 package smart deli taco/burrito 'meat'
- 1/2 (small) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (mince before use)
- 2 cans kidney beans (drained)
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce (spicy if possible)
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 (14 oz) can vegetable broth
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 cup water

saute garlic and onion in olive oil until soft; add bell pepper, corn, 'meat' (crumble as you go), and chipotle/adobo; cook while stirring for an additional 3-4 minutes. add remaining ingredients, bring to boil, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally to avoid nasty-ass pot stickage, until sauce thickens (35-45 min). serve over white rice; garnish with chopped scallions, sour cream, grated cheese, &c.

this one gets the joe seal of approval, surprisingly. the key is clearly the chipotle in adobo, although it consistently gives both of us weird dreams. the faux flesh is also surprisingly good; you can't really taste it by itself, but it adds a nice texture and a hint of spice.

in other food news, i've just acquired apocalypse chow!, a cookbook with tips for "emergency cooking for hurricanes, blackouts, bachelors, and other disasters." in addition to recipes for rum chili, pasta salads with ramen bases, and so on, it has a "psychological tools" section with foo-foo napkin folding instructions and ways to make merry when you're trapped in your apartment. i'm a little angry that i didn't write it.


the brits have spoken! after a month of courtship, i've gotten their permission to have our wedding in oxford. no more nightmares about defaulting to an elks lodge in sacramento. i like to think i have little in common with the disturbed brides-to-be that i keep reading about (emotionally engaged, i'm looking at you), but i admit that i expect spectacular disasters at every turn. it would be too easy to actually pull off the sort of wedding i've been dreaming about since (cough) preschool.

so said brits gave us three weekends to consider. we pared those down to three sundays, given the limited availability of our ideal reception venue and the pleasant thought of having a rehearsal dinner on saturday night. i'm too cheap to pay an astrologer to tell me which sunday is the luckiest;* considering other kinds of significance, though, has been fascinating. themes are definitely emerging.

sunday 1
- pope clement xi, slash, monica lewinsky, haile selassie, and daniel radcliffe (harry potter) were born
- saint birgitta, ulysses s. grant, and montgomery clift died
- egypt and libya celebrate revolution day
- "gorgeous grandma" day

sunday 2
- "in god we trust" became the national motto
- jimmy hoffa disappeared
- emily bronte, arnold schwarzenegger, alton brown, and neville longbottom (harry potter) were born

sunday 3
- the first execution by electric chair was performed
- the atomic bomb was dropped on hiroshima
- prince released purple rain**
- tennyson, andy warhol, elliot smith, and ginger spice were born
- four popes (sixtus ii, hormisdas, callixtus iii, and paul vi) and rick james died

sunday 3 is certainly the flashiest, but it's awfully violent (and questionable for a few of our guests); bad day for popes. sunday 1 is better for popes, but we're not inviting any of them anyway. sunday 2 is the early frontrunner.

if any of the three are sending you vibes (or making your schedule hurt), speak now or forever hold your peace...

*i'm also afraid of learning that the day we end up leaning toward is cosmically horrible.

**hell yeah.


happy monday-after-turkey-(or-tofurky-if-you-swing-that-way)-day. in our neck of the woods, the holiday weekend left us feeling the need for another holiday weekend, and soon. this could be because we got around to watching twin peaks: fire walk with me last night; the cumulative effects of david lynch being david lynch and the lamentable quality of the dvd (which skipped and dropped two of every twenty minutes, almost always during a dream sequence and - worse - during the david bowie cameo) made me desperate for a nap.* no love for the pumpkin pie lady this year, though i thought i outdid myself with hand-cut cinnamon-and-dough leaves:

pumpkin pie, season 2

those pie-haters can sod off. more for us.

*synchronicity! as vincent canby put it in the new york times, "[fire walk's] 134 minutes induce a state of simulated brain death, an effect as easily attained in half the time by staring at the blinking lights on a Christmas tree."


on why i will never be mistaken for audrey hepburn, chapter 23: instead of ritualistically licking the window at tiffany's, i pause each night on the way home from work to stare at a giant red crushed velvet iguana.

holiday iguana

he lives in the window at duane reade on broadway, and i assume he's part of their yearly deluge of huge, cheap stuffed holiday gift animals, not unlike the chenille chicken i bought for paul a few years ago (though that was for easter and from safeway in san francisco). per joe, i am not allowed to purchase the iguana because our apartment is already full of crap (also because he, the iguana, is ugly). in spite of this, i have named him yul and written a song (to the tune of stephen malkmus's "jo jo's jacket") about how much i love him.

so much for avoiding complicated and boring.

mischa barton quote of the day:

From the Chateau Marmont ladies' room, The OC's Mischa "No Blood for Oil Heirs" Barton spoke of her newfound appreciation for Jacob. "He looks like, you know, that guy in Jarhead, and he could totally write my autobiography for me," monotoned the starlet.

"I've heard he has a girlfriend, but could she stick her arm up a gumball machine and score him free candy? Whatever, hold my hair back."

in a series of events too complicated and boring to relate, i acquired a nasty, nasty tube of jones soda's turkey & gravy lip balm. i thought of introducing said balm into the pot at our poker game on friday night, but i was 1) threatened with bodily harm and 2) had wicked beginner's luck and narrowly avoided winning it myself. then i realized i should send it to mischa barton.

mischa barton quote of the day:
The OC star Mischa Barton has hit out at critics who claim she is too young to write an autobiography, insisting her stories are fascinating.

The 19-year-old actress has already spent 10 years in the movie industry and promises her tales from the sets of blockbusters The Sixth Sense and Notting Hill will make brilliant reading.

She storms, "I was starring opposite Julia Roberts at the age of 12, that's already a big enough story."

(monstersandcritics.com, 11.13.05)

the wedding machine has begun eating money and crapping data; per the advice of umpteen online bridal guides, i purchased my Binder* ("[b]esides your future spouse...the closest thing to a best friend you'll have during your engagement period") and have been stuffing it with obscure british marriage law printouts and (more importantly) ripped-out magazine spreads. joe is hugely skeptical of the magazines' utility, which is understandable - if one drops a zero from the dress prices and broadens the palette a bit, one usually ends up with tacky promwear - but i've found occasional inspiration. at the very least, i'm learning from others' mistakes.

after an unconscionable hiatus, the mischa barton quote of the day:
Take Mischa Barton, who tells the U.K.'s Harpers & Queen that her former publicist encouraged her to sleep with Leonardo DiCaprio. The actress says that at a party, her flack Craig Schneider pointed out the Titanic actor and said, "For the sake of your career, go and sleep with that man." ...[T]he 19-year-old O.C. actress' reaction: "Isn't Leo, like, 30, or something?"

(metro, 11.11.05)

*unsurprisingly, most actual Wedding Binders are quite luxe and quite expensive; mine is large, plastic, and $8.99 at staples. i'm resisting the urge to cover it with stickers, as its secondary purpose is to trick vendors into thinking that i know my shit and shouldn't be overcharged for things like flowers and booze.

as wonkette notes, just about everyone has heard of scooter libby's bear porn novel (the apprentice) at this point. the new shocker is that it wasn't news years ago, since an aggressive initial ad campaign in the washington post and elsewhere made libby's rank in the bush administration one of the novel's selling points. even old news can be hot news, though: today alone, copies over at amazon have jumped from $42 (at about noon) to at least $69 (as of right now). i haven't seen pricing nonsense like that since the stanford bookstore spit on my old textbooks. speaking of amazon, its "surprise me!" feature (which links to a random page in books with the "search inside" tag) got me thinking. in the tradition of nanowrimo, then, i propose rebepocoda: Republican Bear Porn Collage Day. participation is far less taxing than writing a novel in a month would be: simply share a bit of your "surprise me!" experience with the apprentice. my text, as it happens, included an age-old question:
"Is there feeling?" a bucktoothed man asked. "At least on the first night, even after a bear?"

