Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Easy Way to Produce Content -- Blog About Farting!

Apparently, it has happened again.

Conversation: (Which, incidentally, took place at 2 in the AM. On a SCHOOL NIGHT.)

Sean (half under his breath): Hee hee! Hee hee! Hee heee heee! Hee hee hee hee!

Redpanda (sleepily): Hmmph? Huh? Mmph? What's so funny?

Sean: Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to wake you up! Nothing! Hee hee hee! Hee hee!

Redpanda (grouchy): Mmph! Why are you laughing?

Sean: Nothing honey, I'm sorry! Go back to sleep. (Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee!)


Sean: Hee hee hee! You farted again! In your sleep!

Redpanda: Wha?

Sean: You did! Hee hee hee hee hee! You farted in your sleep! It was really funny! Hee hee hee!

Redpanda: It is TWO A.M.!!!

Sean: I know. I'm really sorry. It was really funny. (Hee hee hee hee hee...)

Redpanda: Was it so loud it woke you up or something?

Sean: No. I'm just coming to bed. It went "poot-poot-poot"! HEE HEE HEEE HEEE.

Redpanda: Leave me alone. I'm trying to sleep. Why do you care?

Sean: It was really funny! I'm sorry. I really didn't mean to wake you up. I have proof! You have farted at least twice. HEE HEE HEEE.

Redpanda: SLEEP!!!

Sean: I'm sorry. Don't worry. It was a very feminine fart, honey. Hee HEE HEE HEEE HEEE HEEEEEEEEE......

World, I fart in my sleep. I hear that it occasionally is known to go "poot-poot-poot".

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

While the Merry Bells Keep Ringing...

This will be my LAST POST before Christmas. I think. We're leaving at ass-thirty (that's "early" in Redpanda-speak) tomorrow morning for the greener (literally--it's not nearly as cold there) pastures of rural Maryland. That's right, I'm going Home for the Holidaze. And I'm taking Sean with me! Ha-HA! I can't wait to force-feed him stuffed ham. And scrapple. I love scrapple. I'll bet I can lie and call it "perfectly rectangular country sausage" again and he'll have 4 helpings. Mmmm...scrapple.

Please have scrapple...and stuffed ham...and presents that weren't bought at the summer clearance sale at Target....

To say my mother is a bargain shopper is rather akin to saying "Gee, Robert Downey, Jr. might like a hit off my bong." I have no problem with this, I am a fan of the bargain myself. Witness the sapphire-blue suedelike shearling coat dangling from the back of my office chair. I picked that baby up from Lord & Taylor at 65% off, plus an additional 15%. BAR. GAIN. My issue is more to do with the emphasis being placed on "bargain" instead of "something the giftee will like". Don't get me crap I won't like. Please. I'd rather get no crap than crap I have to pretend to like. It's too much pressure. That floral-print button down? I'm never going to wear it. I'm going to exchange it for something black. You know this. Just buy me something black in the first place. And don't even get me started on the year that I was given several sets of long thermal underwear, size 3XL.

Really, I can't wait to have kids and put the pressure on them instead. And to play with their toys. And lactate. Lactating is the coolest.

But yeah. Weird gifts? They suck. Besides, I'm not a big fan of gifts. That's mostly why I prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas. I like the kitschy decor, the sappy tunes, the shopping. But I'm not a big fan of receiving.

So anyway, I'm off to partake of scrapple (hopefully!) and stuffed ham (definitely!). There will also be boxed wine. I'm giving my parents one of those Rabbit-style wine openers in the hopes that it will discourage such behavior. I can only hope.

Merry Christmas, one and all! And yes, I said "Merry Christmas". Not "Season's Greetings". Not "Happy Holidays". Know why? 'Cause the holiday we're getting ready to celebrate this week? That'd be Christmas. If I was preparing to celebrate Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, or Ramadan? I'd wish you a happy one of those. But I'm not. So, Merry Christmas, dammit!

(Hmm. That was a harsh way to end things.)

Cuddle a warm snuggy kitty. Drink some hot cocoa laced with booze. Tell someone you love that you love them. It's Christmas!

(Was that better?)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Peanut Butter and The Wrong Shoes

There was a peanut butter-related fiasco at our house last night. One of such magnitude that Sean proclaimed: "You had better blog this!" (Well, actually, he probably said "You better blog this!" and not "You had better blog this!", but what sounds grammatical in speech and what is grammatical in writing are two very seperate things, mais non?)

Anyway. I digress. It all began when I decided that I would make the peanut butter-loving Sean some No-Bake Peanut Butter cookie things. A co-worker had made them last week, and they were SO VERY FUCKING YUMMY. Like big giant Reeses Peanut Butter Trees (which we all know are vastly superior to plain old "Cups"). No problem--we had all the ingrediants, including a full jar of Better N' Peanut Butter waiting patiently in the cabinet. (Now, I fear I must digress once more. I just googled "Better N' Peanut Butter" so I could include a link, but all I found were pages where fatty boombalatties were complaining that it "wasn't good!" and including "recipes to make it better!" that included such things as FUCKING CREAM CHEESE. HELLLO! TRY COMPROMISING. ADDING CREAM CHEESE RATHER NULLIFIES THE FAT-SAVING QUALITY OF THIS PRODUCT, N'CEST PAS? Shit like that pisses me off. These are the same people who complain that lowfat mayonnaise isn't as good. Or lowfat cheese. Duh. That's because it's lowfat. Live with it. Ok, sorry about that, please carry on.)

SO. I mixed up the ingrediants, only to find that there is obviously some crucial ingrediant contained only within Genuine peanut butter that is missing from Fake, Defatted-Peanut Flour peanut butter. I was mixing a bowl of tan cement. There was no hardening. Just a neverending stickiness. Sean had to come and bail me out with a spatula and a second application of confectioner's sugar.

It was very sticky.

Now see, that wasn't that funny, was it? You really kind of had to be there. Sean has no sense of comic timing.

Speaking of Sean, I have a deep, cold fear in the pit of my stomach that he went to work today in the wrong shoes. We were running a bit late; and he burst into the bathroom, where I was peacefully putting in my contacts, wearing a pair of rusty-tan cordury pants with a sagey-green striped sweater.

In a word, NO.

I sent him to change the offending sweater, being the Designated Rescuer of Sean's Fashion Integrity. Unfortunately, my first suggestion was to replace it with a black turtleneck sweater. This would have been all well and good, but Sean was wearing brown shoes. I quickly changed my suggestion to "the cream fishermans' sweater". But alas, I fear it was too late.

Upon arriving in the bedroom, I found the sagey-green striped sweater discarded on the bed. Whew! Unfortunately, the fishermans' sweater was still in the dresser. And the brown shoes? Nowhere to be found.

We have a fashion emergancy! If anyone sees Sean, please know that the Designated Rescuer of Sean's Fashion Integrity did not, I repeat, NOT approve his sweater-and-shoe-combination choice. Don't fire me. Please. The ponytail is gone, is that not evidence enough of my success???

Monday, December 20, 2004

"The Blowtorch Isn't Working. Let's Go Get the Chainsaw!"

Any party in which those two sentences are uttered consecutively is, in fact, officially Off The Hook. I had thought that, at 29-and-three-quarters, I was effectively past my time of attending such soireƩs. Not so. Sean's illustrious co-worker Aaron proved otherwise with his smashing bash at the Asparagus Farm this past Saturday.

Replete with ice luge (for which the blowtorch and/or chainsaw were needed), this was one of those shindigs where you awaken the next day and say to yourself "Gee, I'd like to go to that party again and again.", if for no other reason than to hear Groove of the Day (who were stationed conveniently right next to the ice luge, until the cops came and shut them down).

Yes. The cops came. I am 29-and-three-quarters and I still go to parties where the cops come. How you like me now? That's right, I rule. I get carded to buy video games and I go to parties where the cops come.

After the live music was shut down, it was time to bake pizzas in the brick oven that was connected to the fireplace. That's right. There was a brick oven. I have no reason to lie.

Can you believe that shit?

Aaron, my party-throwing skillz are permanently humbled. I bow before thee. Thanks for the mean soireƩ!

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Armoire Story

On the day in which I was Carded! To Buy! A Video Game!, there was also an armoire. I call it "an armoire" and not "my armoire", because at that point, it was just an armoire like any other, and not one I held any sort of ownership over. Of course, things change.

We left Best Buy, me swollen with a smug pride at my very evident Youngness, and happened upon a store proclaiming: FURNITURE CLOSEOUT SALE!. What is one to do when faced with such a proclaimation? One really has only one choice: Walk Into the Store Immediately.

It just so happens that Sean and I have been loosely in the market for some sort of clothing-holding-furniture for some time now. And recently, I have been tightening that loose-marketed-ness up into more of a state of we really need to buy a dresser or a chest or a freaking armoire soon-itude. The digging through piles of clothing folded and placed on the foot of the bed because there is NOWHERE else to put them has grown rather old, really.

So, we walked into the store and began perusing dressers, chests, and freaking armoires. They tended to fall into the following categories:

1. Totally Fucked Up and Nearly Useless
2. A Wee Bit Fucked Up and Fixable
3. Only Slightly Fucked Up
4. So Incredibly Fucking Ugly That the State of Fucked Uppedness is Effectively Rendered Moot

There was an armoire that I was partial to, and it pretty well fell squarely between categories 2 and 3. That is to say, one door was not actually attached to the armoire, but was instead leaning neatly against it. Other than that, it seemed fairly pristine.

We fiddled with the armoire a bit, finally asking the Slimy Salesguy attendant upon said armoire what the deal was with it. He reported that it was solid oak (which, from what I could see, seemed accurate), that it retailed for $1300, and that he could let it go to us for $399.

