Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Let the Week of Lame-o Posts Continue: Another iPod Shuffle

OK, so I should have planned ahead and written a kickass post and just left it up for a week or so while I packed up my worldly goods. I didn’t. So this is a week of lame-o posts. First the “personal DNA” and then some one-word answers to questions. Now it’s another iPod shuffle, because I know you are all dying to know what I fill my ears with. In an effort to make this stupid post a little bit more interesting, I’ve done a little write-up on each song.

“Radio Delhi #2”—Radio India: The Eternal Dream of Sound
Radio India is one of my favorite albums. At some point in the mid-nineties, the Eternal Dream of Sound project recorded radio stations from around the globe. This track has a lot of Bollywood and some very eerie folk music. Then it switches to some sitar and back to pop. Highly recommended.

“If Looks Could Kill”—Camera Obscura: Let’s Get Out of This Country
While one could hardly say that the lyrics make sense, the 60s girl-group vibe of this song is contagious. I find myself bouncing up and down in my seat.

“Browning”—Edith Piaf: Voice of the Sparrow
OK, I know a movie is coming out about Edith Piaf, but I’ve had this album forever. I love listening to Piaf for dinner music or on a relaxing Sunday morning. The gun-pop in this song always kills me.

“Words You Used to Say”—Dean and Britta: Back Numbers
Sigh… It’s not Luna, but I am so happy to hear his voice again. I snoozed and lost with getting tickets to see the husband and wife act perform at the MFA. I’m still kicking myself.

“Black Wave/ Bad Vibration”—Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
I’m a bit of a whore for Canadian music. I don’t love Neon Bible as much as Funeral, but that said, it’s still an amazing album. It’s funny, Win Butler sounds like an incarnation of Ian McCullough, but Arcade Fire still manages to sound completely original at the same time.

“This Charming Man”—Stars: Nightsongs
I love this little ditty. But that’s probably because of my obsession with Canada these days.

“Dinner Bells”—Wolf Parade: (Demo)
Wolf Parade—one of the best acts of the zeros if you ask me. This song, like everything else they’ve recorded, is amazing. Plus, see above statement about Canadian music.

“Don’t Dream It’s Over”—Crowded House: (Compilation)
OK, I know it’s played in supermarkets, but I get misty whenever I hear it.

“Murder Me Rachel”—The National: Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers
In a word, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers rocks. If you don’t have it, get it. Now. Swoon… Matt Berninger has a sexy voice.

“Breakfast in Bed”—Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis
Yeah. Great song. Enough said.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Saved by a Meme

Thanks, Dive and Vic. Packing's sapped all my creative energy, and so here's another meme. You can only type one word in response to the following prompts. Your turn.

1. Yourself: Adventurous

2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend: Intriguing

3. Your hair: Wavy

4. Your mother/stepmother: Intense

5. Your dog: Spastic

6. Your favorite item: Unknown

7. Your dream last night: Wandering

8. Your favorite drink: Wine

9. Your dream car: Bike

10. The room you are in: Office

12. Your fear: Stasis

13. What you want to be in 10 years: Happy

14. Who you hung out with last night: Therapist

15. What you're not: Dull

16. Muffin: Meadow

17: One of your wish list items: Travel

18: Time: Irrelevant

19. The last thing you did: Typed

20. What you are wearing: Sweater

21. Your favorite weather: Spring

22. Your favorite book: Unknown

23. The last thing you ate: Piave

24. Your life: Interesting

25. Your mood: Sleepy

26. Your best friend/s: Ebullient

27. What are you thinking about right now? Coffee

28. Your car: Old

29. What are you doing at the moment?: Listening

30. Your summer: Blast

31. Your relationship status: Interesting

32. What is on your TV?: Nothing

33. What is the weather like?: Cloudy

34. When is the last time you laughed?: Now

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fun with Colors: Personal DNA

Way to go, Robyn! This one was fun (if a wee bit time-consuming). Try it out yourself!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hypocrites Much? Thoughts on the US Attorneys Scandal

Republicans. I can’t believe them. After getting caught firing eight US attorneys for exclusively political reasons so that they could use the misguided USA Patriot Act to replace the attorneys with ones more amenable to the Bush & Co. line, the Administration is acting like the Democrats are playing nothing but politics. Bush refuses to allow his people to testify under oath, charging that to do anything else would be a partisan “fishing expedition.”

