Oct 31, 2004

I think I might actually be dead right now

Oh my god. I am so hungover. I think I got like five hours of sleep last night. I am an idiot for drinking those evil Jack and cokes. No more drinking, ever. Oh, my head. Ugh.

The reason I woke up all early is that one of the sticky traps in my apartment finally caught a mouse, and it was making scratching sounds. When I went to investigate I was still a little drunk, so I thought I might have been imagining it, and I just sort of stared at it for a while. It was making little squeaks, and was very small and adorable, like a little field mouse.

So then I had, like, a problem. It hadn't occurred to me that one of the traps might actually work, and that I would have a live sticky mouse to deal with. My friend Poppy (who I went out with last night, so my head is her fault, dammit!) told me that she once caught a mouse on a sticky trap, and she just put it in a bag and threw it down the trash chute. Maybe I could have done that if this thing had turned out to be a big subway rat-type-thing, but this is a tiny mouse. I have looked into its eyes, and it is scared, and I just can't kill it.

My mom and I both have this thing where we are really ridiculously empathetic to animals, so I called her. She suggested that I take it outside and use scissors to cut the trap off from around the mouse, and then let it go. I tried it. It can't be cut out. And I tried to use the scissors and the piece of bark to pry the goop off the trap, but it's a crazy consistency and I couldn't budge it. And in the midst of all that, the mouse toppled over onto its side and now not just its feet and tail are stuck, but its entire side as well. It's just fucked, I guess. But I still can't bring myself to just throw it out, knowing it'll get hit with other people's trash. Who knows if it'll die quickly? I can't stand to think about it suffering, and being all scared and alone like that.

So I left a note for the maintenance guy who lives downstairs to come see me, and maybe he will have a plan. Right now the mouse is sitting in a bag in the hallway, and it keeps making little rustling noises and squeaks, which I am trying to drown out with the TV. Ugh, I just feel really sorry for it, even though it has been responsible for a lot of freaked-out-ness and grossed-out-ness on my part. And now that I have spent time up close and personal with it, I feel that I have memorized mouse physiognomy.

Oh, speaking of physiognomy, we had a nude male model in painting class yesterday. I have never drawn a male model before, so that was interesting. I think I will go take more Advils now. Maybe later on I'll write about my trip to Phoenix.


Oct 29, 2004

I'm home

Hey! I survived my crazy business trip! Oh my god, the place where they put us up was completely gorgeous. It was a resort/spa, and it was like a whole campus of fountains and flowers and Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Gorgeous! Of course it was totally wasted on me and the rest of the crew since we spent about 14 hours a day in the ballroom and the business center. Because I am a masochist, I added up all my working hours for the past seven days and got ninety hours. Yes. NINETY! Gah!!!

At least I got to eat really good food all week, and I even got room service a couple of times. I think I may go into withdrawal now from not having prepared meals and fluffy bathrobes and a mountain vista outside my window.

I will write more after I sleep for about a week.


Oct 22, 2004

Back in a week, yo

Okay, am packing. Am cleaning. Am trying to eat all the perishable food from my fridge.

Have a good week, guys! Will write to you later.



After work last night I walked in the door, took off my jacket, put my bag down, turned on the lights, shut the blinds, washed my hands, and walked toward the kitchen to make dinner. And then stopped dead in my tracks and stared.

Racing along the wall behind my TV and bookshelves was a huge motherfucking brown mouse! Or a rat! I don't know - who can tell anyway? But a big brown furry darting rodent. With a long whip tail.

I was seriously just flabbergasted, rooted to the spot. I did the first thing I could think of: I ran back out, shutting the door, and rang the bell of the apartment next door, of my neighborhood drinking buddy Scott. I had gone out for a drink on an empty stomach after work and was actually sort of drunk, so when he opened the door I was slumped against it and I fell down on him. It would have been funny if I hadn't been freaking the fuck out over the rat.

He got a LACROSSE STICK out of his closet. I was like, "But you're not going to kill it, right? You're going to trap it in the net, and then I'll get a cup, and then we'll throw it outside, right?" He was like, "Dude. Just get out of the way."

And he came in but we couldn't find the thing anymore. We sort of tapped and kicked all my furniture, to see if it was hiding behind anything, but no dice. Scott thinks it probably left through a hole behind the fridge or the stove. Funny how I was so excited when, a few weeks ago, the maintenance guys finally filled in the last of the small holes underneath my window ledge, to keep the teeny bugs out, when the entire time my apartment has a hole somewhere big enough to fit a FRIGGIN DC SUBWAY RAT.

So Scott left, and he said that if I was really freaked I could stay at his place, but that's kind of a last resort as far as I am concerned. What I did next was to go tell the security guard, in case she had traps in her office. I had perfect timing because the live-in maintenance guy was just walking out the door, and she called him back. He went down to his secret maintenance lair and brought traps, and put them down everywhere in my apartment. Now, this guy always seems nice and we always say hello to each other, but I just have issues with him "from the old neighborhood," as my stepmother would say, because he has a Hitler moustache (yes, seriously), and so he just creeps me out on a really basic level.

Anyway, he put traps all around, and he asked me about all my canvasses lying around and it turns out that he is a painter too. So he was sort of going on about his latest work, and we were chatting about it. It was sort of surreal: him laying down sticky traps around my bed while telling me about how he's a really good portraitist. Finally I was like, "Uh huh. Yeah, I'm really liking oils so far. So wait a minute, the rat is going to stick to the trap?? And what do I do with it then?" And he said that the building manager would take care of it while I am at work. And he was looking around and going, "Yeah, this is a cool place. This could be a cool pad." And wasn't that an exact line from that horrible movie The Cable Guy??! Gack.

Then I decided it was as good a time as any to clean up. All my canvasses that lean against the wall and create a nice rodent hiding place I put into a big box, which is now...sitting up against the wall...creating a nice rodent hiding place. Whatever. And I cleaned up lots of stuff and rewashed all the dishes that had been drying on the counter, which was a pain.

I realized that I hadn't talked to my dad in a while, so I called him. I was holding it together pretty well by then, I thought, but then as soon as he answered I pretty much said, "Ohmygod, Dad. There's a fucking rat in my fucking apartment!" CLASSY. He was like, "Okay now, first let's just clean up the language, okay?"

(Apparently my father is a Victorian who needs his smelling salts or something. Weirdo.)

