Friday, January 30, 2009

soy cat ...

yesterday i asked chuck to pick up cat food while he was at the grocery store. i'm not at all surprised that the person who introduced me to annie's mac, morningstar farms breakfast sausages, soy milk and reusable grocery bags found this food.

the best part was the twitter update: When the cat food bag says that it "increases your cat's energy," THAT IS NOT A SELLING POINT.

[the past two mornings, the 30 pound wind bag has aggressively woken me at 6:30 a.m. with his falsetto. it's like he's auditioning to be in a boy-band. this is the time of day when he wants me to get out of bed and watch him eat food. exhibitionist.]

brown packaging. pictures of vegetables.
what's next? kitty keene's, and acoustic guitar and a nalgene bottle?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

in the air tonight ...

chuck: gross.
me: it's the smell of good health. it's satisfying.
chuck: really? it smells like something died.
me: hmm ... my will to succeed?
chuck: i think it was a gerbil.

crossdressing ...

i was tagged by some facebook friends to write 25 random things about myself. so rather than put that brain power to waste, i'm reposting it here. even though there is no new information in these here words.

[funny, though. in jabbing my brain to come up with 25 things, i doubled back to the list of 100 random things from my first blog. i'd say that 80 percent of the items on that list are no longer true. such a smug little 28 year old i was.]

1. i have been blogging [] since 2004, so i write at least 25 random things about myself weekly. usually without being asked. pure hubris.

2. ... and when tagged, i never tag anyone back.

3. i have fantastic recall of kindergarten through high school. i'm spotty on college and i've wiped most of the 2000s clean. i only remember that it smells like busch lite and dirty tube socks.

4. i finished twin cities marathon in sixth to last place in 2004. they only had XXL t'shirts left and no fruit. i was trounced by dozens of geriatrics and amputees.

5. i probably drink at least a gallon of water a day, which means i pee every 45 minutes.

6. subsequently, for the first time in 10 years, i've gone close to a year without a urinary tract infection. for a long time i thought i'd have to have a prosthetic tract fashioned out of rubber tubing.

7. i hate unsolicited advice. but i also hate when people ignore the advice i give them, unsolicited.

8. i am more like the high school version of myself than i ever was between 1995 and 2006. without the acne and curfew.

9. my favorite person in the entire world is [chuck]. i think he is the only person in the universe for me. i know this, partly, because he catches sympathy PMS.

10. ideally, my bedtime would be 4:30 a.m. and i would sleep until early afternoon.

11. i hate driving to rochester. i do it as infrequently as possible. when i moved here, i did it at least twice a month for a few years. i can describe in great detail the bathroom in every gas station bathroom between here.

12. i plan to live in duluth forever and ever and ever. i love it here. i can wear a stocking cap every day.

13. toward the end of the summer i was robbed at gunpoint in front of my apartment. i accidentally gave the guy my backpack and reusable grocery bag instead of my purse, which was slung over my body and hidden, apparently. he ended up with a sweaty sports bra, running pants, socks and leftover gazpacho. i could already laugh about that within an hour of the incident.

14. i feel like my facebook friends who read my blog are probably tired of the story about how i got robbed at gunpoint.

15. i was really disappointed when i turned 25 and was too old to be one of the seven strangers on the "real world." now i'm holding out to be a cast member on "ghost hunters."

16. i will not eat anything that has ever been within a three foot radius of a mushroom.

17. my karaoke repertoire includes: "let's hear it for the boy," "borderline," "mad about you," "dreams" by fleetwood mac, "i wanna be your lover" by prince.

18. in the 8-plus years that i've lived here, something like 15ish of my friends have moved. sometimes i'll get one of these old friends stuck in my craw for a whole day and miss the heck out of them.

19. i started cooking about a year ago and really like it. i almost exclusively cook vegetarian meals, not because i'm a vegetarian, but because the chopping of veggies is so fun, and i don't necessarily trust myself handling meat.

20. other hobbies include reading, writing, running.

21. i like to be grossed out: movies by cronenberg and books by palahniuk. if i can actually smell the burning flesh, i am delighted.

22. my favorite employment scenario: one summer i worked at a newly opened italian restaurant with a small crew of fun people and at barnes and noble. this was excellent.

23. it was during this time that i came to loathe art garfunkle.

