Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Excitement

I am SO excited about tomorrow. More exciting, though? I'm going to the Inauguration. How cool is that??

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Catch Up

Sorry I've been so MIA, guys. The beginning of school is always hectic for me. It's going really, really well so far, though. I have most of my kids from last year, which is thrilling because last year was awesome. I wanted to share my newest Donors Choose proposals with you:


And here.

Also, I've signed up with Adopt-a-Classroom, which is pretty cool. It does the same thing as Donors Choose--it sets up teachers with donors--but it provides a little more freedom, plus it doesn't charge the overhead that DC does. My page is here.

Give them a look. If you can't afford to donate, perhaps you can forward the links on to someone who can.

Finally, I found this clip on YouTube today. It's about Ballytobin, where I lived for a year. The clip gives you a pretty decent idea of our lives there. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This actually made me like her a little

Paris Hilton was actually kind of funny. I'd embed it, but it was too wide for my page. Just go, will you?

Also, by the way, Sharon Osbourne recently said this about Ms. Hilton:

"She's got a look that a lot of younger girls liked and copied but she has no talent. I'm sure Paris would tell you that herself. The timing was right for her. A lot of younger women looked up to her.

"She's a very sweet, nice girl. But that's it. Then you put a full stop. It's over."

Um, somebody's glass house had a reality show, too...

I'm pretty sure we need to get Anderson Cooper to join the DGSC.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Totally Overpriced but Perhaps Worth it Product Review

Every year, my dad's side of the family visits Lake Tahoe. The highlight for me is our trip to Shannon's Day Spa. The first year, I got a massage. I loved it, but I kind of felt drunk for the rest of the day. It was disconcertingly odd. For the last few years, then, I've been getting facials. I'm pretty happy with my skin these days. I went on Proactiv for a month, and though it made me feel like my face was covered in snake skin, it did clear me up. After that, I moved onto Cetaphil, and I've been clear and haven't had too many blemishes. So now I'm working on cultivating a bit of a glow.

I think that exfoliating is a key step for that. I used to use Kiehl's Milk, Honey, and Almond Scrub. I really liked it--it was like scrubbing my face with cookie dough. It smelled wonderful. My esthetician, however, said that after 25 or so, people should really stop using anything that uses shells or nuts, because they're too rough. Instead, she suggested the Ayur-Medic Papaya Enzyme Peel.

Now, I think $44 for 2 oz. is just stupid. I will be the first to admit this. I will attempt to justify myself by saying that a little goes a very, very long way. A teeny dip of the fingers in the green goop covers my whole face, and I will only use it once a week. And boy, does it seem to work. In the shower, I spread a truly small amount over my face, wait a minute, and then rinse it off. Ta. Da. It feels warm while it's on, but not uncomfortably so. After, my skin is crazy smooth and really glows.

Overpriced? Probably. Effective? Hell yes.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Reason I dislike my neighbor #3,973

Yes, in addition to the drums, the smoking, and the sinister house guests, he is currently playing a song whose title, as far as I can tell, is "Move those N*****s North." Awesome.

Dear John, please move. Love, Casey.

Sadly, he is a friend of my landlord's, so I doubt complaining will get me anywhere...

Unrelated, but I'd like to throw out a wag of my finger to Obama for kind of sorta saying he would kind of sorta think about offshore drilling. Yeah, yeah, if it's a part of a plan that includes energy conservation and alternative energy solutions. Get a spine, my friend.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I got Katie Holmes' hair cut.

No, not the weird-ass curled monstrosity of late that just begs, begs for a dicky bow. The one before. Since I take shitty pictures, you're just going to have to picture that haircut. On my head. I'm going for highlights next week. I've never dyed my hair, but I figured, meh, what the hell.

In other news, can they really say "douche bag" on TV? They just did. I didn't know that.

Mickey is going to be pissed

This is SO bitchy!!! I can't believe that Miley Cyrus would be so stupid to put something like this up. If I were her parents, I'd be really disappointed. I know, I KNOW, I'm posting something about Hannah Montana. Totally lame. But:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Just So You Know

My landlord watered our sidewalks again. And porches, patios, and stairs. You know, like he does every day. As, in fact, many of our neighbors do every day. How are people so clueless???

I enjoyed this.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pop Culture Confession

