Thursday, August 30, 2007
feeling poetical
The frustrated interior decorator in me couldn't resist rearranging every item of furniture in my classroom today, and so - a bunch of sweat and one slightly injured shoulder later - my heavy lifting led to the discovery of some magnetic poetry on my chalkboard that began last year with the best intentions, but ultimately needed to be hidden behind a bookshelf due to the fact that many of my kids were...well...a bit horrid. Either I didn't notice these poetic gems before I covered them up, my students figured out my meager attempt to stifle their "creativity" and foiled it by reaching back there and composing anyway, or the custodian who cleans my room likes to wax poetical. Either way, I sort of liked them, and since sharing is nice I thought I just might.

This first one is actually sort of sweetly earnest, and perfectly encapsulates how I'm feeling right about now:

This next one starts expectantly sulky, but then takes a rather unexpected turn for the pervy:

But my favorite is this:

So many volumes are in those two little words. And you know, I'm not sure I have an answer for him/her. At least not one we could both get behind.

And on that note, I'm going to get my lazy weekend started a bit early over in these parts. Play nice, eat your vegetables and I'll holla at ya Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
because, face it, everyone looks better in black and white
Today I was all primed and set to write something about how mad "the office" made me this afternoon, about how the only way I see feeling supported at work is by wearing a really good bra, and that would probably have led to something about how cranky I've been in general for the past three days for no particularly good reason screw it. That's no fun.

What is fun, however, is Pajiba's comment diversion for the day.

And for the record, if I could transport back in time to 1941-1959, had a very understanding spouse and was bisexual, my five celebrity freebies would be:

5. Marlon Brando (circa On the Waterfront, not Apocalypse Now, obv.)
4. Bettie Page (sure, she sorta looks like she'd smell bad, but...some people are worth holding your nose for, yes?)
3. Dean Martin (further proof that gorgeous things can come from Eastern Ohio, that cat can sing to me whenever he wants)
2. James Dean (sulky, handsome, and died before his time - well twist my arm why don't you)

and finally...

1. Paul- freakin' blue-eyed - Newman
(grrr, baby, grrr!)

But honorable mentions would have to go to Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart for the simple reason that I'm a great big ole' sloppy Hitchcock fan.

Now if you'll excuse me, I just remembered that I need to add Cool Hand Luke, The Hustler, Rear Window and Rope to my Netflix queue while I'm still all hot and bothered...woof!

birdhouse of horror
Please picture me, so fresh and so clean, newly emerged from the post-run shower and about to sit down with a glass of red in hand and a laptop in lap when,


and from the corner of my eye I spy...

then, after a whole lot of barking and a fair bit of screaming, it *swooshed!* itself right on over to...

Terrifying, eh? So, after the barking and the screaming and the realization that this is only a bird for Christ's sake, instincts kicked in. Chloe, being a beast, tried to eat it. Me, being from the hills of nowheresville Ohio, wanted to do what daddy did whenever a bat got in our house. (I'll spare you the details least you think I'm the beast.) Fortunately, cooler, more peace-loving heads prevailed, and our house is once again sans bird without so much as a drop of blood shed.

But there was a moment or two when I thought we were surely done for. Oh yes, I'm surprised we all made it out alive. The monstrous, red-eyed, enormous, vampiric zombie demon bird almost prevailed, but we felled the fell beastie! We felled that sucker good!!!

It was a life-flashing-before-your-eyes, reevaluation-of-your-priorities sort of evening, you know?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007
and the best text message of the day goes to...
...Nathan, for interrupting my booooring meeting today with this little gem, the reading of which made me laugh out loud. And quite inappropriately so.

Mari* just invited me in her house to examine her bunion and try some "chocolate bits" that she just found and loves to snack on while watching tv. The bunion was gross, and the "chocolate bits" were just chocolate chips.

He later told me that she also felt it necessary to show off her new Toe Spacers, which she was so excited about that she cut out the advertisement so he could take it home with him for his later perusal.

Good God, our neighbors are strange.

* Mari is our neighbor to the North. She's British, elderly, smells a bit like mothballs, and I suspect that might have a crush on my husband. One woman simply cannot have that many things go wrong in her house to the point where she needs to call the young neighbor man over 2-3 times a week for "a bit of help."

Monday, August 27, 2007
weekend round-up
The good news is that golfing went as well as I had expected it to, I didn't hurt myself, and I even came away with a trophy. See:

The bad news is I had very low expectations and my trophy for last place. You can't see it from under Lily's grasp, but there's a horse's ass on top. The trophy itself was donated by my uncle Tim, who was awarded it at work. One may wonder why a professional would receive a trophy of a horse's ass via one's colleagues, probably haven't met my uncle. He marches to his own drummer.

Other highlights include the third hole when I hit my ball safely over the water hazard, placing it beautifully on the green in one swing; and the ninth hole when I somehow managed to hit my cousin Amanda in the leg with my ball, thus bouncing if off her body to ensure a quite favorable on-the-green lie. And funny enough, my nine-year-old cousin was the one to win the whole thing, and I shot a 45. (A prize if you can guess which one of those statements is a lie.)