Anyway, my biggest fear was that the rat would climb up onto my bed in the middle of the night and, like, touch my face. Seriously, that was the scariest thing I could fathom in the world. He assured me that the rat would be afraid of me and stay away. (Which turned out to be true.) Thankfully I am leaving in two days. I just hope that the building manager can catch it while I'm away. Please god, don't let me come back to a dead rat corpse.


Oct 21, 2004

I SO needed another work scare.

Work is hellish right now, as we are gearing up for a convention we're producing in Phoenix next week. And I get to go! It is hot shit. I haven't ever been to Phoenix. Although I might as well be going just down the street, for my job is to be the PA, and I will be in the hotel/banquet hall from morning til night, day after day after day, until next Friday when I blearily haul my ass back to DC. I am leaving Saturday and I know you will miss my literary outpourings, and for that I am sorry.

Today is all sorts of insane. For example, a few hours ago I was remembering how when I went on that last trip, I couldn't figure out how to set up an auto-reply on my Outlook to tell people that I was out of the office. (I know this should be easy, and I swear I've been able to do it in the past, but on this computer I couldn't find the option anywhere. It is Outlook 2000. Does that program suck? Is it defunct? Can someone help?) So I was on the Microsoft Office downloads page, thinking that maybe if I installed something called an "update," suddenly the program would be all spiffy and modern and Auto-Reply would, like, leap out at me in neon lights or something.

I had to close Outlook down to do this. I got halfway through the download when it prompted me to put in the CD of the Outlook program, and I know for a fact that my boss never hung onto that thing, so I just hit cancel and closed the downloading window. And then! Oh god, it was so scary! I tried launching Outlook again and it would not open. It did an hourglass for a second and then NOTHING. Gaaaah! I tried it like nine different ways, thinking that one particular shortcut button was broken (I know, that's retarded. Desperation, people!).

Finally I gave up, and I was scared. I went ahead and just checked my emails through the internet, which sucks because it's slow and you end up with 9.2 kazillion windows open at once, all of which become so small at the bottom of the screen that you can't tell which has what email in it. Plus I was terrified that I had somehow installed a crazy worm that had EATEN OUTLOOK, and now my boss's laptop was all fucked up. (And I think we all know how much I do not want to make my boss mad at me anymore. At least for another month or so.)

So basically I was freaking out. And then, like an hour later, the heavens parted, and all these blinking Outlook bars just appeared across the bottom of my screen! Outlook was launching the fuck out of itself! Holy lord: ten, eleven, THIRTEEN bars of Outlook! (I guess I had pressed various shortcut buttons thirteen times. Heh, I am crazy.) They were all blinking and frenetic and, like, look at me! And read me! Attention whores.

At least that crisis is over now. I can return to the regular work craziness, and, when I get home tonight, the packing craziness.

Eh, who am I kidding - I always pack 23 minutes before I have to leave for the airport. I'm smooth that way.


Oct 20, 2004

It's not just puffy. It also has lace.

So, I totally forgot to write about my bitchin' day on Sunday. My grandma, who also lives in DC, and my mom, who lives nearby in the suburbs, had gotten the three of us tickets to a play downtown. We do this a few times a year for some arguing, food, and culture. My mom came down to my apartment a couple of hours early so that we could go to that open artist studios thing I had been emailed about. (And Peter, don't worry - I found out that the woman who had sent me that email was someone who I was in a group show with a while ago. Not a stranger.)

I am so glad we went to it, because it was totally amazing. We drove to this weird section of town that is really not all that far away, but it's not near anything, so it's never occurred to me to explore. The event was held in this warehouse-y, industrial building where various artists had rental spaces. We saw woodworking and metals and we talked for a long time to this man who did paintings of horses with lots of nails sticking out of them to emphasize the outlines.

And we talked for an even longer time to this awesome chick with bleached hair who rented out the only space in the building that was actually a residence as well as a work studio. So one room was her sofa and coffee table and kitchen, all very avant garde, and the other room was where she did her sculptures. It was the most beautiful thing. My mom was in love with it as well. We saw all this really great work, and the people were so nice and chatty and encouraging to me. And now I have all these new ideas for stuff I want to work on.

Then we met up with my grandma and saw the play, which was Macbeth at the Shakespeare Theatre. I love Shakespeare but have somehow never gotten around to reading that one, and I was really looking forward to seeing it. However, by then my head was swimming with all these new painting ideas and I couldn't focus very well on the dialogue, and I am ashamed to admit that my biggest memories of the performance were of the staging and costumes. Oh yeah, but guess who played Lady Macbeth? Guess! It was Kelly McGillis. Yes, of Witness and Top Gun! I barely even recognized her, as she had brown hair. But she looked great, and she was extremely dramatic. There was a lot of voice projecting and beating at the breast and rendering of the clothing going on, which I think is the mark of a successful Shakespearean actor.

Also, every time I see my grandma she gives me some of her clothes. Now, she is a good four inches taller than me, as I am the runt of the family. This doesn't really matter when she gives me skirts, because you can easily get them shortened, but this time she gave me two white button-down shirts. I didn't bother to tell her that I really don't wear white button-down shirts, because she's not the type of woman who takes no for an answer. So I brought them home.

I just got around to trying them on, and they are BAD. First off, they're two sizes too big so they're like sails on a ship. But - oh god - one of them is a puffy shirt. A PUFFY SHIRT. I am like Jerry frickin Seinfeld over here. There is no way I will ever wear either of them. I am sending these shirts back!


Oct 19, 2004

Yeah, I'm a scanner addict.

Remember the other week when I said that my boss had come back to work still pissed about the phone thing, and I called my dad and he gave me a really nice pep talk? Well, a few days ago I got this card in the mail from him, along with some money for my grad school savings:


Now, this is a happy card, for a happy event. But the thing is, I think he must have bought a pack of these from Target or something, because he sent me another one about a year ago. So apparently he has a small pile of them somewhere, and he breaks one out every so often as a "general occasion card" or something. Which just cracks me up.

Now here is the best part. This was the inside:


HE JUST CROSSED OUT THE "IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY" LINE AND ADDED HIS OWN MESSAGE! (He wrote "[My name] - Keep your head up - I'm proud of you. Love Dad," in case you could not decipher his penmanship.)

