December 20, 2005

I wrote you a haiku and filled out a survey. Friends?

Please forgive me for my neglect. Pretty soon I'm not going to have any readers at all because I suck suck suck suck ass at posting lately. My bad. To make you feel better, I thought I'd write you a few haikus, which I have recently discovered I am very good (read: terrible) at.

First, a gentle introduction to my skills:

It's not as easy as it looks, and this is proof

You might think I joke
about my haiku writing
sucking, but I don't.

And now, for the main course: A walk down memory lane via haiku. We'll call this series "Portrait Series I: College Roommates '99-'03"

College roommate I (the bizarre one)

She said "You mind?" when
I caught her borrowing my
underwear. "Um, yeah."

College roommate II (the skanky one)

She said "So what?" when
I caught her borrowing my
date; she had me there.

College roommate III (the best one)

One time, high, we ate
a whole box of cereal
sitting cross-legged.

That's enough of that for today. I'm sure there's more to come, though. Just give me the holidays with my family to refill the bank of crazy people to haiku about and I'll be back with "Portrait Series II: Woe is My Gene Pool".

In yet another show of laziness, I am now going to repost a survey I filled out on MySpace because somehow these two mediums have been running together a lot lately as I've been preoccupied by the holiday season, craziness at work, craziness in my personal life, and doing some serious writing which I'm too shy to ever share here. That means you get whatever is left over, and based on what I've been giving you lately, you're probably trying to locate an expiration date on this carton. But let me assure you: I'm still good... I just need a little time to age properly. So hang in there, and I hope something I've left you with today makes you chuckle. In the end, I'm starting to think that's what it's all about.

On to the holiday survey -- Liz on Christmas in 28 questions:

1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider?
Coffee. Coffee should definitely be listed as an option here. Coffee is a holiday staple -- something like $4 bottles of champagne, Advil and candy cane particles in the bottom of my purse.

2. Turkey or Ham?
Whiskey-Crab Bisque, actually. Turkey is for thanksgiving and definitely not ham. Pigs eat their own doo and each other and whatnot and Im a vegetarian. Sorry its just not going to happen.

3. Do you get a Fake, real from a lot, or you cut it yourself christmas tree? Fake. Times two. With lights lights lights everywhere. And spray-pine scent. And cheesy ornaments, like my miniature Vibe (thanks, mom) and a little snowman I made in the third grade. Guess my parents didnt want to hang on to that one and now Im stuck with it.

4. Decorations on the outside of your house? This year? Yes. But they came at a price because on the klutz scale Im a 10. All you who know my story about knocking myself out and simultaneously flashing my neighbor while plugging in Christmas lights can have a good laugh now at my expense. The scar on my head is hardly noticeable.

5. Snowball fights or sledding?
Love and love. Unless the snowball fights are with Kyle McGee (resulted in a black eye) or any boys who throw at the head region or whitewash. Thats just bad manners. (But Im allowed to do both, just to be clear).

6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
I love the mania. Suits me fine.

7. Favorite Christmas song? Easy. Last Christmas by Wham. Followed by O holy night sung by any lady with a big voice.

8. Worst Christmas Song? Anything by Celine Dion. That lady is an obnoxious waste of thinness.

9. How do you feel about Christmas movies? We have a close personal relationship.

10. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
Um, never. Clearly. I usually take a hiatus through spring and then start round two right around groundhog day.

11. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them?
Definitely. Its best when theyre like 30 and drunk and its the middle of the night and theres 3 of them howling and slurring in the middle of the street, though. Those are my favorites.

12. What is your favorite thing to do at Christmas?
The new gift swap/hunt for a hideous tree/drink mimosas all day tradition with the girls is tied for the favorite position with my annual geek dinner/gingerbread house party with the nerd-squad from 8th grade. You know who you are And I love you and all the memories!

13. What is your favorite holiday smell? Car exhaust. Honestly, these questions kinda suck. What do you THINK my favorite holiday smell is? Christmas trees. Duh.

14. Favorite Christmas memory? The year my whole family decided to sing the 12 days of Christmas and it took us like an hour because everyone was tipsy and kept laughing and forgetting to sing and forgetting what day we were on and the FIIIVE GOOOLDENNN RIIIINNNGGGSS part took easily 3 minutes every time we sang it.

15. Favorite Part about winter? Looking at Christmas lights, singing xmas songs too loud in my car and not caring who sees me, being able to see your breath, waiting for snow, acting like a 6 year old moron when it finally snows, free candycanes EVERYWHERE, those ever-cheerful door-holding-bell-ringer-people

16. Worst part about winter? Every year when I slip on ice in public and take 3 friends, an ornamental tree and an old person down with me, being cold, having to dress sensibly, static, and the fact that its dark when I wake up followed by 4 hours of dim daylight and drizzle and then gets dark again somewhere around effing lunchtime.

17. How do reindeer fly? For once Im not going to B.S. you. I have no clue. Mexican food, maybe?

18. Do you like to give or recieve? Yes. Yes, I do.

19. Do you send holiday cards?
Call it paranoia, but I think my Mom might have written this quiz knowing I'd fill it out just to ask that question and make me feel guilty. She's a conniver, that one.

20. Ever kissed under mistletoe? Nope. Im turned off by cheesy fumbling predictable attempts at romance.

21. What goes on the top of your tree? My cat, usually.

22. Thoughts on Eggnog:

WHY? Its like the lunchmeat with the pimentos in it: a bad idea, but no one's saying anything. It's like the inventor is a member of the mafia or something. I am a little grossed out by the fact that youre basically drinking sweet, frothy raw eggs, but if you add alcohol to almost anything Im in, so I guess Im not really that offended when you get right down to it.

23. Certain person you want to kiss under mistletoe? Again why mistletoe? Totally arbitrary and boring and predictable. Id seriously rather kiss under a very full roosting pigeon or a fast-moving train.

24. Person who's throat you would like to shove the mistletoe down?Im more of a yeller than a beater. I prefer ascerbic comments muttered under my breath to actual acts of violence.

25. Favorite christmas movie? Mixed Nuts (act like you know) is tied with Christmas Vacation. Nice tree, kinda full, lotsa sap little sappy in here!! That theres an R.V. "THE BLEESSSSIINNNNGGGG!!" Who doesn't love that movie?

26. Best Holiday company party story:
I'm an optimist, so I'll say that its coming up this Wednesday. Im the crappiest bowler on the planet. The coworkers have no idea whats coming.

27. Think the holidays are overrated?
Absolutely. But so is Shaq, shopping and sleep, and Im still a big fan of all three. Sorry, it's true.

28. What do you want for Christmas?
Im pretty torn between Peace on Earth, one million dollars, a president with a higher IQ than mine and love at first sight. So I'll just leave this one blank, OK?

Best wishes this holiday season, whatever that means to you. Thanks for sticking with me. May the new year bring new friendships; the acceptance and embracing of solitude; and personal successes tempered by the compassion to share them with others. (Also, I wouldn't turn down Peace on Earth, one million dollars, a president with a higher IQ than mine or love at first sight.)


December 08, 2005

Is Christmas "Constitutional"?

As we enter the season best known for promulgating many an idealistic nicety including but not limited to "peace on earth" and "goodwill" and "joy" and whatnot, I am somehow not at all surprised to learn that we have found a way to continue to ruin everything -- even the holiday season -- by insisting on political correctness to a degree of complete insanity. I am referring to a slew of recent articles in major metropolitan newspapers, about a recent, very public, legal battle over the word "Christmas". Proof of this nonsense comes after my rant, which begins here:

Look, I call mid-Dec to early January the "holiday season" not because I'd be offended if specified Christmas or Kwanzaa or Hanukkah or the month of Bodhi, but because I recognize that different people do different things this time of year. I'm OK with that. I grew up knowing and celebrating this way. I like it. And even now, as a Christian (OOOoooh. Bet that's a bad word to some of you, huh? Well, to pre-empt the inevitable emails about this confession, I'd like to make it clear that I'm of the "golden rule" variety, and am not big on the "fire-and-brimstone" mentality, so take it easy, OK?), I observe more than one religion's celebration during this season with my diverse multitude of friends and family. I have decorated an admittedly pagan Christmas tree and sung carols about a baby born in a barn and lit the Minorah, too. Somehow I seem to navigate this apparent conflict of interest rather smoothly and with no objections from my conscience. Granted, I'm in the majority 77 percent of Americans who are Christian, which probably gives me a slanted perspective, as someone else's savior isn't being sung about in every mall I go to. I'll give you that. But really, that's not the issue here.

What I'm not cool with are people fighting major legal battles involving everyone from minimum-wage workers to worldwide corporations over some semantic bullshit like what we call those trees we stand in our living rooms and town squares and decorate with lights and balls and garlands to announce the arrival of the *whatever* season.