In other good news, I got to help a lovely friend celebrate her 29th 9th birthday on Sunday, and Nathan's car is now fixed.

The bad news, of course, is that his car was broken, our cable/Internet connection is still down, and I have to go back to work tomorrow. No students until after Labor Day, but lots and lots of long-winded meetings. Hopefully it will be more up-beat than last year's opening "celebration," which was more like an opening funeral. Hopefully...

Also, I'm exhausted. I can't remember the last weekend I didn't spend on the road, and I'm really looking forward to staying in town this weekend before the traveling starts up again in September. I do so love seeing my peeps, but I truly must start hosting more events, methinks.

Finally, I'm sure that none of you cared about any of this.

Finally, finally, I'm also sure that's just going to have to be okay with me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007
skool starhts soon!

Friday, August 24, 2007
gone golfin'
We'll be leaving later today, braving flooded Ohio freeways in order to rise far too early tomorrow morning and compete in my family's annual golf outing, which I have only participated in once due to lack of clubs and skill, coupled with a healthy dose of shame and a burning desire to protect my dignity. But for some reason, I've decided to play this year. Goodbye, dignity; hello, shame.

Things That are Certain:
  • I will swear. A lot.
  • I will apologize profusely to the three other guys unfortunate enough to be placed in my group. Or on my team. Or whatever the heck it's called.
  • I will golf 9 holes with only two clubs: my eight iron and my putter.
  • It will be ugly.
  • Afterward, I will be sore.

Things That are Highly Probable:
  • My handicap - the highest in the league - will be a factor.
  • My handicap, although high, will not be enough of a factor to salvage my score.
  • My nine-year-old cousin will play much better and act more maturely than me.
  • At some point in time, I will throw a tantrum.
  • When that time comes, I may also throw a club.

Things That are Possible, However Unlikely:
  • Despite having only played a handful of times in my life and not at all in seven years, I will be better than I thought.
  • I will win, thus erasing my nuclear family's shame at never having a member place first in the thirty or so years this "friendly" family competition has been in existence.
  • I will remember that it's only a game and will have fun, regardless of how poorly I may be playing.
  • I will make my daddy proud.

Things I Will Tell You, Although They Will be Blatant Lies:
  • The best part was when, from out of nowhere, I drove dead straight for 250 yards, placing my ball right on the edge of the green.
  • My short game was my salvation.
  • I shot a 45.
  • It was fun and not at all embarrassing. We really should go golfing together sometime!

Expect early morning obscenity-laced texts tomorrow, and wish me luck. While you're at it, wish also that no one gets hurt.

Thursday, August 23, 2007
re: why i'm ignoring you today, even if it's not immediately apparent that i am doing so
Oh heck. Ordinarily, I'd have got up this morning, poured a cup of coffee, read some horrific story on, got really depressed, clicked over to McSweeney's or elsewhere, got undepressed, found inspiration somewhere to compose a blog post about something, took a shower, then lay about for a bit. And it would have been lovely.

But not today.

See, I have to meet with a colleague this morning about that syllabus I still haven't written, then go somewhere and write the syllabus after meeting with her about the syllabus that I have not yet writ. So, yes, today needs to be a bit more productive than the last 45 or so have been; consequently, I'm banning myself from technological distractions for the better part of the day.

However, while I'm dusting off a desk that I haven't seen since June and slaving away over a red-hot syllabus you better believe that I'll be thinking about you, baby. I even wrote a song for you. And while you listen, do remember that of all the places I'd rather be, where you are comes first.

But...come to think of it I would love to be back in Venice...or at the beach...and then there's the discount shoe room at Von Maur...and snuggley in my bed is awfully nice too....

But yes, after all those other places - with you, of course. (Providing that's what you are into.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
a note on the book links
In an attempt to further postpone writing my syllabus, I've spent the last 30 minutes or so changing all the book links to the right so that, rather than directing you to where each can be purchased from Amazon, they now direct you to my blog entry. In the event that I did not write a blog entry on one, you will be directed to the rating and/or review I gave it on Good Reads.

I feel that this set up makes much more sense than the previous; but yes, I also realize that I flatter myself tremendously thinking that anyone other than me cares a wit. Tra la la la la....

books: a good and happy child
A Good and Happy Child (Justin Evans' debut) begins with George Davis, a first time father, who finds himself incapable of holding his newborn son. This inexplicable repulsion for his own child and the considerable strain it puts on his marriage sends him to a psychologist, who encourages him to journal in the hopes of understanding his unusual hangup. Through the journals, which consume the majority of the novel's plot line, Davis begins to recall a strange moment in his childhood shortly after his own father's mysterious death while chasing demons in Honduras. The journals recount strange visions Davis had as a child, "accidents" that frequently occurred around Davis and that threatened to get him committed, and the help he sought from his father's mystic friends who convinced him that his visions were demonic.

Truly intelligent horror is such a rarity, and although my biggest criticism of Evans' debut is that it's more unnerving than it is scary, there were certainly quite a few scenes that got under my skin. I mistakenly assumed that this would simply be a story about demonic possession, but it turned out to be something much more interesting - a freaky, tight little tale that explores both demons vs psychology, rationality vs spirituality, and perception vs reality. I've read several reviews by people who found the ending to be a bit frustrating, and would agree that it was anything but neat while the book had a tendency to ask more questions than it answered; however, for me, anyway, those are all good things.

