Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Things to which I have been up

A smattering:

1) Going to a beautiful wedding in Colorado. It had sort of all the ingredients one would want in constructing the ur wedding -- beaming bride, happy groom, deliriously joyful parents of the bride and groom, spectacular natural landscape, and completely incomprehensible-old-man-toast by someone's grandfather full of what would be cliches if I lived in rural Texas. Also a prominent and somewhat surprising mention of "Cats" in the homily. The musical, not the species.

2) Catching up with college friends as a result and feeling both excited to see people, distraught at how rarely I see them nowadays, and guilty realizing the extent to which I was kind of a flaky friend sometimes. But I'm trying not to dwell and just be a little more pro-active now.

3) Teaching at this program in the afternoons. Which means that, for the third summer in a row I find myself wearing unflattering matching t-shirts, carrying craft supplies, and playing Zip Zap Zop. Which, of course, I love (okay, not the t-shirts), but still. I'm definitely experiencing a little more deja vu than I had intended. And I'm constantly having to stifle the urge to say "But when I did this before, we did it like this." And that's hard for me.

4) Re-typing draft one of the play from Word to FinalDraft. Which means, if things go according to plans, I'll have a proper-looking document by the end of this week, from which to make corrections and changes all summer long.

5) Enjoying the weather. Damn, am I enjoying the weather.

Should I be offended?

A real post is coming, but in the meantime -- offense? Perhaps gratitude that I'll never be trendy?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Only in New York, kids

Do they do things like this.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Summer after my sophomore year of college my mom and I took a trip to France. We did lots of fun things like roam around the countryside looking at churches with C. and eat rich food with silly names, and we also went perfume shopping. Perhaps I had just been reading too many gay men's memoirs where they talked about how stylish their mothers were, but I decided that I really needed to have "a scent" [you know, for my nonexistent gay son to remember me by] and I smelled 100 little strips of cardboard in an effort to find one, and finally I did. And I really, really liked it. I started wearing this perfume pretty much every day from about June 2000 to June 2002, when I decided that the most important thing was to smell as unappealing as possible in an effort to scare away fatal-disease-carrying mosquitoes.

And then I came back to the US and the last remaining milliliter of perfume sat in its little bottle and I made $7 an hour and tried to distance myself from all things collegiate. Until I went to New York last month. And I visited the enormous Times Square branch of the Parisian perfume megalopolis and started smelling the little sticks again. Which, of course, all smelled ickily like perfume. Until I got to the one that I used to wear. Which, oddly enough, just smelled like me.

So I came home, discovered that Amazon sells it for 40% off, and bought a bottle. That arrived today. And, am now probably part of a very small group of people proud to say, "Hey, I smell just like I did in college."

Friday, May 19, 2006

In other, more positive, less-ranty news

Beloved Husband is written about in the Washington City Paper.

Mazel tov.

Forget the slope

Things are already pretty damn slippery.

I know they do lots of things really, super-awesome well, like provide accurate sex-education information to teenagers and sign the Kyoto accord, but Europe's also creeping me out these days.

Here's a story from England, about permitting the genetic testing and then discarding of embryos without severe genetic disorders. That's right, you can mix up a batch of embryos in a lab, scan them, and if they have a strong genetic chance of getting cancer in their forties toss them out with the bathwater and start again. This is terrifying. Forget all the people who have made enormous, important contributions to the world between ages zero and forty-five, forget the fact that you're dealing with chances, not definite knowlege -- this is designer babies. The future is already here. It's taking the freaky, picky, consumerist language used by the mothers-by-choice profiled here and adding the life-is-something-you-can-buy philosophy of this lady. It's aiming for perfection and it is, as is, eugenics.

Maybe it's just because I read Never Let Me Go last month, but reading these stories together makes me feel like the day is not long off when women and men in poverty will be selling their eggs, sperm, uteruses, kidneys, and blood to create and support a ruling class of body buyers, armed with their credit cards and a belief (as told them by their credit cards) that they deserve the best, whether that's a tall, blond, disease-free child or a brand-new heart.

I know, I know, I know it's really difficult to have disabled children or to have people die in middle age of diseases that could be prevented with transplants. But I am deeply freaked out that this is the way the market is choosing to deal with it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Because taste is the highest measure of self-worth

I finally started downloading songs from i-Tunes last night, prompted by the recent acquisition of an i-Pod in the family.

