Wednesday, December 19, 2007

a pinch of holiday cheer

pinched nerves do not a happy blogger make.

in other words, my absence is mostly due to a pinched nerve in my elbow, as confirmed by 2 doctors in the last 2 weeks. plan of action: wait it out (and continue letting a physical therapist torture me). this wispy treatment plan is irrationally more disheartening than having a shiny new cast or hearing the "s" word. so for an indeterminate amount of time, i will be sleeping with a padded tube sock (also known as a "heel-bow") around my arm and sporting a wrist splint, as needed.

in other news, coffeeshopgirl is officially a Certified Octane Barista (COB). this is no push button operation my friends. we're talking a 3 part certification, including a proficiency test, a written exam (do you know where Huehuetenango is?), and the cou de gras: a mock competition that required an original signature drink. i witnessed the competiton section of the ordeal last night, and it was so stressful that i had to bring a book to keep from pacing the counter culture training center.

tomorrow we're headed up to DC for a week of house hopping fun. first stop: coffeeshopgirls' parents, where there will be a wall-faced kitten, lots of good-natured yelling, and shabbat dinner. then we're headed to eastern maryland to have a gentile time with my mom and her husband (read: eating cookie dough and watching Friends on DVD). after that it will be back to civilization to spend christmas with my dad and his wife. ah, the joys of family holidays with jigsaw families.

time to finish packing and don my arm sock (maybe i'll draw a smiley face on it and call it Elliot the elbow puppet).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

minor implosion

the problem with smashing things in the confines of your own apartment is that you then have to clean up the mess. vacuuming makes the echo of flying splinters recede faster than i'd like. as you may have guessed, i had a self-provoked moment of insanity and took a baseball bat to a plate. abusing dishes (of the hard plastic variety) will hopefully not make me an ogre in your eyes. i promise you, i felt remorse and i handled the remains with the utmost compassion (and by that i mean i tried not to cut myself as i cleaned up my temper tantrum). maybe chocolate fixes chemical imbalances.

at the very least, a good book can usually distract me from a visit to the Imperial Castle of Unstable (ICU). this past weekend's project was stephen king's book On Writing. i highly recommend it, if for no other reason than you get to take a walk down memory lane with a man who has scared the piss out of millions (perhaps billions?) of people. his writing advice is heavily based on intuition and repetition, so it won't help someone looking for 20 fast and easy steps to becoming the next j.k. rowling, but his tone is optimistic and it left me in the mood to practice.

on the agenda for the next few days:

- the botanical gardens (trip #2 to finish the photos for a calendar i'm making my grandmother)
- the opening for the staff art show at octane
- ann patchett's newest book Run

Friday, November 30, 2007

3 wise men walk into a bar

in an ideal world, i would haunt independent book stores for all of my christmas shopping needs. the reality of the situation calls for a more conservative approach, so the other day i went on a safari through amazon. (and now friday's bad pun is out of the way). i decided to take my time and do a little comparison shopping. it turns out there are some good sales on amazon, and with the super saver free shipping, i spent $20 less than i would have if i'd driven to my local barnes & noble. touting the benefits of an online magnate makes me feel plastic, but i'm partially employed and fully broke. i'll give money to the mom & pops when i can afford dentist appointments (if they still exist by that point). in the meantime, i'm still beaming on the inside for having spent $63 on 6 books, 3 of which are new release hardbacks.

i should revise that first sentence -- in an ideal world, christmas wouldn't be deformed by materialism and i wouldn't "have" to do any of this bargain hunting. coffeeshopgirl seems confused by this thing we goy's call christmas. "but what do people buy??" granted, this is coming from someone whose family has never been a ticket holder on the gift giving train, (i could make a jewish joke. i really could. but i won't). still, i was confused by her confusion. when i tried to explain what people spend their money on, i didn't have a good answer. it felt like i was trying to justify why people wear the same pair of socks for an entire hockey season or spit over their shoulder when they see a black cat. you just do it. you go out and buy socks with rubber ducky prints and pocket sized books that demystify the letter X.

there's no logical end to my christmas diatribe. i haven't even gotten to the fact that it's a logistical nightmare for anyone with divorced parents.

instead, i'll leave you with a friday geek out resource.

Monday, November 26, 2007

KFC original

i present to you a glimpse into what it's like living with a PC student. i happened to look over at coffeeshopgirl's computer just now and saw the following image:

i'm going to drink a mug of hot chocolate (special dark to the rescue) and try to forget that this ever happened.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

shots at the genius bar

it's raining! i'm actually not that excited because i was hoping to get outside for some much needed exercise, but alas, the skies have been drooling since yesterday. 12 hour car rides (one way) and irresistible holiday fare have taken their toll, but the situation will be remedied soon enough (just in time for the season of goy gluttony known as christmas).

i spent my thanksgiving in chevy chase, md, playing with this little squashed-face bundle of energy and trying to remain calm in the midst of yelling cooks. coffeeshopgirl's parents really know how to plan (and execute) a menu, but their words are sometimes sharper than the knives they use to chop vegetables. luckily the ewok and season 1 of Dexter kept me out of the thick of things. we did NOT participate in any post turkey day shopping frenzies. i have never bothered to rub elbows with the harried shoppers of black friday and i hope to never find myself thrown into that commercial mosh pit. i prefer to read McSweeney's short stories and nosh on ghirardelli peppermint bark squares in the comfort of my dad's home.

