February 20, 2006

Fantasty #18: My grocery store romance

I am convinced that sometime soon I will have a produce-aisle romantic encounter. As you know, I have predicted that 2006 will be my best year so far, and so would not be surprised if aforementioned encounter took place this very year, and was extremely hot. Remember, I'm a little clairvoyant. I certainly wouldn't bet against me, anyway. Unless it's on baseball, which I can't stand. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. Produce-aisle romance. This is a long-running, little-understood fantasy of mine, and I promise it's not as deviant as it sounds. Hear me out:

There is something very, very sexy about the grocery store. Actually, that's not precisely accurate. I should say that I feel very, very sexy when I'm shopping, alone, AT the grocery store. This inner sense of sex-appeal is something akin to the way I presume everyone feels when driving alone on a sunny day very fast on a nearly empty road, sunglasses on, great music up loud, windows down, with a bit of a tan. It's that "I could totally be in a movie right now" feeling. This feeling also strikes most people when driving slowly in the pounding rain with anything classical or melancholy/edgy (think Fiona Apple or Bjork) playing, while occasionally glancing dramatically out the window.

In short: Very dramatic, extremely cool, and, well, hot.

In the grocery store, for whatever reason, I am able to channel this inner sense of hotness. But there are a few things you have to understand:

1. It's important to note that I am not a "prancing around in heels and a mini-skirt" grocery shopper, and that wardrobe/physical attractiveness isn't the source of the sex appeal. I'm typically dressed down. Casual, presentable, but distinctly fresh and a little mussed. Hair not perfect, definitely. But teeth always, always brushed and lip gloss applied.
2. No PJ's. Jeans. Exclusively. Unless traveling on business or coming from work, in which case the occasional business apparel is acceptable, but it is preferred to have hair secured with a pen or pencil and to only be buying beverages (bottled water, juice, or wine.)
3. This is the most important parameter of all: No one feels hot pushing around a cart. I ALWAYS carry one of those little red baskets.

There is something very empowering about being a single woman in a grocery store. While I have female friends who loathe to grocery shop, citing "old-maid" shopping carts of three cans of soup, cat food and two bananas, I revel in this red flag that I am shopping for only my sustinence. I carefully select my four too-expensive Wolfgang-Puck soups and my 1/2 gallon of milk (preferably chocolate soy). I love the five different flavors of yogurt and the small boxes of handmade pasta. I make careful choices, and I'm never ashamed... in fact, I'm a little proud of the fact that everything in my basket represents me.

As I breeze up and down the aisles, I know exactly what I'm looking for and where to find it. And I smile at people and feel mysterious that they don't know what's on my list. After the boring basics are covered I head to the wine aisle. I select a couple bottles (one red, one white, usually) while thinking about what meal I'll make to correspond. (Or, more often than not, which night I will consume the entire bottle with no help from my beer-drinking friends).

Then, on to the critical last leg of the trip, where the fantasy culminates: the produce aisle.

In my fantasy, up to this point, I've been going aisle to aisle, occasionally passing the male counterpart -- a single guy braving the grocery store for his monthly stockpile, including but not limited to large amounts of cheese, beer, eggs and cereal. Dog food is a bonus. The encounters to this point might go as follows:

When we first pass each other, we notice, but secretly. Politely. The next time, we might meet on opposite sides of an old couple's shopping cart, which sits perpendicular to the aisle and has nearly blocked it off except for a space large enough for one person and a basket to pass through, we do the awkward "you go..." "no, you--" dance and exchange knowing eye-rolls. A few minutes later, we find ourselves in the same aisle again. There might be a "you again?!" exchange this time. (This is where I usually get particularly witty and irresistable.)

**note: this is the best thing about fantasies -- as they're products of your own deranged ego/imagination, you can be as cool and desireable as you... uh... desire. So please excuse the nauseating lens through which you are viewing this fantasy. You are my guest, this day, in MY psyche. Don't push it.**

Anyway, as I was saying, we pass each other a few times, there's a flirtatious exchange, and we go on our separate ways.

On my way to the register, I stop at the produce section. I carefully select some fresh food. Maybe three apples, a few oranges, a mango, greens, maybe an onion, a bag of tomatoes, celery. I dally a bit on my way out, but finally turn to go when I stop for one last thing. Perhaps portabellos... And grocery store crush is suddenly next to me, or just over my shoulder - very close, anyway - and without so much as a greeting suddenly launches into a gratuitous but hushed question about the portabello. How do you choose them, or cook them? We are conspiratorial appropriately surface, though the conversation is full of innuendo. My basket is heavy, now, and I have to prop it on a hip. My arms are tired, but he never suggests it's too much for me.