Bottom line, I thought this was a very smart, spooky and enjoyable read. If you like The Exorcist you'd probably like it too. Holler if you want to borrow.

Up Next (assuming B&N has it in stock): I Love You, Beth Cooper, by Larry Doyle

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007
inherit the unicorn
One of the more ridiculous things I've discovered today is how behind I am on my creationism current events. Perhaps a trip to the The Creationism Museum, which opened last May in Kentucky, argues that Adam walked with the dinosaurs, and boasts exhibits such as "Six Days of Creation" and "Dinosaurs and Dragons" is in order. Care to join?

Also ridiculous, but in a separate, awesome way, is that a response to aforementioned museum has sprung up. A group (sarcastically) calling themselves the Brotherhood of Fantasy Creatures (BFC for short) has formed, and is calling for artists' design submissions for a billboard advertising The Unicorn Museum, which they actually plan to install next to The Creationism Museum. On their website, the BFC argues that, in addition to the unicorn (which must exist since it is mentioned nine times in the Bible), The Creationism Museum "systematically oppresses belief in other fantasy creatures including Elves, Gnomes, Naiads, and our Brothers Hippogriff." The website also indicates that the museum will have a Basilisk petting zoo.

Unfortunately, The Unicorn Museum is only a joke. Also unfortunately, The Creationism Museum is not.

(Thank you, Andrew Sullivan)

today's letter is "M," as in monsters. or music. or movies. or mugs. or meandering posts.

So, how's things? Good? Enjoying your Tuesday? Yes? Aww, that's just super. So, I don't really have anything in the way of interesting personal anecdotes, bizarre but true neighbor run-ins, or even mildly amusing fictions that I might attempt to pass off as fact, so instead take these links and whatnot. Please and thanks, my lovely lovelies...

Proving once again that only the good die young, it came as a terrible blow to hear that after 28 years of bravely reporting the stories that others feared to touch, this will be the very last installment of The Weekly World News. Where now will the world turn for periodic Bat Boy updates, blurry pictures of the Virgin Mary in someone's pancake, and headlines such as "Hillary Clinton Adopts Alien Baby" and "Crazed Dieter Mistakes Dwarf For Chicken?" Fox & Friends, I guess...

Speaking of Dick Cheney, here's yet more speculation on what the monster might be (or might not be) in 1-18-08. Apparently, it's not Voltron, and "much of the movie will revolve around the characters fleeing for their lives, not from the big one stomping the city, but from the 'raptor-like' smaller versions hunting them down." Suffice it to say, I'm excited.

I'm also more than a little excited about several new music releases this week (The New Pornographers, Rilo Kiley and Over the Rhine - oh my!), but more than a little deflated since nary a one of them is available on emusic....yet. Unfortunately, I'm nothing if not impatient when I spy something I want, so Steve Jobs will probably be seeing more of my money...soon.

One of my favorite bloggers penned a review of The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters that made me equal parts relieved that the video gamer documentary sounds as good as I hoped it would be and frustrated that it's apparently not going to run anywhere near me any time soon. I know Detroit's not exactly New York, but it's not exactly Muncie either. Throw a girl a bone.

And while I've got you here, wanna see what happens if you were to put a dry tea bag in an empty mug inside a microwave set for two minutes on "high"?

Cute, huh? Of course, you'll have to imagine the smell, leaping flames and me running bewildered and terrified full-speed towards my kitchen for yourself, which I trust you - being the intelligent, imaginative person you are - can very well do. And while you're at it, picture me devastatingly beautiful, well-coiffed hair blowing in a mysterious indoor breeze, as I risk life and limb to rescue several orphans and a basket of puppies from said flaming mug, 'kay?

Because that's exactly how it happened.


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Monday, August 20, 2007
so this is august, eh?
All this rain is something else, no? Reminds me that I've spent the last three weeks fondly reminiscing of autumn and sweaters and crisp chills in the air...and how completely silly all that is. Autumn is always better in theory. Summer, I demand that you come back here; you and me have some unfinished business!

* finger wagging! foot stamping! eyebrows furrowing! chest heaving! slowly calming down!*

At the very least all this less-than-pleasant (positively beastly) weather has forced me to remain indoors and productive (rendered me completely useless). I've spent the better part of the day cleaning (napping), cooking a lovely three-course meal for this evening, (making some Easy Mac and reheating coffee in the microwave), and writing my syllabus (researching for my upcoming fantasy football draft).

Not so bad for a rainy Monday, huh?

And since it's still only the early evening, I see no reason why this wave of furious productivity can't keep crashing on. So in that spirit, I'm going to wrap this up so I can get back to writing that funny, poignant, and daringly original screenplay (catch up on Entourage, then continue to be baffled by Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!), study my irregular verb forms so I can finally read Oedipus Rex in the original Greek (play Orphan Feast), then go run three miles and follow it up with some light arm and ab work (snuggle up and nap a bit more with my poorly-behaved but so pretty she can get away with it redheaded coyote dog).

