Sunday, April 30, 2006

dinner, with a side of Taylor Dayne

Me: Do you hear that?
Steve: Hear what?
Me [straining to hear]: "Love, soft as an easy chair... love, fresh as the morning air..."
Steve: You can hear that?
Me: I can hear soft rock anywhere.


Me: Do you hear THAT?
Steve: Yeah. What is it?
Me: "Didn't we almost have it all... when love was all we had worth giving..."
Steve: Oh God.


Steve and I, simultaneously, when we both hear the Bee Gees and "Nobody gets too much heaven no more...": Wow!
Me: This is very impressive. This is top shelf soft rock.


Me: This one was totally my song for the guy I had a crush on in ninth grade! What station do they have on?!
Steve: I think they've just got a USB port connected to the iPod in your glove compartment.
Me: After we eat, can we go sit at the bar and listen to more songs?

Thursday, April 27, 2006


I don't know what's happened to me since I acquired DVR. It started out simple enough, recording pretty much what I anticipated I would: Lost, The Office, Teachers before I realized it was horrendous, an occasional rerun of Friends or $40 a Day (Giggles is OK in moderation).

But last weekend I lost my mind. I spent about a half hour programming everything, and when I checked it today, I can't imagine what I was thinking: Mysterious Death of Cleopatra on the Discovery Channel, Eclipse Chasers on the Travel Channel, a documentary that discusses, among other things, how mustard is made, Lost Cities of the Amazon on the History Channel... and then it made me laugh because underneath it all is my recording of MTV's Fat Camp, where it will remain until the end of time.

The problem is that all of these shows sounded neat when I scrolled through them, and I do love documentaries about pretty much anything, but now I have 974 of them. What the hell is my problem? Where do I draw the line? Normally I would've thought mustard-making wouldn't make the cut, but apparently not. I need help.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

another inappropriate moment for baseball rivalry

My dad had surgery on Tuesday, and when I went to see him afterwards, he was, predictably, very drugged and mellower than usual. So I decided to try and say something meaningful so he'd know it was me.

"Dad, they traded Jeter. He says he'll never play again."

He didn't move an inch or even open his eyes but he said, "You can't fool me."

Sunday, April 23, 2006

hot partying and heavy powder, indeed

I have to confess that on Saturday afternoon, I was at a Wal-Mart in some random suburban town that Mark lured me to. I told him that the only good thing about being in a Wal-Mart is that no one can judge you for being there because they're there, too. He swore to me that the bargain DVD bin was worth it, that I'd never seen its equal. I wasn't buying it, but we got to the bin and, wait, there are real movies in here, not just Rocky V! (Although that was in there, too.) So I happily dug through for the next thirty minutes. I came out with four movies, one of which is a masterpiece called Shredder:

"Horror hits the slopes in this sexy slasher film about a gang of snowboarders on a one-way chair lift to terror! Featuring hot young stars, killer suspense, and snowboarding sequences to die for, Shredder is an ice-cold, rip-roaring scare-fest that takes terror to a whole new altitude!

When seven hot-blooded co-eds break into an abandoned ski lodge, the stage is set for a wild weekend of hot partying and heavy powder. But when the bodies start turning up, they begin to suspect they're not alone. Stalked by a psychotic skier, the gang soon discovers that on the slopes... no one can hear you scream!"

There are blatantly two people having sex on the back of the DVD, and a body dangling from a ski lift. This may be better than House of Wax. In case you couldn't tell, I feel the exact opposite for kitschy scary movies than I do for actual scary movies; I freakin' love them. It's better if they take place at summer camp, but I can make an exception for a ski lodge. I told Jason I'd wait for him to watch it, but that promise may be hard to keep.

In other offbeat entertainment news, one of my random home organization projects over the past week was to get rid of my videotapes, which really means put them in a box in the attic that will probably go with me wherever I go throughout my entire life, and someday my grandkids will go, "Seriously, why did Grandma have a copy of The Dead Zone?" And hopefully I won't be too feeble to inform them that the scene where politician Martin Sheen grabs a baby to try to shield himself from a bullet is priceless.

