Friday, October 31, 2008

where teeth go to die ...

if there is one crisis that i can handle with the sophistication of a thousand of jane austin's more boring characters, it is the loss of a chunk of molar.

in the early 2000s, i broke my second to back molar on the ride side on a very tasty sourdough pretzel. probably honey mustard flavored. i had a root canal. i never got the tooth capped and broke off the fake part again about two years later. this time, i believe it was a dorito. i got it fixed by a dentist so pretty, that i felt ashamed, sending her knuckles deep into my gaping face cave. it was like making someone with expensive shoes ride in my car, affectionately referred to as the "squalor [pista] mobile."

today, i was absentmindedly chewing a piece of orbitz bubblemint gum [my favorite] and thwack, i yanked the year and a half old replacement chunk out by the sheer adhesive force of sugarless [yet flavor-filled!] gum.

i mined the ceramic tooth-like product out of the gunk, ditched the gum into a street ashtray and shrugged it off. meh, another day, another tooth repair.

then for about four hours i thought i was going to barf. and then i wondered if chuck was going to have to tie a "daddy's girl" bib around my neck, and perform aerial spoon acrobatics before mushing gerber's strained peas against my lips. and if we'd celebrate with a round of stomach zerberts.

my mouth is where teeth go to die. aside from the problem molar, i have a split in another molar on what i like to call "the chewing side of my face." one of my bottom front teeth has a divot in the back. one of my front teeth has a jagged pinking shears cut to it. i could probably cut fabric with those suckers. i think that chip occured on impact with a 32 ounce beer mug, but not the same time i gave myself a black eye on a 32 ounce beer mug.

if fate found me in mexico right now, i'd have the whole lot yanked in favor of pretty perfect porcelin whities that i could keep in a glass next to the bed lit with a blue aquarium light with a small snail to gnaw them clean.

it's not like i eat a ton of steak.

i'm curious to see how long i go before i make an appointment to get this fixed. i have my guesses.

i'm not sure why my teeth are so brittle: i have always consumed a lot of mucous, and i've never just spontaneously shattered a shin bone. on the other hand, i've always had dreams that i'm heaving into my cupped hands and teeth the consistancy of vomit are spilling into my palms.

this sucker's going under my pillow tonight.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

apostropeeved ...

dude: [proper name with an extraneous apostrophe]
me: gah! i hate it when people call it [proper name with an apostrophe] it's just [proper name] or [proper name adjective noun]
dude: i always call it [proper name with an apostrophe]
me: that's why i never talk to you!
dude: i'm going to start calling it [proper name without an apostrophe] because i miss you.

PS: i totally woke up screaming in the middle of the night [6 a.m.] because my arm had fallen asleep and i had to pick it up to move it and so i was flinging it around like it was just this arm i found laying in the road and i was all 'hey! free arm! who wants an arm!'

chuck almost called 911 because he thought i was having a heart attack.

facebook knows ...

[a late afternoon phone call with fannie mcfanster]

fannie: blah blah i made a grilled brie, blue cheese and apple sandwich.
me: yum! i made falafel last night. i'll probably just have that again.
fannie: oh, yeah, i saw that chuck was eating falafel.
me: ???
fannie: he mentioned it in his facebook status.
me: did he say if there was any left?

Monday, October 27, 2008

my eyes are up here, lady ...

i have never felt more like a level three sex offender than i did today at the y. first of all, i wore this shirt thinking everyone in the world capable of programming an eliptical machine was probably aware of the university of south carolina's mascot.

it is the favored college-ware apparel of sassy midwestern frat boys, which we've all obviously seen loping around the jagarmeister aisle at our local liquor stops.

but as i was running, the woman working in the fitness center seemed more interested in my chest than any man or woman to date. i started to feel a little conspicuous. i was all "um, my eyes are up here, lady," but she was a squinting, reading mess of horrified confusion.

i could see it on her face. "does that woman's shirt say 'c*cks'?!" then trying to find a reasonable explanation for why a 33-year-old adult would make such a brazen -- or, dare i say, cocky -- show of her heterosexuality. or did she think it was more like actual fandom? like an obama 08 shirt except in support of private parts?

she continued to sneak looks at my shirt for the rest of the time i was there, with the same look on her face that i made when i heard the words "mucous" and "milk" in the same sentence last week. [digression: "mucous and milk" sound like the names of two adolescent brothers with opposing personalities who teach life lessons monthly in highlights magazine.]

1. i didn't buy this shirt. it was a 30th birthday present from daisy, who flew in for my party from south carolina.
2. i yanked it from a pile of t'shirts i either run or sleep in.
3. i did consider wearing it wrong side out when i was leaving the locker room, but decided that in a fitness center with a constant ESPN buzz, a shirt with this word splayed across it would first bring to mind the gamecocks and maybe not anything else at all.

but, damn if i wasn't at the duluth family ymca. i started to feel guilty. after my run, i went hunchback with a water bottle blocking the OC. and there were about 100 preteen girls from the swim team in the locker room, so i slouched some more and beelined for the adult locker room and had my jacket zipped to my throat before i even removed my ipod.

i'm buying that ymca a subscription to sports illustrated.

* chuck just got home, saw me sitting on the couch and said "that shirt is dirty."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

challah back girl ...

i seem to have had a much more well-rounded week than i recalled. [i actually write these up as they happen, thus the length. thus the fact that they are labeled for skimming ease.]


pumpkin stew, vegetarian times: now THIS was a huge success, not to mention the street cred i get for MAKING A MEAL IN A PUMPKIN! red peppers, tomatillos, onion, garlic, hominy and some spices, dump it into the pumpkin, stick it in the oven for 2 hours. this was my first experience with hominy and also tomatillos. this is exactly why i always make vegetarian foods:

1. chopping vegetables is a hobby;
2. so is squeezing a garlic mincer;
3. i get to learn about things like hominy, tomatillos and -- last week -- miso. this is much more fun that just shoving a chicken into the oven or boiling hot dogs.

full disclosure: this soup did not make that hot of a leftover. but fresh was fantastic.

challah: i'm as stunned as you are that this turned out. as i was 'braiding' the bread i was thinking how fortunate that the dough was not a child's hair and that said child was not in any sort of beauty pageant. then, it came out of the oven looking awesome. let that be a lesson to parents.

[on the other hand, i tried to make a butternut squash purreed soup. this is my second go-round with butternut squash and all i can say is at least i didn't cry this time, which is significant progress, but not enough. ... butternut squash, i'll see you next fall when i've had time to forget your wrath.]


i'm a sucker for pretty cans. i'm two deep, favoring the pomegranate blackberry.

Paranoid Park 2007: gabe nevins plays alex tremaine, who looks more like a mii than my actual mii, in a short movie made longer by it's intense pore exploration and slo-mo shots. tremaine revisits the events of a night he spent on the sidelines of an illegally-made hardcore skate park, and an unfortunate accident that ends with a security guard's upper half of his trunk being forcefully severed from the lower half of his trunk ... including a scene where a pelvis-less man shimmies toward the young skate punk, pulling himself by his elbows. if played at regular speed, this would be a 20 minute shortie.

chuck nailed it when he said: this movie is for cutters.

Crumb (Special Edition) 1994: a documentary on the artist r. crumb, famous for his drawings of amply bosomed, butted and legged women and his mousy sexually deviant men. i was completely enthralled at this man's agoraphobic family -- including a brother who sits in the lotus for hours at a time, and every few weeks consumes a long string of cloth -- which takes three days to "pass" -- as a sort of internal cleanse. mostly wondering if he reuses the same string over and over, or if he has a bag filled with scraps.