We hemmed and hawed a bit, and finally left to "think about it" and "maybe come back".

Hours and hours later, we remembered that, in the midst of our holiday shopping, there had been an armoire. But we were far too tired to go back and retrieve it.

Cut to the next day. After some researching and thought, I decided that I could not, in fact, live without the armoire. Or at least that I really really liked it and thought we should go get it. Sean agreed emphatically, and we headed out to buy the (solid oak!) armoire for $399, all the while discussing where we would rent a Uhaul to go get it, and who might be able to help move it up to our third floor apartment. And do you think that he will take $350 for it? Because that would be, like, SO cool!

We slipped almost unnoticed into the store an hour before closing. "Hey!" Sean hissed in my ear, "It's a different guy! Walk around for awhile!"

Sean is just all smooth like that. All hissing in my ear and shit.

So, after a few requisite circles around the stores' periphery, feigning interest in furniture that fell into categories 1 through 4, we came back to the armoire. "Gee, the door isn't on it!" Sean exclaimed in mock horror.

"Golly, you are correct!" I agreed. "The door certainly is not attached to this armoire in any way, shape, or form."

"We would have to expend a degree of effort to right the wrongs done to this armoire!"

"I agree. Far too much effort would be expended!"

"The screw-holes could potentially even be stripped, rendering any effort expended to reattach said door practically moot."

"I concur. This is an armoire of the poorest quality."

Tiring of hearing us shovel armloads of crap at him through each other, the salesguy finally piped up: "I'll let you have that armoire for $199."

$199? As in, a hundred dollars? And then, another 99? Like, half what we came here to pay?

"And you can have it delivered for another $50."


So, we will be expectantly waiting for our armoire on Saturday. We just have to, you know, expend some effort to move the furniture already in the bedroom. And then put the door back on.

The moral of the story? Salesmen are always full of crap when they say a price is their "best" one. But then, you already knew that, didn't you?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I Swear I'm Not Making This Up or Why Are My Pants Meowing, Mommy?


Redpanda: So, what did you get for your adopted Salvation Army kid?

Co-worker: Oh, I got him some dungarees! The guy at Marshall's helped me pick them out. A sweatshirt, too.

Redpanda: That's cool. Is that a G Unit shirt?

Co-worker: Yep! God, I gotta wrap these! *shuffling papers* Does anyone have any tape?

Redpanda: *Handing her some tape* Here you go. Nice boxes. They're not plain old clothes-shaped boxes.

Co-worker: Yeah! This one used to have some kind of candy dish in it. And this one *pause*.........Oh, this one used to have my cat's ashes in it.

Redpanda: ...What?

Co-worker: Yep. Garth. When he died, we had him cremated. My husband was just so upset. So, yeah. And this is the box his ashes came in. See? It says "Garth" right here.

: You cannot give some kid pants in a box that used to have your dead cat in it. You just can't.

Co-worker: Why not? See, I'll even peel off the label that says "cat remains". He'll never know.

Redpanda: CANNOT.

Co-worker: This box is kind of dusty, though. *blowing*

Redpanda: Are you sure that it's dust?

Silence reigns.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Perhaps Because of the Titties

I was carded to buy a video game the other day! I was carded! To buy! A video game!

It was rated "M for mature", and thus was the perfect gift for my 20-year-old brother. Well, that and the 7 X-box games Sean snagged off Craigslist for $35 today. Thanks, Craig!

Now, just so you know. "M for mature" means that it is not really suitable for people under 18. I think. But anyway, I'm sure it does not mean "mature" in that "Now that I'm almost 30, it's time for me to start acting more mature" kind of way. I'm quite sure it was meant in more of a "You are not mature enough to see our gratuitously nude jumping chicks until you are 18!" kind of way. Which can only mean one thing: I look over ten years younger than I really am. Woohoo!!!

As someone who was recently carded to buy a video game, I can definitively state that it feels great to be young. So very young. So not old at all.

Also, we bought an armoire. But that's another story, and not nearly as interesting as the one in which I get carded to buy a video game.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Redpanda: Pimpin' Disease Management Since 2004.

Today was the second time that I was filmed for some sort of disease-management-related or company-related promo. That's right, second.

I was filmed for a commercial a few months back, but so far nothing has come of it. I signed stacks and stacks of release forms, so I'm sure that one day I'll find footage of myself in some random training video or T.V. ad.

Today's bit was a bit more self-directed. My company has been courting a big account, and my program is apparently one of the selling points. The problem? No one really "gets" what disease management is. The solution? Hey, let's make a video of Redpanda doing her thang! It'll be great!


So, after tossing and turning till the wee hours last night, listening to Sean snore loudly and cartoonishly and Mathilda the Evil One chase something loud and rolling, I had to get to work early to write a script for someone's video. But I did! And it was great! And they filmed the video! And now I don't have to get ready for it any more! And now I get to go home in 2 hours and sleep!

"You're so good on the phone!" my boss exclaimed.

I think she thinks I should work for a 1-900-#. Which, perhaps, I should.

I will be available, for a fee, to Pimp any disease management programs you have in the works.

That is all.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Sean: So, how'd it go?

Redpanda: I dunno. You know how in interviews they always ask you those stupid scenario questions? And you have to make some crap up on the fly, like when you were a kid and had to make up sins for confession?

Sean: Made-up stuff? Sure.

Redpanda: Yeah. Like, "Oh, I totally remember when that happened to me! I handled it ever so well, by doing A, B, and C. Everything worked out beautifully!"

Sean: Oh. Well, at least you were making up work-related stuff. I usually just make up random stuff.

Redpanda: Random stuff?

Sean: Sure. During my interview, I told (my boss) I could fit 50 hot dogs in my mouth.

Redpanda: ...

Saturday, November 13, 2004


Ok, so when I was mentioning the "snow" yesterday? How there were flakes on my windshield? I meant it in a kind of joking way, like Ha-ha, I am now a New Englander! See me complain about the weather! Just a few scattered flakes of snow and already I'm bitching!. What I most certainly did NOT mean is that it was actually, really and truly, going to SNOW.

It did.

Like, inches and inches.

Can you believe that crap? I'm waiting for Old Man Winter to pop out of the clouds and yell: "Psyche!". (Of course, then he would probably have to be wearing a Hypercolor sweatshirt and penny-rolled pants with his flock-of-seagulls haircut, but that's really not the point...)

So, snow.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Friday Wrap-Up

We skipped the sushi. But it was an ideal birthday for Sean, in that he consumed something containing peanut butter at each and every meal.

You should check out this site. Thanks to my birthday buddy Stumpy for the link!

Tonight promises to be a fun night, and you're invited! My friend Melissa's first photography show has its reception at MassArt. It's in the Kennedy Building from 5-6:30 (621 Huntington Ave.). But hey, if you can't make it, it's there through Nov. 20th. Check it out!
After that, I recommend you head over to Copperfield's just outside of Kenmore Square to see Groove of the Day funk it up old-school. They don't go on till 11:30, but I bet you could drink till then if you wanted to.

If you see a tall redhead wandering aimlessly around either event, feel free to tell her "hi", and perhaps that you like her shoes.

It's supposed to snow today. SNOW. SNOW. There were a few itty-bitty flakes of death on my windshield this morning. It's only November. Excuse me as I suppress a sob.

I'm working till 3 today, which I find irksome. Normally, I would have today off and work tomorrow. But some sort of maintenance is going on tomorrow, so the building will be closed. So, I had to come in today to "make up" that time. Now I ask you: is it my fault that the powers that be are closing the building? Can't they just eat those 6 measley hours? The answer to both questions: NO.

I long for a big steaming mug of hot chocolate. But I will have to settle for coffee or tea if I don't want to leave the building. Sigh.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Oh, The Birthdays I've Neglected!

Everyone's birthday has been lately! Dave's and Randy's were both last week. (Happy belated, guys!) My dad's was a bit before that. Today is Sean's.

In celebration of his birthday:

I let him sleep till 10.
I got up early and baked him a Special Birthday Breakfast: Peanut-butter coffee cake. (I say "bleah!" But he says "Yum!")
I made him coffee with hot chocolate, whipped cream, and hot pink candy dinosaurs.
I let him putter around the house for hours without complaining, until my stomach began digesting itself and I had to say "TAKE A SHOWER SO WE CAN GO FOR LUNCH ALREADY! I'M FREAKIN' STARVED!"
When he is finished with said shower, we will be heading towards my old digs, Brookline, so we can have a "Juicy Hamburger Lunch" at Coolidge Corner Clubhouse. We will then spend approximately 27 hours browsing at Brookline Booksmith before heading to Coolidge Corner Theater to see a matinee.
After that, we shall see if I am dragged to J.P. Licks ("They have CAKE BATTER! ICE CREAM! And it's Perfect Jimmie Weather!")* or for sushi. Or both.

It may be a day for tummyaches.

Happy 29th, honey! You're worth the achin'.

*This is not the time, but here would be a good place to introduce the sprinkles v/s jimmies debate.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

This is Your Life

I had one of those This is Your Life moments last night. You know the kind I mean--those moments in which all of a sudden every molecule around you seems bright and lucid, where you have the strange sense of seeing yourself in the very same place later on, thus predicting your own deja vu.

I was sitting in the Kirkland Cafe with my Magic Hat #9 (which I indicated to Sean that I wanted by holding up 9 fingers and gesturing to my head), listening to the wonderous funky stylings of Groove of the Day, and gazing just beyond bassist August's head through the window. The neon sign cast an eerie blue glow that reflected in the panes, but I could still see the Kebab Factory, which I've always been meaning to try, and Toscanini's, which I love, across the street. People hurried by wrapped in scarves and light autumn jackets, kicking at the crunchy leaves on the sidewalk while craning their necks to see who was playing.

