M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Thursday, July 31, 2003  

Reader Mail Slot, Episode XV

When I took a shot at Ann Coulter a couple of weeks ago, I figured I’d get a lot of e-mail correcting me on the error of my ways. And I did indeed. Just not about Ann Coulter.

From: Jennifer
Subject: Cecilia

Without raining on your parade excessively, it's, like, a metaphor; Cecilia is the patron saint of
music. So, like, it's about the whimsical comings and goings of musical inspiration. I still think your entry's funny, though.

Fortunately for me, funny and dead wrong aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

Tom, on the other hand, has an entirely different theory (I think):

Don't you, um, know WHY he gets up to wash his face? The clue is, I think, in the previous line. Let's just say that not all glazed donuts come from Krispy Kreme.

Huh? What’s that? I don’t get it. Is that another metaphor? I’m not good at those, you know. Maybe Kathleen can clear this up:

When I was a kid listening to "Cecilia", I kinda got the feeling that it was a "dirty" song, but didn't know why. Hey, I was 5 at the time. As I got older, I figured out that ol' Paul was singing about SEX. Yeah, that was the dirty part. Except no. The dirty part is that he's singing about *oral* sex. Yep. That's why he needs to go wash his face.

Ah, now I get it. But I still have to say that in light of how quickly Cecilia had his replacement lined up, he couldn’t have been doing a very good job.

And aren't you glad to have total strangers writing to you about Paul Simon's (alleged) sexual practices? Yeah. I thought so.

Why do you think I started this site in the first place?

comes to Paul Simon’s defense:

You can't fault a man who eventually learns to say things like, “A man walks down the street. It's a street in a strange world - maybe it's the third world, maybe it's his first time around. Doesn't speak the language, he holds no currency - he is a foreign man; he is surrounded by the sound, sound, of cattle
in the marketplace, scatterings of orphanages... He looks around, around, he sees angels in the architecture; spinning in infinity, he says, ‘Amen, hallelujah!’”, and make that sound like music.

I can’t fault “You Can Call Me Al.” But I think I can fault a man who says he’s going to “stand guard like a postcard of a golden retriever.” Like we’d all feel safer if only Paul Simon were pinned to our refrigerators with cheap magnets.

But enough abiout Paul Simon. People did e-mail me other helpful tidbits this month, after all. In fact, readers fell all over themselves providing helpful information for myself, other readers, and often both. Like these helpful hints from Erin:

First, fun fact about cat urine: it foams when it comes in contact with bleach. I lived with a cat once who had taken to peeing on the kitchen counter, and my roommate attacked the spot with some bleach once, just to see what would happen. My other roommate, who actually owned the cat, swore up and down that there was no way her cat would pee on the counter, so every time he did it, we proved it by pouring a little bleach on the counter and watching it foam.

Seems like you could have solved the problem a lot faster by pouring bleach directly on the cat.

Oh, pipe down. I’m kidding. Erin has more, you guys. Put your weapons down and listen to Erin.

Also, to Springfield resident BlackDove, the reason that the Basketball Hall of Fame is in Springfield is because the game was invented by James Naismith, and the first ever game was played at a Springfield, MA YMCA.

Reader Mail about Reader Mail. We’re through the looking glass now.

I also got handy tips from Vicki (Book 10 in the saga of the Baudelaire Orphans is due to be released in September), LaCrosse Dude (
I use IDZap at work to help me get to sites I am unable to regularly view.
[Sadly, that’s blocked too]), and Brad (who says I should buy the 1998 “Collector’s Edition” of X-wing, if I can find it). And Kristi, Amanda, and DragonAttack informed me that EEGAH! didn’t impress the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000 any more than it did Chao. People, this whole Reader Mail thing was originally designed so I could answer your questions, not vice versa. Don’t think I’m not appreciative, though. If you guys continue to be so helpful, I’ll be able to stop sending those checks to Google every month.

Speaking of the Baudelaire Orphans, this month I read an entire novel called The Basic Eight before I realized it was written by the guy who is Lemony Snicket. Weird.

Rick also has something to share with all of us who regularly visit Blogger sites:

Ok, so I fire up the browser and go to get my daily fix of Velcrometer. The page pops up and I think you've sailed off the edge into a Bible-thumpin' wasteland. I quote: "A mega-site of Bible, Christian and religious information & studies" and (my personal favorite) "ARE YOU READY TO MEET JESUS?"

Just a little tip for you and all your readers: blogpsot.com and blogspot.com... NOT the same thing.

Interesting. I did a little further research to find out if this is true of all sites with “blogpsot” in the URL. Looks like it is. And since Blogger has over a million clients, checking them all took me pretty much the whole morning. What I don’t know is how this person figured out how to redirect every instance of that particular mistyping of “blogspot” to himself, whatever else the user may have typed. And whether such an endeavor is dishonest. And whether God would approve. I’m sure my readers will tell me, though.

Ooh, look! A question! From Josh!

What's with your vocab, man? Are you trying confuse your readers from Indiana? Ah, sesquipedalian, an etymological shibboleth. I can't afford to go to my community college and brush up. Thank God for Dictionary.com. Maybe you should put up a link... (I'm not complaining; it is just a suggestion.)

As I told Josh, I find that the frequent use of two-dollar words lands me in more Google searches, and you’ve seen the results of that over the past week or so. It’s also why I post so assiduously and try to stay mercurial in terms of subject matter.

First person who gets that reference gets to be first in next month’s reader mail.

posted by M. Giant 3:20 PM 0 comments


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Wednesday, July 30, 2003  


Trash and our friend Auteurcakes went to the craft store the other day. Oddly enough, they went voluntarily.

Trash learned how to crochet many years ago. When we were in our early twenties and not exactly flush with cash, she crocheted a few afghan blankets as gifts. Now many of our friends and family members have warm, cozy, beautiful creations made by my wife’s hands. People love to receive them, apparently regardless of how much money we have.

This is neither here nor there, but Trash’s mom also has a warm, cozy, hideous creation that dates back to Trash’s early experiments with the art form. It’s long enough that she and her husband can both fit comfortably underneath it foot-to-foot, but only if they keep their legs together and their arms glued to their sides.

Getting back to the craft topic. A couple of weeks ago, Trash picked up an old crocheting project that she’d set aside a few years ago. We don’t even remember whom it was meant to be for. Auteurcakes was over at the time, and Trash taught her how to crochet. Next thing I know, they’re looking through pattern books and comparing the pros and cons of different needles and kinds of yarn.

And then they experienced a little “mission creep,” and they were talking about making homemade soap and homemade candles. Again, they’ll make lovely gifts and I won’t have to help, so I’m all for it.

So last night, they had all of their soap- and candle-making supplies set out in the kitchen and they got to work. I didn’t even have to worry about the mess because what were they making? Soap! Even if they have some kind of catastrophic spill, the affected area ends up cleaner. I support this project one hundred per cent.

Make that a hundred and twenty per cent, because I quickly found out that the results of failed experiments go to me. The lemon soap that came out smelling like Froot Loops™? Mine. The bar that got an accidental infusion of paprika instead of cinnamon? Mine. It worked out perfectly, because I had just run fresh out of Ivory™, and smelling like a pumpkin pie after my next dozen showers or so is a small price to pay for not having to go to the store. Even more so because they mauled it a little getting it out of the mold so that instead of raised letters reading “HANDMADE” it said “HANOMADE.” I suggested they whittle away part of the “M” and market the soap as “HANOI ADE,” and claim that the scent is based on a refreshing beverage sold in Vietnam and made from paprika. They didn’t appreciate my input. I guess they don’t want to be corrupted by capitalism.

They had a great time. Productive, too. Apparently the process involves melting down the raw soap, mixing it with other ingredients of the maker’s choosing, pouring it into plastic molds, and popping it back out when it cools. They were mixing in bath crystals, the contents of teabags, stuff from the fridge and the spice cabinet (hence the paprika), and anything else they could think of. I asked them to make me a Cajun-seasoning-and-sawdust bar, but they seemed to think I was mocking them.

I didn’t do so well getting castoff candles, because as far as I could see, those all turned out beautifully. As did the vast majority of the soap. It’s just that success is no fun to write about.

And it was a success. They ended up with adorable little gift packages stuffed with hanomade presents that will be greatly appreciated by their recipients. And then, when they exhausted their supplies, they adjourned to the living room to crochet.

Which is funny considering how many nights the three of us (and anywhere from one to fifty others) used to spend staying up until 4:00 a.m. drinking and partying. I think we knew Auteurcakes for something like three years before we ever saw her in direct sunlight. And now she and my wife sit in the living room and crochet.

Except they prefer to pronounce it “crotch-it,” so I know they haven’t gone completely Stepford on me.

* * *

Today’s best search phrase: “toupee combover.” Clearly, somebody is trying to make an informed decision. Perhaps it’s the same person who did a search for “paralysis and ‘nail gun’ and haircut.” Sometimes things go wrong, and you just have to make the best of it.

posted by M. Giant 3:43 PM 0 comments


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Tuesday, July 29, 2003  

Ground Rules

I’ve discovered one of the drawbacks of renovating the outside of one’s house, in terms of landscaping and so forth: It’s the kind of work that doesn’t stop when you’re finished.

It’s not that I mind doing work around the house, as long as I know I can get to a point in a project when I’m done. You paint a room, it generally stays painted. Replace a two-prong electrical outlet with a three pronger and you’ll find that it’s pretty easy to prevent that third hole from filling itself in. If you fish a fist-sized clot of hair out of the bathroom drain, it’s going to take weeks for the thing to crawl back in there.

But I’ve realized too late that if you install a bunch of flowers and plants in the back yard, your work is just beginning. Did you know you have to water those things? I thought we could just stick them in the ground and be done with it. Why do I have to be always hosing them down now? Isn’t that what rain is for?

No, apparently these salads with roots need as much attention as cats or dogs or children simply by virtue of being living things. Except it’s worse, because things that aren’t plants can tell you when they need water. Even if they can’t speak, they’ll send clear signals like standing next to the water dish and screaming, or licking the bathtub spigot, or precariously balancing on the seat while they lap out of the toilet. Pets also do those things sometimes. But the only thing plants do to tell you they need water is go all yellow and wilty and make your whole yard look like ass. And by then it’s too late. This is nothing less than blackmail. Extortion, even. This is the situation in my back yard. I am being held hostage by flora.

