Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Is my Blog HOT or NOT? i need to know. link stolen from yami.

another intern-friendly day, meaning that all the people of substance in the office are still at the board of directors meeting. sam's playing the avalanches who, i'm just learning, are responsible for that awful "that boy needs therapy" song i have a mental image of rosling dancing to in the barn. i haven't done a lick of work yet. instead i've been shopping half, looking for new folk music. which is catie curtis's best album? should i get come on now social? what about voices on the verge? should i go totally-new and buy the kris delmhorst cd they're selling or if you're feeling sinister or honesty room, both of which i have memorized even though i don't technically, you know, have them. oh audiogalaxy, how i miss thee.

Looked at solely as a lexical unit, "fuck" is a very good, sturdy, versatile, and descriptive word. i think pulp fiction holds the record for the number of times its used in a film. and what an excellent film it is.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

unhappy? i? never for long. i lunched yesterday with th'interns and my new boss, the newly-30 scuba-diving curly haired cornell law grad with a framed picture of bill and her on her shelf. lana picked me up after my writing class, we dropped in on a goodbye party for dearfriend nomi, headed to the holy land for two weeks, and then i slept over at lana's house. when we bought breakfast this morning, two men with indecipherable accents behind the counter asked either if we were twins or if we wanted ice cream. we really couldn't tell but felt safe smiling "no" regardless.
a metro mixup landed me with a free day, which i took to the bank and then to the mall. like good yuppies, my brother, my father and i lunched at cpk and i bought two black dresses that complement my hair. upon returning, i found that half had come through admirably: a factory-sealed pride and prejudice waited for me on my step. oh what joy it is to come home to mark darcy.
now for the debut of one of my dresses, an AU board meeting ( = free dinner for interns. all we need to do is sit there and smile).

Sunday, July 28, 2002

this week's sex and the city didn't feel as uplifting to me as i think it was supposed to. it's a terrific show -- since liz and i discovered it, it's become something of a ritual. hbo is my master sunday nights, starting at 8 with six feet under. shamelessly, i lie on the couch and listen, without flinching, to them gloat. they have me but at least they've earned me.
something about the message this week, the distinct possibility that despite the fact that you're a skinny, attractive, intelligent, witty, wealthy, well-dressed, suave manhattanite (indeed, four of them) you could still be single at 36. that just shoots to hell every preconception i've ever had. i'm not exactly i make disdainful comments about marriage all the time -- but that's in reference to the next ten years. by the time i'm 36, i do want to be married, or at least in some common-law committed equivalent. it's not so much a kid thing; i'm not sure what my logic is, in fact.
so i cried. later when my father made some nasty comment about my new bathing suit and my haircut, i went upstairs and hugged the koala for a while, and then, more productively, hugged the beauty myth, which is what i just should have done in the first place.
the preternaturally mature and self-posessed child for whom i babysat last night charmed me but left lana, who was keeping me company, unsettled. she has a 12 year old brother and is more acquainted with the requirements of the genre, whereas i just get a kick out of smart kids. certainly an interesting experience though: this one bashfully requested to hang out with us; apologized in advance for a stand-up BET show ("it's for black people, so sometimes they make jokes about white people, so i'm sorry, please don't be offended"); declared big daddy one of sandler's best; asked us carefully if we were feminists -- they're looked down on in my school, he said. what do you think the word means? we asked. someone who thinks women should have options, he said, and i nearly hugged him -- and shook our hands as we left, $30 richer for having spent an evening lounging in the living room worshipping television.
big daddy, i agreed, did seem like an adam sandler best, reflective of a new hollywood habit of making the hero the Dad. i don't think i'm imagining that when i was younger, cinemales were virile and unattached. now guys grow up, decide to get married or stay within its bounds, and save little children. a return to reaganish values? the aging of the stars in question?
the babysittee had no father. perhaps his status as only child of single working mother helped form his self-sufficiency. nature/nurture: oh, who knows.

