30 April 2010

0 april: a revue

[the month in which...

(a) your oline discovered the ability to text herself so that she is now a more efficient quoter/socially awkward person than ever before

(b) everyone in the oline universe said at least 5 witty, highly quotable things

(c) all of the above ]

"there's this song by sheryl crow... god, you remember her, right?"

"nature. dammit. grrr."

"he's clearly from good seed."

"it is difficult to reconcile that traffic jam with the just love of God."

"oh but i did see a hot guy in a wheelchair and i thought, 'now. damn. he would be a good father."

"it's really sad that hollywood is my religion."

"he only does it in the most embarrassing of places... like in front of the governor."

"i misread your name as carlos and thought 'who the hell is that?'"

"i was like, oh my god, she's going to judge him forever for poor bowl choice."

"i think i would've been one of those people who said, 'you want to say mass in the language of the people? fuck that!'"

"face it, honey, he was so southern he was practically gay."

"what? do they have an arts and crafts department there?"

"oh well, they can just think i'm vapid."

"we have become what he calls 'snuggle buddies' and are in danger of having to use the 'it's complicated' facebook status."

"the girls album is pretty frontloaded but it's a great load."

"she is jewish so that's new and i kissed a black girl named talara on the lips like two times during the parade."

"no. no. you do not understand. this is VITAL. my department cannot live without that stapler."

"yeah, i heard you flirting over there. i was simultaneously nauseous and impressed."

"the short little man that told the story about one of the chicago colleges..."

"it looks nice and being that all it required was dumping cans of apple goo into a pre-made pie crust i feel fairly confident i couldn't have messed it up."

"i hate that i just referred to email as old school."

"we could get berries. and make jam. and keep it real."

"i'm a 28 year old woman. i should be grateful to receive an easter basket of any kind."

"i'm 97.6% positive that efficiency is one of my love languages, along with take-out chinese food."

"i would agree whole-heartedly that we are destined to find our soul mates tonight. especially now that I know you'll be going street for the evening."

"ian is wearing a suit every day... well, hopefully more than one suit."

"GLORY. that is how I feel."

"that is a terrible band name. but i just found out the improv group i've joined is called meatwhisker so i'm not feeling very holier than thou about it."

"saturday was super jewy."

"wait. you have a sermon notes notebook? you amaze me."

"we never fit in. even though he's a cinematographer and i wear black on the inside, we do not blend."

"if there were reincarnation, you were probably a girl who drew a line for her stockings... for a guy like me."

"you are very much of the night."

"she and i spent the weekend further complicating the relationship. we dressed up and took hand holding pictures."

"american protocols mean nothing to the brazilians."

"shredding should be a hobby not a career."

"you may be sober but the night is drunk."

"let me ask: how much do you think this situation resembles bright star?"

“right now, she doesn’t ever want to see us again. rather harsh, for a bible-quoting woman, don’t you think?”

"one more reason to love chicago. it doesn't make you think everything sucks."

"chuck, blair, woe is me."

"we're not going to fuck, but that would be the sweetest thing."

"i get lost in the fact that life is too funny for God not to be hilarious."

"it was good, but awkward, but good."

"your nose... it has this native american wisdom."

"he seemed nice. and tall. and apparently that's all i'm looking for in a soul mate."

"i'm an anthropologie girl trapped in an old navy life."

"one who has called in sick should not show up the next day looking like tom hanks in philadelphia. this does not bode well for the likes of a known gay man."

"oh, robert downey jr., the drew barrymore of men..."

"while i waited, there were pages about lost cell phones left in bathrooms. then they asked if anyone who could translate hungarian would they come to the service desk. now they want sahib to come there to meet his mother."

"it is challenging to be a professional woman and not look like a working girl."

"i must dance like a child of the night. i can't just stand around looking cool in my skimpy dress."

"i have a wee coral bolero jacket to wear. it kind of looks edgy cool...i know, it doesn't sound possible for a coral bolero jacket but it's true."

"it was a PILE of awkward sponsored by me and underwritten with a grant by amanda."

"you just seemed to all intents and purposes like someone who was wearing underwear."

"the clap is not a venereal disease... not tonight."

"going to a saturday party and hearing about it on monday - is this fame?"

"it will be wondrous. or we will die. i haven't decided which."

