Thursday, December 11, 2008

nerd version

1. The Lame Game is a new website from the Brandspankin' dynasty: "the first and only online game devoted to the art of spotting lame stuff in life, calling it out, and pitting it against another lame thing for ultimate judgment." In other words, it's this decade's version of the mullet hunt, except you probably don't have a mullet, and you definitely are guilty of at least one lame thing featured in the lame game.

2. Google Chrome is out of beta, and they've fixed the audio/video bugs. Also, it's faster than fuck.

3. A few years ago my hard drive bit it and I had to get a new one. The guy at the repair place installed a basic version of Windows XP with my new hard drive, but without all the superfluous software that comes installed on any pre-built PC. On the downside, I also lost the not-so-superfluous stuff like the Microsoft Office Suite, which means that I've been using WordPad for all of my word processing needs ever since. Well, that isn't working for me anymore. I need PowerPoint. I need Excel. And I really need Word. But I'm poor, and I can't afford to lay down four hundred bucks for a licensed version of Office (and even if I had $400. to spend on software, I wouldn't want to give it to Microsoft). That's where comes in. It's an open source software package designed to be completely compatible with MS Office -- but it's (duh) FREE. Hallelujah.

4. I almost hate to give away the secret, but Mental Floss rocks. Did you know that the martini began in 19th-century California as the Martinez: one shot of gin, two shots of dry vermouth, cherry juice and a lemon slice. Thanks, Mental Floss. You've helped transform my painful social awkwardness into scintillating party conversation!

5. I'm not being paid to plug any of these products, but I just realized that I probably should be. I guess that comes after I get a real job, eh?

Friday, November 21, 2008

predictable errors and no identity

The software/browser wars are giving me the shits this week. The latest annoyance (compliments of that godforsaken bloody running dog Microsoft) is my inability to reply to e-mails or even compose new messages in Hotmail. Yes, Microsoft, I know you want to crush Google like a bug and you don't want me using their sweet new browser but you didn't have to fuck up my e-mail. All this does is make me want to finally switch to gmail, which I should have done years ago anyway and would have if switching email addresses wasn't such a pain in the ass. In any case, I'm not going to stop using Chrome (which combines my favorite features from Firefox and Opera and is faster than the speed of light times a bagrizzilion). . . so you've just lost a Hotmail customer. One day I'll get myself a mac and my life will be (nearly) blissfully Microsoft-free. Keep trying, Microsoft, you've had your day. Assholes. By the way, the only reason I still use your stupid platform is because I know how to fix it when the goddamn thing crashes, and there's a lot more p.c. software available for me to rip off.

If anybody is wondering why it takes me forfuckingever to reply to e-mails lately, this is why.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

they were on to my circumstantial slide

I don't know if this blog has gone where I want it to go. When I started it last year it was kind of a lark and I didn't have any idea what shape it would eventually take. I justified doing it because if nothing else, it would be an outlet for my writing where I could even receive some feedback if anybody was willing to slog through my flaccid drivel. I never meant for you to come here just for the pictures and I certainly didn't intend to become one of those "lifeblogger" people. For a while I had a few other creative projects tentatively hanging around, but lately I haven't been productive and it's starting to get to me. I've been sloth-like and cranky, restless and frustrated, and frankly, I feel like shit.

So. Here's the plan: more content. I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but I am going to figure it out. I think I'm going to take it easy with the concrete goals (I am fickle and don't like rules, even when I make them), but I hope to get at least one creative piece up here every week. The personal stuff will keep coming too, at least for a while, so don't get your panties in a pickle. Thanks for your patience while I pull myself together.

Oh, and one last thing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

on the range of the buffalo

Last Sunday TM and I drove out to Land Between the Lakes for a romantic/snooty afternooon picnic, complete with:

-A sun-dappled patch of grass near a lake
-A rustic loaf of bread, some prosciutto, a hunk of asiago cheese, and a pocket knife with deer etched on the handle with which to hack at the cheese
-Half the contents of the Kroger olive bar (my new favorite grocery store feature, surpassing extended hours and self check-out)
-Three varieties of grapes and one spiky alien piece of fruit marketed as a "Kiwano," which claimed to have a "banana-cucumber like flavor" (this was not entirely true).
-One million gnats and flies
-A digital camera and a great deal of enthusiasm

That yellow thing in the middle is the "Kiwano." Kiwano is a copyrighted name, by the way, so don't you go trying to name your newest inedible genetically-engineered hybrid "food product" a Kiwano. Better name it a Cucunana or a Banumber or a Kimora or something.

The inside was a marvel of bright green gelatinous pods encapsulating cucumber-like seeds. These pods were impossible to separate from the seeds, impossible to chew, and very probably impossible to digest. I am pretty sure this disqualifies the Kiwano from being classified as food.

Better than cheese. Crazy but true.


After picnicking we headed back toward the Elk & Bison Prairie in hopes that we might spot a few of the beasts during their favored feeding hour, at dusk. Since there are no buffalo in either South Florida or New York City, I was nearly pissing myself with anticipation.

I decided to take an unmarked "scenic-looking" route back to the park's entrance. This sign appeared approximately four and a half miles into our trek down a rutted one-way path through the woods. We were not deterred.

We made it to the prairie, and good mother of god, did we hit the jackpot. It was incredible, they were everywhere, at times so close we could have reached out and touched their fur.

I don't know if you know this, but buffalo are awesome.

The elk were also majestic and all that, but we didn't get close enough to really appreciate their size or their beauty. You can hear this sexy guy below, though.

We filmed a rogue nature documentary on the Elk & Bison Prairie. Here it is:

Friday, October 17, 2008

I never go without my dinner. No one ever does, except vegetarians and people like that.

Wrong again, Oscar Wilde!

Even though I hated the place, I used to go into the Houston's down the block from where I worked in New York, just for the strangely delicious veggie burgers and the side of pan-roasted cauliflower with capers and golden raisins. A couple of the girls I worked with were vegetarians and we got to talking about how great it would be if we could just make the Houston's veggie burger at home instead of paying fifteen bucks for it in their vapid faux-upscale corporate atmosphere. So one day I did some poking around online and found a "copycat" recipe for the veggie burgers. I've been holding onto it for about a year now, and I finally got around to making it the other day. TM and I both decided the burgers were a smashing success. I preferred mine the Houston's way, with just the cheese, some thinly sliced red onion, lettuce and sweet soy sauce; TM said he thought it would lend itself nicely to regular burger toppings like ketchup and mustard.

