Wednesday, October 29, 2003

"what's ostensibly mean again?" kristi asked me as i stuffed a huge fork full of ceasar salad into my mouth.

"what do you think it means?" i said, chewing.

"why don't you just tell me?"

"well, i-"

"excuse me, i couldn't help but overhear your conversation and i just wanted to let you know that the meaning of the word 'ostensibly' means 'to pretend.'" some hey guy('hey guy' here means anyone you'd probably only address as 'hey guy.' like say someone cut in front of you in line at the grocery store. you might be inclined, as i would be, to exclaim, 'hey guy! back of the line!' you see?) had materialized in front of us, clutching his copy of 'best true business crime writing 2000.' we stared, hamster-cheeked and wide-eyed. my sister squinted at him.

"excuse me?" she said through a bite of pepperoni pizza.

he looked at her, studying, quite rudely, really, when you think about it, i mean, who likes to be stared at by a complete stranger while they're eating? unless they're on a date, but that's different. i digress.

"are you stoned?" he asked her.

"are you?" she lobbed back.

"i'll leave you alone now." he scampered off to the front counter, leaving us in a state of 'what the hell just happened here?'

"thanks for the vocabulary lesson." i whispered, sending my sister into a fit of giggles.

"how did he hear us? he was all the way over there." she pointed and waved to the other side of the room.

"well, your voice does carry."

"oh god."

the thing of course was that he didn't even really know what the word meant, obviously. he was ostensibly pulling it out of his ass, is what was happening. even kristi, who had initiated the conversation, knew that whatever he was saying was of dubious credibility.

and then he was back, holding a pizza box with his book on top. "another good word is 'nefarious.'"

my sister cringed, thinking he meant it as an adjective about her disposition, but then he continued as he spun out the front door, pizza box wobbling: "as in, 'our nefarious president has only made the worst...'" and that was it. the door closed as he walked briskly away, still talking to himself. kristi stared after him, and thought to shout only after the door had closed, "thank you mr. dictionary!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

chris and i went car camping over the weekend. we got together a bunch of blankets, sleeping bags, and my body pillow named tim, and i vacuumed the dog hair out of the back of the station wagon, and bought a box full of snacks and we were ready for an outdoor adventure. we ended up staying in two hotels when we were unable to find a suitable campground or even a place to park. chris really wanted to cook fish in tin foil in a campfire, so that made just parking in a parking lot unacceptable. but all the campgrounds that were open were rv places populated by scary looking people. i did get to take a nap in the nest i had fashioned in the back of the car at a rest stop, while chris read and listened to the waves slosh on the shore. it was the best nap ever! i awoke as scarface, with tim's corduroy print smashed into my face. chris reiterated how much he'd like to cook some fish in some tin foil. "where are we going to get the fish?" i asked him. "safeway," he answered. i groaned. "you know, it's not going to be very fresh if we get it from safeway. don't you think we could find fresher fish? i mean, we're on the goddamnmotherfucking coast." chris laughed and said it was time to go, as i was cursing like a sailor.

at the same rest area, i was sort of coerced into driving the two hours to mount saint helens. i walked into the little info booth to get a map of the area, and the little old lady working in there was chatting away and foisting brochures at someone else. as the person turned to leave, chris' ears pricked up and he caught the info lady's chat vibe and hightailed it back out to the car. so i turned around with a map of some dopey tourist thing to show him, and instead, the chatty lady was standing in front of me, and although she only came up to my boob level, she was still rather intimidating. she asked where we were headed and i said i didn't know and she ran out to her truck to get her binoculars so i could catch a glimpse of the volcano. then she opened some maps and cursed her arthritis and strongly suggested that if we had the time we should drive up there since it was such a beautiful day and all. i wriggled away and found chris in the car, and informed him of the lady's plans for us. so we drove up there. it was chilly and almost the end of the season, and the interpretation center was pretty deserted. we walked up the path to a splendid view of the inside of the crater and listened to the wind do it's slow erosion work. it was pretty silent, and panoramic, and a little scary. i was thinking about the big picture, how little we were and how grand the earth is and mother nature and existentialism and all that crap. i turned to chris and saw a thoughtful expression on his face. then he turned to me and said, "this would be a great place to hide a dead body."

we went hot tubbing in the outdoor area of our second hotel. there was a cover, but it didn't keep out all the leaves and insects. when chris turned on the bubble jets, it was like sitting in a bug frappe.