I am even more not OK with a credible news source wasting ink on this crap. I'm in the news business, and as each day goes by I am more and more disheartened by the steaming piles of garbage our journalists report on. TV is the WORST. Don't even get me started, because then we have to discuss why they're reporting it (which is a complex, painful, other topic) which is because it's newsworthy. You might object, but according to most standards, "newsworthy" it is: it's gotten lots of folks riled up and it's actually happening and there's lots of money and corporations and organizations involved and it's relevant to the season. Does the chicken proceed the egg or vice versa? All I know is the chicken lays the egg, so I guess if we start waving signs and calling stores and hiring lawyers and hollering at anyone who will listen, we can expect the egg to hatch and spread the word... but I digress, again.

::takes deep breath::

Here. See for yourself. Here's a good one. This article was followed by a slew of op-eds and followups including this funny Q & A session with a crazed right-winger.

Please, read with a sense of humor. I found that after reading the first article, I felt like I had stepped into the twilight zone or an inbred Christmas movie. It's like "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" bred and gave birth to this mess. My favorite are some of the "sources" quotes. Here are a few:

* Reporter: "Given the fact that "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World" play endlessly in every store and that Santa Claus and trim-a-tree shops are everywhere, do you really believe that the holiday is endangered?"

* Wacko: "...About 95 percent of the people who are in your store are there for the birth of you-know-who."

* Lawyer: "What we are going to do is educate that it's OK to say `Merry Christmas,' Christmas is constitutional and in those egregious cases where there's blatant constitutional violations, we will litigate."

* Random lady: "No angels here!"

* President of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association: "This is about goodwill and glad tidings... let's get over it and get on with it."

Ever seen "Mixed Nuts"? You must. These people could all be characters right out of that movie. (Which is, by the way, one of the best holiday... er... Christmas movies of all time).

Happy *whatever*, everybody. Or not. I just don't really care, to be honest. Well, I mean, I do, but I'm just so very *over* it all. I don't even know what side I'm on. I just want it all to go the hell away. So, in the fitting spirit of irreverence, let's have a little laugh, shall we? I think it's become clear that we could all use one. Here's a Christmahaunakwanzika song or two just for you.


December 02, 2005

Food for thought... literally.

Let's spend Friday evening talking about the universe, as explained by food. OK? Super. Here goes:

"Fractal forms--complex shapes which look more or less the same at a wide variety of scale factors, are everywhere in nature. From the fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background radiation to the coastlines of continents, courses of rivers, clouds in the sky, branches of plants and veins in their leaves, blood vessels in the lung, and the shape of seashells and snowflakes, these fractal or self-similar patterns abound... some of the most pleasing patterns in geometric art exhibit exact or almost exact self-similarity. These are patterns which are composed of smaller copies of themselves ad infinitum, or at least until some limit where the similarity breaks down due to the granularity of the underlying material."

What does all this mean? Well, here's a visual, edible example. The Romanesco Broccolli/Cauliflower: This little bugger looks the same in super-zoom mode as it does to the naked eye. This is an example of a fractal form -- though they abound. What makes this really cool is that it is, in essence, a physical representation of a mathmatical equation -- a computation. What's crazy is that there are theories out there explaining the universe based on this computation; modern thinkers seem to like applying this computation to describe forms on our planet.

"It seems like the universe just wants to compute. Of course, there's a tendency for thinkers in every age to model the universe in terms of the predominant technology of the day. To the Pythagoreans, all was number and geometry. In Newton's time, the universe seemed an intricate clockwork mechanism. Later, in the age of steam, thermodynamics and heat death dominated models of the universe. Today, surrounded by computers evolving more rapidly than anything in natural history, what could be more natural than regarding the universe as a great automaton performing some kind of cosmic computation?

And yet, there may be some truth in that viewpoint, and insights to be had by pursuing it, just as earlier worldviews provided frameworks for further discoveries. Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science and Rudy Rucker's forthcoming The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul (excerpt) argue that many of the processes we see in nature are indeed computations."

Very cool. And from a social perspective, isn't it true that we're routinely both both enlightened and blinded by our own experiences, which are the parameters with which we define our own existance and response to our unique world? This is proof that even the most intelligent people on the planet have a difficult time seeing the view for the window.

Have a good weekend!

November 30, 2005

Fiona rocks, rugby fan freaks... RATS!

Sometimes when things like, say, work and life and bills and small paychecks get me feeling a little sadistic, I like to seek out stories of those more unfortunate than me, just for kicks. Such a scenario brought me to this story about a gentleman who was playing "hide the polska" with someone other than his wife, and was tattled on by a parrot who is clearly more intelligent than he. I imagine that was quite a blow... to the marraige, you perverts.

A completely unrelated story also currently posted on Ananova describes how some Russian men were eating a large bag of potato chips and discovered a whole dead rat at the bottom of the bag. Apparently the rat had been cooked and seasoned like a chip and had somehow made it into the package. Even with cooking and seasoning, I imagine the rat was still unappetizing enough to put them off chips for a while and onto another potato-based Russian staple: vodka. I say the rat may have done them a favor. Vodka beats chips any day.

Rats in food are no good -- and either I'm a magnet for rat-in-food stories or this happens more than we'd like to imagine. I have a colleague who swears she found clumps of rat hair in a Subway sandwich and has since refused to eat at the establishment. She actually bit in to the sandwich, chewed and swallowed before she noticed that there were what looked like clumps of brown rat hair baked into the bread.

And peanut butter, according to my junior high school biology teacher, is FULL of rat feces. This is really sad news for me, as PB is a staple in my diet. The long and short of the story is that peanuts are approximately the same size and shape as the doo of the rats that crawl around on, eat, and doo in, the piles of peanuts in the field before they're transported to the processing plant. So I guess the doo falls in the crusher/baker/blender along with the shelled nuts. No wonder it's so high in protein...

Gross. Subject change.

I saw Fiona Apple at the Moore Theatre last week. My seats were the worst in the house. No, really. I was up at the veeeerrrrry top --exactly 3 rows from the highest seat in the building. This was painful for me, as I had initially been under the impression that a friend of a friend of a friend was going to be able to get me in early and put me in one of the front rows. But although my seats nearly gave me vertigo (it really was scary way up there), the concert was flawless. That woman is just fantastic, even if she is a little eccentric. You absolutely MUST download/buy Extraordinary Machine. Listen it to three times in a row, suspending judgement until the third. You will love it if you have any taste in music at all. If you don't, you should probably pull a Van Gough because you're worthless. Click below for a sampler:

I have never understood crazy, violent rugby or soccer fans. This is just another (painful, unbelievable) example of why.

November 24, 2005


**This was written for the 7th Poetry Carnival, hosted by Garnet with the theme "music".**


In the dark I am one of many, fingers to lips just so,
exhaling my melody into the throbbing, smoke-filled room

where bodies warm with swaying nodding tapping lilt behind
the meter of the spotlit island's tight blue cadence.

Ice clinks in short glasses while I tap my thumb;
frosted ashtrays slowly fill with perfectly timed conversations.

My words scat along the bar now, rythmic and stacatto;
my heart pounds, crescendoing, in twos and fours

trading eights with yours across the table.

November 21, 2005

Maternal Instinct Schmaternal Schminst... well, you get it.

So today I was clicking around on Myspace through my friends' friends for absolutely no good reason when I stumbled across a girl who looked like this girl I went to elementary school with who used to always pick her nose and wipe it on the bottoms of classroom chairs, but who was also really, really good at finger painting. No joke. Anyway, I clicked on the girl's profile and went right to her profile pictures to see if she was who I thought she was. Well, she wasn't. But what I discovered while nosing around was much, much more interesting than if she had been who I thought she was.

What I'm referring to is this:

Yep, it's a closeup of 3 little porcupines lined up in the palm of her hand.

And if you're currently saying things like : "oooh! cute!!" or "I WANT one!!!" or something similarly affectionate, you are the very reason I'm writing this post, convinced I'm predisposed to be a bad mother.

You see, all the comments under this photo were about the "cutesy wittle babie-wabies" and other cheesy shit like that. Meanwhile, I've recoiled from the computer screen in honest-to-God horror.

All I can of while looking at this photo is how much these horrific God-awful little things look like three totally dangerous spiny anuses all lined up giving birth to tiny hairless aliens. Seriously. I find them scary and basically fucking disgusting.

Do you think that means there's something wrong with me? Or that, because I'd rather step on these little guys than bottle-feed and name them, I lack maternal instincts? Why don't I find these nasty little critters adorable, or even walking the fine but definite "ugly but cute" line? Why is it that those three helpless babies are haunting me as I type this, preparing to give me spiny-asshole horror-flick nightmares? I'm a generally nurturing person... and I love animals and am a vegetarian (which I obviously just mentioned for bonus points, because now I'm worried you all think I'm a porcupine killer).


November 16, 2005

It could certainly be worse -- a little.


was a comically bad day.

Of course, I should have known it would be when I woke up an hour late. I never do that.

But I didn't realize how everything was aligned to go wrong as I swung my legs out of bed to stand, which is why I was suprised by this funny feeling that the ground had fallen out from under me, or I was falling to it. The suprise was followed by the unmistakeable THUD of my body hitting the carpet next to my bed. So it turns out I WAS falling, and my legs had fallen asleep overnight, unbeknownst to me.

