Sunday, January 31, 2010

News ...

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It's been awhile since I've written anything about me. And seeing as how I'm a self-absorbed Aries, I have come to rectify this situation. However, It's 12:20 a.m., and I was supposed to be in bed 45 mins ago, so I'll make this brief.

Long Island by the numbers:
Flat tires: 3
Bottles of anti-freeze purchased: 1
Fingers smashed: 1
Ankles sprained: 1
Hockey games watched: 7
Trips back and forth from Shakes & Co. to The Hamptons: 4
Ferries taken: 6
Faeries on stage: 12
New songs purchased: 25
Books read: 4.5 (I'm in the middle one currently)
Different beers consumed: 15 (I think)
Cupcakes consumed: 10-12 (Best estimate)
Number of good sleep nights: 3
Games of Dodgeball played: 2
Celebrities seen: 2
Celebrities talked with: 1
Highways traveled: 15
Pizzas consumed: ??
Breakfast Burritos consumed: 4
Fires started: 1
Episodes of Freaks & Geeks watched: 4
Episodes of Little Miss Perfect watched: too many to recall (yes, it's really sad)
Episodes of 30 Rock watched: 3
Children made happy: 36
Faculty made happy: 9
Light cues written: 35
Live music themes created: 8

It was an adventure, that's for sure. The Hamptons aren't for me, but at least I can say now that I've been there. I did love the school - it's a truly special place.

I'm flying back to California tomorrow (if you're on the West Coast - Today if you're on the East) - Bradley International (CT) to Hopkins International (OH) to LAX (CA). The very next day I'm attending a grant workshop, and begin my attempts to start raising money for SOC and our production of King Lear. Wow.

On February 11th I'll be flying into Houston, driving to Baton Rouge, attending my best friend from High School's wedding (which I'm in!), and going to New Orleans. These places will all be firsts for me. More photo journalism will ensue. And when I say journalism, I mean not at all.

In other news, I've created a completely separate blog for Gay Rage. I figured that space between my life and the comic book in my head would just be easier to read for everyone involved. You can visit Gay Rage here:
http://rageinprogress.blogspot.com/
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This blog post is brought to you by:

Endurance Vitamin Water
Subway
Shakespeare & Company
insomnia

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Gay Rage explanation...

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Hello friends ...

I've started writing the Gay Rage world. Please bear with me through this - I've never written anything like this before. But it must be done. The Gay Rage mythology must be told.

Some day, there will be comic book art to go along with the story. Some day.

In other news, I was the designated driver to a party full of teachers last night. There was Jenga. There was Swedish hard alcohol. There was dancing on tables. Sometimes I wish I had a camera in my brain for just these occasions.

Also - this marks the last week of our time here. We perform on Thursday.
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This blog post is brought to you by:

Arrested Development
Bagels
Pirate's Booty
Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth

Friday, January 22, 2010

Gay Rage Chapter 1: Of all the gin joints....

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My life, to this point, had become about dust and books.

I sat at my desk, thumbing through a late Victorian copy of Tennyson's Idylls of the King, marking passages with ripped fragments of a document; the Dean's last memorandum, inciting the English Department toward recycling and energy conservation. Good employees read memorandums thoroughly and strive to achieve the goals outlined. That's exactly what I was doing. I'm a good employee.

A late afternoon ray of sun silently crept through my office window, casting shadows of branched leaves over my bookshelves. The sunlight accented the dust on my shelves in a highly offensive way, as if to say, "Yo, Angela, you missed a spot."

Fuck off, sun.

I finished marking the last passage of Tennyson with a scrap of torn paper that read:

"...indeed, it is our duty to...
post-consumer materials inherently redu- ...
...my colleagues, we must help one an-..."

I closed the book with a punctuated thwap. Take that sunlight. Take that Dean Warren. I'm going home. I stood up, and reached for the pea coat slung haphazardly on the back of my office chair, and wrapped my scarf around my neck. It might have been sunny, but it was the middle of November - solar heat was a myth. I slung my messenger bag over my chest so that the bag was hanging diagonally down my back, and picked up a stack of papers as tall as my Newfoundlander. I could barely make out the top of my office door over the dead tree carcasses in my arms.

Keys ... I have keys around here somewhere ... on my desk ... next time put the keys in your pocket first, dumb ass ... if I could only find the ring ... maybe if I reach with my middle finger ...

"Hi Professor! I just stopped by to drop off my ter -  Professor! You're going to kill yourself! Let me help you!!"

Wendy.

Wendy Windsor stood somewhere in front of me, though I could only see pieces of her nut brown hair frantically swaying from one side to the other of the massive pile in front of my face. She took a large chunk from the middle of the pile before I could tell her that I had arranged the papers alphabetically, by class. Ah well. I'd do it again later. Have English nerd - will alphabetize.

Wendy Windsor was an incredibly petite student of mine, with straight bobbed hair and enthusiastic green eyes. She was the kind of student who lost pens in every pocket, of any article of clothing she happened to be wearing that day. And though sometimes clumsy, she was incredibly bright and well-liked by the other women of the college. She was constantly consuming non-sweetened iced tea in 16 ounce plastic cups with lids and bendy straws, which she purchased from the student coffee shop on the other end of campus. Other Wendy trade marks included a slight hint of jasmine - either from shampoo or lotion; a white and purple polka-dot scarf, worn through all-seasons due to constant coldness, and a navy blue and gold Wellesley College sweatshirt. She was a poster child, and she was my favorite.

"Hi Wendy. Thanks." I managed to blurt out. "I'm sorry, you stopped by to ...?"

"You're welcome, professor. I came by to drop off my end of term paper. I thought I'd turn it in early before you had to grade anything, but it looks like I'm really late!"

"No Wendy. You're not late, I am. These papers are the mid-terms." She stared at me blankly. "From last month. I thought I'd finally grade them over the long weekend. Wishful thinking, maybe."

"Oh Professor! I could come over and help, if you want!"

"Do you mean to tell me you have no plans? Four days of Thanksgiving break, and you're not going home? Are you kidding me?"

"No! I mean, yes, I was driving home after dropping this off, but I can stay! Seriously! A couple of my house mates are here all weekend anyway, and are-"

"No."

"But professor, I really can-"

"Wendy. Go home. The next month is going to be rough. Rest. Eat. Sleep. Do something crazy. Go see a movie."

