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