Oh my god, it is just too funny. I mean, generally men have a pretty bad reputation as far as sending little tokens, right? Like that stereotype about the wife sending out all of the birthday and holiday cards, writing a nice note, and adding "and Bob" to the bottom. So I think it's really sweet that he took it upon himself to send me this. Plus the crossing-out of the printed message is such a Dad-like thing to do.

Thanks Dad! I will keep my head up.


Oct 18, 2004

I'm not going to ruin the ending!

I have a little tale to tell! A tale in which it becomes publicly known that my brain is made of oatmeal! Henceforth, I am changing my bloggername to stupid-ine, or something. (Gah! That itself was stupid! And enough with the exclamation points.)

So, I decided to watch a Netflix movie last night. It was It, of the Stephen King book. When I put the DVD in, there was movie info printed on both sides, but neither side said anything particularly useful, like, say...oh, I don't know...side one. Or even side two. So I put it in, and the menu came up, and I hit play. It started playing right away, with no credits. But this is pretty standard! A lot of movies jump right into the action and then do a delayed credits thing. Especially horror movies, right? There's a little setup, then someone jumps out at someone and there's a big fright, and THEN the credits start.

So the movie's playing along, and playing along, and honestly it seemed very clear. Each of the main characters were arriving at their childhood town, and as each character was shown in their whatever mode of transportation, they would flashback to themselves as a child, and you would see them having a fright by the clown, and then their adult version would jump as if startled, and the action would be back in the present day. Plus, as they all got together, the dialogue was that crappy type where everything is overexplained and the characters all address each other by name, like, every time they open up their mouths. It was pretty easy to follow.

(I do admit that I was a little confused by the fact that they all kept referring to "that summer we went down into the sewer," but I chalked it up to the fact that it was a crappy 80s horror movie, and thus plotlines were low on the importance scale.)

Anyway, so it ended. Credits. There was one guy whose name I had been going crazy trying to remember, but I watched the credits twice and they never listed the main people. It was ONLY THEN that I got a feeling that I had done something wrong. I checked the DVD mailing slip, and the movie's running time was listed as 180-something minutes. I had not watched anywhere near 180-something minutes.

Yes it's true, and I will be the first to admit it: I watched the second half of the movie first! Total dumbass.

I guess tonight I will "finish it up," so to speak. Kind of like that practice morbid people have of reading the last five pages of a mystery novel first, in case they die before they reach the end. (Somehow, I don't think that at the moment of my death, I will be thinking about that novel I am only halfway through, but that's just me.)

And, um, I am not too proud to admit that I've actually done this exact same thing once before. With Doctor Zhivago. That time, I was actually confused as plot lines and characters and flashbacks were introduced seemingly willy-nilly, but I chalked it up to my ignorance of Russian history.

However I was not watching alone that time, so I'm only going to take 50% of the Stupidity Credit.


Oct 16, 2004

Vodka Redux

So, yeah, again with the vodka on a Friday night. I am developing quite the routine! Went to a house party last night, thrown at the group house of a friend of a friend. Two girlfriends from the gallery where I used to work were there, and I went with my friend Poppy and my high school friend recently back to the area. (She needs a pseudonym since I seem to be writing about her frequently, so I will call her Mantis, for no particular reason.) Also since it was a bring-everyone-you-want type of thing, I invited my college friend Azalea, and she brought a bunch of her friends, including her ex-boyfriend who I haven't seen since senior year of college.

Everyone started off as strangers to each other, but after spending three hours on the stoop smoking, and fighting our way through the crowded kitchen to get to the booze, and gossiping and laughing, we were just a big group of BFF. I love it when you get random friends together and they hit it off. I always feel a little nervous about doing it - you know, will this friend talk too much about her ex and annoy that one? Or will that one make an off-color joke and offend my super-PC friend? That kind of stuff. But it was all good.

I started off drinking plastic cups of vodka and cranberry juice, because cranberry juice is healthy. And I care about that kind of crap, obviously. But at one point when I went for a refill, I put the ice and vodka in, turned to the mixers, and the juice was gone. So I had a glass full of pink vodka, and I was drunk enough by then that this situation just, like, totally confounded me. Mantis went to college in New York, which made her super-knowledgeable about the drinking, so I interrupted the cute guy hitting on her (yikes - sorry, random guy) and requested her help. She managed to fix me up by dumping a whole bunch of mysterious fizzy lime juice in, which was delicious, and I now have a new favorite vodka drink.

Mantis lives in the burbs, so she came home with me and slept on the sofa to avoid the drive home. I had forgotten to turn my alarm off so it woke us up about four hours later, at 7am. Oops.

Now I have just gotten home from art class. We finished our first portrait project and I am cautiously happy about mine, which feels great. I still have a few background pieces to fill in on my own without the model, and then I'll have a better idea of how well it works, but I have to say, I think I got the model's face to look pretty good. The features do not look exactly like hers, but then neither does the flesh tone resemble Goldfish crackers, like my last painting did.

Now it is rainy and freezing, like 50 degrees. I think I will make some coffee and watch my Cheers DVD from Netflix now. Have a good Saturday night!


Oct 15, 2004

The new Chicago guy rocks

When that new guy at work began, he asked me to "make him a picture" and fax it, to test out his new fax machine. We had been talking about my future grad school plans in Savannah, so this is what I sent:


Are my cartography skills not stellar? I should have a job illustrating for Rand McNally. (The black boxes are there to protect our names, just in case you did not catch that.)

This is what he faxed back to me:

fax back

HA! He is going to be so much fun to work with.


Oct 14, 2004

I was adult and watched the debates

...Pretty much the entire thing, too. Sometime toward the end, when it devolved into a More than a Woman-esque ode to their wives I got bored and started reading a book, but I was there during all the heavy stuff.

I hadn't listened to Dubya speak in a long time, mostly because doing so pains me, but I did notice a marked lessening in the frequency of his mis-pronouncements. So, good for him. (I can be fair!) However, he is still extremely smirky and haughty, which I hate. It is one demeanor which immediately turns me off to a person. (For example, Martina Hingis. The first time I watched one of her matches and saw her smirk whenever the girl hit one into the net, I knew I would always root for her to lose.)

Some Kerry moments I liked:

  • When he talked about keeping the country safe "in the manner of Kennedy, Reagan, and Roosevelt," ie. with the cooperation of other countries.

