Aug 31, 2008

Bumbershoot Me In the Face

I've decided to whitewash our home, the entire thing: clean, bright, fresh white walls. I want it to feel like a new [insert cliche New Age word here: a new start, beginning, page, chapter, journey]. I want our home to be the perfect balance between modern and vintage, while feeling slightly weathered, like something that was carefully handmade. Our home should reflect our personalities, and not just our bad habits. I would also like to install a self-cleaning function into the system, which seems difficult, but worth it. I want my home to possess a bottomless budget for furniture, flowers, and design--which is progress, since before I only wanted a boyfriend who possessed those things. In a nutshell, I want everything. And 'everything' starts with a whitewashed home; I feel whiter already.

Speaking of a new chapter: I hope that after going to Bumbershoot this year (after staying away for many, many years), we will start a new chapter next year, entitled, We're Never Going to Bumbershoot Again, Full Stop. Seattle's largest, whitest cattle drive proved to be as disappointing as ever. Seeing Neko Case in concert, meeting Joshy's girlfriend, and hanging in the beer garden with Colleen and Randy was fun--but for 160 bones, we could have seen Neko Case in a good venue, had dinner with Josh and Naomi at a restaurant, and bought a few rounds for Colleen and Randy at a moderately-priced bar; that really puts it into perspective. $40 per person, per day? IS RIDICULOUS.

If I do get dragged there next year, I'm wearing a giant muumuu that says DON'T FUCKING TOUCH ME on one side, and DON'T FUCKING SOLICIT ME on the other. I felt like I was pushing my way through huge crowds of idiots, tourists, drug-addled pre-teens, and salesmen. We stood in line forever, just to buy tickets, and people were coming up from all sides, ambushing the shit out of us. 'Would you like to listen to a GREAT CD?' one girl asked, shoving a CD in my face. 'Do you LOVE lipgloss?!' another girl cried, handing out Burt's Bees lip balm freebies.

'Are you registered to vote in our county?'
'Does anyone need Sunday tickets at a discount?'
'Would you like to play to win?'
'Have you heard about the initiative that the city council...'
'What cell phone service provider are you currently using?'
'Do you believe in free speech?'

I laughed at that one. I should have gone over to her and said "NO". No, I don't believe in free speech, especially when I'm trying to enjoy myself at an overpriced concert venue with nine billion other people WHO ARE IN MY WAY. Take your free speech and shove it in your cakehole. As we walked past the Burt's Bee's product tent, I said, "Only in Seattle would Burt's Bees organic lip balm have such a prominent booth, center stage to the action." To which the Esq replied, "Try this all-new organic snake oil!" I laughed, because it's true; none of the solicitors were selling us anything new, they were just selling the promise of something new in the future: better music, glossier lips, a cheaper phone plan, a stuffed animal prize, and free speech, although I hear that's been around for quite some time. I kept waiting for the snake oil equivalent, though--a shyster with a Snidely Whiplash mustache, and a wide, pinstriped suit, selling me 'commitment creme' to make my skin more radiant and marriage-worthy, or 'hair tonic' for glistening, lustrous curls--but realized the 15-year old Burt's Bees pusher was the closest we were going to get. I was actually hoping for someone to ask, "Can you spare some change?", because that would have felt more honest.

My last Neko Case review looked like this (highlights ganked from my 2006 blog):

.... With balls the size of Canada, she sang the shit out of each melancholy song, each a mix of Americana, rockabilly, gospel, bluegrass, folk, Delta blues, country, with a twinge of lazy indie rock. Flawless, simple vocals--check; haunting, crazy harmonies--check; religious fucking experience, CHECK. Blah blah blah, "it was worth every penny", blah blah blah, "I would go see her again". The next time she's in town, sell your dog, your house, your children--and GO. You won't regret it.

Well, you won't regret it unless you're in Memorial Stadium at the Seattle Science Center. Then you will not only regret it, you will also resent having paid the $80 entrance fee so that you could sit high in the bleachers and hear a shoddy acoustic show. Neko was amazing, because that's what she does: she stuns you into amazement and leaves you literally breathless. But it's easier to be stunned when there aren't thousands of people talking around you, creating a constant buzzing noise over the din of thousands of OTHER people talking around you, which makes the music harder to hear. Why are you at a concert if you aren't there to listen? Unfortunately, the last concert I saw of hers in 2006 had more energy--they weren't phoning it in this time, but it didn't compare, either.

She covered one of my favorite Harry Nilsson songs, Don't Forget Me, and introduced it like so: "Harry Nilsson is the greatest writer of sad songs ever." That's true, and it's one of my favorite sad songs, so I was happy they chose that cover; I also appreciated the shout-out for Harry Nilsson, since he couldn't be there to appreciate it for himself, being deceased and all. John the Baptist, by far my favorite revival sing-along, was done as well, but the wonky acoustics made it sound almost thin when it should have sounded positively obese with holy righteousness.

Interesting sidenote: at shows like this, there's always a roped-off area for the handicapabled. It's always higher off the ground, for optimal viewing, and there's usually only two people on it. This time was no different. There were two people in the roped-off area: a dude in a wheelchair, and an interpreter for the deaf. I repeat: an interpreter for the deaf. At a concert. The Esq and I had never seen someone doing American Sign Language at a concert before, although she might have been there for someone who was hard of hearing, and not completely deaf. It looked pretty strange. There she was, on her own private stage, taking the words and feelings of Neko Case and transforming them into a very silent, very physical, one-woman modern ballet. She performed as though she were competing in the ASL Olympics. I was impressed with the execution, since thousands of people were really distracted by her, myself included. I wrote on my cell phone notepad: 'Reminds me of an enthusiastic mime in denim shorts and flip-flops.' And how.

The most annoying part of the day was my pea-sized bladder, which I consider the most traitorous body part of all, even more seditious than my uncooperative uterus. I really hate using public restrooms; my standards are extremely high, so I end up holding it half the time. When you're at Bumbershoot, drinking *this* and eating *that*, the need for a bathroom increases exponentially, especially when you're there for more than a few hours. After the concert, I made a dash for the restroom; a restroom at the stadium. That was my first mistake. Upon entering the "restroom", my second mistake was not leaving immediately. It was like walking through a minefield of urine, which is the really the opposite of 'restful': one or two of the toilets had violently exploded (that's what it looked like), leaving toilet water and the pee of total strangers all over the concrete room. I gingerly made my way to an open stall, closed the door, and turned around to a nightmare of epic proportions: POOP, EVERYWHERE. If a piece of shit could be murdered by el chupacabra, this is what it would have looked like: like it had been drawn and quartered, and then flung to the high heavens by a slew of escaped monkeys (somehow the escaped monkeys and el chupacabra are in it together, don't ask). I made a hasty exit, and tried for another one, while the line of people behind me piled up; I could feel their restlessness, which made me hate them. YOU go clean up that horrifying murder scene, I thought. I'll be over here, in a clean stall, peeing like a goddamn champion.

Every stall I saw had pee on the seats, a used tampon on the floor, no toilet paper, or was knee-deep in water; it was DISGUSTING. People who claim that women are precious, delicate flowers can kiss my motherfucking ass; there was nothing dainty about this bathroom. After finding the stall with the least amount of problems--which isn't saying much--I spent ten minutes cleaning the toilet seat with toilet paper that felt like flattened gravel. Who wouldn't want to wipe their ass with this? I thought. Finally I can rip myself a new asshole, without anyone having to do it for me.

After meeting up with Josh, Naomi, Colleen and Randy, we left. I mean, we hung around each other for a while, hit the beer garden, and then went our separate ways. All of us wanted to 'wander around' with our significant others, so the Esq and I wandered far away from Bumbershoot, towards sweet freedom. First we stopped at the Fun Forest, which is like a tiny fair for barely-interested adults; we had sno-cones, and the Esq won three stuffed animals for me with his balloon-darting prowess. I was very proud. After leaving Bumbershoot, we ended up at the 5 Point Cafe, where they serve big pitchers of whatever you want, and equally enormous slabs of chicken fried steak. On the way home, we stopped at Whole Foods for bread and a real bathroom; after the bathrooms at Memorial Stadium (POOP!), the Center House (no toilet paper, WTF?), and the 5 Point (smelled like urine circa 1962), I was ready for a good old fashioned bathroom in an upscale retail market filled with overpriced cheeses and rich urban white folks. Whole Foods met that challenge head-on and won. Peeing at Whole Foods was like winning the Lottery on the same day your dog dies, or vomiting $20 bills during a 48-hour flu: shocking, but totally worth it.