sadly, the drive back to Atlanta resulted in a small taste of said mosh pit. coffeeshopgirl's power cord died in the 4th hour of our 10 hour drive. normally this would mean the end of homework and the beginning of rambling car conversations... talking about soup and not talking about soup. however, deadlines are deadlines, and sunday make-up classes mean no rest for the turkey weary. so i called 411 and found the closest apple store. 20 minutes later we found ourselves wading through "the streets at southpoint" in durham, nc. 30 minutes later we were back on the road, a little worse for the wear, but with power cord success. our shopping detour and traffic around richmond, va, stretched our drive into 12 hours. add to that the discovery of 3 different areas of cat barf upon our homecoming, and you have a recipe for exhaustion.

i think we'll be flying next time.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

drink the spice...

there's been a drought in georgia (and much of the southeast) for quite awhile now. after browsing a few news articles online, it looks like we may have a parched outlook for much of the winter and into the spring of 2008. my purpose for bringing this up is twofold. one: i'd like to do my small part to plug the idea of conservation and being more aware of everyday strains on the water supply. i'm just as guilty as the next person. i can list 10 wasteful things off the top of my head that i do on a regular basis. in turn, i'm also trying to develop habits that result in a longer list of things i do to conserve one of the few resources that we can't live without.

example: we've had a drip in the kitchen sink for at least 2 months now. ever considered how much water is wasted by one dripping faucet? don't look it up online. put a bowl or a pitcher in the sink and see for yourself. my dripping kitchen faucet will fill a medium sized Britta pitcher in one night. i finally called the maintenance man and the drip is mostly fixed (it's never simple with those guys), but in the interim period we started collecting the drip water throughout the day and had enough water to keep nalgenes and tea kettles filled without ever really turning on the tap. if you know anything about coffeeshopgirl's drinking habits, that's quite a feat.

another habit that's relatively painless to incorporate is to turn off the water while loading the dishwasher. there's no need to let the water run while you figure out how to rearrange the top shelf of the dishwasher to squeeze in one last piece of tupperware. you can also turn the faucet off while you scrub away at pots and pans and then rinse everything at once instead of leaving the water running while you chip away at the remnants of that peanut sauce you just devoured.

okay, enough proselytizing about dish washing. the second reason for bringing up the drought is to recommend the book Dune. I've avoided this book for a long time because i've always assumed it was a sci-fi geek's wet dream. my apologies to anyone who loves science fiction. i finally decided to read it because of a book pushing friend and because i didn't have any other book prospects at the time. it turned out to be extremely captivating and relevant (on the planet of arrakis, water is rationed to the drop and it's considered a form of wealth). i won't get into specifics about plot, but if you're in search of something different to read that has the staying power of harry potter (there are 6 books in the original series), with an equally complicated nomenclature, give it a chance.

Friday, November 16, 2007

a smashing good time

as i was driving away from octane this morning, a woman in a sedan decided not to stop as she exited an apartment complex driveway. it just so happens i was gunning my engine right before i approached this particular driveway because i was in a horrible mood and sometimes the feel of the engine revving through my clutch foot is cathartic. i happened to notice the sedan speed up as i approached the driveway, and it became apparent that the woman had no intention of even pausing to check the flow of traffic. i slammed on the brakes and layed on the horn so hard that my wrist hurt afterwards. the woman stopped in the middle of my lane, looking confused by the fact that other people drive cars too. there was angry gesticulating from my car and instead of pulling through the now-clear intersection, she reversed back into the driveway as quickly as she had previously tried to exit it. as i yelled and drove past, a quick replay of the scene flashed through my mind, except this time i barrelled into the woman's car instead of abandoning my own rapid acceleration. the farther away from the scene i got, the more i wished i had simply kept my foot on the gas. not because i wish harm upon myself or the woman driving the sedan, but because the sound of crashing metal would have been soothing. you see, lately, all i want to do is break things and make loud noises. i've considered taking a drinking glass out back and smashing it into the side of the metal dumpster, but then i think about squirrels and hobos, both of which frequent the area and i don't want to be responsible for hurting either population. so then i think, would it be so awful if i took a bat and smashed in the window of my car? or maybe taking a swipe at the bathroom window and waxing accidental when the maintenance man comes to check it out. so far i haven't come up with healthy solution for my shatter-lust.

whatever i end up smashing, it probably won't be as satisfying as i imagine it. conversely, the possibility of leaving this odd craving dormant wouldn't be as unsatisfying as it seems right now. at least, that's the rationalization i should be using according to a short story entitled "The Futile Pursuit of Happiness", written by Jon Gertner. It was originally published in the New York Times, but i came across it in the Best American Nonrequired Reading anthology (2004 edition). The gist of the story (?) is that we are all incapable of accurately employing affective forecasting (the ability to predict how we will feel in the future). We make decisions based on predicted emotional consequences. The problem is our predictions are almost always wrong or fall short of the actual outcome. So my desire to break something will inevitably leave me wanting more or less of whatever the real emotional outcome happens to be. Example: I smash a glass. The happiness i was looking for will mostly likely subside before the echo of the shatter has even left my ears. the sigh of relief will be inaudible and short lived and i'll go back to feeling like a caged animal.