Friday, July 26, 2002

on the other hand (cuz god gave us two) i cherish books, i bring one with me everywhere; they make me cry 57 different varieties of tears, or laugh, or want to write myself; whereas i keep the &&&&&&&&& hidden within a box within a bag within a box and i don't even remember where i buried the ^^^^ ^^^^^ or the ####-## ####, so i won't draw any conclusions but at least i can enjoy o'hara anywhere, even a metro train.
inadvisably, i communed with a porcupine last night and have yet to recover. this was a function of an argument with my brother about college, instigated when my mother brought out my report card. i'm stressing myself overmuch, by his logic, because clearly my classes couldn't be that hard if i'm doing well in them; and more importantly, that's not what college is about. have fun, he chided
which gets to a more serious point in terms of the porcupine of my depression, which was waiting for me as i slowly ascended back to my room. it stared -- that's all the creatures that surround me do -- and staring back, i thought: am i having fun? when was the last time i had fun? running from these kinds of porcupines in the past i've ended up in smoky embraces (animals fear fire) or submerged (animals drown). i return refreshed. so i'm tempted to dash to new york, except that i have dull plans: get new contacts, buy a bathing suit (the porcupine i foresee will be waiting for me in the dressing room,) get my hair cut, sulk about not going to falconridge because dammit i really should have gone because dammit my life has become too staid, too routine. i'm 20. i've been a 20-nothing for a week and i haven't been drunk yet. i don't even think i've broken the law. this year, instead of sex toys, i got books for my birthday, like i used to when i was a kid -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- but once again (the porcupine is staring at me) i feel that rising urge to rebel.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

here in my mother's office, whiling away a slow afternoon, i've read about one excellently shrewd man and one popsicle.
when i met my delightful mother downtown she took me to lunch and peppered me with questions about the discussion group yesterday. she asked the same thing elke did: why is MTV worse than any other money-making corporate sleazebag TV station? when she wasn't picking up on details like that, she got positively starry eyed just listening. didn't you have consciousness-raising groups like that back in the day, i asked. cuz that's what we're told -- isn't that how the movement started? women everywhere suddenly drawn together, as though by the iron in their blood, and inspired to say in unison, "hey, what's with that only being able to be a secretary thing? why is my place necessarily in the home? why am i chattel?"

but apparently some women entirely missed the movement. my mother claims she did. she floundered after college -- no one thought to give her career advice in 1967 -- through jobs where the glass ceiling was hip-high, and, disgusted, enrolled in VISTA (which is now AmeriCorps.) the next few years she spent in the company of nuns and native americans, none of whom were on the cutting-edge of revolutionary thinking. it wasn't til she ended up in san francisco on a waterbed that it occurred to her to be a lawyer, cuz an all-male group of lawyer friends were serving draft dodger and conscientious objectors.
it astonishes me that, despite everything subtly feminist about her life those eight years between graduating college and marrying my father -- whom she met when she, representing the federal government, sued him, representing NM State -- she never draped over her business suit the purple big-F sash. talking to her now i feel like it's only in retrospect, and more ironically in dealings with her "third-wave" daughter, that she's beginning to consider it part of her identity. how many other women, you gotta wonder, are in a similar position?

maybe that's my calling: outreach to "second wavers" who missed the boat. or maybe just writing about them.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

i discovered that the leftmost of the interns in my office, sam, has a website. we interns do a decent amount of putzing around the net. in our travels monday we happened upon where we took the 5-minute IQ test and discovered that three of us scored the exact same non-round number, and the fourth intern, the only catholic, republican, smiley blue-eyed blond, scored one point higher. naturally it was a competition, as our interaction tends to be when we're not watching movies. today at lunch we made it through best in show. god bless christopher guest.

feminist discussion was so interesting this evening that i didn't even notice the attendees' shoes. barbies: in our experience, good, bad or neutral? did we dismantle? disrobe? disdain? did we read sassy or seventeen, or both? (dude, i read zillions.) science and math: easier or harder to be a female presently therein? were the smart girls really treated badly in high skool? most importantly, perhaps, is MTV evil? my Thought is fat with food.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

i slept with a koala for the first time last night. my mother, not being able to detect sarcasm long-distance, dutifully dragged a stuffed mama bear, complete with attendant baby, back from australia. or perhaps she could detect the underlying seriousness of my sarcasm. when i was seven or so, i gave my significant collection of stuffed animals away to our housekeeper's daughter. my barbies, too; but those i was far less attached to.
my animals, which seemed to multiply every time i glanced at their corner, required attention and i was fair: though i had a favorite, a nameless limpid-eyed brown Pound Puppy, i made sure to ration out nights relatively equally among them all so none would feel left out. the responsibility of leadership. or is it ownership? i enjoyed sleeping with the Pound Puppy best and continued stubbornly through fourth grade. one day my brothers and i arrived home from school to find a daft, dopey golden retriever smiling at us on our lawn. we thought there must have been some mistake: my parents had told us, firmly, repeatedly, that we could not have a dog. yet here one was, already named sheba, two years old, and far bigger and stronger than i was. when i timidly attempted to take her around the block, she nearly pulled my arm from its socket: she dashed, i bumped along behind like a parasailer; and my parents, reassuringly, yelled: "remember, you're walking her!"

