Friday, December 31, 2004

Heather Graham Hates Freedom.

When I finished enough pages of my paper, I gave myself the treat of typing the following phrase into Google: "I Have A Sex Crush On Jason Bateman". No nude pictures, no reports of whether or not he has a big dick. What a bummer. But, I did find out that there is someone out there who is more deranged than I am. No, seriously you guys.

After scouring in vain for any mention of whether or not he has freckles in somewhere other than his face, I ended up here, being lame and checking out what people thought of "Arrested Development". It did not disappoint. There was some GOLDEN feedback from a cross selection of angry dub house interns, bitter CAA mailroom trolls, rabid Des Moines "Malcom in the Middle" fan club members, failed 54 year old screenwriters, and a few normal people who like smart comedy. And then, there was this:

"This show jump the shark on 03/07/04 special guest star Heather Graham. She hates war and violence but was in Austin Powers. Also she loves Saddam the madman and killer but would she be willing to say the same about Ted Bundy! Keep politics out of comedy. "

Oh. My. God.

I mean, this is a joke? Right? Someone, anyone, please say yes.

(If you don't know the episode reference, then: a) this won't be as funny/terrifying and b) you're lame for not watching the show. Please go out and buy the Season 1 DVD and catch up. Support Jason so he can buy me that lovely little necklace he promised me for Valentine's Day.)

I think I may go back to school...

I think it's time for my higher education to be literally higher. As in, heaven.

Please see the second paragraph, and then immediately march to your TV set and watch "Touched By An Angel".

Thursday, December 30, 2004


I cannot force myself to write, I am behind by so many pages. I keep letting myself get distracted and knowing I'm being an ass but I HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT.

30 pages, due January 7th, 2005. I have 25 pages. I cannot muster the literary diarrhea to splatter on those last 5 pages. Fucking fuck.

I have begun to be resentful as the WHOLE vacation is almost over, I haven't gone vintage shopping, I haven't seen any friends here or up in LA, I haven't gone to the beach, gone record album shopping, even taken the dog out on a limp around the block. I've been holed up in my Dad's study and now, up in my room, listening to my family watch DVDs and having fun recreationally fighting. This makes me do even less work.

When this paper is over I am going to go on a scandalous bender the likes of which have not been seen since the seminal disco film, "Thank God, It's Friday". Just watch me.

Why, you shouldn't have. Oh, didn't.

"She had an agile, teasing sense of humor that included a
sure grasp of the absurd and an instinct for punchy
--Sally Bedell Smith

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Hallmark this, you fuckers!!!

Choose The Blue

Our little pal Hallmark seems to endorse that rapscallion, "President" Bush! As if I already didn't hate them for those stupid cards with that screeching old lady Madge? Or Marge? Where she always saying something cutely negative whilst flipping the bird? Oh for fucks' sake just look in any senior citizens' kitchen there's sure to be a magnet or mug of some sort bearing her likeness.

Now every time I can I'm going to go to the Hallmark store in Brooklyn Heights and A) surreptitiously rip cards in half and slip them back into the holders b) yank the heads off cheerful stuffed animals c) knock over any and all porcelain "Precious Moments" collectible crap and then stomp it into a fine powder. Then I will mainline it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I was looking for an H.L. Mencken quote, but instead, I found this.

I didn't add the "visionary" title at the end, because that seems very precious. But I do think, in light of what I'm working on thesis-wise, that this is pretty damned uncanny.

"Don't be deceived when they tell you things are better now. Even if there's no poverty to be seen because the poverty's been hidden. Even if you ever got more wages and could afford to buy more of these new and useless goods which industries foist on you and even if it seems to you that you never had so much, that is only the slogan of those who still have much more than you. Don't be taken in when they paternally pat you on the shoulder and say that there's no inequality worth speaking of and no more reason to fight because if you believe them they will be completely in charge in their marble homes and granite banks from which they rob the people of the world under the pretence of bringing them culture. Watch out, for as soon as it pleases them they'll send you out to protect their gold in wars whose weapons, rapidly developed by servile scientists, will become more and more deadly until they can with a flick of the finger tear a million of you to pieces." -- Jean Paul Marat, 18th Century French Visionary

Another One Bites The Dust

The first of my college boyfriends is now married. This was relayed to me today by a link to his wedding website in a mass e-mail. I am sad, mostly because had I known in advance, I would have liked to have sent a gift. We were better friends than boyfriend & girlfriend, and we dated only for a few months. She is a lucky girl, he's a catch. And, at least he treated me like a friend and showed enough respect to tell me. Unlike my second college boyfriend of 2 years, with who I had a much less amicable split. He let me know about his nuptials by replying to my yearly contact update email with only his address, no phone number. When I emailed back to a be a smartass and said something along the lines of "What, are you worried I'll call and upset your wife!? Ha ha ha!", he answered in the affirmative. What a gem was he.