one of the take home messages from the story is that we all adapt no matter what decision we end up making. worried about choosing between two jobs? why make your life hell for a month trying to decide when the reality of the situation is you'll adapt to whatever path you choose in a matter of time? or so the story goes. what isn't mentioned is that the adaption period between 2 choices could differ drastically depending on unique circumstances. say i pick job A. it's something i'm not sure i care about, but the salary is good and my coworkers are engaging people. adaption to this situation would be a snap. you find ways to make your life matter outside of work and you have the money to do it! say i pick job B. it's something i'm not terribly passionate about and the pay is good (similar to job A), but my coworkers are bitter and too busy pointing their finger at someone to realize i'm in the room. using the logic from my first example, i adapt quickly to job B and deal with the negative environment by surrounding myself with people to combat my 9-5 dynamic. but maybe job B is in a new city where there is no established social network. no matter! friends are easy to find! except you're too busy feeling negative and insular to face the vulnerability of opening up to new people. adaptation to this situation is considerably harder and more intense than job A.

yes, i stacked the deck to prove a point. and no, i'm not trying to decide between two jobs. this is not a real life example.

having said that, i'm in job B, and yes, i am in dire need of a niche but feeling too insular to do anything about it (or to call anyone from my geographically scattered niche). luckily this warm bath of pity i'm lounging in is pretty cleansing. if i was jewish i'd make a mikveh joke.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

penguin maneuvers

now that i can feel the tips of my fingers again, i think i'm ready to ramble. the apartment's held steady at 55 degrees for the last few days, but the disgruntled maintenance man came to the rescue today and now it's a balmy 72. time to break out the hula hoop.

i wish i had something exciting to report in light of my absence, but there's not much going on here in the drrty drrty [south]. i've continued to encourage my misery streak by spending chunks of spare time curled up on the bed feeling sorry for myself. you see, i can't seem to get the hang of things in atlanta. it's kind of like that scene in Lost in Translation where Bill Murray gets in the shower and the showerhead will only raise to about shoulder length. he manages to get under the spray after some manuevering, which gets the job done but isn't exactly a satisfying shower. maybe i'd like atlanta more if i were shorter.

what i'd really like is to spend the weekend biking and then recovering by watching the first season of Dexter. i got my first taste of the show last weekend while painting at my mom's new house in California, MD (promotion & relocation = second home for the parental unit). thanks to netflix, i can catch up without giving in to the temptation of getting showtime.

one of my 101 things is to watch a documentary every month. last month's choice was Air Guitar Nation. i highly recommend it. watching a bunch of hard core air guitarists go head to head will make you feel cooler than you've ever felt before. you might even be tempted to try it out in the shower. if you have recommendations for future months, i'm all ears.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

a mostly stable behemoth

it's a rainy day here in the dirty dirty. i'm off from work today and have thus far started the exciting task of organizing the teetering piles of old bills. my company for the hour is The Princess Bride and i just heard the line "mostly dead is slightly alive." sifting through credit card and student loan statements makes me feel like i'm mostly broke, but if i use hollywood logic, that could also mean i'm slightly unbroke.

i think what i am is slightly unstable, but i digress.

i've been in blog reading overdrive the past few days so what i'm about to say is a direct result of spending too much time on the internet. i've decided to participate in the 101 things in 1001 days challenge. i shudder at the thought of admitting such a thing, but you know what they say, one of the best ways to reach a goal is to make an external commitment by telling the world. so there you go world (of 5 readers), i now, after 4 days of perusing lists and attempting self-exploration, have a list of 101 things that will somehow enrich my life. truth be told, i'm a sucker for lists, so just the pure act of having to maintain this behemoth (that has many sub-lists) will be a compulsive pleasure.

while i have decided to share the act of undertaking 101 things, i have decided not to share the actual list. motivational and/or supportive comments are my own personal kryptonite (along with anything that resembles a compliment). so if you have something positive to say, please veil it in sarcasm or a nice shroud of pessimism. when i manage to check things off the list, i will most likely share them, but for now, it will remain confidential. i will say this, the word unicycle appears in item #56.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

PHS Splurge strikes again

i turned the other cheek and did a bad thing today. $63 down the Rag-o-Rama drain. the trip was partially successful: i found step 1 of this year's halloween costume; i sold $19 of unused track jackets/fleece pullovers; and i scored another pair of designer jeans for a fraction of the retail price. i guess i'm not upset with the end result (given the chance, i'd buy everything again), but the timing of my splurge is less than desirable with 9 more days to the next pay check. grocery shopping could be tricky...

let's move on to a different green matter -- this weekend's activities were reached via two wheels, with the exception of 2 domestic errands. let's face it, 12 packs of pepsi one don't exactly fit in my camelback. there was some major huffing and puffing during today's 10 mile ride to Octane, but i'm guessing carbon dioxide is easier on the environment than my 9 year old car.

i've considered taking the two wheel approach to the extreme and getting rid of my parking pass at the hospital. it would be an extra $50 loitering in my savings account (destined for a digital SLR) and a good excuse to get even more exercise while enjoying the scenery. do i really want to brave the atlanta winter in a bike helmet or is it worth $150 - $200 to be able to feel my toes when i get home?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

frugal fanny to the rescue

i think i need to find a support group. i can't seem to tear myself away from financial blogs. i now know so many new (and old) ways to save money that i don't have! if you're in the market for a new distraction, i highly recommend Get Rich Slowly. the archive section puts everything at your fingertips with informative and eye catching titles ("Take Back Your Brain!"). the advice is often common sense, but it's reaffirming to see other people's success stories (or failures as the case may be). there's also information about things that are completely foreign to me (a.k.a. anything to do with taxes). anecdotal is the way to go with potentially dry material.

