Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Look look look look look!

The Object and I are thinly veiled!

I'm grateful that Lionel put the "i" in there to maintain our anonymity.

Guess who's Colin and who's Claire!

What's that you're asking? Why yes, I do believe the Argyle Academy accepts cash, credit, and PayPal.

Someone Understands

More and more people are emerging from their Harry Potter cocoons with that same hanging look of disappointment that I experienced. It's that same feeling you get after eating an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's or package of oreos: unsatisfied, slightly ill, and sad that it's gone.

Fortunately for us, Mark Lotto has elocuted that feeling in what may be the most accurate book review I've ever read.

It’s the fantasy novel Faulkner might have dashed off when drunk and hard up for cash, with pivotal, familiar events revisited from new and semi-surprising points of view.

Good vs. evil, even accompanied by supernatural adventure and thrills, holds our attention less well than you might think. We were really in it for the embarrassment of funny, superior, domestic details—of which any list of mine would be a small start, but to begin with: the possibility of getting mail via owl post rather than the USPS, of commuting via fireplace rather than the MTA, of de-gnoming Mom’s garden instead of raking the leaves, of taking potions classes instead of precalculus.

...Too many funerals and a siege of Hogwarts significantly shorter but only slightly less violent than that of Leningrad...

When we do return to Potter, idly, occasionally, on vacation maybe, dipping into a series favorite between other, more serious reads, there won’t be the same … It will lack a certain—let’s not call it “magic.”

We all grow up to be Muggles, in the end.
Sigh, back to work, then.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Peckish Perpetrators

I know you're all worried, but I just wanted to reassure you that the person who stole cakes at at knifepoint three times in an hour from the same shop was not me.

"At first, he told police he was a visitor and only spoke "foreign language", but he finally admitted he had just been hungry."

I feel you my friend; I've had to stop carrying around knives so as to avoid a life of crime when my tummy is rumbly.

The weird thing is, people have stopped asking me to make cake ever since I debuted my kitty litter cake at a party.


Cake ingredients:
  • 1 box spice or German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 box of white cake mix
  • 1 package white sandwich cookies
  • 1 large package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • A few drops green food coloring
  • 12 small Tootsie Rolls or equivalent
Serving dishes and Utensils
  • 1 NEW cat-litter box
  • 1 NEW cat-litter box liner
  • 1 NEW pooper scooper
Getting Baked
1) Prepare and bake cake mixes, according to directions, in any size pan. Prepare pudding and chill. Crumble cookies in small batches in blender or food processor. Add a few drops of green food coloring to 1 cup of cookie crumbs. Mix with a fork or shake in a jar. Set aside.

2) When cakes are at room temperature, crumble them into a large bowl. Toss with half of the remaining cookie crumbs and enough pudding to make the mixture moist but not soggy. Place liner in litter box and pour in mixture.

3) Unwrap 3 Tootsie Rolls and heat in a microwave until soft and pliable. Shape
the blunt ends into slightly curved points. Repeat with three more rolls. Bury the rolls decoratively in the cake mixture. Sprinkle remaining white cookie crumbs over the mixture, then scatter green crumbs lightly over top.

4) Heat 5 more Tootsie Rolls until almost melted. Scrape them on top of the cake and sprinkle with crumbs from the litter box. Heat the remaining Tootsie Roll until pliable and hang it over the edge of the box. Place box on a sheet of newspaper and serve with scooper. Enjoy!(?)

Friday, July 27, 2007

You Know How The Little Things Kinda Get You Down?

Sometimes I worry that I will give my new apartment a serious inferiority complex if I don't stop wandering around muttering about its inadequacies.

"My old house had a washer and dryer. I don't see you making much of an effort, hmmmmm? You better shape up, new apartment. And have these walls painted robin's egg blue by the time I get home or I will move furniture across the hardwood floors again tonight!"

With no washer and dryer in the unit, should I be inspired to run a load of laundry, I have to don my grisgris, say an intricate series of prayers to varying household demi-gods and semi-devils while I perform a very weird little raindance, go on a scavenger hunt for precisely the right coins (our building's machines take only quarters from the states of Minnesota, Oklahoma, and West Virginia or from the year 1963, when the machines were manufactured), then show up in the laundry room between 10:43 and 10:57 p.m. and give the secret password of the day.

It's a challenge.

Luckily, I have plenty of clothes. A LOT. But I only have about 2 weeks' worth of underoos. So instead of doing laundry, I decided to walk over today and buy a week's worth of underoos during lunch.

But when I got to the purveyor of underoos, all they had in stock were Barbie underwears. For adult women. Size XXXL.

My heart just pines for my old washer and dryer.

As Long As We're on the Subject

Every time I hear the phrase, "the kindness of strangers", this is what gets in my head:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Even If You've Read the Book, This Counts as a Spoiler

From a secret email missive from 3PennyJane about Harry Potter:
My favorite comment on Snape's deathly redemption:
>> "Look... at... me..." So... Snape's dying wish is for Harry to look at him. With his green eyes. His green eyes that are totally his mother's eyes. Lily's eyes. I'm, like, 35% touched and 110% creeped the fuck out.

The Kindness of Strangers, Part One

"Did that Ford just say "le beep beep? I swear it did!"

