Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Adventures of Reading The Adventures of Augie March

So, I managed to finally buy I’m Not the New Me yesterday, though I should’ve bought it ages ago. I even managed to read the whole 300 pages in about two and a half hours (I forget how quickly I can down lucidly written straight narrative prose, since I don’t tend to read it that much). I greatly enjoyed it, and was looking forward to discussing it with the author (whom I last saw dressed as a character from a V.C. Andrews novel). I then managed to get on the last Purple Line express train instead of a Brown Line, and thus missed the book club anyhow. Oof.

So, the next Gaper’s Block Book Club won’t meet until January 10th, when we’ll be discussing… The Adventures of Augie March. I have attempted to read this book at least four times. Each of these times, because someone I know and whose tastes in literature I greatly respect has declared it to be a favorite book, and a book worth reading. Each of those four times, I stopped short of 100 pages, and then picked up Dom DeLillo, Salman Rushdie, Italo Calvino, and Angela Carter, respectively. My last attempt was awhile ago, but I’m going to finish this time.

I have: 56 days until the next GB Book Club meeting.

My copy of AM is 592 pages long, according to Amazon (I don’t have it with me).

That’s an average of 10.5 pages a day. I am promised that it picks up after a page 45 to page 100ish slump. This seems vaguely doable.

With a support group.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Friday, October 28, 2005


As you’ve probably heard me babble about if you know me at all (or have read the back-entries of this blog), I used to work at a costume shop. Two years out from my last Halloween there, I’m starting to not hate the holiday any more. To commemorate this, I give you:

My Top Ten Halloween Season Memories.

10. De-thonging the costumes, and inserting a sheet explaining that thongs can be picked up after purchase, and that these costumes were not returnable.

9. Hey! Let’s let people try on packaged costumes with 17 accessories, which they will then dump on the dressing room floor and leave there. Also, who leaves an empty, half-crushed Diet Coke can hanging from one of the pegs that hold striped tights?

8. Do we have pint blood? Gallon blood? Little blood packets? Gel blood? Thick blood? Blood in medical-style bags? How about the 17 varieties of vampire teeth, ranging in price from $.49 to $49.99?

7. My desk was overlooked by a 12’ tall animatronic monkey (with a huge Santa hat for the holidays), and I knew where the actual human skeleton was in the store. And also, how to knock down the pirate section to escape the basement in the case of a fire.

6. Sometimes, my boss would just drop by my desk to stick a nail up his nose and say hi.

5. I am fine with transvestites. I am significantly less fine with crazy chatty people who happen to be transvestites, and I am really rather not cool at all with crazy chatty people who happen to be transvestites and corner me in the fake breast section of the store for twenty minutes about who hit on them at what bar and when they want to get their surgery, until a coworker notices I’m trapped and pages me over the intercom to the front desk. This person is also the reason I can utter the inquiry, “Have I told you the prosthetic vagina story?” and be serious.

4. Having an office on the second floor directly above the women’s dressing room, and thus being able to yell “THREE COSTUME LIMIT” in my deity voice at the sorority girls who tried to bring in half the store.

3. CAKE MACHETE. (Okay, not Halloween, but I don’t care. CAKE MACHETE.)

2. Ordering from this catalog. Also, locking this catalog in my desk because, while Heather and I were the only people who put together orders from Leg Ave, it was shockingly popular with the menfolk.

1. It’s November 1st. Time to order Santa suits, guys.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

In which Ms. P beats up on John Updike.

Thanks to Bookslut, I recently read an interview with John Updike from the Sun-Times in which he said:

"I also read Salman Rushdie's new book. He's an interesting writer. Not quite a master yet, but he's getting there."

Michael Schaub commented that he'd thought Rushdie was a master since about 20 years ago. I'm inclined to agree. Also, while I like some Updike (the Early Stories collection is wonderful and intimidating in its accomplishment), I also find a great deal of his work painfully dull and indulgent, especially compared to the similarly verbose but far more delightful Rushdie. Also, Rushdie is all of 15 years younger than Updike, so I see no reason for him to play the condescending avuncular role.

Because of this, and because I am a mean person who loves meaningless comparisons, I decided to do a side-by-side comparison of books Updike and Rushdie published around the same time. I realize that Updike began publishing significantly earlier, and I think his earlier works are better, and yeah, it's under 10 novels versus, gee, about five hundred by this point, but you see, I don't really care.

