Monday, August 11, 2008

Evidence of the Power of the Human Mind

Billions of years of evolution so I could lie in bed this morning and think:

I wonder if George Clooney is worried about aging? Do you think he's a happy person, overall, or has his fame brought a weight of expectation and anxiety that he can never live up to?

Hm, he's a man, though. A white man. Life can't be that hard for him.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hey guys, I'm back from the dark side. Missed ya!

So, not dead! Which is great.

Did have a crushing low there, post vacation.

As it turns out, I am someone who definitely benefits from the meds that have stabilized me for the last five years. There are mixed blessings, to be sure, as the Effexor (or, as I now know it is charmingly nicknamed, Side Effexor, hardy har) had some horrendous side effects. It is good to be free of it and of them.

But the subsequent gaping abyss that opened in my mind in its absence was not a welcome visitor.

There's lots of talk about various forms of depression and their presence and subsequent impact on our culture. There's lots of skepticism aimed at the pharmaceutical industry and the way it markets and profits from this endemic disease. There's the pedantic lecturing that goes on to friends and family of the afflicted -- a shaking of the finger and a reminder that they are not going to be able to "just snap out of it" on their own.

All of this confuses the issue and takes into the public realm of debate something which is, in its most basic form, a deeply personal experience. Andrew Solomon, in his book on the subject, says that depression "can be described only in metaphor and allegory." And I could talk to you about being trapped in a lightless pit, about the iron vice on my head, about the small hands clutching and pulling me into the murk. I could even recount the moments standing by the tub with the hairdryer in my hand and having fleeting thoughts about just how simple it all could be. . . but it would be not only pointless, but, at this point, cliche.

So I will say a few things, express some gratitude, bullet style:

- having gone through this personal hell in the past, I was able to recognize it for what it was this time.
- I have great friends and family upon whom I was able to lean.
- there are some great drugs out there, hallelujah.

In conclusion, I am feeling much better. And, soon, I will be able to write more of the frivolous bullshit for which you come.

Like how I'm in Chicago right now. And how I went to see Radiohead and some kids handed me a joint and there were massive fireworks above Soldier Field and the night was warm and we were surrounded by the skyline and it was a gorgeous moment.

And I remembered that life, my friends, is very, very good.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Aw Shit, Luc, Yer Right

I forgot to blog about the important videos Swissair has running right now:

Waiting Room - Watch a funny movie here


They play these videos with no sound throughout the flight -- mostly people ignore them and harass the nice stewardesses for more liquor. This one actually had the whole plane cracking up.

Anyway, yes, I have much more to write, I just got all caught up in life there for a minute.

Goal for the week: More Russia!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh boy.

Originally uploaded by Annevan
ALVS posted her pix.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Observations: Installment 2

Russian Red
When Jennifer picked us up at the airport, we told her about my Communist Red highlights.

She said, "You'll fit in great, here! Lots of women have that color hair!" Turns out, I have Russian Red highlights -- only these women in russia? They have redded the whole head:

For your reference -- communist red.

Examples of the form:
Russian Red

Russian Red

Preferred Mode of Transportation

We took a bus into the city center -- through row after row of sprawling, square high-rises in various states of disrepair. The broken windows, patched-up balconies, and soot-stained cinder block construction reminded me of the projects on the southside of Chicago -- where people are crowded in abject poverty.

Jennifer told us that this is actually where much of the population lives -- not just the poor, but everyone -- in these soviet-era housing blocs, cramped into small apartments.

Apparently, also -- the government is in the midst of planning to tear them down and rebuild. Not just in St. Petersburg, but across the country. This is a project of mind-boggling proportions. I didn't take pictures of them, because, somehow, I was bashful of doing this, obviously documenting the scarred landscape.

We pass police standing by the side of the road in blue fatigues toting machine guns, for no apparent reason.

As we enter the city center, the architecture turns to massive, imposing rows of imperial-looking stone facades. We disembark at a square with a statue of Lenin -- Jen insists we have our picture taken by a surly passerby, as this is one of the few statues left of Lenin in St. Petersburg.


At this point, Jen announces that we'll get a cab.

Here she is hailing said "cab."

hailing the gypsy cab

You'll note that she's not doing that thing that most of us do, which is to scan the horizon for a yellow car with a lit sign atop.

That's because, in St. Petersburg, when you get a cab, you get a gypsy cab. That is, some dude driving his car around and ferrying people about for money without any sort of official sanction. Or meter, or really indication on the outside of his car that yes, he's a Taxi and yo, he's free!

Eventually, someone pulls over and Jennifer negotiates a rate for us and our luggage.


In our time there, we take several gypsy cabs, sober, drunk, day, night -- it's a blind practice but never futile -- someone always picks us up.

Every once and awhile you see an official-looking car with a proper light atop speeding through the streets in typical manic Russian fashion, but apparently these vehicles are wildly overpriced and relegated to tourists and business travelers.

Next Up: Toasts! Signage! White nights! Rock and Roll!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Piter: Some observations. Installment one.

St. Pete Inhales.


The first thing we notice upon entering St. Petersburg -- disembarking the plane, walking into the slate-gray soviet-era Pulova International Airport -- is the smell of cigarette smoke.

The Russians are serious about their smoking. They would not let a little thing like a customs line stand in their way. In fact, in our week in Russia, there are only three places where smoking is banned -- in St. Issac's Cathedral, inside the Church on the Spilled Blood, and in the Metro.

The cigarette smoke in Russia is a serious affair. It's not just that it's everywhere. It's the quality of the smoke -- darker, somehow. More insistent, pungent, wafting in heavy curls, hanging in the air in dense walls of fumes. You can feel the smoke penetrating your pores, digging in, clinging to he fibers of your clothing, winding into your hair, seeping into your lungs.

I don't want to say that Russian cigarettes are noxious -- I'm afraid it might be insulting to the culture of which they are an inseparable part. But I've smoked these formidable sticks in my time and it's not completely unlike what I imagine it would be to smoke fiberglass. Or Asbestos, maybe.

When one isn't smelling cigarettes, you can savor the smell of diesel.

Stiletto. Pumps. In. The Club.


Typically Shod russian woman

Jennifer says, "It's pretty much a requirement that the women here take care of themselves."

Tall, thin, they stride through the city on towering heels. Mothers on the playground, women in suits and skirts, everywhere -- Stiletto Pumps.

They are all dressed purposefully, their hair blonde by nurture, their legs clad in nylon and faces perfectly made up -- if unsmiling.

Unsmiling as a Rule

There's something missing, I think, when I'm first trolling the streets, bars cafes -- it's laughter.

There's not superfluous laughter here -- in this way Jen and I stand out like sore thumbs -- laughing boisterously and cacophonously at absurdities everywhere -- gigantic dogs sitting on benches like people, outrageously mistranslated menus (Tree Scooops of ice cream).

Families pose for pictures in front of landmarks with their faces grim and serious.

At the same time, there is a huge sense of living in the moment -- you've got some money, go out and have a fabulous party! Live for today! That is both in contrast and perfectly fitting with a typically cynical worldview.

