Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Corporate Outing Time

My company actually is having a corporate outing. In the internet economy, these are few and far between these days. And my neighbor was shocked when I told him we were having one. "I thought you guys were going bankrupt! That's the impression I got from the news stories on you guys!" So the media has been as unfriendly to us as the markets. What do you expect.

So yeah, we have enough money to do a nice corporate outing. Hopefully this time next year we will still have enough money to do a corporate outing.

Last year was funny. The marketing/outings group didn't put one together fast enough for the likings of our EVP, so he put one (actually, had his admin put one) together for just our department. It was a 1/2 day business meeting with a 1/2 day fun. Full day out of the office. It was nice, because I'd only been with the company for 2 months at that point, so I got to know some of my co-workers, and in the late afternoon they welcomed our spouses and kids. Seeing as we live about 2 miles from the site of the retreat center, my kids were there and swimming like maniacs.

The funny thing about the whole corporate outing thing is this place has four pools. No one I know is going swimming. It's been the hot topic of discussion. "I'm not wearing a bathing suit around all those guys!" "No way, I don't want anyone to see what I look like in a swim suit!" So these huge olympic plus sized pools will be pretty much unused for the day. It makes me giggle. Last year I swam, I was the only one. Only because Geoff is a mental case in the water and has no fear, so I wanted to be nearby. And nearby meant in water.

The beautiful thing about the corporate outing is there is free food, lots of free beer (my friend Mark is over tapping the keg right now...) and perhaps a little volleyball if I feel like playing. Otherwise, I'm hanging in the pavillion, shooting the shit with some pals, and hanging out.

I'm sort of in the mindset that this is a waste of time though. There isn't any business aspect to this, which sort of bums me out, believe it or not. Most of you who know me well know that I don't pass up free anything OR an excuse to not work. But seeing as my next door neighbor's impression of my company is we're sliding down the shitter, I know most of the employees here are feeling kind of down and experiencing existential conflict over what their future holds. Some sort of short, helpful, encouraging blurb/speech/pep-talk from our CEO or our President would be .... encouraging. But I guess that's not part of the deal.

So I'll gladly go and drink free beer. Hang with friends. Not work. And wonder if we'll be doing this at this very time next year.

On another note, just HAVING one is a sign that we consider ourselves still going forward and still alive. Vibrant. With Future. So I'll take that as my "pep-talk." I guess.

Doug is taking Sunil to Boston today to hang out, seeing as he is kid free and Sunil is going back home tomorrow... so how is Doug kid free? Geoff is in school he started up yesterday, and surprise surprise, Jessica's first day of school is today. I thought it was Thursday. But she was at a friend's house yesterday and the talk was of ... first day, which Jessica was told was today. So she came home and informed us.

I was shocked. I called the school to confirm and as sure as eggs is eggs, her friend was right.

Damn. How am I charged with the responsibility of raising children??? I'm a fucking clueless distracted moron. There should be laws against shit like this! Me, being a parent. HA!

And anyway, I hate that school starts BEFORE Labor Day. That sucks! I so very hate that. It should be outlawed, that way I'd always know when school starts.

So last night Jessie and I ran around looking for the last couple pieces of school supplies that she needed (we were going to do that this afternoon after the corporate outing) and we shopped a little for clothes, and went home late. She got to bed after 10pm, so we had a talk about waking up with a smile on face as a reward for me letting her stay up late and take care of her needs. She's a good doobie. She got up, showered, ate breakfast, dressed and even had time for me to paint her nails. Which we normally don't do.

This past Saturday, we went to Boston to the Museum of Science. It was a lot of fun. We let Jessica go off and do whatever she wanted. For the first time really. Alone. She spent a great deal of time building virtual fish in a computer driven fishtank.

We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in Cambridge. It was mobbed. Sunil managed to get separated from Doug in the mall while we were waiting for our table, and about 70 minutes after we got to the mall (with the 20 minute wait for the table) he refound us.

He was kind of pissed, we were pissed, both parties understandably. We couldn't figure out how Sunil couldn't just come find us; Sunil asked at the front counter if we'd been seated and was told no.

Rather than distrust the blonde retard at the front counter and come walk through to see where we were, he went back out and walked around. Finally he found us. So we were there for over 2 hours, while we first ate, and then he got to eat...It was a bizarre night.

My friend Carrie came over on Sunday, I have a picture of her to post. She's darling. We went and looked at my neighbor's house, which is up for sale. They're asking $339,000... which boggles my mind.

Well, I ought to get some things tied up in the next 10 minutes so I can be ready to go. I have my sister's digital camera (yeah, I'll mail it back soon!) and will take some pics of the activities and my friends, with their permission of course, and post them here. I am pissed though at my computer situation. Here's the deal:

  • I have a PC at home, the DVD drive is broken and I have to take it to the Gateway Store to have it fixed. It's been broken since... March. Uh, Okay. I suck and should be less lazy. But I haven't gotten it fixed yet. So I can't install the software to download the pictures from the camera... so...
  • I brought the camera into work, installed the software and went to unload the pictures. Then I remembered my operating system (Windows NT) doesn't support USB, which is the camera's interface. Super shit!
  • I just found a co-worker who is running 98. She doesn't have a USB port on her PC.

So I'm going to case out the PC where my intern sat this past summer. I believe it is running 98 because he can password protect his system, I know the password, and I just have to pray there's a USB port on that piece of shit. Then, I'm golden.

More after the outing!

Friday, August 24, 2001

who are the Neglected Embryos?

.Keeping in the vein of meeting up with old friends, I found someone else I used to be really close to. I have been reading Mr. M.E. Palin's "Full Circle," where he goes around the whole Pacific Rim. And he gets to Chile, and it made me think of a guy I used to work with at the Au Bon Pain in the North Shore Mall.

His name is Eddie, or Eduardo, and he is honestly one of the sweetest, funniest, kindest people I have EVER known in my life. I used to work with him, with my buddy Scott, and this other guy Fred (for the life of me I can't remember his name at all, which pisses me off because he was awesome and I'd love to know what he's up to these days...).

Eddie grew up in Chile, and I don't exactly know his whole story, but he ended up living up here in Massachusetts. He was a college student, and so were the rest of us, and the four of us would work together, and talk about everything from music to spirituality to business... Eddie always had some funny thing to add, and like me and Scott would constantly pose ridiculous questions or give irrationally stupid answers to serious queries from others. We laughed a lot. I always enjoyed him, and just sort of lost track of him after I stopped working there.

I briefly hooked up with him again for a while when we were living in Lynn, MA. He lived right around the corner, and had married his lovely girlfriend Adrianna, who is from Ecuador. Then we moved north and Poof, I lost him again.

So reading about Chile made me think of Eddie, and all the funny shit we talked about. He bought me a nice alpaca winter hat once and I still have it. I think of him every time I wear it.

So I picked up the phone, called information in Lynn, and sure enough he's still there. I talked to Adrianna and caught up. They have a 2 1/2 year old son named Claudio now. And I can't wait to talk to Eddie. Hopefully in the coming week I'll be able to hook up with him.

