Saturday, September 27, 2003

Three Strides Before The Bathroom

New Surviving At the Day Job Technique: I've found that if I slip a book into a file folder and carry it purposfully into the ladies room, I can perch on the toilet for a good ten minutes of reading time before my feet fall asleep and the chick in the neighboring stall who is actually using the bathroom for its intended purposes gets suspicious. (HARD-WON TIP: DO NOT ALLOW SKIRT EDGES TO FALL INTO TOILET.)

Three Strides Before the Wire (you must read it. Must, I say! Caveat-- beware of glaring errors and poor editing; still it's worth reading) led to this discovery. I am stricken by Chris Antley's endless cycle of destruction and rebirth. I think I'd like to remember him as most saw him for the first time: crouching down beside lovely Charismatic on the home stretch of the Triple Crown, cradling his mount's injured leg.

The more I read about jockeys, the more connection I feel between racing and writing. Most people I know are baffled by jockeys: "These guys are crazy. Why in God's name do they put their bodies through such torture for such a chancy, dangerous sport?" But I nod along with them. Pollard, Woolf, Antley, Gary "Spill? What Spill?" Stevens, I know them all: If writing were about starving myself while controlling a half-ton animal nine times a day, I'd weigh about four pounds by now.

Friday, September 26, 2003


Why is it, when men are discussing business, they find it necessary to talk as LOUD AS POSSIBLE? And why is it, whenever anybody is discussing money, we are all very very quiet? Seriously: Have you ever been in a really loud bank lobby?

What's So Great About Guy Friends

Coversations such as the following:

ME: AnaMaria and I are going shopping. She needs underwear. You need underwear?

DAN: You gonna buy me some?

ME: Buy your own underwear.

DAN: I don't want to go then.

ME: So it's okay if I buy you underwear, but you don't want to get it yourself?

DAN: Yes. I'll tell you exactly what I need.

ME: Extra-small, right?

DAN: (succumbs to ass-kicking he has just been handed)

Barnes & Noble Exit

So I've been thinking of how I'd like to die lately (these things happen, over roast beef and bottled water) and I think my ultimate death is to be sealed alive in a library or a giant bookstore. The kind that sells muffins.

The Second-Best Phone Call, Ever

The best, of course, is Harry Connick Jr. calling to announce that we are indeed going to be wed and that he is going to finance my writing career forever more. But this one runs a very, very close second: After YEARS of begging, ordering, and pleading, I am going to be an aunt. Let's type that again, it looks so pretty: I AM GOING TO BE AN AUNT!!!!

My one and only sister is due on April 7th. I've been waiting for this so long that it's hard to believe that it's actually happening.

The phone rang at 7:45 last night and I was thinking, "Who in the world is calling NOW?! Don't they know Friends is on?" She asked how my day at work was and said, "Are you sitting down?" "Yes," I said. (Lie.) Then she goes, "Are you ready to be an aunt?" and I started shrieking. My two friends Lisa and Flipper were in my living room and I ran in and said, "I'M GOING TO BE AN AUNT!!" and they said, "Oh!" and went back to eating chips. Then I got my brother-in-law on the phone and tearfully thanked him for knocking up my big sister.

My mother had guessed it all along and had the baby presents we've been collecting for the past 3 years at the ready, among them a Woodstock rattle, a blanket, and a tshirt reading "If You Think I'm Cute You Should See My Aunt."

A baby! If anyone should be reproducing, it's Julie. She is the best person I know-- caring, sensible, kind, funny, calm. May the child be nothing like me.

What overwhelms me is how this is going to change everything. My sister is going to be a mother, and her life will be nothing like it was before. My life will change too. Maybe I should consider moving this circus train a little closer to home-- at the very least, I need to visit more often. I want this kid to know me, so that I may warp it properly.

I can't believe that my niece or nephew has been in this world, growing and listening, for the past three months, and I didn't even know about it. I made Julie put the phone against her stomach so I could talk to the little one and tell him/her that I love her and that we will be going to the track very soon. And how clever of it to be born before Episode III is released!

They found out for sure, Julie says, on the day the Reds traded Aaron Boone. That is so typical of a Cincinnatian child. At least it will learn all about losing at an early age, which should make life as a Bengals fan far easier to endure.

Soon as I get out of here, I'm off to buy Shrinky Dinks and Play-Dough and a pony and all kinds of horrible things that only an aunt will purchase.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Even I Can't Write This Stuff

Ah-nold (you know of whom I'm speaking so I'm not even going to bother attempting to spell his last name) is appearing on Sean Hannity's radio show at a town hall type of thing, and some guy in the audience was handed a microphone, and Ah-hold said-- I swear to God-- "You look very pumped up today." SWEAR TO GOD. I completely expected him to clap his hands together and say, "Aw rwight!" but alas, I was not so fortunate.