27 April 2010

8 there are things that are vitally important and then there is steven seagal

who is being sued for human sex trafficking by an employee he used as a "sex toy."

thus jeopardizing his ownership of a fake new orleans deputy sheriff's badge.

(for the record, jenny mccarthy was not surprised.)

and while all the articles take great pains to mention seagal's "unique physiological reaction to sexual arousal," they do not detail it, which exponentially increases my concern for the safety of this panda.

23 April 2010

12 the man of honor

in 10th grade, we had this world history teacher.

(yes, this is going to have nothing to do with that picture but it seemed to demand a picture and that picture there is The Picture so just go with it.)

mr revette.

"mr rev" partner and i called him in the many inflammatory notes we wrote about him and passed to one another during his class.

my only real memory of mr rev is from the day when he arrived at the personally and professionally unfortunate decision that our class could not properly grasp the power of genghis kahn without a reenactment. to that end, he straddled a desk and mimed a mongol invasion as we sat slack-jawed in horror over the total loss of dignity unfolding before our eyes.

that was pretty much the end for him.

a few weeks passed in which anarchy reigned, and then mr rev made an unprecedented class-trade, handing our world history 1 class in toto over to the football coach, who would, presumably, whip us into shape and impose some degree of order.

the only itty bitty problem being that the football coach's geography class didn't want to go.

and so this is my first memory of steven (whose birthday is today). that moment when, wearing an orange polo and sitting in front of good old natalie d. (in my memory, they are holding hands. in reality, they probably weren't.), he led a revolt against the mongol invasion of coach brock's class.

ultimately, in high school as in history, the mongols won.

22 April 2010

0 wait for it...

there are many reasons k.lo and i are friends.
one of them is that when i mentioned that she, katie i and i should celebrate our upcoming birthdays with a feat of ridiculousness,
she got that look in her eye that portends awesome and whispered:
"medieval times..."
because well yeah.

19 April 2010

2 biogrophiled

yesterday, in our conversation regarding the huge heap of bibliographical booth business coming my way, the world famous biographess said one of those things that you just know will change your life forever.

in singing the praises of another biographical researcher, she said this: "her bibliography, it was just gorgeous. truly, the sexiest citations i ever saw."

thus, from here on out, it is my sole aim in life to produce sexy citations. a bibliography whose short titles and parenthetical text references are so erotically proper that the hearts of biographers of the future will be sent into palpitations and they will be left more than a little turned on.

18 April 2010

8 there are things that only happen in chicago and then there are things that only happen to me

about a month ago, i began to have a sneaking suspicion that my life had got a bit strange. last night, as i sat on the stoop of a church in conversation about subliminality with a slovenian man i'd met ten minutes prior on the street when he flagged me down to ask if i'd ever considered doing neo-futurist theater because my nose had the curvature and wisdom of a native american's, i realized that was an understatement.

because this does not happen. at least not when i'm listening to my ipod. as the slovenian- who was some sort of depaul theater/film/sketcher/slashie person preoccupied with putting everything on stage- repeated time and again, "this could not happen. we are so real that no one could ever believe we are being as real as we are being right now."

i didn't know what that meant. i'm quite sure he hadn't the faintest clue.

he smelled vaguely european and was missing a tooth.

he'd had six or seven scotch whiskeys and a drunk slovenian is a verbal trainwreck from which one cannot easily walk away. a drunk lapsed catholic slovenian who, thanks to my repeated protestations that i had to go home to bed because i had church in the morning, had at some point in our conversation arrived at a fervent belief that i was an angel sent by God proves somewhat more of a challenge.

while the slovenian stood on the church steps, shouting a pledge to meet his angel under the decorative lamppost in the alley, i finally slipped away. as i turned on to my street, his voice echoed in the darkness, lamenting that i was "such a mysterious fleeting thing of the night."

thanks to the six or seven scotch whiskeys, i do not think he will remember any of this.

but just in case, if i'm someday sitting at the pig with you or walking down fullerton and a slovenian comes barreling out of nowhere to bow at my feet, with an effusion of talk about angels and pinups and elvis and the night of unsatisfied lust we shared together on the old church steps. this is why that happened. this is what that was.