once one is out of college and/or one's early twenties, i'd argue that needing a (sexy!)* halloween costume is a red flag for self esteem issues; at the ripe old age of 27, i feel no need to tart it up for the 'ween (and hey, gross is fun). not so for my co-workers, so i hid out in my office with electrified hair and undead makeup (i was "the secretary of frankenstein") while they ran around prom-squealing and taking pictures. that's not work-bitterness you smell - i was a plain old halloween hater, as i came down with a horrid cold halfway through the day and wanted to be left alone (tough when you're 6'4" with hair and heels). pesky kids.

speaking of hating, i finally found and read my copy of chuck klosterman's killing yourself to live. with his sex, drugs, and cocoa puffs under my belt, i knew better than to expect klosterman to stick to rock or, well, any subject; that self-preparation was key to avoiding The Anger.** nominally an account of visits to musicians' death-sites (an expansion of a feature for spin), KYTL is actually a latter-day high fidelity - which would be fine, as most memoirs involving music are going to recall nick hornby's (or cameron crowe's) for some time. this becomes problematic when klosterman subjects us to a conversation with his co-worker, who notes that his current book is a bad idea and will be compared (unfavorably) to high fidelity (by, if memory serves, "idiot bloggers"). ooh, snap! this happens maybe a hundred pages after he goes all dave eggers to let us know that he knows he's going all dave eggers. oh, chuck. going meta triggered The Anger in a new and special way. there's also a bit of douglas coupland (circa girlfriend in a coma, novel of a thousand wink-wink smiths references) knocking about here*** - klosterman's attorney's cat is a "super furry animal" (groan) and "the kids are alright" (where's my knife?) in at least three situations. compound this with klosterman's painful, paragraph-length intros for throwaway one-liners, and - for the love of god, man, stick to rock crit.

*"i'm a (sexy!) zombie," "i'm a (sexy!) harriet miers," etc.

**both jake and i have been known to experience hulk-like rage while reading klosterman.

***i probably should have expected this as well, given coupland's "thank god for chuck" blurb on the book jacket.


from the kidchamp family of products (and george w. bush the pumpkin), a hallowed e'en to all.

george w. bush

the frost is unquestionably on the punkin, and they's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere. given my recent obsession with knitting, the cold snap is even more enjoyable this year; if i continue flinging yarn around at this rate, i'll have a quilted blanket ready for backing by the time we head to california for christmas. in other craft news, i dropped the plush rush fishies in the mail a few days ago. i settled on prices i consider pretty low; at this point, making sales is more important than making big sales. if i actually wanted to profit from sewing up koi, i'd have to sell them for at least $100; if i had the persuasive chops to get that done, i wouldn't be sewing up koi in the first place.

the wedding machine, she rolls along relatively smoothly. though official approval is still in the works, i've been exchanging promising e-mails with the folks at the stanford house in oxford. barring some weird british technicality,* we should be able to plan on a ceremony in the garden. the aforementioned folks - who, i should add, are being extremely helpful - tell me that we should make allowances for fussy local weather, even though we're talking about august; fortunately, i'm fully prepared to get hitched under an umbrella.** by traditional standards, i think we're coming along nicely.

*and there are many - if one wants to get married in england outside of a church, for instance, the building itself needs to have a license, and americans need special visa clearance to get married anywhere. i admit that find the technicalities - much like the i'm-not-an-arsonist vows we gave in order to use the oxford library - kind of awesome.

**as are a lot of people in oxfordshire, apparently; google "wedding umbrella" and hit "i'm feeling lucky," and a local service pops up.

101 in 1001: 023 read the grapes of wrath (john steinbeck) [completed 10.18.05]
big, big shame on those of you who saw that i planned to read the grapes of wrath and - cognizant of my intense hatred and crippling fear of nipples - let me do it anyway. i floated toward the end of the book on a tide of goodwill: it was considerably more enjoyable than catcher in the rye had been (despite the disappointing survival of the children), i liked both the hyperdetailed descriptions of the land and the occasional first-person transaction chapters, and bakersfield was rightly characterized as a miserable place. then in the last damn scene, horrible, utterly unsympathetic rose of sharon has to go and - i can't even say it. let's talk about knitted zombies instead. going to my happy place, going to my happy place.


101 in 1001: 009 attend a taping of the late show with david letterman [completed 10.19.05]
i could say that getting tickets for letterman was practice for getting tickets to jon stewart, but that's like arguing that hooking up with the crazy mailroom guy is practice for hooking up with anderson cooper (which might, as it happens, be easier than getting tickets to jon stewart). i pass the ed sullivan theater every morning on the way to the office; all i had to do was materialize for a moment in the morning and again at four in the afternoon. the evening's guests were dwayne 'the rock' johnson and a creepy piano prodigy, so there wasn't exactly a mob on the sidewalk. the folks who did show actually managed to lower my opinion of times square tourists, though, for they were utterly unable to arrange themselves according to their ticket numbers and assigned lines (did you not remember yelling "WE'RE AT THE GREEN ROPE WOO!" for the usher twenty minutes ago, zaftig fuchsia crop top lady? i weep for you, america). the show itself whipped by in less than an hour, stuttering only when letterman insisted that "noam" (chomsky) was a misprint and forced a few extra takes at the beginning of the top ten list. i wept a little then, too.


having the cash to dry clean my clothes in england was rare enough that i decided to celebrate it; i tied my coat's long plastic bag to the shoulders of my tank top and went prowling around the stanford house garden. from my perch in the bushes, i watched the preppy new guy settle himself on a bench with a cigarette and a can of soda. "that'll kill you, you know," i said. "diet coke is lethal." "it'd be easier to talk to you if i could see you," said he, so i clomped out of the bushes and joined him at the bench. six years and six months later, he asked me to marry him.

[we're engaged]


i'm perfectly okay with being soaked, so yesterday's crazy rain was an adventure rather than a reason to hate everyone (though it did seem like the cabs were aiming for me at flooded crosswalks - i caught the sploosh head on three or four times and had aqua-chaps for jeans by the time i got to work). my birthday present from joe - tickets to the new pornographers show at webster hall - was excellent; never before have i gotten to hear every last song on my wish list. i said as much to joe and realized i'd forgotten about "miss teen wordpower"; the woman next to me then screeched "WORDPOWER!" and the band promptly played it. we even got a weird fleetwood mac "dreams" cover, complete with arm-flapping, in honor of neko's lemon yellow stevie nicks costume. if the "twin cinema" tour comes to you, dear readers, pounce.

thanks to the hipster death squad, i have an inbox full of birthday haiku. yay!

[from valya]

lauren was born on
columbus day but today
is lmo day

lau is so crafty
i love her needlepoint and
cute beanie critters

paul, i wish you a
happy birthday - one month late
but no less sincere

to joe and andy:
i don't know your birthdays so
happy random day

[from grant]

twenty-seven years
is really freakin old, man
have a beer on me

a big birthday wish:
rat and celeb deathmatch for
rights to bring you cake

[from paul]

Your age is the cube
of an integer. This will
not happen again

until two thousand
forty-two, at which time you
will be sixty-four.

