Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blog365 Day of Rest

Apparently, I am not supposed to post on February 29th because if I did, that would mean by the end of 2008, I would have posted 366 times. So instead I am posting a little bit of nothing tonight to commemorate the most hellacious work week of my entire life: two grade appeals, one bullshit plagiarism challenge, roughly four million papers and a some unbelievable bullshit involving certain people not knowing how to find the "internet." (Apparently that's my fault, too).

If I had the time and I were not so pulverized, I would write a post about how much I appreciate you showing up here day after day to read my daily blather about how much I don't appreciate my excellent life. I whine a lot and so I don't say enough how much getting up every day and saying something, anything to you means to me. (It's a lot).

Feel like commenting? Say something about this image. On Saturday, I'll do the same.

Rewind, Reward, Award

An entire month ago, my girl Mal awarded me the prestigious Excellent Blogger Award.

How did I respond?


I think you know.

I responded by being happy for like half an hour before returning to the bathroom mirror to check myself for suspicious moles. I am a crappy blog friend.

I wish to redeem myself today by passing the award on to others. Before I list my award-ees, I wish to clarify something: some of you, such as Em, P, Utenzi, Supajewie, Woodrow, Liz, LizB, Duchess Maggie, Horny Bitch, Jen, Jennifer and many many others, are already familiar to the small circle of my beloved readership. I pass the award on to people you may not know but should get to know due to their awesomeness.

I give this prestigious badge of honor to the following buddies:

Effortlessly Average.

Sturdy Girl.




Check these folks out. They are worth your clicks and energies.

Anyway you must know I love all of you. Obviamente.

Have a good Thursday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fill in the blanks

Because I am overwhelmed by your beauty, here is another perfectly context-free picture for you:

Because I am once again too covered in work to write anything today, please help me out by filling in the blanks:

*I would rather be ___________ than ____________.

* Yes, N-A, I know where I saw it first.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lights out

Some of you may be aware that work for me has been, lately, exciting. Very exciting, and not in a good way. So today, instead of writing more stuff about myself, I offer you the follow two photographs I took last night whilst looking out my window between grading papers 1,221 and 1,222.

I must now grade paper 1,223, so I can't write much today. If you want to read an actual something, I recommend this post from July of 2007, when my blog was about a week old. As you will see, not much has changed.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Filter malfunction evident

I was in Home Depot yesterday trying to buy a vacuum cleaner. I was talking to the sales guy when a woman with two small kids walked up and joined the conversation. She and I had the same basic needs. Something that works but does not cost $500. Also something small and extra suction-y would be nice.

The sales guy was showing us a Hoover and a Bissell and explaining the differences between the two. One vacuum cleaner cost $99 and required bags. The other cost $169 and required no bags. Both the woman and I selected the $169 version and we were pushing the boxes onto our carts when the woman's husband joined the vacuum cleaner circle. The conversation about the bagless vacuum cleaner versus the bagged vacuum cleaner was repeated. The husband was not pleased with his wife's decision.

"What the hell are you doing? That one cost $70 more. Just get the one that needs bags," he said.

"No," said the wife.

"No?? What the fuck! We can't just throw money away!" he said. Let me just say that from the size of the diamonds in this woman's ears and the drape of the cashmere overcoat this fucker was wearing, $70 was most assuredly not an issue at their house.

"I do not want a bagged vacuum cleaner," the wife calmly replied. Her children were playing with drill bits on the floor next to her.

"Well maybe we just won't get you one then. How would you like that?" He folded his arms across his chest for extra manly emphasis.

Here is the part where Nina loses her mind. Perhaps it was the part where he used the pronoun "you" in reference to her vacuum cleaner, as if it was some sort of special treat for her to own a cleaning implement. I did a quick calculation as to how rude it would be for me to intervene and get into their business. Result: 10. I made another calculation as to how much I disliked the droid this perfectly nice woman as married to. Result: 10. I calculated again whether I cared if I got into a screaming fight with a stranger at Home Depot. Result: 1.232. And then my filter malfunctioned.

I looked at the man.

He looked at me.

"She will be the one using the vacuum cleaner and she will be the one who has to run all over town with two small children with the serial number for the bags written on the back of an envelope. She won't be able to find the bags. If she can find them, she'll have to buy fifty and then find a place to store them in your too small apartment. Then she'll be out of bags and there will be people coming over for cocktails in half an hour and there will be no bags and the floors will be filthy and she will be mortified. Another $70 for bagless is a bargain."

"Who the fuck..."

"SEEE?" interjected the wife. "SEE? She gets me!"

The man unfolded his arms and puffed up his chest, real big-like.

"Who the fuck asked you?"

"Just saying," I said. "You will not be the one who has to manage all the problems caused by this bagged vacuum cleaner. She will. Therefore, it's her decision."

"It's none of your goddamned business!" he said.

The wife interjected, "Don't you yell at her! She gets it! You don't get it!"

"Well both of you can shut up," he said.

"She's RIGHT, asshole!" said the wife.

"Look," I said. "Obviously I should not interfere but as you said, this vacuum cleaner will be hers, so. Shouldn't she be the one to choose it?"

The husband's face turned purple. The sales guy stood there, gob-jawed, watching the husband and wife hurl insults at each other until finally, the woman won and got her vacuum cleaner. Before they turned and stomped off to enjoy the rest of their happy marriage, the woman turned to me and said, "Thank you. Clearly, I married a complete prick."

All of this in front of their two children in a public warehouse store.

Yeah, so, anyway. I have never done anything like that before in my life and I am still a lot freaked out that I did. But I was in just the right foul mood and just the right vacuum cleaner moment and that guy was, as his wife so said, a complete prick. And the filter that lives up there in my teeth malfunctioned and you see the results. I am insane.

Thank you for reading. And have a good Monday.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sin of the week, 2/24/08

It was 1995 and I was in my mother's bedroom. The windows were open and the TV was on. I was at the foot of the bed, painting her toenails. I stopped to look at her. She seemed to want to say something.

"Nini," she said, "I just can't seem to get it back."

"Get what back, Mom?" I asked.

"I can't explain it," she said. She levered her thumb over her morphine drip and pressed.

"What can't you get back, Mom?"

"It," she said.

I put the cap back on the polish and turned my attention to the television. She was watching home shopping network and she was, near as I could tell, moments away from ordering a door stopper made out of lead crystal.

"What is it, Mom?" I said.

She looked at me again and I could see that her pupils were dilated and that it had taken all she had to say that one thing to me. She was already on to the next thing: buying a charm bracelet off the other home shopping channel, the one she flipped over to so that the subject would be effectively changed. A month later, she died. My dad still has that charm bracelet.

For years I wondered what the It was, but now I think I know. The It she was trying to get back was hope, belief, even the weakest grasp on the idea that It might be okay somehow, that It might all work out. That It was all part of a plan.

My crime this week and every week is my belief that that there is no "It," that my life so broken that there is no "It" to fix or any "It" to work out okay or any "It" to hope for. Every time someone says "it" is going to be okay, I think "you say that because you think there is still an 'It' that can be saved. Every 'it' in all areas of my life has already done its turning out and "it" turned out the opposite of okay. But thanks for trying."

I know. I got a serious break. One thing did turn out ok. My dad is alive and well and that was a huge friggin' "it" to have break my way.

The odd thing is that I can't seem to get "it" together in the other sectors of my life. I can't quite transition into behaving as if "it" is going to be ok because there was a whole lot going perfectly wrong in my life before my dad ever got cancer, and even now that he is ok, all that "it" is still right there waiting for me, and "it" is all just as bad as before - only I am two years older and a lot less resilient, emotionally speaking. You would think that I would extrapolate the miracle down the line and have hope that I might someday get my career together, that I might stop behaving like a droid and start dating again, that I might stop mainlining cupcakes and staying up all night clutching my skull, sobbing, and saying "no no no no no no no" as many times as I can say it without needing another thimble of vodka/cupcake/white xanax or, as is lately my custom, Cheeto.* Um, no.

Like my mother, I can't seem to get it back.

The living as if I were going to die** next week, as if there is no future but waiting to die, is I think what they call the opposite of having hope, which is to say "despair," which if you know the rules I operate under is the queen-mother of all sins. It's worse than being a thief, a hooker, or a megalomaniacal serial murderer who rapes children and tortures animals. But that's me, really going for it, as usual.

This concludes Dark and Stormy Week, 2008. I hope you didn't dislike it as much as I did.