last night my arm found the koala rigid and unfamiliar. for ten years, i'd slept holding maybe the corner of a pillow. but deeper down, some primal part of me must have remembered the simple joy of clutching the Pound Puppy, which was the only one of my collection i kept. perhaps i should have parted with it volitionally and spared myself the trauma of coming home one afternoon to find a trail of carnage-crumbs leading to my doorway and sheba's smile full of cotton. twice, mom sewed up the eviserated Pound Puppy, but the third time there was nothing even jesus could have done. we laid the scraps to rest and i came to terms with the fact that i had a real dog now and that would have to suffice.

the koala is soft. it stares, which startled me this morning. perhaps it misses australia. or perhaps it sensed, over the course of the night, for what it was really substituting.

Monday, July 22, 2002

i only just noticed this: the guardian has listed me as one of its international blogs of note. i'm in such illustrious company as francis and lots of folks i've never heard of. kind of exciting, no? someone british, comment!, and find a way to communicate the accent, and i'll swoon.
and the new harry potter director is none other than the perfect candidate. i'm stuck somewhere between delight and amazement and trying to keep from clapping my hands cuz technically i'm still at work. just think of the possibilities for those increasingly apparent harry/ron undertones!

Sunday, July 21, 2002

my brother has returned from the nether regions of the globe, bronzer and buffer, bigger, both hair-wise and in general. suddenly there're suitcases in the hallway upstairs besides the one i brought back from co|motion a month ago and used as a knee-high shelf on my floor before in a cleaning-panic i moved it out there. suddenly there are two male voices booming in the kitchen again. "you have no answers -- you have diatribes." "a milton freedman acolyte is going to say kaddish for me?" "a solution: free trade solves things." "adam doesn't want ranting. that's like saying a pig doesn't want dirt." my brother has been home one hour and my father is already shipping him back to australia and placing an ad for a new firstborn.

after a less-than-successful attempt to have a party last nite, lana liz xandra and i regrouped this evening for more sex and the city and a homebaked cookie cake. nothing, i'm afraid, compares to the sheer joy that was turning 19. but i never expected anything to. it was gratifying enough to realize i still had the same excellent friends (hit up the egypt exhibit with becca and fam. this morning, which amounted to 20 minutes spent speed-walking through tombs and 3 hours chatting with her little boy cousins) with whom i share the same excellent taste in food and fun (tamar brought over a bottle of manischewitz with which to play I Never, a long-held dream of mine. maybe someday.)

Saturday, July 20, 2002

the Cutest Person to Wake Up To slept over last night, having sped down from ny to leisure world to unicorn lane. she was waiting on my doorstep when i got back from japanese dinner with my father, grandparents, and elderly neighbors (ave. number of years since they were 20: 40) like a package thrown off a UPS truck. but thrillingly. she administered an abbreviated version of a personality test that involved envisioning 1) a desert and 2) a cube. the latter i described as "shiny, dark blue, small -- cute, like a volkswagon." it turned out that this represents how you see yourself. she, for example, envisioned a completed rubix cube. what do you think that means, i asked. i have no idea, said she. this morning, in pajamas, on connecticut avenue, we looked at each other, volkswagon to rubix cube; she drank her coffee; and i spilled my diet coke all over my lap and the bench below.

Friday, July 19, 2002

file this under Best Ever: listening to little earthquakes, having just returned from a day spent with my oldest friends. we hung out in bethesda, listening to ben's stories about being objectified and picked up by gay men in coffeeshops and moving from there to sexuality in general. when that paled, we saw lovely and amazing. catharine keener has been my woman since the early tom dicillo days. back in the so familiar setting of liz's house, we caught up more, noshed on challah, gave each other sex quizzes, and laughed. such gatherings beat all because we remember so much for each other of what was the pain, the beauty, the humiliation of pretending to grow up.

as i was leaving, darling xandra gestured me back. "you're prettier than he is," she whispered. now that's a birthday present.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

over the course of the last few days, i've amassed through mail more money than i will make this month. some of it -- small increments, mostly -- is birthday money. the cheery danish $150 made me smile. but the unexpected $400 from swarthmore made me think i should invest in stock. when else will $400 buy you an entire corporation?