This was also the one that announced to me casually that he was fairly certain he'd turn into a serial killer one day. Let the record show that following this comment, I stayed in the relationship.

Neighborhood News

Last night at about 2 am, after it had begun raining, some dipshit spun out of control while tearing around the corner of our street, slammed into the neighbor's palm tree, then sped off. I heard the whole thing because I was sitting at the computer not typing, all the while feeling bad about my not typing.

The palm tree promptly fell onto a car parked in the neighbor's driveway with a loud "crunch". From what my folks told me, the Homeowner's Association for Hillgate Estates (yes, that's the generic name of the neighborhood we live in) has banned cars parked in driveways as this is considered an eyesore that lowers the property value of the houses. This neighbor was clearly in violation of this quality control measure. I am sure that quite a few over-plucked, drawn on with a pencil, old lady style eyebrows are raised with smugness at that twist. Schedenfraude is rampant in the Southern California suburbs.

Sara Is Loco!

My dear friend Sara and I don't compete with one another ever, as it's not in our delicate natures. But it may be true that together we form a Voltron of spazzed-out drunken excess coupled with relentless spiteful commentary. And in that way, we compete to be the biggest team of a-holes ever, our singular goal being to reduce all who would challenge us to tears. Tears are our nectar. Also Skyy Melon Vodka & ginger ale.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Originally uploaded by branleighbarber.
I do not wish I was a little bit taller. But I do wish this fucking paper was over.

My Dad is tormenting us by watching the "Top Gun" DVD special features over and over. No offense, but I could give a goddamn what Teri Nunn has to say about that stupid "Take My Breath Away" song. I tried to tell my Dad about the cinematic concept of the male gaze and its being present during the extremely homoerotic volleyball scene, aptly scored to "Playing With The Boys". He wasn't having it. I suspect, as he has a few more drinks, that he may put on his flight jacket. Again.

What a douche this guy is. I want to kick him in the crotch of his Diesels. But the guy who made his "shirt" is neat.

Monday, December 20, 2004

My heart itches.

Reading all the materials for my thesis has put me in a terrible mood today. I'm so depressed over the state of federal arts funding now that I don't even want to write the damned paper. And not even because of my constant habit of procrastination, either. So shut it, clown.

My Mom and I went to the Sav-On (local drug store) and it had this "auto checkout" option. You scan your own groceries and bag them. The bag rests on top of a scale which calculates how much your groceries should weigh so you can't swipe a bunch of stuff. My Mom said she hated the machine but we ended up using it anyway. It turned into a sort of slap fight, with my Mom trying to swat my hands away from the key pad and me saying, "Mom you're banned from the scale, stop putting too much on it!" Potato chips were nearly crushed, as were familial ties, being that we turned on one another as the machine bellowed out, "Please remove unscanned item from bag now!!!" The item in questions you ask? A bag of Black Forest Gummy Bears. In an intriguing twist the machine then double charged us for the VERY SAME BEARS!! I lived the movie "I, Robot". Also I learned my Mom and I would be a shitty team on the Amazing Race. Unless I got breast implants to fill out a fuschia sports bra. Then it'd be on.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Beat it, troll!

During my darkest hours this past Saturday, I pondered this simple thought: Why, god, was there no third installment in the ribald "Problem Child" film series? Why this cruel absence of a legacy of hi-jinx, guffaws, and chortles?

Today, a new dawn has come.

Behold: Problem Child 3: Junior In Love.

Thank you, sweet baby christ child. Thank you.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Prom Drunk

I wish I hadn't been so wasted that I missed the majority of last night's performances. I became the idiot that goes to the concert so they can pay to be incoherent around other people rather than listen to the band. Oh, well. I did at least manage to be alert enough to hear the live rendition of "I Want Candy!" by MC Chris. After that, there were many trips outside for fresh air, taken during the sets of people I in sobriety am sad I missed.

Todd Barry was there, I saw about the first 4 minutes of his stand up. I tried not to make direct eye contact with anyone and to blend in. This was hard as I was the tallest person there. Not just the tallest woman, that I'm used to; but the tallest person at the show, due to my wearing stiletto ankle boots which seemed like a great idea at the time. Not so much. Also, I thought it would be wise to wear a kelly green blazer that, on closer inspection, made me look unnervingly similar to Austin Powers. The glasses didn't help. Shagadelic, bay-bee! (puts barrell of gun in mouth, waves goodbye with free hand)

Based on last night's dismal performance, and the fact that I seem to have a knack for making a fool out of myself that rivals Jerry Lewis in his vagina-hating hayday, I think I'm going to have to lay off the controlled substances for a while.