Anyways, besides seeing Neko and having a whole day with my sweetie, the only thing I learned about myself at Bumbershoot was this: I'm whiny, and have always wanted to play the banjo.

Aug 29, 2008

God Bless America, And Nowhere Else

Photo: Vote.

If I could stab John McCain repeatedly, I would. It's not like I would stab him in the face with a knife a hundred times; I'd be happy stabbing his upper arm with a fork, say, three to nine times. It's not an unusual wish, believe me; I can't be the only one. Imagine being married to that guy. Cindy McCain must be a cutter.

It seems like we've been doing this whole election thing for 261984735 years, and there's still two more months of desperate attack campaigning from McCain, and at least another month's worth of ballot-tampering in Florida after that; it seems never ending. I was mildly interested in the beginning, but then like any attention-deficient American, I lost that interest to whatever was more interesting than politics at the time, like MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Now that the vice presidential hopefuls have been announced, though, I'M BACK IN and ready to rumble.

I never thought I would see this day: a black guy is the democratic nominee for president, and John Fucking McCain picks a Bible-humping chick for his running mate? No, I really didn't think that this day would ever come. I hoped it would, but only thought it might happen after every white guy dropped dead from a Paris Hilton-spread STD, leaving us no other choice. And yes, I'm aware that Barack Obama is half-caucasian, but whatever--it's a historical moment, whether his Halfrican side knows it or not. The only thing his skin color signifies, to me, is the concept of Other. An Other is someone who knows what it's like to be a minority, politically-speaking; a lesbian, a single parent, a junkie, a Jamaican, a blind man, a woman, whatever. This nation is made up of Others, and yet that isn't reflected as much in our delegates; but it's certainly present now in our presidential candidates (excluding John McCain). Hopefully this will open more doors for qualified people of any background. Hopefully.

When this nation began, there was nothing but old, white, wig-wearing pricks in Washington D.C., as far as the eye could see; it's no different now, even though our country is incredibly diverse. But 'diversity' isn't represented much on the House and Senate floors. If you Seattleites recall, our previous governor Gary Locke was the first Asian-American governor in American history, and that was just five years ago; this country doesn't leap towards change or progression so much as it meanders. I am definitely an Other; I'm a brown, female, single (part-time) parent--I'm like THREE Others. Which old white guy in the House is looking after my best interests? How can that guy know what it's like to be anything other than an old white guy, especially if he doesn't give a shit? Do you know how much I want our country to be run by an exclusive club of Good Ol' Boys? About as much as I want to sleep with Cindy Cutting McCain.

What I'm worried about is how toxic the Republican ticket is now; if I thought it was bad before, it's doubly so now, even though his VP isn't so much a person as she is a smiling, three-headed monster. McCain's thinly-veiled choice of Dan Quayle Sarah Palin (soon-to-be Sarah Pro-Life Palin) as his inexperienced running mate can be summed up in this headline:


My response to that headline, in slow-motion, was this: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Sarah Pro-Life Palin stands for everything that is hateful and repugnant in this world; well, at least in my world. She is strongly opposed to abortion, same-sex marriage, and enjoys capital punishment like any red-blooded American, whereas I sing the praises of population control
, gay rights (and the right to get divorced, just like everybody else) and support a less-is-more attitude when it comes to justice killings. Sarah--we're not acquainted, she just wants people to call her that, because she's "down to Earth" like a "real person"--wholly supports drilling the shit out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil (she remains 'unconvinced' that global warming is driven by pollution), wants to overturn Roe. v. Wade, and supports the teaching of creationism in the school system. She's a huntin', shootin', fishin' kind of gal, which is the only kind of gal they have in Alaska; she even holds a lifetime membership to the NRA, isn't that charming? This is not who I want representing me or my country--same goes for catheter-needing McCain; and what happens when he bites the dust in the first six months of office? SHE'LL take over. The only way I could loathe them more is if they tried to outlaw bacon.

I watched the Democratic National Convention speeches this morning, and was really inspired. Bill & Hillary Clinton, Barack & Michelle Obama, Ted Kennedy, and Joe Biden were the highlights for me; I enjoyed Barack's speech immensely, and was relieved that I still liked him after staying away for the summer. I don't care what people say--I think that Obama would be a good president, especially after the last eight years we've had with the uneducated dictator. John McCain is a vote for the same ol', same ol' (or just OLD--for fuck's sake, the guy is like 114).

I found out, while registering to vote in this county today, that you need to register 30 days BEFORE the election in order to be legit; if you aren't registered yet, PLEASE DO IT. My mom would really want you to; I don't know about your mom, but mine is pretty formidable, so I would just do what she says. Here is a link to get you started:


Aug 28, 2008

Not-So-Tall Tales

Photo: A visual haiku.

There are my friends, and then there are my friends. To make it into italicized, bold face fame, there are a number of things you can do to jump from a Lackluster Lolita to a Fabulous Familiar. If we have a history together--like if you witnessed me crapping myself whilst pushing the monster out of my uncooperative front parlor--you're in, and you deserve an award. If you're smarter, funnier, or cooler than me, you pass--but only if your parents are Roseanne Barr and John Goodman; if you're a beauty queen on top of everything else, you're a liability to the group--and by 'the group', I mean ME. I also appreciate a good storyteller, especially when the story ends in shenanigans.

Bangs McGee once told me about a girlfriend of hers who accidentally cut off her labia with the kitchen shears, in preparation for shaving. When she began telling the story, I had a lightning round of women's intuition that screamed THIS IS NOT GOING TO END WELL, but I was committed, because Bangs spins a pretty good yarn. Apparently the friend just lopped it off like an errant piece of sandwich meat, freaked out, threw it in the toilet, and flushed. I laughed like a hyena on mescaline through the emergency phone call to a drag queen named Kahlua Ice ("Girl, I just cut off my vagina"), all the way to the end where it was revealed that labias DO grow back (who knew?) "like a motherfucking starfish", end quote. And that's why her nickname is Starfish, which made me wish the story was about me and my Go-Go Gadget Labia. Alas.

Miss Peachtree shared a great tale of tragicomedy about her and a friend, Miss Bi-Coastal, on mushrooms in Mexico; it was my favorite kind of story because it just kept getting worse, in the best possible way. First off, they ran into Miss Bi-Coastal's mom and friend (they were staying at the same timeshare resort), who convinced them--in their sun-and-shroom weakened state--to join a timeshare owners meeting in the cabana; apparently the meeting was held by a Mexican dude who spoke very little English, which was hilarious to my shroomy little friends. What followed was this: mom and daughter were entered into a dance contest by Mexican Dude, the kind where you stop when the music stops; of course Miss Bi-Coastal was on mushrooms, and of course MRS. Bi-Coastal studied modern African dance, or something equally humiliating on a middle-aged white lady. Miss Peachtree had the presence of mind to tell the other lady that they were super drunk; but just thinking about those two girls, wide-eyed like the freaks in Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun video, makes me scream with laughter. That, and the simple fact that Miss Bi-Coastal placed SECOND in the dance contest, to which I give her mad fucking props.

Manthony has topped all of these stories by BECOMING a story of his own. After working for what we've now deemed COMMUNIST CHINA (which is sadly accurate--although it wasn't like that in the beginning), Manthony finally accepted a better position at a new spa, and wowed the everlasting BEJEEZUS out of me WHEN HE QUIT VIA EMAIL HAIKU. He's a hero, a genius, a pioneer!

A new job offer

that I accepted today.
I will not be back.

I know someone who quit his shitty job at an upscale chop-shop BY HAIKU. He's like the New Jesus to me now, and if that doesn't get you in through the front door to my friendship, I don't know what will. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to quit my last job through a jingle, or iambic pentameter.

I love my friends!

Aug 27, 2008

Mr. Wheedle: A Four-Act Play

Photo: But wheedling is okay.

This is a story about the monster; apparently it's Wheedling Season.


