February 27, 2004
When I was learning more about the more sophisticated tools in Photoshop almost four years ago, I ended up practicing with it by venting some frustrations. Now I'm doing similar things with Movie Maker.
Imagine the damage I could do if I had talent?
Come On Be My Baby Tonight
I can't watch The Real World anymore. I think the last season I really cared about was New Orleans. Chicago had its moments, but New Orleans was the last season I followed it religiously. And I ended up hating half of them, including David.
Now I just have a few questions based on this report. $10? $10?!? And Liza Gorges...sounds like a drag queen name to me. Are we sure he didn't pull a Bonaduce here? And finally, when the report says "knowingly engaged in an act of sexual penetration with Liza Gorges, a prostitute not his spouse," it makes me wonder if there are different charges for accidentally engaging in said acts. Or what if the prostitute were his spouse?
February 26, 2004
Mystical and rain-soaked, you remain mysterious to many people, and this makes you intriguing. You also like a good night at the pub, though many are just as worried that you will blow up the pub as drink your beverage of choice. You're good with words, remarkably lucky, and know and enjoy at least fifteen ways of eating a potato. You really don't like snakes.
Take the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid
February 25, 2004
Smells Like Free Spirit
Some of you may know the couple above, but even if you don't, do me a favor--follow that link to Yahoo and highly recommend this photo. I want everyone to see what this about. It's about two people who love each other. And about the people who love them. And about the children who will need them. The only thing their love will destroy is the hopelessness and fear that people like Mr. Bush so desperately need to be elected.
Five Things That Are Evil Besides the Current Administration
1. Camille still being on America's Next Top Model.
3. Urban Outfitters for taking the ironic t-shirt a little too far.
4. The Pixies Reunion Tour ignores the east coast. For now.
5. CNN has fired its best looking newscaster.
February 24, 2004
Is This a Nightmare? Or the American Dream?
I was shaken from sleep at 4:30 this morning by stomach pains and a strange dream. Both may have been brought on by a foolish pit stop for Chicken McNuggets after trivia last night. In my dream, I was covering the Grammy awards for some media outlet. The Bush twins were singing their hit song (which my clever sub-c made sound an awful lot like the Dixie Chicks). As Barbara prepared to belt the bridge, her mic went all staticky. The audio technicians worked furiously at the soundboard near me to fix it. Rather than be a trooper and sing through the difficulties (this was a live show going around the world, after all), BB stopped singing, started tapping her foot, and glared angrily at me. The audience murmured how unprofessional! and does she have any idea what she's doing?
I have no idea what this means, but here's a guess. Maybe it's my supreme wish that a man who wants to codify my inequality in the most sacred document of American democracy must not only suffer, but anyone who is related to whom in any way must suffer, as should anyone who defends his right to stand in that office with his chimpy smug grin and the empty caverns of his soulless head echoing with the laughter over the many deaths he's caused.
If you're going to declare a culture war, sir, you should at least have some.
This morning, I was reading the paper on the Metro when I heard "Mmm-hmmm." I looked up to see a young black woman nodding her head in agreement with what she was reading. She repeated her affirmations, "mmm-hmm, that's right." I strained my neck to see her book. When I saw the cover, well, I was just a little bit surprised. I've never thought of him as one to elicit that kind of response.
Sometimes I wonder if having OCD is a requirement for being a city planner. This thought occurred to me as I was explaining to someone how the streets work in DC. Most people get that it all starts with the Capitol being the heart of the city's grid. From there, number streets run north-south, the letter streets run east-west, and streets named after states run on diagonals. Also L'Enfant and Banneker left out B and J streets, and there are no X, Y or Z streets (which as my friend pointed out is a shame, since living on X St. sounds a lot cooler than living on Belmont St.). But after the letters run out, the streets are more or less alphabetical in two-syllable names (Belmont, Clifton, etc.) then moving to three-syllable names alphabetically (Allison, Buchannan, Crittenden, etc.). After that, it moves to plant-themed names alphabetically (Aspen, Butternut, Cedar, etc.).