And now it’s spreading. Last week, Trash and my mom did a bunch of landscaping in the front of the house. There’s an area that runs from to our front stoop to the corner of the house that used to be occupied by a few bushes in a bed of red lava rocks. This spring we were down to one bush, a dwarf willow that grew seven feet high before getting smacked down to a more appropriate height by the glaciers that slide off our roof every winter. The rest of the area looked like ten square yards of the planet Mars.

Trash and my mom pulled the rocks out, extended this area further out into the yard, and planted half a dozen prima donnas from the local nursery. Now I’ve got a soaker hose winding between them that I turn on and off for a while two or three times a day. Supposedly the new plants will get to a point when I won’t have to water them quite so assiduously. That’s what they tell me, anyway, but they won’t tell me when that will be. I assume I should stop before I rinse all of the dirt down the driveway, though.

In the meantime, I’ve got a growing number of botanical specimens depending on me and my wife for survival. Factor in the cats and all the blades of grass making another go in the back yard, and we’re responsible for tens of thousands of tiny lives each.

I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t appreciate all of the hard work that Trash and my mom have done to beautify our exterior space. I do. They’re the ones who did all the planning and heavy lifting and getting their hands dirty. All I have to do is some occasional moistening. And when these plants really take hold and start growing on their own and have roots that go halfway down our foundation, it’s going to be worth it. We’ll have a lush, verdant enclave of colorful life that’ll bring us cheer as we pull up to the curb.

When it’s not covered by a three-foot blanket of snow, that is. And when that’s the case, I won’t have to water the plants at all. Pleasure, year-round.

* * *

Today’s best search phrase: “instructions + ‘shotgun shell’ + ‘Christmas’.” You know, I have people who are hard to buy for too, but let’s try to keep hold of ourselves, shall we?

posted by M. Giant 4:20 PM 0 comments


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Monday, July 28, 2003  

M. Giant, Hungry Man

I joined a new demographic last night, but it’s only on a trial basis.

I am a provisional Hungry Man™.

I don’t know if these “meals” are available everywhere, so I’ll explain what I’m talking about. A Hungry Man™ dinner is like a frozen TV dinner big enough to feed three people. Unless one of those people is a Hungry Man. Capitalized like that, it kind of looks like I’m talking about a superhero. And when I was holding a frozen box the size of a plasma TV and thinking about one person putting away that much food in one sitting, the word “superhero” seemed even more apt.

I haven’t actually eaten one of them yet. Or tried to. The only reason I have them is because there was a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for them in the newspaper, so I figured I’d be getting a bargain even if I could only choke down half of each one. I may well have to skip a few meals in advance just to accomplish that goal.

Maybe you’ve seen the TV commercials for Hungry Man™. They tend to feature these stocky, salt-of-the-earth guys who skipped a meal—or worse yet, ate a salad—and now they’re subject to being blown away by a stiff breeze. Literally. As if dipping below 275 pounds for a few minutes is going to make gravity turn her back on you forever. She’s a temperamental one, that gravity, and if you dare take her for granted she’ll forget your name.

Now that I have a couple of these Hungry Man™ meals (would the plural be “Hungry Men” or “Hungry Mans?” Never mind; I’m not using either one) in my own freezer, I’m giving a little more thought to the idea that these are meals that are manufactured and marketed to people who want to feel like there are sacks of BBs in their guts. There’s a slogan for you—“Hungry Man™: it’s not just food, it’s ballast.”

Now there’s some kind of marketing tie-in to CBS’s sitcom The King of Queens. I have no idea what the details are; I barely took the time to glance at the boxes before I had the forklift operator lower them into a separate grocery cart. All I know is that barrel-chested comedian Kevin James was grinning out at me as if the photographer was waving the Hungry Man™ Two Meatball Sandwiches meal next to the camera.

Yes, I said two meatball sandwiches. These people do not fool around.

On the other hand, maybe it’s not a marketing tie-in at all. There’s been a lot of discussion about putting more graphic warning labels on cigarettes. I think they’ve even done it in some countries. There are places where you can’t buy a pack of smokes without seeing charred lungs or stunted fetuses or tracheas that look like they were used to clean the grill (I understand that cigarette cases have become quite popular in these areas). Meanwhile, quietly and without controversy, the picture on the packaging of a Hungry Man™? Kevin James. It’s like they’re hoping to forestall eventual legislation that will require them to depict Marlon Brando.

Listen, I don’t begrudge anybody the right to a hearty meal. That guy in the Hungry Man™ commercial who’s working through a stormy night pitching sandbags to keep the river between its banks? That guy is going to work up an appetite, and when he asks me for steak I’ll ask him how many he wants. Even Kevin James plays a character who schleps parcels for a living. Myself, I sit at a desk all day, and the only physical exertion required of me is the thirty-foot walk to the break room to nuke my lunch. Three ounces of Pasta with Chicken Specks in a six-ounce Lean Cuisine™ tray won’t quite cut it for the day, but if I get in the daily habit of lunching on a microwaved banquet consisting of an entire pig with a side of beef (and I don’t mean a side order of beef, just so we’re clear), it won’t be long before I’ll be looking at Kevin James and envying the man’s athletic physique.

Not that I’ll necessarily have the option. The days of the Hungry-Man™ may be numbered. Kraft has already begun shrinking the portions in some of their packaging, out of concern for the health of people who aren’t clear on the difference between the terms “Family-size” and “Mine.” And also to avoid getting spanked in court the way the tobacco companies did. It’s not inconceivable that Swanson might soon follow suit with its Hungry Man™ products, forcing Hungry Men everywhere to buy their meatball sandwiches separately instead of in pairs. We have to enjoy our frozen-buffets-for-one while we still have the chance.

Go ahead. Have a Hungry Man™. Necks are for pussies.

* * *

Want to appreciate Bob Hope? The best obituary I've seen was written three years ago. No, it wasn't a mistake. Check it out.

* * *

Today’s best(?) search phrase: “gag scarf hostage.” Um, do you think I should call someone?

posted by M. Giant 3:19 PM 0 comments


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Friday, July 25, 2003  


Trash was talking to her sister-in-law yesterday, and she had a brief phone conversation with our 1½-year-old niece Deniece.

“Hello, Deniece!”


“Do you know who this is?”


“This is your Auntie Trash.”

“[Random assortment of tortured vowels and elongated consonants that is Deniece’s version of Trash’s name]

“That’s right!”


“Yes, I’m married to M.”


“Would you like us to come down and visit you soon?”


“Okay, but—”

“BYE BYE.” Clunk.

Naturally, Trash found this hilarious.

Nobody can deliver a dis and get away with it quite like a toddler. People tend to miss the innocence and carelessness of childhood, but not me. What you just saw above? That’s what I miss. If I could get away with putting people down like that, I’d never leave the office.

* * *

Today’s best search request: “trash’s ruining environment.” Oh, she is not. She recycles and everything.

posted by M. Giant 3:19 PM 0 comments


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Thursday, July 24, 2003  

Mind the Gap

Trash and I went to England in 1997, and I’ve always wanted to go back. Not only because I loved it, but because Trash hated it.

No, I’m not saying that to be mean. Trash had a couple of bad experiences in Blighty, but I think that if we went back, she’d really enjoy it. I feel like those were aberrations that we wouldn’t necessarily be subjected to on a return trip. Maybe some of my British readers can confirm this.

But before I get into that, you should also know that Trash is generally a very intrepid traveler. She’s quick-thinking, resourceful, highly adaptable, and she doesn’t get all bunchy under unforeseen circumstances. I try to be the same way (except the quick-thinking part, which I gave up on years ago), and we’d probably make a good Amazing Race team if the logistics of securing air travel didn’t make my head feel all swimmy. And also if I were remotely athletic.

Trash’s first “perhaps England is not for me” moment was in a London tube station our first night there. We were still getting over the shock of learning that the pubs close at 11:00 p.m. Which is bad enough when you come from a town where you can drink in public until 1:00, but our internal clocks were telling us it was 5:00 p.m. and we’d barely started. This, on top of a case of jetlag and travel fatigue that hadn’t been helped by a five-hour afternoon layover at O’Hare, left us in less than ideal condition to deal with the unexpected. And the unexpected, in this case, was something I missed entirely.

You know what the London Underground calls a giant puddle of puke on the platform? “Liquid Spillage.” We know this because occasionally we’d hear an announcement on the tannoy to the effect of “Earl’s Court Station is temporarily closed due to Liquid Spillage” or “The Picadilly Line will bypass Knightsbridge station due to Liquid Spillage on the track.” Not coincidentally, these announcements seemed to be more frequent at around 11:00 p.m.

But we didn’t know that yet, because it was our first night in the city. And as we briskly strolled to catch our train back to the hotel, Trash—and only Trash—caught sight of a woman down the platform taking a spill. In more ways than one.

As I said, I didn’t see it, so I can only go by Trash’s description. All I can do is wonder why the woman didn’t realize what she was stepping in until she was ankle-deep in it. Perhaps she was holding her head too high, out of pride in her full-length fur coat. Whatever the case, her feet went out from under her and she sprawled flat on the floor, laid straight out on her back. She might have slipped a disk or cracked a rib had her fall not been broken by a generous quantity of vomit.

Unknown to us, Trash was so transfixed by the horrifying spectacle of this poor woman swimming for shore and heaving herself out of the heave that she couldn’t really tell the rest of us what had happened until we were safely in the bowels of the Underground. Sadly, the traumatic memory of the woman in fashionable mink and chunder kind of overshadowed a lot of the rest of the trip for Trash.

Not everything, though. We made a side trip up to Edinburgh by rail for the weekend. This also marked the first time we’d ever stayed in a youth hostel. As it turns out, hostels are not the best place for married people. At least not the one in Edinburgh, and at least not when those married people are us.

Trash and I were in a tiny room with two or three other people, and we were on separate bunk beds across an aisle from each other. Being forced into Rob-and-Laura-Petrie-dom was bad enough, but the kicker was when she opened her eyes early the morning to find herself face-to-face with a distinctly unfamiliar set of goolies waving an unwelcome greeting.

To be fair, we’d come in pretty late, and I don’t know if this guy realized that it had become a co-ed room overnight. On the other hand, I find naked jumping-jacks uncomfortable even when I’m alone.