So exclaimed my friend Maria, trying to put a finger on what makes Montreal so unlike any other city. It's extraordinarily difficult to describe Montreal or Montrealers, since the city is what you would get if Paris and Milwaukee had a lovechild- incongruous, to say the least.

Perhaps an example would explain a little better?

Ness' conference took place at a place called Le Palais des Congres, or "The Palace of the Congresses." We were told that it would be easy enough to find, since it was located quite close to the Hotel Traveldodge1. So we set out, figuring we'd look around for the big palace-looking place. As it turns out, there were a few to choose from. At first we thought it might be this:

or perhaps this:
As it turns out, the Palace of the Congresses looked less like a palace, and more like the facade of an industrial abattoir:

The people of Montreal are similarly difficult to describe, and it makes people-watching not unlike watching a socioeconomic sort of Village People- There's the perfectly accessorized yindie looking smoooooth in the latest in local designers (after all, Montreal is the home of some seriously sweet designers, including David Bitton, whose sole mission in life is to make sure your ass is perfectly shaped in a pair of jeans), the woman in perfectly tailored Versace wrap dress the skinny-jeans and Joy Division black t-shirt, the preppedy popped-collar sporter of green and pink Ralph Lauren cargo pants and polo shirts, looking too cool cool for school by wearing his mirrored sunglasses at night, and this being Canada, you of course get the XXXL team jersey mustachioed man with a beer gut so spectacularly engorged you know that it has never been forced to sink so low as to swill lite beer until he's already put away a six pack. And perfectly completing this tableau of teaming humanity, over the din of the streets rises the sweet sounds of wild rantings of the crazy homeless man2. .

Oddly enough, I saw very few business suits- I don't think I'd find too many Montrealers arguing with me if I said that Montreal is a city where people work to live, not work to live. Coming from DC, I've been horribly conditioned to respond to the standard opening line, "So what do you do?" It was oddly liberating not to have to spew my spiel, which only leads to talking about the minutiae jobs and conversations so inevitably snooze-worthy that one starts to think that the word boring refers to the holes one would like to bore into their heads to make it stop. In fact, I don't think a single Montrealer ever learned what I do for a living. Needless to say, I appreciated being able to delve right into more interesting and creative ice breakers, most of which were designed to suss out one's level of francophone prowess or taste in beer.

[Oh, for those of you following along with the latest controversies of the DC bloggedy world, yes, I was acutely aware of an absolute dearth of flip-flops. Seriously, I was the only one waddling along in them, and I think I might have even gotten a few raised eyebrows. I realized the Sidewalk Blogger was right about women in DC and their flip-flops when my non-DC friends had to talk me out of wearing flip-flops to a club with a dress code.]

Montrealers are not utterly unclassifiable, however. The one almost universal quality that they share is that they are the friendliest and kindest people I have ever met.
OK, we need to stop right here to distinguish between kind and nice. Nice is a horribly loaded word in my personal usage, with all kinds of connotations about the melba toast quality of a person. As a general rule, I'll preface that a girl is nice right before I tear her to shreds for having no other redeeming qualities. Conversely, I will use the absence of niceness to indicate that a person is well worth my time: "Meghan's not nice; she's AWESOME." Kindness, on the other hand, is an attribute I put great stock in. It's an openness to humanity, a willingness to reach out to people, and a general appreciation of life and those living it. The aforementioned Meghan? A most supremely kind woman.
So we've cleared that up, right? Sorry to slow you down. Moving on with the Montreal.

Montrealers= supremely friendly and kind. And it follows logically that if one is kind, one is kind of... AWESOME.

The first day I was there, I was staring at the map, utterly confounded. I spent the majority of my life with a large body of water to the east of me, so I had a very difficult time grasping that the body of water was to the south of me. What really didn't help was that the Montreal street maps are all upsidedown, so that the water looks like it's north of you, despite the fact that it's south of you. It took until the second to last day of the trip for this to stop completely fucking with my mind. As I tried to figure this out, a man came up to me and asked if I needed help getting to where I was going.

Now, DC is a town full of tourists. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who simply abhors them. I snark at them on the metro or walk by them as fast as possible so as to avoid them getting their weird red state germs on me3.. I'm pretty sure that the only people who actually stop to help map-readers in DC are either other map-readers, looking for crack, crack money, or trying to steal your map to sell it for crack. Call me jaded; I speak from experience.

So when the Montreal man stopped and asked if I needed help, I gave a curt "no thanks" and registered the hurt on his face as a fluke. This happened about four more times before I figured out that people just wanted to help me out and literally steer me in the right direction. That's when it became clear to me why Montreal is one of the Great World Cities, despite showing seriously frayed edges after decades of economic hardship: the people are some awesomely friendly kindred spirits. Eh?

It was the kindness of strangers that lead me to one of the best concerts I've ever been to. We're already getting a little long and windy in this post, so I'll leave you to go get some work done this afternoon. Let's all meet back here later, though, and I'll tell you all the rest.


You need a teaser?

Well, if going to an Akron/Family concert is liking going to a tent revival on quaaludes (but in a good way), then the concert I went to was like going to a tent revival on quaaludes in hell. But in a good way.