I hope that by then
McSweeney's has published one
of your lists, the gits.


celebrities v. giant inflatable rats: the pretty boy edition. say what you will about the scene downtown; for my money, the notables cluster on 57th street between broadway and sixth avenue. that's where gwyneth "my babydaddy makes musical spam" paltrow catwalked the crosswalk a few months ago, it's where bruce vilanch put me off my lunch a month later, and it's where i ran across anderson cooper this afternoon. indifference toward the ladies, vanderbilt pedigree, and weird eddie bauer katrina coverage wardrobe aside, that's a fine looking man. i'm once again okay with keeping quiet while i passed him, as i'm guessing a CNN guy doesn't want to hear about how excellent he was as host of the mole. "you can't grease your friend's gnome," though? golden.

rats: 3.5
star: 5


101 in 1001: 006 crochet or hand-quilt a blanket [ongoing]
feeling better about promising myself that i'd do this; recent knitting efforts qualify because i'm piecing together journal-sized blocks rather than making a single behemoth with javelin-length needles (though that scale has considerable spectacle-art appeal - consider the mammoth italian bunny). as in most of my projects, i'll be working with icky clashing shades of green.

blanket squares

these pieces are made from merino wool i bought from a terse russian woman at the tony stitches east, known in local guides as 'bitches east' for the general unhelpfulness of the staff. i was indeed directed to buy ill-sized needles, but they seem to be doing the trick. i want this to be a blanket of stories, so a little eastern bloc anomie is just fine. next up: finding and dissecting a green thrift store sweater.


i'm rarely envious of executives, but i'd have given a good deal to be a fly on the wall at the MPA panel last week for magazine advertisers and their minions. jon stewart hosted a discussion ("laughing matters: magazines celebrate humor") with editors in chief jim kelly (time), graydon carter (vanity fair), kate white (cosmopolitan), and the inimitable david zinczenko (men's health). there's a diligent rundown at mediabistro's fishbowlNY. it's possible that it's heavy on industry-funny, but funny-funny's there.

(on men's health)

JS: Dave, why is your magazine so gay? I enjoy health. And yet, when I read it, I don't know whether to go to the doctor or rub my own nipples.

DZ: I think fit is the new rich. I think -
JS: What?
DZ: Thin is the new rich. Being fit has status, and...
JS: [looks at Jim Kelly, gestures at Zinczenko] Look how poor we are.
JK: [shrugs] I'm thinner in person.

JS: David, why are the men in your magazine on the cover always showered? If they knew they were going to be on the cover, they could have showered before the photo shoot.

DZ: It's like, Marshall McLuhan said, all jokes are grievances, so what you have to do is disarm [the readers] enough through humor and then arm them with the information that they need to change their lives. So we come in - not unlike what you do on your show, Jon.
JS: I've often said The Daily Show is the poor man's Men's Health.

JS: Why do men have nipples?

(on time)

JS: Time magazine has been a tradition in America, yet...what happened? One federal prosecutor says 'let me see your notes' and immediately everyone pulls their underwear over their heads and hands it over. Not only that...Newsweek breaks the story. Jim, what the fuck?

JS: Jim, when will Time magazine find Jesus?

(on cosmo)

JS: Kate. What should Graydon's wife have done on their honeymoon?
KW: I can make a few suggestions from the Love Lab.
JS: There really is a Love Lab?
KW: Of course - everything is fact-checked.
JS: Everything is fact-checked? Your saucy tips are fact-checked? When you write about greeting your husband in Saran Wrap, it's fact-checked?
KW: Saran is dead.


101 in 1001: 022 read the catcher in the rye (j.d. salinger) [completed 10.03.05]
the texts i've assigned myself for this project are either freaky religious tracts or novels that i really should have read a long time ago (gravity's rainbow might be both). since i've always gone to comparatively touchy-feely schools, it's pretty shocking that j.d. salinger never reared his ugly head for me. now that he has? meh. it's pretty satisfying to have paved over such a big-ass cultural pothole, but the book itself underwhelmed. it's entirely possible that my arbitrary hatred of notable male americans is getting me in trouble here, but the truth makes even less sense: in my eyes, crumby kills any paragraph in which it appears. it sounds just like crummy and is probably period-appropriate, but the alternate spelling yanks me out of The Reading Zone and sets my jaw. i'm working on more substantive reactions, dear readers, but that's the best i can do for now.


on the 101 in 1001 front, it seems that charging myself to 'write (publish) a mcsweeney's list' was even sillier than planning to win the lottery or earn money at a casino. mcsweeney's hates us, preciousss - but i'll keep trying. in the interim, here's the stuff they hated.


The Graduate
Mrs. Doubtfire
Rosemary's Baby


1. Hope in REALITY is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.
2. REALITY is a new barrier device for women to wear.
3. Because of its innovative design, REALITY is less likely to disrupt the natural spontanaeity of sex.
4. In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with REALITY at any point.
5. REALITY's use is controlled by the woman.
6. The penis can move freely inside the REALITY sheath.
7. What justifies man is his REALITY - it will eternally justify him.

Nietzsche quotes: 1, 4, 7
Female condom product information: 2, 3, 5, 6


post-script to the idea of joe appearing in the magazine (see 09.01.05): it turns out that being married was a factor after all. that's okay, as it would have been beyond our budget to give our kitchen the makeover it so desperately needs. my colleagues agreed, on the other hand, that my swanky friend grant is just the thing, so he and my dear ex-roomie valya will be wowing america with their excellent new place out west. huzzah vant! i should warn you that my pimping fee is the right to wear our resulting spread as a tee shirt. on a related note, i could be in another shoot: a number of staffers will pop up in a piece next year, and the word is that those of us who haven't appeared recently can expect a call. the prospect of said call has reduced me to a pile of neurotic goo - though cameras and i have a hate/hate relationship, i won't pretend that being deemed fly enough for print doesn't matter. there's always the argument that short, flaming red hair and an eyebrow bar knock me out of our demographic, but if simon doonan is to be trusted, i'm not as far out of the mainstream as i used to be. expect news and/or recommitment to operation infinite pulchritude soon.


direct experience is planetary in my personal universe. i doubt the existence of new jersey, for instance, because i've never been there; sure, george and bruce springsteen and the big-haired chicks who took over eighth avenue suggest its presence, but where's the proof? bruce has been known to lie. that stuff across the river could be more new york for all i know; i can't make out details from here. i also doubt, or doubted, that moths really eat sweaters. it sounds too silly, and i've never seen one do anything other than pose on a screen door and/or get chomped by my cats. when i cracked open our wardrobe to begin the annual summer/winter switcheroo the other day, i actually felt sorry for the moth who fluttered out - poor guy was trapped, maybe lonely. then i pulled on my beloved merino v-neck and realized the little son of a bitch had gone mr. creosote on my closet; there were dime-sized holes all over that sweater, and others were equally fleh. forget my catch-and-release policy; mothwar is fucking on.


found one of these skittering around on the kitchen floor on monday night. it wasn't very menacing (it was quite relaxed, in fact, until i trapped it under a jelly jar), but we didn't have them in california, so i had to jump around yelling whoa! whoa! like a little boy at his first dinosaur exhibit. fascinating little creatures - according to that museum site, they catch dinner-bugs by "by half pouncing and half lassoing them." i liberated ours on the fire escape before it had a chance to perform for us.

this month has been skittery as a general proposition. our trip out west (photo set here) tried and exhausted us so thoroughly that we were excited about coming back to work; that's never a good sign. the hordes of family and friends we visited were all lovely, but we were mourning, sleeping, socializing or traveling for a week straight. proper vacations are 95% idle nonsense and 5% food, and i dare you to tell me otherwise.

one of the cats welcomed us back to new york by depositing a molar in his food dish, so we hauled everyone to the vet on saturday. the (comparatively) good news: though he won't need work immediately, chuck has some funky gum disease. the bad news: jude has a mouthful of rotten teeth (at the age of 4, mind you) and will need a dental with a bunch of extractions. the shit news: the vet's pre-dental blood draw revealed the early signs of renal disease, so we can't go after jude's teeth until we nurse his kidneys back to health. september, you are awesome.

1: why do people keep giving you denim shirts?
2: i don't know. i guess i can use them as smocks when i paint stuff.
1&2: [singing] smock my bitch up...
1: we need to start hanging out with other people.

09.07.05 [CA]

yesterday's service was nice; joe gave a moving eulogy with his aunt, and the earnest young priest dealt well with the fact that 75% of the mourners didn't even pretend to be catholic. he offered non-believers the option of crossing their arms over their hearts and receiving a generic blessing in place of communion (the physicality of which was a strong reminder of entering water slides with my sisters in the late '80s). he also lost his holy water en route to the cemetery and had to bless a bottle of spring water on the fly. i found that quite endearing.

i solved the mystery of the quality inn's MARTIANS WELCOME sign at checkout this morning. when i asked the clerk if there was a convention in town, she handed me the lyrics to "here come the martian martians" and said that her boss just loved the song. a note at the end added that You could do yourself no better favor than to go to Amazon and buy everything Jonathan Richman has ever recorded. bless you, flagstaff quality inn.