24. at different points in my life, people have said i look like a) the little girl in that 1991 harrison ford movie "regarding henry"; b) neve campbell; c) jenny mccarthy in the mouth area; d) melissa gilbert

25. on super bowl sunday 1993 i was bet $5 that i couldn't drink a bowl of salsa. i only finished half and spent the entire night crapping my guts out

Monday, January 26, 2009

when science fails ...

as the new year raised its bulbous nose, i decided to make 2009 the year where, if pressed, i could outrun bounty hunters through 15 miles of wooded terrain. i like running. i especially like running when i can string together consecutive miles at a moderate pace without walking out of the Y with the bow-legged hobble of a woman who has filled her spandex with indian food.

typically my running schedule goes like this:
1. spend three weeks defining myself as the official treadmill clomper. leave the staff questioning where one purchases concrete insoles.
2. really get into that post-run boyish flush. stare at the outline reflection of my movement as it dances behind the closed captioning of ever-present ESPN.
3. begin referring to myself in third person as "the olympic hopeful."
4. take a month off under the guise of "healing."
5. reluctantly, and sheepishly, return to the ymca for two days of disappointing runs.
6. take two months off.

this time i wrote a simple goal on an index card. back when i still recorded thoughts on things like "paper" and hand-crafted loopy designs called "letters" with an actual "pen" i lost 30 pounds by keeping very detailed notes about my running on index cards. this also involved naked poloroids: front and side shots, so i could monitor my overhang without resorting to the cruel pranks of a common bathroom scale.

for some reason, in all of these photos, i'm wearing just white slouchy socks. these are the least-sexy photos that i will ever auction off on ebay.

while my main reason for running is that i simply enjoy running, i assumed that it would be scientifically impossible to run five days a week for the rest of my life and not lose any weight. this is me using bleach water to wipe 2,000-2,500 calories off a treadmill per week and more as i get more comfortable and segue into "the olympic hopeful."

the first week i put in a modest amount of effort. my goal was just to show up five days a week and see what happened.

the second week i made an actual goal-goal and hit it. this meant that every time i walked past a mirror, i lifted up my shirt and pounded like a chimp on my belly and growled a victory growl in something that sounded like french.
the third week i hit my goal again, and i can only assume it is because i hadn't made any sort of grand proclamations on the internet like "LOOK AT THE OLYMPIC HOPEFUL GOOOOOOO!"

other healthy decisions have cropped up during this time: we already eat a lot of meals found in nature, but we upped the ante a bit and found places to cram extra carrots. [tee hee.] trying to get to the Y five times a week meant that i didn't have time for my regularly scheduled friday night makeout fest with a bottle of reisling. so aside from one bloody mary with brunch -- which i paired with coffee for an unsettling buzz made popular by pec-a-saurus polo-shirt wearing frat boyz who consider red bull a mixer -- i didn't drink alcohol.

for those who naturally understand math, that is approximately 800-1,500 hundred calories a week. not to mention the absense of gas station burritos, potato oles, and other such elixirs.

last week i strutted over to a scale and mounted it like i was mary lou retton and it was about to vault me toward a gold medal.

i'd lost a half a pound.

the shift on the scale was barely perceptible. when i say half a pound, i'm probably exaggerating.

now it was on like donkey kong. while i was still operating under the "running for fun" mentality, my competitive inner scientist wracked it's pea brain to find out how this was even possible. so i added lifting to the regimine. blah-blah-muscle-burns-fat-blah-over-30-must-lift-weights-blah-blah-blah-i-read-women's-health-blah-polar-fleece. fannie stepped in an provided a week's worth of dietary analysis that she crunched with a weight-watchers calculator. three things happened:

negative: i learned that cheese adds up.
negative: fannie almost drove to duluth and stuck protein into each of my orifaces.
negative: i started rationing out corn chips at lunch so she didn't think i was a gluttonous mess.
negative: when i told her i ate yogurt, she asked why.
negative: on a rare busy day i added a last-ditch waffle to the menu so she didn't think i was anorexic.

my new year's resolution to not get fatter is going really well.

rutabaga curious ...

if this past weekend was a 72 hour dance marathon sponsored by a local radio station, i'd totally drop out of the competition right now. even if the grand prize was a jeep wrangler. [this is my way of saying that my weekened was overbooked. fun, but overbooked.]

i plan to not make eye contact with any humans* for the next 30 days.


rutabaga-fennel gratin: i made this because i was feeling rutabaga curious. i'm not sure i had ever eaten it before. but this is a lot like au gratin potatoes, but lite on potatoes. just a rutabaga, a fennel bulb, a potato and an onion layered, then baked with milk and cheese. it was really, really good.

Lush Life: A Novel by richard price: In the years that it has been since I’ve read a crime novel, I’d forgotten the way it clings to your hands like velcro. Not in the greedy way that it is impossible to put down a good book, but in a way that you are physically unable to find a place to quit. Who can sleep when it seems there is no rational way that strong Irish-jawed detective Matty Clark will ever figure out who killed Ike Marcus?