"Are you sure? What are you doing for Thanksgiving, Professor? You're not going to be all alone grading papers and eating microwaved burritos, are you?!" She was referring to a Thanksgiving from two years ago. Wendy also had an impeccable memory.

"What? No. Where did you get that idea?!" She stared at me, and raised an eyebrow. "No. I promise. Ellie will be home, and we're going over to her parents house. I will be very human." Her eyebrow raised itself higher, as if that were possible. "Promise."

"Ellie will be home?"

"On my honor. I'm picking her up at the airport in a few hours."

"Okay. But if you do end up needing my help, send me an e-mail, okay? Home's only a couple of hours away."

"I will. And thank you. That's a very sweet offer."

"Can I at least help you carry these to your car?"

"You sure can. Except that I need to find my keys..." I felt something drop in the left pocket of my pea coat.

"Thanks Wendy."
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I love picking Ellie up at the airport. Movies have worked hard to make airports unshakable symbols of romance - and I was never one to take painstaking symbolism for granted. It's a good thing that I love airports as much as I do - I've spent much of my adult life in them; coming and going, going and coming. But it was different with Ellie - heightened, somehow. We had met at an airport. We spent most of the early part of our relationship traveling back and forth to see each other. We were now spending our married life taxiing each other to and from for work. In essence, we were having a poly-amorous relationship with the airport. And we were okay with that.

Before 9/11, we would meet each other at the terminal, usually with flowers or bottles of water (what? air travel is dehydrating). However, since the drastic change of airport culture, we met each other at baggage claim. Tonight I brought a bottle of water. Best to keep it simple; she has a lot of luggage.

I sat on a bench across from the escalators, people watching. I watch people a lot - ever since I can remember, I would watch and invent imaginary lives for people I didn't know. I still do this. Some of them become quite inventive and intricate, though most only hypothesize at a relationship, and a reason for meeting. I was currently watching a little boy, about 4 or 5 years old, jump from floor tile from floor tile, making thruster-like sounds that came through puffed out cheeks and his top set of teeth biting his lower lip. There was a tall, dark haired man standing a few feet away - his father, I had guessed. They're waiting for Uncle Joe to arrive from a trip to Russia, where little do they know, Uncle Joe fell into some deep trouble with the Moscow Mafia over a gambling snafu, and he would have to surrender himself to the American consolate upon his return ....

"What, no welcoming committee?" said the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. I looked up, and saw her standing there, her lithe, tall frame covered by a zip-up fleece and jeans, her silver hair swept back in a pony tail. Her eyes were a dark greenish-blue, and sparkled slightly as she smirked at me.

I didn't say anything right away. Instead I stood up, pulled her against me, wrapping my arms around her, nuzzling my nose against her neck.

"Hi, you." I finally said.

"Hi yourself." She pulled away just enough to look me in the eyes. "Are you okay? You looked lost. I thought I might have to call for a policeman to come take you phrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm." I was kissing her, earnestly.

I pulled away to whisper in her ear, "I've missed you so much."

"I've missed you. Can we get my bags, and go home? Now?"

"Yeah. Let's do that."  I had forgotten, in my rapture, about the bottle of water still in my right hand. "Oh, I almost forgot. This is for you. Here."

"Thanks," she said, as she took my left hand in her right. We walked over to the baggage carousel, our fingers entwined. "So what were you thinking about back there?"

"Uncle Joe."

"You don't have an Uncle Joe. And neither do I."

"I know."

"You made him up," she looked around, and saw a likely candidate. "For that little girl over there, right? Let me guess, Uncle Joe is running from the cops because he robbed a bank to pay for her very costly heart-surgery, and he won't make it home in time for Thanksgiving, because he'll be in jail?"

"Uh, it was that little boy over there, and for your information, Joe is running from the Russian mob because of a gambling debt." I added, "Smartass."

Ellie chuckled wickedly, squeezed my hand harder, and put her head on my shoulder.

"It's good to be home," she said.
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We decided to stop for a drink on our way home. I was constantly guilty of keeping our stores of food and beverages well below humanitarian standards.

As it was the night before Thanksgiving, and seeing as how we were in a small college town currently resembling the waning days of Tombstone, most of the pubs around town were closed. And when I say most, I mean all. Even the liquor stores had decided that procrastinators should be punished austerely, and flaunted their red neon signs as a punishment for bad planning. Heathens.

"It's okay, love. Let's just go home. There will be a lot of drinking tomorrow. I'm sure my father has more than enough."

"I'm sorry. One day I'll get better at grocery shopping, I swear I will."

"No you won't. But it's one of the many reasons I love you."

She smiled at me, teasingly. I turned toward the south side of campus, slowly making our way back home, when Ellie said, "Hey, there's a place back there that looks open."

"Where?"

"In that strip mall on the right, behind the pizza place."

"I don't see - Oh! I do see! Let's just grab a quick beer."

I pulled into the parking lot, which resembled an old mine-field of potholes and asphalt fissures. Most of the buildings around Wellesley were beautiful red brick or wooden frames from the 18th and 19th centuries, full of New England charm and Puritan simplicity. Even if the buildings weren't authentic, they were built to resemble authenticity. This strip mall was one of the few failed architecture ventures of the '70's that hadn't been torn down, for whatever reason. The neon sign on the roof read, "The Gin Joint."

"I feel like I'm about to go slumming with Humphrey Bogart," Ellie quipped.

"You should only be so lucky," I smiled at her. "I've heard some of the girls talk about this place. I think slumming is the general allure of this place. There's not another reason it's survived this long. The WASPs wouldn't stand for it otherwise."

We got out of the car, and I opened the bar door for Ellie. It was dimly lit inside, with chincy red pleather booths lining the walls, and swiveling captains chairs at the bar. The walls were paneled with fake dark wood, and there were yellowed and fading headshots of C list celebrities who, for whatever reason, made their way through Wellesley, Massachusetts. Signed, of course.

A blonde bartender with a buzz cut, and impressively thick facial hair was wiping glasses behind the counter. He didn't look up when we came in. There was one other person in "The Gin Joint," sitting in a corner booth, with an amber glass of something-on-the-rocks. We sat down at the bar.

Only then did the Viking man-child of a bartender look at us. "What'll you have?"

I took a quick glance at the tap selection: PBR, Sam Adams, and Budweiser. I suddenly realized this might be the kind of place that didn't believe in importing beer.

"I'll have a Sam Adams, please."

"And for you?" Viking boy asked Ellie.