Trash immediately recognized that she wasn’t being molested, at least not deliberately, so she shut her eyes, buried her head under the blankets, and attempted suicide with the pillow in order to the block out the image of the bearded troll that was nodding vigorously at her. Eventually he got dressed and went away, not necessarily in that order. I don’t know, I slept through the whole thing.

I’m pretty sure that this was also the last time we’ll ever stay in a youth hostel.

But I hope it wasn’t the last time we ever go to the UK. Trash realizes that it’s not all Liquid Spillage at night and eyefuls of genitals by sunrise. Y’all—I mean, you lot—will prove that when we come back.


* * *

Did I explain yesterday that “Today’s best Google search” refers to the best Google search phrase that showed up in my referral log? I don’t think I did. I guess I still have some bugs to iron out. You guys probably figured it out, though. You’re smart like that. Otherwise, you might want to think about going here. Unless you’re at work.

Also, it won’t necessarily always be Google. For instance, today’s comes from AltaVista. And I think yesterday’s was from Yahoo! Search. Maybe I’d better come up with another name for this.

Teach me to go off all half-cocked.

Today’s best search request: “how to warm up the water of a backyard kiddie pool.” I think if you just leave the kid in long enough, that’ll take care of itself.

posted by M. Giant 3:37 PM 0 comments


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Wednesday, July 23, 2003  

The Green, Green Grass of Home

Used to be that yard work for us consisted of throwing the neighbor kids a twenty every other year so they’d rake the leaves for us. And that was only if we had that kind of time.

Two things have changed that. One is that we’re done getting our various university degrees, so the backyard is no longer just something we stare at through the window while we write papers, like it’s some sort of cautionary “this is your lawn on drugs” diorama. The other is our chiminea, which consumes yard waste faster than we can produce it. I’m serious; every once in a while I’ll look at the litter in our yard and decide to free up a few hours for a little fire, and ten minutes later our property is totally cleared of fallen sticks and twigs and leaves and slow-moving squirrels and there’s nothing left but smoldering ashes.

The end result is that in a couple of years we’ve gone from having a yard we have to avert our eyes from when we’re taking out the garbage, to one we actually enjoy hanging out in.

So last night I’m spending about ten minutes trying to adjust the soaker hose just so on the back yard so my most recent seedlings can get just the right amount of water per blade for precisely seventy-nine minutes. And I think back to the days when I tried to convince Trash that we should attempt a “prairie conversion,” my code for “screw it and whatever can grow back there is welcome to try.” The days when we considered applying for Superfund status. The days when we thought the yard was in pretty good shape if it wasn’t on fire.

On one of those days, I was dashing off to work or class or rock & roll practice or something, and our next-door neighbor to the north, a recent widower, pointed out how all of the leaves in our yard had blown over into our south neighbor’s yard. These were the same neighbors whose kids sometimes raked our leaves. We gave them that year off.

Our poor northern neighbor spent years looking out his window and seeing our unkempt yard and bushes, landscaping that needed escaping, and an uncoiled garden hose that sprawled outside our rarely-used side door for three winters in a row. He’d go out and keep his hedges trimmed with the geometric precision of those monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but he still lived next to the lawn-care equivalent of a couple of Oscar Madisons. He died the last year Trash was in grad school, probably because looking at our yard broke his heart. He never said anything to us about it, but this is Minnesota, after all.

This summer, I’ve seeded the yard, watered it religiously until it sprouted, watched it die, re-seeded again, and have been watering it religiously ever since. A lot of the grass has come back—again—and even though it’s not as lush as it was a month ago, it’s greener than it had been at any time during the previous half-decade.

Perhaps our departed neighbor is looking down at the startling transformation we’ve effected on our exterior space this summer. And I can’t help thinking one thing:

He must be pissed.

* * *

I’ve decided to add a new, semi-regular feature, just to keep things from getting too stale (not to mention short) around here. I’ve been thinking about it for a while but I’ve been putting it off because it’s not exactly original; I’m stealing the idea from any number of other journals, including Dancing Brave. I figure this is a good time, what with DB being in Europe and thus ripe for burgling. The new feature, which may appear once a month or once a day, will carry the poetically evocative title of “Today’s best Google search.” For the first installment, see the other side of this paragraph break.

Today’s best Google search: “cat difficulty peeing orange.” Unfortunately, I’m not able to help this person because my cat has difficulty peeing orange as well. It’s quite baffling, because he does just fine with all the other colors. But for some reason, orange stops him up so severely that I’ve stopped trying to make him produce it. It’s okay, really. I love him just as he is.

posted by M. Giant 4:52 PM 0 comments


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Tuesday, July 22, 2003  

Discretion Advised

You’d think that after taking a week off from doing the actual writing around here, I would have quite the stockpile of stuff to relate now that I’m back. And indeed stuff has happened. Sadly, most of it is stuff I can’t talk about yet.

Which is fine, because you know what the secret to a successful blog is? Discretion. Yeah, that really puts butts in seats. Naked webcams and detailed sexual narratives are all well and good, but at the end of the day it’s the discreet blogger who has the most rabid fans.


Back when I started this site, I read an article that included the ten commandments of blogging or online journaling or whatever it was. I took those directives to heart, and ever since I have endeavored to religiously adhere to them. The ones I remember, at least.

One of them was, “Don’t say something exciting or horrible or scandalous is happening and then refuse to say what it is because you ‘can’t talk about it.’ If you can’t talk about it, don’t bring it up at all.” And here I am, doing just that with several dozen developments from the past week. Not that anything horrible or scandalous happened. The only balm for my conscience is my promise to let you know how it all turns out after my various windows for jinxing things or speaking out of turn have closed. Unless I forget to, of course, in which case none of it will be terribly interesting after the fact anyway.

In the meanntime, I can tell you what hasn’t been going on.

I haven’t been fired from my day job. I haven’t been reduced to living off of dropped birdseed scrounged out of the neighbors’ yards, and I’m not constructing clothes with what I can scavenge from the lint filters at the laundromat.

I am not involved in any sort of legal or judicial proceeding, either as a plaintiff or defendant. Barring unforeseen circumstances, at this time next week I will neither be flush from a fat settlement nor feathering my new cage at Guantanamo.

My marriage remains stable and happy, aside from periods when it is temporarily destabilized by an excess of happiness. Those periods aren’t as bad as I just made them sound.

My cats are not on the threshold of lucrative modeling careers. There is such a thing as too cute, apparently.

Still not gay.

There are no major changes to the site in store. None that I know of, at least. I could have a crippling “accident” and turn this into a recovery blog, but I decided early on that I wouldn’t do that. Unless I suffered a really catastrophic drop in traffic that made severe burns on 95% of my body appear preferable in comparison.

I have not started liking ClearChannel.

My back yard has not yet been shortlisted for the cover of Home and Garden magazine. Maybe next year.

Wow, looking back on what I just wrote, I guess there’s not much interesting going on after all. You’re not missing much. Never mind. As you were.

I’ll let you know as soon as something pops, though. Unless it doesn't. Wait, we covered that already.

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Monday, July 21, 2003  

Coulter? I Hardly Know ‘Er!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a comment on Miss Alli’s site that was somewhat in defense of Ann Coulter. My point was that it’s easy to forget that one of Coulter’s friends, Barbara Olson, was on board the plane that struck the Pentagon on September 11. As for those of us who didn’t lose anybody on that tragic day, how can we say for certain that we wouldn’t have responded in the same way? By which I mean, of course, going completely and totally poo-flinging bugfuck crazy?

Ann Coulter has quite publicly urinated in the Cheerios™ of national discourse. Some of the arguments in her new book Treason (no link – find it yerself, Commie) are so ridiculous that even engaging them diminishes any serious political commentator.

Good thing I’m not one of those.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to address her position that Joe McCarthy’s heroism is the only reason we’re not all goose-stepping around in big fur hats. I will, however, attempt to address one of her charges, one that I’ve also seen on message boards and heard on talk radio, which is that people who don’t support the war hate America.

I can’t believe it’s even necessary to have this discussion, but let’s get on with it.

Okay. I’m firing up the old analogy generator. Imagine your child, if you have one. If you don’t have children, imagine you do. If you’re Ann Coulter, imagine that your lips, having departed your face years ago, have become sentient and are starting their own lives—

Sorry, I meant to keep this civil.

So, this child of yours, either real or hypothetical. When he’s doing something you think is wrong or dangerous, don’t you tell him?

If she’s getting B’s and C’s in school and you know she could get A’s with a little more effort, aren’t you going to encourage her to put in that effort?

If she’s running towards a cliff, won’t you yell at her to stop? Mightn’t some anger creep into your voice?

If he’s shooting up a mall, aren’t you going to try and talk him into putting the gun down? Preferably from behind a large stone planter?

You would?

So my question is, why do you hate your kid so much?

Why can’t you support your child? What’s wrong with you? This is your child we’re talking about.

I mean, if your kid gets beaten up by someone who then runs away and hides, and everyone feels bad for him, and he starts looking around for other kids to beat up himself, and he gets it in his head to beat up this other kid who’s threatened to beat him up even though he never could, some kid that your kid insists is good friends with your kid’s assailant despite all evidence to the contrary, and you know he doesn’t like this other kid and has wanted to beat him up for a long time anyway, and this other kid may be smaller and weaker now but your kid insists that the other kid is learning karate and will have his black belt in a matter of months and nothing will be able to stop this other kid from beating up your kid at will, on like forty-five minutes’ notice, and your kid is determined that he’s never going to get beat up again, no way, no matter how many people he has to beat up, no matter how many other kids hate him now, so you owe it to your kid to hold his coat and cheer him on while he beats up this other kid twice as badly as he got beat up himself. Right?

Because this is your child, and it’s your parental duty to support whatever he does. Anything less is taking the side of that kid who beat him up in the first place. I’m calling Social Services on your child-hating ass right now.

I can hear the objections to this line of reasoning already: “Dammit, you’re infantilizing this country, treating it like a spoiled child, which is exactly the way the Europeans see us.” Fine. Leaving aside the fact that half of the Middle East is wondering just how long it’ll be before they get wished into the cornfield, it still applies if you’re talking about a parent, friend, mentor, or other loved one. If you see that person going off the rails, you say so. You don’t say, “Wow, nice car. That drug muling is really paying off” or “I’m glad you’re not letting those arbitrary child pornography laws prevent you from pursuing your dream.” People don’t stage interventions for people they don’t care about, okay?

