Friday, December 29, 2006

Garfield would be appalled.

This morning, I dropped a frozen lasagna on my big toe.

It was painful.

Still is.

Update: Today, Jan. 2, 2007, I ate said frozen lasagna. My toe hurt at the very mention of the lasagna's name. Also, the lasagna was sub-par. Perhaps it internalized some of the pain it caused my toe.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Princess "This-Office-is-Really-Freakin'-Cold."

Some things that have been said to me today while wearing my Moon & Star Cuddle Wrap, a snap-up, zip-up blanket thing that makes me look as ridiculous as this woman . . .

. . . but still cuter in the face:

"Okay, Princess Red Feather, or whatever your name is today."

"You look like a wizard."

"Wow. You must be cold."

"Actually, your name could be Princess Winter Sun Moon in that."

"Okay, seriously, you really look like a wizard in that thing."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

An Open Letter to Eva Green:

Dear Eva,

I have been a fan of yours since The Dreamers, which has remained one of my favorite films to this day. I love it so much that I am appaled that an R-rated cut even exists on DVD because that film is PERFECT the way it was released in theatres. In any case, you are awesome. And you were awesome in Kingdom of Heaven, though I admittedly found a lot of that film to be hilarious when it shouldn't have been, but for that I blame Liam Neeson. Naturally, I was thrilled that you would be Vesper Lynd because I knew you would be awesome. And you were! My God! Your English accent is impeccable!

But I need you to know something: I've stolen your face.

I didn't mean to. I've had this face for 21 years, nearly 22. And you've had your face for 25. So you've had your face longer, which means I somehow stole it.

Let me explain.

When Casino Royale was released, a friend of mine saw it and immediately sent me a text message afterward that read:
"Have you seen casino royale? The main female lead looks remarkably like you. Even more so since you've done your hair dark. Its cool. U look like a bond chick!"
Naturally I brushed this off. There is no way I look like Eva Green, I said to myself. But thanks, man, that's a compliment because that girl is hot.

My finace even told me that when I saw the film, I would be able to see what I would look like if I'd drowned.

Then I went to see Casino Royale a few weeks later with that friend's girlfriend. As soon as you enter that train compartment, I knew he was right. Nearly every angle in Casino Royale made you look like me. It was uncanny. And when you drown, it was as though I was watching myself drown. Marcus was totally right about that.

So, before I submit the evidence of this, I would like to say that I'm sorry I've stolen your face. I had no idea that I'd taken it! I hope that we can live in harmony with our similar faces. I promise I'll always pay to see your movies, and you can just keep on being awesome.

That last photo is the one everyone keeps showing me and going: "YOU STOLE THIS WOMAN'S FACE!" and I only wish I had one of my old prom photos available for comparison.

This may be a little bit of a stretch to those who don't know me, but to those who do, when you see Casino Royale, it will be like watching me hit on Daniel Craig for two hours. And then drown.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Beautiful freak.

So, clearly, I think this is the coolest thing in the world:

Yep. That's a 7-legged deer. Although, to be technical, the legs are pretty miniature as far as supernumerary limbs go, so I would guess that they are less like extra legs and more like extra feet. I wish there were better pictures of this little critter, because I'm sure it would have the most fascinating anatomy.

Oh, did I mention that its also hermaphroditic? (Several publications have mistakenly referred to the deer's possession of male and female sex organs as "asexual," but if its got two pairs of parts, it's definitely a hermaphrodite.)

It's actually terribly sad that this creature is deceased. It seemed to be doing fine on its own, despite its extra feet-things and dual sex organs and nubby little antlers. It would have been great to see it move because, according to some reports, its appendages are semi-functional, appearing to move like crab pinchers as the deer ran.

The hunter who killed it ate it, claiming "it was tasty."

Monday, December 11, 2006

The internet is a girl's best friend.

This is what happens when I let myself go unchecked.

I just wrote this in leiu of continuing to give facts in the sidebar column I do every week at the paper. (Note: I'm working off a survey about jewelry industry response to the film Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly's eyebrows and a magical black man known to the world as Djimon Hounsou.)

More than two thirds of respondents were impressed with Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance, especially in light of the fact that Titanic seems to be all over the TV this holiday season and that is definitely one of the actor’s worst performances. Ever. This is also in spite of the fact that when everyone saw What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, we all thought he was actually retarded because no child actor could be that convincing. Especially with a name like Leonardo.

Had I kept going, I might have continued like so:
The survey did not cite opinions on Djimon Hounsou, despite the fact that he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 2004 for In America but lost to Tim Robbins for Mystic River, or Jennifer Connelly, despite the fact that she has actually won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for A Beautiful Mind in 2002 and despite the fact that my friend Bryna swears up and down that Miss Connelly's very presence "nearly ruins Labyrinth." Apparently, David Bowie more than makes up for the sucktacular acting of those 16-year-old eyebrows.

I really wish sometimes that I could slip things like this through, like my list of office pets rejected by the Business Times (most of which are variations on the Blank the News Blank theme, such as Scoops the News Gerbil or Inky the News Squid). But I suppose my random Academy Award rants have no place in the newsroom, and will be banished to my particular dark corner of the internet.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Step right up and save the marvelous Mr. Sideshow.

In beginning my studies of the tattoo community and tattoo history, local artist Permanent Mark (who did the triskell behind my ear) told me about the man in the photo above.

That man is Captain Don Leslie, a living legend in both the tattoo and sideshow communities. The Captain worked in the sideshow for 42 years. He is a tattooed man, a sword swallower, an artist, a firebreather and a true performer.

Permanent Mark has a painting in his shop that the Captain made for him. It features PM as a sideshow performer, like Leslie was. It is designed like the old sideshow promotional banners that the Captain lived so many years under.

Leslie's own writings and interviews with the writers I'm studying have been incredibly helpful in my research. Had I the means to get to Chico and the time to do so, PM would have helped me interview Leslie myself.

But it seems that, at this juncture, that will be impossible.

Captain Don Leslie was diagnosed in August with terminal cancer of the mouth and throat. He was given 6 months to live. At times, he cannot speak. This, I feel, would be absolute agony.

Madame Chinchilla and Mr. G at Triange Tattoo & Museum in Humboldt county have set up donation fund for the Captain to make his final days more bearable. You all can read about that here. Donate if you can, if you're interested in helping someone who has lead such an incredible and full life.

The Captain is one of the last remaining vestiges of a performance tradition that pushed the human body to its limits. The fact that his marvelous body is now failing him is really the irony of show business.

He is an amazing man--and I hope that Chinchilla and Mr. G will receive enough donations to help his final days be as good as they can be.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


NYC to Change ID Rules for Transgendered

I came across that AP article this morning on Yahoo! News, and all I can say is that this is why New York is fantastic. As the body is a site of conflict that I am particularly interested in--says the girl writing an English department thesis on tattoos--I can only smile with the hope that a number of other progressive cities will realize that the flesh we are in does not define our gender identity, and that in this culture of plastic surgery and body modification, making our exterior packaging reflect the internal should be a standard. If its culturally acceptable to fix your nose, why shouldn't it be so easy to fix your genitals?

This is an incredible stride for the transgender community. I expect my home metro hub of San Francisco to follow suit. After all, we were all about equalizing the queer community with the straight community by allowing same-sex marriages. We should be next in line to take the transgender community out of the margin by giving them birth certificates that match their reassigned bodies.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Double plus ungood.

I am amazed at the logic here. It's as though they don't realize the irony, despite the fact that the father had to literally read the entire book to cite which phrases and passages he found objectionable.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My wedding, my dowry.

Discussing the cost of my wedding with my parents went far better than I expected, especially considering the fact that the conversation began with the cost of their wedding, back in 1980.

(a slightly fictionalized version of last night's conversation with my parents*)
Me: How much did you wedding cost, Mom?
Mom: Oh, well, hon, you know, we had it at on the base in the military chapel and we only had about 50 people there so, I don't know, um, $500 to $700.
Me: What? What the fuck? Mom! Mom! That cannot be the cost of your wedding. That is unfuckingfathomably low!
Mom: Well, hon, it was over 20 years ago. Money is different now.
Dad (yelling, in the background): Hell, our cars were only $2,000!
Me (stammering): But, how? What? I don't understand! Plane tickets to Ireland are $500! How much was your dress? My god! It had full sleeves! How much!
Mom: Oh, Grandma made it. And she did our flowers, too.
Me: Gah! What? $500?!!

I then inform them that my wedding will be at least $9,000. To which my mom goes, "Gah! What? $9,000!"

Initially, that figure was unspeakably high for me, but it includes a 5 hour sit-down dinner for about 100 people with a choice of 2 entrees, an open bar, cake cutting and coffee services, 5 different kinds of butler passed hors d'ouevres, free champagne and a free suite for me and Marcus for the evening. I also get chair covers and centerpieces.