Yesterday, the wee one and I went on the most noble quest of them all: the quest for bacon and toys. After arriving at the Salmon Bay Cafe in Ballard, my son began telling me all of the things he was going to eat; like a senior citizen who doesn't hear very well, he started reading off all of the things he was going to devour, loudly and in list form. "AND THEN I'M GOING TO HAVE THE WESTERN OMELETTE, AND HASHBROWNS, AND I WANT A SIDE OF BACON, AND SOURDOUGH TOAST, AND AN ENGLISH MUFFIN, AND A SIDE OF SAUSAGE, AND A STACK OF BLUEBERRY PANCAKES, AND SOME HAM, AND A WAFFLE, AND SOME HOT CHOCOLATE, AND MAYBE JUICE." The list was so long, I could feel myself aging. The conviction in his voice told me he was ordering all of this, come hell or high water, except for maybe the juice; I understood his hesitation on the juice front, because that was by far the healthiest item on the list. That is why I told him he could order the omelette, toast, hashbrowns and the 'maybe juice'; I would order a side of bacon with my meal and share it with him. The "...BUT...BUT I WANT...BUT!...*SIGH*..." that came out of his mouth was accompanied by an eyeroll and a furrowed brow; I remembered doing that to my parents, too. When our food arrived, it was so enormous that Claim Jumper's would have been green with envy. He tried getting through a bunch of it, but barely made a dent--I was the same. He picked up a piece of bacon, ate it, made the 'ohmygodI'mgonnabarf' face, and said, "My dad's bacon is better." This made me laugh, because his dad is Jewish, and so I ate the rest of the bacon. Which is what prompted Mr. Wheedle to say, quite tersely, "You're like a BACON NAZI, yes you ARE." Hitler would have been proud.


Nothing is better than when a child tries to convince you of something in the same manner you might; they try for argumentative reason, and cite specific examples that may or may not exist, just so you will say YES. I could tell he was gearing up for some prime-time wheedling when he was all WOULD YOU LIKE A BACK RUB? All of a sudden I had my own personal Jeeves, fetching me water and wiping my ass.

"Oren," I said, "what are you DOING?"
"Watering the plant!" he replied, cheerfully.

Ten-year old boys aren't generally concerned with the well-being of your houseplants, so I was understandably wary.

"Sweet pea, if you're going to clean the TV monitor, use this cloth. So, what do you want to do this afternoon?" I asked him, wanting to change the subject. He slowly turned around, and there it was: the shit-eating grin that always accompanies a question to which the answer is always NO.

"NO," I said, preemptively.
"Aww, c'mon--you don't even know what I'm going to ask!"

I thought about it, and then said, "Okay... NO." He ran over to me, and gave me a hug. Now I was really suspicious. He buried his face in my sweatshirt.

"WHAT?" I said, "CAN YOU SPEAK UP PLEASE, AND TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE?" I was going to make him work for it.
"Oren, buddy, I can't even hear--"
"I WANNA SEE TROPIC THUNDER!!!!" The word 'thunder' came out like a wail.

"Isn't that rated R?" Look at me, ever the concerned parent, setting boundaries and leading by example. "ALEX got to see it." Alex is his cousin who is older than him by at least a few years. "Dude, I'm not taking you to an R-rated movie--not just because it's inappropriate, but because other people will think I'm a bad parent. Just-turned-ten-year olds aren't exactly ready for that level of humor." His face fell, and I felt bad, because being at the whim of someone else's mercy sucks serious A-hole; welcome to being a kid. He saw the door closing on Tropic Thunder, and made one last ditch effort to convince me.

"BUT...IT'S JUST ABOUT COMEDY AND GUNS AND VIOLENCE AND FUNNINESS! THAT'S NOT BAD AT ALL!" Mr. Wheedle looked desperate, and my heart went out to him. I gently said, "Buddy, you just argued Mommy's side and won. The answer is no. If you think Mama Mike and Da (my parents) would say yes, then by all means, you can go. Would you like to call them and see what they have to say?" We called my dad, and he said no. Of course he did. Oren put the phone down and grumbled, "What does he know about Tropic Thunder? HMPH."

He harrumphed around for the next hour, and I wondered if I'd made the right choice; if I had said yes, he might have cleaned my entire home. As it is, he didn't even take the garbage out.


Oren and I were cuddled up on the couch, watching the Simpsons, when he turned around and said, "Do you like ribs?" I assumed he meant my own, so I was like SURE. "Well, I'm a BIG FAN of spare ribs," he said decisively. I didn't know where he was going with it--was he hinting that he wanted ribs for dinner, or that I should give him one of my own? I said, "Ribs are good when cooked properly," because I know nothing about ribs except that undercooked ones will give you botulism. His response: "IF YOU EVER MAKE RIBS, YOU'D BETTER NOT KEEP ME WAITING FOR THEM." My response: "WHAT THE FUCK?! Well then I'm not ever going to make you any freaking ribs!" That's when Mr. Wheedle showed up. "Whaaaat? But whyyyyyyy?" Um, because you just threatened me? Men really will do anything for barbecued food.


We were going past Lucca Statuary, and I said, "Naked lady!" Oren looked over and saw the backside of a nymph statue, and made a face.

"I hope she's covered up on the other side," he said, primly.
"What? Why? She looks perfectly happy," I replied.
"I DON'T WANNA SEE A NAKED LADY!" he said, turning bright red.
"Well, that'll change," I said, laughing.
"YES I KNOW. I KNOW IT WILL CHANGE. IT WILL CHANGE WHEN I'M MARRIED." Oren said this with so much conviction, it made me want to buy him his own side of bacon.
"You really don't think you'll see a naked lady until you're married? Well...that's cool. I say, DON'T RUSH. Women are weird, anyways." I meant to instill some heftier brakes in him, mostly to warn him about girls. He looked very thoughtful, and nodded in agreement.
"Women are the WEIRDEST," he said with finality.

Amen to that.

Aug 25, 2008

In the Closet With Amy Winehouse

My role this week is House Bitch, not to be confused with being a bitch in my own home--I can do that whenever I want. I'm rehabilitating the house through a detoxing process, a balanced diet, and a 12-step program; finally, something that needs rehab more than me.

Entering our apartment is like falling into a recently divorced landfill that has gained some weight and let itself go. The other day I was in our bedroom, and I heard a scratching noise from within the wall, next to our bed. And I actually thought, if I were to find a rat under the bed or in one of the closets, I wouldn't be alarmed; I wouldn't even scream. Instead, I would say something like, "Have you seen my brown Franco Sarto shoes, or that box of expensive art supplies? What about the Oilily handbag that Cali stole from her ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend? No? Well, keep your eyes peeled." I'm like the Pied Piper of Organization, everyone knows that.

One of the organizational tips I've followed is going into each room and assessing the situation. Instead of going into the room and actually cleaning it, I was encouraged to observe the room objectively, write down what isn't working, and figure out what can be changed. Although I was dubious at first, I quickly realized that this task was the easiest part of rehabbing my home; I decided to dedicate most of my time to observation (which included eating, napping, and blogging), in lieu of actual organization. My assessment came out looking like this:

Observations: The room is a fucking mess.
What isn't working: I'm not cleaning the room.
What can be changed: I could clean the room, I guess.

Other observations were broken down by each room; I wrote down everything that could be improved, and ideas for improving them. I tried to see my home as a stranger would see it--objectively, politely--but that made me want to turn around and leave. I would only come back in the hopes that the building had possibly burned to the ground.

My bedroom is a wealth of paperwork, bills, clothes that are clean (or maybe they're dirty?), and half-empty glasses of what started out as water but now looks like Scotch. As a "stranger", the first thing I noticed upon entering the bedroom--besides 'wow, they waste a lot of Scotch'--was the open sleeping bag on the bed, in lieu of a fitted sheet. I honestly believe that fitted sheets are for wrestling champions or people with patience; I am neither. If there were pathways on both sides of the bed, fitted sheets would be a dream, but since there aren't, putting the sheet on requires me to be part-contortionist, part-pogo stick. Our solution: subbing in a flannel, open-faced sleeping bag instead. It works, but it's not pretty; I mean, it's flannel, for Chrissake--it's like sleeping on a lumberjack.

The living room is fine, except for two things: 1) We never use it, and 2) The Black Hole is in there. The proper way of describing a black hole is this: it's a region of space in which the gravitational pull is so powerful that nothing, not even light, can escape its pull. In layman's terms: it's my closet.

If my closet were a person, it would be Andre the Giant; if it were a movie, Titanic. And I don't mean Titanic in a Leonardo-DiCaprio-is-a-stud kind of way, I mean it in the everyone-is-going-to-perish-or-need-therapy kind of way. It looks like Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty have been squatting in my closet for six months, minus the hypodermic needles. Everything about this closet screams 'HELP!'--and by that I mean it actually started screaming the other day. I was all SHUT UP ALREADY, but the damage was done; I flung open the door, and what should come flying out of its dark and lonely depths? All of the hopes and dreams that Martha Stewart had for me as a future housewife. Harsh reality sucks, especially when it sounds like a weeping walk-in closet.