There are any number of ways the fantasy goes from here. Sometimes I cut our conversation short, making my way to the checkout line and even the parking lot before he approaches me. Sometimes we, uh, never leave the produce department. Sometimes we don't even really speak there, but look at each other furtively and then leave, never meeting again. In this case the ending doesn't matter, because it's the waiting for the ending part that's so good. Something like the cooking of a meal...

I don't know why this one has stuck with me for so long. There's just something about being around all the food -- ingredients with so much potential, possibility. And there is the mysteriousness and anonymity of obviously being a single girl in a grocery store in the city. And the fact that my basket is always full of good, exotic, interesting food that I get pleasure from selecting by scent, texture, color. It's all very, very sexy.

Please tell me someone else out there finds this hot. Anyone? It might be a little unusual, but at least it's not the standard "So I'm a teacher..." or "So I get a flat tire on a hot day and..." fantasy. It's got flair! Imagination! Subtlety!

Okay, I'm clearly just making myself feel better because I realize no one is going to understand my little produce-aisle daydream. Eh, well. I tried.

Look, it's not my only fantasy. But it is one of the many reasons I rarely have an empty fridge. (Another high-ranking one: I get very, very cranky when hungry. Ask anyone who knows me. It's terrible.)

February 14, 2006

A valentine's day confession: My fall from "cool girl" to self help

Here's the thing: I went through a heavy-duty breakup last summer.

It was the classic college romance, and I was uncharacteristically idiotic from the start: We met the first day of my freshman year, he blew me away by absolutely not noticing me at all (I told you, idiotic), I thought he was mysterious and interesting for a couple years but he never called so I dated other people who DID ask me out (only smart move I made), and finally, because we were the only two people left on campus for summer school one year, we got together. But let me be clear: he didn't really pursue me, and I most certainly didn't pursue him.

I was the standard "cool girl" in college: I cared about the NCAA championship games. I could keep up with the rigorous alcoholism training: drink malt liquour every day in the summer, (literally 10 am through 2 am) even through work and classes, while maintaining good grades and helping my friends with papers and finals. I was non-clingy, high-energy, a little feisty, totally un-skanky and up for anything. This was an idiotic and unrealistic way to live, but goddamn was it fun.

Ultimately, one day he and I just sorta ended up watching a movie exclusively with each other, sans the rest of the crew, and that was it. We, for lack of a better word, spontaneously morphed into a couple.

Fast forward: It lasted a long time. Perhaps this was because we were living in the alternate universe called "college", where dysfunction comes standard, a solid relationship is as unlikely as sobriety on a Saturday night, and turbulence abounds. Good times with him were ephemeral, but sincere and passionately good. Though not typically idiotic, I was (and still confess to being) a bit naieve, very forgiving, and far too hopeful that people are equal to or greater than what they seem, which is rarely the case.

I won't get into the details, as much to spare you as protect the guilty, but after about 5 years (3 in college, almost two out) and a few months of living together, it finally ended. It ended quietly, unlike the many intense arguments and hideous and suprising betrayals leading up to that point. I'd call the split loving, even. Without a fuss, he took the computer, I took the couches. He took the dog, I the cat. He the bed, both TV's and the microwave, I... well, I got to sleep on an air mattress for a month and haven't eaten popcorn since August, but that's really not the point.

The point is that after the split I went and did It. The cardinal sin that no "cool" girl should ever confess to. Yes. I read a self-help book.

Well, really, it's more of a runaway pop-culture hit with critical acclaim but with self-help undertones.


OK, it's a self help book, written by "striped shirt guy" (see Pat's Manity scale). And I actually read not one, but two of them. (Full disclosure, Liz. Good girl.)

That's right, I read He's Just Not That Into You AND It's Called A Breakup Because It's Broken. But in my defense, my boss bought me the latter, and a girlfriend gave me the former, so I figured they must be trying to tell me something. Because they love me dearly. And it would be rude not to read and report back to them, since that's what they were hoping for. So really only out of duty, I read them.

Cover to cover, both in the same day.

And I gotta say, the guy's on to something.