All of this "order" still doesn't explain how you can be headed to a party in Capitol Hill and end up in Georgetown. And the next thing you know, you're in Virginia headed to CIA headquarters with a drunk nineteen year-old puking in the back seat.
Some people say there's something more sinister in the whole scheme. But really, if you're looking for evil in DC, it's not in the street layout. It's in the Justice Department, silly.
Black sheep of the day goes to the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities for bringing back that stupid "public art statue thing" that's been beaten to death in every major city around the world. But now it's with pandas. Pandas and 200% more cheese.
February 23, 2004
It Gives Me Fever
Spring is in the air. There's a spring in my step. Bed springs and sweet things and hoping it's eternal.
Sure, it's only in the 50s, but I feel it. I feel the days getting longer. I feel the fun returning. The great thaw. Bring it. I want blooms like Molly (yes I said yes) or at least C.C.. I want just spring. I want shorts and sun and the smell of fresh everything. I want it all and I want it now.
That thing about that spring in my step? Total lie. I forgot that Docs, though supremely comfortable and durable, are bloody awful for the first week.
Earlier today I found out that my family motto is Latin for "strong, fierce and quick." Hopefully that last one in more akin to "on my feet" as opposed to other, less desirable connotations.
Last night, two friends and I saw Melissa Arctic. Not this one, but this one. I thoroughly enjoyed the play, but had that embarrassment that all English majors at one point endure--not knowing something literary. Before the show started, one of my friends said, "The play is based on The Winter's Tale. What's that about?"
Hell if I know.
To be honest, I know way more about poetry than drama or fiction. So, when it comes to Shakespeare, I can go off on the sonnets and the history of them and how the volta (like spring) turns everything on its head and makes it new. Or even within the plays, certain poetic lines stick out. For instance, this is from Twelfth Night:
What is love?
'Tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth's a stuff will not endure.
Somewhere in my youth, I memorized that, but for the life of me, I couldn't tell you what Twelfth Night is about. So when people ask me things that they think I should know, I'm often at a loss. Perhaps I should just read some Cliff's Notes and bullshit my way through?
Black sheep of the day Education Secretary Rod Paige for calling the NEA a "terrorist organization." Could anyone explain to me how a group of teachers advocating for better pay and more funding for their students can logically be equated with al Qaeda? Anyone? Bueller?
February 21, 2004
What if my milkshake is really making all the boys lactose intolerant?
February 20, 2004
How Is Peg Short for Margaret?
Today's black sheep dishonors have to go to the Great Communicator's Puppetmaster herself, Peggy Noonan.
"Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world."
Bitch, please. It's zealots who start trouble, not intellectuals.
Everything Old is New Again
There's nothing quite like that yellow stitching against black.
In other shoe news, watching Spike Jonze videos has made me realize just how much I loved my black and white Adidas Campus shoes. I think I'm going to pick up a pair. I promise my early nineties fashion nostalgia will involve no flannel.
Oh, and lately, I've had this sneaking suspicion that Al Green sings my emotions better than I feel them.
February 19, 2004
Smoke and Mirrors
Last night, I was supposed to have dinner with someone, but he had to cancel at the last minute. It better have been to kiss boy #5...that's all I'm saying.
Later in the evening, my best friends and I made our way to Café St. Ex where our friend DJ Milk was hosting Peppermint. It was great to hang out and hear some of my favorite music. It occurred to me as the night progressed, though, that I still have my smoking boy fetish. As happy as I am that I've gone more than six months without a cigarette, I still think it's hot when a guy is smoking.
There in the basement, the hoodie-clad alt boys puffed their Parliaments, and I fell a little harder for them. It's very troubling for me to admit that something as stupid and harmful as smoking is still "cool" in my eyes. I want to hate that. I want to reject this evil thing that kills millions of people every year. But there's still a big part of me that romanticizes smoking. That punk rock, nihilistic, fuck-the-establishment part of me. It's a stupid prop, but props can help you look the part.