"The same, please."

The bartender turned around, and quietly started filling the pint glasses at a diagonal angle.

"Nice place you have here," I said, entirely too cheerful.

Erik the Red's progeny just kind of grunted, and changed out the full pint glass for the empty. Ellie gave me a sideways smile, and pretended to study the headshot of Charles Nelson Reilly above the bar. I opted to look down at the cocktail napkins. They had random trivia questions, with the answers written upside down underneath the question.

"Hey Ellie, what's the capital of Mozambique?"

"Maputo."

"What?! How did you know that?"

"I'm brilliant. You should know that by now."

"I do know that, but Mozambique?! I mean, it's not as though it were asking the capital of the US, or even Canada! That's ... that's amazing! I barely knew Mozambique was a country in Africa..."

"I have the same cocktail napkin, my love."

"Oh. Cheater."

"Whatever." The corners of her mouth twisted upward into a wry smile.

We weren't quite half way done with our beer, but I could tell Ellie was exhausted, and quite frankly, so was I. I took one last, large drink of my beer, took a $20.00 out of my wallet, and placed it on the bar.

"Want change?" The bartender asked me.

"No. Happy Thanksgiving."

He grunted. "Thanks."

"Have a good night," we said, almost in unison. I pulled my coat on, and started wrapping my scarf, when the man in the corner booth shifted in his seat. I glanced at him from the corner of my eye. He looked like a cross between a misplaced lumber jack and an angry sailor. He was wearing a simple olive green beenie that folded over onto itself, obscuring his eyes. He looked liked he hadn't had a shave or a haircut in years, long scraggly curls hung around his ears. In the low light, it was impossible to get much other detail. I could, however, tell that he was looking at me, and only me, which made me nervous.

We started to walk for the door, passing as far away from the salty dog's table as was possible, without calling attention to our purposeful distance. We were about 5 feet from the door, when he spoke.

"Leaving so soon?"

"Yep. Have to get ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Have a good night."

"Pity."

"Pardon?"

"I said, 'Pity.' Here I've come all this way looking for you,  and you don't have the decency to sit down and chat."

"Excuse me? I don't think I know you. You must have me mistaken with someone else."

"Angela Derrick. Associate Professor of English Literature and Poetry at Wellesley College. Born in Portland, Oregon, Jefferson High School, class of 1992, president of the marching band, captain of the girls varsity basketball team, and editor of the Yearbook."

"Look, while I'm sure google is a fascinating way to spend your time, I have no idea who you are, and the fact that you know such private information about me is really unsettling. Please stop before I call the police."

I made for the door quickly, with Ellie right behind me. The man slid out from the booth, and took a few steps toward us.

"You really don't recognize me, do you, Angie."

"What the fuck, dude! No! You look like the love-child of Grizzly Adams and the Ancient Mariner. I've never met you before, and I don't want to meet you now. Get the fuck away from me."

Ellie stepped in between us, and took a step forward. "Back away. Now."

He took a step back, and raised both of his hands, as though Ellie were pointing a gun at him. "This must be Ellie."

This made Ellie angrier, and even more protective, she took a step toward him. She said calmly, but menacingly, "Go away."

I turned to leave one last time, pulling Ellie along with me. As I pushed open the door, he said, "Angie, it's me."

There was something about the way he said me, a morsel of past remembrance I couldn't quite place. I stopped. "Me, who?" I said, skeptically.

He took off his cap, and stepped closer. Ellie went to stop him, but I put my hand on her shoulder. "Hang on, El." He stepped into a pool of light, and looked right in my eyes. I knew those eyes. Or at least I used to...

"Babe, it's me."

I could tell that Ellie didn't like the way he called me babe, but I took a few steps closer, and looked at him as though I had X-Ray vision.

"David? Dave ... is that you?"

"In the flesh, babe."

The last thing I remember was falling sideways.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The worst road trip EVER.

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Okay. Maybe not ever. But it sucked. And here's why.


Part of this residency requires that we provide costumes for the kids of the program. This is obviously not something that we could have prepared for ahead of time, so we had to drive back to Shakes & Co.

We left The Hamptons on Friday afternoon, around 2:45 p.m., which was maybe not so smart. Friday + rush hour = just plain dumb. We drove the length of Long Island, and thankfully only hit traffic by Great Neck, which for those who don't know LI very well, is on the Western side, close to Queens, and is therefore practically a suburb of NYC. Anyway, we thought that this was understandable, and expected to clear traffic once we cleared the Throngs-Neck Bridge, which would skirt us past The Bronx and Yonkers, and all points North.

The traffic lasted for 2.5 hours. Kelley had to pee so badly, we had to exit blindly at New Rochelle at the "Ghetto Getty," as Allissa put it. I saw a car accident across the street, and a large man exit a hummer and start yelling at another guy in a van. The large man hit the white van from behind, but it looked like the van had just stopped, inexplicably ... anyway. There was lots of swearing. Lots of yelling. The cops finally arrived. The toilet at this Getty could have been something from a horror film, where the chanting incantations of some monster/serial killers name would materialize in the flesh and wreak havoc on New Rochelle.

This could only be an improvement.

Anyway, I asked to drive. And the traffic continued. And continued. We finally opted to take an alternative route, but not before we overheard part of a CB radio conversation over the auxiliary channel (we were playing our ipods) of the radio. It went something like this:

*gurgle gurgle* "your black ass!" *gurgle gurgle* "on the highway" *gurgle gurgle* "you don't like my truck?!" *gurgle gurgle*

Add in a Jamaican accent, and you'd just about have it. It was really hard to listen to the podcast we had been enjoying about the crappiest jobs the comedians and story-tellers were waxing funny about them.

So we finally made our circuitous way to the alternative route, which involved jumping on no less than 4 country highways. While I understand the awesomeness of GPS units, they kind of drive me crazy when they add 5 extra steps that are completely unnecessary. And give you the general 1,000 ft. area of an address, instead of the exact location. Ugh.

Oh. I should probably mention that our automatic volvo (the same one previously posted about with the tire problem) had lost its 5th gear. We couldn't really go above 65 mph at any given time without risking dangerous heat to the swiss cheese engine that was currently running. I swear that a hamster had been given the job of operating the engine in this car single handedly. And the hamster ran away. Far, far away.