And these are the 7 songs I chose to download, in no particular order:

"Locked Up" -- Akon
"The Talkin' Song Repair Blues" -- Alan Jackson
"Toxic" -- Britney Spears
"Rebel, Rebel" -- David Bowie
"Fancy" -- Reba McEntire
"Footprints" -- T.O.K.
"Maps" -- The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs

No idea what this says or means except that I'm now much more inclined to sing and dance at the computer. And it's really friggin' addictive.

Also -- Beloved Husband returns home today, which means a probably decrease in the amount of blogging and watching of the Gilmore Girls marathon. On the other hand, it'll be good to have a human in the house again -- I'm starting to narrate my internal monologue to the Wonder Dog and he's looking a little overwhelmed.

Friday, May 12, 2006

2 cents

My vote for the most bass-ackwards opinion piece about l'affaire Kaavya (should you live in a gossip-free cave) is today's op-ed by Whitney Otto in the NY Times.

Her main point -- you can't be a writer and an overachiever. Real writers, like, drink and smoke and stuff and that's what makes them great. Also, she tries to make a weird put-down of/ paean-to chick-lit, which is pretty daring for the author of How to Make an American Quilt.

I want to prove her central thesis wrong, but I feel like I'd just be offering myself up as an example, making it very easy for naysayers to point out my own short-comings. Which, of course, raises the question: would I be more offended at being called a bad writer or a bad overachiever?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Stop what you're doing and go watch this movie right now

I'm usually a really terrible person to watch television with. I'm an obsessive channel surfer and a speed reader, which means it's usually just a blur, and then when I do stop to watch something it's almost always a reality program in which people are horrible to each other.

BUT, tonight I stayed in with the puppy and saw an amazing movie on TCM -- Imitation of Life - Claudette Colbert, not Lana Turner.

I had read about it before as a famous tragic mulatto story, but it's way much more than that. It's about commerce, capitalism, single mothers, friendship, Aunt Jemima, education, race, and identity. And it's complicated, keeping up the surprises, despite being fundamentally a melodrama. For a 2006 audience, there are moments of discomfort watching Louise Beavers be the stereotypical mammy, but way fewer than watching a preview for "Bringing Down The House." And she's the hero. For her intelligence and ideas, not just her warm, fun-loving personality.

Favorite and most "holy cow, this is 1934" line:

Claudette Colbert about Louise Beavers' character's daughter: She's very smart.

Louise Beavers: We all start out smart. We don't get dumb till later.

Plus really great supporting performances from Ned Sparks and Warren William. And an amazing job from Fredi Washington, an important African American actress and civil rights advocate, unlike the white lady in the Sirk remake.

So go watch it. And if your friend stops by to deliver mangos 10 minutes before the end, you can make him stay and watch it and try not to tear up.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Houseguests and Handtools

Our most recent house-guest departed Wednesday AM, causing me to realize that, over the last month, we've had four people from assorted cities near and far camp out on our futon, and how nice it is.

Part of this I attribute to location -- my proposed slogan for New Haven is "halfway between where you are and where you want to be" [also a good motto for professional school] -- and it turns out to be somewhat true. People are often traveling from one place to another and find it convenient to camp out here. Or, people come here for weddings or workshops or just plain visits.

And, like many things, including, as I am discovering these days, racheting, the more you do it, the easier it is. So, even if I can weirdly morph into the kind of person who worries about whether there are flecks of toothpaste on the bathroom mirror, having one guest per week makes me calm down about whether every dust bunny has been hunted and exterminated.

Also, having a grocery store and an Apizza 1-2 blocks away does wonders for the ease of hostessing.

In other news, I am currently working as unskilled verging-on incompetent labor for the Carlotta Festival of New Plays. See racheting. Also see me two stories in the air on the genie changing gels. Also see me breaking the elaborate screen doors with my foot. There's nothing like working backstage, though, to get an appreciation for the enormous amounts of effort that go into putting up a show. Or three shows in rep. And it's made me come away with two vows: 1) I should make sure that what I write is good because several people will be involved in bringing it to life and it would be lame if it sucked. And 2) Inflatable sets. Totally underrepresented. Currently thinking . . . moonbounce?