May 30, 2008

The Legend of Thundering Cupcake

Photo: The man of the hour.

Today I'm going to tell you someone else's story. It has all of the elements a good story needs: action, adventure, laughter, tears, love, loss, drama, unicorns and snacks. This also serves as a very late Christmas gift to Manthony, because the story is his. And I guess if any of you people were as nice to me as Manthony is, I'd write a story about you, too. Enjoy ....

As a child, Antoine Ciccone Rothschild Soprano Callaway had it all. He was the product of an illicit affair between the smoky chanteuse, Peggy Lipton, and a half-caucasian, half-Native American descendant of Red Cloud the Warrior, named Pink Eye. They found out they were in a family way four months after they ended the affair. Pink Eye didn't want an illegitimate child with a woman he couldn't marry, and Peggy was already married to Quincy Jones. They decided to put their son up for adoption after he was born, and hoped their paths would never cross again.

At the orphanage, a six-year old Antoine showed signs of great leadership and talent. He fancied himself a unicorn wrangler, and made sure the snack situation was acceptable. The orphans would band together while cleaning the place from top to bottom, following his directions, and sing merry songs about their hard-knock lives; Antoine, with his choir-boy falsetto, moved the entire orphanage to tears one day when he sang the Ave Maria. This was overheard by a nice Midwestern couple interested in adoption, who snatched Antoine up within 24 hours. They were Catholic, and felt his singing was a sign from God. Antoine moved with his new family, the Ciccone's, to Detroit, Michigan; he was very excited, although it was not meant to be.

Antoine clashed with his new 'siblings' from the start; there were six of them, three of them living at home. The one sibling he felt a special affinity to was Madonna, but she was living at the university, and the rumors said she was moving to New York City. He fought with the others, and finally ended up biting the dog; the Ciccone's loved him, but had to send him back. He was just too angry. He lost touch with Madonna, but hoped he might see her again.

After a short stint at the orphanage again, Antoine was adopted by the Rothschild family, one of the most powerful families in the country. His upbringing was rich with private European schooling, worldwide travel, and opportunities most people can only dream of. He owned cars, horses, contemporary art and antiques before he reached his sixteenth birthday; he was a powerhouse by 18, when he bought controlling stock in his father's company through a shady business coup. In short, he had everything money could buy. But Antoine was dissatisfied with his life. He longed to know his biological parents and find out his true ancestry. Even with all of his resources, he just couldn't find any information on them. He fell into a deep depression.

During Antoine's 'Blue Period', he hit the lowest he had ever been. He voted for Bob Dole and donated money to the Republican party; joined Scientology; broke up with his many girlfriends, all of them international models; started smoking; cut off ties with his family; sold all of his stocks and antiques; and moved to an old hunting cabin in the woods. He isolated, and communed with nature. Antoine had been known for his three-piece suits and impeccable taste in overpriced shoes, but during his time in the woods, he went 'native' (ironically). The woods understood his hollowed heart. There was something missing, and he was going to find it in the forest.

After five long years of deep, predictable soul-searching (and the subsequent bad poetry that came along with it), Antoine returned to civilization a different man. He had hardened himself against any disappointment, problem, or ailment that might befall him. He changed his name, and his purpose. The resentment he'd had--over his life, his parents, and isolation--turned him into something hard and tough. He married a small-town girl, and joined the military. He went overseas to fight in the Great War, and came back a war hero; he'd risked his life many times to save the lives of others. He led many reconnaissance missions into the unrelenting desert, because he could not leave his soldiers behind. While investigating a cave in Saudi Arabia, he came upon Osama bin Laden playing Scrabble by candlelight, and captured him; Antoine and his team brought Osama home to the U.S. for some good-looking, old fashioned, unbiased American justice.

Congress passed special legislation to re-instate the Fidelity Medallion, a medal that had been long since forgotten. The Fidelity Medallion was created in 1780 for the soldiers who brought down Major John Andre, the British major who helped Benedict Arnold defect. It was awarded to three men and then forgotten, but because of Antoine's unusual gallantry in battle, combined with his extraordinary fidelity and essential services, he was awarded the Fidelity Medallion; he had the Latin inscription from the medal tattooed onto his lower back, in the tramp stamp area: Amor patriae vincit, meaning 'The love of country conquers'. He divorced his wife, refused to be interviewed, and moved to New York. He just wanted to blend in.

By this time, Antoine--in his mid-twenties and living in the meat-packing district--was going by the name 'Anthony', and playing up his assumed Italian heritage. Although he came home a war hero, he had no direction. He couldn't find work, because 'war hero' doesn't translate on a resume; he fell behind on his bills, and eventually wound up on the streets. He was found in a gutter, outside of an Italian restaurant, half-dead from the cold. The restaurant was Italian-owned and the food was good, but it always looked permanently closed. When he came to, he was in a gold-gilded room, in an oversized feather bed; a man in a suit came over to him and introduced himself as Tony Soprano. That was how Anthony became part of the Mob.

Anthony's years with the Sopranos were strange; on the one hand, he had a new family, but on the other, he was just muscle to them. He shook business owners down for money, followed the Mob's enemies, and orchestrated complex, international heists in the name of 'family'. He married Tony Soprano's daughter and took her last name. He organized the biggest art heist in history when he and an old friend, Bjorn Hoen, walked into the Munch Museum in Oslo, and stole the widely-famous paintings, The Scream and Madonna, in broad daylight. While Bjorn took the fall--conveniently, along with five other enemies of the Mob--Anthony's purpose began to reshape itself. He knew this wasn't his calling in life. He knew he couldn't keep doing this kind of work; he didn't even think he was cut out for "working". He told his boss that he was taking a vacation, and headed to Tibet. Spiritual cleansing was his only goal.

While in Tibet, Anthony took a vow of silence, shaved his head, and got down to the business of being kooky. He felt like an orange-robed retard at the airport, but he learned a lot about himself. He ran into Richard Gere, who became a spiritual mentor to him, and he slowly began to find himself. When Richard told Antoine that Madonna was making an unplanned tour stop in Tibet, he contacted her people, and they had a small, broken-family reunion. This was a key meeting for him, and he became more focused on finding his real family than ever before.

When Anthony went back to New York, he broke his ties with the Mob; he feared for his life, but Tony assured him of his safety. He divorced his second wife, took every penny he had, and began the long journey home. He went to the Rothschilds, the Ciccone's, the orphanage, the forest; he asked them questions, and asked their forgiveness. He hit a dead end in New Mexico somewhere, and could feel another 'Blue Period' coming on--perhaps this time would be a 'Cerulean Blue Period'--when Madonna called. She was in California and invited him to come stay with her. She thought they made a good team. He jumped on a Greyhound the very next day.

Anthony decided he needed a fresh start again. He changed his last name to Callaway, because he had always felt "called away" to a greater purpose: finding his real parents. Madonna was supportive throughout the process, urging him to find his voice through music. She introduced him around, and as a result, he joined a boy band called The Backdoor Boys. They gained notoriety through their tepid music and pelvic-thrusting videos on MTV, and suddenly Anthony was in the spotlight again. He married a girl from Danity Kane, the slutty one, and appeared in People magazine. He vowed to use his fame and success to find his parents, he just didn't know how, especially with so much cocaine around.

The Backdoor Boys were nominated for Best New Lip-Synching Artist at the Grammy's; Anthony and Madonna went together. At the after party, Anthony was talking to his future ex-wife, and a waiter caught his eye. He was surprised by this, because he was a ladies' man and always had been; but this waiter had something special, he could just tell. He started to signal the server--while the ex-wife stalked off--when Madonna came up to him and introduced him to old friends of hers, Miss Peggy Lipton and Quincy Jones. Peggy knew Anthony was hers the minute she laid eyes on him, but said nothing; he was the spitting image of Pink Eye, right down to the rugged Native jawline and dainty, artistic hands. She invited him to lunch with her the next day, and he accepted, not knowing how close he was to his purpose.

