Sunday, December 30, 2007

Separation Sunday

I fucking hate Sundays. Can someone please come up with a way to make them NOT suck?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Girl You Gotta Cover That

One of my random, under-the-table jobs was packing gift baskets for a shop in the strip. I had done it before, during the evenings right before Christmas. It’s all standing and walking and bending and carrying. About two weeks before I started, while perusing the Goodwill in Monroeville, I happened upon a pair of black shoes that looked like they might be good for the job. They were $3 + they fit = they were mine.

Since I wasn’t sure how the “new” shoes would hold up for an entire day, I brought an extra pair with me. Standing for 8+ hours in uncomfortable shoes would suck. I arrived in the strip and found a nearby parking spot on a side street where the meter had been, um, removed. It was a beautiful, clear, cool morning. The Hold Steady had been playing on my IPod when I pulled up, so I figured I could listen to the rest of the song during the 3-block walk. I exited my car, hit play and proceeded up the sidewalk.

At the end of the block, sort of at an alley, a construction pick-up truck with air compressor in-tow was parked. Nobody was around. A wooden horse was next to the truck at a slight angle. I ignored it. Until started sinking. I took two giant, slow-motioned, panicked steps before the first foot was out of the wet cement. On solid ground I looked around, embarrassed but laughing and completely surprised that still, nobody was around. I sort of stomped a couple of times, like you do to get the snow off your shoes, but it didn’t really work. Back in my car, I tried to wipe off as much wet cement as possible and changed my shoes. (Ha! Knew there was a reason I brought the spare ones!) Thinking that the cement people would probably be back I hid my cement-covered shoes so they wouldn’t know it was me. (Would I find am angry note on my car? Or maybe a smashed window? Or would they just point and laugh when I came back?)

Around 5-ish when I came back to my car, all the sidewalk corners had been re-cemented, the one by my car twice, and completely covered, wooden horses surrounding and tarp over those, tied in place and held down by bricks.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

They met as kids he was angry and angsty. She was a damned good dancer. (see #6)

Recent good things:

1. Two Fridays before Christmas I came home from a second interview at Pitt (don’t get excited, I didn’t get the job) around 4:30 and it was already starting to get dark. When I opened my front door, one of those spiral light trees was glowing in my “dining room.” It hadn’t been there when I left.

2. One of the baristas where I get coffee on Saturday mornings gave me a giant free latte.

3. The hott boy at one of my favorite cafes charged me $2 for a pizza and some coffee. Should have been about $10.

4. A co-worker from my basket packing temp job bought my yogurt and grape leaves two Saturdays ago and then brought me Greek pastries at work one night.

5. I have a new comforter and it is wonderful - 100% cotton cover, wool/silk fill.

6. Dinner last Friday. That was good. Depending on how you look at it, it took one year or 16 years.

Recent not so good things:

1. UPMC temping. I’m in a cubicle and not answering phones, but there really isn’t much to do and I’m bored. Your healthcare dollars at work.

2. I’m having a moral dilemma. Should I tell that girl what she’s getting in to? I mean forewarned is forearmed, no? The women have got to stick together, no? But considering that she KNEW we were still together when they started seeing each other, does she deserve a heads up? And will she even belive me?

3. We’re looking at spring for another THS tour. So far away.

4. My oven bakes so unevenly that about ¼ of my chocolate chip cookies are slightly burnt, but still delicious.

5. I really don’t have anything to put here, I just wanted both #6’s to correspond.

6. Okra. And being hopeful, but terrified, but unable to stop thinking and making up all kinds of crazy scenarios in my head that make no sense and gearing myself up for a big let-down, mainly because if I prepare for the worst, it won’t suck so badly if/when it happens and if it doesn’t, it will be even better, sort of a surprise.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

There were crosses and crushes, crashes and hassles

You all have one week. Okay, a little less. If you are planning to disappoint, hurt, betray, anger, or otherwise fuck with me, you have until midnight next Sunday. Tell me now and I’ll just let it go. Otherwise, I will not be so kind.

I just want to get it all over with now.


Thanks.
IWI

Friday, September 28, 2007

All your favorite movies, they ain't all that funny.

My favorite movie: Breaking the Waves
My favorite novel: Love it the Time of Cholera

It’s all so beautiful and sweet. It’s lifetimes of almost, distilled into 159 minutes or 360+ pages.


For the past four or so years, I’ve been saying that it can’t get any worse. But it always does.

Okay, as I type this, Armando, cat of my heart, slowly, quietly climbed into my lap.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Holly's Inconsolable, Unhinged and Uncontrollable, Part II.

There is a 98% chance that M is leaving in three weeks.

That would be on my birthday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Holly's Inconsolable, Unhinged and Uncontrollable.

5. My unemployment compensation benefits will run out and I have been unable to get a job. Is there an extension of benefits?

There is currently no Pennsylvania or federal extension of UC benefits.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It hurts, but it's worth it.

Ooohhh, one of my best moments EVER has been caught on video. About 3/4 through, Galen (bass) pours me some Jameson's FROM THE STAGE.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

She drove it like she stole it.

Short Version:

Saturday:
Drive to Toronto with M sleeping most of the way.
Check in to hotel, walk too far to have some tapas on Queen Street.
Sunday:
Go to Peach Berserk on Sunday and spend too much money, go record shopping with M.
Have dinner and beer with M and Red.
Drink waaaaaayyyy too much.
Monday:
Sleep in, run some errands, get stressed over tonight’s show.
Rock out up front with M, Red and a handful of others.
Drive Tad, Red and B to a great bar in Toronto where I meet a guy from The Constantines who I try to get to marry me to keep me in the country and a really sweet girl who I likewise try to get to marry me.
Curse Galen for not coming out.
Chat with Franz.
Run out of Canadian cash.
Tuesday:
Drop off M on Queen Street from where he will proceed to the airport on his way to San Fran
Drive to Montreal with Red.
QUOTE #1: Obvious American mom to her 8-ish year old daughter: “It’s Canada, they speak French here.” Daughter gives me confused look.
Arrive Montreal and check in, having to carry too many too heavy bags up too many too hot steps.
QUOTE #2: As hotel attendant tells me where to park: “See that castle over there?”
Cab to the show, meet Red and others.
Chat with Galen.
Rock out.
Galen pours me some Jamesons from his bottle on the stage during the break in Hoodrat.
I can die peacefully now.
Go with the guys to a bar down the street.
Meet Bobby for the first time.
Try to learn how to speak French, fail miserably, Red gets my ass home somehow.
Wednesday:
I have no idea how I was functioning.
Check out, the attendant gives me a croissant because I missed breakfast.
Retrieve my car at the castle.
NO SLEEP ‘TILL BROOKLYN.
Nav system fucks up.
Thursday:
Roam around Park Slope and eat breakfast for $4, including $1 tip.
Freak out because I call S and he says that the first band is playing and I’m NOT READY.
Furiously get ready and almost run to Prospect Park.
Unbeknownst to me, the guys I’m meeting have purchased the $50 tickets for the front section.
Those guys . . . buy . . . me . . . a . . . ticket and I cry.
We rock the fuck out and meet other board members (so, I’m a dork, shut up).
Go to O’Connors and hang with new friends and meet up with Tad, Galen and sort of Craig.
Meet the THS lawyer and he asks me to call him “daddy.” (To answer your question, yes.)
Drink too much and stumble back to MD’s.
Friday:
Love to the Natural History Museum for stating the correct age of the planet.
Dinner with C&H who demand that I say with them next time I’m in NYC.
Do something that is so secret, I don’t even tell M.
Saturday:
Hang with more new friends, drink, go to karaoke bar.
Have late-night NYC pizza.

Sunday:
Ice Cube and NWA said it best.
And I’m home.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We put our mouths up to some dangerous drinks.

So, yes, I have a couple of friends who could technically be my kids, if I had been incredibly unlucky in high school.

Digression: Seriously, I have no idea how I successfully used the most unsuccessful birth control method for so long. Sincere thanks to whomever or whatever was responsible from both my parents and me. Especially from my dad who had a bet with the rest of his family as to which kid would get knocked up – or do the knocking up - first. Funny, the person at the top of the list (me) is one of three who STILL does not have children.

