Tuesday, December 20, 2005

this modern life, part one

in which "they" can put a man on the moon, so why, no matter what i do, do i still have all this gray hair?

and furthermore: why does a trip to the garage to get my battery checked YESTERDAY end with someone replacing some part of my car door 24 hours later and still no word on the battery?

why won't my coffee stay hot?

why am i so ungrateful that i seem to forget that at least i have hair, and a car, and coffee?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

thanks for calling

"As Vic Chesnutt suggests on 'Girls Say,' women have lots of different stock lines when talking to the opposite sex, but men always end up with just one: 'Why you wanna be a bitch?'"

Saturday, December 17, 2005

the joan baez conspiracy

i mentioned below that the joan baez christmas album constituted an integral part of my childhood christmas experience.

in a similar vein, it has also long been to blame for my dad's christmas misery.

for as long as i can remember, we owned "noel" on LP. when the LP format became obsolete, i suspect that my dad secretly hoped that "noel" would quietly accompany it into oblivion.

instead, my mother simply replaced it with a cassette. when cassettes became obsolete, i can only imagine that my dad harbored a similar hope for "noel."

this time, i replaced the cassette with a cd given to me by my hippie friends ben and cheryl, who bought it and then found it intolerable. wow, my dad must have thought, even hippies hate this album. but my mother and i are tenacious that way. our joan baez christmas album has survived several media incarnations. we're not giving it up now.

i happen to know that, given the advent of the ipod, a certain dad is hatching a certain plan to supplant "noel" by way of new technology once again. my dad is an extremely intelligent individual. but with all due respect, dad:

i am one step ahead of you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

a christmas without irony

so now i am sitting here wondering why christmas according to the Pogues, from a land where the only Christmas miracle is Shane MacGowan's continuing existence, is so totally bringing me down. i decided to make a concerted effort to wrest the image of "christmas eve in the drunk tank" from my mind by revisiting some of my old favorites. first, i downloaded a few songs. then, i played them back at "ashamed" volume, gradually increasing that volume in increments until i find myself at this moment, sitting at my desk listening to Wham! at full volume.

with no trace of irony, mind you.

isn't "Last Christmas" a great song? isn't it?

i remember being about 8 years old, listening to this song over and over on my (enormous) walkman and imagining how i would one day take part in the great and glamorous euro-style christmas celebration that Wham was offering me. how i aspired, as a child, to spend the holidays at some glitzy resort in the swiss alps, drinking champagne and decorating the tree and ministering to poor George Michael's guilty feet. there would be sleigh-rides and shoulder-pads aplenty. (it may be evident to you by now that had i been born a boy, i would most certainly have been gay, and, unbeknowst to me at the time, much more likely to capture George Michael's heart). but i think that all this romanticizing of euro-trash was only fully realized with the emergence of what has become my favorite christmas tune:

"Do They Know It's Christmas?" by BandAid. Leaving aside the decidedly tepid lyrics and the fact that i'm guessing, no, they didn't know it was christmas in ethiopia, like, ever, this song is a true classic. for me, the apex of glamour was, and still is, to be honest, the british pop-star circa 1984. listening to this song today make me shiver. all my old favorites are there: boy george! bono! simon lebon!simon lebon! and all those taylors from duran duran! and nick rhodes! sting, before he sold out! sara and karen from bananarama! the thickly-brogued lads from big country! BIG COUNTRY! george michael! david bowie! the guy from spandau ballet! a bunch of people with british accents too thick to decipher! i do not, however, think that shane macgowan was present.

and Bob Geldof. thank you, Bob Geldof, thank you. then when they break into that "feed the world" chorus, so heartfelt, so sparkly, so non-american... i watched the video as though scrutinizing evidence. and now i wonder: how did my vision of the world start as a 9-year-old idolizing good-doing british pop-stars and descend in the ensuing 21 years to consist of "you're a drunk, you're a punk, you're an old slut on junk"? a mere decade ago my life's dream was to somehow get to london or st moritz and pad around cheerfully on plush white carpet offering simon lebon more eggnog, all the while clad in calvin klein jeans and blue eyeshadow, conspicuosly highlighted hair in a jaunty side-ponytail.

it could be worse, i suppose. look where boy george ended up.

a side note: my other music-induced childhood christmas fantasy? thanks to joan baez and her christmas album, which entered my life via my mom's record player circa "the beginning of time," i also envisioned the ideal christmas to take place in an isolated farmhouse somewhere (probably the black forest, now that i think about it) where my family and i did things like baked cookies with white icing, fed the animals in the barn, and made igloo-lanterns out of snow. i would have been accessorizing with a fur muff, no doubt.

although i have grown to love the cardboard creche. (whispered, in voice of George Michael: "merry christmas.")

ithaca is sad

more photoproof of my 2005 "pathos" world tour.
coming soon to blog near you.

merry christmas in red-and-green ryans

suggested soundtrack: The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York."

altogether now: "it was christmas eve...."

Friday, December 09, 2005


i think i have the bird/dog/cat/squirrel flu.

-appetite for foods that are exclusively yellow (and, funny enough, squishy, which is even funnier if...). for example: banana pudding, macaroni and cheese, bread and butter, eggs, tangerine juice.
-head-in-fishbowl-syndrome, frustrating enough to cause experiencer to actually wish that head would detach from body.
-scheming to move tv to bedroom so as not to have to move to watch "Law and Order."
-inability to tend to final papers and projects (this is very serious).
-irrational wanting of my mommy.
-sleeping 12-15 hours a day (this coming from an insomniac - a major feat).

if there is a god, please let me wake up tomorrow rid of this illness.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

indeed, shashi

allow me to present my two candidates for "cutest nephew"


and Madryn:

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

my superpower:

putting things away in my apartment and never being able to find them again.

firewire cable? chewable flintstones vitamins? who knows?

considering that my apartment is utterly bereft of clutter, the ability to lose things like this really is quite a feat. in fact, if i could get back every moment i have ever spent thinking "if i were a size 9 knitting needle (firewire cable, checkbook...) where would i be?" i could write the great american novel.

and it would be called "When I Went on Vacation I Put My Laptop in a Drawer and When I Got Home a Week Later it Took Me 2 Hours to Find It."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


fear not.

two poems for tubingen

Fray sicken under belligerent variety tease blunderings
at most far wish deny drink , swear, clean, wine eyes watch you stepping round.
Have air potential gone scenic her house so real and, warnings in ruck-sacks.
It’s wrongs aloof, instinctive in her hair abusing heights, we each an own force stomach a runner, that sick searching remembrance, eyes best timed ten falls using, to die can force her seas to reemerge.
Undermine chaste and height in my eyes all excite the rock and under them eyes understood myself in my eyes verisimil identities, is it the last at times her entrance then forced as mine sulks toward inches undoes my salt nickels under inverse wind.
Eyes infirm for searching far verses wind in buildings as much has tell blisse.

Many edging heights get strategy first, it’s states at all like you were minding meddlings
in houses so where utter workings send.
One never halts it’s hard in back house comments, that stage
ignorance bemusing months? Over seas soldered into choreography days work hurts her to music,
Daimler Chrysler seeing and remiss, under decent and kind utterings,
Light, the other Answers with Consequence.
When I hear in mild orchestrations.