31 August 2009

0 august: a revue

"any mentality outside of the hardcore is a good one. "

"i was afraid the word swab was lurking in there somewhere."

"i’m still a little grossed out by myself."

"oh, how sexy my arms were back then."

"the doctors, it seems, tend to be overly careful about babies. almost to the point where it is a 'condition' rather than a natural thing."

"then we got super drunk sat on the porch and decided we were getting married... that faded the next morning."

"KEEP a man who will share his icing!"

"jennifer cruise is totally contemporary fiction, so it's more maidenform releasing rather than bodice ripping."

"where are you wearing your drawers?"

"i caught albie by surprise when he wasn't expecting me...in the litter box. he came over to greet me in a frenzied panic, and didn't quite finish his...um...release."

"is it weird that i wish we lived in the same city so i could help you kill a couch?"

"you are the Queen of Paint, so i value your input."

"what did you do this weekend?"
"i partied like i was 18... and i'll spent the next decade paying for it."

"i prefer my alcholism in my bar, at my barstool, with my bartender, all alone to watch CNN with closed-captioning so the dance music and karaoke singers aren't offended."

"i did find a dress. and i will be eating peanut butter sandwiches for two months. seriously."

"it is very you - oz, music, short hair."

"well, we have a friendship based upon overcommunication so when one of us undercommunicates, i tend to assume we've broken up."

"i am not elvis. except in the bed. then i am the king."

28 August 2009

0 september: month of dreams come true

i tell you, if i had a car or if amtrak trains went to minneapolis or if i weren't already going to paris and seeing u2 and banking on season 5 finally (FINALLY) being released on october 6th like amazon still says it is and instead had random money to blow on random flights and hotels for random trips to theatricals in minnesota-- in a word, if the world were completely different from what it currently, in reality, is... i swear, wild horses could not keep me from this.

27 August 2009

3 really now

today, we reached a new low in these days of our chicago SUMMER OF DEATH. today i had to send my dear croftie this email:

so, just to recap. there are face-punching midnight marauders in lincoln park and burley lunchtime butcher-knifers in the loop.

and they think the olympics are going to destroy our city?

26 August 2009

6 one can only assume that this concludes THE SUMMER OF DEATH... (but then dominick dunne went and died, disproving that theory so now we're left to theorize that maybe now it's just THE [2nd generation kennedys and their court's] SUMMER OF DEATH. if i were our dear friend c. david heymann i'd watch out.)

teddy and i don't go back very far. well, we do by default simply because he's eulogized pretty much all of my biographical crushes, but i don't have a big Teddy Anecdote beyond what i've said before:

i've dated teddys.

i feel sorry for teddys.

i want nothing to do with teddys.

teddys are bad, bad news.

teddy will be remembered for many, many things, but i think it is quite possibly teddy's greatest accomplishment that he was able to overcome being a teddy and get something done. it was probably also his greatest sacrifice.

there was this moment on the evening january 20, 1961 when, in the grandstands of the national guard armory at his brother's inaugural ball, the stunning joan kennedy leaned over to her husband teddy and asked if he was serious about moving to california to start a life completely apart from his family and their politics.

he was. but he didn't. i shudder to think what america would be if he had.

(as a mood-destroying kennedy-related sidenote: OMG! jamie auchincloss was indicted for child porn!!!)

25 August 2009

4 the pandoodle

i think it quite possible that this is the scariest thing ever.
(but if it has simply whet your fancy for further horrors, check out the daily mail)
((and no, eF, i do not want four of these.))

24 August 2009

11 men/men in skirts

i always thought marc jacobs was unreasonably good looking, a sentiment he is apparently determined to derail by wearing skirts in public.

not kilts, mind you. we are not talking about a garment in ethnic plaid made of an appropriately masculine thick wool. no, no. a fucking skirt. in what appears to be a light-weight jersey knit.

what is it with men and skirts?

let me amend that. i know what's up with men and skirts and i heartily approve. but what the hell is up with men wearing skirts?

i'm going to prance out on the stereotype tree and say i'm pretty sure this is a gay thing.

i base that conclusion not simply upon the fact that marc jacobs is a gay man but upon experiential proof.

once upon a lone madcap midnight, S made an impulse buy of an entire bolt of black fabric in order to make- you guessed it- a manskirt.

