Friday, December 7, 2007

War of the ascii Roses

Yesterday I texted him and said, "while I am unable to speak in words feeling 4 u, I am able to express it physically." And he responded, "Then I think I know how you feel..."

I didn't respond because really, I don't know how that is possible because I don't always know how I feel. Making it even more difficult is the fact that I don't always feel the same way.

There's this song by Sebadoh, Think (Let Tomorrow Bee):

Think (Let Tomorrow Bee) Lyrics

It's a song I've sent to other lovers. It's sort of like my penoir set. And yet... while I think it's time to buy new lingerie, Lou Barlow sums up my self-conscious and questioning nature nicely.

Yes. Love is the elephant in the room. But what color it is, what I'm going to do with it, and whether it's figured out how to apparate are entirely different matters. Today, tho... a line from the poem, Song, by Allen Ginsberg is repeating ad infinitum through my head:

"No rest without love, no sleep without dreams of love"

But I digress.

There's so much to share with you that is entirely un-related to the beloved boy y.

How is it possible it's only been a week since I last posted? Seems like a lifetime.

Okay, so the week before last was a rough one. I mentioned that I worked hard. Truly, I marketed my little heart out. People think of marketing as conceptual, right? You don't think of it as nitty-gritty, in the trenches, direct contact with your targets. Well, that's not always so. I was, in fact, in the trenches. Suffering the bombs and bullets of direct contact while praying for victory. At the end of the week, all my hard work paid off. I had two events that were full enough to viably run. I was the happiest girl in the world. Exhausted, but elated.

Experimental Tuesday of that week was... one of the best since the first piece I saw. The first piece was almost viral, I've never forgotten it. The speech, the colors - it didn't evoke much feeling but as a piece of art it evoked my love of aesthetics for aesthetics's sake. Nazuna, by Hitoshi Toyoda, managed that feat - and I'll tell you why it was a feat. This was not a film I went to see. It was a slideshow. An honest to goodness slideshow. So honest, that there was a scaffold set up in the back rows of the theatre which I watched the artist climb up to and load, reload, and reload again the merry-go-round. Still photos, a progression of still photos evoked tears from me. Amazing.

It started off inauspiciously. I've developed this allergy. To 9-11. Every time someone mentions it, every time it turns out to be a theme in a book I'm reading, every time the imagery from that day passes through my ocular web... I cringe. I turn away. There is a chain reaction inside my being that screams, "NOooooooooo! Not again! Stop it already!" It's sort of the way I feel about anything having to do with World War II. I'm tired of it.

Toyoda's slideshow began in New York. A few days before 9-11. It takes you through that day and then, mercifully, on a plane to Japan. We follow Toyoda as he goes home for the first time in 11 years. To Tokyo. Then to the mountains where he searches for a mythical group of Japanese Amish. Then to a Zen Monastery. And through the death of his mother. It was stunning. And I loved it.

The following Saturday the sky in Wisconsin exploded and the first flurry of serious snow hit the ground in Milwaukee. I decided this would be the perfect time to try out a recipe I'd seen in the Vegetarian Times. I've never made risotto before because it is an intimidatingly time and energy-consuming dish to attempt. But the recipe for Radicchio and Plum Tomato Risotto was too tempting to pass up. I was waiting for beloved boy y to come over, we'd planned to hibernate and to that end I'd rented 2046 and breathless and endeavored the risotto, bought wine. He was finishing up some things at work and running terribly late. I had no sooner gotten to the final, most delicate stage of preparation (the 1/2 cup addition and stir stage) when he arrived. Within minutes a series of text messages reminded him that a group called Korporate Media was premiering their series of shorts at the Hide House in Bay View. So I quickly finished the risotto, changed into something noteworthy and dashed with him out the door. We'll not discuss the terms of our transport but we made it in just enough time. We'd only missed one, most likely because we couldn't find the room and wasted some time dashing about the building. It was totally worth the rush and arrival-mishaps. Korporate Media is a hilarious group of geeks who produced an incredibly funny series of shorts. I highly recommend checking them out.

With the both of my events running last week, I was a whirling dervish. For any of you who've done event planning you know the "on the road dog n' pony show" event is probably the most energy-draining. I schlepped, I networked, I smiled, I trouble-shot, I did it all. The first event went over beautifully. The presenter was happy, the attendees were happy, and I was happy. Awesome. The second? Well, it was a bit of a comedy of errors. Presenter? Late. Attendees? Thin on the ground. Technology? Temperamental. None of this was my fault, but it's the stress it causes that tips the scales.


I had originally decided to take a half day on Friday. But I need new tires like a body mod addict needs a new hole so I took the whole day so I could drive down to Farm n' Fleet on the south side, hoping to buy and have new tires mounted all in a morning's rush to get down there before 8:30. I waited in line with a group of middle aged white guys. Sore thumb effect, definitely. But there was tire sale on, and apparently Farm n' Fleet's Automotive division is operating half-staffed so it seemed it wasn't to be. Still, I stood around and chatted about technology, the changing workplace, prostate cancer with a couple of guys who worked respectively for Allen Bradley (back in it's heyday - the man was retired now) and Quad Graphics. Nice guys. It was nice to have someone to talk to. They thanked me as I left when it was discovered they'd lied to me on the phone. Not only did they give me the wrong price but they didn't even have my tires in stock. But I got a "Rain Check" which means I'll still get the sale price - buy 3 get one free. And with the price of tires for my car being quite high, this is a deal I can live with.

But the reason I'd decided to take a half day was so that my sister and I could journey down to Chicago to see a new exhibition at the MCA. I'm a member there and I don't think I've been back in the 3 years since I joined when my former Dutch lover came last to visit me. But this exhibition sounded too good to miss. An artist named Sara Schnadt was mapping search networks as they related to geographic locations. Plus, it was a First Friday. T2 and I have always wanted to go to one of those but we've never been able to work it into our schedules. And it was FABULOUS! I loved it! I need to go again. We hopped a train and then a CRAZY crowded bus. Chicago at rush hour is incredible. It was such a mad rush to see that many people out in the streets at night like that. I was totally exhilarated. We walked around near Michigan Ave, looking for a place to grab food and an ATM and found this little place called L'Appetit. An Italian bistro-deli type joint. Delicious sandwiches and cookies. After that we found the MCA, tucked away in it's little corner near Lake and Chicago Ave.

The exhibition was... well, less than I'd hoped it would be. But then, I only saw it being constructed, I'd like to go back and see the finished piece. Because while T2 made arrangements to stay in Chicago for the weekend, I had planned to head back on the last train. Forgetting that the last train in so goddamned early. I only got to stay at the MCA for like, an hour and half. But in that time, T2 and I got our picture snapped in a little attendee photo shoot after an MCA employee dragged us out of the crowd. And I got to see their more permanent exhibition of Japanese and Brazilian takes on American Rock n' Roll. Which was awesome. They'd dragged out Andy Warhol footage of Lou Reed, John Cale, and Nico. There were little rooms where little films were showing - The Spirit Girls film piece was probably my favorite oddity from that bunch.

It was an awesome, inspiring experience that I hope I can repeat. But I've made this mistake before. Most notably when I went to meet Beth and Anna. So, I think this time I've learned my lesson. Get down there on a Friday night, make sure to make arrangements to stay.

I suffered for it. I'm sick as a dog (heh, accidentally typed "god" first. heh.) right now. I think that's been creeping up on me all week. But it was so worth it. It's a crazy life and I love it when I get to run around and see cool things.

Anyway, I've given you all enough to digest. Muchos lovas to all y'all!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Trans-Orbital Torture

Last Christmas I remember driving out to T2's boyfriend's mother's house for Christmas eve dinner. It's kind of a haul, way out in the styx of a far-flung suburb. I was listening to a Sound Portraits piece on Howard Dully, who had had the misfortune of having the "Trans orbital Lobotomy." It was an amazing piece. I got lost in farm country looking for Ms. Boyfriend's Mother's house, which I think was unconsciously intentional. It was an NPR driveway moment, only I kept moving.

I mention this because last night I felt as though somehow, during the two hours I slept on Thursday night, someone snuck into my apartment and performed this procedure on me. All day Friday I felt out of sorts and over-caffeinated. I was up, up, up all afternoon at work. Chatty, excitable. It's been another tough week but mostly from the perspective of how very, very hard I worked. It's paying off, but I just have to hope that it pays off enough to make a go of things. If you believe in that stuff, pray for me. You never know what might tip the balance of the universe ;)

So, after a long day of working to make it work I had intended to go home and nap. I had tried to entice the beloved to come and nap with me, but I was unsuccessful. We'd planned to meet up but I had a feeling that beloved, being in the same sleep-deprived position as me, would end up falling asleep and miss out on the evening's goings-on. And I would be disappointed to find I was right. I laid down around 6, hoping to blank myself out and recharge my batteries for at least a half hour. But my phone kept "sonnez, sonnez, sonnez" begging my attention. So when the sister-person "sonnez-ed" me and begged me to come to an event her museum was hosting because no one had showed up, I gave up the nap. I put on a beautiful outfit.

Like, serious.

