Saturday, December 31, 2005

So I thought about writing a long, blithery entry about all of the things I've done in the last year and how much I've grown and what I want to accomplish in the next year and so on and so forth, but then I thought better of it. If you want to know most of that stuff, you can go back and read the archives. But I will say this:

I like where I am in my life right now. I'm scared about what the next year will bring, mostly from a financial perspective, but I know that things always work themselves out one way or another. I like my apartment. I'm glad I'm still in my little neighborhood. I have some really wonderful friends and a beautiful family that I am beyond grateful for. I have a lot still to do and it's going to be tough, but I'm not the sort to back away from a challenge. So wish me luck!

And I wish you all luck in the new year, too. I wish you happiness and health and cake. No matter what anyone says, cake is good for you. And no matter what you happen to have planned for this evening, please be safe. Nobody has anything that they have to do tomorrow, so if you need to crash somewhere and go ahead and crash. A little embarrassment is much easier to deal with than a potentially fatal car accident.

Happy new year!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Hello, Oman and Egypt (is that you, Mr. Doughty?)! We now officially have Africa, without the Saudi Penninsula location debate, we have Africa. So people on six different continents have stopped by to read the blitherings I put up here on a daily basis. Thanks, guys! I'm a little overwhelmed, but mostly I just think it's really cool that y'all come buy to visit. I hope you enjoy your stay.

And speaking of Mr. Doughty, I'm really wishing I could talk to him for a minute, so I'm going to post this in here. If he ever reads it, I don't know what he'll think. I don't think he'll probably even ever read it, but I'm going to post it anyway.

For those of you who don't know, I'm talking about Mike Doughty who is an amazing musician and from what I can tell, a pretty cool person, too. He used to be the lead singer of Soul Coughing and when they broke up he did the solo thing for a while and then recently signed on to Dave Matthew's label and released "Haughty Melodic," which I voted for in the WXRT listner poll as being one of the best albums of 2005. It really is fantastic and I would very much recommend you go pick up a copy if you don't already have one. There's only one song on the whole album that I'm not crazy in love with. Some of them make you want to dance, some of them have amazing harmonies tha I get to sing along with, and the last song on the album is really sweet and touching. So yeah, if you don't have it yet, please go get it. It really is fantastic.

Mr. Doughty also keeps a journal on his website and I've read it and while not quite Moby calibur (have to keep my obsessions straight, here. tee hee), it is pretty good. He posts a lot of interesting photographs, which is fun. One time, he ganked some concert photos from a guy I did a film with. As in, a guy I made a movie with went to a Mike Doughty concert and took some photos, posted them online, Mr. Doughty found them (or was sent a link) and posted them on his own website, crediting the guy I know, of course. Sort of a cyber two-degrees-of-separation. Man, I'm a dork when I first wake up in the morning. Sorry.

Anyway, there are several entries wherein Mr. Doughty talks about his growing dislike of Soul Coughing music. Like he looks down on fans who come up to him now and tell him how much they loved those tunes. He says when he listens to them, all he can hear is how he should have made them differently. That bothers me quite a bit, so I'm going to get up on my high horse for just a brief moment.

Hi, Mr. Doughty. I have recently become quite a big fan of yours. I think the music you make is amazing and interesting and poignant and fun. I haven't been able to stop listening to your records as of late. I'm so happy for you that you feel like "Haughty Melodic" is the record you have always wanted to make, the record that you have spent your whole career trying to make. That's wonderful that you made that and I agree with you; it is an amazing record. I'm not too keen on "Tremendous Brunettes," but the rest of it is so beautiful.

It saddens me, though, that not only do you not feel a connection with your older works anymore, but you seem to look down on fans who do. I know that when you made those records, you were a different person with different things going on in your life and it is fine to want to distance yourself from that time and place. But at least for me, Soul Coughing songs remind me of my engagment. Crazy as it was, I look back on that whole thing very fondly. And another Soul Coughing song reminds me of my first love and how oddly he danced. I can't help but smile when I hear it. I love that those songs bring back those memories, and because they do, the songs mean just as much to me as the memories do. So it kind of hurts when you talk about how awful "Disseminated" is -- that is probably my favorite. It makes me want to put together a huge lindy/hip hop fusion dance because it has so many layers and so many styles all wrapped up in one song. It's brilliant. But when you say it's awful, that makes me feel dumb for liking it.

It's kind of like when Cat Stevens became Yusif Islam and took back every song he ever wrote, saying he didn't mean any of it. I was heartbroken. We used to sing the songs from Harold and Maude on school bus trips, and they always reminded us that there is some beauty somewhere. They reminded me that as ugly and depressed as I felt, I still had the potential to be something else. "If you want to sing out, sing out." Made it not matter that my brother didn't think I could sing; I was going to sing anyway. These were the anthems that got me through my depression and encouraged me to keep living and then the author comes out and says he didn't mean any of them? Did that mean people really didn't like it when I sang out? That my voice wasn't valid? Sure felt like it.