1975: Grimus and A Month of Sundays
Ah, the only matchup where I haven't at least read part of either of the books, I'll admit. I have heard that Grimus is so bad that Rushdie tried to keep it out of print and is embarassed when he sees people reading it, so I'll go ahead and give the nod to Updike here.

1980/81: Midnight's Children and Rabbit is Rich
Right on to the one where I've read both books at least twice. Excellent. This one is also a pretty loaded one--winner of the Super-Booker vs. a Pulitzer prize winner. I suppose I could declare it a tie, but I prefer the grand, sprawling, historical-mythological dazzle to the the minutely-detailed account of a man, his midlife crisis, and his private parts.

1983/84: Shame and Withces of Eastwick
I always found Witches disappointing; despite the three heroines being differentiated, they're all such stereotypes that it just hammers home that Updike can't really write a fully sketched, complex woman. Even the movie, with the Ballsy One, the Uptight One, the Shy One, and the Devil, shows a bit more nuance (and doesn't show the women as ravenous man-eaters to quite the same degree). Shame isn't lacking in violent women (including three furies), but it's also a complex allegory of Pakistan, instead of a thin allegory about the dangers of desire.

1988: The Satanic Verses and S.
I find SV difficult and not one of Rushdie's best works, but I once read 30 pages of S. because someone told me I would hate it. I do. Again, a female protagonist. Again, she is a flaky flake-flake, and is driven to do what she does because the men in her life control her. Sigh.

1990: Haroun and the Sea of Stories and Rabbit at Rest
Okay, there's really only one way this could go. It won the Pulitzer. It was good, though Rabbit Remembered later kinda wrecked it for me. Haroun, like Woody Allen's musical, is one of those slight things that I like but realize is not the greatest thing ever.

1995/96: The Moor's Last Sigh and In the Beauty of the Lilies
Well, at least Updike isn't trying to write a woman protagonist anymore. But up against one of Rushdie's best female characters, the religious fable is a little pale.

1999/2000: The Ground Beneath Her Feet and Gertrude and Claudius
Oh, hey! Look! It's Aurora from Moor's Last Sigh! Only... she's a rock star now? Okay, sure. Not as strong as other Rusdie works, but man, G & C knocked me out better than Ambien whenever I attempted to get through it.

I haven't read either's new works yet, so I won't speak to them. But it's still looking 5-2 Rushdie to me. I think he's gotten there.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Evil (Baking) Genius

So, the key to getting your friends to watch 5 episodes of Veronica Mars in one Sunday seems to include a couple rounds of yummy warm beverages, followed by increasingly elaborate presentations of Ghirardelli double-chocolate brownies. And apparently people really appreciate a cocoa-rimmed martini glass full of hot chocolate. I need to get some Godiva liqueur, because the only way this would work better is to get them intoxicated. Now that my apartment is clean (…ish), I enjoy having company, especially on rainy Sundays.

In other news, hey, we won F.O.G.H.A.T. I was the second-highest scorer on our team with a whopping 13.33 ppg. Thanks, Craig! Now I just need to ritualistically burn the Desperate Housewives: Dirty Laundry board game I won. I initially stuck Geoff with this, but his exceedingly evident discomfort with this actually spurred some inkling of compassion in me, and I swapped the Law and Order game to him.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Monday, October 10, 2005


You know, I should've prognosticated about the Booker, because I'd seem pretty smart right now. When I heard The Sea had made it to the shortlist, I immediately thought "if a book this obscure got to the shortlist, it's gonna win the prize in an upset". And hey look, it did.

Sucks for Julian Barnes, but Arthur and George isn't his greatest work. They'd be giving it to him to apologize for not giving it to him in the past.

So, time to go pick up a copy of the winner, soon to be emblazoned with a "Winner of the Man Booker Prize" sticker.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Octoberist

Greg semi-recently posted about this time of the year being his favorite. I am inclined to agree, though not because it's the start of curling season. So here, in no particular order, is a list of reasons I adore October:

-Seasonally appropriate to sing "Moondance" by Van Morrison!
-Leaves changing colors!
-Uptick in squash/pumpkin ravioli with sage butter served at local restaurants!
-Sweaters! Cute fuzzy SWEATERS!
-My mom's birthday! We speak pleasantly!
-My birthday! My mom and I speak pleasantly and I get presents!
-Chicago International Film Festival!
-Cubs fans stop urinating publicly in my neighborhood!
-Because I'm a knowledge loving nerd... memories of school starting!
-School starting always meant new boys! With whom I could flirt! (New-boy giddiness is right up there with new-car smell for top ephemeral joys.)
-New boys... in sweaters!
-Stupid hat/scarf/mittens combo sets! Preferably with poofballs!
-Opals! (Hey, does your birthstone cause bad luck if someone not born in your month wears it? My birthstone is badass.)
-Seeing your breath mist up for the first time! (This gets old by February, but is really exciting after the summer.)
-Halloween! (I'm finally getting a little excited about this again, after the fun was killed off during two years at a costume shop. I'm still not going to dress up, but I no longer shudder at the thought of the holiday.)