I've got a pretty bad confession to make: I kind of adore ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager. It's by the creators of 7th Heaven and it's bad in all the same ways, except maybe even more so. And the pregnant teen isn't just some side character Hilary Duff sister. No, it's the main character. And drama abounds, I promise. My favorite part, though, is when kids (usually Amy's best friends, who annoyed me at first but are growing on me) will be having regular "OMG she's pregnant!" conversations, but then one of them will slip in a phrase like, "Amy needs to start eating right and taking prenatal vitamins for the fetus." It's sounds so unnatural and scripted; it verges on awesome because it is so, so bad. Also, one of the Dukes of Hazard is the super Christian doctor dad of the celibate cheerleader character, and he sways when he talks. It's super annoying. But again, awesome. The Christian cheerleader's mom was Amy's dad's first wife. AND there's the SPICY Latina majorette character who's also a slut and whose mom is a stewardess and always gone. And her major secret, along with the fact that she really just wants Jack, the boyfriend of the Christian cheerleader, or Ricky, the drummer who impregnated Amy, to love her, is that she's also really smart, and scored almost perfect on the verbal section on the PSAT. Also, she has sex with Ricky and it's pretty clear that she gave Jack a blow job. I think it's hilarious that the slutty character is the only Latina on the show. It is so unabashedly racist. Oh, another important point: Ricky has sex with everyone he possibly can because his dad sexually abused him and he's trying to prove his masculinity. He now lives with foster parents and sees a pretty cool shrink. What else? Amy's little sister is Goth, and really sarcastic and I like her. And Amy's new boyfriend doesn't care that she's had sex (but doesn't know she's pregnant yet) and he's such a geek but very endearing. His two best friends are this funny Asian couple. The girl of the couple is kind of a mix between Paris and Lane, and keeps spewing sex stats.

And the mom is Molly Ringwald. Snap.

Again, I recommend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Obama explains his inexcusable vote FOR the FISA bill today:

I want to take this opportunity to speak directly to those of you who oppose my decision to support the FISA compromise.

This was not an easy call for me. I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn't have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush's abuse of executive power. It grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that may have violated the law by cooperating with the Bush Administration's program of warrantless wiretapping. This potentially weakens the deterrent effect of the law and removes an important tool for the American people to demand accountability for past abuses. That's why I support striking Title II from the bill, and will work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove this provision in the Senate.

But I also believe that the compromise bill is far better than the Protect America Act that I voted against last year. The exclusivity provision makes it clear to any President or telecommunications company that no law supersedes the authority of the FISA court. In a dangerous world, government must have the authority to collect the intelligence we need to protect the American people. But in a free society, that authority cannot be unlimited. As I've said many times, an independent monitor must watch the watchers to prevent abuses and to protect the civil liberties of the American people. This compromise law assures that the FISA court has that responsibility

The Inspectors General report also provides a real mechanism for accountability and should not be discounted. It will allow a close look at past misconduct without hurdles that would exist in federal court because of classification issues. The recent investigation uncovering the illegal politicization of Justice Department hiring sets a strong example of the accountability that can come from a tough and thorough IG report.

The ability to monitor and track individuals who want to attack the United States is a vital counter-terrorism tool, and I'm persuaded that it is necessary to keep the American people safe -- particularly since certain electronic surveillance orders will begin to expire later this summer. Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I've chosen to support the current compromise. I do so with the firm intention -- once I’m sworn in as President -- to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.

Now, I understand why some of you feel differently about the current bill, and I'm happy to take my lumps on this side and elsewhere. For the truth is that your organizing, your activism and your passion is an important reason why this bill is better than previous versions. No tool has been more important in focusing peoples' attention on the abuses of executive power in this Administration than the active and sustained engagement of American citizens. That holds true -- not just on wiretapping, but on a range of issues where Washington has let the American people down.

I learned long ago, when working as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago, that when citizens join their voices together, they can hold their leaders accountable. I'm not exempt from that. I'm certainly not perfect, and expect to be held accountable too. I cannot promise to agree with you on every issue. But I do promise to listen to your concerns, take them seriously, and seek to earn your ongoing support to change the country. That is why we have built the largest grassroots campaign in the history of presidential politics, and that is the kind of White House that I intend to run as President of the United States -- a White House that takes the Constitution seriously, conducts the peoples' business out in the open, welcomes and listens to dissenting views, and asks you to play your part in shaping our country’s destiny.

Democracy cannot exist without strong differences. And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That's ok. But I think it is worth pointing out that our agreement on the vast majority of issues that matter outweighs the differences we may have. After all, the choice in this election could not be clearer. Whether it is the economy, foreign policy, or the Supreme Court, my opponent has embraced the failed course of the last eight years, while I want to take this country in a new direction. Make no mistake: if John McCain is elected, the fundamental direction of this country that we love will not change. But if we come together, we have an historic opportunity to chart a new course, a better course.

So I appreciate the feedback through, and I look forward to continuing the conversation in the months and years to come. Together, we have a lot of work to do.

This makes me sad. I've left the links to his justifications in. I really want to like him. I really do.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Donors Choose Proposal

I put up another Donors Choose proposal. You can find it here:

Be warned, I am basically incapable of getting my thank you packet out on time, because it's nearly impossible to get into my school's computer lab, and there's no way I'm letting my kids send out their hand-written stuff. It's kind of embarrassing. Trust me, I'm working on it.

In other news, I just cleaned the walls of my bathroom. Not fun. It's amazing what goes into keeping a place clean. Next, I'm going to go do my least favorite chore of all time: cleaning off the thin film of grease that accumulates on the stuff on the shelf over the oven. I hope Bob appreciates me.