I came to peace with the Cat Stevens thing. I am determined to believe that when he wrote those songs he meant them, at least a little bit. Or that he knew what kind of music people wanted or needed to hear and he wrote it for them. I know what those songs mean to me and while it still hurts that they don't mean anything to him, I am going to hold on to my love for that music.

Same thing with your older stuff, Mr. Doughty. I'm sorry if it pains you to hear that "Soft Serve" or "Bus to Beelzebub" or "Circles" or "Disseminiated" are amazing songs that mean a lot to me. But they are. I hope that one day, you can at least appreciate the fact that you touched people with those songs, even if the songs weren't what you wanted them to be. I think it is evident in the number of Rockity Roll robot tattoos you've encountered that I'm not the only one who thinks your catalog is great. Please let us continue to enjoy your music, all of it. Because you know we will anyway.

Okay, I'm done now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Oh, and as long as we're putting things out into the universe in the hopes that they come true, a new Taylor acoustic electric guitar would be fabulous. Or the three thousand dollars to buy one. Either or. I'm not picky.

So even my mother can tell that I'm ready to date someone. Someone amazing. She's picturing Luke from Gilmore Girls. Not that I have anything against Luke, but I'm kind of crushing on Dean right now. Not the actor that plays Dean, mind you, but the character of Dean. Such a prince charming. Calling Rory by her full name, but only when it's sexy. Going to a dance he doesn't want to go to because he knows she wants to. *sigh*

I got this new assistant director position for a show out in the suburbs and already everyone I've met who is involved in the show is married. I know there are great men out there. My mother and I are convinced I'm going to find one someday. I just hope he's not married when I do.
Hi, Germany.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

For the record, I am not going to get anything important accomplished over my "winter vacation" (aka, week off of work), because my brother, lovely human being that he is, gave me the first season of Gilmore Girls on DVD. Granted, I asked for it. Literally. But I don't think he knew I would spend entire days camped out in front of my television watching the Gilmores and all of their adventures and such. Watching Gilmore Girls, drinking tea (thanks to my lovely Texas friend -- thank you! It's delicious!), eating cake and Chex Mix (homemade vegan version by my dad) and Russian tea cakes (also vegan, also made by my dad). I'm going to gain 8,000,000 pounds because you can't watch Gilmore Girls without eating something. They eat so much strange stuff on the show that if you don't eat while you're watching it, you feel like you're only getting half of the show. So I'm sitting here, eating and watching Gilmore Girls and gaining 8,000,000 pounds in the process, all thanks to my lovely brother.

Thank you, lovely brother.

Much love,
Your whale of a sister

Monday, December 26, 2005


So how was it? Did y'all have fun? Did ya get a lot of good stuff?

I had a lovely holiday. It's nice to not go into the holidays resenting them; it makes getting through the whole thing that much easier, and that much more enjoyable. I really did have fun. And I got some really nice things that I wanted, a couple that I didn't really, and one that was about eight years too late, but all in all, I think it was a good year. My family and friends seemed to like the gifts I got for them, too. So yeah. I may try this "not hating Christmas" thing again next year.

Okay, gotta run. Have a lovely day!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Hi, Portugal and Saudi Arabia! Welcome to the party!

So I'm not sure how much time I'm going to be spending on the interweb in the next week or so because I won't be at work. I do have access at home, it's just a matter of how much time am I going to want to spend online versus how much time am I going to want to spend, I dunno, with friends and family and cleaning my house and all that stuff. So in the spirit of being non-technological, I'm going to talk for a minute about Christmas today.

Yup, I said the "c" word. Christmas.

I grew up celebrating Christmas. I still celebrate Christmas, whether or not I buy into the religion that invented the holiday. It is, for the most part, a very nice time of year, and I have so many traditions surrounding the holiday that I just wouldn't feel right not celebrating Christmas. I apologize if that offends anyone. That is not my intent. I'm sure you have your own traditions surrounding Ramadan or Hannukah or the solstice or Kwanzaa or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate, and I hope you have a really nice time participating in those traditions.

One of the things that I really like about Christmas is that it is a time of year to be nice to each other. To put other crap aside and let your family and friends know that you love them. It's kind of sad that we need a yearly reminder to tell our family and friends that we love them, but we do. We get busy with all kinds of other crap and the simple act of being nice to each other escapes us. So I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you guys for visiting my site on whatever sort of schedule you do -- whether this is your first visit or your daily check. Thank you especially to those of you who are of a different mind than I about whatever, for continuing to read. Thank you for the occasional notes you send me to let me know I'm not alone in the world. Thank you for your seemingly endless support. In short, thank you for being you. You make my life brighter and I am so honored to be a part of yours.

