Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Michelle over at Cleveland Foodie invited me for a preview dinner, and honestly, at first I was so confused. I IMed Sarah, and I was all like "she knows I don't really talk about food right?" and then "also, she knows the way I usually write about stuff right?" But then Sarah told me she would go, and my other friend agreed, and thus we had plans.
So this new place is the old Baricelli Inn. My sole experience with this building in its former incarnation had been when I dropped Allison off for work there in the afternoons and we smoked weed in the parking lot, years and years ago, when all the Watermark servers went to work there, or Lola's. It's a beautiful building of course, a perfect restaurant spot. Plus, they have a parking lot, which is totally a selling point to me, me who specifically doesn't spend a lot of time in Little Italy because she's terrified of not finding a parking spot anywhere ever, also maybe a little scared of hitting a valet accidentally with her car. I mean, they're always just right there in the street! Speaking of, they had valet service for us, which is something I never use in my own car. So I apologized profusely to the guy who took my keys, and I hope he enjoyed the Girl Talk I left on.
The owner Scott came right up to me and said hi, like as soon as I was in the door. I must have looked lost. Really I was looking for Sarah, but also wondering what I was supposed to do, and if Andrew was there yet, and okay, I must have looked excruciatingly lost. But he was so sweet and disarming. I mean really, this guy sold me on himself last night, from the first moment of meeting him through to the last hour touring through the inn rooms. It's true you know, you like a place more when you've met the owner or the chef, and you feel some sort of personal face to the whole place. It totally happened with Crop and Steve, and at Bac in Tremont. Luckily for Michelle, this particular guy is an incredibly easy sell, he's so nice. Also, while I'm thinking of it, let me just also mention how super nice the staff was. I mean, no, I know, you expect them to be of course. It's their job. But they did a very good job of it.
So I found Sarah and Andrew and ran into Kelly and Jose who I hadn't seen in so long, which was nice. It was totally a blogger meetup, which are two words that I absolutely despise together, but it's a thing and it's a thing I enjoy, meeting people who I only know through lots and lots of words. Or in some cases, only 140 characters over and over and over again. God, we live such strange lives, don't we? Andrew told us some stories about Barcelona, and gave me a shiny new euro cent. Sarah had him enchanted by the time we found a table, because she's Sarah, and she does that effortlessly. She had him hooked by the time she finished telling him about the website she's going to start called "What The Hell Happened to Your Camry?" The whole atmosphere was like there were some adults, and then there were a bunch of high school kids being allowed to run through the new place, and it was lovely. If the place had felt too stiffed, then I would have felt ashamed of my thoughts immediately, and tried extra hard to not make a fool of myself. But it didn't feel that way at all. It just felt like a new place that really really wanted me to like it, and sincerely.
I think that's probably the best word for the whole experience. The owner was sincere. The staff was sincere. The menu was sincere. They were just all there, new uniforms, molding not even quite done in certain corners, all the kitchen stuff still shiny and new, saying "please like us". It's impossible not to fall for something like that. Especially when the packaging is cute and solid and classic.
Okay, so on to the important thing, food.
I didn't eat any of the appetizer things being passed around at the bar before we sat down, because I'm only a mobile grazer when I'm drunk and have ceased caring whether I get crumbs on my dress front. Andrew came back from getting a drink very impressed with the bartender, who had given him some trivia about Howard Hughes and the invention of the twist. He asked the hostesses which was the best dining room to sit in, and when we got down the hallway Sarah had already found it.
First was a goat cheese beet salad, which I'm just a sucker for anything with beets, so I loved it. At this very moment my mom is thinking of all those hours spent pleading with little me to eat beets. It's okay Mom, Polish blood always tells in the end. It was a great little salad, beautiful little cubes and candies and stuff.
The star of the evening, at least according to everyone I talked to, was the oxtail pierogi. It was a very good pierogi. I did find it a little salty though, and then I thought the same about the pot roast later. They were still very good, but I feel like people overuse salt because they feel like the beef won't have a strong enough taste to stand on it's own, and in both cases, it did. My own personal favorites were the beet salad, the cauliflower gratin which came with the salmon, and the chocolate brownie with chocolate ice cream, which is where the saltiness found it's perfect place. I hate when people make chocolate too sweet, and this was just right. It was kind of a Goldilocks moment in fact. Jeni's ice cream does that to people. Attention boyfriends of Cleveland, every girl you know? We are all just fangirls of Jeni's. All of us. Take note.