Kathleen DeBold, executive director of the Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer, says it best in this MW article:
"Cigarettes are marketed to fit any attitude, " says DeBold. "If you're femme, it makes you sexy. If you're butch, it makes you tough. If you're a queen, it gives you that bitchy, sassy, queeny persona. You want to fit in? It can do that for you. You want to rebel and be an outsider? It does that too. Smoking is one size fits all, and every size is bad for you."
Maybe I'm done playing that part? Or I've moved into the next act? All I know is, this rebel isn't dying for that revolution. But that doesn't mean I can't watch.
February 18, 2004
If/Then Quandaries of Our Time
If "there's a connection between... Irish terrorists and al Qaeda," then should I try to look "less Irish" when I travel? Maybe not pack the Jameson's, Lucky Charms, James Joyce novels, and wallet photo of JFK?
If "the streets of Chelsea were abuzz with stories of her man's sex-tracurricular activities," then shouldn't Liza, Penelope, and Kelly Preston get Payless endorsement deals too?
If "I'm a Miranda," then can I at least hook up with him?
If the "ACLU backs Rush," then can the Focus on the Family endorsement of Barney Frank be far behind?
If "Lindows re-launches as 'Lin---s'," then Club Dread could become B-ig-- F-lo--p.
No Wonder Thomas Hates Me
February 17, 2004
Advice for the Googlers
I sometimes wish I could help some of the people who stumble across this page via search engines. Based on their queries, they're in dire need of more information about a variety of troubling issues. So, in the public interest, I'm going to answer a few of their questions here. (Pardon me as I pour some out for my homie, Man Landers)
If you're looking for jfk and his ethics, I just want to point out that sexual infidelity doesn't mean that someone is a bad leader. I mean, George W. Bush may be monogamous with his wife in theory, but really he's been busy fucking the whole country. Give me Clinton and a viable 401(k) any day.
You're desperately seeking DONALD TRUMP SHIRTLESS. First, stop yelling--it's just rude. Preparing yourself for the inevitable sight of the Donald sans chemise is a successful strategy for any would-be Anna-Nicole. If this is your first time gold-digging, though, I think you'd better practice before you try to play in the big leagues. On a side note: do you think his chest hair looks as goofy as that monstrosity on his head?
You asked, can i forgive him for being to honest about breast size? Obviously, since you're looking for information on AOL about it, no, you can't forgive him. Two things though, dear, "to" and "too" are different words and I'd suggest not asking him what he really thinks about your mother.
When it comes to facial hair, what's a soul patch? This.
And for the last time, if you're looking for the paris hilton commando pic, it's here.
So there you have it. Oh, one more search-related thing. Jacqueline Bouvier's half sister dating Kerry is interesting and all, but wouldn't it have been a billion times better if he'd dated her cousin.
February 16, 2004
Spitting in a Wishing Well
Friday night, after a romantic dinner, Glenn and I settled down to watch Lost in Translation. I've been slacking on movies lately. Of all of the films nominated for Oscars, this is the first that I have seen (nope, no Nemo or LOTR even). My niece (who is doing her best to keep me somewhat current) lent me her copy of it.
As I was watching, I couldn't help but wonder about Spike Jonze. Maybe because Giovanni Ribisi's character is what I imagine he would be like. Since he's not much older than me and grew up a few towns over, I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I'd had some of the opportunities young Adam Spiegel had. Of course, that's just me using my parents' relative lack of wealth as an excuse for my own failures in life. And also, my biggest failure is not in not succeeding, but not trying. But who cares? I had a valentine, so it's not all bad.
I also had a chance to pick up some of Mr. Jonze's work this weekend and Ye Olde DVD Shoppe. It certainly made me happy that there is someone out there like him for me to be jealous of and feel superior too all at once. It also was a collection of great videos for some of my favorite songs.