Whether you choose to light candles next week, or sing around a tree, or go eat Chinese food and see a movie, I hope you have a truly wonderful time with the people you love. Be safe and have a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Is that Malaysia? The borders over there are kind of strange, but I think it's Malaysia, not Thailand. Either way, hello and welcome!

Y'all are going to make my head swell up so big I can't fit in the door. I hope you realize this.
So did everyone have a lovely solstice yesterday? If for no other reason, I think we should all celebrate it because it means the days are going to get longer from here on out. At least until June. And that's good news. More daylight! Yay! Warmer temperatures! Yay! It is actually warmer in Chicago today than it has been for a long time. I left my apartment this morning in balmy 20 degree weather. It felt pretty good, actually.

So yeah. Hooray for longer days. Winter won't last forever...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hi, Japan! That makes six continents -- North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia. Unless the United Arab Emirates is not Africa, then we're only at five. But still, that's pretty sweet!

And hello, France! I think that's a different person, though, because it is somewhere else in France than it was before. Unless it is the same person who has moved. In which case, welcome to your new home.
So the New York Transit Strike. I feel like I should say something about it, but I'm not exactly sure what to say. I don't live there. I don't work for the MTA or any sort of union. All I know is what I have read about it. It looks like the average TWU Union worker (or whatever their proper name is) earns more money than I do, has a pretty sweet benefits package that they don't pay for, and gets to retire at age 55. Granted, it is more expensive to live in New York than it is to live in Chicago, but that still looks like a pretty sweet deal to me. I can understand that they would be upset about changes to that system. But paying 2% of your own health benefits is not that big of a deal. It's not a huge expense. And bumping the retirement age to 62 for new hires (not for people already in the system) brings the TWU a little closer to the national average. So the changes would really only impact people joining the TWU now or in the future. So the people striking are looking out for fellow employees that they haven't met yet. That's kind of sweet. But wait, they're shutting down a city during the holidays. Making it so that friends can't make it to their friend's holiday parties, or might choose not to so as to avoid big cab fares or long walks in frigid weather. Making it difficult for people to finish their last minute shopping. I know, I know, we shouldn't procrastinate, but we all do. I've heard of unions who wanted to strike before, but out of good faith, to keep the world running at close to normal levels, they will only strike for a day, or they will delay a strike until, say, the end of the school year so that kids can still graduate. It seems kind of malicious to me for the TWU to strike now. I'm guessing that was the point. And that bothers me.

Not to mention the fact that public employees are not allowed to strike in New York. So the very fact that they are striking means they are criminals. Apparently the union got slapped with a one-million-dollar-a-day fine for the duration of the strike that they are appealing. Hey, you illegally shut down a city and expect no consequences? Do you live in the real world?

The individual workers can be fined up to two days pay for each day they stay on strike. That's a lot of money. Money I bet they can't afford at the holiday time. Which makes me think that this has to be about something more. I know some of the picketers were carrying "We move you. Respect us" signs. They must feel really bad about they way they are treated to surrender two days pay for each day they stay on strike, and to organize a strike at this time of year. If I may play devil's advocate for a minute, though, whatever happened to just doing your job? We, as a society do tend to look down on certain professions, yes. Particularly blue collar professions. But there are plenty of blue collar workers who live comfortable lives. They make a good wage (thanks to their unions), they have decent benefits. Hell, there are even homeless people who bring in over $40,000/year panhandling. They know they are panhandlers, though. They don't demand respect. They know they have a tasteless job, but it pays the bills, so they keep doing it. Telemarketers, too. Is it really worth shutting down a city so that people will say "Thank you" from time to time? I don't know. I'm guessing it has to be a LOT more complicated than that, and like I said, I'm not a union member, I don't live in New York, and I don't know first hand what their work conditions are like. I do know that when I was just there, I saw an ad on the subway advertising for maintenance workers for the MTA and it looked like a pretty sweet deal to me. I know I would come home covered in oil, and I'd have to put in strange hours, and I would probably smell like exhaust for the rest of my life, but if that's what I had to do to pay the bills...