This is exactly why my mom stopped buying me Mary Higgins Clark books in the late 80s.

full review here. if you've already read this book, this review is hilarious.

Man in the Dark: A Novel by paul auster: August Brill can’t sleep. Since his car accident, he can’t walk very well. His wife recently died. He’s living with his daughter, whose husband recently left her, and his granddaughter, whose boyfriend was beheaded by terrorists for a live audience. Clips are available online.

If August Brill has to pee in the middle of the night, it is easier for him to just go into a bottle, rather than fumble around looking for his cane.

full review here.

Outsourced : they mixed shit up by setting this romantic comedy in india. see what happens when our american hero makes out with a woman and ends up with a bindi stuck to his face!

Gran Torino 2009: this movie allows you to play "spot your neighborhood racist." see who laughs at the wrong times during this movie about clint eastwood and his hmong neighbors. i thought it was really good, and i openly wept.
"too young to be a dad" : thank you tivo suggestions! a freshman smartie gets seduced by a freshman hussy. they consumate it once, and she gets pregnant. this movie is filled with classic lines like "he got a girl pregnant the first time he had sex! we hadn't even had a chance to talk about the birds and the bees yet!" this movie certainly has an agenda. i'd like to see it done from the perspective of the adoptive family that gets screwed when math-face decides he's going to raise the baby.

UPDATE! LINK FIXED! this is my new favorite playground. although, in a total breach of emily internet post, i've forgotten how i found it. i guess i was just off-roading. annnyway, this site takes your favorite author and shows you others who are similar.

"daddy's girls" is one of the most truly likeable reality shows ever.

* chuck excluded.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

part deuce ...

some friends from high school came to town this weekend. i went out for the first time since new year's eve. somehow i played it exactly right. karma didn't exact revenge for my three weeks of self-righteous sobriety. i woke up without the slightest hint of shame or hangover. i think the side of beef i ate for dinner must have trumped karma.

friday was also jcrew's birthday. a few of us yappy gals went to lunch. i had deep fried diuretic slathered in hot sauce. then, completely crippled, i spent a half hour in a public restroom reading drivel. i spent a few more hours practicing for the role of quasimoto in the school play.

many years ago i wrote a post called "jcrew and the birthday drizzle." consider this part deuce.

* in the future, i'd like to address the way facebook has become to the class of 94.

Friday, January 23, 2009

spacially challenged ...

[while helping me try to cram a duvet into a duvet cover and getting it all kiddywhompus]
chuck: it doesn't surprise me that you're bad at tetris.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

fan fiction: first day at work ...

our hero woke up a bit disoriented. his brain throbbing, like it had been used as a sponge to sop up a red wine spill. his mouth was dry. it felt like at some point of the night, he'd actually unwrapped the marlboro lights and let the tobacco dissolve on his tongue for maximum efficiency.

"what happened after we left the inaugural ball?" he wondered to himself. tripped over a size 12 slipper on his way to the bathroom. he picked it up and pitched it into a cardboard box marked with "BUSH" in black sharpie.

"why do i get the feeling i'm going to be cleaning up his messes for awhile," our hero said, shuffling into the adjacent bathroom.

what the ...?

"michelle?!" he called, the empty room echoing. "what the hell is this thing on my head?!"
his wife yawned, and loped into the room behind him with just one eye open. she was still wearing her white jason wu inaugural gown -- although in the course of the night, she had broken free of the constrictive single strap and it was now a jason wu strapless inaugural gown. she was wearing our hero's white bow tie as a hippie headband.

"it's aretha's hat," she said. yawned again. lifted the purple bird from his head. "you really wanted it. she said she would give it to you if you stopped calling her 'queen latifah,'" michelle explained.
"huh," he said. "but did i do or say anything stupid?"
she rolled up the sleeve of his white undershirt to reveal a tattoo'd no. 44 inked across his arm just below his shoulder.
"depends on what you think about this," she said.


at breakfast, our hero could barely stomach even just the ears from the bunny pancakes sasha had prepared in the oval kitchen. the syrup pooled in such a way that he kept seeing ronald reagan's face sneering at him in his uneaten meal. he pushed the plate away.