By the way, Cristina, I've got your white people beat. I went sailing this weekend. I know!!! Bob grew up on boats--his dad loves to sail. When Bob was a kid, they would go on multiple-week long sailing excursions. His dad has been offering to take us out for a while, and we finally went on Sunday. OMG. I was terrified. I mean, looking back, I definitely had fun, but only because I was repeating my mantra of "You can swim, you can swim," to myself. I just don't think I'll ever be able to get used to that nearly-tipping-over feeling. Scary. Although I must say, I enjoyed watching Bob sail-- hand on the rudder, the breeze blowing back his curls, wearing a collared shirt and saying things like "Okay, coming about"--it was cute.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


The ALA convention was held in Anaheim this past week. Are teachers allowed to go to these? How does this work? It sounds like shitloads of fun, I have to tell you. Why?
1. Books
2. Writers
3. Librarians

Emily, this reminds me of your obsession with the bloggerazzi. I have a fantasy about hanging out with YA writers.

Next, I would like to note that I have thus far been a complete failure at "getting really fucking good" at Guitar Hero. Turns out that practicing pseudo-guitar is not much different from being nine and putting off doing scales on my flute.

I am getting my carpet steamed on Monday (huh, huh, she said that she's getting her carpet steamed!). It's sad how excited I am about this. I am at the point, though, that I am so sick of living in a always slightly-dingy apartment. No matter how much I clean, there's nothing I can do about some areas. The bathtub has no veneer on it any more, and apparently the previous residents here were swamp monsters. Same goes with the tile in the bathroom. I can't tell you how many times I've scrubbed them. They're just too old.

It's funny, though, because one of the things that I don't like about a lot of apartments is how new and blah they feel. I don't want blah, but I don't want to be embarrassed when company comes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


My daily blogging lasted one day. Forgive me. I have a semi-excuse: my Mac's power chord broke, so I had to buy a new one. Okay, so maybe I bought a new one immediately, but you don't have to know that.

So, what have I been up to? Basically, I am living the life of a housewife. I kind of like it. I clean a lot, I read a lot. I would also be watching copious amounts of Oprah, except Oprah's suck levels have been exceedingly high lately. My biggest accomplishment so far is that I finally took control of our increasingly desperate book situation. You all know that I am a compulsive book buyer. It had gotten to the point where there were little stacks of books on every free surface. Also, poor Bob's library has been stuck out in the garage. We've lived together a year now (!), and it was certainly time to invite his books in.

Now here was the hard part. I am incapable of just putting books on shelves. They must be alphabetized, damn it. I have been like this since I was a kid; it's one of my bigger obsessions. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to merge and alphabetize books??? Let me tell you, it took me around four hours and it was not fun. I did succeed in getting everything on a shelf. The bad news is that Bob and I can either only buy about three more books total, or we have to move. My Edith Sitwell and Walt Whitman have already been relegated to shelf-top "decorative accessories." Desperate, indeed.

I had a few other points to share with you. First, my desire to be more natural, more environment-friendly around the house has directed me to a few new techniques. I've started using Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap for lots of cleaning, and also for laundry (with a little baking soda thrown in). A little goes a long way, and it really cuts dirt. I've also been using vinegar to do some basic cleaning. It takes me back to Ireland, where each Saturday I'd clean the entire house with vinegar and newspaper. And of course I have continued devotion to Mrs. Meyers. I feel good about not spraying weird chemicals all over the apartment, especially since Lucie has a need to lick everything.

We've also finally completely stopped using paper towels. This one has been a little hard. It's so easy to just grab a paper towel for a quick clean up. I have to keep telling myself that it's just as easy to use a rag. It's also provided some comedy around the apartment: I had to pause and laugh at myself as I explained to Bob the difference between my "nice" rags and my "whatever" rags. Ridiculous. Okay, okay, I'm high maintenance.

One of the fun things about being more Earth-conscious, though, is that I get to look for new solutions to problems. For example, our basil plant in the kitchen keeps attracting fruit flies. The solution? I bought a Venus fly trap. It has been happily munching on flies all day.

Oh! I keep forgetting to talk about my new hobby. It's not that new, actually, but I haven't taken pictures. Ladies and gentlemen, I present ironic embroidery:

Call me Little Susie Homemaker and die.

And finally, a gratuitous picture of Lucie:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Open Letter to Oprah

Dear Oprah,

What gives? As a teacher, I look forward to summer vacation for three reasons: first, I like to read. Next, I get the chance to clean even more obsessively than I do during the school year. And finally, finally Oprah, I get to watch your show. I don't know quite how to say this, Ope. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but man, what a let down. So far we've had murderer confrontations, past lives, YouTube stars, and Suse Orman. Blech!!! Where are the house makeovers?? Where are the people makeovers? Get it together, Oprah.


In other news, I am a cleaning MACHINE. This is both good and bad. It is good because, well, I really like it when the apartment is nice. It is bad because for the first time, it's becoming really, really clear that cleaning never stops. No matter how much I do, there's always more. OMG, what will it be like with kids??? OMG. Yesterday, in a very nice two-and-a-half hour breakfast with my friend Jami, we discussed how I worry about things years and years before they are actually a problem. I do indeed. It's become clear that I will soon need to implement an infrastructure to curtail offspring disorder. ICOD.