Here's the recipe:


1 tablespoon hickory barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use reduced-sodium)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

*These quantities are all approximate. I didn't actually measure anything. In the "copycat" recipe I found, the person used only barbeque sauce and molasses, but then I found a note from a guy who used to make the veggie burgers at Houston's and he said it was honey, molasses, soy, and hoisin. I just winged it and kept tasting until I decided it was right.


1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 Tablespoon oat bran (I used regular old Quaker Oats)
2 Tablespoon onions, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon finely chopped canned beets
1 teaspoon beet juice (this gives it that "rare meat" appearance)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon pickled jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 egg white (I used 2)
flour or oat bran as needed to bind (1 - 3 teaspoons)
a couple tablespoons of the soy glaze

*This is the recipe exactly as I found it online. I followed it pretty closely except for a few things; all the people who had tried it said the patties didn't hold together at all, and some had suggestions for binding them a little better which I made attempts to incorporate. As I noted, instead of oat bran I used regular Quaker Oats -- between two and three tablespoons. I also used two egg whites instead of one, and I threw in a couple teaspoons of all-purpose flour because the mixture seemed pretty wet.

Because I like things spicy I added a little extra jalapeno and onion; I also sauteed the onions first. The directions say to mash the beans in a bowl and then mix in everything else by hand, but I threw it all in the Cuisinart and it worked out fine and was a lot easier. Don't forget to add a few tablespoons of the soy glaze to the burger mix.

I formed the patties and flipped them around on a plate with some of the soy glaze to coat them, then I microwaved them for a minute and a half on medium just to help the egg start cooking (I was really paranoid about these things falling apart for some reason). Then I grilled them in a nonstick pan for about three minutes on each side, topped them with some shredded monterey jack cheese, and grilled whole-wheat hamburger buns in a little butter. While that was going on I shredded romaine lettuce and sliced some Bermuda onion as thinly as possible. I threw the burgers on the grilled buns, topped mine with onion, lettuce and a drizzle of the leftover soy glaze, and voila!

I actually had a hard time putting this thing down so I could go get my camera. Just sayin.

Some further notes: I refrigerated the leftover "burger" mixture overnight, and it was a lot easier to work with the next day -- the patties held together and didn't need to be microwaved prior to grilling. I just grilled them a bit slower. You'll need to watch the heat because the soy glaze is full of sugar and will burn like crazy. Also, I got tired of burgers so last night I cooked the burger mix with some diced peppers and onions and threw it in a tortilla with salsa, cheese and sour cream like a burrito. Turns out this stuff works pretty well as an all-around meat substitute.


As for the side dish of cauliflower with parmesan, etc.:

Pan-roast some cauliflower florets in a skillet with olive oil and minced fresh garlic until the cauliflower is browned around the edges, then add a handful of golden raisins and capers (don't skimp on these -- the flavor combination is what makes this dish), season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and top with shaved parmesan cheese. There you go.

Monday, October 13, 2008

if i had ever been here before on another time around the wheel, i would probably know just how to deal with all of you

There are thousands of songs -- dating back from the time I was eight or nine (earlier if you count my Grammy singing "Mairzey Doats" when I was just a little kid) -- that bring to life very specific moments in time. . . not just a memory, but a smell, a touch, a feeling. It's more than deja vu, I'm actually there, you know? I can't escape it, not that I'd want to anyway. Music is such an integral part of my life and has been for so long, I can't imagine not being able to put on a song and immediately recall the feel of the moist Florida Winter air on my arms as I ride my bike across the bridge to the beach ("Caught in the Rain" - Preston School of Industry). . . or the sun on my shoulders as I ride home to our little house in our little neighborhood on a crystalline Spring day ("I'm Always in Love" - Wilco).

What's strange is when it catches me by surprise -- when I'm at work in a new place, in a new town, surrounded by new people, and suddenly I'm back in Fort Pierce thanks to the Talking Heads. I didn't put this on, I didn't ask for this, not now. And always, always, I'm compelled to tell the story to whomever is with me. Tell my current boyfriend why this song reminds me of the guy who broke my heart when I was eighteen? Sure. Tell my little sister about listening to this one while waiting for the dope man? I can't help it. ("Bed for the Scraping" - Fugazi, and "Passat Dream" - Pavement, respectively) It's like I'm suddenly on The Couch, barfing up big buckets full of lurid details -- the ones nobody wants to hear, the ones beyond juicy. I've mentioned this here before; sometimes I don't realize when I've said too much until it's much too late. I suppose that doesn't only apply to music-induced memories, though; it's more a general observation on the way I approach life.

Fortunately, most of the memories I carry with me are good ones, and I feel lucky that I can instantly lift my mood with the push of a button (though I have to admit I sometimes succumb to a sort of teary nostalgia). I hear "Imaginary War" by Jawbreaker and I'm back in Trav's truck with four perfect friends, on the way to western Maryland for a crash-bang-blur of a ski trip. Pretty much anything by Band of Horses inevitably reminds me of Jesse and my first whiskey-hazy Fall in New York, all sweaters and sidewalks. Give me Mark Lanegan and I'm back at the blue box ("Ya'll remember when the drummer from Anthrax broke his leg skateboarding?"). Put on Redman or Sunny Day Real Estate and I'm eating a Schlotzky's Deluxe Original in Gainesville with Whitey, but if it's the Magnetic Fields I'll be in Kendall with Luis, who was always, always taking pictures.

Then there are the new ones. When I acquire new music I often wonder what feelings and events the songs will eventually be attached to; new situations and new friends get their own songs -- often the new songs and new experiences will become old memories together. But sometimes things overlap in surprising ways. At first Kentucky felt like My Morning Jacket, and it's true - I'll never be able to separate my first weeks here from "The Tennessee Fire." But then Band of Horses started creeping in, and Neutral Milk Hotel, and I started getting scared that new memories would replace the old familiar ones, and I'd lose those precious slices of time-travel, so I began grieving for them, like they were old friends who had slipped away. But maybe they've just gone on to a better place.

