Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two Weddings and a Funeral

Highlights of my cousin's wedding in rural Maine:

  • Before anything began, before even my first drink, I bent down to get something out of my purse and smashed my head into the back of a chair, so now I have a bruise on my forehead implying raucous drunkenness that never really came to fruition.
  • My uncle leaning across the table to ask my sister "What's that between your BOOBS?" in reference to her tattoo.
  • The early no-show for karaoke which resulted in my deaf cousin (the bride) stumbling through "Summer of '69" by herself until she was bailed out by the everyone present in a terrible cacophony of off-key singing
  • All the cousins from my side of the family collaborating on Monster Mash (my choice)
So, in the spirit of Way Back Tuesday, I was going to tell the story of the first wedding I ever went to or something, but then all I could remember was something about some organza and champagne and being really really bored, so I decided to tell about the first funeral of someone I knew.

I was about 10 or 11, and the husband of the organist in our church passed away. It being a congregation of about twelve people, and my mom being the priest, this was one of the Adults In My Life, so I went to the memorial service, and my parents even let me go right up to the open casket in that whole "check out the body" time. I was interested to find out that dead people look a lot like alive people, but sleeping and with darker eyelashes, and I was leaning in to see what they smelled like, when I was also interested to discover that they talked like alive people too. Except that they talked about themselves in the third person.

Then, his wife answered him, and I realized that the voices were actually coming from behind me. Turning around, I discovered the organist and her husband standing behind me. I figured then that the thing in the casket must be one of those wax sculptures like we had seen in Ripley's Believe it or Not and the organist's husband had faked his death and then been so ballsy as to show up at his own funeral and talk about himself in the third person, and everyone was playing along.

My mom told me that he had an identical twin, and that was the man I met at the funeral, but I still think my explanation was better.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Haven't you ever heard the word jinx?

Did I say "Worst Road Trip Ever?" Right before leaving for a road trip? Did I really do that? How stupid am I?

Let's start last Friday night. When, as I may have mentioned, there was a storm in Chicago that knocked down a tree, which landed on my car. Or, to be more accurate, landed on a light pole, which landed on a power line, all of which then landed on my car. The city of Chicago decided that a live wire warranted a traffic cone and a grumpy police officer, who, when we asked if we could go look at the damage said "Sure. If you want to die." So, about 24 hours later, they finally shut off the power and rolled up the live wire. 24 hours after that they cut up the tree and the light pole and got it off our car. We looked at it, and seeing as how it wasn't smashed into little bits we were like "Eh. Could be worse." We took it to a mechanic who said "Shit, dudes. This really sucks. Like, a lot." Anyway, we have to have two doors, a side panel, a roof panel and the windshield replaced. Guess we're not driving that car to Maine.

Luckily, the insurance pays for a rental, and it's unlimited mileage in the United States. Go us. So, we load all our shit into a rental, including the first load of stuff for our new apartment in Nashville, since last stop on this trip is to be picking up keys to the new apartment and setting up bookshelves and then leaving.

Anyway, we're all loaded up, only running about an hour behind schedule on Wednesday morning, when we get a call from the president of our condo board. They're doing work on our air conditioning. We need to be around to sign something saying that the work went all right. This will be between 7am and 10am on Tuesday morning. If we're not there, we need to get a friend or neighbor to do it. If we can't do that, here's a piece of paper to sign saying that the work went fine. That's right, the work they haven't done yet. All right, whatever. We need to leave right now because we have a 10 hour drive ahead of us and there is no way we're getting a hold of any friends or neighbors at this moment, so we just have to hope that this doesn't mondo screw us. Bye now.

Drive drive drivey drive. Some 8 hours later, we get a call from the woman checking in on our cats. "Hey," she says, "I checked in on the cats, and they seem good and all, but the electricity was off and the air conditioning seemed to be off. Any idea what's up with that?" Turns out, they blew our electricity while working on the air conditioning. So now, we have to drive this 20 hour drive to Maine, spend two days there for a wedding, and drive 20 hours back in order to be there at 7 am on Tuesday so that we won't have signed off on saying they didn't screw anything up. Oh, but they did fix the electicity, so the cats are not currently boiling in the 95 degree heat.