"just juice," he said to his daughter. "and nine advil."
"arghhh," michelle groaned, walking into the kitchen, her hair wet from bathing. "we need a plumber. i just took a shower in six inches of salon selectives and laura bush's perm."
our hero laid his head on the table.
"a senator would just call in sick today," he groaned. "presidential declaration: casual wednesday."
"funny," michelle answered, pouring herself a cup of coffee. "you were actually yelling that in the streets last night."


our hero kept half of his proclamation. he strode into his new office at 10 a.m. sharp, wearing a stiff white shirt, starched tie and adidas wind pants and flip flops. he started to sit in his chair, then jumped up as if shocked. he used a handkerchief to wipe down the seat.

he knew who had sat in that chair before him.

our hero leaned back and surveyed the room, wondering where his predecessor had left the traditional note. and there, propped in front of him, was the etch-a-sketch. on it, scrawled in the nobbed hand of an elementary-school-aged etch-a-sketch prodigy was the word "welkom" written in aluminum powder and plastic beads.

our hero grabbed his super secret blackberry and sent his wife a text message.
"we are never going out on a tuesday night ever again."

gift of the magi ...

i spent about 40 minutes on the phone with tivo and charter cable today. this is a fraction of how much time chuck spent on the phone with tivo and charter cable today.

turns out our spontaneous electronics purchase is only cool when it's turned off. the picture freezes, tivo misses whole portions of "the bachelor" and when chuck investigated DIY fixes on those oh-so-helpful and techie message boards ["tivo is stupid!" "you're stupid!" "i like twizzlers!"] he found that this is a common problem. now we have to wait until friday for another cable guy to "fix" it. want to watch live tv? psh. we'd be better off creating in our own youtube dance off.

bad news, right? only kind of. i simply let go of the monday night television that rules my week. it was all very yoga-y. no bachelor, none of the city, no gossip girl, no one tree hill. i'm not even going to watch them online. well, for now.

hasta la pasta, suckoids.

instead i ate waffles and stared at the internet. a much better use of my time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

clinging to the innards of my future dinner ...

it is always a good week when the vegetarian times comes along to save us from making every night fajita night. we had enough homecooked meals this past week that i should earn a free bonnet.

other fun facts from the week:
1) if possible, i like to park my car in front of or behind chuck's car, leaving half a car length between us. if anyone else did this on the block, i'd think they were an asshole. as is, i do it because i think everyone on the block is an asshole.

2.) bell peppers are in heavy rotation in this house. nothing makes me happier than finding one of these babies clinging to the innards of my future dinner. one day last week i found three. they are cute.


deep dish skillet pizza: good and bad news: i burned the shit out of this crust. a weird recipe maneuver called for setting the skillet on the floor of the oven. i disagree. the good news: i didn't cry, and scraping off the toppings made for a great salad. kale, who knew? i will try this again.

strawberry compote: this is a fancy way of saying "put five cups of frozen strawberries in the oven with sugar and vanilla bean and see what happens." what happens is a very intense warm strawberry soupiness that goes very well on my ice cream. it's so strawberry concentrated that it tastes like it was packaged for astronauts. in other news, don't buy your vanilla bean at whole foods. you should just buy a nice scarf or a record instead.

quinoa stuffed peppers: [linking to an approximation of what i made] labor intensive. and, full disclosure, i only participated in this. chuck did most of the heavy lifting while i was on the phone with the cable company. but this was good. maybe not worth the effort, but good. i'd use more cheese than the recipe calls for.

the leftovers taste awesome with eggs.


"the hills"
* correct me if i'm wrong: did whitney just dust off a vintage copy of "the rules" and successfully execute it in the wrangling of a boyfriend? zowie, whit. 1995 applauds you.

"the bachelor"
* i can't keep these women straight. they are all just long hair with various degrees of psychosis.

"the real world brooklyn"
* this may be the least attractive band of tweens to start getting real.
* also, where is the drama? have the seven, er, eight strangers progressed so far that the biggest threats on internal chemistry are putting a condomized banana in the fish tank? can you imagine a cast from 18 years ago being a-ok with the transexual? possible that in the future there will be fewer hate crimes on mtv?


The Queen ever since i didn't make the homecoming court in 1993, i've just assumed i wasn't into royalty. recently, i surprisingly wanted to watch "the dutchess," so when tivo suggested "the queen," i thought that was close enough. i imagined a lot of goblets and people mawing on turkey legs and flaming arrows. not so. i have to stop judging thing before i know anything about them. this movie was surprisingly charming and the only thing that even hints at days of yore is that the queen resembles george washington. did you know that diana died on my birthday?

speaking of: this has me wondering which american's tragic death would result in a similar amount of shrines and tears? i can only come up with oprah.