Also, I can't find the charger to my camera's battery. I wish I had it this week, because I undertook A Major Project. We've recently been in a little bit of crisis mode at our apartment. Books have started to take over. I am addicted to book buying. Bob has his books, and a lot of them, poor guy, were stuck in the garage. Piles were everywhere. It was a desperate situation. So I bought a new bookshelf, and set to getting stuff in order. What a job! You see, this was not just a matter of putting some books on shelves. I HAD to merge and alphabetize. Yikes, that sucked. But it is done, and I am happy. The only problem is that Bob and I can only buy about four more books for the rest of our lives.

Oh, and by the way, it turns out I like Suze Orman. Sorry Suze.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Why Are People Fucking Crazy????

Now that I am on vacation, street sweeping day poses a little bit of a problem. It used to be that Bob would park in the driveway, and I would be gone to work before the ticket guy showed up, but now I will be, you know, asleep. Also, there is no way Bob is going to be up and out before the ticket guy. It's just not going to happen, so let's not use that as an option. Anyway, Bob moved my car for me Wednesday night (because I was drunk; it was the last day of school). Little did he know he was setting me up to later meet the craziest freaking guy I've ever encountered. I just went to move my car (a day and a half after parking it), and this old man literally sprinted to knock on my passenger window in order to yell at me. And yell he did.

Now, you need to know two things about me: a) I am extremely polite to strangers and my elders; b) I hate when people yell at me c) I am out of Diet Coke (that's just in case Bob's reading this). And so when an old stranger started yelling at me, I did not know what to do. First, I calmly explained that my car was not parked in front of his house for "four days," but one. After he kept yelling, I pointed out that I was parked on a public street. When he countered that "everyone suffers" when I park in front of his house, I also noted that it seemed both of his cars were parked in his driveway. He admitted that he always parks in his driveway, but I had "no business" parking in front of his house. And then he screamed, literally screamed for a couple more minutes, and then I rolled up my window, almost taking his finger with me, and burned rubber out of there.

And now I feel GUILTY!!! Why do I care about this?? Why are people in my neighborhood completely INSANE about where other people park??? Is this a middle-class white person thing? When I get old, will I also get inappropriately territorial?

One of the things I like about my city is that it is in L.A., but it is small and still feels like a community. Something that gets on my nerves, though, are entitled freaks. I need to stay, the entitled freaks need to leave. Or leave me the hell alone.

Day Two of Vacation

In this, my second day of my first work-free summer since I was 14, I have decided I will set some goals for vacation. These are not like New Year's resolutions, I would like to point out, though, as I think resolutions are really just another way for girls to hate themselves. So here, the goals:

1. Clean/organize at least three drawers/storage spaces a week.

2. Go outside.

3. Watch Oprah daily, except when it's one of those episodes where people confront murderers (Ahem, Oprah, wait to fuck it up on my first day of vacation).

4. Write on this blog daily, even if no one reads it.

5. Do some actual writing.

6. Finish watching the Brotherhood 2.0 vlogs.

7. Get really fucking good at Guitar Hero.

8. Read like crazy.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I can't help myself


Complications in Your Pants

Good Omens in Your Pants

and, forgive me,

The Tao of Pooh in Your Pants


In your pants

My new favorite people, John and Hank Green have this thing where every book title is funnier when you add the term "in your pants." John and Hank Green are geniuses. Here, some of the highlights from my personal library:

The Shock of the New in Your Pants

Let it Blurt in Your Pants

Backlash in Your Pants

The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing in Your Pants

An Honorable Profession in Your Pants

The Dharma Bums in Your Pants

(obvious, but still fun) Inferno in Your Pants (also, certainly better than The Divine Comedy in Your Pants)

The Hours in Your Pants

Eleven Minutes in Your Pants

Running with Scissors in Your Pants (not recommended)

How to be Alone in Your Pants

The Great Santini in Your Pants

Things Fall Apart in Your Pants

Flaubert's Parrot in Your Pants

and that classic, The Joke in Your Pants

Anyway, I could literally do this for hours. I urge you to do an In Your Pants review of your library.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Okay, I am going to try to keep up with this more. I always think of stuff I want to talk about, but then I forget. So, while I'm at it:

1. I have discovered that I have a slight infatuation with Whole Foods. I mean, I'd been in a few, but the new one near my house was overwhelming. I almost bought vegan shoes. The was a wall off Mrs. Meyers products. They had Ed Belgley, Jr.'s cleaning stuff. It was awesome. I've returned a few times for cleaning products and CFLs (we finally switched the whole apartment over) and I just can't help myself. Freaking Whole Foods. Oh, by the way, I don't actually buy food there--that would just be silly.

2. Bob and I met Emily and her friend Peattie at Father's Office today. I just love that office burger. And the Rogue Hazelnut Nectar. Mmm. It was delightful to hang out with Emily--we talked about Dawson's Creek and YA novels. Peattie was very cool. After that we hit up Surfas. We got a butcher block, spicy peanut butter, lemon curd, creole chocolate, and a lime squeeze-y thing. White People like me.