Certain songs are timeless. The Breeders' "Cannonball" isn't one. That's not to say it isn't good. Personally I think it's a wonderful song from a great album. When I heard Mirwais' "Disco Science," I think I scared G with my Rainmanesque ability to place the sample of "Cannonball" in less than four notes. It's one of the best songs of that era, but it's not timeless. I could be eighty-six years old and that song will always bring me back to a specific time and place: the "Brotherhood Room" in my fraternity house on a Sunday night in the spring of 1993.
The room was off-limits to the uninitiated. It also was the only room in the house with cable. In addition to watching 120 Minutesevery Sunday night and discovering Radiohead and the Smashing Pumpkins, a group of friends and I had a bizarre television ritual. Each weeknight, MTV would play "Speed Racer." After that, Nick at Nite played "The Donna Reed Show." Our little group, consisting of a football player, the son of a musician from one of the world's greatest bands, an ex-marine, and me, came together every Monday through Thursday at midnight for what we dubbed "the Speed-Reed hour."
How's that for brotherhood?
February 13, 2004
Last night over a drink at this swanketeria, Miss T (formerly of San Francisco) reminded me that a few short years ago I said I didn't really have any interest in going to California. I had forgotten that there was a period in my mid-twenties when I didn't want to travel. What the hell was wrong with me?
KIDS, YOU MAY WANT TO ASK YOUR PARENTS FOR HELP WITH THE SCISSORS
It was beautiful today. Beautiful meaning it wasn't freezing. When you work on a college campus this means insanely stupid clothing rears its tacky head. I'm all for a little skin, but 46 ° F shouldn't be enough to break out the Jams. (I'm predicting they'll be very in this summer, though).
I wish there were some way to express eyerolling in writing.
When an exceptionally fierce girl you've never met before taps you on the back to say hi while you're at lunch, how bad of a day can it be?
Did you know that Ladytron has covered Tweet's "Oops (Oh My)," one of those guilty pleasure songs I sing when I get ready for showers in the morning? Neither did I until he said so.
Are people on Orkut allowed to talk about it or is it on the QT like Skull-n-Bones?
Black sheep of the day: people who take tomorrow too seriously.
Bizzare Spam or PoMo Poem? You Make the Call
Still trade baseball cards with her
from dilettante over blood clot,
caricature her of inferiority complex
with ballerina near espadrille.
Any trombone can laugh and
drink all night with living
with lover, but it takes
a real warranty to minivan of buzzard.
When girl scout of starts reminiscing
about lost glory, defendant
toward burglar prays. Most philosophers
believe that ski lodge from cheese wheel
compete with oil filter around. Nora and I
took sheriff from swamp
(with haunch behind,
February 12, 2004
When I was laying the new floor in our living room, Glenn pointed out a spot or two that didn't look right. This didn't go over very well. I sort of blew up at him. It's not anything I'm proud of, but it happened. He accused me of not taking constructive criticism. I accused him of not constructing anything. Typical he said-he said. Right-o. But then he said, "I don't know how in the hell you ever survived a writing workshop if this is how you take criticism."
I'm not sure that I know exactly why, but there's something utterly clinical about workshopping a poem. It can hurt. Weak metaphors cut out like
Workshops can be vicious. Once in grad school, as we were going over a poem by a woman in my class, the instructor (a fairly well-known poet) stopped and repeated one line over and over. He paused, then blurted out, "Jesus, if I ever write a line like that, someone shoot me in the fucking head." The seminar room was silent. Did he really say that or was I daydreaming? I thought. The class looked at each other in a strange, nervous communion. My classmate's face went slightly red, maybe she felt our furtive looks. I don't remember anything that happened after that. Somehow the class recovered, we must have, and we continued talking about poetry as though there were legions of people outside of that room cared. But it became something of a legend, an example of just how harsh things can get in that room.
Once, that same teacher challenged me to be sentimental. He felt my writing was cold and emotionless because I was afraid to look sappy. I still wonder about that sometimes. I guess I'd always seen myself as rather in touch with my emotions, rather easy-going. He called me anal retentive and controlling. I'm not sure what to make of any of that. He suggested opera lessons.