Anyway, thanks to Mark, I found that I have the old Sex in the 90s series taped on VHS. Remember those? They were hosted by Kurt Loder, and one of the storylines was those two oily brothers that drove a van with a bed in it and picked girls up by telling them they used to be in Bon Jovi. I seriously think I need to have a Sex in the 90s party. It'll be a whole back-to-the-90s theme; we'll get someone older to pick up alcohol for us and we'll put off the crap we should be doing and sit around analyzing MTV.

You know, not at all like what we do now.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

but who's counting

Dorie: ...and our anniversary is next Saturday. Can you believe I've been married for ten years?
Me: I think you've been married for eleven years.
Dorie: Can you believe I've been married for eleven years?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Ricardo, could you hold my Evian while I jazzercise?

Well, I bit the bullet, accepted that I wasn't ever going to my ghetto, faraway, $19-a-month, grunting-meathead-on-every-machine gym, and joined a new gym. And by new gym, I mean the gym to end all gyms. It's like the gym that walks into the cafeteria and goes, "You have GOT to be kidding me," and then starts its own cool gym table, and all the other previously cool gyms just look on in awe. It's about five minutes from my apartment, in an inexplicably ritzy part of town, where even the mall is a little intimidating. The woman at the front desk told me that the time I was there today, around 9:30, is the busiest part of the day, because most of the members are stay-at-home moms. And in this weird part of town, stay-at-home mom doesn't evoke images of dinner on the table at six, attending all the school plays, or my own mom. It's more like infant pilates, death by tanning booth, and Botox. They had a step class going on, and the front desk woman actually sort of apologized for it. "I guess some people are still into step," she said, rolling her eyes. I'm sure Tae-Bo is a dirty word, too.

No real joining fee, but $91 a month. I KNOW! And that's with my teacher discount! Who am I, Rockefeller? For $91 a month I feel like someone should go FOR me and then do my grocery shopping.

I'm so out of my league, it's hysterical. I should only be a part of this society as part of their community outreach project. But I'm busting my way in in a desperate attempt to force myself to go to the gym. I'm doing this if it kills or bankrupts me, whichever comes first.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Red & Mark: saving the world, one crisis at a time

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

another perfectly nice conversation ruined with ghost humor

Me: Did you see that MTV Fat Camp show? Actually, of course you didn't.
Hoodlum Waiter Friend: Ahh, no.
Me: It reminded me of Dirty Dancing.
HWF: How?
Me: It was the summer and they were all doing random crap and had all their little adventures and drama.
HWF: That pretty much sums it up!
Me: And something about having no air-conditioning makes it that much more summer-like.
HWF: For some people that's reality and not slumming it.
Me: Right. I'm a bad person.
HWF: So you're definitely not coming this year?
Me: No. Blah.
HWF: You should come anyway, even if your family isn't, if only to hang out with me.
Me: Yeah, you're the only friend that I'd have to pay more than $200 a day to hang out with.
HWF: Maybe we could sneak you in. Did you keep your room key? I'm sure they don't change the locks.
Me: Ha, can you imagine?
HWF: Nobody would suspect you. They'd just assume your family was around there somewhere.
Me: That would be so funny.
HWF: And we know you're usually the only one staying on your hall. You and the ghosts.
Me: Shut up.
HWF: I think we even have some new ones this year.
Me: Too far, Hoodlum!
HWF: Actually, the ghosts are mostly people who used to work here, and they'd probably be angry with you for breaking in. So maybe it's better that you don't.
Me: Sold.
HWF: They might even be kind of angry with you now for even considering it.
Me: I hate you.

"Wow, this is a great vibe. Like Daddy just hit Mommy at the dinner table."

The Dane show was kind of a blast. For a play-by-play, go here to read the review from one of my dates, including our pre- and post-show hijinks. I've never had so many cab issues in one night before.