"I just can't find the time to write my mind the way I want it to read."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

time to take cover in a wishing well

Last night TM and I went to a couple art openings at the school: our adorable roommate's, and his lovely girlfriend's. Both were beautiful and impressive and obviously the work of very talented young artists. We didn't get the bunny-shaped cookies we were looking forward to, but we did get paper masks, which turned out to be the source of a lot more fun than you'd think.

Later on we met a bunch of folks at the local Mexican restaurant/bar/den of iniquity and got good-n-boozy on tequila and enormous cups of Dos Equis while a funny/bizarre girl repeatedly slapped a bunch of bewildered dudes for no apparent reason (I think TM got whacked in the face twice).

Today I feel like crap; I didn't sleep much (or well) last night, and I'm not happy about the fact that I have to go to work in forty-five minutes. In fact my desperate desire for procrastination is the only reason this post exists. Anyway, even though it was forty-four degrees yesterday morning, these guys are suddenly blooming in our front yard, so I guess life isn't all bad.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

know your enemy

Having political discussions is great, but if you're only talking to people who agree with you, it doesn't make for a very interesting conversation. And regardless of whom I'm talking with, I like to be informed on both sides so that I can at least feel like I have a fairly solid basis for my opinions.

These last few months The Man and I have been following the election pretty closely, and in an effort to provide ourselves the most complete (read: unbiased) view, we've been gathering our information from a variety of sources, including the standards (NY Times, CNN, The Daily Show), several foreign papers/sites (BBC, CBC, that Irish paper that keeps coming up in Google searches), and even some pretty right-leaning papers like the Christian Science Monitor and the Murray Times-Ledger. Until now we've stayed away from Fox News, but we thought in order to really understand the other half we ought to give it a whirl just to see what those crazy folk are saying.

Some asshole on Fox News just said, in all seriousness, that Sarah Palin has more experience than Barack Obama and that he would have no problem with her running the country should McCain suffer another bout with melanoma and disappear from the scene.

I guess that's why I don't watch Fox News.

For a totally unbiased piece that pretty much sums it all up, check out this article: Report: 60 Million People You'd Never Talk To Voting For Other Guy

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

cerebrovascular accident, part III

I don't know who wrote the song, but it is FUNKY.

i know where it came from: a bubble in a moment

Last week The Man and I woke up to find that during the night someone had placed this bizarre selection of books on our porch:

The titles included Death Reach, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, a tourist's guide to "Scenic Oregon," John Saul's The Darkness, a Canadian book on basic karate techniques, and the beloved classic White Fang. Even though waking up to a few books on one's porch probably isn't frightening by most peoples' standards, it did kind of weird us out. Once we got over that, we put our considerable forensic investigatory skills to work and came up with several half-cocked theories. Before I tell you what they were, I invite you to use the comments section and share your own insight into this baffling phenomenon.

pay attention, gremlin face.

As Part II in the new Stroke Series here at the Dinghy, here's some pretty solid advice on what to do if you're actually having a stroke:

I was rather aghast when this fella told me he was sure he'd had a stroke -- and claimed to have "enjoyed" it -- but according to the experts, over 10% of middle-aged adults examined were found to have brain injuries consistent with stroke, even though they had no recollection of the actual event. Hmm. I always thought having a stroke was a pretty big deal, I can't imagine not knowing it's happening to you. Too bad this business doesn't extend to things like childbirth and the passing of kidney stones. I guess that's where drugs come in.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

turpentine and dandelion wine

Sorry I've been away so long, guys. I have been busily exploring my new hometown, its surrounding areas, and most enthusiastically, its bars. Amazing how much boozin' these folks manage to do in a place where you can't even walk into a 7-11 and buy yourself a beer. But drinking isn't all I've been doing. There's more. . .

Last weekend The Man and I went down to the Peddler's Mall -- kind of an upbeat craphole of a flea market, housed in a strip mall and populated by the kind of people who would put up this sign, quoting the 8th Commandment, and then sell a t-shirt that reads, "ASS. The other vagina." (There was also a shirt that said, "Blonde: The other white meat," right next to one that said "SOCCER MOM" in a cutesy font surrounded by daisies and butterflies and puppies.) Go figure.

And speaking of weird fundamentalist zealots. . . I have to say I haven't been exposed to them a whole lot since my arrival here, as The Man's art department cohorts tend to be pretty liberal folks; so when I was confronted with this horror show right around the corner from our house, it was a shocking reminder of just exactly where I am. Middle America. And sometimes, it ain't pretty. My friend KMS pointed out how they like to use pictures of full-term fetuses to protest first trimester abortions. I have an even bigger problem with the fact that a six-year-old child is being used to hold up the fucking sign.


In other, more divertive news, Brother J (a.k.a. The Outdoorsman) and I went out exploring in the woods one day last week; we caught a nice buzz and hiked to hell and back, he got poison oak and I got 5,000 lacerations from thorny plants because I am an idiot and wore shorts. As a side note, if you ever decide to go on a reckless drinking tear in the Kentucky backwoods with a fellow miscreant, Frank Black's "Dog in the Sand" is a damn good soundtrack.

We didn't have any firearms on us, but this sign made us wish we had.

The weirdest thing about this river was that it didn't have any alligators in it.

The butterflies in Kentucky are cuter. Prove me wrong.

The houses are cuter, too!


I've been teaching my new housemates how to play dominoes, and in turn they've been teaching me how to fight zombies and drink Yuengling from a can. Hey, when you have to drive 25 minutes to buy overpriced beer in the next state, you can't afford to be all choosy.


Some observations, some random declarative statements:

- I know a lot about a lot, but I don't know jack when it comes to the visual arts, which is why I'm so excited that I'm suddenly surrounded by people whose lives revolve around making, learning about and teaching art.  Seeing the intersection of art and academics is neat.  Of course, when it comes to dinner party discussion I haven't been able to contribute a whole lot, but I'm soaking up as much as my tiny pea brain can handle.  Onward!

- Coming from another relatively small town, I'm used to heavy sledding when it comes to attempting to purchase, say, some household items or an article of clothing.  There's just not much to choose from when it comes to shopping.  BUT, in Florida it was always nearby; here, there's nothing for miles and corn-filled miles.  This, in addition to the fact that I'm kind of poor these days, means that I am forced to do the majority of my shopping at Wal-Mart.  I'm sure I don't need to explain why this gives me the heebs on several levels.