The Brave One : a bunch of people told me to watch this movie after i was r'd at g'point. i can only assume they wanted to bore me. jodie foster plays a radio monologuist who's fiance dies after they both get the shit kicked out of them in central park. she goes vigilante, and starts shootin' up bad guys -- which she suddenly runs into with great frequency.

believable: jodie foster as a grudge-holding angel of death.
not believable: i cannot suspend my belief enough in this movie to see that jodie foster has a male fiance. she comes across as shane from the l-word, if shane were trying to channel meg ryan. the sarah mclauchlin soundtrack is silly.

Boyz N the Hood 1991: it seems like when i went to college, this was every boys favorite movie. aside from the last 12 minutes, it is one terrible menudo flick with an afterschool special soundtrack. eeps. we've come so far, film-wise. but more characters need names like furious styles. that is straight gold.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 : i stopped following this movie very closely when they asked me to believe that blake lively and america ferrera can fit into the same jeans.

The Wackness 2008: in this movie's signature moment, the female love interest tells our hero what he always just sees the "whackness" while she sees the "dopeness." oye.

"how to succeed on the internet without even trying" jodi's fantastically funny list of ways to popularize your blog. no mention of talking like an lolcat, but we'll let it slide.

since new year's day, max has been on a mission to become "rock star skinny." first he fasted for a bunch of days, now he is strictly eating approximately 900 calories a day. he's not trying to just lose weight; he wants to be skiiiiiiinnnnnnyy. this is fascinating stuff. although i was glad when the fast ended because i kept expecting to see a twitter update that said he was dead.

"writing in an age of distraction" [via] cory doctorow writes about writing productivity in an easily-distracting internet age. i took a bunch of his advice one day this past week.

"hanging 10 [degrees] on icy lake superior" the new york times notices that people are surfing on lake superior. i like to think that someday duluth will be known as a surfing community. [not that i'll try it. i don't even like to shower.]

i cannot wait for this book to be released. hot damn, i love jay mcinerney. [via]

Saturday, January 17, 2009

a warm place to swear ...

i was walking alone in the skywalk late tonight. long after the displaced mall walkers had packed up their white reebox and AM/FM armbands. long after the mustard drool had dried on the tables at subway, like urine-splotches on the base of the toilet in a unisex gas station bathroom in pine city, minnesota.

there was a woman a few turns in front of me. 30 yards behind me, someone shuffling along playing an mp3 on his cell phone.

sometimes the skyway freaks me out. teenaged boys think of it as a warm place to hang out and swear. it's well lit, though. and you would think someone would have better sense than to stab you in a corridor that is 50 percent windows. usually i feel safe, or at least safe-ish. on the other hand, i've watched two movies this week starring random crimes. [in one of those movies jodie foster played a woman with a male fiance. i found that far less believable than her as a vigilante].

naturally, i start to brace myself to get shot in the back of the head, just like the kid in "boys n the hood." clenching my shoulders like i was standing under a spray of cold water.

if i were attacked by someone without a weapon who was approximately my height and weight with a similar amount of muscle mass, i believe i could put up a good fight. if the jacking deviates from those conditions, i'm screwed.

in the late 90s, there was a self help book that damn-near walked itself off the shelves of barnes & noble. i never read it. but i did stuff it into plenty of plastic bags decorated with a sketch of what a rotten potato would look like if it played mark twain in a movie. through some sort of osmosis, i learned to not discredit the fear instinct.

i turned around. it was a man. early 20s. bulky coat. face obscured.
so i sped up. then i slowed down, poker face like.
then i saw the skyway's maintenance worker: i guy who i imagine would throw this punk down on the floor, hold a mop at his neck and spit "not in my skyway."

i slowed down even more, all while making my legs look like they were moving faster. it's tricky, but do-able.
my would-be assailant caught up to me.

they say that in situations like this you should face your attacker. acknowledge him. humanize yourself.

"what are you listening to?" i asked him.
he told me it was music he'd made with his cousin.
i told him it was good.
he asked me what my name was.
i said jessica.
he told me why he was here in duluth and his hopes and dreams for his future.

then it started to feel like he was getting flirty, in that indiscriminate flirty way that some boys throw at anything that doesn't have a mustache.

i decided that i need to learn the fine line between humanizing and making friends.

but hey! i didn't get strangled, my blue and lifeless body tossed into a dumpster behind the holiday inn. so that's good.

Friday, January 16, 2009

sabbath bloody sabbath [wherein i complete a meme i wasn't tagged for] ...

What does your music library say about you?