* Yeah, I ate about ten Cheetos at three in the morning. I couldn't very well dip into the vodka. I was fresh out.

** Stop calling your local intervention hotline. The list is (mostly) a metaphor

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Warning: Reader may be hazardous to your relationship

One afternoon while I was typing at warp speed to Supa, the main receptor of my innermost thoughts and feelings, she interjected that she was having some marital badness. Of course I was stunned and awaited an explanation.

The explanation that followed was "Rich thinks I am having an affair."

Now, people, no one knows better than I that Supajewie is most assuredly not having an affair. If she were she would almost have to be IMing me from her cell phone while having sex with the extra-marital subject because Supa and I are attached at the back of the mind via IM all day, every day. Plus I also know other things about her, like the fact that she has a toddler and a serious attachment to her husband, that would prevent her from straying.

Several months back Supa and her husband Rich put a WEP password on their wireless internet to prevent their neighbors from sponging off their router. Since then, Rich has checked the logs to make sure no one is sponging. When he checked a few days ago, he discovered that his beloved wife, Supajewie, was logging in several times a day to an internet dating site, Justsayhi.

Can anyone hear a confrontation coming? Yeah, me too.

So Rich comes home from work and suggests that Julie, who is, as recently documented here, still in love with her husband is screwing around.

Now, I have known Supa a long long time, and though I can't claim to know everything about her, I can tell you one thing with mathematical certainty: she does not lie. If Supa does something untoward or absolutely disgusting or even unambiguously immoral, she tells me. Like that time she drank a whole lot of bourbon, smoked some grass and had sex with that idiot she was dating back when we worked at the bookstore? Yeah. The first thing she did when she got her underwear back in place was tell me (oh and probably Xris) that she had in fact gotten drunk and high and naked with that idiot. (RICH! CALM DOWN! This was years before she ever met you).

My point is, there was never any doubt in my mind that Supa was not logging into the an internet dating site. Never. Any. Doubt.

So we set about proving her innocence. When telling Rich that the problem had to be an sponger, he only half believed it because LOOK! It's right there in black and white! It's Julie's IP address!

I had the bright idea that Julie show Rich her browser cache, which of course had no "Justsayhi" history. He was then relatively certain she was not having an affair, so they were out of the badness woods. But still confused as to how those bits about the dating site could have made it into the log.


It turns out that another website known as "Justsayhi" has a widget generator and that, uh, the widget generator once generated a widget for this blog. Glance over there at that "rated R" widget. It is generated by Justsayhi and it sends a line of justsayhiness to your internet logs every time you read my blog. And if your spouse finds out about this, it could be a marriage altering event.

So think twice before you stop by to read my daily ramblings. It might seem like a harmless read, but you might being doing real harm to your marriage just by learning more about my back fat and my daddy issues.

Have an unbad Saturday.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Columbus Circle

I took a few pictures on my way home today. There was a snow storm today, so technically I am still within the bounds of Dark and Stormy.

More tomorrow about why this week was so stormy (and dark).

Interlude: Ali G

For the purpose of covering up the horror that was yesterday, I post this gem of a video by boyfriend Sacha Baron Cohen. I mean Ali G. In it, he poses the important question: Why did Jesus go around with all them reindeers?

If you don't know Ali G and you watch this video, your whole life will change. If don't know Ali G and you don't watch this video, you are stupid. If you do know Ali G , you might not know this video but either way you should click it.

If it weren't Dark and Stormy Week I would say I love you and stuff but I can't.

(But I do like you an awful lot).

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Girl Power, Dark and Stormy Style

I was over at Pool's place last night and the topic of the day was misogyny.

It reminded me of a few lines of conversation I had recently with another person who said (I am paraphrasing, here) something to the effect of "it's ok for women to be... like women." And then I remembered another chat I was having with some other person about feminism and how much good it did "us." And yesterday, my friend Mitt emailed me, all casual like, and asked what I thought of feminism.

Since most of my readers are women, let me address you first. Hi, ladies! This is my longest post on record if you read it, you will not like me anymore. I am not a good feminist. (Oh and I threw in some drawings along the way just to liven things up a bit).

Here is what I wrote back to Mitt.


Women are not valued in our culture. They were not valued 50 years ago and they are not valued now. Before feminism, women were told they could a) get married b) become a nurse c) become a teacher d) become a librarian or e) be a secretary. They spent their teenage years preparing not for college, but preparing for marriage, which meant competing for mates. This competition was waged mostly in terms of the attractiveness of their bodies, and the giddy sweetness of their dispositions. They measured their success not in terms of education, but in terms of their ability to attract a successful man who could take care of them. Nursing school was for ugly girls, teaching was for boring girls, and the school library was for girls who were - horror of horrors! - smart and serious. Secretarial work, as everyone knows, was for sluts.

The idea that a woman could do anything else was considered really too silly and ridiculous - certainly too silly and ridiculous for a pretty girl who could get a husband. Girls stayed virgins until they married, not because they felt no desire, but because they were taught to pretend they had no desire, so their virtue could be proclaimed as both a medical fact and emotional and social commodity. Virgins were valued because the very best men married them. Non-virgins became secretaries, as everyone could see.

Women fell in love, and when their boyfriends looked at them and said I love you, what they meant was "I will marry you and take care of your for the rest of our lives. We will always be together." Their wedding days were the happiest days of their lives.

Once married, women cooked and cleaned and decorated. They spent their days feathering the nest - on a budget, mind you, so as not to be wasteful of a husband's hard earned money. The good wife knew that she ate on the bounty of her husband's charity. She wore pressed dresses and heels all day so that she would be appealing to him even when he was not at home. When he arrived, he was greeted with a martini and the evening newspaper, because he had worked so hard all day. While her hero was reading the newspaper and smoking his pipe, she would finish whipping up the hollandaise sauce for the vegetables, which you understand, she has been working on all day, without modern electrical kitchen aids. When she had cleaned the kitchen after dinner, when he had finished his newspaper, they would retire for the evening and have sex, regardless of whether she actually felt any interest.  She did not consider whether she was interested in sex or not important, because everyone knows that it's a wife's duty to please her husband in bed.  Women who don't are sorry when they find their husbands have strayed with their secretaries.

Sooner than later, the wife became pregnant. A new life! Joy! Life was a pony ride through a daisy field. A never-ending romp through a meadow of lavender. Sheer bliss.

Childbirth is unbelievably undignified and painful, but her husband, thank heavens, doesn't have to see her blood greased legs or hear her screaming. He is fiddling with a cigar in the waiting room, and for that she is grateful.

The child is laid in her arms, and suddenly she knows, all the way down to her bones, that she cannot so much as brush her teeth or clip a coupon without first considering the ultimate effect her action will have on her child. She also knows that it is also dreadfully important that the home she has created be just as orderly as it ever because her husband deserves a sanctuary from his terrifically difficult work, work he does so that she can eat have more than one pair of shoes. Which reminds her that if she seriously expects her husband not to stray, she'd better "get her figure back" very quickly indeed.

Back at home, she discovers something surprising: her baby needs her, but it does not love her. If it loved her, it would not scream non-stop for four hours at a stretch, regardless of whether it is hungry or tired or changed or burped. If it loved her, it would not yank on her hair and punch her in the face and chew her nipples bloody while she tried to feed it. If it loved her, it would sleep more than 45 minutes at a time. She abandons all hope of keeping the house orderly, and the faint prayer that she might not die soon replaces the idea that she might get her figure back. She learns what any woman who has ever had a baby, or witnessed the transformation of a friend during the six weeks post birth knows: there is no such thing as post-partum depression. There is, however, powerful, homicide inducing post-partum regret. If she is depressed, it is because she sincerely would put the baby right back inside her body if it meant she could sleep for even two hours together. She finds herself, against her will, feeling a little resentful that her beloved does not seem to notice that if he did just ONE night feeding, she could sleep for THREE hours. It would never occur to him to try to do a feeding. After all, she stays home all day. She can sleep whenever she can.

She resents, just a little bit, that he gets to go to an office every day and cannot hear the baby screaming. She resents, but only a very tiny bit, the fact that he looks so refreshed and happy when he leaves her all alone with her vomit-matted hair and blood-crusted nipples and goes to work. Looking at herself in the mirror, she does not wonder why he hardly ever wants to have sex with her anymore. And so she is not surprised when she discovers that he does not love her anymore. She knows this because his shirts have a peculiar floral smell, and he has taken to showering the moment he comes from work. Of course, he does pay the mortgage and keep the lights on. And that's something. To make herself feel just a little less lonely, she has another baby.