Oh, October. If it weren't for the compulsory pantyhose-wearing at work, you'd be perfect.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Birthday plans.

Aw, man. The first season of Veronica Mars would come out the day after my birthday. Guess this means no all-night marathon at casa de Geoff after the concert Saturday night. Bummer.

Speaking of the birthday... does anything want to do something around that time? I'm actually going to a book club the night of my birthday (yeah, yeah, shut up), but a late dinner/drink/running around yelling "wooooo, my age is once again divisible by 2" would be fun.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Musical musings

Now that I've spent a few years plumbing the depths of obscure music, I'm beginning to see a few bands I knew when they were unknown start to get some bigger exposure. Strangely enough, what really hammered this home was the season premiere of The O.C.. (Yes, you can shut up. Thanks for asking!)

Now, I was delighted enough last season when I heard an A.C. Newman song start up, but imagine my surprise when, in the first scene after the credits, Beretta by Manishevitz started playing. Now, this is a really great song, and sounds like a Psychedelic Furs b-side from around the time Pretty in Pink came out; it worked wonderfully in the show. But I know this song because it appears on the Hideout Worker's Comp, which, true to its name, is a compilation of songs by bands whose members work at the eponymous bar. Half the bands on that comp weren't signed; the most famous person on there was the bassist for Wilco, who did a track with his sister. Hearing a track I've been putting on my mixtapes for two years blaring on Fox was a little strange.

Speaking of tracks I've been putting on mixtapes for two years, I believe I've been crowing about Richard Swift's The Novelist for about that long. Roy from Parasol (who may have known Swift through a band they'd both worked with) told me to buy this when it was out in a 600-disc printing from a tiny, tiny label. Fast-forward two years and one vinyl-only single later. All of a sudden, Swift is on Secretly Canadian, is showing up on Salon, Stereogum, PopMatters, and Pitchfork, and goes on his first nationwide tour. He's not exactly showing up on The O.C. yet, but he's a bit of a belated overnight success, in a very independent label sort of way.


On a similar theme, I have a list of songs for the tournament. They are being vetted by my obscurist friends, and I'll need to find some mainstream friends to go through and point out the bands they've never even heard of before. (Volunteers?) Seeding after that. With any luck, should be up and running by the weekend.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Yet another blog-based music tournament.

You know what? I’ll say it. I’m lonely, lonely, lonely and bored without the dissing and the petty arguments provided by the Craig-curated, Flaxman-officiated Rolling Stone best songs tournament. It also looks like Flax is going to take a (deserved) break after a (really very well-run, despite my whining) tournament before starting up his next one. And it’s time people get to yell at me for a change. So… Susan suggested, perhaps, a best alterna- or indie-rock songs contest. This sounds lovely to me. How do we feel about this? Nominate songs by emailing me at jleahwill gmail com. Since I am arbitrary ruler in this cold, cruel universe, I will say that we shall not take noms earlier than… the existence of the Velvet Underground. Unless you make a compelling case, and I’m feeling nice. Go with what you consider “indie” or “alterna”; I will certainly allow up to and including U2 and R.E.M., even if the latter former irks Susan. Current idea is a 192 or so tournament, ties possibly broken by me or the majority decision of me, Susan, and Greg. But let’s just nominate now. Rank if you’d like. Unlimited number. Go for it, kids.

ETA: I meant that Susan hates U2, though I suspect that at least four songs in a field of 192 would be from them (something early, something Joshua Tree, something Achtung, All I Want Is You, maybe?).

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Bitterness and Bad Puns

First off, congrats Dave and Emily! I had a great time at the wedding yesterday, and I look forward to seeing you for the K-zoo show (and yes, I’ve decided to go after all). Hope you didn’t mind when I hid the camera up my skirt, but Mike was gonna take it and erase the photo otherwise.

Now on to more unpleasant, but possibly more amusing things.

So the day I got attacked, i was IM’ing someone about it, and his response was:

Ass: You know why this happened?
Ass:Sex appeal.