to this day, i don't know where this idea came from. up to that point S's Fashions were pretty much limited to polos and abercrombie. this was, after all, the guy who took me to the homecoming dance with a carmike cinemas t-shirt visible through his button-down, so it looked like he had a ginormous chest tattoo.

there had never been anything (except, perhaps, the whole i think i might be gay thing) to indicate that we would wind up here, milling about the walmart sewing section, with him turning to me- in one of those moments where you can almost see the thought bubble and are helpless to pop it dead- and saying that he would like to make a manskirt for himself.

a manskirt.

it was the year 2000 and this seemed shockingly, monumentally millennial.

and apparently it was something he had wanted for awhile. or at least long enough to know that nothing in inventory at express would do and to have hatched a plot to overcome his inability to sew through the use of craft glue.

the manskirt. yet another secret i could never understand.

our history is more than a little checkered so while i would like to think the manskirt episode was during the gay days, i'm pretty sure this occurred during the summer of straightness. i'm pretty sure we were at walmart specifically to purchase the britney spears cd at midnight when my boyfriend turned to me and said, y'know, i'd really like to buy some fabric and make myself a skirt.

which either makes me very sad for my 19-year-old self or makes me want to die laughing. or maybe a little of both.

21 August 2009

7 let's reflect on our current and future world by looking at some coloredy bar thingys labeled by people who clearly were not english majors, shall we?

so you may have already seen THIS. it is an installation at the MIT museum that apparently "demonstrates the computer's uncanny insights and its inadvertent errors" and causes us, "the viewer[,] to reflect on our current and future world, where digital histories are as important if not more important than oral histories, and computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant."

thanks to the surprisingly large digital footprint of rachel caroline eaton- she of the zealous presbyterianism and genealogically obsessive descendants- this actually says very little about me that i can see. (i love my family, but come on.)

it did, however, inspire me to reflect on how U of C MIT people sound.

17 August 2009

2 story telling

my mother has always been an open book. i think maybe memphis does that to people. it's so small town.

when i was in the second grade, we pieced together that my teacher was married to the man who was once married to the woman who had once been engaged to the only man my mother ever seriously dated other than my dad. this goes down in history as The Story of Vicky & The Brass Bed because this man dumped my mother and bought this other woman, vicky, a brass bed. a brass bed in which my second grade teacher, the wife of vicky's ex-husband, now slept. like i said, small town.

so much of my mother's life is known. this is, in part, because like mine, so much of her life has been photographed. she wants to take me to denmark. she says she wants me to see where she was a child. i don't have the heart to tell her i don't really care. that after 28 years of denmark slideshows i feel pretty much like i was a child there with her.

no, no. i don't want denmark. i want what i will never have.

if my mother's family is faulkner, my father's is peyton place. peering into the eyes of the dead uncles and aunts whose portraits have always adorned our laundry room walls, you would never have guessed that. one would not imagine that from the closets of these people-- these staid, stoic scotch-irish eatons-- the skeletons would still be bursting forth.

my father's youth-- his life before us-- is a deep, dark reservoir, dammed up so insistently for all these years that only as we get older, only as i live more and fuck up again, have little leaks begun to work their way through and the stories seeped out.

but it is never enough. sure, he parcels out bits now and then, but he doesn't see that in his reluctance to dwell upon the past, his unrelenting insistence to never look back to the time before he knew God, he is thwarting me-- his daughter, the storyteller-- at every turn.

my father discloses things on an ad hoc basis. i had asked about vietnam time and again but it wasn't until my teenaged cousin came to town and complained about being bored that the photo albums came tumbling forth. there had been photographs all along and i-- the pillager of the family closets, the girl who had played the forrest gump soundtrack five times in a row one trip to chattanooga to create the appropriate mood in which to introduce the question, father bear, why is there a rifle on mummy's shoe rack?-- never knew. my bored cousin gave these albums (my holy grail) a desultory glance and went back to max payne and away the albums went.

i have two reactions to this withholding of a history i believe is rightfully mine.

1) i resent it.