When I discussed this figure with my father, he said, "Are you sure its not missing a zero somewhere or there isn't a one in front of that nine?" and then "And that price is with an open bar? And they'll let us bring our own wine without a corkage fee? That is pretty damn good."

I love my dad. Paying to help Marcus' parents get rid of their son in such a manner is basically my dowry.

"For my daughter, you get a 3 course meal and all the booze you want!" I can imagine my father actually saying this. But anyone who marries me gets free booze for life anyway. When the intial parental introductions were made, Marcus' father wanted to know if livestock would be exchanged, but the faux dowry of wine won out over the faux dowry of camels. Because my dad has wine. My dad does not have camels.

I feel like this is an excellent choice for us. I (theoretically) only get married once, and it may as well be goddamned opulent. I will never get to have a party so exquisite again in my life . . . unless I become unspeakably wealthy. I may as well have my wedding be the epitome of 1930's Hollywood glamour.

Now its just a matter of getting in touch with the wedding sales manager at the hotel and booking this place.

*The slightly fictional parts are the parts where I swear a lot. Even now, I still don't say fuck around my parents. Unless it's really well deserved. Or if I stub my toe on something.

Fishy fishy fishy fish . . .

This is the most awesome photo ever. I found this while stumbling around blogs. Here's the link to the whole photoset.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

At some point, we all change how we look.

Welcome to my new look!

In the spirit of Halloween, my blog has dressed up. In that same spirit, I did as well. But apparently, its not considered cool to dress up when you are an Adult and live in Adult World (which is not as pornographic as it sounds).

I work downtown. In an office. At a newspaper. Most of us dressed up. But most of us also did not leave the office. When I left the office in the middle of the day, I received a number of odd looks from many people on the street. But then again, I was dressed like this:

That's right. I was Jem today. I fulfilled my little girl fantasy of being a music executive by day, rockstar by night. Oh, it was indeed showtime, Synergy.

In addition to the huge pink rocker wig, crazy makeup, pink dress and earrings that you can see in that photo, I was also wearing pink patent leather pumps.

There was a whole lot of pink going on in my general vicinity. So I suppose the looks of concern were somewhat justified. I guess those poor onlookers didn't grow up in the late 80s and early 90s.

Surprisingly, I think I received more disparaging looks from the hobos who drink outside the Borders on State St. than the business people I encountered during the day.

I'll have everyone know that I lost the costume contest we held at work to the Hamburgler. I feel like that was well deserved. I mean, I was every girl's fantasy character from the 80s, but Stephanie was the motherfucking Hamburgler.

So I dressed up for today, and tomorrow I return to Steviness, which is considerably less pink. But I fully intend to use that wig for years to come in a number of costumes: Debbie Harry from Blondie, rock singer Pink, Gwen Stefani during her "Return of Saturn" years, any number of anime characters including Haruhara Haruko from "FLCL" . . . the possibilities are endless.

The blog, on the other hand, will be dressed up for some time. I am also in search for a new name for it. Suggestions? I think some rebranding would be good overall.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Scratchers and ink slingers.

I don't know how I neglected to tell this story here, as I've told it to basically everyone who encountered me moments after I witnessed the following event.

A few weeks ago, I had pizza and beer at Gio's in IV with Leah. As we're sitting on the patio, enjoying our pitcher of Hefe. Slowly the table next to us begins to fill with leering men of some indeterminately Central American origin. They loudly sing Spanish shanties over our conversation. Leah glares at them. I notice the scrawny, dirty white man who has joined them is taking out of a paper bag what looks to be pots of either ink or black salsa from Baja Fresh (in little take out plastic containers). As Leah and I continue our conversation, I glance over periodically to see what's going on. One of the men is sketching in ballpoint on another's arm. Before the scrawny white man evenproduces his battery-operated electric tattoo machine, I say to Leah. "Dude, you are totally going to witness a scratcher give a tattoo tonight."

All Leah can say is, "That's not . . . sanitary."

But what does a scratcher care?

Sure enough, we sat there through half of the tattooing, the little handheld electric machine whirring away through Spanish shanties and our conversation.

Suprisingly, no one else seemed to notice this.

As a tattoo enthusiast, I can't say I wasn't entirely fascinated by this act, this public tattooing. But this kind of act is the most negative part of tattooing, the part thats associated with being on the fringe, with inappropriateness, with illegality. Not that parts that adhere to standards of art, to delicate sterilization, to some level of cultural awareness. Tattoos deserve to be given by artists, or by those who respect the art enough to understand that a studio, a shop is where the lighting, the equipment, the ink, the sterilization process and everything else are done properly. Not by scratchers who will ink anyone anywhere and not care if their work gets infected or disrupted or the ink falls out.

And if you own an electric machine, which is expensive in its own right, don't you probably have at least an apartment or a garage in which you have a better space to tattoo?

But then I thought: is the fact that art can be created in public spaces somehow comprimised by the fact that tattooing is always done in shops? Is tattooing then fringe and not art by that nature? I can't call this pizza parlor tattoo, however public, anything even close to art. Tattooing, I think, exists in some semantic space between a medical procedure and art. Anyone who deals with modifying or repairing the body is an artist in their own right, be they surgeons who reattach muscle and bone or plastic surgeons who scrape it away and bind and shape the skin. Surgery is an art of the body, and I think that tattooing navigates that space, as well.

You wouldn't want to compromise your body with lipo in the back of a nail salon, or Botox at the cafe. Why would you compromise your body with a tattoo from a scratcher on the patio at Gio's?

Friday, September 15, 2006

My first steps toward becoming a crazy cat lady.

My roommate was gone for two weeks, and she took her cat with her. Everyone in the house has a significant other, so not having people around at night is fairly normal here. But when Audrey took Batshit Catshit with her on vacation, I was all alone in this house.

And houses, no matter how new and how nice, are fucking creepy without signs of life in them. I realized during these few nights I spent alone that I really need living things around me. As fucking weird as Zoey is, I need her in the house. Even when I was younger and my parents weren't home, I always had my dog.

So I got another cat.

That's putting it dramatically. We'd talked about getting another cat, hoping that a second cat would give Zoey some kind of stability. I wanted an older cat, one that would like to cuddle and be held. Basically, a cat that wasn't as wacky and unsociable as the creature I so lovingly call Batshit Catshit.

As fate had it, I did not fall in love with the big fat orange cat I had been eyeing at the Ojai shelter. And I drove to ASAP on Labor Day, knowing full well they would be closed, but secretly hoping that the county would be smart enough to know that when people who can afford pets don't have to work, being open would be a good idea. Later that afternoon my co-worker calls me and offers me a kitten that she and her husband had brought home. This little girl was 5 weeks old, and very small. But so adorable. So I brought her home.

Calliope's arrival in my home.

She is the sweetest cat in the world. She likes to spend hours snuggled against my chest.

Who doesn't want to snuggle on my chest?

Every morning before I go to work, we watch the news and she snuggles on my chest. When I get home from work, I watch Jeopardy and she snuggles on my chest. In between all her comfy snuggling, she can voraciously attack feather toys for hours at a time.

The face of pure evil.

Her sweetness and whimsy have given her the name Calliope, and I love her so much.
I always dreamed of a big orange cat named Geoffrey Chaucer, but I think that the Fates had Calliope in store for me. As my mom says, we were meant to be together.

Calliope checks produce for ripeness by batting at it.

We knew that introducing her to our Ninja Cat would be a challenge, as Zoey didn't really seem to enjoy many things in this world. But Zoey came back from her vacation a changed cat. She suddenly purrs. She meows. She actually lets people hold her and wants to be touched. She curls up by feet.

She and Calliope spent their first couple of days growling at each other. Calliope took to Zoey instantly. Zoey was really not having that at all. They hissed. They fought. But now, at the end of a week together, they love each other so much. They still play fight, and sometimes Zoey forgets that Calliope is very small, but they are the best of friends. I left them sleeping together on the couch this morning, and when I returned at 5, they were in the exact same place. Later, Calliope was biting Zoey's ear and scruffing her neck to get her big sister to wake up and play.

The babies: derranged but so, so playful.

So that is the story of our cats. They're both really wonderful creatures, even if I know they spend their days secretly plotting to kill us.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Maxim's makeover.

The white cover of the October 2006 issue of Maxim didn't throw me. They've done a white cover before. I was thrown by the fact that MTV V-Jay Vanessa Minnillo was on the cover. And she was very much on the cover in 2005. She, like the magazine, has also made a transformation. Her 2005 cover featured her as a naughty school girl. On this cover, she looks like an extra in a Bob Fosse musical. Oh, she had it comin'.

Vanessa's transformation seems to reflect the design change of the overall magazine.
When I open the magazine, I am struck by the white pages. Men's magazines don't traditionally use white as a background. Maxim, in the 5 years I've been reading it, has always had black pages. The table of contents pages have been streamlined, boxed and color-coded. The layout of the articles is much more striking and clean, less cluttered. The art is better.