I read on that your house will always be as clean as your kitchen. This makes sense in our home, because our kitchen is what I like to call 'developmentally disabled'. It can't possibly develop when it's bearing the weight of every dish we've ever dirtied; we've lived here a year and it's been cleaned seasonally. I'd say our kitchen has the brain power of a two-year old, and the motivation of a hamster. Which is why it looks like it was cleaned by a two-year old hamster. In the dark.

I am cleaning, but more importantly, I'm organizing the shit out of our life, and feng shui-ing in the process. Might as well do it with excellence, rather than half-assing the entire thing (which is my preferred method of doing pretty much anything). Of course, it would help if I quit procrastinating online and actually started. I'm usually a Starter, and not so much of a Finisher; now I've come to realize that if I don't Start, then I won't disappoint myself when I don't Finish. This is why we live in a landfill, and sleep with the lumberjacks; this is why the rats are my friends, and my kitchen is a toddler. Things have to change, or I really will burn the building down. I'm almost more motivated to do that, to be honest. I'm going to go see if we have any matches.

Aug 22, 2008

I Am Michael Phelps

Photo: The Twelve Olympians (I'm on the far left, with the triton).

Last night, at the Greenlake Bar & Grill, we sat at the bar with our food (not my first choice, the place was packed) and watched the Olympics. Without a television, we only catch the Olympics when we're outside of our home; we have a TV, but no cable or anything. It's only used to watch the occasional DVD, every six months or so. The minute we start paying for cable is the minute I start losing interest in other things, like everything, everywhere. It's too addictive--and promotes laziness--especially when the Olympics are on. I don't need more motivation to be lazy; 'sedentary' is my middle name.

Watching the Olympics has always been a big deal in my family; growing up, I actually counted the months and years until the next Olympics, and cared about where they would be held. I knew the names Birgit Fischer, Gerevich Aladar, Sir Stephen Redgrave, and Yelena Isinbayeva--each one was the true embodiment of an Olympian, the very definition of a 'winner', and not rolling in McDonald's ad campaigns. I wasn't a fair weather fan, I was an any-weather fanatic. I loved me some Mary Lou Rhetton, worshiped FloJo, and sobbed when I saw Oksana Baiul's gold-winning Olympic performance, The Swan, in 1994. Much like the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11, I remember where I was when I first saw these people. There aren't a lot of experiences in life where you get to feel exhilarated, especially for a cynic like myself, but that's the reigning emotion when I watch the Olympics: total exhilaration. I feel like I'm in a York Peppermint Pattie commercial--remember those? "When I bite into a York Peppermint Pattie, I get the sensation of cold, crisp mountain air against my face, as I race towards lift-off, in the whole world championship ski jump!" My favorite rejected York Peppermint Pattie commercial from McSweeney's: "When I bite into a York Peppermint Pattie, I feel the sensation of the Lord's righteous anger as he reveals his plan to use me as his holy instrument of judgment!"

As I got older, I felt that liking the Olympics was kind of dorky and time-consuming, so I only watched them at my parents' house. Now that I am older, I don't give a shit what people think (oh, if only that were true), but I don't have a TV, either. I feel like I should be watching them, as though it's the secret handshake in this fraternity called Earth, and I've forgotten how it goes.

When broken down to basics, what are the Olympics? The most popular, overpriced, over-hyped, over-advertised amateur games in the universe. Do you know how much money it takes to groom, train, manage, feed, pet, and tranquilize a Canadian curler? Or some yahoo for the biathlon? Yes, the biathlon, my favorite throwaway sport. Let's take two arbitrary activities (or how about one "normal" activity, and one oddball activity)--like cross-country skiing and rifle-shooting--then put them together and make an Olympic sport out of it. Or better yet, how about swimming four laps and then punching a midget in the face; that, to me, is just as random as the biathlon. Michael Phelps would probably win that one, too--he'd punch those midgets like a champion.
Any sport, like the biathlon, that was started as alternative training for the Norwegian military sounds sketchy; how about we make an Olympic event that reflects our current military situation? It could be the Abu Ghraib Duathlon, which is a three-leg format; one running leg, one cycling leg, and then: human torture. If you think about it, that involves legs, too, in a very different way.

I'm glad the Olympics exist, and as the Esq pointed out, it's much cheaper than going to war with everyone. But this year feels weird, and I blame the Chinese for it. What's with the lip-syncing scandals and lying about age and the death cover-ups? Oh, people say, that's just the Chinese. Ohhh, I say, well MY BAD. You're right, we should totally be respectful of their scandalous country, unqualified gymnastics team, and the oppression of information. So *this* is what UNITY looks like. Go Communism.

I always wanted to be an Olympian, and last night I was trying to figure out which events I could compete in. I mean, there are the Special Olympics and the Paralympics; I wouldn't qualify for the Paralympics (not yet, anyway), and the Special Olympics... I know it's for the intellectually disabled (I am not this politically correct, that's just what it said on Wikipedia), but I think they would have to create the Lazy 'Lympics, just for people like me--so lazy, they couldn't even spare an O. Events would include eating cupcakes, punching Chuck Norris, taking anti-depressants on a semi-regular basis, and making out with your teammates (and then regretting it). They should definitely have an Olympics for future manic-depressives, and for those who hate activity--if they did, I would be the Michael Phelps of my events, hands down. I would be triumphant.

Aug 20, 2008

House Elf Liberation Front

Photo: Whether it says 'FREEDOM' or 'FREE DON', I totally agree.

I'm getting pretty good at writing resignation letters; when I said I wanted to be a writer, that's not what I had in mind. I'm either turning into the girl who can't hold a job, the girl who has unrealistic expectations of the working world, or the girl who doesn't want to work, period. If I had to wager a guess, I'd go with D) All of the above.

I quit my job today, like full-on quit. My resignation letter was pleasant, honest, and final; I don't really want to hear from them or do an exit interview. I just exited as fast as I possibly could--why would I want to prolong it? In the interest of self-assessment, here are some of the reasons I left, lickety-split: my body, mind, and bank account couldn't handle it anymore. I also had the distinct feeling I was staying so I wouldn't disappoint my boss--"oh no, they might not like me!"--which is ridiculous. Men are always so much better at this; they know how to keep professional stuff from becoming personal. I wish I could grow a pair and be all LOOK BITCH IT'S BIDNESS, but the balls I grew this summer melted in the heat last week. I was hoping I could man up and do it in person, but I knew they'd talk me out of it; I have a hard time saying no. So I'm ungainfully unemployed again.

Back to the Craigslist drawing board. I'm no longer licensed as a manicurist, because I don't want to be licensed as a manicurist--my nail tech days are OVAH. Bring me your boring barista jobs, an average bookstore gig, an entry-level receptionist position...I don't care what I do, as long as there are BENEFITS. You know, Health Insurance? I could desperately use Vision and Dental, as well. I have reached an age where benefits are more important than the salary; I'm way behind on everything in the health department.

I would also give my left arm for a schedule that allows for me having a relationship, thanks. Not having any days off with the Esq was taking a toll. My son and the Esq are my favorite part of the week, and we never saw each other--a couple of hours here, an afternoon there, but it wasn't enough. It also sucks working every weekend until late in the evening; I would always arrive at the party after everyone was hammered. Not a fun scenario, although it was perfect for taking blackmail photos for Facebook; too bad I don't know any future pageant queens.

The point is: I'm liberated. Hopefully this time I will figure something out that does not include the spa industry, because I'm sick of it. Unless it's in Switzerland... then I might change my mind.

I think I'm going to be a house-elf for a week; Harry Potter (and Buttercup) would be proud.

Flabbergasting Bewilderment

Photo: And pinwheels.

Things that are confounding me today:

My employment situation.

Skinny jeans never make you look skinny, even when you're anorexic.

The term 'indie rock' suddenly doesn't make sense anymore.

Babies. They're everywhere, looking adorable and generally annoying me.

Magazine submission guidelines: why must all of them be so goddamn different?! It's like they're testing my commitment, of which I have none.

Computer monitors are more annoying than babies; viewing angle, brightness, response time, aspect ratio, native resolution, and screen size are just some of the things you must consider when shopping for one. Just gimme a stupid monitor.

Cleaning. What's the point.

Sleep. Ditto.

My attitude, which sucks.

Vegans, again.

Switzerland--I want to move there. Geneva, here I come.

I hate people who are all, "Death Cab and Modest Mouse were so much better back in the day", but I completely agree with them. I just hate that they say it out loud.


My dreams, which involved the Esq being forced off a cliff in his car, and a trip to the zoo, where a lion ate my hands. I did not sleep well.