So I have pictures now. Which I have been saving. And I'll use this part 2 page to post them. I'll start with pics from Chris and Chrissy's wedding:

Geoff and Jessica sit on the floor waiting for the DJ to do his thing. Note the fact that Geoff has his eyes closed, the way he does in most pictures taken with a flash, and Jessica knows how to sit like a lady on the floor, NOT! They do look cute dressed up though...

Here I am dancing with Geoff, who looks adorable in his dinosaur tie, and I look drunk off my ass, but really am not yet.

That happens later...

Too bad I look like total shit here, or else this'd be a great pic.

We are not at all sure where she gets it from, but Jessica LOVES to dance at weddings. Here, she is doing her patented Hammer Hands move.

She's got a great facial expression while she does this, a tough punk lip thing with her chin sticking out. This totally knocks me on my ass laughing when I see her do it.

I love this kid! Go girl, go!

Okay, NOW I am totally drunk, still looking like total shit, but, Christopher and I are mocking that crap Celine Dion theme to Titanic song.

We were thrusting our hands up to the sky when ever she sang "Far" and looking wistfully up in the air.

I am obviously laughing after a good hand thrust. Chris is wistfully singing "Wherever you are... blah blah blah... my heart will go on..."

I hate that song.

The best picture of the day is this great shot of Doug being a "power mad titan of industry," complete with stogie.

Looks like he is off to crush another union uprising at his steel mill! Look out you slacker millworkers, D.W. Geiger, billionaire, on his way to kick your asses! HA!

This next set of pics is courtesy of my sister, taken at my Aunt and Uncle's 40th wedding anniversary:

From Left to Right, Casey (age 7?) Nicholas, (3 or 4 months younger than Geoff) and Geoff himself. Geoff looks like he wants to kick someone's ass.

I love this pic because my son is a full 3 years, maybe more, younger than Casey and is almost the same friggin' height. What kind of monster child do I have. And look how much bigger he is than poor Nicky! I also love it because he's wearing a dress shirt and short pants. Something so British Prep School impish about that. Makes me giggle. Too bad he had his tie off.

Here I am with my sister and our Gammy. Gammy turned 81 last week and I forgot to send her a friggin birthday card (STUPID, STUPID! as I hit myself in the head a la Chris Farley)... I like this picture. We look particulary cute.

Gammy lives down cape and we don't see her often enough. Linda and I both bemoan this often. We may plan a weekend in October to go down, hotel it, and hang out.

Sisters are doin' it for themselves! Linda held the camera out arms length and snapped this while my father sat there and bitched and moaned that he could take the picture for us. Something about doing this though is a riot. It isn't the same when someone takes the picture for you. The one holding the camera always gets right in the perfect spot. I like this one a lot. We don't have a lot of pictures together. I do have a couple from my wedding and some from Jessica being little, and a great one from when she came to visit me in college one Easter weekend. It is SO 1980s that it slays me. I should scan that one and put it up! She'd kill me.


That's it for today's boring slide show. I'm glad to get this posted up. Been meaning to all week. Things have just been too damn busy though! Glad to have some time to breathe.

her town too

We interrupt this (a)musing for an update on yesterday evening's events: Happy hour was fun. I stayed exactly 1 hour. Two giant beers and my ass kicked in pool later. And my washing machine kicks. Totally kicks. I love it. Hurray! Clean laundry without driving into town!

Recently, in the past 2 or 3 weeks, I have reconnected with a friend of mine who divorced her husband kind of out of the blue. It was a shock to the collective extended friend system. A lot of people took it really badly, including myself to some extent.

I couldn't for the life of me understand what she was thinking, even after hours and hours of good strong coffee and conversation. I suggested therapy, she said they tried; I told her that she had what we all perceived as a good thing, that they needed to ride through the bad times and she disagreed.

While on the outside I perceived they had a nice relationship, got along well, seemed to be successful. But in talking to her I realized she was just plain miserable. No amount of encouragement would get her to get beyond that misery.

So in the end, they split up. She's with someone else now, living together in a house two towns away from me; he has a new girlfriend and she has moved in...

I think that a lot of people were really REALLY upset because these two people were considered by a lot of folks to be the paragon of a good marriage. It then occurred to me that perhaps people were upset because they loved the COUPLE more than the individuals. And the break up was just intolerable to them.

He then became the victim; she the horrid bitch for busting up the marriage. Accusations of infidelity flew, and whether or not they were true or she just happened to find her next relationship right hot upon the heels of this one, I'm not too sure. Regardless it's over. Done. That couple is done now for nigh unto two years.

And there are still people who can't get over/past/beyond that fact and continue to harbor grudges against her.

I felt horrible initially, because I really did think they were a good couple. But you know, I knew both of them individually before. I will continue to know both of them individually in the future, plus whatever people they have now chosen to spend time with going onward. I can just hear James Taylor singing it to me, loud and clear and I shake my head...

"Some of them his friends,
Some of them her friends,
Some of them understand..."

We have another friend who got married 2 weekends ago in kind of a semi-elopement thing. Tomorrow is the "reception." He's not calling it that. It's more outdoor games, food brought by friends, barbecue and casual. Kids more than welcome. Come and go come and go as you please for 6 hours in the afternoon on the beach.

So I talked to my female friend, who has been very good friends with the groom all this time, and this particular guy has been very kind and supportive to her through her messy breakup. She is panicking because people she hasn't spoken to in 2 years will be there. People who "hate" her. She's not bringing her new boyfriend, she's going with another male friend.

She begged me to go with her, and I would, honest, if there was a way to get around the Sunil factor. The reception is open, anyone can come. It's outdoors, fun, happy happy, but I doubt Sunil will want to go to some stranger's wedding reception. If I were in his shoes, I'd go without knowing them and I'd buy them a gift! But that's just me. I'm crazy that way. But he's not that way. So the groom has actually kind of unofficially 'scheduled' people's attendance at this thing. She is going early; her ex-husband and his new girlfriend will be coming later. Long after she has cleared out.

I feel horrid.

I wish people who called themselves her friends could just get over and beyond things and just kind of grow up. Yeah I was pissed at her too, but hell. This whole incident in her life caused her a lot of pain. She deliberately stopped talking to everyone, not knowing who would be kind or who would just outright attack her. I lost her for two years and only recently tracked her down through another friend. I had no idea where she was living, working, whatever. She let herself be forgotten to protect herself from anything that could possibly hurt her any more deeply. And I admit I was more sympathetic towards him and possibly more caustic or judgmental to some extent towards her, but really. My anger or feelings weren't going to change a damn thing. It's over. Time to grow up.

Well. She was always good to me, and so was he. I'm glad they are both still in my life. I'm sorry they aren't together. But hey. It used to be her college, town, life too. I'm glad to have reconnected, and wish both of them years of happy sailing in the future.

Thursday, August 23, 2001

Happy hour looms ahead...