09.05.05 [AZ]

joe's relatives are trickling into flagstaff from utah, the phoenix area, and the east coast; the extended-extended family are due today, which is when my name-recognition abilities will take a serious hit. the memorial service for his grandparents isn't until tomorrow, but the aunts and uncles spent last night watching old videos of the matriarch and patriarch. got a call yesterday morning from my mom, who says that my own grandpa is taking another turn for the worse; after putting in what might once again have been my last call to him, reminiscing with the folks out here, and finishing j.m. coetzee's disgrace, i've had enough of death to last me for a long time. on the phone with mom, i saw a pea-sized black widow in its spooky patternless web between fenceposts in the driveway. she said she doesn't kill them unless she finds them inside. i forgot about the spider until the end of the call when i was shuffling my feet by the posts, and there it was in the cuff of my jeans. it was a weird day.


assuming the higher-ups don't mind using a long-term boyfriend rather than a husband, the missus might be popping up in my magazine soon; we're doing a piece on guys who cook, featuring recipes and a man-in-the-kitchen portrait or two. this would entail some emergency interior decorating on our part (would the room's cold war theme have to go?), but i dig the idea of flaunting joe and his mad skillz. he's gotten early aesthetic approval from the editors, so i'll cross my fingers for news when we're back from vacation. as far as glossy debuts go, this is vastly preferable to my adventure with butt photos. creme anglaise beats ass cream every time.

tonight we're headed to drinking liberally's mayoraoke night, where our local dean refugees promise to "promote democracy one poorly sung cover tune at a time." expected attendees include mayoral candidates anthony "fortress of solitude" weiner (dig the stickball commercials) and joe's boss's fave, gifford miller ("after months of being known to sing an occasional song on the campaign trail, i feel well prepared to face the critical drinking liberally audience"). if there's any justice in the world, someone will do "barracuda." if i drink conservatively, that someone will not be me.


i have a soft spot for inxs. for reasons now buried in the sands of time, my fourth grade boyfriend and i would sit for hours listening to kick (especially "guns in the sky"). i excavated my tape for the first time in years on (what i later learned was) the night michael hutchence died, which spooked me enough that i hid my cure albums for a week, just in case. though joe and i figured a reality show based on replacing him would be rather ghoulish, in practice it's both respectful and horribly addictive. an accomplished house band cancels the weird karaoke effect that soured so many american idol performances, and the contestants themselves are (mostly) older, seasoned performers. brooke "i replaced demi" burke is ryan seacrest's vapid analogue, but she's much easier on the eyes; dave navarro, in turn, is so very preferable to paula abdul that he should replace her as a general proposition. with the exception of j.d., a canadian former elvis impersonator who acts like creed's scott stapp and began a queen song by whispering "shh, shh...we are the champions," i think any one of the remaining singers could cut a respectable album with the band.* attention network execs: take a good look at rock star - inxs and adjust your reality projects accordingly.

*but IMHO, suzie or mig - even though, or perhaps especially because, he's in a band called mignition - should win.


101 in 1001: 031 visit the cloisters [completed 08.27.05]
the halls of stairs at the museum entrance had a heavy cinnamon-cedar smell. i asked the docent at the ticket counter about it; "we've got a few flowers up here," she said, gesturing at vials of anise. "there's also a ghost in that hallway who has great perfume." though the buildings themselves were erected in the '30s, most of the cloisters' doors and archways (and a few larger pieces) were trucked over from europe and incorporated in the architecture. the collection is itsy-bitsy compared to the gargantuan met's, of course, but quasi-functional galleries are far more interesting than your average flea market-style museum spreads. my amateurish photo set is up on flickr; the cloisters' loo, in which fellow touristas went medieval (shame, ladies!), is not pictured.


101 in 1001: 005 sell handmade (by me) goods at a craft show [in progress]
pack your bags for ohio, beanie koi: i got an acceptance note today for plush rush (online and) at acme art company's holidaze this christmas. the profit margin is low-to-nonexistent here, given the terms of submission: i'm sending 3 pieces, paying for shipping, and forking over 40% of their purchase prices if they sell. that said, they'll get some nice online exposure, i'll have commercial experience to flaunt in future pitches, and (most importantly) i have a time-sensitive reason to figure out presentation and pricing. hang tags are a given, but i'm on the fence about going complicated-cutesy (take-out boxes, inflated pet store fishie bags, something else?). have a look at the three travelers (a, b, c) - what fripperies could make you want to buy them? how much should i ask for each one?


despite valiant web efforts, no announcements on the 101 in 1001 front today. i thought of killing two birds with one stone and seeing elvis costello lecture and sing next month, but i don't have the $50 to spare. joe and i will be in arizona and california over the holiday weekend; maybe i'll do some heavy lifting out there. on that note, i've been shopping around for a new gym so i can get a few of those 100 workouts under my belt. the copy chief and i toured new york health & racquet, where the highly paid beautiful people take yo-tox classes and the saunas are lined with eucalyptus; the sales dude wildly overestimated my interest in luxury. "anyone can get a car," oozed he, "but people like us want the lamborghini." literally and figuratively, my reaction is the same: i can't even drive stick. i've been screening his calls and will check out the bally across the street next week.

as i write, i'm hunkered down between the roots of a tree in central park. when i look up, i see this:


we like new york.


new addition to the column at top right, as i've hopped on the 101 in 1001 bandwagon; briefly, the idea is to create a list of tasks to be completed over the course of a few years. my tasks range from gimmes (visiting a psychic, closing gaps in my reading list) to pie-in-the-sky stuff (visiting iceland, a bunch of publishing hurdles) and long-term craft projects; i think i'm pleased with the mix. progress will be cross-referenced in blog entries, ex

101 in 1001: 082 become an ordained minister [completed 08.19.05]
this was a total gimme, but hey, a girl's got to start somewhere. i applied to the universal life church in modesto on the strength of a link from modern bride; i wasn't particularly concerned about accidentally joining a cult, but references never hurt. per the confirmation of ordination, i can perform all rites and ceremonies of the church (except circumcision) and am "entitled to all privileges and courtesies normally offered to members of the clergy." i'm totally going on a blessing spree at lunch today.

:: 101 in 1001 ::

the premise, per triplux (a fine source for tips, scripts, and links to other lists):
The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as new year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

start date: 19 august 2005
end date: 16 may 2008

items completed: 036
items remaining: 065

items completed have bracketed numbers; i'll alter stats and supply completion details as appropriate. without further ado and in no particular order...