1. Quick note about the Traveldodginess. Now, I have no right to complain, since thanks to Ness' expense account, I got to stay there virtually free. That said, the room was so teensy that it would not actually fit two smaller than twin-sized beds lengthwise- one had to be turned and crammed up against the other so that they were perpendicular. Well, when our friend Karin showed up on Friday, needless to say, it was in our best interest to upgrade, since the cot proved to be quite the fire hazard. The polite hotel management assured us that a suite would accommodate our needs with style and panache, so we shelled out the extra cash. We packed up our bags and moved to the suite, not anticipating the Ritz, but certainly excited to have enough space to lay our suitcases flat. We opened the door to find a room exactly the same as the one we had come from, except for two bunkbeds hastily nailed to the walls. To be fair, the floors were carpeted and the shower, which we almost fit into, ran hot water, so I can't make the obvious prison comparison. Also, the art in there was just gorgeous, a lovely and original scene capturing the glory of the untold quiet beauty of Quebec winters:

2.All of the homeless people were foaming-at-the-mouth-wow-the-whites-of-your-eyes-are-really-big crazy, which I found really odd. I'm used to having a nice pastiche of crazy mixed in with the-really-down-on-their-luck-just-trying-to-get-by homeless people. The lack of the former category made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and not want to wonder too hard about the state of mental health care in a universal health care system. Also, the homeless and/or crazy and/or scary people all seemed to disappear around 1 in the morning, which made the walk back to the TravelDodge at 4 in the morning eerily safe. Which was wholly discomfiting.

3.Actually, I will stop and help people who look like they don't have a very good grasp of English. Partly because it completely sucks to be lost and not know the language, but also so that foreigners don't get the impression that Americans are heartless assholes. I prefer only the pink patriotic kitty sweatshirt ladies to know that about me.

4.Actually, not so much experience as unfounded misanthropy.

A Spoonful of Sugar

So we all go through difficult times in life, right? Times where the shit just piles up on top of itself, log after log of steaming, chunky crap, clogging up the cogs that run the machinations of quotidian life so that NOTHING WORKS and you're left worse off than Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times.

But wait! You don't have to join the communist party just yet.

The cure, in four easy steps:
  1. Get away from your computer. It won't miss you; I promise.
  2. Buy No one belongs here except youby Miranda July
  3. Put on The Underdog from the new Spoon album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.
  4. Alternate dancing and snorting out loud.
Repeat as necessary with other awesome books and songs. Short, funny stories and blaring horns are the key here, as is a patch of sunshine so bright it burns your eyes. Simon and Garfunkel's Keep the Customer Satisfied works well, as does Lorrie Moore.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

For Your Consideration

The Teletubbies meet The Gods Must Be Crazy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Object!

As I was wandering around the winding boulevards Montreal a few weeks ago, I realized it had been far too long since I’d been out on my own exploring the world, and how much I missed it.

See, I used to go to summer camp up near the Boundary Waters for two months every summer. It was there that I learned the value of being a strong, lionhearted (like the CareBear) and independent girl from a bunch of Dominican nuns whom I suspect spent the rest of their year working with MacGyver and the Phoenix Foundation to save little girls from heinous Soviet gulags. Sure, they tossed in a few casual religious lessons, but they were fairly utilitarian to suit the nuns’ needs. Sister Ruella, the horseback riding counselor, told us that the Virgin Mary was not afraid of bugs, but she did frown upon little girls who screeched at the sight of spiders or were afraid of the dark. Self-reliance was a paramount virtue, right up there with humility, kindness, and perseverance.

Because my home life was tempestuous, homesickness was an alien emotion for me. When I hopped on that bus for the twelve-hour ride north, I didn’t look back. Some girls spent their first few nights at camp crying for their families; I spent my first few nights back at my parents’ house crying because I missed camp. As it became increasingly difficult to keep the skeletons of my home life locked firmly in the closet or try to explain the bizarre cuts and bruises (“Wait, run that by me again; I still don’t understand how a pitchfork and lye were involved?”), I lost interest in the exhausting process of trying to maintain normal friendships. As I withdrew, the independence I’d learned from camp comforted me; to be alone without being lonely is an extraordinary useful skill. During the non-camp months, when I was supposed to be minding my mother’s knitting shop I would ditch the yarn (you would have too!) to wander in the woods near my house for hours at a time, lost in my thoughts and dreaming of a peripatetic and cosmopolitan future where I would rely on no one. I buried my nose in Emerson, but thumbed my nose at Thoreau, who was too much of a momma's boy- after all, I didn't have to leave Walden to get my mom to my laundry; why, I'd been doing it since I was eight.

It took a long time, a criminal trial (not mine, I swear), living on three different continents, and distance from my family for the bitter and hardened independence I’d cultivated to soften enough to make real friends and relationships. By the time the Object rolled into my life, it only took a year and a half’s worth of his cajoling to domesticate me, as opposed to the NEVEREVEREVERSERIOUSLYNEVER I’d always sworn to myself. Still, the week after we moved in together, I hopped on a plane, leaving the Object with my cat while I set off for Montreal.

Since my traveling companion was spending her days at some phymistry or chesminics conference- my days were largely my own. Armed with my notebook, iPod full of Montreal tunes (ever the faux-purist, I listened only to Montreal bands while in Montreal, except for the new Spoon album. I couldn’t wait; sorry), and guidebook, I drifted around the city, happily alone with my thoughts with no one to answer to but myself and feeling more in my element than I had in ages. I started to wonder if I’d ever be able to go back to my utterly normal DC life. I entertained thoughts of calling the Dominicans to see if they had any openings for world-traveling MacGyver nuns, hoping that belief in God was no longer a requirement to follow the call of God.