The guy I had a crush on was at the party. As luck would have it, he has a girlfriend. After pouting about this information, I was mad at myself for turning the whole thing into a Lifetime movie. I seem to have fantasized that I'd show up and he'd have a corsage for me, and then we'd get voted King & Queen of the winter ball, and take a snow white limo to the Denny's where I could have the breakfast omelette of my choice. And maybe, since I knew in my heart he was the one, there would be finger banging. However, back here in adult land, this was not meant to be the outcome. In hindsight I guess it's OK because I was too wasted to even communicate, much less eat an omelette! I mean, guy*!

*substitute word for "god" that my childhood best friends were forced to say to avoid being beaten for blasphemy by their 6'6" ex-prison guard father

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Brandy Barber, Visitor

The Ghost was more subdued last night. Of course, the kitchen seemed to have been ass-raped by the ghost of Joan Crawford, so what did she have to rattle her chains about? My manic housecleaning, when I do get around to doing it, is nothing short of inspired.

I'll be home in sunny CA in about 6 days. This year I decided to do something while I'm there instead of sit on my ass watching TV. I've got that nailed down here I think.

I was trolling about on the San Diego "Scenic Sights 'n' Such" web page, feeling a tad embarrassed to be doing so. And I came across this link about my hometown. It replused me and at the same time, ingnited in me some strange sort of pride. If you look close, you can see the 7-11s where I bought bottles upon bottles of Mickey's illegaly, puked up hash brownies on public beaches, or snuck into bars to be picked up on by 40 year old loser surfers! Yes, folks, something to be proud of. A memory is a thing of beauty forever. Now, here's .25 cents to call a cab, because you can't sleep here tonight, my old lady's gonna be home from her shift at Dirty Dan's in an hour.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

"Let's go get drunk and rip off a 10 speed."

I wish I had a Foreigner belt.

Today I cooked and ate a Tyson pre-seasoned chicken. After thinking it smelled kind of like ammonia, as I was chomping on a piece, I ventured a peek at the container, which had a sell by date of December 2nd. A hasty Google search informed me that I most likely have gotten myself a crack case of food poisoning, and will be vomiting soon. By the time you read this, it's highly likely I will have shat myself. To this end I ate half a bag of mini Hershey's Kisses and a piece of vegetable pizza, and washed it down with god's nectar, a can of Dr. Pepper. Always a can, NEVER a bottle. Because at least I want to live it up now if I'm faced with days and days of soup and flat 7Up.

Now off to re-watch MC Pee Pants, and then finish the much overdue cleaning of the kitchen.

It hath returned!!!

The Ghost was not making itself evident from a couple of days before Thanksgiving until yesterday evening. Before this dramatic entrance, the Ghost had me genuinely concerned. Not only was there ample toilet paper, but there were no noxious smoke fumes coated in Vanilla Horizons .99 cent store ozone-propelled air freshener from 1977.
The real trauma occurred when my landlord cornered me and tried to insist I pay her rent. Even though she's paid her own rent for the past 8 months. I politely said, no way. And that I didn't know her too well, and I had no idea where she was but I'd email her. And then I suggested that if she had pulled a runner that he go ahead and use her one month's deposit as that was the point, was it not? This seemed to stun him into silence allowing me to escape to the diner for a cheeseburger.

Well, last night, I heard the telltale rustling and then the door opened. It was alive!!!!!!! However, you'll be surprised to hear that the Ghost was acting up! In fact, she VENTURED DOWN THE HALL INTO THE KITCHEN! Side note: the kitchen is filthy because I didn't feel like getting off my ass and doing dishes last week, because loading the dishwasher is soooooo hard. So it looks like a battleground, with pots and pans all askew, and I also hadn't refilled the Brita filter because I'm lazy. So, she came out of her cave in search of Brita water vs. bathroom faucet water I guess, and was somewhat rightfully appalled. And then, I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT- she came into the doorway that leads into the living room. She surveyed the space, which is full of stuff I am in the process of donating/dragging out to the curb/cardboard boxes the cat has chewed. And then she saw me on the couch watching my Aqua Teen Hunger Force DVD. I saw her peripherally, but I didn't turn my head to acknowledge her because it was the part where Urr jumps on the game to get more tickets. Also because I am somewhat scared of interacting with her now since she's so fucking crazy. And she sort of jumped, because I don't think she knew I was out of my room and on the couch. After a few seconds, which felt like hours she scuttled back into her room. For the next hour, there was loud door slamming, water running, and wafts of smoke and incense (someone got all new-age-uppity on my ass and ditched the canned stank). And then a VERY LOUD PHONE CALL was made about her delayed trip home from god knows where. If I was to venture a guess I'd say she sounded angry...uh oh. If, when they find my corpse, the blood vessels in my eyes are burst, you now know why.