I dunno. I don't know what to say about the strike other than I hope it ends soon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Random things:

Hello to my reader in United Arab Emirates! And in the UK! And in Venezuela! I noticed that the reader map thingy only keeps track of the last 100 people to click on it. So if you've disappeared (France and Australia), click on it again! You've got a bunch of people in the US to compete with. Tee hee. I do have to say that I'm really amazed that that many people visit my blog, and from so many different places. At least four different continents. I have to admit that geographically, I can never remember if the Saudi Penninsula counts as part of Africa or Europe, but if it does qualify as Africa, then five continents. People on five different continents have visited my blog at one point or another. That's pretty darn amazing, if I do say so myself. I'm curious at to how you all found me. But it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, too, so thank you to all of you for stopping by to say hello. You make my day.

I think I'm either allergic to my workplace or to Chicago in general because I've not felt well since I got back. Maybe moving to New York would be good for my health...

If you've never had a pet, might I suggest a visit to your local animal shelter to pick one out. I can't even begin to tell you the joy that my cat brings into my life. He just likes being near me. Or on my lap. He talks to me and tells me about his day. He plays with me. He's got me so trained, it really is sad. But it is so nice to come home to someone who is happy to see me, yet is content to sit on the back of the couch by my head while I eat dinner and vegetate. Both of the friends I visited on the East Coast have cats, and it was lovely to meet and play with their cats, but there is nothing like coming home to your own. We know each other better. We trust each other more. So seriously, if you've never had a pet, I'd suggest going to check one out. Make sure you can take care of it, though. If you're not home a lot, I might suggest a hamster or a cat rather than a dog -- dogs require a lot more time and energy. But get a bunny. Get a tarantula. Get some fish. You will be astounded by how different each one is, and how complex their personalities are. And you will melt when they get to know you well enough to trust you and show affection. Even if that display of affection is sitting between the shower curtain and the liner and meowing until you're finished taking your shower.

Why does every public radio station announcer sound like he or she is stoned? Do they teach you that in public radio station announcer school? Or do they teach people who actually go to school to become radio station announcers how to not make themselves sound stoned, and in all truth, we all sound stoned when talking on the radio unless we make a conscious effort not to? I think public radio would have a much better reputation amongst the pop culture whores if the djs were more engaging.

I know I'm not making a lot of sense. Please bear with me. It's my work allergies. My brain isn't working right.

Have a lovely day everybody!

Monday, December 19, 2005

And a happy belated birthday to my Bostonian guy friend. It's hard to keep up with you now that your site is gone. But I hope you are well, and I hope you had a lovely day yesterday.

And my Filipino friend who is soon to be a dad, happy birthday to you, too. I hope you have a particularly nice day today, even though it is horribly cold outside.

So yeah, it's been a while. Sorry about that. I've been busy. Let's see...

Thank you to my surgeon friend and her husband for letting me stay with them outside Philly, and it was an absolute pleasure to meet your son! He is beautiful. This perfect little human being fell asleep in my arms. I was so honored. But yeah, I got to go visit them for about...twelve hours? Maybe? Beautiful house in a rather suburban area, which was kind of odd in and of itself. I'm so out of touch with the suburbs. I don't think that's necessarily a good thing. The suburbs have their advantages. I've just become so much of a city person. It was almost a relief when the baby started screaming at 4am because there was some noise. I can't sleep without my city noises anymore.

I love New York. I hate driving into New York, but I love New York. It is really odd to me that this place I've only visited a handful of times feels so much like home. I dunno. I guess when I tapped into the city's energy four or five years ago (has it only been that long?), I really tapped in. But I understand why New Yorkers don't want to leave. It really is an amazing city and I truly, truly love being there. Someone asked me last week where I plan on being a starving artist and my initial response was, of course, Chicago, but it occurred to me that if I wanted to go somewhere else (i.e. New York), now might be a good time to do it. Aside from the "I have no money" thing. But it's something to think about. Maybe give New York a try in the near future and see if it is as much fun to live there as it is to visit.

