31 March 2007

2 march: a revue

(in no particular order & uttered by various citizens of the Oline in the City world)

"quote day! i love quote day! in a very parent-teacher conferency way, i proudly show the boy and point out which ones were mine."

"yeah, he thought my blog was too negative. which is damn hysterical coming from a boy who wasn't exactly a bucket of joyful."

"this guy almost makes brantley look straight."

"and i only think i know these ovary things. sex ed was very confusing so it may all be a complete lie."

"she would never hurt me. she might accidentally kill me, but she would never hurt me."

"the cookie didn't make the pain go away exactly, but it was delicious nonetheless."

"these stupid bulimic cats..."
"but if you ate your winter coat, you'd throw up too."

"if worst comes to worst, we'll die and you'll get all our money and you can say nah-nah-ne-boo-boo to the world."
"but i'd really rather have you than the right to say nah-nah-ne-boo-boo."
"but who wouldn't want to nah-nah-ne-boo-boo?"
"wait. what?"

"we're buying a cake. that is not a difficult truth to master."

"i seriously doubt you'll marry a dirty man."

"my closet is full of risks i have yet to take."

"you can't spank it on the clock."

"there's something rather wrong about a 25-year-old woman sleeping with winnie the pooh."

"we were hoping it would at least come close to the world of real fat ice cream. i'd say it was in the atmosphere but not by much. you just can't taste fatty and be fat-free."

"haven't you noticed that my underarms are abnormally large?"

"i love the polka dotted boots, but will they look like giant leg zits?"

"the church people are being all opinionified."

"books that start off with people being caught having elicit sex usually turn out to be pretty good."

"way to be boring and better off in the end. you're living like a lindear now!"

"that girl was at that game and she was really stacked. and the point of this photo is to make all the other really stacked girls reading us at home say, 'i should have been at that game.'"

"i'm not fat... but it's rough."

"do you always celebrate things with hats?"

"no tears today. just fangs."

"i admire people who run marathons."
"there is no way in hell i would run a marathon."
"croftie said hell!"
"i feel very strongly about marathons."

"he either wants to be our friend or watch us have sex."

"i've got a book coming... about rubble. i'm big into works on rubble and ruin."

"the cupcake was a huge clue and it haunted me in the days immediately following."

"a two and a half hour phone date with your mother? yeah, i'd say you rocked that friday night."

"what in the world is the picture below the forks where my company would think it was explicit material?"
"that, my dear, would be the dougo. i don't know that we would call him explicit."

"i am very smacked."

"our faces are jerks."

"but what harm will cake do?"

"i don't know how i can ever make it up to him. i mean, sex won't even cut it."

"i think i really just want to date zack morris right now. not even mark-paul gosselaar, but zack morris himself."

"sadly, i'm more excited by the prospect of buying a birthday cake for our imaginary friend than i have been about anything lately outside of dr. quinn dvd arrival."

"i'm sure they're lovely people, but a big ew to the fruit of their loins."

"if i were you, which i'm not, but if i were..."

"baby girl, your legs are HOT. if i'd of had your legs, i don't think i'd of ever come in from the rain and gotten off drugs and found God. legs like that are meant to lead a life of sin."

"she's just the ultimate kind of elegant- where she can throw people out of windows and leave a diamond ring on a toilet and still be glamorous... and i'm pulling steak out of my teeth as i say that."
"that was the best monologue ever... and i just spit everywhere."
"clearly, we ain't got no glamor."

"all the great dramas arise from cake."

"i put entirely too much stock in the pithy concluding one-liner."

30 March 2007

7 girl, you'll be a woman soon

there are these Moments. teeny tiny splinters of time when i can almost sense myself on the cusp of perfectly pulled-together, thoroughly responsible, totally rocking, "we're all adults here" womanhood. then- before i've really even had a chance to revel- the Moment fractures. and i am me- getting off at the wrong train stop and racing ten blocks north in hell heels only to wind up alone and kerfuffled in an elevator, with a stocking south of my knee and a skirt that's pulled a major u-turn, giggling over the fraud i'm about to perpetrate when i step off the elevator and impersonate a perfectly pulled-together, thoroughly responsible, totally rocking, "we're all adults here" woman. thank heavens for elevators or the jig would be up.