- I think it's fair to say I've pretty much cornered the market on happiness.  I'm a lucky woman.

- "I love drinkin' beer and scrappin' metal.  Wanna date me?"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

would you still remember me?

Can't write much at the moment; I'm too busy doing Kentucky-ish things. Here, enjoy this pictorial essay on my trip:

I left.

In High Falls, Georgia, I stopped for gas at this store, which contained many (like thirty, I kid you not) specimens of taxidermied wildlife, including bobcats and squirrels in a glass case hanging over the ice cream cooler. It inspired me to buy. . .

. . . this beer, for the road.

Finally made it to Jasper, Georgia, where I am pretty sure I ratcheted up the fun at my buddy's 30th birthday par-tay to a whole new level.

Didn't feel so good the next morning, but thanks to CW's Breakfast of the Century and this view (from the top of Whitey's driveway, how lucky is he?), was infused with enough hope and fortitude to make the remaining six-hour drive to western Kentucky.

Apparently it actually does exist.

The area outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, is breathtakingly beautiful.

Nashville. Batman building. See it?

The folks of central Tennessee sure do know how to make some whiskey, but the pizza is a whole different story.

Entering Kentucky.

Crossing Kentucky Lake into Land Between the Lakes.

The two main crops in Kentucky are corn. . .

. . . and soy.

Almost home. Blue KY sky, just outside Murray.


That was the journey, in a nutshell. Next time, photos of my new home.

Friday, August 22, 2008

we'll eat a lot of broccoli, and drink a lot of beer

Well, it's my last day in Florida for a while, and it's also my thirty-first birthday. I guess it should be no surprise that today feels weird -- dense and chunky, and at the same time, it feels like it is going way too fast for me to grab onto.

I've never been a big birthday person -- I'm not a performer, I don't like to be the center of attention, and I generally think holidays of any sort are way more aggravation than they're worth. BUT. I think everybody needs to be shown that they're important in someone's life, and I think birthdays are when people sort of hope for that kind of reassurance the most. Secretly, way deep down, I tend to think of my birthday as the barometer by which I judge just how loved I am. And that's really stupid, considering that out of my five closest friends, only two of them even know when my birthday is, and vice versa. What's even more fucked up is that I'm terrible when it comes to remembering birthdays and buying cards and gifts and all that jazz. I can never understand why everybody isn't as excited as I am to receive books at every gift-giving holiday (what is wrong with you people?). The MOST fucked up thing about my birthday is that I always end up receiving a lot more love and attention than I ever expect, and then I feel like an idiot for those five minutes in the morning I spent feeling halfway sorry for myself. What am I, an egocentric third-grader? Why yes, yes I am.

How do you guys feel on your birthdays?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

i get it from. . . yeah.

Mom and I were just discussing what to have for breakfast (I'm cooking) and I whined that I really, REALLY wanted pancakes. Now, Mom is on the Atkins diet and can't have pancakes, which means that today I don't get any, either. Mom's response to my tantalizing description of the hot, fluffy, buttery pancakes I'd make if I were in my own kitchen? "Shut UP! You have to wait until you move to bumfuck!"

This immediately following a discussion on the pros and cons of various birth control methods and why nobody, ever, should have kids. Don't forget I am having this conversation with my Mother, who it seems only very reluctantly agreed to birth me after much pleading from my Father, who, by the way, is no longer around to suffer the misery of parenthood. Mom: "Oh, you guys are great now that you've grown up and GONE AWAY. It's the first thirty years that really suck."

Sometimes I feel so loved it makes my shriveled black heart recoil in horror.

Monday, August 18, 2008

my heart it draws the line

In just a few days, I will be moving to Murray, Kentucky.

I know what you're thinking, and you're partially right (yes, I'm chasin' tail -- but it's more than that). I would never have decided to go to a small town in western Kentucky if I hadn't met The Man, but I definitely wouldn't be going if it weren't a good opportunity for me personally.

A few facts about Murray, Kentucky: The population is over 89% white (just to give you an idea, Fort Pierce = 49.5% white, 41% black, 15% hispanic). There is no shopping mall, but there are a couple of strip malls and a Wal-Mart. There's also a Huddle House, which is my new favorite restaurant thanks to the matronly waitress who calls me "honey" and the ragtag group of regulars (Hungry Bear, get in line). There are only four "bars," which are also restaurants -- they're required to earn a certain percentage of revenue from food sales -- and only stay open til midnight. It was a dry county until five or six years ago, so one still has to go to the next town to buy beer or liquor to take home (this could be good for me). The annual Kentucky Lumberjack Challenge is held in Murray, and of course I can't wait to compete. Murray is west of the mountains, but it's still slightly hilly; the weather is temperate with four distinct seasons. It was beautiful when I was there last week; 80 degrees and sunny during the day, 68-70 at night. The air feels good, it's soft and soothing and comfy. Nearby is a big national park called Land Between the Lakes, which really is situated between two huge lakes and is incredible - there are bison and elk and deer, and the lakes are breathtaking. One has to drive right through the middle of LBL to get to Murray from the east.

Murray State University is neither big nor small; enrollment is near 11,000. They're actually highly ranked in several areas (arts and athletics are big ones) and call themselves one of the "Public Ivy" institutions because of their high academic standards. I'll be living just a couple short blocks from the campus, which is great because the whole area is very bike- and pedestrian-friendly. My short-term plan is to take a job at one of the restaurants right away and then keep my eyes peeled for a position at the University; employees get to take six classes a year for free so that would be a big help if I could pull it off. I'm planning to obtain a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in anthropology or advertising. Right now I'm working on a few writing projects on my own, and am collaborating on a writing gig and a comedy skit/short with friends of mine. I finally feel a certain clarity and confidence about what I want to do with myself professionally and creatively, and that's such a huge relief.

Now that I've made the decision to go, I can't wait to get to Kentucky and get on with my life. I feel like this situation I'm walking into is positive and healthy and will be good for me in a lot of ways. Strangely, it doesn't feel impulsive, it just feels right. I'm thrilled and can't wait to begin. Let's get it on, hash brown.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

no one answers their goddamn phones anymore.