He may have hideous hair, dress like a 19 year old frat dick and clearly be either gay or insanely egotistical (in spite of the wife), but he's right:

Early mistakes in a relationship almost always indicate there will be more -- increasing in seriousness -- from that point forward. If he doesn't appear to aggressively pursue you, he's unlikely to aggressively anything you in the future. (Romance you, defend you, compliment you, converse with you or... well, you know...).

His theory is that relationship mistakes don't happen. Everything is pretty much controllable. Unless you are in a hospital bed with two broken hands and laryngitis, there's really no excuse not to call. Cheating isn't an accident, getting drunk isn't like "oops!!", and as far as I'm concerned, failing to laugh at my jokes may as well be premeditated splitsville.

And he makes the good point that if you're thinking maybe you should break up, or you find him in bed with someone else, or you recieve flowers "from" him that are actually from a friend of his who is better at romancing you than he, or he tells you you're not fabulous -- ever -- you probably should trust your instinct and listen to what he's clearly trying to say by being an asshole. And pop him in the schnoz, knee him in the groin and walk away forever. Early. Before you get attached.

Because once you get knee-deep it's like quicksand. The more you struggle, the deeper you sink into a distinctly unsatisfactory situation. Nobody likes to aspirate on sand. It's not fun, it doesn't feel lovely. But when you're deep in it, it's easy to at least be relieved you're pulling something into your lungs - sand, water or air makes no difference. The absence of something is almost as painful as the suffocation on something not quite right that you really really wish WAS right.

So here's to you, Greg Behrendt. I really believe your new show may bomb faster than the goodyear blimp in a lightning storm (because who wants to be caught watching it? that's worse than a girl having 5 cats and living in a studio apartment!), but I wish you all the best of luck. You may prey on stupid, optimistic, idealistic women in varying states of woe, but you've got a good (if late) message and one hell of a business acumen. We LOVE retail therapy and/or ice cream (cliche but true) when we're in the throes of heartache, after all.

And I didn't feel quite as guilty after reading you as I might have had I gone for the Ben&Jerry's. Not quite.


This Valentine's day, I am happily without any expectations.

I may be a little melancholy somewhere deep down, and I might be furtively listening to a few (read: LOTS) more sappy songs than usual, but this is for no specific reason other than the fact that it's sometimes nice to find a familiar arm thrown across you in the morning. Or to wake up for comfort after a bad dream (or, in my case, homoerotic dreams about Connie Chung and/or irrational panic attacks). Or to fall asleep on the couch with in front of that Sundance Film you swore you'd both like but that turned out to be worse than a Keanu Reeves variety show.

All this means that this Valentine's day, as I have no expectations, I more than likely won't be dissapointed. And the confession is that that's a sincere relief.
Now in my iPod: Squarepusher's "Iambic Nine"

February 11, 2006

I dream of... Connie Chung?

“I had a dream that Connie Chung is doing a newscast about my death and they show a clip from Soap.” - Billy Crystal
“Walter [Cronkite] sang me a little sea chantey. The verse ended, 'Just watch your back with Dan [Rather], dear, just watch your back with Dan.” - Connie Chung

So the other night, I had a dream about Connie Chung.

You likely have your own theories about this, but please realize that I am uncomfortable with the fact that sneaky (that's not a racial slur) Connie Chung somehow slipped, unfiltered, into my subconscious - and she wasn't just passing through. She was, like, the whole POINT of this dream. Here's how it happened:

I got in bed, and promptly fell asleep, somewhere near 2 in the morning. All was well with the world. I had some standard dream about flying or sex or grocery shopping, probably, until about 4:30, at which point my eyes just opened. I was wide awake. And I couldn't get back to sleep. At first this was just inconvenient, and I tossed and turned a bit, but by 4:45, it had become a full-blown panic attack.

I lay there, heart pounding, mind racing, eyes as big as saucers, trying to talk myself through the unnamed terror that was rising in me. As you know, I am a bit of a control freak and have moments of hypochondria, as well, so for me, this was pretty much the worst feeling ever. Worse than throwing up, even. I was sure I was going to have a heart attack or an aneurism or just spontaneously bleed out right then and there like in a scene from "Outbreak". It was terrible, and this lasted easily 45 minutes.

Finaly, sometime around 5:30, I got a little bit of a grip, got out of bed, and did the following: washed my face, drank a glass of chocolate milk and peered into the freezer. I don't know why I did that last part, but after standing there blinking at the ice cubes and the frozen green beans for 3 or 4 minutes, it gave me hypothermia, I'm pretty sure. In an effort to save myself from inevitable death by freezer, I raced back into my bed, where I must have succumbed to shock and lost consciousness, because I proceeded to dream the following...