Maxim's new Editor-in-Chief Jimmy Jellinek, who sports a pink checked shirt a la Marc Ecko in his headshot, seems to be taking the magazine in a bold new direction. Maxim is growing up, departing from the world of Stuff and its teenage/college boy allies and becoming more like GQ.

I can't argue that Maxim is growing up as its readership does. Men's magazines don't work like that. Maxim boys will always be Maxim boys, even in suits and ties and $100 glasses of Scotch. Part of me thinks that Maxim is trying to appeal to its female readership, come off as less chauvenistic, less filled with balls-out bro-dom (which, my feminist friends, is total irony in the first place.)But more than that, I think Maxim is trying to grow its readers up. It wants to be a magazine for young male professionals like GQ. It is aiming for a new readership, a readership of men who appreciate all kinds of beauty--good layout, nice graphic art, organization and the inherent beauty of Maxim's content: women.

Maxim, thank you for growing up. You've become more refined. Even your portraits of women in the magazine have become more refined. Next time I see you, I'll buy you a $50 glass of Scotch and we'll talk about how to give my publication that kind of redesign.

Cheers, boys.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Farewell, Steve Irwin.

You and I were not alike in any way. I have been known to say I hate nature, but being an animal loving vegetarian contradicts that statement. For me, the surest sign that I respect nature is that I stay the hell away from it.

You sir, you loved nature by getting in its face, and wrestling many freaky and deadly animals.

We're all sorry about that stingray barb, because you've given us so many years of entertainment on Animal Planet, and we had hoped you would continue to give us many more years of Crocodile Hunting fun.

But at least we all know you died doing something you loved. For the Crocodile Hunter to die any other way, such as passively in his sleep or an ironic traffic accident, would be unacceptable.

Cheers, mate. It's been a helluva good run.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A brief taxonomy of English language and literature related Facebook groups.

Let me begin by saying that the English major in me is overjoyed, and the linguist in me is completely appalled.

I am pleased as punch that there are groups uniting English majors, uniting specific classes (like Arden of Tombstone), professor/TA fan clubs (Prof. Rita Railey has one), and some others.

But the groups that proclaim that English needs to be spoken in this country at all times, the groups that proclaim a hatred for non-native speakers being TAs and professors, and the groups that are dedicated to the so-called preservation of the English language . . . I am worried about all of these groups.

Mostly because there are a fuckton of them.

I'm sure that group of hearty defenders of the English language would really not appreciate my use of "fuckton" just now.

But you know what? Fuck them.

English is a wonderful language because its most heralded writers have contributed so many completely made-up words to a language that had otherwise cannibalized basically every language with which it came into contact. No language is pure. Languages change and evolve as people do. And anyone who thinks that languages are better off in their dictionary form really has no basis making an opinion about language use.

Dictionaries do not include the richest parts of languages: slang and dialect. English dialects are so rich, and if these naysayers had read any Harlem Renaissance writings they might understand that Zora Neale Hurston is a better speaker than they are because she can successfully navigate both dialect and cannonical, grammatical English. When you push out slang and dialect, the language loses the character of its people. Which is a complete tragedy.

These people also seem to have a disdain for "netspeak." Which makes me wonder about their opinion on medical and legal speak, both of which are comprised more classically than the rest of English speech as they are heavily reliant on Greek and Latin. As for netspeak, I can only assume they're talking about IM shorthands and misspellings, which, for my side of the story, are really only improving the completely whack spelling of this language by reducing it to what language essentially is: symbols that stand for phonemes. Netspeak reflects an essential part of English-speaking culture: the internet. It's our essential mode of communication. It has its own grammar, own rules for usage.

To the people who hate this, get with the times. I'm sure you can't stand that you're reading this diatrbe in a blog, which is a far better word than weblog, for my money.

For those who are represented in the groups that discuss the frustration with non-native speakers, I understand. I know its hard. I can't fault you for expressing your frustration. But you all have won. English is now the official language of the good ol' USA. And I can not even begin to tell you how much that kind of Nativism hurts me. My family lost its language coming here because back in 1901, being American was the thing to do to fit in in America. That, and Italian-Americans were only allowed certain kinds of jobs, so being a fucking WOP got you absolutely nowhere. So we stopped speaking Italian. And now, 3 generations later, I am the only person left in my family who speaks our once-native tongue. And that's because I chose to learn it on my own. It's all I've got that's Italian about me. That and my last name.

Like me, many 3rd generation sons and daughters are struggling with their cultural identity, their loss of culture. So why are we all so eager to make our new citizens conform? Have we really forgotten that they're here for the same reason our families came here? I guess we have. The reason I love Europe is because I can walk down the streets in Milan and here 8 different tongues. The same thing happens in LA. NYC. San Francisco. In any big city, there's multiculturalism. There are many languages. Deal with it. America is a country of immigrants.

You have your official language, but that doesn't mean you have to take away everyone elses.

And as to professors and TAs who speak English as a second or third language, they're not stupid. They have MAs, Ph.Ds. Just because they don't speak English exactly as you do doesn't make them any less qualified than those who do. In fact, even if they are teaching an English lit class, they may have a better perspective on the work studied as relative newcomer to the language. Just ask Professor Huang. The man gets Ezra Pound. And Gertrude Stein. And I do not have to tell you just how difficult of a work Tender Buttons is if you've ever read it.

Every language has equal value. And all languages evolve and change as the culture of its speakers evolve and change. I say we embrace it, and erase and notion of linguistic purity from our vocabularies.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Holy cock.

Right now, someone on Santa Barbara Craigslist is giving away one of these fine fowls.

He is a White Crested Polish Rooster (blue variety).

I've never seen a crazier looking bird in my life. I need him.

An inventory of stuff in and around the vicinity of my desk.

*Two luna bars. One, iced oatmeal raisin. One, chocolate peppermint stick. I am stocking up for winter and long Wednesdays putting the paper to bed.
*A shit-ton of file folders. Don't ask me how many. I have no idea. But you better bet they are impeccably organized. Especially the green one full of Who's Who in Financial Management data.
*Lavendar Chamomile Aveeno Baby lotion. Because I like to smell like babies.
*24 1.5x2 inch colored post-it note pads, organized in my drawer according to color.
*Burt's Bees lip balm. Take it and you shall experience a slow and painful death.
*A photograph of a water buffalo with the caption "Say Cheese: Water buffalo milk makes a mouthwatering mozzarella." The covershot from this month's AgAlert.
*4 movie ticket credit card reciepts stapled together by Bill and given to me prior to our viewing of the finest peice of cinema known to man, Snakes on a Plane.
*A list of the emails and extensions of everyone in the office.
*A post-it note on my monitor that reads: "Manitees are very ethical writers; either everything is okay to write about, or nothing is."
*A bag of Lay's Classic potato chips that I bought last week and will consume eventually. It's just good to know that they're there.
*A copy of about 6 different economic forecast guides, from a variety of universities, including UOP, of which I have fond speech tournament memories.
*2 notebooks, one black, one a white reporter's notebook.
*A picture of a wild west crayfish with a lasso. Caption: "The Bayou Goes Southwest." My subcaption: "Snippy Mosebar: The fastest claw in the west." I am collecting bizarre pets.
*A small stack of calendar entries I haven't felt like filing.
*Several of my ink pens from home because I despise ballpoint pens, even when free.
*A blue highlighter.
*Scissors--I lord them over everyone because they know I have them and they do not.
*A grip of business cards.
*The 2006 Book of Lists, both the love of my life and the bane of my existance.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

What Not to Wear: Project Runway edition.

I read PostSecret every Sunday. While an overwhelming number of secrets pretain to sexual violence, there are occasionally some that bring an ounce of levity. Some of them, very well could be mine.

While that one is not mine, I, too, value Stacy and Clinton's opinions over all others. In fact, if last week's Project Runway decision was any indication, I think Stacy and Clinton need to be guest judges on the show. Vincent's dress should not have won, based on proportion alone.

I don't know what the hell that bizarre middy collar is doing on that dress, but it is not in any way suited to that model. The challenge was to design a look for the everyday woman, using the other designers mothers and sisters as models. Most of these women were in the 12-14 range. And there is a lot that can be done to make an average-sized woman look smaller. Most of which are simple things involving piping, adding a central seams down the center, rich colors, appropriate-sized patterns and, most importantly, making things that actually fit the model well! Basically, everyone failed this challenege. Though I think the best of the bunch was probably Uli, once again making a great use of her understanding of pattern.

Anything was better than Robert's atrocity for Vincent's very large and probably diabetic sister (woman literally gimped down the runway), which wsa a black jersey tube dress and some bright red kimono-like thing that made her look about 3 times bigger than she actually was.
Stacy and Clinton, Project Runway desperately needs your help. Please save Michael Kors from himself. And punch Elle magazine fashion director Nina Garcia in the face for me. She has broken the no miniskirts over 35 rule numerous times. And once with leggings.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Who puts their resume in Comic Sans MS?"