If you haven't been through this, then you've evidently been living in a stone hut out on the moors, or else you're married, which - from what I can see - is basically the same thing.

funny girl

Amid all the backlash from that ridiculous McCain television spot (you know what I'm talking about), some wise publicist decided that it would be a good idea for Paris Hilton to make her own [mock] ad in response. "But then that wrinkly white-haired guy used me in his campaign ad, which I guess means I'm running for president."

In a weird ironic twist, Paris managed to make fun of herself, McCain and the entire campaign process, and guess who came out looking better than ever?

"I'll see you at the debates, bitches."

Here's the original article from, along with the hilarious video:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

what t.v. used to be

Oh, hello!

Thought I'd let you folks know I just planned a trip to New York (maybe Boston too, but we'll see about that later) -- for the last two weeks in August. I will be in NYC alone from Tuesday the 19th to either Thursday or Friday (which happens to be my birthday), then out to Fire Island with Mom for the weekend, and after that we'll be back in the City for a few days -- or a week, depending on whether we are too hung-over to drive up to Boston and visit with creaky old relatives.

I will be contacting you (you know who you are) individually, but anybody who wants to take proactive measures like calling to set up an appointed drinking/eating/etc. time is welcome to do so. All in all, I'll be around for a couple weeks, but Mom will be joining me after the first few days, so the key here is to catch me early, as that's when the real fun will be happening. If you thought I was a hoot before, wait till you see me try to cram six months' worth of fun (and falafel) into two days.

Update: dates may be changing. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Somebody just found my blog by doing a google search for "fat kid on a dinghy pictures."

Yay for me.


Relationships = Weirdness.


Fort Pierce = Classy.


I don't care how cool you are, everybody looks stupid on a scooter. Well, okay -- everybody except hot Japanese chicks.


I have had a long-running theory that Meatwad from Aqua Teen Hunger Force bears a striking resemblance to Brian Wilson. Here, you be the judge:


I will be visiting western Kentucky next weekend, for four days of ridicule, hijinks and shiny new beginnings.

In related news, a Greyhound bus passenger in Canada was stabbed and decapitated by a fellow passenger last night. That's right, a man turned to the innocently sleeping passenger next to him and just went ahead and sawed the guy's head off with a serrated knife. Let's hope my flight to Nashville next Saturday does not contain any passengers with similar urges.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

skills to pay the bills

I'm in the running to become a "Rafter," or correspondent, for a new "cutting-edge" cultural blog/website. They say I'll be poised for fame and cash. I don't know about that, but I'll take what I can get.

Just to give you an idea of the kind of cheeze I'm getting myself into, here is part of the introduction from the website:

Soon, a hot new media channel will be launched, and people everywhere are lining up for the chance to become our Rafter correspondents. So check it out, world. You’ll be amused, enlightened, irritated, maybe even shocked – but once we make our final selections, you’ll never be bored. This is an open audition, so be sure to vote and leave comments.

We’re looking for individuals on the cultural cutting edge to become our correspondents. Writers and photojournalists, specifically. We’re calling them Rafters. If you have a strong voice, excellent skills and a unique point of view, then you could be a Rafter. But if you’re middle-of-the-road, mainstream, milktoast, you’re not for us.

Another point. We’re not after fluff here. You need to know something. Whether it’s entertainment, finance, fitness, law, or the tantalizing details on that tiny new restaurant around the corner, you’re the expert. Show us. Intrigue us. Keep us coming back for more.

The best in the industry think this will be huge. Which means the correspondents we select will be poised for fame and cash. So dive in headfirst. If you’re a true Rafter, you can spot a good opportunity when you see one.

They will be choosing around 200 "Official Rafters" and of these, the most popular (i.e. the ones whose pages get the most views) will, in theory, recieve compensation. I could use a dollar or two, but realistically, I think this venture will be much better-suited for exposure than fortune. Either way, if you'd like to help me out, you can visit my page at the Rafter Jump On site and click the "thumbs up" button. I'll need lots and lots of votes in order to make it to "Official Rafter" status. Thanks, guys!

Here's the link:



In related news, I got my new issue of WIRED today, which includes an article entitled "Get Internet Famous! (Even If You're Nobody)."
I will have this article memorized by the end of the day.


In case the writing thing doesn't work out, I've applied for a job as a caregiver with these people. Save the Chimps has taken in almost 300 chimpanzees that were rescued from research laboratories, the entertainment and pet trade, or were part of the recently defunct U.S. Air Force "Chimpanaut" space program. Save the Chimps runs the world's largest chimpanzee refuge, right here in Fort Pierce, Florida. Who knew?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

further evidence

...or why I won't be having kids, part CMVXII.

Friday, July 11, 2008

the flowers and the trees all laugh as you walk by, and the neighbors' kids run and hide

Don't go easy on the garlic.

Tonight I made dinner for Mom and her boyfriend: chicken marsala with mushrooms (of course), onions and sweet peppers; linguine with garlic and olive oil, broccoli, and some screamin' garlic bread. We polished off three bottles of wine and discussed, among other things, cacao and parsley farming in South- and Central America, water quality in central Florida, and exactly why our produce tastes so fucking bland these days.

Now I sit on the back porch with a last glass of wine, my cigarettes and my ever-present 'puter. I can smell the gardenias; they're even better than when I was a kid.

The racoons aren't out tonight; I think they're put off by the lack of ripe produce in the back yard these past few weeks. Sorry, fellas; we're all doing the best we can.

I say this a lot, but it doesn't change the fact that I am lucky to have some truly fantastic friends.

Monday, July 7, 2008

so "no" it's "yes"

The timing could not have been better.

Over the course of the past couple of weeks, I've been participating in an ongoing discussion on a variety of bad pop-culture detritus -- everything from bad actors (Gary Coleman, Gary Shandling, Bobcat Goldthwait). . . bad movies (the recently viewed "Vacancy," another Luke Wilson flop, this time in the "horror-movie-shot-at-desolate-hotel-with-creepy-desk-clerk" genre). . . to bad music (fuck, you name it). . . bad "scenes" (often observed at "psychobilly" shows, the whole fat-chicks-with-bettie-page-hairdos-tattoos-glasses-clothing-decorated-with-skulls-and/or-cherries thing. WHEN the fuck will that die?). . . and then of course there's bloggers (hi, how are ya?) and the whole "blog scene" which I didn't even realize was so god-awful until I ran across a particularly unsettling news story, which I'll touch on in a minute.

