anna

And his hair was perfect

by anna at 05:47 PM on September 30, 2003

While I have wearied of being jostled by those souped-up motorized scooters, I don't share Liz's loathing of the grocery store. I celebrate the vast array of products as a triumph of our decadent mercantile society or something.

What I do hate is getting my hair cut. First, aside from my wife and mother, I don't care for people touching me. I avoid shaking hands. I couldn't imagine doing that European kissy-kiss thing. Also, I always draw one of two types: 1) Rough-hewn redneck women with sweat stains on their blouses. They like to talk about their kids. Don't get me wrong, I love kids---specifically, my own. 2) Scraggly-haired youngsters who look like the ink on their cosmetology degree is still wet. This hardly inspires confidence in the mind of one who's come out looking like Moe of the Three Stooges more times than I could count. Third, a childhood memory haunts me. A barber joked about how many ears he'd lopped off by accident. Thus I live in constant fear of being Van Gogh-ed by some sadistic stylist.

I've considered making like Michael Jordan and shaving my head bald but that doesn't work so well with white guys. See: New Jersey Net Jason Kidd.

Ah but when coworkers start making snide remarks about your unruly mane, it is time. So I gather up my son and head for World of Hair with trepidation coursing through my arteries. We duck through the doorway and I survey the scene. No redneck women, no scraggly-haired lasses in sight. No female patrons either, which means none of those foul odors of permanent chemicals. And no cat. Just three well-coiffed Oriental women snipping away at guys' heads. They appear overdressed.

I mention their race only because in my experience most Asian folk are intuitive, hospitable and fastidious. Good qualities in a stylist.

My stylist put my mind at ease by lobbing some softball questions about the obvious subject of my newly shorn son. When I'd say something in that obligatory haircut chitchat mode, she'd act interested and not steer the conversation around to her kids like the rednecks. She tested the water and then asked me if it met with my satisfaction, which it did. Only then did she start spraying it on my hair. After shampooing it, without me having to ask, she applied conditioner. She did this much longer than necessary in a manner reminsicent of a therapeutic scalp massage. Afterwards she semi-dried my hair with a warmed towel. The overall effect was quite soothing.

So I feel alright. She doesn't put me on the spot by asking how I'd like my hair cut. I think these people are professionals and they should make that decision, not me. She seemed to sense this and proceeded to fuss over every strand with a bunch of different instruments. Then she threw in a blow dry and gel (again, with me having to ask) gratis. The end result proved nothing short of magnificent.

She mentioned that World of Hair had come under new management. I told her I was glad because the old management used to have an annoying cat roaming freely. I asked what had become of the tabby. "I think it died," she said. Hmmm.

Not that I'm implying anything about World of Hair, but it did have a certain geisha house atmosphere to it. The bill came to $42, much more than I'm accustomed to paying. Nonetheless, I was feeling generous and tacked on a whopping 17% tip. And I've finally overcome my fear of haircuts. Now if I could just learn to cope with inching by bicyclists on the roadway, sure that they'll swerve at the wrong moment and wind up suing me.

comments (22)

snaggle

On Successes

by snaggle at 02:43 PM on September 30, 2003

One of the most intriguing things about living abroad is that every minor task you succeed in completing turns into a major triumph, worthy of laurel wreaths and a trumpet fanfare. Coming from the Midwest, where most everything one could need is a short car trip away to the nearest Target or Wal-Mart, I have been used to a life where the minor necessities of life are easily procurable. In big cities, it is of course a little different. Instead of the big Target in town, you can hit up the neighborhood hardware store, grocery store, electronics store, or whathaveyou to find what you're looking for.

Italy, however, is just a little different. First of all, you have the "small specialty store" problem, just like in many big cities. Next, you have the problem found in old cities of tiny streets, difficult-to-read signage, and the tendency to get completely lost in a maze of streets that make a bed of spaghetti look like Mondrian. This one's especially relevent here in the centro storico or historic center of Rome, where even Roman natives have to ask for directions.

Then of course you have the problem of language. While I have a good working knowledge of Italian, specific nouns like "power strip" or "wireless router" or "laundry hamper" just aren't really in my vocabulary and are rather difficult to translate, even with the help of phrase books and dictionaries. Sometimes the combination of broken Italian, hand gestures, and Italian-accented English conveys the general idea of what I want. More often than not, I have to rely to spy with my two eyes the item that I want. I'm sure there have been numerous incidences of pan-city odysseys on a mission to locate an item, when it was actually available at the first store I went to, just not out in plain sight.

One other problem that may not be immediately obvious is the logic of placement. You can see this one pretty easily wherever you are; for example, one roommate's 'common logic' would dictate that her room is an appropriate place to store two weeks' worth of dirty dishes, while you would prefer the sink - or better yet, the dishwasher. You see the same thing in different stores. Are Kleenex in Housewares or Health & Beauty? Are candles in Housewares or Crafts? Are condoms in Apparel or Entertainment? Now you have the same thing in Rome, only with "Italian Logic" applied to it. Power strips? You wouldn't find that in an office supply store! That's hardware! Fresh meat in a supermarket? You have to go to a butchery! A hairdryer in a beauty supply store? That's hardware too! A hardware store open at 3 p.m.? What planet are you from?

I'm working on it, at least. After attempting to find said power strips at said office supply store (and then having to buy a pencil and eraser so I wouldn't look like a stupid American wandering into the store in search of something they obviously wouldn't have...) I decided to go for a little walk to walk off my frustrations. By some major stroke of luck, I not only remembered that I had once passed a hardware-looking-store in the area, and how to get there (more or less), but it was even open. Stepping inside and carefully avoiding the notice of the elderly proprietor of the shop, I proceeded to have a little look around to ascertain if this was, indeed, where I would find the item that would make me a living saint in our household, so we could finally stop stealing power outlets from each other in order to charge our laptops. I almost immediately spied power strips after only a few seconds feigning interest in bike chains, and I carefully selected three to exponentially increase the electricity usage of our apartment (at €0.40 / kwH.) Finally, €32 later, I emerged from the ferramenta, extremely pleased with myself and ready to celebrate my accomplishments with a major night on the town.

comments (2)

snaggle

Bad Samaritans Abroad

by snaggle at 07:55 AM on September 29, 2003

So this time there’s a valid reason that I haven’t written: I’m in Rome. From August 16th until September 5th, I was tromping around Europe with five others before starting my semester abroad here in Rome. It was a fantastic experience; I had the pleasure of being tour guide and translator for everyone as we traveled, since I’m a polyglot and have been to Europe a couple times before. (You can check out some photos on my personal site.) Now things are settling down and I’m just enjoying the relatively lower-stress semester abroad.

Yesterday provided a good reason for me to write and let you know that I’m still alive. If you’ve heard the news lately, Rome followed suit with New York and London and proceeded to have a massive blackout. Of course, this one wasn’t just Rome – it was all of Italy. We had just gotten back from a trip to the south of Italy and as we came into Rome, the entire town was lit up, festive, and drunk. It was the Notte Bianca, an all-night festival of sorts. So of course on the day that places had planned on being open until dawn, the power proceeds to go out at 3:30 AM. I was already in bed, but some of my friends were out at the bars and such. The mass chaos that proceeded to ensue wasn’t as bad as could have happened, apparently, though still crazy. When I woke up at about noon on Sunday morning, we discovered that we had no electricity. After a futile attempt at fussing with the circuit breakers, I guessed that the power had to be out for more than just us, so I went back to sleep to await the return of power.

Now the funny thing is that on our whirlwind backpacking experience across most of western Europe, we had managed to be in London during their blackout, though we didn’t really notice it. We had attempted to get on the Tube, but we were told that there was a problem and couldn’t get on. (A fortunate thing, since some other people I know were stuck in a cramped subway car for a few hours.) And, my friend Chris was in New York a few days before that outage. Hm. Interesting.