the list

001 write (publish) 3 'letters to the editor'
002 publish in 3 new (to me) literary journals
003 take trapeze lessons
004 visit iceland
[005] sell handmade (by me) goods at a craft show [see 08.26.05, 12.06.05]
006 crochet or hand-quilt a blanket [see 10.09.05]
[007] go vegan for at least 1 month [completed 02.01.06 - see 01.03.06, 01.10.06, 01.23.06, 02.01.06]
008 volunteer at an animal shelter for at least 1 month
[009] attend a taping of the late show with david letterman [see 10.19.05]
[010] attend a taping of (jon stewart's) the daily show [see 03.13.08]
[011] watch all of krzysztof kieslowski's dekalog [completed 01.27.08]
[012] write (publish) a mcsweeney's list [see 03.23.06]
[013] donate platelets at least 12 times [completed 03.26.08]
014 read gravity's rainbow (thomas pynchon)
[015] drink a pint of ale in oxford for my grandfather [see 08.20.06]
016 make felt out of cat hair
[017] work out at a gym at least 100 times [completed 03.30.08]
018 swim with the coney island polar bear club
[019] leave a casino with more money than i had when i entered [see 12.27.05]
020 take a road trip long enough to require a motel
021 take a foreign language class
[022] read the catcher in the rye (j.d. salinger) [see 10.04.05]
[023] read the grapes of wrath (john steinbeck) [see 10.20.05]
[024] grow kitchen-worthy herbs from seeds [photo set]
025 become certified to perform CPR
[026] quit smoking [last cigarette: 11.23.07]
027 sponsor an endangered animal
028 attend shabbat service at a synagogue
[029] visit jen and tom in chicago [photo set]
030 open a long-term savings account and reach a balance of at least $1000 [opened account 08.22.05] [current balance: $243]
[031] visit the cloisters [see 08.27.05]
032 read the book of mormon
033 read dianetics (l. ron hubbard)
034 learn to make swanky candles
035 see elvis costello in concert
[036] have a meal at a 'raw food' restaurant [see 10.16.06]
037 go one week without wearing black (including accessories and underwear)
[038] participate in a charity walk [see 03.09.08]
039 visit an acupuncturist
[040] have my palm read in a psychic's parlor [see 05.15.08]
[041] watch das kabinett des doktor caligari
[042] watch the terror of tiny town
043 sew an article of clothing
044 wear said article of clothing to the office
[045] earn (and get) a raise at work [see 04.12.06]
046 buy an apartment
047 get my initials on the galaga high scores list at crif dogs
048 contribute work to a gallery show
[049] get my damn wisdom tooth removed [see 01.07.08]
[050] complete at least 3 more learning to love you more assignments [completed 03.27.07]
[051] watch the godfather (parts I-III)
052 pet a skunk
053 visit a nudist colony
054 write a decent short story
[055] walk through a corn maze [see 09.16.07]
056 develop a kick-ass tofu recipe
057 get my name printed in the new york times
058 play 18 holes of golf
[059] score at least 3 bylines in national magazines (mine counts) [see 09.22.06, 02.07.07]
060 learn to drive stick
061 visit at least 3 cemeteries in the new york area
062 visit jake at penn state
063 attend mass at st. patrick's cathedral
064 participate in a parade
[065] (re)visit 221b baker street [see 03.23.06]
066 write in wet concrete
[067] find, purchase, and wear a decent pair of sunglasses [completed 04.17.08]
068 read a book assigned by paul [tristram shandy, laurence sterne]
069 take a computer-related class
070 clean the apartment within an inch of its life without help from joe
071 go to a fetish club
072 participate in a political campaign
073 visit utah for the sundance film festival
[074] tour the winchester mystery house [see 04.22.08]
075 spend the day at coney island
076 learn to read music
[077] visit a working farm [photo set]
078 design and print a (non-company) business card
079 learn to make preserves
080 send at least 12 homemade gifts for non-holidays [1/12 as of 09.16.05]
081 tour an abandoned subway tunnel
[082] become an ordained minister [see 08.22.05]
083 go on a hayride
084 submit a crossword puzzle for publication
085 perfect an oxford-worthy pudding recipe
[086] tour arizona mining towns with joe [photo set]
087 win a costume contest
088 volunteer at a community garden
089 frame my college diploma
[090] walk the length of manhattan [see 05.14.07, photo set]
091 play chess with a stranger
092 buy a jaw-dropping gown
[093] attend a lecture at the 92nd street Y [see 09.06.07]
[094] win at least $10 with a lottery ticket [see 12.27.05]
095 learn to identify at least 12 constellations
096 go birdwatching
097 take a martial arts class
098 finish watching all leprechaun movies
099 take joe to disneyland
100 make a rag rug
101 get a 'sister tattoo' with em and jo


jake was right; there are bagels in new york you just can't get anywhere else.



readers, i have failed. i sprinted out of work on friday, hoping to put together a wee photo essay on the general lee's appearance at the 56th street hooters, but rain was dissolving the group shot by the time i was within range. i got a picture of jumpsuited dukes of hazzard promo guys and an accidental two-second movie of a hooters girl with fat arms (ha!) running for cover, both nixed with a slip of the thumb on friday evening; sincerest apologies. in lieu of boobies, my favorite snippets from pauline kael's new yorker film reviews (june 1983 - july 1985):

(on footloose)
Footloose is what they're not.

(on risky business)
There's a stale cuteness in the idea; it's like a George Bernard Shaw play rewritten for a cast of ducks and geese.

(on al pacino's tony in scarface)
He's a pig rooting around in money and cocaine, and, as things go wrong, he snorts more and more. (This could be a summary of how some movies are made now.)

(on against all odds)
God, how I have come to hate car chases.

(on prince in purple rain)
He's a cutie when he dances.


as evidenced by my weekend of ovary smut, i have no problem with girlie trash. i find it nice, as a matter of fact - as long as it doesn't think it's something else. lauren weisberger's everyone worth knowing, for example, tries to pass itself off as a defense of the romance novel; no. jane austen stumped for the novel-novel (a "work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language") quite pleasantly in northanger abbey ; weisberger, on the other hand, sends her heroine to a weekly meeting of harlequin junkies who must be on to something good because, in all other respects, they're so damn hip. honey, no. we're also expected to believe in Big Romance because bette's final affair resembles one - but weisberger is too lazy to flesh out her analogies ("it was, i had to admit, a sex scene straight out of a harlequin"), and the 'real' courtship is too skimpy to serve her purpose. then there's the issue of satire, the reason i decided to read the thing in the first place; weisberger leads the reader to believe she's gonna nail the PR/events industry. there's no denying that she knows the scene; i met most of the types she describes, minus the coke binges and bungalow 8 fixations, in my year as a press-schmoozer. that said, bette never really realizes that publicists are Evil; she simply objects to real work, evil or otherwise. worst of all, the book just isn't funny. i hate you, lauren weisberger.

the encyclopedia of exes, on the other hand, is a pleasant surprise; i expected vapid short stories to match the gimmicky premise (26 male writers riff on breakups - alphabetically!) and got a reasonably tight anthology. lethem's "five" (originally "five fucks" in wall of the sky, wall of the eye) is a solid highbrow excuse for picking the book up in the first place, and panio "never heard of him" gianopoulos wins my heart with "murmur," a piece whose love affair ends with the narrator petting a cat that has a serious spinal injury. the bad news? we're reviewing everyone worth knowing, and the encyclopedia of exes got tossed and forgotten on the free table. the good news? i picked it up, so you can borrow it and get happy. i love you, injured cat.


thanatette (6:00:04 PM): what will you name your wine fridge? and do you plan to drink enough white wine to justify it?
thanatette (6:00:21 PM): most importantly, can we have a stevie nicks dress-up night?
Unideli (6:00:47 PM): 1. i will name her claire.
Unideli (6:00:52 PM): 2. it's for red wine, you dolt.
Unideli (6:00:55 PM): 3. yes.


i stitched up another beanie koi. mmm, beanie koi.

beanie koi: the revenge (2 of 2)


i will spare you most of the details of my intensely girlie weekend; food photos are over at flickr, and i'll dry heave over lauren "devil wears prada" weisberger's latest tragedy at a later date. let us summarize with movie cinquains.


is not the stuff
of high romance, but i
wouldn't kick paul bettany out
of bed.

the wedding planner:

and utterly
satisfying. i cried
when yicky j-lo got her man.
help me.

mean girls:

by far than what
i've come to expect from
SNL alums. only two
fart jokes!

ms. gaw asked for a list of my favorite ten poems. sadistic girl! that's harder than choosing a favorite child, and i'm a baby-hating dink. here's an attempt, though i would note that i excluded all pieces i've already excerpted or otherwise pimped. in no particular order,

quarantine, eavan boland
the dover bitch, anthony hecht
the taste of rain, jack kerouac
a supermarket in california, allen ginsberg
with mercy for the greedy, anne sexton
do not go gentle into that good night, dylan thomas
a cloud in trousers, vladimir mayakovsky
song, seamus heaney
you're, sylvia plath
this, osip mandelstam

most of those are brief and/or maudlin and/or abrasive, which shouldn't surprise anyone who suffered through poetry 92 with me. go team go!