  • "Being lectured by the President on fiscal responsibility is a little like being lectured by Tony Soprano on law and order." Pretty canned and rehearsed, but whatever. At least it shows that he and/or his writers are in touch with the real America, as it referenced not one but two hit TV shows. (Direly important, of course.)

  • That answer he gave about what solace he would give to the unemployed "American working man." I am ashamed to admit that that phrase made me think of Tommy Boy, when Dan Aykroyd did the commercial to advertise his brake pads.

  • The bit when he talked about increasing the minimum wage to $7, and the benefits it would provide for pink-collar single mothers.

And, some things Bush said that I disagreed with:

  • The tax code ought to encourage marriage, not discourage it." Alright, not to go all Bridget Jones-smug-marrieds on you, but actually no, one lifestyle should not incur a financial penalty over another. It's not the government's place to dole out sticks and carrots to people based on their relationship status.

  • When he said that "abstinence should be a viable alternative to abortion." Hello? Once you're pregnant, that "abstinence horse" is pretty much out of the barn.

  • That part toward the end when it went all religious, and he quoted people asking him " 'How do you know people around the country prey for you?' 'I don't know; I just feel it.' " Gack. Suddenly I have an urge for crackers to go with that cheese.

  • When Kerry pointed out to Bush that he had once stated he was "not really worried about where Bin Laden was anymore," and Bush denied this, going so far as to say that it was another of Kerry's exaggerations. Then afterwards, the pundits played the clip from 2002 where Bush had said exactly that.

In general I was really pleased with Kerry's performance. Especially with how assertive he was in rebutting every claim Bush made, both about Bush and about himself. I know there are many people who absolutely do not trust Kerry to be "tough on terrorism," whatever that even means, so they are permanently beyond his grasp, but I hope that some people who were on the fence about his economic and social views until last night now have more to go on. Hope hope hope...


Oct 13, 2004

Oh my god, is that an envelope??? Will there be an opening? Because I'll be there.

This morning I got an email from a total stranger. This happens frequently, but usually the sender's name is Christy Cream and the subject line is XXX^$#@)NCialis or something like that. (As an aside, I think the name Christy Cream is brilliant. Right? It's hilarious.)

But this one had said from so-and-so as the subject so I opened it. It was addressed to me and like ten other people who I have never heard of, and it was inviting us to an "open studio event" of some artist studios on Sunday. Weird. There was a big artsy graphic and everything. The best part was where it described the event as being in the "NoMA (North of Mass Ave) District." Like, hello DC, but you're not New York, no matter how hard you try with your little street abbreviations.

(However, I am shallow enough to have gotten a little thrill out of the fact that I live in this place they call "NoMA," and therefore am trendy. But you knew that already.)

So, maybe this is all going to turn out like some (bad) Lifetime movie, with a title like Mother, May I Go To the Exhibition? (for all you men out there, there is an actual Lifetime movie entitled Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? and it stars Tori Spelling. Yes. And it is as good as it sounds, ie. REALLY FUCKING GOOD). But it sounds fun, so I'll probably go. I know it is an emailed invitation from a stranger, but the woman who sent it probably got my name off some DC art newsletter thing I belong to, right? Totally safe.

Okay, so, the plan: If I go missing, someone alert the cops and tell them I am in a warehouse somewhere in "NoMA." Wherever the hell that is.


Oct 12, 2004

Am blushing right now, actually.

Do you want to hear how totally neurotic I am? At work, my boss and I share an office. One thing about him that has always amazed me is that he can just carry on phone conversations for, like, a looong time, with me in the room. Like, there's no other sound except for my typing (web surfing) and his talking, so I really can't help but hear what he's talking about. It just blows my mind how un-selfconscious he is about that.

Me, I like privacy. Especially for conducting conversations, whether personal or business-related. I think maybe living alone has exacerbated my already-shy streak, because I get seriously embarrassed when I have to hold a long, in-depth phone conversation when our office is otherwise quiet. Like, to the point where my boss will make fun of how hard I am blushing when I hang up the phone.

So here comes the neurotic bit: I have come up with techniques for avoiding having to be the only one on the phone at a time. These include waiting until he has picked up the phone to make a call, and then frantically dialing the number I had to reach, or taking my cell phone upstairs to the empty floor and calling people from it. No, I am not joking. That's pathological, right? That's a pathological fear of public speaking. Why am I like this? I want to be able to gab gab gab in front of him, but I just can't. Lord help me when people call me, asking about when their invoice will be paid, or what flight I have booked for them, or "I'm at the corner of blah and blah - Mapquest my location for me real quick, okay?" It's fine when I am alone in the office; I just hate having to scramble for information and sort of stutter out an answer while I know my boss is listening.

(Have just realized I need to stop posting about work, because I never write about my Glory Moments, only the fuck-ups, and thus am giving the impression that am a raving imbecile. Please believe me when I say that I am not a raving imbecile. Yet.)

On another topic, what I have learned today is that the name Doug is really weird to look at after a while. It looks like it should be pronounced Doog, not Dug.


Oct 11, 2004

Poor, poor Chris Isaak

It was beautiful out today and I had a lovely day off! I had some work to do early on so I stayed in and answered emails and did the few things I could do from home, and then I left and walked around downtown and window shopped. I walked past the White House (its lawn is stunningly well-tended and healthy right now) and went to the Corcoran, since its exhibitions are free on Mondays. I saw this exhibition of abstract paintings and another one by a DC artist who does weird little dioramas inside cigar boxes, and collages out of postmarked envelopes. Then I went to the gift shop and wished I had a higher-paying job and could buy all the cool coffee table art books.

Then I left and bought a hot dog from a street vendor. (I know hot dogs are kind of artificial and scary but they're just so portable and cheap.) Inexplicably, I had received a free movie voucher in the mail a week ago so I walked up to Dupont, where I knew the thing was accepted. It's a really small theatre and they were only showing three movies, none of which I really knew anything about. There were posters though, and on a whim I decided to see A Dirty Shame, because I usually love John Waters's movies, and also I like Selma Blair and Chris Isaak a lot. (I know, weird combination of people, right?)

OH MY GOD. Until today, my all-time worst movie was Repo Man, which has held the title since I saw it at age 15. No longer! It has been bumped down to second! Because A Dirty Shame is now my Worst Movie Ever.

