Friday, March 31, 2006

Group Discussions

I can't really remember too much of my reading of Dante's Inferno, but I'm certain group discussions are one of the more perilous and soul-killing circles of Hell.

Whether weekly work meetings, therapy, or a typical cast of Starting Over, the dynamics and participants are all variations on a theme:

Instructor/Therapist/Life Coach/Manager/Etc:

Brimming with good will and taking great pains to appear objective, the Instructor is the control freak all the other participants both fear and covet. How well the Instructor handles this responsibility depends on the quality of his/her character. Be ware, be very ware, of low self-esteem types: they will make you want to saw off your arm with a ballpoint pen.

Handout doodle: interlocking circles or cubes

The Know-it-All, Jaded edition:

This participant is only present because they are forced to be. They've already decided nothing is to be learned from the group discussion, it's merely to be tolerated. The Know-it-All is given to eye-rolling, loud sighing, clock-watching, and spitting out answers to any questions directed at them with as much condescension and venom as humanly possible. Generally, they have nothing to offer and are best left to their seething and moping.

Handout doodle: intricate caricatures of other participants, if they are artistic; big, shaded, 3-D expletives, if they aren't.

The Know-it-All, Blowhard edition:

Blowhards know every motherfucking thing there is to know, got it? And don't think there is a different angle or approach they haven't already considered. This participant will talk, talk, talk, over anyone else, going off on unrelated tangents, blathering along without regard for time or other people in the room. They are skilled at hijacking other's thoughts, i.e. "Ooh! That reminds me of a time...", "I was just thinking that. Why,..." The Blowhard is THE Authority on all things, and won't be denied. The only option is to distract them.

Unless the Instructor is gifted in diversion techniques, the other participants will just have to wait until the Blowhard runs out of steam.

Handout Doodle: No doodles, but the handout is folded and frayed while other people talk

The Meek, pre-Earth-inheriting:

Silent, trembling, desperately afraid they'll be called upon to speak aloud, the Meek dread these meetings like nobody's business. They sit as far back in their chair as they can without being behind it, and try to remain motionless, lest someone look at, or talk to them.

Introverts usually have terrific ideas, the tricky part is prying it out them.

Handout Doodle: Mythical creatures or their loved one's name in a heart, if they are brave; if not, the handout is untouched--who are they to mar the handout?

The Teacher's Pet

Odiously manipulative and cheerfully evil; what's not to hate about the Teacher's Pet? They magically appear with coffee, water, or mints for the Instructor; they prop up the Instructor's ideas in discussion, congratulating the Instructor for their great ideas or deft handling of a sticky situation; they make the other participants look like chimps whenever possible.

With the Teacher's Pet, your options are: a) get on their good side, knowing they'll hand you your ass if it suits them, or b) stay off their radar, knowing you better have a good story if and when the Teacher's Pet buttonholes you on your standing on the issue at hand.

Handout Doodle: Nasty comments about the other participants, to-do lists

The Passive-Aggressive

"Well, I worked all night trying to come up with an idea--I just couldn't sleep from all the stress--but it would never work, anyway, so, nevermind."

Anyone who has the patience to deal with this personality type--in and out of stuffy meeting rooms--has my astonished admiration. I can barely write about Passive-Aggressives without flying into a plate-flinging rage.

Handout Doodle: Their minds are too dark for doodling.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I'm Too Sexy for Beige

You know what? If it's subversively funny, I love it like Tom DeLay loves sweet freedom.


I owned a subscription to Spy magazine and worshipped every page of every issue ever printed. That is, until my ex-husband absent-mindedly pitched them out with the US Weekly and Elle magazines into the recycling bin. While it certainly constitutes good cause, this is not why I divorced him.


I once reached the finals of a Simpsons Trivia contest. I lost to a Trekkie who knew Krusty's inmate number.


-Growing up, I idolized Rosalind Russell, Madeline Kahn, Vladimir Nabokov, and Hunter S. Thompson.

-When I turned in a book report on Rabelais in the 9th grade, I got sent to the principal's office. He'd never heard of him either.

-All these boys were publishing gritty snark grunge 'zines that largely congratulated themselves for being cool; I published an all-glossy burlesque-for-girls 'zine called Hootchie Mama that really blew their baggy shorts up.