::It's morning. I'm in a suit and what my great grandmother would have called "clicky heels". I click down the hall of the building I work in to the door of my office. I open it flip on the light. Sitting there, in my guest chair, is none other than Connie Chung.::

Liz: "Oh! Good morning! Can I help you?"

::Just then, thirty or fourty small children begin pouring into my office. They sit on the floor, press up against Connie and I, climb onto the desk, and generally mill around, wreaking havoc. They do not, however, make a sound. This isn't so much scary as it is totally overwhelming, given that Connie Chung has just dropped by my office and I have no idea who these snot-noses belong to::

CC: "Yes, I'm here to do a story on [insert one of my client's names], and I thought I could start by interviewing the children."

Liz: ::looking around at all the pint-sized potential interviewees, realizing I'd have to prep each one for interview:: "Of course! Let me just..."

:: at this point, I herd the zombie-kids out of my office and into a waiting room so as to reclaim control of the situation, and then return to the office to introduce myself, engage in formalities, etc. with Connie Chung::

Liz: "There. Hi... I'm Liz. It's a pleasure to meet you."

::sticks out hand for handshake, CC does the same, and we... well... shake hands. This is where it gets weird. As I'm shaking Connie Chung's hand, I realize that she has the softest hands I've ever felt. The sensation of her hand against mine was not quite sexual, but it felt very, very good. Warm, and literally the softest thing ever. It was like I was some drugged-out club kid, or something, and she was a strobe light or a feather or whatever the analogy should be to make sense. I was completely enthralled by her hands is the point. Overcome, even. Which led me to blurt out the following hideously embarrasing thing::

Liz: "You have got the most amazing, soft, BEAUTIFUL hands!!!"

::awkward pause::

CC: "Oh! Well, thank... you?"

Liz: ::realizing I just told Connie effing Chung she has "amazing, soft, beautiful hands" like a moron, and recognizing that I'd better cover for my own weird outburst, and QUICK:: "I mean, it's REALLY hard to find time to take CARE of your hands, being so BUSY, I imagine...." ::lamely trail off::

And then I woke up.
So apparently I now have anxiety attacks (this is new) and I am secretly obsessed with Connie Chung. (Also new). Don't tell Maury Povich.

February 10, 2006

Seattle to L.A. to Seattle: First class, ballers and Canadians.

This week I flew to L.A. and back for work. The way there with my client was delightful. First class. An endless supply of tiny little bottles of water. Gorgeous scones and strawberries on real plates. A coat rack. A perky little woman with sticks in her hair and blindingly white teeth who flirted with my client and largely ignored me, but relentlessly refilled our steaming coffee mugs.

The way back, we caught an early flight, as we got our work done early and wanted to dodge the nighttime Grammy traffic that we would likely have been caught up in had we stayed. The catch, though, was that we couldn't ride first class. That's right... we were to join the zoo in coach.

Hey, typically, I AM the zoo! I'm no high-maintenance traveler. But when you've flown first class less than eight hours earlier, there's something about the back of the proverbial bus that seems less than appealing. Perhaps it's that it IS less appealing.

I was seated two rows from the very back of the plane, which is a little scary in and of itself. Then, as the rest of the passengers began to file in and find their seats around me, I realized that I was to be squeezed in between two hurking seven-foot men. Turns out the entire USC basketball team would be flying, with me, back to Seattle. This is where I commenced to panic a bit. What if I had to pee? Would I have to straddle these incredible hulks to get out? What if there was turbulence and I started to spaz out and instinctively reached for a hand to hold? What if they spontaneously chest-bumped mid-flight and crushed me between their gigantic sternums?

Luckily, I somehow rationalized my way through my initial freakout, and began to cope with the fact that I'd clearly have to share my personal space for a few hours and there was nothing I could do about it. After this realization came and went, I relaxed and began to actually enjoy the traveling debacle. The "ballers", as it were, were relatively uninteresting. There was only a little leering, and though they spent a good amount of time yelling back and forth across the many rows between them, there was also only a little lewdness. Then, once we took off, one to my left fired up "The Godfather" on his laptop, and another put in "When Harry Met Sally" (no joke), and I spent the rest of the trip not working, as I'd planned, but alternately reading the lips of two distinctly different sets of fictional characters. A few times I giggled out loud at a Harry Met Sally Scene and had to quickly stifle it to hide the fact that I was watching out of the corner of my eye. It was a little embarrassing when I was found out, and the Harry Met Sally-watcher looked over at me as he angled his laptop a bit more away from me and towards him as if I was some creepy Peeping Tom (or maybe he was just embarrassed about his choice of film).