I wanted to like it. Honestly. It started out so nicely; it was weird and quirky and 60s-ish. Selma Blair had insanely big prostetic breasts. There was a family of gay men who called each other Daddy Bear and Mama Bear and growled at each other. And Tracy Ullman used the phrase "Axis of Evil" to describe her cooter. All good.

But then it just became ridiculous! Seriously ridiculous! Like, CGI squirrels were involved. A lot. And in one of the scenes they were having sex. And in the climactic town-orgy scene at the end, a CGI snake came out of Johnny Knoxville's pants zipper.

When it was all over, the man behind me said, "Ugh, I think I'm going to be sick."

Although I must say, I did pick up a lot of new slang. Especially in the scene where Tracy Ullman was trying to get Chris Isaak to, uh, go downtown, and she called it "whistling in the canyon." That was excellent.


Oct 10, 2004

Bless you, clear liquid

I am up all early and stuff because I am an old lady and have lost the ability to sleep in. Tragic, I know. (Bono should organize an aid concert for me.) Am listening to Luscious Jackson and debating whether to do laundry or not. I love doing laundry and I usually do it at this time of day on a weekend, but I hate having to get dressed to go to the communal laundry room. Oh, who am I kidding, I usually just put a bra on under my pajamas and go that way. I have no shame! It doesn't really matter anyway, because I'm the only one in the entire ten-story building who does laundry this early.

So, let's see, what else? Well, Friday I did to to Crapitol Hill with a girlfriend and this guy she knows from Pittsburgh, where they both used to live. He is awesome to hang out with, because she and I have known each other since second grade but he just fits himself perfectly into our conversations, so it is never an awkward "two people talking with one left out" situation. The only bad part is that she thinks he is interested in her that way, which she does not reciprocate, so whenever they make plans I and/or my other friend Poppy always come too, to act as a Buffer Against Him Making a Move. I have advised her to keep saying things to him like "I'm so glad we're friends," but I don't think he's totally gotten the hint yet.

Anyway, we had a great time. We ended up staying in this one bar all night, until 2-something, and by then we had drank a LOT. They had beers, but I don't really care for beer so I had vodka tonics. And I think I had four. Four vodkas! That's a lot for me for one night! God, how geeky do I sound right now? Shut up, me.

But vodka truly is the Miracle Liquor they say, because when I got home I had some water and Advils as a preemptive strike, but in the morning I actually felt fine. The vodka must have just blended seamlessly with my body and all the cells took it in like a long-lost friend or something. Excellent! Lovely good vodka of the no-after-effects.

Saturday is my three-hour painting class, and it was the second part of a three-part figure portrait project. I am very happy with how my painting is coming along. This is a nice change from the LAST portrait I did, which ended up looking like an android, or when they recreate faces on crime shows and you can tell that the skin is made from latex and the eyes from glass.

I am trying to be good with money so I stayed in last night. I just got indian food and ate and painted some more and watched The Royal Tenenbaums. (I think I would like having one signature outfit that I wore every day. It would make me feel like an action figure, such as She-Ra.)

And guess what? I just checked email and my boss sent my two coworkers and me (that looks weird but I think is gramatically correct, yes?) an email that said "Oh yeah...Monday is a holiday. Work if you want to." ROCK. ON. Also: hmm, three guesses as to what we will all do?


Oct 8, 2004

I don't get paid nearly enough, then.

Today I learned that there is a new pillow called the Boyfriend's Arm pillow. How cute, right? I like how the article describes it as being "designed for the single girl in need of some manly comfort while she sleeps." Manly comfort! That is awesome.

However, this might work better in theory than in practice. Imagine going to sleep all snuggled up on a big flesh-colored lump? And trying to make yourself believe that a dismembered plushy limb has an actual human being attached? It's kind of creepy.


I have been tricked into watching the debates tonight. Made plans to go out for drinks later on with two girlfriends but the one suddenly insists on our going someplace where we can watch. It seems odd to leave the house just to watch TV, but whatever. I guess we'll be going to Capitol Hill, as I can't imagine that bars anywhere else will show it (and will be quiet enough for actual listening). Actually, maybe we should just go to someone's house and watch. At least then we can eat junk food, and I am going to need some junk food in order to distract me from what I will really want to do: namely, throw large objects at the TV screen whenever W speaks.

Cannot believe my boss is not giving me Monday off. If I am as damn incompetent as he still believes, am I not less of a liability to him if I am not in the office? Grrr. Wish I could work from home. But cannot, because I need to be here all the time to field phone calls from all the people who he is avoiding because they annoy him.

Kind of ironic, because right now I annoy him. I had a big talk with my father about the phone saga and subsequent demotion in my boss's eyes from Wonderful Assisting Dynamo to Craptastic Lazy Thorn-in-Side, and he had some really good advice. The best part was when he told me that, even though it's not really fair, supervisors tend to take their bad hair days out on their admins, and that I should not take it personally. As in, he's not really mad at Me the Person, but at His Assistant. Which is a good thing for me to remember, as I take people being upset at me too hard. Also my dad said that as an assistant, part of my job description is basically "putting up with the boss's bullshit." Isn't that a great thing for a father to say? He told me, "Whenever he's being really unfair to you, just keep your head down and do your best, and know you're doing your best, and just repeat to yourself, 'Part of my job is to put up with his bullshit. Part of what I am paid to do is to put up with his bullshit.' "

Heh. My dad gives the best advice ever.


Oct 6, 2004

Buying tickets to the reunion tour

I have this ex-boyfriend who lives in Boston, and who is the only really serious ex I have kept in touch with. We dated for a year in college, and then after we broke up there was a period where we didn't really have any contact, which I think is the best way to do it, and then eventually we got to the point where we would email every few weeks and talk on the phone for big events. Like, when I got into grad school this spring I called him right away.

(I remember that he was "surprised" I got in. Heh. I didn't take this the wrong way, because he's an architect and a really talented artist, so it actually made me feel proud that I had been accepted to a place that even he felt was really competitive.)