Tonight a bunch of people in my office are going out for drinks, aka happy hour. Happy hour. I want to spend an hour drinking in a bar with people I see all day. Uh, okay. My boss is the organizer, the cheer leader, the cowboy rounding us all up to go. She's gung ho about it too, so I feel more than obliged. We used to have a co-worker who refused to do anything with us. When we went to lunch, nah... don't wanna. We all went out as a group one night, nah... don't wanna. And that kind of bummed my boss out. She likes to do stuff outside the office with us, and sometimes pays... usually when we've kicked ass on a project. If I were a betting man I'd say I'll get a beer out of her tonight... because I did kick ass on two projects. So we're all going out. It's also for people leaving, which hasn't happened much in the past several months, so it's a good reason.

The sick thing is, waiting for me at home when I get there is a brand new washing machine, and I am eager to get home and check out its washing abilities. I am officially old.

My office is freezing today. The air conditioning in this building is touchy. Either you've got Africa Hot or Cape Horn/Tierra del Fuego Freezing. Today, it is the latter. I wore a sundress today, black with little purple flowers. And I got in here to discover that the only item of clothing I had in the office is an old old old flannel shirt, which is red and black plaid.

So I look like a complete mental defective today. I wish I had the digicam so I could take a picture of me, stylin in my sundress and flannel...Kind of Carrot Top style.

Speaking of Carrot Top, have you checked him out lately in those TV commercials for that stupid collect calling thing he's shilling for? Did he have facial reconstructive surgery or is he wearing the most horrible make up in the universe??? I'm horribly disturbed by him. I used to think he was clever and funny and entertaining but I am thinking he's falling into bad ways of cosmetic surgery, and lies, and drug abuse. Like Michael Jackson. Or Liz Taylor. His level of celebrity is that high. I give you the following as evidence:

Folks, This Disturbs Me To No End.

Anyway, it is just about beer time, I have 10 minutes to finish this up. I have more Gayle pictures, heh heh, and other more substantial things to talk about, but right now, just think about poor Carrot Top, his career, the makeup, the surgeries, and the shame of it all.

And I will leave you with this:

While surfing for the cute little graphic for the top left spot, I came across this. The guy on the right looks like Iggy Pop, the guy on the left looks sorta like someone I know who I personally doubt would be begging for beer money. They both look hard up for a room, wink wink nudge nudge say no MORE!

Iwondered if this wasn't a posed picture, but the rest of the photo is kind of super scummy with a bum sleeping on the bench to the far right and lots of trash under their feet, and they do look like official bums. I feel bad because they're advertising for beer money, when hard oldman liquor gets your shiznit messed up faster. Somoene should tell them that. But the piece de resistance is the bottom of their cardboard sign...

They added "PLEASE!" Which if you read it one way is them being polite, in another them being desperate. But at least they said please. I've been accosted by bums who swear at me, call me names, throw stuff at me because I don't give them any money. I even have a great story where a cab driver rescued my ass from a bum at an ATM machine on Mass Ave in Boston about 10 years ago this month. (oh, my. That long ago???), which I will regale you with later. But these guys said please, so if I'd'a seen'em, I'd'a given'em some money.

Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Every office has one of these, right?

My friend Scott used to have a co-worker named Sandra who drove him insane by being in everyone's business and getting too over involved. Seems like every office on earth has a woman in it who is way too mothering to the point of smothering. Sandra liked to cry a lot at company functions like retirement of farewell parties. Scott used to regale me with Sandra Stories all the time and I'd laugh my ass off because I didn't have one of those in my office at the time.

I then worked at a college, where no one really got in anyone's business quite in that way, but there were a couple people I really could have done completely without. A lot of back biting, political wrangling, office malaise and people who sat around bitching about nothing... the state college system in Massachusetts summed up in a nutshell.

Crazy office people seem to be everywhere, and when I look through history I realize that the Queen thus far in our "Office Space" lives is one of my sister's co-workers. Her name is Gayle. Linda has told me some horror stories about Gayle. All of them involve her being way too helpful and kinda creepy...

Here are some of the Gayle things Linda has told me about:

1. Gayle likes to touch and hug people, thinking this will make them feel better when they are pissed off in the office. Thing is, it just makes them want to punch Gayle...

1a. Gayle kissed my sister's boss on the cheek one day when V. was mad about something. Gayle is lucky to be living... if that was me, I bet I'd've hurt her.

2. Gayle likes to rub your back for no reason. She thinks your stressed or tired, or cranky, so a backrub is nice. True... if it's Brett Favre rubbing my back in the office, not an older, strange, matronly woman.

3. When Linda gets on the phone, personal or business, 9 of 10 times Gayle comes right over and stands by her desk. When Linda asks if she needs anything, Gayle says "No, I can wait. Go ahead..." Uh, NO you can't wait here, you can wait elsewhere. Go sitcherass down.

3a. Similarly, a whole day can go by in the office, but the minute she sees you talking to someone, she needs to talk to you... and screams your name across the goddamn office... like the building is on fire. Or an alien is attached to your spine and she needs to tell you.

3b. If you are in a meeting, similar to the phone thing only there is a human sitting right at your desk instead of the phone, she'll come right in, sit down and wait for you to finish... even though you're obviously in a meeting. Taking a hint is not one of her fortes.

4. A year ago, Gayle had both her hips replaced. Which is unfortunate and no fun... and I do feel badly for her. But! Now, Linda says Gayle has to come by her desk every day and either bend over to touch her toes or do a jumping jack or some other astonishing feat of strength, so people know how well her recovery is going. She then makes this noise, similar to George Costanza, "eh! eh??!!" fishing for compliments and praise on her physical prowess. It makes Linda insane.

5. Sneezing. Sneezing is something she does often and loudly. You can hear her in Blue Point when she sneezes.

5a. Laughing... turns to coughing, and the coughing pretty much sounds like a ham leg is going to come flying out of her lungs... there's something large and painful in there. So try not to make Gayle laugh.

There are many many others, but I'm wincing just thinking about them.

So Linda sent me a picture of Gayle from a recent office gathering, asked me to have fun with it. Now, you know me. Given the opportunity to have fun photoshopping the hell out of pictures is my bag. So I took a whack at it. Unfortunately I have work to do today so more Gayle pics are going to have to wait until later. But here are 3 for right now:

Gayle likes to party and party hard! When she met Y2Khai at a party, she knew it was true love, but Y2Khai made the girl cry. Visit his website to learn more... www.y2khai.com is the site, flash plug in required & apologies to the gentleman whose body Y2Khai has possessed.

Needless to say, John was surprised to get a quickie backrub and congrats on the success of his career!

Damn, Gayle! Drew is a married man! And coach says no sex before the game! We thought you'd like that cutie Gus Ferrotte or Wayne Chrebet! Never knew you'd go in for the Patriots!

