Saturday, December 27, 2008


There has been no recycling or garbage pick up in a month, maybe more. The bins are overflowing, both at home and on the street. People have stopped picking up their dog messes because once bagged, there is no place to throw them. The streets are filthy, Titan has a sore paw, I am out of wine and I CANNOT GET THIS PLASTIC CONTAINER OF PINEAPPLE OPEN.

However. The Starbucks are still operating. All is not lost.

I was standing by the side of the road on Monday, shivering in the 25 degree weather, waiting for the tow truck, watching the de-icing truck cover the spot I'd just slipped off, and all I could think was, "There are eleven people coming to my house in an hour and I will not be there. Also my place is a mess and I have no provisions. I had counted on having an extra hour to clean. Also I can't get there and I can't get to the store first anyway. What the heck am I going to do about all of this? Also, should I call the insurance company?"

My friend Calsee actually got into a head-on collision on Aurora and walked away without a scratch, a Christmas miracle, and as her roommate went to go pick her up and drive them both home, all Calsee could think about was apples. "I have no apples," she told Kit, her roommate. Later on when they got home she scoured their cupboards for apples. As they repaired for the night--again--Kit asked Calsee if she really felt okay. "I'm okay," Calsee said, "but I never got my apples!"

The human mind, when put under stress and cooped up and after noticing that the daily routines it depends on have completely failed, does very, very weird things. It reminds me of seeing Children of Men with a friend of mine. (It's a phenomenal movie, by the way. If you haven't seen it, do it. But perhaps not during the holiday season.) It's supposedly set in 2027, and the friend and I argued about whether England--and the rest of the world as we know it--could descend into that kind of chaos and despair in 19 years.

Given the rate at which Seattle has shut down given a complete lack of city support for three weeks, I'm increasingly sure that it could.

Boy, am I cheerful or what? Sorry. I just find human nature so fascinating. What makes minds go crazy? Why do they do it? What makes compulsions like OCD seem better than facing reality? Why did I only focus on my party after I'd run into a guardrail?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Still Here

Hi everyone. Seattle is having the worst storm in decades, there's snow everywhere, and all the businesses have shut down--and half the roads. My friends and I are celebrating by walking to each other's houses and having get-togethers, which is pretty awesome. My Jeep hit a patch of ice and and ran into a guardrail, which was not so awesome. (I'm fine, and the Jeep is repairable.) As I waited for the tow truck, the de-icing truck came along.

Now that's irony. And snow. So, everyone, stay warm, and enjoy each other this season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Little More Sunshine

Remember when I went to Boston? Like, a year ago? More than?

It was beautiful, and I took some pictures. And here they are.

From Boston, Fall 2007

From Boston, Fall 2007

From Boston, Fall 2007

From Boston, Fall 2007

From Boston, Fall 2007

From Boston, Fall 2007

Warmth By Computer

I don't know about you all, but it is 28 degrees here and snowing up a storm, and I haven't barely even warmed up from freezing to death in NYC just two weeks ago.

I desperately need warmth, y'all. Also I weighed a terrible number of pounds this morning that I can't talk about, really, and I can't drink sugary coffee anymore. So in lieu of hot chocolate, I bring you the following from L.A.

From LA

From LA

From LA

From LA

From LA

From LA

From LA

From LA

From LA

From LA

From LA

Warmer yet?

From LA

Monday, December 15, 2008

President Bush Has Fast Reflexes

The man must work out.

Bush Dodges Shoes On Farewell Visit to Iraq.

Definitely watch the video--the President moves quickly! I'm impressed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

That Time of Year AGAIN

You guys! I am going to turn 28 in two days!!!

It's true that most birthdays are celebrated in bars--at least, most of MY birthdays. Possibly you celebrate yours at home with friends, or alone on a sailboat, or naked and howling at the moon, or whatever. I won't judge.

This birthday will be slightly different. I blame it on all the runners I've been hanging out with recently. (Thanks a lot, ladies.) The Seattle Jingle Bell Run happens to be on my birthday, you see, and...well, I'm going to run it. With the aforementioned ladies, and a few gentlemen. Yes, we are waking up early Sunday morning and running a 5K. We may be hungover. We may be still up. We may have gotten a full eight hours of sleep the night before--hey, it could happen! (Unlikely.) But we are running it. Fortunately, a 5K is not a long distance--basically a fast stroll in the park. I'LL have trouble, but all the marathoners I hang with will be doing crossword puzzles while they're running, or possibly solving Rubik's cubes. Be sure to give them a hard time. In fact, come on down and give ME a hard time! We'll all have pink signs taped to our shirts and pink hats on, because we are classy.

And the Jingle Bell Run happens to benefit Arthritis Research. My dad has this disease, along with 20% of Americans. You may not think it affects you, but I bet you that you or someone you know has this disease. So, if you want to give, in support of my birthday run (what, the world doesn't revolve around me?) then be sure and go here and donate.

If you'd like to.

And thank you!



Tuesday, December 09, 2008

New York, New York

Radio City Music Hall Downstairs Lounge.

It was freezing, filthy-gorgeous, and kind of amazing.

I had been there before, but it had been some time, and going at Christmas is obviously one of the best times, although it's colder than the dark side of the moon. Rockefeller Center was all lit up, all the trees were lit, Saks Fifth Avenue had a light show (that my Little actually designed and built), and I got a real New York experience: my Little and I were leaving the St. James Theatre after Gypsy. The snow was falling and there were huge lines of musical fanatics waiting outside every theater trying to get autographs. Across the street, there was mass hysteria--Equus had just gotten out and Daniel Radcliffe himself was signing autographs on the way to his chauffered Range Rover. He's a lot shorter in person, which I realize is true about every actor ever.

More New York Experiences

I saw these guys performing:

Back to Saks Fifth Avenue: My little is a lighting designer and production manager. In New York City. She's kind of big time. Watching this, I just could not believe that I was standing next to the girl who BUILT it. My Little is amazing. (This isn't my video. It's way too high-quality for me.)

Besides Gypsy, we also saw the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, which was over the top, but very watchable due to the incredible talent of all the performers. The building itself is worth seeing.

Lobby Staircase.

Downstairs Women's Lounge.


So stunning, so amazing to actually visit in person.

Way more pictures coming. I meant to post some last night, and instead, went to drink wine with two of my closest girls. It was definitely the better decision.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Trying to Pack For New York, Five Hours Before I Have To Wake Up.

The bus I have to catch to get to SeaTac leaves at 4:37 am and it's two miles away. I really, really, do not want to walk two miles in the dead of night carrying my luggage. I would leave now and just sleep in the airport except the bus has stopped running. (It stopped an hour and a half ago, at which time I was still at work. Boo Seattle and their non-24-hour transit.)

After some exhaustive research, during which I learn that none of the scheduled transporters leave early enough to make my flight, I finally decide to just take an effing cab. I console myself that I will take the bus BACK, at the normal traffic hour of 7:30 pm on a Monday, when there will be plenty of people out and so forth.

Packing is difficult. In spite of reading Lucky like it's required for my job, I have no idea what "normal but stylish" people wear in NYC, so I've packed: A lot of black. My long underwear, because daytime forecasts show a high of 38. A scarf, a hat, and my armwarmers. Sweaters. Button-downs and sweaters. (Hey, I look good in them.) Running clothes. (Just in case.) And a dress and boots, just in case. And one drape-y top.

Plus my longest coat, obviously.

And a snippet from the "duh" files:

I was sitting with a sorority sister of mine recently, in from out of town. We were in my apartment, and it was the last few hours I was going to see her for some time, and she was chatting away, and I had to check my work email, and my computer started behaving so badly that I cursed at her. She stopped talking, startled and hurt.

"I'm sorry," I quickly apologized. "Just give me a few moments of silence to get this worked out."

Once I had hurt her feelings, the laptop worked like a charm, of course. I finished my business. As we walked to the car, I felt terribly guilty.

"I'm so sorry," I said again. "I don't know why things not working the way they're supposed to drives me into such an uncontrollable rage."

She looked at me with long-suffering tolerance. "Possibly because you make things work for a LIVING," she pointed out. "Every day, your job is to make things work. I'm not surprised that when things don't work, it's an insult to your very being. You know you could design it better."