There were also some shrill Canadians on the plane. They were seated behind me, but I know there were three little girls and at least one adult female, based on their loud, rapid-fire conversation througout the flight, held primarily between two girls, who I am pretty sure were somewhere between 12 and 15 years of age. My favorite exchange between the two went as follows:

Little Canada One, pointing out the plane window to lights below: "Isabella! Is that New York, eh? Ohmigod, I think that's New York!! Isn't it?"
Little Canada Two: "Um, maybe!"
Please remember that we are en route between L.A. and Seattle... direct flight, no stop on the East effing Coast of the country.
LC One: "Isabella!! Would you rather be in America than in school, eh?"
LC Two: "Totally! America is soooo cooooool."

February 09, 2006

Hotmail can go to hell.

**UPDATE: I heard from Hotmail today (a week after the second mis-fired form email from them). A nice man named "Anthony" promises to help me restore control of my account. We'll see...**

I'm sorry in advance for this tyrade. I can't stand boo-hoo blogfests, but I have to say that if I don't vent here, it is highly likely my head will explode. I have threatened this before, but the pounding in my left temple indicates that this time it really might happen. And that would be messy. So venting I am doing.

Sometime last week, I attempted to log in to my hotmail email account. I keep this archaic account around even though I prefer gmail because all my stone-age friends refuse to email me at the newer gmail account, preventing me from totally transitioning. Combined with the aol email address, I'm now totally scattered, totally inefficient, and totally reachable on every IM service ever invented, which is bad and has caused me to be "invisible" most of the time on said services in the interest of actually getting work done during the day.

Already I digress...

My hotmail password is suddenly not working. This means I can't log in to my account. I haven't recently changed any passwords, making my inability to access my own hotmail account all the more curious. Now I'm thinking the cause could only be one of three things: hackage, stalkage, or revenge-age. Here is why:

1. Hackage: pretty simple. Email records hold tons of valuable information. Get into my inbox and you've got an open key to my life. Steal my identity! (I'm a good girl, which pisses off my inner rebel, but makes my identity a hot commoddity. Good credit. No crime.) Come to my house! (My address is all over my inbox/outbox. Want a computer? I never lock my doors. Car? Again... keys will be sitting on the driver's seat. I have a nice bed, too. I even have one of those awesome heating mattress pads. Delightful. My bed is a snuggle haven of wonderfullness.)

2. Stalkage: I'm awesome, interesting, and oblivious. Seems pretty clear to me why someone might want to stalk me. I'm imminently stalkable. I wouldn't even mind that much, as long as we could BOTH read my emails.

3. Revenge-age: I have no known enemies, and work hard to be able to say that. I do know there are a few people who know my passwords to everything, and I may or may not used to seriously date one of them. I'm not making any implications, but it's a possibility.

Anyway, I went to the Hotmail help page, and lo and behold: no contact info for help people. You have to submit a standard "I have problem a), b), c) or other)" message. So I did. And 24 hours later they sent me a standard response, which outlined things I'd already tried to recover my email access. So I wrote them back. "No," I said, "that did not help me. I need REAL help." And 8 hours later, they sent me another standard response, which outlined the same things I'd already tried. Then, they asked me to fill out a survey about whether or not they helped me. "No," I emphatically typed, "you have not helped me, yet again. I need REAL, non-standard help. PLEASE.". And guess what I got again today? Fucking standard response. I almost beat the computer with my shoe, only they're very very cute shoes. So I held back. But that made my head hurt. And here I am. And I still don't have access to my hotmail account, which is a bigger deal than it seems like it should be, for reasons too specific to get in to here. Stalker, hacker or enemy, if you're reading this: please, for the love of God, change my password back to you-know-what so I can get my mail. PLEASE.

Fucking Hotmail. Now everytime I log on to MSN, that little butterfly logo mocks me. Fucking goddamn Hotmail. Go to hell.

Wiki-Wiki-Wikipedia: This is the remix

So because of the line of work I'm in, I often read/scan technology journals, trade magazines, and other relatively dry media sources. This has a tendency to be approximately as much fun as shredding the tip of your finger while grating cheese, but occasionally there's a real gem, because when nerds get entertaining, they don't fool around. Today I discovered one such gem when reading back articles in Red Herring.