The Moby concert was okay. I hate to say it, but it was just okay. I went with a woman I haven't really hung out with much before, and I think we had a lot of fun, so in that respect, it was fun. And I always love watching Moby on stage. But he had a cold, so he seemed a little...slow. Or something. Or maybe it was just that they played most of his stuff really down tempo. Even the slow stuff was slower than usual. I did like the 37 versions of Porcelain as they were fixing one of the amps, and I liked That's When I Reach for My Revolver and Lift Me Up, but yeah. It was a very self-indulgent show because it could be. I wonder what it is like to be up on stage and know that no matter what you do, the entire audience will love it. I'm sure he had fun. I'm sure all of the musicians on stage had fun. I was just hoping they'd rock out a little more. It was fun to see some of the songs that have never been played in public before. And this really tall guy who works for the circus was hitting on me for the first half of the evening, but I think I freaked him out with my enthusiasm for the show. He was decidedly not a dancer. He was there with a couple of his friends who were Moby fans. I think he liked the show, but he wasn't really into it. And he kind of disappeared once the live set was over. This other guy came out and told what was one of the funniest stories I have ever heard while they were switching over for Moby's DJ set. I realized it had been probably weeks since I laughed that hard and I really needed that. Unfortunately, this very talented, very funny story teller was then mobbed by a group of women who seemed to want to make out with him just because he was famous and/or knows famous people and he fell for it. Oh well. With any luck, he'll get more stories out of it. And then Moby came out to DJ. I will say this: I loved his song selections. Granted, a lot of the records he spun were his own, but they were really good. There was some other stuff mixed in there, too, but it was good, dark house, which is exactly what I like. Sadly, he did little to no beat matching/mixing. He'd drop the bass out on one record while the vocal was doing something, and then just start another record at the right time. The guys who spun at my 25th birthday party are SO much better. I have to admit, I was a smidge disappointed. Granted, he's not been DJing in years, but he knew this show was coming up. He could have practiced. Or practiced more. And also on the sad front, there was almost noone there who could really dance to that music. Nothing really inspirational on the dance floor. I found myself thinking I wouldn't have minded so much if I had been drunk, but I wasn't. It got to be tough to really dance 'cuz...I dunno. It just seemed like the crowd wasn't really there. Or if they were, they were too focused on "Oh my god, it's Moby!" to pay attention to the music. I stayed to the end, though, but didn't hang out after to try to meet him again. It was time to go home. I did tell the drummer that it was a good set. He was shorter than I remember him, but still really friggin' hot.

Oh, and while I was in New York, anyway, the transit strike did not happen. About which I was very happy. Subways in New York are awesome, both for their accessibility and the people you see on them. Priceless.

Friday, I had lunch at Teany with one of my New York hosts. He's not the vegetarian sort, but he does like food, so he humored me and I think we had a nice time. Honestly, I go there for the food. The first time I went, I went to support Moby. I go back because it really is just damn good food. I got some to go, too. If I lived in New York, I'd go bankrupt eating at Teany all of the time. Though I started thinking about how to make that stuff at home, and I think I could do it. Some of it anyway. Not the teas. I'd still have to buy those.

And we went to a party that night whereat I got to see most of the rest of my New York friends. It was fun. I could so be a New Yorker.

Thank you to my lovely New York hosts. Your apartment is really cool with the lack of right angles, and your cat is darling, and thank you for letting me take over your living room for a couple of days. Hopefully next time I'll get to stay a bit longer and maybe all three of us can hang out at the same time instead of the sort of time-share thing we had going on this time around.

And then off for my first out of town gig in Williamsport, PA. SO WEIRD! I was freaking out as I was driving into Williamsport, in that "Do one thing every day that scares you" kind of a way. Here I was, driving into this little, very quiet, very deserted-looking town to play music for people who have no idea who I am, and I have no idea if any of my marketing techniques have reached anyone. Turns out, they didn't really. None of the discs I sent to radio stations got played, near as I can tell. The two people who showed up came to see the guy who booked me and was opening for me and they had no idea anyone else was scheduled to play. So it was as I feared. An audience of four, including the guy who opened for me and the barista. In their defense, they were a great crowd, albeit small. I'm always amazed when men like my music, but they were really diggin' it, and made it sound like there were a lot more than three people in the crowd (the barista was doing a lot of cleaning and stuff, so she didn't clap much). And they were really nice people. I ended up getting a drink with two of them after the show and admittedly, the one who wasn't hitting on me was the cooler of the two (probably because he wasn't hitting on me), but it was a fun evening. And, for the second time in my life, I found myself working with someone who has worked with a Monkee. The guy who booked me/opened for me is the keyboard player in Davy Jones' new band. So that was kind of groovy. I like being two degrees from the Monkees. I find that somehow cooler than being two degrees from Kevin Bacon. Everyone has ties to Kevin Bacon. How many people do you know who have ties to the Monkees? I thought so.

And then I got up and drove home yesterday. Pennsylvania is too big. Ohio is too expensive. But Chicago is beautiful. I love coming home to Chicago, and knowing that my cat is waiting for me by the door. As much as I love New York, I think it might break my heart to leave Chicago.

So thank you again to my surgeon friend and her husband, my New York hosts, the Java Juice and Art Cafe and Johnny Blair, the two guys who came to see my show, my friend who went to see Moby with me, and my other New York friends for making this a lovely trip. Next time, I'll stay longer. And hopefully play to bigger crowds.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

It's kind of comforting in a really strange way when your doctor laughs at how healthy you are.