Ok, so we spent the night in a hotel somewhere random, and drive drive drivey drive the next day. Get a call from our soon-to-be landlord in Nashville. Before he can say anything, I have to tell him that we won't be out there to pick up the keys on July 1st after all, because the whole road trip has been cut short. To keep things simple I just tell him it's because a tree fell on my car. "Oh, well that's all right," he says, "Because there have been storms here too, and the electricity has been in and out, plus there was a flood and the pipes burst in your building, so we had to replace all the pipes, which were lead anyway." At this point, I'm not really even taking in new levels of information. I just kind of say "Uh huh. Well that's good."

But, literally, while I'm talking to him the tarp on the truck in front of us comes loose, flies up, and a load of rocks flies off of it and all over the front of our rental car. So, right after "That's good," I yell "OH MY GOD!!!" and he's saying something about fixing up the apartment and I have to say "Uh huh. Uh huh. Sounds good. I have to go because a bunch of gravel just fell on me. Bye now."

We pull over, check out the damage, and it's just scratches, but we are fucking glad we're the anal people who bought that rental insurance crap because I'm pretty sure that God hates me at this point. We're in Vermont, about 2 hours from our destination, and all I wanted to do was turn around and go home. So, I call my dad, tell him that we're arriving at the hotel early, but I will not be speaking to anyone.

Arrive at this rural Maine ski chalet, which has hot showers, down mattresses and a really nice creamy pasta thingy for dinner and this morning I felt like a human being again.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Worst Road Trip Ever

So, this is in answer to an assignment from Jeff, who has one of the cooler site name/address combinations out there and wrote all about his crappy spring break last week and asked us to do the same.

Anyway, this was also a spring break, in my sophomore year of college, spring of 1999, and my roommate, my high school friend and I decided to join our three other friends for a road trip to Texas. Before leaving my mom informed me (mistakenly as it turns out) that my insurance did not cover any other drivers besides me, so if I let anyone drive my car and they so much as got a ticket, it was out of my pocket. So, we begin the 26 hour drive at about 6 p.m. with me behind the wheel the whole way.

That's all right though, because we get as far as Story City, Iowa when my car starts spewing black smoke, sputtering and swerving and I have to pull over to the nearest gas station and call AAA. The mechanic who comes is about four and a half feet tall and appears to have had his hand amputated and put back on incorrectly and he informs me that "cars ain't meant to be drived long distances at high speeds," and that I should have it towed in in the morning. So the next morning we tow it to Ames, where they replace two spark plugs and tell us we're good to go.

So, with a lot of caffeine and Twizzlers, I drive the rest of the 20 hours myself and collapse in a hotel room while the five other people go out to the pool. A couple hours later I'm awakened by the police pounding on the door. They inform me that while all my friends were out at the pool, my car was broken into. They smashed in my window and stole my stereo.

So, I spend the third day of my spring break (the first day was in Iowa, the second driving to Texas) getting my window replaced in some shady strip mall in the suburbs of Houston.

The middle part of the vacation went pretty well... we drove over the border into Mexico and bought some Chicklets from little Mexican children and drank Corona and felt all cultured and shit.

Then, on the drive home I saw a drunk driver weave in and out of traffic and drive right off the road and into a sign. At that point I decided it might be a good idea to let someone else drive for a few hours, no matter what the insurance said. So I let my roommate take over, gave her the keys at the gas station, and she promptly put the ignition key in the door and broke it off.

So, we had to call a 24 hour locksmith out to an Oklahoma gas station at 11 o'clock at night and I'm not even going to describe what that experience was like.

Houseboy and I are starting on a roadtrip ourselves tomorrow--out to my cousin's wedding in Maine and down to his family and around to Tennessee, etcetera... here's hoping it's better than that one was.


Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm a Job-Aholic

Not a work-aholic, you understand. Though I dabbled in those waters as well (thank you Staffing Services, for teaching me the ways of the 100-hour work week, and thank you Religious Organization for introducing me to TMJ and weekly migraines. Love you both.) No, it turns out I'm just addicted to having a job. Here I am, first day out in jobless land and I'm about to tear my hair out already. I woke up promptly at 6 a.m. I watched the end of a movie about a spelling bee (on mute because Houseboy slept soundly next to me. Guess how exciting a movie about a spelling bee is on mute. Very Very Exciting). Then I went for a run. Now I'm writing a blog. Next I'm going to take my car in to get repaired because a tree fell on it this weekend. After that I might just drop by my job and see if any data needs analyzing. You know. Because I'm free. Yikes. Are those bugs under my skin?

Anyway, I realized that (except for three torturous months of unemployment after my master's degree) I've had a job since I was 12 years old. Here's the list in chronological order:

Babysitting (of course) (1991-1996)
Answering phones at a funeral home (1992-1993)
Filing at a doctor's office (1993-1994)
Lifeguard (1994-1995)
Pizza delivery driver (1995-1997)
Teacher's Assistant at a Montessori School (1997-1998)
Retail Whatever at Eastern Mountain Sports in Burnsville Mall (1998-1999)
Americans with Disabilities Act Tutor (1999-2001)
Data Entry at Blue Cross Blue Shield (1999-1999)
Retail Whatever at Levi's in Mall of America (1999-2001)
Postal Clerk (2000-2000)
Personal Care Attendant (2001-2001)
Retail Whatever at Cheapo Records (2001-2001)
Teacher's Assistant at local schools (2002-2003)
School Counselor at local Catholic school (2002-2003)
Supportive Services at local community organization (2003-2004)
Bitch of the Month at Staffing Services (2004-2005)
Whipping Girl at Religious Organization (2005-2007)
Awesomesest Researcher Ever at Government Organization (2006-2009)

Obviously a lot of those jobs ran concurrent.

Anyway, I'm on now to get my PhD in Education Policy at Vanderbilt, starting in August, and I'll be doing a fellowship at the same time, so I guess I'll have enough work to do when the time comes and I should enjoy these few months off. Not to mention figure out how to move three bedrooms full of accumulated crap into one and a half bedrooms seven hours away. Hm... maybe that can be the next data analysis project.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Last Day at Work Bitches!

That's right, I'm about to enter the Life of Leisure. Otherwise known as, the Life of the Unemployed. Or the Life of the Perpetual Student. Whatever you call it, I won't be in a cubicle 40 to 45 hours a week anymore. And would you believe it, it's making me a little nostalgic?

These khaki walls with their kind of weird feathery wing pattern, except for the one that I covered with an old piece of cloth in a fit of Pimp My Cubicle one day... the 27 green pushpins, 28 red pushpins, 9 black pushpins, 13 blue pushpins, 20 yellow pushpins, 46 white pushpins and 2 silver pushpins that held up little pieces of paper I wrote quotes on in funny fonts I made up because I was supposed to be reading the most boringest proposals to provide research services ever... my little box of googly eyes and army men (there's an explanation for that*)... the time I had my window wide open and a bird flew right into it, just narrowly missing flying right into my face at about 40 miles an hour... my drawer full of every kind of pain reliever, band-aid, contact solution, "feminine product," candy, mint, tea, barrettes, kleenex, soup, crackers, change of underwear, firearms, collapseable emergency shelter and, of course, mascara...

Plus, I'll miss having to type my social security number into the timeclock in the morning because they never did get my ID card to swipe right, and I'll miss putting "smbpasswd" into my UNIX portal every six months and I'll miss how Microsoft Office 2007 makes even pressing the Start button take 20 minutes, and I'll miss how the entire organization is in massive re-org mode and the head of our office just got laid off and was supposed to be leaving on July 3rd, but then just up and left today, and how at least every 10 minutes someone makes a joke about how they're going to be homeless and their children will starve....

Oh wait.