This is if all goes well.

Here's a view (dramatized and probably unjustly dark) view of life for women after "feminism."

Girls now are taught from an early age that they can have it all, that they, too, can leave the house every day and go to a fulfilling, intellectually and spiritually meaningful workplace of their choosing. If our girl wants to be a machinist, it's no problem. If she wants to be a physicist, she should go for it. If she wants to wear a pantsuit and run for president, she can absolutely try.

Rather than preparing for marriage, she prepares for college. At the same time, she diets and pinches and primps. She curls her eyelashes and her hair. She paints her nails and shaves her legs. She waxes her eyebrows and she gets her teeth whitened. If she is a real achiever, she gets a nose job or breast implants. None of this prepares her for college, of course. She does these things, which, by the way, interest her far more than her schoolwork, so she can get boyfriends, boys she will "date" not because they have even the most remote and tenuous connection to her future, but because "hanging out" with them and exploring their sexuality together will make her a more seasoned and complex human being.

With these boys, she must mask her desire. Desire is slutty, after all - unless she can convince the boy that she is breaking her very chaste principles only because she is overwhelmed by her love for him - and by his extraordinary make out skills. At the same time, her friends make fun of her because she is still a virgin, a condition that proves that she is really too silly and ridiculous. Her boyfriend, like all modern boys, expects sex because everyone else is getting it and he feels that in 2007, it is his personal birthright to have sex with every girl he pays the merest scrap of attention to. For a girl not to have sex is old fashioned, silly, ridiculous, not the mention the very opposite of cool.

She relinquishes her virginity to the first adolescent boy who makes their hearts beat faster because he tells her that if she won't someone else will, and she does not want to lose him. And anyways, she is pretty sure she loves the guy, and love makes it ok. Love conquers all. The first time the adolescent who makes her heart beat faster says he'll call and doesn't, she will have the work of becoming emotionally seasoned and complex well underway. But in the back of her mind, she knows that when whoever said "love conquers all" didn't mean that love was supposed to conquer her, to make her a prisoner to a fucking telephone. She will cry for over it for days and be ashamed. But she won't know quite why.

If she is lucky, she will make it through high school without getting pregnant or HPV. And she will have explored her sexuality - the result of which will be that she has learned how to fake orgasm so convincingly that not even God could tell she was bored to death.

If she is unlucky, she will learn that love might have conquered her good sense, but has not conquered biology. She gets pregnant, gets an abortion, gets HPV -- and from a totally different guy, a guy with a Camaro and a mean streak a mile wide, chlamydia.

But we'll just assume that she is lucky, because as we all know, the world is a kind and friendly place.

She emerges from high school a modern and emancipated woman. But it will take college to teach her these words.

In college, she joins a sorority and learns, using a banana as a proxy, that it is indeed possible to put a man's penis most of the way down her throat. It's about relaxing and accepting. It's about not defending. The same principal applies to funneling beer - which she has also gotten very, very good at. She dates boys who also like to funnel beer, and she is proud of herself because she mostly always demands that they use a condom when they have drunken pre-dawn sex. She is responsible like that. Though she sort of likes the sex, she often finds herself thinking of the adolescent boy and wondering where he is now, what he is doing. She is afraid, for some reason, to find out.

She takes classes in metallurgy, but they don't suit her. She takes English classes, but she finds all the poems and plays about love seem like they are about a sort of love she has never even heard of, the sort of love that makes people stare at the moon and weep and want to hold each other forever.  It all sounds really cheesy to her.

She takes classes in psychology, but she finds that all they do is make her think about herself. She tries environmental studies, but she just doesn't care about the color paint they use in hospitals.

Then she takes classes in sociology, and learns that she is right to think only of herself. She learns that men are the enemy, that men have been exploiting her and her sainted female ancestors since the crust of the earth cooled. That it's all the fault of the man, that men are the source of all problems in the whole universe, ever. She feels, for the first time, angry. But she does not quite know who to be angry with. Her parents? The adolescent boy? Herself?

She takes anthropology wonders whether ancient peoples who saved the skulls of their ancestors for worship had the same kinds of issues she has. She wonders if she had lived back then, if she would have been married. She is a good feminist, however, and she knows that she is not supposed to care about this.

She spends her nights smoking cigarettes and weed in a black dress and Birkenstocks- with the other feminists. In the circle they talk about subverting the dominant paradigm, about social justice, about how it's really dishonest to fake orgasm because a man has a right to know that he satisfied her. That she "owes" her man a real, honest to God orgasm. Since faking orgasm is the only thing she feels really very good at, this terrifies her.

It feels like giving up her freedom.

The summer after graduation, she will go to Ohio for her cousin's wedding, and she will cry the whole time. At the reception she will have far too much to drink. She will tell one of the waiters, who reminds her of the adolescent boy, that she loves him. He will fuck her in the lady's room. Shortly thereafter, she will be spotted, by her father, leaving the lady's room while tucking her underwear into her purse. He will look as if he has been murdered, and he will say, between gasps that she is pretty sure are really sobs, that he didn't raise her to behave that way.

After college, she will get a job doing secretarial work at a law firm in the BIG CITY. She knows that the title is slightly beneath her, since she went to college, but everyone goes to college these days. She also knows that if she impresses the right people, she'll move up the corporate ladder. There are lots of women who do really well, too. Some make six figures.

So she's heard.

Five years later, she will have discerned that the women who are no longer secretaries are all women who have fucked the management. Half were fired for fucking the management and half were promoted. She can't figure out the basis on which the decisions were made, and she thinks it must be determined by who exactly you sleep with. She isn't sure who her meal ticket is, though. So she works her ass off and hopes someone notices. No one does.

At the mall on a Saturday night, she sees the orchestra from the local grade school performing in the mezzanine. There is a boy who looks just a bit like the adolescent boy, and he is playing the cello. She also sees a woman who is clearly his mother recording him with a camcorder. She is thinner, prettier and younger than she is. She is also carrying a far more expensive handbag. She looks happy.

She discovers that she wants to get married. And eventually she finds someone. But she will not marry because he makes her want to stare at the moon and weep and hold each other forever. Her man does not promise to take care of her or her children. He does not even make her heart beat faster.

She is thinking about the woman with the camcorder, she is thinking about not waking up alone every day for the rest of her life. She is thinking about how badly she wants someone to think she is worth marrying. She is thinking about how relieved her dad will be that he doesn't have to worry about her anymore. So she accepts his offer. And what an offer!

They will marry, and she will pay for the wedding. Because tradition says that her parents should pay. The fact that they can't afford it is inconvenient, yes. But it's her problem, not his.

They will get a house, and she will keep it clean, well decorated, and well stocked with food. She will not even consider quitting her job so that she can undertake these duties, because he won't have her freeloading off him.  These are modern times, after all, and women work. She should maintain her own keep. She will pay half the mortgage even though he makes three times as much money. She will pay for all the groceries because she does not know how to ask him to split the bill with her, even though he eats about twice as much.

She will work ten-hour days, and then she will cook, clean, and decorate on the weekends while he plays golf and goes to strip clubs with his friends. When he comes home from the clubs, she will ask him what the strippers do so that she can mimic them in the bedroom. She feels like it's really important to keep her husband satisfied, since everyone knows that a woman who doesn't satisfy her man in bed shouldn't be shocked when her husband leaves her for another woman. By the time they have been married a year, he is opening bringing pornography into their home, and soon, he is asking her to perform sex acts he would have been shy to mention to a prostitute before they were married.

She still has no idea what it feels like to reach orgasm while in physical contact with another human being.

They fight constantly. She wants a camcorder and a better handbag. He wants to come home to a hot meal and a newspaper. When she gets pregnant, she notices for the first time that her husband's shirts smell ever so slightly of perfume. He comes home later and later. In the eighth month of her pregnancy, while she is timing her contractions and praying that she does not die in childbirth, her husband comes home drunk and calls her a fat sow before her passes out in front of "Stormy Daniels Does Everything with Everyone" a video she now knows by heart.

The next morning, he leaves her for a much younger, much prettier secretary who works on another floor in his building.