Almost a month ago was P’s 22nd birthday, 7/7/7. Unadvisedly, he decided to have seven shots, seven mixed drinks and seven beers starting somewhere around 11:00 am. That morning I sent him a text advising that he avoid “up” drinks and go for mixed drinks with juice or soda. He did indeed take this advice, as well as a mid-day nap. Later that night, M and I met him, his girlfriend and several other friends of theirs around 10:00 pm at a college bar in Oakland, heretofore referred to as CB, as I do not feel the need to admit to where I spent part of my Saturday night. However, if you really want to know, there will be clues a-plenty, including the fact that it semi-recently changed names and I hadn’t even been to it’s predecessor.


Since I hadn’t had much to eat that day, M and I opted for some O fries, which I haven’t eaten in, oh about 10-15 years. Yes, they were good. Yes, I got cheese. Yes, I’m planning to wait another 10 or so years.


In one of the O windows there is a poster for some sort of alcohol with a white background and an airy table set with pastel colors surrounded by open windows with curtains flowing in a gentle wind. Yep, the top floor looks just like that.


At CB, the kid at the door carded me and I asked if he was joking. For some reason, this always bothers M just a little but I do it anyway. The floor is dirty plywood, dirty as only years of spilled beer, puke, cockroaches, piss, grease, cigarettes and spit can make a floor dirty. I guess not so different from, say, the Electric Banana before it became Zarra’s or the Upstage before it became for-rent office space. Where we part ways is that instead of people who would be my friends wearing black boots, these are typical college kids in flip-flops. When I used to go to the Upstage (shut up) and my friends would dare to wear any form of sandal, I would tell them to think about the floor and what may or may not be on it, especially in the bathroom.


In typical college bar fashion, CB offered up an abysmal selection of beer. To their credit, CB has $1 Yuengling bottles and Guinness drafts. No Guinness in the summer for me, thanks. Give me a dark and stormy night and I’m there, but not on a summer evening with a low temp of 65. It does seem to be a trend now that crappy college bars have 1-2 decent beers on tap, possibly for kids to impress their friends with their stunning taste in beer, possibly for kids to impress their friends with their stunning ability to throw cash around, possibly because it deludes them into thinking that they will now attract a higher class of people.


To the left of the bar and fastened (stapled?) to the sloping ceiling is a giant drink list of sorts. There are about eight different specialty Bacardi drinks to choose from, each with their own color coding and sexual innuendo name. I am repulsed and it’s gonna get worse. Scanning the room, I see that these color-coded sexual innuendos are served in plastic mini pitchers with a straw. At the end of the bar is a tall, stocky, early 20-something guy wearing khaki shorts, a blue oxford shirt and flip-flops, holding a pipe in one hand and a mini-pitcher of something blue with a straw in the other. (Readers, I cannot make this shit up.)


After scanning the bar and finding no decent whiskey or gin, I decide that a black russian might be nice. Both ingredients are available and it should be quick and easy to make. This is seriously an attempt to be nice to the bar staff. M orders a Guinness, I order a black russian with Absolut (no well-liquor, but with Kahlua, the taste of the vodka won’t be noticeable so there is no need to go higher) and we proceed to have a conversation. When the drinks are delivered, he has a Guinness and I have some sort of frothy, creamy thing in a collins glass.


Me:
Look of shock and horror

Pretty Blonde Bartender:

Me:
That’s not what I ordered.

PBB:
What?

Me:
I ordered a black Russian.

PBB:
But . . . can’t you just drink that?

Me:
NO!

PBB:
Why not?

Me:
Because it has cream in it.

PBB:
Really?

Me:
Really.

PBB:
What did you want?

Me:
A black Russian

PBB:
Isn’t that what it is? Pause. Did you want just (mumble that doesn’t sound like “Kahlua”) and . . . (voice trails off on what I think is the word “vodka”)?


Now there is a five-minute discussion between PBB and the ABB (attractive brunette bartender).


Clarification: For purposes of this blog entry, “pretty” means that she could wear a sundress and have lunch with your mom; “attractive” means that she could wear a low-cut black dress and beat the crap out of your little brother.


ABB proceeds to angrily grab a glass, fill it with ice, grab a cocktail shaker, pour in Kahlua and, without asking, pour in well-vodka. Now, both PBB and I look on in horror. ABB looks up with a scowl. PBB tells her that I asked for Absolut. Seething, she makes another.


For some reason, M feels the need to leave a tip.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

You're pretty good with words but words won't save your life

Date

Address

Dear [IWI]:

Thank you very much for spending the time to participate in our interview process. We appreciate having the opportunity to meet with you and discus your interest in employment with [Company Name].

Although you possess many of the qualifications we are looking for, we have identified other candidates who we feel are a better match for the position. [Company Name] will retain your resume on file in case our recruiting requirements change.

Please feel free to call our office if you have any questions regarding our decision making process.

Sincerely,
Receptionist


Date

Address

Dear [IWI]:

Thank you very much for spending almost two hours in our office inputting all of the information from your resume into our system and taking 6 different computer tests: one personality test; one cognitive ability test that we cautioned you would kick you out after six minutes but you finished in about 4; one Excel test, low-ability; one Word test, low-ability; one Windows test, remedial level; one Outlook test to see if you know how to send email. We appreciate you sitting in the conference room with the phone ringing and our very nice but ill-dressed and barely skilled receptionist fumbling through explaining her job (the job that you would be doing when we promote her) to you. We are sorry that we did not note, at any time, that the job includes reception duties.

Although you possess many of the qualifications we are looking for, we realize now that we should have better read your resume and that in doing so, we would have then known exactly how completely and utterly overqualified you are for this position. We are sorry for not posting any information in our newspaper advertisement, as having done so would have saved both of us time and energy. We have identified other candidates who we feel are a better match for the position, as they seem to have no problem answering phones and making coffee. Also, they do not feel the need to edit the reports produced by the “professionals.” [Company Name] will retain your resume for further consideration, should we have a position that would better suit your skills.

Sincerely,
I’m still a receptionist until I find a suitable replacement.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Saint Barbara I'm calling your name.

Please - cross your fingers, pray or do whatever it is you do. I just had an interview for a job that wasn't yet posted at one of my favorite places in Pittsburgh. My friend S send me an ad for position A for which I sent my cover letter and resume. They contacted me within 24 hours (!!!) and offered an interview for position B - a position that I really would love to have. It seemed to go very well and I'm hoping that everyone else thought so as well. Of course I thought of a million things to ask . . . on my way home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I think you got something in those cigarettes.

AKA, the placement agency blues.

In addition to a resume, placement agencies (and sometimes companies) make you fill out forms with almost the exact same information on them, but in tiny spaces and handwritten (read: messy) instead of typed. (Suggestion: why not have a form for people without resumes to fill out and one for people with resumes that includes only the few extra questions?) Invariably, there are inappropriate questions on these forms. During my most recent trip to a placement agency (Monday), I was given a two-sided half sheet of yellow cardstock to fill out. After the first three inappropriate questions, I began to take notes. The following is the resulting list:

1. Birth Date
2. Height
3. Weight
4. Home: Rent or Own
5. Have Auto (this didn’t bother me but the second part did) Type and Year
6. Smoker: Yes or No
7. Family: Spouse’s Name, Children’s Names and Ages

I could write 10 pages about why these are wrong. But I won’t because you’ll just be bored and stop reading.

Then comes the interview. Mine was interrupted twice, and each time I had to go back to the waiting area and wait. The office is full of sections like large alcoves each with four oversized desks pushed together so there is no privacy whatsoever. Everyone around can hear everyone else, including the interviewees. If this agency hadn’t placed me in a great job years ago, I would have walked out.

Then they made me take FOUR tests. At least I could do them from home. Or so I thought. The typing test (yes, I said it) was accessible, but of course I got a lower score than I wanted. Maybe that was because I was sitting on my bed with my laptop on my lap. Not in the most desirable typing position, but I haven’t moved things back into the other room (with a “desk” and chairs) because the ceiling has yet to be finished. Why I felt competitive about a typing test, I’ll never know. My advice to most people is to never let anyone know you can type. It’s true. Don’t.

The other three (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) were not accessible BECAUSE I HAVE A MAC. When I called to tell them, I had to explain it because they didn’t know. They then had me make an appointment to come in and take the tests there. Damn, I’d have to go back downtown in the middle of the day, this time taking the bus ($1.75 each way) instead of paying $11 to park. (Note: Regardless of footwear and proximity to destination, do not park in the Kaufmann’s/Macy’s garage during the day, choose the PPG or the Blvd. of the Allies garage.) I then remembered that H sometimes works from home and has a PC. So I called and walked over to her place to take the other three tests.