Fuck this.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

I was the smartest little white kid ever

Your book of the week this week is any collection you so choose of Edgar Allan Poe stories. The one I happen to be reading is called "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" and is leather bound and has one of those paper covers that started falling off right away and it doesn't even have a copyright date in it, but it has a pencilled in inscription with the price of 25 cents, so I'm guessing it's kind of old. Anyway, I don't know where this particular collection came from in our bookshelf, but I chose it because it's the one I haven't read, even though there are four others in our shelf I have read, and about half of the stories in this one I had already read, because I was a really really morbid child, as you probably figured out from this Way Back Tuesday installment. Anyway, in addition to reading all about real-life serial killers, I also liked reading about imaginary serial killers and other things that go bump in the night, so some of my favorite authors between the ages of about ten and fifteen were Stephen King, Bram Stoker, and Edgar Allan Poe. Re-reading Stephen King and Bram Stoker in adulthood I've realized that they were pretty gorey and I was a pretty sick kid. Re-reading Edgar Allan Poe I've realized that he's a fucking damn good writer and I was a legitimate genius.

Case in point, The Pit and the Pendulum, which was a personal favorite of mine, and which I had in a smaller collection along with The Gold Bug and The Raven and I liked to re-read on rainy, stormy days:

I was sick--sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me. The sentence--the dread sentence of death--was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears. After that, the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one indeterminate hum. It conveyed to my soul the idea of revolution--perhaps from its association in fancy with the burr of a mill-wheel.
And, yeah. I was twelve. I wish I had continued along the same trajectory of smartness growth. Judging from that sentence I'd guess I actually went along some sort of parabola, and I'm on the downward part now.

But maybe there's still hope for you guys, and if you read some Poe you could get smarter. And more murderous. Let's build a band of murderous geniuses!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm not even fucking joking right now

Is this for real?

What in the hell? 30 days in jail? For KILLING a PERSON? A pedestrian??

He got drunk. At a hotel bar. He LEFT the hotel bar. IN A CAR. He somehow hit A PEDESTRIAN. And KILLED that person.

How is that not life in prison? How is that not life in prison plus a billion dollars? Plus the hotel valet service pays a billion dollars? Plus the hotel bar pays a billion dollars? Plus every person who ever knew him and let him own a car or take a drink and didn't come pick him up pays a billion dollars?

Not only does he not have to spend the rest of his life in prison and pay the family every dime he ever made or ever will make, he never even had that on the table. He "faced 15 years in prison." That's just ridiculous. You went and got drunk in a situation where you had full and easy opportunity to have absolutely no one get hurt and yet you chose the other option.

Oh, and p.s., I heard about this on Shysterball, where Craig Calcaterra points out that this means that Donte Stallworth may serve less time than two guys who ran onto the field during a rain delay in a Cincinnati Reds game. Fan Fucking Tastic.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

At this point, I'm just starting to feel sympathetic for myself

Holy shit holy shit holy shit guys. Have you been watching this show Daisy of Love? Because I totally haven't. WHAT. IN. THE. HELL? I come home today and sit down and turn on the tv and some dude named Fox's girlfriend has called the house, which is like a totally big deal because this is one of those shows where he's supposed to be there because he thinks he's Daisy's true love and all and having a live-in girlfriend is apparently antithetical to that or something. So he's trying to talk to her on the phone with Daisy right there and not let Daisy know that it's his girlfriend (even though Daisy already knows) and not let his girlfriend know that he's not really at a hairstyling competition (even though she already knows too) and then afterwards the dude who apparently like moderates the show or something goes "Do you have a girlfriend?" and Fox* says "There are events which have transpired which are such that I had a girlfriend..." and the other guy goes "Do you HAVE a girlfriend?" And Fox goes "Mumblepox univariate synergy expressionism etcetera as such!" And, just as I thought my head was going to explode with awesomeness, cut to Daisy, who is going "I'm so confused! Why do guys keep lying to me? What is wrong with me? I can't decide if I should eliminate Fox because I'm just so drawn to him" and then I peed all over the couch and remembered why I don't watch reality tv and why I used to watch reality tv all at the same time.