Don't Let the Doorknob Hit You In the Assfeathers

I shall never be the same again: The Dixie Chicks have declared themselves no longer a country act, but a rock act. They felt slighted by the country community during the recent "We're ashamed to be from Texas" controversy. (They said this while on tour in a foreign country to promote an album entitled Home. Ahem.)

Mmmmm-hmmmm. The "controversy." There was no controversy: Their lead singer said something asinine and unpopular, everybody got mad, and their album sales dropped like a rock. The First Amendment was trotted out and climbed upon. Okay: You have the right to speak, but not the right to be heard or be relevant. That's something you've gotta earn. Or, you know, buy.

I viewed all this with amusement, as of course they have the right to say whatever they want to, just as the general public has the right to think them moronic and ungrateful and to no longer download their songs for free. I felt the same way when Michael Savage's TV show was yanked when he made horrendously insensitive remarks to a gay caller. Say what you please, Doctor, but kindly don't caterwaul when you suddenly find yourself on the sidewalk.

It's too bad. The Chicks were my favorite country group before they stepped in their own pellets, as I found their music authentic, melodic, and in general kickass. Now I can't listen to "Long Time Gone" without thinking of the three of them sobbing on a couch before Diane Sawyer, and I throw up in my mouth a little. It tends to detract from the whole listening experience.

Chicks, you have displeased the Fair Blonde Bitch. Some words of advice from a cowgirl raised in a real live suburban cul-de-sac: You're either country or you're not. It runs through your veins or it doesn't. You can't claw your way to Nashville in one genre, throw a tantrum because Toby Keith didn't pick you first to be on his kickball team, and suddenly decide to become rockers. (Shania Twain, I know you're trying to do this, but you don't belong in "country" OR "pop" designations. Your category is "slut.")

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Is there anything on this great green Earth

that makes you feel so baldly incompetent as to undercook a bag of mircowave popcorn?

Um.... just asking.

Baby Horsie

I saw a picture of a sweet baby horse today that I would share with you in this space were Blogger not run by cheap bastards who do not permit their uses to upload images. So go click. It's the second picture on the page. I'll wait right here.

Isn't she PRECIOUS?!?! Doesn't she look like she's posing there in the middle of that field packed with wildflowers and white fences and grass and hope and light and all that shit?

The foal in the picture is the daughter of the great Point Given, who won more Grade 1 races than any other horse in 2001, including the Preakness and Belmont. Her mommy's name is Golden Bri. Isn't it nice when two horses fall in love and get married and create something amazing like this? (Yes, I know breeding is actually a highly scientific, very lucrative, incredibly cold process, but in this Catholic blog, all horses have a proper wedding complete with "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" played at the reception.)

Also, my intense disdain of the Miss America pageant aside, I would, just once in this life, like to referred to as "a filly." What a pretty word.


A certain fiction-writing contest has come to my attention, and I think I'm gonna enter. This is uncharted territory for my X-wing. I think the last time I tried my delicate hand at fiction was back at The Womb, when I had to spit out a short story for a class assignment.

Plot was never my thing. My retired-teacher mother made sure to have a healthy collection of Newbery Award winners lying around, all of which I found highly useful in flattening out my Archie comic books when I left them out in the rain. I was home sick from school fairly often as a young Jedi--sometimes, there was even actual illness involved; when your normal body temperature is 99 degrees, you can wreak all kinds of havoc with the school nurse--and to make sure I was drinking enough fluids, my mother would sit me down in front of an MGM musical with a Sprite and tell me to watch the counter and sip every five minutes.

I loved those old movies. I loved the costumes and the music and the dancing, but somehow certain nuances of the actual story always managed to escape me. I was fourteen before I figured out why Cowboy Will kept telling Ado Annie that their future son "better look a lot like me." The Sound of Music was beyond me once the goatherd song was through. Once that Nazi flag went up at the start of the second disk, I was immediately and hoplessly lost. ("Hey, Remember the '80's?" Moment: We had one of those prehistoric VCR's, a video disk player, a system which, contrary to popular opinion, actually did exist. It was kind of like a record player. The video was on this 78 RPM-sized disk, and it was in this hard plastic sleeve, and halfway through you had to insert the sleeve in the player, pull out the disk, and flip it over. The longer movies were on two disks. The Ten Commandments had about ninety of them. This was truly hi-tech stuff; I have bone spurs from stomping on the floor to keep the picture from skipping. It is important to note that my parents also once invested in a Texas Instruments computer, a BetaMax, Bengals season tickets, and several 8-track players. I do not obtain stock tips from Mom and Dad.) I never understood the part where the VonTrapps were on their way to the singing festival, and they're pushing the car, and all of a sudden those nice Nazis stopped them and started the Captain's car for him. Why weren't they more grateful? It seemed that Julie Andrews was unduly bitchy about the whole thing. I have seen this movie maybe 8.2 zillion times, as a college sophomore I saw that scene one more time and went, "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