So, hey you. Stay warm. Stay fabulous.

Thursday, August 16, 2007
off to the lake, where we will straight up, flat out, literally go camping
We all prepare for weekend camping trips in different ways. Some research recipes for savory wilderness cuisine. Some dig through garages and attics for useful things such as flashlights, handguns and bug spray. Others bulk up on their cardio in case a sudden sprint from a bear is in order. Me, I buy shoes.

But not just any shoes. Oh, no. I buy nostalgic shoes.

Remember KangaROOS? Popularized in the early 80s? Zippered pockets to house your keys while you're running? Yes? No? Well, regardless, I now own a pair. You're jealous, I'm sure.

And yes, although it's still 2007, my feet will be rockin' like it's 1984 - pockets and all. Teeny, tiny pockets that are really only good for storing half a key, providing shelter for a small family of ants, or squirreling away a single acorn - but pockets nonetheless. Should be incredibly useful, I'd think.

So, yep! All ready on this end. Shall we camp?

why yeeees, i'd love to take a ride on your tandem *wink, wink*
Yes, I know I mentioned taking the rest of the week off, but once again I find myself unable to resist shouting pointlessly into the vast void. Sooooo,

hello vast void; how are you this fine Thursday?

(crickets chirp, tumbleweeds tumble, etc, etc...)

Hmm. Well, I choose to interpret your silence as a tacit indication that all things are good. Coincidentally, I'm good too. Thanks for not asking. And while you're here, I have a question, or at least something I've been pondering, and, well shucks, you're just such a super listener!

Here's the scenario: as you're taking out the garbage, a strange woman passes leisurely by on a tandem bike. She smiles, offers a polite salutation (which you, being raised right, politely return), and then turns her head, frames her eyes into sly slits and throws back an offer to let you borrow her tandem.

Now, I know what I did, but first - what would you do?

Would you,

A) happily accept. Meandering around on a tandem bike with a complete stranger is not only ever so fun, but a great way to meet a new friend!


B) stand mutely, garbage in hand and face quizzical as you silently attempt to sort out why a random woman would offer her tandem to you, a complete stranger, who might subject it, her or both to any number of nefarious acts.

Or finally,

C) politely refuse. It is common knowledge that when someone offers to let you "borrow my tandem" that person is speaking in salacious code, and to accept would mean you have agreed to any number of indecent proposals.

(crickets continue chirping, tumbleweeds keep tumbling, etcs continue etc-ering...)
What? You'd choose "C"? Me too! And quite wisely done, I'd say. After all, mama didn't raise no 'ho. Right? Am I right?! ;)

(chirp, chirp. tumble, tumble. etc, etc.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007
nobody needs a blog in today's wintry economic climate
Somehow I have contracted a case of blog malaise. Don't quite know where it came from, but it started as an itch, grew to a nag and now it's becoming a bit debilitating, and unless I get over it, this might be it for me.

At least for the week. We'll see.

Anyway, in the spirit of yesterday's post, coupled with the impending twilight of summer, I bring you another video that you don't need. Now if you'll excuse me, I plan to spend my day angrily rollerskating to it while I continue to wait for my breasts to grow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
my life plan, as written by me at three key stages of my youth
But before we begin, I should probably tell you that I emerged from the womb not only able to speak, but with a 12th grade vocabulary and a grasp of grammar that would make any sixteen-year-old tremble with envy. It's true! Ask my mom.

Age 4:
Due to my vast knowledge, unfailing loyalty and boundless enthusiasm I see no reason why I shouldn't be elected president of the Smurf's fan club by the ripe old age of ten. I imagine my position as President will be quite lucrative, and should easily afford me the ability to purchase my dream home: a life-sized replica of Barbie's Dream House (painted pink, of course), complete with a high heel-shaped swimming pool in the back. To ward off loneliness, I plan to share this house with those who I love most: mommy, daddy, my dogs, my extensive My Little Pony collection, Mr. Rogers and his entire neighborhood, and an African elephant who I will cleverly name "Giraffe." Marriage is doubtful because boys are disgusting, but if I were to decide to enter into the institution it would either be with Ralph from The Muppets, or with my friend Anthony who owns a super cool, electric Big Wheel thingy, and also happens to be the only boy I know. Now give me a cookie, hand me my Strawberry Shortcake blanket and get the eff out of my room so I can take a nap already.