2) i am dying to know more.

my grandma ruth came to memphis when i was five or six. my father sat her down and exhaustively walked her through a family photo album, recording her recollections, which he then transcribed for the ages, typing them up on my mom's smith-corona.

i can't overstate how solemn this process appeared from the outside. my grandmother, my father, the family photos coming together at a communion table of sorts. playing in the other room i was frequently hushed by my mother, who reverently informed me that "the adults" were "reliving olden times," a declaration that cast upon the whole enterprise a pleasing renaissance fair glow promptly dashed when, briefly unchaperoned, i peeked through the slats in the french doors and noted the lack of goblets and lace.

there has always been a part of me that took it for granted that this was the story i was born to tell. that sounds preposterous, i know, and yes, there's jackie and marilyn and blah blah blah, but this was my safety story. the story i could come back to if all else failed. the story of my family, which my father had assiduously collected for me at our kitchen table all those years ago. i fancied that these stories would be handed down to me. that, like the 18 million mexican pots i stand to inherit, they would fall into my hands, dirty and old and of mystifyingly great worth.

and so it might have had the tape not broken and the transcript been lost.

so i am left with what little i have been able to collect. my father's family's story as it has been handed down to me. there is no narrative arc. no beginning and no end. just bits and pieces, scraps here and there. ex-girlfriends. ex-roommates. old wars, family photos, and a gun.

there are hundreds of characters with similar features and no last names.

it is like reading pynchon in braille.

and yet i'm certain somewhere in there lies the answer. the answer to the question i feel continually compelled to ask: what has made me so unlike my mother, so stubborn and fatalistic and fiercely independent and frustratingly rigid and restless, so full of love and yet capable of the most nonchalant cruelty for the sake of a laugh?

12 August 2009

2 sofas & the city (part 2 of 2)

there are things the proverbial they don't tell you about living in the city, but which we, having lived in the city, already know. for example, we know that getting rid of a sofa in the city is a hell of a hard trick. and therefore, for the second time in two and a half years, i have killed a couch.

i had hoped it would be more merciful this go-round than the last. it wasn't. but it is a measure of my newly gained knowledge of compromised structural integrity that, while killing the couch version 2007 took a full nine days, this chore lasted a mere hour and a half. surely there's mercy in that.

and so... ding dong, The Hulk is dead!

10 August 2009

6 and... we're back.

i've had an epiphany.

eF and i have seen each other 3 times this summer. the deaths of ed mcmahon, billy mays, farrah fawcett, michael jackson, walter cronkite, and john hughes all occurred either before or during our travels.

clearly, we are somehow linked to THE SUMMER OF DEATH.

(and no, eunice has not died but it seems you are all awaiting an acknowledgement. there it is.)

07 August 2009

12 tits pervert

tits are a tricky business.

(that subtle change in air pressure was the boy half of the room going YES. she's going to talk about boobs and for the record, yes, i am going to talk about boobs).

a seriously tricky business.

because we have all these expectations for tits. well, at least girls do. boys probably couldn't care less if we all walk around topless, but we girls grew up with barbie as our breasty ideal. the belief that breasts should appear, if not be, perfectly round, plasticky firm and nipple-free was ingrained early in our little girl minds.

thus, for women, there are some universal tit rules (most of which, ironically, are completely counter to what boys want): they must be constrained. they must not jiggle or flop about. they must be adequately concealed and/or revealed. they must have appropriately sized nipples (no kate winslets) and yet, when clothed, appear to have none.

this never works out. nipples are not to be trusted.

perhaps the greatest titular challenge is that there are several varieties. there are everyday boobs and evening boobs. and at home and at work and out-and-about boobs. and there are boyfriend boobs and there are family boobs. all of which require containment. this is why women think in terms of outfits. we have a whole world of underthings with which to contend.

once upon a time, back in my kirsten dunst/sophomore year of college rebellion phase, i stopped wearing bras. i would go to 18th century novel boobs unloosed and blithely assume i was pulling one over on the entire class. looking back, with my latter-day knowledge of men's general awareness of anything having to do with ladies' parts, i'm pretty sure i pulled nothing over anyone.

croftie once told me her husband (and i'm going to leave him a veil of privacy here, as though we don't all know who he is) encouraged her to rock the black bra/white tank combo. as she said this, we looked at one another with big, knowing eyes, both of us aware that if ever there was a time for that, that time has probably passed.