other happiness of the day included my father returning. this will in turn make becca happy, my dear readers will no longer be treated to vivid descriptions of my nights kept awake by the intuition that if i let down my guard, not only will i be got, i will deserve the being-gotten. also, i watched aimee and jaguar, at long last, which made me sob -- but in, of course, a happy way. lovely movie, that, if at times a little slow. and i finished revamping my 35 pages of screenplay. now i just need to proceed.
AND i got a sinfully-sweet birthday card from illinois. needless to say, illinois has never cared enough about me to send me a card before; i was overwhelmed. in its honor i will make every effort to refer to soda as "pop" tomorrow and ... well, gee, what else do ill. folks do? thanks again, miz sarah.

today was my last day to be 19. the ratio of childhood years spent wanting to be 19 as opposed to wanting to be 20, incidentally, was roughly 10:1. 19 seemed like a magic number to me. sure enough, during 19 i stayed romantically in one spot throughout while physically i spent a record amount of time hopping about. i learned not to be afraid of the kitchen or of children. i lived in an apartment for the first time. i befriended midwesterners, identified as a Feminist, co-directed a play in whose cast i was the minority, went skinny-dipping for the first time and dyed my hair, spent an awful amount of time online, met people IRL, read the satanic verses, drank my weight in chai 15 times over, got picked up by a middle aged danish government-worker ... a year of achievements. now if you'll excuse me, i think i'll go bake some oatmeal raisin cookies, watch the third man and continue to muse.
i came this close to calling an escort service last nite. i figured it'd give both of us a well-deserved break: this way we could both get a decent night's sleep. but i chucked the plan and braved the dark aloneness alone. those of you wagering on my perserverence and independence over my over-active imagination will be gratified to know i made it through alive. unfortunately, as expected, i didn't sleep much or well, and i felt crummy enough this morning to justify a call to karen and a delay, if not a cancellation, of our workday today.
to make me feel better, and because tomorrow's my birthday, and because a check from dk for $150 serendipitously arrived yesterday, i popped into Politics and Prose and bought the poetry speaks book i've been lusting after for half a year. i choked up just looking at it on the table.
pursuant to a conversation i had with miss lana before she left, and because i stumbled across it yesterday, i retook the kiersey temperment sorter. for the first time it called me a "SP" rather than an "FP" -- suddenly i'm an artisan instead of an idealist. maybe i'll take it again just to see. like everyone else, i'm a sucker for insightful proclamations from the voices in the sky.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

outside of my office, no one, it seemed, was having an overly-good start to the week. ilana called from vassar, despondent that she wasn't interacting better with her idol. my grandparents alerted me that they returned from vermont early because my grandfather, at a hale 90, discovered that a recurring problem has flared up. jamie, who came over to keep me company during those all-important and frightening night hours, and i took turns venting. my primary frustration was that, naturally, my writing class was less than kind to my fledgling screenplay. although teacher jon called my dialogue "excellent" and made allusions to ghost world before we began the verbal dissection, and half the class whispered praise as they filed out afterwards on break, in the during criticism abounded. the sci-fi carol-kane-clone who so irritated me last week kept sneaking looks at me during the dramatic reading as though if she peered intensely enough she could intuit whether the story was autobiographical. "have you watched buffy?" she asked. "they handle the thing you're trying to do here really well in buffy." i smiled thinly at her and willed her head to implode. later, during the critique of her screenplay i observed that we each held in our right hands the exact same pen.

but today began, refreshingly, with breakfast, with jamie, with bantering and chummy paper reading. karen and i spent another efficient day to a soundtrack of npr. we get along well; our work-styles are quite compatable. only the lack of a salary prevents this from being the most enviable position ever. and while i was filing for her, i realized how to fill a signficant hole in my screenplay. it requires much rewriting -- i half-wish i had all that empty last-summer time -- and research, cuz i'm now placing the girls in columbus, ohio from the get-go. columbus, oh!
welcome, elizabeth, back from the shitlist. please wipe your feet.

