Saturday, January 31, 2009
1. Making special love-and-cuddle time with the dog. (Who, though he leaves person-sized balls of hair around the apartment and occasionally tries to eat things that were once inside a lady's hoo-ha, is awfully good at heavy petting. Hahahahaha see what I did there?)
2. Interviewing the lovely ladies over at Craftastrophe about a few of their favorite things, which are similar to Oprah's favorite things, except better because Oprah never seems to include hand-crocheted bondage masks, squirrel nightgowns, or penis cozies on her list.
3. Writing this feature for VenusZine about the lovely ladies of Craftastrophe. (Go read!)
4. Seriously, have you not gone to check out Craftastrophe yet? I mean, you should come back -- open the link in a new tab or something, because my list is not done yet -- but the site is both devilishly funny and a window into a world you might otherwise never experience. A world in which rats wear hand-knitted nightgowns and unicorns have non-monogamous sex.
(4.1 Also, they are nominated for a 2009 bloggie for best design/craft/something-or-other site, and I highly recommend giving them your vote, because they deserve love and prizes.)
5. I am also still walking very slowly past Jim's office several times a day in an effort to be handed a job. I'm giving this tactic another week, then moving on to Plan B, in which I come crawling in on all fours, bleeding profusely from my face.
"Kat!", Jim will say. "What happened to you?"... at which point I will cry, "They offered me a job at another company, but I wouldn't take it! They beat me, but I wouldn't take it!" and then immediately pass out on the rug. Preferably face-down, so that I leave a very personal stain which will always remind Jim of the devotion I showed to my current place of semi-employment, until he gets his rug cleaned or gives me a freaking job.
6. Special secret things which I cannot tell anyone about.
7. Until next week.
8. No, I'm not pregnant.
9. This list is starting to suck.
10. Uh... hey, tree sneakers!!!
I think I'd better stop now. Have a lovely weekend, dear readers, and have a drink for me. I'll be having one for you!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Far be it from me to demand that plane crash survivors sport a jacket and tie, but here on the island, proper attire has gone the way of the dodo. Take Sawyer, for example:
No underwear, however – particularly when you've been wearing that pair of filthy, damp jeans since last season -- that, my friend, is a cause for concern. Not only is it a fashion faux pas, but that wet denim is going to cause some terrible chafing on your wiener.
Faraday, meanwhile, is dressed far too formally for the island-casual atmosphere.
Farry, please. The tie. Lose it… or at least loosen it, for crying out loud. You're making the rest of the guests feel uncomfortably underdressed.
Meanwhile, Sawyer finally realizes that the "Chippendales dancer with weenie chafe" look is undermining his position as a leader of the Losties and tries to put a shirt on, but Neil (a.k.a. "Frogurt") has forgotten the basic kindergarten rules for playing nice and chooses instead to make this face:
Neil, what do we do when we aren't playing with our toys? That's right, we share them. So you be polite and share your shirt with Sawyer, and maybe later, he'll let you wear his soiled sexypants.
And then, of course, there is this.
Assorted Losties, I don't care how long you've been stranded, who said what to whom, or how many flaming arrows are flying at you. That bright spot there? Which you are all so diligently ignoring as you rush to the fallen individual in the foreground? That is a person who is running through your midst with his head on fire.
Tsk, tsk, tsk. When the Oceanic 6 come back, I hope you'll be a tad more polite.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Of course, by itself, this isn't that weird. I'm sure I'm not the first young liberal lady to have sexy dreamy interludes with the president – after all, he's young, powerful, handsome, and looks great in a tux. And between my acknowledged easy suggestibility and the fact that Obama's face has been plastered on every available surface for the past four weeks, the most surprising thing, really, is that he didn't make this cameo earlier.
"Yeah girl, I've got the change you need. In my PANTS."
...But I am a tad disturbed by the rest of the dream. I mean, you'd think that – since the president was already there – my sex-loving animal brain would have orchestrated an increasingly R-rated makeout sesh with our studly new commander-in-chief. That would make sense, right? Sounds like fun, doesn't it?
Alas, no dice.