(sadly, i can't take credit for finding this gem. i've run across links to GRS on a friend's blog from time to time and finally decided to root around on my own)

in other news, my career as a bookstore employee is officially over. it was an entertaining job, but exhausting because of the constant social interaction and long hours standing on concrete slab. okay, the truth of the matter is, i can make more money selling my soul to the hospital for 3 days a week and have more free time to explore things that make me happy. $7 an hour gets me out of the office but makes me so tired that i could care less about writing or exercise or building a massage therapy business. needless to say, the owner was less than pleased with me. i don't think i'll be doing any christmas shopping there...

not that i plan on doing very much shopping because my goal for the holidays this year is to spend as little as possible. home made gifts here i come.

(forgive all the money talk, but it's on the forefront of my mind these days and this is the official place of mental regurge)

Monday, October 15, 2007

chip off the old block

what we have here is a peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich (as mentioned in my last post). normally i'm a stickler for spreading sandwich condiments (?) to the edges of the bread, but there IS such a thing as too much peanut butter (the horror), so the swatch of peanut butter on the left is only for extra sticking power. "chocolate chips??" you say? balk if you will, but the difference in sugar content from your basic pb&j is marginal. sure, the fat content is a bit higher, but think of the antioxidants you're getting from all that extra chocolate.

the last few days have been an eating extravaganza. coffeeshopgirl's parents were in town for the weekend and we went to several restaurants that we've been lusting after but have been too poor to afford. I don't have the energy to run through the details, but links and descriptions will be posted soon.

Friday, October 12, 2007

sweatin to the oldies

the weather is temporarily crisp here in the land of boiled peanuts and it makes me think of the few things i actually like about cold weather:

Car chapstick. i try to keep burt's bees on my person at all times with the exception of office days where i keep it in my work bag. inevitably i wear a different pair of pants and forget to do the great pocket switch before leaving the house, which leaves me to face the day without the minty sting of burt's. in the winter, my oversight is balanced out by car chapstick. try keeping chapstick in your car during an atlanta summer (or DC summer for that matter) and you'll end up with mint soup. (i know chapstick is really a brand name and not a product name, but i hate the word balm and i'm not even going to think about using the word salve)

Cooler on wheels. ever go on a road trip and try to provide all your own snacks/drinks to avoid the subtle wallet leeching of gas station prices? try doing that in the summer and you'll end up with hot brown water and melty peanut butter-chocolate chip sandwiches. As someone who used to used to think of their car as an extension of their apartment, i can really appreciate the fact that winter weather automatically converts your trunk into a mobile cooler. sodas stay bubbly and chocolate chips stay crunchy! which is great when you can't feel your toes and all you want is a perfect last bite.

Sweaters/sweatshirts. this is pretty self explanatory. i hate being cold. solution: hoodies and wool sweaters. need i say more?

Fewer coffee sweats. I like to drink my coffee on the hotter side, which can be troublesome in the summer months because I usually end up with the coffee sweats. Not familiar? Well, about a quarter of the way into my drink, my heart starts racing and I break out into a full body sweat, complete with flushed cheeks. When the weather gets cooler I have to work harder to produce this effect, usually by drinking more than one cup of coffee in the span of a couple of hours. I try to avoid this if at all possible because too much coffee equals the dreaded sweats AND an intense desire to hit something to relieve the caffeine induced anxiety.

the list of things that i detest about winter is about 3 times as long. looking on the bright side -winters in Atlanta are mild and short lived so I can save the griping for when I move to nyc and can afford nothing more than a cardboard box in the back alley of a chinese restaurant.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


The apartment keeps belching clothes onto the bedroom floor, but I think the new wall color accentuates the piling problem.

Normally I'd shoot for a synopsis with a little more punch, but I'm going cross-eyed so here's the oozing convoluted version. I spent all weekend painting the first coat of a friend's living room and our bedroom. I managed to eek out a second coat for the living room this evening, but our bedroom will have to wait. The thought of sprawling in front of baseboards pains me more than the streaks and dimpling that keep catching my eye. (dimpling = tiny pin holes of white that don't get covered by the roller on the first coat. guaranteed to happen when switching to a dark color no matter what the one coat wonder companies would like you to believe)

today makes day 3 of my 6 day working streak (8 if you count the weekend warrior episode). that's right, i now have a second job due to severe lack of funds and the slowest licensing board in the country. soon i won't be able to afford the means by which i choose to torture you with pointless entries (not to mention things like electric bills and grocery shopping). so i have decided to use my status of homo sapien, emphasis on homo, to procure a job at an "independent" bookstore. not the most lucrative of ventures, but they hired me within 2 days of applying so it's a quick fix that could turn into a good way to pad the bank account, get out of an office, and meet people that have never uttered the words "design aesthetic".

to whom it may concern: i don't fault you for your designer hearts (or vocabularies), just your designerly stress levels.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

honk for peanut butter

It's a dangerous day for driving in North Atlanta. 3 fender benders. 45 minutes. 5 mile radius. 4 major reasons to honk my horn (forget counting the minor ones). The problem is not suburb specific. The other day a truck on the other side of the intersection went through a red light just as I got a green arrow to turn left. I don't mean he ran the light because it changed at the last second. I mean he was sitting at the stoplight and must have decided he had been waiting too long because he revved up and powered through. Had I been in the usual autopilot mode and jumped on the gas when the light changed, I would have broadsided him.