16 April 2010

4 and this is where we all bow down to kristina, queen of the mot d'esprit

"i'm not even listening."
"don't. it will make your heart bleed."

"he looks like keats!"
"oh yeah, god. except less sallow and without the mojo."

"well i guess this is the kind of concert you can take your mom to."

"i got so addicted to the wire. i could just feel the addiction coming. like when you have sex without a condom and you're like, 'fuck. i'm pregnant.'"

"that kind of looks like tom ford but not enough."

"i was like if you're not getting onstage in a lime green unitard, you're just not committed."

"you know why this is weird? because we are in a room where everyone has read twilight."

"oh wow... that is a lot of... pattern."

"there are a disturbing number of polo shirts here."

"you know what kind of crowd this is? sarah mclachlan. except for fewer lesbians."

"i don't care enough to make artistic statements with my tongue."

"i've reached a point in my life where i really want to date a guy who wears a suit, but you know, i just can't. that is so not my constituency."

"this entire crowd is composed of people who would go to morocco just to smoke pot."

14 April 2010

10 only in the city

my parents are coming to town in a few weeks. the vegetable garden has been planted now, thus the bright shining light of their adoration has turned the full glare of its harsh beams upon their beloved, beleaguered only oline.

for the past five days, every email i have received from my mother has concluded: "i am coming to see you!!!"

my mother is a lady- a southern one at that- so she would never admit that this is eatonspeak for "clean out your effing vacuum cleaner, caroline." trust me. it is.

the granddaughter of a carpenter, i prized shop class above home-ec and, thus, made it all the way to adulthood without knowing a whole heap of semi-vital common things. like sewing and hair jewelry and silver polishing. and teeny tiny facts like, hey, vacuum cleaners have bags! and one must change them! regularly!

(sidenote: i have tried to inform my mother that this is a generational ignorance as even lindear, a know-it-most, only recently had a similar revelation and she has managed to be married and buy a house and have a child without knowing anything about vacuum cleaner bags. sadly, this argument netted me nothing but an arduous workshop in mother cupcake's kenmore college.)

so, yes. vacuum cleaners have bags. and one must change them. regularly. this i did not know until my mum came to town two years ago and vacuumed my apartment. a seemingly simple task that resulted in a small house fire and a filmy layer of singed vieve hair that clung to the floor with a tenacity only ever rivaled by the sequins of nuit blanc.

i do not know why but when my parents come to town my life- my lovely, lovely little life- somehow inevitably comes off as a vortex of disorder. just as whenever we take my grandparents to a favorite restaurant, their food will unfailingly be overcooked or underdone or topped with multiple strands of some stranger's hair, when my parents come to town, my beloved chicago seems to fall apart.

the wind whips up.

the balcony is condemned.

rats pilgrimage to my back door to die.

rodents of unusual size pilgrimage to my back door to eat them.

and the neighbors have very very loud sex that echoes across the courtyard and punctuates the bi-annual discussion of the living will with periodic shrieks of "OH GOD. YES. YES. NOW."

not now. oh God, i beg you.

and yet...

when i go to memphis, we go to mississippi. and, in a lo-fi reenactment of the glory days, we sit on the front porch in old, old rocking chairs on an old, old plot of land and talk about the stuff you talk about with old, old people who are preparing to die.

mississippi breaks my heart. it is hard to breathe. someone's always leaving the room to cry.

in chicago we are different, my parents and i. we are us. the three of us as i remember it. ridiculous. slightly off. alive and always, always laughing. the big, huge kara beautiful gold laughs with no holding back.

my father says i belong here. in chicago, in this mess of rats and wind and whispers.

when he says this- usually in the context of how i am so far from my family that if bird flu/terrorism/earthquakes/tsunamis/[insert random unlikely devastating event here] happen(s) i will be entirely on my own and will probably die because i so seldom carry cash and never read islandia and haven't the sense to care for a vacuum- when he says this, as his voice comes down the line, i can hear it.

that little crack of pride. a simple, small break of the voice that i have come to covet all the more the more i hear it. an almost imperceptible change of inflection that acknowledges, without ever saying so, that by being here, by leaving there, i have done something terribly important that none of us quite understand. something that might be almost worthy of all that adoration. almost.

13 April 2010

10 dixie

i hate it when women die before men.
it seems somehow so much sadder.