So anyway, I’ll try to give you little tidbits from Rome now and then. Take care of the U.S. for me.

comments (3)

lizard

the world is a cage for your impotent rage, but don't let it get to you.

by lizard at 05:51 PM on September 28, 2003

have you ever been afraid to open up a blog entry screen because you were afraid you'd go completely mental and write something regrettably horrible just because you weren't allowing yourself to write what you wanted to? no? didn't think so, i mean who would do that? i'm just here to tell a little story, that's all.

a little background: i have a long history of grocery-store induced mental illness. it might be the muzak, it might be the hamsterdance rejects they hire for courtesy clerks, i mean i start getting a complex: do i really look like i need that much help? and when a working retiree twenty years my senior if she's a day asks me not one not two but yes you guessed it three times if she can help me carry my groceries out, i figure i must be some kinda mess. when the elderly practically demand to carry your cornflakes for you, it's all over, man.

so i was in a mood the other night even before i went to the emotional minefield that is the store, quite a mood, the mood's what i'm not writing about. but i needed food and aleve, i had no choice; i was forced to face the store. and there, in front of the store, was one those selling/begging for a cause guys, sitting at his little table. not good. i've had my run-ins with these people before, there is no sanity for me anywhere in the vicinity of vons. this time i played it a little different - i took it as a personal challenge. my goal was to get past the brainwashed person with the quota without being accosted. the challenge was do this without threatening gestures or firearms, without making eye contact or uttering a word. i had to just project a quiet and absolute 'do not fuck with me' vibe.

i was in the zone. i focused all the mood's energy into a burning pinpoint of something so volatile, so powerful, so beyond giving a fuck, something i imagined radiating from the third eye area of my forehead, something like the force, only psychotic. (i told you it was a mood. i told you.) i strolled past slowly, staring straight ahead, expressionless. in my periphery i saw the solicitor person turn towards me, open his mouth to speak, think better of it, shut his mouth, and start glancing around avidly at anything that wasn't me.

ahh, success. that was sweet. didn't do much good, nothing does when i find myself in the store, moody already and i do have a history, believe me. all of this almost explains the reason i reacted so strongly to the display in the personal care aisle, the schick quattro display. quattro? four? blades? yes, four blades, two conditioning strips, and of course, a lifestyle. and it is a very manly lifestyle indeed: more gadgets, more games, more televised sporting events, and more large breasted women than you can shake a viagra-fueled dick at. what we have here is the humvee of personal grooming products, or another clear indication that the apocalypse is in process, depending on the mood of the observer. four blades. four. i stood there staring at this ridiculousness for some time, and yet mysteriously no courtesy hamsters appeared to pester me about finding everything okay, oh yes the force was with me.

i remained outwardly calm as i purchased my swiss cheese, smoked turkey, and aleve, committing no mayhem of any kind, in spite of everything -- the things i did write about, and the things i didn't.

comments (13)

anna

She'll steal your face right off your head

by anna at 02:13 PM on September 27, 2003

Lisa: I jumped Todd's bones last night. Me: Really? Why? Lisa: Cuz he asked me to. Me: But you're my gal. Lisa: Well, it's not like we're married or anything. A long, awkward silence ensues. *grasps for something, anything to fill that gaping void* At last: Me: So how was it? Lisa: Not bad at all. He... Me: Oh shut up you whore.

Doncha just hate it when other people are right?

This gut-wrenching tiff took place sitting cross-legged on the floor of a house we shared. It was the beginning of the end of a tempestuous, nine-month relationship that was more of a mutual infatuation than anything resembling romance. We hung no pictures on the walls.

Todd is this shady character who's always lurked on the periphery of my life. Before his incarceration he had gained quite the rep as a ladies' man. More to the point, as my ladies' man. Dating back to age 16 he'd been snagging my exes, often before they were my exes. Yet for some odd reason we've never discussed his creepy propensity for sloppy seconds. Now that he's gone gay it's a moot point.

The tryst with Lisa was a humiliating, miserable affair. She was emotionally needy but at the same time very callous and prone to rash, self-destructive behavior. That song Meet Virginia describes her to a tee, only minus all the redeeming qualities. You know her if only in your worst nightmares.

Luckily for me 'twas a short-lived fling. I haven't a clue what became of her. Nor do I care. But I do know she never maintained a long-term relationship. By her own admission it simply wasn't in her nature.

I guess the question that lingers in my mind is why people get involved in this manner of relationships in the first place let alone stick with them long after the handwriting's on the wall in bold 36-font print. Now I'm not jawing about physically abusive deals, mind you, for people who stick with those are either paralyzed by fear, downright delusional or else they derive some sick pleasure from being mistreated. I am talking about relationships with loopy, self-absorbed types like Lisa who profess to "live in the moment" but really live to inflict psychic agony on those closest to them. For my my money you might as well volunteer to have battery acid splashed in your face.

Best to steer clear of her ilk, me thinks.

comments (13)

effenheimer

An Ode to Anne Sexton on her Deathday

by effenheimer at 04:14 PM on September 26, 2003

Get up ev’ry mornin’
and wash in the sink.
Brush my teeth with the clean finger,
put on old boots. Do I smell cheese?

Man, I’m hungry!

Grab some jerky and a Dew
at Eddy’s, your place for breakfast.
Air up my tires before the day’s ride,
run a rag over my Huffy. Sweet smell of vinyl.

I don’t say ‘vaya-dock,’ I say ‘vaya-dock.’
I don’t get trapped between 3 trains,
I take a bridge to a higher plain...
of mass transportation and public imagination.

Exodus, movement of da people.

From one side of town to th’other,
at 5 miles per, don’t honk at me, brother.
Only so fast I can go up this’ere bluff,
best to get off and walk at this point.

Don’t you look at me!
Feel the wrath of my central digit!

Over the tracks and through the woods
to grandmother’s house I go.
To take out the trash and borrow a fiddy,
then back to Brewski’s for a bottle to go.

Drive-thru, that is. Alcohol. Cigarettes.

Last Saturday, got a case of the Beast,
hard to carry on just one knee.
Up and down, round and round.
Damn this bike! No, that’s not fair.

Shouldn’t oughta drove drunk and impaired.

Got a DUI from a cop named Ronnie.
We used to get drunk in my Gramma’s Monte... Carlo
at the T.J. games, back in ‘84.
Said he was sorry. Was high school for naught?

I guess so, the past is the past.
Woe is me, people be cursed.
Can a guy catch-a break? Never nay more.
Five cans down... back on the Beast!

Drunk by 5, eatin’ pot pies,
got a salt rush no banana can cure.
It’s happy hour somewhere in the world!
Might as well be mine.

STOP! I see uh article, it speaks to me,
mocking me, hurting me, operatically, dramatically.
Stab at me?
We’ll just see!

Who is this man, this fop, this mocker
to make light what I do? To hold himself higher
than me? You think you’re better’n me?
I’ll show you! You ain’t!

I pick up the phone and dial the number,
thank goodness the brew’s made my mind limber,
I got a good’n to lob at this dude,
‘MOVE TO OMAHA!’ That oughta do it.

Nobody there? That’s a surprise!
On a Saturday? Does no one work?
Got the voice mail, oh joy, what luck,
Now who’s in charge you summanabuck?

I’ll leave a bold message, but not mine name
because let’s face it, if you can harrass someone without saying who you are, it makes you feel tough
to spite all evidence to the contrary.

‘I used to crack heads
in Roger[sic]&Scotty’s parking lot’
a reference to murder most foul,
could I be clever’r? Prolly not.

Like I’m vir-ILE, a killer even!

Don’t get trapped by trains,
I take the vaya-dock, it’s a state of mind
I skip the hullabaloo of sayin’ my name.
That’s right, I said ‘hullabaloo,’
you got a problem with that?

I make anonymous calls,
but my real name’s Nancy
‘cause I’m a big wuss
whose never heard of caller I.D., I guess.

comments (8)

anna

It's just the normal noises in here

by anna at 05:51 PM on September 24, 2003

I've said it before. I don't like being pegged as some brain. For the most part, I don't even like other brainy people. They're generally awkward socially, obsessed with something or other and unattractive. There are exceptions, of course. I read about a gorgeous Penthouse Pet who was not only a classically trained pianist but a member of Mensa the brainiac club. I thought, she must be some bitch.

Academic types suck. They simply can't leave well enough alone in their relentlesss quest to know it all. Consider Oppenheimer and his A-bomb. He could have told FDR it couldn't be done and who woulda been the wiser? Wouldn't the world now be a better place? And what about these geneticists and their human genome project? What good has come of that, aside from satisfying idle intellectual curiosity?

Two items caught my eye. One pertains to dinosaurs. As a kid I collected these plastic dino figures. I had 'em all: brontosaurus, pteredactyl, raptors and of course the most fierce of them all, T. Rex. Except it turns out it wasn't such a mighty hunter after all. Scientists have examined its teeth and determined that it was more of a scavenger. Yes, T. Rex was more akin to a lowly hyena than a majestic lion.

I find this news most disheartening. Didn't we all grow up knowing he was the King of the Dinos? Now who is? Damned if I know.