I’m sorry, but what the hell? This is coming from the head of a party that impeached a president over a BLOW JOB. The sex life of the president had no bearing on his ability to effectively govern (and if you disagree with that statement, you’d best reevaluate your judgment of most US presidents), and yet the country was bogged down by Republican viciousness for years. But asking the White House to testify under oath about something that has a significant impact on the running of the country is pandering to politics?

I don’t think that the firing of these attorneys is the worst thing Gonzales has done. That said, he still needs to answer for it. Rove needs to address his role as well. And once that’s done, Congress needs to repeal the Patriot Act.

George W. Bush needs to shut up about partisanship already. He’s the worst offender of them all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Last night I crawled up into my loft and started packing up my books. I always start a move by packing up my books. In part I do this because books are easy, but since they also mean home to me, packing them convinces me that I really am leaving a place.

Right before I took the first book off the shelf, I sat on one of the red Indian print floor pillows and looked around the loft. The light was warm, and the floors were dark and a bit dusty. Chock full of books, the low shelves framed the window. My jade plant was perched on its plant stand, surrounded by two aloe plants, one of them spilling over the pot and tumbling onto the floor. I need to repot that poor plant, but I like the way it winds around the stand.

I took a deep breath and for one last moment was in my home. Then I picked up a book and put it in the box.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sassy Sundry on the Move!

Look out, Bitchin’ Somerville*, here comes Sassy Sundry. Sometimes the Universe decides that you really deserve a change and hands one to you. I was at a party last week (the one where a number of people insisted that I was younger than my twenty-nine-year-old sister), and someone I used to know asked me how I was liking my Cape Ann digs. I gave my usual reply, “Oh, I love my apartment, but it’s really, really quiet, and I’m looking for a change.”

“Interested in moving to Somerville?”

“Yeah, actually,” I said, a little surprised.

He said, “Well, I own a building in Somerville, and I have an apartment free. Do you want to take a look at it?”

Turns out the place is perfect for me. Wood floors, bay windows, a gorgeous glass door separating the living area from the dining area—charm up the whazoo. I’ll need to get a roommate for now, but that’s not the end of the world. The commute won’t be bad, especially since it’s in reverse and the place isn’t far from the highway.

I had wanted to move to Boston/Cambridge/Somerville for ages now, and I couldn’t have come up with a better deal for myself if I’d tried. So… I guess the moral of the story is that I should keep going to parties.

Off to pack!

*In the mid-nineties, there was a futon company that used to advertise their location as such. It always stuck in my head.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Soulless Starbucks

Yesterday morning, as I was struggling to wake up, I heard a story on NPR’s Morning Edition about Starbucks. Apparently founder Howard Shultz fears that his megacorporation is losing its soul. The story featured two ardent defenders of Starbucks, including a minister who compared the sameness of Starbucks to taking the Eucharist—one can take it anywhere. Needless to say, I woke up pissed off.

This story reminded me of everything that is wrong with America. While I’m glad that the founder of Starbucks has realized that the sterile sameness he has foisted on the world is indeed soulless, I am not convinced that Starbucks ever had a soul. And minister guy, with that logic, you should just go to McDonald’s—apparently their coffee (Newman’s Own) was ranked higher in taste tests than Starbucks coffee. You could have a Big Mac and a large coffee and call it communion.

I hate Starbucks. I hate their coffee; I hate the “atmosphere.” I hate their paper cups. I hate what they’ve done to music and to literature. I hate that people think that hanging out in a Starbucks is an authentic coffee shop experience.
Starbuck would be pissed to see his good name so misused.

My hatred of Starbucks goes back to when the company took over Boston’s Coffee Connection in the mid-nineties. Coffee Connection was a local roaster with a number of small coffee shops in Boston. Dark and delicious, Coffee Connection coffee came in real mugs if you had your coffee in the shop. All was wonderful in Beantown until Starbucks came along and took over my beloved Coffee Connection. Bastards.