Over the next two years, Peggy would befriend Anthony, but couldn't tell him the truth. By this time, he had divorced his third wife, moved in with the 'waiter', gotten clean, and had become a well-known pastry chef. Bryn, the waiter, was actually a brilliant rocket scientist, but was also getting his PhD in social anthropology, so he worked on the side to surreptitiously study people in social situations. Under Bryn's guidance, Anthony became Manthony, in a show of LGBT solidarity, and to assure people he was really in to men. His life was much better at this point, but he still thought about his parents, and wondered how to find them. He became known for his artistic cupcakery, and, being a celebrity whore, was very proud when celebrities asked for his cupcakes specifically.

Peggy Lipton was being interviewed by James Lipton, while eating a bowl of Lipton chicken noodle soup, when she choked on a noodle and was rushed to the hospital. After being discharged, she went straight to Manthony's apartment in Chelsea and told him the truth. She vowed to find his father with him; she was racked with guilt over holding back from him for so many years. Manthony was angry with her, but called upon his Buddhist principles to guide him--and he decided to go for it. He began his journey, searching for the long-lost Pink Eye.

In the end, they found him in South Dakota, living on a small plot of land; he was not the mighty warrior Manthony had hoped he would be, but he was still alive. Pink Eye saw so much of himself in Manthony--the power, the self-awareness, the talent--that he decided to go back to the reservation and lead his people. He invited Manthony, six months later, to join them in a naming ceremony, to honor Manthony's heritage. During the ceremony, Manthony was introduced to the brown (or red) half of his ancestry, and shared cupcakes with his people. That day, Manthony was given his true Native American name, Thundering Cupcake. It was the best day of his entire life.

Now Manthony--man of many personalities, talents, words, and careers--is in design school at Cornish College of the Arts, living with the waiter-genius on the hill, and hopefully basking in the good life. Of all my friends, Anthony's true-life story is the most incomplete, even to himself. He also has the biggest, squishiest heart of them all, but I believe he was a warrior first; and I think warriors deserve a past, or at least the telling of their tale, so they can see their impact on the world, and know where they came from. This is the history I made for you, buddy, in case the real one never reveals itself.

I adore you, Merry Christmas!

May 28, 2008

Envious, Disjointed Rambling

Photo: Red vs. Blue, our household robot wars.

The worst part about fighting with someone who is smarter than you is knowing that half the battle has already been lost; you're not even a worthy opponent. The Esq and I don't argue very often, but when we do, it's definitely lopsided; he's a calm, rational, active listener. I, however, am a screaming hot mess who fights to the death, and when I'm done with you, I'll burn your house down with your family in it (and possibly your neighbors, and definitely your dog). I'm like a blind Tasmanian Devil trying to stab people in the dark. It's funny and tragic, and completely ineffective. This is why he wins. This is why I hate him.

I don't really hate him (I do), I'm probably just envious (but don't tell him I said so). I envy his emotional control, his good intentions, and the way he forgives almost instantly. Around the time he's happily over it, I'm still plotting my Bobbitt-like revenge. My favorite idea so far has been to break into the Woodland Park Zoo, lure an elephant out of its' cage, and ride it home where it would trample the Esq to death (as though stealing a two-ton beast was easy-peasy). In my fantasy, there was circus music playing in the background, and a can-do midget who came with the elephant, but the main point was to *crush* and then *crush some more*. I'd say the worst real thing I've ever done, in the name of jealousy, was cut off one sleeve of every t-shirt, dress shirt, and suit my ex-husband owned. I would definitely say that was the best worst. That was jealousy dipped in rage, by the way, and was like eight a hundred years ago. I was 1,000 different kinds of insanity way back when; I've scaled it back since then to just three kinds of crazy: Stab-a-Uterus Crazy (PMS), Grown-Up Crazy (overwhelmed by life, bills, kids, relationships, dirty dishes, et al), and Batshit Assclown Crazy (also known as You-Lying-Cheating-Whore Crazy). I haven't had to get batshit on anyone in a while, so that's nice; everyone in my world still has their sleeves. But I've certainly been the jealous type. Jealousy does so little for us as humans, but it's a catalyst for so many things: domestic violence, tantrums, theft, murder, dishonesty, self-doubt, isolation, and badly-written poetry (although I like to think that self-doubt and isolation lead to badly-written poetry). Manthony and I were talking about jealousy on our walk around Green Lake, and our conclusions were this: he found jealousy fascinating (as did I), I found it to be pointless (as did he); but both of us agreed it was thrilling.

There are a million reasons to envy the lives of others or the people themselves, from their talents and notoriety to the houses they live in. There will always someone who has *more* than you, at least in a monetary sense, but that doesn't attest to the quality of their lives. The perfect (most unfortunate) example of this is a guy I volunteer with named Scott. In the name of 'background', Scott is 24, short, Jewish, and eye-rollingly sardonic; he's wry, which I enjoy, and the exact definition of a 'smart aleck' (although with maturity he may have morphed into a wisenheimer). Don't misunderstand me here--I'm a mere acquaintance of Scott's through 826Seattle, not some cheerleading BFF; this was just the first, second, and third impression I had of him. He also seems agreeable, if somewhat guarded, and intelligent in a nerdy/listens-to-indie-rock kind of way. I don't know much more about him; I guess he's a big Red Sox fan and owns a sweet condo on Capitol Hill. Beyond that, I can't tell what kind of substance he's made of, or if he's still working that part out--just because he has money doesn't mean he's not 24. But I digress.

The reason I'm using him as an example is this: in 1988, when he was five years old, Scott's father tragically perished, on Pan Am Flight 103, after a bomb went off in the airplane's forward cargo hold over Lockerbie, Scotland. As such, and from the resulting lawsuits, Scott doesn't really work; I mean, I don't think he has to. And the 23-year old in me, the one who went without electricity for two months and ate Top Ramen without water, wanted to punch him in his privileged face. When he offered this information to me with a shrug, friendly-like, I was caught off guard--I didn't expect him to be affable about it, just condescending. I had heard him tell someone else this information, but only heard half of the story, and at the time I had thought, that is the very definition of 'new money': telling everyone about it! Then he said he was working on a book in his spare time, which made me even greener. The 32-year old in me that should be working on a book every day wanted to kick him in the knee and run like a woman. That's how I knew he was there to teach me something and not just to annoy me; I started out being jealous of him and ended with a little self-awareness. Sometimes people are in my life to keep me in check and semi-grounded in reality, whether we're friends or not.

I'll bet Scott's condo rocks and I'll bet he has a nicer car. His clothes are pretty standard for his age group and of course he went to Sasquatch--he probably goes to all the concerts. He probably has an IPhone and a sweet computer and enough money for nine vacations. But I know nothing about his quality of life, I've only assumed it was better than mine because of a larger bank account. I hope his life is filled with good things and cool people and high-caliber music, because mine is; I would never wish him ill will (unless he deserved it, which I doubt). But while I struggle to make ends meet, and break out the Top Ramen (with water this time, don't worry), I can still call my dad, and tell him I love him, and hang out with him when I want to. That really puts jealousy, and things of that nature, into perspective; it keeps me in check, and allows me to learn more about my challenges (a neverending supply, I assure you). So now I can just be happy for Scott, and grateful for my dad; it's a good combination.

I resembled a psychotic, blind Tasmanian Devil today, actually; I'm a terrible fighter. I'm the type that seethes with rage until bursting into tears. I'm the girl who screams talks for a long time without making a point and then suddenly gives up, a victim to the entire charade--even I get tired of hearing myself. We figured out today that I am an open yet totally ineffective communicator, and the Esq is the complete opposite; he speaks well and doesn't waste words, but does so very rarely. I ineffectively fought my way to the bottom today, yet again, and ended up blinded by my own frustrated tears. The Esq was supportive and understanding, as always. But, as the saying goes, 'in the land of the blind, the nearsighted man is king'. I'm nearsighted and saw myself very clearly today, and I'm certainly not fit to be King; 'Queen' has a nice ring to it, though. It sounds very nice, indeed.

Dear Sasquatch

Photo: My two true loves, The Flight of the Conchords. *sigh*

Today brings another batch of angry (and in some cases, desperate) half-letters that I will never send. The theme: SASQUATCH.

Dear People Who Could Afford Sasquatch Tickets,

Are you thieves or liars? I will assume you knocked over a bank, have some kind of sugar daddy, or won an egregious lawsuit against Corporate America; those were my only viable options. Also, many of you might have jobs, but that's neither here nor there.