-I speak my mind, even if it's about sex, religion, or politics. There is no level of bullshit I'm willing to accept.

-I've survived heartache, loss, death, divorce, poverty, abuse, humiliation, illness, disability, and being de-pantsed on my first day of jr. high with grace and no small amount of righteous rage. For a tiny girl I can sure go ape-shit when needed.

-Ain't nobody or nothing gonna keep me down, bitches.

Listen, you say your self-affirmations, and I'll blog mine.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Faltering Idols

Busted! I watch American Idol.

Last night:

- Almost everyone sucked

- My favorite, Taylor Hicks, sang a song for me: "Trouble"

- That douche, Chris Daughtery, had the affrontery to sing Creed

- Paula Abdul tried valiantly to appear less zany, failed, had to
be forced back to her seat by Simon Cowell

- Stylists efforts to make Taylor look "younger" only made him look goofier

- What in the Hell was Katherine "Catch the McPhever" McPhee wearing?

- Who's the bigger tool: Seacrest or Randy Jackson? My money is on Randy.

- My prediction for who will be voted off tonight: Bucky Covington

Feel free to weigh in, Idolators!

Note: Good thing no money rode on that prediction: Lisa was axed

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Some Fluff

As Eddie Vedder's disembodied howl rises from a an open apartment window three floors below me, assaulting my tender aural sensibilities, I am inspired to take a poll:

What three popular artists/groups make your skin crawl the most?

Here's mine:
Pearl Jam, Creed, REM

I find their music intolerable and their lead singers cringe-inducing. I want to scrub my ears out with bleach after hearing their simultaneously bombastic and whiny treacle. Feh!

The only thing worse is when some earnest soul sings one of those bands' songs at karaoke. If any on my list are on your favorites, you can have them.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

On Having a Superfly Boyfriend

As I've frequently blathered lately, my birthday was Friday, March 24. This year's birthday was probably the greatest so far, and that's all thanks to Superfly. He continually surprised and amazed me, and I didn't stop grinning until Saturday afternoon.

It all started two weeks ago, when he received his new IPod. Bursting with the stress of keeping a secret, he revealed he'd ordered me one, too, and couldn't wait until my birthday to give it to me. It's hot pink, it's the most awesome gadget ever invented, and I thought that was that for birthday shenanigans.

Due to my sad childhood, I didn't have proper birthday parties. Neither did my younger sister, whose birthday is two weeks before mine. Ours often were lumped together and thoroughly devoid of party. Determined to mine the one day of the year I can claim to be All About Me, I threw parties for myself, usually of the Tiki karaoke bar variety.

That's it for backstory. Anyway, instead of elephanting around in the morning, as per usual, Superfly announced he'd taken a vacation day. Then he told me I had an appointment at the neighborhood chi-chi salon for a facial. I couldn't believe it! He went off to our gym, while I headed down to the salon.

I'll spare you the details of why I wanted a facial; suffice to say one of the side effects of my medication is acne. So my punum got rubbed and pounded and extracted and masked. My hands were encased in paraffin, new agey music played, a pretty Russian blonde massaged my shoulders and chest. It was all good.

We relaxed the rest of the afternoon, then got ready for dinner. I thought we were going to our favorite pizza place, so I put on jeans and a sweatshirt. Grinning, Superfly said, "We're actually going into the city." No further information was to be beaten out of him. I changed into city clothes and we set off, taking the train to the Village.

We walked and walked, I tried to guess our destination. It was Waikiki Wally's, a fabulous Polynesian restaurant near Lucky Cheng's. I fell in love with the unabashed Tiki goodness of this place, the lovely Mai Tais, and the delicious grub. We sat near the giant Tiki fountain, which dribbled water droplets on us as we ate. I acquired both leis, plus a fresh plumeria to wear in my hair.

Next, we caught a cab uptown. No further information from my super-sneaky boyfriend. We stopped in front of a bar called Keats in midtown and went inside. Karaoke in full effect, and moments after we arrived two friends joined us, followed by more and more friends I hadn't seen in some time. I was gifted a stuffed Pug puppy that is so cute, the whole bar went "Awwwwwwwwww!" I commandeered the karaoke stage, which is my wont, and a grand time was had by all.

I squeezed him and hugged him all the way back to Brooklyn in the cab. What a fantastic boyfriend, what a keeper.


We're moving on now, I promise.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Go Trouble, It's Your Birthday...

