Thursday, May 27, 2004


disclaimer: if girly topics make you squeamish, look away. it's a slow day at the office, i'm procrastinating about a conference in seattle, and i'm cramping. get over it.

i will be crabby and achy for 5-7 days. it's like the worst gas ever. like gas. it's not actually gas. and i just want to lean back in my chair, kick out my legs and put a hot water bottle on my belly and swivel back and forth. no midol. just hot water bottle and swiveling. (like being rocked to sleep.)

or, even better, stop holding in my stomach, let it all go and walk around chicago looking pregnant from all the water retention. yeah, waddle around chicago. niice.
hey, JP, my office phone just flashed spanish to me.
is 'explorando' a word?
The Gadflyer: Fly Trap

reaction from all over the place about the NYTime's lame-ass mea culpa. (the NYT reporter whose reporting was rather slipshod, Judith Miller's quote of the day in Salon is priceless. you'll need to get a free day pass.)

and now word the fbi is investigating a conservative think tank, making inquiries into who passed on classified info to chalabi.

those goopers and their willingness to traffic in top secret information...what do we call that? oh, yeah - espionage! ha ha ha!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

dKos 8

Daily Kos :: Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.

this is the blog that has given me most, if not all, of my ammunition in my political skirmishes with my father, much to his chagrin. the writers for it are all unapologetic democrats, determined to win back the Senate from the GOP--and the White House - so if you like your rhetoric more centrist, well, this probably ain't for you. but check it out anyway. his blogroll is one of the most complete for progressive sites on the web: check out atrios and talkingpointsmemo (my personal faves.)

and i think the fundraising drive is a good effort. yeah, i know, throwing money at the DNC isn't the perfect answer, but do we have time to dicker about theory when the elections are a summer away? i'm sacrificing my netflix for a reason, dammit!

hairy fairy and dork love

last night i sat in the basement room of garrett ripley's with 7 other presbyterian women who read the worst poetry known to man. sure, 'hairy fairy' by wolferama was my contribution, but that was meant to be funny!

a dying 12-yr old boy featured on oprah who writes about dandelions and being an autumn leaf? this ain't art. it took all of A--'s willpower to resist snatching that poem out of that woman's hand and making her eat it.
at the end of colonial house, A-- and i watched avidly for don wood, our favorite colonist. 3 months after the project, what was his life? where did he live? did he have a girlfriend? (a plane ticket is, what, $189??) and suddenly, there he was, wearing a parka and camo pants, walking his dog henry. in the background i spied an awning with a partial address - 55th 33--. in anguish i tried to remember what i saw of brooklyn when i was there years ago, but who am i kidding? i saw nothing except so&so's ceiling.

A-- said, the show's been over for ages. he has to have a girlfriend by now.
i said, we are the only single women watching this dorky show.
but the possibility of another dorky girl winning the love of the wood chopping/flea eating/profanity spewing/beer stealing colonist made me slightly sad.

then, a shot of don wood, sitting on a crate while petting his dog, in an apartment filled with other crates, bricks, a weird looking sofa and surrounded by paint-cracked walls. an old stereo tilted on a milk crate.

this man has no girlfriend, i said.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Effing Brilliant

Exit Strategy - How to leave Iraq in three simple steps. By George?Saunders

Just read it for the last paragraph. I want to put it on a t-shirt.

(also to go on a t-shirt: "Anyone who wants to give you anal when you're sober does not love you." - Washingtonienne)

why colonial house rocks

Dreams like this:

I'm a professor at the University of Texas and I have a crush on a tall guy with a beard (hello, Don Wood). He's a student or something and I'm totally stalking him. I cut classes early to watch him cut down trees in the middle of campus. I am whipping myself into a froth over him. When I get the nerve to ask him to lunch in the University of Texas cafeteria, I'm walking across the quad, mumbling to myself, ignoring the students running after me. He senses something is about to happen; he drops his axe and watches me as I walk toward him.

Just when I get a few feet away UP pops JAMES who's in a tizzy: "I'm totally nervous about moving to Albion, what am i gonna do, and you know what tomas says? blah blah blah blah!" The moment is past, Don goes back to his chopping, I have to console James--aggh! So we're in the cafeteria and I'm listening to James and I keep looking out the window at Don Wood. Sigh. Then here comes a tornado!! Trees uprooted, black skies, rain, tidal waves, the campus is flooding - oh, where is Don Wood?? James is sucked away by a funnel, the cafeteria is destroyed, but someone grabs me and we're running and running. Is it Don Wood? NO, it's Mr. VOORHEES! Even better!