Finding a photo on my cell phone I took of Metalocalypse Dude on the bus, to show how long his hair was, right before we crashed. Still wondering.

Acid reflux poopiness in my throat area.

Flowers that look like they're from outer space; they're on my desk right now.

Finding my sense of humor again. I haven't been very funny, or found anything very funny, in quite a while.

This Sunday I will officially have a ten-year old. ME. A kid in the double digits. Fuck.

Everything seems so stagnant right now; washing the dishes so I can wash them again, making the bed so I can make it again, going to work so I can continue going back, going to sleep so I can wake up again. Who am I kidding, I don't do dishes or make the bed. I need some excitement in my life, please and thanks.

I like pinwheels, though.

And randomness.

Welcome to this post.

**New photos on the PhotoBlog

Aug 18, 2008

The Definition of Irony

Photo: Frightening.

Behold the power of cheese God.

My last post was all about Big Jeezy, the Head Honcho, the Man Upstairs; it wasn't exactly scathing, but it wasn't a positive advertisement for Jesus, either--unless you mean it was HIV-positive.

After posting, I jumped into my work clothes and ran out the door. When I reached the bus stop, I was relieved to see I'd made it; there's a 9:29 A.M. bus that gets me to work right on time, and not one minute earlier--it's also less crowded, and the bus driver is nice, so I prefer that one. To be honest, though, I've always had a huge bus phobia, so to say 'I prefer it' means it doesn't make me vomit upon boarding. Just so we're clear.

We stopped along The Ave, meandering towards downtown, and made it to the express lanes. I texted Manthony and sent Whoreleen a picture mail, when I experienced one of those Female Feelings. Now, 'female feelings' in my world can be organized into five different groups: Regular Bitchy, Extreme Bitchy, PMS Bitchy, Foreboding Intuition, and I'm Feeling Randy. I generally stay in the first three categories; intuition strikes whenever it wants, and the last one is reserved for weekends and holidays. I was sitting in the very back of the bus--James Blake would have been proud--which is unusual, because that's prime sitting real estate for the crackheads I can't stand. The back was free from crackhead tyranny, so I sat in the very last seat (the long bench), with the aisle straight in front of me; the man sitting to my left offered me the window seat, and I happily switched seats with him
. He was really nice, chatty--a quintessential white dude who had just come back from vacation with his wife and kids. He had gone into work early, taken off for a dentist appointment, and was going back on the bus. In front of me was a bench of seats facing inward, so I had something to rest my knees against; a British student with an enormous backpack/bedroll was sitting there, blocking my view of the rest of the bus, but since people were packed in like sardines--all the seats were filled and the aisles were, too--I couldn't see anything anyways.

The Foreboding Intuition felt like someone reached into my heart and stomach, and squeezed; I felt slightly nervous, and gripped my cell phone tighter. I actually thought, 'This is one of the reasons why I hate the bus--there's too many people and it's unsafe. If we were in an accident...' This, of course, is the exact moment we hit the car that swerved in front of us, and all hell broke loose.

I really hate that cliche. 'All hell broke loose'? What does that even mean? Taken literally, it would mean that either Hell had opened up (a frightening thought), or complete and total chaos. This scenario was both.

We were barreling down the highway at 65-70MPH, and all of a sudden, we weren't. We hit something, swerved, and came to a complete stop. I heard screaming from everywhere on the bus, but I couldn't register where it was coming from--I was too busy BEING LIFTED OFF OF MY SEAT BY THE IMPACT, and trying to save my seatmates. Because I had something in front of me, my knees hit first (OMG, OW) and then my head hit the pole; my body slammed into the British dude, and he went careening down the bench into another guy. The nice man to my right, as well as the 19 people standing in the aisles, went flying into the air and into each other. The nice man to my right could have been me.

There's a guy who rides the bus with me every day. I call him Metalocalypse Dude. He wears 'shades', not sunglasses, and has a badass handlebar mustache; he's always sporting a well-loved, worn-out metal t-shirt from the eighties, and has the longest hair I've ever seen on a man (he can sit on it!). At first I thought he was scary, but realized I was dead wrong; he's the first--and usually only--guy to offer his seat to other people, namely the elderly or pregnant women, or women in general. I always make eye contact with him, trying to convey my gratitude through one small smile, and he always nods in return. Yesterday, he offered his seat to an unsteady old woman, and she shook his hand. I was really touched, which turned quickly into 'horrified', because he's the only one who wasn't holding on when we crashed. He flew through the air--LITERALLY FLEW--and landed on a bunch of people, right after he landed on the back of a seat. He couldn't breathe very well, because his ribs had cracked--he felt them crack upon impact--and he was trying not to cry. I know this because one single tear escaped from beneath his shades as people were trying to help him up.

That single tear made me weep in the bathroom at work, all. day. long.

I was in shock all day. I shouldn't have gone to work. I know I wasn't hurt, except for some bruising and a bump on my head, but it's not like we crashed and then moseyed along to our regular work days. It was really, really scary. And I was really, really out of it.

We sat on the bus, huddled together, a big group of sniffly, terrified strangers. The British guy and I kept each other company. He said, "I'm heading to a place called Spoh-caine?" I told him it was pronounced 'Spoh-can'. He asked me if I'd ever been there, and I said yes. He asked me if I thought he would like it, and I said absolutely not. At one point, he waved a hand in front of my face and said, "You there?" I didn't reply.

My work friend, Cadi, was on the bus, too--she was standing in the aisle, but thankfully holding on with both hands to the poles. She was hit from behind by some other people, but managed to come away from it just bruised and shaken. I was told I was in shock by many, many people; I just nodded my head and then, eventually, kept my head down. I didn't want to talk to anyone.

I noticed that Cadi and I, for most of the day, sounded like we were on speed. I laughed loud and hard, and smiled so much my face hurt. I reassured people at work that the accident was no big deal, and squeezed their arm or patted them on the back when they predictably said, "Well, thank God you're okay!" Yes. Thank God.

Thanking God, or His well-intentioned followers, was the last thing on my mind yesterday; shaking my fist at the sky was the first. After arriving at work, I checked my email so I could have a moment to relax--and what did I find in my sad little inbox? CHRISTIAN-THEMED HATE MAIL. My response is this: MY blog, MY prerogative. If you don't like what you read here, then why the hell are you reading here? My disclaimer says I love the F-word; surely you didn't think I was screaming "JESUS FUCKING ROCKS"?! Based on the emails I received--most of them very rude and unbecoming of a Christian (if you're trying to lead by example, you've failed, in case you were wondering)--it seems these people need some guidance, since they're clearly not getting it from above. is a delightful blog designed to teach Christians how to communicate effectively (and hopefully how to use spell-check), which includes knowing when to remain silent. Says the blog author: "Sadly, Christians often do a poor job in communicating, which can make us look bad and drive people away from God." Now there's a Christian I can agree with; everything else on his blog is drivel for believers, but I certainly agree with that one statement.

The Esq picked me up at work, and we rode home on the bus together; I was white-knuckling it the whole way, and every time we braked hard, I panicked. Once off the bus, I didn't even make it to our front door; I just lost it on the street, and kept losing it all the way to our apartment. Having a traumatic start in the morning, and then going to work and "Being On" all day--happy happy happy!--and having my body give out between each client (I'm having major issues with the non-ergonomic setting at work)... on top of very little food, not enough sleep, and coming home to my garbage dump of an apartment... I was at The End. Finito. Stick some forks in me. I was DONE.

I felt better after getting major hugs, putting on pajamas, eating my favorite dinner (that the Esq procured for us, my sweet robot), hearing my mother's reassuring voice, and watching some Mad Men episodes. I slept the sleep of the just last night. I'm still worrying about the people who were hurt yesterday, the people I couldn't help; the nice man to my right, Metalocalypse Dude... it's agony, wondering. I have to let it go, but that tear! people flying! How can I let go of those images?

"This is what happens when you take on the Big got off with a warning..." That's what the Griz texted to me, and I wholeheartedly agreed. "No shit. Now I'm calling him Jebus."

Dear Jebus,

I don't believe in your awesome zombie powers--and I don't think I need to apologize for that--but let me set some boundaries so I can sleep better at night. Because I hate the bus, I am not going down like that. DEATH BY DANGEROUS BUS RIDE IS NOT A FUCKING OPTION. It is just too ironical, even for me.

Thank you for listening.

Your nicest non-believer,


Aug 17, 2008

Save Me From Your Fan Club

Photo: I'm going to Hell for this one.