28 March 2007

22 covered

as the cliche goes, you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover. i know this isn't strictly a literary moral. it has deeper meanings. it's trying to say that we aren't supposed to judge our fellow humanity for things like wearing caftans and carrying amulets. we should get to know them and understand why they wear caftans and carry amulets and then we can judge them at our leisure.

but to take the cliche literally, what the hell are we supposed to judge a book by if not its cover?

recently, i've been dabbling in novels. not heavily and not with any intent of defecting to fiction (don't get your hopes up, pirate), but just poking my nose here or there as a flippant distraction as i biographically wind my way through the many mistresses of george iv. and i've come to notice that i always judge a novel by its cover.

in biography- because biography is most often about a single character- the cover is a fairly straightforward thing. it involves a picture of the biographical subject. since there are inordinately more biographies of beautiful people (the uglies seem to very seldom escape the footnotes), this picture is usually quite lovely. if it's a woman, then she's in soft-focus and fluffy-haired and possibly accompanied by a small, pissed-off dog. if a man, he's stern, and in a becoming power pose and tight pants.

the plot of a biography is captured not so much in the cover as in the title, which is often a breathless variation on this theme: my lady scandalous: the many scandalous lives of the scandalous mary robinson: the secret, the sex slave, the scandals! or, if a man: the scandalous sex prince: the many scandalous lives of the scandalous king george iv: the secret marriage & the seductions! that's biography.

but what about fiction? its titles err of the side of brevity and the allures of its covers need to be immediately accessible. we do not wander into the fiction aisle and grab the first plain jane penguin edition that catches our eye. nay! we want cool colors! provocative pictures! gold stickers! or maybe this is just me and my acute aesthetic attraction to all things bright.

wives & daughters entered my life because it was hot pink. it was written by elizabeth gaskell and that had a teeny tiny something to do with my forking over the $7.98, but mostly i coveted the hot pink. it would be a welcome burst of life alongside the lineup of dark and dreary austen maroons. a 678-page fragment of a novel, wives & daughters is one of the best things i've read this year. and i read it only because it looked like it'd been dunked in a bucket of flamingo dream.

equally superficial attractions drew me to bel canto. it first caught my eye years ago, but i nabbed it at the white elephant for two reasons- 1) it cost 50 cents, and 2) it's cover boasted that it had won the orange prize. like most fiction, bel canto concluded in a manner perfectly calculated to exceedingly frustrate me, but i enjoyed it nonetheless. it's a lyrical little novel about a south american dinner party taken hostage by terrorists- and i picked it up solely because it was cheap and had won a prize named after a fruit.

the grim reality is that we can never read all the books we want to read. thus, we must pick and choose. i'm sure i'm missing a whole heap of glories simply because an art director somewhere out there has a fondness for beige and his books are winning boring normal awards named for people rather than produce. but i'm okay with that. we can't read all the books we should read, so why not read the 50 cent oranges instead?

26 March 2007

12 "but will your husband be there?"

we just happen to have a photographer that works for us who just happens to have my last name. we are in no way related. he is a good fifty years older than me, wears contrasting tropical prints, sends "treats," and is particularly fond of Stand At The Back Of the Room So You Can Get A Photo Of The Back Of Everyone's Head shots. we have little in common excepting a last name.

on the damn phone the other day, a co-worker with whom i was trying to arrange a photo shoot inquired: "but will your husband be there?"

for a moment i panicked. we've known each for three years and she thinks i'm married? she's thought all this time that i got hitched to the iodot? she's been silently judging me the past thirteen months for moving to chicago alone?

then i realized. no. she thinks i'm a girl who would marry an elderly man who wears contrasting tropical prints.