Dear R.E.M.,

I am amazed when anyone over the age of 85 still rocks, so good for you! Even though 'Drive' was my personal depression anthem for many, many years, I would have danced to your new music like an acid-tripping hippie on a Pogo stick--which is how a lot of your fans tend to dance. I would have also turned a blind eye/blind nose to Michael Stipe's rumored assholery/body odor situation; I would have brought a giant taser and an industrial-sized deodorant, just in case.

Dear M.I.A.,

I have never listened to your music, but there are people in my life who are way cooler than I am, and they all seem to dig you. I don't even know how to say your name--is it Em-Eye-Aye, or Mee-ah? Once I figure that out, we can take our relationship to the next level.

Dear Flight of the Conchords,

You played the Robot song without me? Come on. You seriously effed me in the A, guys. No one appreciates your slightly un-funny non-music more than me! And Jemaine used the term 'ro-bros'?! Missing you at Sasquatch was like missing the birth of my own child.

Dear Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips,

I dispatched at least four people to propose to you while at Sasquatch, but I haven't heard back from you? I assure you, my boyfriend is very understanding.

Dear Sera Cahoone, Rogue Wave, Jamie Lidell, The Kooks, Awesome, The New Pornographers, and Every Other Band I Wanted to See,

Fuck, I missed ALL of you?!?! I hope you all sucked. Put me on the list next time?

Dear Robert Smith of The Cure,

I remember reading about a certain emo, bloated, sell-out someone wanting to collaborate with Ashlee Simpson last year. I remember throwing up in my mouth a little. I remember disowning you. I remember shaking my fist at the sky. That being said, I've never seen you in concert, and it might have been cool (20 years ago).

Dear People Who Attended Sasquatch, Namely Everyone I Know,

I didn't want to go anyways, so nyah.

Dear Sasquatch (ie; Bigfoot, the bipedal hominoid who lives in the Pacific Northwest),

Your magic is real and I believe in you, much like I did Michael Jackson and David Blaine (but those were closer to learning experiences than anything else). We can become BFF's and drink hot chocolate and go on Sasquatch adventures together. I will take you to a music festival that has been named in your honor, and you can eat everyone in sight. Consider it an early Christmas gift.

May 27, 2008

Random Madness

Photo: My childhood tasted like this.

This is all very random, but last night I purged my cell phone 'notepad' of strange things I had said/written down over the past few weeks (my phone is where I write everything, minus the book -which isn't a book yet- and the blog), and these were my favorites:

*Comments that were said and written down are preceded by a colon; everything else is just a note or a reminder*

It's like we're trapped in a well, but we're happy!

Burning man + iron man=melting man

(Cory spilled beer on the floor, and mopped it up with the sock he was wearing)
Me: This is how a bachelor lives.
Cory: Shut up.
Me: With honor and dignity.
Cory: (spills again) Damn it!

Why is there a USB keychain with a lotion attached to it at the Microsoft Company store?

Note to self: get a Ben Franklin impersonator for a bachelorette party someday

Kungfu Banana Backflips!

Justin: There will always be a younger, fungible unit for older men to stick their money into.

Me: The tomato plant is like the pig of the plant world. Smart and underrated.

Me: Reading their blog is like watching someone go through reeeally bad therapy where they gain no insight in the end.

Me: I don't like shredded wheat, but I like the idea of an interactive cereal. I like having the image of a shredded wheat eater.

Me: Guaranteed equal distribution throughout a salad is my one requirement in choosing a salad dressing.

Why do I hate tea cozies?

Everybody Stabs Raymond would have been a much better show.

Do Otter Pops cheapen an event, or enliven it?

Justin: Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!

Actual writing later; I'm heading to Green Lake with Manthony and then home to do more job searching. PS: download or rent the movie Darkon. You won't be sorry.

May 26, 2008

Out With the Old

Photo: Talk to the hands, because I could care less.

It feels weird/good to be up at the crack of dawn, deleting people from my life and talking myself into doing dishes. I didn't have to talk myself into erasing my former friends (from social networking sites, the blog, my cell phone, email, photos, the works), but doing the dishes is awful. Truly, truly awful. Sometimes you need to purge, sometimes you need to clean; today, I have to do both.

Sometimes I want to throw out all of my dirty dishes and go buy nicer, cleaner ones; I feel the same way about my friends. I'm feeling very Christopher Robin about my loved ones today. I can't tell who is outgrowing whom, but it's happening, and I'm rolling with it. I think that's one of the best benefits we have as humans: we choose our friends, our support team. We get to hand-pick the people who will be there at our birthday parties, graduations, weddings, births, and deaths. We get to choose, but I still think of it as a privilege; I think of my friendship as a privilege, and also feel a great deal of pride when someone chooses me. I'm lucky to have picked the best people, and to have known real friendship. But sometimes, you have to un-pick friends for myriad reasons, and today was that day.

I would try to work in the phrase 'freedom from tyranny' in here somewhere, but it's early, and there are dishes to be done.

May 24, 2008

Life Vertigo and Inside Traveling

Photo: Vertigo--it's a movie, too, and not just a lifestyle.

The best thing about being unemployed is all of the endless possibilities before me. Because I have a bunch of unstructured free time, I feel as though I can do pretty much anything. I can write that novel I've been meaning to; I can go on that road trip I've been talking about; I can cook and clean like an uber-housewife, and catch up on correspondence. I could become an astronaut, or a barista, or a bellydancer; what, I could. Of course, I've done none of these things, but it's nice to know that I could--it's almost comforting to know that I might be that type of person one day, given the right set of circumstances. Rent-bills-food, you say? Well, yeah, that's the worst thing about being unemployed: the fear. Fear of living with my parents in my thirties, fear of eating like a college student forever, fear of being stuck and staying stuck; I've faced the fear many times and lived. This time, though, the fear isn't there. I feel its' absence more than I do its' presence, which is weird and kind of wonderful.

For a week, I forced everything; must get a job, must clean the house, must-must-must, and I stressed the hell out. I gave up fighting against everything and just--I gave up. In a good way. And I'm happier for it. I'm a person who likes to stay perpetually stuck; when I'm stuck, I don't have to move forward, change and adapt, accept all life has to offer, make decisions, or do any of the other things my therapists have said are good for me. Fucking change, I would scream into my pillow, is fucking killing me. Today, however, I'm ... I'm content. I'm happy. The future? Who knows? I have no idea what I'll be doing in a week, where I'll be working in two months, or why I'm somewhat happy about those two unknowns; but I know that I'm moving in the right direction.

I'm smoke-free today; we've exercised more in the past couple of weeks than we have in the last year (and I've enjoyed it); we're systematically organizing our home, slowly but surely; we're cooking meals at home, healthy ones; I'M EATING SALAD, which is a huge deal for me (salad is my nemesis); I'm figuring out who I want on my team and who needs to get bent; we're getting enough sleep, laughing a lot, and spending quality time together. It's bizarre. My life has never been like this. This is what growing up probably feels like, just ten years too late. And it wasn't a conscious decision we made to change our lives around; the only decision we made was to give up anything with aspartame in it, although I like to think I gave up brain cancer instead. Then we bought out Trader Joe's, cleaned the kitchen, discovered WiiFit, found our way to Green Lake, and the rest is recent history. Being healthy is nice. It's a solid foundation for the inevitable growing pains we all go through. It's made being unemployed (and fantastic!) much, much easier.

I feel like I have life vertigo. Vertigo, as most people know it, is a specific type of dizziness that's a major symptom of a balance disorder. There are two kinds of vertigo: subjective and objective. Subjective is when you're standing still and feel like you're moving, which can throw off your balance; objective is when surroundings literally move past a person's field of vision. My life vertigo is subjective; I feel like I'm moving, but I'm not. I feel like I'm traveling inside, but my outside (my actual life) doesn't know it yet. I'm fragmented, but not totally lost, which is new--I can see all of my pieces, but they're not completely put together yet. What I'm doing with my idle time lately is figuring out how to do that, how to put them back together, in a different order from before. It's exciting and *screams* and I'm turning shit around. I'm like a carefree, human question mark, but I feel more comfortable in my skin now than I've ever been. Quitting my last job and getting away from it all--'the blind leading those who can already see' is how I think of it (although I remember everything more fondly the farther I get away from it)--and wandering into the blissful unknown was the best thing I've ever done for myself, which is crazyshit and stupid, pure and simple. It's life vertigo, and those fragmented pieces are coming together on their own, without any of my help.