3. I have recently become semi-obsessed with a YA novelist called John Green. He is funny and knows his stuff. Read the blog.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


First, let me say that I hated Bee Season. It did not make me happy. However, the mother was always on a quest for something she called "perfectomundo." This quest led her to break into to strangers' houses and steal truly odd, random things: a lipstick, a teacup, a rubber ball, a piece of brightly colored thread. Eventually, it's discovered that she's packed her loot into a storage facility (and if you see the movie, they do this part really well). And it's beautiful. It's also clear that the bitch is CRAZY.

And though I did not like the book, I loved perfectomundo. It's why I love tchotchkes. So I bring you my own perfectomundo. I take crap pictures, but I'm going to try to make a bit of a series out of this...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Have I mentioned that I sold out?

I bought a Play Station. Guitar Hero: You are an evil bitch.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I've moved on to cheese

Well, I started making yogurt. We always made it in Ireland, and at the time I thought it was kind of gross. However, I am trying to cut down on packaging, and making stuff instead of buying it makes sense. So I've made a couple batches now. It's pretty good. I sweeten it with vanilla and honey or berries. I like dipping apples in it. Also, I made some yogurt cheese. I put a folded tea towel in a strainer and set that over a bowl. I put the yogurt in the strainer and let the whey separate. Apparently whey can be used in a bunch of different ways, but I don't think I'm emotionally prepared to deal with whey. Anyway, it turned into a pretty decent cheese spread. It's good with the basil that I'm trying not to kill. I also made some humus. 'Tis tasty.

I have a little bit of a cultist back-to-the earth in me. Self-sufficiency, man. Bob thinks I'm crazy but he likes the yogurt so he's not saying anything.


Robert Pinsky recently did a piece for Slate answering questions about modern poetry. I thought it was completely awful. He started the article by quoting David Garrick:

The gentle reader loves the gentle Muse.
That little dares, and little means;
Who humbly sips her learning from Reviews,
Or flutters in the Magazines.

This basically says, "Hey, fuck you if you don't get it. You probably don't deserve to. And even if this article is claiming to help you understand modern poetry, it's not going to, you fucking fuck."

And then he just supplied a bunch of poems with the sage advice to "Read the following aloud, listening to the vowels and consonants, the sentence movements" There was no "see how the alliteration speeds up this line?" Or, "See how the rhyme scheme falls apart here? Don't you think it's for a reason?" Nope. Never mind that as a former Poet Laureate, he should be dedicated to forcing people to love poetry. The whole article was an exercise in complete ass hattery.

He did, however, point readers to "America." This is one of those poems that, had I been required to write a line-by-line analysis for, say, Poetry and Poetics, I would have been miserable. It's all over the place. That being said, it's one of those poems that I--I don't even know how to explain it, exactly--understand viscerally. Does that make sense at all? Well, here it is. Uh, listen to the vowels and the consonants:

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I’m not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over
from Russia.

I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.

Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
I’d better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals
an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles and hour and
twentyfivethousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underpriviliged who live in
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.

America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his
automobiles more so they’re all different sexes
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they
sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the
speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the
workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party
was in 1935 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother
Bloor made me cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have
been a spy.
America you don’re really want to go to war.
America it’s them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take
our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. her wants our
auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him makes Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts
factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

--Allen Ginsberg

Anyway, I go back and forth on Ginsberg. As you both may or may not know, I went through a deeply obsessive Beat phase in seventh and eighth grade. In fact, I have to admit that I'm pretty sure the first adult penis I saw was Allen Ginsberg's (in his book Snapshot Poetics). As a result of my Phase, I knew, at twelve, more about sex between two men than I did about the act in any other form. I also started reading the Tales of the City books about the same time, so I was able to supplement my knowledge neatly. When I think about the writers now, it's not with completely the same devotion I once had. I still like Ferlinghetti, I have come to find Kerouac tedious. Ginsberg's somewhere in between. Sometimes I think, "Well, that's just a bunch of words strung together." And sometimes he hits me right between the eyes.

One thing's for sure, though: Robert Pinksy's an asshole.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I have finally perfected the popover. The secret: you absolutely CANNOT, no matter what they tell you, use a muffin tin. Alton Brown be damned, go buy the unitasker. Then while the oven is preheating, put the tins inside to heat up. And when you put the batter in, only fill them about a third of the way, probably even less. They will be excellent, I promise.

The great thing about popovers is that they seem like they take a lot of work. They are therefore the perfect breakfast to make for company, because the guests will be all impressed that you went through such effort and they will feel a little guilty and then they will go out and buy you an expensive bottle of wine or a nice cheese. This has yet to actually work for me, but you should try. Also, serve with honey, jam, cheese, and microwave peanut butter and Nutella and half a chunk of Baker's chocolate and you will be a superstar. I promise.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Yeck, I'm still in the Hillary camp, but I think the joint ticket stuff she's been doing now is TAA-KEE. It also seems clumsily obvious. Hil, you do not come off well here. You successfully negotiated the too much Bill problem, I want to see you get out of this one.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


That's right. I think rotting vegetation is pretty.