There's this dress that I've had for years. I've always loved it but never quite known how to wear it. It's a billowy baby-doll type-thing that taken by itself, obscures my lovely figure. And I've had the idea to belt it, but never had the right belt. So, needing tights last night I ran over to Moxie (Entertaining sidenote: on my way there, I ran into Mr. Houdini. I wouldn't have noticed him, but he called out to me. He gave me a huge, wonderful hug which took me off my feet - literally. I was glad to smile at him again.) where I found not only the perfect tights, but also the perfect belt. So picture this: deep wine-y red velvet short dress with three-quarter length split sleeves and arrow-shaped pin tucks at the neckline, chiffon ruffles along the collar and sleeves. Belted with a deep wine-y red leather belt with a silver circlet buckle. Silver and garnet earrings, vintage silver bracelet. Deep wine-y red tights and grey leather boots. Gorgeous.

So, I went to the museum-thingie. It's called Allis After Hours and they have wine and food and a band. This event was their "Autumn Equinox" event. And when I got there, there were tons of people. I silently cursed my sister. So I drank a glass of wine, ate some food, listened to the indie-hipster band and hung out. There's this guy who comes to all the events at the Allis whom I adore - very gregarious, very animated and sweet and he is a go-er. By which I mean, he goes to everything. He finds all these fabulously interesting things going on in this city and he goes to them. All of them. As many as he can. Which I love. He was telling me about having gone to see this revival preacher on Tuesday night. Some guy preaching against consumerism, I guess. Go-er Todd isn't particularly religious and he'd never gone to anything like it before, but he found it fascinating. I found it fascinating to be told about it. He's such a delight. He's actually the one who clued me into Experimental Tuesdays. Bless his little heart.

Now, it is traditional that when T2 is quitting smoking that we avoid each other and the reasons are two-fold. One, she smokes. And two, we kind of tend to fight. Last night we didn't fight but in my weakened swimming brain-state I was unable to fend off some stuff. I was starting to get cranky just before we left the Allis. By the time we stopped at Balzac for a quick glass of wine before we attended an MAM event, I was officially in a bad mood. T2 is always very judgmental of the men who enter my life. One mis-step and her whole perspective on them can be altered. I spent most of the time we were alone at Balzac fending off needling attacks against the beloved. She made fun of my outfit too. ("I always hated that dress but it looks good with the belt, I guess." or my personal favorite, "You look like Courtney Love." Bah. Courtney Love wishes she looked as good as I did last night. Everyone else said I looked totally NYC. I prefer to go with that interpretation.) As she spoke I felt the pound, pound, pound of the ice pick in my ocular cavity. T2 trepanning. Heaven help me, I was so not prepared for that.

After Her Abby-ness, queen of my hairstyles showed up to rescue me, and Timothy the Gay Boyfriend just after, it took forever to extract them from Balzac to attend The Cedar Box event at the MAM. That was the one thing I wanted to do last night. I was about ready to leave without them when around 9:30 I finally managed it. When we got there, by the time we paid our entrance fee and checked our coats, we discovered that the exhibition had closed at 10. It was just after. Cranky meter raised to red level. The party was okay, there were people there I knew. Jon Jackson from the MIFF (such a cutie, but still needs a haircut ;), the wine-god from Downer Wine and Spirits, and one of T2's board members. It was fun, but I was really disappointed to miss the exhibition and in no mood for working the room - which is normally a delight of mine. The beloved slept the night away. I probably should have too.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Yes, I AM a silly girl

Ah... zee life. She is so fickle this mistress. How kind! How cruel! How often unsettling. And yet, we brave on through the blasts and the pats on the head and the kicks in the teeth and the elbows to the ribcage and the warm, friendly smiles and the embraces of friends and loved ones and the wicked knocks on the noggin. Yes, how we brave on each day. Laughing in the face of idiocy. Standing at the top of our mountains, surveying all the beauty and destruction that surrounds us.

It's been a rough couple of weeks, kids. Like serious. I really wasn't sure how I was going to come out on the other side but here I am. Still standing. My soul's a little battle-worn. My heart's a little achy today but that's more my own fault than anyone else's. I drank a lot last night. *shrug*

I won't go into the details of the work sitchy that caused the battle scars. There's simply too much. But, through it all... through a massive screw-up on my part, through the WORST project of my professional life ever (which is not over and nor shall it be for a loooong while), I still somehow have retained the confidence of my boss and the confidence of the high-est up I have contact with (which is pretty high). I'm still not sure I want to stay where I am and may yet begin preparations for taking my leave of that joint - I'm not sure but this would be the battle that broke the camel's back.

Thanksgiving was... strange this year. I was someplace else all day long. I was bored. I was sullen. I wasn't really there the whole time. I sort of enjoyed myself, mostly in those moments I escaped from my brain. But, ultimately, the evening would end badly. I hadn't cried in months. I had been totally unable. Even when Jerome died. Even when Mr. Houdini left again. I didn't shed a single tear. During the worst stress at work, not a droplet. I'd tried. Laurel and I had had a couple of wine nights and boy o boy if there's anything just behind the dam, usually that'll do the trick but no, nothing. Well, last night the dam broke. I cried my little heart out. I sobbed into my pillow. All the stress and angst and fear and failure and cruelty and professional vendetta leveled against me at work came pouring out. All the fear and happiness and feeling like I'm maybe out on a limb where my "romantic" life is concerned came pouring out too. Baby-bathwater kind of situation. All the annoyance and family grievance. All the feeling like I'm not in control lately. All the everything. Oh, the everything of it all has stained my pillowcases. It felt really, really good. I started laughing in the middle of it. Laughing and crying at the same time. It seems like your head should explode in that situation. Kind of like sneezing and hiccuping at the same time but it was really wonderful. If you can ever manage it, I highly recommend it. Highly cathartic.

I woke up out of sorts, terribly early, brain churning. Alcohol and melatonin seems not to be the most intelligent combination. I'll have to remember that next time I'm drunk and haven't been sleeping. Big red letters: FTN! This is when I chose to send a couple of emails. Not the smartest thing but my brain was up-ending itself and I just HAD to communicate with someone in particular. *shakes head* Silly girl. Silly, silly, tweaky girl. And I wondered this morning, in the throes of it, if I was being tweaky and thought to myself, "No!No, you just have something you want sorted out rightnow so you just neeeeeeed to speak to this person who has a shared interest in the perspective." Perhaps. Yes, perhaps that is so but looking again at the messages... which I am about to do... just now, in fact... and okay, maybe it's not as bad as I thought. I was tweaking, though. Totally, totally tweaking. Rapturous of my emotions. Needed to evangelize. Puh. To quote myself: "...sometimes the universe does not accomodate my emotional schedule." It'll keep. Hopefully he will.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Woke Up and it Was November

Did you ever have one of those weeks where you know you lived out each day, doing what you were supposed to do, showing up at all of your appointments, accomplishing tasks, attending the events that made their way onto your schedule... but goddamn if you can pick out one day from another?

I just had one of those weeks. I can scarcely wrap my mind around the fact that it's Sunday. But it is. Let's see... what's gone on in the Jenn-iverse since last I blogged. Well, the way-back machine takes me back to pre-Halloween. I talked about the really interesting Experimental Tuesday film I went to see, but not the one that was so torturous that when I finally gave up and walked out one of the film department peeps - with a look of sheer disbelief written all over his face - said to me, "how did you make it that long?!?" I honestly don't know. So we can talk about that. I also haven't mentioned the great fun of going to see the Milwaukee Ballet's production of Hamlet with it's associated mooning. (Yes, mooning. I got mooned at the ballet. How many of you can say that, huh?) I didn't really get a chance to relate the details of Mariah's party, nor have I brought you all up to speed on boy y. Or the predictable hilarity of the woodwork debuts a few of my other boys have made.

Shall we start at the beginning? Chicago seems like the beginning, I think.

I took the afternoon train down to Chicago, arriving around 2:30, I believe. It had been my intention when this jaunt was in the planning stages to walk over to the MCA and see what's going on over there, since I am a member and haven't been since I last had an overseas visitor. (Which was a looooong time ago now.) However, Mariah called on my way down and said hey meet me on Dearborn and Adams my dad and I are going to a protest. And so I asked the obvious question: "What are you protesting?" To my amusement, Mariah answered, "I dunno, Dad, what are we protesting?" Somewhere in the background I heard Mariah's dad answer- "The war." Hilarious. So I walked down to the square by the post office at the appointed sculpture and watched as the SINGLE LARGEST PROTEST I HAVE EVER SEEN unfolded before my eyes. I can now say that on October 27, 2007 I attended a protest that 30,000 other people also attended. It was INCREDIBLE. Mariah has yet to deliver on pictures, so I'll have to pester him. Which I actually just did. Just now. I'll post what I receive.

The party was interesting. It's funny to me how different groups of people react to the presence of a new person sometimes. I remember when the aforementioned overseas visitor was here and I believe that his biggest complaint was that none of my friends seemed interested in talking to him. Personally, when I new person arrives in my midst I want to ask them a ton of questions and make them feel welcome. Not everybody does that, as it turns out. And the majority of Mariah's friends did not seem interested in me. A few people talked to me but largely, I was ignored. Mariah did well making up for that so I wasn't like, bored or anything. And observing his group dynamic and the perspective his current group of friends have on him vs the perspective I have on him was really, really interesting. My Mariah is quite different than their Mariah. I love those kinds of peeks into people's social universe. And how different phases of their lives produce different versions of themselves and it's kind of exciting to be outside the usual scope of his everyday life looking in. Ultimately, it was great fun.