The word vertigo comes from the Latin vertere, to turn, and the suffix -igo, a condition; "a condition of turning about". This is what ails me--vertigo, life vertigo--a condition of turning about, a condition of turning my life about. Finally, a disease I can get behind.

May 22, 2008

The Jabberwocky Incident

One thing I enjoy doing most is talking with the Esq: he knows way more than I do and has perfect comedic timing. I keep trying to coax this out in social situations, yet he remains reticent--or he probably thinks he's above performing like a monkey for my friends, but I strongly disagree. I noticed this week that we have very tangential conversations, often with mixed results, and I believe it's mostly my fault. If the conversation begins with the Esq talking about the Olympics and the political ramifications behind it, I will somehow steer the topic towards something more personal ("China is scary!" or "I want a panda!" is how it usually begins), and then we'll be on a tangent about celebrity Olympians I've known (so very many), and then suddenly we're discussing our favorite meals involving chicken and how I'm hungryyyy. It's great that we cover a lot of ground in our exchanges, but find that the 'tangential' part is probably me and ADHD. I also appreciate that the Esq just goes there with me, wherever 'there' is, with a resigned but optimistic shrug.

This information is relevant only because of a similar conversation we had the other night. We started discussing mixed martial arts, and ended up talking about my Sex Education class with Mrs. Jackson in the sixth grade. We were talking about Josh and his brother doing MMA training, and I observed that the Esq would inevitably train again, too. I wondered out loud what the Esq would use for a name, if he were a famous MMA fighter; my big ideas were The Norwegian Something-or-Other, and The Swedish Stick. He didn't like those. He suggested The Jabberwocky, which made me laugh because I've seen the MMA crowds with my own two eyes: not quite the Lewis Carroll types. I said, "There's no way anyone would get it--I would be the only person in the stadium who had read Lewis Carroll." He still thought it was a good name; I secretly agreed.

The Jabberwocky is the esteemed Lewis Caroll's nonsensical poem that brought about some of my favorite made-up words: Jubjub, which is a desperate bird that lives in perpetual passion (I know a few girls like that), and mimsy, a combination of 'miserable' and 'flimsy'. I knew this poem--and everything about its' author and inception--by heart, because I loved it and had chosen it for my poem presentation in Mrs. Jackson's 6th-grade reading class. Everyone had to choose something, and I wanted something spectacular. I memorized the entire thing, and practiced it for hours. I walked into my classroom the next day with total confidence, because I knew no one else would have chosen something so difficult. As I wrote in my journal, 15 years later, 'I wanted to rock before I even knew what that meant.' The A-crowd sat in the middle, and I was in the back; I looked over their shoulders and saw the book of poetry they had all selected from. They put the book down on the desk next to mine and forgot about it. Curious, I opened it up and was unimpressed; most of the poems rhymed, and not in a smart way ('chocolate' and 'thought of' do not rhyme), and the accompanying pictures were juvenile. We were about six kids in when I realized that 90% of the classroom had chosen poems out of the same book; I could tell from the inside jokes that they had all studied together. Each poem was short, delivered without emotion, and drowned out by giggles; each person walked back to their desks and got high-fived by someone else. It was like a poetry-for-retards club that I wasn't invited to; that is when I started to panic.

I immediately felt that red-hot flush of pre-teen self-awareness, from the realization that I was excluded to the more awful realization that my isolation would show the minute I gave my presentation. I knew how it would all go down, and had already decided to describe it as 'The Jabberwocky Incident' in my memoirs. My panic rose as my sense of self faded, my brown skin blending in with brown walls, brown carpeting, and a scratched brown desk. My name was called. I grabbed the 'cool kid' book--flipped to a short poem--and retained nothing. I thought reading from the same book would soften the blow; I thought it would make me look like I'd at least had the same idea. I didn't want to look too smart. I mean, what sixth grader reads fucked-up Lewis Carroll poems for fun? Why didn't my parents insist on Judy Blume instead of Tom Robbins? Why wasn't I reading straight from Sweet Valley High? Those knuckle-dragging morons would never understand The Jabberwocky; I'd be doing them a service by dumbing it down a bit. So that's what I did. I read the shortest, most obtuse poem that ever barely lived; if the poem was on life support before I read it, that thing was dead by the time I finished. My face was bright red the whole time, and there were no high-fives afterwards. I had a brief moment of hope that my teacher would grade me on picking the most popular book of poetry--see how unremarkable I can be?--but I saw she was just confused. She knew what poem I had originally picked, and also knew how smart I was; I could tell she was disappointed, which paled in comparison to my internal shrieking shame. I got a C on the presentation, and then lied to my parents about it.

Mrs. Jackson also taught the dreaded Sex Education; she was a great teacher, though, because she taught the class with an eyeroll. We knew she didn't want to be there, either, teaching us about body parts we couldn't even find, much less care about. She would say stuff like, "PEOPLE--IT. IS. NOT. A. BONE. YOU CAN EITHER CALL IT A 'PENIS' *pause for giggles* OR JUST GIGGLE EVERY TIME I SAY IT." The Esq and I couldn't stop laughing, thinking about how absolutely heinous Sex Ed had been.

I remembered the Question Box Day, and that Amy Cooper sat in front of me; she was a popular blond, but our moms were friends. She turned around and asked me how to spell the word 'orgasm'--she wanted to know the proper spelling, so she could properly misspell the word, therefore hiding her identity. I distinctly recall thinking, if you want anonymity, ditch the neon orange Post-Its that no one else has, and forget about spelling. I also remember she was left-handed, because when she showed me her question, I laughed out loud; she'd used her right hand for obscurity, so it looked like she had written with a special vibrating pen: "Whut es an fake orgasim?" said the unrecognizable scrawl. I found her question ridiculous, for a number of reasons:

1) Why misspell anything? How does that masquerade you in any way?
2) 'Es'? Why ask the question in anything other than English?
3) 'An' fake orgasm? Is there a purpose to butchering indefinite articles when no one really cares?

What made me laugh the hardest was the F in FAKE and the G in ORGASM were turned backwards, as though some wayward 4-year old with pressing questions about sexuality had infiltrated our sixth-grade classroom. Amy asked for my advice--should she pass the question up, or just drop it? Honestly, I felt at the time like she could have gone home, looked up orgasm in the dictionary, and just assumed it was a fake one of those--but not having a clear understanding of what an orgasm was, myself, I was kind of curious. So I threw her under the bus.

"Should you? Of course you should! No one will even know--I can't even tell it's your handwriting, it looks more like Kari's handwriting, and I think Kari actually writes some of her letters backwards, which is convenient... here, let me pass it for you, then you won't look like the culprit--oh, you're welcome, you are so brave." Mrs. Jackson opened Amy's Day-Glo orange Post-It, stifled a laugh, and said something about a fake orgasm being inevitable. Then she laughed and left the room to compose herself; when she came back, red-faced and watery-eyed (I think she went next door and had a laugh with Mr. Speaker), she said, "Well, I guess a fake orgasm is the opposite of an orgasm. And if you want to know what an orgasm is, I invite you to look it up in the dictionary--it's difficult to explain, since it's different for everyone, but I assure you that stuff will be covered in eighth grade Health." Eighth grade?! Since I didn't want to look it up, I couldn't believe it would be two more years until I would find out what an orgasm was; ironically, it was anti-climactic.