Hellhole be gone!

I have a confession to make. I am a closet slob. That's right, I secretly cultivate messes in all the storage areas of our apartment. I can't help myself. I am a pack rat, and also a firm believer that if you can't see it, it's technically not a mess. However, my closet had just gotten too horrible. It was at the point where I had about three things hanging up and everything else had just been shoved in there. Okay, faithful readers (both of you), please don't judge me too's what my closet looked like:
Yes, I know. Disgusting. It occurred to me that I had been going about things all wrong. Yes, I hate hanging and folding, but I LOVE organizational systems. Clearly, a trip to Target was in order. I bought a bunch of linen cubes and sweater boxes and such. Also, I bought the Rubbermaid "Configurations" closet organizer thing. The problem with my closet was that it only had one rod. There was no place for folded clothes, and my shoes were everywhere. So, I talked my beloved boyfriend into sawing out the rod and helping me to install the kit, and I was on my way to recovery. I folded everything I could, and only hung jackets and such. Here's the half-way point:

Now, some people would be done here. Some people are not crazy. I decided I needed a little more. I decided I needed some geometric cloth. And a shadowbox. And a frame-turned-tray. A a vase. With a fake flower. Thank God for Ikea (Did you hear that? That was the last bit of my soul turning black). I bought some "Petronella" fabric and a couple "Ribba" frames. And here's what I came up with:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pause for Pop Culture

Yikes, I am absolutely underwhelmed by American Idol this year. I am willing to overlook a lot when it comes to Idol, but this year is just not good. I refuse to believe that these are the top twenty singers out of all the people who auditioned. I recognize that 95% of the people who audition are either psychopathic or simple, but since twelve bizitrillion people try out, Simon and the gang should have been able to do a little better. Last year, Sanjayagate aside, was truly fantastic. This time, there's nothing like Blake or Jordin or LaKisha or Melinda. They all knocked it out of the park from the very beginning. Now it's a bunch of easy grounders to first.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Two Cents

So, I love the Academy Awards. Even when they suck. Even when they are waaaaay too long. Even when I've actually only seen Juno, No Country for Old Men, Ratatouille, Sicko, Lars and the Real Girl, and The Bourne Ultimatum this year. I know, sad. Movies are expensive, people. Despite this, I still have my opinions on who will win. And how do I form these opinions?? By obsessive, systematic research. After consulting Roger Ebert, The Washington Post's Probe, David Ansen, David Carr, The Los Angeles Times' Buzzmeter, the Gurus o' Gold and the Guros o' Gold 2.0 (No, I don't know why there's a 2.0), and even Ramin Setoodeh, who now works at Newsweek and who lived in my dorm when I was an RA, here are my (and really, they couldn't be anything but) guesses:

Update: I didn't win the pool. I came in third. Bob came in second, but only because I told him to go for Ratatouille and The Counterfeiters. We lost to a guy who kept leaving the party to check on his steaks. Needless to say, I am upset. Upset in that overly upset way that overly competitive people become upset but don't want to admit. Here's the debrief:

Actor--Leading: Daniel Day Lewis, There Will be Blood
He is probably the most sure thing this year. Sure I didn't see the movie, but I did see In the Name of the Father and My Left Foot, and even though I was too young to actually understand them, I knew enough to recognize that D.D.L. was a great actor. That's enough for me.

Got it.

Actor--Supporting: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Bardem is a pretty safe bet. I'm a little tempted to go with Hal Holbrook, who dressed as Mark Twain and did an awesome performance for my Mark Twain and the Gilded Age class. He did a Q & A session afterward, and he was such a neat guy. And he's married to Dixie Carter. That's cool. If Hal Holbrook wins, I won't mind.

Got it.

Actress--Leading: Julie Christie, Away from Her
This is one of the the least agreed-upon categories. The consensus seems to be that Ellen Page is too young and too new, that Laura Linney's performance was great but the movie wasn't big enough, and no one liked Elizabeth (I did, though). I may be kicking myself for not going with Marion Cotillard, who has been very graciously marketing herself, and has the fact that she played a real person in her favor. The Academy loves real people movies, especially destructive real people movies. However, the fact that her movie is in French might go against her. Julie Christie is an old favorite. Also, I must admit that I went for her because Away from Her was written and directed by Sarah Polley, who played Sara Stanley in Road to Avonlea, and we all know about my L.M. Montgomery adoration.

Argh. Marion Cotillard, I can almost forgive you because your speech was sweet.

Actress--Supporting: Cate Blanchett, I'm not There
is the most hotly contested category. I went with Cate because the Academy seems to love Cate. They also like the whole gender-bending thing. Saoirse Ronan seems to have been written off by everyone because of age, which I don't necessarily think is fair (or wise--let's not forget Tatum O'Neal). Ruby Dee is getting a lot of support, and she won the SAG award, but that could be either an indicator of a win tonight or a "We like you, but that's enough" acknowledgment. Amy Ryan's performance was widely appreciated, but I don't think the Academy will take her seriously. Tilda may be the dark horse here. I'm going with Blanchett, but I have no clue, really.