Age 9:
I'm pretty sure that at the rate I'm going I will win Olympic medals in synchronized swimming, the 100 meter dash and Connect Four - which I have every confidence will become a competitive event within the next ten years - and that I can accomplish all of this by the age of fifteen. The notoriety I will receive from my athletic prowess, coupled with the fame I have amassed as a world-famous marine biologist who moonlights as a soap opera actress, should be enough to win the eye of that really cute guy from 21 Jump Street. Once the two of us are married, we will immediately begin having children - four girls, just like in Little Women - and I will choose the most multisyllabic, flowery names I can find for each of them (Genevieve Felicity, or Brigitte Lily-of-the-Valley, for instance). The six of us will share a quiet, happy existence until really cute guy from 21 Jump Street dies suddenly and tragically in a shoot-out at one of the high schools where he works as an undercover officer busting drug dealers, date rapists, and SAT cheaters. Of course it will be sad, but seeing as I'm only 20 and life must go on I will then travel to London, where my tragic story will earn me an audience with the Queen of England. As I tell my tale of terrible woe, Prince William will have no choice but to fall madly in love with me. (It won't hurt that I plan on being very tall, very thin, and very gorgeous.) Our marriage will be quick, celebrated, and lavish, and together we will live out the remainder of our days being entertained by dancing monkeys and bumbling court-jesters as we sit on our thrones wearing our giant, jewel-encrusted crowns and dining on only the finest macaroni & cheese and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches in all of merry ole' England. But for all of this to come to fruition, I really need to get back to practicing Connect Four as I bone-up on British culture by singing along loudly and poorly to my Duran Duran and Bananarama tapes on my awesome new Walkman. So, if you please...

Age 13:
Future plan? What future?? I'm getting a B- in math, my social circle is straight out of Heathers (without Christian Slater and all the murder, obv.), and at this rate I'll never find a product that will make my hair okay! So sorry, but I simply can't be bothered to play your little game right now. See, Casey Kasem's Top 40 Countdown is on, and I really need to be paying attention because I have to tape that EMF song so I can angrily rollerskate to it in my basement while I wait for my breasts to grow.

(Still waiting, btw...)


Monday, August 13, 2007
books: then we came to the end
How you feel about short and sweet today? You know, 'cause I'm so short and so sweet?

Alright? Alright...

Lightening Quick Synopsis:
Told in the first person omniscient, Then We Came to the End (Joshua Ferris) is the collective story of the employees at a failing Chicago ad agency where increasing layoffs breed increasing paranoia, rumors, drama and obsessions over who has the better chair. Think Office Space meets Catch 22 meets The Virgin Suicides.

This book has been getting a fair amount of hype - positive reviews from the New York Times, a strong endorsement from Stephen King, and glowing praise from a plethora of other reviewers - but frankly, I just didn't see what the big deal was. Was it funny? Sure. Was it clever? Enough. Was it an engaging story? At times. But the best part came when the point-of-view shifted from the satirical collective to the singular voice of the boss - a lonely, work-obsessed, consummate professional who falls into a tailspin when facing a diagnosis of breast cancer. That section was honest, gripping, and generally unputdownable. However, as a whole, the use of the first person omniscient - although achieving the desired anonymously detached voice - tended to annoy me a bit, the characters were largely stereotypes, and despite the aforementioned exception of the boss' character I just couldn't bring myself to care about any of them.

So overall, it wasn't bad. It just wasn't great.

Up Next: What is the What, by Dave Eggers

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Saturday, August 11, 2007
bush vs zombies
"I believe this is the great challenge of the 21st's a danger to your children, Jim!"


Friday, August 10, 2007
reason #67 why, although i complain about my neighbors, they're actually kinda awesome
Feel like a story filled with romance and intrigue and personal triumphs to end your week? Well, I don't have one of those. But I do have one about my ridiculous neighbors; will that do? Then close your eyes and picture this...

Wait. On second thought, don't close your eyes. You won't be able to read.

How about this instead, keep your eyes open, but close your mind's eye and picture this. Yes, that's much better...

It's the early evening hours and I am out front futilely watering my failing flower bed. Per usual, there are five or so little kids tearing it up two door down over at Redneck House. They appear to range from four to seven in age, and one particular little boy, easily twice as large as the rest, is the clear leader of the group. There are three more little boys and one tiny little blonde girl who can't be older than four. They'd be cute if they didn't insist on throwing snowballs, rocks, and all types of balls at my car whenever I drive by their yard. They're adorable in the sense that feral cats are adorable - keep your distance, because they most certainly bite.

Anyway, they're screeching and giggling and having a merry old time playing some game they made up involving wood chips and hockey sticks, when a shout pierces the air. I look over and see "leader boy" pointing an accusing finger at one of the boys and announces, "your sister just touched my whoo-ha!"

As can be expected, the entire group starts giggling uproariously.

(An Aside: Despite the fact that these kids are clearly feral, I have no doubts whatsoever that the little girl did not intend to touch leader boy's naughty bits. As we all know, when playing mixed gender games involving wood chips and hockey sticks, an occasional whoo-ha might get touched. With age we learn to roll with it, no?)

Despite the fact (or perhaps because of the fact) that all the kids are giggling off the improper act, leader boy is clearly not amused. In furor, he lunges and makes a sweeping move at the naughty bit-touching little girl. Instantly, the mood changes in the group. The little girl's brother bounds over to leader boy, hands on hips, and shouts, "YOU DO NOT TOUCH A GIRL THAT WAY!"

Taking her cue from her brother, little blonde girl bounds over to leader boy, shoulders rising and falling at a rapid rate, balling her tiny hands into tight, furious fists, and screeches, "YOU DO...NOT TOUCH..ME, GIRL THIS WAY!!!"