"Holiday! ***
Happy birthday! Today the Sun returns to the position it was in when you were born. As would seem appropriate with this transit, today is a day of new beginnings, and the influences you feel today will affect the entire year to come. However, this does not mean that the whole year will be disappointing if today doesn't work out exactly as planned. You are receiving a new impulse from the energy center within you, as symbolized by the Sun. Therefore any new venture that you start at this time will ride the crest of this new energy and will very likely come to an acceptable conclusion. Whatever you do or begin today will bear the stamp of your individuality more than anything else. This is the day to assert yourself anew."

This glorious horoscope is courtesy astrodienst. You should totally check out this site for their wildly accurate readings. Don't mind the stilted language--they are Dutch.

No, I'm not a hippie nutjob. I eat meat, I reject alternative medicine in favor of pill-popping, my faith is strong, I am politically conservative, blah, blah.

Listen, it's my damn birthday--don't question me!

Thursday, March 23, 2006


(This has nothing to do with Tom Cruise, by the way)

Do you read The New York Times; print, online, or over someone's shoulder? Perhaps you caught the Style section article about bearded men. Perhaps you are already so in-the-know, so trendy, that you are hip to my jive. Whatever.

All I have to say is, before Cargo, before Ralph Lauren's shows, before Clooney in Syriana, my very own Superfly sported the world's sexiest beard.

So there.

Oh, and write this down: Tomorrow, March 24 is Trouble's birthday. Plan accordingly.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Big congratulations to the Bushwick Bombshell, a/k/a threetoedsloth! She correctly guessed (albeit in a list of guesses): Linda Perry, lead bull dyke in 4 Non Blondes.

Her prize? A mani/pedi at my favorite salon here in Brooklyn, whenever she wants.

Before you ask, the male prize was a case of beer of his choosing. Certainly, the Bushwick Bombshell can opt for that, if she wants.

Thanks for playing, everyone! Goo fun!


* she was the singer for a one-hit-wonder early '90s band
* she now works as a record producer
* If Slash from Guns N Roses and Grace Slick had a baby...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wrong Guesses!

It is not, as already guessed:

Grace Slick
Madeline Stowe
Chrissie Hynde
Tipper Gore (?)
Edie Falco
Debbie Harry

Keep 'em coming!

Color Me Vexed

I know, how unusual.

Here's my question to you:

Has anyone ever told you, "You look just like _______" and the person in question is absolutely hideous?

This happened to me recently. The lovely person who said this to me obviously felt I should feel complimented, they weren't deliberately insulting me. Still, the woman to whom I was compared looks like she was rode hard and put away wet, chain smoking the entire time. She has black hair and Mediterranean features and usually dresses like your basic nightmare punk dyke.

I am appalled, vexed, and worried my self esteem may never recover.

Has this ever happened to you? Please share. As they say, misery loves company.

Anyone who correctly guesses the person I most certainly do not resemble wins a special prize! Superfly, you are disqualified.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

the Lodge

"Where are you going to caterwaul tonight?"

My dad asks me the same question every time I'm in my hometown for a visit. He knows the answer and cannot resist throwing down the punnery.

"To the Lodge, of course," I reply in a faux-snob accent "they'll be expecting me, i shan't disappoint."

This time I am rewarded with a salaam and the wish I break a leg in the karaoke process. Zoom off in the trusty Daewoo to the Three Crowns Lounge at the Travelodge for some Saturday night whoop-dee-doo.

Make a quick stop at the Jukebox (the Bar Time Forgot--more on that later)to holla at my girl Tiffany, who is bartending in this House of the Living Dead. Unfortunately, I am recognized by several especially loathsome specimens and forced to endure skin-crawling hugs. Must flee!

Three Crowns Lounge is in the dungeon of the Travelodge, so you hear the singer as you're marching down the stairs. On Friday and Saturday nights you're greeted at the end of the stairs by a "bouncer" who has the same haircut as the monks in "The Name of the Rose" and wants your ID and his $2. I want my $2!

Slow night, there was just too much partying for St. Patrick' Day on Friday night. Only 20 or so people clustered about the room, mostly regulars, smoking and watching the show. "Trouble!" I hear the shout outs, but can't see who is yelling through the smoke and dim lights. Slowly (I am likewise suffering a brutal hangover; I drank enough Guinness to turn myself into a leprechaun on Friday night) I make my way to the bar and ask the fetching waitress/bartender for coffee. She tsk-tsks me, but brings the coffee in a china cup, on a saucer and everything.