On top of the missing 5th gear, neither the speedometer, nor the odometer were working ... most of the time. Occasionally when the wind blew a certain way, or a snappy song came on that the speedometer liked, we would have about 3 minutes of an operable speedometer/odometer ... and then it would fail again.

So here we are, driving on the back highways of Connecticut, no way to accurately judge our speed, except to not go faster than the fastest car, all the while struggling to stay below 65 mph so that the engine didn't over-heat and blow up; on highways without road lights. I don't know if any of you have ever been driving in New England, on the back roads, at night, without street lights - but it's dark. Crazy, dangerously dark. Add in some "Caution: Deer" signs, and we have ourselves a party.

We drive, and drive, and drive. Stop for gas. Note that the car is becoming more and more vocal. And start coaxing the car into just getting us to Lenox. I was not below petting the dashboard ... repeatedly.

We reach Lenox at about 10:00 p.m. That's 7.25 hours of driving a 4 hour route. When I finally parked the car in the company lot, it shuttered to a stop with a clang. It did what we had asked it to do; it took us to Lenox.

We have another company car now - a giant hunter-green buick with cushy seats, an operable speedometer/odometer, and an actual 5th gear. What it doesn't have ... is an auxiliary port for ipod listening enjoyment. Ah well.

On the plus side, we made it home in time to watch the rather droll and flat Golden Globes. Does anyone else think that Ricky Gervais was completely sauced?

And I made this fire!

"Ugg! Me make fire!! RAAAAAAAAARRRRR!"
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This blog post is brought to you by:

Garmin GPS
Ricky Gervais
Getty Gasoline
Vitamin Water

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hey, remember that time...

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When Pat Robertson told the whole world that the tragically devastating earthquake that destroyed Haiti was due to the fact that Haiti had struck a bargain with Satan?


Yeah. Me too.

It's been brought to my attention (yo! Thanks Jarv!) that a woman in Minneapolis named Lilly Coyle wrote a letter as the Horned-One to our friend Pat. Yeah ... for reals.

It says:

Dear Pat Robertson,

I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action.

But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished.
Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"?
If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll.
You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.
Best, Satan
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And so to YOU, Lilly Coyle, this Polar Bear bestows my highest honor:




[I actually don't know what my highest honor is yet ... but when I do, it's yours ... readers, suggestions wanted]

To Lilly Coyle, The First Polar Bear Hero of 2010!
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this blog post is brought to you by:

Lilly Coyle
NPR
Christopher Jarvis

PS - if you'd like to see it on the NPR website, go here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Comment Crisis!

1 comments

It has been brought to my attention that the word verification on leaving comments on my blog is buried, and therefore, it's impossible to leave comments on my blog.


This really doesn't work for me ... I like receiving comments. A LOT.

It doesn't seem to be a problem for *everyone* however, as I've received a few comments since I changed my blog layout.

Did anyone find a solution around the comment block? Is it a screen thing? I'm going to go into the html and see if I can do a patch job ... but any advice and/or knowledge would be helpful. Since many of you can't comment your advice here, you can email me at:

pirate.bradac@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Random bits of knowledge ... and some reviews.

3 comments

Here are a few things I've learned since I've been here:


1) Long Islanders wear Fur Coats. A lot.

2) There are a lot of red doors on houses. I was informed this derives from an 18th Century practice where once a mortgage was paid in full, the owner would paint the door red, to let the tax collector's know that there was no longer a need to stop at that particular residence.

[cue tagline: The More You Know!]

3) The Islanders have the same GOAL! music at the Anaheim Ducks. In case you don't know, it's this. It's a song called "Bro Hymn" by Pennywise, in case you're interested. Which many of you may not be; but so it is. (Just so we're clear, I haven't been to see the Islanders play, though I might, I just watched them shut out the Red Wings 5-0. Nice.)

4) (This one may help native West Coasters with tv/media references) Apparently, it's a "thing" here to refer to one's social position by identifying one's home as being on either the North or South side of the highway (see: Long Island Expressway). If one lives on the South side of the highway (like we currently are), looks range from pleasant smiles to envious surprise. It's the posh side of the highway, or the "right" side of the tracks. If one lives on the North side, then chances are one is, well, normal. We haven't been to the dreaded "North Fork" yet - though Greenport and Shelter Island technically are ... but if that's what Long Island refers to as "average," I don't want to know what it refers to as sub-par.... apparently there is at least one reference to this on Sex and the City.

5) Long Islanders refer to NYC as "The City." This constantly confuses me because Western Massachusettsians refer to "The City" as Boston.

Things that you have to watch/listen to RIGHT NOW:


(this one makes me think of my monkey... :)

OK GO didn't have the embedding on YouTube, but this is their latest video. And it's AWESOME. Watch it.

New Music You Should Pick Up Right NOW:

1) Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Up From Below. So if you like the song in the video above ("Home"), then you should just buy this album. This album was released in July of 2009, and they're absolutely my new favorite band. It's only $7.99 on itunes. Do it.

2) Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes. I'm currently experiencing a repulsion of over-produced, over-synthesized albums. Simple, somewhat rustic, and with an emphasis on musicality. If you, like me, are looking for this kind of music - buy this. Now.

Tracks: White Winter Hymnal, Ragged Wood

3) Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest. See #2. But different.

Tracks: Two Weeks, While You Wait For The Others

4) Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. I'm veering a bit away from the home-grown, granola-crunchy music above with this selection. But it's good. Really.

Tracks: 1901, Lisztomania

Also:

Vampire Weekend's New Album: I'm not impressed, and totally disappointed. Remember how I said I'm not really into over-produced, over-synthesized music? Well, that's this album. It's like some music exec listened to Vampire Weekend's first album, and loved it so much, he had to change everything that was charming and wonderful about this band and their sound. This is what's wrong with the music industry.

Menage a Twang: Again, if you like what saw in the video above, buy their album. Witty, interesting, creative - these three women are awesome. Check them out here. My friend/co-director/roommate, Allissa, turned me on to them. And thank goodness.
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This blog post brought to you by:

Summer squash marinara pasta (made by me)
NY Islanders Hockey
itunes
Allissa Wickham and her itunes collection

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Long Island Adventures, Part I

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Since I was so incredibly terrible at taking pictures in Canada, I thought I would make up for it by documenting my time in the Hamptons. We have quite a bit of free time on the weekends; this is an understatement. Every Friday is a half day at school, so after a relatively quick staff meeting, we're out by 12:30-12:45 p.m.