I've recently noticed that there's a real lack of anti-Jesus freaks in the city. I am constantly inundated by people downtown who want me to meet with, walk with, and do Jello shots with Jesus; they're concerned about my everlasting soul. To save my soul--which is where, exactly?--I must deepen my relationship with Jesus. Listen up, Followers: I could double, triple, then multiply my love for Jesus, and at the end of the day I would still be left with ZERO. Deepening a relationship that starts with zero sounds like something I did at age 19 with a guy named Jake; repeating that nightmare with a guy named Jesus doesn't sound like a step forward, it just sounds like a lot of unnecessary work for a relationship that will ultimately go nowhere. Believe me, I'm the Queen of Crappy Relationships; I've learned my lesson.

Why aren't there people on the streets with anti-Jesus literature? When will the indie rock bands and rap stars appear in Westlake Park to un-convert the masses? Where are the people who represent The Other Side? Sitting in my treatment room on Saturday, across from Westlake Park, I became a resentful hostage to the light and love of the Big JC. First up was the feedback-friendly "rock band" who screamed their way through a set about their respect for the ultimate rebel. Next was the unintelligible "rap group" who gave mad props to Big Jeezy. The last act was a heavily-miked choir (which I actually enjoyed) who sang the shit out of some gospel, girl--but it didn't make me run into the nearest church to get saved. If they'd told me the church was air-conditioned, however, getting saved would have been at the top of my list. "Save me, Jesus... from this goddamn fucking heat" would have been my one and only prayer.

The bass-heavy, drum-pounding, rumbly love of Jesus permeated every corner of our spa, for about four hours. It would have been funny if the clients had found it funny, but they didn't. Truthfully, had I been a paying customer, I would have been pissed, too--I wouldn't pay $125 for a facial that comes with an unwelcome soundtrack. I'm not saying that as an atheist (because I'm not really an atheist)--I'm not completely without a respect for, or a curiosity about, spirituality (or whatever buzz word the hipsters are using these days)--because if I'd been Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, or something other than Christian, it would have annoyed me, too. Anyone trying to sell me something annoys me, whether it's a set of knives that can cut through cans, or an organized religion based on the creepy science fiction of L. Ron Hubbard (emphasis on the word fiction).

Scientology is thought of as the craziest religion of them all; their story includes aliens, brainwashing, volcanoes, dark lords, and intergalactic space cruisers that resemble Boeing 757s. As Creation stories go, it's weird, outlandish, and unbelievable--IT'S INTERGALACTIC, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD--so people dismiss Scientology as a cult for idiots, a gathering of Tom Cruise fans, or a place for people who have nothing left to live for (Tom Cruise fans, I'm still talking to you). Other interesting stories come to mind. Envision a heaven that has three degrees of salvation: telestial, terrestrial, and celestial glory. Telestial is for the peeps who chose wickedness over godliness--the heathens (that's me!); terrestrial is for those who rejected Jesus but accepted Him after death, which surely means people in marketing or advertising; celestial glory is for the unbearable brown-nosers (you know who you are). At death, if you're a non-believer, you head to paradise to be judged later, or to perdition, where your spirit has a chance to repent and gain a higher heavenly option. Perdition is also known as Spirit-Prison Hell, which is a temporary state, although it can last for over a thousand years. If this sounds like a barrel of laughs to you, join the Church of Latter-Day Saints. How about a story about a man--to some, a prophet--who became the savior of humanity by suffering like a man, dying like a man, and then rising from the dead like a zombie so he could save us from fun sin; after going Above & Beyond for the human race, he floated up to Heaven, and will someday return to judge the living and the dead--and grant everlasting life to his true followers. Everlasting life.
That's a pretty good deal; if you would like a one-sided relationship with a loving man who lives in the sky, judges you, and works as Heaven's ultimate bouncer, it's time for you to become a Christian. It's a pretty cool concept (if a tad bit Hollywood), and everyone is doing it--especially in front of my workplace. That, apparently, is the BEST place to be a Christian; in front of my work and next to the hot dog stand. Hey, Jesus likes a good hot dog, just like anybody else.

I have so many unanswered questions about religion. Why are there certain religions out there who feel the need to publicly advertise? What's with the door-to-door thing? Do they really think we're at home or in our cars, perusing the tracts they shoved into our hands? Is a flower all that practical when I'm trying to board an airplane? How many points is Joseph Smith worth on his bicycle? And how in the name of all that is holy did Madonna and Tom Cruise become big players on the international stage of religion? Have we all gone completely insane?

I don't care what you believe in, I'm going to mock you either way; I'm a mocker, that's what I do. I don't care if you're religious, non-religious, or crazy religious, because it's none of my business--but people keep trying to MAKE it my business by putting it in my face. Maybe they think I'll cave one day, in a moment of weakness, and snatch up their literature with a profound new hope in my eyes--"YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES", I'll shriek, and we'll embrace over the Good Book and a Starbucks coffee. Look, I don't care if Jesus is your homeboy, because that has nothing to do with our relationship. What I wonder about is this: where is the balance--is there one?--and is it necessary for an objective discourse about religion? Objectivity doesn't seem like the point; having an open debate about God and religion--people don't want to discuss, they want to convince. There are a lot of people on a lot of corners holding pamphlets and enormous signs, in every city in America, who are trying to save a soul or twenty, EVERY SINGLE DAY. What's on the other side? Who is out there, questioning God's presence (in public, like everybody else), or demanding proof of His existence? We all know He's popular, but that isn't the question. Why do we tolerate prostelitizing from certain special interest groups? You all walk by them, but probably push the Ignore button on sight; another name for the Ignore button is Volume on your Ipod, or Send on your cell phone. Sure, scream 'The First Amendment' to me, which I wholly support; it's the uber-Christians I'm talking about, even though they have every constitutional right to be wherever they are, doing whatever they want. Maybe that isn't fair to pinpoint them, but I haven't had a lot of Zoroastrians preaching The Word to me lately. There's an imbalance here. People seem to hate Satanists, as though they're taking to the streets with their 'offensive' beliefs, but I've never even SEEN a Satanist, much less been bothered by one. People aren't very tolerant of the Jehovah Witnesses, but they're generally nice people who keep to themselves (after the required 'humanitarian' efforts of pestering you door-to-door). Everyone rolls their eyes at Scientology and Kabbalah, because they're filled with celebrities; if those religions were buildings, they would probably be an upscale strip mall with businesses like Fondi's Pizzeria or an Abercrombie & Fitch. I feel like we're focused on the wrong group of people. So To The Right Group Of People, here is what I have to say: It's mid-afternoon on a Tuesday, early evening on a Saturday, or the crack of dawn on a Thursday... if you had a job, you wouldn't have to bother me while I'm walking to mine. Put your pamphlets away, enroll in the community college, and reach your potential!
I understand I'm a magnet for weirdos and religious folk alike, but JESUS CHRIST, enough already.

Aug 15, 2008

What Kind of a House Is She?

Photo: A brick one.

Preparing for extreme heat in Seattle is like preparing for battle. You have to suit up in the proper uniform, stockpile goods and sundries (SPF-30, Smart water, sunglasses, electric fans, and protective coverings for your windows), and defend your home from the unrelenting sun. To Seattle, 'extreme heat' can be categorized as 'anything over 65', but today is supposed to reach the mid-90's. I am miserable already.

We live on the top floor of a nice brick building, ten months out of the year; for the remaining two months, we live in a wood-fired brick oven. If you opened our front door and left an uncooked pizza in our hallway, it would be cooked in under nine minutes and eaten by me in three. Seattle has unfortunately short summers
--Fourth of July weekend and about three days in August is the most I've come to hope for--so it doesn't make sense to have air-conditioning. We finally broke down yesterday and bought a better fan, and borrowed one from the parents, so hopefully that helps. I'm currently sitting close to the giant wind tunnel that's been created in our apartment, and doing some online research about ways to keep your home cool on a hot, muggy day. Suggestion #1: Keep your computer turned off....

On days like today, it's nice knowing I'll be in my air-conditioned room at work. It would be nicer if I was heading to the South of France for a cool dip in the Mediterranean Sea and a nap in a private cabana, but I didn't win the Lottery today. I didn't mastermind any pyramid schemes, either, but I am working on an advance-fee email scam where I inform you the King of Nigeria has died, and YOU are his successor--even though you've never met and would never in a million years go to Nigeria. I don't need to use the king's real name, just a name without any vowels in it, like KING AGDGDGWNGO; it's more legitimate that way. Then I'll make the Subject line something like "From the Desk of Mr. Oswnbge Agdgdgwngo", and beg for their financial mercy--'Your Assistance is Needed!' or something of the sort. I know this one is a winner.