Later...I espied in the bathroom, along with her not-touched-since-she-moved-in-Old-Lady "Setting Lotion" (what is she a flapper?!), a variety of swiped mini Canyon Ranch Spa amenities. For fuck's sake! The Ghost went to Canyon Ranch?! I wonder if she stayed in her room the whole time chain smoking there like she does here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

El Sombrero/The Hat

You'd think by now that I'd take a moment to reflect and learn from experience that I always, always end up getting way too drunk when I have a pint sized margarita on the rocks, no salt, at the Hat. But after a few years, it still has not seemed to sink in. Even after numerous nights which ended in puking up guacamole and rock salt. Nope.

I don't know how I got so drunk last night, I just know that all of a sudden I was blatantly hammered. I hazily remember getting up to dance at the party and as I did, the oh, so wacky Dj who was at the most 20, decided to take it back to the 70's and school us in her supercool "Look at me I use ironic incorrectly to describe myself" ways. When I got up, MC Lyte was playing. When I arrived at the dance floor, it morphed into some lame ass Led Zepplin song. There are a few of these that you could dance to, perhaps if you were peaking on acid and scampering around a tent covered in your own patchouli filth. However, I am not one to partake in such exploits and certainly will not even after raiding the open bar. I wanted to go over, give her a time out, and say, "Look, I know how much your life has been changed since last week when you discovered Stevie Nicks because you read about her on Courtney Love's website? But no one wants to dance to your attempts at being a 'hip DJ' in order to anger your conservative midwestern parents who pay for your East Village walk up rat infested closet, so fuck off and put on some James Brown, princess." I didn't, though. I instead went promptly to a bodega and knocked over a can of Sapporo which exploded while I was trying to paw at a 40 of Coors Lite. I'll show her, I'll show ALL OF YOU!

A guy I have an ill-informed crush on was supposedly spotted at the same bar. I got excited at the thought of such romantic kismet; instead I drank too much free Red Stripe and staggered out. Later, in a move reminscent of the star of the movie, "Problem Child" I swiped a huge handful of Hershey's Kisses from the bartender at the karaoke place, rather than taking the proffered one serving.

In other news, my new black-with-kelly-green-wheels roller skates came fresh from eBay and I could not be more thrilled. I decided it was wise to make myself some hangover treats- tea and ginger noodle soup- while wearing them. About halfway from the kitchen to the couch I realized what a fucking douchebag I am 99.7% of the time.

Friday, December 03, 2004

"Don't Make Anything About Tonight."

Me: I'm posting into my blog.

Dad: Don't.

Me: I'm going to.

Dad: Don't. (indicates my misuse of WebTV's cursor function) Duh. You gotta go up, numb nuts.

(Drinks more gin & tonic.)

The End

Dad: Oh, very funny. How disrespectful.

Tonight's entry has been brought to you by the Annpolis Sheraton, who had the foolishness to install WebTV into its hotel suites, allowing me to read aloud my and my friend's blogs to my horrified family after I got drunk at the exorbitant seafood restaurant, O'Leary's.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


I got to see one of my favorite people in the world last night, Porter. There was a lot of drinking as well. Very nice. Plus I had and amazing cheeseburger at McManus.

Now I'm packing for my trip to Maryland to meet my family, who are all there to go with my little brother to the Army-Navy game. Now I could give a goddamn about sports but I do like to see them live, even though I have not the slightest idea what the actions mean or what's being said by the announcers.

I remember once in high school, a teacher who everyone thought was really cool drew a diagram on the chalkboard and asked me if I knew what it was. I guessed something scientific since he was my physiology teacher. He shook his head with a smirk on his face, and then asked another girl in the class, Dusty (yes, it was her name and yes, she was a slut). She had no idea. This went on for a bit, with the men in the class snickering and making disruptive noises. Finally, the teacher called out to one of the boys, John Eric, (yes, like "generic") who was wiggling in his seat with his blatant contempt at our female stupidity. The teacher asked him if he knew what the diagram was. He could barely contain his delight when he answered- the series of Xs and Os on the chalkboard was some sort of football play nonsense. I still don't give a rat's ass, and as I get older, I think that was a sexist, stupid thing to do. What the fuck does football have to do with physiology?!? Man, I went to a shitty, broke-ass high school.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Fuck you, you fucking fucks.

I just had a New York nightmare evening.