We find a cave to protect us from the killer tornados. In his slow low voice he mourns the definite death of his wife and child; I mourn the definite end of my job and Don Wood (wrong time to wield an axe, dude) and in our mourning we turn to each other for some grief cuddling. (I must have been tired if cuddling was all that I could muster.)

The sounds of destruction fade away giving rise to hammering and sirens. The worst is over but we don't leave the cave - the death outside is too much! We're cuddling, we're cuddling, a shaft of light pierces the cave - it's not Mr. Voorhees - It's Mark - my boss's HUSBAND! Groosss! He's middle-aged and gray haired and pudgy and wearing pleated Dockers and he's kissing me with too much saliva and it's so horrific I can't stand it. I try and wake up but I CAN'T! He's whispering in my ear with that IT architect voice of his and my skin breaks out in skeevies.

I yank myself away and hurl myself out the cave, saying something about helping with the relief efforts. He takes my hand, helping me over all the debris. Oh, there's James on a stretcher. And there's DON WOOD! Apparently struck by flying pieces of statuary and masonry he was crushed. I am heartbroken. NOT-Voorhees tries to hug me and I run away, screaming.

This is how I wake up. (all that aside, PBS' Colonial House is fascinating. Dorky dorky fun.)
so i may have stepped over a line. i may have finally given my father an aneurism. but it's totally his fault. he asked me what i thought about (ugh.) and so i told him.

the site's not as bad as i thought it would be; it's not a slobbering at the mouth 'keep all women barefoot and pregnant' kind of thing. but it's ... weird. there's something about it that makes me go 'euww.'

it's sad. that's what it is. i can smirk at the blustery testosterone thing going on at Details, FHM and Maxim. Yeah, ok, they're gross but at least there's some humor there - sort of a broad wink. "Hey, look at me, I can grill, trade online, watch porn AND know the 5 Cs of diamond buying! Look - I shaved!"

but this site is just sad. and the fact my dad is reading it is even sadder! here is a group of guys looking at the world around them and they don't quite fit into it anymore- oh, they have some wacky idea that women are at fault at the new victimized status of men, but i'm not buying that. so it was the end of the day and i'm tired and cranky and suddenly some things come out about evolutionary changes and women adapting to cultural shifts better, blah blah blah, adapt or fall off, change or die, blah blah blah, pendulum swinging to the other side, human development, the New Man...public health policy, yak yak yada yada.

yeah. i totally pushed my dad over the edge.
feminism, evolution and the new man?? his head probably exploded.

Monday, May 24, 2004

my father and i have been exchanging long emails about the War. (if i was from the south, or in the cast of 'cold mountain', i'd say it like waw-uh.)

our epistolary discussion began (this time) because of a particularly insane screed he had posted on his own site. apparently, my fruit doesn't fall very far from the patriarchal tree--except my fruit is right and his is just insane.

so i wrote a rebuttal to the insane article - a rebuttal which needs much editing, but i'm essentially right, and which he ignored. being ignored angered me so i sent another billet-doux, listing all the ways he and his ilk have been mistaken about the war (there are statistics and i thought i'd bolster my argument with some of those.) but his next message said that since he was on his way to church, he'd have to get back to me - he only wants, however, an admission from me that it's important to be loyal to our country.

this morning, when i read that, i gulped, chomped down a multi-vitamin and began another long letter that began with a quote from tom paine. one screedy nutbag deserves another, i say! anyway, my letter is finished and rests in the inbox of my pater familias.

i fear he and i will never stand on common ground on this matter and it pains me to lump my dad with the millions of those ignoramuses who watch Fox news and listen to Michael Savage. i'm sure it pains him, too, to have a daughter who can't see the world through a calm, conservative lens that efficiently bifurcates the world in to Good and Evil.

it would be useless of me to give him a fast tutorial on saussure, derrida, foucault, binary oppositions, hidden ideological values in language, etc., but i wish i could. ah, ucla. professor've ruined me for my father. i have been tainted with critical theory.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

i changed the template for screed and now some of the fonts are funny. of course, i don't know how to change it. looked at the tags in the template, tried to figure out how to change font size, but alas--incomprehensible.

a mild annoyance.

oh, and it's so hot and muggy today, my hair has its own gravitational pull.

hangin' with the boss

last night i had drinks after work with my boss.
the following are the insights culled from the middle-aged male mind:

-mid life crisis: all bullshit, made up by women to keep their husbands repressed. you get married early, have no money, have a family and so you sacrifice and know you can't have that fast car you want; then years go by and you're making money and suddenly you realize that you can have the car! so you get the car! and there are all these other things you've repressed and now you can have it because you have the money to have it and you want it! not when the kids graduate, now! [and you don't consider that a crisis?] it's not a crisis! it's a car and now you have it! big deal!