Next up: Signage. Drinkage. Transportation.

And other fun things!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

This Next Song Is Called "I Want To Fuck All The Girls In The World (in the name of rock and roll)"

So, I have lots and lots to write about St. Petersburg - and many photos to post. Unfortunately, one of the important photos I neglected to take was of a fantastic sign on Nevesky Prospekt for a shoe store called "Handbags for Feet."

This is quite possibly the best store name ever. Throughout our visit "Handbags for XXX" was a favorite refrain -- those pants are handbags for legs! This food is handbags for my mouth!

Wait, that is a tangent.

I am not here really to tell you about all my adventures.

I am here to tell you about a band we saw called Sweat. As in "WE ARE SWEAT! AND WE ARE HERE TO MAKE YOU SWEAT! CAN YOU FEEL THE SWEATING?" (Shout that in a Russian accent -- and you have the beginnings of a fabulous time, I promise you.)

This band played with one of our faves, JD and the Blenders, starring our friend JD.

There will be plenty of time, too, for me to write about that important experience.

But Anne and I are in France, now, stuffing ourselves with cheese and bread, fresh air, stunning mountains, and rest. And we've yet to wash the Sweat off our bodies -- this band rocked out in a stunning way that was the perfect mix of pitch-perfect American rock and roll and a touch of inrony. And we miss them.

Dear Sweat -- come play San Francisco!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Brief Recap, in Quote Form

Anne, at the Hermitage: That's the thing about splendor. It just requires so much UPKEEP.

Me: Who are all the screaming drunks in green hats?
Tamara: The police.

Anne: I want to take your picture!
Hana: Oh, excellent, because this is the first time I've matched my eye makeup to my handbag, and I want it captured.

Later, Anne stages a photoshoot with Hana and I in the men's bathroom in a bar called Fidel. Fidel is next door to the bar called Datcha, which is celebrating its fourth anniversary. We stand outside drinking beers we don't ever remember ordering or paying for -- they just appeared.

We talk to Welsh, Finnish, British, American, Russian people who are all living interesting lives -- journalists, musicians, translators -- Jennifer seems to know everyone.

Fans -- there are fans who come and speak to her in the street -- and they all know she is leaving soon. They press email addresses on slips of paper into her palms.

Drunk, in the gypsy cab (preferred method of transportation in St. Petersburgh), Jennifer laments: How will people in Syracuse know how important I am?

We think they'll know. Darlings, the woman has a famousness about her.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quotes from the last few days

Me: So, what day is it?
Anne: Sunday.
Me: So tomorrow's Saturday, right?
Anne: Um. . . no.


Joanna: You americans do cookies and brownies well, but biscuits terribly.
Me: What defines a biscuit, exactly?
Joanna: Well, it's made of biscuit!


Misha: Our cat is the father of 8!


Anne, in the Vienna airport, after examining the perplexing rock vending machine (one euro per rock!): I bet you wish you were blogging right now.


I blame her for talking me out of bringing my laptop.

But we are in Russia! I can see onion domes out the window. I have already had my chilled vodka shot with a pickle chaser -- and there's another one being poured now. We are listening to a Russian girl folk rock band.

celebratory shots
Jennifer will be playing her last Ska Jazz Review show on Friday -- she is moving to Syracuse for grad school -- and it should be a blowout. And we will be there.

Life is amazing and rich. Dosvedanya, Bitches.

View from the window

Friday, May 23, 2008

This moment may be the best one

I'm going on vacation -- I'm leaving tomorrow -- London, St. Petersburg, Geneva, Amsterdam -- and right this second I'm beyond happy because I am no longer on call -- I don't have to think about work for 2 and a half weeks. Oh, bliss.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Communist Red

So, I have this kind of adorable, bleach-blonde, kewpie doll quirkfest of a hairdresser named Ally. Perpetually sweet, tattooed, clad in DIY punk ("this t-shirt is an homage to Andy Warhol. I drew the scars myself. I have one at home where I made eyelets out of cigarette burns."), she is charming and probably dangerous for me.

Today she was not herself -- turns out she broke up with her boyfriend, of whom she has tattoos -- serious stuff.

So, I guess I was feeling like I wanted to please her -- cheer her a bit -- and, well, cheer me, and I guess, be punk rock for my post-soviet adventure -- but when she said, "You're going to Russia? We've got to give you Communist Red Highlights!" I agreed.

Hoooo boy, I'm punk rock.

Communist Red

Saturday, May 17, 2008

While trip planning

Me: i'm excited
I haven't been to london since 95

Anne: aw
yeah, I hardly know it at all

me: i hardly remembs
that's um
13 (choke) years ago?
am I making that up???
to be twenty

Anne: your math is horrible. it's only been a few years
like 4 maybe

me: like two

Anne: I was talking today about 18 year olds... being born in 1990. omg. And I'm OK with the fact that they are 18 and I'm not, but being born in 1990???? NOT OK


Anne: at all
I was pubescent it 1990
and you were born???
I could be your mother
and you're 18!!!

me: I babysat you
you were a baby
and now you're in college

Anne: fuck

me: drunk

Friday, May 09, 2008

That Story

Okay, so this is a contender for that story. I don't think anyone has actually told that story yet, but somehow I feel like the whole thing has escalated to point where no tall tale will ever, in our minds, fit the bill. So just a suggestion, not a proud, flourishing entry.

Exhibit A: Johnny (AKA, Jonathan, Johnny T., JT Santos)

Johnny T is one of those friends who is not just your friend, but a fixture in your life. JT and I go back, oh, nigh upon eleven years or so. A good third of our lives have been spent as cohorts. A good number of bartenders in the city of Chicago still give me free drinks when I walk in because I'm Johnny's sister. (Or at least that is what we spent many years claiming.)

Johnny is a Character. He and I mesh at a cosmic level -- in the places where we are broken, the places where we are both utterly normal and absolutely outcast.

JT will perhaps not be pleased to see the following in print, but he won't deny it: boy is a ladies' man, gains pleasure from stoking the fires of sexual desire, has always been one to compulsively ensure that everyone in the room wants to sleep with him. This is also where we mesh well: I have no desire to sleep with him. Our friendship has benefited from this, much like how my relationship with my dad benefitted from financial independence -- we have to find other common ground and build our relationship from there.

There's plenty of ground. Fandom of various bands, sick sense of humor, and, in our early late twenties, we had similar self-destructive interests.

Right. But which story is this?

We've got plenty of "that time we" stories -- we enjoy telling them to each other over beers, boring our friends and family while we indulge one another. This one I like because it involves The Media.

Or rather, Paper! The printed kind. Old school. (My "story" stories seem to have this in common.) The Chicago Reader. Johnny was a roamer, a train-taker, a walker; one of those guys on the train at noon in tight jeans, a tattered blazer with a popped collar, a satchel with a notebook and a book of Raymond Carver stories, and giant headphones clamped to his head. He regularly consumed the Reader in coffee shops.

The first part he always read, before the 5,000 word articles on local politics or the indepth guide to local shows, before Savage Love or the ironic indy cartoons -- he always read Missed Connections first.