Drivers Ed must cost extra in Atlanta high schools. Everything else around here seems to. Forget the free museums of D.C. They're just a wet dream of the past. And turn signals? They must remove them when you get your car inspected. Luckily the guy who inspected my car didn't even know what model it was ("is that an Accord?"), much less how to remove the turn signal bulbs.

Monday, October 1, 2007

botanical barbarism

the botanical gardens of atlanta takes halloween pretty seriously (see exhibit A from our recent trip). we went in the middle of a thursday and had the run of the place. sadly, my camera died before we got to the turtles in the orchid house, but i did get a few good pictures before those 3 magic words ("change battery pack") hovered on the screen and the shutter retracted.

the usual career/life direction woes have kept me on the outskirts of the blogosphere lately. i've done my daily stalking, but i haven't had the focus or motivation to think of something worthwhile to contribute to this black hole of personal archiving.

hold that thought...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

wag the cheese

i want to take Sam Beam home with me and nuzzle both sides of his brain. that mountain man chin of his might get in the way, but i think we can get past it. as previously stated, i'm irrationally in love with the Shepherd's Dog, save one or two songs that don't quite hit the mark. he could probably write a ballad about marshmallows, and i would be tempted to string a few from my rear view mirror.

okay, i'm back.

every now and then, usually when i'm feeling exceptionally sorry for myself, i get reminded of how much there is to appreciate in life right now. even as i write this i'm having a hard time buying my own lines, but i'll type the hype and maybe some of it will sink in. i work part time in a pediatric clinical research environment. for me, this doesn't mean much more than paper shuffling, but every now and then i get a shot of perspective. while walking from my office over to the children's hospital yesterday, i spotted an expectant golden retriever being led into the main entrance. my first thought was of course "seeing eye dog" but a quick inspection of his(?) handler made me realize that this was a different sort of working dog. his duties (ha. duties.) are singular in nature: spread cheer by way of slobbery swipes of the tongue and unconditional tail wagging.

steel yourself for the cheesy resolution: i was instantly jealous that this dog wasn't bound for my affection (i'm secretly pining for a dog but it will have to wait) and then i realized that the hospital is filled with children who haven't laughed in days because they can't see any humor past the tubes in their noses. i have no idea how canine visits work, but i'd like to think that somewhere in that hospital there's a kid waking up right now thinking about the wet nose that pushed its way into his/her hand yesterday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

dog breath

something short to prolong the data entry that's sitting at my elbow...

this picture is from a street in downtown philadelphia somewhere between the visitor center and the edgar allen poe museum. the house, one of several that poe lived in during his phillie residence, is interesting enough, but not something i'd go too far out of my way for (again). the tour guide was well versed in restoration timelines and poe's brief stint in the house, but i had a hard time concentrating because he seemed to be creepily fascinated by one of the young girls in the group.

but wait, i had no intention of mentioning lecherous irishmen.

what i really mean to say is: buy the new Iron & Wine album.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

special delivery

My monthly Sun magazine was hand delivered to the front stoop with the following note attached:

"J**, hey --

Your copy of The Sun has been traveling around Atlanta, first coupled with mine for some reason & delivered to my home address [***] where I'm renovating, & then forwarded to [***] where I'm staying until the work on my house is done. But since I'd be forlorn without my monthly copy, I'm driving this back down to you --

(Pastor, Emory *** Church)"

Having my own personal magazine Samaritan was confusing (I reread the note 3 times) and heartening. There's no logical explanation for my copy of The Sun being delivered to this woman. Our addresses bear no resemblance. Our names don't even begin with the same letter. Having just finished Eat, Pray, Love, I was immediately struck with thoughts of signs and omens. Am I supposed to seek out spiritual advice from this woman? Is my magazine saga the beginning of a cosmic journey into higher levels of consciousness?

or is it really just another botch job care of the Atlanta Postal Service?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

bobbing for acorns

it's only fitting that my last post has a picture of me wiped out, whereas this post should have a picture of me squinting at the computer with a fat cat perched on the arm of the sofa (if anyone was awake to capture the moment). wait, that's not quite right. a fat cat spilling over the arm of the sofa would be a more accurate description. either way, i can't sleep and neither can the squirrels inhabiting the "upstairs." they must have tapped into their winter stores because the ceiling is creaking like there's a family of walruses up there instead of a few slap happy nut-stashers. the upshot is i've caught up on my flickr maintenance (2 new sets from the latest beach trip). the downward spiral is looking like a mole carrying enough baggage to fly to Texas tomorrow morning.

perhaps i could just bike to Texas on my new set of wheels... after i get a new bike seat that is, because today's ride to the Emory pool was a tad bit uncomfortable in places that require more comfort.