So you can see I've had a little fun today. Now, I must actually work. More fun with Gayle down the road. And before you chastise me for picking on this poor woman, hell. I'm only the artist, commissioned to do the work. The impetus of the project is my sister, and everything I do in life I do to make her happy ass laugh. So if I've made fun of Gayle, my apologies to her... but note she will not be put into sexual or inappropriate positions, nor will she do anything that I wouldn't do. John Cusack is a cutie! As long as it's all in good fun, it's all in good fun. No harm, no foul.

On other notes, my sister had me do some more Gayle pics:

Gayle and Bono have been friends since before "Unforgettable Fire," or so I hear.

I don't know who the heck Maxwell is, but my sister has another co-worker who is CRAZY about him. I made her wallpaper for her computer desktop, and while I was at it, did up a nice Maxwell and Gayle collage. Don't they look cute together?

Monday, August 20, 2001

nice gestures warm my heart

I came into work this morning to a nice surprise. One of my co-workers, Steve, came into my office on Friday and plunked himself down. He left he asked me what my favorite colors were. I told him maroon, navy and forest green. He smiled, said 'Hey, Me too!' and left. I thought nothing of it. This morning, he comes in with a big assed bag of M&Ms for me, in those colors.

He'd gone to Atlanta over the weekend, and there's a candy store there called Fuzziwig's. They have all the colors of M&Ms in the world. So mine were maroon, navy and forest green.

Damn, that is the nicest friggin thing anyone has done for me in weeks. I mean, we talk about candy a lot, and they sell bags of M&Ms in our cafeteria, big bags that they put together themselves and sell for a buck. So Steve's always in my office sniffin' for a dose. So I thought it was beyond kind, beyond sweet that he would take the time to buy me a bag of candy IN my colors. That's one class act.

So that was a good way to start the morning. Candy. Tons of it. He was all apologetic about the condition of the candy. It got kinda hot on the way home and they got a little smooshy and slimy in the bag. I was all like "Dude, shut up. This is awesome! Tastes just fine and they rule! YOU rule..." Nothing nicer.

I think this is some sort of instant karma, but a couple days late. We spent the weekend up at our friends' house in Maine. They had a wedding to go to, so rather than cancel the weekend of hanging out, we offered to watch the kids. They have 3. We have 2. The kids always get along like a house on fire, so it was no problem or issue. They went to their wedding, we played with kids, even took naps. It was great. So by doing something super kind over the weekend, someone was kind to me. It's all so cosmic baby... sort of like that "Pay it Forward" movie, but with candy. And better acting.

A week or so ago someone I went to high school with contacted me through Classmates.com. Her name is Barbara. She and I were never really close... but I was friends with someone that she was very close to, and we were in marching band together, and so we just kind of overlapped sometimes.

I remember she had a mouth like a trucker, and was funny as hell, cute as could be, and usually was friendly to me. I'm not sure why we never got to be better friends. Her family hosted a Danish exchange student that I had a huge crush on. I should have leveraged our friendship to get closer to him. I think he really liked me too (pinning me against a wall and kissing me outside my typing classroom right before he left to go home says a little something about that). Hmm.

Anyway, we've been reminiscing a bit about high school, and I confessed to her that I really had like no friends (this ties in with a lot of what I've been posting lately about memories and stuff...) and I think that I wasn't well liked because either you got me or you didn't get me.

I made it difficult for people to like me because I was a kind of aloof and weird, into Monty Python and strange (for the time) music, and I was just reclusive and unwilling to participate in group situations. One on one I did great and people who took the time to get to know me really liked me and I liked them and we had super friendships.

I think I spent a solid 5 years of my life from jr. high to high school locked in my room listening to music and reading. By the time I got to senior year I think I figured a few things out:

1. I was trying to be friends with all the wrong people, and was trying too hard. Because I was very close with one person in a clique of friends, I figured all her new friends would like me. They didn't really. I wasted a lot of time trying to ride the coat tails of two friends in particular. That was a big mistake.

2. I should have spent more time building the friendships that I had with the "nerdier", for lack of a better term, guys... Dan M, Marc W, the Englehardt twins, Evan C. The time I spent with them was the funnest time ever and I don' think I laughed harder than at fifth period lunch with them during my senior year. But because I wanted to be friends with the rock stars, I only spent time with the aforementioned guys at lunch. Big mistake. They seemed to like spending time with me... or such is my perception, and I miss Marc a lot sometimes. When I hear certain songs, or see something that we both found horribly amusing I can't help but think of him.

3. I should have actually auditioned for plays instead of being chickenshit. It wasn't until college that I got the fear factor done with and got over my shyness. But I think I would have found my niche then. But then again, I'd probably be an unemployed lighting technician in Manhattan if I'd gone that route. And I never would have met Doug, had the kids, and wouldn't be here today. Happy as I am.

4. Totally should have grabbed that Danish kid.

I am glad things worked out the way they did though, and I'm glad I am where I am. I just wish I'd known a little better back in the day.

Anyway, here in reality, rather than the past, I have good relationships with coworkers who think I am funny, talented, bright, energetic and helpful. All the things I knew I was when I was in high school, but was afraid at the time to share with groups.

So here's to me. Superwoman, as my friend Cristen called me in the caption for this picture on our employee portal. I'm the "Superwoman of HRIS..." Too bad it looks like Superman is flying up my nostrils.

My mom emailed me today to let me know that a friend of mine's dad passed away on Saturday. I looked it up in the Newsday.com online edition and sure enough Richard Norkatis was listed in the Obituaries. Donna, his daughter, was a year ahead of me in school and was one of the people who "got" me. Her parents were always so very kind to me, and there were many occasions in high school where I felt welcomed into their home. Every year they had a big Christmas party, and her mom would make chicken divan and I would eat like all of it... it was so awesome. And they would sing, play music, entertain us, let us sit by the fire and drink wine, and the house would be hopping. One of my favorite pictures ever of my sister and me was taken in front of their Christmas Tree the year I was a freshman in college.

I'm awfully sad to hear of Mr. Norkatis' passing, and am going to try and contact Donna. In this past week of looking back on high school and growing up, I realized I never really thanked them from the bottom of my heart for being so darn kind to their kids' friends. They didn't have to be. But they were. And it was so fun being around them. I guess we are starting to come to that age where we're going to start losing our parents. This has come up before for me in the past several weeks, especially with Bonnie's dad Walt having a couple close calls with heart failure. And I accept changes and death the way I accept new babies showing up in our lives. It's all a part of it. And I think there is a long list of people I'd like to say thank you to. So I'm going to work on that list tomorrow.... and post it here.

Saturday, August 18, 2001

Not half bad, but someone should tell Robert Zemeikis what 'editing' means

We didn't get to see "Divorcing Jack." We have house guests, and we were tired, and it was a friggin 2 day rental which we ended up returning after noon on the third day, so, we paid a fee. I owe mom $4.19 and my thanks because I had no cash on hand.

Last night we decided to get something new and popular, something both kids could watch. The kids opted to play on the computer at NickJr.com, but that didn't stop us from watching our chosen rental, CastAway, with Tom Hanks (who sometimes looks like he could be related to Dave Matthews) and Helen Hunt, and Wilson the volleyball.