It was this memory that jogged another one, which was of our fourth/fifth grade Sex Education class. It wasn't that educational, since everyone avoided looking at the see-through humans on the overhead projector, as well as each other. It was more of a Body Parts Show- and-Tell combined with "And Baby Makes Three!", served with a steaming side of abstinence. It wasn't about SEX, whatever the hell that was. I understood body part functions, how babies were made, and that a girl with braces + a guy with braces =fun that morphs into disaster. What I was less certain of was, why would anyone--like our teachers and parents--want to do that with anyone else? It sounded sweaty, hot, and dirty. Unbeknownst to me, that was the actual answer I was looking for, but I was too young (and uninterested) to really care. I remember my disappointment in my teacher at the time--his name was Mr. Storkman. I felt--and I think I speak for all of us, really--like he let us down in a way, with his name being Mr. Storkman and all. I assumed he had the inside scoop on all the Sex Ed stuff, and would know how to make it less painful or embarrassing. When he started talking earnestly, and in great detail, about his children being born (out of his wife's you-know-what), I realized my mistake. The rapturous look he had while talking about his son bursting forth into the world via vaginal slip-and-slide was too much for me to handle. I was sent out of the classroom because I could not stop giggling; I had an image in my mind of his wife's enormous vagina, pushing out these giant white eggs, and Stork the Dorkman catching them in his beak and flying away. He told me later that I would understand the beautiful gift of childbirth, if I decided to go that route, and I would see that he was right. I decided I wanted nothing to do with my ladyparts from then on. That lasted six years, until high school; and sadly, I didn't get the real definition of an 'orgasm' until a few years after THAT, ifyouknowwhatImean.

Mrs. Jackson was right about inevitability; Mr. Storkman was right, too--childbirth was a bitch, but it was also really beautiful. And yes, this awesome trip down memory lane was brought on by a conversation about mixed martial arts with the Esq. As I said, that's the great thing about him--he goes there with me, and facilitates the memory. He adds laughter where laughter is lacking, and asks the right questions; he helps me make my memories into stories. I'm sure he'll come up with some meta-cool fighter name someday, something snazzy and marketable--but to me, he'll always be my adorable Norwegian Something-or-Other.

May 20, 2008

Hardcore Gangsta

Photo: My kind of gang.

Idle hands are the Devil's tools, or so I've been told by Chaucer; mine aren't tools, really, because that implies activity and usefulness. Mine are more like meathooks without hooks; adding actual hooks sounds like a lot of work--I'm not a welder or a goddamn surgeon, I'm a former-this who wants to be a future-that. I'm also hungry, which for some reason seems more important; this is probably why I'm idle and failing. Instead of writing the next great American novel, I'm pondering my sandwich meat options. It's the perfect metaphor for my life.

When teenagers are idle, they get into teenage trouble; beers in the woods, the occasional shake-filled joint, flunking a class, sex on a youth group trip (all stuff that I, ironically, avoided in high school--I just wasn't cool or fearless enough). When adults are idle, they get into adult trouble; late with the rent, too many beers, a bad work review, sex with a secretary. Same stuff, twenty years later.

I'm somewhere between being a teenager and being an adult; my protracted, painful adolescence has been hard to shake, mostly because I refuse to loosen my grip, which tends to be a problem when trying to let go of things. I thought I had avoided all of the trouble one could get into as an adult, but last night--inevitably--my idle time led me further astray than I had ever dreamed: I joined a gang.

Look--don't freak out--but I'm all gangster now, or maybe I'm a gangsta; gangster sounds Sicilian, gangsta sounds illiterate. Whatever I am, I'm hardcore. Well, the gang isn't that hardcore, we're not cracking skulls on the street or anything. Yes, we're terrifying, and we're certainly a gang, but it's not like we have weapons. Plus, everyone but me is white (although I'm probably the whitest)--how frightening could we be? Our bodies are our weapons! We can break you with our bare hands! Our healthy hearts and happy livers will crush you like the pea-sized ants you are! Where does this newfound confidence come from, you ask? From my partners in crime, from my homeboys. See, I joined a WiiFit Gang last night. And we're coming to an online exercise plaza near YOU to fuck you up.

Hear me now: I love our WiiFit Gang. It consists of us and our building neighbors. One of them brought home WiiFit last night, and we had so. much. fun. First I had to sign my little Mii up--an avatar that looks just like me, only cuter and thinner, which is what I look like in my mind--and her name is Bee (my longtime, childhood nickname--something you must earn to use, FYI). You stand on this fit-board thingy, and go through a BMI test (frightening), a balance test (hard), instructions, goal-setting, and then start training. The best part was having my tiny little Bee on screen, getting her BMI; once the fucker figured out I was overweight, my little Bee became a round, lumpy Mii, filling out so she could mirror my sad, brown, barrel-shaped body. That was special.

We all took turns making goals and working with the online trainer; weirdly, the male trainer was created without junk, but the female trainer was packing heat. Michelle said maybe we're going to be exercising everything, which is unappealing to me--I don't want some big ol' moose knuckle down there ("camel toe" for brown people), thanks but no thanks. We couldn't stop laughing, during training or our breaks, which had to be good for our overall health, too. There were also a ton of games to play; there was one where you had to head-butt soccer balls that are flying at you, but dodge the non-soccer detritus. All of the little Miis were lined up in soccer uniforms, waiting to kick the ball at me; my favorite part was when Cory got biffed repeatedly in the face by flying objects: soccer balls, soccer cleats, panda bear heads, the usual. Michelle passed the hoola hoop section, and I rocked on the Ski Slalom event. Cory also learned how to become a yoga tree (a painful process, apparently), and Justin schooled everyone on the Basic Step Aerobics. It was like being at a health-conscious carnival with your buddies. Included in WiiFit is a whole yoga section, strength training, balance testing, and aerobics; WiiFit records everything and keeps track of your weight and your BMI. And just like a game, you have to earn points to unlock more stuff, so it's competitive. You have an audience cheering for you the whole time, and your friends can participate. I haven't had that much fun exercising in my entire life; I feel like I've had many chances in my life to join a gang, but it wasn't until now that it actually made sense. An exercise gang--who would have thought? I'm ready to kick some Nintendo WiiFitt ass.

Meh, no sandwich meats today, only tuna. And after that I'll write the next great American novel, or maybe take a nap.

May 19, 2008

Rock Bands & Rock Band

Photo: It doesn't now, but it will.

The last 40 hours of my life have been entirely too weird and uncontrollably sweaty for my taste. After missing the Posies show (due to drama that came out of nowhere), and sweating our sticky, miserable asses off in our top-floor apartment (which I have now dubbed "The Asshole of Washington"), we finally enjoyed two seconds of our Saturday night/Sunday morning with our neighbors during a late-night building barbecue. As we cooled off, so did the weariness from our day, and we got our second winds during Rock Band; I sang a lot of the vocals, although I surprised myself on the 'drums'--I didn't totally suck. Six of us ended up across the street at Cowen Park, in the warm wee hours, playing with Michelle's lit-up Frisbee; we brought beers for everyone (illegal) to the park after hours (also illegal) and I have horrible karma (from doing things like this, I suppose), so it didn't surprise me that an hour into it, the cops showed up. The 35 screechy teenagers partying on the playground ran for their lives; we adults made our way home quickly, with our heads down, and without speaking. For a boring, 32-year old sun-hater who had a terrible morning that morphed into an even worse evening (and knowing I was missing out on a good concert with most of my friends), narrowly escaping the police in the park at 1AM came in a close second. I felt sixteen again, and alive! That is why I've decided to embark on a life of crime from here on out. All the signs are pointing in that direction, and I'm going to follow them. Besides, I have nothing better to do, and I'm feeling adventurous.

May 17, 2008

Weird Fishez

Photo: I hope Bush reads my blog. This one's for you, jackass.

Between last night's debauchery on Capitol Hill (which started on Broadway and ended on Eastlake at Sara Rose's sinpad) and The Posies show tonight, I can muster up only enough energy to do one survey, care of Frazier from Myspace. At least it's about music. Actual writing to come later after I eat a meal, open my eyes all the way, and locate my brain.

Put your music player on shuffle.

Click -Next Song- for every question and write it down.

What does next year have in store for me?
Sexual Healing; Marvin Gaye.

Uhh. Hm.

What does your love life look like?
Moving in Stereo; The Cars. I guess. I mean, we have a car, and it moves, and there's a stereo.

What do I say when life gets hard?
Una furtiva lagrima (A furtive tear); Mary Fahl.

What, I thought everyone sought encouragement and solace in the 2nd Scene
romanza of Act II in the Italian opera, L'elisir d'amore, by Gaetano Donizetti. No?