*Also, are there people in the world with normal names anymore?


The Tubing on the Apple River Story

So, back when I was being Jesucated myself, instead of Jesucating others, I (as you may have heard) was living in a really super duper small town and went to a really super duper small church. Small meaning there were about 10 people on a Sunday, and 80% of them were over 60*. The "Confirmation Class" was me, my sister and my friend Barb talkin' 'bout Jesus with my mom and my piano teacher.

It was also the three of us joining up with other Jesus folk to go tubing on the Apple River. Occasionally I find out that things that I thought were totally normal are not normal, so I'm going to go ahead and explain what that means. That means you get in an inner tube (like the tube inside a tire, only much, much bigger) and float down a river. In this case, a river that runs through the suburbs of the Twin Cities. It's mostly about getting a tan and drinking beer. Except we were 12 and 14 years old, so there was no beer. Except for the chaperones. Who had coolers and coolers of beer.

Anyway, we were told before takeoff that there would be two sets of rapids, a little one and then a big one. We could get off after the little one if we were big pussies and just wanted to get to the hot dog cookout. We were not big pussies, we were tough rural kids and definitely wanted all the suburbanites around to know it.

Oh, also, that year there had been a lot of snow and then a lot of rain during the spring. No big deal. That will just come in later.

Anyway, so me and my sister and my friend Barb and my other friend Lisa, who I invited along to get Jesufied via a tan and some muddy water, all strapped our inner tubes together and hopped into the river. We floated on down, feeling good, but not as good as the chaperones, who were stinking drunk by the time we reached the rapids, which were boring as shit, and we let everyone know it. "Boooooo!" We said. "These little rapids are BORING!" Then we saw just about everyone get out after them and we LAUGHED. "Suburbanites!" We cried, "What pussies!"

We continued on to the second set of rapids. "Oh dear," we whispered to each other, "These are a bit much. Lisa, grab that low hanging tree branch, we'll bail out and go back to the hot dog cookout." So, Lisa grabs the branch, rips a layer of skin off her arms and winds up hanging over the river as the rest of us float downstream without her. Oops. With much effort, we're able to get her back to the inner tube raft, but now we're too far in the rapids to go back and there's too much underbrush to walk around them, especially since I managed to lose my shoes, so we decide to just keep going to the second check point.

Which we figured will be coming up any moment now.

Aaaaaaaaaany moment now.

Yup. Just around this curve. Or that one. See, the thing is that the river must double back on itself. Or maybe that big field up there is where everyone is waiting. Hm. Those signs with the big red danger symbols on them can't be good.

About three hours later, we finally see a house over looking the river. Atop a 50 foot cliff. So, we scramble up the cliff and knock on the glass doors of the dreaded suburbanite who doesn't even ask us if we're on drugs before calling the organizers of the field trip, who inform my father that we totally ditched on purpose because we are evil bad children to the core and not even Jesus can save us**.

I proceed to dream about bear attacks and hot dog cookouts for about a week.

*Smart people may notice that the math there doesn't make sense, unless either me, my sister or my friend Barb were also over 60. Well screw you and your math. God is not about math.

** Which may or may not be true, but the actual problem was that spring flooding obscured the first rapids and made the second set seem "small" to us bad asses. Also, the drunken adults didn't help.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Can I call in sick on my last day?

Dudes, I have a cold. I know, right? Will the world ever be fair and just? I have about four sick days left, and in any other week I wouldn't even have thought twice about it. I'd have called my boss early enough that there was no way I'd have to talk to anyone but his answering machine, said "Boss man, I have the sniffles and work is just too much for me right now," and then started to cry and maybe have a coughing fit or something.

But no. I only have five (four and 3/4) days of work left, so apparently it's bad form to call in sick. Because, what? I'll get fired? They'll call up Vanderbilt and be like "Just a warning, your new student TOTALLY called in sick in her last week of work. That's the kind of person you're letting in to your program now. You're welcome."