Instead, with just inches to go before getting to second base with the leader of the free world, what did I do? Why, I farted under the covers. And then tried unsuccessfully to convince the President that it was the dog. Of course.
Hey, Subconscious? Yeah, you, pal. Get your act together, or I'm gonna start dropping acid until I'm so addled that I think I'm having sex with the president even when I'm awake. Consider yourself warned.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The company has been dangling the prospect of continued employment for several weeks now, in the form of various coworkers and supervisory personalities who will pause in the middle of a conversation, look at me very seriously, and say, "And how do you feel about working here?"
This has been happening, on average, every three days.
I've learned that I must respond to these questions with a sort of professionally-restrained enthusiasm, which involves a lot of confident smiling and nodding and vaguely sexual statements like, "I think it's a great fit on both ends!", which would be hilarious except that this is my life we are talking about, God dammit, and I have also learned not to ask questions when this entire exchange is repeated again several days later as though it had never happened before and without anyone ever explicitly telling me that they are thinking of bringing me on full-time.
Needless to say, it's been driving me crazy. If this were a dating relationship, the company would be one of those people who is always turning to you in bed and saying, "If I told you I had herpes, would you still love me?", followed by, "Oh, no reason! Goodnight!", leaving you to lie awake in the dark and wonder if that thing you noticed on your nethers last week was a sore or just an ingrown hair.
And then, on Monday, my supervisor suddenly broke the code of silence, telling me that I should "be on the lookout" for "Jim" to bring me in for a conversation about a full-time position at the company.
And I was thrilled and excited.
Until I realized that this information did not, in fact, move me any closer to actually being employed full-time. And even worse, whereas my previous state of limbo left me unsure about the when, how and who of the whole thing, this new development has given me a single point on which to focus all my worry and anticipation and pent-up angst about being less-than-securely-employed.
I can now be found walking verrrrry slooooowly past Jim's office several times a day, in the hope that he will see me, call me in, and put me out of my misery by giving me a job.
I've also taken to wearing actual business clothes to work, since I do not want to find myself trying to negotiate for salary, vacation and benefits whilst wearing a pair of Chuck Taylors. Although I don't love tripping across the parking lot in heels, I have to say that I do think my Serious Businessperson Outfit is pretty cute:
In case you're wondering: Yes, that is the employee bathroom. No, I'm not ashamed.
A little embarrassed that somebody walked in while I was doing this, maybe. But never, ever ashamed!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
As I drove to work this morning, I listened to a news anchor on NPR speaking via satellite to a colleague stationed in Beirut.
“So, are people in Beirut very excited about today’s inauguration of President-Elect Obama?” the newscaster asked.
“Well, of course, some people are excited,” said the correspondent.
“They must be!” said the anchor. “It’s a very exciting moment!”
“Well—“ began the correspondent again, only to be interrupted by the anchor.
“How excited are they?”
“Well, there are several—“
“Are some groups of people more excited than others?”
“Of course there are certain pro-western groups who are excited about the inauguration,” the correspondent said. And then, not quite able to mask the bafflement in her voice, she added, “But as I’m sure you’ll understand, people in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East are a bit more preoccupied these days with what’s happening in Gaza.”
In hindsight, I think that this exchange perfectly sums up what’s been bothering me about the rabid, frothing coverage of the Obama Inauguration: that the profound meaning of this historic moment is getting lost in a sea of vapid self-congratulation and media saturation and play-by-play coverage of what Michelle Obama is wearing. I don’t know about you, but I will remember watching today’s swearing-in of our nation’s first black President until the day I die. Witnessing history is enough. Having been part of it is enough. The story I now have to tell my children and grandchildren is enough.
Captured moments like this one – laying bare the heart-stopping impact of this presidency that so many people thought they wouldn’t live to see – are enough.
Which is to say, I don’t need the enthusiasm of the media (or the people of Beirut) to validate the immeasurable pride that I feel to be a citizen of this country today.
Today is awesome all by itself.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Seriously, it is like the gift that keeps on giving -- beginning with the perky-yet-totally-innocuous subject line of "Hello!"