Considering many here would drink whiskey from a doffed work boot, that's VIP treatment. Indeed, there is much love for Trouble here at the Lodge, which is why I keep coming back to a place that only recently fixed a plumbing problem that resulted in occasional gusts of a scent I like to call Open Grave. The regulars all smile and hug me, shower me with compliments.

There's Barry, in his '60s and rocking an awesome snow-white mullet. Barry does not sing, but he is apt to bust out some creaky moves on the dancefloor. Earl's only in his '50s, but he is giving Barry a run for his money on who will win the Lodge's most enthusiastically charming old barfly. Earl, resplendent in the hippie Baja mexican hoodie he never takes off, tells me he loves me all the time and then runs away, giggling. The other regulars say, "Hi" and ask where Superfly is. I explain he's home, handcuffed to the bed then I find a chair to fall into.

A tall, skinny-everywhere-but-her-belly woman who looks to be in her late '40s and goes by the handle Wild Thing is called to the stage, and I marvel at her impressively teased bangs, patterned hosiery, and sky-high heels. She warbles a version of Melissa Etheridge's song "I'm the Only One" that would make Simon Cowell rip out his hair and stuff it into his bleeding ears. When she finishes, she smiles contentedly and returns to her table, where she sits alone.

Like me. My hangover is deeply crimping my karaoke style, I'm truly suffering. I choose low-key selections and nearly pass out onstage under what feel like klieg lights. I suck tonight, but receive polite applause. Meh. Trouble and Wild Thing--we could take our act on the road.

Three dressed-up Latin couples troop down the stairs, laughing and chatting in Spanish. The older guy goes up to Star, the KJ, and whispers something, passing him some cash. I roll my eyes, this can only mean one thing: dance music. Why you would want to go to a karaoke bar to dance is beyond me. Star dutifully plays exactly three salsa songs, they happily dance, we return to karaoke.

Wild Thing assassinates a Heart song this time, so I just put my million-pound head on the table and try to think peaceful thoughts. One last screech and she's done, smiling all the way back to her little table. I'm distracted, talking to Krista while she refills my coffee.

Suddenly, I look up at the little stage and see a vaguely familiar face, hear a vaguely familiar voice expertly singing some Outkast, and some stout-soaked brain cells work themselves into a cohesive thought: Kevin! It's been three years of hard living since I saw him last, but here he is!

We worked together at Ruby Tuesday and at Eat N Park, years ago. We were karaoke buddies back then, singing our brains out at our beloved Carmel's show at the Tally Ho (simply, "The Ho"), this town's notorious gay bar. We partied together and with Lisa, every Tuesday night. Good times. I absolutely adore him!

We are elated. We ditch the Lodge (after I make my rounds of goodbyes) and go to Eat N Park, where some old timers are stunned to see us again. We talk well past 3am, catching up on old times and new loves. We try to call Lisa, but she's in Chicago now, out at a bar where she can't hear us. We exchange email addresses, phone numbers, and lots of hugs. Ah, memories.

The dirty, stinky, often intolerably smalltown bar we call the Lodge is where it's at in this town. People here say All Roads Lead to the Jukebox, but I disagree. It's down the stairs of the Three Crown Lounge that all must pass, there all gossip disseminated, there all beefs carried out, there old friends and new gather to bask in booze and karaoke magic.

See you next time I'm in town, friends!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


All Superheros worth their tights have one; an unrepentantly evil being set against the superhero and heartily working the opposite of the superhero's ideals and goals. The Yang, the Ego, the Villain.

Supertutor found in Officious Busybody such a challenging creature. She stalks the tutoring space, making use of every opportunity to nag, cajole, annoy, and otherwise boss around anyone who crosses her path. OB is physically slight, so she developed other means of intimidation:

"What are you doing? You should be...! I want you to ... for me, mmkay?"

"I'm not happy that you're..."


"Didn't I ask you to ... a few minutes ago?"

"I would never eat that. I am a VEGETARIAN." (Sniff)

I need you to go ahead and take note that OB is a tiny, prettier version of Bill Lumbergh from "Office Space". Her uniform consists of expensive, painted-on jeans, fashionable blouse, and hipster hairdo.

