Friday, December 30, 2005

the room that time forgot

Well, I finally got a wake-up call about organizing my damn office already, in the form of a puncture wound. This morning I stepped on the side of a plastic-and-metal Christmas Tree Shop box that was on the floor, along with everything else on the planet. The metal actually went through a piece of posterboard and into my foot and I had to pull it out. You know it's bad when a room in your home forces you to perform impromptu surgery. Everyone that I've told has had the same reaction, right down to their enunciation: "Oh my GOD, Red."

So to all those who have suffered this mess graciously, stepping over it instead of grabbing me by my shoulders and shaking some sense into me: Tomorrow, I am SO cleaning this mofo. And then we can all frolic in here happily once again, without needing a stitch or a tetanus shot afterwards.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

but Scoob...

Steve: ...and he was saying that the one adjective in every Scooby Doo episode is "meddling." Remember that? "If it weren't for you meddling kids..."
Me: Yeah. Isn't that a verb, though?
Steve: Oh. Maybe.
Me: Is it questions like that that keep me from deriving any joy from life?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

today I am one

Happy blogday to the tent. Here's to first words, emerging motor skills, and the slow but steady neurological formation of all my neuroses.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

the empire claims another

So New York announces that it's stealing Johnny Damon right out from under our noses (AND making him shave so he more closely resembles a Jeter-bot) and at about the same time its residents are forced to walk miles to work in the (thank you Darren) BLISTERING cold. So okay, the two are basically unrelated, but the connection is there if you REALLY want to see it: You've gone too far this time, NYC, and shall suffer frostbite as a consequence. You're like the kindergarten bully that steals our snack as soon as we look away for a second. Apparently $52 million in the bank holds a slight advantage over hometown pride and Fenway franks. Fine, New York, I know you make more money and stay up later and okay maybe dress a little better than us, but for the love of God, stop buying our people! At least don't touch Big Papi, otherwise we'll be forced to put down our Sam Adams and rip your well-coiffed head right off.

Monday, December 19, 2005

if some guy sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake, maybe close the blinds

You know it's Christmas when the joy and spirit of the season touches us all. Or when one of your relatives says dead seriously about one of your other relatives, "I'm sure I have some crap in the basement I can give her." Or when one of my students sings Jingle Bells in its entirety without taking a breath and then bursts into tears. Santa is like crack to 6-year-olds.

Or maybe you know it's officially the holidays when your sneak attack lyric contest at work, which has laid dormant for months, is reborn for the sake of Christmas songs. One of my esteemed colleagues was thisclose to winning when he asked me, "Do you hear what I hear?" It would have been his finest moment, tripping me up by using an actual song TITLE (you get extra points for that) but his delivery was a little too sing-songy and I suddenly remembered something about a star, a star, way up in the sky, little lamb. Not bad for a girl who dropped out of Sunday School when she was seven. But honestly, I can't lose my champion status because I accidentally agree with someone that the weather outside is frightful. Needless to say, tis the season to watch your step.

The only thing that sucks is that this time around some lamer people at work have caught on and are all like, "HEY RED, ARE YOU ROCKIN' AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE?" That's subtle, jackass. So glad you joined the game.

In any case, a very merry Whatever It Is You're Into to all, and to all a goodnight.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


I've been in a funk lately. And it's not just me... when I asked Hot Chocolate Guy how he was this morning, he told me without hesitation that he'd be lying if he said he was doing great, that he was just keeping it in neutral. Usually when people you don't really know answer you literally it's kind of annoying, but today I was glad to hear something different.

I keep hearing things like haven't heard from you, wondering what you've been up to, different versions of you're fucking up. I drove the wrong way down a one way street yesterday, and the opportunities for metaphor are painfully abundant. (If you put a disclaimer on a cliche, you get to use it and still act like you're being ironic about it, right?) I watched part of Jerry Maguire today and noticed "what if I'm not built like that?" I'm uncomfortable with all of it lately, in every direction that it's coming from. My office has become a landfill; I'm literally just not dealing with anything. It's a definite shift and not toward the positive.

Not sure what to do about this. I do know that I have no interest in becoming one of those serious bloggers who describe their issues in prose and their emotions in colors. Spare me. So no worries, next time we'll be back to stories of me fighting with Comcast or burning the roof of my mouth or something equally tentworthy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

can't say I didn't try

Department Receptionist: ...and don't forget you have the XYZ conference all day Friday.
Me: No thank you.
DR: What's that?
Me: I said, no thank you.
DR: Do you think you're going to get out of this by being courteous?
Me: Maybe?
DR: Sorry, no.
Me: It's too cold.
DR: To be at a conference that's indoors?
Me: Yes.
DR: I don't think so.
Me: I have jury duty again?
DR: See you Friday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

we the jury

My Tuesday started out with metal detectors, standing in line with disgruntled strangers, and watching a video that attempted to answer the age-old question "What IS a TRIAL?" That's right, kids, I had jury duty. Or, rather, sit-at-a-table-reading-my-book-next-to-people-slumped-over-their-coats-trying-to-nap duty.