When her baby comes, she will be entirely alone. When she holds her child for the first time, she knows now that no matter what she does, she will have to think of her child first. She cannot so much as brush her teeth or clip a coupon without first considering the ultimate effect her action will have on her child. And that she will also have to pay the entire mortgage, pay the light bill, and keep her job somehow (so that she has some kind of "identity")

If her baby is a girl, she will somehow have to teach her that men are not the enemy so that her daughter has a reasonable chance of ever loving anyone. If her baby is a boy, she will somehow have to teach him how to be a man, even though she is not sure she knows any worth emulating.

Still, her child is a joy, and she'd have another one if she could afford it and could do so without feeling that it was "wrong" to do so without a man in her life to father them. So she doesn¹t. And her child grows up to be a megalomaniac because he actually thinks the world is "about" him. How could he not, when he is the absolute center and entire meaning of his mother's life, when he is all she has in the whole wide world? Though he means this much to her, he will care less and less about all she has given him, as he gets older. He will develop a really jocular, bar-chums relationship with his father, who is much cooler than she is. He will, in the end, put himself first - because that' exactly what she has trained him to do.

So goes the world. Right?

At least half of the modern and emancipated women I know who are married would rather have never been married at all, since they are married to men who feel they did their wives a favor by lowering themselves to being "tied down." The feminist movement trained women to think they "have it all" because they have children, a husband and a fulltime job. Yep, they have it all. All the work a person can do without her brain liquefying and running out her ears.

Women are not valued as caregivers, and the work of care giving, because it is women's work, is considered degrading. Women feel compelled to do it, and yet they are ashamed if they enjoy it and even more ashamed if they choose it.

Women are not valued as coworkers, either. Obviously, if we were valued for our labor, we'd make a dollar on the dollar. And more important, we wouldn¹t have so many women trying in vain to crack the glass ceiling, while also feeling 100% responsible for caring for a home, a husband and children while paying half the bills. Thats just as unjust in my opinion as women not being able to pee standing up or get jobs as executives. (Note: neither of those things is possible on a significant scale yet.)

So what do I think about feminism? I think it's just great except for the part where women are hated and devalued just as much as they ever were.

Am I a feminist? Hell, yes. Because I still believe there is still reams of work to do. The thing is, I part ways with most feminists when I say that a huge part of the job is taking back the respect we used to demand as our birthright instead of abandoning it to prove a point about being emancipated. The exquisite pitch of misery and complication I see all around me every day in the faces of overworked, frenzied, lonely, abused women is not what I would call emancipation. 

I want to state, on the record and with no equivocation, that I believe in love. Even I, who am sometimes called the dark phoenix by my friends (I can convince anyone in ten minutes or less that their significant other, particularly if he is a man, is actually the main source of the problems and the worst thing that has ever happened to them), believe wholeheartedly in the power of love. I cry at movies. I love the sublime otherness of the male creature, and I sometimes even make out with Jib. Oh and I love babies. I sing songs to children. I think weddings are fun. In addition, I also think being a woman is awesome, in part for the following reasons:

Holding hands
The smell of a man's dirty shirt
Nail polish
did I mention lingerie?

Was I clear enough? I love children, needlework, doing laundry, washing windows and horror of horrors, cooking. And I am not going to pretend I don't like doing these things so that I can be a better feminist.

Perhaps this is what the feminist movement is about in the first place but the suffering inflicted on both sides of the continuum is just staggering. And no, don't get me started about how confusing the male situation is given these changes. I"ll break the internet. And I am not even a man or married to one.

Sometimes at the end of a long post about something serious by asking people to go easy on me. Not today. Shred me if you want. (But you can't make me stop loving pretty underwear and housework. You can't stop me. You can't. So don't even try).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dark and Stormy Week - 2/17-2/23

This week is officially and belatedly declared Dark and Stormy Week, 2008 at Reader.


Because, I, Nina, writer of reader, have been feeling dark and stormy for three days straight and can foresee without obvious unreason a further three more posts (or four) of dark and stormy (read: depressive and scary) content.

Work is kicking my ass, I am broke (because of um, a paperwork mix up at a certain place I will not mention - not because I bought a helicopter) and I am filmy and agitated because I don't have time to work out and I don't like my hair and suddenly, for no reason I can discern, my fingernails are growing so fast that I have to cut them every day to avoid embarrassing typographical errors. This has to mean I have some kind of rare, painful and humiliating cancer. Doesn't it?

Yeah. I thought so too.

Also I am wearing out the seat of my pajamas by working from home and never getting dressed. People, pajamas should not wear out in the ass first. Right? Right???

Also there is still the faint odor of onions in this apartment since, uh, there was in fact an onion on the premises as of yesterday. I am therefore vaguely gagging at any and every moment. Dammit.

If I can get the, um, avalanche of work done, I'll post something bright and sunshiny later. But if not, not.

Oh and tomorrow I will do as I promised and post about my one and only diagnosed psychiatric disorder: fear of heights. (I am over it but the story of how I got over it is dark and stormy in keeping with the theme of the week - and also, according to me, amusing.

See you then.

Oh hey! Before I go, have another unrelated photograph. This time of, um... oh, some guy Mischa and I got hammered with in Aguas Calientes. Oh and there was dancing. That was fun.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

10 minutes or less

Today I must write my blog post in ten minutes or less because I have a student conference at 3pm and another five before 5pm. I also have thirty papers to grade that are late getting back and I have a snotty email from someone asking for a list of something. I forget what. Friggin gainful employment. I do not like it.

So today instead of writing anything useful I'll just tell you that I threw a hissy fit this afternoon when I ordered a chicken sandwich with lettuce, no tomato - and walked away with a tuna sandwich LOADED WITH RAW ONIONS* and tomatoes, with no lettuce on the opposite kind of bread I ordered. The hissy fit involved violence and I will not describe it to you because it's embarrassingly childish. Hint: I am no longer out of cat food.

Oh and here's a picture of something that has no relevance at all, just because whatever. I took it in Peru.

See you tomorrow.

* I will DIE with a smile before I will eat bananas or raw onions. Call me a spoiled brat if you want but I GAG when I so much as SMELL these items.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Someone call PAVTAC

PAVTAC: People Against Violence Toward Annoying Cats, please help me. My cat. Oh my God.

Would you believe that at one point this afternoon, I picked up my cat-head and approached the open window intending to drop him fourteen stories to his death?

It's true.


First, he is annoying. He sings all day and he bitches about the food and only likes me between midnight and six am. He expresses this very transient affection by sleeping on my head. (I don't like that).

Second and more to the point, he stole my Xanax. I was sitting here doing my stultifying and soul-sucking job when I got it into my head that I should check the linen drawer - which is cat-head's favorite place to sleep during the daytime.

There I found cat-head, stoned out of his gourd with the baglet between his teeth. He was nibbling at the seal. He was probably about three nibbles from having a complete break through and ODing right there in the linen drawer.

He sure looked happy, though.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for the return of my drugs. Y'all are pals.

Oh and speaking of cat-challenges, go read this.

Tomorrow I will honor the beautiful, virtuous, and wicked smart Em's request and talk about my heights phobia. So embarrassing.

The Pile

At 5am this morning, I was up to my elbows in coffee grounds, junk mail, take out containers, and something resembling cookie dough but that I am pretty sure (allegedly) was cupcake batter. There was also some untoward greasiness. I might have been crying.


Oh, ok. I'll tell you.

At 4:30am I woke up and decided to brush my teeth. I noted that my throat was sore and my face kind of hurt. Huh. Since I was vertical, I decided I'd check email. I did. One thing led to another and it was 5am. I knew that the rate of speed then evident in my brain would not permit me to go back to sleep. I needed help with that project so I looked to the upper right quadrant of my desk for the small plastic baglet containing the two month supply of Xanax I bought two weeks ago.

Not. There.

I then remembered that I had cleaned off my desk that afternoon and had put the Xanax in the drug drawer. Cool.

But not.

Because it was Not. There.

So then I went through the drawers in my desk, thinking I might have stashed it there during my afternoon cleaning frenzy.

Not. There.

I went back into the bathroom and checked every drawer.

Guess what?


I started to cry just a little bit.

Then I recalled that number of times that I have thrown important things into the trash can during a frenzy of cleaning. I recalled the time I found my wallet in the freezer and the other time I found my passport in the yarn stash.

So I went down the hall the the trash compacter and pulled out the trash bag I had deposited there six hours earlier. I brought it back to my apartment, got out a new trash bag and proceeded to transfer the contents of trash bag one to trash bag two, all the while keeping an eye out for the precious baglet containing the controlled substance for which I can get no refills for sixty days and without which I am not likely to be able to sleep for at least one day a week. Oh and don't forget that there is no way in hell I can withstand a bout of father illness terror without the baglet.