Supertutor's face freezes into a mask of barely-contained rage, yet she soldiers on with patient, helpful tutoring, shielding the tutee from the distracting and infuriating petty bullshit of OB. Passive/aggressive behavior is our hero's Kryptonite: the whiny insinuations and veiled threats drive Supertutor to her crippled knees.

Sensing her enemy's pain, OB returns again and again, veering from her well-worn path of Monitoring and Overseeing to ask a boy reading a book if he's reading, and ask a girl who is coughing to be quiet. OB smiles at Supertutor, relishing the agony displayed in her twitching grimace.

As Supertutor leaves for the day, OB smiles a big pre-redemption, still evil, Grinch grin and says, "Bye Supertutor, see you next week."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I so totally rock. Want to know why? Thought so!

Rolled up to the Park Slope address for my first day of volunteer literacy tutoring and promptly made an ass of myself by accidentally flinging my IPod earbud fuzzy onto the Greeter. Plus, I was late.

The volunteer coordinator was very gracious, offering to sit with me and discuss the program, since all the other kids and tutors were already matched-up. Looking around the room, the kids appeared better off than described in the Orientation. One kid had a Razr.

Fortune smiled upon Trouble, in the form of a first grade boy. He looked dashing in his hornrims and Aquaman t-shirt, his mom looked adorably harried; juggling his backpack, her latte, and his little sister. Boy and I settled into some alphabetizing and poetry, while his mom booked out for some errands.

I showed Boy a groovy little trick for alphabetizing a list of words, he was suitably impressed. So were the tutor and two boys at the other end of the table. Preen. Boy has a bit of an attention-deficit problem, so we did spend time on discussing eraser function and how paper folds so nicely. Dangerous stuff, seeing as I am easily distracted by shiny objects, myself.

Poetry! Oh, how I loathe the stuff. Elementary school poetry assignments, however, I can dig. Boy was to posit on what he would do if he were a whale. He stared into space. I grabbed a piece of scratch paper and explained I would write down whatever he said and he could then choose which important whale lifestyle information to include in his assignment. Ten minutes later, we had "swim" and "blow water out of my spout". I was feeling a deficit in my attention, so I looked over at the older boys at our table and said, "Hey, do you guys happen to know what whales eat?"

They responded exactly as I hoped, screeched their chairs closer to the boy and I, shouting, "Plankton! Duh! Don't you watch Spongebob Squarepants?" Much to Boy's delight, they talked cartoons with him, drew him pictures of the cartoon plankton and began musing about how much plankton a whale would need to consume.

"Whales are big," Boy deapanned, "but not as big as dinosaurs. They are bigger than elephants, though." The older boys nodded at him: good one!

If boy were a whale, he would:
Blow water from his spout
Eat a lot of plankton
Travel the world

On to math homework, which we are discouraged from concentrating our time on (luckily for me). How hard could first grade math be?

"Uh, (other tutor), what's a polygon?" Boy gave me a you've-got-to-be-kidding-me look.

Reinforcements arrived to save the day. Boy's mom came back in and lavished praise on both of us. She, the boy, the other tutor, and the older boys all asked if I would be back next week. Preen.

Monday, March 13, 2006


These trends; whether gadgets, fashion, popular personalities, or ideas, are due for lethal injection:

1. Paris Hilton
2. NeoCon political punditry
3. "You can never be too rich or too thin" (This one is long overdue for a mortal throttling!)
4. The phrases, "15 minutes of fame", "snark(y)", "bling"...
5. Reality TV (If you possess any lingering doubt about this, I refer you to the program "Wife Swap".)
6. Blogging-for-Dollars
7. Pop-Up Advertisements (Although, if so universally reviled, why do they persist?)
8. Gaucho pants. Seriously, look in the mirror again.
9. Espadrilles. I predict a Spring fashion season rampant with twisted ankles.
10. Those ridiculous foam/plastic things shaped like animals or butlers, in which you plug in your IPod and watch it gruesomely "dance" and glow like it swallowed a string of Xmas lights.

Pretty please add to the list! So many abominable, deplorable, disgusting, disturbing things crested the tide of public fascination these last few years, I no doubt missed a few.

