Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another Question for the Ages: Why? Why Do They Do This?

Call me practical, but if I were going to launch my career in politics, I would have a few guiding principles in mind that I've acquired from years of observation.

1. Don't embezzle, do favors, engage in quid pro quo, even if it seems insane to "fucking give it away." In the latter case, I would most definitely not comment on the injustice of the arrangement while I'm being wire-tapped.

2. No sex scandals. Assume that even if that hooker seems trustworthy or that club where fellow rubber-hose fetishers congregate seems discreet, you will be found out.

3. No embellishment of really good stories. I know it's tempting to think this stuff will fly under the radar in normal conversational matters, but truly, they've got really awesome technology these days that let you record. It's a bitch to be famous.

So with principle 3 in mind, I'm left to wonder just what Bobby Jindal could possibly have been thinking, because he seems like a smart guy, Rhodes Scholar and all.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Postal Service, Indeed

Today's music list wants to rub salt in my wounds. First, it's a music list and thus reminding me that the excellent mix (labeled thusly) that I painstakingly made and sent to someone got stolen from the envelope. Stolen, people. As in arrival of an empty envelope, said envelope naturally getting delivered, as the post office knows from delivering envelopes, empty or otherwise. Then, of course, the ipod imps have to mock with putting the Postal Service in there. Sigh.

1. down in the tube station at midnight, the jam (live version)
2. cadillac on 22's, david banner
3. if you find yourself caught in love, belle and sebastian
4. theme for a very delicious grand piano, olivia tremor control
5. identity, x-ray spex
6. white boy, bikini kill
7. too tough to die, the ramones
8. love you more, the buzzcocks
9. come see about me, the supremes
10. recycled air, the postal service

But my pretty crummy and stressed-out week is over! And tonight will feature a well-earned happy hour saturated with Spanish wine. Yum.

Oh, curious at all about the state of housing prices? They're down ten percent in one month.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yes, Well. You've Got to Die Sometime

A drink a day raises a woman's risk for cancer:

For years, many women have been buoyed by the news about one of life's guilty pleasures: That nightly glass of wine may not only take the edge off a day but also improve their health. Now it turns out that sipping pinot noir might not be such a good idea after all.

A new study involving nearly 1.3 million middle-aged British women -- the largest ever to examine alcohol and cancer in women -- found that just one glass of chardonnay, a single beer or any other type of alcoholic drink per day increases the risk of a variety of cancers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Should Have Known, When I Watched His Baffling Amble into the Camera Frame

I should have turned up the sound and watched while I was on the phone. The snap analysis of Bobby Jindal's speech seems to be coalescing:

But context notwithstanding, Jindal was something of a disaster. The delivery was awkward and sing-song (comparisons to Kenneth from "30 Rock" are ubiquitous). The arguments were tone-deaf and tiresome. The anecdotes were long and pointless. Jindal hadn't quite practiced enough with a teleprompter. He not only seemed like a guy selling a bad product in an infomercial, Jindal seemed like he was new at it.

It was painful to watch, both because the speech was bad and because it was hard not to feel bad for the guy embarrassing himself on national television.

On one of the cable networks, viewers were told that Jindal was "almost childish," and this "was not Bobby Jindal's greatest oratorical moment." The network? Fox News.

Kenneth from 30 Rock? For real? And I missed that? Damn.

And I missed a lot of broad strokes on Obama's speech, as well because I was transfixed with Nancy Pelosi's jacket? Sweater? Sweatsuit? Was that a zipper? Did it have a tassle? You can see how one might get lost there.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oh Dear God

I'm in such a place where we have a suite-only restroom, accessible only to staff. I'm also unfortunately in a place where I have had to fish unflushed paper towels out of the toilet, put there by an unspecified person who is apparently accustomed to flushing all manner of materials down their home toilets.

I was happy to take the bullet (or the coathanger, as it were) the first time this happened. But since then, staff meetings have been held and e-mails were sent updating the gathered on the inadvisability of such things. Everybody onboard, it would seem, and in agreement.

So when it happens again, I think you have to say we're no longer operating under the rules of a civilized society.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Do Love Me a Little Bit of This


So, How About Those Oscars?

Did you laugh? Did you cry? Was it better than Cats?

My observations:

Panning to Angelina Jolie while Jennifer Aniston was presenting--oh, so National Enquirier-covered cat fight!