Evidently, Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, is having some trouble with "anyone's" edits. It seems people aren't just editing the origin of the Uromastyx or the weather patterns in the Gulf Coast. Oh, no. Some particularly vengeful interns and nerds have discovered that they can use Wikipedia to wage war on the reputations of the haters, conservatives and creeps around them. Read on:

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been seeing alterations in entries for members of Congress, including insults like “smells like cow dung” that seem to originate from within the halls of Congress itself.

That reference was made in the entry for Eric Cantor, a Republican representative from Virginia, according to CNET News.com. Another entry, about Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, said he “was voted the most annoying Senator by his peers in Congress. This was due to Senator Coburn being a huge douche-bag.”

I'm loving this. I guess Wikipedia isn't as excited about it, but they're also not losing any sleep. They're just deleting the changes as they discover them -- but nobody's getting any special treatment. That means it can sometimes take days, even weeks, for the edits to come down. Which means you know some greasy, pale kid in a bow-tie who is pissed he'll never be a crack-snorting senator is faxing and doing coffee runs with a smug little smile on his face for at least a few days of his sad but ambitious errand-running, schmoozing existance. The Wiki-Gods quoth:

“We treat edits from Capitol Hill just like we treat edits from grammar school. If they don’t behave themselves, they get blocked.”

Basically, edit THAT, you herd of Capitol Hill pansies who smell of poo and are huge douche-bags. My thoughts? Yay for spiteful, abused, under-appreciated interns, obviously! Meddle on with your bad selves! There's simply not enough tomfoolery, ballyhoo and debauchery these days. I'm all for it.

My office today got a copy of the new PostSecret coffee table book. We're total geeks, I know, but we're also design snobs, Dave Matthews fans, suit-haters, hookah-smokers and vouyers, which makes us a bit more dynamic, don't you think?

Anyway, the book is really gorgeous, and I think the secrets are more powerful in print than on the site. They're more personal, or something, when you're holding them in your hands.

They're actually laugh-out-loud/goosebumpy/tear-temptingly good.

Pick it up. (I'm getting another one -- for my house -- immediately.)

February 05, 2006

We lost, but Seattle and I have made up. So at least there's that.

I really can't even begin to tell you how much I hate the NFL right now. So very, very much.

It is the richest professional sports organization in the country, and is the only one that doesn't pay for full-time referees. What is that about? And how many more terrible calls do we have to watch before something changes?

I'm not blaming the referees for Seattle's loss. I recognize that the Hawks just didn't play their game tonight, and that "Butterfingers" Stevens better hope I don't run into him on the street, and that Pittsburgh had some big plays, and that Seattle got first down after first down but couldn't seem to convert that into points. But the emotional highs and lows of this particular Superbowl were brutally emphasized by the crappy, crappy calls. Every time we'd make a big play, there was laundry on the field, indicating a massively bad call was about to be made by some official, not only undoing whatever good we just did, but probably also penalizing us something like 17 million yards and completely fucking up our momentum.

It was intense:

I yelled, pre-bowl, along to "Paradise City" and the whole original (12 minute long) "Rapper's Delight", to which I know all the words.
I drank many Nut Brown Ales from the keg in my entry way.
I made a shirt, in keeping with the theme of our Superbowl partay.
I ate my weight in guacamole, snap peas and deviled eggs.
I yelled about the game starting.
I yelled at the referees.
I watched Fabio make an ass of himself yet again, and wondered why GoDaddy, the clear leader in domain name sales wasted millions prostrating itself to 22 year old silicone-loving males.
I refereed the Halftime Parking Lot Bowl, as 12 people hurled a football around our parking lot, hitting at least two neighbors' cars.
I picked the PLB MVP.
I yelled about our a key interception and that beautiful, record-breaking run.
I yelled more at/about bad calls.
I yelled at/about my team.
I yelled at/about those around me.
I drank another beer.
Then I yelled some more.
Then I lost my voice, lost all hope, and lost any remaining shred of respect for Jessica Simpson.

And then we lost. And our party guests suddenly realized we would not be going out and fulfilling our lifelong fantasies of looting in Pioneer Square, and mourned for a bit before finally settling in for a huge game of Scrabble instead.

Key Superbowl party quotes:

"Brown and bubbly? That was my nickname in college."

"Ref!! Your mom gave me herpes!!"

"I'm a big fan of beards. Huge. In fact, most women I date have them."