Of course I was still optimistic at that point, thinking of it as a hilarious freak accident, and spent a good 3 or 4 minutes laughing hysterically while laying on my carpet in a tank top and undies clutching my now-tingling legs, until I was distracted from them by a telltale headache from hell. That was when I started to get suspicious that the day would be a little different then every other day this year.

It was like my brain was old growth and was suddenly the hotspot for a new strip mall. I was all buzzing and sawing and thumping to the forest floor up there, and let me tell you - the spotted owls had flown the proverbial coop.

I also lost the ability to put subjects, verbs, and objects into phrases, sentences... really anything of meaning, much less eloquent groupings.

Anyway once I arrived at the office, I proceeded to fall UP the stairs and bruise my knee. Then I threw away a file I needed later, lost $1 to an evil Pepsi vending machine, spent two hours trying to find a parking spot near the bank and missed lunch (which wasn't healthy, considering I'm stressed out anyway and have been spending way too much time at the gym). And I was further stressed by my worry for my grandmother, who last weekend broke her neck, (can you believe that?) and I hate to bother anyone by talking about it (and once one breaks up with the boyfriend, there goes the built-in support system -- but you'd think I'd be used to it after 3 months, wouldn't you?) and so I spent the day a tightly-wound, hungry, anxiety ball.

Oh, and then someone used my least favorite word in the universe, and our computer system was being fixed so I was unproductive at work, and when I got home, my cat was sleeping on my PILLOW (which is not allowed, FYI) and the house was as empty as a tomb -- an emptiness surpassed only by that of my fridge. Which was bad, because I just wanted to cook and dance around in my slippers and not go to the grocery store to face humanity and the very small balance in my checking account.

And I can still hear those damn loggers in my head, even though all that was yesterday.

But it's OK, because I've come to a realization: I just need to tip over my T.V. tray life, spilling out all the stupid trivial crap that sits in it, packaged in little plastic cubes in a soggy cardboard box. It'll fall right on the carpet in the middle of the family room, and I'm just gonna leave the mess sitting there for someone else, for once.

The T.V. guide and all it's little black and white blocks of wasted time will lay there, pages spread all caddy-wompus like broken wings of a magpie (don't feel bad, magpies are annoying). The little cardboard spoon that came with the sick-sweet dixie cup will be broken under the weight of the main course -- a frozen block of gray brown ice -- which will fall on top of it - dead weight - something that used to be animal.

I think I'll hang on to the tray, though. The tray I like, because on it I've painted an ocean scene which I like because I like the ocean.

Also, T.V. trays are handy if you ever need a table for a spur of the moment picnic or a place to play Scrabble (which I love) or somewhere to let the leaves you picked up in the fall dry out and crinkle that rusty red brown that looks like it has to smell like every fall since the beginning of time...

And after that's done, I'll smile and sleep on a plane headed somewhere far away -- maybe the East Cost, maybe the Far East -- and let the maid clean up the mess that isn't mine anymore in my family room hundreds of miles away.

Really, a vacation COULD probably fix almost anything, minus world hunger and whatever's wrong with that guy who invented the bologna with the pimentos in it, right?

Thanks for being my hostage. You may go now.

I wish you everything on the list of good things the rest of the week (you know... that one on the right?) :)

I feel much better, now.

November 15, 2005

Greyhound, Seat 4C

So Erin at Poetic Acceptance gave me an assignment recently: to write a poem with the opening line:

"The clock runs in the shadows
as well as in the light"

Here is my attempt:

Greyhound, Seat 4C

The clock runs in the shadows
as well as in the light
but still she hides it
in her pocket.

Swallowed by the humm-thump of bus tires,
the pounding of her swollen heart
and raw, heaving ribcage,
she watches the blurry world

spin by with unnatural speed,
a palate of rust
and slate
in the dawn.

Dizzied, she fixes eyes to the horizon,
on that point where the dull, potholed highway
meets young lemon light,
and fingers the change in her palm --

enough for perhaps a few more transfers
and another cup of bitter coffee at the next stop,
last time so black
she couldn't see her reflection in the styrofoam cup.

Squeezing her eyes against the glare,
she leans her head to the vibrating window,
letting go.

A shudder shakes through her like a current
and a single salty orb slides from its swollen womb
to hang heavy
on long, damp lashes.

It slips onto velvety cheek,
waning as it purposefully rolls,
leaving part of itself -- a telltale trail--

But when it lands in one final rush,
pooled, glistening sorrow at the corner of her curved mouth,
it is much to familiar
and she much too weary

to notice it's flavor
like the sea on her tongue
or the man in 4D,
in awe of her,

offering his handkerchief.

The 6th Poetry Carnival: Ars Poetica

What is a poem? Why do we write? As poets, what is the experience -- the process -- of writing, and how is it different from the experience of having finally written?

This, the 6th Poetry Carnival, explores works inspired by "Ars Poetica": today our poets speak on their art. Not suprisingly, each keyboard clicked a little differently, each eraser, every wastebasket, all 52 spirals on each notebook looked and felt and meant differently to each poet.

Sometimes the significance of the poem was simply the act of discovering it, as in "Poetry Happens", by Adam Graham. He describes the writing of a poem as a sudden experience -- perhaps divine inspiration?:

"It comes in a moment,
In an instant, in a flash,
It comes without warning,
And it demands written down."

For Martin at Complete and Utter Poetry in "Ars Poetica (Occasional Flashes of Lucidity)", poems also emerge unpredictably -- sometimes from the fog of sleep. He describes the experience of learning to capture and cultivate those gifts:

"I grope for things just out of reach-
At last, a phrase is caught
I explore its form
Learn its texture, shape and weight"

In an untitled, two-line poem, Troy Oster expresses the frustration of a struggle for inspiration and purpose -- perhaps that is the discovery of the poem?:

"Stifled in the mundane with an absence of prophetic epihany I exist in unknown pursuit of that unknown which I am to pursue. There would be other days but that was the only day never to repeat itself."

In That Which Drives Me at My Serenity Vijay ponders a poet's need for inspiration in the first place:

"With every passing second, a new life,
With every uttered word, a perfect statement,
With every action done, a perfect event,
Such perfection, this harmony, beyond limits.
Is there a need for reason to write poetry?"

Regardless of why we write, few poets find their work and their approach static. In "Love of Fare", Violet leans on some delicious food imagery when describing her relationship with poetry. She fancies herself a chef, sampling from the plates of many as she assesses and develops her skills as a poetry chef:

"Wine of symbol and sound
liqueur lyrics abound
I’m becoming an addict of diction ..."

Daniel Barkowitz at Talking to Myself discusses poetry as a state of being in "ours, Poetica" -- and its being, perhaps, a metaphor for itself:

"Imagine, were it possible to see
a world where every object was expressed
as reference to another, every tree
a metaphor, and every one addressed

by 'rose' or 'poem' or 'ancient crooked man'."

At GlitteringMuse, Garnet also explores this idea -- does a poem inspire being, or does being inspire a poem? In "Writing a Poem", Garnet discusses a moment spent trying to create, and finding perhaps he already had:

I see the shapeshifting reality bulge
around the illusory hibiscus I could never match.
Veils of words needs constant shattering
to lighten thick, moldy layers of thatch.

Perhaps a poem is an invitation. Andrew Nichols at briefly encourages his poetry, and his readers, to BE the experience in "Philosophical Poetry":

"Dance on God’s fingertips.
Don’t pay too much attention to my reckless advances.
Bitter or sated, always be bright.
Speak to me alone; sing to many universes.
Cry with me, laugh with me.
No matter how we’ve aged, let us touch like new lovers.
Dance with me."

What should a poem do and mean? At Words To Go With Poetry Renee likens a poem to the changing and change-making water in her version of Ars Poetica:

"Sometimes the beauty of the wild water
Sometimes the ease of a canalled stream
Freedom to flow, shaping rocks to pebbles
Raging in canyons, an ever changing path."

In Erin Monahan's Ars Poetica, a poem appears to act as the healing of a self-inflicted infection, a passion, a child, a relief:

"Let it be a draining of pus
from infected palms, wounded
by the blunt edges of your own
spoiled and sod-soiled nails."

Ed Kidhardt's Beachhead explores a related theme of burying that which inspires a poem, (love? fear? passion? hope?) only to find that it's a hardy little bugger, and lives like a rockflower in the most barren and forgotten places:

"The one fatal flaw, it came from the act
of hiding this thing so deep in the earth
though we never watered or tended it
divine intervention gave the seed birth"

In the end, maybe none of us really know why we do it -- just that we're compelled to. In Billy The Blogging Poet's version of Ars Poetica, Billy says he writes:

"To plead to my lover,
to strike an accord,
to relieve my disgust
with my broken down Ford."

And ultimately, he says, perhaps we do it simply because we've discovered we're able to, and it feels good, and that is reason enough.

**To participate in the next Poetry Carnival, join the Google Group!**

November 11, 2005

I am actually confessing that I am the stereotypical female driver. This will only happen once, so you'd better read it now.

I am a not good driver. By which I mean, of course, I am extremely bad.

I am so not good that when my most laid-back of friends rides in the car with me, her fingers get all white and claw-like from gripping the "oh, shit!" handle the entire time we're driving.