Kevin Kline--morphing into Vincent Price? Discuss.

Resolved: No one, but no one, looks good in a strapless dress. Either gravity is working against you, you're mushing up weird bits of loose skin, or you have weird bones jutting out in strange places.

Mickey Rourke--are those his real teeth?

Sophia Loren--doesn't she look a bit like the statuette herself?

Was it a plus that it didn't feel interminable this year and that there weren't any serious diva moments?

Hugh Jackman--charmingly entertaining, or irritatingly cloying? Is he, as Barbara Walters would have it, the last of the true song-and-dance men?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again

The time when I stock up on Hello Kitty writing implements to flourish in meetings and generally make people uncomfortable and/or confused by my whimsical and childish tastes.

Behold: my new Badtz Maru pen.
I also got a really nifty three-way one featuring Kuromi, who likes the color black and skulls, writing in her diary, reading short stories, and playing a mean guitar. Perfecto.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Aaaannnnnd, We're Back

Reentry into the real world is never a good thing, is it? No matter how sunny and cheery you feel, getting smacked with "Oh, god, my deadlines, I'm never going to get this done in time as long as people keep thinking, 'eh, no rush on my part, it's Laura, and she can crank it out likethat'" just brings you right back.

But, eh, whaddya gonna do? We've reset the postal meter by a good couple of weeks, easy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Need a Bit of Music Infusion

It's not Friday, but as I'm outta here after today, I declare it officially so. So random music queuing.

1. all the old showstoppers, new pornographers
2. sweet soul music, the jam
3. high on a mountain top, loretta lynn
4. catching the butterfly, the verve
5. no growing (exegesis), olivia tremor control
6. wishful thinking, the album leaf
7. beechwood park, the zombies
8. room 13, black flag
9. lust for life, iggy pop
10. nothin', townes van zandt

And it's nice and schizophrenic, which is always a good thing. Class was eh, since we had a substitute whose style could best be described as haranguing and who decided for some reason that I would serve as a nice example for proper in-class participation (following the haranguing, of course). Did she pick on the scowly girl who left halfway through class? Nooooooooo.

I'm also gearing up today for some teeth-gritting office dysfunction and staff togetherness. Inmates ==> asylum.

Beyond that, senioritis, baby. Checked out. Weekend on the horizon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It Is a Truth Universal

That the day you're getting a haircut--after reaching a state of fed up with your hair's ugliness--is the day that everyone tells you how awesome your hair looks.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Surreal Conversation of the Day

On Friday, I had one of periodic outbursts of righteous explanation on the way things should be in my sphere of apparently little influence. It's goofy, it's frustrating, I get on my high horse to try to right it all on occasion, but such is the way of a power vacuum and no one wanting to make decisions.

Anyway, as a predictable result of a situation that I've been trying to point out for the past 8 months or so, we are preparing to arrange an emergency meeting to address editorial follow through on conference papers and our publisher interest in same (i.e., the person who should be following up to publish things is not, ergo presenters are baffled and offended). I was talking with a quasi-muckety muck about topics for our next upcoming venture, and he was expressing concern on whether these things would be high-quality enough to publish. To which I had to point out that it's really beside the point if your whole system breaks down on the follow-through, isn't it? I don't think he quite got it.

You laugh or you cry, no?

It's Like Therapy for Creative Types

I just ran into my writing-class bud, C, on the street, on her way back from a meeting with our teacher. Apparently, the meeting went really well. C very excitedly reports that she may be a little in love with our teacher, who totally gets it. She thinks this teacher may be for her what our last one was for me. Yay!!! And thus underscoring again that a really good teacher can be the difference between success and giving up before you even try.

C also mentioned something kind of cool our teacher mentioned about how our last class shook out. As you can imagine, we're all flailing about for nonfiction material. And sometimes the more difficult times in your life proves the more rich subject matter to explore. But you're juggling that emotional distance and trying to figure out what will work for a broader audience, so it's tricky. Anyway, C said that one of our classmates--who wrote in class about an assault she experienced as a teenager--told our teacher that she felt like C and I gave her "permission" to write about it. (C had written about things tied to her youth and family, and I had written about death.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Eyebrow Threading: Painful, Yet Intriguing

For reasons that are unclear, my local mall is riddled with booths offering eyebrow threading. My friend Melanie and I noted this and went back today to try it out (the Punjabi woman in our office talks about it nonstop). It's quite amazing how efficient these practitioners are, working with rolls of ordinary sewing thread, thwacking the errant hairs on your brows. Two minutes and two watery eyes later, voila, you're featuring something like definition.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Find Out Your Personality Style! As Seen on 20/20

This is an entertaining quiz, based on science-y science or hormones or something. There's even little shape-maneuvering games and photos from which to analyze facial expressions. Fun.