First, though, I want to introduce you to my new favorite website, DON'T do it this way dot com. . . . and this delightful post: "DON'T take just any Craigslist modeling gig!" I'd include the YouTube video here, but you really have to see it in the context of the "DON'T" post, with their accompanying comments ("I wonder if they told them, 'this might sting a little.'") This website perfectly captures the "so no it's yes" philosophy, which reminded me of. . .

. . .a buddy of mine, copywriter and all-around good guy, who maintains a couple different websites of the "so no it's yes" variety: The Lame Train ("Daily raillery detailing life examples of noted lameness."); BrandSpankin ("Giving brands the spankin' they deserve!"); and The Daily Duh ("an idiot's eye view."). This fella's ad parodies are, dare I say, genius.


Now, about this disturbing news story I mentioned earlier. . . My suggestion for the next candidate on "DON'T do it this way" is Emily Gould, New York City blogger extraordinaire who openly admits to possessing a compulsion to blog about every detail of her personal life -- down to decribing the tattoos of her boyfriends and directly quoting intimate (and supposedly private) discussions she's had with them. That in itself would be no big deal were she not a former Gawker employee who, through some stroke of what-the-fuck, scored a cover story in the New York Times Magazine in which she detailed all the details of her addiction to blogging. That's right, I said cover story. Now, I know that everybody in the Manhattan media community, as well as everybody who saw the article when it was first published, AND everybody else who heard about it second-hand and then hunted down the article on the web, has already said this, but: How the fuck did this story happen in the first place, and more importantly, HOW DID SHE MANAGE TO MUCK IT UP SO UNBELIEVABLY BADLY? I mean, come on sister. I guess she was really trying to drive the point home when she wrote a piece three times longer than it should have been (for which she was paid thousands of dollars), about her irresistable need to share too much information in her writing. I'm not here to criticize her, however (hard to tell, I know). In fact, there were points in her story where I thought, "I know exactly what she means; I've felt the same way." I think that as a person, she's probably all right. And furthermore, it probably would have been impossible for her to write that story in a way that would be even a little flattering. And she IS a good writer. She just writes too much. My issue is, I just can't wrap my brain around ANY of this -- Emily's blogs, her life in general, the content of the Times article -- being newsworthy. The most interesting thing about it is that it's gotten as far as it has, in spite of the fact that it's not interesting at all. A passive-agressive lovers' spat conducted via blog? The whole debacle is an armchair psychologist's dream. Which is why I can't stop reading about it.

Next on my agenda: go to Rotten Tomatoes dot com, sort movies in ascending order according to ratings, and start from the top (or bottom, rather) -- from the totally unwatchable to absolutely horrible to the "dang, this sucks." I figure I've got plenty of material to keep me busy for years to come, since it seems to be a hell of a lot easier to find lousy movies than it is to get my hands on something decent to watch.

Say, if anybody wants to win automatic rights to wear the "I'm a douche" t-shirt, go ahead and point out that this entire post is "so no it's yes," or better yet, "so no it's no." That's ironic, right?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

there's a stillness in the air, i pray for sound

Let's talk about music. I haven't done this in a while, and it's overdue.

New York bands I won't stop crowing about anytime soon:

O'Death, my favorite Brooklyn garage punk/bluegrass band, has a new record on its way out called "Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin." I haven't been able to listen to much of it, but what I've heard knocks my socks off, just like their first full-length, "Head Home." Someone told me he thought O'Death sounded like John Fogerty on acid. Not even close, but it's a nice image. Oh, and they do a fantastic cover of Pixies' "Nimrod's Son" live.


Les Savy Fav ("Lay Sah-vee Fahv"). They've been playing for over ten years, and they're one of the best live acts I've ever seen (next to The Roots and the aforementioned O'Death). They released a new record last year called "Let's Stay Friends" which spurred write-ups in Rolling Stone, Spin, Magnet, Pitchfork and your Grandma's diary, yet still nobody seems to know who they are. I saw them play three times when I lived in New York, and I'll do it again every chance I get, because it's a perfect mix of angular guitar noise and dunce-hat comedy. When I really fell in love with them, though, was at the CitySol fest in NYC last summer, when LSF ended their set (and drained the solar-powered P.A.) with a two-fer of covers of Superchunk's "Precision Auto" and Archers of Loaf's "Wrong." My video is here -- enjoy the metal-y transition between songs, and my drunken pogo cinematography. In related news, Syd Butler, Les Savy Fav's bass player, runs French Kiss Records, the label that houses LSF along with (among many others) The Big Sleep, The Hold Steady, Fatal Flying Guilloteens, Sean Na Na, Detachment Kit and the Ex-Models. Also, LSF's singer, Tim Harrington, and his wife, Anna, run a small textile company called Deadly Squire, where they make things like tote bags and neckties and oven mitts out of sturdy fabrics with cool patterns of their own designs. Buy their stuff and support independent artists.


Aesop Rock. I know everybody already knows who he is, but he is really, really good at what he does. I challenge anyone to find fault with his lyrics. Here's one of my favorites:


Joy Zipper is a guy and a girl -- actually they're a married couple -- and it looks like they're in New York now. I can't put my finger on why, but for some reason I really like these guys. They're like a cross between My Bloody Valentine and Fountains of Wayne, but throw in a Baker Act/suicide watch. Catchy, sugary pop songs with super creepy, dark lyrics. They always seem to have strange song choices on their MySpace page, so here's "1" from their album, The Heartlight Set:

Baltimore, hooray!

Dan Deacon and OCDJ put out, respectively, the top two party records of 2007. Apparently OCDJ is done making electronic music for a while, but Dan Deacon ain't quitting anytime soon. Thank god. This is what happens when he plays for the Brooklyn hipster crowd in an empty swimming pool in the middle of Summer. The audio is horrible, but the song is "Lion with a Shark's Head," and the dancing is. . . well, just watch:

It's too late to turn back, here we go, Portland!