25 March 2007

2 in good company

my mum doesn't like tabloids. she's never read them. as a kid she was told that they were "dirty" and she vividly remembers frowning at my beloved movie magazines. what i see as serialized archetypal feminist narratives, she's always seen as trash.

thus, my mum's obsessive interest in this whole anna nicole smith business came as quite the shock. i'm a tabloid enthusiast and, even for me, the novelty waned fast. i can't begin to fathom what is arresting her attention.

a recent spate of family travels, extracurriculars, and old folks drama has necessitated many a marathon phone call over the past few weeks and each of these calls has been punctuated by periodic breaking anna nicole news.

i often forget that the tabloids have pervaded our whole silly world and begin to fear that my logic alone has been grossly skewed. then my mum begins a sentence with, "according to star and the national enquirer..." and responds to my derision of them as "excellent authorities" with the defensive retort, "well, geraldo thinks so!"

21 March 2007

4 bang & blame

while men have their hair tended by barbers or flowbees, dressage is a wee bit more convoluted for women. we go to salons and have stylists. small talk is made. relationships are forged. it's a dynamic of such complexity that we sometimes have to dump the people who do our hair.

because the hair crowd can be a temperamental bunch. they are Artists and they have A Vision and they loathe any meddling. heaven forbid we shear the strands on own heads. when i have dared to do this, it never fails to induce a pouty lip and a raised brow from the hairdressing international academy graduate.

while there are legitimate arguments for their hatred of such meddling- namely, i am not a professional, therefore i could possibly do irreparable harm to my hair and not have the objectivity to stop myself- in the face of such consternation, i'm simply plunged into further rebellion. confronting unruly bangs, i recklessly brandish the scissors and shout, fie! a pox on you, silly style fascists!

this has led to an odd series of transformations. it began a few weeks ago with an excellent home-trim, and by a pure fluke- which grossly exaggerated my sense of my own haircutting skills- i managed to recraft to perfection the nicole richie bangs. but perfection is fleeting.

i went at my bangs again last tuesday and, in further evidence that i have become increasingly incapable of separating reality from dr. quinn, totally wandered out of nicole richie territory and landed in some jane seymour circa 1993 bang business. they were not bad, but nor were they highly desirable.

undeterred, i went after them again on friday afternoon. i wound up with rory gilmore. not rory gilmore when she was cute and liked dean- whom we didn't like because dean was a lame and rory gilmore was too innocent to see that she should have been with jess, who was hip and dead sexy and appropriately pint-sized. not that rory gilmore, the rory gilmore we all loved.

no, these are the bangs of the rory gilmore of today. the rory gilmore whom croftie has aptly labeled "a strumpet." the rory gilmore who is squandering her life on logan, whom we only liked for a glimmer of a moment when he was a welcome relief from lame-o scoundrel dean, whom we completely blame for the moral downfall of cute, too-innocent-to-see-that-she-should-be-madly-in-love-with-jess rory.

this is the rory gilmore whose bangs i have wound up with and i have to live with that. it must end here because i am fast barreling toward tommy cruise's bangs of spring '06. and there's no explaining that to a hairstylist.

20 March 2007

7 in touch?

the parentdears are in kenya. lindear is understandably concerned. i- a touchstone to reality- was at the ready with valuable reassurance:
lindear: oline, the parentdears are in kenya. i am understandably concerned. whatever shall i do?

oline: lindear, remember- angelina jolie goes to africa all the time! she went to africa to give birth! and that seemed downright foolhardy! but she made it out okay!
i'm beginning to think maybe there is such a thing as too many tabloids.

19 March 2007

17 love is all around

dear mr. 20th century fox,

you are an evil, conniving, wicked, dirty, rotten, level 10 shit. but let me begin at the beginning because the means by which your evil, conniving, wicked, dirty, rotten, level 10 shittiness has come to light is of some import.

i love the mary tyler moore show. because the mary tyler moore show is the greatest sitcom ever made (don't question that, mr. 20th century fox- i'll fight you to the death). to me, MTM nostalgically symbolizes female independence, the craziness of the communication field, and that pivotal moment when my bedtime was pushed back to 9.30 p.m.