I really don't know if its awesome or sad when I can identify a font. I clearly spend too much time in front of a computer screen.

But that's a serious question. I should never see a resume in Comic Sans MS. Never.

That's, like, 10 kinds of wrong.

Monday, August 14, 2006

You've gotta get a gimmick.

Everyone who loves kittens needs to know that our Zoey is now featured on

She is kitten #72. Her picture is doubly good because she's sitting inside a shoebox that's inside a bag. It's twice the bag goodness.

Just wait. We'll get her into places like,,, Baby's gonna be a star!

Hollywood missed connections. w4m.

Walking back from Java Jones with Rose, I was stopped in the middle of the State and De La Guerra by a tall man holding his coffee in line with his necktie. He looks at me for a long while before stopping me as we pass each other. He reaches out to lightly touch my arm.

"We really miss you at Hollywood," he says.

I am always so caught off guard when things like this happen. The witty part of me is dead.

"Do you, really?" I say, turning back.

"Yeah, we do. Seriously."

"Thanks." Because smiling is all I can do.

As we walk away, I know everything about this guy except his name. He always came in late, 10ish, and I always gave him shit. He would purposely ask for bad movies because he knew that I would give him some snide look that said, "Are you fucking kidding me?"

Seeing regulars outside of the Hollywood Video environment is definitely odd. I feel like Donna Beth, my Chaucer instructor, must have felt when she spun around after getting her hair done last weekend to see me sitting in the chair opposite her. She looked at me like she was watching a dog walk on its hind legs. (Or a dog with no front legs at all, for that matter. Evidence here.)

It's nice to know that I'm that memorable, and that I managed to create a lasting impression with regulars. Somehow, that makes it better that I spent nearly 4 years of my life working for Hollywood Video, because I built a relationship with customers that made them feel less like they were entering a part of a giant corporation and more like they were visiting a neighborhood store. So many of them were so happy that I was taking a better job, a career-type job. But its nice to know they miss me.

Still, the exchange in the middle of the intersection was odd. What business does he have in a tie? And what business do I have in dress pants and heels? This is not how we know each other. Two-legged dog odd.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I must share this sentence with the world.

"And then Tim Gunn said, 'Don't worry, there's a Dairy Queen near my house.'"
--Marcus, explaining his dream about Tim Gunn after last nights wicked awesome Project Runway.

This sentence was followed by: "I just don't know why Tim Gunn wanted to take me to a Dairy Queen."

If there are people out there who don't know why I love this man and why I'm going to marry him, this is why. It's moments like these where we are absolutely ridiculous that make my goddamn day.

Baby, I love you. And next time Tim Gunn wants to take you to the DQ, invite me so I can get some advice on following grain lines. I'll buy.

Monday, August 07, 2006


The Italian Grocery on De La Guerra is my savior.

I no longer have to make pizzocheri with delicious, though rather flimsy and inadequate, garlic noodles from Trader Joe's. Now I have an outlet at which to purchase real pizzocheri, which is what thick, hearty Italian buckwheat pasta is called. For those who have not been blessed with this gift from the Vatellina, traditional pizzocheri are cooked with boiled potatoes and cabbage, then smothered in a garlic-butter-sage sauce and choked to death with a variety of cheeses. As I am unable to find Toma and Bitto in America, I've been using a blend of melty mozzarella, fontina, asiago and parmesan.

Pizzocheri, specialty of the Vatellina aka a meal to last a week if you get snowed-in in your small Alpine village

Learning how to make this dish was one of my Italian cooking goals I set when I came back from my summer in Italy. Mission accomplished. I also set out to learn my favorite dessert, Tiramisu, which I think I do a decent job of, especially with extra Kaluha.

Along the way, I've completely abandoned store bought pasta sauces. I can't stand them anymore, and I really don't know how I could ever stand them in the first place. They're never hearty; even when there are tomato chunks in them, its not the same. My father always made a rich, red Sicilian sauce from scratch for me when I was a kid. He put hours into it, which is why my sauces are still not my father's caliber. I make lighter, more Roman-style sauces. And I make a mean vodka sauce, which is creamier than one might expect.

I always marveled at how my father rarely used a recipe for sauces, but the more I make them, I see why he didn't need them. I've figured out how to do an alfredo sauce sans recipe, which I really thought would be the hardest sauce I could ever make. For sauces, a recipe is too limiting. They're really meant to be more like guidelines--especially in an Italian kitchen.

So, pizzocheri and tiramisu are two of my completed Italian cooking goals. Now I just have to set aside the time to make gnocchi from scratch.

It is, however, unfortunate that no where in the country can I get cheap grappa. It's like 5-10 euro a bottle in Italy! It's $40 a bottle here! Even at the Italian Grocery! I guess my next goal is to learn how to put my winemaking skills to good use and figure out how to distill me some Italian rocket fuel.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Guess I shouldn't have made that left turn at Albequrque.

I discovered last weekend on a fabric run to Ventura with Jenn that the space between Santa Barbara/Monetecito and Ventura is suspiciously like West Virgina.

I also discovered I had a flat tire, which is how I discovered the strange cultural topography of Carpinteria and Summerland in the first place.

For those of you who have seen my car, you will know that it has two neat dents on the passenger side: a large one on the back passenger door courtesy of Sam and Kian's old apartment building and a small one on the front wheel well, thanks to my own shitty driving on moving day.

This is why I thought people were just being complete dicks as they pointed to my front wheel and motioned in confusing ways. "Yes, fuckass, I am aware that there is a dent. Thanks for being so observant."

Only after the third Samaritan pointed did Jenn roll down the window to hear people explain we had a flat. So we got off the road just past Montecito, in to Summerland, which bears absolutely NO resemblance to the faux-C show of the same name that allegedly took place there. It is also not particularly summery.

In Summerland, we pull up to the first gas station off the road and inspect the damage. Yes. It's flat. Awesome. We assume there's a nail in it. So we amble inside the convenience store to ask if there's a station with a service shop around. Inside, a leathery woman reeking of booze is conversing with a leathery man, wearing sunglasses, and smoking inside the store. They tell us that if we "drive about three miles down the road there, there'll be a 76 station with a service shop."

So we thank them and head on our merry.

But they really have no idea exactly how many miles down the road this place is, because we drove far more than 3 miles, upwards of 5 by my estimate, to this elusive 76 station. In Carpinteria.

Wouldn't it have been easier to say, "If you go down this road until you hit Carpinteria, you'll find a 76 station?" Then I wouldn't have feared breaking down by the fucking polo grounds and being devoured by rabid and angry horses.

Carp, as locals call it, is also somewhat desolate-looking. We pull into the gas station and drive all the way around to the back, thinking this will put us closer to the service shop. But we find no one available for service. Rad. This is so rad. Luckily, from out of the convenience store emerges a short, old man with a dingy baseball cap and spectacles so thick his eyes are magnified to three times their size. Oh yeah, this guy also has a grill like a dirty picket fence.

We inform him of our problem and all I can do is stare at his teeth. We pull the car over to the air box and he takes one look at my green-capped Nitrogen filled tires and announces that we have a problem, other than the flat. "These tires is filled with helium," he says.

Helium? Dude, you work at a gas station. Shouldn't you have a basic primer on gases? Like, at least to know that helium can not possibly be in tires. Or my car might float. I say might, because I really don't know how well helium holds up under 2 tons of pressure.

In any case, I hedgingly ask him if it is safe to put air in tires filled with things other than air, whatever they may be. He tells me to check my owner's manual, as though an owner's manual comes with the most-replaced parts of the car. All the while, Jenn has noticed that there is a man on a payphone who may and or may not have a glass eye leering at us as we sit in the car and read the informationless owner's manual.

Gas Station Attendant with a Mean Grill returns and knocks horror-movie style on our window. I think: imminent death. He tells us that he "called somebody" and they "said it was okay" to mix air with "helium." So I say, what the hell, fill 'em. At least we'll get to Ventura . . . if we don't DIE FIRST.

So he airs up our tires and slaps the hood to send us on our way. We say "thanks" and drive off wondering how the fuck we ended up in a scene out of The Hills Have Eyes.

The good part of this is that Ventura is a land of wonderous automotive innovation. Right across the street from Joann's is a place called Just Tires, where they happen to do work on just . . . tires. They took the nail out of my tire and patched it for $10 flat.

And brocade silk was on sale! Badass!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

There are a few regulars I pass on the way to work in the morning, the Latin woman with the wheely suitcase who never fails to compliment me on my choice of skirts, the aging Hepcat who dresses like Johnny Cash and wears a black Fedora over his Elvis Costello glasses and impeccably trimed silver goatee--no matter what the weather might be.

I see these people nearly every day and feel like I ought to introduce myself to them, all friendly small neighborhood style, since we travel on the same trajectory every day, by which I mean we all have specific places we like to part our cars and probably get very irrationally angry when we can't park in our usual favorite spots.