What song will I dance to at my wedding?
Dearest; Buddy Holly.

What I'd really like: Rock You Like a Hurricane; The Scorpions.

What do you want as a career?
*searching for songs with the word 'prostitute' in them*

Chocolate; Lester. I want to be a chocolate.

Your favorite saying?
Grizzle took the best one, which was Cocks n Asses; Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

I landed on Tout Doucement, the Leslie Feist cover (original sung by Blossom Dearie in 1957, thanks Wikipedia). Tout doucement translates into 'all gently', which, if you know me, is the last thing that would come out of my mouth. If I had to choose a French saying, it would be "avez-vous vu mon pantalon?", which means "have you see my pants?" It's great to say, and it's also verrah, verrah practical.

What do you think of your parents?
The Devil Wears Earplugs; Joggers.

(And I love them.)

Where would you go on a first date?
Tombstone, Baby; Peaches.

Most of my first dates have gone the way of the tombstone, so this is fitting.

Drug of choice?
(This is where the song 'Chocolate' would have come in handy)

Also, with so many to choose from, how does one narrow it down? I'll have to try them all at once, and then make my decision later, if I'm still breathing.

I Dunno; Volumen.

Describe yourself.
*still searching for 'prostitute' in ITunes*

Broken Biscuit; Sia. Basically the same thing.

What is the thing I like doing most?
David Bowie. Oh, I have to choose a song...

Caring is Creepy; The Shins. Caring IS creepy, but I still enjoy doing it.

The song that best describes the president?
Lying Brainless Cokehead Douchebag Fucks Up the Nation in Record Time Without Consequences and I'm Moving to Canada; sung by Snotty McSnotterson. Get your copy today.

How will I die?
I Sell Society; Godhead. (I don't know why I have this song on my playlist; Joshy?)

The song that will be played at your funeral?
You're Speaking My Language; Juliette & the Licks.

I assume this means the language of the dead, although I'm far more interested in the undead, to be honest. I also wouldn't mind 'Time Warp' from Rocky Horror, or the Muppet Show theme song.

The song you'll put as the subject?
Weird Fishez; Amplive (Radiohead remix). This is a phenomenal remixed album of In Rainbows; I was lukewarm about Radiohead's last effort--it was okay--but I'm totally on board with Amplive. You can download the Rainydayz Remixes for free, here.

May 16, 2008

My Birthday Gift from the Esq

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I received two little guys last year from the Esq; this year, I got the Special Edition guys that I didn't even know existed! The best part was how they were wrapped, which was within a diorama the Esq made of our relationship, from the beginning all the way into teh futurez. Their names are Jim and Pam (from The Office, of course) because they look Jim and Pam-ish; the guys from last year are named Sam Seaborn and Ainsley Hayes (our favorites from the West Wing). My first two guys were from when I was married, and unfortunately, my sisters' kids ripped their arms off, so they are now named Mr. and Mrs. Allen (after Rick Allen, the drummer from Def Leppard, and his first wife, Stacy--the one he allegedly beat with one arm).

If you enjoy collecting little dudes (or love polymer clay for some reason), check out My Guys at Meredith Dittmar's website, I think they're really special. And now I have six!

May 15, 2008

A Contemporary Barometer

Photo: Jasper Johns' piece, Painting With Two Balls--a painting made in response to his work being called "ballsy".

Manthony and I attended a lecture at the Seattle Art Museum last night, which was given quite masterfully by Michael Darling, SAM's enthusiastic modern and contemporary curator. The lecture was focused on Thermometer, the 'prolific' painting by Jasper Johns that belongs to the museum--or more accurately, to Virginia and Bagley Wright, Seattle's very own contemporary art guardian angels. As expected, the auditorium was filled with trustees, art snobs, art teachers, art students, and us. I think we were the only ones who noticed that Michael Darling was wearing an aubergine, corduroy suit over his delicate, floral-patterned shirt. I've never--ever--seen a man (a straight man, no less, who is married to a straight lady) wearing a purple suit before, unless you count Barney.

The presentation focused on Jasper Johns and what his influences and motivations were behind his often-unexplained American Pop/Abstract Expressionist pieces, with special emphasis on Thermometer; the many quotes Darling had of Johns was helpful only in realizing that Johns liked to mess with people, and delighted in confusing his fans and critics. The painting itself looks like my 9-year old threw a box of crayons in the dryer with a canvas, stenciled some numbers in the middle, vertically, and then placed a thermometer in the center. It was impressive to me only when I heard that the thermometer actually worked. Otherwise, it was like a lot of experimental contemporary art from that time period (1950's, 1960's): messy, undefined, and hard on the eyes. That being said, I like a lot of what I've seen from Jasper Johns' artistic catalogue; some of his "color" paintings--paintings that include color words, like 'yellow' and 'red'--are my favorites, as well as the number series. The "color" paintings are ironic (read: he's messing with you), because those colors are rarely shown in the paintings, but they're aesthetically-pleasing in an organized, naked kind of way. I hadn't studied Johns before, but I was very familiar with his former art buddy lover, Robert Rauschenberg. I always liked Rauschenberg because his artwork--which included found household objects and a whirlwind of weirdness--was a bit more inclusive. Then again, I've always found the Abstract Expressionist period to be somewhat guerilla-ish. Most people think of the great masters, which usually translates into this: the artwork has been mass-reproduced in mainstream society to the point of mindless recognition, or the artists' bi-polar past has been made into a major motion picture (Pollock, anyone?). But a lot of what those artists were doing back then was anti-art, or intellectual art, or non-art; instead of the pretty picture of a flower or a woman, it was a gritty, thought-provoking, barren landscape filled with greys, blues, and forks--or something cold and utilitarian. It wasn't art for the sake of art, it was art for the sake of thoughts or ideas.

Looking at a Jackson Pollock can go a million different ways; the interpretation is subjective with such abstract, often disjointed paintings. Looking at a Georgia O'Keefe painting--her work being abstract, but also crisp, intense, synthesized--you can say, 'that's a flower, and it makes me feel __________.' With abstract expressionism, you get to have your own interpretations. Some people might look at Pollock's brush strokes for answers, some would be inspired by the amalgam of colors, someone might see their cheating ex-wife within the painting; the interpretation is up to you. I was always a bigger fan of Kandinsky than Pollock, but I'm starting to get back into the local scene. I hope that Darling will continue to curate some of these massive stars of the Abstract Expressionism art world--like Jasper Johns, Rothko, Diego Rivera, de Kooning, Noguchi, Aaron Siskind (a brilliant photographer influenced by this time period)--but also hope that he continues to raid the Seattle art scene with his unfaltering, practiced eye. Junko Yamamoto is showing there right now, which is unbelievable--she has that happy, cartoon contemporary feel to her work that might not be as marketable as Takashi Murakami (whom Michael Darling curated in 2001 at LA's MoCA--it's called Superflat, and is worth seeing), but is more approachable than Murakami's work has ever been. That whole Louis Vuitton sell-out thing really 'chapped my caboose', as my boyfriend would say.

Other artists I would love to see represented in the contemporary collection: Matt Sellars, sculpture. Everything he touches turns to artistic gold, I swear. His pieces are heavily influenced by architecture, which would appeal to Darling, since he's a design junkie; I read in The Stranger that his doctoral dissertation was done on the furniture of 20th-century American designer, George Nelson, who is phenomenal. R.M. Schindler would be a great survey at the SAM, with his Frank Lloyd Wright leanings, and clean, contemporary architectural designs. I also feel, with so many Northwest artists going unnoticed, that Blake Haygood would be a nice addition to the fray, with his intensely gorgeous world of abandoned farm machinery, nuts and bolts, woods, and land; he's showing at the Missoula Art Museum right now, but I would love to see his work more widely represented. It's sparse, but compelling. And what is contemporary art, if not those two things?

The entire evening was fun. My favorite audience member question was this: "Have you ever thought to put {Thermometer, the painting} in another room and expose it to different kinds of light to maximize its' showmanship?" No, the heavily-degreed curators of this multi-million dollar museum have never even thought of showing one of their most popular paintings in a room with good lighting. My response to Anthony was, "Have they ever thought of--call me crazy--putting it in a room?" That might be groundbreaking, too. After waiting in what felt like a receiving line, we spoke with the curator (very nice; shiny), asked a few questions, and then headed to Taco Time. Sometimes you have to balance out your pretentiousness with a crisp beef burrito or two.