I am so not good that I have honest-to-God almost killed myself more times than I have fingers doing something stupid like turning out in front of a semi or floundering around for a CD for 3 minutes straight, the whole time forgetting that I have to actually watch the road to know where to point the car.

I am so not good that I have knocked over entire mailbox "ports" -- those huge towers of mailboxes with, like, an entire street's mail in them -- SOBER.

But, you see, in typical me form, I will now demonstrate to you why it is not my fault that I am the stereotypical (OK, worse than stereotypical) bad female driver.

I grew up on a petting zoo. It wasn't a real petting zoo, I just called it that. It was really a house sitting on 3.5 acres in a Seattle suburb. Which meant that we had a lot of space to play with. This meant different things to each member of my family. To my mother, it meant that we could have a small farm's worth of animals: goats, sheep, ducks, chickens, geese, guinea hens (yes, guinea hens), rabbits, dogs, cats, fish, etc. To my brother, it meant he had 3.5 acres and a reasonable amount of yard equipment (hedge clippers, saws, hammers, even a wood-splitter) with which he could accidentally nearly kill or maim himself a number of ways. To my father, it meant that he needed "man-toys" with which to act out a very serious internal make-believe settlers-and-indians game he'd been playing since somewhere between 1949 and 1954. Which meant that, along with a good pipe and regular bonfires, he also needed settler-ish stuff, including a tractor.

Which is why I ended up, one day when i was 7, seated on a tractor going 5 miles per hour towards my garage. I had been told by my father to park said tractor in front of the garage, and initially I was doing great: the vehicle was slowly making its way to the garage thanks to my diligent steering. The problem was that I hadn't been entirely de-briefed by the "chief" on how to park the tractor once I got sufficiently close to the building. So i just kept going, having faith that the Chief would give instructions when it came time to take action. Only he didn't -- well, not until the bucket of the tractor was penetrating the door of the garage. Then he must have heard the ruckus and been stirred from his wigwam work or something, because he came running at me screaming "CLUTCH! CLUUUUTTTTCCHHH!!!!!" as I dutifully steered the tractor straight through the garage door.

I mean, I was SEVEN. Years old. I didn't know what a clutch was. I was busy thinking about what my Barbie was going to wear on her hot date that night, not studying the DMV's illustrated driver's manual.

So anyway, we turned the gaping hole into a very large doggie door, which I crawled through when locked out (or stealing frozen food from the garage freezer) until I grew hips my sophomore year in college.

I think that pretty much set me up to have driving anxiety for the rest of my life. Also, my dad is absolutely worse than me, which is really scary, because while I usually drive badly sober, he usually couples his inability to drive with a few martinis and is really lax on the whole seatbelt thing. Which is not to say he's a drunk, just a... well, nevermind.

There's more on my bad driving, but it will have to wait until next time, as my geekiness may reach dangerous levels if I remain in my office much after 5:10 on a Friday night. So, adieu, my friends. Have a good weekend. And don't worry about me: I now take the bus.

November 02, 2005

Translator, please?

I love this blog (click title for link) but I have no idea what it's about, as It's not written in English.

Anyone out there fluent enough in Spanish to enlighten me? I can pick out bits and pieces, but am hesitant to do so if one of you can scan and paraphrase. Who is the blogger? What's their purpose?

Many of these are clearly not original, but some of them might be. And most of them are really cool. The mystery of what's inspiring this blog might be half the allure for me, but you take a look and tell me what you think...

The Poetry Carnival is here!

Welcome, one and all, to the 6th Poetry Carnival!

Ars Poetica: A poem or verse which sets forth a poet’s principles for the art of poetry. Horace wrote the original Ars Poetica somewhere between 18 and 20 B.C. It reads like a thesis on the art of poetry – its purpose, its form, its intent.

Later, Archibald MacLiesh and Czeslaw Milosz were both inspired by Horace to craft their own verses with the borrowed title “Ars Poetica”, MacLiesh’s version can be read here.

This Carnival’s challenge is to create your own Ars Poetica. Dabble in art for art’s sake. What is your personal rulebook for the function, craft, form or purpose of a poem--or are there rules? What motivates you, a poet? What you seek to accomplish each time you set pen to paper (or fingertip to keyboard, as it may be)? What is a poem? What mustn’t it be? All mediums and formats welcome -- after all, you're the poet.

Submissions due by November 12 (next Saturday) at noon. They should be submitted to, or via the "email" button at the bottom of this post, and should include the following:

Your Name (or pseudonym):
Title of Blog:
URL of Blog:
Title of Poem:
Permalink URL of the Poem:
Excerpt to showcase:

To join the Poetry Carnival google group, go here and sign up. Or, click on the title, above, to link to danweasel's Poetry Carnival page. All are welcome!

Looking forward to your submissions... the carnival will be up Monday, November 14.

October 31, 2005

We're famous! Ok, not really...

Billy the Blogging Poet has highlighted Legwarmers as Day 52 of "100 Blogging Poets in 100 Days". Check it out here. But please note the disclaimer: 100 Blogging Poets is by NO means a "top 100" of sorts -- so don't go thinking I'm all special or anything... we all know better, don't we? :)

While perhaps I am neither famous nor talented, thanks, Billy, for bringing a whole new set of fresh meat to Legwarmers. I'm nothing if not lucky. :)

I may be the host of an upcoming Poetry Carnival... so watch for that. In the meantime, check out the last one here.

October 26, 2005

Never ever ride the bus late at night.

Whoa... Were my self-esteem directly tied to the emails I recieve after each post, the last post would have sent me into a complete me-loving frenzy. I would, in fact, be under the impression that I'm only a lyric away from signing a record deal and riding off into the sunset in a tinted-windowed tour bus surviving only on my ability to write mediocre verses. Which would mean I definitely need to go shopping for a leather jumpsuit and an entire wardrobe of sequins.

In short, thank you for your kind words. And message recieved. More to come, as soon as I'm struck by incredible boredom/self pity/love at first sight.

::steps off soapbox::

You remember that magical bus story from when you were little? What's it called?


Aaah. "The Magic Schoolbus". Remember it? And Ms. Frizzle taking the kids on these crazy magical bus rides through the galaxy or their intestines or the deep deep scary-glowing-fish-who-look-like-aliens sea? I sort of felt like I was on the grown up, cracked-out version on the bus home last night.

I stayed out late after work with a couple co-workers. Saw a foreign film. Ok, it was an action flick.

::shifty eye action, lip biting, finger twiddling::

FINE. It was "In Her Shoes". Whatever.

The point is, after the movie I had to hop on a bus to get home. The stop I needed to use was the one on 3rd street, just up from the market, in a sketchy retail part of town. Stores close, freaks and gangsters come out, and the transients go to bed in every doorway.

So I'm waiting at the bus, and this guy who smells like he's never wiped in his life keeps walking by me and referring to a "sweetie" (which I sincerely hope wasn't me) and scratching all over and licking his lips. The 10 minutes I spend waiting at the bus stop were some of the longest minutes ever. THEN, I get on the bus, open my book, and begin to plug those uncomfortable little I-Pod headphones into my head when I (well, everyone on the bus) notice there's the quintessential meth-head on the bus, scratching and talking exactly one million miles an hour to what appears to be herself. Well, at first that's what I thought, until a pair of very loud African American women near the front engaged her in an argument.

Turns out My Friend Meth was saying 3 things over and over: "I'm native american!" "I just can't believe how black you are!" and "look at black curly black ness I can't believe gurgle gurgle..." or something. Anyway, lots about the blackness of the black hair of these women with curly black hair and brown skin. Meanwhile, the two ladies seem to have completely forgotten that this woman is clearly under the influence of the demon of drugs, and decide they'll get upset about crazy's comments and start yelling and threatening her. Well, at this point, all book-reading is futile as I'm devising a survival plan should things get ugly. Namely duck under the significantly large man sitting next to me. While I'm busy having escape fantasies and pretending I'm invisible by averting my eyes and ocasionally squeezing them shut and counting to ten, the bus driver begins to yell at the already yelling ladies, only worsening the problem and causing everyone on the bus to increase the intensity of their practiced eye aversion.

THEN, as if we all weren't WAY uncomfortable enough, some stressed-out passenger just can't wait and LIGHTS A CIGARETTE AND PROCEEDS TO SLOWLY AND DELIBERATELY SMOKE IT ON THE BUS.

Well, this drives the bus driver (heh heh) nearly off his rocker -- which is a bad, bad thing, as he's driving the bus that is supposed to deliver my ass safely home.

Which is where I eventually wound up, after we pulled over on Hwy 99 and threw a couple passengers out.

So it was an eventful night. Tonight, I think I'll watch "Lost" and maybe even pop some popcorn if I'm feeling crazy. Or illegally download a Metallica song. Oooooh. I've really turned over a new, brave, live-life-on-the-edge leaf, haven't I?

Aaw fuck it. I was always a good girl. No amount of piercing, swearing and drinking will cure me of that. Hope you're not dissapointed.