work is crazy. joe's in arizona. i'm sewing wee creatures again.

beanie koi

koi are fun to stitch, so lemme know if you need, um, beanie fish.


i never get tired of noting that my cats are goddamn adorable.

jude and charles bronson:


all hail the fantabulous summer friday that'll enable me to spruce up the apartment for weekenders! jen and valya are coming in from chicago and san jose, respectively, and this will be the first college roommate reunion since val's wedding two years ago. mari and i haven't finalized crafty local tour guide plans, but i feel reasonably confident that we can forestall muggings and bad hair. as i'm sure you all worry about my hair, more on that: i caught myself looking like a monk in an h&m dressing room mirror last week, so i went at my head with some sewing scissors and ended up with aggressively glam bangs that both our beauty and fashion editors (yay!) have admired. i have no pipe dreams about a salon career, but i do feel thrifty for having avoided professional cuts since the end of last year. this is arguably an accomplishment.

on accomplishments, i finally got off my ass and pitched a story to the senior health editor. won't know if it's a go until she gets feedback from the rest of the team, but in the best of all possible worlds, i could have a byline in the next few months. as usual, i share this so that if it doesn't happen, i can attribute the disappointment to jinxing myself by talking about it. call it web-based existentialism.

from the "month of softies" flickr pool, the world's largest sock monkey? crafty girls, you are the queens of my world.


joined jacob and david for a brief and fragrant trip to the met on sunday afternoon – brief because jake was on his way back to penn state, and fragrant because 1) new york has been a sweltering pit for the past week and a half and 2) everyone who stopped by the chanel exhibit either emptied a bottle of no. 5 over their heads or, being french, came as god perfumed them (i refer you again to the weather). the exhibit itself reminded me that even the very best tweed suits have a dowdy vibe, and that swap meet chanel and please hammer, don't hurt 'em are both karl lagerfeld's fault. the met's swanky new duccio, in turn, reminded me that i can't handle religious art for more than five minutes without dissolving into giggles. i mean no disrespect, but the babies get me every time.


was so very bored yesterday that i finally accepted a pamphlet from the dude who sings unintelligible yet operatic hymns and patriotic songs in front of the office. if you remove bible quotes and the phrase "go to hell," it's found poetry:
Man does not seek after God, but in His love, God seeks man, so that he will not
While His Spirit works in your heart, please do not
You cannot go to heaven by church membership or good works, but only through the blood of Jesus, so please do not
Here God says again, if you go to heaven, you must go through His Son Jesus Christ. There is no reason for you to
Once you see yourself as a sinner in God's sight and realize that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, the Holy Spirit says, "Please do not
We cast things away when we no longer need them, but God will never cast you out when you come to him. He begs you not to
After you hear the Word of God, please accept Him, because after death it will be too late. Please do not
Regardless of what man may say, God's Word is true; therefore, please do not
Repentance is seeing yourself as God does, turning from your sins, coming to Jesus Christ, and trusting Him for our salvation. If you do not repent, but reject Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Please do not
If you will accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, please pray with all your heart:

on the subject of casting things away, the proprietress of there is no away has undertaken a fascinating project:
I publicly agree to take responsibility, for one month, for all the packaging that comes into my life. While I will continue to mulch, burn, and compost those items that I normally deal with in those ways, I will catalog all the (plastic) garbage that I would traditionally toss in the trash or send off to recycling, and make something useful out of every bit of it. For one month.
cigarette butts would unmake me in a situation like that, though chow yun fat fans would argue that they plug up gunshot wounds pretty well. me, i thought they turned into baby pigeons until i heard cheeping and saw a nest above our building's awning last week. there goes that theory.

on the subject of joe's brain, here is a picture of joe's brain.


my mom now has an artist page at the brigham galleries in nantucket. admire her, o internet! give her oodles of money for her kick-ass sculpture! i, in turn, have continuted to construct things with humble felt; for joe's recent birthday i put together an anthropomorphic cannoli.

have decided to return to a metered film review system; the paragraph format doesn't suit my attention span. the movie cinquains liveth in the summer of '05:

war of the worlds:

disaster scenes;
a pointless tim robbins;
tom cruise clearly wanted to smooch
his son.

the getaway:

mcgraw is a
visual sedative.
sally struthers is a daft ho.

white heat:

flick with sound bites
galore. plausible psychopath,
that james cagney. his moll looks like
my boss(!).


debauched twentysomething that i am, i spent the holiday weekend sewing and prowling around junk stores. mari popped over on friday, so i got to present her with a housewarming trinket at last; since joe and i saw our first-ever fireflies on the way to her place last week, she requested a stuffed bug. ta-da! i like green butts and i cannot lie. i also had a crack at july’s “month of softies” project (theme: a world of sock monkeys). here’s my zombie version, complete with exposed brain and an ‘optic nerve’ that came wrapped around joe’s cupcakes from the bakery. my future is clearly in handmade wedding favors.


vocab query of the day, brought to you by the getcrafty forums: “stick your face in the hole so we can take your picture thingies” like this are called tintamareski in finnish. is there an elegant and/or brief term for them in english?

giant (++1/2). in the intro to the just-released dvd, director george stevens defends his crew for taking three years to finish the movie because of the many man hours that filmgoers have spent enjoying it since 1956. man hours indeed, as we were exhausted after watching the thing. i’m not sure the running time could be helped, as giant addresses – along with a jillion other issues – racism, sexism, alcoholism, consumerism, texans’ relationship with mexicans, vietnam, and the disappearance of the frontier. my beef is with the editors’ shocking lack of narrative intuition: though liz taylor’s marriage to rock hudson is a central theme, we leap straight from their first (snarky) meeting in maryland to a newlywed bedroom scene en route to the ranch. a peripheral soldier’s funeral, on the other hand, lasts five minutes, most of which are extended shots of a mexican boys’ choir. liz taylor’s journey through the decades is evidenced mostly in the color of her hair, while james dean playing a fiftysomething at 23 (the movie wrapped three weeks before he was killed) manages to look like sean penn twenty years from now. all in all, exhausting but diverting.

per pica's suggestion, the music / book meme, hollywoodland edition (it was bound to happen):

number of films i see in a year: on average, about 40. since i hate new york movie theaters (the ziegfeld excepted), 95% of those are courtesy of the video cafe.

last film i rented / saw at home: live forever, a documentary on '90s british pop featuring interviews with jarvis cocker, damon albarn (call me!), and the brothers gallagher. liam gallagher on the title song: "it's about livin' forever, innit."

last film i saw at a theater: mysterious skin, as discussed a few posts ago.

last film i saw and hated: ace ventura: when nature calls. i was overcome by a severe case of saturday morning lethargy while tbs was running a jim carrey marathon. i have no one but myself to blame for this.

film i know i should see: dr. strangelove. i have yet to see a kubrick film that makes me like him as much as i'd, erm, like to like him, and i suspect that this would do the trick.

3 films i love:
labyrinth: honestly, david bowie's crotch bulge didn't start bothering me until my little sister pointed it out during The Labyrinth Drinking Game. it's faint praise to say that this is one of the best mainstream fantasy movies around (the field isn't exactly crowded - where's our blade runner?), but, well, it is.

metropolis: i became obsessed with fritz lang at oxford even though the town's only available copy of metropolis had a soundtrack by enya. that's commitment.

pretty in pink: the real reason i began to listen to the smiths (and otis redding, for that matter) and have been dyeing my hear red for the last decade.