I know. It's ridiculous. We joke that we're on a paid vacation.

So when we left school, we went home. I changed into my pajamas, and I watched hockey, paid bills, chatted with my beautiful Monkey, bought a plane ticket, and made some quesadillas. My partners decided to go to Easthampton for a movie, so I was alone for most of the evening. It was needed.


From the Ferry...

Saturday is where things pick up and get exciting. And by exciting, I mean as much as they can be in Eastern Long Island. We drove to Sag Harbor and took the Ferry across to Shelter Island. While on the Ferry, we had about 5 people, from passengers to Ferry workers, tell us that our passenger side front tire was flat. We had had some trouble with this wheel the day we left Lenox to make the 5 hour drive. Once off the Ferry, we pulled over at a single-pump gas station and took a look at the tire. It was, indeed, quite flat. Like, *really* flat. We borrowed the gas station owner's tiny air-compressor in an attempt to fill it - but it wouldn't hold. Anything. So we check the trunk to see what we have; a full spare, and a broken jack (this is a metaphor for life, I think). The gas station owner told us there was an auto repair shop just down the road. We thanked him, and went on our way.

"Just down the road" meant more than a couple miles. In fact we didn't find anything until we almost reached the North Island Ferry. This is where we meet Jeff and Earl. There was a small white sign that read "Auto Body Repair," in front of a drive way and a drive that winded it's way past two houses back to a beat up shop. Old, discarded planks of wood, metal, and randomly assorted objects littered either side of the driveway. We were worried they were closed. Or quite possibly that we had landed ourselves into a trap consisting of angry Long Island Mountain Men that demanded a blood sacrifice. We felt more positive of the first, until Earl and Jeff came out of the shop, and became increasingly afraid that it was the latter.

Jeff fixing our tire, as Kelley (L), Earl (C) and Allissa (R) look on...

We got out of the car and introduced ourselves, or rather Kelley did, and Allissa and I finally followed, thinking it might be bad form to leave Kelley alone in this situation. Safety in numbers, right? So we meet Earl and Jeff, who turned out to be most jolly, and were very ready to help us. Not only did they put our spare on the car, but they told us to return in an hour. Jeff (who was the mechanic...) said he'd take a look at our tire, and see if he could patch the leak. We said, "awesome!" and toddled off in search of food.

We found food. It was good. We returned to Jeff, who was, in fact, able to fix our tire. He even put oil on our corroded rims, to prevent further disintegration, AND fixed our broken jack. All for the sum of $20.00. Jeff rocks! We didn't have enough cash on us, so he let us go to the Chase Bank down the street and get some. Without requiring that one of us stay behind as a security measure. We were all pretty excited by Jeff and his extraordinary generosity.

As a reward for our honorable act, the gods saw fit to bestow us with a half-used round trip Ferry ticket for the North Ferry. Which means .......................

That we went to GREENPORT!!! WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"What's so special about Greenport?!" I hear you think. "What indeed!" I reply.

What I'm learning about the Hamptons, is that there are droppings of cute, quaint, and terribly small hamlets spread all around. The only things to do in these little bastions of civilization are shopping, dining, perusing real estate, and if you're REALLY lucky, there might be a movie theater. Going to the sea is also a major itinerary item, except that it's January, and there's snow on top of the sand. SNOW. Snow on a beach is just so wrong. And oh yeah. The wind. The wind is bone-chillingly wretched.

Anyway. The cool thing about Greenport were the signs of the shops. For example:

"The Doofpot" - "Uhm, hi, I'd like to buy a Doof, please."

"The Opportunity Shop" - "Yes, I'm looking for some opportunities. Can you help me?"

"The Coronet Soda Restaurant" - Soda Restaurant??

"The Whiskey Wind" - Need I say anything more?

Greenport also boasts an ice skating rink, a carousel, and a maritime museum. I actually really wanted to go to the Maritime Museum, but it was closed. It's a working-class fisherman's town, and had it not been -500 degrees Fahrenheit, I would have wanted to stay longer. (Okay, it was 8 degrees. But good GOD it was cold!)

As a respite from the aforementioned frigidness, I went into a cupcakery called 'Butta Cakes. Here was this cupcakery, with a basketball game on a big flat-screen TV, and one of the best cups of tea I had had in a long time. I almost died. It was almost perfect; or at least would have been had hockey been on the television, and had the cupcakery been in Calgary. Though really, I can't complain. The perfectness of this place is even heightened when I reveal that my cohorts went into some girly, colorful, and (probably) over-expensive clothing store called Impulse. I wasn't having any of that. But cupcakes and televised sports? Hell yes.

The after-math of my cupcake adventure...

We re-met, and went to a bar called the Rhumbline for a couple of beers and a plate of cross-cut fries. More televised sports in the form of The Jets vs. The Bengals. The bar was crowded with Jets fans, cheering at any little thing The Jets did well. First Down? Massive cheering. Defensive tackle? cheering. The transition between offense and defense? More cheering. One of the locals (I presume) walked by us on his way to go smoke, and asked who we were cheering for. All three of us at once: "The Jets, of course!" He walked away laughing and smiling. We looked at each other and exchanged glances of, "Yeah. We weren't born yesterday."

After our two beers, we needed to leave for our dinner invitation at one of the teacher's houses. My partners wanted some cigarettes, and had learned from our bartender that the dive bar next door (The Whiskey Wind) had a cigarette machine. We walk in, Kelley and Allissa buy their pack of smokes for $9.75. I find it unceasingly hilarious that both of my partners are smoking vegetarians, and that I'm the non-smoking super carnivore. Oh Life, you never-boring friend! Anyway, next to the cigarette machine, there was an email console. So that any bar patron could check their e-mail while they drink. Why? Who knows. But it needed to be documented:

Allissa checking her e-mail. At a bar. Awesome.

Took the Ferry back to shelter island and had a lovely dinner with the teacher and her Swedish husband, who poured copious amounts of alcohol and kept insisting we eat more. I don't think I've been that full ...ever. They were so lovely, and we had a lovely time. I received a phone call that night from my Fall Festival partner, Kelly (Yeah, 2 Kelly/Kelleys and 2 Alyssa/Allissa's), that her boyfriend proposed on Christmas. Congratulations to Kelly & Ryan! They make me happy.

Today we had a ridiculous 1.5 hour drive to Westhampton (which should have only taken about 35 minutes), and drove through Southampton on our way. I also took pictures of our house for your enjoyment:

Our red front door...