Speaking of getting fired, at my first job out of grad school, my best friend (who worked there with me) quit and then went back to her desk, got a phone call, and was informed that they were firing her instead. They sent security to escort her out and everything. Oh, and p.s., it was her birthday. Thus began my illustrious career that I am now attempting to escape by going back to school again.

Also, no matter what your big sister tells you, butterflies and moths don't bite, not even if they're really mad at you for pulling the petals off a flower. I'm on DayQuil.


Friday, June 12, 2009


So, this is me on my last days of work:

Why do I get to sit here all day every day for the last three years basically minding my own business except for when other people want to mind my business and sometimes when there was a datamergency and I had to stay at the office until all hours of the night, but the point is mostly I got to read the Internet cover to cover every day as long as I got my work done, but now all of a sudden when I'm going to be leaving for good people are all up in my face every two seconds with the stupidest of all dumb questions that ever existed and also they hire someone who thinks it's totally ok to ask me if he can have my Argo card when I go with all the money still on it, since I won't be using it anymore, seeing as how I'm moving away from the universe.

/Deep Breath

I ate a Dove chocolate thingy and it told me to take a deep breath.

Also, this morning there was a crazy man who came into our office yelling about his GED transcript and smoking something that was not a cigarette, and we work on the 11th floor and we're supposed to have security, but apparently he told them he was GOING TO TALK TO THE BOARD and so that's the magic words to get to go wherever you want.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

I don't hate you, I'm just crazy

Last night I had a dream that a dolphin was attacking me, and I threw it off me violently, then woke up to see the Neurotic Cat flying end over end and landing on his back on the floor.



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dirty Stinking Socialists

That's right, it's Book of the Week time, and I've been reading about the dirty commies again:

The good thing about George Orwell, compared to the other anti-American types out there, is that he's a very engaging writer and actually makes you care about the plight of the average miner and the unemployed in England in the 1930s. He also is capable of recognizing the problems with "his" political party and engages in a good run down of both why the upper class in Britain think the poor smell bad, and why they think that Socialists are assholes. For some reason he doesn't engage the issue of Socialists smelling bad, but maybe that's a modern phenomenon unique to skinny white kids on college campuses.

It reminded me a little of The Jungle, which is certainly not the most imaginative comparison ever, since they're both socialist writers writing about the disgusting conditions faced by the working class. The Jungle put me off meat since high school, and now I'm definitely not going to be using any coal any time soon. Except for when it's used to make my electricity and heat. I need those things so I won't smell like a socialist.

Ok, for your last word you get one clever moment of English Major Interpretation: the title is "The Road to Wigan Pier", but Orwell points out early on that Wigan Pier (as such) no longer exists. So the book is about how being in the working class is a road to Nowhere. Get it? Yeah, I'm smart. They didn't even mention that on Wikipedia or nothing.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Formative moments in serial killing

When I was about 9 years old, and we had recently moved back to Minnesota, fulfilling my lifelong dream of Not Living in Virginia Anymore, there was this 16 year old kid named David Brom who murdered his entire family with an axe in a town about 70 miles from where we lived. Of course I heard a thing or two about it, but, being nine and of the overly imaginative and spazzy type, I was forbidden from reading any of the newspaper accounts or watching anything on tv about it.

Except that my parents were good hippies and kept a stack of newspapers next to the fireplace to be bound and brought to the recycling center in St. Peter (this was before everyone had recycling pickup, if you can believe it). So, of course I snuck downstairs after my bedtime one night and sat in the middle of the living room floor reading a long and gory account about how he bashed in their skulls and then went out for drive through with his girlfriend.

I spent the next few nights wondering whether it would be better to close my door so I could hear my sister coming when she inevitably axe murdered me, or if I should leave it open so I could die peacefully in my sleep*.

I decided I couldn't take her even if I heard her coming, so I'd rather die peacefully, and I have slept with the door open ever since.