Monday, July 15, 2002

the legal department went en masse to lunch today: 4 professional women, one man, and me. i ate and watched and listened to them talk law-stuff and generally experienced them disprove this article, the end of herstory, which made me knit my brow and clench my teeth and otherwise facially express disagreement when i read it this morning. on the way home i asked my legal buddies straight out if they identified. to which (take that, hymowitz!) they replied, "of course."

more from hymowitz if you're interested: "Now it turns out that these efforts were not only a gigantic waste of money but also may well have harmed their intended beneficiaries. For if girls left to their own devices are much like boys�status-seeking, aggressive, ruthless�then think of what happens when you empower them. What girls need, it seems, isn�t more self-esteem, but a little Western culture to teach them how to control their darker side."

large scale critique of 10-pages of my screenplay this evening. i'm nervous. i'm also considering changing my special major to film and minoring in history and/or polisci. maybe this will go a ways towards determining that.

Sunday, July 14, 2002

friday, i made it roughly through the length of the workday before i broke down, cracked up and otherwise lost it walking down massachusetts avenue. my girlz, in fine form, rallied around me, coaxed me from my orbit -- sheba in hand, face stickily-misted, mournfully crooning being alive -- to lana's house. they accomplished what cake did not. i spent the night there. the next morning we all convened again for breakfast, and then again that evening for dinner and dangerous lives of altar boys in yuppie bethesda. it's a sweet film, one whose flirtation with cliche is redeemed by the earnestness of the boys' performances and how straightforwardly their relationships are depicted. much like y tu mama, which bizarrely also featured a male-male-female triangle that ends tragic. emerging from the theater, nomi's longstanding boyfriend, yoni, commented on the trailer for the fast runner, shown at this theater before every release. in the amount of time i've spent watching that trailer, i could have seen the movie twice over. as yoni put it, "from a culture that hasn't invented electricity, comes a movie out of focus!"
tamar and i were still laughing as we staggered to the car, passing on the way my old friend ben, sitting with all the popular people i hung out with senior year when i went through my authentic teenage rebellion/fitting in phase. this morning, after dropping tamar off in rockville, and having seemingly run out of friend-type cushioning, i went shopping, only to run into ben again, on his way to philly. i have benz like i have girlz: as necessary to my life, wherever it happens to be taking place, as dairy products and diet coke.

finally i'm back home, home and alone -- and alone is alone, not alive -- and clutching a phone wherever i go. my rationale is that if i have to open a door that has somehow gotten closed while i was gone, i may as well be connected via phone lines with someone somewhere. if the feared villain leaps out and garrotes me, the person i'm talking to will get to hear whatever brilliant and beautiful sentiment floats from my near-blue lips in that last moment of stress and assure my posthumous fame. or could call 911 -- i mean, whatever.

Friday, July 12, 2002

so many things are over. the heatwave, featuring ominous cloud-cover spilling down from canada's forest fires; my second Giardia Offensive -- with any luck, this time the enemy is well and truly vanquished and i can live my life both sedative and nausea free; ben's visit. which was wonderful.

yesterday evening he lana and i meandered through fave local bookstore politics and prose like it was a museum, lingering in the poetry section to point out pieces to each other. one of the ones that struck me, that always does, was frank o'hara's why i'm not a painter. we'd gone with the vague intention of celebrating my birthday in advance as neither of thems that i love so much will be here next friday to seize the day with me.
the previous evening we went to the first meeting of a discussion group on manifesta and third-wave feminism. looking around the circle of earnest, leftist twenty-somethings with excellent shoes, i remembered the first comotion meetings, before we even called ourselves that, and how initially i was impatient because everyone seemed so solicitous and showy-sensitive. that made me smile, and it -- and the excellent shoes -- gave me hope that this group will advance past the polite stages too.

i met my second boss yesterday when i went to assist documentary filmmaker ms. cantor. easy labor: mostly manual stuff, and i got to listen to npr the entire time. the film she's working on, copenhagen 1943, is narrated by garisson keillor and edited by the danish fellow who edited dancer in the dark. i was quite impressed.

but i will return this evening to a now doubly-empty house, with only the memories, and sheba, to keep me warm. and cake. it's cake day at the office. cake helps.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

fun day at the office: one of the lawyers just got a new dog. she's fond of west wing president who shares his name with a kind of pear so she decided to name the dog "bartlet." someone queried as to whether she's hinting anything about the sexuality of bartlet's portrayer, martin sheen. "no," she said, "he's not a fruit - but my dog is."

another one of the lawyers brought in a dvd of classic film omega code II, directed by brian trenchard-smith, of leprechauns 3, happy face murders and atomic dog fame. this anti-catholic, anti-EU, anti-UN (the latter two are conspiracies against god) but otherwise good-humored dramatization of Revelations features flickering fireplaces in every other scene illuminating the antichrist (michael york) who rises to the rank of world chancellor and begins armeggedon.

speaking of the end of days, one of the interns came across this charming piece from the detroit free press. Callahan, one candidate, was quoted as saying to the AP, in reference to his opponent, Levin, "I mean, the man has never owned a Christmas tree. He's not a Christian. And I'm thinking, 'Jeez, how can he represent me then?' " he later also refers to Levin as "pro-choice and Hebrew. enough said."

ben's here, keeping me company for a few days, now that my father has disappeared to new mexico. otherwise, now is a great time to come visit -- i can guarantee anyone who wants one a bedroom (complete with bed!)