I like to believe these individuals are like me, anyway.

I've always liked the idea of saying hi and being friendly with the neighbors, after all, you never know who's going to have a file to chisel melted plastic off your stove when your teapot . . . or, conversely, who you're going to have to report to the police when you start seeing little red dots all over the complex. (Yep, that's the Colonial for you and the dual personalities of the boys in 41: two were really awesome and helpful and rode motorbikes, the other two were drunken domestic abusers and drug dealers who I hear are now in jail somewhere.)

Why not strike up some sort of kinship bond with people who also walk equally far from their vehicles to the office?

Soon to follow: Why Carpinteria and Summerland are kind of like West Virigina.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Some very hostile haiku.

There's always one completely irrelevant asshole in every class who doesn't understand that you have to work within the text in literature classes, and constantly provides these external references that are usually completely unrelatable. No one wants to listen to this. No one. Normally, I want to shoot someone, myself of the longwinded bastard, to end the misery. Today, perhaps inspired by the haiku poetry on my bottle of oolong iced tea, I chose to take a more creative approach. I present you with my brief and brilliant collection of haiku about assholes.

Dear Douchebag McGee,
Please shut the fuck up in class.
You are my slow death.

When you talk at length,
I want to shoot you or
myself in the face.

Post script on kittens.

She is also called: Zozos, Zoso, Noodle, Doodle, Midget Cat, Demon, Fuckin' Cute

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Naming of Cats

"The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey -
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter -
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum -
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover -
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name."
--T.S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

While T.S. is a wise man, I feel he may have missed the mark on the number of names a cat has. My cat, Zoey, has her singluar, commonplace everyday name. I will never discern her secret cat name, that I know. But as to the fancier names, she has many already. Ours are not so brilliantly fanciful as T.S.'s, but so far she morphs from Zoey into Tiny, Tweaky McGee, Batshit Catshit, Gollum, Gremlin Cat and Snoodles.

I am sure there will be more, as I have seen Marcus' cats morph from Jazz and Ruby to Jizz and Splooge. With Jazzy's death, her sister has become Ruby, sometimes Ruby Tuesday, sometimes Ruby Spoogeday, sometimes Spoo, sometimes Sploogy and, during episodes of Carnivale, Rubes.

Holly Golightly may have been on to something by simply naming her cat Cat.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I get drunk and sing showtunes.

This is Broadway fodder I'm stealing from my Manly Man. Non-theatre kids can ignore at their leisure.

Name 10 of your favorite Broadway shows

1. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
2. Cabaret
3. Sunset Boulevard
4. Urinetown
5. Last Five Years
6. Avenue Q
8. Man of La Mancha
9. Nine
10. Damn Yankees

Have you ever seen these shows live? On Broadway: 2, 4, 6, 7, 9. In San Francisco: 4, 7, 8, 10. In L.A.: 7, 4. Community theatre in Bay Area: 1, 2. Never seen: 3, 5.

What's your favorite song from show 2?
"Maybe This Time"

Who's your favorite character from show 4?
My favorite characters are usually the ones I want to play the most, so I'd have to say Miss Pennywise. She's a great character when played well. But at the USC production, it was definitely Hot Blades Harry. That kid was RIDICULOUS!

What's your favorite scene from show 5?
I haven't actually seen show number 5, but my favorite song is "Shiksa Goddess" because it always makes me happy to hear it knowing Marcus could be singing it about me. (Even though he never actually will.)

What's your favorite lyric from show 8?
"To dream the impossible dream,
to fight the unbeatable foe,
to bear with unbearable sorrow,
to run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong,
to love pure and chaste from afar,
to try when your arms are too weary,
to reach the unreachable star.

This is my quest,
to follow that star --
no matter how hopeless,
no matter how far.

To fight for the right
without question or pause,
to be willing to march into hell for a
heavenly cause.

And I know if I'll only be true to this
glorious quest
that my heart will be peaceful and calm
when I'm laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this,
that one man scorned and covered with scars
still strove with his last ounce of courage.
To reach the unreachable stars."

So that was an entire song, but its just that good.

From show 10, which character are you most like?
I would say Lola, but really, I'm a lot more like the news reporter, Grace, you know, given the job and all.

Can you quote every line from show 1?
YES!!!! I am the worst person to sit next to at Sweeney!

How many times have you seen show 3?
That's one of the ones I've never seen but love the soundtrack . . . and the original movie!

If you could be anyone from show 6, who would it be? Why?
Princeton. Because he and I share a completely useless major. After all, what do you do with a BA in English?

What's your favorite song from show 7?
It used to be "One Song Glory," which is brilliant and moving in its own right, but I really love "What You Own" because its so incredibly true.

What's your favorite quote from show 9?
"My husband makes movies. To make them, he lives a kind of dream, in which actions aren't always what they seem."

Out of all these shows, which one is your absolute favorite?
Sweeney Todd, Sunset Boulevard and The Last Five Years. Sweeney Todd is a brilliant peice of work about the darkness in ourselves and the extremes to which we are willing to go for love. It is both dark, beautiful, and comic all at once. And I still want to see a certain curly-haired singer I enjoy singing the role of Anthony Hope, and telling a Joanna that until he's with her then, he's with her there, buried sweetly in her yellow hair. Sunset Boulevard is by far ALW's best work, and its because Billy Wilder gave him a good framework. Plus, I have a soft-spot for starry-eyed young writer Betty Schaeffer and can sing her alto lines. As to The Last Five Years, this show has kept my relationship strong. Our goal is to not end up like Jamie and Cathy, to not lose because they can't win. We can do better than that.

Who's the best Broadway actor?
I adore Alan Cumming and Norbert Leo Butz. I also

Who's the best Broadway actress?
Gotta go with the Bern. Idina Menzel is a true talent, though.

What's the best musical they turned into a movie?
Chicago is a better movie than it is a stage show, but I think the best musical movie is Hedwig and the Angry Inch because film was able to bring that incredible story to more people than the stage production could access. And Hedwig needs to be seen. (Also, Reefer Madness makes a damn good movie, stoned or not.)

Is there a musical you DON'T like?
Yes. I've been in a couple bad ones.

If so, which one? Why?
I fucking hate Les Mis because its just plain bad. You cannot connect to anyone, the music is just a conglomeration of notes, and that stage can revolve forever and not make the show move any fucking faster.

Do you think the movie versions are better, or the original Broadway shows?
I think the movie versions allow access to shows that a good section of the country doesn't get to see, but there really is nothing like seeing a show live. Unless it sucks live. Like Chicago with Melanie Fucking Griffith.

This or That:

The Producers or RENT - RENT. The Producers is lovely and fun, but RENT gave me, and a lot of my generation, a new lease on life.

Wicked or Chicago: I hate Chicago onstage because it has no meaning, which I also think is Wicked's problem. That book is complex and actually very interesting. The show loses everything that makes the book good.

Fiddler on the Roof or Oklahoma: Fiddler, in the name of Tradition.

Thoroughly Modern Millie or 42nd Street: Haven't seen 42nd and I abhor Millie.

Hairspray or Grease: "Hairspray." It was good as a John Waters movie, and great as a show. Hairspray has a wonderful message that tells girls they can be any size, shape or color and still be loved. Plus, Penny Pingleton is a great role. And it's totally mine. And I will kill Amanda Bynes for it.

P.S. I am known to sing showtunes when drunk.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The best thing I have ever overheard.

"Do you have a throat infection or are you pregnant?"
--said in a slightly British, slightly bitchy manner by a man eating a sandwhich with his friends

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Dear Man Creatures of the Santa Barbara Area and World in General,

Please stop feeding us lines.

If we have a ring on our left ring finger, you should abort your mission. Telling us how beautiful we are or that we are "works of art" is not going to make us leave our significant others. In fact, it's just going to make you seem like a douchebag.

Don't ask to be my fucking friend after a failed attempt at picking me up with a line. If you really wanted to be my friend, you wouldn't have wasted your time and mine trying to bed me.

Don't assume that because I am getting married I don't have any freedom. It really pisses me off and makes you one step closer to no longer having testicles. My stilettos don't know the difference between flesh and concrete.

To all of you who follow the advice in Neil Strauss's The Game, I hope that he gets a lot of money for each of his lines that you use. And I hope that Mr. Strauss laughs all the way to the bank each time you fail.

You would all be much better off just being yourselves instead of being sleazy bastards.

P.S. If a girl says she's gay, don't ask to be with her and her girlfriend, you fucking peice of idiot trash. She's gay. She doesn't need your cock, nor does she want it, nor does she "not know what she's missing," nor can you turn her. If you actually fucking think that, you really ought to rethink your entire construction of social relations.

P.P.S. This message is aimed at only a few Man Creatures, as most of the Man Creatures I know and spend time with are wonderful human beings. Which I think goes to prove my point that no woman wants to hang out with a fucking sleazy douchebag.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Thanks, News-Press.