On another note, the longer version of Leftover Voices is so much better than the short version! I'm so in love with that movie. And thank you to all of my friends who came out to see it last night -- it meant the world to me to have you there with me. And I'm such a rock star that I took the train home from my movie premiere, ate some Thai food, and went to bed. Party monster! w00t.


On yet another note, I leave for the east coast tomorrow. I'm excited to see my surgeon friend and her husband and new baby. I'm excited to see my New York friends. I'm excited to see a really awesome Moby show and to eat at Teany way more times than one human should in 48 hours. I'm excited and nervous to play in Williamsport. What if nobody shows up? Well, then I'll have an actual rockstar story. "Yeah, my first out of town show was in this cafe in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and it was just after finals so all of the students had gone home and there were three people in the audience, including the guy who opened for me and the barista. But we had a good time and got really caffeinated and I drove home in a blizzard the next day in time for my theater company's holiday party." Every rock star needs such a story, right? Right? Is it okay if I don't have one? Is it okay if a lot of people show up and the gig rocks? Speaking of which, I need to remember to bring CDs.

Anyway. This will be the life of a starving artist. This is the life I am signing up for and I'm excited to see what it is like. And I'm still, as Mike Doughty says, "Feelin' so good that it hurts my skin." Be well and wish me luck!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Holy crap, I have an Australian reader, too! Welcome!

And to all of you across the US, hi!

I'm thinking the only problem with this reader locator thingy is that I don't know who all of you are, necessarily. Well anyway, for whatever reason you found my site, thanks for popping by and reading. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Leftover Voices full-length premiere is tonight. Yay! I'm excited. A little bit nervous, but mostly excited. I'm hoping I can get past my own physicality tonight as I watch it. As in, I hope I don't spend this whole screening thinking, "I had hair. And it was such pretty hair," like I did last time.

And I don't know how many of you out there watch "Grey's Anatomy" (though I'm guessing that out of the 23 people who have clicked on the reader locator thingy, the one person in France probably does not -- sorry, dude), but at the end of last night's episode, in order to feel Christmasy, Izzy, Meredith, George, and the dog ended up lying with their heads under the Christmas tree looking at the lights. So when the show was over, I did just that. I turned off all of the other lights in my apartment, turned on some Christmas music, and laid down on the floor with my head under my Christmas tree, looking up through the needles at the lights and the ornaments. I have to say, it was really nice. Made that much nicer by the fact that my cat came to join me, like it was no big deal to nap under the Christmas tree.

You know, they've done studies that have shown that having a pet is good for your health -- it reduces stress and lowers blood pressure and stuff -- and if you have a pet, you know the love of which I speak when I say I love my cat more than anything. They've also now done studies on pets and found that the touch of a familiar person does the same thing for the pet that it does for the human -- lowers stress, reduces blood pressure, etc. When Owen was little, he was such an attention whore; he didn't care who was giving him attention as long as someone was petting him. But as he is getting older, he is becoming more and more my cat. When company is over, he still comes to me for affection. And it's little things like him napping under the Christmas tree with me that make me think he loves me, too, in his own way. And it's thoughts like that that absolutely melt my heart.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Feliz cumpleanos a mi amigo. Deseo que tienes muchos anos buenos.

(My apologies to any Spanish speakers who I offended by slaughtering your language.)

Friday, December 09, 2005

So a plane skidded off a runway at Midway Airport in Chicago last night during the snowstorm and is still, I believe, parked on Central Avenue near 55th.

When my friend called to tell me to turn on the news last night because of something that happened with a plane, I, of course, gasped in fear. After about a second, though, I realized that it was a weather related thing. The runways weren't de-iced enough or something. Because really, it sounds like the plane did a donut or something -- it just skidded out of control, the same way a car will in these conditions, and the pilot lost control. Not because he was drunk or because he was negligent, but because when a 50 ton aircraft hits a big patch of ice going 50 miles per hour, it's hard to regain control (the 50 tons is an estimate, as is the speed of the plane at the time -- I don't know the exact numbers; I wasn't there).

But I still have to say that my heart goes out to the family of the six year old boy who was killed when the plane hit two cars. Apparently about a dozen people were injured, but I've only heard about the one death. How heartbreaking. I'm truly sorry for your loss.

In my uber-happy state, though, I am thankful that the damage was not worse. I am thankful that it was a simple weather-related accident (I believe) and not some crazy sabotage scheme. I am thankful that the 90 people on the plane got to go home okay. I'm sorry about the little boy, though. I can't imagine how his parents are feeling now.