Now, despite his subsequent claims that this was just a lame attempt at humor that backfired, I found this fairly appalling, and I’m not exactly on speaking terms with him anymore, but this faux pas has at least spawned a fun new time waster.

Susan and I, when going to some concert or another recently, were talking about the above statement, when I mentioned I’d been thinking about similarly inappropriate things to say in response to various calamities, things that would also be come-ons and really bad puns. Because I am nice and oh so subtle, I’ve declared these statements "Litvakisms". Susan thought composing Litvakisms was a fine idea, and we started composing some (though I’ve forgotten some good ones):

You know why your house burned down? ‘Cause you’re so fucking HOT!

You know why you got lung cancer? Because you’re smokin’!

You know why that guy stole your purse? Because you stole his HEART!

…etc, etc.

So, anyone have any good Litvakisms they want to share? Comment.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Green Zebra! Talking Heads rap!

After discussing it for many moons, Susan and I rather spontaneously decided to finally eat at Green Zebra last night. It was very, very good, though I was less entranced by the Avocado panna cotta and Susan less enamoured of the lentil cakes than either of us thought she'd be. But the food was overall great, and the desserts were to die for. I do love a mint ice cream that tastes of herbal mint, instead of mint extract.

In addition to the food there was, of course, booze. I'd been volunteering earlier at the Old Town School; since I was the only one of four expected volunteers to show up, someone gave me a free Honkers as consolation. I then got a Purple Haze (raspberry beer!) when we first showed up... and then we ordered a bottle of wine. Needless to say, Susan consumed most of that bottle.

Thus we were both a bit in our cups when we caught a cab back to the red line station. During this trip, rap was playing in the background. At some point, I broke off the conversation when I heard a rap song with the lyrics "She put the sugar on my tongue/She's gonna gimme gimme gimme some."

Me: That's... that's... a Talking Heads song!
Susan: Yes, yes it is.
Me: But rap!
Susan: [nods sagely and/or intoxicatedly]
Me: [high pitched whimpering and incoherent arm pointing and waving]
Susan: You are hurting dogs with that sound!

Having investigated the situation, apparently a southern rapper named Trick Daddy recorded the song, which features Ludacris and Cee-Lo. So there you go.

I'm heading into a five-day weekend, though the latter two days will be a trip to Ann Arbor to deal with the crazy guy who attacked me while jogging last weeekend. I will be going to pub trivia in Ann Arbor, though. I'm trying to find the silver lining of this situation, and pub trivia seems to be it.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Friday, August 26, 2005

I'm about to rename this blog "Bookprude".

It's been awhile. Believe it or not, I've been busy reading. And going to a reading. At this reading, Jessa from Bookslut misidentified me as a Woman and Children First Books worker. Apparently I have the "Women and Children First look" about me.

Well, I bought 10 more books last weekend (8 within 12 hours... stupid slutty Hyde Park! Having high quality bookstores!), but I promise I didn't pay full price for any of them.

From Powell's:
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Vargas Llosa
(shelved both in the L's and the V's!)
Heart of Darkness, Conrad
(Yes, I am the one person who didn't read this in high school. We also read Ibsen in American Lit. What can I say?)
Goodbye, Tsugumi, Banana Yoshimoto
The Quiet American, Graham Greene
The Name of the Rose, Eco

From 57th Street:
The Pursuit of Love/Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford
Sentimental Education, Flo-bert
Dandelion Wine, Bradbury

From Unabridged Books:
Jonathan Norrell and Mr. Strange, Susanna Clarke
Nowhere Man, Hemon

So yeah, glad I got that book problem under control. Maybe I will get some of them read on the train when I'm travelling to and from Ann Arbor this weekend. Or maybe just on the way back-I have a Gaper's Block function (join in!) tonight at a bar tonight, and I'm getting on a train at 7:50 tomorrow morning. Yup, that's going to work out well. Especially since I've not yet packed. I imagine I'll be getting up at 5, and running around my apartment looking for clean underwear and my iPod charger (sadly, not necessarily in this order).

I see more concert excitement in my somewhat distant future-Andrew Bird at the LSA the weekend after Thanksgiving! I hope Kevin O'Donnell will be pitching in, but at least I'll see him at the Hideout Block Party. (Incidentally, am I seriously considering taking a half-day to ensure that I see all of the Friday portion of the block party? Yes, yes I am.)

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Since I've given up posting, here's some stuff that mentions me.

Well, if I can't get on WWTBAM, at least I helped contribute to Dee's column about the tryout.