I stopped dead on the sidewalk. Titan sniffed a plant. "Holy CRAP," I said. "That never occurred to me. Ever."

"Hey," she said, herself no slouch in this department. "I'm a lawyer. Interpreting situations is MY daily job. I get you."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Only Dropped Things Twice + Some Looking Back

Fortunately, on two different days.

Hello! I have now worked five shifts at said restaurant position and all has gone swimmingly--enough so that they immediately added me to the schedule, after the first day, and today was my first day out of training. (WOOT I GOT TIPPED.) Also my new Lazy B position does not start until practically the new year, at which time I may have enough seniority at the restaurant to control my schedule and keep it down to a few shifts a week. It's a very chill, family-type atmosphere. Unlike huge places that have as many as 10 servers on at once, with another 10 bussers, there's a whole six servers total at V, and only three of us are on at any given time, with maybe one busser on the weekends. Already I know everyone, and have given a cook a ride home. (She lives within four blocks of me.) It's a blast and a half, not yet tarnished by the realization that I have to wake up and go to my real job every morning.

I took to it just like riding a bike, and I love it just as much as I did before, which is reassuring. I was worried that I had been unecessarily nostalgic about waiting tables due to a number of things happening at that time in my life--good support system, dating a longtime friend of mine, living with my best friend, etc. My life--the last time I waited tables, four years ago--was incredibly good and incredibly settled, and I only saw that getting better after I started working at The Lazy B.

WELL. My life got both better and worse, although not at the same time, and it certainly wasn't as settled. For some time after that.

Now, though, it's pretty settled. I have lived in the same place for two years and I easily see myself continuing on for a third. (The longest I've lived ANYWHERE after graduating high school.) My job, although it has changed, has been with the same company for four years, and I don't see THAT changing any time soon. (Cross your fingers.) And I'm waiting tables again, finally, which I love.

As for my dating life, well...a girl's gotta change up SOMETHING, right? :)

Now playing: The Cambridge Singers (Holiday) - O Magnum Mysterium
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-changes, Again

My life has changed radically and I owe it all to two very good friends, Ben and Molly. (Shockingly enough, both blondes.)

The first was Ben. I had been complaining to him for some time about how stagnant I felt in my position at the Lazy B. (Not the Lazy B's fault.) "Look for a new job," he suggested.

I laughed him off, and then I did so. And now, ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to announce that I have a new position at the Lazy B, starting in the middle of December. It's a promotion and I'm pretty excited. I owe Ben a huge drink.

The second was Molly. Around the same time, I was complaining that I didn't get to wait tables anymore, and reminisced a little about how much I enjoyed it. "Start doing it again," she said. "Just one shift a week. You'll earn a little extra money and I won't have to listen to you bitch." (She was way too polite to actually say that last part.)

I also laughed HER off, showing my inability to learn from my mistakes. And then I investigated some "Now Hiring" signs.

Which is why I'm running off, in half an hour, to my first restaurant shift in four years. Hopefully I still remember how to hold trays steady.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! If there's one thing I'm thankful for, it's my ability to get hired. Blog bless jobs in this tough economy.

Now playing: Duffy - Syrup & Honey
via FoxyTunes

Things Not To Say To Bachelors

There I was with a nice boy, having a nice time, and I wanted to compliment him. I took his arm; he properly held his arm at just the right angle so I could hang on gracefully.

"I like that you're domesticated," I said, giving his arm a little squeeze.

BANG went the arm. "DOMESTICATED?" he cried. "I object! I am NOT domesticated! I trash my apartment! I burp when I want to! I...I...have a line of hookers waiting outside my door every night! I....I..." he floundered.

"Buy condoms by the case?" I suggested.

"Yes! Every time I walk into the Walgreens, I just wink to the guy behind the counter. 'Put it on my tab,' I tell him."


"That's RIGHT," he said, feathers settling. "And don't forget it."

Monday, November 24, 2008

On Reading The Call of The Mall in the Heartland, After Obama's Election

It was 8:30 pm local time, only 5:30 my time, and I was nowhere near hungry--but I had to eat, and I thought I would get out and see what there was to see.

A nice waiter seated me in the only local restaurant for miles, and I asked for a glass of red wine and opened my book, the Call of the Mall. Paco Underhill, the author, is discussing the mall parking lot. "Out on the edges of nowhere, these stores" (Farm and Fleets, who sell everything a rural person might need, from jeans to harnesses for your donkey) "sit in the middle of endless parking lots. Rural land is still cheap."

Here I am, in the middle of all that rural land, staying in the middle of a strip mall exactly like thousands of others. My hotel is two parking lots away from the restaurant, a boon for me, since I don't like driving the automatic Pontiac sedan the rental car company has given me--I have about as much control over it as riding an elephant. (If the elephant goes where I want him to go, awesome. If not, how the hell am I going to stop him?)

Of course, I chose my hotel because the website said it was near "shopping", and the website was correct. I'm by a huge--and well-kept-up--mall that has completely empty parking lots, four weekends before Christmas, at 8:00 pm. It's possibly the economy, although I don't think so--Chattanooga is a relatively booming town full of new business prospects. Mainly it's the overwhelming SPACE of the area. Anyone who is going to shop at this mall, on this night, would have to drive 45 minutes away from their house--at least--and 45 minutes back. That's a late night after going to work all day. Of course, on weekends, I assume this mall will be packed.

Inside the restaurant I sat quietly with my book and made small talk with my waiter, who confirmed that on weekends this restaurant--right by the mall--is packed to the gills. Still, this restaurant is huge, enough to swallow five or six Seattle restaurants in terms of square footage alone, and it has at least three serving staff that I can see, plus two managers on duty. In Seattle, that would be a lot of labor cost to wait on six tables, but here, of course, the servers only make $2.13 an hour. It's amazing to me how so much land makes everything so cheap. The food is cheaper, the gas is cheaper, the labor is cheaper. I don't know why a surplus of land makes this so. Supply and demand, maybe?

Let me say right now that I absolutely love the Heartland, and I can't seem to shake it. Maybe it's the surplus of land? The flatness that implies that there's enough space for me to do whatever I want? Whatever reason, I'm happier when I'm here, and no more so than tonight, three weeks to the day, practically, after our historic election. The racism that I was so concerned would ruin Obama's chance at the presidency doesn't seem to exist here in Tennessee. Out of six or seven tables, at least three contain African Americans, and two of those three are mixed. Ahead of me, a pair of married ladies--one white, one black--giggles over wine, obviously having a girls night out. To their right, a black couple eats dinner, and to my immediate right is the most interesting table: a good looking blond guy is eating with three very good-looking mixed-race girls, and enjoying himself immensely. With his tan and his long-limbed biceps, I at first think he's whiter than Joe America, but then hearing his speech pattern, I begin to guess that he's part Hispanic, a guess that's confirmed when he breaks into Spanish a few times. His audience appears to follow along just fine. It's then that I notice that's he's pretty darn tan, for a Northern American blond. Everyone at his table has similar combinations of sharply North American faces with dark skin, or naturally blond hair with classic African American texture.

They're all stunning, of course. If I sound a little obsessive about how different races combine to create beauty, it's partly because I'm a little jealous--I'll always look classically Scandanavian. No exotic mixes for me. Huge blue eyes, yes, but that's about all I got. I wonder what these girls would want to be called. All of them are obviously black, in some fraction, but they may prefer not to be called any label at all. Informal readings among my black friends has been inconclusive. My friend Charles and I were talking about Obama's race the other day, and I referred to our President-Elect as black. Charles--a black man--snorted.

"He's half and half," he said, rather witheringly. I pointed out that Aaron McGruder, the arguably crazy cartoonist behind the Boondocks--would consider Obama to be black, no ifs, ands, or buts. Charles knew who I was talking about, rolled his eyes, drew in a little on himself, and then he said the most provocative thing I've heard recently:

"That's slave mentality," he said, and then he moved on to something else.

I was officially speechless. I couldn't think of anything worthwhile to say. I was blown-away-impressed that he'd refer to such an evil mark on America's past so casually, especially one that was built on race--HIS race--and then move on with the conversation. He didn't take that lead to become Angry Black Man--he just said his piece and moved on to the Seahawks. At the same time, of course, he was factually correct. The practice of counting anyone who had as little as a sixteenth or more African heritage as "black" DO come from slave times, and if Charles disagreed with the practice, I'd make a note of it. While a woman's struggle for equality is much more subtle and much less violent--we may have gotten the vote later but we were never treated as group property--I'm still sensitive to a minority group's struggle for equal rights. Let me not stand in the way.