The white living room...

My white (and messy) closet. Err, "room."

The white, snow covered swimming pool...

The white entrance hall...

I still wish it had a toaster.

By the numbers:
Hamptons visited: 3 (South, West, and Bridge)
Hamptons left to visit: 2 (East, North)
Ferries used: 4
Hockey games watched: 3
Flat tires: 2
Cups of coffee consumed: ??
Scripts cut: 1
Pictures taken: 30
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Dark hot chocolate
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Hippy" ain't just for Oregonians...

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Let me tell you a little bit about the school I'm working at.

It's awesome.

When I was hired for this contract, I didn't think much about it at the time - it's on Long Island. Outside of Brooklyn, I had never been to Long Island ... and I didn't even realize that Brooklyn was *on* Long Island, until I was informed, and consequently embarrassed by this fact since I have actually been to Brooklyn, and I generally have a great geographic awareness of where I am.

I digress.

So Long Island. Here are the things that I know (or, really, assumed) about Long Island. Please bear in mind that all of my information (or lack thereof) comes directly from movies, books, and/or TV shows.

1. It's a huge suburb of NYC.
2. The Great Gatsby was set here - in "West Egg" (which isn't too far away from where I am...)
3. Det. Elliot Stabler from Law & Order: SVU lives in Queens - admittedly, I didn't realize that Queens was on Long Island until we drove through it to get here. Oops.
4. The Islanders Hockey team calls its home here - though again, I didn't realize this until I got here...truth be told, I don't think about the Islanders ... at all.
5. The Hamptons are here. I knew that before I got here. However, having never been to "The Hamptons," the only context I had for it was some far-off, mythological place that rich people go to on television. For all I knew, it was the Eastern American's equivalent of "Malibu." Though truth be told, I've never actually been to Malibu - for all I know it could be cardboard.
6. Camp Half-Blood is here, somewhere. (See the Percy Jackson & the Olympians book series)
7. There's a large Jewish population.
8. Long Islanders have an accent. (I have no concrete evidence of this, yet)
9. Long Island is less cultured/hip than its Big Brother, Manhattan. (Oh TV, how you generalize!)
10. Long Island, like it's name, is Long. Shocking, eh?

Clearly, I'm lacking some savvy. Pop Culture, you have failed me yet again. I shake my fist at you!

The school that I'm at is nothing like the stereotypes would have led me to believe. Why? Well, because it's unlike any school I've ever seen. Ever. Allow me to illustrate. They have about 35 kids - from ages 4-13 - in total. They have three major buildings: The school (which is about 7 class rooms), the kitchen, and the gym. The kitchen is huge - one class cooks lunch for the rest of the school every day. Everyone eats together, everyone cleans up afterward, and much of the produce/eggs are grown and raised at the school. Yep, they have a chicken coop. With chickens. We met them today, in fact.

The school contracted to have a Shakes & Co. residency every year for eight years. They literally drop everything for this program. The school has no delineated grades ... they meet in groups according to ages - 3-5, 6-11, 12-13 - however there is no hard rule regarding classes and ages - if a student is advanced and mature enough to be in the group ahead, then up they go. If a student needs a bit more time, then they stay. The measurement of success is not through competition and documented achievement, but by honest comprehension and teacher intuition. There is no administration - no principal, superintendent, dean, etc. In fact, several of the teachers are original founders. The school has a declared commitment to working closely with the Native communities on the island, and has also pledged a fierce diversity policy. The older kids are responsible for the younger ones, and are expected to help and foster relationships with them. Art is the core aesthetic in which the school is built; not only does S&Co. have a residency, but there are composers, dancers, writers/poets, puppeteers, and chefs. They older students are in what's called an "Apprentice Class" - which means that these 11-13 year olds are expected to participate in apprenticeships all over the island - at museums, art galleries, nurseries - whatever strikes their interest.

These are the most generous, open-minded, kind, and articulate children I've ever seen - and not in a pretentious or precocious way. They are sincere. And they are kids; not kids trying to be adults. They embrace each other (and us) in a way that I've never quite experienced, and I certainly count myself as incredibly fortunate to share a month within this community.

It's so incredibly cool, it could be West Coast. But the fact that it's here makes it even cooler.

In other news:

We have no toaster. I have, evidently, taken toasters for granted my entire life. Well no more, I say! Toasters deserve respect and applause. Untoasted English muffins are just *not* okay.

I notice that when I miss someone (like my beautiful and amazing girlfriend), I have a habit of clinging to things that remind me of them. For example, I have - two nights in a row - watched the only hockey games I could find on our limited cable - The Blackhawks vs. The Wild, and The Islanders vs. The Avalanche. Do I care about any of these teams? Not in the least. But I watch hockey with my monkey ... and since I can't be with her, I'll be with the hockey. Even if I don't care about the players or the outcome. Oh ... and the English Muffins I mentioned above, were purchased as a breakfast comfort food for the same reason. Yeah. I know.

Snow isn't that cold - but the freaking WIND is. I'm getting a little tired of wind.

My parents and my sister are in London right now. I could have been there with them, but I chose to be here. And while I don't regret my choice in the least, I wish I were riding in the Underground right now; for no apparent reason. Though if given the choice between London and Canada, I'll choose Canada every time.
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Hello, Long Island!

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So we finally made it to Long Island, after a 24 hour period of crazy snow, bad road conditions, dead car batteries, and a crazy Australian GPS system named Victoria. Or Veronica. Or Virginia. (Really, any female V name will do...)

I don't really know what I expected Long Island to look like, but this wasn't it. It's quite ... rural. And affluent. All at the same time (Long Island is talented like that). We're staying in the town of Wainscott, which is right next to East Hampton, which is right next to Bridgehampton, which is right next to South Hampton. There are wineries. I mean, seriously, wineries?! Long Island? Huh. (Puts my Californian wine snob away) Interestingly (or not, as you prefer), many of the cities/names along the L.I.E. (The Long Island Expressway) are all Native names: Syosset, Manhasset, Montauk, Nissequogue, Patchogue - Wikipedia says the language of the Natives (which are tribes of the Algonquins) is Narragansett. I know, I know. I'm a wealth of information. Or, well, wikipedia is.

Also, Wainscott is named after town in Kent that was made famous in Dicken's Great Expectations. The town in NY was founded in 1665, which blew my mind for some reason. Why? I don't know. I clearly don't know my American History as well as I should. (Did I mention I've never been to Long Island?)