1. Put Your ipod on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song.

What do your friends think of you?
fake empire, the national

If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
the wolves act I and III, bon iver

How would you describe yourself?
said so what, the french kicks

What do you like in a guy/girl?
mr love and justice, billy bragg

How do you feel today?
heartbeat, madonna

What is your life’s purpose?
nude, radiohead

What is your motto?
the trumpet in my head, lykke li

What do you think about very often?
breaking down, jeremy messersmith

What is 2 + 2?
long division, death cab

What do you think of your best friend?
family tree, tv on the radio

What do you think of the person you like?
this is not a test, she & him

What is your life story?
sundress, ben kweller

What do you want to be when you grow up?
everybody but me, lykke li

What do you think of when you see the person you like?
everyone, uh huh her

What will you dance to at your wedding?
candy shop, madonna

What will they play at your funeral?
up on the ladder, radiohead

What is your hobby/interest?
sept. 15th, 1983, the mountain goats

What is your biggest fear?
too much to hide, joseph arthur

What is your biggest secret?
i'm amazed, my morning jacket

What will you post this as?
sabbath bloody sabbath

Thursday, January 15, 2009

breaking sample day ...

i love grazing on grocery store samples. but if this tasted half as good as it looked, i'd still barf.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

i saw a guy buy his groceries with lotto tickets today ...

pet peeve: when my weakly review post is still on the site on tuesday morning. it's like waking up with a headache and seeing a half-filled wine bottle on the coffee table.


PS: apparently i like crime novels. too much.

Monday, January 12, 2009

cookies are the new beer ...

in the past week, i:
* got my hair cut in a way that i don't understand what, exactly, to do with it. aside from letting it grow.
* decided that cookies are my new beer.

and other stuff i did last week ...

on this morning i woke up and heard chuck taking photos out the window. since immitation is flattery, i went out on the deck and took a photo when i got out of bed. sometimes i don't hate winter. pretty sky.


meat and potatoes: sometimes we eat meat. rarely. but we do it. and it's always the same thing: some sort of marinated pork tenderloin, homemade homemashed skin on garlic potatoes. usually we pan sear some green beans in peanut oil with garlic and red pepper flakes to go along with it. on this day we TOTALLY MIXED THINGS UP! and had asparagus. CRAZZY!

rice fried vegetables: we found this recipe in vtimes last season, and i had a sudden craving for it this past week. it is, like, every vegetable in the work sauteed in a wok with peanut oil. it has strips of egg in it and then some rice. my favorite part is the way the sriracha chile sauce sticks to the broccoli heads. my second part is chopping all these fun vegetables.



The Gargoyle by andrew davidson: such a clever story about a porn star/addict who is in a fiery car wreck and then is nursed back to help by a potentially schizophrenic sculptress. plenty of stories-within-a-story, and subtle humor. perfect doses of historic fiction that didn't leave me wanting to strangle myself with man tights. this is the best, and first, book i've completed in 2009. someone, anyone, please read it.

Rats Saw God by rob thomas: young adult fiction from the brains behind the sassy "veronica mars." unfortunately, it doesn't really stand the test of time, meaning that i doubt a current young adult would find it very interesting. an actual adult who was in high school in the 1990s probably will, however, and in the meantime get plenty of flashbacks to first kisses, flannel shirts and kurt cobain. this story is a pretty fun way to kill an afternoon.

see here for upcoming full reviews.

Untraceable 2008: "the saw" with cell phones. and a message about popular media consumption.

Burn After Reading 2008: this is the best movie to yet happen to our new tv. i love these absurd plotlines involving two fitness center employees playing at espionage -- so frances mcdormand can have liposuction to up her resale value in the world of cyber dating -- a manic runner/suductor building a fierce sex toy in his basement; as the government tries to uncover what kind of threat this not-quite understandalbe role these people have and what they can do to fix things.

"the bachelor":
* is there any show in the world where women behave more insanely? i'm embarrassed to sort of have boobs.
* i wonder if jason specified in his contract that he needed to have at least 5 of his ab muscles appear 30 percent of the time.
* i think the words "myspace" and "vision board" should automatically eliminate the woman who speaks them.
* no one learns lessons from previous seasons. drunkies.
* wow! this show goes a lot faster when you fast forward through the inane conversations between chris and jason.

* my god. i remembered that the season finale was intense, but i'd forgotten it was such a blood bath. this sums up why i love nip/tuck: dr. mcnamara gets stabbed by the misery woman, and ends up paralyzed and unable to walk. the drs. assistant [can't remember her name] finds a lump, but it's dr. christian troy who has breast cancer -- the bad kind. turns out this is a good way to pick up women, unfortunately, doing breast exams on women from the bar is a turn off. dr. mcnamara's wheelchair, however, is not. somehow his ends up tipping over. dr. christian troy has surgery. his son, the michael jackson lookalike, enrolls in college. community college, to dr. troy's disappointment.

one episode man. ONE episode.

