Thursday, September 27, 2007

and for her next trick, she'll make the empire state building vanish

Okay, so the nightly catastrophe for yesterday was as follows (prepare for protracted backstory. abandon hope, all ye who enter):

I got up really early yesterday morning and started making bread. I decided I wanted a nice brown bread (oatmeal, molasses, whole wheat flour, some rye) to go with our leftover soup (chicken and cavatappi). Okay, I mix it all up, to the delight of Finnegan and the bemusement of Beatrice. I mix, I make a sponge batter, I let the yeast proof and the whole shebang, kneaded for 15 minutes and popped it all in the great big bread bowl I bought when I lived in Minneapolis and have lugged from house-to-house since then. So far, so good. I come home after a wretched day at work (about which more, another time) and punch it all down, separate, allow to rise in the good Chicago Metallic bread pans on top of the stove while getting the oven up to temperature. Took the dogs for a walk; came home; baked. Okay, so Kelly and I really like homemade bread, and especially like it still warm. So we eat about a half a loaf of this bread, because we are believers in moderation. Also, we are looking forward to sandwiches with this bread for Thursday.

So we're cleaning up the remains of the dinner, and I get this phone call from one of our reporters, and the long and the short of it is, he's got a piece that has to run on Thursday and I need to edit him, though he had promised me the script by 3 and he didn't get around to sending it until 7. Okay. I go off and fix up the syntax and question where he got all his stats and such. In the meantime, Kelly has gone upstairs and is watching a movie and is wearing headphones so that he can really appreciate the THX that George Lucas went to all the trouble of figuring out so that people can have their gallbladders shake whenever the Dark Lord of the Sith comes on screen, or whatever. So I finish up this edit after about 40 minutes, and go brush my teeth and get ready to go to sleep. (Early to bed, and early to rise, suckas.) I go upstairs and lay down and am reading John Keegan's "The First World War" (because I am a shade underwhelmed with all the Greatest Generation Love going on with the new Ken Burns film on The less-Great War). Kelly comes up and says, "what did you do with the bread?" I say, "what do you mean, what did I do with the bread? It's on the counter next to the loaf we didn't eat yet." (Can you guess where this is going?)

Okay, so we troop downstairs, mystified by the Disappearing Bread, and's like a moment out of a movie. We're looking around, mystified, the cooling rack is on the floor, there are no crumbs, NOT A ONE, on the floor...and we both, as if on a synchronized swivel, swing our heads to look at...Beatrice. Who, on cue, licks her chops. Oh, good grief. The dog ate a loaf-and-a-half of incredibly dense bread. And all of the crumbs.

Okay, this is not that big a deal, but was like aliens swooped in and kidnapped all this bread. Not. A.Trace. Not anywhere. Somebody call Anthony LaPaglia and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. And there Beatrice stands, looking for more. Or, possibly...for a pound of butter to wash it all down. Anyway, this morning, I think she was still pretty full 'cause she looked a little green around the gills and was unenthused about breakfast.

In other news, there's a bull loose on the streets of St. Louis after some kind of weird truck accident. Watch out, Missourians! Look both ways before you cross the street!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


President Bush gave a speech at the UN today and said that Americans are outraged over human rights abuses in Myanmar. It's my experience that Americans can't find Myanmar on a map that consists only of Myanmar and big red letters saying "This Is Myanmar," with a giant red arrow pointing to it.

Forthwith, here are things that I think Americans are actually more outraged over. I'm not saying that they shouldn't be outraged over human rights abuses anywhere, but seriously: outrage implies a level of engagement that I just don't think is there when it comes to Myanmar.
Outrageous things, according to the people I spend time with on a regular basis:

-- that Myanmar changed its name from the more-euphonious "Burma"
-- that there are only 16 games in the regular season of the NFL
-- that Buffalo wings are so small, and come with so much celery
-- that it takes so long to get to the weather during the evening news
-- the relative competence of the Chiefs offensive line
-- that Chinese titans of industry are poisoning everybody with lead in the toys and antifreeze in the off-brand juiceboxes and E.coli in the spinach and some kind of strange plastic in the dog food and so forth
-- the cost of cheese
-- those kids down the street
-- how that one family just doesn't care about all those dandelions in their yard
-- that time that Sonic took Frito Pie off the menu
-- that Britney Spears
-- that darn rap music
-- kids hanging out at after-hours bars
-- fish aren't biting
-- only 3.2 beer available out at the lake
-- allergies
-- "Rock of Love"

Monday, September 24, 2007

she's ready for her close-up , mr. demille

Here she is: Beatrice. Up close and canine. I don't really know how to edit photos so you'll just have to put up with the flash splash-back in the eyes.

She's been here all weekend, and after a rough 2nd and 3rd days, seems to be getting along a bit better with Finnegan. She's going to have to sleep in the utility room for a while 'til we get all of the continence issues sorted out. Days are more or less fine, but come nighttime, she gets a little confused.

We've got the food issue straightened out as well -- fortunately, she does not seem to have the same trouble as Finnegan with commercially-produced food. I almost had a sort of mini-nervous breakdown at the thought of making 50 pounds of homemade dog food a week instead of the current 25. But for now, she's cheerfully tucking away Hill's Science Diet Adult lamb & rice formula.