I haven't seen him too much since we broke up about four years ago, but I did actually stay at his apartment for a weekend last fall when I was looking at a school in Boston. We had been maniacally emailing each other for weeks when he invited me. That was a great time, and we actually got along better than we ever had before. What was funny was that the first night I got there, we had this huge talk about how neither of us had had a big relationship since we'd broken up. I had been going on a lot of dates, but they were (and still are) mainly first dates, and he is just really shy about approaching girls and hates the meet-market bar thing, so he hadn't really been out with anyone. We kind of bonded over that. I thought something might happen that weekend between us, and I even sort of wanted it to, but nothing did. He slept in his bed and I slept on the couch. In a studio apartment, which was surreal, because we were four feet apart the whole time. I could have stretched my arm out really far and jiggled his foot. But anyway, nothing happened, and I realized that even though we had a great time together and I still found him attractive, he obviously didn't feel the same way. And I was okay with that.

And since then, we email every few weeks, and talk about what we're working on art-wise, and we talk about our jobs and stuff we're doing. Sometimes I will relay the details of my last horrible embarrassing date, and we will laugh about it, but when he talks about his social life he always mentions going out alone, or with his guy friends.

Until now! He had emailed me last month that he was moving into a new apartment that coming weekend. This is exactly what he said: "I am getting ready to move... again. Staying in Boston, but moving to a new place. I am tired of moving. I haven't stayed in a place for more than one year for the past 6 years. Oh well."

Sounds pretty routine, right? I wrote back and asked about his new place, but coincidentally at that time my work email system went crazy and some messages I sent didn't go through. I forgot about him until this morning, so I wrote him and asked about the apartment again. This is what I got back (after a paragraph about a drawing class he's teaching and asking about my painting class): "My new apartment is fantastic, thanks! It's actually only 5 minutes from my old place, but it is still better location and the rent is much cheaper since I am splitting it with my girlfriend. One of the walls in our kitchen is made entirely out of glass block. It is hot."

Holy crap! You could have knocked me over with a feather! I almost thought he was just kidding at first, because the word girlfriend came out of nowhere, and also it is totally within his sense of humor to say something like, "I am living with a girlfriend. She is smart, but sort of messy. That is because she is a Golden Retreiver puppy." He writes a lot of odd little dry one-liner-type jokes like that. (Such as his reference to the "hot" new glass wall in the kitchen: it's his nerdy-architect humor.)

But he was not kidding! Or else he would have finished the joke. And he did not finish the joke.

So, I wrote him back and said, "Dude! You never mentioned that you even had a girlfriend, let alone a moving-in-together one! Whoa, when did that happen? You always say you are no good at talking to girls or getting dates, so you must've gotten over that really fast. Anyway, that is great. How did you meet?"

And he responded, "hmmm... Don't worry... I haven't gotten any better at anything, we work together (in fact sat next to each other for the first couple months she was working) so talking was unavoidable. I don't know, things just sorta started happening and now we are living together." And then he asked me what was new for me.

Dude, that is crazy. How long must they have been dating in order to be now moving in together? I mean, a while, right? I am kind of weirded out that he never mentioned her before. Maybe he thought I would be hurt by it? I'm not, but I am sort of shocked. I mean, we broke up 400 years ago and I have been with other people, so I expected him to date someone else. I guess I am weirded out by how he brought it up, how very matter-of-factly and unemotional. If I moved in with a guy I would want them to be really really happy about it, and talk about how great it was going.

Actually, now that I think about it, this is pretty much why I broke up with him. The unemotionality, I mean. I don't want to be dating a basket case or anything, but I do want someone who is going to be expressive about his feelings toward me and about his life in general. I do like stoicism in a man, but a little goes a long way. I guess I am getting a glimpse of what he would have been like had he and I kept dating, and this was us moving in together. He would have sent an email to an old friend, three weeks after the fact, in which he was like, "Oh and by the way, supine and I moved in together. Yep, we have a great new apartment, and only half the rent! And a hot kitchen wall. How did we get together? Well, things just sorta started happening." Wow, how romantic. Not.

God, I kind of dodged a bullet on this one.


Oct 5, 2004

I lied before. phone phone Chicago phone phone!

Holy fucking shit, people! The phones are up! The phones! Can be dialed! They are up!

It is now...3:42pm on Tuesday. This craziness began last Friday. My brain is mush. I need to email my boss and tell him the project has succeeded. Also, I need to get drunk.


You can find me in rural Montana

This is the last time I will ever speak / think / type the words phone or Chicago. I am going to be like Thoreau and live in the woods, and commune with birds while I sit and whittle by a lake.

The Chicago girl just called me and asked what was going on. As I gave her the rundown, she just laughed and laughed (!!!), as if avoiding such a saga had not been the very reason for all those emails I've sent her over the past month. I am glad my pain amuses her. But maybe she is showing early signs of schizophrenia? I know that one characteristic is reacting to a situation with the inappropriate emotion. (I learned this in Psych 101 so it must be true.) Perhaps this is all a cry for help on her part? Hmmm, tricky situation.


Last night I went to the gym and when I got home I ate a pretty normal dinner, but then I ate an enormous chunk of cheese, for no reason at all. I couldn't stop! It was like I was possessed by Satan! Why does that happen? It only happens with cheese and its products, such as Cheese-Its and pizza. Weird. Do you guys have certain foods that force you to eat them by the metric ton?


Oct 4, 2004

If today were an ice cream flavor, it'd be pralines and dick.

So, thanks again for getting me in off the ledge, guys! You are my three bestest internet friends ever. As far as the phones go, things are still only halfway to completion (I bet you didn't think there even was a halfway-point in phone instillation, did you?), but the craziness has wound down and my heartrate is almost back to normal.

Also, something I forgot to mention in my epic tale of woe: my boss is actually not in the office again until Thursday! Yes! He is in New York. So that face-to-face embarrassment aspect, at least, was totally a non-issue.

Now I am going to document for you the events of today, because, in my opinion, they are so ridiculous as to actually be of interest. (I could be dead wrong, though.)


Chicago time:
8:02 I call the number I was told to call in order to set a definite appointment time. The woman says that appointments are "not able to be loaded in" (??) until 9am, and that I should call back then.

8:03 I leave a vm for the Chicago girl, asking her to call me as soon as possible with the number for the building's main office.

*I do other work.*

9:01 I call the phone people again. This woman is all, "What? We can't give you a definite time." I throw a fit. She checks her schedule and tells me I am second on the tech's list for the day. I calm down. I give her the correct name to reference at the building, as well as my cell phone number.

*I do other work.*

10:30 I call the phone people to see if the tech is on his way to us yet. He is not. His eta is now "between 11:30 and 1pm." I start to get nervous again.

10:31 I email the Chicago girl and bring her up-to-date, and reiterate my need for the building office's number.