There is craziness going down at the Santa Barbara News-Press. It would have only been better if someone defecated on the morning edition before being escorted out of the office.Sorry, News-Press.

My editor is quoted in that one.

And this is all the News-Press has to say about it. Way to make a statement, Armstrong.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dance, dance. We're falling apart to half time.

Okay, before I get to the point of this, I must interject that the cutest thing in the world just occurred. Zoey, the kitten, just crawled up from my lap and sat on my keyboard. Disturbed by the noises, she is now hunting her Octopussy.

I love this cat!

Now I go on to prove the point that reality television is actually smarter than we give it credit for. On last night's Dancey Dance Show aka So You Think You Can Dance, Ashlee and Dimitry danced a crazy contemporary routine to, of all the horrors of the world, Fall Out Boy's "Dance Dance."

I, too, was suprised at how wicked awesome this was. The dance told the story of a doll brought to life by a wicked circus ringmaster, and the choreography was wild and violent and crazy. It was fantastic.

What was even better, and proves that I am actually learning stuff in school, was how uncertain Nigel Lythgow was about the dance. He told Ashlee that he wasn't sure "if she was Dr. Coppelieus' Doll or Frankenstein's Monster."

I am currently enrolled in English 165MM: Making Up Monsters and I not only just finished Frankenstein (for the 5th or 6th time), but I also just read the story from which the Coppelieus reference comes. That is a reference to the animated doll at the end of E.T.A. Hoffmann's 1816 story "The Sandman," the destruction of which drives the main character into madness because, not only had he fallen in love with this automaton, but he too was once disassembled and reassembled in this fashion by Coppelieus, his evil "Sandman."

My question is this: who the hell has actually read this odd and obscure story? Clearly British people remain far more well read than Americans, and I feel extra smart for getting the reference. Though, I had just finished reading that story before joining Magen in Dancey Dance Debauchery.

Though I do have a note for Nigel: Coppelieus is a lawyer, not a doctor. Oh, and by the way, he may be Nathaniel's Sandman, but the maker of the doll is the similarly named Coppola, whom Nathaniel only imagines to be the same man.

And I think I agree with America: Ashlee was more like Coppelieus' doll than Frankenstein's monster. But she still had her eyes in their sockets.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Isla Vista will not be missed.

My new apartment is awesome.

What is also awesome is that Netflix allows you to change your gender on your account. How progressive of them!

What is not awesome is that I hurt (and look) like my boyfriend beats me. Bruises galore from moving and my muscles have suddenly aged 30 years over night. Goddamn. That shit is brutal.

Oh, also, my booze (i.e. my Kaluha, Baileys, Jameson) got left behind, along with a gorgeous new bottle of absinthe that was sent to me for free by my "dealer." And the cleaners totally either stole it or threw it out!

I was so looking forward to drinking that. Boo.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Little bits of Hobbit.

I am never going to have to actually read the Lord of the Rings series because I continue to receive it paragraph by paragraph at the end of spam messages in my inbox.

Given the length of the tomes, this way is easier to digest.

At least I've stopped getting bits of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Hobbit loophole.

A selection from Tolkien this morning.

dark-green hood. As soon a the door was opened, he pushed inside, just as if he had been expected. He hung his hooded cloak on the nearest peg, and Dwalin at your service! he said with a low bow.
Bilbo Baggins at yours! said the hobbit, too surprised to ask any questions for the moment. When the silence that followed had become uncomfortable, he added: I am just about to take tea; pray come and

It was in a Viagra ad. The sender:; which is an address that has obviously already been deleted. Because, which is a company that created pH neutralization systems, is definitely not selling Viagra in any way, shape or form.

The thing about copying from Bach and Tolkien is this: despite how well known both authors are, I think that the copyright on the works has expired. Avon is no longer publishing new copies of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and there are a variety of publishers who have attained the rights to Tolkien's work, therefore leading me to believe that the copyrights have a. expired and not been renewed or something else that would really piss off both authors, were they still living.

I'm sure that most people do not care. I myself was amused at first by the selections on these emails, but the Bach and Tolkien bits are stirring.

I don't see how its fair for their work to be unlawfully copied and distributed with the dastardly intentions of stumping spam-blockers. Is this really what we're coming to? A world without respect for other's artistic and intellectual property?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bullseye here.

You can literally see the jealousy when Jennie announces that she and Sam are going to go shopping at the Target in Santa Maria.

This is why Santa Barbara needs a damn Target. They can stick it in Goleta, out in Ellwood. It doesn't matter. It doesn't have to be downtown, flaunting its contemporary architecture and hugeness over our mandated Spanish-style building codes. Stick it on Turnpike! On Hollister! Doze the now abandoned $3 Theater and repave it with the glory of a Target!

The seeds of a Target revolution need to germinate somewhere. And soon.

Richard Bach should shoot these people in the face.

This was todays spam finding. And I can sure as hell identify the work from which it was stolen because I've read it:

popular with other birds. Even his parents were dismayed as Jonathan spent from? Oh, probably from the last pylon. He's right, it wouldn't be further
this: though there are battles and fights and blood and death where the without question. If someone starts fumbling or asking questions I'll hit the moonlight. "You are learning again, Jonathan Seagull," he said.
"You probably mean stalkers!"

at the horizon itself, flew a few others. New sights, new thoughts, new
"Thank you. How do you feel about turboplatforms?"

I can't believe they were stupid enough to include the first and last name of the titular seabird, which I decided to make bold to emphasize my complete disbelief.

This must somehow be plagiarism. Even though these people are copying only lines from random parts of the books there must be some way to put an end to this. These texts, while kind of amusing when they're bits of erotica that I can try to string together, belong to their authors, not spam stock-porn-pharmaceutical email jockeys.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Words, words, words.

I have been following Shelley Jackson's Skin project for some time. I am, in fact, writing my thesis on it. And only when I got up the gumption to finally stick to a thesis on tattoo fiction, did I apply to become one of the author's words. I have not (yet) been chosen.

However, Jackson has recently updated the map of where all the words live. When I saw the map, I found the poetry of the thing so overwhelming that I was choked with tears. While I am not officially a word, I feel like I'm part of this community somehow, in some abstract way as I watch it evolve and I document it and analyze it. Seeing who belongs in these sentences is a fascinating study in connection and isolation.

And I just found out that the word "look" lives in Isla Vista. "look" if you read this, I want to meet you. I am not in your sentence, but I want to know who you are. I met "floating" a few weeks ago at the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I hope that you will be able to further my understanding of what it is like to be a literal text.

And Tom squeezed the Horchata.

I got part of a legitimate story today amidst my porn/erectile disfunction emails.
this doesn't sound like a rule for a loop.
So I went to the locker room, pulled on my lab clothes and lit up. All
"I say you are free."
So I decided the hell with it. The last time I had gone into the Zone at
"I'm ready " he said at last.
"Once the time I spent thanks to you was over, I went straight. Quit

forgotten its insanity, but Fletcher had not. "Jonathan, remember what you two copper disks the size of a saucer, -about a quarter inch thick, with a

That's all they gave me.

I can't tell if it comes from some peice of gay male erotica or not, but I have the sneaking suspicion that it might be. I imagine it involves a jock, like E. Lynn Harris' Invisible Life and The Front Runner (a.k.a. the greatest gay love story of ALL TIME) both do, pinnacles of traditional masculinity, and some sort of geek-jock hybrid who wears his lab clothes in the locker room and smokes a lot of weed. Seems like the kind of narrative that turns on the ideas of "straight-ness" and "gayness." One of these boys, probably the jock, and I can't tell from the punctuation if that's Jonathan or Fletcher, has a life changing experience with the other and can no longer tell if he is gay or straight. And the point, after all, will be that sexual identity is fluid, and just a label, and it doesn't really matter who you choose to love.

I'm finding that my spam filter's malfunction gives me something to do in the mornings before I can start hounding people for stories and information like the hard boiled Girl Friday I am quickly becoming.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Porno Poetry

I find that my work email is continually spammed by porn offers and stock tips. Thanks for you consideration, but I can find hot Russian teens on my own, now that I speak Idiot Level Russian, and I'll choose my portfolio based of non-emailed tips. P.S. I have no penis, therefore, don't need Viagra.