But! Let's talk about the pinnacle of the night, which is when Bridget ate her first scallop. As in, the entire scallop, the whole thing, not just some tiny little bite where she makes a face and then politely passes. See, I don't eat fish. I don't eat lobster, or mussels, or oysters. There is some white fish I will eat, the heavily fried and battered kind, and I like crab but only in small doses. But I knew there would be seafood on the tasting menu, since the dinner menu on the website was awfully fish heavy, so I promised myself that I was totally going to eat whatever was put in front of me like a good girl, just like when you slept over at your childhood friend's house and their parents made something awful with way too many onions in it, but you still ate it, because that's what good little girls do. I was resigned.
Well... it was really good. I finally got the whole "scallop" thing. This one had some apple cider demi and was perfectly seared so it crunched a little and then sweet but not, like, raw when you bit down on it. It was like...melon. Or peeled green grape. I spent so much time thinking about the scallop that I barely got any of the risotto before it was next course, which is saying something, cause I'm a sucker for risotto. Andrew videotaped me taking my first bite, so there you go, there's proof somewhere out in the world. I'm sure I'm making some weird face, like a cat trying to decide to eat the styrofoam packaging or not. So I eat scallops now. I will not however stop making Top Chef scallop jokes, or raising awareness of the worldwide scallop massacres taking place as we speak, the guilt for which I lay at Padma's feet.
So in the end, and despite having been courted expertly and gallantly, I would recommend trying this place out. Go to the dining room first door on the left. Maybe go on a Wednesday, which is when they have this great 2 for 40 deal which includes the bottle of wine, obviously the important part. I will go back specifically to try the mac and cheese, which wasn't on the tasting menu, and which really sort of sang my name in a creepy buttery mournful way when I was reading the website.
Later we had some stiff drinks at Mia Bella down the street, where I may or may not have been too inquisitive about the cute bartender, and when Sarah and I were walking back to our cars, a Camry passed us in the street with a giant dent in one of it's rear doors, which had me about to fall down with happiness, cause I love when things work out in round about ways like that. If that was you, and you were wondering, yes we were totally laughing at your car.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sadly, it's just some stupid marketing shit, and I don't say that because it's marketing, but because it's shit. However, it gives me a good segue for talking about robots.
There are three people I like very much, and their names are Dawn, Andrew, and Lori. They have a band. There's this 4th member Jim who I don't know, but he's cute and seems nice, so I'm sure someday I will like him very much too. Some of you may remember Dawn from the awesome wedding with the bunny/butterfly cake I went to in October. Well, when she's not being a beautiful bride, she's singing opera. No, I'm not joking. I wish I was joking, cause then I wouldn't be like "shit, why am I not a pretty redhead who sings opera and marries nice guys?" It's a question that keeps me up at night. Anyway, their band is not opera, it's more like if robots had an underground indie music scene, and played shows at coffeeshops only for other robots, and then when you tried to go to a show they all stared at you, and you could totally tell they were going to write ironic robot tweets about you later. It's called Missile Command, they've been doing it for years. I think they even won a Best Of Scene category? This past Friday they released their new album, The Future, and I think it's just the best promo art ever, so this is a gratuitous plug for them. Go buy their album on iTunes. I apparently can't, because I am blackballed from all Apple products. No, that's not true. I hope. What is true is that I cannot create an iTunes account no matter what I do. I'm all like "Apple, here is EVERY EMAIL ADDRESS I HAVE" and they're all like, okay so we're going to verify your account and everything, then pretend we didn't get any of your info. Fuck you Apple. The album is also available on their website, if you're like me and on Apple's most hated list.
Here, listen to your robot overlords.
Missile Command - Brand New Day
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday's Questions are starting to think if this trend continues, they'll be Friday questions again in no time
I've read the first one, which I guess is actually the third one, which is secretly the 15th one, which unlocks the big boss on the 17th level. I gotta say, I didn't get a lot of homophobia and sexism, but its possible I just sorta expect that from old fantasy scifi so it no longer registers in the part of my brain trying to pronounce the names properly in my head. I liked it. I wasn't stricken with a need to read it ten million times like the Ender series. Ender's Game is just plain pure gold, is what it is. Plus I have a history with an unfortunate nickname for part of my lower back which an ex gave me based on those books, which when we were together I thought was cute but in retrospect I think I just allowed it because it was a literary reference of any sort which was uncommon from him. Also, he may have gotten it from the movie and not the book. I'm never dating a non-reader again.