From: [redacted for the general benefit of mankind]
Date: Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 7:23 AM
I' ve seen your photos with a shenis. My sexual fantasy would be to see pics of you and your blonde girl friend using shenis in a sexy way (topless). Only if you are adults, of course.
P.S: I like more the black shenis.
Let me begin by saying that I greatly admire your ability to cut through the bullshit and get straight to the heart of the matter. No, "I was reading your blog, and.." or, "I recently got out of prison, and..." or, "I was trolling the internet for lady pee-porn, not for myself, but for a friend who happens to be paralyzed from the eyebrows down, and..." -- NO. You just throw it all out there, unabashed. Good for you.
Furthermore, I must commend you for your exceptional conscience and restraint in suggesting that you would like to see me and my girlfriend peeing through the Shenis while topless... but only if we are adults. Thank God you provided that essential caveat. I mean, without it, your email would have been nothing less than a completely random and astoundingly creepy sexual solicitation of a complete stranger! My, but you certainly dodged that bullet, sir! Well done!
But alas, it is with the greatest regret that I must inform you that -- despite your having so kindly provided me with the useful-if-not-100%-syntactically-correct information that you "like more the black Shenis" -- I do not, in fact, own a black Shenis. I own a Shenis in military green -- lovely, to be sure, but sadly out of line with your rather particular request. I confess that I am surprised you even asked, given that you claim to have already seen pictures of my Shenis and were undoubtedly aware of this little problem... but perhaps you are colorblind. You poor dear.
At any rate, thank you so very much for writing. All my best to your family.
Which I sincerely hope does not include any daughters, nieces, or female cousins.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
For just over 20 years, A&A offered its readers a complex and critical look at architecture and its influence on life, art and livelihood in post-WWII America. Arts & Architecture: The Complete Reprint is a full-scale reproduction of every. single. issue. It's an incredible project, and I would strongly encourage anyone with even a modicum of interest in the evolution of American landscape to buy it right now.
Except that it costs seven hundred dollars.
The magazine's January 2009 digital issue (and my piece) is viewable here.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Confession: Although I held out longer than most on joining Facebook, I am exactly the type of person for whom social networking is designed.
Which is to say: Hi, my name is Kat, and I'm a cyberstalker.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I have been doing this for a loooong time. In fact, I think I'm a sort of first-waver; having come of age just as the internet went mainstream, I belonged to that inaugural group of creepy people who kept tabs on all their friends, and especially on ex boyfriends, by obsessively checking their AIM away messages and buddy info to see what they were up to. (See? It's not just about being a complete sketch case – it's about keeping the legacy alive!)
I know some of you guys, if not guilty of this yourselves (oh, admit it, will you?) will at least remember the dawn of the AIM away message/info screen as a sort of low-tech precursor to not just the Facebook status message, but to the entire profile. You'd get the status updates, the random quotes/song lyrics, the inside-jokey messages that were meant to be understood by just one person and were basically like a passive-aggressive way of publicly announcing, "I have a very special friend!" (I once spent an entire semester in a message-tradeoff with a friend at Johns Hopkins University. It was a lot of fun, though possibly ill-advised given that he eventually got bored of the cyber-stalking and began stalking-stalking me instead.) And similarly, you could sometimes discern that there was a feud going on when one friend's away message read, "Some people should learn to mind their business", and another's read, simply, "FUCK YOU".
And then, like all things, away-messages were eventually discarded in favor of newer, more multi-functional tools like Facebook or Twitter or (God, I am so old) Friendster – all of which amounted to fabulous new weapons in my cyberstalker's arsenal.
Not so fabulous, however: the people I most wanted to stalk online (hello, ex boyfriends) were sadly inaccessible to me, mostly because I tend to date men who are luddites by Web 2.0 standards. Which is not such a terrible thing -- especially when you consider that the one internet-savvy guy I dated turned out to be just a bit TOO internet-savvy ("What were you doing on casual encounters? What's that file folder? Wait, are those… penis pictures?!") – but it does make it awfully hard to get the kind of stalky satisfaction I've come to expect from social networking sites when none of my intended stalkees have Facebook profiles.