I rounded one of the cobblestoned street corners in Vieux Montreal and saw a lovely old sandstone three-story building, trimmed brightly in robin’s egg blue with big, bright flowers cheerfully dotting the window boxes and a luxurious roof deck spanning the top beckoning as an oasis from quotidian monotony. At that very moment, Montreal singer-songwriter Leslie Feist crooned into my ears, “I got a man to stick it out and make a home from a rented house. We’ll collect the moments one by one; I guess that’s how the future is done.”

The area right under my heart seized into a hard, painful knot. All I wanted in the world was the Object standing next to me, clasping my hand and making fun of the neighbors we’d have if we lived in this little slice of urban utopia. As I thought of the Object back at home trying to wrangle the cat into bending to his will, the corners of my eyes became wet, and I realized that for the first time, I had a home. Roots. A place that I wanted to go back to and someone whose arms I wanted to be in.

I was homesick. Bad.

I wiped my eyes, changed the tunes, and moved on, happy enough to be alone, but just for now. Upon my arrival back in DC, the Object was waiting outside the gate with a big bouquet of flowers. He scooped me into his arms and gave me a rib-cracking hug. As we walked to the car, I nattered on about my travels. Suddenly the Object interrupted me, “Hey, don’t leave again for a while, ok?”

I smiled. “Ok. Can we watch MacGyver when we get home?”

Monday, July 23, 2007

Back - But Not in Black, More of a Peregrine Sort of Color

Within 48 hours of returning from Montreal last week, my life blew up in my face.

First, the Object and I found out that our property company has decided to enforce a rule that has always been in the lease saying that there can be no more occupancy changes (despite two prior ones) for our beautiful 1200 square foot slice of heaven, 1 so we either have to sign a new lease and pay several hundred dollars more to pad the already overstuffed pockets of or property company or move. Again. And oh by the way, the Object's old roommate was breaching his lease contract by moving out and we're going to be evicted and responsible for an extra month's worth of rent as a penalty (it was a few very tense hours before we realized that was completely untrue). We're fighting it, of course, but I'm not sure we actually have any legal rights here, so if any lawyers out there want to step in and correct me, feel free. Poofygoo@gmail.com. But as of right now, we're in apartment limbo, which is really messing with our plans for a housewarming party.

Then the Object did something really, really bizarre and weird, which we will never speak of again. Think noodle incident. Weird, weird, weird. Feel free to smack him upside the head if you see him or ever meet him, but don't ask him about it, because I'm serious, we will never speak of this again.

Then at work, my boss fought valiantly all week to get my job classified by HR above the grade of a slightly retarded platypus, which apparently is what our HR consultant (not actually a person, but a box of rocks with an email address) thinks I am. I'd let her do my job for a week so that she could get a better feel for it, but I'd be afraid she'd piss off someone in customs in a place like Namibia or Peru and some horrible international incident would occur. The good news is that my boss is actually She-Ra, and after a huge fight, I'm back on track, and hoping to hear some positive news in my annual review on the 31st. Knock wood. And pinch your belly, just to be safe.

Then I had to spend some time listening obsessively to the new Spoon album. And all the sweet musicks from Montreal.

And then I had to show up plastered out of my mind (as in, coming from a happy hour(s) having had the equivalent of a bottle of wine and more shots than one can count on a single hand) for dinner with the Object's dad. Fortunately, he's a supremely awesome guy and can handle a completely wasted girl asking for still more drinks ("and bring an one a thozhe li'l umbrella thingzh thish time, mmmkay?"). Keep in mind that the first time we met more than a year ago, the Object's dad himself showed up for dinner after a happy hour with a few watermelon martinis under his belt. Granted, not so many that he couldn't have counted them with two or possibly three fingers, but still, I maintain that a precedent was set.

Somewhere towards the end of the week I found out that two of my friends who met each other through me, but whom I would have never put together on my own are dating. Obviously, I had to stop and jump for joy for a little while. While I want to give them the space to develop their relationship, blah blah, blah, I think our bridesmaid dresses should be blue, but yellow could work, too depending on the time of year, and they should definitely name their first child Princess Snowbird.

Then my former co-worker, who used to be my friend until his girlfriend said he wasn't allowed to be friends with me anymore2 stopped by the office to pick up some old issues of Blood and moseyed by my desk to say hello. Awwwwwwwwwwkward. When I asked how his psychotic succubus of a girlfriend3 was doing, he informed me that she got a kitten, which she is now going to give to a shelter, since, despite its being in perfectly good health and reasonably well-behaved, it acts too rambunctious. Like it's a fucking kitten or something. I think I recall him saying that she was going to replace it with a puppy, so she'd have something to kick when he's not around.

Then something with David Beckham happened. I'm not sure what; I couldn't find any press coverage. They really kept it under the radar.

Then the Harry Potter book came out, and I think we all know how that ended.

In any case, my bloggy perfidy is now officially over. I still have some Montreal stories to tell you, including the suspiciously nice people and the Goo Guide to indie shopping in Montreal. Welcome back, and let the Gooey Goodness recommence!