Back to a more superficial level, the blond guy enjoying himself while he entertained the table full of hot mixed-race girls cheers me no end. He was putting on a show for them, and they enjoyed it, and he did, too. Good, old-fashioned flirting still has its place in this day and age. As I paid my tab, it reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a boy.

We were talking about Michele Obama. "Have you ever dated a black girl?" I said.

"No," he answered.

I thought for a second. "Do you find black girls attractive?"

"Yes," he said, without hesitation. "I don't like the ghetto stereotype--the girl with the huge ass and the hair-did and the gold nails an inch long, much like how I don't like, say, Emo girls. But I do find black girls hot. Naomi Campbell I especially like."


I mulled this over while paying my check. It was 10:40 local time, and it was time for me to be in bed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On Twilight

Short answer: Painful to read, but I'm surprisingly meh over the social aspects. (For Baby-Boomers: "Meh" means "Apathetic", or possibly "Indifferent.")

Longer answer: I couldn't even finish the first one, it was so bad. I actually enjoyed Bella until she met Edward, so don't assume I'm hating on Bella. But the two of them together are insufferable. Not only is the writing bad, but the anti-feminist applications are appalling. Bella is a very normal girl with divorced parents who suddenly, for no reason at all, attracts the eye of Edward, one of the most beautiful men in the world, who just happens to go to her high school. The problem: Edward is a vampire. Why does she attract his attention? Certainly not by being special—the only thing special about Bella is her overwhelming talent for clumsiness and her ability to attract trouble. (I'm not being catty—both concepts are explored constantly in the book.) In spite of this, for some reason the scent of her blood is intoxicating to him. He can't get enough, he'll never leave her side, he tells her, and Bella responds by listing all the reasons she'll never be good enough for him, and he reassures her again he'll never leave her, and she protests he'll get bored, and…you get the picture. For five-hundred PAGES.  

It's every girl's dream, really, to think yourself ordinary your whole life and be resigned to a crushingly normal existence when all of a sudden Mr. Rochester—sorry, Edward—comes swooping down out of heaven to lift you up above all others, to proclaim your specialness before the world, to throw himself in harm's way for your precious skin at every opportunity. In fact, while writing this post about Twilight I kept humming the theme song to Cinderella, so intertwined in my head are these two stories. Although this fantasy is obviously terrible, insidious, and likely to make children out of grown women, it's certainly unfair to place the blame for the creation of this fantasy solely on Twilight. I mean, sure, it's a terrible example, but so what—Bella does have a few good qualities and there certainly could be worse role models. What scares me is the obsession that fully-grown women with husbands and children have apparently fallen prey to a kind of obsession with Edward and the rapture that Bella feels being loved by him. "I have no desires to be part of the real world right now," posted one woman in a fan forum. "Nothing I was doing before holds any interest to me. I do what I have to do, what I need to do to get by and that's it. Someone please tell me it will ease up, even if just a little? My entire world is consumed and in a tailspin." 

Uh, really? Wow.

However, other series and fictional universes have definitely created a similar kind of creepy obsession—Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings are great examples. So I find myself relatively compassionate toward Stephanie Meyer. She's a bad writer who's written a very bad, very anti-feminist series, but the obsession of grown women with the Cinderella fantasy is certainly not her fault. She's certainly accomplished more, writing-wise, than I have, and is probably a better writer after all that, anyway. 

A good write up on is here. Be sure and read all the comments.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Have You Seen This?


Polaroid PoGo Instant Photograph Printer.

I have wanted something exactly like this for, oh, say, forever. I like to take pictures of stuff around the house that I want to remember, or of stuff outside that I want to remember. And although possibly in the future I will be able to display those pictures because I'll have a computer screen that takes up one wall--and wouldn't that be awesome?--in this lifetime I have no way to look at them except to stare at my tiny, small computer screen, and let me tell you, my computer monitor went with me to college in 1999 and it is OLD, friends.

I want to PRINT PICTURES OUT SO I CAN SEE THEM. Is that so much to ask? This PoGo sounds ideal. It sounds like someone entered my brain while I was sleeping and wrote down everything I wanted and put it into a product, although that would be a little creepy.

Why is this so cool? Four words:

Refrigerator Photos Are Back.

I miss refrigerator photos. A lot. (My current refrigerator is about big enough to hold four photos, but that's another story.) I miss wandering out to the refrigerator early in the morning and looking at friends of mine, or snapshots of chairs that I liked, or a sleepy picture of Titan, or whatever. I miss looking at the pictures on other people's fridges. I miss photos hanging up in lockers, photos taped to binders, photos stuck in books. I miss photos. A lot.

Now if only this printer also printed with a few effects, like, say, a polaroid border, I'd be set for life.

Readers? Just because this is the first instant photo printer I've seen, doesn't mean it's the first or best in class. Thoughts?

Monday, November 17, 2008

In Which I Demonstrate My Inability to Learn. At All.

So there I was, hanging at a club with my friend Jennie. Let me say right now that Jennie is an effing KNOCK-OUT, and the only reason I can put up with hanging with her at ALL is because we've been friends since we were ten and I suppose I have to. Otherwise I would thnk up a lot of reasons to avoid hanging out with a girl who's 5'11" in bare feet and could easily grace the cover of Vogue.

I'm so altruistic, aren't I?

Anyway. As I was saying. There I was. She had had the audacity to show up at my house wearing a dress, forcing me to put on something cute, but it gets worse: she was wearing HIGH HEELS. And I had woken up Saturday morning with a SOFTBALL-sized lump of swell on my right ankle, necessitating immediate ibuprofen, at which point I realized I was ghetto enough to have EXPIRED ibuprofen.

And therefore--and I'm not proud to admit this--my ankle was so badly swollen (it increased to cover the entire right side of my foot by about six pm) that I had to wear flats to the club.

I know. My entire closet of hot shoes yelled as me as I walked out the door. Also, the ibuprofen may have been causing me to hallucinate.

How did I happen to hurt my ankle, you ask?

I'm so glad you did. I can't believe this, but apparently I'm taking a break from being an attention whore and am making something of a habit of hanging out with beautiful girls half a foot taller than me. Because the very previous night I was out celebrating my friend Leslie's birthday--who is knock-out 5'10" redhead with cheekbones to set a drink on--and we were walking out of the club and she was complaining that her feet hurt, and of course I laughed at her, as I was strutting along in my patent leather boots.

"Ha-HA," I said, chortling. "Whereas my feet are AWESOME. Because as I am not goddess-sized, missy, I actually have to get used to heels, and therefore I'm so good at heels I can jump around in them!"

I attempted to demonstrate. I'll let you guess what happened next.

My landing was so bad that I think I actually hit the ground with my ankle bone. Leslie was laughing so hard she could barely support me to the car, and this would be a lot less interesting if I hadn't done exactly the same thing a week ago.

Election Night, 2008: Memorable because we voted in a black president and I decided to frolic--wearing a very nice pair of patent leather boots. I frolicked down some steps, and I landed so wrongly--so very wrongly--that I shoved the heels of both boots up into the boot, breaking the shanks. And of course, I rolled my ankle.

This made the boots famous when I limped into my cobbler the next day with my broken soles (sorry. He looked them over and then looked at me.

"It's going to cost you, honey," he said, "and by the way, Aarwenn, how the hell did you manage to actually BREAK these boots?"

"I was frolicking down some steps on Election Night," I mumbled. He burst out into laughter. I snarled. (Yes, we're on a first name basis. Besides frolicking, I slam down on my heels when I walk--it's part of my famous strut--and I wear out shoes and heels very, very quickly. I recommended him once to a table full of girls and Sarah asked me where he was located. I just pulled one of his cards out of my wallet and handed it to her.)

Moving on. I've come to the conclusion that I should never actually WEAR these boots, because on the very day I picked them up from the cobbler, I put them on to go dancing with Leslie...and you know what happened there. The difference was, the boots survived this time, thanks to the cobbler. My ankle--the same one--took the brunt...again. Which is possibly why the second swelling took over my entire FOOT, this time.