And the guy I most wanted an update on, the one I dated during senior year of college and for my first year in New York? Well, he was so totally absent from the internet that not even googling could help me.
This, of course, is where a normal person would just give up and, oh, I don't know, get a life, perhaps. Preferably one which does not include so much as one minute spent idly wondering what ever happened to That Guy, and whether he is married now, and if so, whether his wife looks like a walrus.
Except that -- and I know this will surprise the shit out of everyone -- I am not a normal person.
Which is how I convinced myself that, rather than just giving up the ghost on finding out what my elusive former boyfriend was up to, I should (I am cringing right now) email him. Out of nowhere. After approximately four years without so much as a whisper of contact.
In hindsight, the most embarrassing part is not just that I decided to do this. It is that I was not even drunk at the time.
And so it was that I dashed off a short message, one in which I attempted (and failed, oh my God, failed) to non-awkwardly segue from "Been a long time!" to "What are you doing now?" to "Oh, by the way, I'm married! And you probably knew that already! But I am telling you anyway so that you will not mistake this email for a booty call!"
I finished with the far-too-chipper, "Well, anyway, happy holidays!"... and then, fool that I am, I sent it.
... nothing happened.
Though I was miffed at first, I began to feel more and more relieved as the days passed without any response. So the Elusive Ex didn't want to catch up with me? Well, who cares! Not me! And when, after two weeks, there was still no reply, I even began to indulge in the idea that perhaps he had not even seen the email -- that it had been accidentally deleted, or caught in a spam filter, or best of all, had simply winked out of existence somewhere in the ether of the internet, as messages occasionally do.
And then, of course, he wrote back.
"Hey," the message read, "Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, but I was/am sort of busy and it slipped my mind."
Oooh, burn, I thought. Well, fine -- let him play his little game. All I ever wanted was to stalk him from afar, anyway.
The next sentence was, "Congratulations on getting married (mind-blowing)," followed by an obliging recap of the Elusive Ex's current doings, his occupation (lawyer), hobbies (music) and living arrangement (dude from college). But I kept returning to the first paragraph -- the Busy thing, followed by the Mind-blowing thing -- and rereading it, feeling twitchier each time I did so.
What does he mean, 'mind-blowing'? I thought. Is it 'mind-blowing' in a "wow, we're getting older" sort of way? Or is it 'mind-blowing' in that he cannot believe I actually found someone dumb enough to tie himself to me for the rest of his life? And then, suddenly and irrevocably convinced that it was the latter, Who the fuck does he think he is?!
It is worth mentioning at this point that one of the primary reasons for my breakup with the elusive ex was that, between his laconicism and my general psychosis, I had always spent far too much time analyzing the shit out of everything he said.
Apparently, some things never change.
But if I ever mention, even in passing, that I am planning to email old so-and-so with whom I used to swap spit, please remind me that no good will come of it. And if I refuse to see reason, please tie me to something and beat me in the face with a three-pound wet salmon until I pass out.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
It's only within the past few years that I've been able to really appreciate my grandmother for more than her grandmotherliness – the life she’s lived, the things she’s seen, and the stories she has to tell. The woman's been around since 1915; she’s got a lot to talk about. She describes a world that doesn’t exist anymore but for the memories of people who lived in it – an era the rest of us know through jumpy newsreel footage, yellowed newspaper clippings, and grainy photographs so old that their gloss finish has started to crack. And through the years, she’s told me about incredible things. Like coming to the US by boat as a child, struggling to keep her mouth shut at Ellis Island so that the immigration officers wouldn't know she had whooping cough.
Walking to the train tracks by her parents' farm, waving at the oncoming train to make it stop.
Applying to be a coat check girl at the Roseland Ballroom during the Great Depression.
Pointing out a hat she liked to my grandfather on their first date.
My grandparents were married for more than sixty years; when my grandfather died, Grammy moved into a senior citizens' community, which is where we met her for dinner on Saturday. It was the first time I'd been there, and I was expecting to be depressed. My brain seized on the experience of a long-ago visit to nursing home, and I imagined long hallways painted in shades of Institutional Green, the rhythmic thud of a walker against linoleum, stagnant air with a sour, medicinal smell. I shuddered at the idea of my grandmother’s fellow residents -- motionless, blanket-shrouded forms, huddled in wheelchairs under an endless bank of flickering fluorescent lights.