-taxes: there should be a flat tax. this is the floor of how much it costs to run the government; tax me on that amount! not a different tax for every little thing! just take it! one tax!

-why men watch sports: men like to solve problems, you know? and with sports, you have easy solutions to complex problems. who's good up against a left-handed pitcher? who's great on defense? who sucks and is paid too much? it's like being the coach, like having all the decisions to make of a phil jackson and none of the risk. you know why people don't vote? sports. it's easier.

my boss. he's like, uh, buddha.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

deeply deeply mortifying

so. that party saturday night. 'flirted like a sailor' i posted.

on my way out, at the end of the party, i fell into light flirtatious conversation with a guy who, through my gin-soaked eye, was giving me an oracular once over of his own. yum, i thought and began to spin a web of sparkly chatter - all to invite this guy and his friend over to 'teach me and my friends poker', and perhaps not spend spring/summer sighing fitfully over my lack of company. ah, what well-laid plans.

i gave him my card; he gave me a compliment; i accepted the compliment and touched his arm; he made with the funny; i laughed with appreciation and tossed back my head, leaning in a bit more. we all said goodbye; perhaps i kissed his neck. (damn you, gin!) i warmed myself with thoughts of follow up emails and more flirting.

at work, i found myself replaying our brief conversation, convinced that True Animal Attraction had howled between us. i found myself wondering why i didn't go to friends' parties more often if this was how simple it was. i found myself on the original evite, cleverly stripping his email and tucking it away, just in case too many days passed without an email from my late night party swain.

today i emailed the host of the party, thanking him for a fabulous time, wishing him well in his new city, then slipped in an inocuous "So...about that RG...I think we had a moment; what's his story?"

i obssessively checked my email, waiting for the Host to come back with the skinny--just any kernel of information, anything that would allow me to unleash my earthquake of lust.

imagine my horror when the Host very gently said, "Um, sweetie, he's my brother in law. Are you sure you had a moment?"

aaagh! with a bad eye for detail like this, how can i be sure of anything anymore?? aagh! did i see his ring? aagh! i wasn't expecting a ring! he looked my age! only old people are married! gaah! yuck!

there's no graceful way to recover from something like that, you know?

Sunday, May 16, 2004

haven't had a night like last night's in a while - small, neighborhood joint on the northside, drinking till 3, smoking till 3, flirting like a sailor on leave till 3. the upshot: must organize poker party for mid-june.

must learn poker.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

van helsing: too much of a good thing

there's something wrong with a movie when you can't even enjoy hugh jackman half naked writhing on the floor.

there's something wrong with a movie when you spend most of your time wondering where they bought kate beckinsale's corset (it's totally hot, looked complicated, and i want one.) and her boots - love the heel.

there's something wrong with a movie when it fails to deliver what most movies exist to deliver: catharsis.

watching this movie was like...well, it was like sex on ecstasy - bright lights, big sound, felt sorta good, but never seemed to end. it just kept going until it ground all those good feelings into the mattress and then you were left with a stiff neck, gritted teeth and a tight pelvis.

tense, man, tense.
rant of the week:

you know those people who arrive late to a show and then, when the movie has already started, stand in the aisles talking about where to sit, and then ask you to move your seat so they can sit together?

yeah, they need to go away and here's why:

1. you're a dumbass for being late. i was not late. not being late gives me the privilege of sitting where i want-especially when there are other seats for you, the late person, to choose.

that's it - that's the only issue. there's no list.
you were late, i wasn't, leave me alone and sit in the front where all the rest of the late people sit.
don't ask me to move, because i won't. everytime i do, i get angry and it makes me feel like a sucker--a sucker to your poor planning and/or inability to manage your time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Music for America

a totally cool site.
music, politics and a way to mobilize people who weren't born in time to see star wars in the theaters.

Monday, May 10, 2004

now i know why people register when they marry: shopping for dinnerware and silverware is a pain in the arse.

i'm at work (barely) and my thoughts are wandering...should i go after the kate spade pink plates or should i go for something less expensive and more...humble, like this?

and flatware...i thought i was being clever, ordering a nice set of flatware on sale online. on further investigation i only purchased one placesettng. my domestic ignorance is showing, i know, but when june leaves, i will be left with a spoon and a knife.
Librarian update: he found a job!

why am i happy about this? we will never suit! never!