1. Why jut last Saturday, a crack whore sat beneath our window and serenaded us until four in the morning. How romantic!

2. Yes, I realize that is an episode of
Friends, but I'm serious, sh eactually did that. He emailed me- no, not even a phone call, much less the courtesy of telling me in person- to tell me that his girlfriend found me untrustworthy and thought I was seeeeeecretly after her man, so rather than dealing with her painful and unfounded insecurity in a healthy and/or constructive manner, he allowed her to make a laundry list of whom he can and cannot be friends with. I guess I can see where she's coming from, since our conversations tended to get pretty hot and heavy, what with our scintillating conversations about German v2 movement, the great vowel shift, and the new coffee pod flavors. Nothing fires a person up like Kona Bean Roast.

3. To my credit, I mustered up enough tact
not to refer to her as the devil's spawn or pathologically unbalanced out loud. That's why I have a blog.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Mundane Hallows: The Verdict

Wholly, capital D- no, all capital letters-

  • Underdeveloped but at the same time overly ambitious- half of the subplots just sort of disappeared,
  • Too many loose ends neatly tied up like a dainty little birthday present wrapped at the Hallmark store- Sopranos this ain't,
  • Too cut and dry, black and white, good vs. evil,
  • Too much cramming of the last six books into the final one- ostensibly to reward careful readers with inside "jokes", maybe? But at the same time, too much time spent in the exposition, catching readers up to speed,
  • Too much reliance on plot and literary devices that had been thoroughly and painfully exhausted in the previous six books - how many times can Hermione shout at Ron, "Are you or are you not a wizard?",
  • Sloppy editing (count the typos, comma splices, and misplaced modifiers! And the ellipses... ... ... ...),
  • Dan Brown-style plot devices that showed up out of nowhere and were completely incongruous (to be fair, at least J.K. Rowling can actually rely on magic as a premise, unlike Dan Brown),
  • Treacly, sappy, and implausible ending,
  • Boring, if not wholly confusing epilogue.
All that said, did no one else think it was more than a little fishy- and not a little nervewracking- that Dick Cheney got to wield supreme executive power on the day that the world learned of the fate of Lord Voldemort?

There are no accidents in the universe.

Or should I end this post... with... an air... of mystery...

So, It's Come To This (Don't Worry, No Spoilers)

I woke up uncharacteristically early for a Sunday morning, still miffed at my friend for having the nerve to move to New York this week to live with her longtime boyfriend who will, in all liklihood, soon become her fiance, thus requiring her to have her going-away party last night, forcing me out of my house and away from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.

Riddle me this: Why is it appropriate to watch David Beckham's premiere MLS game at a party, but not socially acceptable to bring along your oversized children's book?

Anyhoo, I had to pause my reading until this morning, when half of the world already knew how it ended. I woke up and immediately dove back into the book to the exclusion of the Object and most of the outside world. The Object, a non-Harry Potter-reading philistine who had grown weary of two days' worth of semi-neglect1 noticed tears streaming down my face as I read the end of the thirty-first chapter.

"You are not crying, are you," he scoffed. "Seriously?!"

"She just killed off my favorite character!" I protested. "I've been with that character for nine years; I've grown quite fond of the character, and she killed Character X off, just like that!"

A look of mock sympathy crossed his face. "Maybe you can kidnap J.K. Rowling and force her to bring the characters back to life, just like in Misery," he suggested, tongue planted firmly in his cheek.

"No," I sniffled, "I can't; it would never work."

"Why not?" demanded the Object, playing along with a look of skepticism on his face.

"She already addressed it earlier in the book. Bringing people back to life just brings back shells of what they were; you never really have them back, and it makes you kill yourself. And if we lose our lease, it's going to be really hard to move with her and not raise a few eyebrows."

Disgusted that I had so thoroughly entertained the notion of kidnapping J.K. Rowling, the Object threw up his arms in exasperation. "I'm outta here! When I get back, you better have that book read." He huffed to the door, pausing to command more on his way out, "And the dishes done!"

"Ok, but wait just a minute."


"You're going to get a DVD player, right?" I asked.

"Yes," he replied testily.

"Can we watch the first four Harry Potter movies on it this afternoon, then skip our reservations for your birthday dinner and go see the fifth movie?"


"But Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said it's his favorite and the best one yet!" I called after him.


Finally, peace and quiet to finish this book.

1. Due to unforeseen circumstances- the bookstore not opening until 11, then brunch in the sunshine to feed the Object's poor, starving gullet- I couldn't start the book until 1 p.m. At 5 p.m., my friend called me, aghast that I hadn't finished the book yet and was not ready to dish. I hung up with her and retreated back into the den, only to hear the shuffling around of the Object, bored and skulking around the house with nothing to do nor playmate except the cat, our shelves full of books, the t.v., the interwebs, the internets, the picture-perfect day outside, multiple seasons of MacGyver on DVD, not to mention the dozen friends who had called him to hang out. I finally took pity on him, put my half-read Harry Potter down and left it behind to walk over together to Rita's for water ice. If that's not love, I don't know what is.

But I still made him pay.


For the water ice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Back Soon...