From out of nowhere, a third boy grabs a hockey stick, mounts his bike, and assumes the stance of a knight on a horse. He's holding the hockey stick under his arm as if it were a jousting stick, lets out a piercing war cry, and proceeds to race down the street full-on towards leader boy.

Luckily for leader boy, he manages to dart out of the way at the last second before taking a jousting/hockey stick to the chest.

Unluckily for leader boy, amidst the chaos the little girl has found a broom.

Taking advantage of leader boy's distracted state, the four-year-old girl descends upon him, wielding the pink plastic broom as a weapon, and proceeds to show him exactly why you "do..not, girl this way."

(And did I mention that the entire time this scene was unfolding, "Ren" - the busy-body, self-appointed queen of the neighborhood who insists on displaying a giant Pooh Bear on her street-facing oak tree - is across the street, sitting on her front porch so she could oversee the entire scene and cluck with disapproval? Because she was.)
As for the moral of the story, I guess it would go something like this: inevitably, someone will accidentally touch your whoo-ha, and when it happens it's best to laugh it off. Otherwise, prepare to steel yourself for a raining storm of tiny, feral fists of fury while some old lady coldly observes your humiliation.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007
because it's been nine days since i've posted a video...
I have no idea who zZz is, but Very Short List tells me they are a band that made a video I should watch because it involves a trampoline and brightly-clad gymnasts. So I watched it. And, indeed, I DO think it's pretty rad. Perhaps you will too. Happy Thursday and whatnot.


songs titles from sufjan steven's illinoise, translated into and out of japanese by my computer's translator thingy
The Highland Being Soon, in Regard to UFO which You Will See Illinois.

"Entire Civilization of Black Hawk War", or, "We Apologize the Manner Whose Feeling is Good for Inconvenience, Demolish Still Concerning You Yourself of Morning, but Now You Must go Away, Probably Will Be," or "Depending upon Me Separated from Our Lands! Until it is, the Large Knife Fights, Those Continues to Fight."

Do to Come! Feel Illinoise!

Jr of John Wayne Gacy

Ville Son of Jack

For the very Good Reason Where it did Abnormally, for Short Reprise of Mary Todd Lincoln.

Decatur, or, Applause Applause for Step Mother!

One End as for 'Whoo-Hoo!' Because of Pullman.


Day of Cashmir Pulanski

In the Worker of the River Valley Area of the Stone, I Possess the Thought Regarding State.

The Person of the Capital City Steals our Centers.

The Fire of the Grassy Plain which Approximately You Wander About.

Conjunction of the Pilotless Aircraft Which Imitates the Manner Which is Existence Crisis of the Perplexity Whose Stevens Godfrey is Large to Sufjan.

As for the Sparrow Drumstick which Palisades Plunders There are Times When We are Obtained!

As for Them Night Zombie! So it is! As for Them Neighbor! So it is! As for Those From the Deceased! It Returned! Ahhhh!

They it Meaning That I Do Not Think of That You Hear the That of Bushnell Directly Probably will Inquire About That That String Divides for the Second Time.

Central Like the Person Where He Retains the Earth This Temple.

Tower of Foresight Person

The Highest Person and Wide Shoulder

Riffs and Change of Single Note for the Jelly, Armstrong, Baby Dodds Count Hines and Louis, and the King of the Vibration, Roll in Order to Dispatch Small Amount.

In Order from Egypt, for I to Run to the Laughing Where the Mankind and Me are Large, Shake the Earth From my Sandal.

Of course, I'm not sure that the original track list is any less bizarre.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Could be writing. Should be cleaning. No longer have to go running.

'Cause we spent the day flashdancing, baby!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007
three mostly dull secrets
I have interesting things to say, damn it. I just can't remember any of them at the moment.

So, um...wanna hear me share some completely uninteresting secrets instead? Well, one or two may be slightly interesting.

But, no. Probably not.

*dramatic drumroll!*

#1: I nearly always cheat in competitive situations.
You might think that I'm bad at poker, darts, horseshoes, chess, othello, shuffleboard, pool, bowling, and golf, but not so. Secretly, I'm brilliant. But because I love you and I want you to be happy, I simply fake incompetence to make you look good.

*even more dramatic drumroll!*

#2: I hate The Wonder Years.
Always have, probably always will. And for absolutely no good reason, too.

*most dramatic drumroll yet! so dramatic you'd think that it might actually lead to something truly scandalous, however I promise you it won't!!!*

#3: I killed one of my pets today.
Although I guess it really depends on how you define "pet." Is a spider who you discovered living in your kitchen cabinet but decided to let be for the past three months because it wasn't hurting anything really, and then two months in you started to feel as if it were high time you'd name it, so you chose "Spartacus" because it sounded like a badass name for a spider a "pet"?


Because if it is, then I'm a pet killer. Yep. I just got tired of looking at Spartacus. So I smooshed him. To death. Premeditatedly.

You're shocked! You're awed! No, you're really just largely disinterested!

(I know, and I'm sorry. I'll try to do better tomorrow. Hopefully something interesting will happen while I'm steam cleaning my carpets or something.)

Monday, August 06, 2007
a complaint, leading to a gush that will end in a question
...but will begin with an update.