Speaking of weiner, I'm hungry. That's another thing I hate about the heat: I never want to eat when it's super hot. *shakes fist at the sun* Damn you, sun! You can take away my will to live, but don't take away my food. That's just plain mean. Without food, I can barely complain about stuff, much less be Snotty. Heat makes me lose my edge. I feel like a toddler. I can feel the whining wash over me like an unwanted baptism. I can't stop it. It's happening.

Aug 12, 2008

Femmes & Freaks

Photo: Steve Perry won't stop believing in you.

This past week has been a good one for entertainment; the aforementioned horror movie we saw today (Traveling Hood in the Pants of Your Sister, or whatever) was just the teen-flavored icing on the proverbial cake. On Thursday, my girlfriend Sara took me to The Triple Door as her date; The Triple Door is a very fun venue, despite their self-important proclamation that it's '
a music space that rises above the everyday'. I don't even know what that means, but I know when something is drowning; as tag-lines go, that one is actively dying in front of me, and there's nothing I can do to save it from the crushing weight of total failure. How does one go about proving something like that? If you say, I can leap tall buildings in a single bound, then it's fairly obvious what your next move is: get your ass to a building and leap, and then I'll believe you. But how do you measure "rising above" something, and isn't that a question for Oprah? Additionally, if people are buying a line like that, can I use it on my resume?

Relevant skills:
Ability to rise above the everyday.
Previous experience:
Rising above the everyminute and everyhour.
Strengths: Rising farther above, every day, above the everyday.
Challenges: Sometimes not rising for days at a time.

We were there for Femmes & Freaks, a circus-slash-burlesque-slash-variety show featuring the sexified, freakish talents of Seattle's Can-Can dance troupe--The Castaways--and the carnal, carnivalistic talents from Seattle's very own Circus Contraption. The Castaways are all adorable, wide-eyed, pink-cheeked sexpots with burlesque moves that will turn you into a slack-jawed yokel; if any girl wants to experience what life is like for a 15-year old sexless male, this is the way to go. The Circus Contraption consists of local entertainers, performers, and top-hatted divas who will make you cringe with delight, which is exactly what I was doing while they were on-stage: cringing and delighting. Feature those two acts on the same bill, throw in some yummy food and drink, add an audience of horrified senior citizens, and that was the show.

The show itself was okay, with unparalleled flashes of brilliance, but it was a rough sketch; our show seemed like more of the dress rehearsal. Separately, the troupes are really solid, but it seemed like very little rehearsing was done for the combining of their acts. I also expected more circus-loving, goth-living, pagan-friendly people to be in attendance, but it seriously felt like my Jesus-crazy grandparents were there, sitting on my face. Which is an awkward feeling when your grandparents are dead.

It was during the last gasp of the show that I said to Sara, "This one act made everything worth it--if the entire show had been shit, this would have made up for it. THIS IS THE BEST. THING. EVER." The clarity I received from Their Last Act enabled me to bridge the gap between Me and Everybody Else, which was amazing and completely unexpected. I've never felt cool enough to hang out with alternative people, and no fucking wonder, since they probably hate being called 'alternative'. But while it's good to stand apart from the mainstream bullhonky, isn't a small part of the look or lifestyle to make it easier for Your Peeps to find you? Or, to be more specific, to keep the unwanted riff-raff out? Tattooed People know I'm not one of them the minute they see my sad, ink-free arms; Marathon Runners take one look at my ass and know we'll never be running partners; Vegetarians see the bacon grease flowing through my cholesterol-clogged arteries, and secretly envy hate me. Vegans, though--those are some hardcore motherfuckers; I assume they can tell I'm a lover of the cheesiest and meatiest of foods by the actual weight I carry on my bones, which seems to be a problem for the Veganese. That's the only reason I would ever become a vegan: the quickie weight loss plan. Well, that and the chance to change my name to something more lifestyle-friendly, like Echo or Indicus or Ryvre.

I love all people (*lie*) in all countries (*more lies*) from every kind of background (*this lie is so great that it's actually rising above the everyday*). I have friends from all different walks of life (meaning they all walk differently) and I still love them. But that doesn't mean I'm always comfortable in a group of people who are vastly different from me. I definitely try to engage people, but it's usually in the same way I engage clients at work; I ask boring questions and nod a lot. "So, how many children to you have?" I'll intone, robotically. "None", replies the guest. "And what are their names?" I'll say, quite stupidly. Sometimes, once I've warmed up to them, I'll smile and raise my eyebrows in the classic "I'm totally listening?" stance, but for the most part, it's done by rote. I try to find the commonalities with clients and potential friends, but always wish there was something more significant and immediate (and totally boss) that might bring us together instantly.

The Last Act of the Femmes & Freaks show was significant, immediate (and the bossiest of boss), and it gave me hope for finding the one common value that all humans possess, which apparently is MUSIC. I know, you're sitting there thinking, Dubya-Tee-Eff? That's the answer? Music makes the world go 'round and "it's a small world after all"? Gee, Snotty, thanks for the boring, overpriced trip to Disneyland. Hear me now: The Last Act of the show was just your basic musical number, and I thought it might be thematic--a rousing circus tune, a bawdy sea shanty--but the song I heard brought the whole room together, and made me believe in miracles again. Why, you ask? Because I thought I was the only uncool, 80's-loving nutjob in the place, and apparently I was wrong; the last act
was none other than a raunchy, balls-out sing-along to Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. If that is the anthem for a bunch of sexy freaks and circus folk, doing burlesque and aerialist tricks at The Triple Door, then I have more in common with them--and the world at large--than I ever thought possible. And that is what made me believe that The Triple Door really is a space that rises above the everyday; Steve Perry enables you to transcend, and The Triple Door provides the space for it, every single day.

*New photos up on the PhotoBlog!*

Dignified vs. Undignified

Photo: This is what sisterhood looks like.

My son, Oren, is fascinated by my boyfriend; he slightly hero-worships him, while at the same time being somewhat hesitant. To Oren, the Esq is "super-duper-OOper smart" (direct quote), and "the best at video gaming" (direct quote), which is really the only thing that matters when you're a nine-year old boy. I can tell Oren is a tiny bit intimidated by the Esq (who isn't), which prompted me to address it last week; I asked him if he felt comfortable around the robot, and he replied, "Preeetty much." I let it go, and then later on, he asked me this out of the blue: "Mom, why doesn't Justin laugh at people's jokes? Does he not think anyone is funny?" The answer to that question, without any doubt in my mind, is HELL to the YES. But as we discussed it, Oren also observed that the Esq doesn't laugh out loud, and isn't very animated, which he thought was 'kinda weird'. I think it's kinda weird, too, but since his standards for humor are much higher than the average human, I know it's a slam-dunk when he laughs at something I've written. He's a good barometer for the blog, actually. He reads my posts to me so I can hear the problematic areas, and I've found that when he painfully smirks, that's where a normal human (you) would laugh out loud; when he laughs out loud, that's where you would be struck by a freak bout of lightning and die. That's how often he laughs out loud: as often as you get hit by lightning.

When I met the Esq, I wondered about the un-laughter, too. He laughed at stuff I said, but he was also trying to get laid on his best behavior, so who knows how much of it was canned--probably none of it, because he's always been true to his personality. But still, I wondered. Then I got to know him, and I realized that there are two prevailing thoughts in his spooky and beautiful mind: Things That Are Dignified, and Things That Are Undignified. Over the past (almost) two years, I've collected a lot of data on this guy and learned a lot of interesting things, but the Dignified/Undignified thing is probably my favorite aspect of his personality, next to his sense of humor, which is more biting and refined than mine will ever be. It helps me to understand him, honestly. Undignified Things can be anything from poor grammar, farting in public, wearing shorts to work, or freckles. It also includes interrupting someone in conversation, personal hygiene, eating with your fingers, and really stupid people. I generally agree with him, except for the interrupting; how in the world will you hear what I have to say if I don't keep interrupting you?

The list of Dignified Things seems larger and more general, although he tends to only talk about the undignified. I'm guessing that he would put The Law on his list, as well as 'wearing tailored suits'. 'Being in control' is probably considered pretty dignified, equal to 'being educated'. Other possibilities include Morrissey, space travel, family, technology, and the color of Oprah and royalty: purple. Honorable mentions: the library, arguing well, and having a girlfriend (I clearly made that one up; having a girlfriend exposes you to more undignified things than I care to think about).