[insomnia = scattered train of thought]

in the last month of highway driving, i've seen 2 pig trucks, one chicken truck, and a dead cow chained to a flatbed. both pig trucks were spotted somewhere in the middle of south carolina on I-20, which brings me to another point about the palmetto state: there's no water in the soda fountains at gas stations. there are thirsty cheapskates in this world that just want to drink free water as they're forced to watch innocent animals being carted off to their deaths. the strangest and somehow least disturbing sight (probably because of its oddity) was watching the limbs of the dead cow bob up and down as the tow truck exited the highway (somewhere in NC).

smart move to talk about dead animal stories when you can't sleep. i think that's my cue to move on to plan B:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

bike a la mode

this is what i look like after doing 7 massages in 2 days. what's that you say? there's a hairy goiter on my rear? no, no, that's just the fat one reigning supreme in my time of weakness.

i'm reading "Eat, Pray, Love" (along with 300,000 of my closest friends) and have just stumbled upon something that i want to tattoo on my forehead: monkey mind. it's pretty self-explanatory, but i'll give you the gist in case you happen to be one of 7 people not reading this book (i feel like such a fad book monger). basically "monkey mind" means your thoughts jump about as if swinging from rope to rope resulting in never quite being present in your own experience. take it one step further by applying it to emotions and you have that warm and fuzzy bipolar teddy bear that you can nuzzle on the bathroom floor at 3am.

what i'm trying to say is, i haven't been posting regularly because i'm too busy chasing my own tail and no one needs to read about that (unless it's written in a new york times bestseller).

as always, i shall now buffer the misery with something exciting. what you are about to see is my newest mode of transportation. it will be arriving on friday, when i'm somewhere in the dead of north carolina en route to my mom's for the weekend.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

infield fly rule

i keep flitting through other people's blogs (anonymously stalking many individuals) and getting impatient with the ones that haven't been updated since my last obsessive round of clicks. a bit hypocritical of me since i haven't done any writing of my own in almost a week. so here you are my one true reader, here's something new to read:

the family weekend was a success. 2 brunches, 3 over priced beers, 1 foot long hot dog, and a trip to Alon's Bakery. the seats at the Braves Game were incredible: 3rd base side in the shade, halfway between 3rd base and the left field foul pole. sadly the Braves flubbed the game (the end felt near when the mets hit 2 home runs in one inning), but we had a good time people watching. as it turns out, baseball isn't america's past time. eating is the true epicenter of all things american. fearing ejection from the ballpark, we did our part to blend in with the natives. we left a respectable pile of peanut shells, hot dog wrappers and empty beer cups in our wake as we filed out of the stands (because the 3rd most exciting thing to do at a baseball game, after eating and taunting the pitcher, is litter).

unworthy movie of the week: Small Time Crooks. we finally fast forwarded through the second half of woody allen's stuttering and arm waving to a very predictable ending. oy.

library books currently sitting in a pile next to me: several short story collections from Robert Walser and Michael Chabon's "Yiddish Policeman's Union" and "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay".

now if i can only stay awake long enough to read...

Friday, August 31, 2007

kills bugs dead

well, the foreign occupation of my car has been reduced to a thin film of raid, 3 very clogged packages of ant food, and an unidentifiable number of carcasses. i really do feel remorse... until i imagine reaching for the gas pedal and having my foot encased in a throng of hungry feelers.

this would of course never happen.

but it could.

if i lived in australia.

it should be a busy weekend. the parental units are coming to town and we're headed to a braves game tomorrow afternoon. i'll see if i can snag a few pictures of some good clean redneck fun (not baseball in general, just baseball in the deep south). we're going to bring healthy popcorn and see if we can get kicked out of the ballpark.

anybody know how to find a good writing group?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

run for your lives!

my car has been invaded by ants. we're talking thousands of them. they're out there right now, cloaked by the black interior, but if you look closer you can catch signs of movement from every direction.

i have certain feelings towards ants.

certain strong feelings.

feelings that make me want to sell my car and never step foot in it again.

feelings that made me scream when i unknowingly sat down in the sea of ants, thinking about my impending meeting and NOT about being eaten alive by segmented beasts.

sadly, my situation is not unique. dave is also experiencing the mysterious ant invasion, but he's using a different mode of transportation for his daily circuit to Athens, GA, so i have only moderate feelings of sympathy for him with regard to ants. thinking about his soul sucking commute is a different story.

the upside to this morning's siege is that i officially rode my bike to work today. or rather, i borrowed coffeeshopgirl's road bike because it's like a gazelle compared to my sluggish mountain bike. i'm feeling greener already. Emory would be proud.

maybe i can turn my car into an ant farm and charge admission.

Monday, August 27, 2007

birthday bashing

yesterday was my birthday. i spent most of the day in existential crisis mode, but here's a more objective version of the day:

it started with an early breakfast at Thumbs Up (thanks again to everyone who dragged themselves out of bed on a sunday morning to gorge on whole grain biscuits). the middle of the day was dedicated to a Superbad movie outing at Atlantic Station, your run of the mill creepy pre-fab shopping centre, complete with overpriced condos and a fishbowl gym. in retrospect, i think the Simpson's movie would have been a wiser choice. Superbad was one long dick sucking joke that came off as a geekier version of american pie with vintage clothing. Admittedly, there were some great scenes, but overall it was a movie going experience i would NOT like to repeat. watch the trailers. check out the website. whatever you do, don't go see it unless you want to feel like you're stranded on a desert island with a band of 17 year old masturbating pipsqueaks.

the Superbad experience was capped off with a trip to Old Navy. there was a time when i would have relished such an opportunity, but that phase has apparently passed. so many boatnecks. so many empire waists. can you imagine me in either? the words "cross-dressing" come to mind. after a cursory and uncomfortable sweep of the store, i spent the remainder of the shopping trip outside waiting for the others to emerge.

and then the deluge hit. major thunderstorms and heavy rain for the rest of the afternoon. i couldn't help but be amused at how well the weather matched my mood. there's only one thing to do when you're feeling that stale: stand in the rain. the idea was catching and before i knew it, the 4 of us were outside splashing around in the curbside river.

after a trip to the Dekalb County Farmer's Market and the nearby asian market, we had yet another amazing dinner of thai style peanut noodles that was followed by zucchini cake with dark chocolate icing (care of our temporary roommates).

the day was sprinkled with phone calls from relatives, the best of which was the traditional call from my mother (pictured here from the mid 70s)where she recounts the joys of popping me out. this year she got the most amusement out of how i was basically mute for the first year of my life. i guess some things don't change.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

alphabet soup

if you have a weakness for addictive games, especially ones that involve spelling or anything resembling Boggle, DON'T look at this when you need to function in the outside world.

i geeked out on it too much yesterday and went to bed with letters floating around in my head.