May 14, 2008

The Poofters in My Life

Photo: The Almighty Esquire.

My honey walks into the kitchen, lifts an arm and a leg, and quickly farts. Why are all men like this? What is WRONG with you people?

Me: That's how Hitler farted.
Esq: That's how The Karate Kid farted.
Me: *LOL*
Esq: You remember The Crane?
Me: Yes, I remember it.
Esq: *does The Crane*
Me: What would Mr. Miyagi do?
Esq: (slowly waves a hand in front of his face) Fart without farting. That is the true way.

To me, farting is like making your hand into a gun, and fake-shooting someone, only to have bullets come screaming out of your bloodied fingertips; it's unnatural. Satisfying, maybe--but annoying, just the same. AND YOU GUYS LOVE IT. My dad used to say, "farting is as natural as eating chocolate cake", which makes sense, because he consumed a lot of chocolate cake (probably to balance out all of the gas he was passing). I've seen my son receive awards, my boyfriend kill in court, my brother back from 3 months of vacation, my cousin get promotions, my dad during his favorite concert and my son's diabetes-riddled father consume his favorite sugary treat. But none of them have ever looked so content--so pleased with themselves--than when they were sitting in their own airy excrement. Guys are so weird.

May 13, 2008

A Snotty Interview

Photo and tag line ganked from Grizzle:

Pretty much how all this shit went down.

Please don't take this to mean that my interview LOOKED like this photo--if they had been repeatedly poking my bloated, bloody carcass with sticks for their own amusement, I wouldn't have stayed through the entire interview. Unless there were snacks, or unicorns, or snack-serving unicorns.

Positive things I can say about my interview today:

I was interviewed by nice people.

I wasn't drunk or on crystal meth this time.

I remembered to turn my cell phone off.

I laughed at jokes, while not making any.

I wore clothes; they were laundered.

I suppressed the 'donkey-punch witch-cackle' I'm prone to making.

I didn't mention how I hope robots will take over the world someday.

I didn't mention that I'd read the Bridges of Madison County and cried, for reals.

I answered the 'where do you see yourself in ___ years' without saying "your mom's house".

I didn't cry.

I didn't poop on the table.

I didn't say these words: Hitler, retarded, mangina.

(I did say, "That's what she said", and "What wouldn't Jesus do?" And I'm assuming the answer to that is: hire me.)

Negative things I can say about my interview today:

A meteor did not fall out of the sky, striking the building we were in and ending the interview early.

It was raining.

My official line is that I delightfully bombed my interview; I'm usually really confident when it comes to interviewing, but the stars just didn't align for me. I was really nervous, for a number of reasons, so I couldn't stop sweating like a jittery pig, and I rushed my answers before thinking about them. I was asked a lot of questions that were similar to each other, which to me meant that I wasn't being articulate enough, and the more I tried to simplify my answers, the further down the rabbit hole I went. I also couldn't find the word *funny* to save my fucking life, unless it was to use the word un-funny. I just wasn't totally comfortable until the end, when I realized they were all cool and I could have been having a better time with it. It was also interesting that the interview was led by a former sometime-client of mine at Julep--and that our connection there was, weirdly, Sean Nelson. She had some inside joke with her significant other or something about him, and I used to be friends with him back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth--now he's just an artist I used to know who gave me a kickass record player. Anyway, it's like I can't fully get away from Julep (or Sean Nelson, heh). Maybe I will end up working at Julep, one day a week in Gig Harbor, for the rest of my life, until I die from a freaky cheese grater incident. It wouldn't shock me, is all I'm saying.

Today I need to shake off my present failures and go back to the drawing board. Thanks to everyone who sent me job leads today (total count: 5), WHILE I WAS AT MY JOB INTERVIEW--apparently you all knew that my interviewing skillz were made from the foreskin of Satan's evil member. I wish you traitors had warned me. Then again, maybe the other applicants interviewing will show up with a swastika on their forehead or wearing a Rick Astley t-shirt; actually, the t-shirt would probably get them the job. I should have worn it.

Que serra and all that. The adventure continues: Craigslist, ho!

May 12, 2008

I Scream For Ice Cream

Photo: Cory's felted dream girl.

A conversation to be noted for no apparent reason:

*sound of the ice cream truck nearby*

Cory: Yes! I love this time of night.
Me: I feel...awkward.
Cory: You feel awkward?
Me: *nods*
Cory: Man, that guy must get tons of tail.
Me: *laughs*

*the ice cream truck gets louder*

Me: Oh my God! Do you know what song is playing?
Cory: No.
Me: The theme song from Boomerang. You know, the kids' show?
Cory: Never heard of it.
Me: *excited* Yeah! It was really cool--they sang this song and were, I don't know, there were big letters that spelled out 'BOOMERANG' and at the end they jumped off the top of a barn into a pile of hay. (wistfully) That always looked like a lot of fun.
Cory: Whatever.

*ice cream truck drives away*

Me: What kind of shows did you watch as a kid?
Cory: The usual. Sesame Street when I was young, The New Zoo Revue--
Me: --what?
Cory: You never saw The New Zoo Revue? It was coool.
Me: I don't remember watching a whole lot of TV. We just watched what our parents wanted us to, I guess.
Cory: You missed OUT.
Me: But we always watched Saturday morning cartoons. Man, I loved those Fraggle Rock fuckers.
Cory: *sings* Dance your cares away, worries for another day, let the music playyy, down at Fraggle Rock! *clapclap* Down at Fraggle Rock!
Me: So you've heard of it?
Cory: Nah.

Ahoy, Marmaduke the Whore

Photo: Man, I miss these guys.

With a second interview at SEOmoz tomorrow, I've been contemplating my future, and I came to these conclusions:

1. I'm not so much a "decision maker" lately as I am "the opposite of that". Too much time at home has made me idle (not idol-ed), so it's time to get back to work.
2. I like to do everything and nothing, which makes for an interesting philosophy debate and very little take-home pay.
3. Choosing a career should be fun and engaging, like playing Russian Roulette (Roulette is a favorite theme of mine lately!).


I'm going to be a sailor. No! I'm going to be a mariner. An adventurous life at sea, with only my shipmates and trusty intuition to guide us. What's that saying, though--something about the captain going down with the ship? I believe it's just an unwritten responsibility (Wiki check: true), one that I would heartily ignore. So maybe I wouldn't like being a mariner, after all. Lame. I was looking forward to wearing a uniform men in uniform.


I'm going to be a hooker--wait! I'm going to be a lady of the evening. Sounds classier. Well, 'lady' is stretching it a bit, but I am a night owl; that has to count for something. And I'm friendly! Mostly to your face and not to your private parts, but friendliness is key when building a solid client base; I've been in customer service since Jesus walked on water (and you people believed it). As any mother would on Mother's Day, I spent the evening looking at local prostitution sites with my boyfriend's mom and sister, searching for the worst and then finding it. Says one local girl with a talent for massage: "Want a little more pizazz? Upgrade to my expanded massage. The first half of our session will be sensual touch. The 2nd half of our time will be spent on a sanitized air mattress." Three words: Sign. Me. Up.


I'm going to start creating cartoons to submit to the Sunday morning paper--I'm going to be a cartoonist! I'm really only doing this because the Sunday morning newspaper--no matter what newspaper we're talking about--has the WORST cartoons on the planet, if not the entire solar system. Calvin & Hobbes was dope (RIP), and Doonesbury is all right--less funny and more informative--but all of the other ones are complete shit. Mary Worth, Prince Valiant, The Family Circus, MARMADUKE?! The Esq says Non Sequitur is funny sometimes, and I can handle Luann sometimes, or maybe Get Fuzzy; but I give a fat middle finger to Cathy and her years of endless whining about being fat and unlovable. You're fat and unlovable for a reason, accept it and move on. I'd hate to meet the creator of that cartoon--I always imagined she would just be a real-life, magnified version of Cathy: tearing her hair out in dressing rooms, sweating profusely, and squawking on the phone with her mother. I need to put her out of her misery; this is a priority.