So anyway I was gagging, crying, praying and cursing my way through the trash when I had another thought.

What was I wearing while I was cleaning out my desk?

Oh holy God no.

I ran to the elevator and hit down button C and entered the laundry room and tripped my way over to the washer containing the load of scudgy clothing I had washed at 11pm.*

I withdrew each item, carefully looking for any sign of the baglet.

There was no sign.

I started the dryer and returned to the trash. Cupcake batter? Absolutely. Half eaten swedish fish? Hell, yeah. Baglet?


It was then 6am. I was delirious and my throat hurt and I realized that it was now time to consider The Pile.

If you have one yourself, you know the despair that produces it and the heartbreak that accompanies the thought of it.

If you don't, we are not right for each other and anyway you are bad in bed. Go away.

So I had to consider that I might have applied the baglet to The Pile. And once I thought of The Pile and the fact that it might possibly contain the life-giving baglet, I was in.

Here's a sample list of what is in the pile:

Coupon mailer for Lord & Taylor, expired 11/1/07.
Pay stub from 1997 itemizing a truly charming and demur sum paid to me by those bastards I used to work for.
A jump rope
A crumpled up metrocard receipt
A corroded penny
A dried out hot pink highlighter
My library card
My health insurance ID card
One post-it note covered with hearts and stars I drew while on the phone with Somebody
A half used book of matches
Four pieces of my mother's monogrammed stationary
An envelope containing about three hundred buttons
A sweater shaver
A USB cable
Another USB cable
My old cell phone
A dry cleaning receipt from 2004
A W2 form from 1999
A laundry card

Do you know, reader, what was most assuredly NOT in The Pile?

Yeah. Not. The. Baglet.

It is now 6:38am. I have stopped looking, but I can assure you that it is not because I don't care. I care a whole fucking lot. But I am out of places to look. And yes, I checked the entire yarn stash, the underwear drawer, the kitchen cabinet, the kitchen sink, file cabinet, bathroom trash and the handbag I have not looked twice at in four years. I am out of places to look.

And most assuredly screwed.

So you tell me. Where is the baglet? Where have I not looked?

Have a better Monday than I am having. You'd almost have to be dead not to.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sin of the week, 2/17/08

I will be committing my sin of the week right now. Today.

My sin will be running my mouth about stuff I don't know enough about to merit voicing even the smallest opinion.

Would it be too much truth for you if I admitted how many times I have googled "ten commandments" in order to scan the list of BAD THINGS NOT TO DO in search of blog material? In fact, what the hell. I mean heck. I will list them now.

I lifted this image from Wikipedia, so don't get all excited and act like I am calling myself a theology expert. I am not. For all I know, this Wikipedia chart may be wrong, too. But for the purpose of saying what I want to say today, I am going to pretend it's true. (Any of you who would care to post a comment in support of the image's veracity or lack thereof, please do so. We could all use the info).

From where I am sitting, I can tell you that the Catholic column looks accurate. Notice that for Roman Catholics, there are three parts to commandment one: I am God, no other gods before me, no making idols. For other folks, that second bit about no other gods before me and idolatry merits its own commandment.

Now, I know very little about what the Protestant protesting is all about. I have heard of Martin Luther and his list; I know there was some argument about whether statues were appropriate and there was also some stuff about priests being able to marry. Oh and some people say that the Hail Mary is like acting like Mary is God? Oh and I think there was a king in England who wanted to get divorced and he made some objections to Catholicism too. Right? Or? See how educated I am? How embarrassing.

Notice at the other side that Catholic's have a separate commandment for not coveting other people's stuff. For other people, that gets lumped into the one about not coveting other people's wives.

I respect other people's faith traditions and I will tell you without further adjective that most of my actual real live friends are non-Catholics. In August, I will be climbing Kilimanjaro with one Buddhist, one Jew, and one Muslim. I will be the only Christian on the team. I have no problem with other folks and their beliefs.

That said, I am rather partial to the Catholic commandments. The three part version of commandment one, at least according to the people who wanted to call it two commandments, is what helped me come back to the Church after I did what many people do during college: I left the Church and went on my merry way feeling spiritual all by myself. It worked out ok in a lot of ways. I wasn't in the habit of killing, stealing, insulting my parents or coveting much anyway, so all it really allowed me to change in terms of behavior was quitting that enormous hassle that was going to church. Hooray!

To this day, I have no idea what turned my feet the other direction. I do know that some time just after I moved to New York, I was rushing to the train and I was late and freaking out and I was about 100 yards short of Grand Central when I became aware that I was passing a church. I looked at it. It was obviously Catholic. I kept going, but I said to myself, "When I go back, that will be my church."

I didn't think of it again for a while. Six months, probably. Then I started, without much reflection, to choose the route to the train that went past that church, even though there were four other routes to the station that were just as fast and maybe a little faster. And when I did, I would look at the door of the church and think "my church."

Within a few months more I was touching the door as I went past.

Then I stopped to peer through the window.

I noticed that if I looked through the west door window, I could smell incense.

But I kept walking by for a month or so longer. And then, of course, I went inside. And then I stayed long enough to get through a whole lunch-hour Mass. And then I stayed for two of them and paid attention for at least ten minutes. Within a year I was ten steps from confession. Then five. When I finally made it into the confessional, I believe all I was capable of saying was "I have not been to confession in ten years. I suck at life. I don't belong here." (But that's another story).

A bunch of folks would call what I was doing - setting up a building as something to work toward - idolatry. Was that false God worship?

I say it wasn't.

I say it was noticing that a certain place was sacred, and little by little, allowing myself to be drawn to it. I no more think that God is physically located in the door of that church than I think that God is going to do as I like and deliver unto me a notarized list of items he would like me to accomplish in my life. (I did ask for that. He didn't give it. Darn). But the idea, anyway, that a place, a space, or even an object can having meaning is most assuredly not the same thing as setting up a statue and calling it God. Catholicism allows, as far as I can tell, people to call places and things meaningful without calling them God. I rather need that. If I didn't have it, I wouldn't have my church. I could write all day and not come close to telling you how much I love this church. I have been to dozens of others in Manhattan and I can tell you that of all the ones I could have been drawn to, this was the right one.

Of the other difference between the Catholic commandments and the others, I will say only that I rather appreciate there in-writing notation of the difference between coveting people's spouses and people's property. That's not the same thing at all.

The end.

OH. And please go easy on me. I did in fact start this post by admitting I was too ignorant to be writing it in the first place.

Happy Sunday.



Saturday, February 16, 2008

Trailer Fantasy

If you are certain people you already know all of this information and you can totally skip this post.

Come to think of it, everyone can skip this post. It is not very interesting, after all, to hear about how dearly I wish I lived all by myself in a rusty single-wide trailer* somewhere very far from anything bright and shiny. Except for maybe stars.

My empire, people, is shabby and slapped-up ugly. It takes all I got to run it, and I do it badly most days. You could make a very good case, if you really knew me, that I ought to be evicted from my life and that all its constituent parts should be sold off to better people. Metaphorically speaking, there is a sign on my back. It says:

DESPERATELY SEEKING NEW MANAGEMENT. (Apply within, but be warned: she bites.)

Hence trailer fantasy. The one where I walk out of here and get on a bus and just go. I arrive Somewhere, USA and buy a modest trailer home somewhere far far away and not too cold (because I don't plan to be able to afford heat). Then I apply for the most flat, ordinary and uninteresting job I can find and on my off hours, I sit very still in the cold dark tube of my dwelling and patiently wait to die. The. end.

As far as I know, there is nothing illegal in this plan. And it's beautiful. It is beautiful because it is so simple.

I love this plan so much that I have already made gestures towards executing it. I have sold most of my stock and paid off the nagging bills. I have thrown out about half my clothing (did that last week while y'all weren't looking) and I finally let go of all those notebooks I was saving from college. You know, the ones with lectures notes from The Scarlet Letter in them. As if I needed to brush up on what happens to girls who choose the wrong man and shit. (hint: that's information I already have, thank you).

The flaw in this grand, simple plan is me.

I, Nina-swears a lot - would fuck it all to hell up. You know I would. I would get into my trailer home and I would be jubilant for about two days. Then I would get it into my head that I wanted to make curtains for it or some nonsense like that and so I would go out and join the newcomer's sewing circle and before you know it I would be part of a quilting bee and FREAKING OUT that I didn't get first place in the Abstract Division. And even before that, I would be wandering around out on a prairie or whatnot, screaming, "HEY! DOES ANYONE ELSE LIVE HERE! I LIKE ROCK CLIMBING! CAN ANYONE FIND ME SOME ROCKS!"