Also, I am the orange-haired lass with the red shirt in this webcomic. No, there are no pop stars or ninjas, despite the name.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

More books, plus music

The book binge went well and was relatively small. I picked up Kitchen, as well as a Donna Hay cookbook, at Powell’s. The bit of the Powell’s trip that was totally worth it, though, was finding a book I’ve been intermittently looking for over the last four years, and finding it for five dollars. Oh, Anthony Burgess’s Nothing Like the Sun, I’ve been waiting for you. Then, met up with Susan at the Co-op, where I dissuaded her from buying Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, since I can loan it to her. Do I now have three, count 'em, three copies of The Master and Margarita in my possession? Yes. But the Vintage translation (look at the version linked to through the title) was so noticeably better that I had to get it. I’ll have to put up example sentences at some point.

Moving on, I need to decide if I’m going to take any classes at the Old Town School this quarter. Although I have enough volunteer points for two classes right now, I'm a bit at a loss on this one for a few reasons. I'm a little loathe to take a weeknight class again right now, since I have book clubs twice a month on Mondays, pub trivia on Tuesdays, and may be taking some sort of Spanish instruction before the end of the year. However, both of the voice classes I'd like to take (Jazz Vocals and Harmony Vocals 1) meet at 6:30 on Wednesday, which means I'd have to haul tail down from Evanston to get there. I could do Guitar 1 with Jason on Sundays, but I'd have to figure out where my mom should ship my guitar, goad her to ship it, and take it to get restrung and fixed at the Different Strummer and hope that everything would be resolved by September 4th, which seems like a somewhat optimistic estimate. Plus, this would be the best time for Dan and I to take IO classes, if we're going to do that. And I might be gone several weekends in the next eight weeks. I might just wait until next quarter, or next year.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Shameful secrets

This is hard to talk about, but I feel like I need to.

Back when I was living on the South Side, I developed a little bit of an addiction. I was mostly a clean-cut kid, just trying to stay in school and get ahead, but even those with the best intentions can get swept away by chance. I thought I was just a casual user, but the stuff was so easy to get in Hyde Park. It was everywhere! I found myself hanging around the familiar haunts more and more, just hoping to score a good deal or find that magic trip I’d never taken before.

One of the better things about moving out of Hyde Park is that there just isn’t as much of a trade on the north side. Sure, there are a couple places dealing near where I live (one just around the corner, actually), but it’s not as strong, they don’t have the same sort of stuff up here. I was safe again.

Then I started going to Hyde Park for pub trivia every Tuesday. I was pretty good about going straight to the Pub most nights, but… the old places were so close! If I just got to Hyde Park a few minutes early, I could score some quality stuff. And all of a sudden, I was showing up late for pub trivia, breathless, with a package in my bag distracting me all night long.

That’s right, kids. I’m hitting the bookstores of Hyde Park again.

Powell’s, 57th Street, sometimes the Co-op, I’m looking at you. No matter how many times I go to Unabridged or Myopic or Women and Children First, nothing compares to the books you can find on that dangerous stretch of street. (Though for the overall maximum of attractiveness plus book selection: Unabridged for gay guys, Myopic for straight hipsters, and WCF for either lesbians or sincere glasses-wearing guys who want strong feminist girlfriends.)

Pretty much every surface of my apartment is covered in books right now, including the following to-reads (not a comprehensive list, only those I can think of right now):
Atwood, Cat’s Cradle
Bellow, Adventures of Augie March (terminally unfinished, but a future book club selection)
Bellow, Humboldt’s Gift (unfinished, but currently seems more likely than the above)
Borges, Collected Fictions (a re-read, but from so long ago it’s like a first read)
Bulgakov, Master and Margarita (re-read, but I recommended recently and discovered there’s a new annotated edition, because I clearly need to own three copies of one book)
Hofstatder, Gödel, Escher, Bach (partially read, re-read)
Rushdie, Satanic Verses
Rushdie, Ground Beneath Her Feet (on loan from Susan)
Sontag, In America (partially read)

And yet I have this list, crumpled up in my bag:
Yoshimoto, Kitchen (read while intoxicated, don’t remember)
Young Fem Bookclub books: Mommy Myth, Undivided Rights, Regarding the Pain of Others, Can’t Buy Me Love, Women as Lovers
GB Bookclub books: Dandelion Wine, Nowhere Man, I’m Not the New Me, Division Street: America
Denis Johnson, Fiskadoro
Findley, Famous Last Words
collections by Raymonds Chandler and Carver
More Flaubert!

Heavens. At least this will keep me from buying the DVDs I want. Books are better, right? Right?

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Who wants to be a $20-aire?