* It should probably be mentioned that this is the first time I had my own bedroom, upping the scary factor, since she'd have to stalk down the hall with the axe, rather than just coming down from the top bunk. Actually, maybe the top bunk thing is scarier. You decide.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I am going to hell

Can I bitch for just a minute about Church Folk?  Don't get me wrong, they're great Folk.  Some of the greatest Folk, in fact.  At least My Church Folk are.  They make a good brownie and they've even improved their coffee-making since they got into the whole Fair Trade thing.  They're very warm and cuddly and want to make sure everyone's included all the damn time, which gets on my nerves in ways I won't go into right now.  

The issue is their children.  Their children are Very Special.  They need a lot of Attention.  They think a great deal about the Education of their children, and convene committees on how to make sure even their Jesucation is as high quality as all their other enriching activities.  I volunteer to take part in this Jesucation because I grew up in a tiny town with a tinier church community, where if the priest's daughter didn't do it, didn't nobody do it, and besides which they were just happy that a teenager would help out, so happy in fact that they gave me Christmas presents and end-of-the-year presents and I made out pretty well for a 16 year old.  

Anyway, I feel guilty if I don't volunteer for things because I sympathize with the plight of the working priest, not to mention I like kids.  Other people's kids, not my own, because every time I see my own there's this whole uncomfortable situation where I have to pretend I don't know them, and they have to pretend they don't remember me pinning their names to their shirts and leaving them at the YMCA.

Right.  So, I've volunteered to Jesucate the Children for about four years now at this very inclusive and educated and intelligent congregation, and I'm about to leave to Jesucate the folks of the South, and they have on the schedule "Celebration" during the "Children's Formation Hour" for Sunday, and I figure I'm getting some kind of plaque with my head in bronze on it or something, but instead they ask me to "pick my favorite lesson to teach" and at the end I'll get a cupcake.

I love me some cupcakes.

But that ain't no celebration.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Kinder, gentler, boringer

Sometimes, when I get up early-ish and go for a run in the morning, and then have peanut butter toast and tea for breakfast, and wear my nice-ish jeans and a white button-down shirt to work, and accomplish actual worthwhile things before 10 o'clock in the morning, I feel like a nice person.  I feel like maybe it's sunny outside, and my hair is being adequately tamed by only two barrettes, and there are not boogers hanging out of my nose, and humanity in general is not a stinking cesspool of muck.

This makes for bad blogging.  Good blogging comes from pain.  Or, more accurately, whiny discomfort and itchiness.

Check in with me again on Monday, when I will most likely have encountered Slow People on the Sidewalk or Guy Who Chews with His Mouth Open, and I'll have more to say.

P.S. The word "boringer" makes me think of Juan Berenguer, who I thought pronounced his name "BEAR-in-grr," but if recent used car commercials are to be believed, it's more like "BEAR-en-GAIR." 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Titles are for blogdorks

So, I thought about looking into how often I start a blog with the word "So," but that seemed like a lot of work, so I didn't.  Fascinating.

I also start a lot of sentences with "Anyway," which probably indicates that I get sidetracked a lot.

What was I saying?  Oh right, you of course have read both of the books I recommended yesterday, so you get a movie treat.  Houseboy had libarry business to take care of in downtown yesterday afternoon, so when he was done he met me after work and we went up to the River East theater, wandered around looking for one particular Irish bar among the clumps of Irish bars in downtown and somehow circling it about twenty times before it appeared out of nowhere like that one town [insert literary reference here]*, and then offered us hummus.  

After the hummus, we saw the movie showing closest to when we arrived at the theater, which was Drag Me To Hell.  Even though I like horror movies, I was skeptical about this one at first, expecting it to be in the vein of recent horror movies, which are really just torture porn**.  But then I read that it was written and directed by Sam Raimi, of Evil Dead, et al. fame, and that it was going to be funny.  Well, ok, I was still skeptical even then, because I liked the Evil Dead movies and found them funny and all, but I've seen plenty enough 80s horror/comedy failures to know that that formula is not always successful.  