So let this be a lesson to all of us -- when your plane is delayed because of snowstorms, take some comfort in the fact that it means you'll land later safely in good weather, rather than taking out a couple of cars and going home with bumps and bruises from being tossed around in an out of control plane.
So I'm happy. And it's kind of freaking me out. I've not felt this good in a very long time and I can't identify any sort of trigger for my persistent good mood. Get this:

Yesterday, it snowed in Chicago. A lot. And I had to walk all over campus in the snow collecting signatures. Then I had to drive home and it took me two hours to go the seven miles from my place of business to my home. The roads were slick and there was not a plow in sight. People kept getting out of their cars at stop lights to brush the snow off of their rear windows because we were going so slow that there was a nice accumulation building up there, no matter how hard you blasted your rear defroster. And I ran out of windshield washer fluid even though the oil change place says they filled it up just last week when I was in there. And I was sore from working out. And I came home to a house that smelled funny from the exterminator being there all day. And none of it pissed me off. None of it. I met a mechanic who lives around the corner from me who said he'd help me change out my headlight, and he was helping people get their cars out this morning. I smiled at a random guy using a snow blower to clear the sidewalk. I thanked another neighbor for shoveling her part of the sidewalk. I've been downright cheery for DAYS and I don't get it. I still have same crappy job, I still have no boyfriend nor any prospects for a boyfriend, I'm still facing having no money for a while, and it's winter in Chicago, but I'm stupid happy. Verging on giddy. A good song comes on the radio and I clap my hands. It's nuts.

So yeah, look out. There's no telling what might happen if this cheerfulness persists.

It's weird, though. I now understand why nobody wanted to hang out with me all those years I was depressed. It's hard to be in a good mood and walk into a room with someone who just wants to complain all of the time. Not saying I won't listen -- take note, dear friends, it's still okay to talk to me about not happy things -- but I get it now. When someone is not happy for seven years, it gets taxing to hang around them. I get it, and I apologize for that. I'm happy now, though. Come talk to me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I think I could get used to this personal trainer thing. I mean really, that was awesome.

We didn't really do any exercises that were horribly unfamiliar to me, and most of it was stuff that I could duplicate at home. But it's different with someone there pushing you to do just three more reps, just two more, just three more, just one more, just two more, okay, and done. And I'm sore today, but not "I can't move" sore. It's a tightness. My muscles know they got a workout.

I'm not sure I dig on the whole gym thing, though. The air in there was really...pressurized or something. Like being on an airplane. And my trainer has a tendency to mumble, so I kept having to ask him to repeat himself. After a while, I just took to smiling and nodding, and/or looking like I was focusing on my workout.

But I kind of like the idea of going to a person and saying, "Make me look like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2" and knowing that I will get there. He will select and/or design exercises to give me those shoulders, those arms, those abs. Of course, that is not the request I made yesterday. But it's kind of cool to think that I could.

Unfortunately, personal training is expensive, so I won't be able to keep it up once my two sessions have been used up. But I think I also understand the "gym buddy" thing now. When you have someone to work out with, you do more and it goes faster. And I would also like to say a really big thank you to my trainer for not laughing at me in my workout pants. He said I had good form when I was working out, and that's good to know, too. Though he kept saying, "I love that shape," which was a little odd. Almost made me wonder if he was diggin' my mongongous ass. Meh. My gay male friends love my ass. I think it's just me that doesn't like it. All the more reason why I should do something about it -- for me. Not for anybody else. Just for me.

But yeah, when I'm rich and famous, I'm going to hire a personal trainer. I liked that.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

And happy birthday to my first reader.

I'll give you shit about forgetting my birthday at a later date.
So today is a wholly unremarkable day, save three things:

1) It's Pearl Harbor day. Aside from the really bad movie of the same name, I think Pearl Harbor is something worth remembering. We were attacked on our home soil and a lot of people died, both Americans and Japanese. We should honor those who fell. I kind of feel like I should also say something about the fact that when were attacked that time, we retalliated immediately against the people responsible for the attack, not a neighboring country with better oil reserves, but hey. Let's not get into that just now. Pearl Harbor day.

2) When I woke up, it was SIX degrees outside. By the time I got to work, it was between ZERO AND FOUR degrees, depending on how close you are to the lake. How bizarre is it that I'm looking forward to going to New York in the winter because it will be warmer there?

3) I'm going to a personal trainer after work. I won a couple of sessions with a personal trainer in a silent auction and figure I should use them before they expire. On the phone, when he asked me what my fitness goals were, I told him I want a smaller butt. He asked about weight loss and arms and legs and stuff, and I told him that maybe a general toning would be good, but mostly, I want a smaller butt. And honestly, I'm half-way expecting him to cringe in fear when he sees me in my workout clothes. That's what big t-shirts are for, right?