The drive down was long, but highly delightful. I have two really awesome partners ... Kelley and Allissa. We spent the drive singing, laughing, and making a rather extensive list of things we must do in the 4 weeks we're here. There is, obviously, a conflict of interest in that Allissa and I have similar names. Which can prove problematic for children, let alone adults. We had quite the awkward, laughing moment with the faculty of the school this afternoon, when they mixed us up, twice, after meeting us. We thought maybe we'd go with Rosencrants and Guildenstern, but that just might be too pretentious. And gross. I may just go with Lisa for the month ... no one but my family ever calls me Lisa ... but there it is. I'm taking one for the team.

We're at an incredibly awesome school, and I can't wait to meet the kids. Pictures of the cottage (oh, it's *so* totally a cottage!) and surrounding area to come forthwith.

Here is a list of examples from the list of excursions we decided we'd attempt to pursue:

Visiting Gray Gardens
Going to the seaside
Going to the wineries
Going to Montauk
Getting a Netflix subscription
Getting TWO Netflix subscriptions

(we lead exciting lives)
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This blog is brought to you by:

Wikipedia
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Australian GPS systems everywhere

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Quick Update ... about my quick update ...

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I am currently stuck in Lenox, Massachusetts due to a severe storm warning, which has rendered roads, and therefore cars, totally useless.

Which means no driving to Long Island today. Which means an early morning and a whole heck of a lot of driving tomorrow.

It's not the cold I mind. It's the inconvenience at not being able to keep a schedule and a plan within the realm of my control. Stoopid blizzard.

That is all. Hope you are all warm and happy and undeterred by snow plows and wind.
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This blog is brought to you by:

Snow
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Travel Blog II .... and a quick update...

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Hey everyone,

I'm back in Lenox for the next 12 hours or so, then make my way to Long Island tomorrow to begin a month-long residency in the Hamptons.

I left Calgary last night/this morning ... my flight was at 1:00 a.m., though we sat on the tarmac for an hour, waiting for bags to be loaded. I was crying into my window seat, trying to sleep, and not sob too loudly at the same time. Don't get me wrong, it was a FABULOUS 15 days. But leaving is getting harder and harder; especially when it involves leaving my loved one for months at a time, and therein, leaving my home. It's been continually surprising to me that I abhor leaving Calgary as much as I do. I mean, I REALLY hate it. And this is coming from a creature who thrives on traveling, and going to new places, and having new experiences. I'm accustomed to a certain buzz whenever I walk into an airport. When I leave Calgary, the buzz is non-existent. In fact, the buzz turns into one of the worst heart-hangovers imaginable; increasing in pain with each departure.

To add insult to injury, I was subject to Homeland Security's most recent creation: personalized pat-downs for every man, woman, and child to enter the airport. Not only do you get your very own Homeland Security guard, it's suited to your specific gender! The problem with this system (besides the embarrassment of being *majorly* felt-up in public, NOT by your consent), is that there tend to be more male security guards than female. So the male line, much like any public restroom ever built, tends to move very quickly.

And the women stand and wait. And get really bitchy.

I stood there, for 45 minutes, unmoving - watching the woman in charge radio desperately for more female security guards; and smiling smugly when the other women in my line started to call her out. Now, the woman was only doing her job. I realize this. The poor management isn't even her fault, since Homeland Security clearly didn't stop to think about the details related to instigating full-on security pat-downs by gender. It was an eventful morning.

Things like this bring out my inner-rebel. My first impulse was to volunteer to get searched by a male guard, but my better angel told me that that course of action probably wouldn't get me very far. When it was finally my turn, arms at full wingspan, casually watching as the female guard took her middle and index fingers to search the outline of my bra (and thereby, my breasts), I really really REALLY wanted to say, "You know, you're not NEARLY as good as my girlfriend."

Again, my anti-jail voice kept my angry inner-monster at bay. It did almost slip again, however, when she then informed me that she would be searching inside the inside of my jeans, at the band. I was very nearly ready to physically stop her hand.

Jail, prison, trial, more prison ... being banned from entering Canada ever again, let alone becoming a citizen ...

I have one sharp grasp on the bigger picture.

After my public physical abuse, I was made to board a bus that took me to the smallest terminal I've ever seen (especially for a major international airport like Toronto...). In fact, the thought that entered my brain as we approached was, "This must be where they keep all the reject planes." And indeed, that's kind of what the terminal was. A panoply of tiny, 18-seater aircrafts bound for the shorter destinations in the US, like Allentown, or Cleveland...or Albany. This flight was also delayed ... again, because of baggage, and also because the plane hadn't been turned on. That's right. The plane needed to be charged and ready to go before they were prepared to let passengers on. And because of that, there was no heat on the plane. In Toronto, it was -13 Celsius. So I will repeat again,

THERE WAS NO HEAT ON THE PLANE.

Not only that, but we had to walk outside to the terminal, Carey Grant style, walk up the built in steps that also served as the plane's door, and sit in seats that felt like plastic fold-able picnic chairs. The plane also had propellers, which I think is becoming more and more of a novelty in flying these days. I don't think I've seen one in awhile, and I'm fairly certain I've never flown in one. To give you an idea of how small it was, when we hit turbulence (and oh BOY, did we hit some turbulence) the plane didn't just do the normal up/down jump. No, it also skidded side-to-side, as though it were skating really badly on the clouds. Airplanes should not remind one of four year olds trying to play peewee hockey.

I really had no other recourse than to put my head down and try to sleep some more. I found this incredibly difficult, however, because it was so cold. My legs in particular were quite cold. Being the resourceful traveler that I am, I thought, "Why don't you just put your head down over your knees, and let yourself keep yourself warm!" Brilliant! I thought to myself (we get along very well, myself and I). And I did just that. And it worked! I was tightly wrapped in my fleece and car-coat, hugging my alpaca wool-wrapped hands across my stomach, my hood-draped head bent low against the seat ahead of me (in case you didn't know, I'm 5'10.5" - small spaces are not my forte). And I slept.

I woke up to my ears popping as we started to make our descent into Albany, NY. There I was, quite snuggly and warm ... and drool all over my coat. Apparently my whole head-against-the-seat-ahead-of-me idea to keep my legs warm came at a price. There was no one sitting next to me. Thank God.