"morrissey nfl" [via]: i can only hope that when the nfl wanted to use this song, morrissey thought they meant futbol football. and then, [via] morrissey is writing his autobiography for the same reason tori spelling wrote her's. "So much crap is written about me, it's hard to live with sometimes," he said. "It all gets burned down in history and becomes a part of your legacy." [although he said it with that kicky accent and without mentioning his mom.]

report: smiths close to reunion [via]: my favorite paragraph of this story is: Morrissey has repeatedly ruled out the idea of reforming the group during interviews, once claiming: "I'd rather eat my own testicles than reform The Smiths - and that's saying something coming from a vegetarian."

redesigned book covers [via]: bookninja's contest for a reinterpretation of a book covers includes a santa-hatted mariah carey on the cover of "i know why the caged bird sings" and a pornograhic take on "the handmaid's tale." pretty funny stuff.

what haruki murakami talks about [via]: Q&A with one of my favorite writers from the san francisco chronicle. he's just so damn cute and i love his lifestyle. "You have to dream intentionally. Most people dream a dream when they are asleep. But to be a writer, you have to dream while you are awake, intentionally. So I get up early in the morning, 4 o'clock, and I sit at my desk and what I do is just dream."

cookingwithrockstars is my new favorite web site: nada surf smokes tomatoes; new pornographers guy can't cook; ben gibbard of death cab talks about peanut butter and veggie dog sandwiches; jenny lewis is almost vegan.


also, last week i was tagged by mojito to list seven random things about myself. here goes nuthin':

1. the song copa cabana was stuck in my head for most of 1999-2001. this was excruciating.
2. ever since the word 'mucus' was said in the same sentence as 'milk' by my friend daisy like a week and a half ago, i've been off milk. can't do it. nuh uh. not at all. soy milk, fine.
3. for some reason, i find the song "trapeze swinger" by iron & wine very upsetting. i can barely get through the whole thing without involuntarily weeping. this is not, as far as i know, a sad song. nor has it been the soundtrack for any troubling times in my life.
4. about 98 percent of the time i can guess the price of my groceries to within 60 cents.
5. i believe that this year, i will make my third attempt at completing nanowrimo. i've finished once, but two years ago my computer broke right in the middle of a very experimental genre.
6. sometimes when i'm doing something i really enjoy -- like cooking or running -- i have to remind myself that i actually like what i'm doing.
7. i'd like to take a vacation to 1984.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

every day is like sunday ...

three things that happened at pickwick last night during dinner:
1. i was following a large group outside of the restaurant. one woman tugged a male friend back into the entryway and said: "don't tell [woman's name], but i just don't like sarah palen and i don't think i can vote for mccain." the man sympathised with her and promised not to tell [woman's name].

2. a circle of 40-somethings were standing in a circle smoking cigars and cigarettes.

"we're getting a new car," a woman announced.
"another car?" her friend answered.
"well, first we have to get rid of a couple," the first woman said.
"you'd be an idiot not to buy an escalade right now," the friend answered. "dirt cheap, comfy, and they are so good on the road."
"oh ... escalades are sooo nice," another friend responded. "they are soo roomy."

[who are these people? and where do they see the planet in five years?]

3. as we were leaving, i was singing the song "every day is like sunday," out loud. the busser stood by the table waiting for us to collect our things.

"i wish it was sunday," the busser said. "pickwick's closed on sundays."
[i laughed for a block.]

we headed to pizza luce, where i struggled to discern whether the man at the bar was drunk or born that way. he covered the bar with a layer of spilled patron, which another friend dipped at with his index finger like it was top the tator. he gave he bartender a bear hug, did a super secret handshake, said he had to go home, then shotgunned a beer. he told the bartender he was leaving and needed a glass of water. he did two more shots.

then we went to quinlan's. per usual. for some reason, the night turned into a tattoo parade, which i captured on film.

i struggled to understand what, exactly, this was a tattoo of.
"i don't know," it's owner admitted. "i got it when i was 19."
i now suspect that it is the canine-sharp claws of a vampire reaching into to crush the woman on a midol commercial.

this is the classic dolphin orbiting the planet tattoo.

and the ying-yang.

this is simply an appendix scar. and for the life of me, i cannot remember who it belongs to.

so quinlan's was super fun. lots of frenzied chatter.

two things that happened at RT's:

1. a man named sax came up to me, grabbed my hand and kissed it. grabbed it again and kissed it. went in for a hug and coated my ear in saliva. i pushed him back. he got into the front seat of a cab. turned back to look at me and said: "NOW YOU'RE ALL MAD AT ME!" ??? not mad, necessarily. in need of a bleach wash? sure.

2. a man stumbled up to a group of us and said he had just been robbed at knife point and wanted to borrow a cell phone to call 911. he seemed a bit sketchy. my phone was not on my person at the moment. one friend, cell phone clearly visible in her front pocket claimed to not have one. we shifted about four feet away from the victim.

we came home and ate toasted peanut butter and banana sandwiches, which i was mighty glad was not a pizza.

Friday, October 24, 2008

operation internal clock ...

for the past nine days i have gotten out of bed before 9:30 a.m. it is -- above all else -- a social experiment to see what i am like as a person who functions during standard hours of operation. well, standard-ish.

while i am still awake for approximately the same amount of hours as i was when i went to bed at 4-5 a.m., reconfiguring my time has made me crab-by.

1. i've gotten three parking tickets in two weeks. this is not because i don't understand the process of plugging a meter. i'm pretty sure that the parking enforcer is watching me. pure hubris? maybe. but i ran into a store today, spun around when i remembered i'd forgotten to plug my meter, and by the time i got back to my car i had another ticket. i have one word:


2. i'm not sure when to go for a run. running would alleviate some of the metaphorical bongo blood clots from my brain, and not running makes them more acute. but when? WHEN!? no time seems right. i like to run when its dark. when it's dark i make dinner during the time deemed "dinner-time" in most american households. then i'm tired.

3. it took me less than three days of this experiment to become incredibly regular.

4. i've also taken to deleting large chunks of material from my google reader with nary a glance at the tumblr blogs. surprisingly, this has made my limited time online much more enjoyable.

my friend the rockstar amy abts told me that you can be, scientifically, a night person. it has something to do with a lobe. you can't change a lobe, man. you just can't.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

units of measurement ...

seeds. unrelated to anything.

i was trying to figure out how long it had been since i had gone for a run when the guy who works the desk in the ymca cardio center walked in with a full, beasty flannel shirt and hunting shack looking beard.

"huh," i thought. "that long."

i now apparently measure increments of time in the facial-hair growth of the strangers who have the unfortunate luck of being in the line of sight from my treadmill.

also, in the time it takes to grow one full-length beard, i can completely nullified any running progress i may or may not have made in my life. instead of encouraging me, today girl talk mocked me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

101 words about miso ...

a photo of my very basic miso soup that was surprisingly good, considering it was just water, miso and onions. although i hardly felt gorged.

soooo. ... this past week i learned that i like it when chuck says "piggly wiggly." [as in the grocery store.] he must have the perfect sized tongue for spitting out that name or something. it's adorable. and hilarious.

in other news:

The Searchers [Blu-ray]
1956: did i ever mention i took a class called 'the american western' when i was in college? oh, college. there is simply a class for everything. and with $1,200 in 1997, you, too, could deconstruct "shane" and the works of zane gray. this is the third time i've seen this movie. i like it a lot. blah, blah, beautifully shot.