Is there an etiquette of revenge?
If you have to ask, you probably don't want it badly enough. Revenge is not something you vet through other people. It's something you do secretly and surely, or not at all. Though I would suggest that with revenge, like suicide, you give yourself test cuts to be sure you can go through with it.
My boyfriend told me he has the biggest crush on me today. Am I all that or what?
That's cute. Shouldn't you be asking him that? But let's move on to your second statement, which extremely colors my opinion of you in this first one. And significantly changes the tone of this first question.
My boyfriend is married, BTW. And I don't care.
Yeah see, there is exactly one situation in which it's okay to have a boyfriend who's married, and that's when he's married to you. In which case, adorable.
And before I get that whole "but he's in the middle of a divorce" excuse, let's just straight away get to the part where that makes you the rebound girl, and if you're cool with that, fine, but recognize your place. By divorce I mean, he lives away from her, they've been separated for a while, and it's just a matter of already filed paperwork going through. Which is not a situation I would be in, but that's because I don't like weak vulnerable people so I would never date someone with an entire train car of current emotional baggage like that. Also, I don't really ever want to date someone who had been married already once, because a) I'm young enough that's it means they got married way younger, and that makes me doubt their intelligence and at the very least what we could possibly have in common, and b)it's a major difference in values between us. Some guy told me once that he thought if you hadn't been married by 30, there was something wrong with you. I think exactly the opposite. I think if you get married before 30, then there's something rotten in Denmark, stinking up the rafters. There's a part of your life you just gave up for no reason. That's harsh though, and that's just me. I'm a harsh judgy person.
If he's not getting a divorce, then no dice. You're doing a bad thing. No matter the insignificance you place on his marriage, he was the one who believed in it. Helping anyone break a promise to their partner makes you just as guilty. I don't believe in marriage itself, but I certainly believe in commitment, and I believe in solidarity between women. Even if he tells you she's a bitch and a horrible person ect ect, he married her. He made a promise to her. And he needs to deal with that directly, and not in some passive aggressive way by sleeping with someone else as a way of coping. Also, he married that horrible bitch, so what does that say about him, really? I'm totally cool with judging people based on whom they associate with.
I know we all went through some phase where we thought open relationships were cool, but in the end, monogamy wins out with me. I don't know exactly why. It goes against all my logical arguments. But experience here trumps logic. I have never seen or participated in an open relationship that wasn't fucked up. Even if the two people involved thought they were happy and even keeled, even if they've been doing it for years, there's someone in that household who either had massive issues with self-esteem or insecurity, and another person who incapable of thinking of anyone's desires as more important than their own. You can yell at me about freedom as much as you want, but if you want freedom that badly, then don't commit to someone else. Because without over analyzing it, the truth is when you see a couple like that, you can smell the dirt. You can sense the rot without even knowing where it comes from.I suppose I should make it clear that by open relationship, I mean dating other people, not just picking up random sex partners together in bars. You wanna be swingers fine. Sex is sex. It can be a hobby for couples.
Also, this question wasn't really about open relationships, it just went there. I guess I'm just giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming you're not a terrible home wrecker, that's there's some sort of agreement. Yes, I said home wrecker, I'm from the 1950s. Cause people get crushes on lots of people, constantly. No matter who you are with, you're going to want to sleep with other people. Getting committed is making a choice, and sticking with that choice, ignoring crushes for something more complicated.
The majority of people are incapable of handling even one relationship. And your still married boyfriend has a relationship with his wife, good or bad, that should be resolved before he starts another one. And if he's cheating, it means he's a weakling who makes promises he can't keep.
Wonder when the gravity is going to run out?
I suspect sometimes it already has. Or the amount of it available is just dwindling closer and closer to nothing, like fresh water.