I'm just as glum about astronomers' ongoing bid to kick Pluto out of the solar system. Who didn't build those Styrofoam planet deals for science fairs? Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Your Anus, Neptune and Pluto, all strung together with fishing line. Ah but now they're saying Pluto doesn't meet all the criteria to be a full-fledged planet. It's too small and more damning still, has an erratic orbit. Sometimes it's closer to us than Neptune. Scientists hate erratic, so it's curtains for Pluto.

Textbooks will have to updated to reflect these watered-down new realities. Future generations will know nothing of the marrauding T. Rex or the little icy planet that could. Eggheads have spoken and we're bound by their findings.

I view these and other time-honored notions tossed by the wayside like comfort food. It made me feel good to cling to the familiar. Now we're being offered what amounts to desultory wheat germ and tofu in place of fattening cake and ice cream.

Much the same could be said of this bag-your-own-damn-groceries millennium as a whole. For all its hype, Mill 3's been marked by dashed hopes and scaled-back expectations. Bah!

comments (17)

ezy

It’s the time of the season for loving

by ezy at 11:01 AM on September 24, 2003

I love fall. This is my favorite time of the year. I mean, spring, summer and winter all have their high points but, to me, fall is the best. It might stem from my birthplace and being so close to the parkway. I used to love to drive the parkway and enjoy the different colors of the turning leaves, to pull off an overlook and write music while taking inspiration from the beauty around me. Oranges, reds, yellows tinged with brown all were absolutely gorgeous to me. It could also be that I love Halloween and all of the fanfare and mischief accorded that holiday. I have also had some of the best and worst things, in my dating life, happen to me during fall. My ex and I used to have every monumental, at the time, breakup and reaffirmation of our relationship during this season. It used to make me melancholy when fall rolled around and reminded me of Stephanie but this year is different. I have none of the anxiety, due to her, that used to accompany my favorite month. I feel like everything within my universe is in tune and harmony. This could, partly or maybe fully, be attributed to Amy but I can’t shake the sense that I have turned a corner in my life. I am finally fully over Stephanie and it feels great. I know now, somewhat, of what a prisoner must feel when released from a time of incarceration. I used to, especially during this season, reflect on all of the mistakes I had made, with myself and Stephanie, and beat myself into a state of depression. I find myself doing none of this currently and I am happy in the knowledge that it’s not going to happen. Stephanie e-mailed me the other day to remind me of a bluegrass festival held in North Carolina. She said she just wanted me to know about it. I know that this is crap and she’s just grasping for anything she can get from me but she’ll never have that power again. The funny thing is that I didn’t feel angry, sad, or depressed. I felt nothing and it was good. I have found everything I have ever wanted in a woman and I will allow no one to threaten that. Not Stephanie, no one. It’s a damn liberating feeling and I am enjoying the hell out of myself for the first time in a long time. I didn’t realize how much I have lived behind a façade for the last few years. I thought I required Stephanie, for my happiness, but you know what I have found? I have found what true love is all about. It has taken a damn long time to come to fruition but I believe I had to go through the hardships and learning in order to treat the one woman meant for me as she should be. I have no desire or need to cheat, lie, or do any other shady things some relationships breed to be with Amy. I can be myself and that is just fine with her. I can honestly say that I have never been in this position before and can’t remember, for the life of me, why I was so afraid of getting here. I guess it’s just a point of two people who found each other at the exact right moment in their lives. I’m excited about and planning for the future for the first time I can remember. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my falls to follow bring, now that I have found peace.

cont'd »

comments (23)

lizard

gratuitous geekery. read at own risk.

by lizard at 12:53 AM on September 24, 2003

it has been a fairly grim last few days. by this afternoon, i was your average moderately psychotic geek with her finger on the button, suddenly deciding to upgrade the software that runs this and oh, about a hundred other sites, in the middle of the afternoon, with some new features thrown in for kicks. the satisfaction of accomplishing this with zero downtime wore off quick, and i settled back into space bitch mode (in which i make little if any sense and what do you mean what? *snarl*).

but tonight i drove home with this grin on my face, this irrepressible expression of delightful surprise, and the reason for this goofy mood ... please bear with me, i hope to have a point ... the reason was ... my server logs.

what? server logs? what manner of shallow meaningless geek nonsense is this? trust me, it isn't that at all. first of all, we're talking about my lyricbase. this is the first thing i built from scratch, and it's full of music, which is important. and by important i mean music has saved my life more than once. and i obsessed over this code, hell i dreamt a good bit of it, i have this deep weird geek thing going on with the lyricbase, i really do. and i just discovered that it really, really works. i have regular stats, which track visitors, but not how those visitors use the mostly dynamic pages. so tonight, i discovered several things. i learned that people use the hell out of my useful and practical navigation features, for instance, a fact which is ... nice, but it's not what made me this squeaky.

you see, there is this fairly silly bit of code i thought hardly anyone would see, however i did obsess over it for a day or more, so it would be just ... perfect. my autofiller. the autofiller kicks in if someone decides to disobey the search instructions (type here. click this.) by not typing. it's just a toy. but it's a toy that people play with. a lot of people. and once they start, they keep playing until -- well, you either go see the hamsters, or you are confronted with the salami. now, this site only gets 100, 150 visitors a day, so it is nothing short of amazing that in 23 days, 500 people played the whole game. some of them even argued with it. they argued with my code. i made code that people argue with! *ahem* i'm sorry. i had to tell someone.
813: again=1&submit=click+this
561: again=2
528: again=3
524: again=4
512: again=5
500: again=6 (this heads off to hamtaro, unless you decide to try and play the autofiller a little different way, which is when the salami comes out)
181: search=who+wants+to+play+hide+the+salami

this is one of the first things i ever programmed from the idea on up, a simple thing really, but ... people are playing with my toy! they really are!

sigh, i know, i know, i'm just a weirdo loner geek freak, it's ok, i am mostly harmless.

i'm still grinning like an idiot though.

comments (9)

anna

That's why the lady is a tramp

by anna at 06:04 PM on September 22, 2003

What a girl needs is a good twelve inch stake. Oh wait, that didn't come out right. -Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Two DJs are interviewing self-proclaimed "sexpert" Laura Corn. She's insistent that the #1 carnal pleasure for men stems from fully satisfying a woman, but they aren't buying it. I tend to agree with her as a woman getting off is a thing of exquisite beauty---like a soaring aria at the opera. A man getting off is a grunting, brutish affair---like taking a steamy dump.

There are legions of these sexual know-it-alls out there. Anymore it's not just confined to Cosmo. Even the more staid women's rags like Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal have gotten in on the act. Most of their advice is geared toward pleasing husbands lest some sweet young thing lure them away. It's usually tame stuff involving candles, aromatic oils or feather-dusters. ("Don't substitute your Swiffer mop!") Cosmo goes in for the racier angle: "Tie his wrists to the bedposts and then flip him over. Wedge greased zuchini..."

He'll come begging for more! Implicit in this is that a guy who's begging for more isn't likely to take up with someone else. Yet guy's mags also churn out recycled sexual advice on how to bag multiple babes and have them eating from your hand: "Walk into bar licking your eyebrows and flashing wad of cash."

One can only hope Cosmo: Girl doesn't offer teens tips on the Cleveland Steamer or Dirty Sanchez.

God only knows what qualifies these sexperts to dispense this sort of advice. One would think that prostitutes (not "sex workers" any more than illegal aliens are ""undocumented workers") would be a better bet. Nonetheless, armed with stats and data, they attempt to educate us as to why a man finds it tantalizing when a woman tosses her hair or touches his arm during conversation. They also tell us why women view men of few words as stoic and studly rather than as slack-jawed morons who can't dream up anything witty to say.

I would never do that. But I do wonder how you'd fill an entire book with such information. There are, after all, only so many positions and orifices. And many of those sound like bawdy versions of Twister.

That said, I'll share a vignette from college. I had a girlfriend named Liz. She was cute but had this unsightly scar on her hip. After weeks I mustered the nerve to ask her about it. She coolly tells me that she used to have a conjoined twin but doctors cut it off as you might a wart or cyst. After that I couldn't stand to be around her. I was constantly envisioning the little bugger when we were together, which was usually in a dorm room she shared with Trish.

Trish was a very loud sleeper. So we'd wait till her snoring had become a deafening roar before doing anything. But still, between the harrowing visions of mini-Liz and this chick sawing logs not five feet from us, it proved downright creepy.