1. why would one live in that particular isolated desert canyon area? the nearest neighbor is like 40 miles away.
2. imagine the stressfulness of meeting a guy under these circumstances. he may be a bit dim, but he can play the guitar. and he may be the only man other than your father that you come into contact with for the next five years. do you know what happens to ovaries over the span of five years? these girls do.
3. between john wayne and his small posse of searchers, the collective IQ seems to be about 24.
4. this movie occurs after john wayne's attractive years. this is, metaphorically, his marlon-brando-in-apocalypse-now phase.

miso soup:
boil a cup and a half of water or broth, remove from heat, stir in a tablespoon of miso paste. top with things like onions or diced firm tofu.

wow. miso-easy. miso-tastey. and apparently is super healthy. [part of that comes from adding wakame, which i didn't have on hand.]

aside: a geeky "still in my early stages of learning about cooking different foods" story about miso paste. i was making tofu burritos a few weeks ago and the recipe called for white miso. i had no idea what miso was, so i looked it up and found the words "bean curd."

i went to the world foods department at cub and began hunting near the refried beans and then looked at every label in the asian foods aisle. i scoured the shelves of the oraganic section. i asked a teenager for help, she asked her manager for help. i never found miso, so i went to whole foods.

i've found that if you're making something called, um, tofu burritos, and there is an ingredient you don't understand, there is a good chance that it is in heavy rotation at whole foods and that one of the happy hippies will be eager to help you find it.

again, i hunted near the co-op's collection of thai food ingredients and found nothing. i went to the help desk for assistance.

the woman working beamed. turned to her coworker and said: "do you know what miso is?"

the woman walked me to the cooler area and pointed to something like a country crock container, all while explaining that miso comes in red and white -- and the differences are similar to the differences between red and white wine. it's fermented soy beans, she told me. it can be used to make dips and sauces. or, obviously, miso soup. "and it lasts forever," she said. because its fermented. "maybe not forever," she added. "but five years maybe."

[as you know, we already have plenty of things in the fridge that are five years old. now here is one that wouldn't turn into spores and blue dust.]

this was one of my favorite interactions to ever occur at the grocery store. second only to the time chuck turned off the stockers' garbled heavy metal radio station as we wandered the aisles at 1 a.m. because the black sabbath was making us see in lucky charms in strobe.

Beautiful Children: A Novel
by charles bock: According to a New York Times Magazine feature on Charles Bock, it took the sadist 11 years to write his first novel Beautiful Children. Then, 406ish pages of the hardcover later, Charles Bock gives a shining example of why one should not spend 11 years on one book.

Mainly, this beast is full of words.

full review [as always] here

the david foster wallace month has slowed. mostly because i've been spending less time reading the internut and more time reading good old fashioned books.

but, there is these pieces from rolling stone that i read:
"the lost years and last days of david foster wallace": an exerpt from a rolling stone story on david foster wallace.
"getting to know david foster wallace": RS interviews the author about, well, getting to know dfw. a suppliment to the first story.

"john ford's monument" [via] ... and then the washington post runs a story about the area where 'the searchers' was filmed, written by a fan of the movie and posted a day after i saw it. freaky deaky.

"why i blog" [via]: andrew sullivan's deconstruction of the web. log. from the atlantic.

the brief and rare glimpse of what i'm up to [see also: sarcasm] ...

10:50 a.m. -- toonses has beaten down the bedroom door. the tenacity, the manic grin: in another life, he was in "the shining." i wake just in time to smoosh his 30 pounds of fur into the hardwood floor as he skulks past. i fling him back out of the bedroom like he is a dust rag.

he squeals. [with delight?]

1 p.m. -- i still need a dress to wear to bubbles' wedding. preferably something without a hood, despite my instincts. a wedding i've lost the invite to. a wedding i didn't rsvp to because i thought i wouldn't be able to make it. a wedding i've verbally committed to attending the a) jesus portion of; b) the "ice ice baby" dance off of.

1:20-2:30 p.m. -- i'm trying on dresses, shooting photos with my cell, sending the multimedia to fannie for approval. every time the phone clicks, i wonder if my fitting room neighbors think i'm a pervert. i hate dresses. i decide to leave the mall and try benetton at fitgers. i even consider hitting a talbots at a strip mall, which is next to a chicos. i read somewhere that if you chant "talbots" "chicos" and "strip mall" it is powerful enough to induce menopause. i may have read this on my own web site.

2:50 p.m. -- benetton is a bust. lots of stuff i want, in theory. nothing i can wear, in practice. note to self: research having the left side of my body amputated for aesthetic purposes.

3 p.m. -- back at the mall. fine. i'll go with the lime green sweater dress with a mock turtle neck and capped sleeves. i'll pair it with argyle tights and knee high black boots. fine. i'll be bubbles' "quirky" friend. people can ask me about my cat and speculate about my manson family fascination and wonder if my hair is it's natural color. fine.

3:15 p.m. -- f. scottie returns my phone call about my missing invitation. the wedding is at 4 p.m., he says. and gives me the locale. "um," i say. "if i'm not there, can you call me and let me know when dinner is over and the dance starts?" [as a non RSVPer, i'm not invited to dinner. as someone who was invited, i feel it is socially acceptible to attend the free aspects.] regardless, i still haven't showered and as a person who hasn't done anything fancier than use a four-syllable word in the past 10 years, i don't even have a plan F in terms of wardrobe.

3:20 p.m. -- i accidentally find a dress i like. fannie approves of the photo, even. when the old woman ringing me up turns her arthritic claw toward fastening a tricky button before putting my purchase in a bag, i spit: YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT I'M IN A HURRY! like they are hot lava. i can't stop the tourettes.

3:30 p.m. -- i hand a dude a black t-strap shoe from nine west. request an 8. he goes into the store room, comes out, hands them to me, begins some song and dance about needing a stocking to try them on, madam? i say, "i'm not trying them on! i'll take them!" he starts to ask me if i want a younkers credit card, and i shoot him a look that says: "dude, i don't even have time to take my sock off. why would i want to sign a bunch of stuff?" he gives me a knowing look.

3:35 p.m. -- i grab dark nylons from a display and throw them at one of three women working behind a counter. one is the salesperson. one is the manager. one is a trainee. manager looks at salesperson like "oh! perfect for [trainee] to learn on!" i see this exchange.

salesperson says to trainee: "okay. well first type in--" i cut her off using a forcefulness unheard of until this day. "ACTUALLY!" i say. point at the salesperson. "can you just ring it up? i don't have time for you to train someone in." [i realize this sounds excrutiatingly bitchy. but i'm seriously in a hurry. any other day, i'd love this and totally help out. want me to be difficult? want me to pretend to shoplift? i'll do it. not today. not with 25 minutes to go and dirty hair.]

3:45 p.m. -- i decide i just will not shower. i will wear a dress, but will look like i just crawled in from soccer practice. deal? deal.

4 p.m. -- not entirely sure where this church is, i'm just cruising east on superior street and see a sign celebrating the happy couple. i turn left, find drock filing in. stand next to him and act clean.

4:30 p.m. -- weddings are funny. a week ago bubbles and i were part of a party perched on the top level of a bunk bed. talkin' crazy and hopped up on the likes of kalua. now? now she's turning into mr. and mrs. bubbles. officially.

i'm not sure that emotionally i could ever be a person who walks down an aisle. it seems tricky and rife with weird face trembles in front of a live studio audience. and, frankly, i'm a little shy. if a wedding happens in my life, it will be an fantastic explosion where suddenly i just am. and then there will be a fantastic explosion of people dancing to the song "just like heaven." on repeat. for six hours.

4:45 p.m. -- here comes that socially awkward hug part. sure i've hugged bubbles tons of times. but never below a .18. here goes nothing. ...

5 p.m. -- run errands. slip into sweatpants. repeatedly lose games of word twist on facebook. some IMing with jodi -- who, in my head, i like to call "jodachrome." as in paul simon's "mama don't take my jodachrome, mama don't take my jodachrome away." [she's probably never heard that one.] whatever. you probably go all weird al, too, turning paul simon lyrics into songs about bloggers you've never met.

this scene goes on for awhile. f scottie has kept me apprised of the dinner starting late and the cake that was served at 9:30 p.m.ish. it's all a really good excuse to stay in sweatpants.

9:45 p.m. -- i finally shower. resume dress wearage. yawn.

10:45 p.m. -- ta da! i'm at the aquarium for the dance!
11:10 p.m. -- ta da! i've left to pick up chuck!

11:30 p.m. -- my friend t can't understand why everyone knows the words to "sweet caroline." "what is this song?" she asks me. "you don't know 'sweet caroline?'" "no," she says. "i'm from north dakota. i like poison." HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW SWEET CAROLINE!? "i don't like neil diamond," she says.

she kills me.