3 unsuspecting baton recipients: pica [ding!], paul [ding!], and sara [ding!]. and, of course, the comment crew.

i dig the timing of paul's online kafka diaries; temporarily out of books, i've switched to making plush creepy crawlies. meet my leetle friend gregor (periplaneta americana - 4 photos altogether). would you let him sleep on your pillow?

reading the worst book ever is like losing your virginity: if you suspect it's happened but you aren't sure, it hasn't. i am dead certain that i've read the worst book ever, and it is chris bachelder's bear v. shark. if i met the author in the street, i'd smack him. he seems to be accustomed to this sort of reaction, so i'd smack him again to make my point clear.

jacketed as "quick, commercial-like segments that mirror the media it satirizes," bachelder's style is better pegged as a product of sloth:
I hadn't written much fiction before, and it was the only way I could write it. I couldn't handle a long plot, I couldn't handle a long involved narrative, so I had to break it up into pieces, so it was very practical in that sense. I was really just trying to write a novel the only way that I could, and at some point I said to myself okay, this has got to work at a thematic level too otherwise it won't work at all, but it happened to.

(bookslut interview, 01.04)
nods toward more diligent novelists (pynchon and wallace pop up two and four times, respectively) make it clear that he's been exposed to plenty of solid structure, and a few decent characterizations of the nevada desert, for instance, are evidence of real (if smothered) talent. half-page news teasers and a premature index posing as chapters, on the other hand - if those were attempts to "[set] a mousetrap and [spring] it," or "set up punch lines and then pop them...in little fragmented pieces," they were bad. bad like a cobra. bookslut interview, continued:
BS: You were talking about Vegas and the Darwin dome, and that brings to mind something else I wanted to ask you about, which is one of the touches I really enjoyed - how Vegas was its own sovereign nation, and I kind of thought that you could take that three different ways, which is that A, Vegas is just so outside the norm of American life that it really deserves to be its own country, and they're kind of playing up that angle right now, if you've seen their commercials..

CB: Oh really?

BS: I think their tag line is, "Vegas - what happens here, stays here."

CB: [laughing] Oh, that's funny.

BS: Or B, that Vegas, being the entertainment capital of the world, and you can disabuse me of this notion if I'm way off base here, I thought you were saying that Vegas would naturally be alone because of the aloneness that necessarily results from surrounding yourself with all these amusements instead of real relationships...

CB: Ohhh -

BS: Or the third thing is that C, that I'm reading way too much into a throwaway gag.

CB: I really -- I really like that second one, and I wish that it had been a conscious intent -- I'm not sure it was, but I like that idea. Especially in the sense -- Wallace talks about this too, about how lonely watching television and our entertainments can make us -- that television produces that isolation, but I can't say that I was going for it intentionally.
it pains me to think that this is how published authors work. flames, on the side of my face...breathing, breathless, heaving breaths...


between the end of the michael jackson trial, seeing mysterious skin with joe and jake, and wrapping up john irving's until i find you, this weekend had a pretty robust molestation theme. of the king of pop shenanigans i have nothing to say; as with the star wars prequel trilogy, i made a point of avoiding the whole thing. mysterious skin, gregg araki's new flick starring joseph gordon-levitt (aka the floppy-haired kid from third rock from the sun), is an equally disturbing but much more artful exploration of the effects of sexual abuse. it's the most affecting treatment of the subject i've ever seen, for a number of reasons: gordon-levitt as the main character is understated but outstanding, the sex scenes are effective without being graphic or exploitative (tough to do when representing everything from molestation to an AIDS-afflicted john to brutal assault and rape), and the filmmakers make a point of exploring all of the victims' emotions. not an easy film to watch, but a very brave and worthwhile one. as for until i find you, i have to revise my revised opinion of its worth; the story doesn't go entirely downhill when jack goes from being a cute little boy tagging along in european tattoo parlors to a victimized pre-adolescent, a dirty little teenager, and finally a hopelessly underdeveloped actor. some of the final reconciliation scenes with jack's father are, cough, deeply felt, but they emphasize the vacuousness of the american boarding school and hollywood (o, the hollywood) scenes that precede them. one can't blame irving for wanting to fictionalize the experience of adapting the cider house rules, but at no point is he in danger of saying something original about the movie industry. i'd have liked to see a few peripheral themes dropped to make room for a meatier core.

those of you who prefer to think of prettier things might enjoy a poetic collage generator (via (francis). mine had a lot of ominous construction signs, snowflakes, and tiny birds.


the music prompt has become a book baton; this time it comes from paul.

total number of books i’ve owned: when i picture the bookshelves i filled and emptied before high school, i imagine it’s got to be something like 2000. our apartment and my office each have a few hundred now, and there are at least a thousand in my mother’s garage in northern california – or there were before she moved, anyway.

last book I bought: a two-dollar copy of clarissa, samuel richardson. that it’s (as previously mentioned) abridged and unreadable is a sign, i think, that i should be reading contemporary stuff: I’m currently on the lookout for tsipi keller’s jackpot.

last book i read: still tearing through until i find you, john irving. getting the impression that this was not the best place to leap into his oeuvre.

last book i finished: apprentice to the flower poet z., debra weinstein, an occasionally amusing satire. i still have a fairly short fuse when it comes to hee-hee novels about academia.

5 books that mean a lot to me:
the golden compass, philip pullman, is tucked away (along with the rest of the his dark materials series) for when my sisters have kids. i love this and its message as much as i hate c.s. lewis’s narnia books (read: a lot).

the hobbit, j.r.r. tolkien, and the lord of the rings. my dad came up with amazing voices when he read these aloud. i wish we’d attempted homemade audiobooks, especially for the grond scene.

infinite jest, david foster wallace. whether or not i liked the book seems unimportant; what matters is that it’s changed my feelings about everything i read before and since.

digesting the child within, john callahan. callahan drew crude, primarily single-panel cartoons syndicated in the los angeles times in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s; many depicted aspects of his life as a wheelchair-bound alcoholic in an intensely offensive way, and showed me how (and why it’s crucial) to laugh at horrible things. how my mom let me have a copy is still beyond me.

where’s dan quayle?, jim becker. i think i asked for this (a where's waldo? parody) as a birthday present in ’91. in retrospect, that was probably the point at which it became impossible for me to think of republicans as three-dimensional people.
5 people i want to see do this: it’s all you again, commenters.


we teamed with intrepid west coast visitors sara and josh for a trip to the brooklyn museum on the last day of the basquiat exhibit; god bless corporate memberships (yeah, i said it), for my company card saved us at least a few hours of grumbling and shuffling. the show itself was capital, though i was disappointed that the spooky painting from basquiat’s times magazine cover (the same image on the museum site’s exhibit page) wasn’t actually present. menacing drawings from radiohead albums and mid-‘90s comics conditioned me to like that sort of art best of all.

in other graffiti news, spotted a bitchin’ batman / neckface billboard as we crossed the williamsburg bridge on the way back home last night. in other other graffiti news, banksy is fucking awesome (as long as he isn’t hurting the farm animals).

am reading until i find you, john irving's newest. it is also awesome, at least the part about tattooing one’s way across northern europe. and who knew sailor jerry worked in canada?

post script: thank you, pica, for drawing attention to "the case against coldplay" ("the most insufferable band of the decade") in today's times. lest i echo a link without providing anything of my own, dear readers, i'll tell you a dirty secret: joe is partially responsible for the visas that got chris martin et al. into the united states a few years ago. while it's tempting to hate him for this, remember that he thought he was serving his country.


the season finale of the OC is, say, half responsible for my reading chuck klosterman's sex, drugs, and cocoa puffs this weekend. adam brody reminded me of its existence, but i'd had a copy in my aforementioned pile of free stuff from a friend. i think that's where it came from, anyway: in the past few years i've acquired three extra copies of infinite jest, origins utterly unknown.