Friday, March 10, 2006

On the Other Hand, You Have More Fingers

All you bookies out there will know what I'm talking about when I say book signings are an excellent opportunity to observe the beautiful frailty of the human ego. You have behind a podium a person who overcame tremendous odds and published a book of their genius, facing a rapt audience of readers and fans, a-twitter at their brush with fame.

The author speaks, hopefully on the book's topic, and opens the floor for questions. Timid hands are raised, and questions are breathlessly asked, usually either fawning compliments or completely random mintuae. No matter what the answer, everyone smiles, laughs, or clucks or "awwww"s in empathy. The busybody book shop coordinator barks into a decrepit microphone, giving the signees their lining-up orders.

Most bring their dog-eared copy of the book from home to be signed, but some clever bunnies buy extra copies to be signed and then given out as gifts. Would-be authors are usually in attendance, their good-natured introduction and handshake of literary-greatness solidarity all worked-out and rehearsed in advance. Suburban housefraus eye each other suspiciously, wondering what that woman thinks she's doing at my favorite author's book signing. There is subtle jostling for position in the line, crocodile smiles abound.

I've had the pleasure of being on both sides of the podium. Tonight I was a passive bystander, accompanying a friend so he didn't feel weird and stalker-ish (not that any sane person would judge him thusly). Because I am quite a retard, I'd never heard of this book, nor its author. Mr. Grogan was absolutely captivating, and showed none of the irritation or fatigue I would expect of someone with his schedule and pressures. He was funny, kind, and approachable. A model of an author at book signing, really. The author was super nice and chummy with my friend, with whom he shares an editor and publishing house. Yeah, that's right, I was in the company of heavily-caffeinated Greatness.

My only complaint, and really, this is just me being petty, is this: during the Q&A session, I raised my hand (I was standing directly in front of the author) and no one else did. He looked at me, then around the room. I waved my hand a little, to get his attention. He looked at me again, then asked someone off to the side if they had a question. I looked at my friend. Supressing laughter, he shrugged.

See what happens when you look like Trouble?

Anyway, get this book and read it, if you haven't already.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

More funnies!

You hate when I write about polictics, I know. But this one's funny!

See, Skeletor is at it again. Spouting her frosted pink mouth about Islam and what-to-do-with-dem-crazy-Arabs. So obnoxious is she, Slate's Mickey Kaus and author-pundit Bob Wright are arguing not about Islam, or what-to-do-with-dem-crazy-Arabs; they're arguing about Ann Coulter.

It's absurb, but amusing: On Eradicating Ann Cock-a-roachter

She is useless, yet makes news. Like most celebrities.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Lighten Up!

Hello, Welcome to the Mental Health Hotline!

If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly.
If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2.
If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5 and 6.
If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. Just stay on the line so we can trace the call.
If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press.
If you are delusional, press 7 and your call will be transferred to the mother ship.
If you have a nervous disorder, please fidget with the # key until a representative comes on the line.
If you are dyslexic, press 696969696969.
If you have amnesia, press 8 and state your name, address, phone, date of birth, social security number and your mother's maiden name.
If you have post-traumatic stress disorder, slowly and carefully press 000.
If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.
If you are menopausal, hang up, turn on the fan, lie down & cry. You won't be crazy forever.
If you have a masochistic complex, please press "0" for the operator. There are 200 calls ahead of you.
If you are depressed, it doesn't matter which number you press. No one will answer.

Monday, March 06, 2006

How about them Oscars?

I guess we better see this movie, Crash. Totally off my radar last year, for some reason. Did they call all the agents' offices and say, "Hey, who hasn't worked for awhile--are they available?"

Glad Wallace & Gromit got an award, but what's with the bowties? If you liked Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, be sure to rent the Rex the Runt series from Netflix. Absolutely brilliant, as them limeys like to say.

Seeing as we are big Johnny Cash fans, we loved, Walk the Line. Reese Witherspoon was one of the only women there wearing a lovely dress. Charlize had some kind of taffeta tumor growing on her shoulder. Other fashion nightmares abounded. Here's hoping a few stylists got their asses kicked this morning!