Because he was pretty sure that, inevitably, one of these days, all this roaming and looking deep in the presence of all these hipster slips of girls with their thrift store dresses and funky haircuts would pay off. He just knew, at some point, he would find himself in there.

He would mentally catalog, in fact, the moments: That girl in the green cardigan and the headband on the Blue Line may have caught his eye as she looked up from her copy of Atlas Shrugged. Was that girl in the ironic tshirt and painted on jeans at the bar tipping her glass to him?

Enter Antagonism

So, right, closest friends do share these things -- confide in the quiet drunk hours of a late late night. As he did me, explain this compulsion and faith that He Would Be Noticed.

I suppose, in retrospect, we were Jock Friends at this time, because my plan was pretty much hatched immediately.

It was 2002, I think, and the Indiana University Hoosier basketball team was In The Playoffs -- which is, pretty much, the only time we would have cared -- but we wanted to take in a game among shouting fans in a beer-soaked sports bar. Cheering! Fandom!

We picked a bar that would be jock-ish, but not so crowded that we would have to stake out a table early in the day in order to sit. We just weren't that dedicated.

Jonathan immediately began to flirt with the waitress, a curly-headed blonde with a no-bullshit attitude who pretty much blew him off completely, aside from the obligatory delivery of the tall boy and mini pizza.

Indiana lost. We went home drunk.

Which is kinda neither here nor there, just a setup for what happened next.

Because it was almost

April Fool's Day

So, March madness leads to the day I realized you can place a Missed Connections ad for free. On the Internets. (Before it was even called the Internets -- oh, the olden days.)

And so I filled out the form:

You were at Sluggers for the Indiana game. I served you an Old Style and a pizza with sausage and onions. Was that girl your girlfriend? Maybe you'd like to share a pizza with me sometime.

And promptly forgot all about it.

Two weeks later, the ad runs in the paper.

Have I mentioned I forgot all about it?

Until I get a phone call.

"Rebecca! I'm in the missed connections!"

I thought about telling him. At that very moment -- I even felt bad, until he said, "I always knew this would happen."

Eh, maybe we'll see where this goes.

There was a party that week. I don't remember what we were celebrating, but I had a lot of parties in that apartment. I suppose that's a reminiscence for another day.

I was in the kitchen, probably administering an alcoholic beverage, when Sarah ran in to tell me -- "Johnny was in the missed connections! Did you hear this?"

Maybe, too, I was a bad friend when I said, "Actually. . . "

By the end of the evening, Johnny was the only one who missed that particular connection.

This went on.

For a couple of weeks. The ad ran in the paper again, and Jonathan ruminated on it. He savored his moment and imagined every possible outcome. He talked idly about it often.

I started to get concerned -- why had I been so specific? I mean, a random girl on the train can stay a random girl on the train. A waitress will still be serving beers in the same place this week and next week. That's her job. She can't escape into the anonymity of the crowd.

There was a massive heat wave that April. Suddenly, inexplicably, we had 90 degree weather. I had no air conditioning, unfortunately.

One sticky, hungover Saturday afternoon, we pulled out the futon and were lying side-by-side, not touching, rather lying there maximizing sweaty surface area and trying to cool off.

I was nodding off when Johnny said, "The thing is, she said, 'let's share a pizza sometime.' I'm just not sure I'd like to date a girl who would say 'let's share a pizza sometime.'"

Well, this was that moment.

I said, "Well, have you thought that maybe. . . it wasn't well. . . what if it wasn't real?"


There was a moment where he stared at the ceiling and then he turned to me.

I gave that half-apologetic smile.


Johnny is my brother for a reason.

The reason is this:

He laughed. He cackled and hollered and he said, "I can't believe it. You got me. You pulled the perfect hoax. I can't believe you told me. I would have definitely worked this for longer."

I just couldn't let him go back and confront the poor curly haired blonde.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Hey Everybody! (In which I write about non-battlestar-galatcia-related topics)

So, right.

That thing I do for money has been wresting control of that thing I call my life lately, so less write-y and more anxiet-y.

But ladies and gents, there is a light at the end of le tunnel! It's called "I'm going to leave the country on May 24."

Of course, then, I couldn't find my passport -- but, the US managed to turn one around for me in a mere week. Now, on to getting that vital other document -- my Russian Visa.

I'm finally


Going to Russia (assuming they issue my Visa, dear Gods of the consulate, please say yes).

In the meantime, shaking off the existential angst of those eternal questions of life: How will I live after I've loved and lost? What if no one comes to my party? What if I can't get my hair cut before I leave the country?

When will I ever write that dang story?

Speaking of that dang story -- I will address a little of the storied past of my career.

So, I stumbled into PR from a short-lived and low-paid gig in public radio (glamour, a bit, money, fame, big city life, not so much).

I answered an advertisement (in the paper, of all things. Remember that? Made of paper?) and it said something about stuffing envelopes (which really doesn't happen that much anymore, now that the digital has edged paper out of the picture).

I went in, and I interviewed first with my perky, blond, young colleague-to-be, who, while literally looking around herself from her perch in the conference room (lest someone overhear) leaned over to deliver a conspiratorial whisper about Judi, the boss: "She's kind of a yeller."

Not like old yeller, peeps -- like full on bellows, high pitched screams, ranging from strident insistence to hysterical anger. Mostly about irrational details.

Certainly don't need to go into said irrational details - but let me provide you two illustrative ones:


She hired me based upon the results of a writing test. Not the kind wherein you write something and your writing is judged.


A handwriting test.

Granted, I do have a lovely hand -- but the computer she paid to analyze my handwriting said I would be hard working, meek, and easily manipulated. No joke. She actually pointed that out to me at one point during my six-month tenure, saying that she was disappointed that I did not turn out as this handwriting test had indicated I would.

I would like to suggest that perhaps the fine art of graphology, based upon this experience, is the highest grade of straight-up, pure bullshit. Cuz, me = easily manipulated? Perhaps. Meek? Never.


When I finally resigned after six tortured months, after six (6) colleagues were hired and quit (several after a single day, two after a single week), she announced to me that she wanted to kill herself. I have to say, as a twenty-nothing with zero experience, I was good, but not THAT good.

At this moment, you may be screaming to me: POINT! DOES THIS STORY HAVE A POINT!

I guess the moral of the story is -- It. could. be. worse.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm feeling it~

Anne and I rip into the new live cd/dvd from The Gossip with the same relish we have enjoyed new releases from our favorite artists for the last twelve years. I pop the DVD in and blast it through the speakers in the living room.

Anne: Holy shit look at that outfit. Beth Ditto is insane.
Me: I'm still mad at you for missing that show last year. At Bottom of The Hill. A bar. WTF is this crowd?? WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?
Anne: I feel like performing this much would be such a workout. I wonder how she doesn't lose weight?

Later, I text Anne: THIS IS FOR THE FAGGOTS!
She texts back: FOR THE G-A-Y-S!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quickly - more fan nonsense

Am about to go on a daytrip with Sus to Russian River Valley -- where we will sun and sip our white worries away.