Woe to me for not reviewing the “tutorials.” Apparently, the system waned me to do things their way, not necessarily my way. So I lost points because I think differently than the testers. Actually, I’m glad for that. Not so sure I want to think like the test makers. But I’m guessing that if I had reviewed the tutorials, they might have told me how I was supposed to answer. Wow, I'm acting like I care and believe that they will come up with a job that I might actually want.

Next post: my Saturday night with the early 20-somethings.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I'm gonna have to go with whoever's gonna get me the highest

On hold for the placement agency woman and therefore listening to “Smooth” by whatever that mid-90s band was and that Santana guy. I know that she doesn’t want to deal with me and my resume chock full of random experience and my salary requirements and the half hour that we’ll have to spend talking with each other. I have too much experience for anyone to take a chance on hiring me as an admin

Digression re: hiring an overqualified admin
1. I really will leave for a better offer, unfortunately, that is extremely unlikely. Note current job search.
2. I have too many skills to let them push me around like I’m 18 and scared with a GED and associates degree from secretarial school.
3. What company wants to “work” to keep admin/keep admin happy? We are expendable.
4. Nobody REALLY cares if we’re good or not. As a matter of fact, they really want us to be “skilled” (aka know our way around Microsoft Office and answer the damn phone) but stupid (no asking questions or noticing inequities).
5. An admin with a B.A. does not want to make your fucking coffee.

and not enough for anyone to take the chance of hiring me for something more. We both know that this is a waste of our time, but it’s our job to go through the motions.

On a lighter note, Armando is about a foot away from me and twitching as he dreams in the late afternoon sun.

Friday, June 29, 2007

I Just Lied

I just received an email stating that my cousin is now state-side and on his way home - not sure for how long though.

In other news, there are more rumors of an Al Gore presidential run. Oh please, oh please, oh please.


Hydroplaning 101: It feels really weird and you know immediately. You can actually feel your car floating and it feels almost exactly like it does when you're on a raft and a wave takes you in the wrong direction. Except that you're frightened that there is going to be a big crash and your just-paid-off car will be smashed to bits either by another car hitting it or by it hitting the very high curb, instead of being terrified that you'll be swept out to sea and be eaten by a shark. The odd parts about it is that there was so little water on the road yesterday and I wasn't traveling very fast. Probably a bit too fast for the bend, but nothing too extreme.

And this is the pic I should have posted yesterday. Proof of the big win, if you will. Of course I did not have the presence of mind to take the picture. Thanks "SJ."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pub Quiz

Our team finally won Brillobox Pub Quiz. M thinks I'm bragging, but I'm really just excited. It's not like I'm going around saying that we have the best team ever and that we'll win every Pub Quiz from here on out, it's more like we always come in 6th or 4th and we finally made it. Actually, we thought we'd be tied for 2nd or 3rd and have to arm wrestle.

And while I'm at it, a few weeks ago, I got a package from Hawaii labeled blackmail material. It contained a data cd with many embarrassing pics of me including this one
(not embarrassing) that I like to call "Me as Cash" and a dvd of me hosting a fake game show for my cousin who is somewhere in the Middle East. It's hysterically funny . . . if you were there.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Redacted and Extremely Late

Yeah, this was supposed to be posted forever ago. If you want the un-redacted version, take me out for some drinks.

Saturday afternoon, and it’s getting later and I’m feeling sorry for myself and sitting on my bed watching “Notting Hill” (yep, you know it’s low when I descend like this). I’m under the impression that the show starts at 8. It’s after 4:30 and I’ll miss the end of the movie. Springing to action, I decide on an outfit. It consists of a black cherry print skirt, white button down shirt and red tie – black cardigan stashed in my bag for the evening chill. Departure time 5:20. I wait until I’m on the highway to start listening on my iPod. No, I don’t. I start it up waiting at the light on Braddock before the 376 on ramp. “We’re gonna start it with a positive jam.” Already I’m reeling. Somewhere around Somerset, over 75mph, I pass a cop with his radar gun out and am spared. Shortly thereafter I come upon a convoy of small white Comcast trucks, about 15-20, sporting Michigan license plates, traveling at a good clip, with two pacers out in front. They weave through cars looking like the Centipede video game from the 80s. They exit at Breezewood and I’m on my own again. Four tunnels and three rainbows later, Harrisburg is up ahead and my speedometer shows my anticipation. By now, I’ve heard all three Hold Steady albums and Neko Case’s Fox Confessor is about half way over. The toll taker decides to have a conversation with me and I tell him about the three rainbows. He says that it means I’m lucky today. We’ll see shortly.


The directions from Google work. I did not follow a closed road to starve to death in a forest. The but Mapquest’s time is a little off for me, it’s not quite 8:00pm. The Abbey Bar is only a short distance from the turnpike but seems to have been the scene of some sort of festival, with a giant, empty white tent in the corner lot. Sorry if you’re into that kind of thing, but I really don’t dig it and it’s a little disappointing to think that the show will be full of those all-day-music-fest types. The first lot is full so I pull around to a second lot and ask some people in the parking lot drinking energy drinks and wearing those floppy army-green hats with the string under the chin, if it’s cool to park there for the bar. Yes. We chat. I tell them that I just drove in from Pittsburgh. “Right now?” they ask. “Yes, right now.” They want to know why and if it’s worth it. Worth every cent and every second. The downstairs restaurant people are nice and show me where to go, the guys at the door upstairs card me. Briefly I think that if I’ve driven all the way from Pittsburgh and don’t have my id and don’t get in to the show and for fuck sake I’m too old for this. It’s there and entrance is granted.


Scoping out the venue, the side of the stage is in front of me and I turn left into the room; merch table to my left and after that about 4-5 in-use pool tables; dance floor area on the right and a very long bar with some tall tables across from it. It’s big, college-y and wood-y. The place is full but not crowded and about half of the people look like they’ve been drinking there for some time. The bar seems to serve it’s own beer on tap and a decent selection of micro-brews in bottles and the ever-present Amstel Light. What is it with that crap? Just drink some water and take a Sudafed. The “upper shelf” liquors are displayed in small cabinets. There are no stools or chairs and everyone is drinking from plastic cups. I despise plastic cups.


At the end of the bar I’m approached with “Oh my god, I love your outfit!!” She’s a short, slightly stocky blonde haired woman whose last name is Channel. She decides that I must need a beer after the drive and buys me one. (Her husband works for the Attorney General next door, they have a weekend house outside of Philly, and she usually dresses a lot like me!!!!!!! Instead of the jeans and t-shirt she has on tonight. Apparently, her husband does not speak.) The brewery’s wheat beer is pretty good, but needs the lemon. This should be the perfect opportunity to eat something, but I’m too keyed up to even think about food. I also meet a guy named Josh or Justin or something. He’s from Reading and he introduces me to his friends and people he’s met at the bar. He then informs me that THS isn’t going on until 11:00. Then it’s all vague about glassmaking and living in the country and satellite dishes and them going to the parking lot to get high.


None of the conversation is keeping my attention. I turn away. I look up. It’s Galen walking toward me. Time stops. He walks over, puts his arm around me and says, “It’s good to see you darling.” We chat for a bit and he runs off to get something to eat. At least someone can eat. Maybe I should have mentioned that I hadn’t eaten either and maybe he would have invited me to eat with him and the guys. Probably not.


Some guy walks by me and my new “friends” wearing a black, white and red striped tie. We assessed each other’s taste. (Secretly, his tie was MUCH nicer than mine, I was envious and wondered if I could take him, or actually if I could figure out how to get the tie from him. Nah.) He told me that he was wearing it because he’s in the next band and something about looking good on stage. Now, I had been telling this J-something guy (who at one point in the evening put.his.arm.around.me – un-fucking-believable – at what point did I indicate that it was okay to touch me? Or that I was even the least bit interested?) that I was completely not into seeing the other band. He was surprised at how nice I had been to the tie-band-guy, almost accusing me of lying to him about the prospect of me enjoying his music. Hey, you never know, the band might . . . actually . . . be . . . good. But they weren’t.