I wanted to say, but didn't, "I can't sing."
February 11, 2004
A Starfucker is Born
If you lead, I'll follow.
I won't count poets and writers, since they're not really famous outside of literary circles (even though one of them hit on me in the most delightful way). But I will count politicians, since I live in DC and politics is show business for ugly people.
Al Gore came to my high school when he ran for President in 1988 and my college when he and Bill Clinton ran in 1992. I got to work the '92 event since I was involved in the campus pro-choice advocacy group. Met him both times. He's much more attractive in person than you'd ever imagine.
Bill and Chelsea Clinton hopped out of their limo once along the Mall when I was walking to a Smithsonian exhibit. Clinton did this a lot. Bush never does, from what I hear.
Once I literally ran into Richard Belzer at a Borders or Barnes & Noble in Manhattan.
Oh my god, I think either my brain is broken or I've led a really boring existence the last 30 years. That's it?
Black sheep of the day: Ithyphallophobes.
Coming Clean: My String of Snarky Pop Culture Critic Crushes
It started simple. Michael Ian Black, who I remembered from The State, charmed the pants off of me during "I Love the '80s." Like that first drag from a cigarette behind the junior high, it seemed harmless. It was "just a tv show" I told myself. I wish someone would have stopped me.
Then there was "I Love the '70s." And "I Love the '80s Strikes Back." VH1 suddenly seemed, oh, I don't know, somehow relevant. I caught myself doodling "Chrisafer Rocca" on my notebooks. And then one day Thomas and I were chatting on the phone about Joel Stein's lips. And once Best Week Ever made its debut on my Tivo? Forget about it.
I realized my problem was out of control when I stayed home a little bit later one morning, so as not to miss B.J. Sigesmund on the "90 Second Pop" feature of CNN's American Morning.
I'm crushing on B.J. Sigesmund. Hard. Where the 12-step for this?
Update: some sneaky little friend emailed me a picture of B.J. I'm going to revel in my little crush for five minutes more (which is about seven more than I should) and move on.
February 10, 2004
He's Good People
You know your friends have good taste and good luck when their new(ish) boyfriend responds to your query about the waves of unwanted people coming into your favorite pub in the following way.
"Is it me or did it just get rather toolish in here?"
"Yeah, did a Matchbox 20 concert just let out?"
If I love you, from time to time I will google you. And that's how I found out my wonderful friend Jason is making hot porn collages in P-town. Funny, he seems to know a thing or two about porn. His first book, Sublimation Point, is forthcoming (but not coming forth soon enough) from Four Way Books.
Hmmm... Four Way? I'll just leave that one alone.
Black sheep of the day: Anyone who'd dare call me tonight between 9:00 and 10:00 EST. I wouldn't want to miss the contents of tonight's Tyra Mail™. Tonight's episode: "The Girl Who is a Visual Orgasm."
February 09, 2004
The Newest in New
I have a new computer at work. Now I get to spend the rest of the week trying to get it working the way I want. And they took away my rights to install things. I need the google toolbar. I need my plugins for photoshop. I need trillian. I need administrative rights. It's not like I'll download anything that will crash the network. Again.
Oh, and also, when I mentioned that whole thing about hotels in San Francisco, maybe I didn't make it clear that I am a government worker. And not that federal kind that gets raises like Ray, but the state kind that hasn't had a merit raise or COLA in almost three years. So the W is probably out of my price range except for maybe a martini in the hotel bar. Wait. No, I doubt I could swing that either.
February 06, 2004
Ten Things I Don't Know Today
10. Why this morning, as I was walking to the Metro, in my head I sang "Oh a fireman is a person in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neigh-bor-ho-od."