For all of you who have been kind enough to inquire, yes our water is back, as is our cable and our Internet connection. Consequently, I'm back to my old sweet smelling, dry-eyed, reasonably well-informed, emotionally balanced self. Actually, I 'm even better than balanced. I'm feeling downright smiley and content and just plain good about being me. Yay me.

But considering how frustrating my day was, this happy state of being is really quite a feat. Which now, you lucky dog you, brings me to the complaint.

We took July off, but resumed our epic task of rewriting the 9th grade English curriculum today. As expected, that "that one woman who insists on raising her hand each and every time she wishes to speak" continued to give me fits, but on top of that the district's head curriculum writing lady (aka - Little Miss Pointless Tangent) decided to come oversee us. I realize I'm getting paid nonetheless, but thanks to her we spent six hours in a freezing room with little more than a course objective to show for it, and time wasted at work when I could be wasting it at home is a supreme annoyance to me. It would be putting it nicely to say that I wanted to pick her up by her protocols and forcibly remove both her and her verbosity from the room, but since that would take levels of violence, bravery and heroism which I do not possess, I instead put my head down somewhere around eleven and started writing notes like a fifteen-year-old high school student. Apparently, I just got paid roughly $25/hour to compose two failed blog posts, one horrible poem, a grocery list, and the layout for a utopian city I have dubbed "Maggieville." And since today was basically a wash and consequently we have to go back and do it all again tomorrow, I suppose that means that several of you can expect a rambling e-mail in your future. Start bating that breath now, baby. I will promise, however, to spare you both the poem and the hard sell to join my utopian experiment. Yay you.

And since one of those aforementioned blog posts was (sort of) about Simon Pegg, in a roundabout way this all leads me to the gush.

By the power of grayskull was Hot Fuzz ever awesome. So maybe there weren't any zombies and unlike the tight little package that was Shaun of the Dead it does take a bit longer to get to the point of the story, however it was a very fun spoof of buddy cop flicks that was both smart and funny and I loved it. Hang in there - Netflix will deliver it eventually. Yay Netflix.

And finally, I'll end with a question which, by the way, has nothing whatsoever to do with any of this.

I know that many of you listen to podcasts, so do you mind sharing which ones? I'll be resuming my daily commute soon enough and am getting a bit tired of the same old playlists. Sorry, I know you've probably already given me recommendations but I've since forgotten them, so if you have any to contribute please do be a peach and toss a few in that red thing below labeled "comments." Um, yay... comments?

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Friday, August 03, 2007
books: black swan green
Mind you, I rarely ever cry. I'm just not that sort of girl. But for some reason I've been welling up at the drop of a hat for the past two days. I'm sure that the combination of the heat, being without cable for the past twelve hours and without water for the past fourteen haven't been helping matters, but usually none of these things would be enough to do more than make me mildly annoyed, not reduce me to tears. Nonetheless, an episode of Weeds, an article about the bridge disaster in Minnesota, an article about Michael Vick, and being unable to find the bread in the refrigerator have all been enough to bring tears to these usually dry eyes. It's freaking me out a bit, actually.

But since I've been without so much for so long I've had lots of time to read, and in addition to articles about national disasters and animal cruelty I also managed to finish David Mitchell's Black Swan Green, which - since it is a British coming-of-age story centered around an awkward but awesome boy named Jason Taylor who's just trying to survive adolescence despite a embarrassing studder, his parents' impending divorce and relentless school bullies who've nicknamed him Maggot and mock him at every turn - was sort of a perfect dovetail of everything I love, bookishly speaking.

It's not a sad book exactly, but since I've recently managed to turn into a big cry baby for some reason, here's a passage that nearly reduced me to tears.

School corridors're sort of sinister during classtime. The noisiest spaces're now the silentest. Like a neutron bomb's vaporized human life but let all the buildings standing. These drowned voices you hear aren't coming from classrooms, but through the partitions between life and death. The shortest route to the staff room was the quad, but I took the longer way, via the Old Gym. Teachers' errands're in-between times where no one can hassle you, like Free Parking in Monopoly. I wanted to spin this space out. My feet clomped over the same worn boards boys did somersaults on before they went off to the First World War to be gassed. Stacked chairs block off one wall of the Old Gym, but the other wall's got a wooden frame you can climb. For some reason, I wanted to peer out through the window at the top. It was a minor risk. If I heard footsteps I'd just jump down.
Once you're up there, mind, it's higher than it looks.
Years of muck'd grayed the glass.
The afternoon'd turned to heavy gray.
Too heavy and too gray to not turn into rain. "Moonlight Sonata" orbited out past the tenth planet. Rooks huddled on a drainpipe, watching the school buses lumber into the big front yard. Bolshy, bored, and bargey, like the Upton Punks hanging out by their war memorial.

Once a Maggot,
mocked Unborn Twin, always a Maggot.

Points behind my eyes ached with the coming rain.
Friday'd come round, sure. But the moment I get home, the weekend'll begin to die and Monday'll creep nearer, minute by minute. Then it'll be back to five more days like today, worse than today, for worse than today.

Hang yourself.