First I made the tragic mistake of walking into the fucking Rockefeller Center Tree lighting. Dont ask. Just know that when a bunch of upstate tourist trash started singing "Rudolph the Red nosed reindeer" I yelled at them to shut up. I wish the terrorists had blown up that tree and Katie Couric.

Then I went to a PGA panel discussion on television producing and wanted to die. Some fucking douchebag tried to disparage "Arrested Development" by saying he couldn't sit through it. this guy works on "Hope & Faith". 'Nuff said (as he would most likely type into his lowest common denominator script and then add a laugh track). It gets better; someone else on the panel (also an employee of that show which I refuse to type in again out of self-respect) said disdainfully, "Who can relate to that show? What is that show about? That show is about how great it is." I wanted to kill all of them. And of course, the standard "work within the crazy kooky networks this is a business" brainwash shit. As my dearest Sara would say, I wanted to take a dump on their heads. I hate other people so bad.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Remains of the day

Who went to sleep for a "nap" at 5 pm and just woke up at 2 am? This one.

I got trashed on Thanksgiving. I don't mean, I had some drinks. I mean, I had two glasses of wine at dinner, two beers before we went to see "La Cage Aux Folles", and so many I can't even remember how many after the show. And I tried the next day, believe me. Rob Webber and I finally ceased drinking at around 2:45 am. I then like an asshole decided to take my umbrella and tap dance through 42nd Street. See, here's the thing, how funny is it to pretend you're in a MUSICAL in the middle of where all the MUSICAL THEATER happens?!? Man, am I a card or what?! I'm still cringing at the thought of it. The display of class ended with a much needed trip to McDonald's where Rob and I were the only ones who spoke English. I have to admit: the only times I like Times Square occur on major holidays, because it's destitute.

I am debating having a Christmas party again. I for some reason really hate throwing parties. Last year's was nice, though. It was big (usually nerve wracking) but for some reason I was less stressed, I think because it was a joint effort with Meg. We'll see.

Nigel has been in a word, horrid. I tired to be nice and put one of those perpetual pet waterers out- you know, the kind that looks like a mini water cooler- so he'd have more fresh water, due to the recent toilet ban. He put his paw up inside the cooler and knocked water out onto the floor. I noticed his paws were soaking wet when he jumped on me and I was baffled. When I walked into the kitchen, there were puddles everywhere. The rug was soaked, and the waterer was all the way across the floor, turned to face the window. He chooses dehydration I guess.

I started trying to knit again. It's hard, I feel like I have ape paws because of my fat fingers. I am determined to knit myself a scarf over the holidays. I have no excuse, as there will be a lot of travel time to fill. I am hopeful that my trip home this year will be less upsetting than last, when my favorite travel sleeve containing my precious Xmas cd collection was swiped at La Guardia. When I got off the plane in San Diego I was hysterical. I think people thought it was over my styrofoam box containing a kidney gone missing rather than the loss of "A Ren & Stimpy Christmas" and "Jingle Cats".

I am getting excited about Christmas, it is my favorite holiday. It's always so much fun, because I go to see my family and sit on my ass in the sunshine. I have already prepared a list of where I will be eating upon my return to sunny, boring-but-lovable San Diego:

1) In-N-Out Burger (will be ordered on the way home from the airport)
2) Filiberto's (the most amazing homemade Mexican fast food, and get this: not made by failed Chinese restaurant owners like in Manhattan)
3) Rubio's (the best fish tacos; save your jokes, jag off)

Plus, my Dad will be frying a turkey this year for Christmas dinner. Due to the highly likely threat of fire/death that combining a high-pressue boiling oil-filled deep fryer with drinking offers, my Mom has banned us from having any "Artilliery Punch" until after the bird is cooked. Hooray!

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Little Friend

I finished it, and it knocked me on my ass. I don't know what to say about it. Harumph.

One thing about epilepsy that sucks is when, after you've had a seizure, the neurologist rakes a sharp metal sort of pen (for lack of a better term) down each of the soles of your feet. It's akin to getting your reflexes tested, that uncomfortable tap with the hammer that results in your leg sort of bouncing. Except it's more than uncomfortable, and it makes you jump up a bit off the vinyl chair and slide on the hygienic paper that covers it. That's what makes me think of seizures, that rake down the foot.

Friday, November 19, 2004

* the Ghost and Ms. Barber

The Ghost is my roommate. She was given this title not due to her pale complexion nor due to a love of Florida Goth. Nay, she earned it because of the simple fact that she is never seen, but can be heard hovering around in the apartment.

The Ghost has lived here for 9 months. I have seen her, meaning laid eyes on her, perhaps 9 times since then. Please note: this does not count speaking to her. I have spoken to her perhaps 4 times- two of these times were conversations lasting longer than 5 sentences.