our last hour or so in astoria, we hit an antique shop for the second time that day. earlier, i had bought a few old circa 1960s photos of a large lady in a nurses uniform standing with a german shepard outfitted with a head bandage. they were expensive, but they are the best pictures ever. chris had seen this patch made "in country" during the vietnam war. pretty vague description of who it belonged to or who made it or what for, but that is neither here nor there. the patch itself is what i want to talk about. it is bad ass. in fact, it is the baddest ass ever. it is bright yellow. it has a skull on it. with wings. black wings. the skull has fangs dripping with blood. the eyes are tilted way upward, to give it an evil glare. there is a dagger jabbed into the top of the bleeding, flying, fanged skull. it looks exactly like what someone in 7th or 8th grade would draw on their book cover or on their algebra notebook. so our second trip to the antique store was for chris to buy the skull patch. the next day we took turns sewing it onto his shoulder bag with thimbles made out of masking tape. his bag looks tough. and bad ass. man, i love that skull patch.
"i think i'm over the whole bedbug thing," i tell my friend eddy while we are shelving. "i don't get all itchy when i get in bed anymore. my obsession is over."

he doesn't look at me but says: "don't worry, something else will be along shortly to take their place." the implication of course being that i must be obsessed with something at all times.

"are you saying that i'm damaged?" i pull a bunch of world war two books that are crowded together to the point of combustion.

"no, i'm merely saying that...well..."

it's okay eddy. i'm a nut.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

last night i finished a book that was really well written and intelligent and funny, and the last four pages were totally devastating and brutal, and i cried. for real. actual tears over a book. okay, i'll tell you what the book was, but not the devastating part. population:485. it's about a small town emt/firefighter guy in wisconsin. i know you are dying to know what happened, so i'll tell you now that if you want to read the book, skip the next couple of lines. his little brother had gotten married seven weeks before the day of the incident. the day in question, he got a call to come to a car accident. his little brother came with. the victim was his new wife, who died on the scene. i can't imagine anything more horrifying than answering an emergency call and having the dead person be one of your immediate family members. so i held mr. fuzzy, my stuffed koala, and stared at the ceiling and felt sadness for all these people that i would never know. and i cried.

then i told chris stories at his request as i was falling asleep and he was working on a friend's computer. this is what i came up with:

my mom used to help me put together model dinosaurs. i loved them so much,and would try really hard to put them together correctly, and would get really upset when the parts didn't match up. i probably threw fits. which is probably why she helped me. to avoid the compulsive freak out that was only a deep breath away. so anyway, i was building the biggest dinosaur ever. it was a brontosaurus: pointy, brown, plastic parts slowly resembling a big pile of sharp, sticky crap. mom had to hold the final leg in place with superglue to help keep the wobbly guy from collapsing. when it had dried, she relaxed her grip, but the stumpy bronto-leg held fast to her thumb. the superglue had oozed over the edge of my dinosaur's knobby knee and grafted itself onto my mom's hand. xenotransplantation has always fascinated me, i always kind of wanted a monkey tail. but my mom didn't like any of this at all. she panicked, ran to the bathroom to run hot water over her hand, which of course, didn't do anything except maybe give her first degree burns. man, superglue truly is great. it really is the glue of the future. with the model hanging off of her hand, mom decided to use brute force. she grabbed a hammer, and started tapping on the leg. it didn't do anything, so she started hitting it harder. eventually, the leg cracked and and the brontosaurus came flying off, but the lower leg was still stuck fast to my mom's hand. she kept pounding away at it, amazingly never hitting herself very hard with the hammer, but i don't really remember how she got the remainder of the toy unstuck from her thumb. i think a steel nail file was eventually employed and there was much cursing under her breath and laughter from my father. i wonder what happened to that model dinosaur...

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

feel dumb about calling in sick yesterday, but the pain was real! i wore the wrong shoes for eight hours of shelving, and then also twisted my foot or possibly missed a step somewhere and landed hard on it and could barely stand up by the end of the day. then, like a moron, i went to help my sister collate a 96 page birthing booklet with out changing my footwear. whoa! a whopping total of 12 hours on cement floors wearing shoes with no cushion or support! so when i woke up the next day, i sort of hobbled around my apartment and realized i probably couldn't even stand long enough to take a shower and thusly, called in with sore feet. it sounds so lame. it is so lame. i am the biggest wussie.