I smiled at the people around me. Dave and Joanna are getting married! And Louis and Jeannine just had a baby! And Sean just went to get me another beer! Maybe it was just the beers, which I had started consuming earlier as we noshed at the Thirsty Scholar, but I began to feel like I was wrapped in a cozy blanket of contentment. I liked everyone around me. I was jammin' out to the music. New beers kept appearing.

It's one of those things, this forging of a new life where before there was none. It happens gradually, so slowly that sometimes it's painful. But then, sometimes you'll just be sitting there, doing nothing in particular, and you'll realize This is MY life. I have made it. It is mine. And I relish it.

And at moments like that, there's really nothing more you can do but grin gamely at the people grinning around you, and politely point to your head to request another beer.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Feel Better

A friend forwarded this to me. I'm sure it's from a column somewhere, but I can't seem to google it up. If anyone has seen it before, let me know so I can give proper credit.

Fear won.

Yesterday, the day after election day, I felt it. I was
spirit-deprived, sleep-deprived, faith-deprived, aghast. I wanted to email
all of my friends in other countries and apologize for something that wasn’t
my fault. I wanted to secede, retreat to my cosmopolitan bubble, spend the
next four years in denial. I couldn’t find a single comfort, except for the
fact that my state had remained blue. And that, in the end, didn’t matter.
I drank lots of caffeine, took a nap in my office, didn’t have anything to
say to all the people around me who were similarly speechless, aghast. I
was afraid to be gay, Jewish, liberal, Democratic, democratic - a
non-majority American. I couldn’t believe that my country could be so
stupid. And then I could believe it, and that was worse.

That was yesterday.

Then I went to sleep. Then I woke up.

History will say, beyond the fact that our country managed to
re-elect the worst president in its two-hundred-plus years, that this
election was won purely on the basis of fear. The Republicans seized the
day because they played the fear card again and again and again. Kerry
waited until the end to play it - and it’s not a card that can be played
second. There was no positivity, no vision in Bush’s campaign; he didn’t
even bother to try. There was only fear.

The Michael Moore movie we should have all been looking at wasn’t
“Farenheit 9/11” - it was “Bowling for Columbine”, with its central thesis
that American history has been dictated by fear of the other, both outside
and within. The thesis certainly extends to today. How else can you
explain how people in small town Ohio can say that their most pressing,
decisive concern is terrorism? Do they say that out of empathy for the
people of New York and DC who are the most likely targets? No. They fear,
however improbably, for themselves. And because - for some reason that has
nothing to do with the truth - there wasn’t an economic fear to
counterbalance their safety fears, they went red.

Then there is the dubiously phrased matter of “moral issues.” If
you listened very closely to the sounds coming from hell, you could hear the
slave owners and the segregationists and the woman-haters laughing every
time that button was pushed. Because it was their legacy that was born
again in this election. Gay marriage is just a part of it. Abortion is
just a part of it. Fear of the other manifests itself in an arrogant,
ignorant righteousness. And this time, that righteousness voted. This fact
beat me up more than anything else.

But wait. I thought about it some more, and I realized that if I’d
been asked which of the factors decided my vote the most - Iraq, terrorism,
the economy, etc. - I would have probably said “moral issues” as well.
Because I feel everything about the Bush administration comes down to moral
issues - and the (again) arrogant, ignorant, self-righteous,
uncompassionate, dogmatic, stubborn, and at times hateful way that they rule
our country. It is repugnant, undemocratic, and needs to be opposed. They
have defined morality to their own goals. We need to take it back.

It is a horrifying thing to wake up and find that fifty-one percent
of your country is just plain wrong. The word disappointment can’t even
begin to describe it. But here’s the good news: forty-nine percent got it
right. There are over fifty-five million people in this country who got it
right. This is not a small opposition. This is not a fringe element.
These are many, many voices that came together with a strength never seen
before. It wasn’t enough, but it was something. We can’t quiet them now.

I refuse to give George W. Bush the satisfaction of my fear. I will
not let him take his campaign tricks and play them on me after the election
is over. (The campaign, mark my words, continues.) I felt fear yesterday.
Gut-wrenching, mind-numbing, soul-confusing fear. It was nearly paralyzing
in its sadness and frustration. Then I realized: the Republicans want me
to be paralyzed. They want me - and you, and all of the forty-eight percent
- to be absolutely petrified with fear. We cannot, under any circumstances,
let that happen. We didn’t let that happen for the past year when he threw
all kinds of orange alerts and vague threats our way. His re-election
doesn’t change our need to be vigilant. It increases it. They are genuine
reasons to be scared of another Bush administration. But we cannot shut
down or shut up. I keep thinking of that despicably brilliant ad the Bush
campaign used, showing the wolves tearing through the woods, talking about
the need for safety against attack. But here’s the thing: they (and in
this case I mean the Bush forces, not terrorists) might be wolves, but we
are not sheep. I refuse to be a sheep. We are wolves, too, no matter how
many times we are told we are sheep. And we must be fierce in our

Don’t let the news break you. They want us broken.

Don’t let your spirit be compromised. You’re going to need your

This is not the end of anything, nor is it the beginning of
anything. It is the continuation of a fight that has been going on for a
very, very long time. It’s called right vs. wrong. And right might get
bruised, and abused, and paralyzed. But every day it prevails in fifty-five
million different ways. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. The next
four years are going to be awful. People will die because of this election.
The fight is going to be harder. But that just means we have to be even
more vigilant.

Fear won, but we can’t let it win.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

More of the Same or Dear America or Speaking of Seppuku

Dear America,

I live my life trying to fight the good fight for the little guy. I work lower-paying jobs that I feel "truly make a difference". I never fail to engage someone in a debate about how at-risk populations don't deserve their circumstances, and do deserve a leg-up (so to speak). I design campaigns to educate and uplift said populations. I pay down my six-figure student loans slowly, so very slowly.

Now, I feel you deserve to know that my feelings for you have changed.

Family farmers in the midwest--when you cry out to me about the cancers your family has developed from the toxins leaching into your soil? Who did you vote for?

Factory workers--when you hold up those signs and chant about the minimum wage not being a "living wage"? Which mark did you fill in on Nov. 2?

Senior citizens--when you realize that you can no longer afford your prescription drugs? Where was your vote?

Parents of teenagers--when your child discovers he or she cannot attend college because there are no programs in place to help him or her pay for it? Did you even show up?

Parents of younger children--when your child attends an unsafe or unsatisfactory school? Are you sure you pulled that lever correctly?

Parents of soldiers who aren't coming home--when you go on with your life despite this fact? Did you vote for someone with a plan to get out?

You who don't want to pay eight bucks a gallon for gas--where did your loyalties lie?

You who has been collecting unemployment for eight months--did you put out your hands and plead for more?

Great. You got your tax breaks, rich white men of America. I hope that's some consolation when the kid whose HeadStart program was cut 5 years ago shoots your son in the freaking head.

You voted the "religious" and "moral" man into office. Great. Osama Bin Laden feels he is religious and moral as well.

I am finished with you, America. I and the vast majority of the voters on the coasts and metropolitan areas who were voting Kerry? We're fine. My friends who are Kerry supporters? Fine. We don't need the social services right now. We can pay for our kids to go to private schools and college, so they probably will never join the military to get a free college education later (but get shot to bits first). We have health insurance from our employers. We buy organic veggies and don't smoke.

Fuck you, Middle America. Lie in the bed that you've made. And when it pricks and jabs at you? Shut the fuck up. You deserve every bit of it.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

What Democracy?

Today, Sean and I left early to scamper down the road and vote, which we did because we are good people and do not suck. We passed many other non-sucky people who were also going to vote. The ones who didn't seem to be heading towards a place to vote I will assume are either planning to vote after work or are republicans. This makes me more comfortable.

But really, that's not what my li'l story is about today. We parked our car and walked quickly in the brisk autumn air, my stomach knotting with aggressive butterflies. I remember all too well the aftermath of the last election, when I thought it's not that bad, things probably won't be that bad, he can't be that awful.... Of course, that naive young girl has had to live in the mess that Bush has made of America ever since, so she's much less naive now and more ready to kick his pathetic ass out.

Approaching the front desk area, we were asked for our address. We responded with it, and then followed up with our names. The sweet elderly lade smiled at me. "I need to see your ID, sweetie." she said. Well, of course. I'm voting, after all. I gave her my ID, smiled, and waited for Sean to hand her his.

He never did.

He didn't have to.

Apparently, if you have voted "before" in some states, you are not required to show your identification when you go to vote.

So, basically, I could have spent my day voting and voting and voting all over the country. If only I had known. I could have volunteered in a nursing home, become familiar with everyone's name. I could have volunteered in several nursing homes. I hear that there's a lot of those in Florida.

So, that clears that up. Our voting system is a joke.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Need Help?

Well, of course you're going to get out and vote next Tuesday! To not do so would be asinine, and you aren't an irresponsible asshat like that. You actually acknowledge that the freaking country is a shambles, and you want to do something about it. You have a daughter or son whom you don't actively dislike and therefore you DO want them to have a non-sucky world to live in, one where abortion is safe and legal and you can breathe the air and drink the water.

So, yeah, DUH. But you're having a little trouble deciding WHICH candidate you should vote for.

Enter Presidential Guidester! You select what your beliefs on most "issues" are, and the guidester gives you the breakdown of what percentage of your beliefs go with which candidate.

I was 100% John Kerry.

I didn't expect it to be quite that cut and dried, but hey, what can I say? Bush is just that bad.

So, check it out! It's fun! And you might even learn something!

The church took their sign down.