In the meantime, I just watched this week's BSG. Everyone who holds out on this show, you're just plain wrong. It's amazing.

And, if you want to know how it feels to go off your meds while also facing a perfect shitstorm in your life, just witness Chief -- y'all, he has a moment where I'm like, hm. That's me right now.


Of course, I'm not dealing with the suicide/murder of my wife/living with a massively consuming crazy identity crisis/ps: it's the end of the fracking world. So, right, RJ -- GET SOME PERSPECTIVE!


Anyhow, if you're a true fan of a show, I highly recommend getting on board with Television Without Pity recaps. Back in the day, I would watch Six Feet Under with an extra layer of glee, just imagining what the recap would say.

BSG recaps are a tetch more melodramatic, on a whole, and I think it's possible that is because devotees take ourselves and our show a little more (too?) seriously.

All rambling aside, though, this hilarious tidbit from this week does a nice job of capturing what's awesome about the show:

Things end with a particularly brutal -- yet sweetly intentioned -- fistfight, in the middle of which Caprica realizes actually what she needs to do is make out with him. And this is the least weird thing that happens in the whole episode. It's awesome.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It is sick

how much pleasure I get from evangelizing BSG.

Seriously, people. Battlestar? A little tiny bit of religion.

And when BWB writes this:

SOP Phase II, wherein Daddy Bay pours hisself a cool Imperial Weizen, unfurls that 1 lb bag of honey roasted almonds, and settles down for a few hours of sippage and nippage with BSG:S2.5 (aside to hipster, thx fer BSG:S1, it will be back in the mail to you next week).

I know I have brought another soul into my fold.

So say we all.

emergency relief

I forgot.

When everything else fails, grab Annevan and get thee to a show.

So, I didn't find anything up on youtube yet for last night, but I had to find some example of just how friggin' adorable and French and batshit Yelle is -- and how we were 22 again for the night, crowded in with sweaty, ecstatic bodies, jumping and throwing our arms in the air (and we did not care, I assure you).

But here she is in New York!

For me, this is the ultimate form of therapy. This is part of the reason being alive rocks.

Anne has been using Yelle to teach me some French -- in this song, she is singing about wanting to see you in a porno in action with your dick. These are critical language skills!

At various points during the show Anne would lean over and say things like: Now she's singing about a passive agressive relationship! or Now she's singing about her dildo! She calls it her remote control!

I am now languishing in my muscle soreness and tiny hangover, they'll be gentle reminders all day that life exists outside of the relentless demands and deadlines of the day. (Accidental alliteration! Dang I did it again.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Dog Ate My Blog

Like Baywatch, I need an extension.

I haven't forgotten you, Arlopop, but life has definitely gotten in the way.

I'm workin' on it. Also having a little stage fright -- like, really? Wait? Do I have a story good enough for this glove on my face?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

One Legged

I swear there is another version of this picture of Melrose wherein I look way cuter.

But Rita only sent this one.

Possibly because she looks like a stunning perfect fashion model, here.


Actually, she always looks like that. There's clearly no explanation for this nonsense.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by Rebecca June
I get so exhausted with hatred at the TSA in Evansville, Indiana. This woman, I've gotten into fracases with in the past. She spent a full 20 minutes rubbing my bag down looking for explosives.

They stopped me again at the gate, at which time I was disarmed a little by the young female agent who inquired breathlessly about what it was like to live in California. "I heard people is different out there," she says. Then she tells me about a friend who moved to Las Vegas, where people don't stop to help you if you're in a car accident.

Why does hating it so intensely make me feel guilty?

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Nail Studio introduces the new services the "Deluxe Pedicure". The Deluxe Pedicure it more soothing and relaxing. The "Creative Spa" products to make you fell more papered and leaving your skin felling fresh like a new born baby.

Deluxe Pedicure

Bizarro trip to nail nail land photo set here:

disembodied hands

Thank You For Coming To My Wedding -- Leave Gifts By The Door

The best plan of attack in these flyby visits to Chicago is to hold court at a bar and invite everyone.

Goddamn if they didn't come!

Buckets, Baywatch, E money, Jackie and Jill, Johnny T and the Future Wife, Sarah and The Soc, Melrose Place (original lineup), The MacGregors. . .


This is starting to sound like the lineup of the second stage at some sweaty college music festival.

And although the evening was loud and beer-filled, there wasn't a ton of sweating and no frat boys.

At one point Luc had a strange message on his hand, though:


It was an evening that clicked past at an astonishing rate, and I felt a little guilty for not being able to give everyone equal attention. Luckily, they entertained each other, and I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This is what happens when you're with me

Susan and I went to a gallery in Union Square to pick up a gift for my mother's birthday. We walked in and the gallery owner announced, "I've got to run move my car. You guys watch the shop."

Susan responds, "Um, okay. I'll take my jacket off so I'll look more in place."

I say, "I'll be the customer!" (Because, I guess, I am?)

She immediately begins hunting for some sort of "polishing cloth to dust some of these displays."

Belgian tourists come in and she gives them brochures and pretends to be knowledgeable.

We are left with the entire inventory of fine art glass, lacquered russian thingamajigs, and other assorted Artworks. It never really even occurs to me, until after we leave, that I could have stuffed my pockets and ran, were I the type of person inclined to such acts. Is that virtue or pollyanna suckerdom?

I asked Susan to sell me something, so I could take a picture. Here she is explaining to me the nuanced beauty of this possibly inhabited planet, which, she claimed, sports lots of "gorgeous flying saucers":


She said, "This stuff only happens when I'm with you."

Why, thank you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Play in One Photo


Walgreen's. Middle of a work-day with two exasperated, stressed-out coworkers on a tums-and-prescription-sleep-medication run. Snarky sniping has been the order of the day, perhaps a way to diffuse the annoyance at ALL THE WORK! For sort of murky reasons, the two refer to each other exclusively by the nickname "Hoodia."

Hoodia 1: Hoodia! It's the AS SEEN ON TV AISLE!

Hoodia 2: OMG HOODIA! I'm taking your picture!



Monday, April 14, 2008

Congratulations, Cheeseballs!

Just got this bulletin about




hey all,

spreading the happy happy word, Dana and Mike are engaged! He proposed by giving her a ring inside a box made of cheese. They are the weirdest and best couple ever. No word yet on a wedding date yet, but potential location of Monterey, CA.



proud big sis em *

cheese box


Congrats, you fuckers!!!

(Lest you misinterpret this photo -- she's not kissing his wrist sweetly. She's biting him. Cuz that's what they do. They also have a sweet pet name for each other: "bitey." How glorious!)

UPDATE: From the blushing bride:

Okay so it's official, Mike and I are gettin' hitched, so prepare yourselves for festivities including, but not limited to, sharks, alcohol, biting, cheese, and I dunno, some more sharks.

I am. so. excited.

Alotta Lucky

FWD:Think pink!

This is my friend Chave. She is in a musical revue called Beach Blanket Babylon. When asked, "Who do you play?" Her response is, "The black girl."