Ask Me Anything
Thursday, November 25, 2010
In the dark and still forests, our ancestors hunted their enemies, the dangerous alien bird mutants, who had come from beyond the moon. Their feathers dripped acid, their eyes burned black holes into our flesh, but our forefathers were brave, and tore apart their extra terrestial flesh and fed it to their dogs and children. Dogs first. The war raged for centuries, as the legions of bird mutants filled the skies like drops of water.
It threatened to go on for millenia more, and would have, except for the brave sacrifice of a young skinny girl, who camouflaged herself in leaves and mushrooms, and infiltrated the aliens secret base nest.
She lived in caves underneath the nest for months, living off root vegetables she pulled from the earth around her. Her skin became orange and tough like their peels. Her teeth crumbled from malnutrition.
Stealthily, every day while the despicable fowl were sleeping, she planted little round bombs, made of clay and butter from the combustible cows of Colorado, under the foundations of the base. It was an arduous mission, she longed for it's completion. One morning, finally, she saw the sign, hidden by her cave entrance.
And that evening, as the sun went down, she crept out of the cave. The alien bird mutants were rousing from their roosts, and she was spotted by a sentry too late, standing victorious by the edge of the dark woods, detonator in hand. Her village watched from the hills, as she hit the button, and blew the monsters back into the sky.
Their red blood rained down for hours.
And turned the rivers and wells to sludge, destroying the villagers' crops.
Famine threatened all of humanity.
But the resourceful mothers gathered the roots under the earth, and fed their families pie until the waters cleared.
And also, maybe lingonberries? The history books are unclear. But tonight we celebrate the actions of one brave little girl, who single-handedly won the war with the Great Mutant Turkey Aliens. We remember you Macy. We will never forget.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
1) Go to the grocery store the weekend before.
Sure, everyone tells you to go then, so you don't end up running there 10pm Wednesday night. But the truth is, I would rather have to wait behind five people with cans of cranberry sauce than one middle aged woman with an entire cart, a handful of coupons, and a checkbook.
2) Make plans for Thanksgiving Night, after dinner.
This is traditional party night for kids home from college, at least it was for my friends. Guess what? You're not in college anymore. Sit around with your family, get drunk, watch a movie. Make fun of your mom for asking questions through the whole movie. DO THE DISHES FOR YOUR DAD. (note: this is not me promising to do the dishes Dad)
3) Sleep with anyone you used to sleep with before.
The worst thing about the holidays is that everyone comes home and all of a sudden all these people who left town are back, and you're out drunk with them, and things happen. That shouldn't happen. Make a point to only sleep with people you haven't slept with before.
4) Spend all Thanksgiving Day drinking
You won't really be as hungry as you think, even if you don't eat all day. And you'll be too tired to clear the table, which will mean that once again, your sister will take all the leftover turkey skin. Turkey skin is important. Win the leftovers war.
5) Leave the turkey out on top of the stove (if you have animals)
My parents used to have this black cat, Muon, who was a champion turkey stealer. Even if we covered it with foil. This little shit could even open the refrigerator door, so we had to keep putting a stool in front of it.
6) Make any kind of fancy cranberry sauce.
Your family won't like it.
7) Give your siblings advice. Or rather, give anyone advice.
99% of family altercations are started by you thinking you need to advise somebody on something. Nobody needs advice on Thanksgiving. They just need to eat, drink, and tell horrible yet funny political stories.
Monday, November 22, 2010
And in this world that I live in now, I came home and there were messages for me from Spain, from London, missals from Iceland, comments from New York. He showed me a shirt from Pakistan, I drank coffee from South America, ate meat from Middle America, purchased oil from the Earth's core, dredged up and traveled through miles of pipe large enough for us to hide in. So this is the situation now, that I think of people half across the hemisphere and on the other side of this monitor, which is my mirror now. Like polished stones we used to use, before we learned how to melt sand and paint ourselves and send our image across country lines, and oh its amazing true, but now how common now how used to this now how conveniently distracting.
And here in Cleveland it is rainy and windy and warm. Like a hot wet breath exhaling before the snow comes.
We walked in the green light with purpose, and still slow, still hearing acutely the glass breaking under our feet and crunching into the cement. Each pool of water sitting quiet, like that wood between the worlds where Digory and Polly held hands and switched rings, and splashed through dimensions into dead planets and crawl spaces. Something like that will happen to me someday, I know it. Someday I'll go in and not come back.