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

we're going to do a character exercise, said my writing teacher john last nite with one eye on the clock. quickly. everyone just call out names of your favorite movie characters. i think better with a pencil in hand: i picked one up, and immediately two names came to mind. harry burns from when harry met sally i said, and then, eleanor of aquitaine in lion in winter. teacher john scribbled as suggestions peppered him from around the table.

all right, he said, that's enough. those of you who have taken a class with me before know what i'm going to say. he counted up the names and announced, i have twice as many male characters here as female characters. i looked around to see if anyone was surprised. one woman on my side of the table, who'd established herself early as a sci-fi maven and resembles carol kane, objected "but we have more women here in class. of course we're going to like the men more."
i hissed. more constructively, teacher john counted heads and said, no, there are 6 women here and 6 men. sci-fi woman slunk back. teacher john continued: regardless, i've taught classes of all makeups, and the results are the same. he delivered a small lecture on the importance of activity to memorable characters. television, plays, books are different. in films, characters have to make decisions, to be assertive, to fight, which is why more of the resonant ones tend to be men.

by contrast to sci-fi woman, at whom i was still hissing internally, i remembered this: ages ago i went to camp with and idolized a girl named emile. she once said that she'd made out with everyone -- straight girls, straight guys, queer girls, and queer guys -- and so knew definitively that gay guys were the best kissers.

Monday, July 08, 2002

left to my own devices at work this afternoon when my immediate boss ducked out, i thumbed through mefi, ms., and motherjones, exhausted arts & letters, and caught up on my british news. over lunch today two of the interns and i watched part of manchurian candidate. as a consequence i don't feel too strongly that i'm contributing to the betterment of humankind, but i do feel reasonably well-educated on current affairs. besides, even with diversions, i'm impressed that i've been making it through 8 hour workdays. i'm, uh, not tempermentally inclined to that sort of thing, as a general rule.

i also received a range of opinions on act one of "drive", which is the working title of my screenplay. some harsh, some glowing. since this is my first attempt, i've had an easier time distancing myself and accepting criticism. it needs work, of course, but i'm enjoying playing with it.
it's vegetarian week. who knew?

Sunday, July 07, 2002

enthusiastic nonathletes, my father and i made it to the pool on the one overcast day in recent memory and headed straight for the powerblue and creme chaise lounge to read (me) and table on which to spread the times + crossword puzzle (him.) sedaris's me talk pretty one day, which liz leant me yesterday, kept me laughing for two hours. i took breaks now and then to people watch, marveling at the fact that, with the exception of the underutilized and over-muscled lifeguards, i was the youngest post-puberty person around and a contender for lightest, yet i was wearing the most modest swimsuit.
this forced renewed consideration on the topic of bikinis. sure, society says you should be sarah jessica parker or else wear a t-shirt (and please god, not a white one), but how much does it really matter? none of the leathery matrons and matriarchs around me seemed to care. if they aren't going to let a little extra tummy fat or a couple spare tires scare them into hiding, it shouldn't bother me. examining my conscience, i can't tell whether it bothers me or not, but i certainly notice. it's society, man. it has its hooks in us deeper than we know.

Saturday, July 06, 2002

what do langston hughes, eleanor roosevelt, socrates, and tchaikovsky all have in common? according to this, they're all gay. according to an article in the times this morning, joining their illustrious ranks is nietzsche himself. i'm astounded and a little skeptical. what suffices as proof? were they videotaped? did they confess a questionable dream to their posthumously-published diaries, or some experiment to a linda tripp?
moreover, just as people asked when dc erected the statue of FDR in the new memorial, how would they feel about being portrayed in a way they chose not to portray themselves? so far as i know, wagner, woolf, and susan b. anthony were happily - or at least contentedly - closeted in life. how much do their preferences matter after death? which should matter more: respecting their assumed wishes or the greater good of the icon-hungry community?