Animated Feature: Ratatouille
Everyone agrees on this one.

Got it.

Art Direction and Cinematography: I'm going There Will be Blood for both. I'm wondering if I'm making a mistake by not going with Atonement. Ah!

Only the Gurus went with Sweeney Todd; I don't feel too bad for missing that one. I got There Will be Blood for Cinematography.

Costume Design: Atonement
At first, I thought it would be Elizabeth. None of the experts think so, though.

I should have gone with my gut. I am mad about this one.

Directing/Best Picture/Adapted Screenplay: The Coen Brothers, No Country for Old Men
Everyone seems to agree.

Got it.

Documentary Feature: No End in Sight
People are upset. This movie shows why.

EVERYONE thought this one would win. I am really surprised it didn't. Taxi to the Dark Side won for the same reasons everyone thought No End in Sight would, I think.

Documentary Short: Freeheld
I had to go with what the Buzzmeter says on this one; no one else was saying anything about the category. I figure that the Buzzmeter's 32 person panel is as good a bet as any...

At the party, only Steak Guy and I got this one right. Research paid off for both of us.

Film Editing: The Bourne Ultimatum
This isn't everyone's favorite, but I think that the movie deserves it. I might pay for this one.

Got it.

Foreign Language Film: The Counterfeiters
WWII is always a safe choice.

Got it.

Makeup: La Vie en Rose
The makeup job here has been called "magic" by several sources. I would be very surprised if this isn't the winner.

Got it.

Original Score: Atonement
This is widely agreed upon, though several sources say to watch out for Ratatouille.

Got it.

Original Song: "Falling Slowly," Once
Three songs from Enchanted split the vote, and "Falling Slowly" is great anyway. This one looks sure thing-ish.

Got it. Why haven't I seen this movie?

Short Film--Animated: I Met the Walrus
I'm not so sure about this category. But when in doubt, go with a movie about meeting John Lennon.

I almost went with Peter & the Wolf. I am bitter about this one, because I used to listen to my Peter & the Wolf album on my Fischer Price record player incessantly as a kid. That should have been enough of a sign.

Short Film--Live Action: At Night
This is a flip-the-coin category. I'm going with cancer patients.

The Boyfriend chose Le Mozart des Pickpockets, the bastard, "because it was French." I am withholding sex for two weeks.

Sound Editing and Sound Mixing: No Country for Old Men
Hell if I know...

I think it was David Ansen who said go for Bourne here. I almost listened to him, but I really thought that Academy would go more highbrow.

Visual Effects: Transformers

Polar bears! Shoot!

Screenplay--Adapted: Juno
I think Diablo Cody has a decent chance. It feels the most innovative, although the dialog in the first ten minutes of the movie made me want to commit Seppuku (I have HONOR). I think Lars and the Real Girl is just as deserving in the innovative category, though.

Good for her. Cody's speech was excellent, I thought.

So there you have it, kids. This is the first year I've really gone out of my way to do research. I'm feeling pretty good about these, though I'm afraid the more obscure categories are going to bite me in the ass. Good luck to fellow poolers!

So there you have it, kids. Steak Guy takes my win. It will probably still bug me until next year. Next year, by the way, I'm choosing the nominees with the most vowels. Steak Guy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rustic Dinner

For some reason, today I became obsessed with the idea of making a "farmhouse dinner." When I lived on a farm, we ate a lot of beets and Ryvita crackers. So consider this a modified farmhouse dinner. We started with potato leek soup. The leeks in this case were refreshing, as I didn't actually have to harvest them myself. My fingernails would get really dirty on gardening mornings. It made me bitchy, let me tell you. The soup was okay. The recipe was from America's Test Kitchen. I tried to find a link for you, but it's "premium content" on their website. Anyway, the recipe just says to cook the leeks and potatoes until the potatoes are tender. Bob liked it, but I thought it was too watery, so I mixed it with our hand blender. With cream, it was much better. I also made popovers. They were awesome, even though the tops collapsed. The recipe comes from my beloved Apartment Therapy's kitchen page. The recipe is here, and it's stupid easy. Even if I did sort of mess it up. In my defense, I was trying to do a million things before Bob got home, so I don't think I mixed the batter well enough. Still, though, they were delicious. I served them with honey and some black currant preserves I got at Surfas, the best kitchen supply store ever (we also got new cookie sheets, a pan, a muffin tin, a highly unnecessary handle sleeve for our cast iron frying pan, a pepper mill, a mesh strainer, a couple ramekins, a cooling rack, and, you know...bacon-flavored chocolate). Then for desert we had fruit and cheese. And in honor of the stuff I made under my bed and in my closet that lovely year, we drank hard apple cider throughout. The dinner was hardy and pretty darn good.

Oh, also, I picked up some Bar Keepers Friend. Aside from their dubious omission of an apostrophe, I'm a fan. It's a very effective cleaner.