Maybe I'll leave my name scrawled somewhere on the wall too, before I disappear, like a log of brave faces traveling before us. It's common too, people disappearing into other places, sending notes back that may or may not be true. Perhaps you're really drinking coffee there, like you say. Perhaps it's just a decoy note, sent from behind the curtain, to maintain our play time world. Maybe you'll never come back, or you, or you, or him, or her, or they, maybe you are all stolen, trapped in a cold white space waiting to come back. Or maybe I am closing the walls in around me, setting up the rules of my world, drawing up the manifesto, and you are either part of it or not, but whether it's you in reality, or just my crude sketch of your character is irrelevant. I regularly ask the boys I wake up next to if this is true, someday one of them will understand what I mean.
And here is a list of things I don't understand: the difference between Four Loko and an Irish coffee, the need for a prophet in every end of the world scenario, why the hairs on my arms never lie down flat, why my bathroom floor gets so dirty when I'm just walking in barefoot and coming out clean, how to make almond croissants, the science of a horn section, how to jump in and come out on the other side without being being stalled in the middle by what I'm sure can be described as fascination without too much sarcasm, why my cat hates me and yet longs for my undivided attention.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I know I sound like a fourteen year old reading a book report, but...I am also wearing a tiara.
Also, let me just mention, for the record, way more of you people have prom queen complexes than I thought.
Seriously, have you ever tried to be hungover without ice water?
Before we get into this week's questions, I just want to thank all my friends who came out last night to Pechakucha, especially Colleen who helped me practice beforehand, and get drunk, and listened to my terrified high pitch keening. I'll post the presentation here at some point, for those who had other more important things to do, like be a really awesome singer, or dance with pretty girls in Spain, or homework. I had a lot of people come talk to me afterwards, and it was really nice to meet all you new people, but please forgive me if I don't remember your names next time I see you. I'm the worst with names. Also, if I was talking to you last night and then got distracted by another person, I apologize. I'm terrible at doing the whole moving from person to person thing. I'm much more courteous one on one. Let's hang out sometime and I'll prove it to you. Amy's friend, I'm specifically thinking of you, cause I was sort of in shock when you came up, and I wasn't my typical glowing attentive self. Frankly, I found it hard to pay attention to anything for at least two drinks after it was all done.
The best stranger last night was the guy who came up to me and was like "aren't you the girl who hit my car last year?" and it was me! That was the best.
Alright, onto the questions.
What's the deal with guyliner? And why does anyone care enough to make a "deal" necessary? Is guyliner a deal breaker?
I'm trying to think if I know any guys who use guyliner, and no one is immediately springing to mind, though there were quite a few who used to at certain points in their illustrious goth youths. Are there people who are not goth that wear it? I wonder if there is a whole secret group of guys who are using it, but you know, sparingly and tastefully, so nobody knows? If so, I totally respect that. I won't walk out of the house without mascara usually, I get the addiction of something that makes you look better.
I think the "deal breaker" is probably all that wearing guyliner implies. Which is a self consciousness about appearance that most girls don't like to be reminded exists. Of course, guys are just as self conscious as girls, but they are not supposed to look like they are, it's just supposed to "happen". Guyliner falls in the same category for me as too much product in your hair, or overly ornate eyebrows. I personally don't like it, because I like kind of scruffy looking guys, but I can't fault it. Guys should have just as much room to play around with their faces as girls get.
I would totally support any guy I knew who wanted to wear clear mascara, cause eyelashes are awesome.
Cake or Pie?
Pie all the way. Pie is so much better than cake. Cake is just bread with sugar in it. Pie is an architectural design.If tiaras are so great, how come Prince wrote a song about berets and not tiaras?
Because Prince is a Jehovah's Witness who knocks on people's doors trying to convert them. Nobody in a tiara would stoop to knocking on a stranger's door. Also, let me point out his poor color choice in berets.
With the world in the state its in, with the gap between rich and poor growing greater every year, with so much wealth being held by so few people and anyone who see this disparity being tagged as a socialist, who is your favorite composer and why?
I love Beethoven from childhood, from years of banging out Fur Elise on our living room piano. I love Philip Glass, and I don't care what you think that says about me, because the Koyaanisqatsi movies are fantastic. Stravinsky, because the dinosaurs Rite of Spring in Fantasia blew my little child mind. Tchaikovsky because of Sleeping Beauty. Prokofiev because of Peter and the Wolf. I am a simply story minded girl.