You can’t see the Coffee Connection label anymore,
but this is a Coffee Connection travel mug

When I got into organic and Fair Trade, my hatred of Starbucks intensified. Although the company has made strides in recent years to incorporate organic and fairly traded coffee into their line (though I’ve never seen organic brewed coffee offered at a store), Starbucks dragged its feet on the issue for a long, long time. When a Starbucks opened up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (a town with its own coffee roaster, Breaking New Grounds), a bunch of us teamed up with the Organic Consumer Association and handed out leaflets to the tourists going into Starbucks.

The thing was that while we wanted Starbucks to start carrying Fair Trade organic coffee, we also wanted the store out of our community. To this day, no self-respecting local sets foot in the place. Why have coffee in a place virally replicated throughout the world when you can experience a place unique in all the world (and that has better coffee)?

For the love of God, if you want a real coffee experience—one with soul—go and find your local coffee shop. Try Caffé Sicilia in Gloucester, Massachusetts, if you’re ever on the North Shore. Try 1369 in Cambridge. Go to Breaking New Grounds in Portsmouth. Find your shop and support it. That’s how you put soul into your cup.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Daylight Savings Time Disaster

Daylight Savings time came early this year. Supposedly it’s going to save us all this energy, but I highly doubt it. Instead it just engendered a mild case of Y2K fever (oh no! Our computer clocks won’t work! The world might end!), and like Y2K, it pretty much came to nothing. Do you ever feel slightly disappointed when a disaster doesn’t strike? I mean, it’s not like I want horrible things to happen, but sometimes I feel a twinge of regret that I wasn’t able to see how I’d behave in a crisis.

Actually, I take that back. I know how I behave in a crisis. Stupidly. A few years ago while on my way to a cookout in a nice residential neighborhood, I came upon a most unfamiliar sight. There were several police cars blocking off the cross street, and there were officers surrounding the house. The cops were doing their little cop-crouch, like you see in the movies, and they had their guns out. What was I doing? I was idling my car, taking everything in. One of the crouching cops gave me a look as if to say, Go on! Get out of here! Then it hit me. OH! Wait! You have your GUNS out! This is a bad situation. I need to leave now. I’m on it. I backed my car out and went along my merry, stupid way.

So I take it back. I’m glad we didn’t have a crisis. I’d have more to worry about than my chronic tardiness getting into eyebrow-raising territory.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Sassy Sundries: My Week in Review

Is it really Friday again? Holy crap. Well I guess that means it’s time for the Sassy Sundries, an idea I’ve ripped off from Boston’s Weekly Dig. Here I assign numerical values to things political, personal, and nonsensical from the past week. Enjoy!

Once again, Dick Cheney is not having a great time of it. First his aide, Scooter Libby, gets convicted of four of the five counts against him. From the court proceedings, it’s obvious that Cheney was involved in the leak. Then the guy gets just one more reminder that he’s a walking corpse. As a human being, I wish him no harm, but wouldn’t it be nice if Satan stepped down? Plus Three

Scooter Libby might have gotten convicted, but Rove and Cheney escape unscathed. Minus Two

In local politics, our new Governor is making misstep after misstep; the latest one has generated an ethics complaint. Still, he handled the immigration situation nicely. Minus Two

I was still a bit confused by McIntriguing this week, but things really are great now. Goofy grin has returned. Sorry. Plus Ten

Hedged bets in the romantic department after confusing McIntriguing activity and replied to an e-mail from another interesting fellow. Am now feeling a bit conflicted about it, but am pleased with myself for treating dating as dating until it becomes something else. Plus Two

Redid iPod this week. I haven’t listened to the Jesus and Mary Chain in ages. Also obtained the latest Arcade Fire release on iTunes. Am moving up in technology world. Plus One

Evidence comes out that the FBI is taking major league advantage of the Patriot Act. Shock, Shock. Minus Two

General Petraeus, the general in charge of the Iraq “surge,” says that there isn’t a military solution to the war. The general is a rocket scientist. Bush doesn’t listen to scientists. Minus Two

U2’s Joshua Tree album came out twenty years ago today. I remember the day clearly—Smokestack and I sat around discussing the merits of the band's new approach, and she was swinging her head and torso around in time to “With or Without You.” We were in the eighth grade. I feel older than dirt. Even

Total Plus: 16
Total Minus: 8

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Robyn’s post marking the anniversary of Patsy Cline’s death earlier this week sent me on a little trip down memory lane.