Anyway, to cut this rambling nonsense to shorterness, I will avoid any in-depth discussion of the distinction between "death" and "hell" or the slippery slope of sin that leads us from denying old ladies bank loans to condemning people to torture for eternity because we can't take responsibility for our own actions, or why an Indian dude can translate Spanish, and just say: FUNNY.  It was FUNNY.  And jump-scare and gross-out scary.  If you liked Shaun of the Dead, you'll like it.  If you didn't like Shaun of the Dead, you should read this post, and then never come back here because you have deep-seated mental and emotional problems that I can't help you with.  

Oh, and if you go see it, be on the lookout for a great scene between the main character, her boyfriend and her boyfriend's parents, in which he says "HAVE.  You HAVE a cat... unless something happened to it?" and she gives the funniest, creepiest damn look I've seen in a movie in a long time.  

* I know it's Brigadoon, and it's not a book, it's a musical.  Shutup you face.

** Obviously, I didn't make up that awesome turn of phrase:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Murder is hot

It's been awhile since I've done a "Book of the Week," and not because I haven't been reading books every week but because I have lost faith that you, Internet Readers, give a shit about the downfall of our society, and reading the comments on The Onion AV Club articles that invariably include eight misspellings, four grammatical errors and at least twenty words stripped of their vowels to "save space," is not helping.  

But you know what?  Fuck you.  I'm going to tell you about books anyway.  Cause why?  Cause Fuck You, that's why.

So, go read a collection of short stories by Flannery O'Connor.  It will make you depressed and hate humanity for reasons completely separate from their low educational attainment.  You will meet all kinds of lovely characters who come from the southern marshes and know the difference between white trash and good folk and have Christ on their side.  I just recommend that you don't open your book to the story entitled "The Artificial N-Word*" while on the bus because all of a sudden your self-important white ass will find it necessary to flip very quickly to another page to prove you're not a racist to the completely oblivious person next to you.

When you're done with that, you should read "I Am No One You Know," by Joyce Carol Oates, and see another side of depressing, from a more Northern point of view.  Then, you'll be caught up with me just in time to buy Oates' fictionalized biography of Jeffrey Dahmer, which I am looking forward to in what is probably an unhealthy way. 

* Surprise, surprise, the actual N-word appears in that story title, as well as peppered throughout many of her stories, but I am absolutely constitutionally incapable of even typing it, which does not in any way make me less racist, just more paranoid, and tending toward imbuing words with their own magical powers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm a crazy magnet

I mean I attract crazies.  Not that I am a material or object that creates a magnetic field and doesn't fit social norms of behavior.  Though I'm that too.

So, this morning I had to run for the bus, but I got to the stop just a little before it, and there was a dude there also waiting, and because I look a little like a panting Elmo doll when I run, I sort of smiled at the guy like "Hey there, I know I look funny, but you know how it is... with the bus and all... " (I can communicate a lot in a smile).  Anyway, guy looks right at me and goes "GET.  AWAY.  FROM.  ME!"  and starts backing away from the bus stop murmuring swear words.  So I'm all "Sorry!" and another smile that's like "Hey, it's ok that you're insane, just please don't get on this bus with me because I like to just read and listen to music on the way to work, not get knifed." Anyway, he may have intended to take that bus, but he had completely backed down the block by then, so he missed it.

Then, I get off in downtown, and this woman is stopped in the middle of State street staring down a bus.  The light turns, the bus driver honks politely, and she just stands there.  Staring.  He honks politely again.  She stares some more.  The light turns again, and she finally decides to walk.

All this reminds me of when I was in 6th grade and we had a field trip to the Como Park Conservatory, and there was this woman standing on the steps in a wedding dress, and me and my friend decided to make fun of her, because we were brilliant twelve year old assholes like that.  So we're joking about how maybe her husband left her at the altar (I know, I mentioned that we're assholes), and we're walking in the door, and she comes flying up the steps, grabs me by my face and hisses "Little girls shouldn't have SUCH BIG MOUTHS!" and then lets me go.  

I suppose that one I deserved a little bit.