September 24, 2004

Show me those baby browns

The single, solitary, and I mean ONLY, beauty of carpool in the morning (and I mean in the MORNING) is listening to Jenna yammer away about this and that in the back seat as I guzzle coffee off the dashboard.

This morning she was telling me about a baby rabbit her class saw outside this week.

"He was hopping around and he was so coool! We all decided that we are going to bring carrots in, tie them to a stick, and then he'll follow us back to our classroom so he can be our classroom pet!"

"Wow, baby, he sounds cute. You might want to leave him in the woods--he probably has family there."

"No, we didn't see any family. We want a classroom pet. And he's sooo cuuuuttte. He's baby brown--you know baby brown?"

"Baby brown?"

"Yes, like when babies first come out and they're brown and soft--baby brown. That's what color the bunny is, with teeny tiny white teardrops on by his tail. Ooooh I just want to pet his baby brown fur."

"Mmmmm. Me too. I sure would like to pet him with you."

Baby brown. She's so cool.

Cross-Selling Coup

From Broken Type, a magnificent if not jarring marketing triumph. A local video store (cough) targets (tempts, tantalizes) the leather crowd with Handsome Mel Gibson's The Passion DVD. A trick from the up-sell playbook, said store also stocks a variety of fine leather toys of "passion" with the display.

Someone's got to be going to hell for this.

Maximum Efficiency

Loft offices. I got dibs on the bottom!!!

"well, they're going to start doubling people up in offices."

"that sucks."

"yes, it does suck. but we all just have to make due for a while."

"a while being a year."

"more or less."

we're chattering around the table, discussing various office configurations, and trying to decide which would be the least onerous.

"i don't want to face someone all day long, man, that is weird."

"well, how about sitting there with your back to someone else all day? it's like you're pretending that there isn't someone right behind you. that's even more weird."

"okay, well, what if your back was to them, but they were facing you?! they'd be, like, staring at your back all day long. that has to be the creepiest."

murmurs of agreement begin to ripple around the table.

September 22, 2004

New Peeps

A funny thing happened to me on the way to

I first signed George up for the service a year or two ago, but I avoided signing up for it myself. You see, back in "the day" I was a blogroll purist. I had this crazy idea that we should all be pruning our blogrolls by hand, tending to them lovingly like tiny gardens of herbs and roses, with the care and kindness all living things deserve.

Kumbaya--was that was soooo 2002 or what? Yah, I know.

Nonetheless, while George clicked and updated his blogroll like a pro, I painstakingly added new voices, one a-href code at a time, feeling somehow cleansed by the extra effort I made.

I can be so annoying.

Anyway, a few months back, I finally caved into automation, re-engineered my critical blog processes, and signed up for Why fight progress? I've been clicking-and-adding bloggers to my blogroll ever since.

Or so I thought.

You see, when I signed George up, I used my ewriter email address so that I could verify and set up everything he needed. Well that'd be just dandy as long as I had remembered that.

But noooooo.

In fact, until yesterday, when I figured it out, I'd been signing in to MY account with GEORGE's username and password and adding people to HIS blogroll instead of mine!

Does that not beat all? Here I think I'm rolling with progress, and in fact I'm breaking shit.

I made up for the mistake yesterday and today by scouring the web for great blog voices that I want to read more of--folks whose aquaintances I'm happy to make. If you see a stranger listed over there on the right, go read them.

Let's all get neighborly now. Plant a flower. Kiss a bug.

Paralysmosis Yellow

I didn't know the sun could be this bright. The outside is actually yellow today. It's the color of the sun as artists paint it--that yellow orb contrasting blue.

The tree leaves, still moist and deep green from so much rain, are yellow-coated with sun. The sky is unending.

It's the kind of day that scares me.

I have never been a fan of the beautiful day. Good people don't get buried on beautiful days. They get buried on rainy messy muddy days, with tents over open graves as the sky weeps without shame.

I used to say I was a bat.

I liked it grey and drizzly. If I could have hung upside down from a bedpost, I would have slept that way. Fortunately, I never tried. That's the kind of thing you get committed for. Ah well.

So, today, in its very shocking yellow brightness, has me paralyzed. I have a mound and a half of work to begin. I have, in fact, four brochures and a web site that need a smart brain and fast hands to write them.

Me? I'm staring at all that yellow out the window.