Honestly, I don't look bad. I'm not fat. If I wanted to be cast on a soap opera, I'd need to lose about thirty pounds. But I am not fat. I'm in pretty good shape. I'm just anticipating this trip to the gym to be hard on my ego. Fortunately I have the "I'm leaving my job" excuse to not sign up for a full membership or continue the training sessions beyond the two that I won. On the down side, if I like being trained...we'll think about that later. I probably wouldn't continue at this gym anyway because it's in the south Loop. I'd rather find one closer to home, if I went to one at all.

Anyway. Yeah. Totally unremarkable day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

See, the thing about meeting people at my age is that you have to automatically assume they are taken -- either married or in a long term relationship with someone. Which is weird, because up until this point, it was usually safe to assume that the people you met were not taken. In junior high and high school, it was a pretty safe bet that most of the people around you were single. Or even if they were in a relationship, if one party or the other was offered just the right incentive, they could very quickly be out of a relationship. No, I never broke anyone up. But I saw it happen all of the time. But now, just about everyone I meet is married, with someone, or gay. And yet, I have all of these single female friends. What gives?

I know I'm going to regret this later, but I've not hidden anything from you guys before, so why should I start now? I think I've even posted things like this before, and it's usually greeted with, "Don't do it! You'll ruin your life!" type enthusiasm. But here goes: I'm feeling the urge to date. Maybe it was brought on by my Texas friend saying I look particularly cute just now. Or maybe it was brought on by my other projects ending, so I actually have/had time to date. Or maybe it's just that I've finally figured out what I want and what I'm willing to sacrifice to get it that I'm ready to start looking and see if it's actually out there. Maybe it's because I've conquered so many of the other challenges in my life that all that's really left is this one. But I feel like giving dating a chance.

I would, however, like to put this disclaimer on it: I have not yet met anyone I would like to date. None of my friends. None of the people at my high school reunion. None of the people I talk to at random on the internet. None of the people I used to party with two shows ago. I've been giving it some serious thought and I need to find someone totally new and unrelated to anything else I have going on and date him.

But I will say this. If you are so inclined, go back through my archives to December of 2004 (I believe). Maybe it was December of 2003, I don't remember exactly. But I made a list of qualities that I would like in a partner. If you happen to run across someone who fits that description, please let me know. Age isn't really important. Height isn't really important. Gender kind of is -- I'd rather be with a man than a woman at this point in my life. But yeah, if you know that guy who I'm describing, please let me know.

Man, do I sound pathetic. I'm not desperate. I'm fine being single. I think, though, that I'd like to give sharing my life with someone a try. You know. Something new.

This sounded much better and more philosophical in my head. Sorry about that. I got distracted on my way here by a cute bald guy. Who has a long-term girlfriend. See what I mean?

Things are falling into place for my visit to New York. And Philadelphia. I'm so excited to meet my friend's son. I'm so excited to see a Moby show. I'm so excited to hang out with my New York friends, even just for a day. I'm so excited to eat at Teany. I'm so excited to play a show in Williamsport. It occurred to me as I was looking for a hotel in Williamsport that yes, I do qualify for the business traveller rate. I'm going out there on business, and my business is music. How cool is that?

So yeah, I feel much better now that I know where I'm going, when, and who I'm staying with. Breathing much easier. Yay.

Monday, December 05, 2005

So yeah, I just added this little thing over on the side there that I found on my Texas friend's site. If you click on it, it will keep track of where all of my readers come from.

So click on it! I want to know where y'all are.

Tee hee.
I'm going to New York next week. I'm going to Philadelphia next week. I'm going to play a show in Williamsport, Pennsylvania next week.


Friday, December 02, 2005

The problem with feeling Christmasy so early in the season is that I keep feeling the need to wish people a happy holiday when I leave the room. And I stop myself and say, "But the holidays are still three weeks away. They're going to think I'm crazy."

Maybe I am.

Oh well.

Oh! I'm posting this here, too, just in case I don't have your email address and you want to go:

Leftover Voices
Monday, December 12
6:00 pm
1104 S. Wabash, 3rd floor cinema
Chicago, IL

I'm geeked to see the longer version.

Okay. Happy holidays, kids.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sign #86 of the coming apocalypse: I'm listening to Christmas music at work and enjoying it. Granted, it's the online WXRT Christmas music station, so it's artists I like doing holiday tunes (and yes, they played Adam Sandler's Hannukah song, too), but still. For years, Christmas music for me has been pretty much exclusively "The Nightmare Before Christmas" soundtrack. But something about the pretty, powdery snow, knowing what I want to give most people for Christmas, the thought of getting a tree this weekend all put me in the mood to listen to Christmas music. And lo and behold, the link to this station showed up in my inbox today. It's pretty good.

So yeah, if there was anything you really wanted to do with your life but haven't yet, do it soon, for the world is surely coming to an end.