12:14 p.m. -- liquor at the aquarium is cached. it's time to leave, stat. "we're going to quinlan's," i tell our friends. "how long are you going to be there?" we're asked. "um ...? 'til they make us go home?" i say.

12:30 p.m. -- quinlan's is a mess. we snag a corner table and spend the night talking to the thespian. other people stop by, move on. as we're waiting for our cab, i pretend a collection of twitters i've written are new material and spout off lines willy nilly to a bunch of people who probably call the internet "the AOL." this is my preferred audience.

2:20 a.m. -- i tell a guy with a wingy flat top that i saw him in "grease." chuck tells him that he saw him in "raising arizona." this dude has a pimped out ford focus with a custom stereo system, a stick shift in the shape of a bullet and a bar in the console.

weird night. then i had a photo shoot, using some techniques i've learned from "america's next top model." [i forgot to take photos at the weddingish events]

Saturday, October 18, 2008

it's gettin' a little girlie in here part II ...

tonight i decided to have a girlie alone night. the alternative was midget wrestling with a virtual who's who of solon springs criminal minds in the audience. while that held a certain level of appeal, so did my girlie alone night.

i kicked off the estrogen rush by listening to delilah in the car. "delilah," this sleepy teen slurred into the phone. "i always thought girls who fell in love with their best boy friends were stupid. but that's what has happened to me."

"what's his name, sweetie?" delilah cooed.
"i can't say," the girl blushed.

delilah played some obscure and tortured love song from about 1990 that even i -- who knows every word and key change of "nothing's going to change my love for you" -- don't really remember too well. i'm sure that 14 year old girl was thrilled to hear a vintage one-hit wonder that her sibling was conceived to. me? i almost spontaneously got my period. that sealed it. little people in unitards be damned.

i decided on polenta with red sauce for my girlie alone dinner.

then i slipped into my coziest sweatpants and my 1992 oversized st. thomas track and field fleece. i've been wearing these sweatpants for months straight. meaning that, at 24 dollars, it is now costing me approximately 3 cents every time i pull them over my fatigued hiney. they actually assume the position when i walk in the front door.

soon i found myself watching "grey's anatomy." i don't even necessarily like "grey's anatomy" anymore, but forgot to mention that to tivo. so it shows up. i watch it and pretend i'm all into it. but really i'm fantasizing about "dirty sexy money" for 52 minutes.

when i saw that my bff fannie was online, i decided i'd send her photographs of a dress i'd spontaneously purchased to wear to bubbles' wedding. i didn't try it on in the store because i can't get my clothes off in the seven minutes i had before the store closed. then i tried it on at home and saw mrs. roper staring back at me. decided to return it and find something else. unless i get word in the next 12 hours that the dance has moved to the regal beagle.

first i checked my closet. this dress, worn once to a wedding in about 2004, made me look like that girl who REALLY DOESN'T WANT TO GO TO HER 20 YEAR CLASS REUNION.

then i decided that i should just wear this. comfy. attractive. perfect for my body type. really makes my eyes pop.

it was time to tap the keg. i pulled out the gewurztraminer i'd yanked from the shelves of cashwise liquor after a pretty labor intensive hunt that found me on my tiptoes, and later on my knees.

first of all, i didn't want any of that $3 crap that usually sings my name. i wanted one bottle of something that wouldn't give me gut rot or a headache or visions of a party on the zumbro river when i was 19 if i accidentally consumed it in its entirity.

apparently the words "middle of the road" and "gewurztaminer" don't correspond at cashwise liquor. perhaps not in all of the world. i used change from the bottom of my purse to take home their finest. it took me an hour to unscrew the top. for awhile i thought i might just spend the whole night nonchemically altered. or at least only as chemically altered as "what i like about you" reruns make me.

[aside: my boyfriend has just called. he's in superior wisconsin watching a cover band perform songs by poison. he has informed me that i'm missing out. i can't hear him over the sound of my sweatpants caressing my shins. okay. fine. i heard a bit of "every rose has it's thorn."]

i'd also gotten some cheese. i keep forgetting to mention that saga classic blue brie is my favorite cheese. all that "just sucked on my socks after running then licked the basement floor taste" with a texture of watery elmer's glue. de.lic.ious.

i added a smoked gouda because i like to have options. and i like to eat two blocks of cheese during my girlie alone nights. [next week i plan on taking a break from anything higher than a one on the bristol stool chart.]

i've now been completely girlie for the past five hours. i would literally have to decorate my ovaries with glittery fairy dust to be more in touch with my inner woman cliche.

[aside: my boyfriend is stuck in superior without a cab ride home. this may be the opportunity he has been waiting for to finally sleep at the androy hotel.]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

rochester on rochester handshakes ...

yesterday i met another rochestarian right here in the streets of duluth. i would have been less surprised to find out i'd been named poet laureate of my honda. despite the fact that both minnesota cities are among the top five population-wise, not many of my people cross north of the anoka border.

this can probably be summed up in the warning i received days before i moved here by a man from rochester who looked like a cross between a t-rex and barry manilow:

did you know that duluth's annual snowfall is higher than juneau, alaska?

this may be true; this may be false. but that someone believes it to be true is enough. if he believes that to be true, other people believe that to be true. it was probably in the rochester post bulletin or decried from a pulpit.

rochester people don't dream of moving to duluth. those fairy tales are saved for the likes of st. louis park. if i lived in st. louis park, i'd have a hard time hawking a luggie without getting it in the bangs of a former lourdes high school tennis star. the streets of st. louis park are paved with purple and gold fever. [okay, i have two friends in st. louis park.]

i have one rochester friend here in duluth: the rockstar amy abts.
i know of a handful of rochesterians here in duluth:

1. a former lifeguard from soldiers' field pool whose tie dyed shirts and crystal necklaces made throngs of underclassmen oozy goozy with grateful dead love.

2. the guy who had the locker next to mine for three years in high school who four out of the five times i've seen him has failed to register an appropriate amount of celebratory inflection in his voice upon contact [or in some cases, acknowledge my cheerful wave -- the sort of movement that should have a pompom attached].

3. my cousin, a freshman at the university of minnesota duluth, whom i've not seen because i don't eat at the umd cafeteria and because he's never been to my couch.

4. a family friend a few years younger than me who unfriended me on facebook after i ran into her at pizza luce while i was wearing a battlestar galactica costume.

5. a guy who was a senior when i was a freshman. i believe he was on the track team. he seems to be a doctor, so i'd assume he spends his freetime in vail wearing turtlenecks, chortling and sipping toddies.

so this rochester-on-rochester handshake was extraordinary. i am a huge fan of social context. for instance, one of my favorite things about chuck is that i can say "sweet pickles is great!" and he knows what that means. the other day we had a pretty long conversation about necklaces made of multicolored swirled femo clay beads hanging from a leather shoelace.

so rochester and i played "do you know?" "no! no! but do you know ..." for awhile, realizing that we didn't know any of the same people. but i bet she was stoked to tell me that she went to "JM" knowing that i'd know something duluth people don't know: that JM means john marshall high school. and when i told her my last name, it meant something because in the early 1990s, "pista" was a synonymous with "fine, fine basketball player" although that pista was not related. in duluth, "pista" means little more than that i am not necessarily finnish or swedish.

then things cranked up a bit: the rochestfarian mentioned leigh geramanes, the newscaster from kttc -- rochester's NBC affiliate -- whose bangs we all grew up with. i erupted in giggles and threw in the names dan o'hara, pat lund and mike hamernik that geeky lank of meteorologist.

oh i could hardly breathe.

when we finally parted ways, i looked over my shoulder and said: the redwood room.
she laughed and said, simply: ed's attic.
you would have thought it was a party, from all the whooping. i may have won the dan o'hara round, but she took the restaurants catagory with aplomb, by mentioning that skeez hole.

this was all great fun and made me miss having rochester people around. this doesn't mean i want to move back. this just means that every once in awhile, i want to have a conversation with someone who cruised broadway or went skinny dipping at foster arend or knows what bilotti's is.

i like to think of rochester as an exboyfriend i remember fondly, but would never date again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

splenda and the spontaneous flusher ...