I keep thinking about Elvis, how come we don't make guys like that anymore in our country?
You mean with the digestive capabilities of a humpback whale? I was specifically instructed by the asker of this question to not say anything bad about Elvis so lets all take that last sentence as a compliment. I mean, I don't really know what bad things I would say. Guy didn't do anything I wouldn't forgive any other person I know, unless there's something really terrible I'm unaware of, cause frankly, I'm not super up on my Elvis biographical trivia. But I would propose that in fact, they make guys like Elvis all the time. It's just that not all of them have musical talent. But hot guys with too much swagger, lots of ambition, and a penchant for crying in their beers which they tend to drink too much of? Those are all over. I personally know at least three. In Cleveland. I imagine that ratio wise, that means the entire population of Chicago is like that too.
I think getting married is bad form, but I want your opinion - it's wrong for people to get married right?
Bad Form! Oh how I love the phrase bad form! I love the idea that there is a Form to fail at in the first place. It's so honest. Instead of pussyfooting around expectations, they just come right out and say "you, sir, are not the right SHAPE, your actions are not fitting our MOLD, SHAPE UP or you are a BAD FORM." Remember those little color tiles we used to play with in preschool, that fit together in designs? Colorforms, wasn't that what they were called?
Anyway, so marriage right? I don't see the point of getting married. I get that other people see the point, there's some validation they are getting from the commitment, it means something to them. It doesn't mean anything to me though. I don't see the difference between being committed to a girlfriend or boyfriend, living with them and sharing a life, versus getting married. The emotional commitment is the same, the intent is generally the same. Some friends and I were recently having this conversation over dinner, and someone pointed out the difference was marriage was commitment under God, which is sort of like, "oh, that's true, and that's always why I probably don't care about it at all". If you believe in God, maybe you care about marriage? All I know is that if I'm with someone for years and years, and I live with them, and share finances, and plan things together, then I emotionally expect the same thing of them, whether or not we spent 20,000 on a big party once.
Except, there is always the tax thing. And the insurance thing, and the hospital visitation thing. Society really wants you to stop sleeping around and just couple up already. I get sort of pissed at that you know. It's discrimination against people who don't believe in the need for religious ceremony. I personally feel that instead of just trying to get marriage rights for gays (which is infuriating, that not only do we have this antiquated system of partnership, but then also no gay marriage? It's just medieval, I don't understand how it exists, it baffles me, that we can be so backwards for an institution that exists for exclusivity), we should instead be trying to fix the system so that marriage is not a thing that matters in government at all. Marriage is a religious thing, and last I checked, there wasn't supposed to be religion mixing into my state.
But if other people around me want to get married, just like they want to go to church, or ride bikes everywhere, or listen to Trip Hop all the time, it's their choice. And just like a bat mitzvah or a first communion, it should have no legal or financial ramifications at all. Because it's my choice too, and I shouldn't be penalized for not wanting it.
Say an evil (necromanced) killer trash talking turkey has stalked and killed your friends before you were finally able to kill it. Why would eat its burning carcass? Wouldn't the chance of him possessing you be high? Why would she eat him?
I need to clarify something here, is the turkey on fire? Is that how I killed it? Because then it would be burned and not very edible anyway.
I don't think I would eat anything that had eaten my friends, because I know what my friends put into their bodies on a weekly basis, and I'm guessing it probably doesn't lend itself to corn fed flavor.
Why does anyone put anything in their mouths, really?
Ask Me Anything
Friday, November 19, 2010
So when you give a 31 yr old woman a new tiara, and she spends most of the day stressed out over work, and mad at herself for not cleaning, and then gets drunk and stays up till 3am watching episodes of Community getting more drunk, it turns out *surprise* she may take pictures of herself in said tiara and her pajamas. Though it's SO much sparklier than the pictures show. It's like nothing but sparkle.
This is my tiara. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My tiara is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My tiara, without me, is useless. Without my tiara, I am useless. I must fire my tiara unicorn princess power true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me.
My tiara and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit...
My tiara is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a sister. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its glitter and it's fire. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my tiara clean and ready. We will become part of each other.