And it’s not like the anti-war folks don’t have a stake in what happens to this country. Many of them live here, despite the common misconception that two hundred thousand people commuted to Manhattan from Belgium for the protests back in March. Listen: if you’re driving down the freeway and your passenger points out that you’re going north in the southbound lane, you don’t get all hurt and say, “Dude, I thought we were friends.” If you have any sense of self-preservation, you’ll consider that input before simply snapping back, “We want to go north, you slaveowner!” Of course, that might not allow you the vindication of eventually tasting truck grille and accusing your passenger of bringing about the accident by providing aid and comfort to the southbound, but everything’s a trade-off.

I’m going out on a limb here because I haven’t actually done any independent polling, but I daresay that most Americans do want what’s best for America. They just disagree with each other about what that is. Ann Coulter wants to cut off the debate by denying the American-ness of people who disagree with her, which, sorry, doesn’t say much for the strength of her position. Anybody can win if they can prevent their opponents from showing up. She says liberals get indignant when their patriotism is questioned, and she’s right about that, but she couldn’t be more wrong about the reasons why. She might understand that if she’d come down out of her tree and talk to people instead of sitting up there and dropping coconuts on their heads.

Accusing other Americans of anti-Americanism isn’t a serious debate tactic, any more than when lefties Godwin themselves out of a discussion by invoking the Nazis. It’s lazy, it’s counterproductive, and it’s so beside the point that the point looks like a line from there.

And if you don’t knock it off, you’re going to be the first in the Gulag after the Glorious Revolution.

Kidding! Kidding. Jeez, so uptight, you people.

* * *

Just to prove I’m not a communist, check out that little capitalist logo on the right there, under where it says “loot.” Technically you’re not “supporting this site,” because I’m not paying for it, but writing these things does burn up time that I might otherwise use to check the coin returns on the vending machines at the bus station.

The logo on the stuff is kind of pixelly-looking in its blown-up form, but I hope to fix that soon. That means you’d better snap up the current versions before they get taken off the market and become collector’s items. What? It could happen.

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Friday, July 18, 2003  

New York Stories, Part Five

I want to sincerely thank my wife Trash and her friends CorpKitten and Chao for sharing their stories this week. Can you say “thank you,” class?

Oh, and don’t worry. I haven’t been slacking off this whole time. I’ve been using the time off to write and edit a novel, which I’ll begin serializing next week.

Now over to Chao.

The day [June 11] started with a huge wake-up kiss and tag-team action from CorpKitten and Trash. Oh wait, that was still in drunken dreamland. What really happened was CorpKitten left quietly (for her) and Trash and Chao slept, in separate rooms still, until at least eleven or twelve. [it was 10:30, and then STILL in separate rooms, just to clarify –Trash] They quickly realized they must check out and do rapid-fire sightseeing or they wouldn’t see much else of NYC.

They went down to the check out desk and asked the Super Mario Brothers if they’d hold their luggage while they toured the city. They were cooperative and held the stuff, in what actually turned out to be a secure room. Who would’a thunk it?

Trash and Chao score a taxi and head to Chinatown. Let me just say everyone who told me how cool NYC’s Chinatown was is a putz. It was not impressive. Yes, there were Asian people galore, but if I was walking through NYC’s Chinatown, I may not even realize I’m in Chinatown. Just blah. (Consider the three of us had been to San Francisco’s Chinatown the previous year and it was waaaaaay cooler than NYC – closer to Asia you see…) So Chao’s main mission in Chinatown was to score some obscure and cheap videos/DVDs down on Canal Street. So the cab drops us off on Canal Street randomly and Trash and Chao start walking. Whoops, we go two blocks and run out of Chinatown. See, I told you it was impressive. So head down a block and go back up Canal Street. Cross the street and go a block and run out of Chinatown. At this point, both comment on how bad this place blows. [Chao is right. I first saw it when I was in 10th grade, and then it rocked. But now? Kinda generic, really –Trash]

Trash and Chao then find themselves in Little Italy, which butts up against Chinatown without any transition between Asians and their distant relatives, the Italians. They stop at a quaint little Italian restaurant café for some “real” Italian food. Note here that Chao was just in Italy, not a month ago, so he’s down with “authentic” Italian food. And believe it or not, it was pretty darn close (and wonderful food). After dinner, Limoncello was ordered – a traditional after-dinner liquor. They say it helps you digest your food (because it’s pure grain alcohol with lemon juice in it, about 80 proof). Trash’s face curls up with the sourness then she cries because it burns so bad. Wussy. [OK – yes, I did make a face. But damn! Have you ever tasted that crap? And of course, he keeps swearing that it is all wonderful, when it tastes like something a lemon puked up. -Trash] So Chao downs his Limoncello and then asks Trash if she’s going to finish hers. No? [HELL no –Trash] Then consider it drank, drunk, or drinked. Two little shots of this stuff doesn’t seem like much, but alas, it makes one stagger when one stands up, seriously. Great stuff. I highly recommend it!

Trash and Chao head back to Canal Street to track down some video and DVD items. Chao is into weird films: B-flicks, Kung-fu, and porn. So the search is on. Porn galore in Chinatown, but in comparison to San Fran, it’s lame stuff. Feature films with faked-out starlets and a weak attempt at acting. Not for Chao. Down and dirty, don’t even bother talking is what porn was meant to be. They just don’t have it – what gives, New York? Disappointed, to say the least, Chao makes Trash feel more comfortable by not looking for porn, but looking for kung-fu movies. We’re in Chinatown, right? Asians=kung-fu, right? Well, you would think so.

Disclaimer: Chao is 100% NON-RACIST. Sure a couple of stereotypical funny comments arise once in a while, but with a name like Chao, how could he not love the Asian community? Remember, non-racist…. But what I’m about to say may shock a few people.

Chao has difficulty giving merit to the opinion of a West Indian man when it comes to kung-fu movies. There I said it, and it’s not racist at all. But the gentleman kept pointing to random kung-fu movies on the shelf and then trying to pronounce the names of the film. Granted, Caucasian folk aren’t the “Lee Van Cleef” of martial arts film recommendations, but at least berating and belittling a Caucasian clerk would have been worth it in the long run. Chao asked for Samurai films with Zatoichi and clerk X shows him Sidekicks with Chuck Norris. Trash seemed to think this was the best store ever since the clerk showed her where to sit and wait for Chao to finish perusing. But alas, it was too frustrating for Chao. A quick exit made everyone feel better. [No, not everyone. One of us was sitting happily on an upside down container that the very nice West Indian man had provided for her in front of a fan. It was 98 degrees outside. I could have stayed there for YEARS! –Trash]

Trash and Chao then headed to Ground Zero. No witty comments here, as it is a controversial topic. Needless to say, the complex surrounding Ground Zero was something you need to experience to fully comprehend it. Construction has begun and spirits are up, though.

The pair then headed to find a restroom. Starbucks sounded alright. Trash made Chao stand in line and order for her while she hit the restroom. While in line Chao orders for Trash and then gets a Rice Krispie treat for himself. Trash exits the bathroom and they close it for cleaning. I don’t know what Trash did in there, but apparently it required serious manpower. They set up two armchairs in front of the door and then three people with hazmat suits went in with hoses. Pretty serious stuff. [Oh, right, Chao – aren’t you forgetting the three people who went in after me? Hmm?] So Chao waits, and waits, and waits. Bladder pressure mounting. Waiting. Waiting. Chao unwraps the Rice Krispie treat and is about to take a bite when Trash snatches it out of his hands (she’s got sharing issues). Then as a polite gesture, Trash decides to break off a small portion to give the whimpering Chao. She holds it like she’s breaking a pencil, commences breaking process, and …. BOOM!!! This RK treat explodes in a shower of rice bits and dust! It was so dry, and brittle, it was like they made the thing with nitroglycerine. And I’m totally serious here, people THREE tables away are picking rice bits out of their hair, coffee, and books, while Trash and Chao bang on the table laughing so hard. It was a classic Starbucks moment. Oh, and the restroom thing, they weren’t finished cleaning it by the time Chao and Trash left.

Right next to Starbucks is a “discount” DVD shop. Chao excitedly runs in and heads for the bargain bin. Think about this: the bargain bin at a discount DVD store. Yeah, that’s right, top quality stuff… and some porn thrown in for good measure. Trash is amused by all the titles and pulling the cases out and repeating the name like 2-year-old saying, “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.” until she answers. She seemed fixated on a film called EEGAH! Yes that’s the title. [That title ROCKS! –Trash] There’s a review of it on www.badmovies.org. So she’s chanting this over and over and over, making all of the people in the store crack up and want to sign her up for Special Olympics, or at least the reunion episode of Life Goes On. Chao purchases Rowdy Roddy Piper’s finest work, Hell Comes to Frogtown, and a copy of Cannibal: the Musical for Trash and M. Giant to share. [Thanks, dude. That movie is outstanding —M. Giant] It’s been an excellent shopping adventure. but no, he wouldn’t even accept EEGAH! As a gift. Bastard. –Trash)

Did I mention Chao hadn’t found a bathroom at this point yet?

Chao and Trash head across the street to City Hall Park, where there is a protest going on. This is where it gets amusing. The protest is about two hundred cabbies protesting the fact that the city police give them tickets. Yeah, that’s right. They think speeding tickets and parking tickets are for “other people”. So the presidents of all of NYC cabbie unions are present and inciting hatred for the city. The Caribbean cabbie union, the South African cabbie union, the Puerto Rican cabbie union, the Mexican cabbie union, as well as many others were all representin’ and chanting. That’s right. At one point a rather large African-American woman is up on the stage (yes, a stage) and swearing (which we also thought was funny), and stamping her foot. She the busts into this chant: “We don’t eat what we don’t like!” All two hundred people start chanting with her for 15 seconds or so until you can see the look of shock on their faces when they realize their chant has nothing at all to do with anything. This, on top of the fact that the chant-starter looks like there isn’t much that she doesn’t like to eat. Then she says, and I’ll paraphrase, “The cabbies in this city run this town. We can bring this city to it’s knees!!! We’ll just walk out of here and leave them helpless.” Then another chant: “Hell no, we won’t go!”. The funny part is that people actually chant that in public. The really really funny part is that she just said they were walking out, but not they’re not going, hell no. Hilarious!!! Then a Hispanic gentleman hops up on stage and begin speaking and then he busts into a chant (in Spanish), to which everyone begins following (in Spanish) until they too realize they have no idea what they are chanting. It was truly classic stuff. Trash and Chao sat in the park for about 30 minutes listening to this hilarity. [Well, we believed them when they said “hell no, we won’t go.” –Trash]

No restroom yet, remember?