Later I wander to the merch table and buy the “Live at Fingertips” cd and give the merch guy a LUPEC card. (Foreshadowing because I’ve waited so long to actually post this so I can: I assume that the merch guy is a random bar employee for no reason whatsoever.) Oh, and there’s Galen again, so of course I talk to him a bit more, insisting that he owes me a drink. You see, we had a bet in Pittsburgh, that he was not older then me. I lost and had to buy him a drink. I figure that, well, this is just my “in.” He agrees and says that he’ll see me after the show.


Finally the band with the tie guy is over, THS is getting ready to come out on stage and I’m working my way up front. Since I was Tad-side last time, I go for Franz-side. I can’t quite get to the stage, but I’m about 1-2 people back. I meet a group of kids from State College. They are just behind me and totally psyched and into THS. This is their second show, they saw them in State College (sigh, I should have been there too). Typically, I’d come to a show prepared to be here – pockets, friends with pockets, or somewhere safe to stash my bag, but in Harrisburg, I’m out. I had considered taking it out to my car and just bringing in my keys and id, but found out that there was a giant line to get in, as the bar was at capacity. Not – taking – that – chance. So I stow it on a ledge behind a poker machine. Luckily, it goes unnoticed and unmolested all night, and the State College guys even keep an eye on it for me when I’m otherwise occupied with dancing, jumping, screaming, singing, sweating and etc.


Positive Jam; The Swish; Stuck Between Stations; Hot Soft Light (I think this is when the band slowed down a bit and I had some guy help me tie my shoe that had become united during the insanity. I tapped a few people around me and asked the guy to help me out and nicely put my foot in his hand so I could tie my shoe. He was exceedingly nice and I was grateful – THANKS to you cool guy!); Massive Nights; Party Pit; Milkcrate Mosh; Chips Ahoy; Multitude of Casualties; (the setlist says Barfruit Blues but they did not play it) You Gotta Dance; Your Little Hoodrat Friend; Southtown Girls – encore – Citrus; First Night; Stevie Nix; Killer Parties + stage invasion.


I think this was a rather mellow set. Maybe that’s because when I saw them in Pgh, their set rocked out a lot more. Nonetheless, the crowd was almost too much. They were rowdy, they were drunk, it was some sort of all day $2.00 draft drinking festival. I try to sort of make friends with the people around me in any sort of “pit” situation. That way they sort of look out for you, make sure you don’t get too hurt, etc. USUALLY. Now, I'm an old punk rock girl from way back and I've been to my fair share of all-ages hardcore matinée shows, but at "real" punk rock shows people are always respectful. There were a couple of guys though who were just too violent – seemed like typical jock types having drunk too much, and doing what that thought they were supposed to do in a “pit.” Some guy who pushed his way in front of me on my right in a gray hoodie was just an ass. On more than one occasion I asked him to be careful because there were two smaller girls behind him (who I happened to have run into in the ladies room) and he just gave me attitude. Sorry to say, I was really kind of rough with him - my elbow in his kidneys more than once - but he was acting like an idiot and hurting people. At one point I started pushing him very roughly and I think the people around me thought there might be an actual fight. Sadly, he never got the hint and made things difficult for everyone surrounding him. Even worse, he'll be all proud of his bruises the next week, bragging, mostly to himself, about how cool it/he was in the "pit."


Wow, it seems like I didn’t have an utterly fantastic time. But I did, I did! I refuse to let stupid people ruin my good time with THS!


After the show I immediately looked for the kids from State College and asked them how they liked it. They were overjoyed – it was even better than they had hoped. I thanked them for keeping an eye on my bag and wished them a safe trip home and good luck in their future endeavors.


At the bar, waiting for my cup of water, I found out why we were provided only plastic cups. Apparently there have been many fights upstairs and the bartenders take this very seriously. Cute little drunk girl on my left is complaining about not getting a glass and the guy on her left hands her one. “Take it, take it!” I sort of whisper loudly to her. Alas, the bartender spies us and demands the glass. Bar fights happen so they ban glasses but beer bottles are okay. Whatever. While waiting even longer for my water, another girl comes up behind me and puts her hand on my back. I tell her that she might not want to do that, as I am covered in sweat, mostly mine, but not all. Hah! She’s covered in sweat too! We strike up a conversation. Her name is Liz and I invite myself to sleep on her couch. She is into it and wants to meet the guys if possible. We loose each other. Still, I don’t worry at all about where I’m going to stay, which is very unlike me.


Galen appears and we have some Jamesons and talk about David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Ira Glass, not in that order. We have another Jamesons, other people come around and I do my own LUPEC networking. Liz returns, she has a feminist book club in Harrisburg (who knew?!) and she and her friends are digging the idea of LUPEC. Galen signs my “Live at” CD (under duress) and disappears. Tad notices me from half way down the bar and comes over to give me a hug. Yay! They really DO like me!! I forget to ask him to likewise sign my CD. Franz comes over and I ask him to tell us the Cindy Lauper story he had started in Pittsburgh. (He was asked to play with the Dresden Dolls in her new tour thing.) Again, the last thing I’m thinking about is asking someone to sign something, the next to last thing I’m thinking about is taking a picture.


Muddled memories (okay, some things that are bouncing around in my head but are embarrassing me at this point) and more Jamesons later, Galen is in my car and we’re following Liz to her place. We hang out on her giant couch and drink Smithwicks until about 4:30am when Liz drives Galen back to the hotel while I sleep on her couch.


I wake up around 8:00, covered in cat hair (observation, not complaint), and Liz gives me directions to get to the highway. Before departing, I grab some Starbucks coffee in a can (it’s not too bad, will do the trick, and more importantly, was free) and some bottled water from my trunk. Yes, I keep both of these things in there all the time. I stop for gas at one of the sketchiest looking gas stations I’ve ever seen and opt for $10 and filling up at the next not-so-scary looking place I see. As I’m merging onto the highway, I see the Shearaton where the guys are staying and, knowing they are getting ready to leave for Cleveland, shoot Galen a text. He replies. My Ipod shuffles up Nina Simone singing “I Put a Spell on You.” Yes, THS, yes you did.


Winding home through mountains and hills and tunnels with Tom Waits, more Nina Simone, Lucinda Williams, Martina Topley Bird and the Magnetic Fields, I watch the break lights in front of me and the headlights coming toward me.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tomorrow

I'm leaving for Los Angeles tomorrow morning. I absolutely love Los Angeles, this will be my third time there. I arrive tomorrow afternoon, we ("we" being me and TW who is putting me up for about a week) have tickets for The Hold Steady on Thursday at the El Ray. I'm excited but with a bit of trepidation, being aware that I'll be in a very different city and things might not be the same or what I'll expect. We're driving to Vegas to see them on Sunday too - that's a free show. Again, excited but cautious. I've emailed the guys and hopefully they'll be available before or after either show for a visit . . . and some whiskey.

Luckily, I found an incredible deal on the flights (SouthWest during the week) and a pretty great one on a rental car (enterprise is surprisingly cheap). Gah, I'm sooo worried that I'll forget something. Something important. Like my cell phone charger or my license.

A few days ago, I contacted The Art of Bleeding (you might remember my valentine to you all made by them) who, unfortunately, aren't doing anything right now, but they recommended CIA as a venue for some interesting things. Maybe. I'm very specific about what kind of weirdness I dig.


There should have been a giant blog post about my trip to Harrisburg to see THS. It got really, really, really long. I need to edit. Maybe I'll make it into some sort of poem. Hah! Probably not, but it does need to be much shorter. I know you all love me, but not enough to read 4 pages of my insanity regarding THS.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Who says an ant can't . . . freak us both out?

Today I figured out a relatively quick way to get from the West End to home during rush hour traffic. It may have just been a minimal traffic day, but even with some extra traffic, waiting through an extra light or two, it would be much quicker than the ways I’ve tried before now. I’ll never understand how 376E is still the fastest way in but not out. Never.

Upon arriving home, I see my neighbor’s mother leaving her place and after a few greetings, she tells me that there were ants in the house today. We discussed non-hazardous chemical ways to keep ants out of the house (cucumber peels, water on the other side of the porch – if you have any others, please let me know) and I went inside and didn’t really think about it.

After checking my email, reading my myspace message from K,

Digression: This led me to stumble upon the page of an ex, which I wouldn’t have sought out, but it just happened. He commented on another page and said something about hi
s wife, and me being the kind of person I am, thought, “Great, I’m glad he’s happy” and promptly went to check things out. I’m pretty sure he’s some sort of racist pile of shit – from what I remember hearing about him after we had been broken up for years and the feel of his page and his wife’s page. Nothing comes right out and says it, but it’s the impression the pages give. Unfortunately, they have reproduced.