Maybe I should take my ankle to the cobbler. Also, I bought a new bottle of ibuprofen.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Light Funny

Everyone needs one of these on a Friday:

There's a whole series on YouTube--I didn't know that Apple Japan made their own, but several of them are very amusing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Salivating Over Shoes

Start Drooling Now.

Aren't they gorgeous? I own them, and they are WAY cuter ON. So. Cute.

And these:

Rawr. And these look just as good on. Kind of amazing, actually.

And I'm REALLY into this style right now:

I love the huge business in the front--I think it's so sexy.

So, I've done a little shopping recently, possibly you noticed? I went to L.A. and got to see the excellent Ali and did a little shopping with her sister Sabrina on Rodeo Drive, and it was really, really fun, in spite of the Smythson store being closed. (I'm a pen-and-paper nerd. So sue me.) A few classic examples of Smythson:

Some other things I'm really looking forward to this season:

1. Armwarmers. I just bought these from Etsy, and I love them.

2. Great Big Hoodies. I don't actually have a good picture for this, because I haven't found the item I want. I want a hooded blazer-type item, both with sleeves and without, to wear over my button downs. I'm tired of sweaters.

And, one disappointment:

1. Victoria's Secret blouses. I used to love them. I bought them in bulk. And then they got a "new shape" and they no longer fit. I'm so annoyed. Hence the need for the freakin' cover-up hoodies. I might have to just go up a size, but of course, that's depressing all on its own.

But it's hard to be depressed with cute shoes! Yay, shoes!

I Is A Writer, Yes I Is

My blog post at Capitol Hill Seattle was mentioned in the P-I's Big Blog today!!

I can't get over it! I'm amazed they took notice! Not only is the post excerpted, but they mentioned the full post in "Recommended Reading" for today! Holy crap!

Drop by Capitol Hill Seattle to read the post in full.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Thank you, veterans.

I wrote about this last year, and it said a lot of what I wanted to say.

This year I'm a little less optimistic about our country, in spite of the presence of President-Elect Barack Obama (I could write it four-million times, and that phrase still won't get old) and the fabulous celebrating that went on in the streets after the announcement. It's not so much the state of the country, although that worries me too, but the state of the CITIZENS of the country that makes me pessimistic.

I'm happy about the record voter turnout, but unhappy that it's still barely above 50%. I'm unhappy about the bailout idea, which I think is ridiculous--let the companies die under their own debt. I'm annoyed that the middle-to-low economic classes who dared to reach for a piece of the American Dream are getting slapped back down, and of course there's no bailout for them, and I'm angered that the poor always ALWAYS bear the brunt of economic depression. At the same time, I think that people who bought houses they couldn't afford, planning to "flip" them to make a fast buck, deserve all their bankruptcy.

I wish there was a way to discern motives as well as results.

I'm annoyed at people who were basically born on third base, in the baseball game of life, and therefore assume that they hit a triple, and have no compassion on those who were born reaching for first. I'm equally annoyed at people who were born on first and expect the government to carry them to all the way to home plate. I'm annoyed at entitlement, I'm annoyed at people who cheat the system.

I'm generally annoyed at people, I guess, and the state of the people affect the state of the country. And so I'm pessimistic about the state of the country, too.

Which, of course, is no way to live life. I want to believe. I want to believe our public school system can change, that teachers will start to get paid living wages and that the whole profession will be revolutionized, that systems like welfare and healthcare will be revamped and shrunk. That farm subsidies will only be paid to people who need them, not to people like Ted Turner--although he is generally awesome, he's not in need of handouts from the federal government. I want easily-obtainable, locally produced, HEALTHY food for our schools and for our poor. I want empty lots to be turned into community gardens and locally-produced, artificial gasoline to fuel cars. I want a military with less bureacracy and more awesome toys, like whole fleets of unmanned, remote-controlled planes with cameras that see everything and breathable nanofiber uniforms that protect against bullets and poison gas.

Good food, good education, and security--and a kick-ass military--that's what I want for this nation. It's an odd mix, I guess. I'd be interested to hear from all two of my readers. (I might be up to four.) What do YOU want for the nation?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Two-Thousand Vertical Feet of Foolishness

Yesterday I dragged someone along on a fool's errand that no one in their right mind would have agreed to accompany me on, unless they had given birth to me or perhaps really, really, really wanted to date me. I made someone take a day off of work to drive with me to Crystal Mountain to hike up two-THOUSAND vertical feet in order to help me look for a lost ski. The errand was a complete bust, and it's a wonder my mother is still speaking to me.

However, we DID get a really amazing hike in, the kind of hike that preps you to climb things like Mount Rainier, and of course we got a chance to talk, also fun. My mother is an inveterate people pleaser, another reason why she'd agree to hike up a mountain with no path and slide down same mountain on her rear on the way back down, and we talked about this and how I've inherited it.

"But I don't mind if people don't notice me," she said. "I just can't stand it when people DON'T like me."

"I'm not quite the same," I said. "I need to be noticed more than liked. I'm okay with people liking me or despising me. I can't stand it when people don't see the POINT of me, like I could suddenly stop existing and the world wouldn't change for them at all."

Which brings me to my story of the weekend. After said two-thousand vertical feet I went to my gorgeous new friend A's house for some wine and chatting with several other ladies (and a few gentlemen) and during said chatting, the audience got the story of That Time I Brought Two Dates To The Same Party.

"How did you, logistically, HANDLE it?" queried an male acquaintance.

"I told the second one," I said. "I was dating one guy, and then I started dating a second guy, and I told the second one that I was dating the first one, but I was throwing this party and the first guy was going but I also wanted Guy #2 there, if he wouldn't mind the slight awkwardness."

"See, at that point I would just say to myself, 'This isn't worth the trouble,'" said the male acquaintance, and unspoken was the implicit follow-up, "and I can't see anything so special about you that would make me change my mind."

Oh, well. Some people just don't see the point of me. And those people are probably more sane than the people who do. But who needs sanity in this day and age?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Did Something Important Happen?

So, all of you may have heard that we had some election or other. I have no idea. I just voted, and went home after work, puttered around the house, and got to sleep early and blissfully.

HA! HA! Boy, sometimes I crack myself up.

Who am I kidding? I was definitely out. Watching the election results roll in at McCormick and Schmick's, sitting next to a Republican. When Obama won, everything in the bar stopped; all servers and bartenders dropped what they were doing and rushed to the TV screens. I became emotional, as did the waitress next to me. We hugged each other.

I teared up again, along with the Republican next to me, at McCain's concession speech, one of the classiest and most gracious concession speeches ever, and at seeing Governor Palin up there, blinking back her own emotions. I pointed this out to the Republican. "She's never lost anything before," he reminded me.

And then on to Obama's speech, which I found inspiring and blessedly realistic, and then out into the streets, where there were crowds unseen even at the millenium New Year's Eve. Hordes of people blocked the streets, dancing and singing, marching and hugging. It was a huge party. People banged on car windows and on bus windows, shouting and cheering; every bar was packed. Up in Cap Hill it was only a little quieter. People set off fireworks. It was wonderful, to see so many people so excited about politics, and humbling, that I could be a part of this great nation.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Scarily Optimistic

All right, people. It’s Election Day. I’ve voted. I’m sure you all have voted. In fact, today was the first time ever I prayed in a polling booth. Fortunately, this being America, I don't have to tell you who I prayed to, and I hope that continues forever.

And I’m here to announce that although I’m obviously pro-Obama, to tell you the truth, if McCain wins, I’m not going to fall into a pit of depression. He’s a good man, a war hero, and a sensible politician.

And if he dies—Blog Forbid—then Palin will be President, and the best part about that is that we’ll have a FEMALE PRESIDENT! That would be pretty awesome, regardless of what party she represents or how she got there. We as a nation would finally join the rest of the world.

No matter what happens today, I have a scary feeling of patriotism and hope for our country. Whoever wins, there’s not enough love and compassion in this world and I’m going to try my best not to subtract from the little there is. If McCain wins, I’m going to find someone who voted for him and hug that person. What’s most important is that we, as neighbors and citizens of the United States, can talk to each other, understand each other, and have compassion on one another.