scratch that last: this seems to confirm the bit about susan b. and this makes it more than clear. god, i guess i'm out of it. {original link from the reliable guys of malpractice}

Friday, July 05, 2002

as days sometimes do, today had a turning point. pre-turning point, i scurried in to work, shook my head glumly at blogger which refused to publish, did a washington post crossword puzzle online, and ate cold pasta in the office kitchen at a table by myself. post-midpoint, i ventured into the conference room, where the staff were kicked back with roast chicken and jumbo shrimp, heckling a western on AMC.
leftist, the only other intern in today, was there, and shook a leg at me in greeting. we started talking movies while cheering for kirk douglas on his quest to bring his wife's rapist and murderer to justice. it was a slow day anyway so no one bothered us as we took the discussion upstairs. he pointed out netflix, to which i immediately succumbed, and we spent the subsequent hours agreeing with each other on films and making suggestions to each other.

from there, i went straight into the bosom of the charrow family. i shared shabbes with them and we watched wet hot american summer. all the jokes didn't quite fly, but on the whole it kept us laughing. hard.
a pervasive feeling that Something Bad was going to happen on the mall, a natural intelligent shrinking from the 100+ degree heat, and agoraphobia kept me from tripping downtown yesterday to enjoy the fourth with the masses. instead i hung out with dearliz and her wacky sister. we rented movies, picked up our friend jay the mideastphile who recently spent three weeks in israel and since he's returned has done nothing but plot his next trip, not to mention his aliyah; and we made it over to lana's, where her parents and their friends were bbqing. lana made lovely veggie burgers from scratch (and in some cases, from eggplant and chickpeas.) we chatted, we laughed, we tried to compose a queer ABCs along the lines of lynne cheney's primer. certain letters posed challenges: i, for example. others were just fun.

but it didn't attain any independence-ish-ness. patriotism failed to stir me. the preponderance of american flags everywhere you look has rather numbed me to the sight of them. all the same, of course, i'm glad and grateful to have been born in this country. the usa has noble ideals, even if we fail to live up to them for the most part. and as tempting as this is, i'm going to hold out for a more sensible, if less amusing, solution.

Thursday, July 04, 2002

there is cornbread cooling on my oven rack. granted, said cornbread is 80% trader joe's mix and patient instructions, and 20% me flying around kitchen with one hand on heart (patriotism, anxiety - it's all interwoven nowadays) assembling eggoilmilkcupmeasuresbowlfork8x8x2pan. the product virtually glows with wholesomeness. i haven't attempted a bite yet. i'm still at the suspicious prowling in circles about it and sniffing stage.

yesterday, my first full day of work ( = a full day face off with a computer monitor) and the heat index reaching 110 and walking through that foul air combined to floor me, by evening, with a migraine that invited henry james in on the fun. by 7 i was a wreck; by 8, i had finally managed to throw back some of my sedative-stuff and merge with the night. by 12:30 i was awake and fine, only none of my friends were around to play with. sad. i read winnie-the-pooh and eventually fell back asleep.
the day itself, by contrast, was relatively painless. my research allowed me time to chat w/ miz becca, who is angsting over her latest Possibility, a young man who edits at a Mainstream Men's Magazine. a google search for his name returned interviews with shannon doherty and pamela anderson lee, the latter window i had to immediately close for fear wandering associates would think i was ogling porn. but i was suitably impressed.
the three intern fellows and i went out to lunch. their identities came further into focus: guy #1, leftist, speaks knowledgeably of mother jones and ms. and started a weekly film showing on his campus. he and i are seeing minority report on saturday. guy #2, sweet smiley blond and a self-revealed republican, b.b.. guy #3 reminds me of a former jds-er named aaron: shaggy, outspoken, very self-confident. he told me i reminded him of "that girl from american pie." turned out of be natasha lyonne, of course -- i've been told that before. course the way he put it made me shudder a bit: "you know, that one they run into at skool, who couldn't have orgasms."