Office Wench, pt 2

I wasn't always an Office Wench. Sure, I did office stuff to put myself through college and earn summer cash in grad school, but that was all to fund the brain trust. (Actually, it was to give me cash to buy books that weren't on the reading list and to indulge in my newfound love of alcohol.)

But when I left grad school being an assistant was the thing I fell into - I was good at it, the perks were better than those found in academic life and I didn't have to sweat, wear a hairnet or a uniform. But I also didn't realize that an academic or humanities background seriously hobbled one's ability to deal with the real world.

For instance, independent thinking, while an asset in grad school just makes you a target in corporate hell - unless you're above middle management.
Critical thinking? Well, you're just an arrogant snob with a disturbing air of condescension, who doesn't know how to be a team player. (hah, and if you're a person of color, well, then you're uppitty on top of that.)
Questioning sources (i.e., authority)? Yeah, good luck with that. Guys with less education than you, and just a few years older than you, want you to bend over and pucker on their sphincter.
Make a few references to literature written before 1995? You might as well stand up naked in a conference room and admit you fellate homeless men for recreation, for the good that'll do for your corporate social life.

Working at a Big 5 made me realize a Gen X-er working in a corporate death star is a person just seething with rage. We work hard to tamp it down (we like to use humor - or sarcasm, whatever) but it builds. Really, the only thing that compensates for it is a big paycheck-and our sense of cultural superiority. Once that goes, well, look out. Explosive rage. Anarchic tendencies forced into repression have a way of leaking out in all sorts of inappropriate manner.

Some days I wish there was one day for bosses to hear what their assistants really thought about them. Everyone remembers the kid who was smacked around by Martha Stewart but that was nothing.

I've worked with some women who are poisoned with their own hate. They smile, get coffee and schedule your conference calls (the ones you never remember how to dial into), and in strides Bob - King of his Corporate Domain - thinking his assistant Cathy is like family, Cathy has been with him for years, Cathy is like his wife, but quieter and less expensive. Meanwhile, Cathy dreams of the time she enters an intersection on a rainy night, sees Bob, and her foot slips off the brake.

I know. It seems petty. But imagine spending 8 hours a day with a human being who refuses to learn anything; who refuses to care for himself; who can't remember things you've told them yesterday, this morning or whenever; imagine a whole day spent with someone who has no sense of porportion. It's not like having a screamer for a boss or working for a Republican, but it's just those moments, the ones that collect in your gut, when you look across the desk and you realize that you have to *serve* this pathetic corporate dweeb - he's boring, uninteresting, dull, myopic and cares about...crap.

It's like taking care of a baby.
what's that burning feeling in your stomach, that acidy taste in the back of your throat?

ulcer? heartburn? precursor to heart attack or stroke?

gaah. it's just noon and already my innards are about to explode.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

relationship retard

just left the eHarmony site; they sent me a message that i was about to be deactivated so i logged on - heaven forbid i should be deactivated!!

like little clams, two matches waited for me. poor things, they've been stewing for about a month. i had no idea they were there! one, clearly impatient with my lack of response, closed communication with me. the other was still open, waiting patiently for me to read about his willingness to share with his partner.

if you haven't been on eHarmony, i think you should. it doesn't give you the sweaty, panting breath thrill that Nerve gives ('ohh, baby, let's play...') and it's not the immediate horror of ('i'm an IT adminitrator in Palatine and I just want to make you groove!'). eHarmony is like a soothing, brainy doctor in a white lab coat taking your hand and walking you through every step of mating like you're a retard.

(the dorky photo of amy and greg on the home page, engaged 2003, only reinforces your Rainman feeling.)

step one: take a personality quiz that will put the Meyers-Briggs to shame.
step two: take another test that will pinpoint your social skills and general likes/dislikes.
step three: fill out a profile
step four: launch your profile
step five: wait. and wait more.
(note: you can't browse for matches; they will bring matches to you, thus removing your habitual bad decision making skills from the equation.)
step six: if you have a match: read the profile and choose 5 ice-breaking questions. you have now entered the Guided Communication Process.
(note: you won't really be allowed to have Free/Open Communication until much further down the road.)

this is what's so weird about eHarmony. it doesn't trust you. it won't let you browse, it won't let you view photos, it won't let you make direct contact with a person because it doesn't trust you to behave like a rational adult.

and while it kills me to say this, they may have a point. i've done the online thing for about 3 years now and, i have to admit, my online dating ritual goes through a predictable lifecycle:

*find the profile that doesn't make me gag (preferably a guy with a snarky personality, who just wants to 'play' and lives several states away.)
*exchange steaming emails for a couple of months that would put the brownings to shame (not to mention anais nin)
*engage in some sweaty naughty talk, thus ramping up quickly to the inevitable online/face to face hook up (which usually entails someone buying a plane ticket)
*stop emailing, feel weird/disappointed/indifferent, move on to the next one.

eHarmony puts the kibosh on all that dead end-action. they run your meyers-briggs profile through some kind of scientific whammo and out of thousands of profiles, they match you with one. ONE. and they won't let you step out of line - no dirty talk, no phone sex, no lubricious emails, no running straight to bed before you discover that you're totally incompatible and will only make the other person vomit.

so there you are, a relationship retard, wearing a paper gown with your ass hanging out, led by the hand by a guy in a lab coat through the labyrinth of love - gently, scientifically, reasonably guided down a shiny white corridor.

sad that it's come to this.

phone bankin' & bush whackin'!

total success, thanks to the friends who came over to burn their weekend minutes and call apathetic voters across the nation. sigh. it really is depressing - out of 525 phone calls, i think we got 15 email addresses. of course, the majority of those on our list weren't home because we called in the afternoon, but still.

Friday, May 07, 2004

and lest i forget...

the morning after pill - not gonna be sold over the counter. grrr. what is the deal??

and here's a post on dailykos about it (which also has a link to original article).

it makes me wanna holler, you know?


what a waste.

i missed the fireman 'reveal' on extreme makeover - home ed. to watch the weak, lame, tired, used up, retread, sorry finale of 'friends.'

was it just me, or was it painfully unfunny?

rachel dumps her fab job in paris to stay with ross?? why not go on sabbatical for a year, ross, and go to paris with your girlfriend and child? after all, you *bought the ticket*!! i mean, wouldn't that just be a better ending - better than having one last coffee at the cafe?

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

working out

i now belong to a gym.
it's not one of those testosterone-laden Bally's sweat tanks or one of those uber-hip gyms like Crunch or Sweat or Grunt or whatever they're called now. and it's not the quiet chic sophisticated kind of gym like East Bank or Holmes Place.

no, it's Slim & Tone. it's a girly 'gym' for girlies who hate working out and don't want anyone to bother them. if those other gyms are for people with celebrity personalities, my gym is for people who feel like they're in the witness protection program. S&T is strictly no-nonsense: a circuit of machines, a treadmill, a shower, some fruit, a scale, and a perky girl who follows you around, working out with you so you won't feel lonely.

i like lonely, lady. that's why i'm here at 6.30 am. so i can be lonely while i figure out how to clench my ass and squeeze my thighs to the thumping house beats of madonna. when i took my workout personality test, i'm pretty sure Fuck Off was my key trait.

i hate working out and i do it furtively - it's not because i don't like showing my body while it's sweating and grunting (i'm consciously NOT going to make a sexual remark here.) it's not because i hate how i look in my yoga pants and red lycra tank (i also have the cutest polo footies ever!!).
i scuttle around the machines and watch the clock like a hawk because i HATE being in a gym. i hate thinking about form, reps, cooling down, over extending, whatever. it's the most boring thing on earth - next to golf and listening to a fundamentalist drone on about the proper role of women.
i also hate the people who talk about working out: the guys who drone on about the burn (whatever), the girls who chatter about their awesome spinning class (eat something) or the couples who drawl about their yoga (it's not attractive that you can now lick your own butthole.) they can all shut up and go away. i don't want to hear about how many inches you've lost or how many carbs you've dropped or how ripped your guns are.

it's boring. shut up.

i'd rather smoke an entire pack of cigarettes in a dark old guy bar while drinking rotgut than be in a gym. i'd rather sit through a derrida lecture than go to the gym. i'd rather hook up again with IncognitoLatino and have him bite my neck than go to the gym. and yet - here i am. sweating, grunting, lunging, bending, heaving, almost vomiting (too much cardio, too much cardio).

heh - but irony rears its head and forces me to admit that it feels really good. dammit.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

last night, exhausted by my political fervor and the ankle-grabbing day i had at work, i sat on the couch and ate cereal while watching 'unbreakable.'
this was a faint mirror of saturday night when i sat on the couch in my underpants, ate cereal, and read comic books.

more and more, my girliness is fading away only to be replaced by a comic book reading dork who blogs.
i am becoming a guy.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Office Wench

holy crap.
ass-grabbingly busy today.