[today at a starbucks near you]
customer: excuse me, but what is the best thing to eat in this case?
barista: um. the bran muffins are good. or the croissant--
customer [interupting]: no. no. like of the desserts.
barista: i don't know, maybe the marble cake? i don't really eat that stuf--
customer [points at something oozy goozy and chocolatey]: is that good?
barista: yes. that looks good.
customer: good. i'll take one of those.

shuffles over to the cash register.
customer: and i'd like an iced soy latte.
different barista: what size.
customer: how many shots of espresso are in there?
different barista: depends on the size. either six, four or two.
customer: what sizes do you have?
different barista: we have short, grande and venti.
customer: will you show me the sizes?
different barista shows her sizes.
customer [points at venti]: and this one is the gran-day?
different barista: no. it's a venti.
customer: how many shots does a venteeee have?
different barista: six.
customer: i'll have that. do you have artificial sweeteners?
different barista: yes.
customer grabs a handful of splenda packets.
customer: good. can you put splenda in my drink before the whip cream? i don't want the splenda to ruin my whip cream.

[barista smirks at me over the counter]

different barista: yes.
customer: okay. good. so i want a grand-day iced soy lat---
different barista: I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.


in other news, today i crammed a meter full of 2 hours worth of quarters like they were twinkies and the coin slot was an emaciated anorexic i was trying to save. when i returned an hour and 50 minutes later i had a ticket. i'd tenderly administered quarters to the meter next to mine.

also, i seem to have trouble getting the shampoo out of my ears. today i pulled a nickel-size rosemary mint flavored scab out of the crease in my left ear.


i also found a nice quiet public bathroom stall with a spontaneous flusher that initiated gushes three times before i had gotten through a single text message. i felt like i was in france.

gusts of stale wapatooli ...

probably the most fun i had all week occurred from 3:30-4:30 a.m. sunday morning, when we all crammed ourselves onto the top bunk of a bunk bed in the central hillside. about half the time was spent shoving handfuls of popcorn down jcrew's shirt. i think at the height of the frivolity, we probably had more than 750 pounds of friends in this party loft. on this particular night, i tossed out the rules of mixing and sampled the following:

captain morgan
red wine
white wine
homebrewed beer

and when jcrew showed up at 2 p.m. to take me to brunch at luce, i chased her out of the apartment, grunting and bedheaded, weezing gusts of the stale wapatooli.

as for the rest of the week:


Ghost (AKA: Ryeong)2005: this is a sort of mismash of mean girls and 'the ring.' my inner 14-year-old korean girl loved it. but the 32 year old nonkorean girl thought it was a little confusing, very derivative and not at all scary.

Son of Rambow [Theatrical Release] 2007: will is from a religious sect with no room for pop culture and accidentally sees a pirated copy of "first blood." he draws up a script for a story about the son of rambow [sic] and another misfit -- a naughty misfit -- films it. has a great side storyline about a french foreign exchange student. set in the 80s, with plenty of cure and depeche mode playing in the background. completely cute.

"nick and norah's infinite playlist" (2008): i like that the trend in teen movies is less stoners and swimsuited busty chicks, and more music fans and hoodies. [although, like chuck said, this is actually a movie for people in their 30s.] this is the 'say anything' of 2008. and michael cera's character has a cure ringtone. sa-weet.

"financial crisis takes its toll on already squeezed cities": well lookee loo! we made the news!

"that 60s show": radar online guide to "mad men." hypothesises that this show is "the wire" of 2008 and don draper is this year's omar.

macy's passport celebrity catwalk: truth. i only watched less than half of this inane crap hosted by tor-tor in which jerry springer, etc., learned how to be a runway model for a fashion show. i have some pretty serious thoughts about the direction of tori's career right now ... she seems very shaky and fragile and not half as funny as she really is. on a side note, she and i are both suffering from undereye baggage at the same time, so we have that in common.

slacker. this week i read two essays, neither which i've finished yet. when i want to read words on a computer screen, i read:

this. a rolling stone piece from 2000 about seven days on the road with john mccain.

when i want to have a book in my hands, i read the essay about the cruise ship.

all of this is on the backburner, because my life is being ripped away chunk by chunk by this book.

Friday, October 10, 2008

dry ice. chainsaws. ...

today was one of those "and then i wanna" days where, when chuck asked what i wanted to do, instead of curling into a ball with my sweatpants, rubbing them lovingly against my face and humming "separate lives" as i considered leaving the house, i actually had a plan. i had lots of plans.

1. retrieve car from parking ramp where i left it tuesday night and ignored its absense through thursday afternoon. typically, one can ease her way out of the ramp after 6 p.m. without paying. the hard-ass attendant who, for the sake of accuracy we'll call tubs, kindly leaves the arm erect when he clocks out.

we timed our exit a little too close to quitting time, unfortunately. tubs was just locking up shop when i came down the ramp. he gave me the universal sign for halt.

and there, outside the booth, without anything so scientific as a cash register, i talked him down to five bucks [saving myself a dollar fifty]. but being the unofficial transaction that it was, i'm pretty sure this five-spot went toward his first plate of chicken fingers at sneakers.

2. dinner at a restaurant.

3. the ship of ghouls. the william a. irvine undergoes a halloweenish makeover this time of year and i've never done the tour.

mostly it is a lot of coming around a corner to find an anemic college girl in her nightgown mumbling "help me find my dolly." at about the midpoint, an employee came up behind us. "let me go ahead of you," he said. "i don't want to ruin it for you with my walkie talkie going off." just before we went back into the bowels of the ship, he called down the steps. "we got people coming! start up the music!"

"you're showing your seams," i said.
did i mention chuck was wearing a glow in the dark shirt?

for the finale, up steps, open a door and wham! a gift shop. nothing scarier than a 17 dollar 'duluth' hoodie.

i screamed three times to be polite. but this really needed some dry ice or at least a chain saw.

3. i had to get some stuff at target, and we had time to kill before a movie.

chuck found hairy knuckle gorilla gloves that i think he was seriously considering using this winter for driving, until he realized the plastic would probably get hard in the cold. and, well, the gorilla hair hanging off of them is a little obnoxious.

4. we still had about an hour until the movie so we went to skyline lanes for a drink. actually, two. captain coke. it's been awhile.

question 1:
why do league bowlers bother with matching shirts? it's not like bowling is football and you need to discern your teammate from the opponent. and if you're confused about who is on your team, you can use a score sheet for reference.

question 2:
was that big catering tin of meatballs free for the taking? because i kind of wanted a plate load. but when i said something about "meatballs," chuck assumed i was talking about the college boys standing at the bar, so i never got a straight answer.

5. movie. to the woman in the bathroom who said to her friends "what did you think? because i thought it would be way better." i say: "maybe you should have gone to 'nights in rodanthe, you idiot. that movie was perfect!' "

and to the person who made this sign, i say: cloquet only has one 'u'

6. back into the loving legs of my sweatpants.

a few nights ago, chuck poured the whiskey into a special decanter i received after my grandpa smittley died. when my mom and her sisters were cleaning out his condo, my mom kept asking me what i wanted. i hate having *stuff* so i didn't take anything: except this decanter and some matching drinking glasses etched with the name of a resort. if anything in the world reminds me of the grandparents smittley, it would be the taste of olives and the smell of something from a decanter.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

back at the alpine ...

the yo burger was the signature dish at the alpine in the early 1990s, and probably long before that. 12 ounces of hamburger, a single slice of sysco-grade yellowish swiss cheese product, and covered with two strips of bacon crossed to a t. bob, the doughy owner of the restaurant, spackled the buns from a tub of butter and grilled them for about 30 seconds before serving. people -- men, mostly, IBMers, cops, lawyers, construction workers, golfers, the grounds crew, retirees -- loved the yo burger. at lunchtime the line sometimes touched the restaurant's windows; cars parked at a tip into the ditch.

the alpine was located above the pro shop at a golf course on the edge of town, but could still draw ravenous 9-5ers in the winter.

bob's body was highly susceptible to gravity. it was like his chest had been squeezed by a giant fist, pushing his skin and organs and fat to a tutu that hung over his pants. his hair was grey wiry and thin, covering his head sparely, like guitar strings. his chin sagged to his chest, making it seem like his neck was frowning. tics included: finger combing, trouser adjusting, pushing his wide rectangle glasses up his nose.

bob made me promise that i could be 'perky' before he hired me.