*dramatic pause*


And then I would have a new friggin' empire full of mystery, drama, and complications. I'd buy a television and a microwave and some new jeans because I think they make my ass look good even though I know my ass is still my ass, here, there, and everywhere. Even in New York.

And that, internet, is all I have to say to you today.

Thank you for reading, and have a weekend.

* If you are the sort of person who cracks on people for living in trailers, you are banned from reading my blog until you get better manners. Trailers rock. Everyone knows that and it's time you learned it, too.

Friday, February 15, 2008

No, Johnny, I will not marry you.

I got an overwhelming number of marriage proposals yesterday. People even promised to commit adultery - to leave their spouses just to get access to my naked gorgeousness. So as you can imagine, I felt rather ashamed of myself for being so immodest. But I couldn't help myself. I felt so beautiful and I was just so happy.

People, Neil loved me yesterday. What could be better than that?*

I am accustomed to men falling all over themselves in the hopes of one kind word a year from me, the one and only Nina-alone a lot- Corrigan. (Yeah, I have a fake LAST name, too. My dementia is total).

However, I must say that this missive I received late last night, after I had finished arranging the 4,332 roses I received from various admirers, was rather surprising:

Re: Love

Dearest Nina,

I almost broke the internet yesterday looking at the vision of naked gorgeous that is you. I was beside myself with admiration and passion - and dare I say it - joy. I could not take my eyes from your wriggling, naked form. Your hair entranced me. Your lips enthralled me. Your breasts.... Dear God help me.... your breasts. Are they real?

Nina, my angel, I know they are real. I know it because I know of your virtue, your integrity, your passion for all that is right and good in the world. I know you would never post a picture of your naked self on the internet unless it was a real life likeness. Plus I saw you dancing at Scores last year when you were hard up for tuition money and your daddy was in the hospital. You're hot.

Nina, I love you. I've tossed Vanessa's Versace gowns and her ten million pairs of shoes out in the alley and I've called the Parisian songbird rescue mission. They are on their way. (I dropped the kids off at the orphanage this afternoon and by the time you get this, I should be done burning their toys).

Nina, my dearest one, be mine forever.

Marry me.


Johnny (Depp) (the guy in the pirate movies).

P.S. I have enclosed a picture of myself from one of my lesser known films. It was about Chocolate and Lent and since I know you are Catholic, I thought you might approve.

Well, as you can imagine, I was astonished. I thought it over, but really, what really needs thinking about? There can only be one response to such a missive as this from a creature such as myself. (I am awesome - as a creature, that is).

Re: re: Love

Forget for a moment, Johnny, that you are an internationally adored film star and that women everywhere throw their undergarments at your head if you so much as look twice at them. Forget also, Johnny, that you are universally agreed to be intelligent, sensitive, sane, and by all accounts generous and kind. Forget that you have managed go your entire career without being photographed getting out of a car with no underwear on (not that some people wouldn't approve because some people, not me, mind you, but some people would totally dig that). Forget, finally, that you have good teeth, no known allergies and an excellent track record with women (although I am not cool with the fact that you never have married the mother of your children - kinda shabby of you, I say). I haven't even said yet that you are hot. Well, I say it now. Johnny, you are smokin' hot.

But no.

No, Johnny, I will not marry you. To all your excellent and admirable qualities you must add one more and I regret to inform you that despite your millions, you have not the means to remedy your deficiency.

You, Johnny, are short. At 5'6", you are a full three inches NOT as tall as I require to consider you a potential mate. I am sorry to have ruined your equanimity, your relationship with Vanessa - nay - your entire life by posting that naked picture of myself yesterday. But me you shall never have. You are simply not up to my standards, and a girl like me? Thirty-eight, single, broke and crazy? I can afford to be picky.

So I won't marry you.

Not love,


* Well, I can think of ONE thing, but he has the merest little wisp of an issue with CHEATING,and I must not be thus dishonored.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Best Internet Valentine EVER

What on earth is THAT, you say??

Why it is me, Nina alone-a-lot, dancing around my apartment TOTALLY NAKED.

Why such joy?

Take a look at this:

Reader, this is no ordinary internet valentine. This is Neilochka, who half the world is mad in love with.

Go check him out at Citizen of the Month. I'll be dancing naked until you get back.


MY internet valentine is the paragon of excellence who started the Great Interview Experiment. He is also the best kisser ever and did I mention we have been making out on the internet for months and I never told any of you? ( I do try to be a lady.* Sometimes).

Neil, I would like chocolate covered diamonds. And imported peonies. The DUTCH ones.

You have made me very happy. I love you!

* There was someone else for like two hours but I am SO over him.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Six minutes in the shop

Why am I always the last to know these things? Namely... well. Let's see if you can figure out what I learned about my fellow Americans yesteday.

I was out taking pictures for you, and I thought since I was within ten steps of the correct place, I would get my eyebrows threaded. I peered into the window and saw that the salon was empty, so in I went. It was 2:03pm.

At the desk were three Asian women in matching purple shirts. There was a man standing next to the desk in a blue delivery uniform. He was holding a clipboard and stabbing at it with emphasis as he explained the following:

"OK so I start my deliveries at 4am in the neighborhood. So if you leave your containers outside I can pick them up and return them the next day," he stabbed at the clipboard.

"We have delivery at 10am," replied the eldest Asian.

"I start deliveries on this block at 4am," he said again. Again with the stabbing.

"We have delivery at 10am," repeated the elder Asian.

I leaned in a bit. "Hi," I said. "My eyebrows," I said. "Can I get them threaded?"

"Yes, of course," said the younger Asian. Then she turned back to the delivery guy. She was gazing at him as if he were big ol' cherry cheesecake with extra cheese. It was absolutely not subtle.

The elder Asian repeated, "We have delivery at 10am."

I looked at my watch. It was 2:05pm.

"We have delivery at 10am," said the youngest Asian.

The delivery guy laid his clipboard on the desk and pointed with the pen. Then he pointed to his truck - and said, "You see that truck? It is in Yonkers by 10am."

The younger Asian laid her fingertips on his forearm. It was absolutely not subtle. At. All.

He tried again. "I make deliveries in this neighborhood at 4:00am. I am already two boroughs away at 10am."

"We have delivery at 10am," said the eldest Asian. She removed the younger Asian's fingers from the forearm of the delivery guy. That wasn't very subtle either.

I looked at my watch. 2:06pm. The younger Asian tried again.

"Delivery at 10am. New containers," she pointed to the clock. It said 2:07pm. Again she looked at him as if she wanted to rip his pants right off. Opposite of subtlety, there.

The delivery guy looked at me and said, "I am sorry. Can you give us all a moment?"

Oh, hell yes, I thought. Hit you some of that.

"Sure," I said. Then I picked up a copy of Cosmo and walked over to the window. I flipped through the magazine and watched the snow fall.

Behind me:

"We have delivery at 10:am," repeated the three Asians.

"What you are saying," said the delivery guy, "Is that you would like me to drive back here from Yonkers to deliver your water bottles when you open at 10am."

"We have delivery at 10am!" the elder Asian was elated. It was 2:08pm by then.

I turned. Younger Asian was grinning and groping the delivery guy's forearm. She was also gazing longingly at his crotch. It was absolutely... well I think you know by now what it was like.

So I decided to try again. I gestured subtle-like toward my pale blond and uninteresting eyebrows. "Threading?" I had to bite my tongue to prevent myself from saying "I HAVE DELIVERY NOW."

Know what? I was completely, totolly, universally ignored. The elder Asian said, "Yes, at 10am!" The younger Asian - I am not kidding - started massaging his shoulders. The youngest Asian smirked and started picking at her cuticles.

It was masterful. The delivery guy hooked his pen into his shirt pocket, crestfallen. "OK," he said. "I come back at 10am."

It was 2:09pm. There was a swirl of purple and blue mutual appreciation in progress at the desk. Nobody in the whole joint cared about me or my eyebrow grooming.

Not wanting to interrupt the orgy of joy, I silently backed out of the salon and took a few more pictures for you.

I can think of at least three useful lessons to be gleaned from my six minutes in the shop yesterday. What do you suppose those lessons were?