"Your balls don't have any hair on them!" (seriously, this made sense and wasn't even gross at the time.)

"I HATE zebras. I wish I was a lion."

"Fuck. Jesus. Mary Magdeline?"

"I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. No... wait. Yep, I did."

More on the game, the 12th man, and ceasing and desisting.


The silver lining? Somewhere between the yelling and the losing, I fell back in love with Seattle. Look, I will most likely yell random cuss words at anyone wearing black and white stripes for the next 2 weeks, but even in spite of this and the solid month of rain and that one time I got a ticket for jaywalking, I love this city. I think I just forgot that for a few days while I was busy worrying that I might drown on my walk to and from the bus every day.

So Seattle, here's to you. With or without the sun and the Superbowl, and even after your fourth double tall skinny latte, you are a sweet and complex, if difficult, lady. And in the end, you've got class. Style. And you know Superbowl rings are really, really gaudy.

And I love that about you.

February 04, 2006

Let's take the scenic route, eh?

On Seattle

It's as if I am visiting after being away far too long.
I had almost forgotten the feeling
of damp air on skin,
the sickly sweet smell of garbage and bum piss
in the alleys of downtown,
and the way spring doesn't come until June --
buds bursting into colorful crowns
yesterday nonexistant in the green,
now grinning and bobbing outside my window.

I had almost forgotten the contradiction of this place:
How it buzzes, steel and glass planted in wetland;
The reflections in tall, mirrored buildings
of slender trees tacking down squares of earth along gritty streets;
The reflections in wide, windowed buildings
of two people in one trenchcoat beneath a yellow bus sign, kissing;
The reflections in geometric wonders of buildings:
reverse images of brick buildings and black buildings
and of building itself.

I'd let the pierced blonde woman slip my mind:
glittering tragically in anger and rebellion
with her carefully dirty hair,
lounging always outside the coffee shop
with newsprint-blackened fingers
framed by the fog of a hot-tipped cigarette.

I had almost forgotten the noise:
The pregnant silence just before
a strong-armed man in rainboots throws his head back,
hands outstretched in an embrace with thick air
and belts "Fish! FII-IISH!"
in a gravely bass that makes me want to join him
in my own triumphant release;
And the cacaphony of buses, taxis and horse-drawn carts
jockying for position along First Avenue,
all hissing, honking and clopping.

And I am lucky to have been moved to remember
how in a day amongst
the raincoats
and streetlights
and brick buildings
and buses
it's possible to exist solely on this energy
and be satiated, somehow.

Bumper to bumper,
we creep through the arteries of this city together.
Bonding in bored glances from lane to lane,
we flirt -- one metal pod to another --
at seven, eight, fourteen miles per hour.

I finally peel away from the rush hour rest
and fly.

Brakes shriek as I careen around a corner,
reckless in my new freedom.
I pass the standing firemen,
all navy jumpsuits and square jaws,
at the station
with my windows cranked down and
The Doobie Brothers blaring from the one good speaker.

I sing through the sucker tucked in my cheek
just loud enough for them to notice,
though I don't know the words to this one.

The air screams in one window --
whipping my hair about my neck
pouring in my sleeves, around my ankles
then biting cheeks and dampening eyes --
before it bursts out another.

I watch it in the rearview
as it teases the litter in the street behind me;
I watch it grow smaller.

And I watch the dappled light,
filtered through the trees,
flying over my hood, windshield and me,
faster and faster:
an Appaloosa racing through the veins of this metropolis.

February 02, 2006

Hey groundhog! How about a nice warm cup of shut the hell up?

Hey! Guess what? It's been raining for ever in Seattle. Now normally I like the rain, but I've been in a bit of a slump lately. I could use the pickup of a little sunlight these days... and instead I've got mushy, soggy, gray, drizzly, drippy, sniffly, puddly rain. MAJOR buzzkill.

In fact, according to the Seattle P-I article posted 8 hours ago and linked above, the only creatures in the Northwest feeling positive enough to copulate are amphibious. That's right. Webby feet. Warty skin. Cold blood.

"To like the weather over the past month and a half, some might say, you'd have to be a toad. Not true. You could also be a frog, salamander or other amphibian, judging by the way the critters have been breeding, wildlife experts say."

And I guess there were only 2 non-rainy days in January. TWO. Days without RAIN. Do you have any idea how old that gets, and how fast?


I love Seattle. I really do. I love the fish markets and the ferries and the ocean views and the mountains and the green and the people and the safeness and the music and art and food and culture... But I could use ONE sunny day. Just one. ONE.