Today's soundtrack -- funky latin and old jazz, sung new:
"Mariposa (en Havana)" by Si Se
"Waters of March" sung by Jane Monheit
"Reflejo de Luna" by Alacran
"Don't leave me now" by Amparanoia

October 24, 2005

The untruth

You told me I was a hurricane, once;
sucking people up out of their lives
like frogs from their cool, happy creekbeds
and dropping them, shaken, somewhere hopeful and bright.

You told me I felt as natural as rain,
like soap on your damp body.
You said I left you cool but sweet;
I was proud of the traces me on your skin.

You watched my eyes burn but didn't tell me I was beautiful.
I forgot what to do when a man doesn't say that.
Each day you cleared your throat and didn't say it
I blinked and began to believe I was gone.

You called me a contradiction one day at the fair,
pointing out in my hair the chewed pencil that held it,
then breathing softly on the silver and diamonds
embedded proudly in each of my ears.

You said I spoke like a shotgun at three in the morning
after our talk left me pale and raw,
and I envied your aim; your sharpshooter hand so steady
it almost didn't hurt as I bled birdshot words.

You watched my eyes burn but didn't tell me I was beautiful.
I forgot what to do when a man doesn't say that.
Each day you blinked, cleared your throat and didn't say it
drove me closer and closer to gone.

You watched my eyes burn.
For you I was beautiful,
but I'd forgotten what to do when a man says that.

That day I didn't blink,
and when you finally said it

I was gone before you cleared your throat.

October 19, 2005

Chop, Chop...

Tonight is the night! Giant Panda and PUTS at Chop Suey. Last time I was there, the opening act (Byrdie) was significantly better (in spite of a sound crew who acted like they'd never seen a monitor before) than the headliner, who shall remain nameless. So I'm looking forward to an all-around strong show tonight.

Currently listening to:
Nikka Costa -- Push and Pull

October 18, 2005

Keep your warm buns to yourself, please.

I am a regular (twice daily) user of public transportation. Being in Seattle, I'm lucky that I've got access to a really good transit system (and one that runs partially on bio-diesel, no less).

I quite like the bus: it's regular, it's much much better than spending my life savings/beer money on gas that's so expensive it makes me hyperventilate, I don't have to park my bus, and my dog can ride with me. All these are good things.

But I have one major problem with riding the buses -- it's the invisible menace that has increasingly become a source of some anxiety for me each and every time I lower myself into one of the dozens of map-pattern upholstered buckets.

Warm seats.

I hate them. There's something so creepy and gross about sitting down on a bus in the morning and feeling the heat from someone else's ass radiate into your pants until your butt is, in a sense, being heated by the left-behind energy waste of some stranger's derrierre. Call me crazy, but it just seems dirty... if there's heat left behind, there must be germs. Same concept as smells.

If you can smell something, that means there are tiny particles of that something in the air that are going into your nose and mouth. So if your roommate is the chili-eating kind, DO NOT under any circumstances use the restroom within 30 minutes of their exit or you'll be ingesting whatever is left stinking the air up.

Same goes, I think, for hot seats on busses.

It's just that my butt-heat is personal, you know? And I don't need any of yours, thanks.

October 17, 2005

This month, I'll rollerskate while sarcastically collecting stamps and popping seafood flavored popcorn while flossing.

In the weeks since "Talk Like A Pirate" day, I must have developed an accute sensitivity to bizarre "appreciation" days and "awareness" months and whatnot, because everywhere I go I am bombarded with cute little ribbons people think I should buy to support "herpes awareness week" or "MILF appreciation day".

I don't know... maybe it's just me, but everytime I see a poster commemorating some nasty disease prevention month, I just get the ickies. It really doesn't help the hypochondria. I mean, these awareness campaigns actually work. I'm now really, really aware that there are many diseases out there I had never worried about before. I'm buying little rubber charity bracelets like they're going out of style (well, you know what I mean) and I'm still spending large amounts of time teeth-grinding, feeling itchy, and obsessing over tiny moles. This is not. a. good. thing.

So, in an attempt to educate myself out of my thoughts of certain death, I turned to the Internet. This turned out not to be such a good idea either, as my first search resulted in me clicking on a page containing material that was not only not work-safe, but also went in to FAR too much detail about the methods by which many diseases are transmitted. Mucus membranes galore. Don't judge me... it was an accident.

Anyway, the search was ultimately fruitful and a little funny, as I discovered that there really IS a National Prune Breakfast Month (January)-- that's right, folks -- someone is actually suggesting that we ALL eat prunes for breakfast the whole month of January. And spend most of the month supressing gag reflexes and standing in line for the one dirty bathroom in an office building full of people with gas. Pleasant.

Now that I am fully armed with information on what precisely I (and you) should be aware of every day of every week of every month of every year, I deliver to you... the month of October:

AIDS Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Crime Prevention Month
Disability Awareness Month
Energy Awareness Month
Fire Prevention Month
National Book Month
National Chili Month
National Construction Toy Month
National Cookie Month
National Dental Hygiene Month
National Popcorn Poppin' Month
National Roller Skating Month
National Seafood Month
Sarcasm Awareness Month
Stamp Collecting Month

October 07, 2005

This just in: Men like to pee on stuff. And singing Indians are funny.

A friend emailed me this photo today. The caption reads:

"In Amsterdam, the tile under Schiphol's urinals would pass inspection in an operating room. But nobody notices. What everybody notices is that each urinal has a fly in it. Look harder, and the fly turns into the black outline of a fly, etched into the porcelain. If a man sees a fly, he aims at it. Fly-in-urinal research found that fly etchings reduce spillage by 80%. It gives a guy something to think about. A perfect example of process control."

Apparently this clever little story has been considered an urban legend and has been floating around the ether for around a decade. But an engineering professor, Kim Vicente, wrote a book called "The Human Factor" (Routledge, 2004) and asserts that it is, in fact, true. Go to Amsterdam for the beer, the bridges, the scenery, and the impeccable urinals with tiny fake flies in them. He writes:

" may notice there's a fly in the urinals. So what do you think most men do? That's right, they aim at the fly when they urinate. They don't even think about it, and they don't need to read a user's manual; it's just an instinctive reaction. The interesting feature of these urinals is that they're deliberately designed to take advantage of this inherent human male tendency."

My question: why a FLY? Why not a flower or a fish, or a dot? What is it about a fly that makes men driven to pee on it? Are they trying to kill it? I wouldn't be suprised. Animals.


So I know you know the little couple on SNL who do the funny covers of pop music under the premise that they're elementary school music teachers. Until today, I thought that skit concept couldn't get any funnier. But clearly, I had forgotten how fantastically ridiculous most things sound in an East Indian accent.

Because this skit actually caused me to *snort* while laughing (which I almost never do, because it's unladylike -- lie lie lie...) I would like to introduce to you: Happy Tabla & Singer Guy!!

Please tell me they're drunk. On the upside, 'One-Two Step' has never sounded better. I think these two sunglassed, cross-legged indian guys can easily take Ciara in the talent department. And they clearly have rhythm. My money's on their dancing, too.

Have a good weekend!

September 29, 2005

Bated/Baited Breathing

For all you folks out there who fancy yourselves marketers, advertisers or are otherwise involved in the tangled web (not Web) of consumerism, commerce and capitalism, I have some cool and intruiging news about Seth Godin's next big thing. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, you should probably read his books, for a couple of reasons.

First, because they're full of some cool, reasonable theories about how marketing does work, should work, and will work. And he addresses the many ways traditional media marketing is broken -- how most of us, as creators and users of these channels, are stupid and overstimulated and blind and generally too lazy to find new ways to make people care again. (Namely, by selling something that's remarkable and doesn't rely on clever, creative, useless advertising space in the middle of a prime-time sitcom or the Superbowl. Because that just doesn't sell stuff anymore.)

Second, you should read his books because word on the street is that he's not gonna be doing many more. The inventor of the Purple Cow Himself has apparently recognized his cow is beginning to look more brown than purple and that he'd better take his own advice and get on with something new... and cool... and purple again. It looks to me like it will be found here.

In other news, a robot in Chile found buried treasure on the island that inspired Robinson Crusoe. And we're not screwing around, here.

We're talking treasure like you imagined when you were playing pirates with that cool pirate ship-themed lego set while in your bathtub with your cousin at the tender age of 4 and a half. Or maybe that was just me. But anyway, billions of dollars in booty. By which I mean gold coin and jewels and a couple papal rings and stuff.

Reuters posted an article on the find some odd fourteen hours ago, and I guess the goodies haven't even been dug up yet because now Wagner (the group who own the robot who found the treasure) and the Chilean government are in the throes of a passionate debate about who, besides the long-gone Incas from which they were originally pillaged, the goods now belong to, after being buried for 5 centuries. Hmmm...

I hear People Under the Stairs are going to be in Seattle soon. Like, maybe exactly October 19 at Chop Suey. God, I love those guys. If they don't play Mid City Fiesta, though, I might be that one white girl that freaks out and starts screaming requests at a hip hop event like it's TRL. Here's to hoping I can keep my cool. Anyway, I'm waiting for the 19th with bated breath.