I loved the video. They were basically like, "You may have heard the words TRIAL and COURTROOM before on TELEVISION. Or maybe you've been involved in a TRIAL before yourself." These are my choices? I've learned about the legal system from Ally McBeal, or I'm out robbing 7-11s and finding out about TRIALS firsthand?

The guy in the video really wanted us to understand that the legal system isn't like what you see on TV. He was about 100 years old, wearing a tweed coat, holding his lapels with both hands, and squinting at the camera over giant black glasses. All he needed was a pipe and I would've thought the legal system was like the board game Clue.

At one point we did get called into another room. There were about thirty of us and nobody was talking. If we'd all been in a room together at a bar the noise would've been deafening, but put a bunch of strangers in a room without alcohol before 11 AM and everyone checks their personality at the door. But I could tell this guy coming in was going to start talking, because he was one of those loud enter-a-roomers. He walked in, looked around, exhaled and said to nobody, "OKAY THEN!" Then he sat next to me, and he almost scared me when a few moments later:


Keep in mind the room is silent. Except for him. And now me.

Me: Um...I've seen it before, yeah.

Dear God, tell me he's not pointing to someone else in the room. I follow his gaze and realize he's referring to a painting on the wall, presumably of some judge. Then I realize that there's only one word with which to respond when a loose cannon who has just entered your life tells you that Some Guy on the Wall looks like Judge Judy's husband. And that word is "Oh."


He's addressing the painting, by the way.

When all the other panels had left us I looked around at my crew. Thanks to Lost, I now imagine how random assortments of people that I find myself amongst would fare in the jungle. I could take that guy, he's like 80. That guy's reading Faulkner, he'd probably burst into tears before I have a chance to karate chop him. Wait, what am I talking about? Am I really planning on offing my fellow jungle jurors one by one in order to achieve total island domination? Who ARE you, Red? I should be collecting sticks or berries or comforting that old lady or something; it's not Survivor, for God's sake.

Then I realized that I seemed to be the only woman under 50 in this group, and you know what that means: repopulating the species is now up to me. And my baby daddy prospects aren't looking good. Then I decide that this thinking is a sign of mental illness and it's time to start text messaging my friends, who are now starting to think that between snow days and fighting for justice, I don't seem to have an actual job anymore.

So I just sat there reading, secure in the knowledge that my very presence in that courthouse was causing cases to settle left and right, lest anyone in the legal profession have to sit in a room with me for the next several hours. I got to leave at 1:00. Is this the commonwealth's way of making amends for forcing me to take adult driver's ed? If so, I accept your apology.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

feed the world, indeed

One of the most exciting things about being a rock star must be that at any given moment, somebody could ask you to participate in a group singalong to raise money for something. Just imagine being able to hold that giant headphone to your ear with one hand while you emote with the other. Although nowadays it would probably all be wireless, and that would be sad. You probably wouldn't even be able to get everyone in a big room together anymore, because they would all need to have their bodyguards and plastic surgeons there. I, however, remember a simpler time, when Spandau Ballet shared a stage with Paul McCartney for the wholesome purpose of saving the world.

So, yeah, there's We are the World, with lyrics that were life-affirming yet nonspecific enough that they could be applied to any humanitarian situation. "We all must lend a helping hand... you know, love is all we need..." They had to invent a lot of opportunities for this kind of cheerful ambiguity so that all those singers could put in their own two vague cents. And those people clearly don't tone down their shit for anyone. They're used to having their own song and this time around they only have a few seconds to be heard so they're going to make the most of it, harmony be damned. (I'm talking to you, Huey "But if you JUST BELIEVE!" Lewis.)

I think the Pointer Sisters sang on We are the World, actually. Granted, I'll bust a move to Jump (For My Love) any day of the week, mostly because I admire their use of parentheses, but they're really not the sort of band that had much staying power.

Who am I kidding? I'm doing the neutron dance as I write this.

Anyway, I had a point here, somewhere. This time of year we get to hear one of the best singalongs recorded... Do They Know It's Christmastime? by God Only Knows Who. I think I hear Bono in there thanking God it's THEM instead of YOU. My only memory of that show Pop-Up Video is when they responded to the song title with a pop-up that said something to the effect of, "Well, they probably don't care. Most Africans don't even celebrate Christmas." I love you, Pop-Up Video. Why should that stop us, though? Nobody can strongarm a holiday like Americans. "You WILL celebrate this because otherwise we won't drop any boxes of food down from helicopters. Now dance to the song we made for you, Ethiopia, DANCE!"

I think of Pop-Up Video every time I sing along with the chorus which now just sounds like, "FEMA, who-oa...," which is really so much more timely. That song has a lot of levels, people.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

no day but nine years ago

Okay, fine, I'll talk about Rent.

As is the case for most of us, my tolerance for drama and preference for the eclectic was much higher when I was younger. So back in the day, Rent came along at the perfect time. My friends and I were 19 and so were the characters. Naturally, I ran in Rent-loving circles; you probably did too. We played the soundtrack until it wore out. Literally... eventually I had to get a second copy.