Then Chao and Trash find the nearest Starbucks on the way back to Chinatown and use the restroom. Chao went first in case there was some sort of “issue” with Trash using the restroom first, like at the last one.

At this point, both Trash and Chao are exhausted so they hop a cab back to the hotel in Midtown since they both have planes to catch. The plan, which actually panned out for once, was to take the cab back to the hotel and make him wait for us to run in and grab the luggage and then head to the airport. No problem. Cab back to hotel, good. Waiting for luggage, good. Cab off to the airport, good. Rain, not so good. As soon as we get across whatever body of water you must cross from the good part of NYC to get to the ‘hood, it starts pouring. Serious rain, like as in hail bouncing off the hood of our cab. Big hail. It’s raining so hard, the cabbie puts on the hazards and is driving 20 mph on the interstate. I didn’t think that was possible unless there was heavy traffic, but we were one of the few cars on the road because of the storm. It was eerie. And how’s this for anti-climactic: Nothing happened. We made it to the airport and left. See? How painful was that whole adventure? [Makes y’all want to be cool librarians like us, doesn’t it? – Trash]

Yes. Yes, it does. See you all next week. –M. Giant

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Thursday, July 17, 2003  

New York Stories, Part Four

Trash again. Notice how these introductions keep getting shorter?

Tuesday morning started bright and early. Thankfully, none of us were awake to see it, since we had returned to our rooms after 4 A.M. the night before. CorpKitten was scheduled to attend an early morning meeting, but we were able to convince her not to go by muttering the magical words “you should sleep.” It was a hard sell. (The other magic words are “here, have some rum” and “no, just stay home and read. That whole “make a living thing”? We were so kidding”. Sigh. –CK)

As a result, our first scheduled meeting was at 11:30, which was a lunch (FINALLY) meeting for the SOLO librarian group. It was actually an interesting meeting, although some people saw it as a selling opportunity and used the time to try and sell their most recent books. Chao wasn’t registered, so he decided to take a long walk down Broadway and look for porn. We all met up after lunch to run through the booths one last time and to see how “Andy” was taking his hangover. He apparently was taking it elsewhere, as he hadn’t shown up for work all day. This made Chao very sad. [Trash glossed over the details of this story – When we asked if anyone had seen “Andy”, the person at the desk said something stiff and formal like, “No, Andy is not available right now.” So Chao told him he “took Andy home last night” and winked, and the gentleman relaxed visibly and said, “Actually, Andy hasn’t shown up for work today and no one has seen or heard from him.” Ah much more accurate information now. We told friendly British chap to tell Andy we called on him and THEN left. –Chao]

That afternoon, I had agreed to cover a meeting on CRM for a colleague, and CorpKitten had a meeting of her own, so we left Chao to his own devices again. There isn’t much to say about the day (the evening gets better) except that I am now skilled at CRM, CorpKitten is now skilled at taxonomy, ( I don’t know if I’d call it “skilled” per se – CK) and Chao is still skilled at porn. (well, no doubts at all, there – CK) And people-watching. And probably other things that none of us want to know. [And other meanings of the term “cock-fighting.” –Chao]

That evening, we had an AMAZING dinner at the best Thai restaurant in New York (please someone remember the name!) [Topaz, next to the Mysterioso! Bookstore at Carnegie – CK] next to a man who thought he was a restaurant critic. “Now, I would like a very dry martini with 1/3 gin and extra-dry vermouth and a twist–just a twist–of lime, and I would like it served in a jelly jar slightly crystallized around the edges, EXCEPT for the edge I will use for drinking, which should slop ever-so-slightly on the edge…NO! NO! NO! It’s ALL WRONG! Weren’t you LISTENING?!?!?!?!??!?!?!” Needless to say, it was no trouble when I asked for a meal to have mock duck added to it instead of tofu. (What is mock duck you ask?
Picture the bottom of the fry cage at Long John Silvers -- the crisp, starchy little chunks of not-fish and not-hushpuppy. That’s mock duck. Mmmm-mmm. That’s our girl. – CK) The restaurant is next to the bookstore that I intend to purchase someday (yes, I am being serious. Sars, be prepared to put up M. Giant and myself for a week or month or two).

After dinner, CorpKitten and I went to an SLA board meeting, and things began to go very much awry. It seems that librarians care VERYMUCH about their governing documents, and are willing to talk. And talk. And talk about them. ( And move only to withdraw an earlier movement which wasn’t theirs to begin with so why the hell don’t they sit their Southwestern ass down already and let the big girls talk? -- CK) By “talk,” I mean, “heated and painful discussions with people taking things personally and a board that doesn’t care anymore and just wants everything PASSED already, and larger groups making disparaging remarks about the smaller groups, and this terrible, terrible woman hollering out things from her seat, NOT at the microphone,” (The hair on the woman in the cordoruy jacket up front? Because that was my nightmare for a week. – CK) and the worst part? The very worst part? I had to go because I am the president elect-elect of the Minnesota SLA, and since CorpKitten is the same for the Michigan chapter, I made her go, too. She was NOT HAPPY. Maybe I should repeat that, just to ensure you got it. SHE WAS NOT HAPPY. So, any time I would look over at her table, she was glaring. And sighing. And sometimes crying. It was terrible. ( Because why? Because I didn’t even have to be there. I was supposed to be at a lovely party at the Grolier Club instead, drinking extra sharp gin and tonics. But nooooo, my presidential-elect priorities were called to bear and the shit had to jump off– CK) [actually CorpKitten left a little early and found Chao out in the hallway waiting patiently (tapping his foot and sighing a lot is patient for him). After a stream of curses directed at Trash and then full-of-themselves-librarians, CorpKitten calmed down and explained what was going on in the “meeting.” Trash is lucky Chao and CorpKitten are her friends – normal people would have let her rot in hell. –Chao]

After that experience, we went back to our rooms for a while, and then CorpKitten had to start packing to leave the next morning. Her flight left at something like 6 a.m., so I think her cab picked her up around 4 – which was right when Chao and I returned from the bar. ( Yep -- I was up BEFORE the little men who come to hose the trash off the sidewalk. Ah, NYC is certainly a magical town. -- CK) But I get ahead of myself.

Being the New York jet setters that we are, we were all invited to a publishing party for a friend of mine. Josh had a reading of his book Short People (it’s a good book – I’m half way through and M. Giant finished it – buy it!) earlier in the evening at Barnes and Noble, and there was a celebration to follow. Thus Chao and I cabbed to a über-cool bar in Soho that didn’t even have its name on the door—THAT’S how cool it was. It had red windows and some special lighting, and these drinks that had moss [seaweed –Chao] in them. It made us feel all cool, and we kept posing by the windows so people could stare at us, but no one seemed interested, except for the New Yorkers that now have to go outside to smoke.

Despite what you might think, we did remember that we weren’t the guests of honor, and tried to be respectful. I got to see Lawre (one of my best friends from college) and Seven (another best friend from college–she used to swing dance with M. Giant, back in the day). Introduced them to Chao, who managed to actually impress them with his charm and personality–unexpected, considering the stories I had told them. We were then invited to an after party-party at a local director’s brownstone (did I mention what rock stars we are? I bet you didn’t realize just how well-connected librarians were!) where we sat outside in a courtyard with a dozen or so people, drinking beer and laughing very quietly, until a neighbor woman yelled for us to shut up from her third-floor window across the alley. Yes, that’s how cool we are – neighborhood ladies even screamed at us.

To end the evening, Chao and I returned to the local bar of the preceding evening’s debauchery, where we solved the problems of the world and ended world hunger. Or maybe just drank tiny beers and laughed until 4 A.M. again, and then returned to our swank hotel.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2003  

New York Stories, Part Three

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Chao. Again, no relation to AB, as this one’s name is 25% made-up anyway.

This whole evening is an event in itself. Here’s the setup for the whole thing: IF you’ve never been to anything like this, you have no point of reference, but bear with me. Librarian Conference = hordes of ugly middle-aged people. (Side note: The “Special Libraries Association” Conference has far fewer ugly and middle-aged people than the “American Library Association” Conference, but for these purposes, the ugly factor still holds true.) [Present company and our friends excluded, of course –Trash]

The Thompson Corporation (who owns Dialog), decided to go all out on their “vendor party” and hold an exclusive by-invite-only event. When Trash got the invitation in PDF format, she sent it to everyone she knew. Nice, huh? [Well, I was worried about the obvious lack of cool were I not to stack the deck, so to speak.—Trash] So with our printed-out invitations, we hop in line and head for the 5th floor of the Hilton which Thompson has rented for the night. They also paid for full-on, buffet-style eats: Roast beef, pasta, veggies, desserts, and free wine and beer. To top the festivities off was the hiring of the world-famous Tommy James and the Shondells. That’s right, from back in the day, “Crimson and Clover,” “Hanky Panky,” etc. So we guess Thompson threw down some dollars for this event.

Here’s the event: The three cool cats walk in and scope the food, yup, it’s a decent spread. Head to the bar and grab some wine. Then, head into the band hall and check out Tommy James and the FSU orchestra (long story). Once we realize the band is the ACTUAL Tommy James, CorpKitten and Trash head to the dance floor where thousands of ugly people are gyrating and hobbling around in such a white manner that it’s painful. And yes, I’m serious about the THOUSANDS. It was absolutely horrific. After the twenty-minute version of “Mony Mony” complete with drum and guitar solos, Chao seriously laments the fact that proper hard liquor is not available. Trash turns to Chao and says, “This is payback for making us watch A.C.,” a noise-grind-core metal band who played when we were at the American Library Association Conference in San Francisco two years ago. Touche, Trash. You win. [Oh, whatever – this wasn’t even close. –Trash]

While Trash and CorpKitten are dancing, there are hordes of ugly librarians clapping and cheering them on, as they look like they were enjoying each other’s company very much. And what better place to come out than at a library conference, right? Exactly.