:: After typing that phrase -- "bated breath" -- I spent probably thirty full seconds thinking about what a weird phrase that is. Then, I googled it. ::

"...bated breath refers to a state in which you almost stop breathing
through terror, awe, extreme anticipation, or anxiety. Shakespeare is the first
writer known to use it, in The Merchant of Venice:

"Shall I bend low and, in a bondman’s key, / With bated breath and
whisp’ring humbleness, / Say this ...”

Nearly three centuries
later, Mark Twain employed it in Tom Sawyer:

eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung
upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the

For those who know the older spelling or who stop to
consider the matter, baited breath evokes an incongruous image, which Geoffrey
Taylor humorously (and consciously) captured in verse in his poem Cruel Clever

Sally, having swallowed cheese/ Directs down
holes the scented breeze/ Enticing thus with baited breath/ Nice mice to an
untimely death

[Thanks, World Wide Words!]

If I started a band, I think I'd call us The Cruel Clever Cats. Or maybe The Band. That might be really good. Like when people name bars "The Office" or "The Bookstore" or call strip clubs "The Lumberyard" or "A Bowling Tournament".

(They might not do that, but they should. Just think how few women would be interested in accompanying their husband/boyfriend to "A Bowling Tournament".)

I'm a genius.
I'm also single.

Call me!

September 19, 2005

Back, ye scurvy dogs!

Today is official talk like a pirate day. I learned this when walking back from lunch. While waiting at a crosswalk, I noticed that next to me were a couple typical yuppie Microsoft-types with blue shirts and ties. Which typically I wouldn't notice, except they were both wearing eyepatches and scowling. I must have looked suprised, because one of them turned and informed me, in full pirate-speak and with a faux (I think) drunken swagger, that it was, well, official talk like a pirate day.

So I scurried back to my office and did a little research, and sure enough... Dave Barry thinks it's talk like a pirate day too (check out the link, above, for his introduction to this important holiday). And Anna Nicole Smith is also celebrating, I think... or is that just the typical swaying, slurring, and breast-exposing? Whatev.

Today Engadget has this photo up of a special ergonomic pirate keyboard.

And, if you struggle to translate English into pirate, as I do, check this translation site out.

Enjoy, mayties! The day is still young... and the liquor store is open. Buy yerself some whiskey and celebrate proper-like.

(That translator thing is sweet.)

September 17, 2005

Spam Off!

Eff these spammy comment-leavers and emailers!

Seriously. You're not creative... you're not clever... you didn't just figure out the secret to getting clicks on your crappy-ass selling-garbage website. You're just annoying me, humble blogger, and causing me to write about you, which is boring and hateful and generally uninteresting. HONESTLY. If you're that desperate to sell whatever it is you're selling, you're probably going out of business. Just cut your losses now and maintain whatever dignity you have left and leave me and my quirky little practically nonexistant blog alone!!! (I'm starting to feel like Ben Stiller in the airplane scene of Meet The Parents -- "I just want you to take those little sticks out of your ears and listen to what I'm saying..." and, later: "Bomb bomb bomb! Bomb bomb, bomb-bomb!")

In related news, this guy is pissed off at link spammers (aka comment spam) and is doing something about it. Blacklist away, Simon! Spammers, beware! And be ashamed. You're lame.

September 16, 2005

He-Man, Mach-18's and Alf.

To celebrate the arrival of the weekend, I thought I'd share this ridiculously funny link that I recieved from a colleague who found it on Drawn. If you're at work, please note that unless you work in a place where the volume can be up and you can be your own private dancer, I highly recommend waiting until you're approaching 3 sheets this evening to click the aforementioned link.

But just so you don't feel left out and you have something more quiet, but equally entertaining, here's a little something you CAN click. Did you know there's a 5-bladed razor coming out? Why can't they stop with the adding of blades? And why doesn't someone just release, like, a 10 bladed razor just to fuck with everyone else? We're doing this wierd blade by blade increase, and it's like these companies actually believe us consumer whores are going to think a 5-bladed razor is actually worth an extra dollar. Or that investors are going to scratch their chins and say "Gee, you know Schick is coming out with a 7-bladed razor? That's really innovative. We should buy our life savings worth of stocks in that cutting-edge company for sure!"

I am flying to Boise to go to a wedding this weekend. I love weddings. The ceremony, the cool and strange family members that attend, the token drunk uncle/sobbing father/pissed off bridesmaid with bad hair, the food, the toasting, the public displays of affection from old people, the cake-fight part, the typically bad music, the bunny hop, the little kids in their tuxes and fluffy dresses running around like little miniature brides and grooms screaming like 3 foot banchees, the groomsmen who inevitably mack on the one good looking bridesmaid which ultimately ends in a) a scuffle, b) an illicit video, c) a very satisfied bridesmaid, or d) none of the above -- I just have an active imagination and a little spare time on my hands at the moment.

Anyway, I think they're great. And I hardly ever think about the fact that everyone I know is getting married and I'm newly single and the prospects aren't looking so promising and I'm starting to suspect what the leftist lesbians say about men just might be true. (Lie) And I'm really looking forward to the whole boquet toss part and plan to definitely not sneak out just before that happens (also a lie).

So the net net is that I really am looking forward to this whole wedding thing, or at least most of it, and I wish you were going to be there to share in the drama and the glory of it all with me. Too bad... you'll have to wait for the pictures to develop.

And, finally, the hippest kid on the internet:

Alf rocks. And this little fat kid knows it, and is proud. So, by default, this kid is the coolest ever. I don't think you can/should argue with that logic.

Happy Friday!

September 12, 2005

The dangers of walking city streets in heels: Part I

Lacking physical coordination, skill, or grace.
Awkwardly constructed; unwieldy: clumsy wooden shoes; a clumsy sentence.
Gauche; inept: a clumsy excuse.


So I recently managed to hurt and humiliate myself while traveling less than 1 block in the span of approximately 3.5 minutes.

Mid-morning, my friend and colleague D. and I walked out of my office building, took a left, walked half a block, crossed the street, and went up the stairs and into an SBC for a cup of coffee, as is becoming a tradition. While tucked in the safe womb of the coffee house, all was well, except that I paid nearly 5 dollars for a latte. Even the walk down the stairs went smoothly, and we managed to cross the street unscathed. But, when I hit the FLAT 1/2 block leading up to the office door, I suddely felt my left foot fly, as if I'd accidentally stepped on ice, out in front of me. (This was almost akin to an out of body experience, in that I had not TOLD my foot to do what it was doing, and as the horrifying realization of that washed over me, I could only watch myself with a mixture of fascination and confusion, as if floating over my unruly body.)

My right foot stayed firmly planted on the ground, again, without being told to.

As you can imagine, this "two feet going opposite directions" thing left only one possible outcome: I was going down.

In a last ditch effort to save myself, I flung my arms out to the sides. Recognizing that my right hand held a cup of coffee worth its weight in gold, I proceeded to hold it very still above my head while flinging my outstretched left arm first backward, and then forward to try to regain some sense of balance. This only resulted in making me look like a dying one-winged bird with a cup of espresso. Long story short, I finally hit pavement. Fully. With D. watching on.

I, of course, immediately burst out in a fit of laughter, which was only made worse by the fact that D. clearly couldn't decide whether he was supposed to be helping me or laughing or walking away as fast as he could. A comical mixture of shock, pity, embarassment and hilarity appeared on his face, alternating in no particular order.

To make matters even more ridiculous, as I was getting up (and feeling a little mopey about the fact that I had just fallen down on a public Seattle street for no apparent reason while wearing my hottest heels and a new pair of jeans, which I was going to have to wash and check for ass-scuffing, now) I noticed that I had somehow managed to set my coffee down, upright, before I hit the ground.

It's like my inner mom kicked in, with a "do you know how much that coffee just cost you? You could buy health insurance with what you just spent on that! And now you're going to drop it?!!!" and caused me to involuntarily sacrifice my body for a shitty cup of overpriced espresso.

As a matter of fact, D. later said he thinks I might have pulled out of the whole trip unscathed, had I not been clearly attempting not to spill a drop of joe for the duration of my struggle with gravity.

And now my knee is swollen and sore. What gives?

This wasn't my first public run-in with physics. Just a week before the SBC "trip", a co-worker and I were walking out of Washington Mutual after depositing our paychecks. I was, again, wearing some really cute cuffed pants and heels. I pranced down the first set of stairs, which overlook the street and a patio on which sit 15-40 people at any given time. This stair-prancing didn't cause me a problem, so I must have been feeling a little cocky when I got to the second set, because I took them a little faster. Big mistake.

My increased speed resulted in me catching my right heel in the cuff of my left pant leg, which had the effect of straitjacketing my legs together. I let out a shriek that probably called dogs from the greater Seattle Metro area, and lunged forward. I would have plunged headfirst down the stairs, legs crossed, with no means of recovering my footing, had my co-worker not been in front of me. Luckily, he heard my scream (who didn't?), and turned and caught me with some superhuman reflexes (that I clearly do not posess). Honestly, that one probably would have knocked a few teeth out of me if I had been alone. But since it didn't, I spent the next five minutes laughing so hard I cried as I thought about how funny it would have looked if I just ate it the all the way down the marble stairs in front of a whole courtyard of strangers and a busy street downtown.