If you've ever seen this show, which is a comical, hat-and-wig-filled commentary on current events, you'd know this already. Chave's role is Oprah/Condi/insert-black-female-name-here.

When she leaves at night tourists hug her and ask for her autograph. I've seen this happen.

She also performs burlesque under perhaps the most awesome stage name ever, Alotta Boutte. And by "performs burlesque," I mean, shows her gigantic ta tas.

She took this photo of herself backstage at BBB using her cell phone.

She lives down the street from me, which means I'm constantly enjoying impromptu socialization. She is my yoga buddy and, when she found out what a shit time I'm having of it today, she sent me a text message that said, "I am bringing you dinner tonight after the show. And if it is too late, it will be dessert."

So, on top of it all, she's become my great friend.

How lucky am I?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Holy Cow

R and R in cooler b and w

I keep coming by to the edit page on this post with every intention of writing about this photo, which is one of those images that becomes iconic in a family -- the pic of Che and I in the cooler has been in various frames -- dimestore models upgraded over time to the fancy modern kind with the bevel-cut mats -- in various places since I was four or so.

That cooler has almost talisman status from my childhood. Bright yellow Coleman with a white plastic top. Metal handles. Remember them? Bumpy texture that inevitably retained dirt from campgrounds across the midwest, despite frequent hose-downs. Pop-off white plug to drain the melted ice and spilled beer.

The situation in this photo: the cooler had recently found itself sitting in the back guest room that Che and I used for Saturday-morning cartoon watching. Not sure how, but I suspect it was related to my father. My mother is just a little too organized to not ensure that the cooler makes it back down to the garage.

It then became a carriage -- there were imaginary horses and somewhere, not in this shot, but somewhere, there were two long pieces of fluffy pink yarn I had fashioned into harnesses. We were trotting over the river and through the woods for a couple of hours of early-morning cartoons before mom and dad stumbled upon us, sleepy-eyed.

I don't ever remember Rachel being this young. She was a little person to me already, at this point in our lives. A co-conspirator. But this is clearly evidence to the contrary.

More posts wherein I don't do the blogging

Think Banks is getting better and better, ladies and gents, once again we take a swim in the stream of someone else's consciousness down into the deep reservoir of nostalgia.

Now with more pretty words!

how many times we almost died -- comfortably ensconced in our assumed immortality, jumping off that building or out of that car, or on account of all that glorious idiotic bingeing and purging -- well, hopefully, we're that much better equipped to appreciate the fragility of our stupid precious lives.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

getting flak: Little Johnny Jewel

getting flak: Little Johnny Jewel

Gorgeous post from a fellow geek. . .

It was about that time he developed his crank habit. He was wired everytime I saw him; grinding his teeth, eyes like pinpoints.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Definition of "Perfect"

Being woken up from a sex dream by the person you were dreaming of. Saying, "I was just having a sex dream about you." Hearing, "Let's make it come true."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Yes, My Pants Are Too Damn Big

Welcome to the bullshitosphere, Bresee.

An array of excellent Quotes from the week

"Let's face it, who doesn't love street meat!"

"I don't have time for this -- I've got a shotgun wedding to plan!"

"You're funny. you're like a younger smarter me who doesn't make all the mistakes i did."

RE: The coming season of BSG: "I'm at the edge of my penis."

Monday, March 31, 2008

Please Y'all

it doesn't work without everyone's participation!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Botanist, though?

I am getting my brain around this. I want to do some word vomit on it, but I need to noodle first. In the meantime, I would like to challenge the claims-he-has-writers-block Baywatch to comment.

I'm truly interested -- as he is a dabbler in the astronomical, and I am a sci-fi geek.

I feel like he'll have some true, physics-based reasoning, while my mind spins at this:

Some physicists have theorised that black holes might act as spacewarp wormhole portals into alternate universes, or something. Summarising, it appears that the boffins at the LHC - should one of them clumsily spill his tea on the controls, for instance - could easily catapult the entire world through a rift in the very fabric of space-time, into another universe which could be entirely hostile to life as we know it. (Eg, essential processes such as fermentation of alcohol, TV, pizza delivery, gravity etc might simply not work; or there could be a parallel Earth ruled by an evil victorious Nazi empire with space battlecruisers and so forth.)

No pizza delivery? The HUMANITY!

Nazi alternate universe? didn't I read they're making a movie out of that book?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Just one of the ten thousand reasons I'm glad I'm no longer a fourteen-year-old girl

Brief chat tonight with my niece:

rebecca: Hey there! Haven't seen you online in awhile and was just thinking of you!
jessica: crappy and i am about to hit her in the face untill she BLEEDS
rebecca: excuse me?
jessica: can i talk to you another supposed best hates me
rebecca: oh that's big drama -- certainly
jessica: thanks
rebecca: ten four
jessica: bye


Two quick observations:
1. omg I sound old and dorky
2. it's a little comforting that the Internet hasn't changed things THAT much. We'd just be doing this using three-way calling fifteen years ago. (Ah. NINETEEN YEARS AGO. Shit, I need a drink. Another reason it rocks to be old.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mission Accomplished

Um, why did I think that Walking Across The Golden Gate Bridge was on this list?

I had this whole sort of triumphant-tone-of-achievement planned for this post and I, um, don't see it on the list.

Anyhow, mom and I did spend a gorgeous Easter Sunday afternoon touristing it up by hoofing the span. Pictures by Mom.


This one is artsy. I kind of think I look like Michael Jackson, tho.

Maybe it's the "no nose" look. . .


Monday, March 24, 2008

Dream come true

I mentioned earlier that I'm tapering off my meds, resulting in various fun neurological side effects. While the vertigo, nausea, headrushes -- not so fun -- the vivid acid theater of the nighttime mind is kinda enjoyable.

No joke I actually dreamed that Spliffey did this, and she DID.

I feel so warm and fuzzy. And all powerful. And dorky.

Normal day.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Dad's The One In The Red Shirt.

Weather Report

Oh, my.

I do not miss this.

I miss you people, but I do not miss the winter that lasts until May.

I don't miss the anger that hits right about. . . now. . . when you realize that GOD HATES AMERICA and will not let you enjoy the outdoors for two more months.

I do, however, adore the bright sunshine-y day outside my window, the wearing flip flops while picking up coffee on my way back from Saturday morning yoga, the orchids blooming on my doorstep.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Me me me me me meme

Wow, I'm kinda honored/feel like I cashed in some kinda Internet favors frivolously, but both TB and McDub actually did that meme thing that I did when Luc made me. I don't know if I feel used by the Internet or like a tight-knit community of self-important assholes.

Or, wait, both.

Yeah, and then some.

Only because it's 3:37AM and I can't sleep. . .

I'm gonna meme it. I know it's kinda dumb, but Luc made me do it.

And I don't think the q's are that lame.

And enough with the boring qualifiers. Let's get to the other boring stuff.

1. I can't believe I've never
- been to China
- walked across the Golden Gate Bridge (note to self, make mom do that this weekend)
- found what I'm looking for
- figured out what I'm looking for
- what?