The following Tuesday I attended another Experimental Tuesday at UWM. This was a Danièle Huillet memorial tribute. When UWM folks talked about it at the "I think there's something worth dying for" screening it sounded fabulously interesting. You say French film and I am there like a shot, strictly speaking. I love the French aesthetic in film more often than not. But this was not a French film. It was German. Based on a German play by Friedrich Hölderlin called Der Tod des Empedokles. And it was horrible. I have since, when asked, taken to comparing it to Vogon poetry. It was just that uncomfortable to watch. Danièle Huillet was part of a duo with her lifelong partner Jean-Marie Straub. The wiki entry describing these two is also fabulously interesting. But what I did not note is what their aesthetic was all about.

Here's a tidbit for you:

"Aesthetically, their films are often described as being "austere." They utilize long, immobile takes, often framed in an unconventional but seemingly primitive way. Key actions or objects are often not shown, leaving the audience instead to imagine them or have them described by the characters."

They also used non-professional actors. And did it ever show. The main character kept looking down as he was delivering his heroically long monologues. I imagine to make reference to the text. I can scarcely imagine a professional actor memorizing that entire script, much less some guy off the street. Now, most people are frightened off when a descriptor mentions long, immobile takes. But being a fan of the 70's film style, which certainly uses the aforementioned takes I embrace them. I am the only person I know who was able to not only stay awake for but also totally enjoy Equus. I've tried to share my love and no one has ever made it through. This stylistic choice can either be pleasing as in films such as Equus, Coffey, the French Connection or it can be incredibly unpleasant. At least for this film, it was more of the latter.

But my evening was saved. As I was walking home, I got a call from boy y. He wanted to come to where I was and so I met him at the coffee shop across the street from my house. As I walked the sidewalk in front of the shop, I could see him in the huge bank of windows. He'd just had his hair cut, he was wearing a crisp green shirt and he hadn't seen me yet. I could not help but smile. He greeted me as I walked in the door saying, "This won't work. I need to go to a darkened room." I remember being sort of taken aback. Thinking, "Oh yes?
Really? Praytell what exactly do you have in mind?" He smiled at me and showed me his camera. I knew about this piece he's been working on, actually. Years ago, probably 4 or 5, I went to a gallery night at Turner Hall. There were belly dancers, and two very interesting projects one was film from the security cameras that are all over Milwaukee and the other was this non-stop stream of eyes. Irises, specifically. And I remember standing there in front of the film projection, transfixed.

After the photos were taken he plugged his camera into my tv and flipped my eyes onto the screen. I have wavy muscle in my irises. These long, undulating lines of blue and gold with big brown "freckles" up top and to the right on each. It was so interesting. He sat and explained to me what he knew about eyes. We discovered I have dusty eyeballs. Which is, you know, kind of freaky. And afterwards, after the picture snapping and eyeball perusing there was kissing. Really, really good kissing. Which seems to be a theme. Which is good.

Halloween itself was fun. Spent with boy y. First we went to see a reading of a play by a youth theatre group at UWM, then we met up with boy y's friends at Trocadero. The instant we walked in I knew we would get along - the boy friend was dressed like Kelly. Which, like... totally cool, right? We had a great time, we laughed, we talked we danced. A good time was had by all. And, whereas I had gone dressed in daddy duds to the Chicago paty, a la the letter jacket and sweater, for Halloween proper I went as "Edie Sedgewick, pre-Andy Warhol" (which no one got) dressed in my mother's dress and jacket. So, Dad for party, Mom for going out. Which was good because like, the mommy dress was red and short which is always good when in the company of a boy you like. I wish I could find some specific information on the youth theatre group who performed the thing so I can be a little publicity conduit for them but google searches haven't yielded good results. Maybe I'll ask the boy later.

Moving on to Friday...

I work with a woman who is a very curious person. I don't know if I quite understand her but we've some similar interests - namely men and dance. So, when she invited me to attend "Greet Your Seat," an event for the "Balletomane" season ticket holders, during which I was utterly swarmed by board members I jumped at the chance. And we had a good time. Then she invited me to the "Dialogue for Dance" with Stephen Mills, the guest choreographer from Ballet Austin and Michael Pink, the Artistic Director for the Milwaukee Ballet. Which was quite wonderful. We got to see a preview of the ballet, hear about its inception, and really be front and center for a gorgeous view of some of the male dancers' callipygian-ness. The ballet, Hamlet, sounded quite amazing and when it was revealed that the musical score for the show was Philip Glass... that was it, I was sold. I would've bought tickets. But I didn't have to, my co-worker offered them for free.

We had decided to get really dressed up, so I donned the beautiful dress I wore for the Milwaukee International Film Festival Gala. You can go ahead an look in the photo gallery for me, there were pictures of me from that event but it looks like none of them made it onto the website. *shrug* I loose. (My bet.) Boy y decided to work an in at the Ballet and got a ticket from a friend who works there. Boy y picked me up. I was running a little behind schedule, had wet fingernails, and was carrying a jumble of crap when I walked outside to the flash, flash, flash of a shutterbug sitting on the wall beside my driveway. Boy y treated me to a taste of celebrity with a paparazzi reception.

The Ballet itself was slow to start but huge in patience payoff. It was gorgeous, magical, enthralling. And I got to see ass. The lead, Hamlet, split his pants in the first act. It started small but eventually his ENTIRE ass was visible. Running, jumping, leaping was cheeky as hell. The co-worker and I loved it. After the performance we attended a champagne reception where I had the opportunity to speak with the lead. He was very humble and jovial about the "wardrobe malfunction." Which was great. After the reception, the co-worker, boy y and I all decided to go out to dinner at a new tapas restaurant called, La Merenda. The place is positively adorable with really great ambiance to begin with and the food is quite excellent. We had something with shrimp and something curry and something else I can't quite remember. Which is sub-par for my usual food porn, I know, but hey - I'm lucky I remember that much these days.

Now, fast-forwarding to the part where I talk about the woodwork and it's recent yield. Cuz that's the fun part ;) Well, for some of us, anyway. So, remember when I posted about how it was kinda upsetting how after you're newly single all of a sudden your guy friends who have been such very good friends suddenly start looking at you as a dating option? Well, as we all well know it works the other way too. Meet someone you like a lot and are kind of smitten with and watch as all your old flames suddenly wanna start something up again. I got a couple of emails from Houdini boy (now you see him, now you don't - now he's all bound up in chains and submerged in a cooling bath of his own pain), it may or may not have been a toe in the water of round 3 but we'll find out for certain when he does or does not respond to my last response in the email chain. He saw me with boy y on Friday night. Tried to sneak by me with his head down and his baseball cap pulled down. I thought about calling to him to say hello but I decided to let him sneak if that's what he wanted. Went out for drinks with another old flame and after I got home got a text message requesting the pleasure of his presence at my apartment. There was another one in there and it involved a late night face-to-face request but I'll spare y'all the details. You know, and the thing is - I'd love to be friends with Houdini. He's a great guy who I like a lot and while apparently he's not exactly relationship of any kind material I'd still like to know him and double-bubble geek-a-licious boy of the texting fame is a dear heart too whom I care for immensely. And the face-asker, well he's just one of those people I love. So what up? Huh? Do my pheromones change or something? I know they say it's attitude but I like to think I'm a generally happy and bubbly person anyway. I dunno, whatevs, right?

I think that pretty much covers the last couple of whirlwind weeks. Tuesday I leave for Orlando so y'all get to be real jealous of NWG. Heh.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Slut not Ho

Heheheheheheh. Heh. What? I'm totally getting one for all of my favorite people. Heh.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I can haz keeeeeeeessez?

secret by Hex photo by Ninjapants

So the above picture is from lolsecretz, which I occasionally check and find kinda hilarious. Uhm, until I read the "legal notice." Oh, hai. Now I'z not so enchanted. Behold:

"By submitting content to Lolsecretz, you grant Lolsecretz a perpetual, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, distribute, and otherwise exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to that content at its sole discretion, including storing it on Lolsecretz servers and incorporating it in other works in any media now known or later developed including without limitation published books.

If you do not wish to grant Lolsecretz these rights, it is suggested that you do not submit content to this website. Lolsecretz reserves the right to select, edit and arrange submissions, and to remove information from the Lolsecretz website at any time at its sole discretion."

So, you know... if you'd like to maintain at least some creative control over your cat macro or you'd like others to be able to use, alter, or re-post with your permission (the AUTHOR) then I wouldn't suggest submitting your work to this site as the notice suggests.