I realize now that this fear was based less on any experience of an actual place, and more on my having seen way too many horror movies that take place in hospitals.
Instead, we were guided through the building atrium, where three white-haired women sat laughing together by a sparkling Christmas tree, and into a dining room where every seat was occupied and the buzz of conversation was frequently punctuated by giggling from one of the tables. No desolation or depression here; more than anything, it felt like a college cafeteria -- but with tablecloths, waiters, and a clientele who actually dress for dinner rather than slouching through the food line in their pajamas.
A steady stream of elderly ladies (and the occasional, rarer old man) stopped by our table to say hello, be introduced, and chat with my grandmother, who was entertaining us by talking about the ever-rising hemlines of the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
"Suddenly, some ladies were wearing their dresses cut above the knee, even though they were old enough to know better," she clucked, then added indignantly, "And if not, they were certainly fat enough to know better!"
And then, I had a realization.
I had always thought that my grandmother's moving away, leaving behind the place she'd called home for so many years, was an unfortunate but necessary choice. Now, it's the idea of her living out her final years alone, in that big, empty house, that seems impossibly sad. Here, she's social, popular -- hell, my grandmother is a bona fide Queen Bee. And somewhere between shaking hands with her friends ("I used to chat with him often," she whispered conspiratorially after one of these introductions, "but he's a died-in-the-wool Republican! I couldn't take it anymore!") and getting the tour of her cozy apartment -- where family photos and favorite paintings from the house where she lived with my grandfather cover every inch of wall space -- it became clear that she's happy here in a way she couldn't be somewhere else.
I just hope her fellow residents appreciate what they've got.
"Did you lock your door?" I asked, as she ushered us back into the hallway and toward the parking lot, where my aunt was waiting to take her home for a visit.
She turned back to check. "It should lock automatically," she said, then snorted when the door opened easily. "Well, except when I forget to push the button that makes it lock automatically!"
She pulled the door closed again, then shook her head. "Of course, it doesn't matter."
"Not really," she said. "After all, we're too old to be raped!"
Friday, January 02, 2009
- The Togethers, who insisted that abundant quality time, kissing and cuddling with one's spouse was the ultimate key to marital bliss;
- The Time Aparts, a no-less-vocal group who insisted that married people must not be together too much, lest they go beserk from overexposure and tear each other's faces off, and;
- The Bone Pickers, whose highly specific advice seemed to be less about general rules for happy living and more about the airing of lingering grievances from their own recent histories. (This category also offered the most memorable advice -- first from my grandmother, who told me that I had better learn to play golf or suffer the consequences when Brad started Playing Golf With Other Women; and, later, from an older male coworker who said, "Hope you don't get a big fat ass after the wedding!", punctuated with a laugh which was just a tad too bitter.)
For the other two camps, however, the highly contradictory nature of the advice left me confused. Clearly, Brad and I must spend substantial time together, but be constantly on guard in case the other person suddenly erupts in face-ripping rage-- which, among other things, makes it very difficult to cuddle. ("Hey!" we are always shouting, "What are you doing with your hand? Do you have an itch, or are you trying to tear my face off?!")
But, as with all things, a comfortable medium was finally established; in this case, we sit together on the bed, but with each person absorbed in a highly individual activity. Which is how we found ourselves this evening, with Brad watching a History Chanel docu-drama about the JFK assassination, and me playing Facebook Scramble on my laptop.
I was halfway through finding the word "CAUTIONERS" when Brad suddenly shouted, "Jesus Christ, muscle guy! Put some clothes on!"
"What?" I said, hurling the laptop aside and focusing all my attention on the television, where a baritone voiceover was droning on about grassy knolls and bullet entry points while grainy footage of JFK's motorcade played in slow motion on-screen. There were no naked men in sight.
"Made you look," Brad said.
And then, "Hey, what are you doing with your han--"