I took these pictures for you

Then this evening:

I will post again later and tell you something you already know. But come back anyway. It might be funny.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Reason # 4534 I am still single

It's because I am a sick, sick person. And a danger to myself and others. (Well, ok. Probably just to others).

I have friend. Her name is Julie but we call her Supajewie around here.*

I love Supajewie and would probably shrivel up and die without our daily twelve hour IM conversations. But I have one little tiny issue with Supa. It is that she is married. By all appearances, she is glad of this fact. Oh, and she has a small person. (I am ok with this. Mostly).

Yesterday we were having our usual utterly pointless conversation when I decided to ask her some harmless questions** about her husband, whom I have always suspected to be an OK person. I have no proof of this, really, but he does seem to not completely suck.

Well, yes he does. He fusses with his hair. I find this very, very unattractive. As you will now see.


People, I was there when it happened. What, you ask? Oh, the day she met her husband on the internet and moved into his house three days later, married him six months later and then commenced breeding. That's right. She was pregnant six weeks after the wedding with a guy she'd known less than a year. So obviously I have been waiting for him to turn out to be a complete ass hole. Obviously!

Next we talked about how she knows what love is and I don't.

Then I gave her some parenting tips:

Then we discussed the meaning of life. Oh I mean the great circle of life. Oh I mean marriage. And stuff.

And then there was that other important safety tip I offered:

**** edited to add photograph of actual "Little Tykes" hammer Julie uses to help her child relax****

More was said yesterday, obviously. We discussed horseradish and oysters and reminisced about going out drinking and eating like savages before she married that motherchucker I mean awesome guy and had a baby. Then we reflected that the good Lord was probably right when he chose to make me repulsive and childless. Not sure you agree?

Yeah, you do. See above. Freezer.***

Happy Tuesday.

*Go ahead and marvel at the fact that I have managed to get and keep even one friend, given my behavior.

**Go ahead and notice how amazingly rude that is.

***Oh, relax already. Julie and I have been running this gag about how to quiet her child since the child was born. I don't have children (as I have told y'all at least 134243354334534 times,) but I do know what suffering is endured by people who have screaming infants and can find no method of placating said infants. It's rough. So rough that most parents have had moments of sincere regret while holding a six week old baby at arms length because said baby is splitting your eardrums. And you have not slept more than two hours at a stretch since the moment the infant tore your body to ribbons in its effort to get born. So we joke about it. To relief the, uh, tension.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Three kinds of sad and a cupcake

Everything was going fine until I realized that there was no way I'd have time to clean out the fridge, bleach it, and re-supply it. I realized I was going to end up eating take out for dinner. So I got sad.

Then I was transferring all my CDs to my new machine and I realized that Ok, Computer, Where'd You Hide the Body, and It's Takes a Nation were all missing from my stash.

Then I got really sad.

Then I decide to counteract the sad by running up and down the stairs for half an hour. I did. I lamented that I am even more out of shape than I ever dreamed possible.

Sadness increased.

So I had a beer and put the Everest DVD into my machine and then minimized it so I could still work. I watched people climb. It was not cheering me up. I couldn't decide what to eat for dinner because I didn't want hot wings or Chinese or cheeseburgers. I watched more climbing and I got sad sad sad because I am never going to climb Everest and I can barely run the stairs in my building and where is OK, Computer and no one should be without James McMurtry and Flav-a-flav is an ass-hat but I like that CD and why can't I be stronger in the femur and run some more stairs and my toes are all wrong and I hate my new hair and my rings are tight and at least there's Yankee Bayonet but.. but... but... fuck it all. Where are the cupcakes?

(I didn't eat the cupcakes). (But I did have a cookie and a rollicking good time feeling sorry for myself for no reason).

Happy Monday.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sin of the week, 2/10/08

Forget for a moment that I spent enough money on the upper regions of my head this week to provide food, shelter, and medical care to a child in a third world country for five years.

Forget also that I picked my cuticles and thought about football in church and that I neglected my job and, oh, bought a computer two times more expensive than was strictly necessary.

This week's crime is nothing new. It is a pernicious and well-worn habit. It is the worst thing about me.

Reader, I am a terrible friend. Sounds really un-sexy, as crimes go, doesn't it? Well. I suppose it is. But if you knew the extent to which I am guilty of this, you'd be rightly disgusted.

On the right, you'll find Newsy on my friends bar. We met nineteen years ago in college and have been friends all of those years, but for one thing: I never, ever call her. In fact, at this very moment, I owe her at least twenty phone calls. That's right: twenty. I am pretty sure that her mom had surgery for breast cancer recently. Her father has been in poor health for years and she has the same tiresome problems that I have. Except that she is about 1000000% times more busy than I am. And yet she still calls me and makes the train of our friendship run without my help. I have no idea why she bothers because if it were up to me, we would have lost touch years ago.

Then we have Skate. We have been friends since just about the moment I moved to New York. He is a lovely guy and one of the more fun people I have ever known in my entire life. He's also wicked smart and did I mention the fun? Well. Skate has been trying to get me to go ice skating with him all winter. Winter is almost over. Last week he sent me an IM saying "I hate it when you drop me like this. Maybe one day when you decide you like me again, I just won't be here. How would that be?"

Did I answer? No. The scary thing is that when I finally get back to him, he'll forget my neglect without a grumble. Then he'll take me out for sushi and hold my hand for hours while I talk about my issues. He has been doing this for years.

This behavior drove my friend Lola so crazy that I am sure it is part of the reason she is no longer speaking to me. (Of course, she is not speaking to anyone and aside from a coded message left in comments on my birthday, I would be pretty sure she was dead).

Oh, and Jib? Oh my God. Six solid months of emails, phone calls and text messages. That I have not answered.

So why am I such an ass hole? I am sure you know there is no excuse. As I sit here, I realize that coming up with a decent explanation is pretty much impossible, too.


OK, I'll try.

I love people. I really do. The problem is that my relationship to the outer world is very different from that of regular people. I am so introverted that I am pretty sure I could successfully wall myself up in a cave with a life time supply of batteries and a laptop and never feel the loss of other carbon-based life forms. OK, perhaps that's an exaggeration, but not an extreme one. I love people. I like them, too. If you've been reading for more than a few weeks, you know that my family is pretty much the whole show for me.

My bad behavior, then, is driven by the fact that while I love people, I don't need them. If that disgusts you, I can understand why. But love doesn't beget need. Need begets love, perhaps, or children wouldn't grow up to love their parents. (Good thing, that, right? But I digress).

I love people. But I don't need them, and if you give me other items, issues, activities and obsessions...


A dash of drama in my family, three times more work than I can handle, a little narcissistic self-absorption, daily cookie resistance and some really filthy floors- and then get me to thinking about myself or drawing pictures for my blog - and my emotional resources fall below levels required for basic decency.

It is no mystery to me why I behave this way. The real mystery is why I have so many wonderful people - people who would drop everything to help me if I asked - people who would walk a mile on their hands just to amuse me, some who have stood by me for half my life - given my life-long neglect of them. All I can tell you is that Merry knows I have this issue and has chosen to roll with it. Pax has this issue herself and so she can roll with it too. Bibi and Sri absolutely hate it and seriously, they'd kick me to the curb if I were not so obsequious and pathetic when I finally call them back. The rest of y'all? I don't know how you put up with it. I don't know why you do, either. I don't deserve you.

So when someone asked me last week what I was "doing" for Lent, the answer was "calling people." Seems an odd way of practicing repentance and abstinence and humility, doesn't it? Well for me, it means I have to apologize to about fifteen people and it means I have to abstain from my shabby, delusional self-sufficiency and it means I have to be humble enough to admit that I cannot, in fact, make it all alone in a cave, however much my disordered brain thinks it would very much like to do so. I have not even mentioned yet that my neglect hurts people. It would be good if I could stop doing that and try to meet other people's needs instead of being satisfied that mine are being met because I have convinced myself that I don't have any.

Which, by the way, is total bullshit. Anyone who knows me in real life - or who has read more than three entries on this here internet diary - knows just how much bullshit it is. (it's a lot).

If you, reader, are still talking to me after reading this, I have no idea why.* I am clearly the Worst Person in the World. Oh wait, that's Larry. Oh, what the hell. Since it's Lent and everything, let's say we get over all that and forgive ol' Larry. After all, he is spacefuck crazy and while is behavior is worse than mine, his challenges are far greater, too.

See you tomorrow. (That is if you are still talking to me). (Please still be talking to me).