*I bite off my already non-existent fingernails.*

11:16 A call! Caller ID says Chicago!

11:17 Phone guy informs me that he has done "everything on his end." I start to get that panicky feeling again. He goes on to say that, in Chicago, due to union rules, phone companies can only hook the lines up to the server room, but that the building's electrical company is the one that brings the lines from the server room to the actual offices. He says I will have to call the company that owns the building to set this up. Since I still don't have that number, I sweet-talk him into finding someone official in the building and asking them. He does this. I hang up.

11:18 I breathe deeply into a paper bag. What good were all those fucking calls I made to the Chicago girl, then??? Fuck.

11:19 Union rules??? Like as in big guys with shovels? Fuck.

11:20 I call the building's owners. A very slow-talking, lackadaisical woman tells me that she will leave a message at the electrician's, but that he "usually takes a while to track down." I try sweet-talking her into giving me his number so that I can try, but apparently she is straight, so my charms have no effect.

11:22 Try the Chicago girl again. Learn she is out sick.

11:23 - 11:25 Think evil thoughts about Chicago girl. Sick, my ASS! Avoiding my wrath, more like. Bitch better run. Heh. Indulge in fantasies where I am tough and know martial arts.

11:26 However, another Chicago girl did have a good tip: try a guy in our sister company down the street from me, who apparently has connections with this elusive electrical company.

11:27 Wait, wasn't that the guy who was on the original email my boss sent to me, six weeks ago, about setting up the phone thing? Why did he not mention this then?

11:28 Check old emails.

11:29 That WAS him! For fuck's sake! What the hell is going on here? Am I taking crazy pills, or could this have been like 12 THOUSAND times easier for me if other people had helped me out, like, one iota????

11:30 Leave him a vm. He is probably at lunch. (It is 12:30 here.)

*I eat a TV dinner that is, sadly, much better than anything I could have cooked for myself.*

12:15 Guy calls back. He does a three-way with me and the woman he knows at the electrical company (not that kind of three-way, perv). The woman says she will get me an appointment on Thursday. I begin to die a little. The guy then sweet-talks her (aha! I am not the only one who flirts to get ahead) into bumping us up a bit. She says she'll get back to us.

*La la la, I do other work.*

12:45 Phone call from the Chicago company's building engineer, Bill. I am confused as to whether he is calling in reference to the electrical lady, or to one of the other 3,000 calls I have made, but I go with it. He says he will call the electrical company and get me an appointment with them. Suggests Wednesday.

12:46 I go into heavy sweet-talk mode.

12:47 Woo hoo! Bill promises me an appointment with electrical company first thing tomorrow morning. Man, I wish I could be a professional flirt.

12:48 Except what exactly would that mean? An escort? A call girl? Hmm. Rethink.

2:07 Boss finally calls to check in. It takes me til the third ring to pick up, because I am hurriedly trying to construct a professional-sounding explanation for everything.

2:08 Wow, am totally on a roll. Boss was sick and sounded like Barry White. Told him, in a fast tone that indicated that I was very busy and needed to get back to work, that the technician had come and gone, and that now that building engineer "was performing a final service, per the building code." Kind of a lie, but he didn't press. Added, briskly, that I had gotten the vendors' check cut and FedExed out, as he'd requested. Gave him his messages. Told him I hoped he felt better soon and hung up.

2:09 Thank God that's over!

2:14 Lady from electrical company calls and offers me Wednesday. I tell her I have an appointment already, for tomorrow. She says she needs to know who I have gone through to get that. Uh oh. I fold like a deck of cards and give her Bill's number. She says she'll make sure it's kosher and call me back.

2:15 Crap. What if Bill was wrong and now I get bumped to Wednesday? What if I get Bill in trouble? Start re-re-thinking escort idea.

2:18 All is okay. Turns out Bill has pulled major strings to get me the tomorrow appointment. I thank the lord that I was able to cajole a probable-union-teamster-man into giving me just what I wanted. (Heh, that sounded dirty.)


Interspersed with all of that, I have been dealing with a freelance creative guy of ours who turned up at our airport, forgot that I had booked him a car service, and took a cab to our office. Almost had a heart attack when he walked in, as he was supposed to go directly to the client's for a meeting. Called the car service and got them to pick him up here and take him.

Also, our fax machine will not receive long-distance faxes all of a sudden.

So the next time my dad describes my job as "low-stress" in an attempt to guilt me into going to law school or med school, I am going to email him these last three posts. After I sic my boyfriend, Teamster Bill, on him.


Tiny fast update...

...to let you know that I have not (yet) dropped dead from stress and anguish. Am still alive! Will update more later.


Oct 3, 2004

Fucking phones. Write letters instead!

Oh god. I need help! Help me please! Help help. I fucked up seriously bad at work Friday afternoon and my boss is livid and I really seriously need advice. I will apologize in advance for the fact that you'll have to read, like, my life story.

See, my start-up company has hired a guy in Chicago so we're setting up office space for him in the same office suite as our sister company there (which is the same setup we are in here). The guy (who is totally nice and easygoing and will not be mad at me at all) starts Monday, as in tomorrow. I had to order all his equipment and get it delivered there in time. And I had to arrange to have his phone lines installed or turned on or whatever by then, too.

Now, when my boss told me to do this, like a month ago, he said just to set the appointment for this past Friday, as the guy was starting "sometime in October." So I had the appointment, and I told the lady when I set up our account that we shared office space with that other company. And about once a week my boss would ask me to contact the me-equivalent at the Chicago office to make sure she'd be around to show the technician around, and that she knew where the server room was, and basically that everything would be smooth sailing for the phone guy. Everytime he asked me to contact her I did, and everything was always fine. I called her Thursday, and the phone company Thursday to make sure the appointment was still on, and everything was fine.

Then it was Friday (Black Friday to me). The appointment was between 1 and 5pm. At 3-something, I check our voicemail, and we had gotten a message while we were on the phone (which means it did not show on the caller ID, so we didn't know who it was from) from the technician, saying he was a few minutes away, but he didn't leave his number. Then like an hour goes by, because I was busy, My boss leaves work early to go to the gym and then meet his wife, and on his way out he tells me that the phone HAS to be done that day, because someone is coming to hook up the network connections for the computer Monday, and the phones have to work for that, apparently. (Also the new guy is actually starting work Monday. So suddenly this appointment is, like, direly important.) So it's 4:15 before I realized that the Chicago girl had never emailed me that he was there (which was the latest thing my boss had told me to get her to do). I email her and he's not there yet. I am freaking out. I call the phone company and learn that the technician went to the building and was not allowed in by security, because he gave them the name of our company and they had no record of it existing in their building (!!!) so they turned him away.