While I'm on the subject of cat macros, Danah Boyd blogged about lol last week. Apparently the bible has been translated into lol-speak. I was not aware of this particular meme. And so the LOL universe grows. (I can haz applez? No? Gawddamz!) I derive no small amount of secret joy when the "big brains" apply their skeeelz to analyzing seemly banal cultural phenomena like LOL. A linguist? Analyzing lol-speak? 0h n035!1!!1

So, let's see what's new and exciting in the Jenn-iverse, shall we? On Tuesday I attended an Experimental Tuesday screening of "I believe that somewhere, there is something worth dying for, and I think it's amazing" while I always enjoy experiments, especially of the cinematic variety (or videographic... uh, is that a word? No. Merde.) I have to say that I spent most of the film alternately being awed by the colors they painted the actors, the linguistic style they chose, and the extreme performance-art physicality of it; I did spend most of the film thinking, "Oh Em Gee, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. What in blue blazes is goin' on up in heya?!?"

There's a lot going on at the Peck Film school these days which I find exciting, titillating even. I regret missing Kimberly Miller's exhibition at Woodland Pattern last night... but... uhm... I was, uh... doin'... somethin'... else. Heh. You guys can ask all you want but I'm not ready to tell. When I'm ready, I'll explain why when asked how I am the consistent answer this week has been "excellent." Certainly one secret to my smile was the purchase of a new pair of shoes on Thursday but really, that's kind of minor comparatively.

I think the reasons I'm hesitant to discuss the source of my delight are threefold. First, there innumerable places on the interwebs that one can go to read all about the romantic adventures (tho, probably more in the mis-adventures vein) of girl x. How many times can one read "OMG, he like totally sux!!" before one yawns, stretches and re-directs their browser? Second, I've not made it to 31 without plenty adventures and one gets rather tired of recounting the above scene with their personal audiences. There's an element of pride in there insofar as one does not necessarily like people to know that their taste/decision-making ability is so terrible that they keep having all these mis-adventures with the suck-ass menfolk. Thus, until such time as boy y has demonstrated a viability where consistency is concerned I try not to open my mouth too far. Tho, this has been more public from the get-go than I am accustomed to and I'm trying not to let that bother me because this particular fascination is by nature more public than I'm accustomed to and I've been working on not caring about that stuff as much anymore anyway. (And it is here that I would like to point out that weirdly, I'm not sure I think... no matter the outcome... that this will turn out to be a "OMG, he like totally sux" sort of situation. I kind of know why I think that but this paragraph's getting a bit on the long side so perhaps I'll save that tidbit for another time.) Thirdly, I don't know exactly what I'm staring down the barrel of atm. There's a certain amount of fear mixed in with the joy, which is what makes it exciting. (But that's the nature of new things, isn't it?) But there's also a Shinkansen-speed, whirlwind-i-ness element that's occasionally making me feel like I've had the rug ripped out from under my feet. Which is a good thing. I'm good at rolling with the punches and putting myself in situations where there is no other choice seems like the best way to get better at it. So, until such time as I don't feel that trifecta of advisable silence is at play, perhaps I'll fill you all in.

Tonight I make the journey to Chicago-land for my friend Mariah's (Mariah is boy, just in case anyone was wondering. An old, dear friend of mine who I simply cannot wait to throw my arms around.) Halloween party. It's a costume party. *raises eyebrows suggestively* And to that end I have absconded with my father's letter jacket and sweater. I'll be donning a pair of skinny jeans and chucks, parting my hair like a boy and possibly stuffing my pants. With socks. Hehehehehe. Hopefully there will be pictures.

With sweet, secret smiles. A fluttery heart, and an over-clocked brain I wish you all a happy Halloween weekend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Made Up Holidays & Narrow Escapes

photo by quinn.anya

Sweetest Day is bullshit. I just wanna say that right off the bat. A Consumerist conspiracy perpetrated by the Master Florists Association, Hallmark, & Hershey... Godiva and the National Fancy Helium Balloon Association (Filled & Unfilled brethren welcome) were there too. At the table. The diabolical table of "we don't think people spend enough money on our crap... how can we guilt the average American into blowing more cash on proving their love?" table. Of doom.

Apparently this bogus day where frightened-looking men toddle into florist shops, grocery store flower refrigerators, candy aisles, jewelry stores featuring short-term credit applications, and cheesy balloon stands in malls was Saturday. I didn't notice.

I was supposed to get together with a friend of mine that night. I bailed. Now I'm glad I did.

Ladies, have you ever noticed that so often you can be friends with a guy for ages and it seems like he's just such a dear friend and everything is happy and wonderful... right up until your boyfriend throws you over to pursue a law degree and skips town to Europe. (Which is the best place to skip town to, IMNSHO.) Then suddenly you're a walking, talking, cooking, physically appealing side of beef seemingly destined to be claimed for their own. (Do you have flag?) Because of course as Proposer #2, whilst declining my extended company so eloquently implied, I won't be happy until I've found that "special someone." At which time apparently I will begin residing in LaLaLand. Which is right next to Ubangy. And Neverneverland. They share a common border.

It's funny how a day like Sweetest Day or Valentine's Day can take such a hold of fear over men. (And gay couples? Is Phil mad at Steve if Steve forgets to bring home the rainbow carnations Phil lovingly admired in the arts district florist window? Is Tanya mad at Jan if there's no trail of rose petals leading her up to the bedroom?) Are other women/gay men really angry if their "significant other" forgets? I'd be waaaay more pissed if say, one of my entanglements forgot my birthday. (But you all know how I feel about my birthday. Best. Day. EVAR.) It's such crap. If you love someone you show them every day, as much as possible in a million small ways. Flowers and candy and sparkly things -while nice - are really quite irrelevant to the whole "love" thing. But maybe that's just me.

NOW. That being said, some horrible pink bear thing was just delivered to a co-worker of mine from some man in honor of Sweetest Day. And I can't help thinking... I can't remember the last time I got flowers. Truly, I can't. Candy's origins are parental. As for sparkly things... well I'm a farging crow and I scare up that sort of thing for myself. (Heh.) But flowers... odd symbol though they are... here, have something that'll be dead in two days. Fewer if you forget to add their embalming packet. But look! Fleetingly pretty! Just like you! Anyway, I'm kind of jealous. Which is totally stupid. I'm sure it'll be just as fleeting as that silly bear's existence.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Seems Like Such a Small Thing...

...and yet, it could not be more annoying. Like a toothache.

I posit that silk underwear are not all they're cracked up to be. In fact, they're turning out to be rather uncomfortable. Elastic-squished lady-parts is for teh no.

Just in case anyone was wondering.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ursula K. Le Guin is Kind of an Ass

Last night I attended a session on Intellectual Property Rights at Barcamp Milwaukee, imagine my amusement when I visited BoingBoing and found this story as the lead piece. Misquoting, mis-crediting, and out-of-contexting aside I am more than a little horrified by Ms. Le Guin's reaction to the situation. This open letter is posted on her site, which I read with no small amount of surprise and disdain.

Of course, I might feel differently if I had ever been presented with the same situation but I think as long as I was properly credited I wouldn't really care and would only address the contextual mistakes in my own way. Ms. Le Guin's use of the asshats at the SFWA presents an ethical problem to me. As a writer, I would never make use of an organization which has made such grave mis-steps in their handling of digital copyright.

Don't get me wrong. I love Ursula K. Le Guin. I love the Earthsea series. I do not love her reaction to this situation. I do, in fact, think she's being an asshole. She apparently "remains upset" at Cory Doctrow. Which smacks to me of a cranky old lady looking for "gravy." Maybe she'd chill out if Doctrow sent her a check?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Any Volunteers?

Dude, seriously - for like, the last week or two my shoulders have felt stitched together with barbed wire. I need a backrub so badly I am almost to the point of being willing to pay for it?!?!

In other news, I am now a Gawker commenter. Which may well turn out to be bad for productivity :D *sheepish*

In other, other new I am currently embroiled in a battle of wits with another department at work. Even though I'm wittier I think I'm still losing. (Which may well be the source of the dire need for a backrub.)

And in other, other, other news I can't wait for the MIFF Volunteer Appreciation party @ MOCT on Thursday. The bastids still haven't posted the pics from the festival to their site. Which sucks because I have a bet running that I'm in at least 5.

Finally, any Milwaukee-area Geek readers (Are there any? Hmmm, I wonder...) Should check out barcampmilwaukee2 - looks pretty interesting and like it'll be a boatload o' fun. If you've the time, check it out.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

Or forgetful.

Yes, yes I am quoting Disney's Robin Hood. Maid Marion to be exact. The title question is posed by the Mother Hen character. And the line above is Marion's response. Rather fitting right now, I guess.

My sister and I used to be able to watch that movie over and over again laying on the floor in front of the entertainment center (with it's VCR with the remote you had to plug in) me operating the face controls with my toes. Much to my parent's chagrin.

Well, I'm all grown up now. I have my own VCR, which largely collects dust but I definitely don't operate it with my toes. I've learned a lot of hard lessons over the years and some of them have only recently galvanized in my mind.

That left unfulfilled the starved mind does you no favors.

That being a grown up comes down to one very simple concept that my stupid ex-fiance told me years ago, but I didn't listen: Seeing what needs to be done... and doing it.

When given the chance to prove it, you'll generally find that not only are you waaaay smarter than you thought you were but you're even smarter in the eyes of the people who gave you the chance to prove it in the first place.