Friday, August 24, 2007


it's hard to blog when you're in a bad place. all i want to do is whine and lament over my unique situation, which is of course not unique at all. it seems like the theme of late is to be confused and unhappy about life direction. if i knew an exotic language it would be tempting to run away to a far off land and participate in a translation program (something one of my fellow doubters is considering). sadly the only exotic language i know is the ever changing system of grunts and hand waving that comes from coffeeshopgirl.

maybe i'll become a coffee model. i mean, who could resist this level of poise and passion?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

going canuck

i'm thinking about running away to canada and becoming the official massage therapist for the royal canadian mounty division. i can picture it now -- outcalls will be on horseback and i can have an office in the woods where i use sticks and berries as tools for a new version of shiatsu that i'm only moments away from perfecting.

or i can just drive back and forth to sandy springs every day and watch my soul steam up the back windshield.

Monday, August 20, 2007

tantrum by the sea

beach withdrawal set in approximately 3 feet beyond the driveway of the incredible house we stayed in all weekend.

more to come after i've recovered from the 8 hour drive...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

trigger happy

jo has to catch her excrement
in plastic cups that trap the scent
she duct taped her cleft
to leave the worms bereft
but they wiggle with no relent

(slight descrepancy -- the picture is a bot fly and not a worm. i hope to never (ever) become personally acquainted with a bot fly)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

not exactly butterbeer

coffeeshopgirl has an... interesting taste in beverages. this post is an ode to her experiments. the first version seemed to fall flat at the end so i wrote a second version. still not quite putrid enough, but it's a start. this may look like iced coffee but i'm here to tell you it was nothing of the sort.

she brews base concoctions by day
with sour cream and bits of clay
people pay to drink
what makes their vessels shrink
and she pockets their tips to play


she once devised a rancid brew
that smelled of moldy cheese and glue,
the color of juice
tasting oddly of spruce,
it made for an unsightly spew

have you hugged a polar bear today?

my brain has begun the process of liquidation. i'm not sure if it's because of the temperatures in the apartment or the massive amount of sweating that occurred at my new massage job this past weekend. either way, i'm tired, sore, and worried about everything that can possibly be worried about.

on the apartment front, we now have a window unit in the bedroom that seems to do a better job cooling the entire apartment than the central air EVER managed. the fate of the electric bill remains to be seen. do we attempt to get reimbursed for the past 2 months when the management insists, after multiple visits, that our lack of air flow and cooling power is simply due to the apartment location? somehow the words "this could just be one of those apartments" aren't going to make me feel any better when we get the next electric bill. and what about next summer? should we start saving pennies now so we can afford to keep the ice cream in the freezer from melting?

maybe if i get a barbie cake for my birthday i'll feel better about life.

Friday, August 10, 2007

moto foto

the wedding extravaganza included a videographer and at least 2 professional photographers (that i could count), so i figured i should assume part of the responsibility to take a few mediocre pictures for the masses. trying to remain unobtrusive apparently means i capture the back of people's heads. in my haste to snap and scramble, i tested the limits of my 4 year old camera, which means there are more blurry pictures than i'd hoped for.

and now, after all the compensatory remarks, see for yourself

flickr's new uploading feature mangled the order of the pictures, but i rearranged them so you can get the general idea.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

hot now

did you know that $227 is good for 83 degrees of heat in a 700 square foot apartment?

i've got the paperwork to prove it!

anybody want to come over? c'mon. if you believe in hell, it'll be like a warm up.

come over and we can all stand in front of the pantry, which is the only square foot of cool air in the apartment.

boiled nuts

there are rabid squirrels siphoning our air conditioning from the duct work in the ceiling. i can hear them pawing around, celebrating the arctic spoils of their victory.

meanwhile, i sit here bathed in a swirl of recirculated steam, continuing my attempt at online practice tests and dreaming about what it would be like to crawl into the freezer and go to sleep.

hora hora

having just experienced my first jewish wedding, here's the short version of what i have to say:

jewish people know how to throw a party.

(maybe what i should be saying is the Blooms know how to throw a party)

the longer version goes something like this:

there's no way to capture the essence of the entire weekend so i'll just fire at will and chalk this post up to sheer wedding over stimulation. i know exactly this "--" much about jewish traditions. i know holidays mean eating (except for that one where they fast -- yom kippa? yom kippotamus?) and i know that major events mean more eating. So basically i was looking forward to a full stomach and a beautiful dress (having already previewed the goods).

What i wasn't expecting was the overwhelming sense of participation that came from the wedding attendees. There was so much dancing and mirth that i couldn't walk 2 feet without bumping into someone cutting a rug. And the dancing of the hora. where do i start? bride and groom bobbing around the room in chairs raised above shoulders. the old and young alike zipping by in their circles with such zeal that i felt like i was in a ring around the rosy mosh pit. every so often a less coordinated person (i.e. me) would fall out of formation and stumble to a nearby wall.