May the best man win. And Go America.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunday Night Transparency

I was sitting at my computer, minding my own business, not really watching the clock. Sure, I had a dinner to go to, but I wasn't planning to eat and I hadn't really settled on a time to leave, which meant I might leave ANY time, really.

And then a Gchat window from Tri-Tip pops up.

"We know you're just blogging," he says.

I was confused. I was just blogging? Was there something else I was supposed to be doing? Had I promoted false advertising about my computer activities? Had I told someone I was actually writing?

"What?" I typed back.

"Get over here," he commanded.

And then it hit me. Tri-Tip was at the dinner that I was supposed to be at. Due to his fancy phone, he was on Gchat, and he noticed that I was also on Gchat, realized I was at home when I was supposed to be at dinner, and taken the opportunity to virtually hound me. I had never felt so naked in my life. Tri-Tip may as well have had a camera over my desk--his ability to pinpoint me was that good. He couldn't see me, but he knew where I had to be.

Of course, if I had a fancy phone with Gchat on it, like his, or if I had set my computer to never show me as inactive, his surety that I was physically at my computer would not have been as strong. But those who know me know that I only have that Gchat program on my home computer--I won't put it on my work one and my phone doesn't support it. So! Combine personal details with computer knowledge, and...virtual sight.

It doesn't upset me; I think it's neat, of course, because I am a techno-geek like that. And you better believe I jumped out of my chair, slapped on some makeup, and rushed to dinner.

"Man," I said, pulling up a chair. "You can't get away with anything in this town."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Found My Polling Place, And You Can Too

Can you even believe that Election Day is LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY???

I've stopped watching the news, actually. I'm just going to vote. And I know where I'm going to vote, because I took the time to go to a month ago, check my registration, and register to vote in Seattle, and then I checked my status this morning to verify that I was registered in King County, which I was.

And then I called this number: 206-296-VOTE (8683). I pressed (2), I entered my birthdate and house number, and boom: the recorded voice told me where I was assigned to vote. It was very quick, very easy, and I didn't have to talk to a person, which was a good thing in this case. I know where I'm going to vote on Tuesday! Hooray!

Which is a good thing, because I'm flying out that day to go to St. Louis. The end of the year Crunch Time has begun.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Little Green Bits

I took a weekend and went to The Homestead, this weekend, to see some people and do some things and generally make a nuisance of myself, which I did to the fullest extent. I got to see Jennie for the first time in maybe six years, and I got to see a bunch of hometown friends and I got to go out in Tacoma, certainly an...individual experience, and it was all well and good, except that all day Sunday I had to sing. Yes, sing. Which is normally an activity I like. I'm not very good--and certainly I'm way out of practice--but I can carry a tune and read music, and I like to do it.

Except when I've been out the night before among Tacoma's alcoholics, shouting over people--and when the night before THAT I had been up here in Seattle, at Neighbors, of all places, shouting at my friends over the very loud dance music. (The topic of the night at Neighbors: are those very friendly boys military and enjoying their don't-ask, don't-tell policies? Or are they just imitating the look?) (I voted for actually military.)

ANYWAY. Shouting over dance music and then shouting over Joy Division, two nights in a row, is not recommended. Sunday I took four aspirin and sang for hours, and then Monday I woke up with no voice at all, and coughing up little green bits of phlegm.

But you know, these things happen. It's the price I willingly pay.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

So There I Was...

Titan and I were just walking along, minding our own business, passing a pair of dogs with their owner, when all of a sudden there was an Altercation with one of the dogs. I tried not to panic, stayed out of the way, grabbed Titan's leash when I could (NEVER get in the way of a dog fight!)--and pulled him out. The dog owner and I exchanged "Ohmigod, are you okay?"s, and after giving Titan the once over in the dark, we went ahead and walked on to my apartment.

On the way into my apartment, Titan rubbed his left ear on the wall and I didn't think anything of it. We entered my apartment, with Titan shaking his head as if to dislodge something from his ear, and suddenly I noticed that I had a drop of blood on my hand.

"I must have gotten scratched during that brawl," I thought, and that was the last coherent thought I had for some time, because it was about then that I noticed that half of Titan's ear was missing. And like a camera coming into focus, I lifted up mine eyes and saw a sea of blood, all over my apartment, all over the floor, all over my papers and in my wine glass and all over the walls and door and mirrors. I thought about Titan rubbing his ear on the wall up the stairs to my apartment and, dreading what I might see, opened my apartment door again.

Oh. Blog. It looked exactly like Jason had dropped by my apartment building and stopped for a second to clean his chain saw. A huge swath of dog blood ran the entire length of the wall.

And then a lot happened all at once. I dragged Titan into the bathroom, washed his ear, and tried for the life of me to stick a bandage on it. Let me tell you how hard it is to get a bandage--ANY bandage--to stick to a furry, soft, flexible ear. Every time I'd think I had it on there, he'd shake it off--and spray the bathroom walls, shower curtain, and mirror with more blood.

Finally I got it somewhat bandaged and dragged him into the hallway while I used hydrogen peroxide on the blood stains, and about then I had to call for help. Fortunately a very nice boy had some good advice and offered his services.

"Just come over here," he said, himself the owner of a big dog. "I have liquid skin, and a big plastic cone. I'll help."

On the way, flustered and lost, I ended up in U Village and thought I would take the time to get bandages at the Bartells. And then I looked at myself. I looked exactly like I'd been in a room with blood spatter--it was on my skin, on my arms, all over my white tank top, and of course I'd been too flustered to bring along a damned jacket. Sarah called me about this time, as I was digging out my motorcycle jacket from the back of the car.

"Sorry," I said, juggling the phone from one ear to my shoulder to the crook of my elbow. "I'm putting on my motorcycle jacket."

Sarah, on the phone, sounded a little confused. "Are you going for a ride?"

"Oh no," I said, maybe a trifle hysterically. "Titan got his ear bitten off and I need to buy bandages and I can't go into the store to get him any bandages in my blood-spattered tank top!"

Sarah: "...Well, as closing lines go, that's a pretty damn good one."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Sarah and I, talking about depression and comfort foods:

Me: "I've stopped even putting brie on bread--I just eat smooshes of it off the butter knife."

Sarah: "I've started eating FAKE guacamole."

Me: "...Wait, what? Are you just eating the green avocado paste?"

Sarah: "No. I've started eating the PRE-MADE stuff. That's how lazy I am."

Me: "Are you telling me that you normally make your own guacamole??"

Sarah: "Well...sure. Don't you?"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Re-Reading: A Short Ode

I'm not the only one who re-reads obsessively! Gretchen Rubin does it, too!

Comfort Food For Your Mind.

Gretchen Rubin's blog, The Happiness Project, is not just fascinating but also useful--as opposed to my blog, which is just fascinating. (RIGHT?) Today she has a post about finding comfort food for your mind in the midst of stress and anxiety, which is not only a great idea, but might prevent people from EATING comfort food, since the whole point of comfort food is to relax your mind. Wouldn't be easier just to relax your mind without the food? Go straight to the source, as it were?

And also, you might get skinnier?

In the post, she mentions that Victorian literature or children's books are comfort food for the mind, for her, and that she often re-reads: "When I’m upset, I want the comfort of knowing that I’ll love the book and that I won’t be upset by some unexpected plot twist."

AMEN, SISTER. I admit in full view of Blog and Everyone that I am an obsessive re-reader, re-watcher, and re-player, often to the detriment of those around me. The "repeat song" option on iTunes was invented for people like me--before its arrival I had to Alt-Tab over to my mp3 player and actually hit the "<<" button every time I heard the song coming to an end, which was imprecise and broke my concentration. I once sat, writing, in my then-boyfriend's single dorm (hi, SP!) and played the same Metallica song over and over and over again, until he finally rose up and closed the mp3 player.

People arriving in my apartment often comment on the number of books I have--a lot--and I've read some decluttering articles about how books are a source of clutter, and every right-thinking person should cull their collections occasionally. That's a Palin-load of nonsense. Not only does Freakonomics' Stephen Levitt back me up--a high concentration of books in a home has been linked to higher grades, and heavy library visits don't have the same effect--but a big source of happiness for me is to have my own private library of favorite books that I can read over and over, twice in a day, three times in a day, maybe as little as once a month. Re-reading is the bomb.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Weekend on YouTube

This isn't really my weekend at all--no one appeared in Viking hats, sadly.