Simple concepts, all three... but oh, so easily overlooked. So easily ignored. So easily skimmed over out of laziness or fear.

I got the full-time version of the job I harangued over when I started this blog at the end of August. I am be-salaried and be-awesomely-benefitted. I have a metric TON of projects that I'm working on and I've also been invited to join a planning council for the local Young Professionals group.

I had another go-around with the boy from this spring. Which lead to disappointment and a sadness I am still working through. Yet another round with, "but I really liked him and thought that he liked me and then he had to go and ruin it."

But I've rebounded with not one, not two, but 4 new crushes. I won't name names but one works for the film festival, one works for a local arts organization, one is a little too close to home for comfort (like... in my building) and one works on my floor. The beauty of all of them is that they're all just out of reach. All it would take would be a chance meeting with one or any of them so I live deliciously on the edge. Being very careful not to get too close, lest I spoil the illusion that they're the kind of people I might like.

So that's life from the fast lane. Passing you on the left hand side, waving, singing along to the music only I can hear.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I'm still alive, I have not died, nothing much exciting has happened... I've just been busy. Except... I got the job when it went full-time so I am now be-salaried and be-benefitted. YaY!

I will return this weekend (or sooner, depending) with an exciting blog post.

Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bachelorette Living, avec Cat

Last week Gawker posted about a Julia Allison blog-entry about "Singlefiers." Those clearly-girl items that enjoy a home as part of the decor only when you're single and live alone.

Piles of magazines everywhere, comprised of tons of pretentious ones that are clearly untouched and then severely thumbed-through Vogues and Luckys

Well, while there are definitely piles of reading material everywhere, (e.g. a whole basket full to the brim with some totally untouched Economists which is odd because I really like that magazine but never get around to reading it lately for some reason, a whole mess of untouched NY Magazines) the biggest offenders are both piles of books which are about 7 deep in the pile on the coffee table atm and the monster piles of New York Times newspapers. The reason for this is that Tim and I go to a coffee shop in the Third Ward every Sunday morning, the express purpose of which is *supposed* to be to drink coffee and read the paper. I think the only time in recent memory I've been allowed to actually sit and read has been the Sunday when Tim was absorbed by the Deathly Hallows. Generally what happens is that Tim picks up a couple of sections which he does not really read, instead he sits and chats at me while I struggle to continuously relocate where I left off in a given article. After a couple of hours I give up and we go to lunch. With regard to the pile... there can sometimes accumulate 2 months of those things. They have a spot between the couch and the chair. For some reason, I find it incredibly difficult to throw them away until they are quite old.

Overflowing shoe rack and nothing in the fridge

The former... totally. In the reader comments on Gawker there were bonus points doled out if your shoe rack hung over a door. Does it count if it's the inside of your closet door? And then also a regular shoe rack on the floor of your closet? And then a pile inside your closet? And then random pairs scattered about your apartment? Like say, 4 pair by the couch and 3 pair by the chair, and a pair of sneakers by the door?

As for the latter... uhm, no. In my fridge are the spoils of the farmer's market (broccoli, squash blossoms, corn, orange cherry tomatoes, 3 poblano peppers, tomatillos, a giant bowl of french filet beans, fresh eggs, rainbow chard, chives, sage), a bunch of stuff (most especially onions and halved lemons) in various stages of consumption in zip-lock baggies, a few deli containers from Beans n' Barley, a couple of bottles of mineral water, an un-opened bottle of white wine, 3 "company" beers, containers of strawberries and raspberries, a huge container of non-fat plain yogurt, one-quarter each of a watermelon and a cantaloupe, a couple of leftover containers with remnants of last week's meals, there is also the produce which has also spilled out onto the dining room table (giant bowl of orange and yellow tomatoes, a couple of enormous golden zucchinis (yes, that's right, I know what I wrote), a leftover patty pan and an heirloom tomato, and bowl containing an assortment of fuji apples, nectarines, peaches, and bananas. Also making an appearance is the biscotti jar full of flour that I've been too lazy to find a home for in the over-stuffed cabinet.

Scented candles

They're not scented... except the one in the bathroom ;) but there is definitely a candle presence in my apartment. Most of them were gifts. My mother has a fetish for this store called Winkie's in Whitefish Bay and every Christmas and St. Nick's (yes, my mother still gives us St. Nick's gifts) she gives us stuff like foo-foo writing tablets, little bags of honey sticks, tea mugs with little ceramic tea strainers (very cute, very useful) and such. For Easter we always seem to get candles shaped like little bunches of daffodils. So those are about.

Slovenly heaps of little-used makeups in the bathroom

My slovenly heaps of much-used makeups have found a new home on the bureau in my living room. I've recently been waging a war with my pissoir (poor maintenance guys have been here four or five times this year - I have, in fact, been putting off calling them for a new problem because there seems something conspicuous about a single girl constantly calling for a broken toilet, don't ask me why I think that because I don't know) and months ago when I came home to a little Sea of Galilee (which is not so much a sea as a very large freshwater lake) on my bathroom floor my makeups were found adrift in their cute little makeups bag (which was the real victim of the floods... it bled and isn't pretty anymore) so, much like many Katrina victims, they have yet to return to their home and instead have found themselves all spread apart on display for all (the people who never see the inside of my apartment) to see my girlie makeup secrets.

Stuffed animals in the bed

Oh... uhm... NO. Once upon a time in college I was the proud owner of a Paddington bear, an "everything" bear (which was given to me by the creepy older guy who kept semi-successfully trying to date me the summer before I left for college), and my childhood companion "Sugar." But I haven't kept stuffed animals in a loooooooong time. Having lived with several boyfriends, eventually the herd got thinned into extinction. I do have a small stuffed bunny who lives on the shelf under my nightstand, but he never comes near the bed.

Cat hair on the furniture

Kinda busted... I don't think it's so much the furniture as the hair that I never seem to be able to remove from the living room rug and tumbleweeds which used to be a combination of giant twining balls of my own long hair when I had it and Rowan's.

Cat smell

God, I hope not. Ew.

Cabinets full of mugs featuring the likeness of lady who looks like those hypertrophically-limbed Daily Candy illustrations, bearing the legend "I Love Shopping" or whatnot

Nope. What I do have is a "Michigan" mug and a hideous ginormous wine glass painted with the extremely colorful image of a lady with shopping bags which was a gift from a co-worker, and pint glasses bearing the name of their various giftors.

Anything pink

Wrong again. While I am a devotee, I do not consider pink a decorating element. Aside from the dream kitchen in my head featuring 50's style-appliances in the aforementioned shade which will hopefully never come to bear in reality.

Ornamental pillows

Guilty. Two on the couch. But they're olive green velvet and comfy as hell - especially since the arms of my couch are decidedly high.

Unedited bookshelves, esp. if they include He's Just Not That Into You or anything along those lines

Well, I do have a non-prominent copy of The Dictionary of Failed Relationships on the shelves. But that book is funny as hell.


Ew. No. Piles of worn out razor heads on the edge of the tub, tho.

Anything lite or diet around. Cases of Diet Coke. Weight Watchers 'Just 2 Points' bars

Wrong again. Unless you count the non-fat plain yogurt.

Inspirational or thinspirational things on the fridge

My favorite magnet on my fridge is the picture of the girl in the obviously ill-fitting 50's pointed bra which says, "when bad bras happen to good girls," which is meant to remind me of the importance of decent foundation garments after a stint in a crap one which mis-shaped the girls horrifically last summer.

Framed posters

Yes, of course. Some of us can't afford real art and are certainly not going to be making any herself as evidenced by the GIANT unfinished collage piece which has lived for like, 6 years behind the bureau at various residences. Reader comments make reference to Klimt's The Kiss being an offending item and I must admit to ownership of a small framed and matted copy in my bedroom along with the feather art pieces I lifted from a drawer at the cottage one summer. What? They were wrapped in paper towels and rubber-banded. In my book, that makes them fair game.

Handbag tree

Try a collection of them on the closet door handle and a pile of them on the chair in the living room. Does my handled farmer's market basket that lives on the dining room chair in the living room count as well?

As always, the Gawker reader comments are the best on the subject. My favorite being one by PIKACHUMCHEIDEGGER:

"By the bed a turquoise saucer, heaped with tarry clots of the poppy's blood, to kill the black dreams of a vacant womb.

Also, those high-fiber Wasa crackers from Sweden."

All in all I don't think my apartment all that terrifying. The biggest un-mentioned offenders being the piles of clothing on the chair in the living room, the pile of nail-maintenance paraphernalia next to the pile of books on the coffee table, the innumerable pots of Burt's Bees moisturizers lying all over the place, the coats on the dining room chair, the two bottles of red wine on the in-between counter between the kitchen and dining room (a good bottle and a bottle of $3 Chuck), the innumerable empty bottles of mineral water awaiting their fate as porch ashtrays under the sink, the little galvanized steel mini-bucket thingies from World Market filled with tampons and the oblong one containing q-tips, also in the bathroom a small pile of free moisturizer samples and a foo-foo box o' matches, early in the week the towel bar can be seen with its drying-underwear population, and the hook for hanging clothing from the always-open bedroom door that is full to bursting with work clothes, belts, and scarves - which have migrated for lack of room down to the door handle. Both sides.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Portobello Stackers

Some sources suggest that the protein complexes found in cooked mushrooms may be as near complete alone as those found in conventional meats. An ex of mine who had worked on a mushroom farm (not the psychedelic variety) once said that mushrooms were as near to meat as anything in the vegetable kingdom ever got. Whereas most vegetarian dinners require combinations of foods to achieve a complete protein (e.g. nuts, seeds or grains with dairy; rice and beans) this is not considered necessary when serving mushrooms.