Trash, meanwhile, has gathered some of her librarian friends around her, as she often does, so the group has grown to about seven or eight at this point: Chao, rolling his eyes, and about seven librarians of varying degrees of hotness. Earlier in the day, CorpKitten had been invited to a fancy-schmancy vendor party thrown by SwetsBlackwell, a major player in the library field from London. A stop by their vendor booth got all three of us invites to the shindig. So of course, we invite all our new friends from the Dialog party to attend with us. [What? We can’t be social? –Trash]

Now this party is at the Tavern on the Green. THE restaurant in Central Park. It’s beyond “swank”; it’s nearing (insert favorite porn magazine title here) status. ?ber-expensive and super high-class setup. This is a place where Chao would normally not be allowed (Chao is hairy and wears metal t-shirts), but there is the matter of “the invitation.” Someone specifically asked him to be there. So the tipsy librarian crew rolls into the Tavern on the Green and heads for the SwetsBlackwell party.

SwetsBlackwell know how to throw a party. Free food and drinks. That’s all we ask, really. But this food was prime rib, and caviar (or cloves/capers – he, he, he), and pasta, and lobster, and desserts. The drinks are real drinks, not just wine: Jack, Seven, Captain, Tanqueray, Drambuie, etc. So, yeah, we help ourselves. We do very little hob-nobbing as our purpose there is more gastronomical in nature. Food and drink flow freely…for a while. Then they start shutting things down. The entire group is outraged. [At 10:30 PM!!! Who shuts down a party at 10:30 PM? Sacrilege! Drunky but Funky would NOT approve! –Trash]

So we leave the party we’re at and crash a private wedding reception. Yeah, that’s right, we walked out of the door to our banquet room and right into a wedding reception. You just can’t have enough free food and drink, right? So while standing between the buffet table and the bar, we act very non-suspiciously and move our bodies to the very-white beat of wedding music, until…the mother of the bride gets up from the head table and starts walking towards us. Yes, mother of the bride. Chao is ready to spring into action if there is a confrontation (or run, whatever the required response will be). However, when Mom gets to our group, she says, “Now Jenny wants all the guests to make sure they take a gift home with them, so don’t forget to pick up your gift.” And gestures to the tables full of small door prizes near the door. We assure her we won’t forget and somehow wait until she leaves to start laughing like idiots. Insanely insane close call.

As this party begins to wind down, the group realizes it will probably appear suspicious if there is a crowd of people standing near the bar that NO ONE seems to know. So, the only escape route just happens to be through another party. And yes, we see a bar out there. So we crash Party Number Two – a SALSA party. I don’t mean chips and dip either. I mean a bevy (or plethora, if you will) of Hispanic chaps and gals dancing energetically around a dance floor. And a bar. [Did we mention the bar? –Trash]

We stand near the edge of the dance floor for two minutes or so looking suspiciously Caucasian, when out of the blue, Rico Suave grabs Trash and pulls her out to the dance floor. Now, for the record, Trash doesn’t salsa, but Jack Daniels DOES! [Yes, Trash DOES Salsa. In fact, she can salsa very well, thank you. However, she generally does not salsa with drunken men that she meets at random in parties she has just crashed. –Trash] Thank you ladies and gentlemen, we are officially members of the salsa party at this point. So we all smile and laugh at her spinning like Whitey Ford and then head to the bar. Alas, a cash bar, so drinks are suddenly on us. But with the cost savings of the three previous parties, we feel we can cover the cost of a few hundred drinks for the night. Chao buys some drinks for the ladies and the ladies buy some drinks for Chao. Then we sit to help our heads not spin while watching other people spin.

We pick a far-away table and park it and begin the usual librarian talk and laugh because we’ve crashed two parties at the Tavern on the Green. Some time and a few drinks later, a table fills up with fifteen or so well-dressed people who are competing with us for most-alcohol-consumed. But their group has people falling over chairs and knocking each other to the ground, so it’s time for Team Dewey to step it up a notch. More drinks.

Just then, a handsome chap comes over to our table and starts the chit chat. He’s a young, Andy Richter-like bloke from London. Says what an attractive table of people we have sitting there and then turns to Chao and says, “But YOU have the face of an angel.” Apparently Chao’s gaydar is confused by foreign accents and mass quantities of alcohol. He then pulls up a chair next to Chao and starts the festivities. Chao is a heterosexual in ways you can’t even imagine; however, he is not above flirting with the same sex and even leading someone on. Cruel, no, but it keeps everyone from fist-fighting, right? So Chao is flirty, and “Andy” is also flirty by means of kissing Chao on the cheek, hugging him, rubbing his thigh, playing with hair, etc. All members of Team Reference keep whispering to Chao asking if he’s ok with all of this, and of course, Chao is having a great time! Ego through the roof. [Anyone else notice that Chao reserves “good-looking” status only for those librarians who are hitting on him? —Trash]

After about a half hour of touchy-feely, “Andy” turns to Chao and says, “You’re straight aren’t you.” The Salsa music stops, librarians gasp, water stops flowing, a record scratches to a stop. Chao replies, “… Uh, yeah… is that alright?” Everyone starts laughing again and then there is a pleasant conversation between Chao and “Andy” on how nice it was that Chao played along and wasn’t offended, and how much fun it was to play the whole game, especially when both parties know it won’t lead anywhere. A genuinely pleasant conversation (complete with more flirting and rubbing). Insert more drinks here.

At one point, “Andy” asks what we’re all doing here. And we mention we’re librarians at the Drunken—I mean Special Libraries Association. “Andy” is floored. He tells us he works for SwetsBlackwell and actually organized the party. Someone mentions that they subscribe to services provided by SwetsBlackwell and he yells over to the well-dressed table and screams loudly, “Oi! Oi! Hey, they’re CLIENTS of ours!!!!” Their table starts laughing and the party gets a lot more hopping now that there are fifteen other people for us to talk to.

During this time, Trash is continually dragged out to the dance floor and spun wildly. Even someone’s grandpa demands she dance with him (yes, he was at least 75 years old). Then he gets all pissy with her because of her lacking salsa skills and literally just turns and walks away from her on the dance floor. He was seen later dancing with someone who was salsa-literate. [Okay, yes, that part is true. He did leave and dance with someone else. And he was 75 if he was a day. But the other guys all thought that I was BRILLIANT at salsa dancing, and most asked me to dance multiple times. –Trash] After more drinks were consumed, the sculpted bushes and shrubs began to make their presence known. Yes, they were there all along, but we actually noticed them at this point. A 15 foot high King Kong bush loomed over the bar; we were sitting next to two 5 foot high swans; a host of other woodland creatures appeared as well shaped from the shrubs. Things get freaky after drink number thirty-four.

“Andy” introduces Chao to his friend from Lehman Brothers, Inc. (fancy schmancy financial company in downtown NYC), Kahn. Kahn has on a really nice pair of stylish glasses and is really well dressed. Chao comments on this fact and they head to the bar together. Kahn makes it known he is not gay, as does Chao. Drinks are purchased and conversation ensues:

K: So where are you from?
C: from a town west of Chicago.
K: How far west? Like Rock Island?
C: … uh yeah, that’s where I live.
K: Seriously? That’s crazy, I am from Macomb.
C: That’s bizarre isn’t it? What are the odds of that happening? Hey let’s get some more drinks for the ladies.
K: Cool.

Drink are bought and passed around, except for Trash who seems to get forgotten by all but Team Salsa. More spinning from Trash. CorpKitten is being talked up by handsome well-dressed guy who unfortunately spills that he is married (dumbass). And “Andy” starts flashing his tattoo. Librarians are known for the ink so the clothes start flying off. At one point, ”Andy’s” pants hit the floor accidentally and he’s a little embarrassed, but everyone is cracking up, so it’s all cool – Captain Morgan told me it was ok, I promise.

And the time comes for everyone to leave (about 2:30 a.m.). Trash, CorpKitten, and Chao head for the door and “Andy” follows them out. HE knows where a good time is at. The four head out to a main street and hail a cab. Those of you who are familiar with taxis, know they’re a pretty wide vehicle, right? Well apparently, “Andy” didn’t think there was enough room in the back for two hot, skinny ladies, one moderately sized Hessian, and one plump Brit to sit four across in the back. So “Andy” sits on Chao’s lap on the way home. “Andy” is still commenting on what he would do to Chao if he’d just come back to the hotel with him, all the while checking Chao’s pockets for change and checking the fit of Chao’s inseam. This is all happening as Trash and CorpKitten cower in the corner of their side of the cab snickering to themselves – loudly. [Not loudly—it’s just hard to snicker so quietly that you can’t hear it from 6 inches away. –Trash] “Andy” is dropped off at his hotel and we make sure he actually gets through the doors before we pull away and head back to our hotel.

Once we arrive at our hotel, we head for the door and all three librarians stop dead in their tracks. They all look at each other and silently realize they are not ready to call it a night (or morning). So they head to the nearest bar – The Pig n Whistle, An Irish Pub with a hot bartender. So they partake in a couple more beers/ciders—and by a couple I mean four or five each—and commence conversation reveling in Chao’s prowess with the same sex. Currently, CorpKitten has been up for nearly 15 hours!!! If any of you knew CorpKitten, you would find very quickly that her body physically cannot handle the change from one time zone to the next. She’s an Eastern Time Zone gal, and withers like an albino in Arizona when she has to come to the Central Time Zone where the normal people are. So apparently, when she remains in her own familiar time zone, she can stay awake for nearly a 20-hour stretch. She also goes to bed at about 8 p.m. every night (and yes, she will throw a fit when she reads this). This night, however, ends around 3:30 a.m., which is especially funny since CorpKitten has some sort of 8 a.m. workshop...

To be continued

posted by M. Giant 3:48 PM 0 comments


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Tuesday, July 15, 2003  

New York Stories, Part Two

I’m proud to hand the reins over to my lovely wife Trash, who today tells you about Day Three of the great New York City Special Librarians Association Conference Massacree. Second in a series.