May 10, 2008

Friendship Roulette

Photo: Notable vegans. Looks fun.

I'm back in my hometown for Mother's Day--Gig Harbor--and remembering my childhood here, which was fair to middlin'. I give it a lower rating because, as I get older, my memory of it is less a painful journey through the past and more of a blinding, euphoric recall; I don't trust myself. I'm forgetting the awful parts (me+adolescence=the beginning of the end) as I get farther away from it, and remembering only the good stuff. I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing; inaccurate, yes, but not bad. I'm happy to forget the knee-deep-in-shit experiences, because there are always more around the corner. And if this is how I react to the enormous failure that was my twenties, then I say BRING IT ON to my thirties; I'm as prepared as I'll ever be.

One thing I remember from being a kid is staying overnight at people's houses. Like any good social climber, I only wanted to stay with people who had a better house than mine, otherwise it was like staying at The Sorrento and switching to The Travelodge. I remember packing my bag with all the hopefulness of a blushing bride; would their home hold secret treasures that my home did not? Would they have junk food and HBO and a pool and a closet full of clothes that would fit me? You couldn't just ask outright, because they would see right through you. I had to see the sweaters tied around their necks, and breathe in the lemon scent of "Cleaned By a Maid" for myself; I had to be warned by a parent about falling off the private dock, or encouraged to visit the on-site stables, to believe it was actually true. I envied them, as any 10-year old would, but without any malice; I never thought they were more fortunate than me. They just had more stuff, like a boat or Doritos or an au pair (all the stuff I craved at the time). Going on a 'play date' was like an informational interview; if the day progressed well--doing fun things, playing with meaningless stuff, making up stories, frolicking on the beach--then we moved into the dinner phase of the relationship. If dinner was acceptable--not too many veggies, no family arguments, no alcoholic binges (and major points for ordering out)--then we'd call my parents and beg them to bring me a change of clothes, pleading to stay overnight. More often than not, I found too many flaws in the families of my friends, judging my classmates on how their house smelled (mine smelled of lavender, I was spoiled), what their snack situation was like (my parents weren't fans of junk food), and if their parents were more embarrassing than mine. If the parents drank too much, had no television, or had that '8 P.M. bedtime' look about them, I faked out the friend and talked about my cruel and unusual parents; they would never let me stay over, not on a ...*cough*... Friday night. I always felt bad for deceiving them, but there was no way in Hell I could last an entire
night with a desperately unstable, anti-MTV, super-religious, mom-thinks-she's-just-one-of-the-girls family without slaughtering them. I knew a family like this, and I avoided the girl after spending the night once--despite her friendly personality--because she had too many siblings, so the house was always a stinky chaotic mess, and her parents never remembered to feed us. I would also remember them, later on with a girlfriend, as 'the family who didn't have a guest room, or a trundle bed, or even a bunkbed for Chrissake, and then at breakfast turned out to be goddamn fucking vegans'. There were also the friends who were fun to hang out with, but had one batshit crazy parent; a dad who was a little too friendly, a mom who was a little too bitter. It was like Friendship Roulette, wondering if your friend's mom had been taking her medication regularly, or if this was a "good day" for another friend's manic depressive father. Sometimes it would pay off, and then other times--BANG!! Before I had my license, my parents would drop me off at the girl's house--and if I didn't know what to expect from the friend's family, waving at my dad as he drove away could sometimes feel like leaving home forever. It felt like an irreparable decision I had made hastily, and I always had a moment of regret. It usually turned out fine--excellent snacks in brand-name packaging, unlimited R-rated movies, no bedtime, a cute older brother home with cute older friends, a really comfortable couch, ordering Round Table Pizza, painting our toenails--but I was always wary. Going home was always the second best thing about spending the night at a friend's house. My favorite part was planning it over the phone with the flavor-of-the-month friend--imagining our unlimited options for fun and friendship, and hoping for the best.

Luckily, all of my sleepovers are at my house now, and they're with my favorite friend, even if he does snore. Lightly.

Ma Familia

Photo: Snotty's parents (she is clearly adopted).

My little brother, Sam, moved home last summer, and then never left; my jealousy of him right now is epic. Being jealous of Sam has always been a full-time job for me, ever since he was born and insisted on living for. ev. er. I'm not pissed that he's sponging off of my parents--hello, I did it first and for the longest amount of time--I'm just annoyed that I can't do it simultaneously. Of course I still feel like a part of our family--my family rocks--but it's mostly a "grass is greener" thing: the Esq and I get to do what we want, have no supervision, and live in a kickass apartment in Seattle (without our parents), while Sam gets to live off the fat of the land with my parents in a killer house, a house with good food, free cable, and a hot tub--I know he'd like to trade with us sometimes, and vice versa.

It's not the 'stuff' I miss, though; I have plenty of stuff here. It's the physicality of the family unit that is available to him--it's knowing that my parents are cool now and way more easygoing--it's wanting that family cocoon again. Being in our family was like having two stern but loving captains pick you for their team every time, even when you knew they didn't want to; it was like Kid Insurance: because I'm your kid, you have to choose me--and they did, every time. My parents were the captains of our family team, a team built on Nebraska Cornhusker-like fanaticism and Boston Red Sox loyalty, despite a history of losses; they were good leaders, although easily weakened by their children, like any good parent. We knew when we had 'em, and also knew--inherently--that they were way smarter than us. From my small perspective, parenting seemed like being in a gang of accountants: very consistent, sometimes bland, oftentimes frustrating. I didn't know how they would survive us, but they did. Then they 'found' themselves and started working on their relationship; my dad became a principal and my mom went traveling; they took vacations together and turned into really cool people (although they were always like that, I just never noticed). My dad became firmly affixed to the ground--the Earth!--and my mother laughed more and said the F-word in front of me twice. They seemed like people you'd want to live with, much like I'm currently someone you'd want to live with, now that I'm 32 and not 22. I know the idea is to make the home life as miserable as possible, so that your children want to leave, but with Sam still there, I feel like I'm being called back home--like a pig to the slaughterhouse. It wouldn't work, of course; I like my space too much, and my parents need a space of their own--but now that we're all getting our shit together (slowly, so slowly), it just seems like we'd enjoy living together now, having family barbecues, hanging in the garden, getting to know our current selves. In my mind, it's idyllic.

This isn't a good idea, but it's a nice idea with good intentions. Each person in my family is really working on moving forward and doing what they love; I am, too. I don't really need to move home to feel included, since I feel lucky to be a part of the team; but still, it's a nice idea. It's comforting.

May 9, 2008

Post-Birthday Bashing

Photo: Phoebe was here! The scene, looking down from my 3rd-story bedroom window, onto the balcony below.

If I had to describe my birthday in six words or less, it would be this:

Super crazy fun time with friends!

I received so many wonderful gifts--Grizzle got me a robot!!!--which I really wasn't expecting; I also have so many cupcake leftovers, if I actually eat all of them in the next week, I will gain another human. So I should stay away from them...right after I eat this one...and this other one....

Thanks to all who showed up for the soiree, it was a really good group of people; I actually paid my brother to come up, since he had no money. I'd say we had 20 people here (in my one-bedroom apartment), chilling, playing Session Rochambeau, listening to records, and cackling up a storm. I was trying to smoke as much as humanly possible, since May 7 was my quit date--I even have some left over, but I'll just chuck 'em. I'm done, and have also cut out my triggers, like everything I can think of. It was really awesome seeing Joshy--he's like half the person he used to be (since he's losing so much weight--good for you!), but still the coolest person I know. I feel really lucky that I love the Esq's closest friends, because it really sucks if you don't. Of course, his friends are all exceptional like the Esq, so I'm not too surprised. My friends are all stuck-up, stinky drunks. Just kidding. :) And by that, I mean that some of you are, but most of you aren't.

In a way that only Snotty can, I chopped my hair off on my birthday, because I was tired of the rats' nest. So six inches off the back and I got the color done yesterday--I feel brand new! Brand new and thirty-fucking-two. But still.

Today is: shopping for jeans, lunch with the Griz, job-searching (although my last interview went really well), a movie, and Stacie's birthday bash at Nectar. Life is rough.