1 large portobello mushroom cleaned and stemmed
2 large carrots cleaned and peeled
1 young red onion
1 small tomato, sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 "handful" (subjective, would suggest approximately 2 tbsps) fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 "handful" fresh basil
1 "handful" greens - escarole, watercress, spinach, frisée, radicchio
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2-3 tbsps dry sherry
black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400°. Use tablespoon olive oil to coat bottom of glass baking dish and bake portobello for approximately 10 minutes, alone. Dice red onion, smash garlic cloves with flat blade of knife, chop parsley finely. Add red onion and garlic to baking dish. Using tongs, tip portobello to drain accumulated juices, return to dish. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with chopped parsley.

Using vegetable peeler, peel long ribbons of carrot- which can be done directly into small sauté pan. Turn heat to medium and add dry sherry, basil and black pepper to taste. Cook on medium until pan is dry, reduce heat to low and toss to dry out a bit.

When finished with carrots, remove baking dish from oven. Toss cooked red onions with carrot ribbons and chop caramelized garlic finely.


First, evenly distribute finely chopped garlic on top of portobello. Then add cold sliced tomato, top with carrot ribbons and onions. Finally, add handful hand-torn greens.

Result: Very, tasty and quite refreshing. Carrots take on a much emphasized sweetness which is balanced with the hot crunch of fresh-ground black pepper. Portobellos seem to take on a slightly creamy flavor when roasted with a high-quality balsamic. I used escarole to top my stacker, which has a nice nutty flavor to it that works well with the earthiness of the mushroom. I suggest serving the tomatoes cold as the hot item/cold item balance is quite nice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Lake Trail

Azure cotton voile hung in the sky
backlit with shades of apricot and pale orange
Horizon a melange of stripes
Buckshot clouds and frothing water
Along the trail I ride through piss-water hotspots
stinking of dead fish and pass an inky black man
who does not seem to know or care that the traffic of the trail sides right
I listen to the tink, tink of the ancient leather seat groaning under my weight
gliding over cracks that winter's bipolar freeze and thaw produces in this place
I think on muscles -just recently brought out of retirement- which propel my legs to move up and down like a marionette,
on the chain that sling-shots continuous the gears that turn at the command of my muppet legs- or so they appear as I look down and watch for a moment their movements
As I pass a gaggle of recalcitrant women, looking resentful as they compress to allow me passage
I smile out at the expanse of grass other side the boulevard and look towards the ancient bridge that hangs (or perhaps not) dilapidated and ignored over the river near the yacht club
Never before have I known beauty 6:00am on a summer morning breathing in the landscape too often forgotten in favor of crammed roadways
Back and forth to work and store and bar and friend's houses tucked away on easy corners
Comparatively, I've grown to despise life behind the wheel
The things I did not see too numerous to mention
And suddenly I hate to think of things I've missed

J. Turner
July 2007

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Twelve Things

Over at Alice Ayers there's a list going around (from last month, to view the current page click here... take a look, the photography is fabulous). Twelve things she'd tell a sixteen year old her. And everybody knows how much I adore lists, so here is mine.

1. You are not unattractive, at all, in the least. You are actually quite lovely.

2. Try harder. It does matter, actually. And later, you will care.

3. Not only will someone you want to have sex with want to have sex with you too, but you'll fall in love. Don't get excited yet, it won't happen the way you imagine.

4. When you're on your way to your interview at Contempo, don't check your wallet to see if you have gas money. You have enough gas to make it there, but the car won't survive your inquiry.

5. College will not live up to your expectations. It will be pretty much the same, just without adult supervision. Don't get your hopes up.

6. The new girl from Rice Lake you meet in your sewing class does really want to be your friend. Be her friend. Please, don't let your inferiority complex interfere. She is not just like everyone else.

7. Next year, when Jenny refuses you cigarettes do not take it as a challenge. She's right to do so. Not only will you smoke for YEARS to come but it will get more and more expensive and you will not be rich, even when you're thirty.

8. Touting your virginity in Mr. Hitchler's class will not get you a date to the prom. It just makes you seem a little too much like the girl who never cuts her hair and wears jean skirts with sneakers. But you're right, it is decidedly incomparable to a back rub. But that doesn't matter.

9. Choose your college wisely - here's a little tip, as it turns out, you hate living in the country.

10. Do more, daydream less. It's not just about surviving. It doesn't have to be this way.

11. Your mother loves you and she's not an idiot. Listen to her once in a while. If for no other reason than to make her happy. Nobody likes the screaming.

12. Watching movies in your basement with Julie on a Saturday night while consuming an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's is a very bad habit to get into. Go do something else.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Raspberry-Garlic Vinaigrette

The other day an acquaintance of mine asked me; "Are you available for contract wifing? Because you cook the kind of things I should eat but wouldn't even think of making myself. I swear, I wouldn't ask for sex. Just food." The answer, of course, was no. I am available for catering services upon request but I am not in charge of anyone's daily meals unless the package includes the all-important arts of sexual gratification, various handyman services, hand-holding rights, snuggling and story-listening indulgences, the occasional bunch of flowers, and co-viewing of films of my choice both in-theatre and in-home. Oh, and smooching of both the public and private variety.

So, allow me to impress you with yet another feat of recipe change-up magic. I started with Bella Cucina's little beauty and worked from there. As the farmer's markets begin to present their vegetable wonders (it's been a bit thin on the ground until now) I've decided to pick some things I've traditionally not eaten to see if I still hate them. First up on the list was beets. Historically, I've been served the unnaturally-hued neon candied sort sliced up cold on the side of a salad. While kind of aesthetically lovely in their own way I don't find any enjoyment in their flavor. Perhaps I would enjoy them more if they were homemade but I think these have generally come from a can or store-bought glass jar. Anyway, the verdict has been - until now - that I HATE beets.

When I saw the amber-orange hue of the golden beets sitting on a table at the East Side Open Market I couldn't resist. I was told by the farmer that they were quite sweet as opposed to the earthy flavor of red beets.

I started off cleaning and trimming the beets, placed them in a glass baking dish with 2 tbps of olive oil, a handful of fennel seeds, several sprigs of rosemary, and three flattened garlic cloves. (Rather than crushing them in a press, I simply flattened them with the blade of a large knife and placed the peeled, crushed cloves in the pan.) I then roasted them, covered in foil as the starting-point recipe suggested at 350° for approximately 50 minutes. The last 10 minutes of their baking time I placed a sheet of raw walnuts in, checking and shaking every 2 minutes I toasted them as a topping.

After the beets were roasted to the point of easy pierceability, I set the beets and caramelized garlic cloves aside to cool. (And the recipe suggested discarding them! Can you imagine throwing away perfectly delicious caramelized garlic?!? Oh, the insanity!) I poured the liquid contents of the pan into a salad-dressing bottle and added 1 tbsp of tarragon and shallot vinegar, 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, a little black pepper, some lemon juice, a handful of smooshed-up raspberries (I did this in a plastic baggie with the back of a spoon in order to retain the juices), and gave it a good shake.

In a bowl I cleaned and stemmed baby spinach and basil leaves, added some healthy slices of heirloom tomato, thinly sliced yellow peppers, the toasted walnuts, thinly sliced pearl red onion, and a handful of whole raspberries. Then I tossed it with the vinaigrette.

When the beets were cool enough to touch, I peeled off their skins to reveal their gorgeous jewel-like color and the smell was delightful. I sliced them in half and then into half-moons as the recipe suggests. Then I took the caramelized garlic, chopped it roughly and added that and the sliced beets to the top of the salad.

Oh, my goodness gracious. Welcome to tasty-town, population me. Some might be so inclined to add some dollops of goat cheese or perhaps some greek yogurt to round out the proteins but I didn't find the addition of dairy necessary. Plus, I was afraid it would overpower the beets whose flavor is quite delicate.

New verdict: I love beets. I dunno about the red ones just yet but the golden beets are victorious.

It's summer and therefore my ice cream weakness has reared it's delicious head. While this weekend I indulged myself with Leon's Frozen Custard (their chocolate is to DIE for!), I can't do that every night. *le sigh* Thus, might I suggest, for dessert Purely Decadent's Pomegranate Chip "ice cream"? In the past I've made Rice Dream's Strawberry my favorite but it has a new and powerful rival. Purely Decadent's caloric, fat, sodium, and carb content is actually lower and the texture and taste are MUCH better. It is, in fact, quite wonderful and satisfies my craving for creamy goodness. I highly recommend it.