My roommate in graduate school was a poetry student. Unlike we historians, who spent hours in dusty archives (well, I was a modernist, so I usually got to just hang out in special collections), painstakingly analyzing fragments of the past, the poets would sit down with a bottle of wine and write a little poem. “All done!” they’d say and keep right on drinking. It just wasn’t right.

Don’t get me wrong—my roommate was an astoundingly good poet, and I’ve been keeping a lookout for her first published book, but still, I harbored a great deal of acrimonious resentment because she actually had a life as a grad student. This one particular evening, though, I got to experience that life, and after that, I never resented special collections again.

It was a November evening, and the first blizzard of the year raged outside (yes, it still snowed in those days). A bunch of the poets braved the elements to come over to our place to hang out and do what poets do. Innumerable bottles of red wine, not to mention glasses of single-malt, later we decided that we needed to get out of the house. In a blizzard. Ill-advised though it was, one of the poets got his car running. “There won’t be anyone on the road, anyway,” he slurred. “Besides, we’re just going down to Durgin’s. It’ll be fine.”

“We’re going to Durgin’s?” my roommate and I asked as we stumbled through the snow to the waiting car. Durgin’s was a nasty little watering hole frequented by the “locals” in our college town. Many of the locals sported gaping holes where teeth were supposed to be, and we suspected inbreeding in at least a few cases. Roommate and I exchanged dubious glances, but since we were both very compliant drunks, we sighed, shook our heads, and got in the car along with the other poets. “Hey, we’re a bunch of clowns!” someone said. “We should film this.”

Down, down, down the steep hill we slid in the storm. The driver was yelling a lot, but otherwise, he seemed to be in reasonable control. Giggling, roommate and I held our arms up like we were on a rollercoaster. “Weeeeeeee!” Two minutes later, the car parked somewhat precariously near the bar, we stumbled our way through the snow and into Durgin’s.

We weren’t prepared.

I looked to my left, and I saw Roy Orbison. He was holding a guitar and singing the theme from American Tale (“Somewhere out there! Beneath the pale moonlight…”) as a duet with a stringy-haired blonde woman. Fear coursed through Roommate and me, as clearly we had entered another, distinctly unpleasant, dimension. After the initial shock, we took comfort in the bewildered looks of the poets—if we were hallucinating, at least it was a collective vision. Our driver caught on first. “Ah,” he said, sagely nodding and wiping the snow off his feet, “It’s karaoke night.”

“Yeah, but is that Roy Orbison?” one of the poets asked.

“This is really weird,” Roommate and I said at the same time.

“It’ll be fine,” the driver said. "Let’s go grab a seat back here." We walked past Roy and stringy-haired lady as they were crooning about dreams coming true and headed around the bar to the tables in the back. Did I mention that everyone in the place was staring at us like we were the Huns?

We found an empty table behind a divider that effectively blocked the karaoke stage. This made us feel better, and we sat down. A waitress came over and took our orders for beers and various other concoctions. Although everything was still really strange, we took comfort in our libations and began to relax and chat drunkenly about life in general and the beauty of the snow falling outside in particular. We were very pleased to have gotten out of the house.

In our drunken revelry, it seems we forgot about the karaoke. The karaoke had not forgotten us. All of the sudden, the music for “Crazy” started playing and from around the divider separating us from the stage slinked a thing. This thing was a very tiny woman, probably not even four-eight, wearing a seafoam green sweatsuit and tube socks. Her eyes bugged out of her tiny head. Her hair was cinched up in a cock-eyed ponytail, but she sang like she was Pasty Cline at the Grand Ole Opry. And she twisted and moved and stared intently at us, beckoning us to join her in her world. It was the single most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen.

“Oh my god!” shouted one of the poets! “What is that thing? Make it go away!”

I was grabbing the table. “What’s happening?” I whimpered to Roommate.

“I don’t know,” she whispered.