2. Every time I think about . . . I still cringe
That time I boldly approached Ira Glass in the Art Institute of Chicago, reached out to shake his hand, introduced myself: "Hi, I'm Rebecca! And. . . " Completely went blank. No joke. Firmly shaking Ira's hand, him looking at me with a warily expectant expression, I had absolutely nothing to say. He dismissed me and walked away. Holy Shit, why did you make me think about that?

3. I wish I’d…when I had the chance.
Left poor Ira alone.

4. I’ve never felt so out of place as when I… Was at Jenny's twenty-fifth birthday party in the Marina, and Baron Davis showed up. Jenny, I love you, but wow that was surreal for an old lady like me.

5. …is/are my guiltiest pleasure. When I first moved to Chicago, in my early twenties, I had very few friends and a horrific job. Even though I had never in my life watched it, I became addicted to reruns of The Nanny. Somehow, I found it outrageously comforting. Possibly because it was on approximately forty times a day. And I was dirt poor and had nothing better to do but to watch my rabbit-eared tiny tv.

Years later, I was telling Johnny about this. He shared with me his early Chicago addiction -- Just Shoot Me.

Made me feel better about my irrational attachment to Fran Drecsher.

6. I hope…knows how grateful I am for…
My grandmother, for making me laugh at every family function. She often lets me do things like this just to amuse me:


7. In my darkest hours, I secretly blame…for my dysfunction.

You know who you are.

8. …changed my life forever. D'uh. DeeP.

Probs won't do it cuz they're too busy being cool/sleeping, but tagging:


Well, wow, that killed, like, 23 minutes.

Wonder if sleep will come, now?

The President Was Just Speaking To His "Destroy All Humans" Base

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Things You Do As You Fall Asleep

You start out all warm, radiating heat and breath.

The weight of your arms and legs press into mine and we are silent in our cocoon.

Then the twitches start, the electric shocks as your body finally lets go of consciousness, tiny, almost imperceptible rapid pulses in your arms, your legs, your fingers glaze my back as they perform their St. Vitus dance.

I pull my arm tighter around you.

You moan.

We sleep.

There is a sweetness, there.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dear Johnny, Luc , and Nora

Ya'll are straight up assholes.

And I love it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Badass Skinny Man

Hey, Spliffe! THANKS!

The magical combination of your riff on nineties nostalgia combined with your toss-off random comment about the latest Nick Cave album was like some sort of fabulous spell that compelled me to unearth that 1994 classic, Let Love In. I'm shivering with excitement at being reunited with this album.

Oh, Nick Cave. You're so baritone!

But, do you love me? Like I love you?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Making A List

A la Maggie Mason, the first of my 100 things to do before I die

1. Go on a yoga retreat in the Sierra Nevadas
2. See JD and The Blenders perform in St. Petersburgh.
3. Visit Annevan's childhood home in France
4. Stay up all night in Tokyo
5. Drink coffee in Amsterdam
6. Meet someone who will make me laugh every day until I die
7. Have a short story published
8. Spend the night in Walter De Maria's Lightning Field
9. Go to Alaska
10. See a whale
11. Knit a scarf
12. Ride another century
13. See Chave perform in Beach Blanket Babylon
14. Sky Dive
15. Get a tattoo with Che
16. See Dad win his NAB Lifetime Achievement Award
17. Walk on a black sand beach in Hawaii
18. Be in the delivery room for Che's first bambino
19. Have a giant dance party with everyone I love
20. Fix up an old house
21. Plant a garden
22. Make coconut cupcakes for my grandma again
23. Read Jane Eyre. No, I haven't read Jane Eyre.
24. Read Wuthering Heights. Ditto. Sorry, mom.
25. See Sleater Kinney play live again. (Get Sleater Kinney back together.)

Things I Am Doing Today

Cream in my coffee, milk in my cereal.

Finally removing all the dishes from the sink, like an excavation of the last three days -- stuck on dried grains of rice, waterlogged bits of vegetable, coffee grounds and eggshells.

Washing everything. The sheets, jeans, underwear, washing even the washcloths.

Waking up.

Hugging muscle to bone, skin to muscle, breathing in and out through my nose, holding here, breathing into the space, getting long through the spine.

Sitting still while someone else meticulously grooms my hands -- cut, file, remove cuticles, perfectly polish.

Letting it all wash over me, because there's nothing else to do.

Returning text messages, emails, finally attending to that stack of bills in the corner.

Red wine, good friends.

Planning my trip.

Planning Johnny's visit.

Figuring out how to get a Russian visa.

Appreciating it all.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What are you Yelle-ing about??

Annevan, my Frienchie friend, has introduced me to some addictive French girl pop/rapper named Yelle (please note, the site may just give you seizures, so maybe listen but don't look).

me: how can you sing along, as a non french speaker, to Yelle without sounding like a korean gameshow contestant doing beatles songs on karaoke?

Anne: truth is: you can't.
btw, she's singing about nasty stuff -- Avenue D or Peaches style

me: Well, she definitely has a Peaches sound.*
Can you give me a hint as to what she's saying?
something about magazines and marie claire

Anne: mmm, I just listened to 1 song -- something about doing it. I don't remember exactly
ha ha
I'm reading some lyrics on line
she has a song called "parle a ma main", which means "talk to my hand:

me: I bought the cd on itunes, I'll burn it for you post haste
it's a blast

Anne: and she refers to "mes biatches"
ha ha ha

I love it when the frenchies get badass

Anne: "Les mecs ils sont tous nuls" = guys are all losers

me: it sounds so silly

Anne: "Girls Power!! hum hum
Alors vas t'acheter une vie t'es pas dans ma liste d'amis"
the 2nd line is: so go buy yourself a life, you're not on my list of friends
"Girls Power!! hum hum" -- HA HA HA
Sent at 10:57 AM on Wednesday

me: HAHA

me: I understand from her Facebook page that she rose to fame on when she posted a song titled "Short Dick Cuizi", dissing Cuizinier, a member of the Parisian hip-hop group TTC.
Who is this "cuizinier?"

Anne: no idea. there's the loop - over there. and here's me -- out of that loop.

me: that's an excellent illustration. Thanks
At any rate, apparently he has a short dick, and she has been able to really capitalize on that.

*Amazing that if you Google the word "Peaches," the first result is not about fruit, but about the crazy semi-porno pop star

Saturday, March 01, 2008

In Which I Cling To The Tressy Tendrils Of Youth

Today I got my hair cut and colored.

Ally, the positively delightful bleach-blond, tattooed pseudo stoner who designs my 'do, recommended a shock of cherry red highlights. Then she showed me a new tattoo, of two kewpie dolls, one brown, one white, on her wrist. "This is me and my boyfriend as babies. Sitting on a record player. He requested that he be browner than me, so!"

My first reaction -- am I too old for this? Was followed closely by -- if I'm not, I'd better do it while I still can.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Soaking In It

I've been surfing a wave of nostalgia lately, digging up old music and rolling around in it like a black lab in a pile of shit.