I consider the advice my husband gave me a week ago: "Go outside. Just go outside and walk."

Easy for him to say. He's not so scared of all that yellow.

The pressure of pretty days wears on me. The pressure to feel happy and light, to want to go sailing or hiking, to want to do anything really, is more than I can stand. Especially when I have perseverating about work to do.

Tick. Tock.

Sure is yellow out.

I have so much work to do.

I don't know how I'm going to get it all done.

Maybe I'll just put my head back on the couch for five minutes.

Besides, it's an "early release" day for Jenna.

Have to go get her in an hour.

Might as well cover up with the comforter for 45 minutes.

Better remember my sunglasses.

Sure is yellow out.

Hurricane Ivan-a whup your ass.

Karsh's life has become a virtual sit-com with the latest barrage of hurricanes responsible for chasing his family up I-75 to his doorstep. Holy fucking funny!

"Ma'dea, whom I love dearly, is about as short-sighted as a Christian can get. Anything she doesn't (or won't) understand is "the devil". Including my kiwis and artichokes which she maliciously cut up and threw away because "the thorns scared her". The only food she'll eat nowadays are McDonald's hamburgers. "Good All-American food" is what she calls it.

Smokedawg smokes a lot. I tell him not to smoke in my apartment and he wants to fight me. It's really not that serious...two ass whuppings later, that is.

Yes Man sits about two inches away from the television when watching it. No comment.

Estranged Aunt wants to go out and party. "Where the clubs at? I'm tryin' to go get my jiggy on!" she says while shaking her fat ass to an imaginary beat. Keep in mind she's 45 and don't need to be in anyone's club getting anything on.

The few moments of peace I've been able to gather this weekend have been from them going on their McDonald's excursions. There's also a Moe's nearby me, but they won't eat any Mexican food unless it's from an Ortega box or Taco Bell. And there's the grocery store, but Ma'dea doesn't trust East Indians. The last time I went to dinner with her, she called our East Indian busboy a "terrorist". The Blacks, I tell ya."

I'm not worthy...

Albo Jeavons rocks.

"Like many people, I'm trying to make popular culture that offers a critique of the Big Culture that is forced upon us at every turn by the weird semi-random collection of people, powers, and influences who make so many of the decisions that determine so much of how things happen in the world. Here's a graphic I came up with to express how I feel about the way the world is run:"

Don't miss the Corporacist page or his portfolio.

Bastard son of rageboy, come forth.

September 20, 2004

Tornado Trauma

I told you a month or so ago about Jenna's storm phobia. Tornados specifically. Well, as you can imagine, she's been going through some forced behavior modification - exposure therapy real-time - courtesy of Frances and Ivan the last couple of weeks.

Although we're one state up from poor Florida, we get the afterglow, so to speak. Mostly, in Georgia, that's spelled t-o-r-n-a-d-o.

I was careful not to scare jenna into a frenzy last week by mentioning too much about the bad weather that was headed our way. I made sure she knew about hurricanes--just enough. And that it would get windy around here and rainy too. But not bad. We're safe. Blah blah. I left out the "T" word on purpose for fear of sending her under her bed for the duration.

That worked pretty well until they had a tornado drill in school.


Yes, a tornado drill.

I had the distinct pleasure of being at the school for the tornado drill, since I was making a volunteer appearance in Jenna's class helping stick glue all over myself and sixteeen children. That wasn't the end goal of the craft project, but I was good at it.

Peeling tissue off glued finger tips, I heard: BING BING RING RING BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

The teacher announced the tornado drill--it was obvious she knew it was coming and that she'd mentioned it to the class as well, because they jumped only half way up the walls.

We all filed out, and the children took their places against the walls of the hallway, heads kissing asses goodbye. I remembered that particular useless pose from the air-raid drills when I was a kid. At least when we were that little, they let us get under our desks.

I'm standing in the hall looking at these poor kids who were squeezing their heads until they tipped over, when I hear a teacher actually tell the kids: "Cover your brains with your hands, now."

Cover your brains? HOLY! Are you insane lady? Do you know how many nights of explaining to my kid that little phrase is going to cost me?

Instead I turned to the maintenance guy who I enjoy cracking up and said:

"They look like sitting ducks to me, Jim." He cracked up.

My poor kid.

She didn't move a muscle during the entire 9-minute drill.