Thanks to all who contacted them!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Irony at its Best

For the past eight million years, or at least most of his "adult life", Sean has had Godawful Long Ponytailed Geek Hair. This was bad. Now, he has Shorter Sexy Hipster Hottie Hair. This is good. But, his Halloween costume is such that it requires Godawful Long Ponytailed Geek Hair. So he has to wear a nappy-ass wig.

This is very funny.

Speaking of Nappy Hair

My hair is crying out mercilessly to be cut. When it's wet, I can no longer pull my fingers through the splittiness of my hair's ends. I have a haircut in mind, something shorter and hipper and perhaps bang-ed. I was thinking Bettie Page-ish before, but then I remembered--I am a yuppie now and thus want to be taken seriously at work. Since I don't work at an "arty" job, that kind of precludes such cool haircuts as Bettie Page-ish or pink shaved. I also probably shouldn't wear a nose ring.

This is sad. I shall pout now.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Hate is Not a Christian Value

A church not far from my house has posted a sign out front that reads:

Homosexuality is a sinful choice.

I know this because Sean called me saying he wanted to "call the police or something" because it was a "hate crime".

Well, unfortunately, it's not really a crime. But I was, of course, terribly angry and offended. If you want to preach hate in your church, fine, you are all ignorant fucks. But don't pollute my community with your nasty messages. The thought of someone from elsewhere seeing that sign and silently noting This town is a close-minded town angers me unspeakably.

So, I called. No one was there (they were probably all dressed in white sheets burning crosses somewhere), so I left a message stating my name, that I was a member of the community, and that I was offended by their sign. I said that I thought their sign promoted hate, and that hate was not a Christian value at any church I am familar with. I asked them to take it down.

Sean will be doing the same.

Would anyone else like to join us?

New England Baptist Church
30 Salem Street, Medford, MA 02155
(781) 395-6116
How 'Bout Those Red Sox?

How 'bout 'em???

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A Story About Gas

This morning was not a good one. A graveyard of discarded skirts lay on my bed, and yet I still looked like crap. I didn't have time to put on any makeup beyond the requisite blush and concealer. I even forgot to slice up olives for my salad!

When I finally ran out the door, I remembered. Gustav the BeetleBugCar's gas alert beep had been beeping shrilly and insistently the entire way home last night.

Fuck, says I to that. Fuck.

So, off I went to the gas station, where I pulled up to the pump and breathlessly requested: "Fill it up! With Regular! Please!" The attendant smiled gamely and strode off to do my bidding, and I sat back in my seat and sighed contentedly, confident that all was at last well in the world.

Then, I reached into my wallet to pull out my trusty credit card, and found only a sad blank slot in its usual spot.

Fuck, once more. But a bigger Fuck this time.

I popped from the car like a jack-in-the-box on speed and ran to catch the attendant. "Wait! Can you make it ten dollars??? I forgot my credit card!"

He nodded and obliged, so I gave him my ten bucks and sped off.

But, I have to wonder--what would have happened if I HADN'T caught him? Or if I HADN'T had ten bucks in my wallet? Would they have held me prisoner until someone could come bail me out? Would they have hauled me across the street to the police station? Would they have made me give them my thumb?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

We arrived back from Barbados to a message from my mother, saying to call "whenever I get in, no matter how late it is.". (This always means someone is Dead. People never say to call "no matter how late it is" unless someone is either Dead or Nearly Dead.) It was just a hair of trepidation that I called her back, to confirm that, indeed, Someone was Dead.

So, yes, my grandmother passed away the morning of the night we returned to the good ol' U.S. of A. I foresee your condolences and I thank you for them. I loved my grandmother very much and saw her nearly every day of my life growing up, and almost that often when I was actually grown up. She taught me so much, and was strong and gentle and lovely to me all of my life. She was 94.

But, by 94, she was only a shadow of herself. I'm happy to know that she is no longer suffering, is no longer fighting, is no longer afraid. I hurt mostly for my grandfather, who is inconsolable and sobs that he "misses his wife". He is 97. They were married longer than the average U.S. lifespan.

Now, I know it is the Beginning of the End. He will not last long, grieving for her. When he is gone, they will sell The Farm. The place I grew up will become tract mansions, surely as my tummy is sunburned. My family will fight bitterly amongst themselves, the aunts and uncles who used to go on vacations with us and come over for margarita parties will become mad with greed, their lips twisting like pipe cleaners.

But I don't have time to think of that. I have to repack the bags I just pulled tank tops and bikinis and shorts from with respectable enough clothing to wear to a funeral. I have to hop on a plane tomorrow morning. I have to try and tie up numerous loose ends before then.

Then, I will come back and regale all of you with stories about the lovely island country of Barbados.

I'll miss you, Grandma. I've missed you for years.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Why I'm Not Sure We Should Have Kids


"Mathilda is so cute and small. Look at her tiny head!"

"I don't think she's that small anymore, honey. She's kind of a medium-sized grown-up cat now."

"I know." Pause. "But her head still fits in my mouth."


"Her head. It fits in my mouth."

"How exactly do you know this?"

"Well, I was sitting there one day, and patting her head. And all the hair was flat and her head looked so tiny, so I wondered. Then I just went...(*Opens mouth widely*)"





Friday, October 01, 2004


"There are so many things I'll never get to watch her experience, now." the mother said regretfully of her dead child. "So many things she'll never get to experience."

"Like what?" the pre-teen asked.

"Oh, lots of things. Like, her first kiss."

"Like she would really tell you about that." the pre-teen sniffed scornfully.

"She wouldn't." The mother smiled a strange kind of patient half-smile. "But you know. You know, anyway." She turned then, looking far, far out the window; as if the answer to some profound question lay somewhere beyond the darkening horizon, visible only to her.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

In Which I Amble Along a Big, Circular Path Before Returning Back to My Original Topic - Authority

It was over 40 years ago, in 1961, that Stanley Milgram undertook his famous, or should I say infamous experiments in Obediance to authority. It's one of those things you learn about in Psych 101 -- the professor brings in the old, grainy, black and white video (or projector if your professor is super-duper old-school or if you go to a really shitty college) and you watch as unknowing subject upon unknowing subject administers painful electric shocks to a person they cannot see, just hear. The person whimpers in the distance, begging not to be shocked. But a "scientist" insists that the experiment goes on--that the subject keeps adminstering the shocks. Despite obvious discomfort, the subject generally keeps shocking until the shockee is rendered silent.

What they don't know? There is no real electric shock. The guy they think they are shocking is actually just an actor--albeit one who is excellent at whimpering pathetically.

Ethics would never allow such an experiment today, of course. (All the 'good' ones are that way--dammit!) But the implications of it were so far-reaching that, as I said, it's still the stuff of Psych 101 today.

Unquestioning obediance to authority figures (or perceived authority figures) is something I never really bought into, personally. Anyone who knew me as a child can reiterate this for you. I was always as I am now, raising my eyebrow disdainfully at the nuns and refusing to do what my parents asked of me unless they delivered a sensible explanation for why I should do said thing. Respect was, and still is in my eyes, something you earn by your actions, not something I would deliver to you unquestioningly.

I was a pain in the ass that way.

I see this strange "Obey the Authority Figures At All Costs" phenomenon quite often at work. It's crazy, really. How did physicians become an "authority figure"? Somehow, they are. I watch and listen as people's doctors make horrible suggestions, prescribe dangerous drugs, refuse to refer them to a specialist for something far beyond the doctor's personal realm of expertise. The consequences of some of these monumental fuck-ups are, well, monumental. Sometimes the patient is so embarrassed to return to a doctor who made him or her feel stupid that they don't go back. They don't call to ask if they should be having "that" reaction to their prescribed drugs. They sometimes die.

This crap pisses me off. People, your doctor is hired by you. To perform a service. If he or she is not performing up to par, freaking fire him/her already. It never ceases to amaze me that the same people who will pitch a ginormous fit right in a salon over what they perceive as a bad haircut will keep going back to the same crappy doctor who belittles them, doesn't have time for their questions, or makes bad decisions. (Note: telling your fat ass to lose weight already or your smelly ass to quit smoking does not qualify as belittling. Lose some weight, fat ass!)

Note to doctors: Don't do these things to people. When someone tells me you have done one of those things, I will send an ambassador to gently teach you the "right" way to be a doctor. If you don't change, I will fucking fire your ass. Hard to keep a steady patient base when an insurer won't cover you. And my clients deserve good doctors. So there.

All of this discussion about authority figures is kind of a roundabout way to share with you a hypothesis I was bouncing off of Sean this morning as I slurped coffee and he crunched corn flakes (Now with Bananas!). This is often how my hypotheses occur--before either one of us are really bright enough to hold our own in the ensuing discussion. It can get quite messy, really.

(That's the problem with keeping news radio on in the morning--they will mention something about Bush. And indubitably, it will piss me off and I will get all in a tither.)

Anyhow. So. My hypothesis. I was asking, audibly, "Who the FUCK in their RIGHT MIND would vote for Bush? This is NOT a rhetorical question. I REALLY DON'T understand! WHY would anyone DO THAT?"

Then, all of a sudden, I knew. Because he is the president. An authority figure. A major authority figure. And he is saying "Vote for me!". So, it stands to reason that one should. I mean, who is this John Kerry guy saying I should vote for him? He's not the boss of me. The president is the boss of me!

In essence, I believe that people will vote for him simply because he is the president.

There you have it. The power of Authority, as proved by Milgram and Redpanda.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Some Days It's Worth It

My phone jangled insistently, interrupting me from a boring-ass spreadsheet. My personal extension flashed on the caller ID. Damn. It was someone who had had previous contact with me, whether it was a message I left on a machine or a business card sent imploringly through the mail, please call me back, I want to help you... I had requested that he or she contact me. I couldn't ignore whoever it was. Flipping my eyes heavenward, I picked up the phone. Yet another fruitless call on yet another fruitless day in which I will impact nothing and no one.