"ghost adventures"
* this week we were especially distracted by zak bagans birdlike flappy arms.
* why do people keep doing google searches for zak bagans' sister?
* new favorite ghost adventurer is aaron, who totally crapped himself while waiting for a sign in the attic.
* another google hit: zak bagans birthday.
* i'm going to do a search for zak bagans' skateboarding

Sunday, January 11, 2009

solid reasons to stay in on a saturday night ...

1. cookies
2. sweatpants
3. a package from
4. a pretty great run i didn't want to undo with the sauce

runner up:
5. 90210 [awful]

Saturday, January 10, 2009

borne of coors light and an exceptional floor routine ...

for christmas we received a digital frame, the value of which i was already assessing before it was completely unwrapped. ma pista had kindly taped the best buy gift receipt to the box, knowing that the full holiday cheer doesn't really hit until i've manually improved upon my gifts.

no offense to the digital frame fans out there. brother and sister-in-law pista got one for the parents pista, and filled it with unseen footage of my niece mel in various stages of her golf swing. i'm sure that right now, ma pista has a chair lounged three feet in front of it and a single serving of microwave popcorn in her lap. it's probably her favorite movie. kudos, i say.

i was thinking of trading our digital frame for a wii fit. i like wii fit in theory. the commercials look fun. but i think it would take about three downward dogs before it ended up in our wii-game graveyard, the balance board in the kitchen covered in chopped tomatoes.

plus, while shopping in vain for wii fit, i remembered that the digital frame was for both me and chuck. i probably shouldn't come home with something about as interesting to him as a 24 pack of super absorbent tampons and an instyle magazine.

last night we went to best buy to decide which lonely electronic needed a new home. with no real glaring voids, we had time to wander and taunt those easily excited blue shirts who were keeping themselves busy creating wii fit accessory displays: wii fit sweatbands, water bottles, towels.

we ended up in front of the tivo boxes. with just a slight upgrade from our current tivo to HD, we would be able to stream netflix through tivo. while the netflix "watch instantly" feature is a little shallow on titles [think rickie schroeder in "the champ."] we are pretty easy movie watchers: chuck just needs a dinosaur flick -- the closer to clamation the better, i'm assuming since i've never watched one one him. i just need moving pictures and a starlet with bouncy hair.

then we looked at tvs. specifically a clearance HD flat screen, that, when the frame-shape gift card was applied to, would be relatively inexpensive. do we need a tv? no. in fact, i've long fantasized about being one of those pretentious assholes who says "i haven't watched tv in five years, but i've been reading this biography of mary queen of scots that i heard about on public radio ..." [this brilliance usually happens between seasons of my favorite abercrombie flavored reality shows.]

i'm told that one night we were watching the olympics a few beers deep at rt quinlan's and we'd made a very serious decision to buy a new tv for each other for christmas. this smells of coors light and an exceptional floor routine.

so we wandered between the two items, but didn't rule out fistfuls of itunes gift cards.

problems: a HD tv without HD tivo ... that's no fun. HD tivo without an HD tv ... well, that's just worthless.

i think we would feel an urgency to get the HD tivo if we got the tv," i said. "so let's just get the tivo."
"see," chuck said. "i think we'd feel more of an urgency to get the HD tv if we got the tivo."

that's when i noticed that purchasing HD tivo came with $100 off of an HD tv. i touched the sign with a shaky pointer finger covered with chipped nail polish. and when i said " ... why don't we get both?" chuck looked at me like i just told him i was going to sell my skin to fur traders. but if we were going to want to get a tv anyway ... why not get it now, when it was on clearance and $100 off? minus the frame and divided by the two of us.

so that's how we came to own a tv we didn't want or need and a new tivo box. and while it makes chad michael murray's pores look like soup bowls, the only way to really assuage the guilt is to think of it as our christmas present. when i consider how all of this unfolded, i really feel that ma pista is in cahoots with best buy.

getting the package of gluttony into my car was another story all together. [i'm still lugging around a few rubbermades from my old apartment. three seasons later.] chuck had to sit in the lotus position to fit in the front seat. [we didn't even need the wii fit.] not to mention that before my english comprehension skills kicked in this morning, chuck had already given me a detailed list of how this new set up is a pain in the ass. the only word i understood was "wires."

watching it feels like we aren't even in our own home. we aren't, like, going to host a super bowl party. i wouldn't even know how to make bbq chicken wings.