Years later I ran into Trish in my hometown. We hung out briefly but long enough for her to tell me that her snoring was all a big act and that she'd touch herself down there every time. This too creeped me out. I felt like our privacy had been violated. I also felt as though we'd unwittingly provided her with a free peep show.

So here's my advice to you: Stay away from former conjoined twins. Don't ask nosy questions about scars. And don't do it in front of others, snoring or not. Especially if they have video equipment on hand.

comments (13)

effenheimer

Hate me already!

by effenheimer at 10:19 AM on September 22, 2003

The same boss who called me a piece of shit is being unusually nice to me all of a sudden. I think his near miss with cancer has made him decide that I am either not such a bad guy or that he is going to kick the living shit out of me and he wants me to be as surprised as I can possibly be.

If you don't hear from me for a couple of months, assume that I am dead. Tell my mother I love her and call Psychic John Edwards to see if he can find out where my dead, bloated corpse has been dismembered and buried.

Either way, its getting very hard to maintain a grudge. You know, hate me or not, I don't really give a shit, just be consistent, you know? Give me something consistent to deal with, is that too much to ask for?

I can take a good deal of abuse, it's the mind-fucking I really hate. Of course, that is just another kind of abuse, isn't it?

comments (16)

lizard

it's all about the soundtrack

by lizard at 03:54 PM on September 20, 2003

on different days, you'll hear different versions. the change takes place at a fundamental level; the things she'll say on a thursday or a friday are all completely accurate, and the entirely contradictory things she'll tell you come sunday or maybe monday sometime, also completely true. her weekends have been defined by disconnection for most of her new life, the beginning of which was defined by the stirrings of these feelings for this man, and this man unplugs himself from the grid on the weekends and returns with luscious words and images from his adventures with ... with the woman he's going to spend the rest of his life with. it wasn't this way in the beginning, but things changed. the fact this continues in spite of that is what it is, whatever that may or may not be.

friday evening finds her high in a vivid afterimage of a week's worth of intense tension building releasing rebuilding exploding subsiding into tingling and again and again and again. four days flirting with dangerous openness, taking dares and chances and learning to love the rewarding pavlovian process while slipping and mentioning love, right here in this very sentence, in the most freudian manner imaginable. please ignore that grim foreshadowing for the moment, take this moment and just look at her, watch the way she moves, know she contains energy that extends into the spaces before and after her; this would be the music inside her. point of reference, it probably sounds something like this:
let it burn
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the weekend's disconnection depletes her, she has no defense against this, it happens at the same pace whether she struggles or surrenders. by the time sunday is becoming monday, you will most likely find her curled up in a small ball, that is if you see her at all. the music that accomanies this is frail and plaintive and expresses the underlying reality of this whole mess, the foundation of truth beneath the stories of mental/physical connection she tells you (and herself) that she has accepted: the inescapable fact that deep down, she loves him with her soul. and when he vanishes into his real life for these two, three days, it gives her a good look at what will eventually become of what they share, not their lives, just moments stolen from them. when the stress of this gets too much, it will be given up like a bad habit; therefore the weekends are, in microcosm, the rest of her life, as it will be lived, without him.
to each his own
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(requires windows media player. broadband recommended. i have a small obsession with streaming media. bandwidth doesn't just use itself.)

comments (7)

anna

Rock you like a hurricane

by anna at 08:54 AM on September 20, 2003

After we bought our home 12 years ago, we noticed a peculiar steel grate next the back porch entrance. We assumed it to be a storm drain. Little did we know that since the county had allowed greedy builders to build in a flood plane, they'd installed elaborate systems to pump standing water from the backyard to the street. Or that the prior owner had seen fit to take his sump pump with him. Only when the first of many floods occured did we realize what we'd gotten ourselves into. Since that time I've pretty much lived in that hole, replacing the pump three times and repairing it countless times. I've become all too conversant with the term "contractor grade."

We're just like other homeowners, fervent in our quest to keep water away from our hovels. Neighbors will run pipes from their downspouts to the fenceline. They'll use graders to create hills and runoff. It's like water wars in reverse.

So the hurricane is bearing down on us. We're battening down the hatches when I notice that while the pump is humming away, no water's coming out of the hole in our curb. I fish sticks, leaves and other debris from the fetid sump-water. I then discover a well-chewed dog bone lodged into the intake. When I remove it water gushes like never before. I feel triumphant! That is, until the power abruptly cuts off.

In the midst of a raging tsunami my wife and I are out there bailing like madpersons with one gallon buckets and milk jugs. We're losing the battle badly. I keep insisting that we need another body and bigger buckets. She's having none of that. No way our 13 year old son is getting anywhere near that deep hole covered by roiling, muddy water. Only when it became apparent that either he pitches in or our basement floods does she relent. He's quick to agree and soon enough we're a well-oiled bailing machine. But still the buckets are too small and it's a standoff between Isabel the Ho and us.

In a gesture dripping with symbolism he dashes to his room and dumps a five gallon bucket full of Legos on the floor. That sucker proved a godsend as the dynamic trio gained the upper hand. The tide had turned, so to speak. Like a shark's fin in the foaming surf, we could glimpse the tip of our cursed pump.
Victory was at hand and our boy had played an instrumental role in it. The time was 1:00 AM, well past his bedtime.

Ian: "I feel like I just had my bar mitzfah." Me: "Huh?" Ian: "When a Jewish boy turns 13 they throw him a party that signifies his passage into manhood." Me: "Amazing analogy!" *kicks self for acting so clinically detached at such a touching Family Moment*

The next morning the power is back on. He's lounging around in front of the TV, scratching himself in his underwear. I remark, "I sure was proud of you. Didn't know you had that kind of perseverence in you." He sasses back, "It's called adrenaline, dad. Now could you make my breakfast?"

I trudge upstairs to gather up the Legos he's left strewn across his room, thinking: that's my boy. Er, man.

There. I did my little inspiration thing, albeit into the weekend posting abyss. Not to worry as I'll now get back to being my usual brooding, surly self.

comments (12)

effenheimer

The No. 2 Treatment

by effenheimer at 10:55 AM on September 19, 2003

I'm about ready to open a can on my editor. This cooz is cruisin' for it. It amazes me how the most incompetent shitheads in our society rise to the top and then rather than get their shit straight, they just push and push and push. What grinds my gears a bit as well is that she went to a fucking cow college in Missouri, can't write, can't edit, can't manage for jack AND was a sophomore at my high school when I was a senior.

I don't want her job, frankly, only a dumbass would want to be a news editor for a third-tier paper, but GOD DAMN, you'd think these people, knowing that they have risen about as high as they can would get tired of just being a cog in someone else's corporate money-making machine, get off their fuckin' ass and make a difference.

Well, recently, I figured out the key to success. At least I am trying a new tactic that might soon work. I come up with a variety of ideas and email them to multiple managers, editors and corporate types. At least three ideas at a time and only when I have three ideas of merit.

In this way, I am developing one of two reputations, 1) an idea man who is full of good ideas that are useful t people in marketing, news, classified, and circulation 2) an asshole who doesn't know shit about anything.

I am willing to take that chance, because as I've said, even if I am no. 2, I might get the no. 1 treatment and as is I am treated like No. 2 on a daily basis. Yes, that was my clever way of saying "shit."

Oh and I recently died my hair pea green to reflect just how fuckin' funky I really am.

comments (3)

lizard

i'm sorry if i seem to be monopolizing the place

by lizard at 04:32 AM on September 19, 2003

but i shouldn't really talk about this over at my little place.

once upon another lifetime, i found myself in vons at two in the afternoon in ratty old sweats, buying booze and catfood. i reassured myself it wasn't at all what it looked like, but that was just ridiculous, it was everything it appeared to be, and then some. ahh, the fat drunk years.

i remembered catfood boozelady yesterday afternoon, as i laid my purchases down on the conveyor belt and thought, this is such a different life: the fun joe boxer undies, the stockings, the batteries ... oh! no it's not what you think. i don't even have one of those. no, the batteries are for the camera. i seriously love my digicam. it's an older olympus, but it was top of the line in its time, outstanding image quality. i mean, look! see? pretty impressive, yes? it's helping me overcome all sorts of fears. i mean, i will climb right up on the furniture and stick my camera right in a bug's face, in spite of being severely phobic on both counts. i still feel the fear, it just isn't what sets my limits anymore. and oh, i have been exploring all kinds of limitlessness lately.