A North Shore blue-collar accent greeted me. "Yeah, you sent me a letter. I just moved, so that's probably why it took me so long to get it..." I dug for his file, feeling my heart sink. People with North Shore blue-collar accents who are this young (mid-40's) don't make changes. They don't do anything. They just bitch about their "bad genes" and keep smoking, drinking, eating crap, not exercising.

I told him a little bit about why I had called, what was going on, the program I worked for; bracing myself all the while for the imminent rejection. But it didn't come. Instead, David (I'll call him David because that's his name. And why change it?) interrupted to say "That sounds great! I'd love to do that! I want to do anything to help me get healthier, especially my heart." (Well, he said "hahhht", really. But I think that's the same thing as "heart".)

"Well, great!" I replied, pleasantly surprised. Delving into conversation with David, I found more pleasant surprises.

"Yeah," he said, "I go wit' my wife now to the maaahket to do the grocery shopping. My GOD! It takes FOHEVAH! Reading all those labels! I gotta say, I really respect my wife now for doin' that all those yeaahs for me and the kids."

I laughed and explained that it was a system, that it was hard at first but that they'd get it down pat and it'd be easier.

"Gawd, I hope so!" he replied.

When I asked about smoking, he said he had just quit. I responded with my general yay-for-you-you-are-so-awesome stuff, telling him how great it was that he had done that, what an accomplishment it was, all that jazz. "Well, I tell ya what, I wish I had never lit that first one, tell ya the truth. Now, whenever I get those cravings, I just remember when they used the defibrillator on me. They put those paddles right on me to restart my heart. And Christ, it feels like getting kicked in the chest by a mule, I tell you what. Whenever I want to light up, I just think of that feeling. I thought I was going to die for sure. But thank God, I didn't. Now, I wish that my 22-year-old would learn from what happened to me, and quit too."

The conversation went on. We talked about ways he could improve what he was already doing, how he should take the time off from work to attend cardiac rehab, how I would connect him with more resources to help him stay quit (smoking). He was bright and excited. His heart attack had made his life better--made him appreciate his wife more, made him quit smoking, made him eat better and exercise. He had a new lease on life.

We closed the (long) conversation with him fully enrolled in my program and swearing he would talk more to his doctor about attending cardiac rehab. When we got off the phone, I set down the headset and stared at it awhile. I thought, as I often do, about the inequities of life, the inequities of "the system". How this man, with his blue-collar background and lack of college education, was targeted by Big Tobacco. How they got ahold of him from a young age, teaching him that cigarettes were cool, were grand, were his best chance for escapism. I thought of his job that won't give him time off to attend cardiac rehab so he can learn how to best heal after a heart attack, and how to prevent a future one. I thought of his countless cigarette breaks at work, going for a beer with the guys afterwards. A culture of unhealthy habits. I thought of his son, who had been born when he was barely past his teens, who now didn't want to quit smoking. I thought of how the cycle repeats itself, what it really means to "Have a family history of heart trouble".

It means discrepancies. In care, in upbringing, in opportunities. It means being stunted from the start. It means having a fuckload further to fight before you reach your destination.

Fight the good fight, David. Keep at it. I will knock down any barrier I can to help you on your way. I will help you any way that I can. And one day, God help me, I will make it so someone else doesn't have to fight that fight.

Fuck you, Big Tobacco. You will lose. One day, you will fucking lose.

Monday, September 27, 2004


After seeing Napolean Dynamite for the second time, I came in to work today and was greeted by a cafeteria selling tater tots.


I'm eating them right now, all old-school style with a side of ranch dressing for dippin'.

Oh, how it takes me back to freshman year....

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A Pepto Tale

One of Sean's many obsessions is with Pepto-Bismol. (Or, rather, Target Brand Pink Bismuth Liquid). If I happen to complain about some ailment, be it a stubbed toe or gangrene, he's lightning quick to suggest: "Why don't you take some Pepto? Take some Pepto, honey! It'll make you feel better! It's yummy!"

What Sean does not understand is that if one has a digestive system with any sort of sensitivity, one cannot, I repeat, NOT go around chugging Pink Death. To do so is to capitulate all thoughts of pooping for the next week, if not longer. And it is not, in any way, shape, or form, yummy. In fact, I would say that the opposite is true--that Pepto is, in fact, yucky.

That said, Pepto does come in very handy when one is having issues of, shall we say, ass explosivity. It functions as the only nonsexual buttplug.

Now, I have been a bit under the weather this week. It began as a cold, but as things drifted south, I began to feel the first twinges of Upset Tummy-ness. Yep. It was one of Those Times. I was in need of some Pepto.

Except, there wasn't any. None. Nada. Ix-nay on the epto-pay.

Why is that?

Well, I'll tell you. That is because Sean chugs Pepto. He does shots of it the way some people shoot tequila. He drinks it as a beverage, likening it to strawberry milkshakes in consistency and flavor. He uses it in recipes as a substitute for milk, butter, or eggs. He finds any possible way to suck down as much pepto as is humanly possible.

And he will be very, very sorry for that When I Get Home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Friday evening we went out, my hair shiny-bright with a new dye job, to dinner and a movie with our friend Mike. We always seem to do the same thing with Mike--dinner and a movie, or a movie and dinner, or maybe dinner, a movie, and then a drink. I'm not sure if it's because we automatically think of Mike now when we're going to do these things, if it's just a habit we've gotten into and can't seem to break, or if it's just plain The Way Things Are. But an evening with Mike often means we'll be catching a movie at the Kendall and eating dinner at Cambridge Brewing Company. No slouch, that. I enjoyed a Pumpkin Ale with my Mediterranean pizza, while Sean and Mike opted for a burger and pecan-crusted catfish, respectively.

We saw a "special sneak preview" ofShaun of the Dead. Three words for you, folks--Kick. Ass. Flick. Over-the-top gore, a sicko sense of humor, and a smart, biting wit all wrapped up in one nice, neat package. I laughed my ass clean off.

Saturday, I worked as the rain came down in sheets, pounding against the windows and making me glad that I hadn't signed up for the Heart Walk (which was, incidentally, cancelled anyway...). When at last that was over and I was home, I found myself making moussaka. Making moussaka is always fun because Sean particularly likes to find new things to call it. This time his favorites seemed to be "Mufasa" and "Baked Montana". Either way, the important thing is that he ate the stuff even though I'm sure it pained him to do so.

That night, we headed back down south to Dorchester for the going-away party of my friend from work, Siobhan. I'm very bummed that she's leaving me, since I never tire of her stories of things like men taking Viagra and then trying to pick her up by saying "Hey, I just took a Viagra!". But alas, the greener pastures of fashion school in Milan were calling, and answer she must. Sean and I spent the evening drinking immense cocktails and complaining that the immense cocktails were not strong enough and too expensive. Oh wait, maybe that was just me.

After sleeping in the next morning, we arose and had a leisurely brekkie before heading north to join R-Dubs, Alayna, Paige, and Theron for some group apple-pickin'. It was my very first time, and it did not disappoint! I have numerous great shots of all involved that I may post one of these days. Beautiful day + apple pickin' = Yay! After we had picked our requisite bags of apples (we all favored the Honey Crisp variety), we headed back to Chez R-Dubs to gather round the Pats game and have some snackies.

So, that was my weekend. A slice of my life, if you will. Not too shabby, not to fancy.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Way to Get the Poon-tang

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the new craze that is sweeping the nation (I love to say "sweeping the nation", It makes it sound like some entity is flying over cities and plains in a superhero-like fashion, wreaking havoc amongst mad thralls of people who are jumping up and down, desperate for WHATEVER IT IS!) freecycle.

Sean is a freecycle junkie. He spends a substantial portion of his day forwarding me descriptions of what can only be described as Crap That We Don't Need in Any Way, Shape, or Form. Sometimes, he even goes and retrieves said Crap from the offerer and hides it in the trunk of his car for weeks on end. Then, when I find the Crap in his trunk and say: "Where the fuck did this Crap come from?", he can safely reply: "Oh, that? I've had that for weeks!"

But, I digress. Although freecycle is a great resource for people both trying to get rid of Crap and people trying to obtain Crap, sometimes things that really piss me off get sent around. Some of the best examples are things like "My 4-year-old son would love some kittens to play with!",(That's kittenSSSSS. Plural. Because, you know, it's normal to get more than one pet at a time for your 4-year-old.) or "Does anyone have a puppy I can adopt? I went to the shelters, but the ones there are expensive--like $200--and I can't afford that!" (News for you, assfuck--if you can't afford to shell out the 2 big ones required to adopt the puppy, than you can't afford to own a puppy.), or the unending "Please adopt my kitten. She is 7 months old and no longer cute. Also, she still needs to be neutered. She hasn't gotten her shots yet, either. I only got her because she was cute. Now I have discovered that she is a lot of trouble and I wish someone else would take her now that she is not cute anymore!" (No further explanation required on that one.)

After the seven millionth of those hit the list, Sean took action. He pretty much spammed the entire freecycle community with the suggestion that pets can be found easily on Petfinder or in the shelters, and that it was not appropriate to treat them like they were an old bookcase or table. He also provided a link to the Saddest Craigslist Post Ever, one that made me tear up for weeks after whenever I thought about it. It's so sad, in fact, that I think everyone should read it so that they too can spend a few days stumbling around muttering "good dog or good cat!" and bursting into tears.

Well, the response was pretty overwhelming, to say the least. For a while, Sean forwarded me the nice responses he was receiving from the freecycle community.

So, what does this have to do with The Poon-tang?