"it kind of seems like we bought a pool table," chuck said.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

how our lives resemble that of two male factory workers splitting time in a living space in new york city at the dawn of america ...

asparagus! for no real reason.

chuck comes home from work.
i wake up.
i drink coffee; chuck tea.
chuck goes to bed.
chuck wakes up.
we share dinner. chuck drinks coffee, i drink tea.
chuck goes to work.
i go to bed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

making your hate notes count ...

this is what i was wearing today when i realized that i had been completely duluthified:
moon boots
no deoderant

long sweater
short jacket [my zipper is broken on my actual winter coat, so i had to make do]
horizontal slung purse
edie bauer backpack
omnipresent stocking cap

i think i just need a beard to complete this

today i did a scientific experiment on what kind of people go to the Y during daylight hours. like serious daylight hours, when the sun is like a thousand paparazzi flashbulbs in your face.

a harbor city oil truck was parked in the middle of the road in front of the house, a huge hose snaked into the neighbor's backyard. my car was blocked from leaving. i looked around for a harbor city oil oiler. then i went back to the car and wrote this note:

nice parking spot, asshat.

i was studying the word asshat on the piece of paper when the oil man returned to his truck. he laughed when i asked him to move his truck: took his sweet time putting away the hose and checking gauges and kicking tires and doing whatever it is that you do when you aren't hustling your bustle.

why "asshat" instead of the more familiar "asshole"?
good question.
i wanted to convey to this oiler that i meant business. that i was more clever than the average pissed off resident. that anyone can say "asshole" but it takes a real firy wordsmith to come up with asshat.

asshat makes me think of one of those foam chunks of cheese that packer fans wear. except it's a butt. and back when i still thought i'd plant the note under his windshield, i hoped oily would take a second to see that i had used a pretty terrific word, and to picture his own noggin capped in skin-toned anatomy.

the Y, by day, looks like a convention of mommy bloggers: past, present and future. everyone is either pregnant or has an infant in a spandex sling that matches their sports bra. it has a very circus effect. like something from a medical textbook: freaky siamese twins -- one 5'6, the other 20 inches -- bound by stretchy neon.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

keeping my options open for further resolutions ...

here are my resolutions for 2009:
run many miles
eat a ridiculous amount of vegetables
create meals that taste good and photograph well
listen to great songs
read so many good books my pupils fleck away like scabs
see a full-body apparition
write things
see places i've never seen before that are warm when it is cold here
spend less money
not get fatter
keep my options open for further resolutions

cheese monkeys by chip kidd: The Cheese Monkeys by Chip Kidd is, for more than 250 pages, one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time. Our hero is a freshman at State, enrolled in art classes. He meets an older sassy wild card named Himillsy Dodd who is full of fun and big ideas. They spend time drinking, eating ice cream, drunk driving and talking about art. (Himillsy also has a very serious straight-laced, straight edge, non-cluttered boyfriend who rarely interrupts the flow of their friendship).

full review here.

american teenager 2008: this painfully awesome documentary is about the lives of a handful of teenagers meeting specific teenaged stereotypes: athletic, arty, geeky, etc. ... filmed over the course of their senior year. when you aren't cringing, it's actually pretty good.

the band geek tells his date that they both "suck at life." ah, socially awkward moments caught on film.


Lipstick Jungle - Season One
: am i the first person in the world to recognize that this show is fan fiction about what happened to the girls from the babysitter's club? that said, i can't stop watching.

"ghost adventures" : zak introduces an epilady to the ghost hunting paraphernalia. [chuck's joke, not mine.]

in zak bagans google activity, this week i got a lot of traffic looking for a) zak bagans naked; b) zak bagans workout; c) zak bagans sister.

addition to the ghost adventures drinking game:
the words "dude, seriously" require taking a shot. of red bull.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

hair today ...

fun fact no. 50: if the stars align and i do not wear a stocking cap or a pony tail at the same time, upward of three people will ask me if i got my hair cut.

i like to think of it as a personal contest.

in other news, upon removing my stocking cap and pony tail, i see that it is time to do something about the punk rockish spike of greys along my part line.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

ill-gotten snacks ...

one of the best things that happened last nite: when we were getting out of the cab, chuck noticed a plastic bag in the back seat. i asked the cab driver if it was his and he said "what bag?" we peeked inside: snacks. lots of snacks.

in a world where i've donated plenty of things to the faceless people who are lucky enough to squat in the backseat after me [cell phone] i decided to take the snacks. and run.

our ill-gotten gains: teriyaki beef jerkey, peanut butter cups and a wild card -- carmel bugles. what the what?! they. were. awesome. i can't lie: i'd never have tried them if the snack fairie hadn't left them for us.

according to the receipt, we missed out on two packs of marbs.

anyway, i promised myself i'd write this down somewhere where i'd find it. next year's new year's eve = sweatpants, pizza, movie marathon. you're all invited.