The Shaky Hands are a group of nice kids in Portland, Oregon who sound like they're into nature, The Beatles, grizzly bears and psychedelic drugs. Their self-titled album came out last year, and every time I listen to it, I start believing: a) all really is right with the world, or c)I really oughta try mushrooms again.


Old Time Relijun is the best thing to happen to my ears since June of 44 broke up, and that's not a sideways comparison -- it's just the truth. I love this band so much I want to dry-hump the speakers whenever they come on. It's raw, ugly, dirty, driving, primordial music. It howls at the gate separating religion and sexuality. I can't get enough. I've already plugged them here at the Dinghy, so I'll stop now and let the band speak for itself. The song is called "Cold Water" (Arrington's mom says it's her favorite). Just a hint -- if you decide to watch this video, you should be ready to commit to the whole eight minutes -- it becomes increasingly better as it progresses.

Old time relijun
by mainsdoeuvres

Friends and Neighbors:

Billy Harvey is a one-man-band in Austin, TX, who puts a lot of thought into everything he does, including his live shows, which feature him singing backup for himself thanks to a nifty pedal-controlled contraption that records and plays back loops of the show right then and there. He's imaginative and has a great voice and a really nifty website, too.


My friends Ford & Fitzroy are mastering their first full-length album right this minute. The singer goes a bit heavy on the angst at times, but their songwriting is intelligent and they do neat things with guitars.


Some other friends of mine, The Five Deadly Venoms are a Brooklyn-based bluegrass/Americana band who kill me every time I hear them play. Elio's voice -- and the music -- is just so, so beautiful.


The Ones to Blame are a group of four women in Gainesville, Florida, who write balls-out bluegrass/country songs about boozin', fuckin', and fightin'. And the songs are good. I mean it.

. . .and let's not forget:

The Modern Lovers was Jonathan Richman's band in the early '70s. Rock.


John Prine has been around forever, and is still a master. Here are one old video and a new-ish one.


And finally: What's up with Ladytron, and their new album "Velocifero?" Someone, please give me a reason to like this. I used to harbor a half-hearted sort of love for Ladytron, which would often expand into full-blown, unrestrained lust (just add booze and/or drugs). But their latest record is such a lame, watery letdown that I can't help but wonder if I'm missing something. I mean, is it really THAT bad? When the music is more boring than that NYC traffic channel, and the lyrics are so awful they actually make me laugh out loud, the answer is "yes." It's that bad. A friend of mine said he bets the members of Ladytron are made up of binary code. I think they're made of HVAC parts, inositol and empty promises.


I think that's all for now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

there's no place for a street fighting man

How did I not hear about this? I thought I knew people.


Union Square Fight Club : The Toothless Marine

Sunday, June 15, 2008

dear dad

Sometimes I miss you so much I want to double in on myself, disappear, join you in the ether.

Friday, June 13, 2008

makes no sense at all, and furthermore, i don't know what you're talking about

this is an actual letter i sent this morning:

dear m,

hope you got some rest
last night, after archie's beer.
i damn sure didn't.

i may be counting
on your energy to get
me through this evening.

that's right, another
early morning wake-up call
from my crazy sis.


it never ends. and neither, apparently, does my use of this blog as a soapbox from which to regale all you poor suckers with my various pedestrian bitches & gripes. i promise, i am working on reclaiming my usually electrifying personality. i just need to get some sleep. i ordinarily do not communicate in haiku. special circumstances (like diminished intellectual capacity) force extreme measures.


i've got a slap/tickle for the first person who can tell me the name of the band this post's title references, without googling it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

booze me up and get me high

Yesterday began as a great day, but a few hours in, it suddenly became one of the worst I've had in a long time. It's a long story, and I won't get into the details now.... but don't worry, everybody's going to be okay.

A few pieces of news:

1. I have four tickets for the sold-out Polvo show next Saturday, June 21st, at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC. If anyone is interested, I'll sell them to you at my cost, which is around $19 each. They're e-tickets, so I'd have to forward them to you, and you'd print them out yourself. I will need to hear back on this within the next day or two, otherwise I'm going to try and put them on StubHub or something. Sorry for sounding like a craigslist scalper douche (hey, at least I'm not trying to make a profit).

2. Yep, that means I'm not going to make it to New York for the show (or anything else) next weekend. I know a few people have been expecting me to be there, and I'm really, really sorry. I just can't swing it. In addition to my regular financial woes, I now have a dead cat and a $350 vet bill to deal with. Again, I'm sorry to all my New York friends. I'll be up sometime this summer, for sure. I miss you guys, too.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

a hard day's night

one of my friends just sent me an e-mail with the subject line, "get your butt outside."

"get your butt outside." hilarious. right now i am outside, and will be here for the next six or seven hours, whether i like it or not. it's 12:46 a.m.. i type this from my mom's back porch, where, it appears, i will be sleeping tonight. i discovered 45 minutes ago that i was locked out, and have been banging on doors and windows ever since. my knuckles are swollen and bruised. mom has still not risen from her slumber to let me in. looks like it's not happening. i'd have called her, but my phone's inside (i can see it, mocking me from the coffee table). so i'm stuck. i'll be bunking on the rattan "sofa." there are at least two giant raccoons scampering around on the patio, a few feet away. there are seven thousand mosquitos, gnats, cicadas, crickets, dragonflies, palmetto bugs, lizards, spiders and ants sharing this porch. the only provisions i have are my rapidly dying laptop, an empty watering can, two melting ice cubes (leftover drink) a bag of alabama ditch weed, a bowl and a lighter. guess what i'll be doing till i fall asleep?

fuck me.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

holiday in hanoi

I'd been craving pho bo (vietnamese noodle soup with beef) for over a week, and I finally got around to collecting all the ingredients the other night, so I, um, "whipped some up" and after an hour and a half of futzing around in the kitchen, was rewarded with this delightfully aromatic bowl of faux-deliciousness:

Why "faux" pho, you say? Because it looked and smelled like the warm, comforting, savory goodness I'd been pining for, but it tasted like corrugated cardboard. I should have just eaten the chopsticks.