Well, all, I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE of the responses he received were from women. And some kept responding, sending more and more personal information in each email. I am still patiently waiting for the "Great post--here is a crotch shot!" or "Very well said. Would you like to put my boobie in your mouth?" or "Enough about pets. When can we fuck?" emails to arrive.

That Sean, he is one helluva chick magnet.

Friday, September 17, 2004

And Just Like That, I Got "Old"

Last Saturday, I was at a party for Someone's adorable 1-year-old's first birthday. (I say "Someone" because I don't like to mention people's names on my blog without their Ok. Except for people I have known for years and years and therefore own the rights to by default, like Brandy or Fady or guys I'll talk all kinds of smack about, ha ha!)

So, anyway, we were at Someone's house for Son of Someone's first birthday. It was, in all honesty, one of my very first Non-family Child's Birthday Celebrations. (My friends aren't much into the reproducin'.) Being that it was a family kind of celebration, there were kids of various age and descrip about. Some were youngish, some were old enough that if I really faced reality, I'd realize that they were spending their weekends at sleepovers discussing blowjobs and how they weren't sure if they wanted to do them one day or not. Really. But really, that is very odd to me--to think that I'm talking to peeople who have kids who are old enough to discuss blowjobs at sleepovers and it's not in the form of "So, how are you doing in school this year, young lady?".

I guess I still think of myself as young, or youngish. Or at least Not Older Yet.

It was a delightful party, catered superbly by Mother of Someone. Everyone seemed to have a good time celebrating Son of Someone's birthday, and Someone had had a great idea--she left out a Polaroid (yes, they still have those) camera and a memory book, so all party attendees could take their picture and leave a message for Son of Someone! Isn't that just the cutest?

Sean and I were hanging out in the room with the aforementioned memory book (and, not coincidentally, the food) when one of the youngish kids of the Old Enough to Talk about Blowjobs at Slumber Parties variety (Not to imply that she would ever do such a thing--oh, no. Just that she is of the age to do so. Oh, yes.) began flipping around a wet-with-newness Polaroid and singing "Shake it! Shake it! Shake it like a Polaroid Pictuah!"

Watching this transpire, I couldn't help but remember back to last year, when Hey Ya was at its heydey and a radio DJ called Polaroid to ask if it was, indeed, appropriate to "shake" a poloroid picture. "Oh, no!" the Polaroid representative had explained in mild horror, "Shaking a Polaroid can cause the colors to run and the picture to develop improperly. You should never shake a Polaroid picture."

So, with this knowledge in mind, I felt it was only fair to warn her that her actions could very well jeopardize the very picture she was clutching. "Hey," I began, "I wes listening to the radio one time, and the DJ called Polaroid, and--"

"It's a song!" Youngish interjected laughingly. "It's called Hey Ya!"

I got ready to interrupt and explain that I knew it was a song, that I was just trying to pass on some information about Proper Polaroid Procedure, but one look at her laughing face and I knew. I knew. It was futile.

Nevermind that I've been an OutKast fan since before Miss Jackson hit the airwaves almost 4 years ago, that I remember singing it on the way down to New Orleans for a spring break roadtrip. I was old. Grown-up old. Far too old to know anything about anything, obviously. At least, to a twelve-year-old.

Just like that.

Sean laughed at me. "You're old!"

"You're old, too." I replied dryly.

And so, it begins.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


Let me explain something, as quickly and easily as possible.

If you have deep religious beliefs, or deep beliefs of any kind, that conflict with the requirements of a specific position and/or career choice; You have no goddamn right to be in that position.

Are you a vegetarian? Don't get a job in a slaughterhouse and then say that your morals are being compromised by your position. Do you go into epilectic seizures every time you see a Nintendo game? Don't apply for a job at Nintendo as a game tester. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose? Don't become a pharmacist, a doctor, a nurse, or any other health worker who works with women and the choices they make. (You know, like buying birth control?)

I have the utmost respect for anyone's right to his or her own beliefs. It stops at beliefs. Using your position (especially that of a trusted medical professional) to force your beliefs upon others is not acceptable under any circumstances.

What's next? A Christian Scientist ER doc who refuses to treat anyone walking through the door?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Banana Pancakes

I say Sean is one spoiled boy. Who else woke up this morning to a heapin' helpin' of whole wheat-banana-walnut-brown sugar pancakes? And sausage???

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Tell him how jealous you are.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Now, That's a Big Cat!

We had been having some troubles with Tivy (who answers to Tivy, Septivious Kittious, Mr. C., Mr. Cat, Mr. Large, Mr. Large Cat, Cat, You Are A Cat, Large; and finally, You Are A Large Cat) peeing on the bathroom floor. Not this-is-my-motherfucking-bathroom spraying, but more of a I-have-to-PEE-NOW puddling. The entire thing was a bit baffling, frankly, because the cat litter box is not 4 feet from the chosen pee-puddling locale. So clearly, it was not a matter of having to PEE NOW. Otherwise, I like to think that Mr. Large Cat would take the extra 12 cat-steps and pee IN THE LITTER BOX.

Well, we mused, perhaps we are not changing the litter often enough. We began scooping a couple times a day, practically waiting behind the cats with a scoop when they disappeared into the Booda Dome.

This did not improve matters any.

Ok, we further mused, perhaps he has decided he no longer is a fan of the Feline Pine litter. Maybe we should go back to scoopable stuff? So we bought a special recycled scoopable flushable litter.

Again, the pee puddle fairy kept leaving gifts.

Fine, we mused. Our cat is an asshole. But what if we try the scoopable clay litter? Could that help matters?

We were at PetSmart, perusing the contents of the Cat Poo Defense department, when Sean raised his finger in the manner of a mad scientist and said "Egads!" (Well, no, he really didn't say that. But I've always wanted to be around someone who said "Egads!".) "Do you suppose that he is too bigfor the litter box?"

"Nah. No way!" I exclaimed in disbelief. "We have a Booda Dome. It's freakin' HUGE!"

"He's a big cat, honey." Sean replied dubiously.

This was an assertion I couldn't find fault with. We selected a litter box roughly the size of a 1984 Buick, a covered model with a plastic door flap; and made our way to the front of the store.

Cut to present times. We have not, (*knocking on any and all available wood-like substances*) as of yet, experienced any more floor puddling incidents. All pee seems to now be safely contained within the litter box.

And last night, when I went into the bathroom to wash my face, I spied something I had never seen before. A bit of black and white fur that could only be Tivy was visible within the litter box, the door flap propped up against him because he was so big it stayed on top of him rather than fall back down.

Now, that's a big cat.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Good Things

There just aren't enough good things in the world. Or maybe I'm just greedy for 'em.

Sean and I have been getting organic produce delivered to us for the last couple of months! Boston Organics delivers to your home or office, every week or every other week. You select if you would like a $25 or $35 box (we find the $25 to be an abundance), what percentage of fruits v/s veggies you would like, and anything you DON'T want in your box. Then you sit back and wait. Ahh. They have taught me that roasted beets can be yummy. Who knew?

The Boston Film Festival starts this weekend. I'm a mad sucker for those shorts presentations. Check 'em out!

I bought some lovely glass rings for myself and a couple of near and dear friends recently. I love mine, the smoothness and weight against my finger. I loved theirs, too, almost to the point where I had some trouble sending them off. Luckily, I managed to do so. Props to the Carrot Box!

Barbados is still there, as far as I know. I'll let you know for sure (*knocking furtively against all available wood*) when we head out there in 24 days. Leave it to me to plan a Caribbean vacation in the WORST hurricane season EVER. Bah.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Problem With Furrowing

I am one of those expressively-faced people. This is a good thing, in that it makes me endlessly amusing and endearing. But it's a bad thing in that it can A) Get me into Trouble, and B) Give me Permanent Brow Furrows.

The getting into Trouble has been an issue all my life, but I'm only recently becoming aware of the Permanent Brow Furrows. I fear that they will only deepen and deepen until I resemble a Neanderthal (the "h" is silent, people!) woman. Especially if they get to be so deep that I can no longer fit any pair of tweezers in existence into the vast gaping cleft that will have taken up residence on my forehead. The sweetly shaped eyebrows that I am currently in possession of will become singular in nature, and I will begin to grunt, wear animal skins, and celebrate the burial of my dead with primitive religious ceremonies.

I fear that this is imminent.

The expressions getting me into trouble thing just waxes and wanes seemingly of its own volition. I can remember getting a "check" next to my name in grade school with my teacher's explanation written beside it in neat, flowing cursive: Rolled eyes at me. Yeah, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, bitch. It was totally worth it. Even though I didn't get to watch The Golden Child with my class that month because of the fateful check.

In grad school, we were taking a break from class (the classes were, like, FOUR. HOURS. LONG.) when one of my friends pointed at me and laughed maniacly. "You look SOOO pissed off during class! And I was like, I know she's happy, why does she look so mad? I know she's not mad. She's happy! I was, indeed, "happy". It was then that I came to a realization--my "thoughtful" look, complete with deep brow furrowing, translates as pissed-offed-ness. Oops. Now when I'm doing things like sitting in boring-ass meetings or going on job interviews, I make a concerted effort to hold my eyebrows aloft in perfectly groomed little St. Louis Arches, all the while nodding thoughtfully.

After one of those aforementioned boring-ass meetings last week, a co-worker-slash-friend informed me that she was no longer going to be able to sit either anywhere near me or anywhere it was possible to see my facial expressions. (This, I think, limits her meeting seating choices quite severely.) Apparently, unbeknownst to me, when something stupid is said or done, my right eyebrow raises almost imperceptibly in a miniscule expression of aghast disdain. Oops.