But nevertheless it's an excellent song for exactly what everyone does in L.A, which is where I am.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blog Block

The problem with everyone and their brother reading my blog is that if I start doing things that I DON'T want everyone to know about, I can't blog about it. And no, I haven't suddenly started making meth in the basement (because I don't have one) or going to the Mormon Church's Single Sundays--which do exist, by the way--because I have no idea where the nearest Mormon temple is around me and I don't care to find out. Really, it's a combination of motorcycle class (I have my REAL license! I passed the test with flying colors!) and dating and Blog knows what else--although the blog doesn't actually know, as I haven't yet shared--plus the fact that I haven't slept through the night in two solid weeks. I don't remember the last time I suffered this badly from insomnia and I am OVER it, people. So over it. Make a note.

But in spite of these obstacles, I will be back to blogging very soon. Promise.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Advice from Mom

Keep your hands away from your face.

Don't pick at it.

Smile, Miss Dear.

Pull your shoulders back.

Sit up straight.

Always have some green on the plate.

Wait for the boy to call you.

If you take hours in the bathroom, eventually your date will leave you.

Walk after dinner.

Coffee creates mood swings.

Sugar ruins your skin.

Eat more protein.

You can get water for free from the drinking fountain.

Don't be jealous of skills that other girls have. Each person gets something.

When in doubt, buy the next size up.

Don't get in a power struggle with a boy. Let him have his own way. You do things your way when you're not with him.

Blot--BLOT--don't rub.

When in doubt, a big smile will get you a long way.

Comb that hair, Miss Dear.

STAND UP STRAIGHT, sweetie! How will people see your beautiful figure if you slouch?

This idea copied blatantly from Maggeh, who besides having the coolest name in the world, is a genius.

Friday, October 03, 2008

In Honor of GET OUT THE VOTE Day

A great video:

For some reason, my firefox is acting up today, so if you can't see that, try this link on Internet Explorer. That worked well for me.

It's well-shot, and well acted, except for perhaps Halle Berry. Jonah Hill and Sarah Silverman are especially good. Send it to five friends! GET OUT THE VOTE!

Also, if you're in Washington State, the deadline to register is Oct. 4th, BUT you can still go to the county auditor's office and register for the next FIFTEEN DAYS, so HURRY. HERE is a list of all the county auditor offices. (Look at me, I'm doing research!)

What if you're registered--or think you are--but you can't remember where? No worries. Try here: MyVote.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Clarification on Yesterday

My life has not ACTUALLY gone to pot. My mother emailed me, concerned: "How can your life have gone to pot already? You're only 27!"

My life is really fine, thank you for being concerned, everyone. No worries. But my pipes have been backed up for three days and tends to put a damper on a girl's mood, not having plumbing or being able to use her kitchen sink or bathroom sink. It's amazing how dependent a modern girl can be on indoor plumbing. And I've been working a lot, because it's SAT week and my high schoolers are FREAKING OUT. Also I dropped a favorite mug a friend gave me and I'm sad about it, and I cut myself (AGAIN) on said mug, but beyond that, I am fine.

Moving on to vegetables: I ate my missing two cups yesterday, in the form of vegetable soup, and I've already eaten two cups today, in the form of vegetable soup. (Green on Green soup, to be specific.) Just half a cup of vegetables to go.

I know you're fascinated by my vegetable habit. Don't try to hide it.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Vegetable Challenge

When the rest of your life goes to pot, talk about food instead!

Some absolutely terrific blogs I have found lately:

Heat, Eat, Review.

Are you single? Do you eat a lot of processed food? Is Lean Cuisine one of your actual food groups? You need this blog. It will absorb guilt, process your extra sodium, and actually tell you what processed food to eat and to avoid. And it's funny.

Cheap Healthy Good.

I didn't mean for my first two blog suggestions to both have three word titles, it just happened that way. 'Swear.

Anyway. Cheap, Healthy, Good is exactly what it sounds like--they focus on tasty, healthy food--and it has to come cheap. They break out all their recipes by nutritional info AND by dollar amount. That's pretty sweet. A favorite recent post of theirs analyzes the favorite foods of the presidential candidates.


I just found this blog, and I can't believe I didn't find it before. It's awesome for a number of reasons--the actual experience and knowledge of the contributors, the emphasis on how food shouldn't be fancy, just good, and most of all, The Vegetable Challenge, which I just joined. Now I have to eat five servings of veggies every DAY. But hey, I could win a cookbook!

My progress so far today: I ate 1/3 of a cup of frozen, mixed vegetables with my lunch. Only another two cups to go. Humph.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pesky Exes

LT: "You should check Dave's latest posts to the photojournal. He finally got to the holiday party, and there's a decent couple shot of us. If you're still collecting those."

Me: "Wow, these are good. It's always weird seeing what my life was like nine months ago, though. According to Dave, we won't be broken up until April 2009."

(Our friend Dave, while a great photographer, is a slacker. Oh, and he went to Italy and is having a baby, or something else non-important.)

LT: "HAH! Talk about a crimp on BOTH our love lives!" "No really, sweetie," he said, addressing some future girlfriend, "we’re NOT seeing each other anymore! I swear!"

Me: "Yes. I was trying to find a specific picture from three years ago last night, with an audience. He watched me click through pages and pages of pictures of you and I and finally said, 'Really, you can find it some other time.'"

LT: "Whoops."

Me: "Yes."

Oh well, at least we can laugh about it.

How Do You Like THEM Apples?

Or, I Tried to Chop My Finger Off Again, and Then I Got Mad.

There I am, chopping an apple, minding my own business, and somehow my Wusthof paring knife slips through the core like it's nothing and catches itself in my thumb. AGAIN. Last time it was a peeler, this time it was a knife, but it was an apple both times. An apple a day fulfills your suicidal tendencies, as they say.

Oh, they don't say that?

After all the fuss I put in on the previous apple crop--the hours spent picking the apples with my family, the tree climbing, the buying of the peeler, the sacrificed finger tip--I was beyond irritated to learn that the crop was the wormiest crop I'd ever seen. The universal sadness of the failed farmer rose up and whomped me in the face. I'm a city girl 99.9% of the time, but my family has been growing apples--and a few other assorted crops--for a long time. I care about my food and I care about the time I put into it--or rather, the time that nature puts into it, because rain and sunshine do most of the work, you just have to wait it out. And when you've waited for months and planned out your pies, you're pretty devastated to see your plans dissolve. Each apple I cut in half to see worm tracks made me madder and madder, until I began to see the point behind DDT. Goddamn the birds, full speed ahead! Bleeding heart liberals who decry the fact that people could ever shoot Bambi should be lucky enough to put in months and months and months of sweat, blood, tears, and money into a vegetable crop, only to see a crop of angry deer trample your babies--I mean, vegetables. Your hopes, dreams, and tomato sauce for the next year, gone.

Of course, the situation today isn't that dire. It's America. My family has never been too poor to eat. The water is clean and food is artificially cheap. (And artificial, but that's another post.) There are always more apples. We aren't selling our apples for our livelihood, and even if the slugs get my mother's tomatoes, we can buy more. We aren't starving--in fact, that's the opposite of my problem!--but good Lord does it make me MAD, knowing how much time and effort went into that head of spinach, only to see it eaten by overfed snails.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Made it to Thursday!

I got over my cold, Titan's ear is healing, and the conference happened successfully. Hooray. And all that. My thoughts go to Quatoes, though, who had a worse week even than I did. :(

Also, the economy is tanking. But never mind that! Let's talk about fancy cars!

Calsee and I saw one of these the other day, on our girl's afternoon out--we also got super-high-quality sandwiches and went to SAM--in dark blue. And it's so goddamned impressive, I can't even convey it properly.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Packed Four Days

Hello! It is Friday. I am stressed. I am coordinating a conference, I got sick--but am getting over it--and my dog got half his ear torn off. All since Monday. How has your past four days been?