I only bring this up because Michelle, Laura, and I went to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie today, and 'dignity' is the last word I would use to describe the feeling I had when I left the theater. I can't quite put my finger on the correct word, but it's close to the opposite of 'dignity', and probably closer to the phrase 'a cry for help'. Thanks to the crap-happy dialogue, I left the movie feeling like a grimy film of shame had settled over me, which I am presently trying to scrub off. That being said, it was an awesome experience, and I'm glad we went. I laughed through the entire movie, most notably during the saddest/most serious scenes, which is why I went in the first place. Laughing at your pain makes me whole, and I hope to never forget that valuable lesson.

Aug 9, 2008

Stuff Non-White People Like

Photo: Or whatever.

I have a pretty awesome/awful idea for a blog, one that steals builds on the principles of another awesome blog: I've seen offshoots of this website, such as Stuff Educated Black People Like--notice the offensive word 'educated', the one that made me laugh out loud--and Stuff Asian People Like (numbers and The Beijing Olympics, big surprise there)--and then Stuff Indian People Like (Eastern Indian--the list consists of Michael Jackson dance moves, spelling bees, and Little Indian Superstar). So I thought, why not Stuff Samoan People Like? I can make fun of Samoan people for hours, days, weeks at a time, and never get tired of it; there's a wealth of material out there, just waiting to be plucked from the banana-holding hands of my people.

The first blog entry to Stuff Samoan People Like will probably look like this:

#1 Who Really Cares?

The answer to that question is "my Samoan family, that's who". You know, the ones I'll be making fun of. Many moons ago, Snotty McSnotterson was born on the small island of American Samoa, in an even smaller village called Fagalii (pronounced FONG-a-lee-ee, for those of you 12-year olds who snickered). If you don't know where Samoa is, get in line; like the mighty clitoris, its' location can be confusing. The most efficient way for me to describe the whereabouts of my miraculous virgin birth is this: it's DOWN, and OVER. It takes a hundredthousandmillion manhours to get there, and once you've landed, it's like sitting in a humidifier with a bunch of beautiful, exotic, Polynesian hillbillies. See that 14-year old over there? Those two children are hers. The fat pig we just walked past, the one that looked just like Wilbur from Charlotte's Web? After we bury him underground, we'll set him on fire and then dinner is served! The people are forward, approaching you on the street and asking if you speak English, if you want to come have dinner with their family, if you have any extra cash for their half-blind aunt who needs a costly operation in the next month or so. They are loving, hugging you upon first meeting, and trusting--and by trusting, I mean they trust you enough not to gasp or intervene when they're happily abusing their children in front of you. Not abusing-abusing; just...a smack with a smile, kind of like 'service with a smile', the only difference being with good service comes a good tip. With abuse, you just receive physical and emotional scars, although it would be nice if you made a little something on the side for your trouble. A fiver, maybe, but nothing extravagant.

I know, I'm only focusing on the bad stuff. But have you met any Samoans lately? The ones I know don't inspire a lot of confidence, personally. I didn't grow up with my Samoan family, as I was too busy being raised white right, with opportunities and things my biological siblings could never dream of, like education and running water. I was adopted at three days' old, just a fat brown thing without a care in the world, but it didn't take long for me to figure out I was the lucky one.

People have always said, in reverential tones, "Sooo...what was it like when your parents finally told you that you were adopted?" They sit back, waiting for the dramatic story to unfold. Maybe I was 13, and found a picture of my real mother, and confronted them about it; or maybe they sat me down like an adult, and told it to me straight. They envision a screaming match, angry tears, a broken heart, an emotional journey to find my roots, and finally...forgiveness. It rips at their hearts, the potential drama that my life could have been, thinking I was lied to about my birth. It never occurrs to people that I'm not fucking colorblind. How did I find out I was adopted, you ask? Well, it's pretty complicated, and sometimes hard to understand, but it probably all came down to this: I opened my eyes, and looked around. That's it, in a nutshell. When you're a healthy brown, and your parents are bone-china white, it's fairly obvious that something strange is afoot; either that, or my mom had an affair with a professional football player in the mid-seventies, which I seriously doubt. Have you ever seen my dad? He's a tomcat, everybody knows that.

Anyways, I relate more to Stuff White People Like than any other Stuff [enter ethnic group here] People Like, although Thriller and proper spelling have always been important to me. But I still know Samoans. I slid out of one into this world; I share their blood, and laissez-faire attitudes. They love their canned meats, processed foods, and awesomely bad pop music, just like me. They raise their children 30% of the time, gain weight easily, and care little about personal space, just like me. Oh, I like space--but your personal space is also my personal space, and therefore, I care little about having my own, since I can just steal yours. Same goes for your food, money, personal belongings, and non-precious metals; to a Samoan, these things have enormous, blinking red targets on them, just waiting to be saved from obscurity (or rather, saved from being obscured by someone else, namely the owner of such items). That's how you roll when you're from the Polynesian ghetto.

Don't get me wrong, I like Samoans. I mean, if I knew any, I'm sure I would like them. The ones I know--ma familia biologicale--are perfectly nice, and their lives are rich with family, procreation, and indentured servitude to Jesus. Not my idea of a good time, or even time well spent, but to each his own. Now that they've converted to Mormonism and moved from Oahu (yawn) to Utah (action-packed!), I've taken to calling them the Samormons, because... well, it's hilarious.

I forgot the point to this post, but I think it's this: is MINE ALL MINE. When the first post drops, I'll spread the word, much like my Samoan family is spreading the word about the Latter Day Saints. See, we're really not that different after all.

Aug 8, 2008


Photo: The happy couple! :)

I'm pretty scattered today. There is so much going on in my world, and I don't know how to process it; then again, I don't know if processing it is the point, because it's just Life with a capital L. Here is what Life looks like in My World:

One of my dearest childhood friends, Sara, had her daughter a month early this week. Mother and Baby Reese are doing fine, and the exuberant dad is probably bouncing off the walls, if I know him at all. I remember when Sara and I used to play in her secret playroom, which was off of their actual playroom, which was in their daylight rec room (it was like a meta-playroom); you entered through a hidden door, and there it was: a mecca of old toys, dusty games, and a huge wall of mirrors. We didn't so much 'play' in there as much as we 'horsed around', but I'll always remember it fondly. Now she's got her own precious little girl, who will grow up one day, and totally hate her mother. Good luck with that.

Bobbi Frankel is a woman who was basically my aunt as I was growing up; the tiny, loud-mouthed, East Coast Jew was the type of 'aunt' who swore in front of you and made fantastic ceramic art. I have so many fun memories of her--she was the type of person who said stuff like, "Get on with it", and "Are you shittin' me?" I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. She had two children who were grown, and all I remember about them is that they had dark hair and moved away; my mom said the son had a falling out with Bobbi, but didn't know the details. Anyways, this fiery, pioneering lady--a real mensch--had a brain aneurysm a few weeks' back, and has fallen into a coma. I always wonder why they say 'fell into a coma' as though the person had been careless and took a wrong step off a cliff. Her son finally came into town, and they are taking her off of life support today. I am so very sad about this, but know it's the right thing to do. I remember telling her I was pregnant, and her happy reaction; I remember her enormous house in North Tacoma, with its' fabulous art studio basement; I remember she was the first small person I'd ever met who had a big personality. I wish I could convey how much she meant to me, even though I hadn't seen her in a while; I wish I could remember more.

And then, the happiest of news: our friends, Colleen and Randy--the very same Colleen and Randy who are responsible for the Esq and I being an Us--got engaged last night on their 2-year anniversary. I am so happy for them, because the world wouldn't be right if they weren't together; they're That Couple, without being annoying or cheesy. I lived in the same building as Randy when they started dating, and saw him go from *low-key* to *razzle-dazzle* in a matter of MINUTES. The positive change in him--and the way he floated four feet off the ground--made me like Colleen before we even met. And as they've built a life together, they've become more whole as individuals, and stronger as a couple--I like that. Their puzzle pieces match perfectly, which any half-blind idiot could see from a mile away. I hope that they continue to live on in true piracy and gothic, squishy bliss!

Life. You know? There's just so much of it happening around me, I can barely focus on my own. This is just a small slice of the week I've been having (or that other people are having), and today is my TUESDAY. Who knows what's in store for this weekend? Went to Femmes & Freaks last night (a circus/burlesque show) as Sara Rose's date, and it was really fun, but something to blog about later. Must make like a tree and get out of here like a fetus, or however the saying goes.