Here are some answers to what are going to be your preliminary questions: No, The Ghost is not mean, or spiteful. She is not born again (I draw the line on that shit in my home). She does speak English. She is just fucking odd.

I lost an amazing roommate last year and the Ghost was a seemingly sound replacement. She was willing to pay for the whole month of February even though she'd only be moving in the last week (a bidding war had begun to spring up for the room). That to me was her ticket in. Plus, when we met, she seemed pleasant, literate, and kind of nerdy. And not in an ironic Williamsburg-y way, either. Like, long mousy hair parted in the middle, all the way down her back, hasn't been cut since she was small nerdy. Like, is really into dog posters and may sketch horses in her notebook nerdy. Like, excited by a Chico's giftcard nerdy. (There may be a strong resemblance to "Carrie" pre-Prom blood spewing).

Things seemed OK until about week 3 when I realized with some alarm that she would come home and go right into her room. The door would open, and she'd be talking non-stop on her cell phone; and then I'd hear her bedroom door close. She wouldn't come out for the rest of the night, with the exception of going to the bathroom (presumably to eat toilet paper- see prior entry). My apartment is set up similar to the famous "railroad" style- her room and the bathroom are right at the front of the house and then, after a long hallway (that has my two closets in it), and the kitchen (which has a real dishwasher and a real oven- not that dollhouse shit that you normally get in NYC), there's another doorway that opens into two huge rooms- my living room and the TV den. These together are larger than the studio a friend of a friend pays $1000 some odd dollars to live in. And then, off to the side, is my small yet cozy bedroom.

When the Ghost moved in I made it clear that while my room was indeed my room only, these two other spaces were common rooms. I stressed that to her and she smiled and agreed. And then she never went near either.

She doesn't cook. She doesn't put anything in the refrigerator. She doesn't watch TV. She sits in her room and chain smokes. And talks on her cell phone- but oddly, only when she comes in the front door, when she leaves her room to go to the bathroom (?!?), or when I walk past her room to go to the bathroom.

At first, I was really spooked. I complained to Ben who suggested that I approach her to make sure allw as well. So, after I heard her come home one night and bolt into her room, I waited then knocked on her door. She opened it looking confused, holding her flannel pajama top closed and- yep- talking on her cell phone (which had commenced the minute I knocked on the door to her room). I asked if she was ok. She seemed confused, but mouthed yes, smiled, and then shut the door. Uh, ok.

This was to be the last time I saw her for a few months. The others were:

  • literally DARTING like a rodent from the bathroom to her room when I was just opening the front door (?) and then TALKING ON HER CELL PHONE!!!!!!
  • on the couch in the den watching tv (I don't charge her for cable since she doesn't have a hook up in her room and she's never around); on this occasion she stammered (who does that?! except in like, bodice rippers or stupid detective novels, NO ONE) something incoherent and scurried back to her room (no cell phone this time, as she didn't have it on her when she was discovered; I think that stammering was a primal response and am surprised she didn't make that fake phone shape with her hand as solace)

My friend Keith insists I don't really have a roommate and that I made it up that she lives here. But that's mystique of the Ghost: I never see her, I only hear her. Or smell her rancid smoke, which she chimneys out into the hall despite the rolled up handtowel under her door (again...dorm?). She picked up some atrocious vanilla air "freshener" at a .99 cent store and likes to spray that to pretend it masks her activities. Because, you see, this is a non smoking apartment. No, pot does not count, smarty jones.

To be continued...

I am awake!

And I have been since 11 am! This is like 6 am to me right now! And I have the city of Brooklyn to thank, as I was awakened by the re-tarring of the street section DIRECTLY UNDER MY WINDOW! It's my municipal alarm clock.