After some frantic bandaging and frantic cleaning--because Titan shook his head over and over before I realized what was going on, and the blood spatter damage to my entrance hall and apartment cannot be described without dipping into terms like "serial killer" and "Jason" and "Friday the 13th"--I had a date, took Titan to the vet, etc, etc. The conference is still happening. I am getting over my cold. Titan's ear will live, Titan will live, I am going to the Raconteurs' concert. Hooray!

Monday, September 15, 2008

It Was Better Said by Antoine de Saint Exupery

It was then that the fox appeared.

"Good morning," said the fox.

"Good morning," the little prince responded politely, although when he turned around he saw nothing.

"I am right here," the voice said, "under the apple tree."

"Who are you?" asked the little prince, and added, "You are very pretty to look at."

"I am a fox," the fox said.

"Come and play with me," proposed the little prince. "I am so unhappy."

"I cannot play with you," the fox said. "I am not tamed."

"Ah! Please excuse me," said the little prince.

But, after some thought, he added:

"What does that mean--'tame'?"

"You do not live here," said the fox. "What is it that you are looking for?"

"I am looking for men," said the little prince. "What does that mean--'tame'?"

"Men," said the fox. "They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?"

"No," said the little prince. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean--'tame'?"

"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. It means to establish ties."

"'To establish ties'?"

"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . ."

"I am beginning to understand," said the little prince. "There is a flower . . . I think that she has tamed me . . ."

"It is possible," said the fox. "On the Earth one sees all sorts of things."

"Oh, but this is not on the Earth!" said the little prince.

The fox seemed perplexed, and very curious.

"On another planet?"


"Are there hunters on that planet?"


"Ah, that is interesting! Are there chickens?"


"Nothing is perfect," sighed the fox.

But he came back to his idea.

"My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . ."

The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.

"Please--tame me!" he said.

"I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."

"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . ."

"What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.

"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me--like that--in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . ."

The next day the little prince came back.

"It would have been better to come back at the same hour," said the fox. "If, for example, you come at four o'clock in the afternoon, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o'clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . ."

"What is a rite?" asked the little prince.

"Those also are actions too often neglected," said the fox. "They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all."

So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near--

"Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."

"It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . ."

"Yes, that is so," said the fox.

"But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.

"Yes, that is so," said the fox.

"Then it has done you no good at all!"

"It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields." And then he added:

"Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret."

The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.

"You are not at all like my rose," he said. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world."

And the roses were very much embarassed.

"You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you--the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose."

And he went back to meet the fox.

"Goodbye," he said.

"Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important."

"It is the time I have wasted for my rose--" said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose . . ."

"I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

* * *

Oh, oh, oh. It is so sad. "I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow."..."And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat..."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dante Does Relationships

Saturday night, 9:45 p.m.

LT: "What are you doing, this late at night, in your apartment, on a SATURDAY? Shouldn't you be out?

Me: "Oh, I told some fool I'd keep Saturday night open for him, and now of course I'm regretting it, as he has apparently stood me up."

LT: "The girl I was waiting on to call me never called me either."

Me: "Dammit, sorry."

LT: "Screw all that, let's play beer pong!"

Me: "That is a terrible and awesome idea. I'll ping some people and we can get this party started."

About 11 p.m. it becomes clear that either no one is as lame as we are, or everyone who's decided to stay in tonight is already in bed, but we still decide to play beer pong.

And let me just say right now, to everyone reading this post and thinking, in their heads, "NO! Don't do it! That will turn out poorly!" that it actually turned out fine, as beer pong is a little too boring to play much with just two people. We played one game and then just sat and talked, which we desperately needed to do, and it was pretty great.

We both talked about the experiences we've had since breaking up, which was interesting. He's dating a girl that has him tied up in knots, and I dated a guy who put my heart in a blender, although of course I willingly handed over my heart to him to do so. And then built my own blender. But knowing that you walked right into it willingly doesn't help at all when you're actually in the blender and thinking, "I'm in the ninth circle of Hell, how do I get out??"

...huh. I started this post to write about something LT suggested I write about, and now I'm having a hard time getting into it.

Speaking of circles of hell: of course, you don't actually have to be in a budding relationship to willingly enter hell. You can be dating someone for two years and start the downward slope into hell without even realizing it, until you're in about the second circle and you're thinking, how did I get here and where is the exit? Dating the LT, I started my own personal slide about when he got out of the Navy, which could have been more than coincidental (but also may not have been, and FTN in any case) and I didn't realize it until about May, and then it took me an additional two months to climb back out, and I didn't really think about the entire process it until I had to: i.e., until I ruined his car seat.

The LT and I are still carpooling, and last week I rode in the back of his car and ate a piece of cheese with a wax rind, which I then left in the car over the course of the hot day, which melted into the car seat, which I then tried to iron out, which then caused a polyester cloth to melt ALL over his back seat and ruin it. It was a terrible afternoon, made more awful by the fact that I knew that the whole reason--at least, one of the big reasons--that I broke up with the LT was that my self-esteem was slowly shredding away, and here I was, having broken up with him to get away from this, bowing and scraping and grovelling for him to forgive me, over a CAR SEAT. I couldn't stand--absolutely could not stand--the thought that he might think less of me as a person, that I might be less than perfect for him. It's a terrible cycle: I'm a people pleaser, and he's demanding, and so the harder I tried to please him in our relationship, the more annoyed he got. It was awful, having your self-esteem so wrapped up in one person, and of course--like all personal hells--it's not as if he asked me for it or wanted it. I willingly gave him my self-esteem to do with as he liked. I walked right into it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

But Onto the DANCING!

A few of my friends from college--especially the dancing segment--have been asking me why I'm so into salsa dancing these days and have apparently completely left my first love, swing dancing.

It's true that swing is my first love, and what I did throughout college--or at least the first year, before I discovered Greek Life. But swing out here on the West Coast is...weird. Different. Slower, somehow. I'm not talking about the differences between West Coast Swing, Swing, and Lindy-Hop--those are all different dances and I know the differences. I just mean that Swing Nights out here seem slower and less fun. I don't know why.

This is the kind of swing I want to do:

I mean, this is a parody, but it's still amazing.

A different video of the same routine, maybe with the same guys:

This is a NON-parody and it's pretty good:

By the way, I look nothing like this while swing dancing. Or salsa dancing, for that matter.

Oh, boo, these videos make me miss swing dancing.

Never mind. Salsa has taken over, and by Blog, is it addictive or what? I even bought salsa shoes. Not that I need a good reason to buy shoes.

No real point to this post. Just dancing.

Ad Nauseum

I’ll never forget how angry I was, last election.

It was 2004. T-Town Girl and I were watching the election results in a bar, a dive bar about half a block from our apartment. At first, the night looked promising—like Kerry MIGHT squeeze out a victory—and then it became clear that Bush was going to win, and we started doing shots of tequila.


The real emotion I remember feeling—-besides anger—-was a complete sense of helplessness, disillusionment, disorientation. I so strongly believed one thing—and it turned out that most of the US, or at least 54% of it, believed something else. I’ll never forget my friend Maria’s quote from her own blog at this time. “I thought, terrible budget deficit, terrible job market, thousands dying in Iraq over a government COVER-UP about WMD that was NEVER THERE, I thought, of course, we’ll THROW Bush out in 2004! Right? Guys? Hello? This thing on?”

That was how liberals felt, at the time. “Is the rest of the country even LISTENING to what I’m listening to?” we thought.

And of course, they weren’t. They weren’t reading the Washington Post. They weren’t listening to their gay friends fight battle after battle with the healthcare system because their partner had died and said gay friend, partner to the deceased for FIFTEEN YEARS, longer than MOST STRAIGHT MARRIAGES, had no legal standing whatsoever and couldn’t even attend the funeral. They weren’t attending Hempfest. They were sitting at home, worrying about how to put food on the table, worrying about how they were going to afford college, worrying about their mortgage rate that had suddenly jumped to 28% and how is that even possible, hello? Is this mike on? Is anyone listening to me?

And even I can see at a glance that the liberal concerns are rather high end. Death comes to us all, and it sucks terribly, but fighting for gay rights and attending Hempfest is way, WAY, less important than making sure your town has a store that sells stuff that you need (i.e., Walmart) and making sure the government cares enough about your family to evacuate you in case of a hurricane.