Pretty much the same group of us, plus Steve and minus Amy, saw Dane in October. We roadtripped for hours in a monsoon to Colby College. Yup, we went to see Dane in Maine in the rain. It was really fun, but sort of surreal being on a college campus and realizing you're kind of old. No, not OLD... just older than college. Which is funny, because even though you don't want to be in college again, it's almost like you don't realize you're not that age anymore until you're surrounded by people that are, and you think, "When did 20-year-olds get so stupid?" It was the same sort of thing at this show, being around lots of college students, and finding yourself thinking, wow, thank God I'm not 5-10 years younger, because these people are la-ame. But they're not. They're basically you and your friends, just rewinded.

Except for the blond girl in front of us that kept screeching, and at one point yelled "SEXY!" She's not you. You were never like her.

The other distinction is sex jokes. Well, sex and relationship jokes. I'm sorry, but no way did all those jokes resonate so deeply with Blond Girl, who didn't look a day over nineteen, and yet she and her friend were doubled over. And then I realized that kids sort of do that faux amusement when it comes to grown-up humor; as soon as it's clear that it's about sex, they laugh uproariously, lest anyone around them think they don't get it or haven't done it. Not to imply that they haven't experienced their own share, but when you're older, you wait to hear what the joke's going to be about without filling in the gaps with self-conscious giggling. It's such a genuine "been there, done that" that it struck me as sort of funny. We've all been and done and now we're jaded sluts. Every one of us. Oh, you too, don't deny it.

The other thing is that as the show was going on, I was getting increasingly sleepy, as were my companions. And I thought (again) that I am OLD. But when it was actually over and I realized it was 1:20 AM, I didn't feel quite so bad for being tired. Dane is the only reason I'd be up that late if it didn't involve alcohol and dancing. Or insomnia. The latter being more likely these days, let's be honest.

Anyway, the point of the show was to film his HBO special, so make sure you watch it, whenever it's on. It's sure to be funny and silly and dirty, not unlike life itself.

Monday, April 17, 2006

running and reading

Ahh, Marathon Monday... the day that people all over the world confirm their suspicions that Boston really is just a baseball town full of lazy drunks. I think that sitting in a bar all day drinking Harpoon and watching the Sox may actually be the exact opposite of running 26 miles. There really is a ton of hometown support for the runners, as well as plenty of the same comments as every year: "I'm proud of myself if I drive that distance," "One time my sistah's friend ran it and his knees ah wicked facked up now, so I'm nevah doin' it," and the always-popular "Well, they grew up running from cheetahs!" made as the androgynous, inhumanly fast Kenyans fly across the finish line about three hours before any Americans.

Anyway, I'm way off topic. My whole purpose today is to beg you, kind reader and/or Neighborhooder, for your help. I'm in a reading slump. I haven't read anything that I've liked in ages. I've abandoned everything from chick lit to Hemingway halfway through because nothing is grabbing me and holding on. Right now I'm reading Prep, and while I do like it, I don't love it, and I miss loving what's waiting for me on my bedside table before I go to sleep. So I need suggestions. I have plenty of non-fiction to go through; I'm looking for fiction. (Speaking of non, though, I was just looking through this book that looks really neat, only to realize that it was written by a former Thompson Twin. How funny is that?)

I love knowing what people's favorite books are. It's so interesting to me, and it gives you some great ideas. I think for my 30th birthday I'm going to have a party and ask everyone who comes to bring me their favorite book of all time, thus enhancing my library and proving once and for all that I am the biggest dork of all time.

But that party is a year and a half away, and in the meantime, I need some good reads. Feel free to tell me about a book you've read recently that you liked, but also tell me some of your favorites of all time.

These are some of mine. And even these are all books that I read years ago, which is sad. Where's all the good stuff these days?

The World According to Garp by John Irving (you either love or hate John Irving; I'm obviously in the first camp)
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
Girl by Blake Nelson
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

Sunday, April 16, 2006


I read the blog of a woman who wrote a book that's related to the field I work in; she writes about that topic but also about lots of other things, which puts some people off because they read her book and then visit her website and aren't prepared for her candid discussion of the dynamics of her family and relationships and a million other little things. I love reading it because she's eloquent and honest, revealing her insecurities and imperfections within the structure of a mostly happy life.