Today and yesterday have been very trivial, although in a potentially profitable way.

Yesterday, I ran off to scenic East Chicago, IN with Greg and Dee to try out for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Although I thought I utterly muffed the test, I managed to qualify for a perfunctory and unsatisfying little interview for the regular (not movie-specific) show. We shall see about making the next cut, but it doesn’t seem likely. I think my only hope is if they do the interviews purely to make sure you’re not a freak that talks like Betty Boop, and the fact that I’m a non-hideous girl-type person with interesting stories on her application will pull me through. (Also, yet again, the Polaroid they took of me is hotter than I actually am. My hair doesn't look red in the pic. I don't understand.) But again, I don’t think I’ll hear anything for weeks on this. Ah, limbo. At least I got hours of enjoyment standing or sitting in line with Greg and Dee. And a magnet.

For more immediate (though smaller-scale) gratification, I’m looking forward to tonight’s first convening of the PUB TRIVIA SUPERGROUP. Susan will get lots and lots of smart people things; Dan will get comics, Kevin will get the gay trivia I don’t get, as well as any legal stuff thrown our way; Phil will get shameful things and alcohol, and, um, I forget who the other person on Kevin’s team is, but he or she is totally going to help us out. I will get random music every third round. We will occasionally regret our lack of geographic knowledge. I might even show up by 8 tonight. A team name will be created (Black Market Subash?). Baked goods of high quality may appear. Perhaps we shall actually win money. As much as I love hanging out with the Hyde Parkers, the pirate discomfort would be more tolerable if monetary gain occurred.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Friday, July 15, 2005

My Freaks and Geeks box set now reads "To my favorite mathlete! Paul Feig".

Paul Feig is so completely the real-life embodiment of Professor Frink that I was shocked when he did not mutter the nonsense word that a Prof. Frink website tells me is spelled "gyvyvn".

Thanks to Greg and Mrs. Greg for taking me along.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

My Post-Pride Parade Party spread

I threw a party!

Fresh-squeezed OJ
Margaritas (no mix, just Cointreau, Tequila, and fresh lime juice)
Rosemary Lemonade (vodka/no vodka, still/sparkling)
Vodka tonics
4 bottles of Southern Hemisphere wine: unoaked chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon from Australia, sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, and a red from South Africa

Crudite plate including all the regulars plus jicama
red pepper, guac, and hummus (thank you, Whole Foods deli case)
Parmesan-rosemary-walnut shortbread
Bruschetta with goat cheese and balsamic-glazed fig
Rainbow fruit with sweet yogurt dip
Cheese plate with crackers (2 ea goat, cow, and sheep)
Deconstructed sushi (seared and marinated sashimi tuna served on cakes of rice and nori)

Le Foof and I have decided to co-host the Best. Oscar Party. EVER. next year. It will be heralded througout the land, forever more. It will likely also be at my place, as my TV is better. Unless Le Foof wins the lottery and buys a flat-screen plasma.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Impotent anger storytime hour

There are anti-choice protestors lining the street next to my workplace right now. I’ve verified that we are in no way involved, that they are on city property, and no, there isn’t much we can do to make them leave, and I figure going down during my break and saying “Hey guys [and they’re almost all guys], wanna hear about the time I used to be part of a bodyguard squad for patients in Wichita that summer when you kept on threatening doctors and talking about pipe bombs?” isn’t going to fly. So instead, I will critique!

This is a personal thing, since I work here, but there are a lot of protestors lined up directly outside our sister building across the street, right in front of where there’s a big plaque reading “THE UNITED METHODIST BUILDING”. Way to make us look involved, even though most UMCers around this area are probably at least tentatively pro-choice.

I'm not sure if anyone but Tyler and Flax are going to understand this, but these protestors are lining Ridge with "graphic" photos of aborted fetuses (and, well, Jesus). Ridge Avenue is an utterly dangerous, fast-moving street on the best of days, and this isn't exactly making it any safer. Also, like I said, cars drive quite quickly on Ridge. Are they even going to see your signs? Did you not get permission to do it on a more logical street, like Chicago Ave? Because I really would have enjoyed the patrons of the Chicago Ave Whole Foods putting the beat down on you.

About those "graphic" photos--and you might want to stop reading if you're of delicate constitution or eating--but I'm sorry, the results of a first-trimester abortion do not look like a dismembered baby doll covered in marinara sauce. I know it sells better for you, and that's part of why it pisses me off, but fuck you for doing it regardless.

And back to work!

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Oh NYT, you're a little daft sometimes.