Anyway, we think she's awfully sweet. She has a louder, deeper bark than Finn -- our neighbors will continue to loathe us. She has staked out the windowseat in the living room as her lookout post.

Friday, September 21, 2007

the destroyer of vices and bringer of joy

There is a new member of the clan...straight from a sold-out set at Caroline's in New York and the Lawrence Humane Society...won't you please give a big hand to the little lady...I give you...BEATRICE. I'll post pictures soon.

Beatrice is a Great Pyrenees and is just the tiniest bit larger than Finnegan. She's all-white and has the double dewclaws, so we are assuming that she is a pure-breed. Which is not necessarily good news, barking-wise.

Anyway, we picked her up yesterday and she's (knock wood) settling in just great. Slept through the night, no housebreaking accidents. Go figure. Finnegan is not being territorial at all, which is a bit of a surprise. They're not bestest friendsters, but they've achieved detente. Beatrice appears to be more or less the Eastern Bloc (having staked out the austere, utilitarian yellow and blue rooms) while Finnegan is more like NATO (claiming the flashier, gadget-rich kitchen, TV room and stereo room).

Anyway, we had this list of names to try out and we did that, and after getting no response whatsoever to Annabel, Agatha, Frances, Fionnuala, Georgia, Olivia and Jemima, she perked right up when we tried "Beatrice," which is a name I have always liked, what with its connection to The Divine Comedy and "beatific" and "beatitude" and all that. And by inference, the Beats. Not Kerouac. More like Ferlinghetti and Snyder, McClure and Lamantia. So...Beatrice it is. The destroyer of vices, the bringer of joy.

In other news: I have had an idea for how to revise the book, so posting will be light for the next few days. Between this and acclimating a new dog, I'm going to be a bit tied up. But there will be pictures of the new dog soon! Beatrice, like her namesake, looks rather less like a beauty and rather more like she's ineffably kind. And that's exactly my style.

Monday, September 17, 2007

1, 2, 3, 4, please don't play that song no more

Enough with the video iPod ads, already. If I was going to buy one, I would have done it already.
That song was irritating even before it was being played 6 times an hour on national television.

On the other hand, I really do like the new Macy's commercial that Barry Levinson directed. I could see that one a bunch more.

up next, what Mischa Barton is thinking of having for lunch. film at 11.

It's a great day to be a journalist! I am so proud of my comrades in the ink-stained trenches! Just moments ago, while events in Afghanistan are apparently starting to spin out of control, the costs of the war in Iraq continue unabated, the world's clean water supply continues to be in peril, and the nation has a new Attorney General nominee, the MSM 24-hour newschannels just scored a hat-trick: on FOX, reports of a hit (!) being ordered on Kevin Federline (the less charitable among us might say, "well, at least he finally got a hit"); CNN was focused on OJ Simpson's arrest and bail hearing ('cause you know, he's not any kind of a flight risk, historically speaking); and MSNBC was showing a different piece on approaches that various solicitors might take in the upcoming custody hearing for Britney Spears's children. All at once! Whoo-hoo, hooray for the mysterious alchemical processes that determine priorities at major network news outlets! Anyone who comes by my desk right now gets a free piece of gum.

I, a member of the not-so-interesting media, am focused at the moment on a piece concerning the installation of a new voting-tabulation system at the Kansas Legislature and some kind of regulation up for approval by the Wichita city council that will restrict the ownership of, I kid you not, wallabies (the marsupials, not the shoes).

A proud moment for the heirs to the legacy of Edward R. Murrow et al.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

the marginal utility of discount luxury

Skirts acquired, though not from Kohl's -- from Target. I am a pitiful excuse for a fashionista. Though we all of us reading this knew that. Both skirts are black; one is a-line, the other a pencil-skirt, both designed by Isaac Mizrahi and sold for less than 20 bucks. I find the branching-out of luxury designers into discount stores to be a fine thing for me personally, but it raises lots of questions for the social theorist in me about the nature of luxury, and the relative worth of a brand-name. I personally could not care less that I bought these skirts designed by a designer; the price was right, the fabric seemed durable, and they came in my size (which is always a bit of a trick). Much of the other stuff there did not meet these criteria. I looked at the Vera Wang stuff at Kohl's but apparently the day they rolled her stuff out (two days ago-ish), the store was beset by people with the self-restraint and consumption impulse of locusts in a corn field. At any rate, not being a size 2, they had little that I was even willing to examine. The things seem nice, and I did pick up some super-opaque microfiber black tights that she designed, but in general I think this is not really for me. I don't wear a lot of synthetic fabrics and I don't groove on tuck-pleating. Still, as usual, you can't beat the Kohl's discount shoe section, and I got some oxford shoes with a heel. Tim Gunn would be proud.