12 April 2010

3 monday, 8.17 a.m.

i stepped on a bird.

this was traumatic.

perhaps a bit more so for me than the bird.

because i had to exercise all available willpower to remain a functioning member of society and not give in to the urge to root myself in the middle of the street and scream at the top of my lungs I HAVE STEPPED ON A BIRD! while conducting a hand-sanitizer-based immolation.

the bird seemed less affected. continuing on as before, pecking his beak into what i can only assume was his own bird poo but might've been someone else's.

11 April 2010

6 peaked

i come from an enthusiastic people. a household that places the family bible, goo gone®, mayan statuary, and bonnie bell chapsticks on par in The Hierarchy of Terribly Vital, Equally Interesting Things. we, all three of us, have a propensity for instilling the absolute smallest of events with the greatest possible import.

and i realize- especially after a years-long campaign against the bastardy of 20th century fox's policies regarding vintage tv- that i, of all people, should never mock anyone for enthusiasm toward a television series.

that said, in my role as family documentarian, it seems important to briefly dwell upon my father's reaction to the arrival of his twin peaks boxed set.

yesterday, at approximately 2:15 CST, the twin peaks boxed set arrived in my parents' mailbox.

i was informed of this through a text at 2:16 that read: "2:15: IT IS HERE!!!"

at 2:25, having failed to respond to this news with the appropriate textual fanfare, i received an email from my father. no subject. no message. just this attachment:


if you are thinking this is a generic picture selected from the myriad pictures on the internet of the twin peaks dvd boxed set, then you are wrong. because this is the scanned actual front cover of my father's twin peaks dvd boxed set, 10 minutes after its delivery.

see? enthusiasm.

but forgive me. i am being inaccurate. as he quickly informed me in a 2:35 follow-up to my congratulatory note of 2:33, this was not simply the twin peaks dvd boxed set, but "The Definitive GOLD Box Edition of Twin Peaks!" ie. "(Not brass, not copper, not silver BUT GOLD)."

close on the heels of this news came another email with a rousing endorsement from david lynch himself, who said: "this is a great definitive Twin Peaks Gold Set..." by which he presumably meant the very same copy of the box set my father now owns. from the hands of david lynch to my parents' tv...

last night, as they both separately informed me, my parents watched three hours of twin peaks. 3 down. 26 to go.

my father loves it. my mother doesn't. as the daughter of parents who cannot talk on the phone at the same time yet habitually tell the same stories, i was subjected to two full recaps of the episodes they had seen of this show i have never watched (an ordeal slightly leavened by my father's repeated vocal interpretations of the twin peaks orchestral score).

anyone recall the Eaton Family Ken Burns' The Civil War Viewing Extravaganza of yore? yeah, i'm pretty sure this is that reduxed. and i have to say, never have i ever been more grateful that i do not live at home.

09 April 2010

3 well, shucks, norman mailer

norman mailer and i do not get along. i'm just not that into him.

but after reading THIS (and THIS and THIS), i'm reevaluating.

and yes, he may or may not have been married to three women simultaneously and undoubtedly stabbed one. and he did a biographical hatchet job on my dear marilyn. and he justified adultery as "literary research" and on top of that he was a horrible misogynistic bastard. yes, yes, yes. i get all that.

but then there is this: "the night would end on the floor of her living room. he promised to write..."

this makes me kind of love norman mailer. partly because the man knew how to end an evening, but more so because he promised to write. and, really, that's all a girl needs. the promise of writing. who cares if it comes true.

07 April 2010

2 so-so

i cannot sew.

a fact that- due to some antiquated southern belief that no man could love a woman who cannot load a bobbin- horrifies my mother to no end.

i cannot sew, thus i will wind up old and alone and shabbily costumed and unevenly hemmed.

grey gardens minus the singing plus unused needles and threads.

this is my mother's Great Fear.

on an entirely unrelated note, tonight jmills and i are at long last- and no thanks to a downright harrowing registration system- embarking upon a sewing adventure at the needle shop.

for four hours.

yes, you read that right.


which is both a ridiculously ginormous amount of time and yet simply not enough.

do forgive my cynicism, but i highly doubt that over a period a mere 18 minutes longer than gone with the wind, we are going to "master the basics of sewing." if my earlier attempts at the basics of sewing are an indication, i will master nothing but the fundamentals of frustration.

thus, i'm quite sure this will end badly and have mentally prepped for a variety of unfortunate twists. namely, that we have unknowingly signed up for a lifetime of sweatshop servitude or sex slavery that- gilligan's island-style- will far outlast the four hour window i have allotted in my busy schedule for this class.

because this is how people- innocent, ignorant, and inculcated with an unconscious awareness that they are somehow rendered less womanly by an inability to wield a needle- wind up working for akouavi kpade afolabi and kathi lee gifford, right? they sign up for sewing 101.