I saw it several times; on Bostonway, not Broadway. So it became a Thing in My Life that I'd never be able to be objective about because "oh, Rent, I LOVED it when I was in college." I can never be too hard on it, just like I can never be too hard on Dave Matthews or Ben Folds or that stupid song Closing Time... it's the sentimental factor. For a lot of reasons, I wouldn't have liked it as much if I'd seen it today. So when the movie version comes out, with all the original Broadway actors, I'm in that gray area, negotiating with my college self.

It never should've been a musical. It would've been more compelling as a book, a movie, a series on HBO. Don't get me wrong; I know every breath of the songs on those CDs and like a lot of them. Wore out my first copy, remember. But honestly, the "lyrics" are essentially just dialogue set to music, often awkwardly. Plus any movie that features characters who randomly break into song immediately becomes such an easy target and often seems to lose more people than are willing to hang on for the ride.

Roger and Mimi make me crazy. I'm sorry, but have any two people prepared more to begin a relationship? They're not ready, you'll never truly understand me, but you just have to TRY, let's fight in the snow, come ON, this is your LIFE! Then they decide to give it a shot, but first they have to sing about their decision for twenty seven minutes. Great, no pressure there. Then Mimi almost dies and Roger starts frantically rhyming. Your eyes, as we said our goodbyes, what's the door prize, meaningful sighs, we're all going to dies. But it resuscitates her... never underestimate the potential healing power of wordplay.

I turned to my friend and asked her if you know you're old when you suddenly realize that Benny has some valid points. All my friends who loved Rent in their penniless, scrounging-for-alcohol days now have mortgages and kitchens lousy with Crate and Barrel. The Age of Rent seems to have ended, for us anyway.

Most ironic of all was seeing this movie about love and friendship with the Bride, who used to be my best friend and my original Renthead buddy before she sold her soul. I hadn't seen her in months and she insisted that we see it together. I forced myself to be a sport, but I hated being around her, and was mad at myself for being a sellout. Then I thought, how Rent-appropriate; it really wouldn't be right if I wasn't feeling overly emotional. So after all, Jonathan Larson has the last laugh.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

365 days of misery

I just saw the He's Just Not That Into You day-by-day calendar. I'm trying to imagine this.

January 1st: Happy New Year! He doesn't like you.
February 11th: He really doesn't like you after finding you asleep on his doorstep.
March 17th: It's St. Patrick's Day, but lucky you, you've been inebriated for most of 2006. Has it helped him realize what he's missing?
April 1st: You know what? He changed his mind and he likes you. No, wait, April Fools.
May 29th: What are you doing for Memorial Day weekend? Really? That sounds like fun. He's probably having sex with someone else right this second.
June 18th: Happy Father's Day. You're never going to have his babies, by the way. But some other chick is, and she's probably way cuter than you and has a better job.
July 21st: How's your summer going? By the way, he saw you on the street and ran in the opposite direction.
August 12th: You're so smart and brave to go with this tough love approach. Why are you crying?
September 6th: Seriously, why are you still crying?
October 31st: Oh neat, you came dressed as a psycho. Oh, my mistake. Well, happy Halloween anyway!
November 23rd: Are you thankful that the pain hasn't killed you? Yet?
December 2th: He's forgotten your name. Good egg nog, though.

Monday, December 05, 2005

and THEN...

I heard this story from what I could have SWORN was a reliable source (she said it happened to someone she knew!) and then proceeded to tell everyone I know... and some of them told everyone they know. Turns out, I'm a spreader of lies. Finding out you inadvertently passed on an urban freakin' legend as a legit news story really does not help your credibility. What am I, The Onion? Have I been relying too much on Tina Fey and Jon Stewart for my world news?

Did you also hear about the time that I was unconscious in the bathtub and someone stole my kidneys?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

peppermint patty

I love this time of year for many reasons, but one of them is the fact that I love all things peppermint. I love candy canes. I love even LOOKING at candy canes, which is why I have a jar of mini ones. I like the ones they have in the drugstore that are just like big rods, but there really wouldn't be any way to cavort about with one of those in public and still maintain any dignity, being 28 and all. (I'm a purist, by the way; none of this multicolored, chocolate-flavored candy cane shit. It's straight up red-and-white or not at all.) I lovelovelove peppermint ice cream; it makes me giddy with excitement. Bubble Yum makes perfect peppermint sugarless gum that you can't always find but you know it's a good day if you do. William Sonoma has peppermint bark, which is why I can't go in the store this time of year because they'd find me two hours later hiding among the stainless steel tea kettle section with five open bark boxes. And anyone who knows me knows that I eat peppermints constantly, and because when I eat one I have to offer it to the person I'm with (because that's the law), most of my friends have instituted a no-more-offering rule. Mark always says, "I'll just TELL YOU when I want one, OK?" which probably makes him sound slightly abusive to any stranger standing near us who doesn't know that I've been offering him mints every three seconds. Anyway, this time of year is great because my love for peppermint seems more festive than obsessive. It's the only time that I could, in theory, hang pieces of it all over my house. Imagine if heroin addicts had a holiday like that! Actually, stop imagining a syringe tree. That's weird.