Still working on not being drowned by the big mess of life that blew up while I was in Montreal. In the meantime, enjoy the finest in Dutch Advertising.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I'm up to my summer-weight scarfed neck in post-vacation detritus. I'll be back to some level of coherence soon; I'm nowhere near done telling you about the wonders of Montreal. I'd imagine the post-vacation glow will probably keep going all week.

By the way, I haven't listened to the news since July 6th. I'm a little confused; we're having some kind of summit on peace but terrorism threats are at an all-time high? And what does Lady Bird Johnson have to do with all of this? Has she joined league with Al Qaeda and/or Last Comic Standing?

And as long as I'm being confused, I had to wait on the runway at JFK for almost three hours the other day while every conceivable flight got to cut in front of us, since those flights were ostensibly more important than our shuttle to DC. I stopped counting after Uzbekistan Airways budged in front of us. I hate to be the arrogant American, but after three hours, which was already two hours delayed from the original flight time, I had to wonder if global hegemony means nothing anymore? I mean, why bother waging a war if you're still gonna have to wait in line on the runway?

Friday, July 13, 2007

You Knew This Was Coming...

I'm going to quit my job, buy a pair of cowboy boots to wear with my pretty little sundresses and start eating raw red meat, just so I can go to concerts the likes of Hank and Lily, The Unsettlers, and Ladies of the Canyon every night.

But godammit, I don't think the Object will keep feeding the kitty for much longer.

I'd promise more in the morning, but I have a strong feeling I'll be curled up in bed with a severe case of rawklash. Just go listen to the tunes. And read the comics.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Sky Is Falling! The Terrorists Are Coming! Possibly Both!

The war on terrorism has instigated a new kind of hubris. In the airport last week, I watched with no small amount of amusement as an ordinary dude railed to anyone in earshot about how his lost luggage was a breach of national security, and that he was going to call the FBI and get them on the case. Had my flight not been about to board, I would have offered to dial them for him, just to watch the ensuing ruckus.

Similarly, though, we have to recognize the heroes in the war on terror. Like the cabbie who kicked one of the Glasgow failed terrorists in the nutsack.

Tip o' the hat to Chris Chan!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Un Apres-Midi Qu'a Besoin d'Une Parapluie

The fierce thunderstorm that has been threatening the Montreal skies all afternoon has finally cracked the heavens wide open, forcing me out of my touristy reverie and back into my room at the Traveldodgy Hotel. I thought I'd take the opportunity to share a few random thoughts and sights before I have to go get un-sexy for the cement scientist banquet.
  • Drug dealers of my old house on Clifton St., weep for the beauty of the earth:
  • Montreal traffic is generally unremarkable, except that the bus lanes are apparently also wheelchair lanes. Despite a clear left passing lane on the Rue Rene-Levesque, a bus packed full of Montrealers drove patiently down the bus lane behind a dishevelled woman in a motorized wheelchair rolling her way down the street at no more than 8 mph. That's the sort of thing that starts riots in DC (or at least I wish it would), but the bus and its occupants seemed completely nonplussed. Surely such stoic passivity deserves a reward- maybe a new verse in the nursery rhyme? "The Quebecois on the bus don't give a fuck, give a fuck, give a fuck!"
  • The Conquering Carnivore strikes again: last night, Ness and I went to dinner along the waterfront. While Vieux-Montreal is certainly pretty, it's a tourist trap that definitely had me wondering where the cool, fresh part of town was. We stopped for dinner at an organic restaurant on the waterfront featuring "produits du terroir" (locally-grown/sustainable foods) . I spent a fair amount of time trying to explain to the waitress that as a vegetarian, I would not be enjoying the fruits de mer, or seafood. She pointed out the only genuine vegetarian item on the menu, in-season veggies with chick peas (pois chiches, my new favorite French word) roasted with a light organic nut oil. Sounds ridiculously tasty, right? When it came heaped unceremoniously in a big, white bowl, it was a mushy, flat, tasteless mess. Ness, who had warned me not to disturb her while she was gnawing on her perfectly roasted Cornish hen with a delicately balanced pesto, paused to taste my meal. "Oh, no, that's alright," she reassured me. "It's definitely vegetarian, it tastes just like health food." Dammit, the watery sangria should have tipped me off. When, when will I learn?
  • Canaries in the Coolmine: I've never seen so many Joy Division t-shirts in one place in my life as I saw today in the Plateau. I counted 9, and that was only after I started keeping track. NINE.
  • While my French is decent- I felt a deep sense of pride today when a shopkeeper told me that my accent sounded like that of a fusty old Parisian woman- I realized I have no idea how to address the panhandlers. Especially the one who asked me for change, and then asked me if I could kill the cop living inside his head. Note to self: make vocabulary flashcards.

Les Signes des Temps

My favorite part of Montreal so far has been the signs, which are full of useful survival tips for navigating the city.

A series of signs told us what is appropriate near the train tracks: T-shirts and throwing things out are kosher, but dogs, bottles, feeding birds, and swimming on the tracks are right out.

In winter, watch out driving near the road, since it may freeze your chimney:

I genuinely enjoy crossing the street here, since the crosswalk guy is positively the jauntiest man I've ever seen:
But if you're going to cross the street, be sure to wait for the fire:

After a long day of sightseeing, you can always stop and get a pick-me-up with a coffee Starbucks Coffee:

Montreal has an underground city, which ust be quite useful come the cruel winter months. Apparently, one has to be quite careful, as falling into the underground city means falling haplessly into a life of scary giant syringes attacking you: N.B. According to the mural, drugs are passe. Unlike the mural.