How is it possible for me to be so singluarly lacking grace? I mean, everything in my life points in favor of me being a veritable ballerina; lilting and spinning my way lightly through the world.

The "Use It or Lose It" theory debunked:
Since I was 2 I've been an athelete. First, dance and skiing. Then, years of gymnastics (yep -- I can do the splits and stand on my hands, folks!) followed by competitive soccer and 6 years of competitive club volleyball. Oh... and track! I did (of all things) the triple jump. Isn't that, like, the most complicated footwork possible in track and field?

And I work out often, even occasionally with a trainer who makes me do all sorts of coordinated stuff. Which I do, and hardly ever hurt myself. So obviously I've got some control over my body and use it frequently enough to suggest I could navigate the world without hurting myself. I'm considering hiring a bodyguard to walk around with me and protect me from myself and catch me and whatnot. I mean, I'm pretty sure someone out there would take that job. And God knows I need it.

August 21, 2005

Hey, at least I've got drugs and Rock 'n' Roll, right?

It's been an exhausting/sad/karmic week or two in my life, (hence the limited posts) but don't worry... I've been medicating. My prescription includes:

  • Tylenol PM to induce arm-numbness followed by loopiness followed by zombie-like dreamless sleep
  • Consuming entire bottles of Cabernet with 2-3 Marlboro Ultra-Light 100's sprinkled here and there (Ultra-light because that way I can say I'm a non-smoker, 100's because they're so long and I like to call them "Marlboro Millions")
  • Everything written by Jonathan Saffron-Foer
  • A personal trainer who must hate me because he totally gets off on completely fucking kicking my ass - after which I spend 2 days free-falling to the toilet, the couch... basically anything I try to sit on. Also, my shoulders are so sore I have to walk around like one of those little Irish clogger girls who never move their arms. Which I get a kick out of, but everyone around me hates, because they have to open doors for me, spoon feed me, brush my teeth for me, etc. (But not really.)
  • Lots of good songs, up loud, in my car

Which inspired this mixtape, for your listening pleasure. It is good for:

  • Long drives
  • Early mornings
  • Forgetting
  • Remembering
  • Forgetting, dammit
  • And casual sex. (OK, not really... I just threw that in there to see if you were still with me.)

Tracks are a little sad, a little hopeful, a tiny bit silly, and go as follows:

  1. David Gray -- "Gray Sky Morning"
  2. Tegan and Sara -- "Walking With a Ghost"
  3. Jason Mraz -- "Plane" (from his new CD, which you must listen to at least 3 times through before you start liking)
  4. Bran Van 3000 -- "Drinking in LA"
  5. Alana Davis -- "Blame it on Me"
  6. Tegan and Sara -- the one with the chorus that goes "If you're gonna get up, you might as well get up with me..." (I can't for the life of me think of the title to that song right now, so if someone could help me out here, that would be great)
  7. Ben Folds Five -- "Song for the Dumped" (no, I was the dumper, but it still applies, and I still want him to give me back my damn black t-shirt)
  8. Romeo and Juliet Soundtrack -- "When Doves Cry"
  9. The Republic -- "Let It Rain" (check these guys out... they're local to Seattle, sorta Brit-rock-ish, a little like Coldplay, but less boring and curiously less popular. And they're named after Plato's "The Republic".)
  10. The Republic -- "To Go"
  11. Squarepusher -- "Iambic 9 Poetry" (Thanks, N.)
  12. G. Love and Special Sauce -- "Milk and Cereal" (Silly, but so damn good.)
  13. Jack White -- "Never Far Away"

August 15, 2005

Three things I learned this month

1. If you accidentally spray SprayMount in your eye, it terrifies you but amazingly does not glue your eye shut. Also, it doesn't seem to affect vision, at least not immediately. It does, however, make it absolutely necessary to pull out a tiny hand-mirror and fuss over your eyelashes for at least one full minute before bravely reverting to the lower-tech but lower-risk Glue-Stic to finish the job.

2. If you hold it on a plane from NY to San Francisco because you have the window seat and there is a small, strange asian man in a flashy suit sitting to the left of you who keeps falling asleep on your shoulder, who is sitting next to a Hulk-esque tattooed man who smells like cheap cologne and keeps winking at you/attempting to initiate conversation over the sleeping asian man, you are at statistically significant risk of developing a bladder infection, but are 100% likely to not have to crawl, all crotch and knees, over these complete strangers to use the tiny dirty closet toilet, which makes it worth it.

3. If you pet a bulldog on the street, the bulldog will like it, which you will know because the bulldog will snort in your face, flinging mucous all over the front part of your body. This includes your head, which suprises you because you underestimated the blowing power of the bulldog due to his shortness. You will make a mental note not to judge books by their covers. If you then add high-pitched baby-talking to the petting in an effort to cover up the embarrassing fact that the bulldog just covered you in spit, the bulldog will really like it, which you will know because the bulldog will flop on its back and show you it's "little pink thing", which is way more disgusting than the very disgusting mucous thing he did the first time. There is no covering this up, so you'll just say something like "Oh, gosh, there, little buddy!" or something equally lame, and shuffle off, mortified. This is the part where you might even shed an embarrassed tear, if it weren’t for the SprayMount Incident, which you just now discover has completely closed off your tear ducts, which makes you have to pee.

August 12, 2005

Burn the Man

I've got this friend who's really involved in the Burning Man community, and she keeps telling me these crazy stories that make me want to get in my car and drive there, just to see what I'd do. This year's theme is Psyche. For those of you unfamiliar with Burning Man (by which I mean more unfamiliar than me, which isn't saying much, since I've never been), imagine:

Herds of humanity from across the world (yes, the Burning Man community is global) swarm into Black Rock Desert in Nevada and build a fully functioning city in a matter of days. These people then inhabit the city for two weeks of "celebration". Think a total experience of self-reliance with a heavy dose of anti-commercialism, art, music, (sounds OK so far, right?) followe by nudity, dancing, psychedelic-type costumes, crazy temporary buildings, themed everything and a splash of debauchery with good times had by all, but perhaps only remembered by some.

Then, after they burn The Man on Saturday (you're starting to get this now, huh?), the city totally vanishes as if it were never there. Everyone goes home to their normal lives and takes it all with them. Gone. Without. A. Trace.

Here's an excerpt from the horse's mouth, so to speak (link to the site by clicking the headline, above):

The event takes place on an ancient lakebed, known as the playa. [Black Rock Desert, Nevada] By the time the event is completed and the volunteers leave, sometimes nearly a month after the event has ended, there will be no trace of the city that was, for a short time, the most populous town in the entire county. Art is an unavoidable part of this experience, and in fact, is such a part of the experience that Larry Harvey, founder of the Burning Man project, gives a theme to each year, to encourage a common bond to help tie each individual's contribution together in a meaningful way. Participants are encouraged to find a way to help make the theme come alive, whether it is through a large-scale art installation, a theme camp, gifts brought to be given to other individuals, costumes, or any other medium that one comes up with.

If any of you guys go, come back and tell us all about it. Sounds like a wierd/cool experience. You know... like, trippy.

August 11, 2005

Hydration: NASA cares

As if Superglue and Memory Foam mattresses weren't enough (wait - what about Silly Putty? Who effed up and invented that?) NASA can now be credited for yet another brilliant, relevant, necessary invention: a Pee Purifyer.

OK, it sounds pretty ridiculous, but this one makes some sense. Think:

  1. By enabling astronauts to recycle some of their own waste, NASA will save millions on the transportation of potable water to space alone.
  2. Then you've got the whole universal pollution issue. Yep, they used to just dump astronauts' number 1's and number 2's into the great black yonder, where it will orbit forever, probably contributing to global warming and toxic rain and male pattern baldness.
  3. Think about all the other applications here on Earth. Tsunami ravaged your corner of the planet, rendering all water a muddy, polluted mess? Drink your own pee! Draught giving you dry mouth? Drink your own pee! Live in rural Utah with negative 5 gazillion degree winters and outdoor plumbing? Drink your own pee and stay inside with your 10 kids and 2 wives, warming yourselves by the fire and singing in 13-part harmony!

Now, the PP hasn't yet been released to the general public, but by all trial accounts I could locate (OK, one) the tinkle-water doesn't taste too bad.

Laugh all you want, but next time you're stranded in the woods eating grubs and wiping with Poison Oak with only your love of Pokemon's trading card game to keep you alive, (no, seriously. Click that link. I'm not kidding. That could be you.) you'll wish you bought NASA stock. Because you COULD be drinking your own pee.

* click on the title for the full story from

August 10, 2005

Anything you want for $2.18

So the other day was $2.18 day at Dairy Queen. Actually, I don't think it really was, but the experience I had there was enough to convince me, at least momentarily, that we were all getting a real deal.

Let me start by saying this would be perhaps the second time in a year I've been to DQ... I don't generally do the fast food thing. But I was in a hurry, and in a moment of weakness, gave in to the cheap thrill of dessert before dinner.