"Lucky for you," a girl's voice said and I nearly fell fifteen feet to a nest of fractured bones, "I'm not a teacher on patrol, Taylor."

I peered down at Holly Deblin peering up. "S'pose so."

"What're you doing out of class, Taylor?"

"Kempsey sent me to get his whistle." I clambered down. Holly Deblin's only a girl but she's as tall as me. She throws the javelin farther than anyone. "He's doing the bus queues today. Are you feeling better?"

"Just needed to lie down for a bit. How about you? Giving you a hard time, aren't they? Wilcox, Drake, and Brose and them."

No point denying it, but admitting it made it realer.

"They're dickheads, Taylor."
Darkness in the Old Gym smoothed away Holly Deblin's edges.

"Yeah." They are dickheads, but how does that help me?
Was it then that I heard the first tappings of rain?

"You're not a maggot. Don't let dickheads decide who you are."
And now I'm welling up again. I'm being ridiculous, aren't I? Perhaps baby just needs a nap...

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Thursday, August 02, 2007
amongst a rolling mound of white one pink flower peeks out, daring to be different

Good on you, little buddy. Keep stickin' it to the man or whatever.

overheard in the grocery store: vol. 2
(A child, seven-ish, is with his mom who is letting him steer the shopping cart. Suddenly, he jumps on the bottom bar and starts "riding" the cart like we all did when we were kids. Or like some of us did when we were 29 and on our way back to our car in the parking lot when no one was looking....)

Mom: Michael! What did I just say!? Don't do that!!!

Kid: I know mom, sorry. (looks down sheepishly, trying but failing to hide a grin)

Mom: Why would you do that when I just told you not to!? That just proves you weren't listening to me.

Kid: I was listening. I'm sorry. I can't help it.....I didn't want to. Satan made me.

Mom: (lets out an exasperated sigh and a huuuuge eye roll) Michael, look at me. (he looks) What did Pastor Joe tell you? You simply can't keep blaming everything on Satan.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007
"my father was killed by ninjas. need money for karate." is quite possibly the best bum sign ever.
This examination of the pirate vs. ninja debate made me giggle, and since you're *cool* like me you might like it too. At first blush I'd cast my vote for ninjas, but apparently compelling arguments can be made by both camps.

(thanks, Pajiba)


i'm gonna keep myspace baby...woohoo, oh, oh...
I'm far from a luddite, however for ages I've been insisting (publicly, even) that there is one Internet trend which I would simply never, ever join in on: MySpace. And I meant it. With the conviction of seven Arabian princesses, even.

It wasn't that I was against it or the people who are on it so much as it was that I didn't understand what it was for (other than stalking, obviously), and I figured it would be a bit weird, possibly even inappropriate, for a high school teacher such as myself to be up there with myriad students both past, present and future. But, as so often happens on a Saturday night after a girl's had one too many martinis, I found myself doing the very thing which I had so stubbornly sworn I'd never do. I created my own MySpace page.

I'd like to blame it on peer pressure or the booze or that I had no idea what I was doing at the time, but to do so would be a lie. I did it. It was fun. I think it may have even been my idea.

After its creation I went back and forth for a few hours, deliberating whether or not I should delete it, but the bottom line is I was raised Catholic. Consequently, I feel I must take responsibility for my actions and for the things that are created as a result of those actions. Thus, I'm keeping my MySpace page.

(cue "Papa Don't Preach" and the violins and the dancing and the whatnot)

So, I've been on this MySpace thingy for four days or so, and during that time I've formally asked a few people who I thought were my friends if they would agree to still be my friends, I found a few people who I used to be friends with and asked them if they'd agree to be my friend again, I posted a picture of myself looking deeply reflective - the whole nine yards. But here's the thing: I'm still not exactly sure what MySpace is for.

Well, that's not entirely true. One clear purpose it serves is for dating. I only had my page for a few hours before receiving multiple invitations from strangers wanting to be my, um, *friend*. One prospective out-of-town suitor even went so far as to suggest that I let him stay at my house this weekend while he's here visiting. Somehow, the mere act of creating an account had made me insanely popular. (Of course, when I first signed up - thanks to the martinis - my profile indicated that I was a 8 foot tall, bi/swinger, Pacific Islander with some extra baggage who was born in Mumbai and enjoyed Scientology, long walks on the beach and high-heeled sneakers. Clearly, that person would be quite popular.)

But, alas, I am not that person, and since I vowed to keep my MySpace baby I figured I should do right by it, and so have since changed my profile to be a more accurate reflection of the real me. (And as it turns out, the real me is a sight less popular.)

So, to sum up, from what I can tell after such a short period of time, it appears that MySpace is for:
1. Soliciting strangers
2. Making me feel old
3. A unnecessary fourth e-mail account
4. Publicly announcing my favorite music/movies/books/education/body type/etc.
5. Asking people who I thought were my friends if they will publicly admit to being friends with me
6. Ranking those friends, and being ranked in return
7. Stalking
Is that it? I mean, I'm going to keep it and all, but I have this nagging feeling that I'm missing something.

(Unless "Tom's" creating a public registry for purposes of world domination. Oh, I bet that's it! And how deliciously evil of him.)