The story is of Chuck Noland, played by Tom Hanks, a FedEx employee. There is tons of FedEx product placement in this film. They couldn't make a fake shipping company like United Federated Parcel or something... I guess this made it more real for some viewers but it seemed so incredibly forced to me.

Anyway, Chuck is obsessed with time. Time is of the absolute essence. It is criminal and even sinful to waste a moment of time. But in his personal relationship, he doesn't quite see that... and unfortunately ends up marooned on a desert island without a chance of rescue right after an offhanded proposal to his fiance, Helen Hunt. All elements of time aside from the sun rising and setting vanish. No pager, a watch that doesn't work... he's without his one master and guide ... Time. But has all the time in the world on his hands.

For a man whose whole like was based on the relentless whipping of the second hand and its relationship with personal success and money, he now finds himself struggling to find water, food, and shelter. He's screwed. With about six or seven FedEx boxes that have washed ashore, he has to figure out what to do, how to do it. Rather than be the boss of people who push boxes across lines from one truck to another, it's about survival. And he makes it, with a lot of bumps, scrapes, blood and hope... but he makes it.

Best part of the movie for me was the plane crash. It scared the living crap out of me and made me feel as if it was really happening. Great moment of him realizing he is for the first time ever completely out of the control business and has to stand by as spectator to his possible death over a few minutes time. The jet engine almost sucking him in when he's in the raft was unbelievable. The use of silence, and the cinematography of him on the island (see above picture of him with the sun shining on him as he investigates his surroundings) was also amazing. The use of angles, color, and Hanks' face were very brilliant. I liked Wilson, but didn't cry when he .... oh, I won't tell you what happens. In case you haven't seen it. I also liked how he completely adapted to the island life. Learned to eat fish raw, looked like the "It's" Man from Monty Python (another connection to my Palin fascination), and I like how he just figured everything out that he needed to in order to keep going. And, he actually did keep track of time, in days, not hours, 1500 of them total.

Worst parts of the movie centered around the interpersonal relationships with actual humans. His relationship with Kelly didn't light a fire in my heart that demanded they run off together and live happily ever after. His relationship with the other FedEx employee who loses his wife also felt so phony. "I should have been there for you ..." Hanks regrets to his friend. Dude, you were fucking MAROONED on an island. There's no possible "shoulda" there. It's not like you chose to go to a Red Sox game instead of sit there and hold his hand by her deathbed. You were trying to figure out how to open a coconut and you were doing dentistry with ice skates.

The ending of the film left me not wondering where his romantic life would go, but his spiritual, his whole human life... What fascinated me abput this movie and I wish it was more clearly defined in the end, was how a man can base his whole desire to escape the island on his girlfriend, one small portion of his overall existance, and have to deal with the situation he faces upon getting back. How can he possibly become born again to himself and to life as we know it after being abandoned and lost, and upon his return home realizing that all he came back for is lost as well? What exactly will happen to him, with or without Kelly? How does one return to a place that is so different and went on without you? The script doesn't really address that.

It shows him in the most hackneyed and easily recognizable places from any old blues tune, at the "crossroads" and I rolled my eyes. There seemed to be too much emphasis on the one-on-one kind of relationships between a man and a woman than his relationship with his inner self or with guardian angels. That's touched upon by the symbolism of the artist in Texas, and the fact he never opens her package which is on the island, but uses the logo on the box as a kind of talisman all over the place in his island life. But the focus on that is too blurry. And that's a shame.

Overall it was a good movie. I was happy for him that he survived, and if I knew him in person I'd wish him well. Time went on without him. Time let him down. I hope he never becomes its slave again.

Wow. That was too heavy for today. I recommend the movie. Overall. It was a good film.

Tonight we're going out for drinks with my friend Naomi from Australia. I don't get to see her much. She used to work here with me but in a different group. She's a funny person. So we try and make an effort to get together on a Saturday morning for coffee. Tonight is the first time Doug is coming with us. He's a little wary of hanging out with someone he doesn't know. But she's a doll and I don't think she gets to go out much... Her husband works for some big consulting company and he's often out on the road. And she's from Ausfreakinstralia, so I feel badly and try to be in touch with her. Being marooned in a different sense... she's not among her family here. So I feel badly.

I hooked up a bit with some old friends recently. Someone had emailed me through the alumni directory from my college, and through him hooked up with a guy I haven't seen in forever. We're thinking about getting some folks together for a bbq or something in September. It could turn into a big blow out... we shall see. Funny, we all have kids now. And only one of the guys is unmarried... not sure if he'll ever find someone. He's really sweet and smart, just hasn't met the right kinda gal.

I think about him whenever I hear "Bad" by U2. It was the summer of 1986, and he and I went somewhere in the car and came back to campus late. We were cranking "The Unforgettable Fire" and sat in the car with both of our seats reclined all the way back, singing at the top of our lungs. It was so hot, and late, and we were so relaxed singing "So let it go, and so to fade away... I'm wide awake! I'm not sleeping..." and I see him in my mind when I hear that.

I'm so old.

Thursday, August 16, 2001

Raising Chloe, Raising Arizona, Washing Machines and West Shore Road Memories

Pictured is of course the lovely new addition to my extended circle of friends, apologies to Bonnie and Duncan but she's so stinkin freakin cute that I could not resist lifting the picture from the hospital nursery page and posting it.

Meet our friend Chloe.

Man is she gorgeous or what? I love that hair, and I love how babies just always have their hands up by their mouths or cheeks... I went through most of the pictures on the hospital site and all the babies were there with hands up, ready to raise the roof. Only a couple were so deep in sleep that their hands were nowhere to be seen.

My friend Lori went through the site. She saw Chloe and swore she was the cutest baby on the page, then proceeded to rag on all the other babies! We had a good laugh making fun of names and making fun of kids that were born without the benefit of being cute like our woman up here. I feel sorry for babies when they're butt ugly. I mean, they just came down the narrowest passage of their lives, got battered, bumped and bruised, and they look like who did it and ran, and here we are picking on them. Poor things. hee hee hee. But this is one good looking kid and the respective Bonnie and Duncan clans should be right proud.

Now, I'm gushing praise and schmoopy-doos over here for this kid and one of my co-workers asked me if i wanted to have another.

Let's get one thing straight here, dear reader, unless God Himself wills it, I'm not putting myself through another labor and delivery again. The pregnancy part, okay. Those were fun. I loved feeling the babies move, each had a personality before they came to the light. Geoff always had the hiccups... on a daily basis I could count on at least a round of 20 minutes or so of him jerking like a freak. Towards the end when things got cramped in there for her, Jessica would stretch her legs, and I have a distinct memory of playing with her feet up right below my left bottom rib, and I'd push back at her, and we'd play. We'd play. I played with my kids and knew them well before I ever even laid eyes on them. Those are very special moments.