Further Digression: Sometimes, I don’t want to be right. Not wanting to type unfounded horrible things about someone, I checked it out. There are no pictures of him on the site (pics of him are on her site and I wouldn’t recognize him if he were standing in front of me), but there are five images, one of which has words and . . . are those swastikas? . . . yes. So I searched for the quote and sure enough, it’s some white power bullshit. I found it on the website of some fuck wad. With a book and a law practice. He talks about the masses of unemployed white people being rightly angry at lesser-skilled non-whites taking “their” jobs and therefore being able to live better than them. “Most of them [whites who can be persuaded] already have had their trigger event [life-affecting incident] by virtue of being unemployed while those less deserving continue to earn an income - and, after all, they no longer need fear losing their jobs for expressing politically-incorrect points of view.” There are few people less deserving to be earning a paycheck than this fucker. Okay, so now I’m pissed off that this grossly ign
orant, sorry excuse for a man has a better job than I do and is making more money than I am. Can we please rise up against this shit? Thanks.

and completing various other chores, I finally made it to the kitchen to give the kittens their daily tuna. There are a total of four bowls in the kitchen, two each of water and kibble one set near the door, the other on the other side of the kitchen door. There was a line of ants from the door to the nearest kibble bowl where they were SWARMING. The ants were also in the water bowl and had formed another line across the threshold and into the other two bowls. Luckily there were very few elsewhere.


Yes, shut up, I’m afraid of bugs. Yes, even ants. Shut up. I was completely freaked out, but luckily was able to think clearly enough to distract the cats with their tuna first and then set about destroying our uninvited guests. As I’m getting the tuna together, Armando notices the ants (Mr. oblivious must not have seen them before) and is both fascinated and about as freaked out as I am, becoming very jumpy and agitated. So much so that he could not enjoy his tuna. No, really. He kind of hung out in the dining room not eating until the ordeal was over. Meaning that I sprayed everything down with Lysol multi-purpose cleaner, took the rugs outside and shook them out and then put them in the washing machine, and completely cleaned and properly refilled all bowls.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

MooZoom

As you all know, I’ve been helping out an art gallery in the West End. You may have inferred that to get there I have to drive (or transfer busses downtown which I may figure out if I do this much longer). In traffic. I haven’t driven to work in traffic in YEARS and it’s all coming back to me now. Please, if you’re out there and you drive to work while having remotely convenient bus service, tell me for the love of god why!

Arrival time is 8:30/9:00am and for the first few days, traffic has been a breeze on the way in. About 10-15 minutes this side of the Squirrel Hill tunnel and about 15 more after. Although sometimes people are just mean and I don’t get it, because we’re all in this together and with just a little cooperation, it can be a bit better, no? This morning there was an accident at the 2nd Ave off-ramp. When I passed the two people out of their slightly dented vehicles I wanted to stop and tell them to look at the mess they caused. LOOK! LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID! You have fucked up the morning of all of these people, possibly gotten someone fired for being late, probably a few were reprimanded (or “written up” which is apparently some sort of regionalism), someone may have been late for an exam that they can’t make up, or late to a meeting that will cost them . . . I don’t know, whatever being late to a meeting can cost, I’v
e never been in that kind of meeting.

But that’s the easy part. Coming home is a nightmare. I’ll not belabor the point. Something good did come out of today’s drive home though. Red was extremely excited to be in traffic next to the MooZoom. Yes, that’s Red. Named Red because he’s tall . . . like a redwood. (Name the movie and win a prize, maybe.) And that's the MooZoom, as indicated by the license plate and the fact that it's a white care covered in cow spots.

So, I get home and start the cat-tuna-feeding-process. They are circling, maowing, demanding. I’m mixing up tuna – because they don't like it in chunks – and the container in which I am mixing slips from my hands, landing sideways on the floor, scattering bits of tuna. Now, if these were normal cats, they’d be all over it. Oh, no. Ebi scrambles to the other room, terrified of the sudden tuna movement. Armando is oblivious and when the tuna is pointed out to him, he snubs it, waiting instead for his tuna on his special plate, like an autistic kid.

Gah, I need a drink. And not a moment too soon - it's 63B girls night. They've not made me sit at a different table because I'm not on the bus any more. Which is nice.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Me and My Hat - blog from Sunday

Migraines suck. Brunch at the Quiet Storm helped (aaahhh, Migas, how do I love thee?) but after digestion, the headache is back and this time it means business. The accompanying nausea is my favorite part. I may just take a half of a muscle relaxant (yep, I’m a light-weight) and sleep. Unfortunately, that won’t help with the possible dehydration aspect of the situation.

This may be what I get for drinking non-top-shelf bourbon last night at the Kelly’s Kentucky Derby party. I got that hat from my friend DR. When he was moving to Denver he called and asked me if I wanted a bunch
of hats. They had belonged to his ex who never took them with her when they broke up. From what I gather, when that particular group of friends would go out and drink, sometimes they’d come back to DR’s place for “after-hours,” drink more and everyone would get a hat and they’d dance around like, well, like drunken fools. (I mean this in the best possible way, although I never participated.) After repeated attempts to contact the ex with no response, he felt that there was nothing else he could do but give them to me. Hooray!

Some of them are truly beautiful, most notably the one in the picture and the black velvet one that I’m wearing as I type. It’s sort of a modified pork-pie hat (which I looked up and was originally a woman’s hat) but the top reminds me of a rustic pie crust. The brim is about 1¼ inches in the front and tapers to nothing in the back. There is a very thin black satin hat band that shows in the back, is threaded inside for most of the hat and reappears to tie in a bow on the right side, with something that looks like a rhinestone pin but I think is sewn to the hat. The inside says, “Chanson” (which is some type of French folk song I think) and under that “body made in France.” If anyone out there knows what kind of hat this might be, let me know. Sure it’s difficult to tell without a photo, but I don’t think a photo would be much help, black velvet on black velvet. And it’s not that cheap black velvet that you get now-a-days, it’s thick and substantial.

This afternoon, I filed my unemployment claim and then renewed my library books – on the internets! Those tubes are amazing.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Volunteering and returning - or not.

Today I decided to do some volunteer work for that art gallery. This way, I gain experience, keep my unemployment and am still able to do contract work for a friend of a friend. The more I'm at the gallery, the more I like it. You all may remember that I interviewed there mere days after being laid off. I was still a bit shaken up and probably not really ready to think about a career change, contract work and fitting in to a whole new place. I'm beginning to really admire the woman who I'll be working for. She reminds me of a prettier version of my grade school principal, with better hair and clothes. It's nice to be able to imagine running into the owners at an art functions somewhere. I wonder if we have run into each other in the past. It's likely.

Before it all gets underway, there's a little matter of an interview in Verona tomorrow. Working there seems like it would be a big step backwards for me - after yearning to escape for about six years or so. On the other hand, anyone who says, "You're shittin' me." when scheduling an interview can't be too bad. The converse is that it's entirely likely that he or someone else in the company recognized my name and wants to get a good look all these years later. (See below for clarification.)

That area seems to be a small, compact version of Pittsburgh's leaving and returning syndrome. Many people who I went to grade school, middle school, high school with did just that. Now, their kids go to the same schools they attended, and hang out with (or hate) the kids of the people they hung out with (or hated).


That reminds me, there has been random talk of a reunion for my high school class. We've never had a reunion. We hate each other. It's true.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

You down with PPT?

This morning I woke up having had about five hours of sleep. Right, my own fault. I was anticipating two interviews. The first interview was to be at a software company, a few miles away from town from me. I was expecting it to suck. When I talked to the interviewer, he seemed like he didn’t really know what he wanted for the position and used a few phrases that I’m OVER OVER OVER qualified for, like front office and reception and etc. The second interview was a few miles on the other side of the city from me, in a suburb that I despise, and which would also mean driving and horrific traffic. The job responsibilities sounded a bit better and actually kind of fun.

I arrived at the first interview exactly on time. They had me fill out an application, during which I almost left more than once. The first time when it asked my date of birth (illegal!!!) and the second when it asked for my salary history, which, not only do I not know off the top of my head, but I just don’t remember at all from 1996. Then came the interview and the manager was extremely nice, explained more about the job and we had a generally good time talking. I even go to use some of my recently acquired trivia – that astronauts get paid for travel time when they are in space. (This American Life) I asked some questions that showed I knew what he was talking about regarding some of their software programs, at least a little. Oh, and it’s a woman-owned business. Not sounding too shabby, but I’m not holding my breath because I can’t imagine that they’d pay me what I want to do what they want.