Wandering around the UQAM area of the city, I came across the best name ever for a strip club:
Pussy Corps: it evokes quite a mental image of ordered lines of disembodied vaginas in the Canadian army uniform, their berets cocked with a special panache, doesn't it?

But then the Pussy Corps was upstaged as I came across what my guidebook describes as Canada's oldest and most distinguished Gentleman's Club:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"I'm an Imam; It's Like a Rabbi or a Priest, Only Browner"

There's a Canadian t.v. show called Little Mosque on the Prairie. You go ahead and watch this first episode (in four parts; if you are patient with the commercials, you will be rewarded with a Lakota elder in full-ish looking regalia hawking an aspercreme-type ointment), and try not to laugh too hard; you'll make your boss suspicious. I'm going to decide if I should a. go take a walking tour of Mont-Royal, the 760 ft. "mountain" in the heart of Montreal, b. listen to Ness' lecture about physisemistry of diffractometeral neutral functionoids (yeah, don't try and google that), or c. spend the day riding around the metro ogling the cute Montreal boys who look not unlike they just stepped out of a Mac ad.

Little Mosque on the Prairie: Parts 3 & 4

Monday, July 09, 2007

Le Premier Jour

I've been dispatched to Montreal for 9 days of shopping, schmoozing, boozing, and perhaps even a little bit of culture. Dynoness is up here to give a talk at the Sooper Cement Scientists Conference, and we decided it's as good a place as any to hang out, especially since I would reap the benefits of her corporate credit card and per diem.

Even with all of the freebies, I'm having a lot of trouble not busting out my credit cards and buying up everything Montreal has to offer. We spent yesterday hanging out in the Mile End section of the Plateau- full of lots of great p'tit boutiques and the clothes I'm always trying to find, but can only get the pale derivation from Urban Outfitters. My new favorite store in the whole world may be Moly Kulte, a shop by two Genevieves who recycle clothes and reconstruct them into masterpieces of deconstructed fashion. My favorites were the earrings made from old cassette tapes and the sugar pills from birth control packets.

After spending obscene amounts of money, Dynoness and I headed back to the opening ceremonies with the cement scientists. Ness made me wear a bra under my shelf bra camisole, since the only breasts here that the scientists have ever seen are the bitch-tits of their obese colleagues, and she's worried their heads would explode at the sight of anything resembling a nipular shape. Because most of the clothes that I packed were meant for hipster concerts schmoozing with Win Butler and Spencer Krug, I had to improvise to come up with something staid enough to wear to the conference- plain, straight-leg jeans without the bottoms cuffed, my camisole white sleep shirt (with a shelf bra, and yet, I was still forced to wear a bra), and an oversized brown cardigan. No make-up, eyes puffy from a day of sightseeing, but nonetheless, I was still getting hit on by skeevy Princeton scientists with wedding rings. Huz, huz, HUZZZZZ. My troubles were rewarded, however, with all the free wine I could ask for (and I asked for a lot) and enough mini-quiches that I won't need to worry about feeling too skinny anymore.

Then it was off to the Montreal Jazz Festival, where everyone, and I mean everyone rawked out to Arabian night with Rachid Tacha.
This kid and I hung out most of the night, empathizing with each other about the woes of being short. At any given concert, this is the view from the short people's point of view:
I woke up this morning to my second dreary Montreal morning, and so am off to find out what this whole underground city is all about. Details tomorrow, with a side discussion on Montreal's many signs.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I Bet She Faked The Orgasm, Too

Well the good news today is that the Stick will remain an only child for the time being, since Mei Xiang faked her pregnancy. Doesn't she know that never works?

The bad news is now that he's turning two, Butterstick's statute of limitations for pint-sized pandorability has expired and I need to find something new to decorate my workstation with.

Suggestions welcomed...

Guess Who's in First Place?!

Apparently, I'm It

So Dara tagged me, which means I have to play along. And apparently by the rules, or else I'll have bad luck and Bloody Mary will visit me in the mirror for ten years.

The Aforementioned Rules:
1. Post the rules, then list eight things about yourself.
2. At the end of the post, tag and link to eight other people.
3. Leave a comment at those sites, letting them know they've been tagged, and asking them to come read the post so they know what to do.

NUMBER ONE FASCINATING THING ABOUT THE GOO: My cat's breath smells like cat food. But so does the Object of My Affection's, which is kinda creepy.

NUMBER TWO FASCINATING THING ABOUT THE GOO: I like to have both Sesame Street and NPR on in the morning, simultaneously. And no, I don't have children.

NUMBER THREE FASCINATING THING ABOUT THE GOO: Growing up, I had a pair of peachfaced lovebirds named Macaroni (who was green) and Cheese (who was yellow, natch. And kind of a bitch). At one point they started having babies, which Cheese would then eat. Not kidding. One survived; I got it its own cage and named it, inexplicably, Frog.

NUMBER FOUR FASCINATING THING ABOUT THE GOO: I know the Canadian, French, and Irish National Anthems by heart. I have no idea how I acquired such knowledge.