*Oh don't forget that I love you. And that you are beautiful. I am sorry. I can't help myself...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hair knock down

Buckle up for a senseless post about my hair. (Or you can just go read this this awesomeness).



*tap tap*

Well, if you are still here, I'll tell you about my annual hair knock down.

When you have pale blond and uninteresting hair, everything goes fine until you are about 32. When you turn 32 (or so) things start happening. Namely, the pale blond uninterestingness starts to sparkle a bit more than you'd like. You know, because it's turning gray. Now, this can go on for a good number of years more and you can tell yourself it's fine because your hair looks like champagne. Kind of bubbly. (Note to you ladies under 30: lying to yourself is an indispensable life skill after age 35. Start practicing now).

So you spend the summers running around outside and your hair lightens up and then grows some more, a little darker here, a little lighter there. You get about 15% of your head highlighted one day because you are feeling sort of ordinary and another day you get the tiniest fraction low-lighted because the hair - it's still kind of ordinary.

Then one day you wake up and you realize that your hair is nine different colors. And one of them is still gray.

Ordinarily it is round about October when this happens to me, and then I go to Aveda Institute on Spring Street and have them give me some 7N. (7N is the color my hair was when I was five. It is the correct color). Now, Aveda knows that I am totally not ok with dumping my entire head in a sink full of blond hair color. (I am holding out on that idea as long as possible). I have them pull 7N through the top layer to "knock down" the effects of sun and um the effects of, um, not being five years old anymore. Or twenty-five, if it comes to that.

Only this year, that hair knock down? It never happened.

If you were me this year, your dad threatened to die and you had a banger of nervous breakdown and you didn't look in the mirror for six months.

Then he didn't die and you realized you had to start paying attention to stuff other than inky black psychotic mania.

So you peeked in the mirror and you saw that, in your hysteria, you forgot to get your hair knocked down last fall, and as a result, your hair is very bubbly in addition to being nine different colors, and when you finally walk into Aveda, the stylist gasps "where the hell have you been? The knock down... it has been six months, yes?" Then she runs her fingers through your technicolor disaster and says "Wow. We need a whole lotta 7N."

Well, I let her do it. The 7N. The result is there was a whole lot of knock down. My hair has probably never been this dark ever in its life.

Now, I won't say I hate it because I don't. I kind of like it. But it's dark. Really dark. Wheatty dark. Nutty Chimay dark. If I look in the mirror I am all like "who the heck is that?"

So I am going to give it a few days and if i still don't recognize myself I will go down the street to the Russians who cut my hair before I left for Peru and let them toss some highlights into it. You know, to start the whole process over again. For the 7N.

Have a good weekend.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Aveda 7N

$200 worth of hair cut, Aveda 7N, styling products and a facial later, here I am.

(It goes without saying I didn't have $200 to spend on my hair today).

But here I am, and with very little to say for myself except thank you for continuing to show up here for the masochistic siege of compulsory blog posting known as Blog365.

And so I send you to P, who has a new URL for her fabulous blog What Possessed Me and who has written a far better post today than I possibly could.

So go see P. Tomorrow, I will talk more about my pale, blond ordinariness. (Hint: it involves the Aveda 7N).

I love* you. But you already knew that.

(Have a good weekend).

*re: my love for you: like a stampede of wild horses, it is.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Baby, what did I say?

Rather than give you a bullet point list of Grip's crimes, I will tell the story of the time I saw Grip. (Well the last time I saw him before he started stalking me. But I don't want to confuse you. This is the last time I "saw" him).

Grip had told me on our first date that his first marriage had not worked out because they were "too young" and that she had left him for an older man who could "better provide for her." I found this discomfiting but I made no comment. Several weeks later, Grip and I were in his living room on a Thursday afternoon. I was reading Burney's The Wanderer and I came across the word "delusory." Grip was on the other side of the room, reading The Times.

"Grip," I said, "Delusory. What does the word delusory word mean to you?"

"You are getting a PhD in English, and you don't know what delusory means?" he replied.

"Of course I know. I just wondered what you thought it might mean." I handed him the book. He read the sentence I had marked.

"It means delusional," he said. He handed the book back to me.

I read for a bit longer. Grip had put down his newspaper and was staring out the window.

"Why didn't you go to work today?" I asked.

"I wanted to spend the afternoon with you," he said.

"Ah," I said.

To this day I don't know why I said this. This would be the part of the meltdown that is my fault.

"Why did you leave your wife?" I said.

I expected him to be angry, but he simply sighed and stared at the floor. Then he turned and told me this little gem of a story.

"About two years after our wedding, a buddy of mine invited me to go to conference about thinking positive and building confidence. It was a three day thing and I really just went to support my friend because he was having a hard time. Well the whole seminar was about positive thinking and believing in yourself and making decisions based on who you want to be and it totally changed my life. I realized within half a day that I had married Meg because I had been too scared to try to get someone better. I realized I had married her based on an idea of myself that I didn't want to live anymore. Once I knew I could do better than Meg, there was no way I could live with her anymore. I moved out as soon as I got back."

I, speechless, considered a moment before answering.

"Did she love you?" I asked.

"Yes," he said. Then he whipped around in his chair and gave me the anger I had been expecting ten lines ago.

"It's like you," he said, crossing his arms over his chest. "You with your reserve and your quietness and your ridiculous ideas."

"Me?" I said. I had no idea that the end of his marriage had been about me. I couldn't wait to hear more.

"Yeah, you. You live this tiny little life with, as far as I can see, nothing in it. You like me, so don't try to pretend you don't. There are at least ten ways of preventing pregnancy, and yet your refuse to have sex with me and don't even give me a reason." Then he threw his hands up in the air and stomped off the to kitchen. I could hear him making espresso. My heart was beating so fast I thought it might pop right out of my chest, grow legs, scurry into the kitchen and kick him square in the ass.

Perhaps I should have mentioned before: I was not sleeping with Grip, nor anything near it. I didn't want to. It was too early and I was unsure of him in at least nine different ways. Plus I didn't want to and there is also a rule, among people raised in plaid skirts and knee socks, about not doing it. (But I won't pretend that rule was driving my behavior. The not wanting to was far more operative).

So I read a few sentences and waited. He returned. He handed me a tiny cup of coffee. I wriggled back into my shoes and waited for it to get worse, which it did.

"It's like, you know," he sat again at the window. "It's like we are different on some cultural level or something. There's no reason for us not to have sex and you act like there is no reason for us TO have sex. Ridiculous."

"There isn't," I said. I put my book back in my bag and moved to the other end of the couch.

"Great!" he said. "That's just great! Next I bet you'll try to tell me it's some kind of thing about morals or something. Jesus!"

This is the point at which I started laughing, but it was nervous laughing, the sort that also makes a person cry and also, regretably, makes a person's hands shake uncontrollably. Very inconvenient if one is trying to shrug into one's coat and flee the apartment of a madman.

Grip stared at me, astonished.

"Are you," he gasped, "crying?"

"Whatever it is, I am doing it," I stammered. By then I was on my feet and half way to the door. He came after me.

"Baby, what did I say?"

This is the part where he put his arms around me and was backing me up against the wall and was looking at me with almost believable compassion. Next was the part where I tried to wriggle free. But no luck! He grabbed my face with his hand and started kissing me. To his credit, he let go of me when I said "stop."

I left without another word.

Grip, poor fellow, has been calling me off and on for five years. The messages have ranged from abject begging to pathetic, tearful, mega-abject grovelling. A maximum of three a year, a minimum of one.

Here is the one I got in December:

Hi Nina, this is Grip Spitzer. I know it's really strange that I am calling you, but I just woke up and I just had the strangest really strong feeling that should call you. Um, well, there is more to it than that, but I think there is something that we really seriously missed out on, um and, so, I guess what I am asking, if you are still single would you please, please have a cup of coffee with me? Because, um, I think that I was really really really not ready, and not who I am now in terms of what I want out of life when I met you, and um, I should have grabbed onto you and held on to you with all my might when I had the chance. So, um, if you could, give me a call, ---,---,----. Hope you are doing well. Bye.

Do you think he means, perhaps, that he is now ready in terms of you know, doing better than the wife he abandonned? Might I be the lucky woman he considers up to his standard? Or does he perhaps mean that he is not who he was in terms of, you know, being prepared not to bully a woman into flinging her underwear on a lampshade just because he wants her to? What do you think he might be ready for? Who might he be now?


What do you say we never find out?

Happy Thursday, and thank you for reading.