I'm surprised you can't smell it on me now.

In this edition, we're visiting high school -- where my boif Jason was busily giving me a full education on the history of new wave. I mean, I wasn't in high school in the early eighties, but that's where I was introduced to the twisted delights of Oingo Boingo.

Ah, Danny Elfman. Delighting children for generations with the theme from The Simpsons, the rollicking, original songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas -- and every Tim Burton film, for that matter.

And, kinda, every film and tv show in the last ten years.

oh, and this gem:

On the joys of molesting young girls. Isn't it a dream come true? Isn't it a nightmare too?

(PS: I had no idea until I googled this that there was A VIDEO with A CHORUS OF MIDGETS in existence. I fucking love the Internet.)


So, now has come the time for me to taper off my meds, something I have been terrified of doing now for years.

But, I gotta be a man, man.

Started on Saturday. Since it was a long weekend, its hard to say if I'm having any neurological symptoms yet, or if I've just been supes hungover.

Today the volume seems turned up on things, and I have a little buzzing, not unlike when you drink eight iced lattes on a hot afternoon and spend the rest of the day jolting out of your chair because WHAT WAS THAT OMG???

Fun times! Three days down. 27 to go.

What Happens At Hoover Dam

Gettin' Drilled

Monday, February 18, 2008


If you've met me, you probably have heard this phrase.

It's a bit of a riff on what I do for a living -- ie: be anal -- but it is also an astonishingly good and effective way to prioritize, plan, and accomplish most anything.

Plus, I have a perverse sense of humor and find this whole process hilarious. No one else gets as much kick as me out of the phrase "Leverage economies of scale," below. HA!

Jesus, no wonder I'm single.




Oh, yeah -- VEGAS! I almost forgot

But finally uploaded pictures. Thank you, President's Day!

Isn't my sister gorgeous? I can't stand it.


Alright, much to write up. I know you're waiting with baited breath to read about it.

PS: Sorry, Mike, but this is making me cackle out loud and I am alone in the privacy of my own home:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Astonishing Douchebaggery of Bobby Flay

Tivo, that bastard, is the reason I don't blog more.

I mean, it means I don't have to watch whatever is on -- so I never stare slack-jawed at the Food Network for hours at a time.

But today,Tivo reached out his little, brightly colored tentacles, caressed my cheek, and said, "Baby, you worry too much. Put the remote down. Sometimes, you've got to let someone else take over. Let me choose for you. Put your feet up, and let me take care of you."

I sagged with relief and we watched, together, hour after hour of various programs, all of which featured Bobby Flay.

Who is an astonishing douchebag.

Witness -- Throwdown With Bobby Flay.

So, basic premise is thus:

Each show starts with some unsuspecting small town proprietor of a local favorite hangout, which is regionally famous for (insert home cookin' example here).

They pick this person out -- say, the woman in Nashville, Tennessee, who is famous for her buttermilk biscuits with blackberry jam. They tell said lady she's going to be star of a Food Network special about singing in the kitchen. They hire some singers and tape all these segments while she excitedly films her special on Food Network.

In the meantime, Bobby Flay is developing his own version of said specialty -- in this case, biscuits and jam -- and calls in all these consultants and develops some massively ambitious, pretentious, alternative -- in this case, his biscuits had pepper. He didn't like the original fig and strawberry jam, so he created a lemon/orange BLUEBERRY marmalade.

Then BF interrupts the woman while she's demonstrating her stuff. She's all -- BOBBY FLAY!!!


Then makes the woman compete in blind taste tests -- her stuff vs. his. Woman not only now finds out she doesn't have her own show, she finds out that Bobby Flay is swooping in to prove that SHE AIN'T THE BEST, Y'ALL!


In the case of the woman who made the apple pie sunday that he beat, he said, "I was really impressed. I mean, her idea -- it was so obvious. But I didn't think of it."

Why does this douche have so many shows?

Monday, February 11, 2008

We've been friends since 1995 and I just now think of this???

me: annetastic
Anne: fucktastic
me: WHY have I not thought of that before?
I need sleep.
Anne: ha. love it.
it took you 13 years, friend!
that's annetastic!
me: I KNOW

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Entertainer in my House

The Russians are here.

Well, Misha is Russian. Jennifer is from Indianapolis. But she moved to St. Petersburg after college. In college we called her "Crazy Jen," but now she's "Russian Jen."

Here they are (the two on the left) at a concert:

Anyhoo -- old girl pops back in my life once a year, and we have a fabulous time together. Somehow, my old friend from college is now a national treasure in Russia. How strange.

She has two bands.

JD and the Blenders is her personal pet project. Some kind of Soul gig.

Seeing this video on youtube was a little like the episode of friends where Pheobe has a professional video made. I'm sorry that comparison is so lame. But I couldn't think of a better one. Anne and I were flabbergasted. Jen was horrified: "Look how they focused on my LIPS! WHY DID THEY DOO THAT?"

Us: why are you wearing a wig?
Her: Oh, they made me do that.

Apparently that crazy guy at the end is a very famous rock musician in Russia.

There are tons of these videos on Youtube. National televison appearances, amazing Russian hairstylings.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

kinda sez it all, huh.


it ain't so bad when you're loved

Xtine sent these, and then told me to "say they're from a secret admirer"

Unfortch, since I'm totally not 14, I cannot say that with any semblance of believability.

She also said that she had ordered them before I got all weepy on her ass for no reason, but I find that hard to believe.

Either way, how nice it is to have such lovely people in your life.


Sunday Afternoon

Was rainy and cold.

Anne and I treated ourselves to pedicures and then shivered in line for coffee with other disheveled-looking psuedo-hipsters. We complained about the hardships of winter.

Then I happened to notice that we were both wearing flip flops.

I love being an asshole Californian.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm becoming obsessed with Michael Cera

I mean, I've known a lot of hilarious nineteen year olds in my day -- most of them tended toward the obnoxious. I love how Michael Cera consistently underplays and self deprecates. I would love to meet this kid in person.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I wanna be her Joey Ramone

Always been a fan of Dan Savage. But his podcast has truly taken my infatuation to a new level.

You can just hear the sweetness in that man's voice as he calls people "selfish fucks" or whatever sort of obscenities he's tossing about.

This week, though, the whole thing really topped itself when he featured a woman whose specific kink is as she puts it, "really good words." She owns multiple dictionaries, which she regards as her own little porn stash. She describes a romantic, kinky relationship she had wherein she would rifle through them to find words to describe the emotions of her beloved. She likes to talk dirty using her own multi-syllabic, obscure and esoteric erotic sentences.

I totally want to have sex with that chick.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Luc says, "Apple is back and she's better than ever." And lo, it's true.

Meanwhile, Spliffe gives me a nerdgasm with her clause-related grammar ranting.

Baywatch is neglectful, and McWhirter describes my favorite corporate Christmas gift in vivid technitasty color.

It's a lovely crop of words thriving in the rich loamy topsoil of the Internet.

Carry on.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Co Birthday Conspirators, originally uploaded by emily gingersnap.