NUMBER FIVE FASCINATING THING ABOUT THE GOO: Yesterday, while unpacking at the new casa, I came across the case of a mixtape that my friend Peter Jost made for me in 11th grade, called "You are GROUNDED". He gave it to me after my parents grounded me for a month when they caught me sneaking back in at 4 in the morning. The best part was that I was already in the middle of a one-month grounding and that I just kept sneaking out every night anyways.

NUMBER SIX FASCINATING THING ABOUT THE GOO: I cheated twice in school. Once in first grade, I asked Michael Smith what 7 +5 is. I still don't know. Then, in 10th grade English, we were assigned a long-term project to write a dime-store novel in the style of Horatio Alger. My friend Renee (pronounced ree-kneeee) and I dicked off and procrastinated for months and finally ended up writing extremely thinly-veiled plots of our favorite musicals the night before they were due- she did 42nd Street; I did Tommy. We both got A's.

NUMBER SEVEN FASCINATING THING ABOUT THE GOO: I am endlessly fascinated by the wonder that is the Downy ball. It's a modern miracle: simple, useful, and cheap. When I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes put into a downy ball.

NUMBER EIGHT FASCINATING THING ABOUT THE GOO: I forgot to wish Bobby a happy birthday on Tuesday, mostly because I thought his birthday was on Thursday, despite the fact that he told me something like a week ago that his birthday was on the third. I will now hang my head in shame for a full two minutes, one for each day that I effed up his birthday wishes.

Apparently, now I get to tag some peoples. Sooooo, Alex the Great, 3PennyJane, The Bibliophile, The Evil Moose, The Hater, Dynoness, The Blatherer, and Arjewtino, you're It.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

In the Heat of Passion: The Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk Edition

This is the most confusing story I've ever read:

Blinded by love, HK man stabbed in eye by girlfriend

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Hong Kong woman who blinded her boyfriend in one eye in a fight six years ago has been jailed for jabbing a chopstick into his other eye, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Last November, Po Shiu-fong, 58, accused long-time boyfriend Kwok Wai-ming, 49, of having an affair, the South China Morning Post reported.

During the row, Po stabbed a plastic chopstick into his left eye, which she had already blinded six years ago when she poked it with her finger.

"Po became hysterical when she saw the wound and mopped it with a towel. The pair then went to bed," the paper said.

"The next morning they had another argument in which she grabbed a chopstick and stabbed Kwok's right eye," it said.

Two days later, he sought medical treatment and filed a police report against Po, whom he had dated since 1993.

The paper said he didn't report the attack six years ago, telling the court his silence was "a love sacrifice".

Kwok lost 10 to 20 percent vision in his right eye, the paper said.

Po was jailed for six months on Tuesday.

"If I forgive her, God would not forgive me," the paper quoted Kwok as saying. "No matter what, nothing could compensate for the loss of my eye."

So many questions.
  • Why is the one eye a "love sacrifice", while the other eye is unforgivable? And which is which?
  • When did which poking occur? Six years apart, two days, six years ago? The timeline of events is confusing; how is one supposed to know if this is an established pattern of pokery?
  • How was the means of poking chosen? I mean, why poke with a chopstick sometimes, and with a finger other times? Why not a stiletto- has she never seen Single White Female?
  • She became hysterical after the poking?
  • How in the hell did this woman get six months of jail time, and Scooter Libby got off?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Best to Be Prepared

What kind of political strife would make machetes a routine part of the elections process? Fraud, corruption, egregious disregard from politicians towards their constituents- maybe... a little something like THIS?!?!?!?!!?

Monday, July 02, 2007

No, Really, That's About It

I went to college in Northeast Wisconsin, and every so often I'll tell east coast people stories of what it's like there. Invariably, the response I get is "Wait, really?" A quick perusal through the top Wisconsin-related news will generate the same response from you. Observe:



Alternative energy bullshit.
To clarify, alternative energy from bullshit. Really.

Packers-themed weddings. " 'We wanted our wedding to be a super thing that everyone would remember and Lambeau was a slam dunk,' says Kevin Rades, a human resources manager for a Green Bay supermarket." A slam dunk? Why not a touchdown? Because the Packers can't score any! Ha!

So yep, all is as it should be in the great state of Wisconsin.

Photo Credit: Cheesehead University.

Blogging in the Dark


Here at the Goo, we're not so much awake this morning. Oooof. So sleepy. From moving in. With the Object. Awesome, but exhausting.

A few points:
  • You know you have lost a certain innocence when you plunk down over $200 on home organization supplies and wooden hangers, and it's still not enough. No. Wire. Hangers. EVER.
  • Out and about in the suburban wilds yesterday, the Object turned to me and remarked, "Hey, you know how sometimes you think it might be fun to own a house? Well, we could afford these houses here at "Camden Courts". And look at the view! Not only do you get Ikea, but the Verizon store and Fedex/Kinko's." While that is quite a skyline, and our current one is a little boring, whatwith the Capitol and the Washington Monument, yeeeeeeeeeah, I'm pretty sure we're gonna stick with renting.
Ok, that's enough blathery about the moving. I'm too tired to go around the internets and find something fun, so we're just gonna pop this business up that Rababobby sent over. Full disclosure, and proof that I am a bad friend: I haven't actually watched this. I just assume that it'll be interesting, given the sender.