I'm eager, if you want to know the truth, about diving into this whole fiction business. It dawned on me lately that the best fiction is basically comprised of well-written scenes somehow shaped from the author's own life. It will be freeing, fiction-- you're actually allowed to make stuff up. I think I will write about the immense success of the Newton Palm Pilot.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003


You'd think vanilla is fairly innocuous. It smells like summertime and it has such a nice name: Vanilllllllllaaaa. Okay, that said, I think I have vanilla poisoning.

I made French toast this morning and put in WAY too much vanilla, ate it anyway, and now feel like I'm going to hurl. I called my mother long-distance for advisement, and she told me that vanilla is about 45% alcohol. So I essentially had a shot before driving into work this morning. I was wondering why I was in a good mood at the beginning of the day.

Now, of course, I'm paying for it. Seriously, my mouth is dry and my head hurts and everything. It shouldn't surprise me that I'm nauseated, as my body reacts to every single upset in my life-- stress, pelvic exams, war, high winds-- with the need to spew.

The lesson from all this: Never ever trust the French.


I was viciously attacked by a leaf today. I was minding my own business, driving along downtown, when AARRUUUGGH there's this friggin LEAF all up in my grill. It slammed into the windshield, then was gone as quickly as it came.

I'm still shaking over this. I live in Florida. Fall does not happen here. It hasn't been below 60 degrees for months and months. I didn't see any other leaves in the immediate area anywhere. Where'd this leaf come from? What did it want from me? Does somebody have a hit out on me? Or did the leaf act alone? Was this just a warning? I WANT THE TRUTH (which, granted, I cannot handle, but still.)

Monday, September 22, 2003

The Pressure

I'm glad it's premier week. The world has felt so empty without new episodes of "My Wife and Kids."

Marilyn Monroe Was a Size 12

I've pretty much given up on the idea that I will ever be pretty. I think there was a two-week period in the late 90's when I was kind of cute, but that's about it.

This knowledge came about largely as a result of putting on a dress I bought as a freshman in college and discovering that it's now a good two sizes too small around my rear and lower abdomen. (Around the chest, of course, it fits just fine.) I don't know why I haven't reached this conclusion before; five generations of German inbreeding have created a paleness the camera hates. And I'm not even comparing myself to the empty skirts on TV; I'm talking about the women I work with, my cousins, and the chicks I whine about men with on the weekend. They are gorgeous. I either most decidedly am not, or I need to start hanging around uglier people.

Also over the weekend I became officially over my new way-short hair. The body perm I got a month ago seems to have fallen on the floor along with about five inches of blondeness.

I do like my eyes. Those can stay. I shall be always grateful for being a natural blonde. The haircut, I'm afraid, has revealed a darker shade on the back of my head that I can do without. (Thanks, Meg Ryan.) Let's not even talk about the fact that I've been working my thighs nonstop since approximately 1997 with no discernable results. A few days ago I caught sight of myself in a dance studio mirror (don't ask) and I just looked like ass. There is simply no other word for it.

I'm offically past the bloom of youth phase, and from what I understand, things will only continue to go downhill from here. The zits of youth, however, remain.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

There She Is

The new Miss America hails from Florida. This for some reason is supposed to make me proud.

Am I the only one completely and totally offended by the fact that the Miss America paegent continues to exist in the 21st century? A teacher was recently fired for using the word "niggardly" even though it has absolutely nothing to do with race (it has Swedish origins, meant to degrade other Swedes) and yet the swimwear competition goes on.

While I'm at it, way to go to all you professional cheerleaders and Hooter's waitresses out there. Thanks for ensuring that I continue to earn 87 cents for each male dollar.

This is a scholarship competition? Fine. Figure out who has the highest GPA and send her on her way. The rest of us prefer to go about our daily lives supporting our dreams with hard work.... not our breasts with duct tape. Whores.

Previous Tastings