Monday [June 9] started out crisp and clear, especially for those of us (ok, ME) who had to be at a breakfast meeting by 7:30 A.M., fifteen blocks away. Comfort self with knowledge that hearty breakfast is imminent, and that previous day's hunger shouldn’t be a problem. [Note to readers: "hearty breakfast" for Ms. Trash would consist of 1.5 toast crusts dipped daintily in fried egg yolk. –CorpKitten]. Unfortunately, in New York a $40 lunch/breakfast buys you one (count it, one) bagel with cream cheese, water, OR coffee. It also buys you an interesting discussion on working virtually, and how to telecommute. Sadly, it brings out the rabid librarian who is convinced that identity theft will eliminate the virtual workplace in the next few years, and that he has an invention that he believes should solve such issues [Let me guess, the tinfoil hat made so popular by one of our colleagues from grad school? –CorpKitten]. Decide that said librarian is simply wishing he were interesting enough that someone would WANT to thieve his identity.

Return to room to wake the sleeping beauties. Convince them that now is the time to venture to the conference hall to see the many exhibits and goings-on that must occur at the convention. Also, we needed to register Chao so that he would be able to check his e-mails and such. Mention that we can pick up breakfast on the way. The final option is embraced, and soon we are on our way. Walk ten blocks in the opposite direction of earlier conference hotel (it would be so hard to find three hotels within a block of each other? In Midtown NYC?) and arrive at the headquarters. Note that the conference attendees are better-looking and more stylish than at the American Library Association conference two years previous. Also note that there wasn't much competition.

Spend the majority of the afternoon in workshops, having skipped lunch AGAIN (perhaps you are noting a trend. In fact, the best lunch I’d had at this point was the sandwich I purchased on Saturday when I met Sars at a coffee shop) to rush from meeting to meeting. Silently curse (okay, not so silently) CorpKitten and Chao for the fact that they were able to eat [You're forgetting the hot nuts we got on the street. And the beer. My receipt actually said "Lunch: 2 beers". I heart being a librarian –CorpKitten]. Begin to believe that I was less obsessed with food than I was simply bored with discussions.

[Chao spent the day walking the booths of the exhibit halls feeling good about his appearance and the fact that he is not a vendor standing at a booth at a library conference. Sure there were some funny looks and security checks to make sure Chao was really allowed to be in this area, but it all worked out. There was some good people-watching to do, so that's what went on. –Chao]

Meet up with Chao and CorpKitten for dinner, and then off to sit at our alumni table. Since we all went to the same grad school, we were asked to man the table and answer questions about the program. Arrive, and realize that we don't really know much about the program, and decide to wing it. Well, at least CorpKitten and I wing it. Chao is sent time and time again to acquire food and to purchase alcohol, as it was needed to encourage the winging it mentioned above. We are a rousing success (at least in our own minds) and from there leave to catch a cab to our next destination: a party sponsored by The Dialog Corporation.

posted by M. Giant 4:14 PM 0 comments


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Monday, July 14, 2003  

New York Stories, Part One

As I mentioned on Friday, I’m turning the blog over to some other people for the week. Trash and her friends and colleagues CorpKitten and Chao will be sharing the tale of their magnificent adventures in New York during last month’s Special Libraries Association conference. And for those of you whose minds seize up into cognitive dissonance vaporlock when you hear the words “librarian” and “adventure” in the same context, well, you must be new around here.

CorpKitten has the helm. Enjoy the ride.

Day One: Have a policeman hustled over to you at the airport because in your haste you forgot to remove what can only be called a wicked Swiss Army knife from your backpack. Explain you're a librarian going to a conference in NYC and smile charmingly. Get an appreciative once-over and a "Huh. They didn't make librarians like you back in my day." Make mental note that present outfit obviously harbors super powers and should be used only for good. [Well, and bad, but in a good way. –Trash] Smile all of the way to the plane minus a federal misdemeanor.

Liftoff from the sunny Midwest, only to land in what looks to be the penal colony from Aliens III. Clamber into transit bus and discover that the driver doesn't know where your hotel is and will drop you off "close by." Stand at the corner of 6th and 47th in downpour and decide that heading right is your best option. After two blocks, realize that left was really the better choice. Find hotel. Gallantly wave off bespectacled eastern European hottie who offers to help with suitcase. Get on elevator. Curse independent streak as primary reason am not presently mistress of a little-known duchy in Prague.

Find Trash on 7th floor. Commiserate over room's quaint interpretation of a garret. Go down to front desk to get new room. Get promised "better" room tomorrow by two oddly similar-looking men. Grieve that outfit has apparently lost all superpowers. [Well, with them, maybe. I was still impressed. –Trash] Head uptown to register for conference. Upon registration, find bar. Wander back to 49th Street and find conveniently placed Thai restaurant. Retire back to room. Pillow fight in frilly panties until 11:30, then straight to bed.

Day Two: Haul ass to the first of three conference hotels. Sit in icy conference room. Totally catch the guy next to me checking out my legs and then my ring finger, in that order. Grin innocently, confident the superpowers are back in force.

Wander around Times Square with Leslie, in search of authentic Belgian frites. Eat own weight in mayonnaise-encrusted starch. [At least YOU got to eat. Some of us had to run from one session to another. Hungry. With no food. –Trash] Head back to hotel room to await Chao. Set language on TV set to German. Feel urge to smoke and wear black. Begin to wonder what Kierkegaard meant by the aesthetic life leading only to despair. Wait for Chao. Decide too much valuable plot development is being lost in translation as to why the duck hates the rabbit and switch back to English. Where the freaking hell is Chao?

Two hours later hear Chao AND Trash in hallway. Open door. Chao has been sitting in lobby for most of afternoon because the Goat Twins wouldn't let him upstairs. However, Trash has worked her magic and scored us all a brand new room on the 11th floor, right beneath the mysterious PH floor (Phonebooth? Pheromones? Penthouse? Ohhhh). We amass our collectibles and move on up, humming the Jefferson's theme music.

[Here's where Chao was: After arriving at LaGuardia, a small van took a slew of ugly people to their respective hotels. After about 30 seconds, I could tell they were librarians. So I let them ramble on about this cutter number and this bibliography, until one of them says to me loudly, "I bet you're going to the Library Conference too! Ha Ha Ha." So I say, "That's right, you stupid bastards. I'm better than you because I've got jeans on and I'm not carrying a canvas bag, you reject-from-the-corporate-world-sons-a-bitch Library-of-Congress-kiss-ass-Jerry's-kids." Actually, I didn't say that, but I wanted to. What came out was the greatest line Puddy from Seinfeld ever used - "Yeah, that's right." They thought I was joking until I punctuated it with, "Seriously." To their credit I was wearing jeans, big dog chain wallet, TENNIS SHOES (god forbid), and a BLACK t-shirt which read "I dig your mom." The three feet of hair didn't help either. They didn't talk to me much after that, really.

So we sit in traffic for an hour or so waiting for someone to move at all - apparently it was the Puerto Rican parade going on downtown. So like twelve hours of Puerto Ricans carrying flags and wearing waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy too tight WHITE clothing had shut down the entire NYC metro area. Very colorful people with some very interesting automobiles in this parade which we
caught glimpses of. I told the driver to drop me off in traffic and I'll walk down the middle of the street until I find my hotel. No problem at all. -Chao]

New room is actually a suite, complete with marble tiled bathroom and panoramic windows. Forgive the Goat Twins all trespasses, present and future. Break out the Xmas lights and birthday gifts. Chao's haul: Two T-shirts and a set of stickers guaranteed to get him in trouble at work. CorpKitten’s haul: One T-shirt and a Russian drinking game. Lord have mercy.

Head out into the streets for some sightseeing. Discover not much is open in NYC after 5 p.m. on a Sunday. Find a Popeye's for Chao, but fail to encounter any porn shops. Feel vaguely uneasy about this startling change of events. [it's just not a vacation without porn... –Trash][)(There were porn shops everywhere, but CorpKitten looks for "PORN SHOP" in bright neon letters, rather than 1st Church of the 7th Day Aventists - nudie booths in back. She's an amateur. -Chao]

Start to wander back to hotel and notice police barricade and large crowd by Radio City Music Hall. Decide this combination must be investigated and, lowing softly, meander over. Klieg lights, red carpets, and lots and lots of large frowning men with earpieces. Squint at the marquee: Tony Awards. Oh. Weigh cool indifference against slack-jawed, yokel-like excitement. Watch tiny, curly-haired woman suddenly break free of her handler and run towards the screaming crowd. Picture severed body parts. Suddenly see unharmed and unharried Bernadette Peters trotting by, two feet away, grinning adorably. Drop all pretense of hipsterdom and goggle unrepentantly. Repeat for Marissa Jaret Winokur, Danny Glover, and Toni Braxton. When Billy Joel drives by hanging out of the window of an unmarked van, scream like an eleven-year-old girl and clutch random strangers in a paroxysm of delight, even though everything since "Songs in the Attic" has pretty much bit.

Mop up from our celebrity encounter and head back to hotel. Discover pull-out sofa bed is “Craftmatic™” in that part of it rises at a permanent 30-degree angle. Chao bravely insists that lying half-propped up with a metal bar under his spine is really his preferred method of sleeping. Trash and I retire to our double beds and stretch languorously in our matching baby-dolls. [Offers were made to "double-up" but the last time that happened, the squaws couldn't stop laughing as soon as the pants came off. Next time the Rings of Hell will be brought and I'll make sure it's not so COLD in the room before the pants come off - Chao]

posted by M. Giant 3:36 PM 0 comments


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Friday, July 11, 2003  

Pirates of Kalamazoo

A banner ad just popped up at the top of my browser featuring the smiling face of a bespectacled, businesslike woman and the caption “Reliable Hos.”

A minute later, the other half of the ad loaded, revealing that it was actually offering “Reliable Hosting.” Kind of a shame, really. I understand that some members of that industry are a little on the flaky side, but she looked pretty reliable. As hos go.

* * *

When Trash went to New York City last month, I stayed home and painted the second bedroom. I figured it would work out to my advantage because I could probably get a good guest entry out of her (and don’t tell me that some of you don’t keep coming back here in hopes of a guest entry by Trash. Liars).

It worked out even better, because I’m getting several. Trash met up with a couple of her friends from Librarian School for the Special Libraries Association Conference. CorpKitten from Kalamazoo and Chao (previously mentioned in these pages under the pseudonym The Engineer, and no relation to AB) from the Quad Cities have each agreed to take on a segment of the trip and recount it for publication under this URL. That should be happening next week. In the meantime, here’s a brief introduction to our principals, in the form of an IM conversation.