and met liz at union station, after wandering while waiting through Waldenbooks. i discovered lynne cheney's American Primer: a kid's a-z on the usa. just looking at the cover i knew what "G" would stand for. sure enough: "G is for GOD, in whom we all trust ..." happy 4th, lynne.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

finally succumbed to the popular "yourname is" meme impulse. so according to highlights of the first 6 pages of a google search, ester is:
- assuming an increasingly important role in the oleochemical industry
- number twenty-eight in order of magnitude
- purified by steam stripping
- made using vegetable oils, animal fats, algae, or even recycled cooking greases
- a fun cartoon character
- Ms. Nubian American 2001
- used as an insect repellant against mosquitoes
- 5
- fat soluble
- in her late thirties and has a quiet demeanor
- doing well in the 6th grade
- author and editor of over twenty books and more than a hundred journal articles and book chapters
- a colorful community of artists, writers, Bohemians, and people working in Fairbanks
AND - not to be written.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

my ambitious plans for today didn't amount to much. i spent the morning lounging in pajamas, finishing divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood. i'm glad i've read it but i found myself skimming because, while parts made me laugh (and weep, like a good little woman), i was also often put off by how overwritten and overwrought it was. friends appeared, diverting me from my fruitless stabs at starting the screenplay or, in irritation, at the computer. we discussed love and waxing. one of my friends recounted how she'd just been waxed in a very sensitive region by an afghani woman who got her degree there in engineering but had to leave when the war broke out in '84. aside from shudders of sympathy pain, this prompted me to think smilingly about ben who told me he didn't care if i shave my legs. reminder perhaps that if you can't even take security in your country for granted, you certainly can't a person.

after they left, liz called, deciding she'll come visit tomorrow, and then my grandfather. he and i had a spirited talk about recent supreme court rulings and the 1st amendment. i love agreeing with my grandfather -- he's such a staunchly intelligent man, i find it comforting when our opinions align.
now, much calmer, i have a decent start, about ten pages. thanks to everyone who commented here or offered off-screen ideas (including "isn't that a little close to home?") the consensus seems to be that dotty doesn't quite work as her name, so i'm willing to swallow my affection for it and try something else. morgan maybe?
further details: morgan's mom is a republican congresswoman from ohio. no i don't like "morgan dwight." hmm.

Monday, July 01, 2002

last week, for the first class of this screenwriting course, which i missed, being both sick and at swat, we were supposed to have a pitch. this week we were supposed to have 15 pages. i have neither; i'm scrambling to catch up. here's my thought:

main character: girl, 16, dorothy dwight. her parents have been separated since she was little but both are local. her mom is a republican politician, her dad something more low-key. she has generally normal, imperfect relationships with both. focuses more on high school dramas, particularly that she's dealing with the fact that somehow she's fallen into bed with another girl though she'd never thought of herself as queer. as she's struggling with the come-out question, her father drops the bombshell: he's met this other woman and he wants a formal divorce so he can marry her. other woman lives some distance away; he's willing to move and he wants dotty to accompany him. dotty's infuriated mother wants dotty to choose.
dotty's girlfriend suggests that dotty reveal her sexuality and let her parents' reactions determine who she goes with. that leaves dotty to wonder whether she's sure enough of it to declare it, and whether if she did either would still want her.
three other interns, white collegiate males, sit side by side at computers. i sit perpendicular to them at one end. the guys smiled at me as i came in, bobbed their heads as i was introduced, and later guy #2 came to my table to move my monitor over because it was blocking my face from view. attempting studiousness and with unaffected shyness, because it's been a long time since i've been in a majority-male atmosphere, i largely kept my face turned down towards a 25 page brief my immediate boss handed me to get me started. a woman from the office came over and chatted with the guys. she, she said, had gone to catholic school but had since renounced it. everyone does, said guy #1, closest to me: in fact, we should encourage vouchers for catholic schools, they're so reliable at producing liberals. the woman opened her mouth and laughed but no sound came out. a few minutes later, she started describing escorting last saturday at a clinic in silver spring. one man, 6 feet tall, she recounted, stood there in a fetus costume, flailing with his umbilical cord and shouting, You're killing my brothers and sisters!
i had to laugh at that. she turned to me briefly and smiled, then turned back to the guys. i should get back to my office, she said. i'm procrastinating. the supreme court's ruling is on my desk and i'm trying to avoid losing my breakfast on o'connor's opinion. you should go over to the court and lose your breakfast on o'connor, suggested guy #1.

later i passed by guy #3 on my way to learn how to use a search program, and a brief talk established that he lives next door to becca at penn. we share a deck, he said. small world. this is a terrific office, he added, one of the best i've ever been in. you'll love it.
i had to leave before too long, to see a gastroenterologist who concluded i probably picked up giardia from mother russia and perscribed another round of antibiotics, so i think it's too early to pass judgement on the office myself. but it seems promising.