All of this stems from the fact that I woke up a few days ago and was getting dressed thinking, "why do I dress like such a schlub?" I suddenly realized: well, you don't have to. Just start dressing like not-a-schlub. I have some nice clothes; why don't I wear them? So now, I am doing that. I am going to try to look nice. No reason not to. I decided that for this to work, I would need more skirts, and now have a pleated wool navy skirt that I bought back in about 1996, one in kind of a slate blue cotton jersey, one in a chocolate brown, and the two I got today in black for wear-to-work-type situations. I have a couple of others for "get all dressed up-nice" occasions. So we'll see how this little experiment goes.

The kitchen floor is mopped, the laundry is all done, the floor mats and scatter rugs have been washed...all in time for my husband to get home so he can mess them all up again. Finnegan does not much care for the St. Louis Rams, or at least I'm assuming that's why he's completely not into football today.

That is all.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

does the way i wear my hair determine my integrity?

After much soul-searching, I decided to get a haircut that would be more than just me, meekly asking Wes (the coolbop grandpop who cuts my hair) to just trim a little off, please. Vide, hic.

Okay, so this is not the best picture in the world, but in short, I took this in the bathroom so I could see the digital camera monitor reflected by the mirror to see if I could actually get a photo of me, rather than of the back of the wall or my shoes.

I kind of like it. I'm just sick to death of maintaining the sort of mid-length, not much one-way-or-the-other-ness of the haircut I've been dragging around on my head for the last couple of years. I think I look a little bit on the horse-y side, but I think I'll get used to it...and in the meantime, at least it will mostly be out of the way. At least it will once I glop it all up with what the hairstylists casually if a bit Orwellian-ly refer to as "product." They say that women who wear their hair short have a really strong sense of self-esteem. In my case, I must be the exception that proves the rule, but in general, I like this haircut -- I think it looks striking and strong and sort of cleanly-defined, in a way -- and the people (of whom there are legion) who will feel obligated to point out the number of lesbians with short hair and their concerns that I might be mistaken for one can go fly a kite. You know, I have had short haircuts regularly since I was a child and the only people who ever say this sort of thing aloud to me about the short hair are women, and in general, they have real venom in their voices when they do. I wonder what's up with that. Most men I know think this kind of haircut is cute. They like the Victoria's Secret/trashy girl in metal video hair in the abstract, but in the concrete, I always get complimented by men when I'm wearing my hair short. But women...women are another story entirely. I can remember being ostracized for several months in junior high after getting a particularly short haircut -- there were some really mean girls who just would not let the "lesbians have short hair" thing die -- but eventually a) my hair grew out, and b) in the meantime, I learned an awful lot about professional hockey and COBOL computer programming, because I ended up sitting with the ostracized boys, of whom several commented that they liked the new aerodynamics of my head. Kooks, all of them, but now successful kooks. People who were popular in junior high and high school never end up being a success.

In other news, I made pumpkin bread this morning, cleaned and folded the laundry, and made soup for this chilly day. I came home to discover that my cattycorner-across-the-street neighbors have acquired (purchased? leased? stolen?) an ATV and a contraption that looks like a motorcycle with training wheels. The unfortunate children born into this family are now blatting and buzzing these things at ridiculous speeds up and down the street, sending my dog into complete apoplexy. A man (father? uncle? cousin? boyfriend? meth dealer?) wearing a t-shirt bearing an obscene phrase is standing out there grinning maniacally at them (his offspring? nephews? foster-care-check-providers? customers?), drinking a beer. I kind of want to go offer him some lottery tickets and bait.

Tune in tomorrow, as our heroine goes shopping for some skirts at Kohl's and mops the kitchen floor.

Friday, September 14, 2007

re-enforcing the stereotypical banality of stereotypical blogging

...and in other news, I'm getting a haircut tomorrow. I'll post a picture after the deed is done, unless I'm sitting in a darkened closet, weeping uncontrollably.

also: a trip to the grocery store! And making food for Finnegan! Hooray for this outlet, allowing the most mind-numbingly mundane tasks to take on an emphatic postmodern significance! At last, my life has meaning...or at least, documentation.

yet another sign of the apocalypse, or: why everyone is SO over blogging

Which is to say, that now that I have gotten around to setting once of these up, it unequivocally means that the trend is officially dead. Though one would not be wise to bet that the appetite nitwits have for spouting their undoubtedly ill-informed opinions in a public space will dry up any time soon.
Anyway, here's the space for pictures, comments and all that jazz so that the extended family clans, moieties, matrilineal and patrilineal groups (and their unnamed subsidiaries, off-shoots, shell and offshore holding companies, et cetera, in perpetuity) can see what's-a-happenin',- hot-stuff, out in the center of these-here Yoo-nited States.
Welcome back, my friends, to the show that may not in fact begin at all. Consider this my unending mic-check phase of this little shindig.
Stay tuned for pictures from Kelly's trip to the allegedly magnificent Olympic Peninsula, and photos of my recently-painted dining room. Also: a forthcoming essay on the genius that is "The Wire," and ongoing updates on my book that may or may not ever get written, because I'm too busy updating this thing. Much attention will be paid to the evidence of things unseen, and the substance of things hoped-for. Discuss amongst yourselves.
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A Microscopic Cog in a Catastrophic Plan by Laura Lorson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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