(Images from Apartment Therapy and the Bar Keepers Friend page)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fun with fonts

I downloaded free fonts tonight and entertained myself. I am a wild woman on Friday nights, let me tell you!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Addition

So, we got a dog (it occurs to me that the "new addition" of the title is in reference to the dog, but also I've failed to mention that I finally lured the boif into cohabitation last summer. I'm a little late on that one. Sorry, Bob). I saw her get hit by a car, and then I took her home. The actual story is longer than that, but there's the gist. Anyway, her name is Lucie, and I adore her. Please don't think that I only kept her because she perfectly matches the color scheme of my living room. That's just a bonus.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oooh, art.

One of the unfortunate things about teaching is that one's will to live gets ever-so-slowly drained from one's body while one sits in meeting after meeting after meeting. Seriously, we're talking A LOT of meetings. Meetings that usually smack of the feeling that the administration
hasn't actually planned anything, but as they are required by the district to make us meet, they are going to have us do something that a) takes three hours and b) involves making a chart of some sort.

Today, though, was nice. We got to do art. Specifically, the art teacher led us through a couple of activities that would get ELL kids interacting with language. The project I most enjoyed was altering a book page. Here's my finished product:

And a close-up of the text:

It was much better than making a chart.

My Class

Anyone who ever stepped foot in any of my college dorm rooms knows I love color. I love bright rooms with, well, stuff. My apartment is much more restrained than my old spaces, though. I am pretty happy with this. It was time to grow up and cut down on the clutter and kitch. I sometimes feel a pang of nostalgia, however, when looking at Ikea stuff. Luckily, I have my classroom as an outlet. I have to take a bunch of pictures of the room for BTSA (let me take this opportunity to say that I loathe BTSA. I cannot put into words the hate and rage I feel toward it. BTSA is shit. I hate BTSA. BTSA blows, stinks, sucks, and swallows. BTSA has been the most negative aspect of teaching. There. Make a portfolio outta that, Evil BTSA Masterminds.) so I thought I show you, too.

Here's the new classroom library (no bean bag chairs yet, but you get the idea. Em, the Google chair will be "unveiled" the same day as the others):

This isn't the greatest picture, but this is the front:

Their mobile characterization projects:

My corner of the universe:

The wall:

An example of my obsessive love for organizing bins and matching binders:

See? I can still have color!

Friday, January 4, 2008


When I lived in Ireland, it was shocking how little trash (ahem, "rubbish") we produced. First, we recycled everything. We reused as much as we could, too. I was always impressed at how inventive people were about finding new uses for junk. Compost was a big deal.
Remember, this was a working farm, so we always had a place to put the compost. And then there was the pig bucket. When I first arrived at Ballytobin, I thought "pig bucket" was a metaphor of some sort. Nope. I fed the pigs every day. They'd eat anything! Except orange peels. I don't know why, but they hated them. Because of all this, we only took out the trash every couple of weeks. It was nice.

I've been trying to live a more ecologically responsible lifestyle. Bob and I recycle like crazy, so this is nothing new. We've started using reusable grocery bags. I love these. They have a nice flat bottom and are really tough. I've also bought reusable produce bags. And darn it, I don't have a yard or a farm, but I miss composting. So countertop composting it will be!

Now, this next one I feel a little guilty about, because I don't use it exactly for the right reasons. Yes, I'm talking Mrs. Meyers. Specifically, I'm talking their lavender stuff. I LOVE the way it smells. To make myself a little less superficial, I also use Shaklee's Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate. It doesn't smell like much, but it lasts forever and it works. Oh, and we avoid paper towels and napkins and use microfiber cloths and cloth napkins instead.

I also recently bought the least ugly door draft stopper I could find. These tend to be atrocious, but my front door definitely makes my house lose heat.

There are still things I need to work on. Most of our house stuff is plugged into power strips, but I always forget to turn them off during the day. I haven't switched to CFLs yet. Well, this isn't completely true. I bought a bunch, but the light was sickly and blue. So as quickly as they were put in, I took them out. There's a wider range of CFLs available now, though, so I need to go buy a bunch. I also know I should switch to a low-flow showerhead, but I LOVE my shower's water pressure. I find it very hard to rinse my hair in low-flow showers. Still, I might try this one. For twelve bucks, it's worth a try.

Finally, Martha Stewart Living did an article about reducing junk mail. It took a few minutes, but I opted out from as much as I could. Here are the links:
(credit card offers) (mailing lists) (those pesky Valpaks) (this one killed, because I love catalogs, but I can browse online instead)

So, I'm trying. I'm not doing this to be trendy. I'm doing it because it's easy and right.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Slightly New Direction...

Okay, for the most part I find New Year's Resolutions unhealthy. But, following Emily's lead, I will do one thing: I will write more. And I don't even mean poetry or short stories. I just mean sentences. Together. In paragraph form, even. So the blog will take a slightly different direction--as I wasn't keeping up with all the interior design stuff anyway, I'm going to be a little more general here. Life and such. I know you're excited.

I'll start later.