i got hooked on MTM's nick@nite reruns in the winter of 1993. i began obsessively taping them in the spring when MTM was dropped into a most inconvenient 2.30 a.m. time slot. from there she moved to 4 a.m. then on to 5.30 a.m. i taped her all the way, running down first thing every morning to make sure i hadn't mistakenly recorded welcome back, kotter instead. many a time, mr. 20th century fox, i mistakenly recorded welcome back, kotter. the disappointment still smarts. you just don't know.

because i could only nab so many tapes from father cupcake's VHS stockpile and because i am sometimes a fool, during my summer of '96 fanatical GO ATLANTA BRAVES kick, i began taping over MTM. baseball games are, after all, so rewatchable and MTM would, after all, always be on television. right, mr. 20th century fox? wrong. in the fall of '96, she inexplicably disappeared from the nick@nite landscape. baseball is forever. MTM apparently is not.

i was left with three 6-hour tapes in which the first two hours of each were dedicated to braves baseball. the legendary game against the marlins where, in the bottom of the fifth, fred mcgriff's fly ball hit a support beam and made an enormous PONG! noise. the immortal time when a fan deflected marquis grissom's homerun into foul territory in the first inning only to catch marquis grissom's second homerun ball in the bottom of the fourth. the game against the cardinals where chipper forgot to tag homeplate, made it halfway to the dugout before realizing this, and then scrambled back like a little girl.

remember those moments, mr. 20th century fox? probably not. because those are moments so inconsequential that shortly after the fact it seemed entirely unjust that they should be obscuring a collective six hours of classic television. for years, as i watched and rewatched and watched again the same 36 episodes of MTM, i cursed my baseball fandom, which had deprived me of an additional 12.

then MTM resurfaced on TVland in early 2000. there was still hope, mr. 20th century fox! all was not lost! this time, i was prepared. armed with a slew of 8-hour VHS, i would finally have my mary tyler moore show. i followed her all over the schedule: from 8 p.m. to 2 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 3.30 a.m. we didn't have TVland at school so for two solid years i held the parents' VCR hostage and meticulously set it up to record in my absence. the parents, of course, loved this.

you can imagine my excitement then, mr. 20th century fox, when you came to my aid in the fall of 2002. when you, mr. 20th century fox, began releasing the mary tyler moore show on dvd. there was season one. it was glorious- restored and remastered and hilarious as ever, with an insert promising the release of season 2 in march 2003. and i was so grateful to you. i sang your praises. i had faith. and because i am a fool, i began taping felicity reruns over my MTM tapes.

and what did you do, mr. 20th century fox? a big fat nothing. for 34 months. while you sat on an unreleased trove of MTM treasures, you released inanities like big valley and reba. i cursed you to everyone i'd known for more than eight minutes. 34 months, mr. 20th century fox. 34 months. a girl may be a fool, but she doesn't forget.

finally, presumably roused by MTM's unprecedented success at the 2004 TVland awards, in the 35th month, you stirred to action. season 2 came out in september of 2005, with season 3 following promptly in january 2006 and season 4 in june. we were on a roll, mr. 20th century fox. i almost began to think that we could be friends. i no longer clenched my fists and shouted curses at the sky upon mention of your name. i had almost forgiven you, mr. 20th century fox.

then you went and played the douche card.

mr. 20th century fox, your commitment issues are alarming. you had 34 months to get your act together, not to mention the last nine, and yet you have failed me again. it isn't me, it's totally you. first, you killed marilyn, and now this. clearly, we cannot go on. what is with your ridiculous hatred of all things MTM, mr. 20th century fox? why pull the plug at season 5? and, if the word-about-town is true, why take newhart with it? what did mary richards ever do to you?

in conclusion, you are an evil, conniving, wicked, dirty, rotten, level 10 shit, mr. 20th century fox. i will cut you.

15 March 2007

6 medicine head

because it has been over a year since i was in the presence of partner and thus, i have begun to pine- i've turned to that show beloved by grandmothers the world over. dr. quinn: medicine woman.

as teenagers, partner and i completely related to dr. quinn, medicine woman- an 1870s hoity-toity, virgin female doctor who moves from boston to the colorado frontier, becomes a single parent, falls in love with a bad boy who runs around with indians, and proceeds to let her highfalutin opinions get her into every imaginable type of trouble. i don't know how the hell that was like us, but at the time it really was.

i've been powering through dr. quinn disc after disc since christmas and only just hit the midway point. and i continue to be struck by how absolutely completely gloriously ridiculous this show is.

the moral of dr. quinn? that all problems- racism, sexism, ageism, atheism, political corruption, deceit, censorship, suffrage, kidnapping, whoring, boozing, military desertion, morphine addiction, etc.- can be resolved with the throw of a tomahawk. a simpler time, no?