Wow, I just read the New York Times article on inter-class marriages, one part of their extended coverage of class in America. While I'm somewhat happy that the Grey Lady is actually aware that there are classes in America, I'm not sure this is the best way to spend one day of a short series on class.

First off, it's just one family, poor guy, rich woman. While they make the argument that there are more marriages in this configuration these days than rich man and poor woman, couldn't we have had an example of this type of marriage? Perhaps even a well-educated but poor woman?

Beyond my specific critiques, parts of the article just made me wince. Choice quotes:

"[S]he grew up in a comfortable home." Now, anyone who's talked to me about class knows I hate it when people use the term "comfortable", and especially the line, "I'm not rich, I'm just comfortable." Let's look at this comfort:

"My mother's father had a Rolls-Royce and a butler and a second home in Florida"; "When I was little, what I fixated on with my girlfriends was how I had more pajamas than they did. So when I'd go to birthday sleepovers, I'd always take them a pair of pajamas as a present."; "to New York City, where Ms. Woolner's mother lives in the winter"; (where does she live in the summer, you ask?) "[T]hey were at Ms. Woolner's mother's house on Martha's Vineyard."

"Mr. Croteau comes from the working class, and Ms. Woolner from money." (Apparently "Money" is now its own class.)

"Ms. Woolner began paying him a monthly stipend - he sometimes refers to it as an allowance."

"I said, 'Mom, I want you to know Cate and her family are rich,' " he recalled. "And she said, 'Well, don't hold that against her; she's probably very nice anyway.'"

"Isaac [Ms. Woolner's son from an earlier marriage], who also attended the school, is now back at Lewis & Clark College in Oregon after taking a couple of semesters away to study in India and to attend massage school while working in a deli near home."

"Isaac fantasizes about opening a brewery-cum-performance-space, traveling through South America or operating a sunset massage cruise in the Caribbean."

I think I need a brewery-cum-performance space about now.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday morning, 5 am

So I woke up this morning to the sound of a woman having a very good time, indeed, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. Points of particular interest:

-I was in a dream when I first heard her. I’m pretty sure, while still in the dream, I made the declaration “Wow, that woman is really enjoying her omelet.” I have no clue what this means, either.
-When I fully woke up and looked at the clock, it was 5 am in the morning. On a Friday. Who gets their sex on at 5 am in the morning on a Friday? Next-door neighbors, I salute you.
-I was reminded of a sign that had been up in our lobby a few months ago, which basically stated “To the people who were having loud sex all night last night: Please shut the hell up.” I wonder if that was them.
-Speaking of neighborly annoyance, I begin to hear loud staccato knocking on what I presume is their door. I noticed that the knocking is quite a bit louder than the sex-noise. If their apartment is set up the same as mine, it would make sense that their bedroom is the furthest room from my bedroom, so I’m getting this noise through our mutual wall, their kitchen, and their front room. Damn.
-Even so, who would be knocking? Their apartment is the last apartment before the front of the building. There is a foyer between them and their across-the-hall neighbors. Our ceilings seem thick (I don’t really hear much from the people above me). I suppose they are pretty loud, though, if I can clearly hear them.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I’ve recently decided the best way to induce myself to work out as much as I should is to, twice a week, haul my sorry self out of bed around 5:30 in the morning, go to the gym then, and leave my bag at the gym, inducing me to have to return after work to do another workout. It’s been working pretty well this week, but I ran into a bit of a snag today.

Because my frontal lobe simply isn’t functional before 7:00 am, I’ve been packing my gym bag the night before. I was doing laundry yesterday, though, so I packed it as I was running out the door today. And I forgot to pack a regular bra.

By the time I realized this, I really had to go to work without stopping by my apartment. I had two options—born free, free as the wind blows, or nasty blue sports bra I bought on clearance in 2002. Since I have pretty severe issues with not wearing a bra (thank you, Department Store Lady who when fitting me for my first bra made gratuitous comments about National Geographic and told me I should wear a bra to bed), and because the Board’s dress code specifically mentions wearing appropriate undergarments, I opted for my old, ratty sports bra. It’s only a little nasty; at least I did weight training this morning, not cardio.