Bill Clinton and I feel your pain!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

First Rejection

Got my first self-addressed stamped envelope back on the story in record time. Battle Scars R Us. This makes me official. Now I drown my sorrows over their failure to recognize my genius, right?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Class, The Next Round

So, week 2 of the next 12-week writing class has just wrapped up, mercifully feeling shorter than the full 4.5 hours that it lasts. I think I like my teacher a lot, although she scares me. I feel like she's going to know if I'm phoning it in, then she will give me a laser stare that permeates my soul and darker intents. I'm actually piping up in class, even, because I want her to perceive me as fully engaged.

But I noticed last week that she does this nice thing where she takes students aside after class to give them comments, praise, support, or helpful suggestions. I know I mentioned that we're supposed to be using our lives to mine for nonfiction material, around which we develop scenes for the semester. This week, I flew by the seat of my pants with some in-class writing. After tossing a few things around in my head that felt kind of static, I started in a scene that actually happened and from there ended up conflating some things that have happened to me and integrating from others. When I read it aloud in class, I was surprised that it came out much better and more cohesively than I thought (we were doing some scene jumping and choosing different aspects to tell, so it really is a split-second thing that can turn out badly). There was a long pause after I finished reading, and when we got to the recall session, my teacher leaped in at the beginning to describe some of the scenes I set up. After class, she came up and told me that it was fabulous, that obviously she wasn't familiar with any of my other writing, but if I were considering this for my semester-long material, I had her with what I wrote. Which, you know, is quite awesome.

And even my friend who had the less-positive experience last time around seems to be getting into the feel of the class and is pretty un-self-consciously doing some nice stuff. I think she's as afraid of our teacher as I am. Possibly we've graduated from our indulgent older brother to our stern mommy teacher models.

Anyway, all and all, it's very cool. I just hope I don't lose the good mojo by tossing off something dorky, thus making my teacher need to kick my ass.

Keep an Eye Out for the Eensy Stonehenge, Next to the Puppet-Show Marquee

Spinal Tap returns:

The legendary fake band will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the This Is Spinal Tap mockumentary by releasing a new album, their first since 1992's Break Like The Wind. "It'll be for download as well as on conventional media later this year," Harry Shearer (aka bassist Derek Smalls) confirmed to BBC 5 Live.

The fictional English heavy metal group is the work of Shearer and two more American actors, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest. They last reunited in 2007, playing the Live Earth concert at London's Wembley Stadium.

"We've never recorded the song we did at Live Earth, Warmer Than Hell, and I think [Spinal Tap] are trying to revisit their old success," Shearer said. Rob Reiner caught up with the band at the time of that gig, shooting a short film showing what Spinal Tap's members had done with their lives. Guest's Nigel Tufnel was raising miniature racing horses, Shearer's Smalls was recovering from an internet addiction, and McKean's David St Hubbins had become a hip-hop producer.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Your Joe the Plumber Career Update

Is this a face that would lead you down an economic dead end? I think not.

Following a thwarted plumbing business (goddamned taxes!), a fruitless search for a book deal, an embryonic album, and the harrowing specter of journalism in a war zone, Joe the Plumber has branched out again. In his next incarnation, a last and fierce attempt to squeeze the dregs and drops of opportunity from his fifteen minutes of fame, he's set to become an advisor to congressional Republicans.

It's probably unnecessary for me to point out that he will be speaking on the economic stimulus legislation, as I think we're all clear on where his real expertise lies.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hope Your Weekend Was Similarly Relaxing

Some of us are overtaxed by vet visits and the rude, sniffing dogs encountered there at.

I needed the sleep and felt excellent yesterday, but alas, I woke up all draggy this morning. One day of rejuvenation seems kind of paltry. More! More!

Anyway, I'm working on homework for the new writing class, and I'm feeling a bit hemmed in and uninspired. This mining of your own life for "themes" to explore sends me to dull and conventional territory so far. I obviously need to start thinking out of the box.
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