i can't tell you how much i hope i uploaded the right pictures there. one of the perils of leading a strange secret sexlife which takes place almost entirely via email and lately, some really creative photobloggery. the distances and other issues separating the participants will most likely never be resolved; for a while i was seriously distressed by this, which led me to conclude i should just let go. i got as far as giving up trying to make things conform to my idea of how they should be, and experienced a rather startling revelation: this is the best sex i've ever had. taking the frustrated whining out of our interactions left two like minds sharing this wild open way out beyond the boundaries intimate intense ... thing. now, i have always known that physical pleasure is mostly in the mind, but i never imagined ... this. i never imagined that, properly inspired, the mind will lead the body into this psychedelic hyperconsciousness, i mean the earth moves and fireworks and waves crashing over the beach and everything. everything. i suppose it helps he has this way with words. they find this resonance in me, and set off the same sensations as swinging the swing up so high you find weightlessness at the top. gravity. his words feel like gravity.

being a practical girl, i have decided that this is a Good Thing and worth not screwing up trying to make it into some different thing. this life i'm living is different from anything i ever expected, but i am adjusting. because nothing has ever felt quite like this does. to quote myself, directly after the fact: "...right out loud and bursts of color convulsing pulsing energy it was fission it was fusion it was blinding it was birth and death and the aftermath, it is an hour later now and still i am less a physical thing with mass and density than i am say the gilttering notes of a soft guitar spilling into the night sky."

i can live with that.

Life begins when you accept your fate
Right or wrong,
the main criterion is what you do and not what you say
The roads you take, the friends you make and those you throw away
The method is a simple synthesis of the past and present state
You never lose if the path you choose is one you can easily navigate
I had a dream, light and carefree
But now there's doubt and gravity
But I won't run in place in the human rat race
I can set the pace and accept my fate

~Greg Graffin

comments (8)

lizard

have i mentioned i'm finally getting single?

by lizard at 05:23 AM on September 18, 2003

twelve years, it's been. i think there may have been one good one in there somewhere, the rest was just dangerous stupidity and its painful consequences, rather like living a neverending jackass stunt.

there are so many regrets, but this one stands out. it was a small decision, unremarkable, really, except the part where it might have prevented twelve years of hell. it's a sad story.

a long, long time ago, in a twelve step program far, far away, there was this guy. sort of guy i considered (in those abysmal self-esteem days) 'out of my league'. name was brian. black hair, ice blue eyes, funny as hell, nose ring, tongue ring (they were not so common back then, especially among gorgeous guys with good jobs). i was seeing chris at the time, but he had just taken over the insomniac/mayfair theatre/punk venue/coffeehouse, so he wanted to date eighteen year olds and skinny blondes with hot tubs; we were in that "let's see other people" stage. and then i hear through mutual friends that brian 'liked me'. (you can take the thirty year olds out of high school, but you can't take the high school out of some thirty year olds, apparently). and it came to pass that brian asked me out, a fact which i mentioned to chris, in between hot tubs and teenagers. and quite honestly i didn't do it to get him to change his mind, i reallyreally wanted to go out with brian. oh you have no idea.

the night of the date, say an hour before, chris calls. ok, ok, he says, we'll do it your way. but you've already made the date, go ahead, it's ok. so i think and i think and i think, and i say to my self, in a stern sort of voice, "self, you said you wanted this, and now you have it, you've gotten what you wanted, you should do the right thing." dutifully but extremely regretfully, i cancelled. and thus the best years of my life were tossed casually into the toilet. at best, chris was a controlling bastard, and i felt fortunate he tolerated me, what with all my defects (which he graciously helped me discover). at worst, the abuse ... you don't want to know. of course, it is also possible that brian wasn't what he seemed, that a different choice wouldn't have made a difference, but all evidence tends to suggest otherwise; basically i just screwed up.

and as if that's not bad enough, a couple years after that, in the midst of the very very worst of the hell, i heard through more mutual friends that brian had had his dick pierced. a prince albert. i mean, i mean ...

*sob*

comments (12)

anna

Artificial Intelligence

by anna at 05:51 PM on September 17, 2003

You know that clunker Stephen Spielberg shot along about the time that stalker broke into his mansion and threatened to rape his frail ass? Well, this has nothing to do with that. *sips wine, curses Isabel the Whore*

As a lad I was diagnosed with terminal genius, borderline variety. I say diagnosed as it's not all it's cracked up to be. Indeed, it's more of a curse than any blessing. There's the matter of inflated expectations. We're supposed to know a lot of things. We're supposed to excel academically. Ah but there's so much we're clueless about.

I don't understand viscosity let alone viscosity breakdown. I don't know whether my motor oil should have more or less of it and if so, why. I don't know whether duel overhead cams would serve my engine better than single underhead cams would. Beats me what would constitute the optimal number of liters for said engine.

My house is full of mysterious systems and appliances. Sometimes they break and cause me great anguish. I'll fool around with them for hours and only when my family threatens to move into a hotel will I call in an expert.

In the midst of my myriad household projects I always find myself staring blankly at shelves stocked with a wide variety of flanges, couplings and such. I have no inkling which one(s) I need. If I try to explain my plight to the salesman, he stumps me with some esoteric question about brand, style or model. Same thing happens whenever I try to buy car parts.

I haven't a clue about website design. I don't know what URL stands for. Al Gore's outlandish claims aside, I have no idea where the internet came from or who put it there. I wouldn't know megahertz of RAM from a battering ram. Nor do I know why my computer continually kicks me offline citing some "illegal operation" I've performed. Hell, I don't even peruse porn for fear of cookies.

I've watched despairingly as my life savings disappeared for lack of the proper PIN-logon name combo. I don't take my antipsychotic meds cuz I can't noodle through the cryptic bottle-opening instructions. For a borderline genius I'd awfully dense. But I'm hardly to blame.

Instead of imparting some practical knowhow, we're all taught evolution as if it's gospel. Yet nagging questions linger in my mind. Darwin's theory holds that species are always mutating and that Mother Nature smiles upon a select few of the mutants. But human or animal nature nature belies that. The tendency is to either kill or shun freaks of nature. Neither increases one's odds of reproduction. How does Mr. Smarty-pants Darwin answer that?

And if we're so evolved, why do so many societies seem to be devolving into chaos, mayhem and attendant misery? From Liberia to Somalia to North Korea such conditions are the norm. Even here in the US we have areas under the de facto control of wanton criminals. Go to far Northern California and wander into a violent pot farmer's field if you doubt me on this. The police are helpless to stop these M-16-toting thugs.

Come on Darwin, you old, dead, bearded fart. Speak up.

Fact is our education system crams young heads full of useless information and then sends us out into the world hopelessly unprepared for real-life situations. And it teaches us to think too much, so we're plagued by pointless questions like those posed above.

Now, getting back to your supposed resident genius. I've got a hurricane bearing down on me. Mr. & Ms. Chilla and their two offspring will soon be swimming for their lives. Our house will be largely underwater. I've taken one step to prepare for this impending catastrophe: stocked up on wine.

comments (21)

lizard

silly

by lizard at 06:38 AM on September 17, 2003

oh man i miss loving this place. not that i don't now, but there was a time, back when, it was mad mad mad i say crazy love. i was just going to respond to a friend making a 200th post with a tally of my contributions to various blogs (i stopped counting at 4800? how is that possible. i would have to have been obsessively blogging for three years at the rate of 4.something a day. which is just silly.)

oh yeah - i used to be kd. that's changed. matter of fact one of these days it'll be 'lizard' on my driver's license and don't think it won't, because that would be just silly. don't worry, i haven't gone completely out of my mind, bit of an existential crisis is all, lost sixty pounds, got my tongue pierced, got single, dyed my hair nuclear mutant carrot, discovered the cure for asthma (it's aleve. naproxen. no i'm not kidding.), had fifteen hours of fame as a result of this pre-coital agreement, it's all perfectly logical.

it is four thirty in the morning, do you know where your inner reptilian alien is? i'm serious, this makes more sense than i do. and i can explain. and i might, because, well, you just never fucking know.

you may now commence chasing my annoying ass away with either scathing comments or complete apathy, your choice.

comments (23)

effenheimer

The economy of fear

by effenheimer at 06:03 PM on September 16, 2003

I had my eyes opened wide the other day. It is an unusual experience especially when you think you've pretty much got things figured out. I'm not a prick about it, I just thought I had a rough idea.

Then I was watching "Bowling for Columbine" and I realized I had only hit on part of the problem with violence in America until Marilyn Manson of all people said "Fear fuels consumption." Whoa.