these days, we're all about sensible things like lift and fit. we've seen where kirsten dunst's boobs wound up. we know better now.

but this doesn't mean we're not up for adventure. i recently had need of the boyfriend/family boobs. the trickiest of tits. of course, i immediately took my conundrum to lindear, Breast Petaler Extraordinaire, and we hatched a plan that resulted in my purchase of the NuBra (as seen on tv!).

the NuBra. the name implies technological advancement, one giant leap for bra kind. imagine bra cups filled with super glue. perhaps this is advancement in some inventorman's mind, but if this is the future, ladies, heaven help us all.

i was skeptical of the NuBra because a) the NuBra came with a commemorative refridgerator magnet and b) the very front cover of the NuBra box warned me in not-to-be-missed bright red courier new not to trust "inferior chinese products that may result in permanent injury."

what, dare i ask, might these permanent injuries be? infertility? breast cancer? nipple rippage? i can attest that the bandaid effect of the legitimate NuBra is breath-taking enough. imagine the horrors in store with inferior chinese adhesives.

so this is the future. this is progress. and maybe someday our evening boobs and at home and at work and out-and-about boobs and boyfriend boobs and family boobs will all be coddled in paste-filled cups that, biting our lips so we don't scream bloody murder, we peel off at the end of every day.

the sad thing is that this almost does seem like an advancement. this new-found freedom to wear a certain dress with the discomfort merely a coda to the evening rather than endured throughout.

for junior prom, my mum went to the upton's at cool springs and bought me a bra. this was back before i had breasts. actually, i'm pretty sure this was the bra that gave me breasts. it was white and backless and strapless and featured so much boning it could stand upright on its own. it required such an intake of breath and was so complicated that my mother had to help me into and out of it, like she did with my pink polka dotted cross-backed swimsuit when i was four.

this bra made me feel grown-up. like i was more of a woman because i was completely contained and could only take shallow breaths. i wore it to every formal event for the next ten years and eventually it turned a dingy gray and the satin frayed around the pair of tiny hooks that held the whole thing perilously together and it crumpled apart like wet paper, but in those ten years, every morning after when i awoke, the indentions from that bra lingered like sheetprints on my skin.

two truths. bras are of the devil. and nipples cannot be trusted.

05 August 2009

5 nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m.

there's a new big bad in town. apparently a whole gaggle of them who run about at 3 in the morning punching drunk guys in the face and stealing their cell phones. this started a few days ago, but it was only this morning that the newscasters took to the street corners in earnest, setting up their cameras for the 5:30 broadcast so that as i biked by, i caught a wisp of a report in which my neighborhood was pronounced "a sporadic volcano of deadly violence." yeah, that's what every girl wants to hear. that she's set up house in the foothills of pompeii.

02 August 2009

5 um... oops! july: a revue

"i refuse to raise our children in a place where women aren't allowed to speak their minds, drive a car, or wear a tank top."

"you have this great skill at finding the best trash."

"it was the end of something much more domestic."

"let us thank our lucky stars he cannot become pregnant."

"it is only step one in my attempt to wean myself off people.com..."

"i am so tired of old men."

"this is huge! no, this isn't just huge... it is hooge!!"

"any movement is good movement."

"i will have killed 2 couches in 3 years. not a good tally."

"he put his hand down my pants and all i could say was 'no! i voted for mccain!'"

"i should have known it was going to be a long day when i worked for 4 hours then looked up and it was only 9 a.m."

"it is a man thing, so prompts and gentle reminders never hurt."

"i just focused on the pink and was swept away."

"seriously, you know he will come out someday. it is destiny."

"can i just say how much i LOVE that i got a reference to something because it involved exploding diarrhea."

"two jeffs is definitely a trend."

"i remember it as being fun- in a pregnant sort of way."

"the birth. you know... the baby coming out."

"i thought he would be, like, 21 so it would be ok, but no. i'm a pedophile."

"i'm cool with Jesus, but i really want the person who is running that site to go to hell."

"you're still douching as far as i'm concerned."

"next to engaging in consensual sex with another man wearing an ascot is the gayest thing one can do."

"well, it's more of a smoldering queeniness."

"it was because of her vagina that i couldn't hold your hand."