The lines were horrendous- the man in front of me was clutching his son by the collar so as to refrain him from clobbering his older sister, who was leaning against the counter, smirking at him. Their mother marveled at the cost efficience of their meal, oblivious to conflict. The elderly, blueharied woman behind me was confounded by the fact that the photo of the Banana split blizzard looked more like chocolate than banana. It was as if her entire world was slowly being corrupted because of some sort of chocolate conspiracy, and now faithful Dairy Queen was among those on the dark side.

The woman behind her, overwieght and exasperated, harumphed a touch too loudly to her surprisingly thin daughter about the wait. In my irritated state, I wondered what she was in such a rush to do, (and with her proportions, how quickly she'd do it, anyway). I then silently reprimanded myself and decided, with a furtive glance at her, against the fries.

As the line slowly disintigrated in front of me, I watched the people busily dashing about behind the counter with their hats and chocolate stains on. I marveled at their fixations upon their individual tasks, as if their universe would end if the drive-through customer didn't get his extra slice of tomato on that deluxe burger- and in a hurry.

"Could I help the next person in line?"

They reminded me of brave, hurried ants scurrying, digging, hurrying with their oversized loads only to find all their work demolished in the morning after a six year old with a stick discovered their haven.


I shook my head and stepped up, apologizing to the acne-spotted teenager behind the counter for my daze. Ordering a small mint oreo blizzard and a fish sandwich (no mayo), I waited for my total.

As he worked at my order, he spoke over his shoulder at me.

"That's $2.18", please."

I, still working my way out of lala land, assumed I had misheard him. I leaned forward and craned my neck to see the total on the register. $2.18.

I, now realizing that some mistake had been made, I felt a small heavy pit in my stomach. This is one of those moments where your moral judgement is tested, I thought, with some frustration. Now I had a decision to make. I checked the menu and added up my order. It came to much more than $2.18, without tax. I rolled my eyes at the irony of the fact that I had only that much in my wallet, give or take .50, and on my income (nonexistant), that was a fortune to save.

Before I had much more of an opportunity to dwell, however, the ants had scurried up to the counter with my order, which had metamorphisized as they were out of mint, leaving me stuck with plain Oreo. I felt myself smile sheepishly at the continued irony of it all, and handed over my two bills and quarter. As I stepped out of the way so that the orders could go on, I watched the old woman (so worried about the chocolate in her frozen treat) inquire about the ingredients of the bannana split blizzard. I fingered the .07 in my hands and turned towards the door. Just before I reached it, however, I heard the boy at the register addresses the bluehair.

"that's $2.18, please. Thank you."

I smiled, and pushed out into the rain.

August 08, 2005

Benefits: dental, medical, social...

It's always nice to be able to experience a lifestyle you'll likely never be able to afford. It's not that I'm pessimistic or defeatist... it's just that I'll never be a computer geek. Look, I try, but it's just not going to happen for me. No one really wants to pay a writer. It's a saturated market... there's always some starving PR major willing to work for less - actually, these days there are a fair number of MBA's willing to work for nearly free.

So I'm OK with the fact that I'll always have to temporarily enjoy the fruits of someone else's labor. At least I've got pictures.

Exhibit #1: This was last weekend at Seafair on a yacht (poor me!)...

See that tiny vessel tied to the yacht? That's a pretty good sized ski boat (it seats 15 comfortably).

Three floors. 4 bedrooms. 5 bathrooms. A full-time, on-call captain. L., me. We could get used to this.

It's a bird! It's a plane! (OK, it actually is a plane - 4 of them.) Blue Angels in flight. In this formation, the cockpits are only 12 inches from the wings of another plane.

Hydroplanes. They're cool for the first 5 minutes, particularly if you're drinking. Then they're just noisy and splashy and gaudily painted and boring after that, unless they crash. Which they didn't.

Exhibit #2: A birthday soiree at Gary Payton's former swanky Seattle mansion... (formerly owned by GP, not formerly swanky).

Plasmas everywhere, a full gym on the first floor, a closet I'd pay rent to live in and an infinity hottub... it was just like a rap video (only with more clothes and less gold teeth).

The kitchen, which is the size of a regular studio apartment. Eat your underwear and sock-clad heart out, young Tom Cruise.

He had his name over, like, three doors in the house. A bit narcissistic, but we took pictures, so I guess that says something about us, too.

July 26, 2005

Another reason to travel to Asia - cartoon condoms

Yes, those are yellow condoms growing on trees - and this is an actual image of a Japanese condom package. And i thought all the Anime porn was bizarre. Apparently condoms are advertised much like candy in Asia. Seriously... the "2" with the symbols by it in the lower left translates to "2 pieces".

Check this out, too:

I presume the toddlers on the packages are there as a reminder of what unprotected sex will result in... and not as models of sexually-active-condom users... right? RIGHT? That kid's smooth, though. Check out the shades and the jujjed hair. And she's practically blushing. Eeew.

Can someone please explain this to me?

July 22, 2005

Hey, don't bash clones... they're just (exactly) like you and me!

Because they are apparently lucky enough not to have, like, REAL problems to discuss, two theologans recently tackled the difficult, pressing issue of discrimination against human clones.

[shakes her head in disbelief]

Though one is socially liberal and the other is conservative, they have apparently tired of battling each other and have joined hands on behalf of clones every(err... no?)where. They believe that the simple debate about the morality of human cloning could have dire consequences for these "clones of the future" (assuming, of course, that "pro-cloners" win the ongoing dispute). How's that for pious defeatism, by the way?


Just to reiterate, according to one of these jackasses as quoted in the Washington Post, "Human clones, individuals created asexually from a person's cells and sharing that person's genetic identity, do not exist."

Thanks for that.

He does continue, saying that though they are just a figment of our science-fiction imaginations at present, they'll arrive in the flesh, so to speak, soon enough. And when they do, "they will be troubled to learn that people once spoke of them in opinion columns and elsewhere as 'subhuman'."

There's more...

"My concern is that by the time they're among us, we will have created a culture that so rejects their production it cannot help but reject them."

And by the way, he asks that we please do not refer to them as "science fair projects" or "machines".

And I agree. That might hurt their feelings. After all, they're just (exactly) like us. Also, please talk nice about honest politicians, ugly but actually talented female pop singers, the Tribe Called Quest's next album and self-slicing bricks of cheese (I swear they're coming... it's only a matter of time).

Thank you.

July 19, 2005

"BANG!" The mental picture alone kills me...

This is a REAL piece of British news, which ACTUALLY went out in the papers. No offense to our overseas brothers and sisters with bad oral hygiene, but this is a Bush-sized blunder, for sure.

The story goes like this:

Someone in the UK miscalculated the number of blanks the British army would need to train its Iraq-bound troops. When the "whoops" was discovered, everyone was troublingly out of solutions... until one particularly smart chap must have suggested that the soldiers just yell "BANG" when they'd otherwise shoot in a training exercise. Of course, this didn't go over well with the army, but apparently no one else really gives a shit. (Just picturing it now, with the accents and the bloody hell's and all caused me to stop typing for a moment and wipe my teary eyes after a fit of giggles. It's like something out of Austin Powers... here I go again!)

Check this out (and click the title link for the whole story, which I found on BoingBoing):

A senior British army officer said:

"There is nothing more dispiriting than soldiers having to go on exercise and shout 'bang, bang' because there is not enough blank ammunition. Any benefit from the exercise will be lost because soldiers just won't take it seriously. Why should soldiers who are being sent to Iraq, where their lives will be endangered, be forced to shout 'bang' in training because someone in the Ministry of defense can't do basic arithmetic? It's a disgrace."

June 30, 2005

This week's top played

I've been hip-hop heavy this week, re-discovering old favorites and mixing in a few new ones with just a touch of other genres here or there... just a touch. I don't know what it is, but I've been a serial head-nodding, car-dancing, street humming, post-work partying, ass-shaking girl of late.

And I've been noticing all the little things again -- the tiny details that can just make your day because you're sure you're the only one who thinks the 1) graffitti on the 6th floor of the parking garage or 2) the way the new guy at the cafe across the street nervously touches his right eyebrow or 3) the old couple carefully holding hands at the bus stop is beautiful and inspiring, somehow.

I think it's all the sun that's making me a little crazy. It's had a good effect on the way I've been thinking about music, and I've found myself smiling at strangers (which could actually be dangerous on the streets near my office) and actually accepting compliments without eye-rolling or sarcasm. Whatever it is, it's been making me unusually happy. What can I say? You tell me. Listen to these 11 songs (but not in this order) and tell me if you're not feeling sorta new.

1. "Acid Raindrops" -- People Under the Stairs (if you're not listening to them, start now and remember who told you to)
2. "Flava in Ya Ear" -- Craig Mack remix feat. B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, LL, etc.
3. "The Gift" -- Blackalicious
4. "The Wreckoning" -- Boomkat
5. "Ghetto Pop Life II" & "Medieval" -- Danger Mouse & Jemini
6. "Quando Quando" -- Michael Buble feat. Nelly Furtado
7. "Who's to Say" -- Vanessa Carlton
8. "These Words" -- Natasha Bedingdield
9. "Things I've Seen" & "Karma" -- Spooks