So, I run to the Kinkos across the street and have a resume and references page printed out –from my ipod. (I adore the fact that I can use it as a flash drive or whatever.) I drive home, snack on some granola, wash my face, brush my teeth, fix my hair and pet the kitties. (That sounds like a euphemism, but it’s not.)

Then I’m off to the North Hills. I really do loathe the North Hills, but I have a positive attitude. It’s warm and sunny and the sky is practically cloudless. No traffic and I arrive early. I take a few minutes to relax a bit, re-read the names of the people I’m supposed to meet, check my teeth just in case.

I drive down the side road from the mall access road (sign #1, no?) and into what looks like a housing plan of condos but is an office park. I see a bright yellow Hummer (sign #2!) and somehow keep the positive attitude. Inside, it looks like an apartment building with one wall lined with mirrors, fake plants and cheap wooden doors with big numbers (sign #879457). Okay the plant may have been real. I’m greeted by a smiling woman and look around to an array of cheap, shabby “wooden” desks with an array of unpleasant, bargain basement dressed, fake-happy women with terrible hair styles. It’s quiet and miserable and reminds me of smoking rooms and the 1970s all-brown TV shows (Fish, Barney Miller, Welcome Back Kotter, you know). In the meeting room, at least the chairs are nice, I sit and talk with the greeter, who I am informed has been there for 18 years, and the manager of the admin staff. I sit with my portfolio in front of me and tell them that I brought a PowerPoint I had just made for a friend to use in a meeting and it’s on my iPod/flash drive. They just look at me. (Like I’m lying and I’ve brought someone else’s work?) They never ask to see my portfolio – the big fancy-business-looking binder on the table in front of me.

They ask me about my PowerPoint experience. They seem a bit surprised by my stance that the training courses are a waste of time and money. I mention relevant articles I’ve read and a relevant controversy from a few years back. They have no idea what I’m talking about. They don’t make backgrounds. They don’t talk about slide transitions. I ask if they use linking for their tables. No. I ask how they lined up the text boxes with the chart and get no answer. They only want to know if I’ll pass their PowerPoint test. Their test is to recreate two slides, one of which is a table that, in my (much more expert than their) opinion should be linked from Excel. So, no, I can’t do it – BECAUSE IT’S STUPID. It doesn’t make any damn sense. The other is to make some graph that I’ve never made before, but I’m also supposed to figure out the font (Ariel, thanks) and colors and sizing from the example they’ve given me.

Somebody, please tell me why I wasted all that time there. Please. In retrospect, I should have given it a nice dark background, basic slide transitions and changed the fucking font. Generally made it a nice view-able presentation. Unfortunately I could hardly breathe or think or have any real brain function in that office. I'm surprised that my heart continued to beat.

I’m calling them tomorrow to ask what in my resume made them think that this job was a good fit. SO I CAN REMOVE IT IMMEDIATELY. And to tell the greeter that she can stop her fake smile and get the fuck out of there because that place is surely hell. It’s odd thinking about it now, she has this smile during the interview, which was almost a plea for me to grab her and make a run for it. Get me out! Grab my arm like I’m your Raggedy Ann doll and run as fast as you can until we’re out of breath and away from this place. Or else it was valium and that office embodies the problem that has no name. Christ – did we exchange ironing and canning and scrubbing for the repetition of tan walls and business casual polyester and upper management that thinks we need to be watched like children?

I still can’t believe it. I was slack-jawed for hours. Do people really live like this? Please, let it be an anomaly.

Tomorrow, I’ll let you know all about my first day (maybe) of contract work for an art gallery! Won’t that be fun?

Monday, April 30, 2007

S-O-P

1. The mid-sized pot I have it too small to pop 3/4C of popcorn. But now I know why my parents never filled the pot up enough to make it overflow, now matter how much I begged. The popped corn catches on fire in the stove flame. Just a little.

2. How did I do all of this on Saturday???
  • Shopping and coffee in the morning
  • Pizza with feta and kalamata olives for lunch
  • To the Allegheny County Jail where everyone was exceptionally mean to me and nothing was accomplished except that I learned that you have to lock up ALL of your stuff in the “free” lockers in the vestibule, although nobody used the word vestibule, it was more like grunting when they talked
  • To The Natural 2007 Pittsburgh Bodybuilding & Figure Championships (Yay Tedd for 5th and 3rd place wins!) - in Murrysville
  • To Art All Night to see my aunt’s sculpture and lots of other art - in Lawrenceville
  • To my friend’s boyfriend’s birthday party - in the South Side
  • Whew.

3. My sleeping mode is changing. Typically, I hit the pillow and I'm out. Not so much lately. Was up well past three last night and expect similar tonight. I'm stocking up on chamomile in anticipation of getting a new job some day.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rainy Thursday Afternoon

People keep taking me out to eat and drink. Thanks all of you, really, and keep it coming! When I get home and I think of all these things that I want to post here and then, then I think the better of it, plus my ability to type decreases exponentially with each sip of beer or whiskey or, well, that's all I've been drinking. I'm sure Kelly's and Ryan's are happy with my unemployment, they've seen a lot of me lately.

The only snippet of "brilliance" I've remembered is that I'm sure that if I had a previous live (which I'm pretty sure I didn't) I was a gay man.

Now, go find me a job people. Thanks.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Seriously

I'm done. I want out. Anyone? And tell it like you still believe.

Oh, and follow that Kono blog link to see me acting like an idiot.

Every fucking time I'm happy it happens. Now that you've all seen it, you know. Any all-encompassing happiness leads to heartbreaking downfall. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I could be wrong.

So, there's this (male) boss. And in a meeting he announces that he'll be taking his (male) assistant to San Francisco in a few months. For, well, really, what seems like some completely useless reason. What would you think?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Hold Stead Last Night

Un-fucking-believable.

I can't remember the last time a band made me rock out like this. Even though I don't like their new album as much as the other two, I was still dancing and singing and clapping and screaming all the way through. At the end, they pulled a bunch of audience members up on stage. Yep, that was me up there, smiling and singing.

Side note: There was a small, younger girl dancing like crazy next to me too. There was also a line of people standing at the stage, not moving, not dancing, just watching (which I personally hate). Well, the small girl bumped into a much bigger girl standing at the stage and the bigger girl shoved her away. I was kind of horrified, so I danced my way over near her. I figured that the bigger girl wouldn't shove her if I were there too. And I was right. The next time the small girl bumped into her, she turned around, saw us both, and didn't do anything. Later, at Dee's, the small girl told me that the bigger girl apologized and bought her a drink.

I was thanking the guys for playing such a great show (and telling them that I had been begging them via email to come to Pittsburgh for the last year or so) when Galen told me that they were all heading over to Dee's post-show. M&M took a cab home and let me go hang with the band!!!

When I got there, they hadn't yet. I ran into a handful of people I had seen at the show and talked to a guy who had been playing Craig Finn's guitar at the end. He then came up and talked to me while I was sitting at the bar. Nonetheless, he kind of kept me hostage for a while after the band (Tad, Galen, Franz) got there. We walked over to the other side to meet them. When he left/got bored with the situation, Tad asked me if that guy was my boyfriend or something. No, I explained, I had just met him at the bar.

So I talked with Tad a bit about how people's all-consuming involvement in politics is overshadowing their personal interaction. Talked with Franz for a while - a little about the moustache and sadly didn't get to hear the Cindy Lauper story. Then I talked with Galen and make a bet, which I lost, so I had to buy him a drink. Damn it - isn't the rock star supposed to be buying me a drink?? Anyway I think it surprised him when I actually did it. So then we talked about music, literature, hometowns, etc.

It was dreamy. But it was also one of those situations where the guys sort of know that I'm not trying to sleep with them and am just interested in talking, and that was very cool. I really liked hanging out with those guys and wish they lived here, they would make really great friends.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I need a weekend after my weekend. And The Hold Steady

My weekend looked like this:
Friday
6pm – Pick up M’s mom from the bus station, go to M’s and start cleaning and packing.
10:30pm – finally eat dinner at Mad Mex (Tofu “wings” and Kristy’s Big Sister’s Quesadilla with tofu, delish!) I love having restaurants where I go frequently enough to actually know the wait staff. Someday I’ll get to hang out with J-A. Hah, and Mad Mex claims that you’ll never get your server’s phone number!