"i swear," i giggled.
"even in the morning?" he asked.
"uh huh," i lied.
"okay, then," he said.

bob was strict. and he changed his mood more often than his apron. if you were five minutes early, you were five minutes late. any food consumed while at work had to be carefully noted on a time card so it could be deducted from your paycheck. if a till came up short, bob would damn-near hang a cashier upside down over a railing and shake quarters from her pockets. hair must be worn in a pony tail, beneath a cheaply-made black and white yo-burger cap with a cardboard bill. white shirts, black pants, black shoes. hands washed frequently enough to induce OCD. no fraternizing with coworkers of the opposite sex. that one was a fire-able offense: i saw it executed.

in the summer, bob hired college kids. specifically college-aged women. more specifically attractive college-aged women with long fawnish legs and skin that tanned easily. women who would apply lipstick using the freezer as a mirror. these girls toured the course in a cart, and weren't required to wear the yo-burger cap. in fact, bob suggested, if it got too hot out there, it was acceptable to wear a bikini.

meanwhile, the regular staff at the alpine was a incestuous collection of carnie castoffs and trolls:

lori was the head waitress. hair permed and rolled away from her face to suggest she had styled it in the wind. a throaty smoker-voice telling dirty jokes. eyes small and sneering.

rhonda was a cook, round and kind and sensitive and easy to cry, and off and on dating lori's brother bob -- a wiry asshole who looked like a car thief. some days rhonda would come in, her neck bruised and spotted with hickies; other days she would have a black eye or an arm sling or a walking boot for a fractured toe. her laugh was big and throaty and usually ignited a coughing fit.

myrna, a cook, was axl rose thin, smoked merits and had an eye twitch. she was the only employee allowed to sit on bob's stool -- which she did between orders. she was revered and catered to like an ace pitcher or the heavyweight champion of the world. none of the rules applied to myrna. she could tell bob to go phuck himself, and he would nod slowly and take it into consideration.

eric was a dishwasher and in my class. he looked like the character ray pruett, donna martin's abusive boyfriend on 90210. 'how do you talk to an angel,' i'd sing to him. as long as we didn't laugh or look like we were enjoying the conversation, bob let us talk to each other.

for a few months there was an eccentric cook who wore chef plaids and had his own utensils. he sang loudly and operatically at the grille and smelled like stale booze. he was fired when bob found him drinking a case of beer slumped against the wall in the walk-in freezer.

i worked year round: running the cash register, waiting tables during the sunday buffet, renting out cross country skis and pushing the button on the hot cocoa machine. and on the day i turned 18, bob let me serve up a ceremonial beer. it was a frothy mess of head.

once lori forced me to do my madonna impersonation for bob for his birthday. i danced around the room, waving garland from the box of christmas decorations, rolling around on the floor and doing my throaty take on 'like a virgin.' it killed. if bob were still alive, he would probably be talking about it today.

working at the alpine during the off months was like peeling back the skin and watching the digestion process, from consumption straight through to shit. the day-to-day muck of these lives pulsing and grinding and chugging. after the summer employees left, things got more cozy and bob more relaxed. i got to know his wife, his daughter and grand daughters. lori's twin sons. it was like someone left the back door open, and these people's outside lives came barging into the restaurant. heads hanging. debt woes. custody battles. health issues. bob letting out a meaty belch he had been stifling since june. literally loosening his belt.

it was my first lesson in how sometimes being acquainted with something is better than really knowing it.

bob and lori were having an affair. suddenly. one day they weren't, and the next day they were. one day lori was sitting on the stool bitching about bob while he was out running errands, the next day bob was sitting on the stool and lori was rubbing his back and kissing his ear. it was like the opposite of a magic trick. where one day there had been nothing, the next there was something.

and this something was better suited for national geographic.

my biggest question was 'why?!' and this a huge and all-encompassing unbiased 'why?' not only did i not understand what lori would see in bob, i didn't understand what bob would see in lori, either. the best i could guess, lori had a sort of subjective youth, and bob a subjective wealth. both selling points only selling points when held up in comparison to themselves.

i became an unwilling accomplice in their flirtation. bob smacking lori's butt, then winking at me; lori nuzzling against bob while i sprayed every possible surface with bleach water.

alone with her,lori would squint at me, holding a cigarette and blowing smoke from the corner of her mouth. 'you might be surprised to know that bob ...' she would say. and i would hold my face steady and not let her see my stunned repulsion.

as the relationship sputtered and coughed and was brought back to life, i became the only person who was allowed to answer the restaurant's phone:

'alpine at eastwood,' i'd say.

it might be bob's wife. it might be lori. bob may or may not be talking to one or the other. he may gesture wildly to indicate he was not available. or he would disappear for hours, with instructions to say he was busy if anyone called. or bob would talk to his wife with lori nipping at his neck like a puppy.

one time, while being grilled by bob's wife, lori dove over the counter, ripped the phone from my hands and slammed it into the cradle. one time lori called and when i told her bob wasn't there, her tone changed to a hard growl and she said 'don't lie to me, christa.'

'don't worry,' he said when i hung up, shaken. 'i won't let her do anything to you.'

the soundtrack to that specific winter was reba mcentire's greatest hits, a 1987 compilation that included songs like 'whoever's in new england' an anthem that seems to say in it's most 'honey. i know you're cheating on me. but when you're done, i'll be here.' and 'somebody should leave' about the logistics of divying up the shambles of this broken home. every story on the tape bore some faint resemblance to what was going on at the alpine. lori would play it over and over, her head propped on her hand, staring out the window.

one day bob came into the restaurant late, his wife trailing behind him. the tires of his station wagon had been slashed and his headlights broken when it was parked in his driveway the previous night. he scratched his head and wondered who did it. it was hard to know if he was being sarcastic, or if he really didn't know who did it.

sometimes lori would quit. or be fired. but she usually turned up a few days later, 10 minutes early, buttoning her white shirt and pulling her hair into a scrunchie. washing her hands until they were raw.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

on-demand roulette ...

last night we were playing on-demand roulette. this is where we sift through the straight-to-video, low budget, no-name, star-less free movie selections for something, anything, with a remotely appealing description.

occasionally the words manhattan artist will be just enough to commit to an hour and a half of dimly-lit suck. sometimes it takes torn between two lovers.

this was oozing with my favorite key phrases:
college sophomore
bullying college girls
die under suspicious circumstances

Monday, October 6, 2008

inertia ...

a few weeks ago chuck told me that i was inertia: in motion, i tend to stay in motion; at rest i want to stay at rest. nonscientifically this means that i never want to go to bed and i never want to wake up once i do.

this past week i was definitely at rest. and by the time i was bored by my own lack of motion, i got a throbby drippy sneezy cold and it hurt my hair to be in motion. bah!

in other news:

the teenagers: Reality Check: this is french pop music with naughty lyrics and pop culture references and i love it. “If Shannen Doherty stayed on 90210/Maybe she would have never met Alyssa Milano"

"just asking ... chuck klosterman": [via] this fun Q&A with you-know-who goes into the T&F of "downtown owl." this novel had so many mini stories going on, and i wondered about the genesis of a lot of them, for instance the kissing triangle, as the interviewer refers to it. you know, i'm starting to think that i feel exactly the same way about chuck klosterman as i do about diablo cody. i may need therapy.