First, here are a few things you need to know, just so this isn’t too inside jokey:

Mad Gab is a game in which you read what seem to be nonsense phrases like “Eye Needle Ax Eight If” and translate them into something that makes sense, in this case “I Need A Laxative.” We discovered that the trick to solving the tough ones is to say them in a pirate voice.

The Rings of Hell are not getting linked to here because some of you are at work. I’m not even going to look for a link. Basically, The Rings of Hell is a terrifyingly complicated metal harness that is designed to be worn under a gentleman’s trousers. Or perhaps in place of them. There wasn’t much in the town where these people went to Librarian School except the school itself and many, many adult shops.

Trash, CorpKitten, and Chao (along with Rockhack and Asian Man) used to attend their Librarian School classes online in chatroom-like situations that allowed them to “whisper” to each other. In theory, they could select specific classmates and send messages only to them. In practice, it sometimes led to mistakes like Chao calling the entire class “Fucking losers.” I’ll tell that story someday.

Also, Chao’s a guy and CorpKitten’s not. I wasn’t sure whether that was clear.

You should be up to speed now. Or so you think.

Trash: Hey -- how is your recap going, mister?
Chao: Slow but sure.
CorpKitten: That's not always a bad thing, you know
Trash: Ahh, that's how we like it, right, CK?
CorpKitten: Yours will be best anyway.
Chao: I'm sure it will be way too long.
CorpKitten: Also, never a problem for us girls.
Chao: The writing I mean, he he he.
Trash: Anyhow, will you be done and ready for comments by next week, Chao? M. Giant is trying to figure out when to have us -- I think he is thinking one per day for a week. So long might be OK. Worst case: Monday night is by itself. We will all be STARS!!!!!!!!!
CorpKitten: Hee. Stars. Everyone already thinks Trash is a major hottie.
Trash: Well, she is...
CorpKitten: I was not disclaiming -- just pointing out the precedent.
Trash: Uh-huh.
Chao: I should be able to be done in the next day or two if I don't get too wordy.
CorpKitten: You mean mouthy, right?
Chao: And just so you know, I keep writing CorpseKitten. It amuses me.
CorpKitten: Heh. I should pick up some black eyeliner.
Chao: Or just dye your hair again and get sick again.
Trash: M. Giant isn't going with that, you know.
Chao: Damn.
Trash: I think he feels it isn't flattering.
CorpKitten: Because, Trash -- that's flattering.
Chao: Exactly.
Trash: Well, true.
Chao: What is [CorpKitten’s] name again?
Trash: CorpKitten. Same, but less dead.
CorpKitten: I have [husband] to thank for CorpKitten. No idea how he got it.
CorpKitten: You realize, you just can't say "trash". It's "Trasshh!" -- like, the way she says "rad!"
Trash: Exactly!
Chao: Oh, that makes a difference… whatever.
Trash: Actually, whenever I end up talking to someone that M. Giant knows through Damn Hell Ass Kings (like Deborah or Wendy or whatever) they always say TRAASSHH!! and then ask how I got my name.
CorpKitten: Hee -- see, it's a given.
Trash: Hey, Chao -- are you still coming up this weekend? We are having super-cool bands play at the Block Party.
Chao: I'm still talking to DiscQueen about that. Let me see.
CorpKitten: Um, wah! Don't bother inviting me.
Trash: Hey CorpKitten – busy this weekend?
CorpKitten: Bitch.
Trash: Seriously, check the airfare. I'll pay half if you can come.
CorpKitten: Yes, yes I am. Oh, double wah. I work this weekend.
Trash: Saaaaddd -- can you call in sick?
Chao: Are we still invited?
Trash: Nice, Chao! But yes. And tell DiscQueen that I actually have cool things to suggest, should you come this weekend!
Chao: Naughty?
CorpKitten: Noooo -- I have to cancel most of my July schedule. I'm in a show.
Trash: What!?!?!?!?!?!
Trash: Which show?
Trash: And why didn't you tell us?
Trash: And when should we show up to see it?
CorpKitten: My friend wrote it. It's a kid's show: Pirates of the Crescent Moon [PDF]. You are so not going to come see it. Uh-uh.
Trash: Whatever -- road trip, Chaoster?
Chao: Heeeelllllllll Yeeeeaaahhhhh!!
Chao: Tell me you wear an eye patch.
Trash: Or a peg leg.
Trash: No, no, tell me that you are something like Tinkerbell!
Chao: Yyyoooooooooowwwww.
CorpKitten: Did I mention the part about no freaking way?
Trash: Whatever, we ignored that part.
CorpKitten: I'm a barmaid.
Chao: Yes!!!! low cut top and everything?
CorpKitten: Fully clothed.
Trash: OK -- but low cut, at least?
CorpKitten: No! Kid's show!
Chao: Like bar WENCH or maid?
Trash: Now I can't wait!
CorpKitten: I'm not even the whore. That part got snapped up by an eleven-year-old.
Trash: When is this show that Chao and I aren't coming to see?
Chao: This is all because of the Mad Gab thing isn't it? Talk in a pirate voice!
CorpKitten: I have two lines. I do NOT talk in a pirate voice.
Chao: Damn!
Trash: This? Is perfect.
CorpKitten: You are so not coming.
Trash: Right, we got it – not coming. So, when is the happy event?
CorpKitten: What's going on this weekend that I'm missing? I already missed drunken skinny dipping last weekend. So suck.
Chao: Hey, I missed that too!
Trash: Chao -- you e-mail her husband, get the dates. I'll distract her.
CorpKitten: Trash, you're whispering skills aren't working.
Trash: Damn.
Chao: Fucking losers
CorpKitten: Seriously -- it's not worth it.
Trash: Uh-huh.
CorpKitten: Chao, your whispering skills are also lacking.
Chao: Screw that, CK. I'll bring flowers and act flamboyant if I have to!
CorpKitten: Heh.
CorpKitten: Fine. First two weeks of August. Nights and weekends. Happy?
Chao: And where?
CorpKitten: Kalamazoo API.
Chao: What is an api?
CorpKitten: Actor Playwright Initiative. Trash has been there, I think. King Lear show? Black box theatre?
Trash: Yes, yes, yes, yes, this gets better each minute
Trash: Ok Chaoster -- we are meeting in Chicago and driving from there. Or maybe I can get cheap air.
That would be even better.
Chao: Hell, I'm up for it
CorpKitten: Just don't freak me out. I've never had lines before.
Chao: Is there dancing?
Trash: And singing?
Trash: Oh -- or mine?
Trash: Wait -- clogging?
Chao: LARPing?
Chao: He he
Trash: Pirates always clog, don't they?
CorpKitten: You both suck. No singing -- it's a straight show. Kate dances on the bar. She's not real happy about that.
Chao: By straight, you mean.....
Trash: I was going to ask that too.
CorpKitten: No singing. No dancing. Just talking.
Trash: Sigh.
Chao: Hey, we're as immature as the next guy.
Trash: More, really, Chao.
Chao: Is there a website?
Trash: With a message board?
Trash: And cast bios?
CorpKitten: Yes, but we're not on it. And no!
Trash: Well, maybe Chao and I should fix that. We could make a site.
Chao: Yes!!!
Trash: “Why we love CorpKitten...”
Trash: Pictures!
Trash: Testimonials!
Trash: Poetry!
CorpKitten: I'm so going to kill you.
Trash: No, you need fans, CorpKitten; it makes or breaks any serious actress.
Chao: PLUS, it's Ribfest the first weekend in August!!!!!!!
Trash: Well, that's it. We need a bus. Hey -- I could bring a kid, CorpKitten, if that would help. Deniece will be 18½ months old by then.
CorpKitten: Ribfest? WTF?
Chao: Hell, let's make some kids.
Trash: Chao, you smooth talker you.
CorpKitten: No. Nooooo.
Trash: Ahhh, suddenly August looks ever-so-good.
Chao: Yes, it does.
CorpKitten: Fine. Party at my house. We need to break it all in, anyway. Promise me you won't screw me up onstage.
Trash: No way, CK. We will be an example to the kids.
CorpKitten: I will be exacting blood pledges that you do not fuck it up.
Trash: Now, by fucking it up, you mean...
CorpKitten: Making me nervous.
Trash: Oh. Right. Should we make prompt cards?
Chao: Like, "FUCK SHIT UP" just before the mosh pit starts?
Trash: Help you with your lines? Maybe we should sit realclose and mouth the lines with you.
CorpKitten: The seats are less than a foot away from the stage. I will hate you forever.
Chao: Now I'm thinking of costumes for Trash and me as well.
Trash: They would have to be in pirate theme.
Chao: We'll have to BLEND, right?
Trash: Exactly!
CorpKitten: I hate you both.
Trash: Oh -- but since we are only in the audience, I can wear something low cut.
Chao: As can I! Maybe the Rings of Hell.
Trash: That isn't right, man.
CorpKitten: Did I mention we're all armed? With actual sharp things?
Trash: Yes, yes, yes.
Trash: Pirate ladies didn't have sharp things.
CorpKitten: Oh yes they do.
Chao: Arrrrghhhh, they have soft things.
Chao: I'm starting every sentence with “Arrrggggh.”
Chao: Arrrrrgggh, I forgot to the last sentence.
Trash: Arrrgggh, CorpKitten is soooo lucky to have us.
CorpKitten: I'm both horrified and laughing so hard I think I wet myself.
Chao: Arrrrrgggh, she IS lucky.
Chao: Maybe I'll make LARGE cards for Mad Gab and hold those up.
CorpKitten: You will behave, yes? This is my friend's first show he's ever written.

For some reason, Trash didn’t save the rest of the conversation, but she explains me that Chao continued IMing while he got on the phone with the theater box office and was both reserving tickets and lecturing them about their website, while CorpKitten was typing “GET OFF THE PHONE! GET OFF THE PHONE!” and Trash was trying to “distract” her by typing “LA LA LA LA.” Neither one of them accomplished her goal.

So it looks like we’re going to Kalamazoo next month. And you’re going to New York with these people next week. I hope you're looking forward to it as much as I am.

posted by M. Giant 4:26 PM 0 comments


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