13 March 2007

12 March 2007

5 there is nothing as lucky

my relationship with conor oberst has been a complicated affair. i always wanted to like the boy- after all, one does rather like to like sexy, tortured geniuses- but events so often conspired against us.

once upon a time, our dear mutual friend jenny fair was madly in love with conor. thus, though i indulged in a mild flirtation, it felt not quite right to give in to the impulse to be madly in love with him myself.

then there was the legendary show in february 2004. most famous for the fact that a drunk man who sounded curiously like will ferrell punctuated the entire set with screams of "this one's for celia." never has there been a more emo evening.

after that, conor and i took a break. we needed some time apart. and so he went off to develop a strange closeness with jim james and record while i fooled around with ryan adams and wrote.

we had a casual fling in 2005, when jenny fair announced that she had moved beyond him and i'm wide awake it's morning briefly caught my fancy. but when a stupid boy cited the "take it easy (love nothing)" philosophy during a break-up speech, the fancy pretty much died.

until recently. on a whim, i turned to the album that most everyone i know didn't really like- digital ash in a digital urn. as i painted my way around the kitchen, i finally gave in and fell for conor. and as fate would have it but very seldom ever does, the timing couldn't be more perfect. conor's coming to town.

10 March 2007

6 joan jett of arc

sometimes i get a little intense. like this whole painting thing. yes, it's just interior decorating, but it's also a deep, undeniable psychological impulse. i must paint. i cannot not paint. this place must be painted. everywhere there must be paint.

i moved in with a vision. A VISION. it was going to be unspeakably awesome. and for some reason, from the first, i operated on the belief that it had to get unspeakably awesome unspeakably fast and that almost all of the unspeakable awesomeness hinged upon paint.

there has been a whole lot of paint. sunburst and cloudless and flamingo dream and ivory hope. i've been to home depot so many times that the dude in the paint department has dubbed me "rainbow bright."

but there was the lingering question of the kitchen- the only boring corner of the kingdom. my creativity had run dry. i had no clue. and then thursday night, as i lazed about sipping lambic and talking to my mum and staring at the black and white tiles trying to reconcile myself to a pair of yellow toile curtains that i was quite sure were a colossal mistake, it hit me. A VISION. at long last.

because i can't quite bring myself to forsake the raven hair for red, i took the kitchen wall red instead. and i thank God in heaven above that i didn't paint the kitchen first, because the kitchen was a hell of a bitch to paint.

the dénoument: me wedged behind the stove, a paint brush in one hand, and my right foot in a gallon of red paint as the ill-advisedly placed sprinkle supply plummeted from the refrigerator and rained its contents down.

the paints are hammered closed. the brushes are put away. it is done. finis.

09 March 2007

7 forked

because two days didn't quite kill us dead, they've kindly added a third. if i were a meteorologically betting girl, i'd say the odds are pretty high that they'll be the three most insufferably hot days ever experienced and endured in the lives of any and all human beings who have ever lived in this universe or any as yet unidentified solar systems beyond. we will now spend the next four months vacillating- to pitch or no?