Her head was burried so far into that carpet that when she finally got up she had fiber indentations on her forehead and knees for an hour. If there were a blue ribbon--or a promise of tornado survival--for the kid with the best duck and tuck position, she would have won hands down.

Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way.


At the grocery store today, jenna said: "You know mom, I was doing fine in school that day you were there for the art project. I was minding my own business, feeling so much joy, just relaxing and liking what I was doing, and then the teacher had to say the words 'tornado drill' and I felt all throw-uppy."

So young to feel yanked from the joy of a quiet moment--from "joy" to "throw-uppy"--so quickly.

And so young to be able to tell me about it.

She turns seven on the 30th.

My goodness.

How To Shit Out a Blog Post

All of you newbies out there are probably wondering how to get noticed like the big-blog-wizes, huh? OH comeon now, we know you are. Well, it's a good thing you happened upon Jeneane's tutorial: How To Shit Out a Blog Post in Six Easy Steps.

First, the urge. Now, the urge isn't something you go looking for. The urge comes looking for you. That's right. Just like your writing--don't go looking for a "story" or the latest "news" by searching technorati. Instead, wait until nature tugs at your intestines, tickles your anus, and then simply answer the urge.

Second, the bowl. Don't make the mistake of calling a post a "blog". No, a blog is this big area here where you type your letters and make word-pooh. A post is simply one of the pieces of pooh within the larger bowl. Please, if you want to seem like a real weblogger--the kind who gets noticed--don't call a post a blog, and don't call a blog a post. They are as different as the flush handle and the bowl, as Charmin and Northern.

Third, the bowel. Some say blog posts should be short. Short bursts of nicely shaped predictable shit. Others say, bull crap! Blog posts should be long and strong. Me? I say, what the fuck are we talking about this for? I have to take a dump. I say that unless you are writing from your bowels outward, it really doesn't matter if you post in little spurts or long logs. It's the bowels that make the difference. It's nature's urge and what you do with it.

Fourth, the push. Look, if you want to get noticed, you have to hone your pushing technique. When blogger first got going, their tagline was "Push Button Publishing for the People." Even back then I liked it. So I say to you seeking blog notoriety--it's about pushing! It's about the effort, the toil, the sweat, the patience, the holding on, the letting go. Push goddammit. And if you want that extra traffic, try AudBlogging as you go.

Fifth, the ripple. Nothing matters in blogging more than the attention your post gets, the noise it causes, the notoriety it elicits for YOU, the blogger. This is what I call the ripple effect. One good post shat out correctly will ripple across your blog career in ways you can't imagine. One time Dave Winer linked to me because I called him psychotic, then slashdot got in on it, and low and behold, I got 20K hits in a day, all because I got down in the shit, kicked somebody's can, and rode the ripple effect for as long as it lasted. Look, this place isn't about conversation. It's about getting noticed. Let's face it. If we wanted conversation, we'd actually be listening to each other. HA HA!

Sixth, the stench. Simply put: Don't be afraid to stink. Stink at what you say, stink at how you say it, act stinky to other bloggers, and most of all, be careful not to link to women too frequently in your posts because they stink too. They have cooties. You get lumped with them, Sullivan and Reynolds won't touch you. You either be ready smell like a man, from the anus outward, or don't bother playing in the blog leagues.

These are my six tips for shitting out blog posts like a pro. If you want to know what real bloggers think of this, go read Shelley who talks about some recent posts by the bloggerati on how to get noticed.

But remember, she's a girl. So be careful. Don't get her stank on you.

five-four-three-two-one: Contact!

I'm reading this novel called The Coffin Dancer, and one of the things I like best about it is that our villian, The Coffin Dancer, aka Stephen, uses words that don't exist to describe his rat-tat-tattered emotional state.

Words like "cringey" and "wormy". The Coffin Dancer uses this language in conversation with himself (aka his introject military commander abuser step-father).

Cringey and wormy are wickedly cool words. I didn't need anyone to define cringey for me. I HAVE FELT CRINGEY and have shuddered from it.

I know from wormy--feeling like ten thousand earthworms and a dozen pale white grubs are inching their way up my ankles from between my toes.

This is why this blog-her post called "Contacts Make Me Stupid" fits so perfectly with this afternoon's discussion.

When I was five, my cool Aunt Penny was the only person in the whole of my universe who used contact lenses. I spent the weekend with her often in those days, and the two of us could make fun out of a rain soaked gray day.