(In my defense, at the last boring-ass meeting, my boss's boss unveiled our "department's New Mascot!" that she "couldn't leave in the store!" because "he was too cute!!!". This was a bug. A stuffed bug. A giant stuffed bug. A giant stuffed bug in a rainbow of garish neon colors. A giant stuffed but in a rainbow of garish neon colors that makes me feel like I'm working at a freaking CARNIVAL. Now, can one's eyebrow really be expected to remain in a position of non-disdain when faced with events such as this?)

The bug is really deserving of a blog all his own, but at this point I don't think I have the energy to get into how there can possibly be a giant stuffed bug flopped atop a cubicle in the middle of the room. Really, it's just too much.

But, back to the brow furrowing. I can combat the encroachment of Neanderthal-dom with Burt's Bees slathered liberally across my already greasy T-zone, but I'm not really sure how to combat the disdain. Most especially the aghast disdain, which is the worst kind of disdain of all.

Perhaps there's a lotion.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Bloodletting #2

I was scheduled to give blood again today, so I once again found myself questioning every little item on the questionnaire When was that acupuncture treatment? How close is "close relationship"?.

It takes soooo very long to get through the whole process. You have to be called up by number and counseled countless times, by the end of which you are so frazzled you're likely to accidentally stick the For the Love of God Don't Use My Blood sticker on the form instead of its Please Use My Healthy Delicious Blood cousin. This has happened to me before.

While you wait, people wheel Igloo brand coolers full of blood past. This is endlessly creepy.

After I was bled today, (and can we talk about how fast I bled? I am the Fastest! Bleeder! Ever!) a different nurse from the one who had put the bloodsucking tube into my arm came over to staunch the bleeding. She is my new best friend. This is because when I sat up, she gave me a backrub and told me I should have "double food for the rest of the week" and "no heavy lifting or strenuous activities, like doing dishes, cleaning, or laundry".

At this last tidbit of information, the very joy within my being thrust me up and airborne, so I floated gracefully over to the folding table where Famous Amos cookies and cranberry juice were being handed out. Two times one is TWO!!! TWO COOKIES FOR MEEEEEE!!!!!!

Monday, August 30, 2004

So, Sean and I Took Turns Paddling Each Other for Three Hours Straight

It was a hot, muggy afternoon--the asphalt melting down the rubber on the soles of my shoes, sticking to me with gummy determination. I trudged up the stairs, still achingly sore from hauling Forrest's stuff down 38 flights of stairs (at least, it felt that way...). Now he's off to broil his snake and cat somewhere in the desert of the American West, and I'm the new owner of many of his canned goods. Frijoles Negros, anyone?

Sean shifted the items he was carrying around and reached for my hand. I closed my hand around his two middle fingers, the way we always "hold hands", and picked up my pace to keep in step with his brisk stride. "Do you think that that one's ours?", I asked, looking dubiously at an immense, sleek, white vessel that curved under gracefully like a reverse Cheshire Cat.

Sean laughed. "I don't think so. God, that thing's huge!"

I nodded agreement. "It looks like something from a Charlie Brown cartoon."

We picked our way down what appeared to be the path, watching as workers in Tevas and splattered t-shirts cleaned up for the night. "Here. You need to sign a release form.", I stated, handing one to Sean. The legal eqivalent of I will not sue you if I die. Love, Sean

It took some time before all the takers were assembled, then a brief introduction to the art of paddling was given for those who had never paddled before. Sean and I are both experienced paddlers to some degree, although we hadn't yet paddled each other. We spent the time the unneeded introduction provided us with discussing who would be behind who. Even though I personally like it in the back, I conceded that since Sean was larger and heavier than I (not to mention Strong Like Bull), he should be the one in the rear.

That decided, we lined up and readied ourselves for an intense bout of paddling. I had a few butterflies in my stomach, but they were the sweetly nervous kind, not the Holy Fucking Shit Nervous kind. (Much preferable.)

Finally, they called us over, and we quickly readied ourselves for what was to be an enlightening excursion. Our canoe was a red one, so it matched my life jacket.

The Moonlight Canoe Tour was to take about 3 hours (Yes, a "Three Hour Tour". That already occurred to me, thank you.) and go at a leisurely pace down the Charles from Newton to Waltham and back again. "Leisurely pace", I will have you know, is a fairly relative term.

My nerves were already frazzled before we had pulled too far from the dock. The canoe was leaning, quite obviously, to the right. I was convinced that this was a sign that one of three things were true:
1. Sean Has Really Bad Posture and Leans to the Right;
2. I Am Too Damn Fat to be In a Canoe; or
3. Sean Has Really Bad Posture and Leans to the Right and I Am Too Damn Fat to be In a Canoe.

I wasn't really sure which one of those was preferable, probably #1 because, truth be known, I would rather be pitched screaming into the polluted Charles and forced to have a tetanus shot after being half-consumed by leeches than have someone tell me I was Too Fat to be In a Canoe. In fact, there are very few things I would not prefer to the Too Fat scenario.

Luckily, I stayed in the canoe. For all that Sean tried to pitch me out by not only leaning obsessively to the right, but also repeatedly standing up and sitting down with almost enough force to send me to the very moon we were supposed to be enjoying during our trip, I stayed in the canoe. Sean's Gatorade did not, but that is another story entirely.

Gatorade bottles float, by the way. Even if they are full of blue Gatorade. In case you ever need to know that.

We saw numerous birds, from your standard mallards to pairs of swans to different kinds of herons and cranes. Several small annoying dogs yapped at us from houses on the shore that we will never be able to afford, even though we are more deserving of them than the current owners simply by virtue of not being the kind of people who would keep annoying yappy dogs.

The moon rose, a splendid vivid orange gumdrop in the sky, when we were first beginning our excursion. With the reduced light, the water shown an oily, inky black (although in retrospect, perhaps it was both oily and inky), rippling like a thousand garter snakes when I dipped my paddle into it.

The highlight of the trip was being rammed by the Asian Canoers from Hell from anywhere between 10-56 times. Each time included the same series of events:
1. ACFH's canoe is heading straight for ours!
2. Redpanda dips paddle into river and tries to slow canoe.
3. After slowing canoe, Redpanda begins paddling away from ACFH's canoe.
4. ACFH's canoe continues heading right for ours, even though ours has changed direction.
5. ACFH's inhabitants seem to be paddling canoe directly at us.
6. Redpanda says "Look out!"
7. ACFH canoe rams our canoe.
8. ACFH's inhabitants smile glibly and say "Sorry!" in an amusing, heavily-accented way.
9. Redpanda laughs and thinks about how much fun she and Sean will have making fun of them later.
10. Redpanda runs into another canoe.

It should be noted that the running into other canoes was mostly the fault of Sean, the All-Time Worst Canoe Steer-er Ever in the History of the World. His steering was so bad, in fact, that I was forced to think that perhaps he was the captain of both the Titanic and the Edmund Fitzgerald in previous lives. Compounding his Monumentally Terrible Steering was the fact that he is a proponent of "Frequent Breaks". This is a good thing when one is a cubicle monkey like me or Sean, spending endless hours pressing stupid little keyboard keys while hunched over a crappy monitor. However, when canoeing, this can be translated into Does not do much of the actual paddling. Sean, god love him, kept saying "Take a break, honey! Take a break!". Unfortunately, for all his thoughtfulness and concern for my well-being, Sean did not seem to realize that someone needs to be paddling the canoe at all times, or the canoe will not go. I came to realize this was an issue when the canoe kept coming to a tentative halt, wavelets slapping merrily against her hull as she rested against a lily pad we would not have been anywhere near if the canoe was being properly steered. A look over my shoulder would reveal that yes, indeed, Sean was taking a Frequent Break. "Take a Break, honey!" he would insist, as I dug my paddle into the river with a degree of determination only one who is afraid of being left behind on the Charles can muster.

We did the circuit, easily 6 miles of calm warm river, without event (save for the loss of the blue Gatorade). I'm comfortably sore today, well-exerted but still able to move. And yes, I'd love to do it again. And no, next time I won't be steering, because I recognize that doing so may lead to a new nomination for All-Time Worst Canoe Steer-er in the History of the World. And we can't have that.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

My Boss Called Me Boho and Other Quick Musings

Yeah, she called me "boho". Something about an article in the Globe that talked about different "looks" women choose. She said that it was So me! Because of my vintage clothes and neverending supply of Mary Janes. I don't know that I'd pigeonhole myself that way, but I think it's cool that my boss is reading articles in the Globe and thinking of me. Even if it is mostly just my clothes she's thinking of.

A good excuse if you get pulled over for "weaving" and "crossing the yellow line" is not: "Gee officer, I was twisting the tops off of my Oreo Double Stufs and putting them together to make a Quadruple Stuf." Even if it is true.

Origami is harder than it looks.

Doubling the number of cat litter boxes available for cat elimination (that's what it said on the box--"elimination". As if my cats are in the lightning round of a game show or something...) may halve the chances of said cats eliminating on the bathroom rug, but it also quadruples the amount of annoying litter granules scattered about the floor.

The secret ingrediant in my pulled chicken is almost always Jack Daniels.

That is all.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


Saturdays at work are eerie, silent, and surreal. The quiet is almost stifling sometimes, closing in on us like white padded walls.

There are 5 of us in an office that usually holds over 40, in a building that holds hundreds.

My God, but it's quiet.

You would think that the icky weather would make it more bearable. Nope. It just makes me want to go back home and crawl under the covers.

No one answers the phone on Saturdays, and those who do are not so eager to talk to you, I find.

Hey, at least I'm only here till 3. And I get the Friday before and the Monday after off; so I kind of consider it a 4-day weekend interrupted by a 6-hour stint at work.

Still. Very quiet. Very boring. Very creativity-sapping.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Chiropractic Bra

I am going to the chiropractor today, and I have to pick out the perfect bra.