So cute, they are.

In The Case Of Man V. Nature

2007-2008 290, originally uploaded by emily gingersnap.

In my mind, no trip to Las Vegas is worth its salt if you don't sneak away and visit Hoover Dam. I've been there at least five times, at this point, which is kind of weird, because I'm super familiar with the layout and such. Don't usually get so intimately involved with national landmarks.

But this thing is amazing. It is a kind of almost-inconceivable feat of engineering and human spirit and brute force that defined an era and determined the future of the entire Southwest. Built in a time where there was still something to conquer in the United States, when people could and did suffer and die to conquer it.

It's comprised of enough concrete to build a four-foot wide sidewalk around the entire equator. Over 400 people died while making this bridge, along with at least one dog.

Lake Mead sits in the desert like an impossible mirage, this gorgeous mediterranean blue green between brown, rocky mountains. It shouldn't even be there, but for pure human will.

We marveled at it for a minute, quiet, awed.

Christine, a landscape architect, pragmatic idealist, and delightful person overall, breaks out a most lilting declaration:

"We win."

(Still can't find my effing photo cable. So Here's Em's photos.)

Monday, January 21, 2008


2007-2008 208
Originally uploaded by emily gingersnap
aren't we fun?

Overheard in Las Vegas

At the Star Trek Experience: Outside the "Deep Space Nine" section:

Geek one: Huh, Deep POOP Nine.
Geek two: Huh, totally.

Friday, January 18, 2008

on becoming someone else's fiction

So, my first real job out of college I worked at this tiny, four-person pr agency. It was run by a woman who really liked to yell.

And say things like, "a monkey could do your job."

And six people quit in the six months I worked there.

Four after one day.

One after one week.

But anyhow, I digress. Point being that my job was to open and sort through mail, among other things.

And one day this beautifully produced, thick, creamy post card landed on my desk. It had three bands of color across the front, a rose, a blue, a yellow. And in white, bold text, it said, "Become someone else's fiction."

And I kept it. And sort of pondered it a lot -- what does that mean? It seems dashingly romantic, that notion.

It was an ad, for a printing company. Random, don't know who. But it sort of morphed into this mysterious message from the universe to me. Something to ponder.

It has hung on every wall of every apartment I have lived in since I found it ten years ago.

Sometimes, it's all about creating a dashing, idealized world to populate, about abandoning to the impulses of my own imagination. Creating a more vivid world than the one I live in to inhabit for a minute or a day or an hour.

A place to linger where your choices are not your own, but are driven by the plot. There's something adventurous about the notion. Something reckless.

It hung everywhere except my apartment now, the place I have lived in a new city for almost a year. Where I've become someone else, somehow.

Where maybe I don't want to be someone else's fiction, the construct of someone else's fantasies, someone else's will.

I kind of like living my own reality. Or at least I recognize it as the place with the most rewarding possibilities.

Is that grown up?

Or am I just really, really stoned?

Earlier tonight Annevan and I actually watched this movie, or fifteen minutes of it -- it's sort of a tragic tale about a smart young woman trapped in a backwater small town somewhere in Humbolt County. Raised by ex hippies, she embraced a more rock-and-roll image. But what she really wants, above all else, is a shot at a show on the Food Network. So she does the only thing she knows how -- she makes a show that's all her own.

Shots of her cooking steaks, "the size of my ass cheek," are intersperced with images of she and her friends smoking up, shooting guns randomly off the back porch of their house. The fades between scenes always include fireworks and heavy metal riffs. Her cooking is awkwardly punctuated when she unconvincingly takes shots of jim beam straight from the bottle. She wipes her lips in slo mo.

We took pictures of the tv, to illustrate for you, dear reader, but I can't find the damn camera cable.

Yep, definitely stoned.

Vegas tomorrow, woot.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hungover at work?

Wouldn't know ANYTHING ABOUT THAT. But if I did, I would tell you to watch Cute with Chris.

I love how angry he is.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monthly Newsletter: Month Three Hundred and Sixty*

Dear Rachel:

Today you turn three-hundred-and-sixty months old, or, thirty.

Welcome to the Great Beyond, the post-twenties, the promised land of the gloriously self-assured. Now, you are officially Coming Into Yourself.

You are the prettiest girl I know.

You're also the person I've known the longest. And, if we can just make this about me for one moment, my relationship with you is probably the one that most defines me as a person. I am, at my core, the Big Sister. Just ask Susan. (Sus, you're the other prettiest girl I know.)

Remember when we were little? I kinda hated you then. You were so annoying. Our activities together included:
  • You beating the crap out of me. Me restraining myself because I felt sure I could crush you on accident and I was kind of a frightened kid that way. Later, you joining up with Ryan and Ty Baxter in order to form a tiny gang of angry rebel four-year-olds who would jump up on me like the Lilliputians taking down Gulliver. One would punch my stomach, then, as I was hunched over in pain, the others would attack from all sides. Later, I would complain to our father, who just basically thought it was hilarious. He couldn't understand why I didn't just drop kick each of you. What can I say? I was a bookish kid.
  • Car trips. The most classic of all American childhood experiences. Screaming at each other in the back seat.
    • Fighting over the coveted middle seat, which had the adjustable seatbelt that didn't cut off circulation at the waist.
    • Later, when dad brought home the first of many Suburbans (he was an early adopter, in 1984), we would create a nest in the way-back.
    • Dad once got so sick of us fighting he literally dropped us off by the side of some country road and drove away. Clear out of sight. I remember thinking, "This is it." I immediately started looking for a farmhouse we could trek to, began planning how I would protect you. I couldn't have been more than eight. You five. He came back and got us, of course, but it was a harrowing two minutes.
    • There's that one time we went to Michigan with mom and made her crazy by speaking in Pig Latin the entire time. That was kind of awesome. Until we locked your fingers in the door of the Camry. That sucked.
    • Of course, there's also that time that Dad and I left you at the rest stop on the way to Ohio for Thanksgiving.
    • And didn't notice you weren't sleeping in the way back until an hour later.
    • And it was totally my fault.
    • And it was before cell phones.
    • And we laugh about that now; it's a classic tale, but I don't mind telling you, sometimes in the dark of the night, I'll wake up in a cold sweat, my heart in my stomach, imagining what could have been. My love for you is so very fierce, baby sister.
  • But dude, you were so cute. And now you're thirty fucking years old. And we're gonna celebrate in Vegas, with our cousin Emily, who is also thirty fucking years old this week. Che, here's the thing -- I've got a weakness for redheaded babies. She might have been cuter:

Okay, no. She' s not.

Here's some other quick highlights:
  • You shaved your fucking head in high school. Twice. That is so goddamn badass.
  • You've never been afraid. Ever. Ever.
  • You're the fiercest girl I know. And the most compassionate. I admire you so much.
  • Your class of fourth graders is the luckiest.
Can you tell how much I dig you baby sister?

Happy birthday, sweetie.
(note how I'm inexplicably giving the thumbs-up here.)

*yes, I am totally doing this to amuse myself. And Sarah. Sorry, Che.