07 March 2007

6 choose your own adventure

a) an intermediary of the former kennedy employee gave the auction house the merchandise after the former kennedy employee was killed by the samurai sword of a prize fighter who mysteriously washed up on the beach at cape cod to find a vacationing california gangster committing sexual assault upon the former kennedy employee.

b) an intermediary of the former kennedy employee gave the auction house the merchandise after a prize fighter- past his prime and in the midst of sexually assaulting a california gangster who was at that time vacationing on the cape- slew him with a samurai sword.

c) an intermediary of the former kennedy employee gave the auction house the merchandise after the former kennedy employee was accidentally killed by the samurai sword of a prize fighter who had washed up on the beach and with whom the former kennedy employee was engaged in sexually assaulting a vacationing california gangster.

d) an intermediary of the former kennedy employee gave the auction house the merchandise after the former kennedy employee was killed by the samurai sword of a squeaky-clean prize fighter who had mistaken him for the vacationing california gangster by whom he had been sexually assaulted.

e) an intermediary of the former kennedy employee gave the auction house the merchandise after the former kennedy employee was killed by a samurai sword-wielding, recently bathed dog that had been sexually assaulting a vacationing california gangster.

06 March 2007

9 this land was made for you and me

i had mr. kirb for 9th grade geography so my grasp of our country's borders and boundaries and divisions is tenuous at best. nonetheless, while trying to locate a particular branch of a certain american foundation, i was completely shocked by this map of the continental united states. in part, because i wasn't entirely certain which red state was illinois. but most especially because i hadn't realized our annexation of southern canada and northern south america was formally mapable.

05 March 2007

11 de l'art brut

father cupcake and i are eerily similar. when our interest is engaged in something, we go all the way. we read everything we can get our hands on and we learn everything there is to learn. we have this fantastical need to know. at some point this led us to henry darger, and some conversation from the cupcakes' recent visit has briefly rekindled our interest.

a few years ago, i saw a documentary on darger. at the time, i was most struck by the brilliant creeptasticness of the director's decisions to animate darger's paintings and have dakota fanning narrate the film (seven-year-old girls should not tell the stories of scary men). but the story- it sticks with you.

darger was a quiet, unassuming janitor who lived in lincoln park from 1930 until his death 43 years later. no one knew who he was- no one could even agree on the pronunciation of his name- and yet, upon his death, it was discovered that this quiet, unassuming janitor had left behind a 15,145-page fantasy manuscript called the story of the vivian girls, in what is known as the realms of the unreal, of the glandeco-angelinnian war storm, caused by the child slave rebellion.

darger is the kingpin of outsider artists. for years he collected photos from magazines and newspapers, and used techniques like tracing, collaging and photo-enlargement to incorporate iconic advertising images- like the coppertone girl- into the vivians' story. but darger is a source of fascination to modern critics largely due to the enigmatic transgenderism of his vivian girls and the extremely violent imagery depicted in his drawings. the pictures have long since stolen the thunder of the story they were intended to accompany.

but the thing about the pictures is, some of them- the ones where children aren't being molested or disemboweled or heads-on-pikesed- are truly lovely. in hushed tones over the phone, father cupcake and i have awkwardly confessed our mutual appreciation: but, um, some of them are rather, y'know, kind of sort of, um, quite beautiful, don't you think, maybe you agree, huh?

it feels rather very wrong to be enjoying the drawings of a madman- but at the same time, there's something terribly fascinating about an art so outside the boundaries of official culture that it would necessitate such a wary admission. it's creepy and galvanizing and gives you the shivers. and it kind of does make me want to rock out.

01 March 2007

13 under the pink

it was rather dreary the other day and i got bored and- because i have unorthodox responses to boredom- i painted the bathroom. flamingo dream. ie. pink. very, very pink.

i wasn't quite sure where the compulsion for pink came from. clearly the idea of painting the bathroom at all was directly related to last weekend's rehabilitation of the window sill. suddenly, in the white glossy glow of the repainted sill, the remainder of the room looked all of its 110 years. very shabby and very dull. and that wouldn't do.

but pink? it is a room of yellow and orange. yellow and orange would have worked equally and less gender-specifically well. but it had to be pink. all i could think was pink.

so i paraded back to the depot for another gallon of behr. recollecting my blue and yellow, the paint counter dude was rather shocked by this sudden veering into such a girlie veneer. as though it were an ill-advised tattoo and not merely a can of flamingo dream, he looked at me with concern and asked, are you sure you want to do this? though i knew not why, i was absolutely convinced i did.

and so i painted the room pink. and as i stood in the midst of my blushing walls, it hit me. i loved wives & daughters. that much.