My brain started tingling like blood was rushing into segments that had never had the pleasure before. I had the pieces before. The Cold War, advertising, killer diseases of the week, war. But for some reason I never realized that either delibeerately or not, we as Americans are being kept in a state of constant anxiety just so we'll buy more shit. Afraid of dying on the road? Buy an SUV. Afraid people will think you're poor? Buy name brand crap so people never know. Buy a gun, keep it loaded, the enemy is at the gate. Kill, kill, kill.

We have enemies that seek to destroy our way of life. We must build billions of dollars worth of ships, missiles, planes, bombs and laser-guided what have yous if we want to live.

Frankly, it made sense. A hell of a lot of sense. Violence most certainly IS the answer, after all.

comments (22)

effenheimer

Eff, portrait of a public figger

by effenheimer at 05:49 PM on September 16, 2003

So this is interesting. I am now at the point in my career where I need a publicist apparently. A friend of mine knows a good one who is a fan of mine who seemed genuinely interested in "making me famous." That's cool, I don't have anything else to do and maybe if I'm lucky I can take a poke at J-Lo.

I supposed the reason this is interesting to me is that for most of my life, right up until the age of 29, I couldn't tell you the name of one person who could really give a shit about what I had to say. Suddenly, there I was just saying the kind of shit I am bound to say, only this time in a column in a student newspaper. People were staring at me, but now it wasn't just because I was a fat ass, they were wanting some of the glowing people perceive as coming off of public figures.

That takes some getting used to. If you're like me and I know I am, you immediately want to hide. I likes my privacy. I like a good conversation and that can never happen if starts of "hey aren't you blah blah blah?" unless the next lines is "wow, I'd really like to suck it." It never is though.

So here I am a scant five years into this writing gig trying to be smart about things you know. Trying to work all the angles to get me where I gotta go. Why? Cause I GOT-TA! Hiring a publicist? Geez, I hope this works. I got about 50 cents to my name after bills.

But GM is pretty sure she can turn me into a household name, loved and respected by hundreds, maybe a thousand people.

Maybe I'll write a book about my gastric bypass surgery. That would be funny as hell. Nobody describes the indignity of funny pooping like me. NOBODY!

comments (8)

ezy

You are like a hurricane. There’s calm in your eye.

by ezy at 02:55 PM on September 16, 2003

Hot damn! A hurricane is coming. I’m not too sure why this excites me but I’ve always been a freak for storms. I’ve been through a couple of tornadoes and I, personally, thought they were beautiful. There is something about Mother Nature’s destructive side that draws me in. Am I an idiot? Maybe. Am I certifiable? Probably. Oh well, all of that aside I can’t wait. There is only one hitch, my car.

You see, I broke the rear window out of my car a little while ago and have just gotten all of the crap done to get it fixed. I was taking my nephew to a baseball game and he wanted the top down. It was a nice day so I said sure. While I’m putting the top down, my little homey and I were discussing his batting average and how to be a better hitter when BLAM! A loud sound behind us startled us both. It seems his dumb assed uncle left his golf clubs in the back seat, forgot about them and snapped my $400 driver in half while demolishing my back window. I cut a piece of Plexiglas to fit and taped it in. You may ask what the hell takes so long to get a rear window replaced. Well, besides procrastination, there is the fact that my car is a convertible. I didn’t think this made too much difference. Wrong. Well the first thing is that the window is a dealer part only, almost $900 worth of glass. Then the dealer has to send it out to an upholstery shop to install it, due to it being a cloth top. That’s another $300 fee above your deductible. Then there is the upholsterer’s labor which is another $400. I have a $250 deductible, though, so I didn’t worry. I called Geico, put in my claim, and called the Chrysler dealer. I thought I would be smart about it, bypass the dealer with their $300 fee, and talk directly to the upholstery shop. They gave me the upholsterer’s number; I called them and set up an appointment. When I got there the shop owner wanted the entire amount up front. That’s $1300 for all the math whizzes. I don’t know about you guys but when the insurance company tells me that, with a $250 deductible, my only out of pocket expense will be $250 that’s what I expect. I told him to pound sand and called Geico back. They hooked me up with a company they use and assured me they would find a shop in my area where I could get the work done for my deductible amount. They did and I paid him a visit. After filling out all of the paperwork he gave me my bill, $1200! What?! Well, at least he was a hundred less in labor. I explained to him what Geico had told me but he was of oriental heritage, didn’t speak English too well, and as a result had no idea what the hell I was talking about. We went back and forth for a while and I told him Geico would be in touch. I call Geico back and let them have it. I was tired of being run around at that point, was pissed at the time I had spent screwing around, and had deadlines staring me in the face back at the office. Geico was apologetic, called the shop and straightened everything out. I went by today to check the status and timeline we were looking at.

cont'd »

comments (15)

ezy

And I wonder who’ll stop the rain?

by ezy at 11:51 AM on September 15, 2003

Damn! When it rains it sure does pour huh? This old adage seems to have taken on a life of its own and wants to have some of mine. What the hell am I talking about? Well, here goes.

What is it with women and guys that have significant others? Do our pheromones change or something. I have been hit on more times this last two months, or so, than I can even count. The gym, the grocery store, the liquor store, the freakin’ Home Depot, at a convenience store et. al. This got me to feeling pretty good about myself then I began to give it some serious thought. Before Amy and I were dating things just weren’t so. I could get a date if I wanted one but these wanton come-ons weren’t a part of my life. Well, unless you count the satanic mistress and that ended up being a waste of time. The visual quality, of these women, is also alarming. They have been smoking hot to the last one. A couple I would even deem well out of my league. So, back to my original question, what the hell is different? I’m three to five pounds heavier but nothing else has changed that I can see. Do guys just have a look of desperation or something when we’re single? Do we smell like spoiled milk? Do we look a bit tussled? Do we have drool stains on the front of our shirts and dried snot on our sleeves from wiping. Anyone?

cont'd »

comments (18)

anna

Pillow Talk

by anna at 04:25 PM on September 14, 2003

Who hasn’t cringed at off-putting things people have said before, during or after knocking boots? Here are some examples:

Before:
Get ready for the ride of your life.
Leave your clothes on.
I don’t mean to brag but have a gander at....this!
No oral, no anal, no doggy-style, I am strictly missionary style.
First we should probably discuss my insecurities about, you know.
Don’t kiss me.
This is my deathbed.
My husband collects guns.
I like Jews. You a Jew?
You’ll be my first this week.
This won’t hurt a bit.
Need I remind you that I paid for dinner AND the movie?
Get on your knees, bitch.
I’m incredibly fertile.
You’re just going to use me, aren’t you?
My last abortion was the worst. I so wanted those babies.
That’s the tip jar.

During:
Are you finished?
Mind if I read my book?
I am bleeding but don’t mind me.
Oh my significant other, your penis is so...sizable!
Who’s your daddy?!
The World Trade Association’s policies stink. And don’t even get me started about the IMF.

Afterwards:
Well, that was quick.
I can already feel your baby growing inside me.
You should have seen your face. I’ve seen calmer people in the throes of grand mal seizures.
For all your sweating, you don’t smell half bad.
I told you I knew all about the man in the boat.
I hated the dirty talk. It sounds so forced, like you read it in Cosmo or something. But otherwise, you rocked. Really.
Yep, you’re definitely in my top ten.
I bet (prior girlfriend) never did that for you. (Actual example from my personal experience.)
What’d you say your name was? (This too.)
I can’t believe this happened again. (Ditto. This old flame must have been listening to too much Liz Phair.)
I’m so jealous of my sister. Her fiancee gave her a 2 carat diamond last night.
Dad never did it like that.
Condoms are so unreliable, especially when you reuse them.
I passed my AIDS test, but the herpes results are still pending.
Monica’s got nothing on me, no? My old boyfriend used to call me his blowjob queen.
Everybody else always wants to tie me up. What’s with you?
You really need to change your sheets someday.
Chow, baby!
You so nasty!

comments (7)

anna

Racing around to come up behind you again

by anna at 05:56 PM on September 10, 2003

A new coworker informs me that while other boys were out playing sports or Army, he was dressing dolls in frilly frocks. I admire his candor, especially since we'd just met. Oh yeah, he's gay. Tres gay, but so what?

Hank isn't your stereotypical flaming queen, however. There's the matter of his name, which is really Henry. He's an ardent follower of the SF 49ers, as he likes their uniforms. He can work on cars. He owns a vast array of tools, including a "stud-finder." He swears it's used to locate 2x4s behind drywall.