Lately she's been feeling the pressure to not be quite as open in order to continue appealing to everyperson in her quest to sell books... so once again marketing strives to water down real life; reading lines is safer than ad libbing. So I left my first comment, anonymously, telling her how I felt, saying a bunch of things but including my theory about how blogging in general is great because we can all find a connectedness in the mundane details of life, be them about families or relationships or pop culture or pen caps, and how if you want to write honest, you should, because actually saying that which is most closely aligned with who you are, despite who reads it and despite its popularity, is an act of bravery. And I also mentioned that if I shared my blog with everyone I knew (family, coworkers, parents of the children I work with), I'm sure I'd be hearing a little dissension in the ranks as well.

Someone commented back saying that they would like to read my blog. I didn't have the heart to tell him that in MY blog I mostly discuss cute boys or rock-wielding toddlers and record myself giggling incomprehensibly for ten minutes with my friend. I'm always afraid that if I get serious here, I'll sound like I've plunged into a depression; I've seen those blogs where high school girls write rambling poems about their feelings and their boyfriends and why did you ignore me in fifth period geometry. I have a love-hate relationship with Stephanie Klein; I'm all for analyzing but I think there's a fine line, and I don't want to hear what Kelly in Boise thinks about a conversation that I had in my bedroom the other day. I have enough of sorting out the opinions I value from those I don't in my real life; I don't need to invite the internet to psychoanalyze me.

It's interesting to see where we fall as bloggers... are we life-updaters, funny story-tellers, specific issue-discussers, or Carrie Bradshaw-emulators? Some of my real-life friends are getting bored with their own blogs, but I feel like I've tapped into something really neat. I'm not sure if I like sharing, the opportunity for a writing exercise, the chance to talk about myself and not feel selfish, or the chance to share the silliness of everyday living with those experiencing their own silliness. Probably all of the above.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

spring has sprung

It's a beautiful day, and everyone's outside. I just had cinnamon toast with Steve and bought that Jenny Lewis CD that Darren recommended. Let's back up.

Wednesday night, which I officially dubbed my first day of vacation, whether that was accurate or not, was spent in the delightful company of the first three links in The Neighborhood (I love reducing people to html) watching a few episodes of a show that really has no business being as overall blah as it is. Thursday was, as you know, a crap day at work, but also sort of not, because my coworkers really came through, and then when I came home and read all the comments on that entry, I saw that you guys really had, too. Thursday night at Fenway with my dad was made all the sweeter because he and I won't be together there again until September. Last night was a long dinner at the S&S, which, incidentally, is the same place my parents had their first date; dear God, do I sound like a townie or what? Right now I'm ponytailed and cross-legged on my bedroom floor (the position that used to be called Indian style and is now the more politically correct criss cross applesauce) and City of Blinding Lights is on the radio. Tonight is Dane at the Gahden. It's hard for me to fathom a comedian in that kind of venue; talk about a local boy done good. Tomorrow will be another missing-the-point-entirely holiday of a family that is only Catholic is the vaguest sense: there will be no church, but there will be congregating for eggs and all things bunny-related.

I have a long week ahead of me, which may sound funny because I'm actually on vacation. But my plan is to take advantage of that time to sort some things out that are overdue. Spring cleaning, I guess, on every level. I'm saying it here because I don't want it to turn into five days that I blow through and then can't even remember what I did. Ha, that makes me sound like I'm used to school vacations turning into heroin binges. Which, let's be honest, is pretty much right on.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

insert lawyer joke here

Cried at work again today. This happened in October, too. Twice in one academic year is enough to officially dub me The Crier. I am a total wuss.

I am not, however, an idiot. Which is what was implied in a meeting by an evil lawyer who suggested that perhaps I don't know anything about kiddie neurology. I almost came out of my skin. Eviler still was the fact that when I (calmly, mind you) invited her to ask me anything she wanted about this topic, and she just looked at me blankly. I was steeling myself for some really random inquiry about brain development at age 4 years 6 months, but she didn't even know how to go about formulating an appropriate question. I hate games like this. Like any corrupt (backwards, disgrace to her profession, I could go on) lawyer, she only wanted to plant the seed of doubt about my abilities, not actually pursue it. "Objection...withdrawn." Just because I work in a school, don't think I won't take you down in the time it takes me to tie a pre-schooler's glow-in-the-dark shoelace.