The brilliant thing about this is that even if one of my coworkers notices, they can’t exactly bring it up. “Hey, I notice your chest is a different shape than it normally is” just isn’t going to fly.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Monday at Schuba's

Angie Heaton was opening for Andrew Morgan and Kevin Tihista last night. I worked with Angie back at Parasol and hadn’t seen her in ages, plus I enjoyed the last Tihista/Morgan show I’d attended, so there was no way I was missing it last night. As I walked into Schuba’s purposefully, I managed to knock into someone, that someone being Angie. I hugged her and squealed about her cute new hair cut, then she spun me around and pointed to Michael, my old boss at the label. I talked with him for awhile, subjects ranging from “So how’s life in the big city?” to “Did you hear Bill’s not working at the label anymore?” to “So… I read you had brain surgery in your blog… how about that?”. I adore Michael, he’s just this big, gentle, sweetheart of a man, and I miss the hell out of hanging out at Parasol, so it was great to see folks. Angie introduced me to a couple of her friends, a horticulturalist and a police officer in training/former WLUW dj who live near Midway, and I was their near-constant companion during the night.

Angie played to a pretty sparse crowd, but was lovely and gentle and nervous as hell, like she always is. I got to hear lots of my favorite songs of hers, including “God Speed the Plow” and “Tattoo Blue”, and I was happy when she used the line she often uses in concert, “All my songs are about crushes, or death, or being crushed to death. I guess this is one of the latter.” Everyone in the room fell in love with her and her “funeral folk” (her brother’s term for her music), and lots of people came over to talk to her afterwards.

Once Andrew Morgan started up, we moved to the back of the room. Not to jeopardize my chances of scoring this prime location in the future, but I’ve realized that standing on the platform in front of the oven in the back of the room is a great spot. You get to see all the socializing in the back, but can still see the stage because you’re six or so inches taller than everyone else. Angie held court back there for awhile, as the police officer and I agreed that even when Andrew played his own songs instead of Moz covers, they still sounded like the could be old Smiths songs you’d never heard. A friend of Angie’s who has apparently been to every show anywhere since 1985 or so started chatting me up about improv, which I proved to know a lot about for someone who doesn’t take any classes. I’m apparently going to see his Improv Olympic 5B performance next weekend. Angie leaned over to me and whispered, “He’s hitting on you, but he has a girlfriend!”. I shrugged. “He doesn’t flirt with me.” I pointed out that maybe that’s because she’s a lesbian, though I later realized that, having hung out in the corner with three lesbians all night, I was probably not giving off the straightest vibe ever.

Kevin Tihista started playing soon, singing many of the same gorgeous, miserable, beautiful songs that I heard a couple weeks ago. At some point, I turned to Angie and said, “I don’t believe this, but I think you played the most upbeat set at this show.” She agreed this maybe the first time ever this has happened.

After the show, I chatted with Angie and Michael and some old C-U folk for a little while, and also confirmed that I had in fact brushed by Andrew Morgan on Diversey on Wednesday. Apparently his friend was convinced that I’d said “Hi” instead of “Pardon me,” making Andrew’s response of “No problem” silly enough for them all to remember who I was. We chatted about Kansas-Oklahoma jokes, the labs we’d worked in that got shut down by the NIH, and our various Hyde Park experiences. Altogether, a lovely little night, and worth the sleep-deprivation caused froggy throat I managed to get despite not smoking or drinking a thing.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Hyde Park Vortex, Hideout edition

Oh, so my friend J’s boyfriend is the rockabilly boy from my dorm, and he happens to be a friend of the infamous Mr. Unequal Ex, who doesn’t show. Hello, girl from J's party, oh dear, you have a story similar to mine and UE’s, and it’s about you… and my best friend’s roommate? Heavens. Going to have to talk to my friend about that. Speaking of my best friend, he’s not here, but a good friend of his ex-girlfriend’s is, as is the person who was RA the year before him in that house. Speaking of that house, I run into someone who lived there with my ex-boyfriend, and I agree with his use of the phrase “and it took 16 federal agents to finally restrain him” when it comes to describing his future. Oh, and hello, odd fellow, hope you didn’t mind my allusion to my good friend’s ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, but I just happened to find out about that after you got mildly famous locally. Then I point out the boy I made out with once when he was a prospie to my friend J, and lo and behold, she informs me that they made out once also, and he’s gay now. Isn't that always the way? Say, young fellow with four names, hitting on me quite severely, inviting me to frisbee parties, weren’t you just making out on the dance floor with the girl from above who shares a story with me? Combine this with the fact that J and I both wore my pink bobbed wig last night, causing someone to cry that it was like he'd just met four people instead of two, and it was a very odd night at the Hideout.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


After describing the new iPod shuffle as "Smaller than a pack of gum and much more fun," does Apple's website really need to put a note at the bottom saying "Do not eat iPod shuffle."?

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...