While the lady explains this, my life is flashing before my eyes. Also I am thinking fuck fuck fucking shit oh god I'll be fired fucking hell. I get really mad and tell her that the guy obviously had our number, as he called us once, so why would he not have called again WHILE STANDING IN THE LOBBY so I could have sorted it out??! Obviously the phone lady cannot answer this question. She transferrs me to the scheduling department. I speak to another very nice lady who I take all my frustrations out on (sorry, SBC!). I tell her that he absolutely must come back and do it now, today, it has to be done. She says the next appointment is Wednesday. I tell her "Listen, seriously, I'll be fired. My boss will fire me. It has to be done today or I will get fired." (Oscar moment. I was, like, shaking with fear at this point.) She's like, "Um. Please hold."

So she comes back after a long time and tells me it can be Monday, but she was not able to get a definite block of time so as of now it is scheduled for 9am to 7pm, and I need to call them directly first thing Monday morning to get a definite time set up. This makes no sense to me, but whatever. Then she offers to take $35 off the installation fee. Which is great in theory, but will not save me from the ire of the boss.

So it's after 5:30 now, and I leave the office to go to the gym before I meet my friends. On the way I call the Chicago girl and tell her what happened. She's like, "Oh yeah, we haven't officially notified the building office that you guys are moving in, so he really needed to reference our name when he arrived." She says this in a joking, lighthearted way, not knowing that while it's all fun and games for her, I am about to be killed. Yay, ineptitude! Three cheers!

So then I call my boss, and I get his voicemail thankfully. I tell him what happened, and am very careful to start off with the way I fixed the problem (ie that the guy will come back Monday) and THEN explain what happened, as I read somewhere that this is a more professional and capable way to tell someone you fucked up than to just explain this long-ass sob story right up front. I wind up the conversation by saying, "And, um, I'm just going into the gym now, so if you're going to, um, fire me, it'll have to be over voicemail." Which I thought would be a helpful thing for me to say. My boss and I are generally on very good terms and joke around a lot and are very sarcastic, so I really really did think he would think this was cute, and that it would soften his cold blackened heart. Hoo boy, no.

Then I'm in the locker room when my phone rings and it's him. I am an idiot, so I answered it. The first thing he says is: "Look. If you're going to leave me a message about how badly you've screwed up, there's no need to be catty." I am shocked. I say, "What??" He thinks I am deaf and just repeats the exact sentence again, adding, " 'If you're going to fire me, do it by voicemail?' There;s no need to be catty." I am stunned and petrified. I say something like, "No, I was really...nervous and embarassed. I was trying to be self-effacing, not catty!" He's like, whatever, and then moves on to tell me how he had told me countless times to make sure everything was ready for this, and that I obviously didn't follow his instructions, so now I "had a lot to do Monday, and was going to have to babysit this project from start to finish." And "I don't know what it's going to take for you to actually do this right," but that I had "better figure that out." I was trying to protest and tell him that I had contacted that girl every time he asked, and that I had no idea why the technician didn't call me to tell me there was a problem, and that I had no idea why the building office didn't know we were moving in, and he just cut me off, and was like, "Look, I don't have time for all this. You messed up, and obviously they're not taking care of things on their end, so you need to do all the thinking for them, and you need to fix this. Okay?" I say okay weakly, and he hangs up.

Then I still feel so bad and embarassed over the "catty" thing that I call him right back and I say "Look, I feel really bad about the way things ended just now, and I really did not mean to come off as catty, because I hope you know that I'd never be flippant about my performance, and it's really important to me that you know that." And he's like, "Fine, but I'm on the other line with so-and-so about a $17,000 check that you're going to need to cut on Monday and FedEx out ALSO, so can we talk about this on Monday?" And I say okay and he hangs up.

And I just feel so awful and embarassed and tiny about it all. I hate having people be mad at me, or disappointed in me, which I know is not a good quality as it makes me give in too often just to end a fight, but in this situation I just feel so terrible that he would, like, jump down my throat all accusingly like that. I mean, what did he think, I was being all "I messed up, ha ha, and whatever, I don't care"?! I thought he'd be able to tell, since my voice was SHAKING throughout the whole message, that I was trying to defuse things, but obviously not.

And ALSO I have NO IDEA what more I can do on the whole phone thing. I mean, I'm not actually in Chicago, so I had no idea there was so much security to get into that building. I guess I can call the phone company again and make sure that the guy references that other company when he comes. But honestly, I can't think of anything else. Maybe I am an idiot. Anyway, I need help. Also I need tissues, because I'm like crying all over my keyboard, because he's all pissed off at and disappointed in me, and I just want to quit and run off to school already. Man, when I own my own gallery I will NEVER treat my minions this way. Also I will never blow a gasket over a FUCKING PHONE INSTALLATION, because really that's what all this drama has come down to, and that's just ridiculous.

So, how has YOUR weekend been?


Oct 1, 2004

Another reason to be British

It is beautiful out today! I am much dressier than usual and my boss asked me if I had a hot date tonight. I told him that I'm meeting up with a few friends and a couple of them went to NYU and always dress nicely, and I don't want to look scrubby next to them.

It is totally true that women dress for each other, and not for men, by the way. Men don't notice details, only hotness quotients. That is my theory anyway; I am open to debate.

Speaking of debates (ba dum bump! Thank you, and yes I am taking my show on the road.), I couldn't bring myself to watch them last night. Every time I hear W speak I die a little inside. Also I get all riled up over his lies and asinineness and malapropisms. Why can't Tony Blair be our president? (Don't answer that; I know why technically he can't.) He speaks so well! He uses large words correctly, and he tailors his response to the actual question being asked, and he can admit his mistakes. And he does all of this even in the face of really tough questions by the media and the Members of Parliament. Also, he is dreamy. (Good luck with your heart procedure next week, Mr. Blair! I am pulling for you!)

In other news, I would give my right arm for it to be 5:30pm right now. Why has this week been so freaking long?? Gah!