I was livid. L-I-V-I-D. I am many things, but I am dead serious about my job. Well, dead serious and still able to have fun with it, but you know what I mean. I responded to this woman on pure adrenaline. Then I sat back and thought my head would explode. Then one of my coworkers typed "Good job, Red...deep breath" on her laptop. Then I got through the rest of my meeting and I felt the tears coming and I slipped out so I wouldn't cry in front of my colleagues, but they followed me to rally.

I do love that I work with people who will follow me to rally, who give me unconditional support in a situation like this because they know me and know how I feel about the work that I do. It means a lot. But if another weasely lawyer makes me cry again, I swear!

On a happier note, at the Sox game tonight I met one of my dad's work friends for the first time. He was maybe 40 and he asked if I was still in school.

Me: What, college?
Him: Yeah.
Me: Oh, no. I'm 28.
Him: WHAT? You're TWENTY EIGHT? Are you serious?

Thank you, random coworker of my dad's sitting next to me, for that well-timed, accidental compliment. I needed it.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

lay down the law

There was an article in the paper today about how British lawyers are thinking about getting rid of the curly white wigs that they've been wearing in court for the past 300 years. To which I can only say: What to the who now? There are actually still people wearing those? Did you all know about this? I sure didn't. I know England is a little bit cheerio old chap but doesn't this seem like a bit much? In the article there's a picture of a woman who has been making these wigs by hand for years. In between beating her rag dress against the rocks and carting water in from the well, I would imagine.

So, yes, in response to the lawyer in London who wonders if they're a little antiquated... I say go with that instinct. The only other acceptable solution would be to make it mandatory for all lawyers, everywhere, to wear them. I'd definitely look forward to jury duty. I could be persuaded to start breaking some laws just to be able to experience this phenomenon firsthand. Hell, I might even go to law school and strive to sport one of those bad boys myself. But I'd inevitably take it too far because I'd also want to wear the high white tights and the frilly jacket and have everyone hanged for being witches and not believing that the Earth is the center of the universe.

Would it just be trial lawyers? Because it'd be great if you were closing on a house on a random Tuesday night and your real estate lawyer looked like he was getting ready to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

a little bit lost

Lost is freaking me the freak out. And I'm not even watching it religiously anymore; I'm just getting the synopsis from Elusive Jen. That's really the way to watch that show, though... get the gist after the fact. Otherwise that's an hour of your life sitting on your couch, panicked that Walt's about to pop up, all wet and whispering something.

Elusive didn't buy my opinion about why the show is basically ridiculous (that I've shared here before) which is that if a random Delta flight went down on an island, the surviving passengers wouldn't break off into tribes and become savages; they'd be crying and confused and trying to get cell reception. She says yes they would, didn't you read Lord of the Flies, that's exactly what would happen, in the absence of a society something f'ed up gets created. So, what, when stripped of our homes and shoes and iPods and Blueberries, a dictatorship is the natural way of things? Neat! (You have to get on board or else they kill you! Catch up.)

The whole thing with Lost is that, when all is said and done, they can't get all science fiction on us. People will have a violent reaction like they did to Vanilla Sky. So, my new theory is that the entire thing is a social experiment, launched by Some Random Guy That We'll Meet in The Final Episode Who Will Be Impeccably Groomed Because He's Been Watching Everything From a Hilton On A Nearby Island, and he's in cahoots with one of the main characters... Locke or Party of Five. It has to go straight to the top... I'm betting Locke. They started the whole thing to see what would really happen in a situation like this. Elusive thinks the plane passengers were drugged, or something, and the plane crash was staged; it couldn't have crashed because obviously the people running this experiment couldn't have guaranteed the right people would survive. Because the people there were selected; there are too many connections between all of them for that to be a coincidence. The people putting this together didn't know the other group of Others were there; that was a oh-well-what-are-you-gonna-do island surprise, like $11 pina coladas. And all the crazy shit that's going down is even getting to the Main Character Who is Involved in Staging This; it may be making him insane and he's really believing that he needs to input those numbers every eleven seconds, lest the world implode. So he was involved in the conception of this but now everything is turning on its head and the guy who designed the experiment is now experiencing the experiment himself.