But when she had to take her contacts out at night, I disappeared under the bed. To me, the whole process was a horror show--one I never could bring myself to watch. Because the mere thought of it made me feel---all together now---CRINGEY!!!

Back to the post at hand, and how it (if tenuously) relates...

You see, our heroine, in dire need of Lasik surgery, attempts to remove her contact lens only to discover--much to her embarassment and eventual horror--that SHE ALREADY HAD ALREADY TAKEN IT OUT, and that she has instead spent a good ten seconds digging at her own now-quuite-rare cornea!

I leaned back over to the mirror and began poking at my right eyeball again to remove the contact. Well, I spent a good ten seconds trying to pull it out when I realized that I had already taken it out.


I love the net.

Obsessive what?

Peter Merholz has an interesting post on the many and varied types of paper towel dispensers.

I don't know why bathrooms still have dispensers that require manipulation -- touching them defeats the hygienic purpose. --Peter Merholz

You know, it's this kind of post that makes me glad I came back.

Appreciating Purple

I've been so busy in the real world I've not had the time to be around here. It's a good thing and a bad thing all at once. There are times when I don't feel completely balanced unless I'm here. There are times I don't feel completely balanced unless I'm away from here.

One thing I'm no good at is updating. That's why I've never been a good or faithful letter writer. If it's not real-time, or near real-time, I don't want to relate it to you--or re-relate it to myself. I can't stand to watch a movie more than once. I never understood the idea of video-taping a TV show and watching it later. If it already happened, why would I want to watch it? The world already ticked it by.

So, updating is hard for me.

Which is why once I go a day, or two, or three, without writing here, it'd be easy to just never come back. Easy and hard at the same time.

But here I am. With at least one update that I think is cool enough to relive.

I had the chance to attend the world premiere of Broadway bound The Color Purple musical here in atlanta a couple of nights ago. George is playing bass(es), so Jenna and I got complimentary tickets to opening night.

Had I known that this would be the huge deal it was, I would have at least taken a camera--never mind bought a new dress--so that I could come back and blog about it, and look somewhat chic while attending.

I could have been a real-time event blogger, for once in my wretched bloglife, like the folks who attend conferences and blog them from the scene. I COULD have remembered to take a camera, but I didn't. What's an unprepared blogger to do?

Rely on the work of the paparazzi, of course.

The show was tremendous, and temendously moving. It was made more moving by Alice Walker's presence at the pre-show gathering, and on stage at the end of the show, and what she had to say:

"I thank you so much," she started, gesturing to the cast, "because I know what you are doing tonight is healing us of our hurt and our woundedness. We are going to recover. We were never supposed to be sick forever. We are going to be well, and we are going to be shining, and we are going to be the people were meant to be."

The acting was superb, the music too. Jenna was transfixed, and so was I.

And, because you know it's not like me to get too gushy about a musical, especially one I've waited too long to tell you about, let me tell you my REAL favorite moments:

1) Looking at the back of Jenna's head as she squeezed her face next to Gloria Steinem's left butt cheek to get a glimpse of the red carpet. The sight of my daughter pressed up against Gloria's ass tickled me silly.

2) Looking across the table wondering why the guy in the expensive suit and purple shirt looked so familiar before realizing it was Pee Wee Herman, much to Jenna's joy and dismay. Forget Gloria Steinem--we're talking Pee Wee's Playhouse!

3) Saying hello to Andrew Young, and realizing that this man I always assumed was was tall and dashing is dashing, but not so tall at all.

And man, if that wasn't enough, HONEY THE FOOD WAS TO DIE FOR.

We're talking free drinks. We're talking salmon the size of the elevator. We're talking fresh cooked pasta, we're talking cheeses aged for 3000 years, roasted peppers and pitted olives, we're talking a WHITE CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN and Jenna with a stick of marshmallows and rice-crispie squares, fresh strawberries and pound cake, sliding her skewer from heaven in and out of the chocolate fountain with a look on her face as close to pure mania as I've ever seen.

Applause to all of the Purple cast, the orchestra, 'specially my sweet bassist husband for withstanding the amazingly long hours and unending pressure (while sounding so good) to make it to opening night, and most especially, respect and thank you to Alice Malsenior Walker, one of my favorite modern American writers.