"mysteries: Who hired this private eye to investigate me": gawker's hamilton nolan learns that he is being investigated and turns around and investigates the investigator, including photos and home phone numbers. this is pretty frickin' funny.

Repulsion 1965: roman polanski's first english movie is about a woman's rapid schizophrenic tumble. but first it includes long stretches of her slack jawed, staring off into space or walking down the street. then her sister goes on a trip with her married boyfriend and our hero very rapidly loses her mind. and this part makes you forget the previous hour of tedium.

The Amateurs 2005: ted danson, jeff bridges, the wholesome brother from "wings,"that sassy mom from gilmore girls and the ever-more-homely kid from "almost famous" made this seem like a titanic "this is your life in moving pictures" overview. hapless jeff bridges decides that the thing he has to do is make a porn -- using his small town friends as the crew. bridges' folksy voice over makes it seem like it's going to be a hallmark movie, and in the final scenes it probably technically is. had i not just seen the worst movie in the world [the smithereens] this would get the obvious nod for that title.

Iron Man (Ultimate Two-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray] 2008: equal parts interesting and hokey, robert downey jr. plays tony stark a techno genius who invents gadgets and weapons for the military. after he is ambushed and has to fight his way to freedom, he has a change of heart. he invents the iron man suit and becomes a sort of super hero. god i love robert downey.

"the hills": trying to understand the motivations of lauren conrad is like solving the puzzle on the back of a cereal box. basically, what she is saying is, it is not okay for her friend to date her ex but it is okay for her to have dated him, even though he is friends with her ex. got it?

"90210": anxiously awaiting a luke perry sighting. it's getting closer. i can almost hear that sexy whisper over the sound of my pending disappointment of what life has done to his face. and what a post aaron spelling hollywood has done to his character.

"one tree hill": stephen king must be so pissed. first chanelling misery, then the shining. luckily this is some mint tv.

"dirty sexy money": donald sutherland is so far the only guest on my fantasy celebrity dinner party list. this is suddenly my favorite show. it's like gossip girl without the

Story of My Life In August, it became national news that there was a Jay McInerney novel that I had somehow overlooked. I thought I had McInerney covered — I even read his winefesto Hedonist in the Cellar for the love of God — and here was a novel-novel, probably set in New York City in the ’80s, probably filled with a cast of coke fiend scenesters, and probably something I should have read years ago.

Story of my Life is written from the perspective of 20-year-old Alison Poole, a party girl and aspiring actress. She is a slightly nasally uptalker, who drops a lot of “like” and “rights?” and “and then he goes, so I go …” into the running monologue that is this story.

Like the other women in her girl posse, Alison has grown accustomed to a certain father-financed lifestyle, but lately his check-writing trigger finger has slowed. She gets resourceful, in one scene pinching smarmy ex-fling Skip Pendleton for $1,000 cash to abort a fictitious pregnancy, then using the money for tuition.

This is truly the See Dick Run novel of the McInerney collection

full review here.

david foster wallace project: i played bumbley fumbley with an essay on ... um ... tv and maybe irony for awhile from "a supposidely fun thing i'll never do again" and had the sudden realization that hey! this is my independent study of david foster wallace. if i don't want to read an essay that isn't interesting to me, i don't have to!

how liberating.

now i've spent half the week reading various things online and a very complete essay about the 1993 illinois state fair.

for those who want to play along at home:

"consider the lobster": coverage of the maine lobster fest turns into an essay on the morality of eating lobsters. filled with fun factoids. i actually wretched once. [and actually haven't eaten meat since i read it. i think that's an accident.]

the view from mrs. thompson's: a non new york 9/11 story.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

meanwhile back at home ...

me: so what did you do today?
chuck: um, layed on the couch and watched dinosaur movies.

Friday, October 3, 2008

fast balls made of jello ...

late tuesday night, chuck and i stopped in to quinlan's for a quick nip. we settled into the part of the bar that is an L.

i was at the corner and to my left was k. chuck was on my right and standing between us was a local thespian. to k's left was a man who looked familier, but only later did i realize it was because i had mistaken him for shrek.

chuck was talking to the thespian about work.
k was talking to me about trombones.
i was divesting k's popcorn bowl of the choice kernals -- the one's thoroughly dusted in a dandruff of neon orange dry cheese -- and pretending it was astronaut food.
shrek had worked himself into rabies over something. by following the trajectory of his froth, it seemed that the "something" was chuck.

"blah, blah trombones," k was saying. "trombones! blah blah blah."
i kept my eyes on shrek, who kept his eyes on chuck.
"blah blah numbers," chuck was saying to the thespian. "mail stamps zip codes."

shrek's friend nudged the ogre and said "hey, man. let's go outside and have a smoke."

shrek kept his eyes on chuck, brushed off his friend and said: "no man. i wanna hear this."
at this point, i noticed chuck notice and pretend not to notice. i touched his leg, using telepathy to tell his kneecap that shrek wanted to kill him. he telepathied back that he had noticed.

here is the thing: it is impossible that chuck's presense could inspire rage in anyone. he has the wide-eyed cheerful face of a 12-year-old that just noticed that betty and veronica have breasts. and overhearing a nonpartisan conversation about zip codes is hardly divisive.

by now shrek had turned his right hand into a fist and was socking his own left palm. loudly. thwap. thwap. thwap. it sounded like he was pitching fast balls to himself and those fast balls were made of jello.

k is a gigantic man. he would put up a good fight in a wrestling match with my civic. he could probably palm a pumpkin. pluck a cow right out of a field, douse it in barbecue sauce and demolish it. although, he is a kind and gentle giant. a very sweet person. while he would certainly make a nice wall between chuck and death, he would probably rather not.

still, he did the obligatory climb off the barstool when he saw the ogre flapping his paws.

the thespian looks like he could throw down. and later told me he recently had. but shrek was glossy-eyed wasted, and sometimes that translates to freakishly strong. i pictured the thespian being tossed like a dirty rag over the railing.

me? my fighting days are over. not to mention that sitting there on that barstool watching this unfold, my legs had gone numb.

chuck is not a fighter. don't get me wrong, if he had seen me get robbed at gunpoint, he would have suddenly gone ninjitsu on the guy's face. but nothing about shrek read rational in this situation. and i imagined the sucker punch would come too quickly for the ninjitsu spirit to really take hold.

i sent a panicked look to the bartender, r, who actually was a comforting presense at the moment. there is something tough about r. he looks like he is the best player in his softball league. the one opponents back up for when he's at bat. the last guy standing by his truck in the parking lot after the game. the one who will help you build a deck. i could be totally wrong.

"what's going on, guy?" the thespian asked shrek.
"yeah, what's up?" chuck said kindly. like he was potty training shrek.

by now r was at our end of the bar, doing a little low-key investigating under the guise of wiping the counter.

so nothing actually happened. shrek's friend came inside and r had a talk with him about mindin' his beeotch. then the thespian talked to the friend and found out shrek is harmless, just a little tipsy.

then shrek went down to the lower level of the bar and immediately tripped over a table and went crashing to the ground.

and chuck told me he'd had a plan all along. if need be, he was going to clock shrek with my beer mug.

ah, that's right, i remembered: chuck's not a fighter. he's a dirty fighter.

and i could feel my legs again.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

run, christa, run

8:05 p.m. -- over the loud speaker at younkers, the time is announced, as well as a code 200. i consider asking my salesperson what this means: shoplifter in petites? fresh barf in the junior's dressing room? sweaty cheetos-fanatic browsing the unmentionables and trying to make a mannequin jealous?

i've decide on a pair of shoes, which, paired with my black cropped adidas running pants make me look clownish and unstable. this matches the image i'm trying to convey.

my one-woman fashion show is being observed by an older gentleman lounged out in a chair, providing commentary on the footware choices of the various women in the store. i'm not sure if he's actually with someone, or if he is merely a hobbyist. i see him exchange looks with another customer.