I basically just described the plot of Clue. ("Let us in, let us in! Let us out, let us out!") Blah, I don't know. Show's still freakin' creepy, though.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

do a little dance, make a little lunch

Just when you start to forget that you work in a school, you get a reminder that you're actually outnumbered by hundreds of people under four feet tall. Which on any given day alternates between being immensely amusing or an updated version of Children of the Corn.

This was today:

Me: So yeah, I was just talking to... umm... do you hear...?
Work Friend: Is that...?

We opened her door to find the entire kindergarten class next door doing the Macarena. Because it's 1:00 on a Tuesday and can you think of a reason in the world not to?

I was simultaneously disappointed and relieved to hear that "Come on, what was I supposed to do? He was out of town, and his two friends were soooo fiiiine..." was edited out. And overall horrified with myself for even remembering that line. Damn you, you crap ass drunken wedding reception line dance!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

just stuff

I just got a new car! I'm so excited. It's the current version of the CR-V that I already drive, but I heart it. And it's not black, thank you very much... I branched out and got "pewter pearl." I'm excited about having a moonroof, I got a good trade-in and now I have an iPod hook-up! I'm really happy about this because now I can just play my iPod playlists through my speakers like they're regular CDs, instead of that crappy alternate method of trying to find a blank station on the dial for it to crackle through and then lose it five seconds later. But then when I got there today it turned out it was like $450 for this option. So in the midst of negotiating I got the car salesman to include it. My cutthroat negotiation technique consisted of, "I can only do that price if it includes the iPod," then looking at him with I-must-be-permitted-to-rock-out desperation in my eyes. WOO! (Or, as Ma'am would say, WOOT!)

Party Jen's roommate's friend lives next door to me (it must sound like my friends and I all live at Melrose Place, huh? well, WE DO) and he's grilling right now and it smells so yummy and happy and summery. We really lucked out with this weekend, huh? Perfect weather, friends, and saving cats from bloodthirsty toddlers.

The fact that it's so nice out is of course making me think about summer. And fittingly enough, I'm going out later with friends from Dirty Dancing, where I actually won't be going this year. Darn. But I'm optimistic that I will still have some fun summer travels to share with all of you. Possibly two different journeys. And, of course, a handful of weddings, lots of baseball, and plenty of time down the Cape.

Speaking of BASEBALL... it's about that time, suckas! In honor of the season starting (YEAH!) I must share this video with you of one of the greatest moments of all time. Maybe it sounds trite to say it was one of the best moments of my life, but it was certainly one of the most memorable; I don't think anyone who experienced it too (Subway? Carly?) would disagree. It came after weeks of hardly sleeping, and when this moment that you're about to watch happened, I was on my knees with my hands over my face, heart racing and not breathing, which is a state that I'm hardly ever reduced to. It took 86 years but I have to say, it may have been worth waiting for.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


So today I notice that there's a cat on my patio, just hanging out in the sun, doing its cat thing. Then I see Tatertot come tottering along, wearing a purple velvet dress and, ironically, a pink halo.

She tries to pet the cat but he's nipping at her and hissing. How is this not scaring her? She goes back and forth with it several times before she retreats. I start to walk away but then notice her coming back with a handful of dirt that she proceeds to throw at the cat.

What the hell is she doing? The cat gets pissed. The two of them face off for a minute.

Tatertot finally gives up and walks away. Then she comes back with a rock. A pretty big rock. She's poised with it in her hand, ready to, what, KILL THE CAT?

I bang on the window. She looks over. "No, don't do that!" I yell through the glass. Apparently I'm more intimidating than the cat because she drops the rock and runs away. The would-be murder weapon is still sitting on my patio, right where the perp dropped it.

How does a little girl wearing a halo decide to attack a cat? And isn't the desire to bludgeon animals a sign that you'll grow up to be a serial killer?