So we arrived in Albany. My bags made it (which they did NOT do on my initial flight to Vancouver), my friend was there to pick me up. I had some coffee and the smallest egg/bacon/cheese wrap that Dunkin' Donuts has ever made, and was feeling quite proud of my major accomplishment of making back to New England alive and (somewhat) intact, when I realized that I had forgotten to arrange housing for myself ... for tonight. And while S&Co. has plenty of company housing, the January month-long training intensive started on Monday. So there's no room at the inn. Have no fear, dear reader. I have commandeered a room in a house off the S&Co. campus. Yep. I'm officially squatting in the house I lived in all Fall. Thank God no one in the Berkshires locks anything.

I rock.

[Someday, and I'm hoping someday soon, I'll be less spastic and slap-dash. Until then, a bear's gotta do what a bear's gotta do.]

So, here I am, sitting at the Lenox Coffee house, listening to music that makes me think of my love, an empty tea cup with the remnants of Earl Gray, looking out a cold, snowing Lenox. And for the first time, I'm not happy to be here. I'm hoping that my trip to Long Island tomorrow will yield some adventure and excitement, especially neither me nor my partners knows where the hell we're going, as none of us have ever been to the Hamptons ... but somehow, until I'm able to throw myself head-long into the work of Shakespeare and children of greatly varying ages, I think I'll go mope around in the snow, and be incredibly indulgent in the lonely coldness that seems to have infused itself into my bones. (Cheerful little thing, ain't I?)

I will not, however, end with that. Here are the highlights of my trip to Calgary, that was so lovingly, so awe-inspiringly made possibly by you. Yeah, you. You know who you are. Especially that funny little blonde who calls herself my best friend.

1) I got to see my first Canadian hockey game. It was a dirty game, but I will NEVER forget it. All thanks to the best sister-in-law-to-be ever.

2) I met Liz's parents for the first time. And I love them. Of course.

3) I met Janis, Liz's bestie, for the first time - which is bizarre, because we've had several lengthy facebook chats over the course of the past four months or so.

4) I played Buck Hunter for the first time...and didn't do too badly!

5) Canadian beer. Mmmmmmmmm.

6) NYE with one of my all-time favorite families ever. Including three cats, two mice, a dog, and an axolotl. And more beer.

7) Hockey highlights at 6:00 a.m. BOSS AWESOME.

8) Walks in the snow, holding her hand.

9) My first white Christmas. EVER.

10) Getting to spend half a month and two very important holidays with the woman I love.

Irreplaceable.

"I dream a highway back to you, love."

[Okay, okay, I'll stop.]
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Friday, January 1, 2010

2009's Top 10 Best and Worst...whatever

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I thought maybe I'd try making a list of the past year's 10 Best...and Worst...things...from my point of view. I don't have a focus to this list (obviously), because chaos can be fun too, damn it! Let's see how this goes, eh?

What I've done is googled the heck out of the Top+10+2009, and compiled the items that make *my* elite list, below. Am I poser for googling other lists, stealing from them, and making them fit into my mold??


No. I just can't remember anything prior to September.

Oh okay, fine! I'll cite my sources, how's that???

[googled, googling...Google is going to beat the F-bomb for most variances of grammatic usage]

Sources: Wired Magazine, AOL Radio Blog, People Magazine, Time Magazine, my own swiss cheese brain (hey, I have *some* originality...)

Ten BEST!

10. Pixar's Up - changes the way animated movies are seen ... and told.

9. Sarah Palin resigns as Governor of Alaska (I know *I'd* be happy if I were Alaskan)*

8. Bernie Madoff gets caught - and puts financial corruption front and center in a (hopefully) lasting way.

7. Spain has a measure proposing the banning of bullfighting. Bullfighting makes me think of Ferdinand the Bull. Save the Ferdinands!

6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil wins the Olympic bid for 2016 - the first Olympics (ever!) to be held in South America! It's about time!

5. The Kings of Leon - bringing radio waves substance, musicality, and American charm. FINALLY, the US has a musical export to be proud of...again. [I know they've been around for a few years now, but the radio didn't really play them until Only By the Night was released...and thank GOODNESS.]

4. The City of Houston - elects a lesbian mayor. Surely this has to be one of the signs of the apocalypse??? Until then, I think it's a highly positive thing.

3. Microsoft 7 - What Vista should have been, but BETTER.

2. Copenhagen Climate Conference - it's about bloody time.**

1. Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States - if nothing else (I'm still waiting on actions regarding DOMA, Don't Ask/Don't Tell, Healthcare reform, and the closure of Gitmo...), it's hugely historic.


Ten WORST

1. MEGAN FOX. I don't feel as though I need to explain this one.

2. KANYE WEST - The dis on Taylor Swift. Lame, Kanye. Super lame.

3. MISS CALIFORNIA. Remember that brilliant soundbite? (although I think I'm more offended that she referred to straight marriage as "opposite" marriage. Make blondes look better, damnit!)

"We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage, and you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised."

*gags*

4. The Media Monster and the feeding of the machine. I see more stories about reality celebrities that I don't know, or have never heard of, than I do about anything of substance. I saw a Headline on Yahoo! that read, "How did Tiger's scandal get so out of control?" YOU, you vapid ignorers of privacy and promoters of trash!

5. The return of Madonna's wardrobe from the 80's. Stiletto boots with tights and laced headbands did NOT need to come back. Nor did hot-pink cheetah print spandex. (Eff you, Wet Seal!)

6. Christian Bale - beats up his mother and his sister, and then loses his shit with an electrician on the set of Terminator. Dude needs to stop the drugs and enter some anger management therapy....in India....with the Dali Llama.

7. Paranoid Conservatives - who insist Barack Obama wasn't born in this country. Two words: BIRTH CERTIFICATE. Get over it, already!

8. The White House Party Crashers...it's a microscopic, yet widely-reaching example of what's wrong with our American cult of celebrity. I also include the ridiculousness of the White House security detail in this item.

9. Sarah Palin resigns as Governor of Alaska - and is somehow allowed to get away without saying WHY.*

10. Copenhagen Climate Conference - EPIC FAIL.**

* part of me is ashamed that Sarah Palin is on both of my lists. Especially because I *firmly* believe that she should never be resurrected from the murky depths of media hell...ever again. So I apologize.

** Great idea, shit-poor execution. It's times like this when I wish Robespierre would rise from the grave, and smite the bourgeois, ineffective leaders of today. Robespierre would OWN them.