However, these clever bastards have figured out a way to get past spam filters by filling their secondary messages with strange, Exquisite Corpse poems like the following:
onion smudge mid-block painter stainer moon-mad Opus anglicum
oil cup nymph pink noble-natured omnibus train passage boat
pale-looking narrow-leaved Old bactrian osmund brake

Nov-esperanto mug-wet over-and-over stitch moisture-absorbent pari-mutuel morphological botany muscle-kneading
offhand position old-womanish out-of-bounds
oven furnace number field new-mown neb-neb olive acanthus parti-mortgage pearl-encrusted Paris yellow Non-european para red palm marten old-bachelorish mithridate mustard
never-twinkling moon-mad organ gun mis-sing northern redtop
peacock-feathered naked-flowered miter clamp narrow-breasted

one-flowered Non-quaker oval-figured omnium-gatherum mill-headed Mocha stone morass ore modern-practiced morning-winged old-clothesman paper-stamping Mongolo-turkic open-timber
Panama congress nine-point oat-fed openside planer passenger locomotive
micro-movie nose dive oblong-leaved one-pounder

midnight sun ox-eyed orange berry needle valve mint sauce narcissus fly milk-condensing
newel stair nerve stretching opus pectineum
navigating officer Pan-america nitrogen balance Mont blanc ruby naked-bladed ovate-cylindraceous mist-shrouded mood phrase

I thought that one was pretty good. It's called "open-field ;)" or, at least, that's what my email was called.

I also like this one:
"paper plant Moon type nigger pine ore-roasting mill-run
nut-shelling palm reader Non-semitic morning-winged middle-rate
mix-up mild-mannered oyster-shell bark louse otter brown

oven-dried oak-wainscoted news agency orderly room new-built paint-stained Mid-november
paint brusher ore body Mid-african
moth blight Non-germanic peace guild Moeso-gothic paroquet bur paraffin paper navigation act Nodus secundus old-field lark overhead price mole catcher Mumbo jumbo monesia bark
open-endedness own-rooted mole catcher pearl-bearing Nankeen porcelain
palm branch mind-set obtuse bisectrix mustache monkey

old-worldish Monmouth cock navy yard night-filled paper works open-chested old-bachelorish mis-send miter box neoza pine meter-kilogram mulct law ovate-deltoid
nake-footed Neo-kantism muzzle ring mind cure ovate-subulate
palm-shaded off-turning pan fish Mogul empire

Non-asiatic palm grub open-breasted night-wandering mis-humility movable-do system midsummer daisy
near-coming out sister passion-fraught
nose ape olive dun Non-zionist nutty-brown moisture equivalent mud house mine-run mile-ton"

That one is called "Your money, nonre-eligibility."

These people are on to something. They should be submitting to literary journals, not my inbox.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

This is our emo band name.

The Teapot Fire.

Or The Fiery Teapots?

I can't decide which is better, but both of these pictures can barely do justice to the flaming mess my teapot became. Negligence. Plastic handles. Hot metal. You do the math.

I am now short one teapot. But it's okay. I got it in Dad's garage, where everything is free and comes in bulk.

I will purchase a new teapot tomorrow after work. Preferably one that won't do this:

A Vendetta Against Fruit

And those who throw it.

As I sit down in my vehicle this morning to drive to campus, I notice that there is a large, semi-circular crack beginning around the area where my rear-view mirror is and arching perfectly down into my field of vision and my passenger's.

How the fuck did this get here?

According to the pulpy goodness stuck in the middle of this crack, I blame some sort of citrus fruit, thrown, clearly, at such a speed that it might crack a windshield.

Who fucking throws fruit at that speed? Who fucking throws fruit? This is what I want to know.

As I drive to campus, I find the rogue peice of produce wedged in the crack between my hood and window, held in place as I drive by my windshield wiper.

The offending fruit has since been placed in my evidence locker. My evidence locker being the wineglasses I stole from Bryna's wedding two weeks ago and still haven't taken out of the backseat of my car.

I can dust it for fingerprints if I need to. Because I've decided that I'm fucking Veronica Mars and I can do this kind of thing.

I am considering taking my "evidence" to the manager of the building behind me, over whose fence the projectile lemon was launched, and telling them that their residents need to stop throwing things over fences with such blinding force because what has happened to poor little Lola (my car) is technically a. vandalism (if intentional) and b. destruction of personal property.

(The fence: intended to keep fruit off my fucking car.)

The Good News is that my insurance will replace my windshield, as long as I tell them that the projectile lemon came off a lemon truck as I was driving through the lemonfields of Goleta one day.

(An accessory to the crime.)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Jean Blues

I am so certain that designers create these concoctions out of denim and have no idea exactly how they are supposed to fit anyone who isn't straight as a fucking board.

I have 36" hips, which are massive compared to the 32" bust line, small shoulders, and 29" waist.

I went to 6 different stores downtown today and tried on tons and tons of jeans, only to realize that every pair fell into the same problem categories:
1. If the jeans were low rise, they just make me look short. And I am not fucking short. I am on the tall side for a gal, so fuck you for cutting me down to hobbit size, LEI and Paris Blues.
2. If the jeans were a flare leg, or a wide boot cut, they also make me look short. That helps fucking no one. No one wants to look short.
3. Gap jeans has tried to make a series of jeans for "curvy girls." I thought I would be one of these girls. However! I argue that Gap's curvy jeans just make girls look fatter. Why, oh, why would you put a wide waistband across the hips of a girl who calls herself curvy? You're emphasizing the biggest fucking part of her body, and no shirt seamed along the ribcage is going to make up for that. Tilt jeans are guilty of this crime as well.
4. Any midrise jeans I tried on somehow gave me a "front ass" out of denim. This was also Gap's problem. Apparently, a size 8 gal, albeit I was told that was the national fucking average, comes with a front ass of her own. I'm not there yet. And I hope not to be until I have children and have an excuse.
5. Pegged jeans are fucking everywhere. No thanks, I'd rather eat that ice cream cone than look like one. They've even crawled into Express, which makes me wonder exactly what the world is coming to.
6. Another trend that fucks over girls who were designed to bear children: fucking whiskering on the thighs. Really? Please, just further emphasize the part of my body I hate the most. I fucking love that.

So I pretty much cried in every dressing room and blamed myself for being a model discontinued in 1954. But then I remembered that there's technically nothing wrong with my body, and a whole host of things wrong with modern design.

I finally found some good standard bootcut jeans in Robinsons-May, of all places, and I was a fucking quarter of the age of everyone in there, so I don't know what business the store has selling jeans in the first place. And Calvin Klein and DKNY, at that. I bought a pair of CK, at $70, and a nice pair of Levi's at $36. (To these people, and this is the phenomenom that happens with high-end stuff, I am a size 6. And that makes me feel nice, although I know they are lying to me just to get my to buy more from them. But you know what? It's a smart marketing scheme and it's fucking working.)

And I will not go jean shopping again for a long, long time.

I don't need to put myself through this kind of fucking self-loathing on a regular basis.

And while I am still mad about fashion, fuck leggings. Fuck them. Fuck them. Fuck these stupid skinny-ass girls who wear this shit and think it looks nice. You look like dirty street trash. Comb your fucking hair. Get some clothes that actually fucking fit you. Stop putting your fucking dogs in purses. Congratulations, however, on being part of a trend I hate even more than mini skirts with Ugg boots and trucker hats.

It's time for more Deadwood, which explains all the expletives.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Four Funerals and a Wedding

On the way to Josh and Bryna's wedding in Aptos, CA I witnessed the most macabre traffic accident I have ever seen.

Traffic comes to a stop just before I get into the civilized (re: no farmland) part of Salinas. I wait for about 20 minutes in traffic, before the highway patrol merges the two-lane highway into 1 lane. As I drive take a gander at the car turned on its side by the center divider so that I can see what the hold-up's been.

Not only is there a car turned on its side, a large open-backed truck, but there is a dead cow on top of it. And two dead horses on the roadside. And another dead cow in the middle of the lane.

No human driver was found in or around the over-turned vehicle.

A bizarre sight for a wedding-bound drive. (Not an omen.)

On another note, Josh and Bryna are now wed. Lovely, simple wedding. Short and sweet. Lots of old friends. I salute Josh and Bryn for forging a new path for all of us. I think we're next.

I stole new wineglasses. Marcus caught Bryna's garter. Josh somehow managed to shoot the cork from his champagne right at us. (Omen.)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Holes in my ears and head.

I have had a string of bad earring luck lately.

On Thursday, I somehow managed to spend an entire day wearing two completely different earrings. One was a thin chain of green beads, maybe an inch long. The other was a crazy dangle earring with many strands of purple beads and glass that is roughtly 3 times the length of the other. Why did no one tell me this?

This second instance is more proof that Heather is Jesus.

We're up in the bay, chillin' at Target and purchasing goodies because we in Santa Barbara are sadly lacking in the Target department. I go try on a ton of things because my mommy was going to buy me a sweet new suit to celebrate my getting of an actual job (no pleasing suits to be found in my 36 waking hours at home, hence why we're buying other goodies at Target). Somewhere along the way, I evidently lose an earring--a favorite of mine; a vintagey-looking pair with lots of blue beads on 'em--which I don't notice until I get home and look in a mirror.

Heather comes into the computer room where I'm hanging out with Cassie and have sadly set my lone earring by the printer. She sleepily rubs her eyes, and pulls my other missing earring out of her jacket pocket.