Next up on the try or die list: Ochra - traditional response: PLEH! Tune in next week and see if I can change my mind.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

UII: Addenda/Update

So two *edit: NO THREE! Three more of the little buggers showed up in my spam-box. I went to the website (which is definitely user-driven), plugged in the card ID code and it said ERROR! The card you have requested does not exist or has been removed by the sender.


Like, you know, whatever.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

UII: Unidentified Inbox Item

There it was, sitting in my inbox titled "Hi, an old friend has sent you a greeting card!" Opening the exe file I was terribly curious. An old friend? I thought. Who could this old friend be? How old is this old friend? They can't be that old if they have my gmail addy. Right?

As the flash unfolded my curiosity would go unsatisfied by it's papyrus-scrawled contents:

A friend in need
Is a friend indeed!

(I'm here for you!)

Oh. You are, are you? You're not going to tell me who you are but you're totally here for me. Got my back, right? From a safe distance? Are you next door? East? West? Invisible?

Who the hell is this "old friend" person?!?!

I hate mysteries. Especially when there's no clues as to their answers.

So the most obvious questions at hand are as follows:

1. What exactly are you "here" for me for? The death of my ex? There's a lily in the background of the flash card that suggests such a theme... that's the only real recent tragedy and the only thing someone who hasn't actually spoken to me for a while would be able to publicly discover, I believe. Unless there's some new tragedy afoot I don't know about yet. It's not entirely unusual for me to be the last to know...

Alternative theories:

1.a. This person somehow found out I had to run interference between my grandmother and my aunt at a family thingie last weekend. They feel sorry for me because they know that you've really grown up when you find yourself watering down your grandmother's drinks so she doesn't shoot her mouth off. That's gotta be it, right? And they're going to help me lament the death of my innocence... except... I lost my innocence quite willingly looooooong ago. So maybe that's not it.

1.b. They heard I stubbed my toe. Flowers are forthcoming.

1.c. I was overheard keening the continued coma-state of my sex life. They're here to help.

1.d. It's a regular reader who'd decided my blog had gotten a bit on the boring side and generously wanted to give me something to conjecture about.

2. Why did this person decline to use their actual name? An "old friend," indeed. If you're "here" for me, wouldn't it help to know who you are? Were you planning on revealing yourself at a later date? Is this part of a larger "SUDDENLY SYMPATHY!" sneak attack? Someone is planning on showing up at my doorstep and offering me their shoulder to cry on?

3. Are they aware that the tragedy happened two weeks ago? That I've largely worked my way through it (and by largely worked my way through it I mean I haven't worked my way through it at all but I am possessed of an incredibly short memory and things tend to fade quite fast... until such time as I get completely inebriated one night and something reminds me of him and I end up sobbing like a baby, being utterly inconsolable until I pass out and wake up with very red eyes and a headache to beat the band... so history dictates) and am now dealing with the "I'm speaking to his sibling who is also my ex who I haven't spoken to in more than a year because he drives me kinda crazy" fallout. Which, is quite different and yes, in case you are wondering, I do need consoling for that.

Oy. I'll wait and see if details will be revealed as time goes long. But I wanna know NOW!!! she whined and wailed. Now, now Veruca. Have some patience.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Confessions in Consumer-whore-ism

K: Anthropologie. Third ward. Early 2008. It's official

JA: Fuck. Might as well declare bankruptcy now.

K: I know right. And how wonderful it will be.

JA: Totally. I think we should consider hiding our credit cards and starting hooking. Blog title idea: Anthro-whores.

K: Works for me. We will only accept gift cards as payment for our dirty deeds. Amounts and quantity negotiable.

JA: We'd have to accept cash gifts too - we'd have to parade our fab kits. (What do you think I would have had to do to get the Doyenne boots from this winter?)

K: True. And I don't know. How badly do you want them?

JA: Somewhere between pack o horny midgets & aging swinging hipster couples. I'm not sure, I'd have to see 'em again.

(Retail: $798)

K: Not sure how easy it would be to find a readily available plethora of horny midgets... You might do better with hipsters. But you could definitely earn enough.

JA: OR we could just start a site for other anthro-whores to hook up and get their Anna Sui fix and get all our booty from the ad sales... just a thought.

K: We could be the new gofugyourself girls. Except instead of commenting on other's fashion faux pas, we could make them in the name of quality clothing stores.

JA: AWESOME!! Who would you pick as your avatar? Dude, I have to be Chloe Sevigny... or should I be Bai Ling?

K: Damn. If I can't have Bai Ling, I'd definitely take la-lohan.

JA: Isn't there a tacky Jewess? Well, I suppose nobody gives a fuck about Fran Drescher anymore.

K: Right. I can't think of any but I think we could make la-lohan honorary just for our cause.

JA: Very well. I dub thee la-lohanukkah.

K: Would that make you Bai Lingmas?

JA: I think I'm really more of a Scarlett-go-bragh-less kind of lass.

K: Well played.

Indeed. Amusingly, during the latter half of this conversation I was in the middle of reading an article in the Sunday Styles section of the Times. "Buying Into The Green Movement: Eco-friendly shopping may be fashionable, but critics argue it won't reduce global warming" I had just reached the section about a San Francisco group called Compact whose members have taken a vow of poverty, I mean, uh... they've vowed to live one entire year purchasing only food and medicine. I was just reading about a professional dog-walking girl who counted a new pair of running shoes among her errant purchases.

I hadn't even taken one trick and I still felt like a whore. I thought to myself, "If they knew how much crap I'd bought last month alone there would be a LOT of finger wagging."

Now though, I have a question - if you're only allowed to purchase food and medicine - what do you do if you have a cat? Homemade cat food? Or does that count among your food purchases? Or better still, what about kitty litter? Huh? Spend a whole year raiding children's sandboxes? Well, you can't. Because people caught on that strays were using them for just that purpose and filled everything with wood chips and sealed it over with recycled tires. And it said nothing of toiletries. Licking those girl's ears must be, erm, tasty.

Whatever. I'm sure my "carbon footprint" is dark and indelible. *le sigh* A thousand lashes with a wet spelt-flour noodle.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Triple Vanilla Cupcakes - Magnolia Cred

Welcome, friends, to another edition of cupcakery a la Jenn. Today I present to you the pleasures of the famous Magnolia Bakery Vanilla cupcakes.

I started with this recipe, the only additions/changes I made were to use about half a teaspoon extra of Spice House Double Vanilla Extract and top it all off with Pure Vanilla Sugar.

I had planned to make my own vanilla sugar, but as I'm a working girl with a social life, that never quite materialized. Ah, well... the best laid plans, as they say.

I must say, homemade sugar or no, everything turned out rather gloriously.

I think the most entertaining part about all of this is seeing for absolutely certain what went wrong with the frosting my very first batch of Easter cupcakes. In my inexperience, apparently I didn't realize that a) that this is an old-fashioned butter and sugar icing recipe and not exactly buttercream, thus it is functionally different b) the order in which you add the set of mixing components was INCREDIBLY important and c) that you do in fact have to add a shit-ton of confectioner's sugar before you reach the desired consistency(I believe there was 6 cups to 2 sticks butter and a cup of milk) d) that it's texture and appearance changes as the frosting "sets". Not "sets up" as in hardens totally like cone dip but similarly.

I haven't tried one yet, since it was 10:30-ish when I finished and my guinea pig pooped out. But I have a feeling they're fabulous. I'll probably have one for breakfast or something.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

While I Slept, He Died

A little sick to my stomach, a little sad, a little -too little- time spent remembering whatever I could. I dated him years ago. Probably about 5 or so. Maybe 4. I haven't seen him for at least two. I knew he was in trouble. I didn't know how bad things had gotten.

I guess he was trying to get help.

I guess he was trying to go clear.

That's what I'm told.

I'm also told the coroner determined his time of death at about 4am on Saturday morning. So... while I was sleeping, he was dying.

It breaks my heart. He was so young. I really robbed the cradle on that one but he was fun and funny and sexy as hell. Like his older brother when we were much younger and intimate. God, so young. Younger than my sister even.

I remembered on my way to the bank this afternoon that he would sleep in my bed after I would go to work and while I was out on errands I would stop home (supposedly briefly) and we would do what the truly young do when you swear you won't take very long to do it. I remember when he took me out for a really nice dinner one night, someplace where they charged you separately for the salads and what a good time we had. I remember listening to him DJ once or maybe twice at a local bar. I remember the half tattoo he gave my ex-fiancé before my ex-fiancé figured out I was shagging him. (Ah, sweet revenge. That's for the half computer you left me, I thought at the time.) I remember his scar. I remember his lips and his voice.

It's messing with my head that someone I slept with is dead. I can hardly believe it. I'm as much too young for that as he was too young to die. It's just such a damned waste.

And the worst? I haven't really let myself cry. I cried a little. I think, though, just to show myself that I could. But it didn't feel very real.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Points of Interest - Link-o-Rama

A friend of mine sent me a link to this weirdness. Some of you may have heard of "Math Rock." Which I tend to find to be a nonsensical, discordant, a-rhythmic collection of noise. (My personal opinion is that it's far more about the instant indie-geek cred you're handed when you say you love math rock. Certain people perk up and think, "Wow, you're really committed." Nobody really likes it. It's just further evidence in my "Culture of Exclusion" theory. Which is part of the larger "Differentiation" campaign of the individual in an effort to establish social niches based on a disdain for conventional culture. I blame the marketing industry for forcing people to market themselves in everyday life. But more on that some other time. Thank you, Danah Boyd.) Think Animal Collective on crack. Sometimes it can be interesting, certainly, but it's generally nothing I go out of my way to listen to.