9. Where to find a good hotel in San Francisco.
8. Why our new bed needs to be delivered at 8:00 in the morning on Saturday.
7. Which Cure song the bassline from Metric's "Dead Disco" reminds me of.
6. Who'll stop the rain.
5. Why I still don't have my new computer at work. I know it's in the building. I don't know why it's not on my desk.
4. When I'll feel safe wearing my nipple shield again.
3. How I can explain to Glenn the importance of Tivoing David Gest on Dateline tonight.
2. What Jimbo thought that white film on my chin was when I stopped by his office to grab some lunch.
1. What kind of black sheep of the day would feed red hots to birds....oh wait, I do know who would do that.
February 05, 2004
That's What Friends Are For
After hearing that Jacko's BFF David Gest is going to frighten the legions of children who watch Dateline, I've come to the conclusion that Janet's boob and Mr. Minnelli's "treatment" are the first in a series of celebrity distractions to keep us all from talking about Jesus juice, the bathroom camera, and the soiled underroos.
Expect something big from Liz Taylor in the next few days.
Asian Porn Star Names for $600 Please, Alex
MSNBC's Jeannette Walls is reporting that Britany Spears may sue a London hotel for alleging that she stayed there under the alias "Jade Moet" and watched pay-per-view porn titles "Sex Truck" and "Double-D Housewife."
Okay, everyone, new game. Pick your favorite precious stone and your favorite brand of champagne and that's your nom-de-Sheraton for renting porn!
I'm Opal Bollinger.
February 04, 2004
The brilliant people at Cartoon Network's Adult Swim came up with an emoticon that expresses our most recent important cultural event. It's this sort of shorthand that allows us to progress as a society, you know.
(*) ( )
Those Whacky Irish
My people are much maligned. I was reading my book this morning when I come across the following exchange.
"And he was a gorgeous blond preppy?"
"No. Irish-looking. Fleshy. Not conventionally attractive. But cute. I found him cute."
Right there on the Metro, I almost burst into tears like Catie from America's Next Top Model. Which brings up my new favorite phrase: "her bladder is very near her eyeballs."
I guess the more I think about it, I'll take smart and funny over drop dead gorgeous any day.
February 03, 2004
Back in the fall of 2001, when anthrax was all over the place in DC, my mother called me up with some helpful advice. "Maybe you should put your mail in the microwave for a little bit before you open it," she said, "You know...just in case."
I thought about telling her that wouldn't be a good idea since the microwave would spark from all my porn magazines' staples, but then remembered that she doesn't have my sense of humor. Or is that any sense of humor?
If she calls about Ricin, I'm telling her I've picked up one of these outfits....
Black sheep of the day: people who sit next to you on the Metro when the car is almost completely empty. I mean, I know I'm rather comely under the fluorescent lights of the train, especially with my hair still damp from the rain, but please don't get up in my grill. Especially if you're going to read my book over my shoulder. And if you just ate something mad oniony.
Loss for Words
Last night, we decided it was best to let him go. We didn't want him to suffer. He'd developed a tumor on his jaw. It was growing fast. There was no cure, only temporary and painful ways to prolong his life. A few more weeks at best.
He's gone, but will always be with us.
February 02, 2004
What the Hex? When Frat Boys and Vaginas Meet
At the John Waters' show a few weeks ago, he complained that gay people aren't using their natural creativity in the fight for equal rights. He suggested that if a local politician expresses anti-gay views or enacts harmful legislation, we should round up some of the bitchiest drag queens to stand outside of his house with bullhorns and critique his wife's outfits.
I'm all for it. In nearby Maryland, Gov. Robert Ehrlich recently upset some gay constituents. Of course, anyone attempting to criticize Mrs. E should know she may be packing heat. Not that she couldn't use some fashion tips, the poor thing.
Sometimes, though, protests with the best of intentions just make you look silly (yes this means you, you kookie IMF kids with your giant puppets). In college, I remember a young woman who protested the Greek system--well, actually she didn't so much protest it as put a "hex" on it. For some reason this hex involved her sitting in the middle of Frat Row in a giant vagina costume.
Here's the article from the school newspaper about the incident.
Fortunately, no sewing is necessary for those who want to make a giant asshole costume.