Heather: Oh, Stevi, I found your earring. I saw it on the ground in the dressing room and went, "Oh, that looks like Stevi's." Lucky I happened to go in the same dressing room as you, huh?
Me: You are Jesus.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Computer, Earl Grey, Hot

I hate automated answering systems that are designed to be friendly and warm-sounding and have speech patterns approximating a real person, or, at the very least, a female version of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. They make me say ridiculous things to them, and consistenly mishear whatever I say because the linguist that designed the damn program must have failed phonetics.

These are the bane of my existance. There is a reason Rachel Dratch does impressions of them on SNL.

It's because they suck.

I'd really rather just press buttons on a cold, distant machine, thanks.

Oh, and please don't make your hold music crappy pop music, Hollywood Video Corporate and Technical Support.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Get Rich or Make a Bad Movie Trying

No matter how great of an idea ya'll think it would be to drink gin and juice and watch Get Rich or Die Tryin', it really isn't a good idea.

The booze does not make this movie good.

It pretty much doesn't have a plot, even though a lot of stuff happens. Also! Where is the music? I want more music in a movie that stars a rapper.

8 Mile and Hustle & Flow = Good.

Get Rich or Die Tryin' = Jim Sheridan, Please Stick to Making Movies About Irish People.

"No matter how hard I thought he was before, I now think he is a pussy. Terrance Howard is clearly way cooler, and way better." -Heather, on 50 Cent, because she fucks bitches, and doesn't let bitches fuck her.


Heather just said (about a woman's right to name her child whatever the fuck she wants simply because she has to lend the child her body for 9 months): "If I wanna name it Employee so I can get in through the Employees Only door, so be it!"

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Three drinks for foriegn words.

My coworkers from the newspaper invited me out to happy hour with them on Friday night.

Bill and I invented a Boggle drinking game.

This is what people who work at a newspaper do.

This internship really is the best thing that I've ever done. I may not be really into hardcore business news (and, really, I doubt I ever will be), but I love the atmosphere.

I love having my own desk. And going out for drinks after work (and not at someone's house at 1 in the morning).

I also love proofreading.

Now if only the Business Times were Food & Wine . . . or The Believer.

I bet the crew at the Believer would be very receptive to a Boggle drinking game.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Let them eat cake.

My DVD player is broken.

New rule:
Never trust anyone who only has enough stuff to be able to live out of their car.

I actually made that up a few weeks back, when said DVD-player-breaker was also being a homophobic iPod-stealer and a pathological liar.

Another new rule:
Never trust anyone who honestly believes a lemon and water diet is a good idea.

These people also do not punctuate.

Can we say LIVID?

I sure can.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Tirty-Tree and a Turd, Tanks

Ireland is breathtaking and ancient and cultured and lively and wet (in all senses of the word). And it stole all my money.

Well, I guess I gave them my money pretty freely . . . as long as pints kept appearing in my hand.

I spent the past week wandering around literary Dublin, tripping on cobblestones in heels (because I saw Irish girls walking on cobblestones in heels, so I thought I could, too . . . and then I remembered that I suck at balance), and generally drinking and being merry. I walked along the River Liffey like James Joyce, flirted with Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square (he turned me down for Marcus), and fell in love with Yeat's brother Jack at the Irish National Gallery. (Seriously, Jack Yeats is an incredible painter. I can't believe he's not focused on more.)

I surveyed the Book of Kells at Trinity College, drank with my buddy Lauren who's studying there, and rambled about thesii and life with her like good drunken college students do.

Marcus and I took a day trip to the fishing village of Bray, where we had coffee by the seaside and watched people walk thier little dogs. And later took a 2-day trip across the island to the seaside city of Galway, which was gorgeous and romantic and filled with great bars.

I love Ireland, and I'm glad I was decked out with my triskel tattoo before I embarked. Seeing that symbol in the Book of Kells and on street grates all over Galway was an awesome connection to a part of my heritige that I've only been in touch with through the goddess and harp.

However, as my tattoo is behind my ear, Marcus seems to think its an on-off button of some kind and pokes it often. This irks me.

As does my empty wallet. Tanks for the good times and the Guinness, Ireland.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Rewarding mediocrity.

You must all expect how angered I was by last night's Crash upset. My initial response to the film when I saw it in theatres back in April was "like", but not with any great sentiment to sway me into either loving or hating the film. Crash was simply mediocre, and very, very problematic. And I recognized that immediately. However, in April, it was on my top 10 list, though no where near the top 5. Now, the name fills me with rage and disappointment. Both at the same time.

We are asked to forgive a stupid rich bitch and a cop who doesn't follow protocols (in any sense of law and civil rights) simply because they have no friends and are taking care of their aging father. These are not reasons to forgive these characters. Furthermore, the issues presented in the film are overly stereotypical and, as we say in the business, very on-the-nose. I don't think a film that wins best picture should be so blatant and obvious. Think about how heavy handed the direction is, and the writing. And no, it's not a deus ex machina, or fate. Magnolia had that and did it well. Crash is a shallow movie that manages to pretend it has depth because it addresses so many issues inadequately.

It's a think peice for people who don't actually like to think.

I feel the following quote from Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan helps support my last point:

"Despite all the magazine covers it [Brokeback Mountain] graced, despite all the red-state theaters it made good money in, despite (or maybe because of) all the jokes late-night talk show hosts made about it, you could not take the pulse of the industry without realizing that 'Brokeback Mountain' made a number of people distinctly uncomfortable," he said, adding:

"So for people who were discomfited by 'Brokeback Mountain' but wanted to be able to look themselves in the mirror and feel like they were good, productive liberals, 'Crash' provided the perfect safe harbor."

That's exactly what Crash did. It allowed people to feel like they were involved in a deep social issue. It made audiences feel good about themselves because they, too, are not fans of racism.

I'm not a complete advocate in the "Brokeback Mountain should win Best Picture" camp, but I do feel that Crash robbed four very deserving films of the chance. Brokeback is revolutionary, and though I was moved by it, I would call it a love story that happens to be about men who have homosexual sex, because neither Jack Twist nor Ennis Delmar would have called themselves gay. (They'd be trade if anything and anyone who's queer knows it.) It's not a gay love story, but it is a love story and that, I feel, is the revolutionary bit. Brokeback is a love story about men--and that's what's new and different about it.

Good Night and Good Luck is about one of the most important figures in journalism; likewise, Capote is a film about a man who changed the face of 20th century literature. Munich was more about racism than Crash could ever hope to be. And I can tell that from the short clip they showed at last night's awards without having seen the film. Each of these films deserved to be in that category. Crash did not.

Rewarding a problematic film like Crash continues our longstanding American tradition of rewarding mediocrity.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Domino goes zombie hunting.

My friend Amber lives in a terrifying place. If you follow Patterson past recognizable signs of civilization and take several awkward twists and turns through some kind of bizarre nursery, you will eventually make it to a series of creepy abandoned green houses. And there, behind them, you will find the tiny house in which she lives.

Actually, to call it a house is a complete misnomer. It's somewhere between a trailer and a toolshed.

This is the fucking scariest place I have ever been. It would make an excellent setting for a horror movie in which the Hollywood Video and Game Crazy crews go zombie hunting in the rain.

What sweetens the deal is that this creepy nursery is allegedly built on an Indian burial ground.

Zombies for sure.

Domino goes zombie hunting.

My friend Amber lives in a terrifying place. If you follow Patterson past recognizable signs of civilization and take several awkward twists and turns through some kind of bizarre nursery, you will eventually make it to a series of creepy abandoned green houses. And there, behind them, you will find the tiny house in which she lives.

Actually, to call it a house is a complete misnomer. It's somewhere between a trailer and a toolshed.

This is the fucking scariest place I have ever been. It would make an excellent setting for a horror movie in which the Hollywood Video and Game Crazy crews go zombie hunting in the rain.

What sweetens the deal is that this creepy nursery is allegedly built on an Indian burial ground.

Zombies for sure.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Vui ne znaete, gde mogy kypitz . . .

Telephone midterms are by far the weirdest things I've ever experienced.

Situation: I am renting an apartment in Moscow and need furniture. So I call an ad left in the lobby of my building. I ask this person, who knows no English, played by my professor, if they are still selling stuff and where I can buy stuff if they don't have it.

Tre bizarre.

However, I have to give mad props to the Slavic department because I am actually learning and using Russian. Not that I can have conversations with Dima, his mother, Ivan or Anna in Russian yet, but if I ever need to purchase furniture from them. I am set. I could probably have conversations about UCSB with them, and their alcohol preferences (which better be vodka or congac). My speech is ochem limited. But I am actually learning.

This is more than I can say for the Italian department, where I have learned absolutely nothing that I didn't know in high school. Oh, except for the passoto remoto. Which is fucking useless.

Now if only I had Cyrillic fonts on this computer, the title of this entry would look right. (Though I realized just now that I was typing the letters to make them look like the Russian and not how they would be pronounced in English. I spelled "gde" as "rge"--which is how it is actually spelled in Cyrillic.)

Long live the Octoberists.