But i'm getting ahead of myself.

The afternoon of the wedding (held at Woodend Mansion) was spent trying to stay out of the way. I figured my best course of action would be to camp out on a bench overlooking the grounds and wait for the wedding party to emerge from the house. Little did i know that my prime seating was also prime real estate for the pre-wedding video shoot. I apologize now to the bride and groom if you have a confused looking individual wearing a khaki suit sitting on a bench next to the best man in the background of your pre-wedding bliss.

After the photographers herded the wedding party from one pose to the next, the excitement died down a bit (at least for me). There was much milling about, meeting various sig figs and waiting for the rabbi to show (and waiting and waiting). Eventually I walked down to the wedding square with one of the other non party members. And that's when the rain started. Luckily it was the light rain you might relish on a long summer walk and not the heavy downpour that keeps you stranded inside for hours. I'd even go so far as to say that it added to the romanticism of it all... sitting in white folding chairs, surrounded by a sentinel of trees in the midst of greenery, the soft pattering of rain drops, the sound of jewish curls frizzling in the humidity...

the post-ceremony hours can be summed up with my first paragraph. the people were all incredibly nice, the food was amazing, the centerpieces were unreal. Basically there are not enough superlatives to go around.

you know it's a good time when even I get out on the dance floor. sadly, it may cease to be a good time for everyone else.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

prelude to a jew

(courtesy of Gellatinous Laser)

a whirlwind weekend to say the least... but i need to get some studying done before i spend time musing over wedding affairs.

for now, i'll leave you with this:

Edgar was a fretful miser
who removed his own incisor
by taking a leap
from a fast moving jeep
with his tooth strung to the visor.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

brain implosion

i have an interview in t minus 2 hours. i've tried reading over the typical massage interview questions, but the words keep jumping around like frogs on speed and i can't concentrate. how am i supposed to think about what my strengths and weaknesses are when all i can imagine is flubbing the practical? i'm having visions of accidentally shooting lotion into my interviewer's ears or being overzealous with the sheets and somehow exposing her, which would most likely traumatize me the most.

thoughts that comfort me:

- it's not the ideal job (spa franchise, bad location, cheap massages -- which probably translates to mediocre compensation and oddball clientele)

- there's no underground network of blacklisted applicants so if i screw it up, no one will know

- in 12 hours i will be in DC for a weekend of wedding fun (that's right, i said fun)

- there's always chocolate (and beer)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the 8-legged villian

this is what is now unaffectionately known as the "spider bowl."

all 8 of the little beast's eyes probably watched me make my peanut butter and jelly sandwich this morning as i was getting ready for work.

i could have lost a digit.

i could have gone into shock.

i could have missed out on TCBY.

Monday, July 30, 2007

arachnid groping

My goal as of late is to spend as little money as possible, seeing as I’m an unemployed massage therapist and a partially employed office bitch. Given my distaste for shopping, which is mostly due to the throngs of annoying consumers and not a lack of materialism, my economizing goals haven’t been too hard to realize. Downfalls are as follows:

- Sushi
- Grocery store extras (i NEED baked lays cheddar and sour cream chips)

It’s a short (and taste driven) list, so I guess I’m doing pretty well except sushi is an expensive indulgence and should probably be listed 3 times because of how much it leeches from my bank account. We’ve been trying to cut our wasabe laden habit in half, which works until we enable each other and wants suddenly turn into needs. This month I have an unexpected sushi fund care of my grandmother who probably wouldn’t touch the stuff with a ten foot pole. Funny how she’d rather suck on her lucky strike cancer sticks than experiment with seaweed and raw fish. To each their own, and to me, salmon avocado rolls please!

I should probably save a little of the grandma money for a therapy session. Backstory: There’s a ceramic bowl (made by Erin Root) on the top shelf of our bakers rack that used to house bananas, avocados and the like, but has since been replaced by a bowl from Portugal. Yesterday I happened to wonder whether there was any rotting matter in the ceramic bowl since you can’t really see what’s in there from ground level. I cautiously ducked my hand into the bowl, feeling around for the glass eggplant that I knew was in there, planning to use it as a starting point for my exploration. My pinky finger hit the familiar stickiness of a spider web and I yanked my arm away from the bowl. Not content to leave it alone, I pulled the bowl down from the shelf (being sure to keep a safe distance). I personally would call it a yelp. Others may loosely interpret it as a scream. Call it what you like, but there was a spider in the bowl that my hand had just occupied.

She said she knew about it and didn’t tell me because she didn’t want me to get mad that she had left it in the bowl (to eventually suck my blood).

I ask you, is this love?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

jack be nimble

observe the great hunters in their natural habitat as they search for the infamous ceiling creature. the dedicated predators will lay in wait for hours, following every rustling scamper across the length of the domestic plain. neither food nor patches of sunlit floor can distract them from their quest.

(help... my brain is disintegrating)

damn the man

when i don't do my work in a timely manner, They bind my hands behind my back and make me spit shine these nitrogen tanks with my nose. it's actually pretty gratifying except for when my hair gets caught in the valve handles.

when They tire of making me shine the tanks, they make me hold a computer screen above my head and walk back and forth up this hallway that houses machinery and important gas lines for the research center. if it's a bad day, They make me chant "computers are good, excel is great, when i grow up, i want to be smarter than a grape." one day i'm hoping a monkey will come out of one of the little rooms to keep me company.