I live over a huge Muslim family, who collectively are my landlords. There is the patriarch of the family, and his wife; then, their 2 sons and their wives, and their daughter and her husband, plus two younger brothers who I guess to be about 15 and 11, respectively, and, at last count, 2 kids, although I noticed the daughter was pregnant last week. They own two adjacent buildings on this block, and in this building they rent the top floor out. They bought the buildings back when Smith Street was a war zone; you can still see bullet holes in the Plexiglas of my front doorway, and there are security mirrors jury-rigged onto the windows overlooking the front door from my kitchen (think rearview mirrors, but giant). My apartment is huge, even by Brooklyn standards, with the whole Manhattan-esque rent increase taken into consideration. It's a fair price as well for my rent, and I love it here. But sometimes, the family below makes it a nightmare. They tend to fight all the time, screaming bitterly. The kids are always howling; I remarked to Ben once that I suspected they fed the babies glass. Right now, one of the young husbands, I can't tell which, is screaming at the top of his lungs at his wife, and it is actually scaring me. Doors are slamming and it sounds like he's hitting the walls. Do I call the police? Will that make it worse, will the wife end up getting in more trouble then? Muslims tend to be very private about business between husband and wife in my limited experience. I'm never sure what to do, which makes me feel sad and powerless. My old roommate Meghan used to have my room, and she told me that she could clearly hear the 11 year old swearing and watching what sounded like the bass-heavy tones of BET. At 1 in the morning. On a weeknight. One of the husbands comes home from work at midnight, and the wife wakes up her kid to see him. So there's inevitably spine-tingling screeches echoing down the hall at that time almost nightly. I'm home a lot more than I used to be. All this noise was present before, but now the nuisance of it is evident in a greater way. However, they keep out of my way. I'm nearly invisible to them up here, and they are always courteous to me when we pass one another on the stairs- which is rarely. I know they time it so that when they hear me approaching, they clear out. I've seen the hem of a tunic peeking out from under their front door as I loped up the stairs, drunkenly. Yet, it's not done in a mean way- they don't treat me as if I'm suspicious. I think they just like to know what's going on. It's a strange situation.

Check out this site for simple, hilarious "news" clips from Andy Borowitz. He's awesome. He makes me laugh in this fucked up political morass we're in. Again. Four more years, my butt. I suggest signing up for his daily e-mail alerts, it's a great way to start your day. Also, bong hits are.

I discovered a kick-ass radio stream on the web. Go check it out, and click on the Brit Pop icon. I've heard World Party, Badly Drawn Boy, Oasis, Stone Roses, and the Soup Dragons today. Word.

Essay #1: Nigel

Posted by Hello

I’d been wanting to adopt a kitten for while. The flyer I had picked up told me that there would be an adoption fair on Valentine’s Day, and that was where Ben and I were walking now. I held a small pet carrier, which I had found on trash day. It was in fine shape- I suspected a pet had simply outgrown it- and after a through cleaning, I deemed it fit for any new companion I’d be bringing home. Ben was horrified by this, but had given up trying to tell me otherwise. As we walked, I imagined the kitten I’d adopt today; she would be orange and white, with long hair that worked itself into spiky little peaks. She’s have a look on her face that could not be mistaken for anything other than a smile. And she’d have spunk; she’d never run under the couch wimpily when company came over. Instead, she’d meow graciously at them and set herself upon their laps, charmingly purring and looking up at them coquettishly. This cat, I had decided, would be the feline version of me. I would name her Ruby. Ben and I arrived at the pet adoption fair 15 minutes after it had begun. On our way in, we saw a happy couple passing holding a cardboard box with holes cut out of it and pitiful mewls issuing from it. They smiled at us, and we all chuckled at their terrified new pet’s screeching. This only made me more excited, and even Ben, never one to betray perceivable emotion, seemed mildly interested. Little did we know. All of the kittens were gone. Not a one remained. There were plenty of dogs in cheerful yellow felt capes with the phrase “Take me home today!” printed on the back. But kittens were not an option. I was in tears, and Ben saw fit to pat me on the back and suggest brunch. On the way there, we ran into a couple who Ben knew, and they suggested that we check out a local veterinarian who offered some cats for adoption. After eating in order to raise my blood pressure to the point where I would not weep bitterly on the spot, Ben and I took off to the veterinary office. The window of the vet’s offices displayed a bunch of cubbyholes from floor to ceiling. There were no metal cages, and the cats were able to roam about. One cat, a gray Siamese mix, regarded us coolly from her perch, where her tail hung down and in doing so, provided a chubby calico with a toy to bat at. One grey tabby walked back and forth, silently meowing at us through the glass. These were patients of the clinic, and I liked that they were treated so well. This place seemed like it would do. We went inside. I asked the receptionist about any cats for potential adoptions. She started to shake her head, but then, called in a vet’s aide, who reminded her that yes, there was one cat that was available. The receptionist pulled out some papers and gave me some information. This kitten was older; 6 months to be exact. He had been abandoned at a low cost spay & neuter clinic (his previous owners were at least half responsible). He was shy. Would I like to see him? I was uncertain. I had wanted a younger cat, and I wasn’t sure about a male, either (sexist, but true). Plus, he sounded like he may have a less than desirable personality, which I was concerned about. Ben tilted his head at me kindly and suggested I take a look at the cat, just to see. I nodded, not quite convinced but feeling guilty for being so dismissive of this one animal out of thousands in need. The receptionist disappeared into the back of the office momentarily. I sat down, held Ben’s hand and felt torn. And then I saw him. The receptionist had him in her arms, and he looked terrified. His yellow eyes bugged open, and he shrunk his tiny body against her chest. She walked up to me and said, “Now you can get to know him and see if he’s a good fit”. I reached out and put my hands around his heaving rib cage. I could feel his little heart beating frantically against my palm. I placed him gently on my lap. He looked up into my eyes for just a second, and then, shivering, burrowed in between my arm and my side, trying to meld himself into me. Like a four legged ostrich, he shoved his head under the hem of my down vest to hide. And he broke my heart, just like that. Without any hesitation, this tiny creature had demanded that I hold and comfort him. And how could I say no to him? My eyes teared up and I whispered to him, “It’s going to be OK, little guy. It’s all going to be OK now.” Ben was up at the reception desk, making polite conversation with the receptionist in a shared attempt by both of them to give me some privacy while I evaluated the kitten. Now, the receptionist peered from around Ben and asked politely, “OK, so maybe you can think about it-“ “I think I’ll take him” I said, cutting her off. Ben laughed, surprised by my sudden certainty. I filled out all the papers, Ben paid the vet’s adoption fees as a Valentine’s Treat, and we loaded the kitten into the recycled carrier and started back home. Ben, saddled with a giant bag of cat food in one hand and a bag of toys in the other, laughed as the kitten cried miserably. I had decided to name him Nigel, and no matter how much I tried to soothe him, he wailed in utter horror. I cooed to him, “I promise, you’re OK now, Nigel. You’re mine, and it’s all OK now.” And I hope Nigel knew I meant it.