The liberals saw it this way: “Say what you want about social values. Forget those. Bush has dragged our country down into a cesspool of debt and despair, and at least Kerry will be different! Also, his social values happen to be way better than yours and you should really see the light.

The conservatives, I assume, saw it this way: “We can’t change leaders mid-course. We have an effort in Iraq that we have to finish, the only thing that’s going to help our budgets now is the tax cuts that Bush is promising, and for God’s sake, I can’t squeeze out any more money, we have to cut taxes, and what the hell are you doing fighting for gay rights when my family can't EAT? Also liberal social values are basically hedonism and Bush happens to support mine.

(Conservatives, did I mis-state? Please, send me a paragraph of how you felt in 2004, it would be awesome to read and post.)

And so we're stuck, in this mish-mash of refusals to compromise, hate, and fear. And how in the WORLD can I blame conservative voters for voting their social values when that's all that I am doing? I mean, as a bleeding heart liberal, its never before occurred to me to do otherwise--reproductive rights and gay rights are WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN FOOD, THANK YOU. But in all seriousness, as I get older—-and meet more men and women who serve in the military—-it occurs to me that the President is the Commander in Chief, before all else. And in this part of his or her office, McCain’s experience and chops really appeal to me. But on the other hand, part of being a good president is judgment, and I have to say I trust Obama’s judgment far more because I agree with his social values, and so I assume that any decision he makes on the world stage would be a decision that I would make. But is that necessarily a good thing? I mean, I don’t have any experience in world politics whatsoever.

Still, so far, I’m convinced I can’t vote for McCain. A man who doesn’t know his own views on contraception and can’t check his email gets no love from me. Although I admit this just shows how skewed my own priorities are. A better excuse, and the one I will trot out publicly, is that I can’t trust the presidency to PALIN, of all people, in case McCain dies.

I Can't Leave It Alone

I'm sorry, reproductive rights are a really, really big deal to me.

From The Stranger:

"As the adoptive parent of a child born to a pair of unwed teenagers, I'm certainly not in favor of abortion in all circumstances. But I believe that it's a choice teenagers should be able to make for themselves—with input from their families whenever possible—and, so it seems, does the GOP's VP nominee. Sarah Palin is pleased that her daughter made the decision—on her own—to keep the baby.

But Sarah Palin doesn't believe that other girls should be able to make their own decisions. Sarah Palin believes abortion should be illegal in almost every instance—including rape and incest. So Bristol Palin is being celebrated for making a choice that Sarah Palin would like to take away from all other American women. Apparently, today's GOP believes that choice is a special right reserved for the wayward daughters of Republican elected officials.

Oh, and Sarah Palin also believes that birth control shouldn't be made available to teenagers...and she backs abstinence-until- marriage sex "education."


The GOP has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into abstinence "education" programs during the Bush years. I believe this enormous investment of public funds begs the obvious question: Is our children abstaining? Sarah Palin's aren't. Despite this massive outlay on the part of the American taxpayer and the example set by her Christian parents, Bristol Palin became sexually active while still in high school. Excuse me, but if abstinence education can't keep the daughter of the evangelical governor of Alaska off the cock, what hope is there for the daughters—and some of the sons—of average Americans?

I'm a cad for writing this, of course, because shortly before Bristol and Levi were paraded before cheering throngs at the Republican National Convention, the Palins asked the media to respect their daughter's privacy.

Another special right: When it comes to respecting your family's privacy, Palin and the GOP see no need. They want to micromanage the most intimate aspects of your private life. And if their own kids fail to live up to the standards that Palin and the GOP seek to impose on your family, well, that's a private matter between the Palins, their daughter, their God, and the thousands of screaming imbeciles in elephant hats waving McCain/Palin signs on the floor of the Republican National Convention."

Monday, September 08, 2008

More Snippets

I went skydiving this weekend, and it was very awesome, but instead of talking about that I want to taking a chunk out of my finger with my brand-new apple peeler, which I totally did.

And the apples are kind of wormy anyway.

But anyhow, I posted to my Facebook page that I had taken a chunk out of my finger, and I get this in response:

Tristan: "So jumping out of airplanes can't do you in, but having a few apples around the house is your kryptonite?"

Evan: "The girl can survive skydiving, but not apple peeling. Nice."

Me: "Boys, I think I love you. That is the best summary of my character ever. Now you see why I might as well jump out of planes and completely avoid cooking, right?"

And then, much later, an IM conversation between me and Tristan:

Me: "Anyway, I have to get cracking on dinner, bedtime, more apples, etc, so see you later."

Tristan: "Try not to die."

Friday, September 05, 2008

Japan, the Third Day

Toshi, his wife Hiroko, and daughter Erika came all the way into Tokyo to pick me up at the ryokan and took me to Kamakura, the third capital city of Japan. (Japan History, completely worth reading.) (Kamakura period.)

One of the AMAZING things about Japan is that their written history goes back...oh...say, 16-17 CENTURIES. Japan is eight or nine times as old as we are. To stand near the huge wooden shrines is to feel the age rolling off them. To understand Japanese history at all, it's important to get a sense of just how long 1900 years really IS.

Kamakura was the capital of Japan from 1185-1333, about 150 years, and it's the kind of place I never would have visited had I been on my own. There is so much to see in Japan--1900 years leaves a lot of history--that it would have simply fallen off my list, in spite of its mention in several guidebooks, and I would have never seen a Shinto wedding, the second-largest Buddha in the world, or a bamboo forest.

From my travel journal:

"Kamakura is small and pretty traditional, a city of old-fashioned streets and temples. Comparable to Toledo, in Spain, although of course a world removed. Very narrow streets, even for Japan, and driving is very difficult, but everyone does it. Have seen Hokokuji, the Bamboo Temple--a whole forest of bamboo, incredible--we drank green tea looking out at the swaying, creaking green towers, so tall. An amazing noise.

Japanese gardens, I have noticed, are absolutely filled with stone sculptures, all looking like variations on theme on the ones I saw in the Kyu-Shiba-rikyu Gardens. I mentioned this to the Moris, asking them what they were and why they were, and they tried to explain to me--some normal kind of Japanese garden decoration, nothing special. "Like garden gnomes," I said, making a joke, and both the older Moris tried very politely to understand what I meant. Erika, the 11-year-old, got it right away--she was born in New York and raised in Germany, and she gets my cultural references, which is very...welcoming. Hiroko, Toshi's wife, is perfectly stunning, and I am not surprised when she tells me she was a flight attendant for Japan Air. We laughed together about planes and airlines, once I told her I worked for Boeing. She keeps saying her English was bad, but if it was, I couldn't see how. Toshi, of course, is gracious, giving, generous, sociable, funny, and very patient with my blunderings around Japanese culture." (End Journal Entry.)

Some pictures from the web, since I was still sans camera:

Bamboo Garden, Kamakura Japan

A shot from Flickr.

And finally, me!

From Japan
Having tea in the bamboo forest. You can see it's a little chilly and rainy--much like Seattle in mid-May, in fact. The 80 degrees of yesterday had flown.

Again from my journal:

"At the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine, site of some of Japan's most sordid history, I got the chance to see a Shinto Wedding, which the Moris assured me was very rare. I curse my lack of camera, as the headdress of the bride and costumes of the bride and groom are exquisite, exotic, almost alien. The melancholy music of the Shinto wedding reminds me of bagpipe music that doesn't resolve. I see a stringed instrument like a guitar, a long kind of sitar, a set of gongs and bells, and that's all I can recognize. The Shinto shrines remind me of our Pacific Northwest longhouses, a comparison helped out by the relatively identical scenery--only Japan has fewer evergreens." (End Journal entry.)

History of the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine. Watch for this story to appear again when I cover Kabuki Theater.

And finally, one big fella:

From Japan
One of the largest Buddhas in the world. He used to be housed in a temple, but in 1498, the housing was washed away by a tsunami. (Remember? Japan has been burnt, flooded, shaken up, burnt, shaken up again, bombed, etc.) Since then it's said that the Buddha prefers to be outside.

You can go inside him for 20 Yen, but we chose not to.

From Japan
The Buddha's slippers, in case he decides to get up. No one goes barefoot in Japan!

Notes for my Buddhist Readers: This is the Great Buddha, the Daibatsu. I very carefully remembered that all the way across the Pacific, so I damn well hope it means something to you.