We've become fast friends---but as Survivor Rudy once stressed, not in a homosexual way---in part because we share a passion for vintage movies. For hours we can debate the social significance of Some Like It Hot. Why did stodgy standards and practices censors allow Marilyn Monroe to practically Kobe Tony Curtis on that yacht? Because they played it for laughs, that's why.

Similarly, we've come up with a concept for a new TV show called Macho Men Set Gays Straight. It's a blatant ripoff of the campy hit Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Here's some sample episodes:

Football: The Be-all and End-all of Guy Existence: We show gays why the purest joy in life is to be barricaded inside a cold, darkened den with beer, bratwurst and DirecTV's NFL Package. We also explain the meaning of "playoff implications" and demonstrate the proper use of Stadium Buddy. (Leave the receptacle under your seat.)

Dogs: Choose Between Pit Bulls and Doberman Pinschers: We refuse to admit that Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and other lap dogs are biological canines.

When It's Time to Change the Sheets: When the entire surface is encrusted with some disgusting yet unrecognizable substance or when the color fades to something other than a primary color, whichever comes last. Subplot: All the colors you need to know were taught to you in kindergarten. Mauve, taupe and lavender are not colors, they're flavors.

Drinking in Bars: Beer vs. Straight Whiskey: Men don't drink Sex on the Beach or Fuzzy Navels, though we may have fuzzy navels.

Men Don't Shop, We Go on Buying Rampages: Guys storm malls to pillage electronic gadgetry by the cartload. Girls are not for shopping with even if we did shop, which we don't.

Dudes Don't Wear No Hats Let Alone Berets at a Jaunty Angle: Hats smack of flamboyance, which can get you killed in prison---or worse, beget unsolicited conjugal visits.

Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: Patterned after the Seinfeld episode. A chance for we guys to show off our tolerant sides.

Wet T-shirt Night and Girls Gone Wild: Necessary Evils: Sure they are demeaning but where would our culture be without these time-honored traditions?

Country Music: A Primer: We explain why Hank Williams III's I Put the Dick in Dixie and the Cunt in Country is such an important cultural artifact, right up there with Ultimate Fighting.

Why We'll Never Visit Paris, France: The title speaks for itself, as does Church is for Checking out Chicks, Chest Hair is Normal, Why Shave on Weekends, Blame Farts on the Family Dog and All Worthwhile Foods Can Be Eaten with your Hands.

We're flying out to LA to pitch our idea to Fox shirts. Any suggestions for other episodes or enhancements to these would be a godsend at this point.

comments (10)

anna

A time to gather stones together

by anna at 08:40 PM on September 07, 2003

I’m not one for nostalgia. I think it’s like golf, something you engage in when you’re old, gray, constipated and rooting through your medicine shed in search of remedies. Besides, if you did reminisce honestly, you’d have to admit that most of the time you were bored to tears.

We sure were when my friends and I decided to shoot a movie in high school. Basically The Sephiroth Monster was a handy excuse to cut one of those dull cultural studies classes they started having in the 70s. It had a rudimentary plot, your basic monster is terrorizing a community and eating its less savory elements until the good guy rides in on a motorcycle and saves the day type of deals. The sound track came courtesy of The Doors, Led Zeppelin and Cream. We broke up scenes with time-lapse photography of sunsets and sunrises. The acting could only be described as atrocious. It was a smash hit.

But I’m not here to tout our stupid movie. For years we idly wondered what had become of it. The guy who directed either fell or got shoved overboard from a shrimping boat. Prior to that he’d entrusted his brainchild to his kid brother, who is now a personal injury attorney in LA.

A couple years ago one of those rah-rah, good old days sorts of guys from my circle was released from prison and immediately hunted down the director’s brother. Sure enough, he produced a neatly labeled canister. Therein was The Sephiroth Monster in all its ragged glory. George (a.k.a. Mumbles, Secret Squirrel) set about the monumental task of restoring it and recasting it in video format. He enhanced the sound track with CD versions of those old ditties. Then he made ten copies and invited us all to gather for a reunion, promising a Big Surprise. It was held at a downtown bar so ritzy none of us could afford to order cocktails. I must say we were all floored that he’d gone to all that trouble and expense over something we’d forgotten all about.

For the longest time I refused to view it. I didn’t know why, but I had this strange sense of foreboding about the whole thing. Finally I broke it out and popped it into our VCR. My son and I watched in slack-jawed silence as it wound inexorably toward its foregone conclusion.

All those young, fresh faces so full of hope, promise and carefully cultivated peach fuzz! The wayward sons and daughters of my town’s elite upper crust, no less! Our flubbed lines and those stilted action scenes, including the one where the hero rides my Honda 70 minibike across a weed-choked field with makeshift lance in hand! Me, playing a bartender who gets shot and falls to the ground with catsup smeared all over my chest! That infamous bong and beer party scene! Long since-leveled landmarks looming in the background!

Me: So, what did you think? Ian: Dude, no offense but that’s the lamest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. The Rug Rats made a better movie and they’re not even real. *peers at me suspiciously* Were you guys on dope?

Well son, that depends on how you define dope.

Most of the cast has since either died violent or bizarre deaths, gotten incarcerated or gone bonkers.

Prior to that we’d all gone on to form a far-flung criminal enterprise headed by George; who now works in mergers and acquisitions and visits Cuba regularly. Secretive as ever, he won’t say why.

But I can assure you of this: The modern concept of a “quarter life crisis” never once crossed our minds. At age 25 we were all living large and brimming with false optimism. We’ll never be tied down or obsess over such mundane matters as coaster use or credit card balances, we were sure. The very notion of a career was anathema to us. Then it all collapsed like a house of cards.

There is something hauntingly primordial about people you know who just up and die, especially if it happens in your arms as it did with the star of the movie. At first you think it’s all a big misunderstanding but then the reality sinks in. The French probably have a word for that sinking feeling, maybe a la mort or something.

Good for them. All I know is I'll never watch that movie again. It is simply too sad to ponder all that squandered potential. I shall throw it away, real soon.

comments (10)

effenheimer

Monkey-Like Beast Causes Panic in Council Bluffs and it ain't even ME!

by effenheimer at 06:22 PM on September 07, 2003

I've been busy moving my office from one craphole to a newer, more corporate looking craphole. Just got everything up and running and thought I'd share this story with you. A reader dropped off an 80 year old front page from the Cincinatti Post that contained a story about my hometown.

I was all like, what the hell am I supposed to do with a piece of paper that's older than me? I didnt want to toss it, but I didn't want to be responsible for it either you know? Just thinking about it made the edges crumble and I dont like committment, especially when it involves custom framing for $80.

Luyckily for me, the library jumped at it and I get a donor cred. SWEET! I'm practically mayor of this town.

So here is the story. ENJOY!

Police Trap Is Baited For Ape-Man

Officers Disguised as Women Stroll Thru Streets

Victim Tells of Attack

Monkey-Like Beast Causes Panic in Council Bluffs

COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA, March 21 � The police of Council Bluffs laid aside their blue uniforms Tuesday night and donned skirts, bonnets, silk stockings and feminine undies.
With orders to shoot to kill if necessary, they sauntered singly thru the residential section of the city, clad in the habiliments of their wives, sisters and sweethearts, in an attempt to lure and capture the huge �ape-man� which has been terrorizing Council Bluffs women for more than a week.
While the �ape-man,� a huge, ungainly creature, believed to be but half human, with most of the characteristics of a gorilla, has inflicted no more harm than a terrific shock and a few bruises on the dozen or more women it has attacked. James C. Nicoli, police chief, believes fatalities have been averted only by pure luck.
In Exclusive District
The beast has operated only in the city�s most exclusive residential district, usually between 6 and 9 p.m.
Unless the ape-man is possessed of a sixth sense of sex, Nicoli believes, he will succumb sooner or later to the attractive bait of the masquerading cops.
Several of the women molested were returning from the Y.M.C.A. at the time. They were reluctant to tell of their experiences, but compared notes, and one of the victims gave a written description of the man to the police Tuesday.
She described him as �dark, heavy set and with a small, red face.� He has long hair which almost covers the face, she said, and bloodshot eyes. His arms are hairy and he is roughly dressed.
Moves Like Monkey
�His movements are monkey-like,� this women continued. �He slinks along in a stooped fashion, arms swinging loosely like those of a gorilla.
�His attacks are like those of a wild animal. He slips up from behind and clutches at his victim. He tears at her clothing.
�The girls who have been attacked were nervous wrecks afterward. I know of one girl whom he dragged between two buildings, where she had to put up a fight for her life.
�But he is a coward. When his victim screams he darts off with lightning rapidity and disappears behind buildings.�

comments (9)

anna

I can't erase that rock 'n roll feeling from my mind

by anna at 08:09 AM on September 05, 2003

You know those things you've heard somewhere but would rather not dwell upon? Those things you must drive from your mind in order to stave off your inevitable descent into madness and despair?