"believe it or not," i say to them, "i like them."
"i was just saying that you could really pull those off," he tells me. "but you'd have to really like them to wear them."
i wonder what makes me able to "pull them off." they're just shoes. is it because i have feet instead of bloody stumps dangling from my pelvis?

at the register, i realize my id case with my money and debit card is missing. [last seen being emptied at the ghetto spur at approximately 2 a.m., it's contents traded for gatorade and burritos.]

i ask the saleswoman to hold my shoes. i'll be back.

8:11 -- i'm hauling ass through half the length of the mall to get to my car. the plan is to find my card holder and come back tonight. but my plans are always filled with misunderstandings about conventional time-keeping. and this mall closes at 9 p.m.

not to mention the store is in a heightened state of code 200.

8:15 p.m. -- i'm thinking how this is a waste. i had more shopping to do anyway [cheap thermals at the crap, still searching for leggings, a pair of cozy boots]. i should just come back on thursday when i have more time.

8:20 p.m. -- i take a short cut, ditching off 6th avenue east earlier than normal. yields and stop signs trump other traffic and 4th street's usual street carnival of last chance liquor shoppers who just hang out in the middle of the street. usually with a stroller or two. always looking like they were dropped from the sky. in vikings' jerseys.

8:28 p.m. -- card holder spotted and i'm out the door.

8:40 p.m. -- i am back at the mall. i may have time for the gap and the shoes.

8:45 p.m. -- the woman in line in front of me decides to apply for a younkers credit card. her young daughter muses aloud to no one: i'm just a plain jane. her mom gives her a long scrutenizing gaze, but says nothing.

the saleswoman calls for backup. backup comes and helps a woman who casually walked to the other side of the register to avoid our line.

i perform a a slide show of all my meanest faces.

8:49 p.m. -- the budger realizes the error as she leaves the store. she says: oh! i thought you were with them! and points at plain jane and younkers' new credit card holder. this is a worse insult than when she budged.

shoes in hand, i boot.

8:49 p.m. -- there is a line at the crap. i snag two thermals, a scarf and some spontaenous socks. i write a love sonnet to myself in my head thanking myself for not being the sort of person who bothers with anal things like "trying clothes on" and "hemming and hawing over colors." i know my sizes, and i always opt for brown, green, black, off-white. this makes me the world's oldest geranimals fan, but it comes in handy in times like this.

time spent at the crap? eh. 17 seconds.

8:53 p.m. -- i know they will have leggings at charlotte russe. and i know right where they will hide them. i also know that these are leggings to be worn under something else, but that i am going to let them stand on their own. i keep this to myself so they don't balk at selling them to me. or have me arrested. two pairs -- grey and black -- and i'm out.

8:55 p.m. -- i'm still cursing the lack of cozy boots. there is no time to get to dsw and younkers came up short on what i exactly want. as i leave the story i make eye contact with the best pair of cozy boots i've seen yet. exactly what i want, in a color i didn't expect. on a display at the buckle, right across the way.

in one fluid movement, i'm in the store and waving the boot like it's a pompom. "do you have these in an 8!" i scream to the girl who has begun the cleaning process. she disappears into the back room and comes out a minute later with my boots*.

8:58 p.m. -- "we have two minutes!" she says, ringing up my purchase. this is when i notice they are steve madden and i can't believe my luck.

8:59 p.m. -- i leave the store, heading back to the barnes and noble entrance. j-man, an employee who has worked there since my first trip to the store and who recognizes me as a customer, is closing the wire gates. i sprint toward the store, bags swinging. he laughs and tells me he'll wait for me. i continue to sprint. he says: "no, seriously. you don't have to run."

i imagine that he is giving me the gift of dignity.

and that, my friends, is how i got it all done in 20 minutes. i won't have to go back to that cesspool again for months.

* yes, these are techinically slippers. try to stop me from wearing them with leggings in public. and then watch for my appearance on "what not to wear."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

eat some salad [for the love of christ] ...

most days, when i wake up, my first thought is: crap. i have to go for a run. my second thought is: shit. am i hung over?

the hangover thing is a weird dream where i can't stand up and i stumble and i can't think straight and the gravity is intense. i have it about every four nights. when i'm not busy having the dream where my teeth are falling out.

i think it is muscle memory from my 20s.

on sunday morning, i definitely had the genuine article, though. it was legit. more than a dream. it was true. any standing i was doing took sheer force of will. and when i realized my car was 10 blocks away, my phone was broken, my keys were missing and the online bus schedule wasn't working, things got severe. i probably sighed. i may have cursed the cruel world. i definitely layed on the couch pondering.

i may have considered it a 'bad day.'


i went to a bachelorette party on saturday night. i struggle to call it that. my friend bubbles, who is getting married in like two weeks, will have an actual bachelorette party this weekend. but we wanted a duluth version.

the duluth version will always be harsher than any st. cloud state graduates can follow ... believe it or not. a) this was coed. b) we live in duluth. c) we can drink harder than any "suck for a buck" shirt can dictate. d) put that tiara away.

when we got to the party, chuck was shuffled into the basement. we -- the girls -- played a pretty wholesome bachelorette party game for awhile, no one understood the rules except for jcrew, who had downloaded the rules off the internet and screamed those rules at the top of her perfectly perky lungs.

when we changed the rules to make more sense, she grew confused. and ... louder? no one noticed. everyone had gotten shitface within about 8 minutes. stupid wine.

and then there was the exotic dancer, grinding on air to george michael. as the other boys came upstairs.

the greeter with the norwegian wonder.[the norwegian wonder is probably drinking water. she does not recognize booze]

then dude attacked. his happy preggers wife was at home in two harbors in bed.

me and chuck.

me and chuck and a goblet.

here is the bride to be, cutely hating something foul.

and then i went arty on her. it took us four shots to get this kinda close.

me, bubbles and jcrew.

my friend the punk rock girl and dude ... whose wife is still at home carrying his child and sleeping and not at the party. in two harbors. are you pissed for her? we all should be. we should also be pissed that he DIDN'T DRINK HARDLY AT ALL AND WAS A TOTAL DAD! buzz kill.luckily he pulled some designated driver duties, the fun sucker.

curly and her new husband. they are the cutest people in the world. love looks like this. we like them.

love does not like this either. jcrew? why sit on my boyfriend? poor guy.

love ALSO does not look like this. she mauled me. it was a fun half hour. we had a huge photo shoot where i chomped on her hair seductively.those photos are too ridiculous for publication. but laugh with me. they are hilar.

here is the mysterious dancer and le leche. [her name used to be beegee. i'm changing it. actually, she knew the alternative and suggested the change. for those keeping track at home: BEE GEE IS LE LECHE NOW! and we all like her lots because we can beat her at word twist, but not scrabble.]

here is me and le leche ... and a goblet.

... and then me and bubbles.

it was a totally fun night, but for about two days afterward i could feel my spleen. one should not feel her internal organs throbbing when she wakes. this concerned me.

later i was reminded that we all, as drunk adult idiots, stood on the porch reciting robert frost poetry in elementary school children voices. the whole sing songy "natures first green is gold" poem. that "stay gold pony boy" nonsense.

also. jcrew started her hair on fire reaching for something on the buffet table. that smell was worse than sticking my head in the belly of a whale. but she made up for it by falling asleep with a hot pocket in her mouth and waking seven hours later. still alive.

i've decide that october is now oct-sober.

in octsober i will do this:

1. read as much david foster wallace as is possible. an independent study, post college. even though reading him is like watching british sitcoms.

you're like: i know this is english, but i don't get it. maybe after some time ... i'm reading 'a supposidely fun thing ...' right now it's not working. i'm going to keep trying.

2. run my ass off.

3. eat some salads, for the love of christ.