I bet even the ducks and the slugs and the newts would appreciate it.

Oh, and FUCK the groundhog. I hate rodents. I'd rather jab scissors into my quads and twist than take advice or prophecy from one. Just being honest.

February 01, 2006

Monkey Love

If you are very perceptive, or very bored, you will notice that I have included a new link in my "What I'm Reading" section on the right. (That's >>>>>>>>> this-a-way, >>>>>>> guys. >>>>>>>>>>>>).

Now, in addition to my daily dose of technology, secrets, humor, "news" and general rubbish, I'll be ingesting a little monkey, too. There's just something about monkeys that gets me every time. They're like that friend you have who gets way too drunk everytime you see them and makes strange noises and alternates between being the most intelligent and the most prehistoric person you've ever interacted with but that you keep hanging out with because they're just so fascinatingly unpredictable.

Or maybe it's that I feel sorry for them, as they got evolutionarily screwed. WE use our opposable thumbs for all sorts of wonderful things, like kite flying and beer drinking and writing and video games and sports and whatnot. THEY are stuck using their digits to throw feces at each other, eat bugs off their mates' backs, and escape leopards and whatnot. I mean, I know some of you are going to argue that the monkeys have it better than us, but you're not going to convince me. I'm close personal friends with one gorilla at the zoo who spends her days eating the same mouthfull of alfalfa, regurgitating it back into her hand and re-eating it. I wish I were making that up, but I'm not.

And I also know from personal experience that, given the opportunity, male monkeys would gladly forsake their hairy, noisy, smelly female counterparts for some homo sapien lovin', which is just another way we've one-upped our heavy-browed cousins.

I'm not making this up, either. I actually speak vicariously through the experience of a close friend of mine and her husband, who had an unfortunate monkey run-in while spending a leisurely day at the zoo. A monkey fell in love with her. It went something like this:

Briana, observing the monkeys, approached the glass to take a closer look at a large male, seated on the other side of it. As she approached, Big Boy got right up against the glass. Briana put her hand up on the glass, and Big Boy did the same, while stroking the glass in front of her with his other hand. (Very Romeo and Juliet remake, isn't it?).

At this point, Briana excitedly called to her husband to come look.

B: "Honey! Look! The monkey is trying to hold my hand!"
H: ::walks up behind her:: "He likes you, doesn't he? Cool, Briana."
B: ::still holding her hands up against the glass:: "Isn't it sweet? Aaawwwww..."
H: ::puts his arm around his wife::
Monkey: ::hair bristles, straightens up, and begins pouding madly on the glass with his huge, oversized Kong arms while showing his large, pointy teeth like a drunk, jealous, homicidal boyfriend, screeching and leering at Briana's husband, causing the human couple to jump away from the glass in honest-to-God-horror::

When Briana retells this story in front of her husband, she gets this adorably panicky look on her face. She was actually afraid her ape-love was going to break through the glass and assault her humanoid life partner. The best part, though, is that her husband still gets really pissed about it. He was actually threatened by the monkey, and offended that the monkey was obsessed enough with his wife to fight him for her. He still says things like "I could have taken that monkey. I know I could have!".

At The Daily Monkey", you'll be able to indulge in a little mokey-love along with myself and Jessica Alba .

Here's how the creators of Daily Monkey describe their mission:

"The Daily Monkey is what you've always wanted but you didn't know was possible. Every day, or an approximation thereof, we* post an image** of a monkey*** as well as a quote or some other piece of text that relates in some way to monkeys. We will almost always try to make this humorous, but sometimes, as we all know, the world takes a serious turn and we are no different.

Eventually, sooner than later, we hope to make this thing all geeky what with a real archive (I want it to look like a little calendar) and an RSS feed. Why do we do all this? Because we care. You need monkey, we're here for you.

* By "we," I mean me, Brian Biggs, and him, Jason Burrell.

** By "image," we mean any photo, drawing, animation, shadow apparition, or the like. Anything goes. You think you have something worthwhile? Send it or post a link in the comments. we'll consider it for posting and if we feel like it, we'll even give you credit.

*** By "monkey," we mean any ape or simian, new world or old, dead or alive or toy, or pretty much anything else that we, at that moment in time, consider "monkey-ish.""

Anyway, enjoy your daily dose of monkey, folks. I know I will. And pour a little out for our long-tailed, short nosed homies. After all, we might be related.