Saturday
7:30am – wake up and get A, M and M’s mom to U-Haul.
9:30am – meet I&L in the strip for coffee. Haven’t seen them in a long time. Made vague plans for dinner at their place – L makes the BEST tofu salad. I’ve tried to replicate it, with the exact same ingredients and everything, but it just doesn’t work the same. I think it’s kind of like not being able to replicate your mom’s recipes, just because she’s your mom.
11:00am – to M&A’s to teach them how to pack up a U-Haul. You two might be rocket scientists (or whatever), but you have no idea how to pack a truck!
2:00pm – late to K’s house to make baby shower favors. I called ahead, thinking that if enough others were there, I could continue to help move. Alas, nobody else showed up. I’m glad I went though, because we had a great time and they look really good – she really did a great job planning.
4:45pm – went to Dozen Cupcakes to place an order and had an absolutely hysterical time. I’ll tell you all about it after the cupcake event. Purchased 2 East End Chocolate Stouts and 2 cosmopolitans. Oh, the chocolate stout is SOOOOO good.
5:30pm – pick up mom to go to the roller derby bout. We had such a great time. We were both screaming and cheering and rooting on the Slumber Party Slashers. We each bought t-shirts too – I can’t wait till summer when it’s warm enough to wear mine! Sadly our team lost, but it was a really fast-paced and fun game – we were literally on the edge of our seats the entire time.
9:00pm – find an open K-Mart to buy some paper to print out the LUPEC hand-outs for tomorrow morning.
9:30pm – finish editing, print and fold the hand-outs.
11:00pm – take mom home.
11:30pm – finally eat dinner.

Sunday
Up at 8:30 10:00am – at the QS for Irish Women’s History Brunch (look here for details:
www.myspace.com/lupecpittsburgh)

2:30pm – back to M’s to help clean and move and etc.
3:30pm – take M’s mom to the bus station
4:30pm – argue with Bank of America over fraudulent charges, for the second time. More moving activities.

Now . . . now . . . I’m just biding my time . . . until The Hold Steady tonight. Doors open at the Rex at 7:30pm. I’ll be there. I can't fucking wait. Oh. I really hope that I'm not disappointed. They played live on WYEP at 1:30. It sounded pretty great. Every time I listen to them I can't concentrate on what I'm doing, they distract me. All the words, all the sounds, all the comedy & tragedy. All the words.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy Pi Day

3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510
5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679
8214808651 3282306647 0938446095 5058223172 5359408128
4811174502 8410270193 8521105559 6446229489 5493038196
4428810975 6659334461 2847564823 3786783165 2712019091
4564856692 3460348610 4543266482 1339360726 0249141273
7245870066 0631558817 4881520920 9628292540 9171536436
7892590360 0113305305 4882046652 1384146951 9415116094
3305727036 5759591953 0921861173 8193261179 3105118548
0744623799 6274956735 1885752724 8912279381 8301194912

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Some stuff to do this month

This morning my boss announced that he’s starting IRAs for us with matching funds. Hooray! This job rocks.

A few months ago, I met some friends in my favorite bar. Our waitress was a girl I really like, she’s cute, funny, smart and sweet. When we were leaving, I pitched in, oh, I can’t remember exactly, but it was over $5 – and my drink was NOT more than $5. To my HORROR, the people I was with picked up the money and counted it out so as to not leave a tip. Of course I argued and found out that two of them have some sort of problem with the waitress. That night I apologized and promised that I’d get her back.

Really, my friends are typically pretty great, but I'm absolutely not getting into this. I have no idea what the problem is, nor do I want to know.

Last night I stopped by the bar and left $9 on my $11 bill. I was so happy leaving, imagining her finding it and being surprised at first and then happy and then that “she shouldn’t have done that” look. Or something. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my bag full of cocktail books and had to go back in. She told me that it wasn’t my responsibility. I told her that I was making it my responsibility, smiled and left.

Then I headed to my friend MV’s birthday get together on the South Side – planning to have just one drink and maybe get one for MV. To my surprise, another of her friends, who I had just met that night insisted on buying my drink and hers! Sigh. It really does come back, doesn’t it?

Now, go do this stuff:

Join LUPEC for four Women’s History Month events!

LUPEC on Rhythm Sweet & Hot
Date: Saturday March 3, 2007
Time: 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: WDUQ - 90.5 FM
Listen while LUPEC ladies Black Monday and Sapphi serve up some cocktails and female musical artists of the 20s-40s with hosts Mike Plaskett and Dale Abraham. http://www.wduq.org/rsh

LUPEC at the Quiet Storm
Date: Sunday March 18, 2007
Time: 10:00am - 2:00pm
Location: The Quiet Storm, 5430 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15206
Join the ladies of LUPEC for a women's history month Irish brunch. Chef Sheryl, aka Brandy you’re a fine girl Alexander will be whipping up some yummy Irish brunch food while LUPEC provides some info about interesting Irish women. http://www.quietstormcoffee.com

LUPEC at The Frick
A Foot in Two Worlds - Exploring Cultural Identity
Date: Wednesday March 21, 2007
Time: 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: The Frick Art Museum, Homewood Avenue, Point Breeze
Many of us born in America are a mix of cultures and ethnicities. The Frick Art & Historical Center and Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) come together to sponsor an evening with women answering the question, "What was it like to grow up in another culture?" Listen to Pittsburgh women, born into other cultures and now citizens of the United States, tell their unique stories. The evening includes light hors d'oeuvres and LUPEC's classy cocktail. $8 members, teachers, students; $10 non-members and guests. Registration recommended (412-371-0600). http://frickart.org/home

LUPEC at Kelly’s Women's History Month “closing party”
Date: Saturday March 31, 2007
Time: 8:00pm - 12:00am
Location: Kelly's Bar & Lounge, 6012 Penn Circle South, East Liberty
Celebrate on the last day of Women’s History Month with LUPEC at Kelly's for women's history, classic cocktails, quizzes and prizes! www.myspace.com/107344585

Wednesday, February 21, 2007



For Valentine’s Day, I made these. Those red flecks are cranberries. And there’s melted Sarris dark chocolate. Yum.







I really can’t stop listening to the Hold Steady. And really, the latest album, “Boys and Girls in America” isn’t that good. So I’m listening to their older stuff and Lftr Pllr. The tickets for the March 19th show arrived just the other day. I really hope it isn’t a bit let-down like shows and etc. usually are.


Sadly, the working out yesterday at the downtown YMCA was only mediocre.

Pros:
The instructor was energetic and very nice. She has the potential to be the kind of instructor who will help you during and after the work out, which I think is very important. Also, I had a lot of fun with my co-workers.

Cons:
The instructor did a few things completely differently that I’ve ever learned them – she stepped straight onto the step instead of corner-to-corner. That doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but it changes which foot you use and getting the right-left thing correct is very important. She also did a fair amount of steps facing backwards. And, most importantly, she did a 25 minutes of step, then stopped to do 10 minutes each of abs and weights. No real warm up or cool down.
Collectively, not a very good work out.

Please, give me a nice 45 minute, heart-rate raising work out! Seriously, if anyone is reading this and knows where to go for a really good cardio work out, that does NOT involve kick-boxing, and is preferably step, please let me know.


I found this here today. Enjoy:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentines greetings as only I would send.

XO
IWI

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dissapointing

Sometimes, I disappoint people. I’m disappointing Steve as I type. I haven’t written anything substantial to him in far too long. But sometimes, people who I think are my friends disappoint me in tremendous ways. Sigh.

Somehow, I just remembered about this commercial. It made me cry the first time I saw it, it made me cry when I told my mom about it, and it still makes me cry every time I watch it. (Hopefully it will embed here and you can cry too.)

Went to see my friend’s boyfriend’s band, PKP, at Club Café on Friday. The music wasn’t something I’d typically seek out, and I had never heard him sing before. The band was kind of a general 90’s rock band, but his voice was really great. I had fun, despite being mocked and accues of being cranky for standing, legs spread and arms crossed. But smiling. I was smiling, people!

Went to see Volver on Saturday and it was really great – twisty and turn-y with lots of fantastic and amazing female characters and just enough kitsch (could they maybe have the clothes on Raimunda match, even once?).