But I don't want to repeat the thing, the unspeakably painful thing, one must endure to get to the point of laying eyes on them. Shudder. Quake. Ugh. No. So for me, I'll enjoy playing with my kids now that they're on the outside and I will live vicariously through friends like Bonnie who have new ones for me to cuddle. Speaking of which, here's the segue to the next topic...

One of my favorite movies ever is 'Raising Arizona.' I love when Glen is telling H.I. that Dot wants another baby because "Thesuns is gettin' too big to cuddle." That kills me. All like 9 kids are running around wrecking stuff ("Now you take that diaper off your head and you put it back on your sister!") and writing on the walls, breaking things, and these parents are just standing around all stupid and proud of the brood and shit. And there's poor H.I., overwhelmed at what his sudden vision of parenting is. These kids can eat you alive... and Ed is suddenly overwhelmed by Dot "Hi, We got the dip.tet for him yet? We got a pediatrician???" at the responsibilities.

Having two is enough for me. But H.I. stands there with this look on his face that kills me. With his eyes huge and wide, mouth gaping open. Oh My God, what HAVE I just gotten myself into.

All parents should feel that way. Shocked. Stymied. Overwhelmed. Then you shake it off, blink a couple times, shut your gaping mouth so you don't catch any flies and get in there and do the job. Once in a while you'll feel like H.I. again, but standing around gapemawed isn't going to do any good.

We went out last night and bought a new washing machine so that gets delivered a week from today. I'm relieved. This weekend we're going to Maine, to see Wayne and Marcia. They have a great house, and hopefully Chris and Laurel will be there too. It's been a while since we've seen them. I feel like I need a weekend of kid related fun. Where the kids entertain themselves and have fun, and I lean back and watch. I'm sure there will be some good stories out of that.

And I wanted to make a short list of stuff I remember from the House on West Shore Road. When I was little we lived in a house in NY on West Shore Road, and I think most of my clearest memories are from there. Here are a couple:

  • I had an easy bake oven. It worked.
  • I had white furniture, and my room was up on the third floor, there were 2 rooms up there, the back room was mine, the front room was Linda's
  • I remember a tree broke one of my windows in a storm. I think there were four windows in the room, and the one that broke was on the left side of the room as you stood in the doorway.
  • A cat of ours, I think it was Smokey, my mom's FAVORITE cat, had kittens in my bedroom closet and I touched them all and she killed them (not a good memory... someone correct me if that one is fictional).
  • Once my cousins came down to visit from Cape Cod and Billy and I got to sleep in the same bed. My parents pushed my bed, which had a princess canopy on it, so the foot of the bed was against the closet door and Billy slept at the foot of the bed. We got yelled at a TON of times for not going to sleep and being silly.
  • I used to melt crayons on the light bulb in my bedroom. I think it was a clown lamp, and I loved the smell of the crayola crayons melting on the light. Then I'd let the light bulb cool off and I'd peel the wax off. My mom caught me and I got in trouble.
  • You could see the hospital from the balcony on my parents' room, and at Christmas they put this crazy "tree" of lights up there, and I remember standing looking at it for hours.

Okay, that's enough for today. I've got more, but I need to go home to my family. I also have to schlep some clothing to the laundromat because I have NOTHING to wear and I think Geoff has no more underpants... So I'll do a quickie load and then finish everything up on Saturday morning before we trek to Maine.

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Summer's Almost Gone + 2 movie reviews

All of a sudden, I'm aware the school year is looming just ahead...

My daughter goes back to school on Thursday August 30th. What the hell is the point in sending kids in for two days, and then having Labor Day weekend off? I mean, I just do not understand it. What is going to be accomplished on those two days that it is so necessary to have them in?

School should never begin before the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend. I think my whole life we always started the Tuesday after Labor Day, thus giving families that all important weekend to just have one last gasp of fun. Truth be told, we use summer and fun weekends all the way up through Columbus Day in our little household. Going camping once it cools off and you need socks inside your sleeping bag, actually NEEDING a fire instead of having one when it is 86 degrees just for the sake of having a fire... fall camping is where it is at. So I am sure we'll have at least another couple full days of fun before it's too damn New Englandy Cold to go out and play.

One of my all time favorite TV commercials concerns back to school themes... The Staples commercial where the dad is taking the kids school supply shopping and he's dancing to Perry Como singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," and the kids look like they could just murder him. That commercial never ceases to either crack me up entirely or just make me smile if I'm too tired to crack all the way up.

My daughter has to be all set and ready in two weeks and two days. Fourth Grade looms ahead. I'm personally not ready for her to be a fourth grader.

Fourth Graders are one step away from that God awful Fifth Grade age... When kids really start to recognize differences between the fat and the skinny, the male and the female, the nerd and the jock. Where the efforts to teach kids that everyone is equal, and individualism is okay just go right out the door and kids draw those clique lines and everything gets completely screwed up.

Fifth Grade is where it all falls apart no matter what groundwork has been laid from Kindergarten onward, and then they are shuffled off to middle school and all hell breaks loose with hormones, problems, depression, more hormones, pressure from school, pressure from parents. Oh, I am just sick thinking about it. I hate Fifth Grade, and day by day over this next academic year my daughter will creep closer to either being the nerd shunned by the jocks, or the fat girl shunned by the skinny rich girls. I am not ready to deal with that kind of pressure.

She doesn't seem to care though. Yet.

I remember being in like Third Grade, and starting to realize these differences. The differences were much clearer to me back then because I was the only white girl in my neighborhood... and all the white kids were rich and lived in the Bay or Southdown, so no one wanted to be friends with me because I lived in the Station... so it became so clear so fast.

I got picked on for being fat, picked on for being white, picked on for being poor, picked on for liking the Boston Red Sox instead of the Yankees.

Luckily they really made attempts now at educating kids that it's wrong to be picking on other kids for stupid reasons. But I think that all changes in Fifth Grade. And the same patterns from my John Cusack Movie Watching days will just appear.

As long as my daughter has one or two real friends who love her no matter what, I am all set. She doesn't need to be miss popularity. Just happy to a good degree.

Yesterday I mentioned that I don't remember anything from my childhood. I'm going to start writing some things down, perhaps here... not to bore you to death or anything, but I just can't remember stuff as clearly as my sister. And I think it has a lot to do with fun. I didn't have as much fun as she did. She had a lot of good friends of different colors, no one beat her up in our neighborhood because her black and hispanic friends still loved her once that level of realization hit. Woozy, Jeannette those guys were still down with my sister while Flo and Crystal Brown beat the crap out of me and dragged me by my hair from the bus stop ... the girls I thought were my friends through elementary school turned on me in middle school like a pack of rabid dogs and terrorized me.

So I honestly think that most of my childhood memories aren't there because I don't have anything worth remembering. Linda's got some good shit. So I totally enjoy spending time with her.

I want my daughter to remember her childhood as clearly and completely as possible. Hopefully she will. In the meantime, I'm in no hurry for her to have the need for looking back on her childhood because that will mean she is grown up, and I am old and I'm not ready for that.

