September 30, 2003
Spice Girl

Every year, J throws a wonderfully elaborate and wacky-good-fun theme birthday party. I own black cowboy boots because of Jís birthday parties (thank you, Value Village, Thrift Superstore). He went to the trouble of putting saloon doors on his apartment. Real cowboy boots - and a bottle of whiskey for the host - were the least I could do.

This year the theme is Tiki Tales, featuring tropical dress. Iíd already acquired a sarong and was trying to figure out if I could get away with a coconut bra when I talked to S. She and C had decided to take tropical in a less obvious direction and go as Gilligan and the Professor. S already has the hat, and I will gladly hand the coconut over to C: it has a more dignified destiny as a radio.

Oh, and a certain feisty redhead came up in their plans, so now all I need is a lamť gown, enough hairspray to maintain the structural integrity of a bouffant, and a Lee Press-On Mole.

September 24, 2003
Conditioning

"So Monday morning NPR did a report on the Emmy Awards, and they wrapped it up with the song that plays at the beginning of The Sopranos."
"Good show."
"Yep. M and I were working our way through the series on DVD."
"Ah."
"Yeah, I havenít seen it for a while. But apparently we spent enough time messing around before, after, and occasionally during the show that now the song is automatically arousing."
"You are Pavlovís bitch."
"This is what Iím saying."

September 22, 2003
Jane 1 - Entropy 8,396,242

I cleaned my apartment yesterday - not just regular olí maintenance cleaning, but the heavy-duty, semi-annual variety. I flipped the mattress and aired the featherbed (no, thatís not what the kids are calling it these days). I used barely diluted ammonia to scrub away a summerís worth of the greasy downtown traffic soot that made its way through the open window and onto my kitchen floor. I rounded up dust bunnies in places unseen and undisturbed since the last dust bunny hunt six months ago.

When I was done I walked through the apartment, admiring my handiwork and enjoying my temporary victory over the forces of entropy.

And then I ran my hands through my hair, and without thinking dropped the single strand that came loose in my fingers. Before it even hit the ground I realized it was destined to drift across the hardwood floor, picking up the tiny bits of wool Iíd just kicked up walking across the rug, a dust bunny catalyst in a primordial soup of fresh lint.

It was an awe-inspiring, circle-of-life moment rather than a depressing reminder of the ultimate futility of house cleaning, which I believe can only be explained by the ammonia fumes.

September 20, 2003
Spoiler

I saw Once Upon a Time in Mexico last night. It counts among its virtues the fact that now a "Salma Hayek's Character Gets Hit by a Bus" film festival will be more than just a lonely screening of Frida.

September 19, 2003
It All Starts with Furniture

G and I are going shopping for office chairs on Saturday, because thereís no way Iím doing this again without adequate lumbar support.

September 18, 2003
Blessed are the Well-Coiffed, for They Shall Inherit without Estate Taxes

Courtesy E, Supply Side Jesus by Al Franken and Don Simpson.

September 16, 2003
Sit Your Ass Down, Maria - Itís My Turn Today

I feel pretty, oh, so pretty.

September 15, 2003
Periodically Catty

I was waiting at a bus stop on Friday night, and didnít notice when the bus I was waiting for went by because I was absorbed in the Utne Reader, which I didnít think was possible. Getting absorbed in the Utne Reader, I mean (rowrrr - catty!).

Here is why Iím prone to be catty about the Utne Reader:
I dropped my subscription in 1997, after one too many yuppie rendered articles about how fulfilling it was to abandon a materially gratifying but spiritually stultifying corporate job in favor of a trek and prolonged stay at a Tibetan monastery-cum-B&B, apparently particularly after socking away sufficient material to buy plane tickets to Nepal. This was not the kind of thing I wanted to read as I ate my grad school ramen.

I received many solicitations to renew my subscription, all of which I ignored. Eventually they subsided, only to pour in again when they ran an "Under Old Management" campaign (back in Utne hands! back to the progressive mission!) . The whole thing read like the effort of a contrite child who had been soundly spanked by Mother Jones. It was good news, but not good enough to get me reading it again.

Except for Friday night, when, for the record, I had it at the bus stop because someone recommended the feature about student loans, and not at all because there are cartoon nipples on the cover this month.

September 12, 2003
Bull's Eye View

I picked up The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break because of the title and in spite of the cover, and because I have a more than casual interest in the work of first-time novelists who plop mythological characters into contemporary settings. It had a slow start, but it was ultimately worth the trouble, and I find that of the five or six books Iíve read recently, itís the one that keeps coming up in my thoughts.

Of course, one of those thoughts is the fact that it was published by Picador USA, which strikes me as someoneís idea of twisted joke.

I hope the editors at Viking have a similar sense of humor.

September 10, 2003
Wild Wild Kingdom

On my way home from work last night I felt something buzz below my left ear and twist through my hair. I figured it must have been a very large, very fast, very determined insect, but the more imaginative part of my brain suspected a near-miss by a tranquilizer dart and thought, "I am one lucky fucking rhino."

September 07, 2003
Queen of the Road

I drove down to Ashland, Oregon on Friday morning...

...and just got back tonight.

I do hope everyone is enjoying the twenty mile wide purple line I left behind me along I-5. I was going for a Christo kind of thing.

September 02, 2003
The Elevator and the 'Stairs

I am not, as you may have gathered, a chit-chat-on-the-elevator kind of person. And yet when I stepped on the elevator last week and heard a certain familiar fanfare, I couldnít help blurting out to the guy who held the door for me:

ME: Good lord, itís our own personal Masterpiece Theatre.
GUY laughs.
ME: I donít think Iíve ever heard it in any other context.
GUY: What was the name of the host...?
ME: Alistair -
GUY: - Crowley.
ME: - Cooke.
GUY: Yes, Cooke. Crowley was...
ME: - a con artist.
GUY: - a writer.
ME: I thought he was some sort of famous Edwardian occultist-slash-scoundrel-slash-drug addict.
GUY: Thatís right, he wrote Diary of a Drug Fiend.
ME: Ah.

And then the elevator doors opened.

September 01, 2003
How Much for Just the Cape?

Last night I dreamt I was at the superpowers store, and all they had left on the shelf was the ability to instantly determine whether any person looked more like her mother or father. It also worked with puppies and kittens, but not full-grown dogs and cats, and not other animals.

"Thatís not much of a superpower," I said to the clerk.

"No," he said, "it isnít."