After, it was off to Mad Mex for special Valentine’s-season black cherry margaritas. I think I might get kicked out of LUPEC for drinking those (they haven’t found out about WhamBamPam’s Sparks and cranberry yet), so let’s just say I didn’t.

(Oh, yeah, Melissa Ching was fined $300 plus court costs and has to do 30 – I keep thinking days but that doesn’t make much sense, but it wasn’t hours – of community service.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

RE: August 28, 2006

The woman who assaulted me, Melissa Ching, is a doctor, from Honolulu. No kidding. She had to fly all that way for court. I figure our weather today, 26 (feels like 15) and snowing, is almost sufficient punnishment. It's 79 in Honolulu today.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I'm a Kitty Kat!

Today, most of my office did the Tim-Tam suck. Also, most of my office was involved in some amount of sexual harassment (except for the boss). And most importantly, we were all involved in this Sunday’s Post-Gazette feature, The Next Page. That’s me in my cartoon debut. Actually, we’re all in there somewhere. So you should check it out on Sunday. (That ad is from the PG website, advertising US!!)

Tomorrow is the big day – the Steel City Derby Demons exhibition bout and it’s sold out. I’m so glad I bought my ticket in advance. If you aren’t going, you are sooo missing out.

Sunday is an official LUPEC meeting. Sigh. It’s so nice to be with the lady friends. The meeting is animal themed, so I’ll probably be wearing the barra-coat-a. (Coat so named after a drunken night at the South Side Primanti’s when I was wearing a vintage leopard print coat and some very drunk frat guy asked me if I was a barracuda, after which he stole my hot sauce and I proceeded to kick him in the shins until he gave it back, saying that a barracuda is a fish, now gimme back my hot sauce.)

And, if I don’t get to post before then, my court date is TUESDAY. She has postponed it twice now and, from what I’ve been told, can’t do it again. Like 20 degree weather will keep me from coming to court. No way. She’s gonna pay.

And, even though it’s kind of old, you should all chek this out because I’m in love with it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm Classy

Went to the Port Authority hearing. Went to the protest/march before. Stayed the entire time. By the time I got to speak, my story was really nothing. I’m not blind and will have to walk 2 miles down Route 28. I’m not elderly and have to walk a mile through the neighborhood where I had been mugged previously. I’ll just have an extra hour a day of commute time. But I did get to yell at Mr.white-male-privilege-republican who felt that he was allowed to take more than his allotted three minutes at the podium. “YOUR TIME IS UP. SIT DOWN. WE’VE HEARD ENOUGH.” He thought the cuts and hikes were just fine and we should all just suck it up. I also got to heckle and later flip-off another guy-in-a-suit who agreed with them. He called me “classy.” I should have tripped him. Neither of them looked like they take the bus. I was also surprised to the point of having no words when someone who I had always thought was decent and fair-minded said something greedy and incredibly short-sighted.

Last night I played Rachel Maddow’s State of the Union drinking game. Two beers in about 40 minutes. Good thing I made this beforehand! (Basmati rice with lentils, saffron onions and a pita crust.) And I can't get that photo to be any bigger.

And some bad news. After much deliberation, I have decided to not try out for roller derby. I do too many things and really don’t have the time to commit to practice 2-3 times a week. It would rock, but I just can’t do it. Alternately, I’ve decided to support them whenever I can. I know a handful of the girls and I think it’s a worthwhile thing. Went to their fundraiser at the Lava Lounge last Wednesday and am going to the bout on Saturday. I already have my ticket!

Directly after work on Monday, LUPEC was interviewed for Pittsburgh Magazine. Look for us to be in there in March.

Later that night, I met up with TW, P and O. It was a rockin’ good night – stayed out until 2 when I left the rest of the crew who proceeded to after hours – I didn’t even know there WAS after hours on Monday night.

A few of us got together on Friday night to hang out at K’s place where I got to meet her daughter and her two sweet dogs – Frank the mastiff and – oh I can’t remember the retriever’s name. It was a nice mellow night, necessary after doing far too much during the preceding weeks.

Tonight I’m meeting A at the co-op for dinner and then heading to Free Ride. I hope, hope, hope that their heat has been fixed. If not, I’m out.

Friday, January 19, 2007

BC Reunion

I’ve not been writing basically because I’ve been so into my job while at work. No, really.

On Saturday morning, I got up kind of early – I mean 11:00 am IS early when you’ve been out until 5:30 the night before – to head to the Strip District with M and his brother and his girlfriend, in from out of town. We shopped, bought much cheese and a gigantic head of cauliflower (yum) and went to brunch at Enrico’s. I got to briefly hang out with A. (who works there) for a bit, hearing some really good stories.

When I got home, I took a two-hour nap before going back out with the same crew (and some others) to the Fajita Grill for dinner. I’m not so impressed with the Fajita Grill, although everyone else seems to love it. My veggies and tofu burrito was only okay.


After dinner I ran home to change and head to the 31st Street Pub for the big Battered Citizens reunion show, with Shape of Rage reuniting as well. Again, I got to see so many old friends, people who I haven’t seen in forever, there was lots of love, lots of kisses and hugs and lots of whiskey. I couldn’t stop saying how unbelievable the whole night was. It was seriously like a high school reunion – only just with friends. It was so overwhelming at times that I almost cried. Ridiculous at the 31st Pub, I know. But being out with TW again was really great. (Photo swiped from K. because the camera on my cell is too dark.)


Funny story. Some guy at the bar was looking at me and I thought that I must not recognize him. He started a conversation and no, I did not know him. I asked him what brought him out that night and he said his friend, J. Off the top of my head, I couldn’t remember a J from back then, so I asked who J was in the crowd. He pointed to a blonde-ish guy with glasses. Oh. Right. So, I broke the news that he was there with my old boyfriend. This story is SOOO much better when I’m telling it instead of typing it.


I also got to find a new secret parking space for the Pub. Nope, I’m not telling.


I skipped the after-party and got in at about 2:30-ish and slept very, very late. Everyone else at my place slept late too, so late that we missed brunch. So we settled on Fuel and Fuddle. I do not recommend their coffee.


Monday night antics to come. Other things I found to be interesting from the week to come as well. Maybe. I’ll try.


Just as a heads up, look for my debut in the Post-Gazette on Friday, in cartoon form.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Seemed like a good idea at the time . . .

Shout out to all my sisters from the 60s who used to pin their skirts! (And the catholic school girls who continue the tradition.) My gray wool thrift-store skirt was too long to wear with knee socks, so I rolled it and pinned it. Perfect. Thanks girls.

The heat wasn’t on at Free Ride. I stayed for over an hour. Until my fingers hurt from the cold. The gate was pulled (almost) shut when I went to leave so J came out and helped me push it back in. She couldn’t do it herself either, so I don’t feel like too much of a wuss.


Bugs in my pasta. I’d bitch about it more but M called the company and they are sending coupons for replacement pasta. But it’s unsettling to see little brown things floating in your pasta water. And frustrating when it’s 9:00 and you still haven’t eaten dinner and now you have to wait for water to boil AGAIN.

Friday was probably the most fun I’ve had in YEARS. TW was in from LA. M and I picked her up and headed to Kelly’s where we met up with O and hung out with a few more people neither of us had seen in a while. I slid into the booth next to a blonde woman I didn’t know and introduced myself, thinking that she knew O. Um, no. She abruptly got up and left to – from what we were told later – show off the goods to the people at the bar. Before we left, I saw her making out with some guy in the back hallway. If you know Kelly’s at all, you’ll know that it’s not the kind of place where that type of thing usually happens.

We then moved on to The Smiling Moose where we met yet more long un-seen friends. More whiskey was consumed. This photo was taken in the ladies room.

I thought M would want to bail on after hours, but no! We were all off to the White Eagle and more fun and socializing and drinking. It was so great to see so many people who I like and don’t get to see oft
en enough. I even met a few new people, including a friend of the groom (remember, I’m gonna be the best man) and we made fantastic plans for the bachelor party and talked a bit of rugby. After three whiskeys, a Yuengling and abundant encouragement (one of the toughest girls I know implying that I am tough – wow!), I was promising to try out for roller derby. My cousin is a personal trainer, I may need his help. Not sure if I can get out of it this time. Too many people heard me.

Good thing Tom’s Diner was in the cards – grilled cheese, water and coffee – exactly what a long night of drinking needs! Next up, the thrilling and amazing Saturday story!