Anybody put money on the Oscars? Is it just Superfly, or was this one boring-ass Oscar night? What did you think of Jon Stewart?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Fresh Torture

This is a deeply embarassing admission. My therapists have all said I shouldn't be embarassed, and I should talk, or write about, these experiences in order to heal. Now, I don't always do what my health and wellness providers recommend I do (surprise, surprise!), but I'm suffering right now, and all hopped up on insomnia and anxiety. So here goes:

Back in the early '90's, I worked for a newspaper in Denver, in the editorial department. I became friendly with most of the writers, in particular Mr. Steve Jackson, whom I deem a spectacular writer. After I left the paper to persue my own publishing dreams, I kept up with Steve's stories in Westword.

After JonBenet Ramsey and before Columbine, there was another tragedy visited upon Denver, Colorado: the horrible murder of Brandy DuVal. Steve Jackson covered this story, which you can read here. I found the link but haven't read it. I'm too afraid.

When I read this story in 1998, my life changed. I stopped sleeping, I couldn't eat, became shaky and terrified of the dark, being alone, being around strangers, etc. Since this was before I was diagnosed with my illness, I just thought I was being ridiculous. I had three kids and no time for anxiety attacks. I lived with it.

Every time I read an update from Steve Jackson in Westword, or saw something in the news about the story, it started up all over again. So I stopped reading newspapers, and stopped watching news shows on TV. After awhile, I forgot all about it.

In the process of receiving my diagnoses and treatment in 2002, I was informed by four different physicians and therapists that I had classic symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. What the..? Am I a war veteran? No. Did I survive or was otherwise a victim of 9/11? No. Then where do I get off making someone else's tragedy All About Me? That's the embarassing part. Something about a particular tragedy triggers a deeply-hidden memory of some dreadful experience from my childhood, which my brain wisely tucked away where no one would see it. Those helpful doctors would like me to undergo hypnosis to get rid of it, but I am scared shitless of doing that, so no dice.

Anyway, this is a long-winded explanation of why I'm not coming back to NYC until this serial killer is caught. I haven't slept since I happened to see the story on TV Tuesday, I lost my appetite, I'm shaky, jumpy, and breaking out in hives almost hourly. Fuck me. This sucks! Absolutely nothing has happened to me, but my brain is on some kind of empathy trip that simply must end.

Yeah, I'm going to the doctor right now. Oh boy, more meds!

I hope they find that fucktard serial killer soon.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Psycho Killer, Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Holy shit, people. Poor Immett and deepest condolences to her grieving family. What happened to that young girl was despicable and evil. When they catch that bottom-dweller, I hope someone visits a little eye-for-an-eye, so to speak, on his cursed and worthless carcass.

There are murders and other mayhem happening every day, all over New York City. As my friend pointed out, three more murders took place since Immett's, including a father of three in Crown Heights, in his own home. My friend made the further good point that we didn't hear about them because Immett was an attractive young woman from out-of-town, and the particulars of her unfortunate demise are especially grisly.

Can't argue that. A massive manhunt and untold interest will ensue in her case, much less so for other murders and other crimes. Is this wrong? Of course every effort should be made to bring this killer to justice and to prevent more women from becoming his victim. If he doesn't kill himself or get killed when he's caught, he'll have a splashy trial and languish in jail for the rest of his life. No one ever asks me, but I'm of the mind that people like this, and like, say, Charles Manson, should simply be put out of their misery at the earliest opportunity.

Here's what I want so badly to happen, but likely won't: Public attention turned to the disgraceful ignorance in our society toward the mentally ill. Know what Manson and this new, soon-to-be-shackled killer have in common, besides the inclination to murder people? They are desperately mentally ill.

It's up to family, friends, teachers, doctors, coaches, mentors, tutors, and neighbors to recognize when someone is struggling with mental illness and encourage and support them to seek help. It's up to doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and government agencies that they get help. It's up to researchers, and the private and public funders of the researchers, to discover new treatments and better diagnostic tools. I guess you could say it takes a village to prevent serial killers.

This under-funded and stubbornly optomistic non-profit group wants to achieve all of the above, AND change people's attitudes about the stigma of mental illness.

I grieve for Immett, so wrongly murdered. I also grieve for our society; we'll lose many more Immetts if criminals--the vast majority of whom are mentally ill--aren't continually created.

HASTEN TO ADD: Do NOT infer that I in any way suggest mental illness is an excuse for criminal behavior. On the contrary, I suggest the punishment fit the crime for all criminals and sick fuck murderers. How about this one gets disembloweled with a rusty grapefruit spoon?