1) Meat residue can remain in your colon for weeks or even months.
2) Most kitchen sponges are teeming with deadly germs.
3) Stomach acid can eat gaping holes in your esophagus.
4) Global warming will cause massive flooding in coastal regions.
5) At the same time, global cooling will plunge us into a protracted new Ice Age.
6) Moustaches smack of insincerity. I have one. When I shaved it off my wife protested that I looked ridiculous.
7) This new millennium didn't really begin on 1/1/00 when everyone pretended to celebrate it. It really commenced 1/1/01 or some other time.
8) Pi goes on forever.
9) Like Pi, the universe too is infinite.
10) Half the world's population has yet to place a phone call.
11) People drill holes in their heads to let pesky demons dissipate.
12) Lots of middle school girls give head but still maintain that they're technically still virgins. They are pure as the driven slush, so to speak.
13) Similarly, bacteria are mutating so rapidly that they'll soon be immune to all antibiotics.
14) As still more living proof of ongoing evolution, more and more babies are born sans appendix, tonsils, little toes, wisdom teeth or brains.
15) Not all homeless people are poor, insane or both. Some live al fresco by choice.
16) Everybody is bisexual.
17) Shark attacks are not all uncommon. Neither is human spontaneous combustion.
18) Police sirens make them go deaf, which is why your lame excuses for speeding fall on deaf ears.
19) Physiologically speaking, a sneeze is no different a sensation than an orgasm. Bah!
20) All our attractions, dislikes and attitudes are determined by complex neurophysiology in our brains. Thus our fate is preordained before birth.
21) The plural of cactus is cacti. The plural of octopus is octopi. Thus the stuff piled up in dumpsters outside abortion clinics would be termed "feti."
22) If you could fly fast enough, time would stand still.
23) Until it starts eating solid food, a baby's shit don't stink. Hence, if you subsisted solely on breast milk, yours wouldn't either. Hmmm.
24) But someone could run off with your very identity at any given moment.
25) And HIV arose from men cavorting with green monkeys in east Africa. My son wants to know whether the ones who banged male monkeys are gay. See # 16.

26) Oh, and we're all going to die alone.

comments (36)

anna

A Recipe for Disaster

by anna at 05:57 PM on September 03, 2003

Mix a dollop of my crazed hooligan friends with copious quantities of peyote. Put us on a chartered fishing boat moored off Key West. Turn us loose without a captain. For good measure, blend in several leggy gals we'd just met and sought to...impress.

We set sail and immediately started landing large fish, which we chucked into the cargo hold. Halfway to Cuba I noticed a buoy bobbing in the sea. It piqued my curiosity. We tugged and tugged and lo and behold we had a moss-covered crab trap in our boat. 'Twas laden with both meaty stone crabs and these eerie looking bottom-dweller fish. We knew enough to stash the crabs underneath our legitimate haul but alas, not enough to hurl the telltale fish overboard.

When we arrived back at the pier hallucinating and two hours late, the boatman was a-waiting and he was livid. He demanded to inspect our catch. Snatching one of the bottom-dwellers in the manner of a dad examining syringes he's found in his daughter's drawer, he asked, "What kind of bait did you boys catch these on?" We stammered some lame reply but he knew full well what the deal was. He informed us that had any crabber spotted us messing with their livelihood, they'd have killed us all and left our corpses to fester in the blistering Caribbean sun.

We high-tailed it back to our campsite and got a major blaze going. We boiled the crabs to perfection in a big vat. Locals popped up and confirmed what the boatman had said.

Despite the appetite-suppressing effect of the peyote, those babies were the best meal I'd ever savored and I am a fine food freak. When you know you've cheated death for a few morsels of seafood, it's a sensation like no other.

Other chow isn't so scrumptious. In Korea, for instance, waiters wrestle live dogs to the table. They skin them alive and cook them with a blowtorch. Fido is then carved up as if Peking duck. (I should clarify that this is South Korea. Given that they earn about 6% of what their Southern counterparts net, North Koreans are lucky to turn up a grub now and again.)

This time-honored culinary tradition has Brigitte Bardot and her PETA pals in a tizzy. But as far as I know they've never raised a stink about Nepalese bistros' specialty, monkey brains. (Link note: it says you have to download some shit but you don't. Just click cancel and view away.) Waiters restrain the varmint in a hole in the table. Then they take a power saw to its skull. Diners scoop the contents directly from the skull to their plates. Dig in!

Although this is supposed to impart wisdom, I'd sooner eat from a toddler's soiled diaper. Munching on monkeys hits too close to home. It's like you're scarfing your ancestors.

Here in the US we eat beef like cattle are going the way of the mastodon. Sirloin, rump roast, filet, burgers, you name and we'll grill it. This doesn't sit so well with Hindus, to whom these beasts are literally sacred cows.

So we see that it's really just a matter of cultural differences. Koreans see no harm in wolfing down a tasty schnauzer or terrier. Americans would rather walk them and scoop up their poop. Nepalese people dig chimp meat while Americans prefer their monkeys in zoos or cosmetics labs. In some parts of Africa, other people are considered dinner. And to think Hindus put us down for our beef jones.

There's probably more strange culinary practices around the world, but that's all I could think of off the top of my head. Maybe I need to eat more fresh monkey brains.

comments (16)

mg

We can't even think of a word that rhymes

by mg at 12:19 PM on September 03, 2003

Yesterday was the first day of the rest of my life. In fact, today is also the first day of the rest of my life, which is why that particular cliché doesn’t really seem to make so much sense. What’d be a much more appropriate statement, re: yesterday, is that it was the first day of the new semester (of the rest of my life).

Yesterday began my second semester in grad school, and I’ll finally be taking some classes besides the “we just want to weed out the people who aren’t serious, take your money, and not really teach you one damn useful thing” classes that packed my spring schedule. Not only am I taking classes that might be useful, I’m taking a lot of them. I’m taking four classes this semester, which apparently I’m not supposed to be allowed to do, but I’m so darn cute that even the hardasses in the dean’s office had to let me get my way. Just one of the many perks of being such a damn charming young man.

I’m taking so many classes because I want to get done with school as soon as possible. Unlike many people I’m meeting in school, I’m here not just for something to do “until the economy picks up,” but because I actually want to learn something. I want to get done with school and back into the workforce as soon as possible. The way I see it, the sooner I’m done with school, the sooner I can get back to spending 40 hours a week sending out resumes to jobs I don’t really want, and wont pay me what I deserve, and then still not hear anything back from those potential employers. Because I really miss that.

But, anyway, that is all beside the point. School is really boring (besides for the intellectual stimulation, and I’m all about stimulation). I don’t want to deal with it, why should I force you too? I’m only mentioning school because during my first class last night, there was this one particular student who, in the course of the first half hour of the semester, had managed to turn every single person in class against her.

People like that, rather than being annoying, make me sad. Obviously she doesn’t know how annoying she is, and can’t really help herself from making people squirm like someone had run their fingernails across the chalkboard every time she opens her mouth. This girl, if you can picture it, is a grownup version of Dawn Weiner (from Welcome to the Dollhouse).

I wish I could explain exactly what about her is so annoying, but it’s definitely one of those “had to be there” kinds of things. This is the first class I’ve had with her, but I met her over the summer when, after class one evening I was meeting to work on a group presentation. We’d just about finished and were just chit-chatting at that point, when she walked up and started talking to one of my group mates. As soon as she’d opened her mouth to begin talking, he interrupted and brusquely said “I can’t talk to you right now, we’re working now.” Now, that doesn’t seem very harsh, but I suppose you had to be there. At the time, I thought he’d been very rude as I watched her walk away sadly.

Now, after a few short minutes with her last night, and the dawning realization I’m going to have to spend much of the next 15 weeks with her, I can understand why people in the class were already rolling their eyes and letting loose with big soap-opera sighs every time she raised her hand.

On retrospect, I think maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned this at all. Considering how impatient I am, I’m likely to bludgeon her to death with my $80 textbook one evening. I’m sure I’d get a standing ovation from the rest of the class.

comments (15)