waiting at the dmv the other day, a guy rolls in on his motorized wheelchair and parks himself in the middle of the room. he is severely crinkled and looks like he can barely move. he also has a stack of empty coffee cups on his little tray. i'm thinking that maybe he needs help, but doesn't seem to be trying to get anyone's attention and so i just go back to reading my book like the jerk i am. five minutes go by and then a guy working behind the counter comes over to the wheelchair man and puts his hand on his shoulder and addresses the rest of the room: "Hey everybody. This is Melvin. He sells coffee for Seattle's Best on the fly. If you would like to buy some from him, you just put the money in the box and help yourself to the coffee on the back of his chair here. He's also got some muffins here he'd be happy to sell you." a lady gets up and says she'd like some and has an awkward little interaction with melvin, as she is trying to talk to him and he can't really speak so just sort of grunts and moans and she responds as if he is making all the sense in the world and i am staring at the saran-wrapped little muffins in the plexiglass tray in front of melvin and i'm thinking that not only does it display his pastries well, but it also keeps him from falling out of his chair, he is really that impaired. the lady is still very valiantly trying to hold a conversation with melvin, and all of this is starting to get to me and my heart is feeling a little crackly and so i am relieved when my name is called and i get to have my picture taken and when i get my license back you can't tell that i've just been tearing up.

Monday, October 13, 2003

how many times can you eat meatloaf in a month before you probably shouldn't eat any more?

if anyone wants to email me, my address is

Monday, October 06, 2003

"yesterday i did a load of clothes and someones stuff was in the dryer so i left my basket there. when i came home my stuff was dry. weird. should i check for missing panties? i mean i just don't know who these guys are. "

emails like this are why i love my sister...
i had totally forgotten about this: a few weeks ago i was at my friend brendan's house and he was making us dinner and the rest of us were horsing around in the living room, acting like 6 year olds, well, okay, maybe it was only me. i was acting like a 6 year old. so i grabbed brendan and sort of mock-tangoed him across the dining room and when we got to the vast carpety expanse of the living room with an audience(!), i dramatically, but without warning him, dipped myself. i leaned way back and felt him shake with the unexpected weight of my limp body, and then i felt him lose his grip and drop me. on my head. and then he lost his balance and squashed me. full contact, right on the lungs. my breath left me and my head throbbed and brendan flushed red and went back into the kitchen to check the spaghetti. but no concussion, thank god. there is shag carpeting in the living room, which i am sure broke my fall, and allowed me to keep the integrity of my head shape intact, but that's about all...
so i went to see my dog the other day and as i walked up to the house, i noticed that the front door frame was lying in the garden and the door itself, sans the glass that made up the top half of it, was leaning against the front porch. jake is a 70 pound dog, and he usually works himself up into a frenzy whenever someone comes to the door, especially the mailman. he'll throw himself against the thing barking and drooling until the person is let in or runs away. robert told me that the other day he got a running start at the front door and shot like a bullet through the glass at someone's approach. i can't think of too many things scarier than seeing a cujo sized crazed dog come flying through someone's front door. these are the things that lawsuits are made of. i guess jake didn't get hurt, he just shook it off. and i'm not sure who was coming up to the house, but i'm sure they shit their pants and probably won't be coming back. robert replaced the door with one that doesn't have any glass. jake still tosses himself against it, but that's okay.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

have you ever taken a huge goat cheese like crap, and then, knowing you're going to have a messy clean up session with your ass, very carefully start to deal with the delicate procedure, and find, to your utter horror and sense of civilized refinement and decorum, that there is a chunk of human poop stuck to your backside, and, feeling it there, like a bug in your mouth where it shouldn't belong, you freak out and somehow fling the offending piece of turd to the floor, where it stares up at you from between your shoes with a knowing look? no? me either.
stale cookies for breakfast. not exactly the life i had envisioned for myself when i was fresh out of school. i imagined, of course, like who doesn't, that i would have a personal chef and a marble countertop in the enormous kitchen and a jumbo sized meat thermometer for the pot roasts that my personal chef would make. but alas, i have only a tiny meat thermometer that i use to check the internal temperature of my sad little meatloaves myself, trying to hide the fact that i have used wonderbread or the 53 cent white bread from winco or whatever as the filler. i guess it's a good thing that i don't have a personal chef, because there is no way that two people could ever really be in that kitchen at the same time. it's a micro kitchen, really. i also envisioned huge windows overlooking central park or fifth avenue, but then i realized that i'd actually have to move to new york, just for starters, and i'd probably have to get a degree in something useful or start humping people in powerful positions in order to make that dream happen. so instead, i keep my dignity, sort of, and sit in my little apartment with nice normal sized windows that overlook the dumpster behind my building. there is a tree in our courtyard that touches my window with it's ephemeral leafy fingers, small miracle. it kind of makes it all worth it.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

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