So not ready for so many things on so many levels... and it's all crashing in on me today.

Two movies to report on today. One is "Divorcing Jack," a 1998 British/Irish film with a meaningful title that is revealed in the goings on of the film. Dan is a journalist in Belfast, cynical, nasty, doesn't believe in the self appointed savior of Northern Ireland Michael Brinn, who is running for Prime Minister. Brinn is blowing smoke up the collective skirts of the people he plans to represent, and Dan sees right through him.

A tangled and nasty web begans to weave around Dan as his wife kicks him out, his new girlfriend is assassinated, he accidentally kills her mom, and the IRA and the FTP Ulsterists, the cops and everyone else in Northern Ireland think he's a cold blooded killer, so he needs to prove them wrong. What he ends up in the middle of is an incredible mess extortion, IRA murder for fun, kidnapping and lies which leaves everyone guessing, and in the end leaves the balance of peace in the region absolutely screwed.

It was at times an incredibly funny film, the characters were likeable, and the violence, while rough, was nothing like a Guy Ritchie film. A lot more dialogue and arguing than something Ritchie or Tarrantino would do, so there was a bit more to chew on and you had to actually think at times. Good movie, highly recommend.

Second movie is the aforementioned "Barenaked in America," a rocumentary about BNL (pictured here from the most recent CD... in front and bald is Tyler Stewart, dead center and smug is Steven Page, childlike and glad to not be dead from cancer to Steve's right is Kevin Hearn, behind Steve and looking creepy is Ed Robertson, and way in the back because he's 3 feet taller than everyone else is Jim Creegan).

As I mentioned yesterday the box warned of adult themes (turns out they talk quite a bit about masturbation specifically) and nudity (lots of flashing of boobs and wangs and asses early on in the film). I am glad I watched it without Jessie. Too many boobs for a 9 year old but once you get past that area it gets better and there's only a little swearing and it isn't like she hasn't heard it before...

Overall it was a great documentary following the band during the Stunt tour, and focused on each of the major venues they played (Washington, Buffalo, Seattle, Philly, Boston...) and the chaos that followed them through the country as Stunt just took off big.

It also focused in on the band, the family they have with each other, the cancer that attacked Kevin Hearn right after the album was wrapped and in post production, and the overall fun they have entertaining the world. I enjoyed the film as a fan, and really enjoyed the interviews where the guys all confessed that they suck without the other members of the band. It is so refreshing to hear that when so many bands have some front man with a big ego who needs to go do a big solo project. While the guys each do some different stuff (most notably Jim Creegan doing Creegan Brothers Band), they know they are a full unit and their success comes from being together.

Enjoyed seeing Jim Creegan's 'carrot top' imitation on the Anne Murray Christmas special (what a laugh)... Enjoyed seeing Kevin Hearn in remission from the leukemia. It was also nice to hear explanation of some of the songs like "Alcohol," which I knew is a dark comedic song but some people took as their anthem to being drunk assholes.

Doug thought it was too long, I thought there was no need to include the interview snippets with Jon Stewart trying to be funny about hockey players, or Jeff Goldblum. I mean ... Jeff Goldblum? Who cares? I thought Andy Richter from Conan was hysterical with his little editorial comments on how he was so bummed out the BNL kicked Loverboy's ass out of the throne of reigning kings of Canadian music... that was funny... and they should have gotten Dave Foley to make comments if they were going to include frigging Jeff Goldblum, because Foley used the whole band in one of his movies a few years back. They played cops.

I love, love, love this band, more than anything. I hope they continue to grow and make great music, and I hope they never get boring. After all, no one else can write songs like 'Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank' about Anne Murray's Stalker. Too smart, too different and too funny.

Monday, August 13, 2001

I need a weekend from my weekend.

My parents left this morning after staying at the way out inn for an extended period of time. We did ditch the kids ont hem twice but should have ditched them nightly. We could have had much more fun. Oh well. Coulda Woulda Shoulda. My Aunt Carole and Uncle Jim celebrate their 40th anniversary this month so their kids threw a whizz bang shindig for them. They didn't get to have a big old wedding reception back in the day, so this was what they deserved.

We all went down and got to hang with the extended cousins crew, the little ones got to dance like freaks which is always good... wears them out as if we'd worked them in a factory for 13 hours a day. Geoff was out cold in the car before we hit route 3 north on the way home. I won't write in detail here about the names and faces of the cousins, it isn't appropriate. Suffice to say I dig their stylie selves and wish we could spend more time together.

I did however get to spend some fun time with my sister Linda (pictured here in most unflattering form doing her "Grandma" imitation...and isn't she just SO going to kill me for it too...). She came up from New York for the weekend and we had a nice time. We both kvetched about life and mom and little annoying things. She has an amazing memory. I can't remember half the shit from our shared childhood... I should write down stuff I remember to see if it triggers other stuff. But Linda just has this detailed memory of all the little things, and it cracks my shit right up.

Take for instance this little anecdote: our washing machine bought the farm last week and even though Doug worked his ass off trying to repair the old girl (SO proud of him, yes I am!), we've determined that it is not worth it... and she'll just have to go and we'll use that all important tax "refund" to buy a new one. So when I told Linda, and she heard the words "Washing Machine" she launched into this little song that we used to sing when we were little...

"Washin' Macheeeeeeen, washin' macheeeeeen, washa washa washa washa washin' macheeeeeeen!" We used to stand in the water at the beach and swing our arms back and forth like the inner workings of a Lady Kenmore and sing this ridiculous little ditty, all the while laughing our little asses off.

When she sang that, I was shocked. It took me a minute to recognize as I had TOTALLY forgotten that song. But suddenly, there we were, clear as a bell at Gold Star Beach in Huntington standing near the concrete pipe that brought runoff down from the streets of Southdown, singing "Washin' Macheeeeeeeen!" And I bet at the time that she couldn't have been older than two. I can see her with her long white hair and her little tiny buddah belly, and me with my short little shag haircut, doin' the washin' macheeeeen.

It's amazing.

She also has an uncanny ability to read my mind. Right when my mom does something that drives me crazy (do NOT ask me for an example or we'll be here all damn day) or I'm tempted to SAY something to my mom, Linda will not even make eye contact with me, but say softly "let it go... just let it go. It isn't worth it..." and I start laughing.

We decided that someday when Auntie Lee Lee gets married (BAAAAAAHHHH! inside joke) we're going to do some half drunk retarded karaoke duet, with her in her gown and me crammed into a corset and a dress that makes me look like a natural casing sausage, and we'll make everyone laugh their asses off.

We are two funny babes when we get going.

Maybe we'll sing "Washing Machine..."

Here's one of my favorite pictures ever of Linda, with my kids, about 2 summers ago, maybe three, and the kids look more like they belong to her than to me. Funny.