as it happens, this was an appropriate way to get my hands on SDCP. it's solid weekend reading, but i can think of more satisfying ways to spend $20. his essays follow the template i beat to death as a college columnist (and, let's be honest, as a blogger): non sequitur intro, mildly provocative personal anecdote, pop trivia, comment on Our Life and Times, return to non sequitur. this is by no means revolutionary - a lot of people do this very well - but it's never reminded me of my own crap before. this was like the first day of high school when the vice principal followed the public speaking walking pattern we'd learned in eighth grade. point being...formula detracts from klosterman's points, some of which (the piece toward the end on journalists and truth, for instance) are quite good. i'll cop to being titillated when he name checked douglas - no argument, he's awesome - but i didn't need thirty seven mentions of the fact that douglas drank orange juice at a seattle pop conference, even if they're supposedly part of a larger point about the disconnect between critics and musicians. by all means, chuck, tell us that your friend danced with a serial killer at a bar; don't end your essay with something to the effect of "let's dance, cowboy." that's what i do when i'm writing like an asshat.

in kittenwar news, this is how our own charles bronson has performed in 1072 battles:

won: 338 (32%)
lost: 605 (56%)
drawn: 129 (12%)


party people, it has been far too drizzly for me to camp in the plaza and write out posts; for that i apologize. little of interest has happened this week, though i can report that the celebrities are surging ahead once more in their smack-down with the union inflatables. last friday i paced around the courtyard next door with peter gallagher, who looks exactly like peter gallagher. i would have made my customary asinine "o you're neat!" comment - and damn it, i had my digital camera and everything - but i recognized him and made a face that said "ah, you're the one i was hired to kill!" rather than "sandy cohen, woo!", so he scurried away once he hung up his cell phone. this was probably for the best.

rats: 3.5
star: 4

via caterina, another music prompt:

total volume of music on my computer: 2.21 GB. i've been lazy about schwonking things from home to the ipod.

the last cd i bought: maple leaves, jens "fifteenth hottest swede" lekman. not as utterly solid as the you are the light ep, but "black cab" is the best song i've heard in a year. captures a customary mood of mine quite handily, and it's purty.

song playing right now: "lost in the supermarket," the clash.

3 songs i listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:
"one more night," the stars. introduced at the concert as a "hall and oates" song about "fucking someone in order to kill them." can't comment on that, per se, but it's stoic and haunting and, well, mint. in heavy rotation for the last month.

"500 (shake baby shake)," lush. carefree britpop love song to a car with simple, feel-good rhymes and a catchy guitar line. i hunted for this (and sang it for a few unlucky record store employees) for years before learning the real title. i can be slow like that.

"don't mug yourself," the streets. though i've lived with the joe for (gulp) five years, i think it's safe to say no one is whipped. this track is worth it for the goofy ending alone, but the laddish advice is pretty solid as well. mike skinner, my panties are yours.
3 people to whom i'm passing the baton: commenters, this bud's for you.

every few years i return to the opinion that, though i don't really care for the great gatsby, fitzgerald is one of my favorite american writers. this time the tide of warm fuzzies is due to a copy of afternoon of an author that fell into my lap last weekend. "how to live on $36,000 a year" (cough) and "how to live on practically nothing a year" remind me of the new yorker's better "shouts and murmurs," and the basil duke lee stories - particularly the last few lines of "basil and cleopatra" - are the sort of pitch-perfect stuff on adolescence i'd give my left eye to write:
The wind blew through them, trumpeting that high white note for which he always listened, and the thin-blown clouds, stripped for battle, passed in review. The scene was of an unparalleled brightness and magnificence, and only the practiced eye of the commander saw that one star was no longer there.
i was thinking about that on the way to work this morning - the body parts, that is, i'd be willing to swap in exchange for a kick-ass book of poems. if, say, satan popped up and wanted to make a deal. about six toes would be okay, or six inches of overall height. an ear could be negotiable, or something on the right hand. i get the feeling i've been watching too many prime time medical dramas, or that i'm approaching writer's block in the wrong way.

post script: stewart reports that he would give satan just about anything that wouldn't kill him in exchange for the solution to global warming, which is how we know that he's a better man than i am.


ass adventure part iii. omen #1: the mannequin butt-and-leg i found on the street last fall and installed on our fire escape never enjoyed the seasonal decorations i'd planned: on a stormy night a few months ago, it went missing. joe blamed high winds for its disappearance, while i figured the building manager's aesthetics clashed with mine. i considered asking an earnest local government candidate about it at "drinking liberally" awhile back, but the mystery went unsolved. omen #2: i joined my boss and a few co-workers for tag-team visits to the guys selling $40 jeans from a truck on friday. after quick changes in my office / 'dressing room,' i sized up to a pair that, by the time i'd worn them around town on sunday, was several inches too large. where'd the ass go?

the signs became clear today, as my ass was dropped from the magazine. it's not my fault, the photo editor explained: initial cellulite wasn't there, my treatment didn't produce results, and (in a sense) my ass was cut for space. better to focus on big ticket procedures like acupuncture and lasers than on humble butt cream.

i feel a bit rejected, honestly. it took some nerve to offer myself up, raging insecurities and all, for a national publication, and come on, sticking those pictures in a scrapbook with my other 'published' stuff would have been somewhat awesome. then again, i mistook my ass for yet another co-worker's as i paged through the proofs in production today. what ownership can i claim of a body part i can't pick from a lineup?

at the end of the day, the adventure was still worthwhile. i won't have big glossy photos with which to people my grandchildren's nightmares, but i'm not planning on having grandchildren anyway. more importantly, i don't have to worry about future mutations of the college episode when lukas's co-workers found my column about him and pasted it (with author photo) all over the office. those? weren't pretty.


since i waited, what, four years to add comment links to the 'champ, you should know that i expect brilliance. or obscure soviet jokes. or galloping gangrene. bring it.


ass adventure part ii. [see posts 03.22.05, 03.23.05] as yesterday was the "after" photo shoot, my bum's progress is no longer news and i've said goodbye to the tub of jiggle-banisher. more outlandish poses requested at the studio, this time to make me look svelte and goo-transformed. i was shocked by the fine ass in the first resulting images; then i realized we were still looking at shots of my co-worker. my ass is virtually identical to its "before" shots, though the beauty editor likes my even tone and noted that, erm, i "tilt." initial conclusions: fanny cream isn't magical, but it did prompt me to tell people to touch my butt at parties. reports on pre-publication - as the ass-folder begins to make its way around the office - to follow.


though it seems incredible that our television could feel underappreciated, the television itself felt otherwise and went on grainy hiatus, last wednesday, to show us who's boss. pathetically, i watched scrambled sand-sculpture versions of lost and alias anyhow. when reception came back the next evening, we'd lost tbs (whatever) and gained the polish channel, cinemax (?!) and nyc tv 25, of which we'd never heard and to which we're hopelessly addicted. in addition to bringing us a brazilian girls music video featuring 1) shriners dancing with hot dogs, 2) a woman dressed in ikea paper lanterns and glasses made of thorns, and 3) arrogant monkeys, it introduced jens lekman, a swede who croons like morrissey, writes like stephin merritt, and was recognized by swedish elle as the fifteenth most attractive person around. i got his you are the light ep yesterday and have since improved myself with songs like "i saw her in the anti-war demonstration," i.e.
You're looking for me in the demonstration
Well I have already lost patience
And you might find me sitting by the pavement
Or maybe not, 'cause I have shrunk
I fell in love with a punk and she took my breath

Now there's nothing left
Of blood enough to feed a family
Well I just wanna feed Emily
With lukewarm English beer and vegan pancakes


the stars show at southpaw on saturday revealed several important things, a few of them being that indie gigs have no bad seats (i'm taller than most of the women and everyone else wears flats), good things come in greg kinnear-like packages (torquil campbell has the endearing habit of acting out his lyrics), and we need to see more acts in brooklyn (comfy venue, $5 drinks). i thought about buying a shirt, but i'm poor and the image of a seated man on fire has historical implications i didn't want to explore. instead i began a photo essay on hipster bathrooms (on my flickr page, now linked at top right).

in other music news, i checked in on trespassers william (local friends' band; my mother tells me anna-lynne and i were jungle gym buddies at costeau park way back when) and learned that said anna-lynne supplied vocals for "hold tight london," a track on the new chemical brothers album. bearing in mind that i know next to nothing about big beat, or anything else, it's pretty slick.