The woman kept doing her snaky dance and singing “Crazy.” She wouldn’t stop. How long can this song last? I thought nervously. I didn’t need to. Our driver grabbed Roommate’s hand and yelled, “Let’s get out of here!” to the rest of us. Drinks spilled in our wake as we dodged the beckoning singer. Everyone stared blankly after us as we ran out of the bar and into the blizzard. No one breathed until we’d wound our way back up the hill and arrived safely home. We were exhausted by the effort, but no one dared to sleep. We just kept asking ourselves what on Earth had just happened.

And after that, no one spoke of that evening again.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It Didn't Take a Bra to Make Me Do This

Ah, I love to procrastinate with online quizzes. Apparently not everyone feels the way I do. It took a bra to get The Other Girl to do a meme. That bra has excellent taste, as this little Visual DNA thing is very cool. Here’s mine.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sassy Needs

I got this idea after checking out Jamesey-Ones. Here's what you do: Google your first name (in this case, I’ve done Sassy) and the word “needs” and share the first ten hits.

Sassy Needs:
Aunt Sassy needs to be re-cast.

All Sassy needs now is a loving family with a home.

Sassy needs to have answers to all the questions. (I like this one!)

Sassy needs to recall this item and make some adjustments.

Sassy needs a foster home.

Sassy needs her disc.

Sassy needs a little somethin more intellectual than that! (Like a “g” on “somethin”)

Sassy needs you.

That's all Sassy needs is more shots of wild, unbridled anarchy.

Sassy needs to be finished before the Nantucket trip at the beginning of September, as I'd like to have some pics taken of us on the beach.

So, what do you need?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Skunkwater Memories

Two ladies—we call them Skunkwater Lady I and Skunkwater Lady II (sometimes Jr)—habitually bathe in knock-off perfume in the ladies’ toilet where I work. You might think that I use the word “bathe” hyperbolically. I assure you, I’m not. The thick, wafting clouds of Eau de Icky-Sicky-Sweet I and II are deadly. Every day, the Skunkwater Ladies freshen up their scent right around lunchtime, rendering the bathroom a Superfund site for most of the afternoon.

My coworkers and I have thought about posting signs, something, anything to stop it, but we aren’t entirely sure about how to go about putting the kibosh on skunkwater application without creating an international incident. It was during a strategizing session/bitch fest about the Skunkwater ladies last week that I was reminded of this tale from my youth.

Boys of fashion and taste sported Polo for Men by Ralph Lauren when I was in high school. They would strut past me, and my stomach would flip, my heart would beat faster, and my palms would get just a little bit sweaty. I would feel faint and look after the studly juniors and seniors with love and repressed lust (I went to a Christian school). Oh, how I wanted them. When I finally got a boyfriend of my very own, he wore Gucci. It wasn’t the only thing about him that disappointed me, but it was high up on the list. I never realized my dream of falling into the arms of a Polo-wearing senior.

Years passed. Polo had been eclipsed by other scents (beer appealed to me quite a bit at the time), and I had largely forgotten about my obsession with it. I was working in a deli before I went off to graduate school, and one day I was adjusting some containers of potato salad when I caught a whiff of something. My palms got sweaty, my heart fluttered, my head swam; I nearly threw up all over the containers of potato salad. Bleurgh! What is that stench? I couldn’t place it right away, but there was something familiar about the scent. Then, in a flash it came to me. It’s Polo! This realization was quickly followed by the thought, Wait a minute . . . Polo reeks?

As I was puzzling this over, I had an epiphany: Polo makes me sick! It wasn’t love! It was nausea!

Liberated from years of unrequited passion, I shrieked with laughter. That poor customer. He had no idea why I was running away from him at top speed.

Lost in the Dollar Store

This past weekend found me up in Portland, Maine, visiting one of my dear friends. As we weren’t feeling overly energetic, we decided to go to the dollar store for adventures. My peals of laughter probably disrupted everyone’s shopping experience while we were there, but I think you'll see what set me off. Here are just a few of the wonderful items I spied.


Tell me this doesn’t sound like a social disease

Banana Twins
Somehow the word “soft” doesn’t really seem to belong here.
I kept wanting to shout "Activate!" in honor of the Wonder Twins

Patriotic Spray Cheese
For all your patriotic spray cheese needs

Faux Spam
If Spam is faux meat, what is faux Spam?

When I think of dew, I always think of margarine from 1963

Sweet Love
Chef from South Park has cooked up a little something
for those “not-so-fresh” days