We also dog sat this weekend for my buddies Dan and Honey. They went to Baltimore for the weekend so we got their two dogs, Tiger and Buddy. I enjoy these dogs a lot, and Kinger does too. He likes having playmates. They all got along so well, and we played hours of fetch. I was sad to see them go when Dan came to get them.

Dan and Honey also picked up an Orioles Tshirt for Geoff... and he loves it. So they are king and queen in our book. Geoff does the funniest thing, when he has to leave Dan or our other buddy Ben, he gets so sad and does this horrible weeping/melodramatic heartbreaking departure scene, and cries for a half hour as if his entire soul is being wrenched from his body... He doesn't do that when I leave... which bums me out. But it is cute to see him love someone so much that it makes him cry.

What else can I report on... Oh! The best news of the weekend is Bonnie and Duncan had the baby last night! I called their house just hoping to leave a message inquiring on how the belly was doing, and much to my amazement found they had their calls forwarded to the cell phone or hopsital room or something, and lo and behold she'd hatched. Baby Girl, Chloe Mae, 7lb, 15oz., healthy, and mom sounded relieved to be done. Congrats to them! Their hospital posts baby pics online, so when that's available I will link over to it. Or just steal the picture, heh heh. If they don't mind.

I rented "Saving Silverman" on our Blockbuster 30 movies deal... It wasn't very good. But my buddy Jack Black, pictured left, ("High Fidelity," "Mars Attacks!" and "Tenacious D") was in it and was really funny.

Jack plays J.D., a really stupid moron who grows up with his two best friends, Wayne and Darren. Darren is sad because he keeps getting dissed by women, and longs to meet his one and only, his special someone. In attempts to be encouraging, they push Darren over to Judith, played passably by Amanda Peet. She begins to control his life down to "allowing" him to masturbate, and the two losers left behind then realize that Judith isn't the right kinda gal for their lifelong friend and they try to save their buddy from the grasp of the controling manipulative bitch.

The premise of the film was funny... the overall presentation rather pedestrian. A couple funny scenes, a great chase scene, horrible ending, and some incredibly dumb dialog pretty much sum the film up... In the end, everyone does find their special someone, complete with a wedding brawl and a gay marriage... and they live happily ever after, we suppose.

The BEST part of this movie is the fact the three friends are in a Neil Diamond tribute band. Neil Diamond actually saves the day in the film. Damn funny plot twist there. And he seems like a really good sport. See pictured above wondering to himself "How did my career ever sink this low!" Jack Black is rocking out there in the middle next to Jason Biggs, who I swear is about 20 years younger than Jack. Whatever.

I rented "Barenaked in America" a documentary about my favoritest band to date, Barenaked Ladies. I went to watch it last night with Jessica and there was a big warning about sexually explicit content, nudity and adult language and themes... so I rethought allowing her to see it. I'll watch it tonight and determine if she can see it... she's a big fan as well.

Well this entry certainly is much longer than I originally intended. Damn. So much to say, so much to say, so much to say... open up my head and let me out. Little Baby!

Monday, August 06, 2001

Michael Palin

I promised that I wouldn't rant on personal matters, seeing how a lot of personal friends and relatives have access to the journal here. So I won't complain about my mom. Nuff said. So there.

I have decided instead to write about Michael Palin.

I love Michael Palin. Apologies to Douglas ... I confessed my love for Palin to my husband and he shrugged. I guess he sees my infatuation as no threat to our marriage. Good thing too.

Now, if you aren't sure who Mr. M. E. Palin of North London, England is, you're a hermit living up a mountain and you don't know WHAT to do with those mossy bits on your rocks there. And you'll never go back to public relations.

Michael Palin is one of the founding Monty Python members, and happens to be my favorite Python. They're all very very good. Cleese has his Ministry of Silly Walks, and was a stupendous gumby. Idle did the best television interviewers and a very good lady and hermit. Chapman always played a funny army colonel. Jones had the best legs for an old lady pepper pot... but Palin was the lumberjack. And he's okay.

Over the past several years, he's taken to being a world traveler and adventurer of sorts, signed on by the BBC, he has gone on several different journeys, most notably around the world in 80 days (following the Verne novel's path as traveled by Mr. Fogg as closely as possible), through all the places Ernest Hemingway wrote about, full circle round the globe through South America and beyond... and from the North Pole to the South Pole. And the BBC did these ever so interesting documentaries through his eyes. I bought two of the books before I went on vacation. The ones I got were "Around the World in 80 Days" and "Pole to Pole," and I also picked up his novel called "Hemingway's Chair" and am enjoying it thus far.

And I love Michael Palin. Even though he is 3 years younger than my dad, he seems a world away from anyone who is about to hit his 60s (born in 1943... according to his bios...) and I feel like he is still about 35.

Now, I fell in love with Michael Palin when I was about 10 or 11, watching MPFC on PBS in NY back in the day. I loved his bright brown eyes, his spectacularly stupid hair, his thin lips and almost impish twinkle. I loved when he talked about the history of the nude in his bed, I mean ART, Bum OOOOH what a give away! And this love grew through high school and college, as he was a stuttering homicidal barber, a lumberjack, a game show host, a gumby... and I recall spending time with Bonnie in college reciting entire skits and laughing our asses off, doing our best ridiculous Brit accents, and just enjoying it all ever so.

i think michael palin has lovely eyes.

So as he's grown up, he's evolved as we all do. He's made movies. A couple are better than others, and now he's this older gent who still has the wild spirit and the curious and youthful eye, and he goes off (ta ta!) in search of adventure with a hoard of BBC staff and friends to tape his travels, and he comments and lives a fascinating life.

What I enjoyed most about the books I read (there are more which I need to get, like "Full Circle" and "Hemingway's Adventures..." which weren't at the bookstore when I went shopping) is his uncanny talent of being so in the moment and child like, even in the face of danger. The inate curiousity that causes schoolboys to ask "why is this" and "how does that happen," and the sudden surprise at certain realizations which come out during his writing make me smile.

I'll never get to travel to the Far East or Africa, but Michael Palin has done it in a way that I find so refreshing. His irritation with the stuckup tourists who moan and complain about things, and his desire to meet the common man make him seem so real to me, like a friend. I have a similar attitude... I don't want to be surrounded by home when I'm away... an African Adventure shouldn't have bits and pieces of Boston strewn about it to make me feel more comfortable. So many people in western culture are afraid to throw the trappings away and just be where they are. He had days on a dhow to hang out with arab seamen, with the crews of many boats and trains, and he never pooh-poohed the experience as not up to snuff. He strikes me as educated and willing to become more educated. And I like that in a friend, in a writer, in a fellow westerner.

It is the kind of spirit I want to instill in my kids. To not fear the unknown place or person, that adventure can be found by being friendly to someone in the classroom that doesn't look the same as we do. I think that the kids get it.

Anyway, this is the summer of Palin, and if he ever wanted to come follow the trail of the revolution in the Boston area, he's welcome to stay at the Way Out Inn. I'd gladly host him and an entire BBC crew. I'll even buy brown sauce for them for their breakfast sausages.