Next time, more basil. Or takeout.

take this pie and shove it

I ate some bad apple pie yesterday evening, broke out in hives an hour later, and spent the remainder of the night shvitzing my tits off and flipping around in bed like a landed mackerel. Got less than two hours' sleep, was rousted before 8 a.m., spent six hours (count 'em) in my Mom's dusty, 600-degree, arachnid-corpse-filled attic with the cable guy sweating all over me, climbed up and down a 20' ladder a dozen times. . . and I still don't have a usable wireless connection. Apologies to everybody who has been waiting for photos, replies to letters, feedback on sound/video projects, etc.. It looks like it's gonna be another day or two. I'm so tired, I'm delirious.


Some lunatic has been calling my cell phone and hanging up when I answer, like three times a day, for the last three or four days. I don't know who it is, but the next time it happens, I got a loud-ass lifeguard whistle with their name on it. Bring it, Mystery Caller.

Monday, June 2, 2008

white & nerdy

Ever heard pirate-themed gangsta rap? Me, either -- until last night. Now I want to run away from home and join this band. They're called Captain Dan & the Scurvy Crew, they dress like pirates and rap about wenches and ho's*, and completely knocked my socks off by rhyming "safari" with "calamari" in a groovy tune about sea monsters. Yes, it's gimmicky; yes, it's silly. It's also pretty funny (as a novelty), and made me want to shake my, um, booty. Oh, and speaking of shaking booties, the Scurvy Crew's show prompted an extended ecstasy-inspired dance, performed by the balding shorts-and-white-socks-wearing fellow next to me. Cheers, White Socks Guy, you made my awkward "white girl bobbing stiffly to rap" routine look almost cool.

Among the other Nerdapalooza (I didn't make that up; it was the actual name of the event) performers were a mildly annoying indie-pop group from Orlando called Mumpsy; a lame zombie-themed indie rock group, and a ninja-themed hip-hop group wielding swords who rhymed about things like motherboards and USB cables.

This weekend just keeps getting better and better.

*I don't know that the apostrophe belongs in "ho's" but "hos" looks pretty stupid.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

you're pretty good looking, for a girl

Tonight I went to see the Sex and the City movie with a good friend of mine (male) and fourteen other women who were the friends, relatives, and friends of relatives of my friend. I never -- nevernevernevernever, ever -- thought I'd do something like that, and the fact that I'm "blogging" about it makes me feel brave, like I'm admitting for the first time that I have an addiction, or a foot fetish, or a conjoined twin. It was strange, almost surreal, and the fact that I was all hopped up on Sudafed probably added to my disorientation... but it was nice. We met ahead of time at someone's house for hors d'oeuvres and cosmos, and everyone drank a little too much and laughed a lot. I met several interesting, kind people and enjoyed a (somewhat) relaxing evening (except for the moment I actually heard the words "girl power" used in conversation unironically, and subsequently had to spend a solitary half hour chain-smoking on the back porch in order to regain my grip on sanity). Anyway, I had a good time. There, I said it.

Then came the movie. There were over two hundred women in the theater, and five men (I counted). At least half of the women cried a minimum of three times during the film (didn't count, too busy feeling awkward over the fact that I didn't understand what the hell everyone was crying about). At one point partway through, I went to the bathroom and found in the stall an abandoned martini glass containing a few tablespoons of cosmo (wanted to drink it, didn't). I wanted to like the movie, but I didn't. I wish I had some witty or insightful observations to add here, but I don't.

I guess it's okay to be one of those women. "Those" women. Usually I feel like I belong to a different species. Men seem to like the "girly" girls, so maybe it's preferable, who knows? I've never felt quite like I belong among them, and probably never will. I prefer to be cynical, pretend like nothing scares me, dress like a ten-year-old boy, build my own furniture, and guzzle single malt scotch. Even though it doesn't really seem to be working out so well for me, I like me the way I am. And sometimes I say things like this because I like to feel like there's really a difference between me and "them." Because, y'know, I'd hate to be viewed as prissy while I'm talking about watching Sex and the City.

it's on television

When I lived in New York, I didn't watch T.V. at all. I didn't even have one for the first year, until the bar downstairs from my apartment gave me one that they were going to throw out. I never even plugged it in; I ended up giving it away to a needy pal when I moved back here. Anyway, now I am becoming addicted to the Direct T.V. DVR thingie. I spend an inordinate amount of time looking through the guide for movies I may or may not want to see at some undetermined future date, and if I miss an episode of Top Chef I freak out like a dingo stole my baby. (Not really. My current "Playlist" contains: two documentaries on photography, the Sylvia Plath movie, Lynyrd Skynyrd on The Old Grey Whistle Test, and, okay, one episode of Top Chef.) But I think this is partly why I'm so excited about going back to school. In order to make up for not being in New York anymore, I've made it a point to do more reading and writing, but somehow I still feel like I'm losing I.Q. points at an alarming rate. I can't wait to have homework.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

i kept your poem here with all my other gear, but in the end i missed what it meant.

Yesterday I picked up a dear friend from the airport and drove him to Winter Haven to visit his dying father. Afterward we chain-smoked cigarettes with his lovely and courageous mother, and then we went out and got really drunk. To be fair, let me say that we did try and enjoy some more wholesome relaxing activities, but since every sign directing us to "Spook Hill" was pointing in a different direction, and you can only admire downtown Lake Wales for, like, five minutes before you start yawning and/or looking for hookers and crack, we finally had to throw in the towel and call on our old standby, booze. I know I'm not very good at finding the right things to say or do during times of emotional crisis, but one thing I can do right is listen. And drink. Sometimes there's not much you can do for somebody but just be a friend when times are tough. If I've been half as good a friend as my pals have been for me over the years, then I guess I'm doing all right.

Soooo. . . this afternoon I made the two-hour drive home through some of the, let's say, less populated parts of central Florida. I took lots of pictures of trees and cows and signs saying things like "I lovE God," "Jesus Saves," and "GOAT MILK FUDGE."

Here is a scary "citrus processing plant" where it's obvious that what they're really doing is cooking small children in vats of boiling oil and feeding them to their army of vicious nocturnal flying monkey-bats.

Here, figure this one out:

Cows. Cattle. Cows.


This week has been trying and strange; I was feeling hollow and ugly inside until yesterday, when I was lucky enough to spend time with some people who reminded me what life is really about. Thanks, Carls!