06 April 2010

6 glamorama

i feel that in the mad crazy glut of new yorkiness, mayhaps birnsy's recent spate of awesoming about chi-town was given short-shrift. in an effort to correct that, here comes the awesome...

05 April 2010

2 the obligatory weekly(ish) nod of ardor (and frustration) in the general direction of dear mister james franco

so i finally broke down and read "just before the black" (which you can do HERE if you have the inclination and nothing remotely worthwhile to do with your time).

and though the much-ballyhooed 266 word sentence has gotten much press attention and gives us my new favorite catch-phrase ("why the fuck did you do that, manuel?"), i'd have to say my favorite line was this:

"Joe and I sit and stare at the wall of the building. The building is beige, but the shadows make it shadow-color."

because really, dear james franco, surely at least one person in any one of the four graduate programs in which you are simultaneously enrolled suggested there might be a more apt descriptor for shadows than "shadow-color." otherwise, i do not think you're getting your money's worth.

04 April 2010

0 vigilant

the year is not yet 1/3rd through and i have twice vigiled in a cathedral before an unreasonably agressive indoor open flame. i'm pretty sure elvis is trying to tell me something. could it finally, finally be the year my dead week celebrations extend beyond the jellied doughnut into the realm of the vigil? i'm thinking maybe so.

03 April 2010

2 30 x 30

one month before her 30th birthday, e has accomplished her goal of 30 x 30. a triumph that has made us all reevaluate the entirety of our lives.

we have not been to 30 countries. we did not even think to have international travel goals.

doing a quick tally and including our own, i've wracked up nine countries. with a quick jaunt up to birnsy, canada could possibly be squeezed in during the next year but 10 x 30 doesn't quite have the same ring. it is not nearly as ambitious as i would like to think i am. on the other hand, to start aiming for 35 x 35 seems far too demanding. even i have the sense to realize that, barring a radical financial/lifestyle/employment/credit card debt change, 20 countries in 6 years is a mission doomed before it's even begun.

and yet, i want a mission. i do not want to give into the idea that at the ripe old age of 28, i may have already aged out of this pursuit.

so 15 x 35 it is. get ready, world. here i come. eventually.

02 April 2010

4 dear 18 million milk gallons i've recycled in the last 16 months: R.I.P.

i started recycling in january 2009, stirred to action by partner's pregnancy and a fear that my mountain of diet coke refuse might one day contribute to a situation in which a child of partner's would breathe unclean air.

the chicago recycling program- entitled "chicago recycles!" (a word i am realizing as i write this i always mistype as "reclycles")- is a fairly unsophisticated beast comprised of a blue bag system, wherein participants buy blue garbage bags, load them with their recyclables, put them in the dumpster and the city garbage workers segregate them out.

this is not an entirely successful enterprise. i have a vivid memory of katie i. leaning over the french toast at frances' to tell me in her best CSI voice that only 1 in 4 bags survives. 75% are doomed to die.

accordingly, i redoubled my efforts, tossing everything in and double-blue-bagging. i was absolutely convinced i was saving the world one empty milk gallon at a time.

so you can imagine my shock and awe when k.lo recently tossed a coke can in the garbage without a care in the world. when i called her out on a lack of ecological conscience, she turned to me and said the words everyone wants to hear when they've spent a year and a half shelling out extra money for specially colored garbage bags: but, oline, they killed that program in january 2009!

oline recycles! sadly, chicago does not.

01 April 2010

4 sprung.

yesterday was GORGEOUS, so katie clen and i feasted at the greek restaurant, snagged ice cream at annette's, and sat in the out-of-doors for the first time in six months, marveling at the fact that there are 18 million babies in this city. seriously, who knew?