On to comics:

Cover shots courtesy of

I understand the Battles YouTube vid link came to him via Warren Ellis, my favorite outcast. I read Fell last night, which is a collaboration twixt the aforementioned Ellis and Ben Templesmith, creator of one of my absolute favorite series, Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse. His artwork is rather stimulating and his hero irreverent. Just like I like 'em. And Fell is fantastic. Nab a copy on Amazon if you can.

Moving right along I take the long way round to my next point - despite the fact that Ramon Perez & Rob Coughler have seemed to be taking a rather long vacation from any heft as far as their comic is concerned, I've always enjoyed Butternut Squash. It's definitely worth a read through the back-posts if you've never read it. (I am soooo glad they're done with the Rob & Cola's adventures in other people's comics "plotline." It was worse than the top 3's - Questionable Content, Scary-Go-Round, Sam and Fuzzy - occasional week of a thousand guest comics that I never read because at least that special torture generally has a clear end in sight. The Rob & Cola thing went on forever. Although, I find it kind of amusing that during the worst of their "vacation" they won a Canadian webcomic award. For which they totally whored for votes.)

Ah... here we are, welcome to my point - I find I am particularly sensitive to June 8th's posting. I personally vow to spare the local coffee-slinging set my whining.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Munkey Brains & Other Delicacies

More than 5 years ago now I wrote a story. It has no title. It has never been typed. But it is a singular work I have been saving until I can wrap my mind around a concept I have no conception of quite yet. But when I find it, I'll know. This I believe. (She said to no one in particular, but most especially not NPR.)

The story is about one's notions about other people. How they take on a shape and a life of their own inside one's mind as you think about them. The story is about a monkey who lives in a jungle that has invisible boundaries. He is mourning, he cannot remember where he came from or how he came to be in the jungle. He is alone there. The jungle is stormy sometimes and tempestuous and sometimes a princess comes to visit him. Eventually, though, she always leaves and does not come back for a long while. The monkey is sad and has a deep desire to understand his origins.

One day he asks his princess about his mother. She laughs and replies that he has no mother. The monkey does not understand this.

So he asks, "Where did I come from then?"

"From me." She replies, without elaborating.

Eventually, having had enough of the princess's mysterious replies the monkey decides to go exploring. He finds a cave. Which turns out to be a long passageway or tunnel, with roots sticking out everywhere. The monkey climbs, upward, until he arrives at a door. On the other side of the door is an office. It's dusty. And messy. There are file boxes and cabinets everywhere. Some of the cabinet drawers are open. Files are everywhere. Pieces of paper litter the floor. But, somewhere in a musty corner he finds a pile of boxes. They are wrapped with beautiful paper and tied up with ribbons and bows. Some are old, very old - some look quite new. Not knowing what to make of them, he chooses one. It is small-ish, the wrapping paper is a faded purple and the ribbons are white. Slowly, carefully he undoes the ribbon and then even more slowly and more carefully he peels back the fragile yellowed tape. The paper unfolds like a flower opening. Inside is a pale pink box. He opens the flaps of cardboard and inside are pictures. Snapshots. Candid and still. They are all of the same person. A man with dark hair and a wide, easy smile. Silvery pieces of metal seem to drip from his nostrils. On his arm are dark blue depictions of something or another. In one he wears a vest and is walking, expressionless. In another he sits at a red table, holding a cup, laughing. Another his mouth is wide, his arms outstretched with lights set upon him. There are little slips of paper too. With things written on them. Some are typed. But the monkey cannot read.

The monkey is now utterly confused.

He gathers together the contents, finds a broken old chair and sits down to look at them. He isn't sure why, but somehow the pictures feel... significant. As he studies the snapshots, despite her absence, he feels the unmistakable presence of the princess. Somehow, he thinks, she involved. That is certain. He looks at the man, who really is little more than a boy and feels a sort of... affinity. Yes, an affinity with him. Though he isn't sure why. He feels somehow familiar. Something about the way his eyes crinkle up when he laughs. Something about the way he looks at the photo-taker. Something, about the eyes. Yes, the eyes. The monkey stares and stares but gets no further. Finally, he feels his brain is running in circles and takes one of the snapshots, tucks it away and carefully puts back together the box.

This is a clue, he thinks. It must be.

He climbs back down the passageway and back into the forest. There has been another storm in his absence. And when he arrives at his tree, he finds the princess. She is sitting on the tree he once called home. It has been uprooted. Felled. She isn't smiling. She looks rather unhappy, in fact.

"Where have you been?" She asks, petulantly.

"Exploring." Says the monkey.

"Well, don't do that. When I come here to see you, I want to see you - all right?" This does not sound very much like a question to the monkey. No, it sounds a great deal more like an order. Or a threat.

"I'll remember." He assures her.

"Do that. I have to go now, I have other things to do but please be here next time. Though, I may be a while." With that she rises, turns on her heel, and begins to walk away from the monkey.

"Wait! I found something that I want to ask you about!" He cries.

She stops in her tracks. "You found something? What do you mean, you found something? Just where did you go?!"

"I don't know where I was. I found a cave and went in and when I came out I was in a new place I'd never been before. And I found this."

The princess snatches the picture away from him. She looks hard at it and he watches, frightened, as the color drains from her face and her expression hardens. Anger makes her eyes alight.

"Found this? You found this. Was it simply lying about or did you go digging through my things?"

The monkey looked at her. His mind raced. He'd never lied to the princess before. He'd never had occasion. But now, suddenly, there seemed no other option. He knew instinctively that telling her he'd opened one the of the boxes was the worst possible thing he could say.

"Yes. I found this. It was on the floor. There were lots of papers and things on the floor. It's kind of messy in there."

The princess stares hard at him. She cocks her head. She considers. Finally, she softens.

"Okay. You found it. Don't ever go exploring again. You live here. No place else. This is yours and no where else. Do you understand?"

"Yes. I understand. This is mine. No place else. I understand."

The story goes on. The monkey goes exploring again despite the princess's warning. He finds two more rooms. But none are so fruitful as the office.

I wrote this story about someone I had been thinking about for years. Many, many years ago I thought I loved him. Hell, I even thought I knew him and understood him. That, it turned out, was pure fantasy. But still, he had been an albatross that arrived and flew alongside sinking ships. Whenever a relationship was about to end, my thoughts would turn to him. As things grew worse in the relationship, my state of panic would increase. I would feel a burning need to see him, to talk to him. What exactly that would've accomplished at that time I wasn't sure. I wasn't even sure what I would have said if I had seen him. Maybe I would have come to this realization sooner but I suppose it came when I could understand it.

One night, years ago now - maybe 6 or so - I went to a friend's house and he was there. I believe he had just gotten out of a relationship - sort of. I was still engaged. My affianced had decided to go home. I had decided to stay. He and I talked and talked. I was enjoying it very much when our hosts decided it was time for them to go to bed. We still had more to say, I guess, so we decided to take a drive. Our conversation ranged over a variety of subjects. He said things that confused me. Things that didn't make sense in terms of what I thought of him, what I thought he was all about. And then suddenly it dawned on me. This person that I had been thinking about for all these years, this person I still fancied myself in love with had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the real, living, breathing him. They could not have been more different. I remember feeling the love seeping out of me, into my seat, down to the floorboards, and dripping - like water from an old car's exhaust pipe - onto the pavement below. I was leaking love and ideas built on falsehoods. At an alarming rate.

Now there is a new monkey in town. This one's a howler. It's nothing so dramatic as the first, I learn my lessons sometimes. And at least now the monkey is as aware as I am that he's a figment of my imagination. One day "poof," he'll get sick of performing for me and be gone in much the same fashion as the first. Though, I wonder why it is my brain chooses monkeys. I suppose because the individuals they represent made a big noise in my head without ever saying anything. Like the din of primates. I suppose I could think of them as inanimate objects - like giant rocks heaved into the freeway run-off pool of my mind - but that doesn't hardly seem appropriate. They are organic and mutable. They change to suit whatever tack my thoughts are taking. Rudderless sailboats lost at my sea.

I finally finished Murakami's Wind-Up Bird Chronicle early this morning. Things happen in an alternate reality that effect the physical world and that set me to thinking of this story. I hadn't thought of it in a while. Murakami's Mr. Wind-Up Bird set me thinking of myself. Kumiko, of the monkeys that live in my head. Perhaps there really are alternate realities for each of us. Perhaps we are all quietly living other lives we know nothing about. Perhaps the true alternate universes exist in the ideas and memories of us that live in the minds of other people. Maybe somewhere there is a meaner me or a sweeter me. A me that has absolutely nothing to do with the consciousness that peeks out at the world from behind this particular pair of eyes. That moves these particular limbs and thinks these particular thoughts, that creates these particular ghosts to rattle the window frames in the night.