Friday, November 12, 2004

"More paper, please." Posted by Hello

"When it's time to change..."

I am forcing myself to begin the whole "The Artist's Way" regime. AGAIN. God dammit, I am an adult and should be capable of completing this without fucking off and letting it fall to the side again. Feel free to attack me when this (inevitably) occurs.

Typing the word "inevitably" just made me think way back when to that disturbing commercial for "Circus Fun" cereal. I think there was an animated Jimmy Durante creature posing as a spokesperson. Its tagline was to chant, "indubitably!" I wasn't aware that circus staff and the like were in possession of such high IQ's. Or the 6 year olds that cereal is usually being marketed to, for that matter. I can say this: I knew/know who Jimmy Durante is because I saw his likeness in Looney Tunes cartoons. I went online to see if I could find any pictures of this creature, but all I found were references to a clown. Sorry, it's a little too late in the day for that type of malarkey.

I am cat sitting for a friend who is a very wealthy young lady. Being in her house makes me sad, because everything is so elegant. Even the wastebasket is pure silver. I know because I knocked it on my clumsy foot like an oaf. It should be fun to stay over in the fancy apartment with the lovely cat, but it just serves to remind me of how everything in my apartment is crappy. It makes me consider that I have a desk that gives me welts above my elbows whenI type because it's made of particle board, a coach coated in cat fur, and a huge, hideous entertainment center that looks like the fucking set piece that "Miami Vice" forgot.

Plus, I miss my cat (Nigel) when I sleep out. He punishes me when I return by having chewed any type of paper he can get at. Wonder where he learned the passive/aggressive tendencies?

And now, let's dwell: My ex boyfriend would become enraged at me for using that term, passive/aggressive. He said I used it too often & incorrectly. He said I didn't know what it meant. He insisted I stop saying it. So, to be passive/aggressive, I used it even more. I went so far as to shorten it to "PA", which may or may not in the lexicon already, but to me, it was a bright idea for the purpose of any sort of torment. I threw this abbreviation around as much as possible, and his sighing and head shaking became a reward I sought openly.

Even though he acted superior and could be just plain nasty, I miss his companionship. He was a funny guy, even if he was C3-PO.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Perfectionism = Procrastination

Sometimes, instead of doing something I claim I'd like to, I will do absolutely nothing. I used to think this was because I was self-destructive, and some sort of a misanthrope. Recently I have come to realize that this is caused by my heretofore unknown perfectionism.

You see, unless I can do something exactly right the first time, I don't want to do it AT ALL. I have never said that aloud, mind you. But I catch myself when confronted with a project, postponing indefinitely because I don't want to begin until I've done all the prep work, I don't like my pen, I'm not sure if I can set something up without a's sad.

This is because I am a highly critical, awful person. No really. I am. I tend to be so hard on stuff, that I am terrified to get up and do anything unless it's absolutely perfect from conception. I am afraid to fail, as most of us are...but I'm afraid to fail at typing in that first word.

Next step: being OK with making the kind of fool out of myself that I would openly imitate to the amusement of my hateful yet charming friends.