You may think this sounds silly, or perhaps a wee bit breast-obsessed. I say to you--I can be no other way. To ask such a thing of me is madness.

It's a delicate matter, this choosing of the chiropractic bra. If one goes too far in either direction, one risks ridicule or mocking. For instance, I cannot wear the bright blue lace bra with the itty-bitty straps that lifts and accentuates the fuckers (see? "fuck"!), or I risk the chiropractor raising an eyebrow at me and scrawling on my chart: Patient is a raging whore. Bra very inappropriate.

This, in essence, eliminates roughly half of my bra drawer's population.

Furthermore, I cannot very well show up in one of my standard minimizer bras. If I did that, the chiropractor would surely stifle a giggle and note: Patient has enormous knockers. Bra seems to be military-issue. Has 27 hooks.

So you can see my dilemma.

I wore a bra that lightly toes the line between slutacious lovliness and suck-those-fuckers-in utilitarianism on Wednesday. I can't very well wear it again. Then the chiropractor might write: Patient has only one bra. Or has closet with 43 of the same bra. Either way, patient insane.

I'm pretty much screwed.

I've resorted to wearing the red velvet bra, and praying that I never have to take off my jeans, allowing the chiropractor to see the matching panties (Patient is clearly trying to seduce me. Either that or is anal-retentive.).

Not that it matters. Velvet is a winter fabric. It is not yet Labor Day. Patient is a walking fashion violation.

Why is everything so darn complicated?

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

"This is My 301st Post!", and Other News of Interest

So hey, no shit! This is Post 301! I realize that it might have made more sense to celebrate at a nice, normal, round number like 300. But why would I do something nice or normal? I say fuck nice and normal sideways with a wiffle-ball bat! That's right, a wiffle-ball bat!

301 posts, each one more scintillating than the last! Can you even fucking believe it?

Me, either. Especially that "scintillating" part.

I think I am going to use "fuck" in my posts much, much more. I enjoy the word "fuck" and use it with relish whenever the opportunity arises. And when I say "relish", I really mean relish. The word "fuck" just drips off my tongue and slides down my chin as if in search of a wayward hot dog. Mustard, anyone?

But I fucking digress.

This past weekend, the wondermous Sean and I took full advantage of "no tax day". You see, in order to help defray the costs of the Democratic National Cluster, Massachusetts offered a day in which no sales tax would be assessed on items costing less than $2500. That, incidentally, leaves quite a bit open. Now, with New Hampshire, land of No Sales Tax, directly north of up; we don't really need to make too big a deal out of no tax day. But since I take such singular glee in anything that resembles "sticking it to The Man", we did it up right.

Our first stop was Target, or "Tar-Jay" if you feel the need to be cute, where we stocked up on stuff we would normally buy anyway, and now could not pay tax on. Ha-HA The Man! We will now NOT pay tax on contact lens solution for AT LEAST TWO MONTHS!

After that, we hit Pier 1, where I elected to buy the shelf I've been eyeing for some time now. Luckily, I happened to see a notice next to the register that stated: Show your student ID for an additional 15% off all regularly priced merchandise! Well, don't mind if I do! That Emerson ID may pay for the 40 grand it cost me in tuition yet! No tax and 15% off! Hoofa!

Fuck! I just realized I've been forgetting to say "fuck". Fuck!

So, yeah, I saved all kinds of fucking cash at Pier 1. I even got some fucking silk-ass pillows for the motherfucking sofas! They are fucking gorgeous, all iridescent and shit.

Did we fucking stop there? Fuck, no! We got back in the car and heading for fucking Natick, where Sean's favorite scuba shop was hosting a one-day sale. I'm in need of some fucking snorkeling equipment, which is pretty fucking expensive--so one-day sales are always welcome (especially when they just happen to fucking fall on no tax days!).

When all was said and done, the fucking Passat (who I usually would refer to as "Gunther", but that doesn't go nearly as well with "fucking") was fucking stuffed full; and I was the proud new owner of a mask, a snorkel, and a pair of motherfucking flipperfins! Fuck, but I was jazzed!

And as if that weren't enough, the evening was capped off by a visit to the home of Wes, who is one cool motherfucker! We shared a fucking scorpion bowl and bunches of sushi, then threw a frisbee for Oliver the Sheepdog till the wee fucking hours.

It was a pretty fucking cool Saturday. Now I just have to wait for my motherfucking shelf to arrive.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Have You Seen August?

August was always, for the most part, a hot summer month. It was sticky and sweet, a month for jamming as much watermelon in my mouth as I possibly could while listening to the cicadas buzz in the pine trees. It was a month for sitting in the hot sun, washing bushels and bushels of tomatoes from my grandparents' garden in ancient metal washtubs big enough to bathe a collie (and probably utilized for that just as readily), the stems floating like drowning spiders. It was a month for picking plump, juicy blackberries from the bush behind the barn--picking them until my fingers were all stinging from the tart juice that seeped into a multitude of thorn-pricks. It was a month for climbing mountains in cool moist forests, bursting out of the trees and into warm hazy sun over the Blue Ridge, looking down to see white clapboard houses peeking out of acres and acres of fields.

But here, in New England, it seems like August is nothing more than a plank bridge of a month, keeping a tenuous hold between summer and fall. It's been chilly and damp as of late, and by the time I leave work for the evening it's already dark out.

I feel like someone has taken Indian Summer from me. Shouldn't we still be lazing in the hot sun? Shouldn't sand still be burning the soles of our feet? How is it so cold and dank and October-like?

Don't get me wrong--I adore October. But that's assuming it actually occurs in October--that it doesn't bully its way up to steal August's late-summer sun and replace it with a cool damp blustery-ness.

So I implore--if you have taken August, put it back. Please. I won't tell anyone. You can slip it back into its calendar slot, no questions asked. I will simply turn my head and take sudden interest in a fruit fly buzzing against the wall. No one has to know you took it. Just replace it.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

For Matt*

Being cajoled into spending hours upon hours sifting through slick, grimy sand in search of shark's teeth was not what I had in mind for the day. But Marilyn was good like that--a fleeting flash of toothy grin, a quick sparkle in her eye--and I was sold. It was inevitable. I would be there.

Standing on one leg, storklike, she pushed her foot through the water, sending ripples across the surface until her toes at last broke through and spattered brownish droplets all over the front of my khaki shorts. Crap. "Marilyn," I complained "I have to work later. In these shorts."

"Oh, like they really are going to care at the marina," she laughed, a tinkling bell. "Don't be so rectitudinous. I swear, you're turning into the biggest stick-in-the-mud!"

They might care, I thought to myself, they just might. In the boss's eyes, showing up to work with soiled shorts was tantamount to insubordination. But as long as I could get through the door and past Mr. Weston without him seeing the stains, I could probably pass them off as an on-the-job casualty. I hastily licked my fingers and rubbed them against the spots, hoping I could remove the obvious traces of dirt before the stain became set in.

"Got one!" a triumphant Marilyn exclaimed, whipping her hand above her head, water streaming off in an inelegant arc. Something small and black was held daintily between her thumb and forefinger. "Wanna see?" Her eyes held mine for a second, then darted back to her prize.

I sloshed carefully through the muddy sand, trying not to get any more dirt on my shorts, and held out my hand. Into it she dropped the sharks' tooth, inky black and smooth as a polished stone. "I thought it'd be white." I said in awe.

"Nope. They're usually black around here. I'm not sure if it's because they're fossilized, or because the sharks around here just have black teeth."

I looked down at the tooth. "So, how old do you think this is?"

Marilyn shrugged. "I should look up more about them some day." She grinned. "Or not. Remember that movie Can't But Me Love? Where the guy showed the girl the moon through a telescope, and then she said that the idea of the moon was less romantic afterwards?"

I nodded, a quizzical expression on my face.

"I'd hate to feel that way about anything."

I raised an eyebrow at this. "So, you're saying that you don't want to learn things for fear of finding them less interesting?"

Marilyn rolled her eyes heavenward and smiled at me with an expression of amused patience. "Jon, I'm not saying I'm planning to become an abjurer of knowledge. I just don't need to know all the little details of every little thing I find interesting." She laughed a short, bemused laugh at the very idea. "You goober!" she finished.

I smiled a bit at this, focused on the tendrils of iced-tea-colored hair that looped wildly around her ears, wanting to twine my fingers in them. "Well, I didn't mean to imply that you didn't want to learn anything. I mean, I didn't mean to disparage you or anything. I was kidding, mostly."

Marilyn smiled, her face a mask of imperturbability. "Don't worry about it." She held out a cupped hand for me to drop the sharks' tooth into and our fingers brushed briefly, a small electric jolt.

I stood awkwardly, my hands at my sides, clenched into fists of hesitation and self-doubt. Still smiling, she came closer and closer, clouds of dirt billowing up around her feet like watery smoke. She didn't stop until one of her feet slid against mine under the sand. "Ow!" I exclaimed with a start, jumping a little and reaching for the scraped limb.

Her hand moved to my foot, up the curve of my calf, sliding to the side of my thigh. Surprised, I let the foot drop back into the water with a splash. Droplets erupted around us. Double-crap. "Now, I really am going to have to change before I go in to work..." I said remorsefully.

"Or, don't go in at all." She looked at me imploringly, hazel eyes fringed with iced-tea eyelashes. I wondered if everything was the color of iced tea. Work suddenly seemed a sad, faraway place; one laden with hebetude.

I caught her hand suddenly, laced my fingers through hers as she pulled them both slowly towards her, grazing her left nipple ever so lightly, flashing me the kind of grin you usually get only from tawdry street-corner types.

I never made it to work.

* You will note the absence of subpoena, jimjams, and quiddity. The first two just didn't work, and although I could have worked in quiddity, well, I just plain didn't. But there ya go, 9 out of 12.