K: also. in deathmatch beret vs. tiara, beret wins!
L: please. the beret, the glorious head topper notoriously associated with the green berets, Che Guevara, Black Panthers and 70s eco terrorists all across this great country, will beat a sissy tiara down.
K: here's where i say, "oh, I was talking about my pretty pony accessories!" (not really, but yeah. my pretty pony! unicorns! tricycles!)
B: Wait till you see my Fortress of Solitude tiara and you tell me who's a fucking sissy.
B: "Oh, I'm made of felt"
"Oh, I'm made of CUT GLASS motherfucker"
K: I'm made of unicorns!
B: You know what might beat a tiara? A beret made of unicorn leather. MAYBE.
L: no no, K, let her defend her fascist, bourgeois tiara, the typical symbol of oppression and outmoded tyranny. felt and wool, the materials of a beret, are materials of the people. as Karl Marx, the greatest wearer of berets since berets were invented, once said, "a beret by the people, for the people, shall never perish from this earth."
B: interesting but true fact: when you google Karl Marx in a hat, the image of Papa Smurf comes up more times than I'm comfortable with.
L: and so does my christmas card for this season.
K: I thought he said something about letting them eat cake?
;) Bridget, take no chances. my beret is made of unicorn leather AND cut glass. it darkles and tincts!
B: Oh Papa Smurf, I love when you come down the Chimney and free the proletariat with oranges and schnitzel.
K: if I do Christmas cards this year, they'll have flying unicorns on them. now I want orange juice.
L: that quote about the cake was a bastardization propagated by Lenin to gain control of the soviet military when flour supplies ran low. Russia is solidly team pie; the cake thing was meant to be an insult. i guess some things get lost in translation.
B: Dude, tiaras and pie all the way, monarchy 4 eva.
K: i DO like pie. who's eva, though?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Welcome to The Wilds, which grew up around the stockyards, across the street from the glue factory which smelled sometimes in the summer and people in the neighborhood complained and complained but for years it happened. It totally fit that the smell of slaughtered animals would be replaced years after it's closing with the smells of processing parts, sticky cartilage and tanned leather. It totally made sense that the Super KMart was the anchor of that shopping plaza, dropped down in the middle of it.
One day, Buddy and I went to the Big Lots on the other side of the plaza. Maybe you don't know what Big Lots is, but you know the kind of store it is. The overstock store. The overflow of weird junk people buy in hordes, despite not knowing why or when or how. Buddy was really into Big Lots for a minute. I was extremely doubtful, but there was a time when we called each other to do things like buy bed sheets, and that's what he wanted to do that day. This was when we had different jobs, jobs whose schedules changed week to week, hourly to hourly, and the weeks when we found we had the same days off were great, like little holidays.
So we did what we always did that morning, drink a little, smoke a little, watch an episode of AbFab. I was late to his house, because I am always late. Then he drove, and we went to Big Lots. Luckily I did not have money with me, because I'm sure I would have spent 30 dollars in the first five minutes. Weird ornate lamps with birds on them, concrete statuettes of frogs and sundials and neon colored glass ware. Oh, the bathroom rugs! And curtains in thin little plastic packets! This is why dorm rooms are always so ugly, because apparently some of us have no taste when overcome with shocked enthusiasm.
But the one thing we both really wanted, immediately and for years after, was a dark wooden carved Chinese screen. You know, like one of those standing ones, that girls change behind and people put in their room to, I don't know, make the space smaller for no apparent reason. But it was awesome. It wasn't ugly at all, not even a little. It was delicate and solid at the same time, with just the right amount of design. It was 80 dollars, which even our juvenile minds knew was a really good deal. We stood there trying to figure out who would buy it for like 15 minutes, we even talked about buying it together, because at that time we were talking about being roomies, though thank god we figured out that would be a bad idea before it actually happened. Best friends shouldn't live together if they are really alike.
So neither of us bought it. And a few weeks later, after paydays, we went back to see if the screens were still there. They weren't. They were long gone.
To make ourselves feel better, we stocked up on tea light holders and fake flowers. I think Buddy may have bought a desk too? Or a chair? I never went back to Big Lots, least not for a while. I just knew they would never have anything like that screen. And if they didn't, I was just setting myself up for disappointment. But a few years ago, The Ex took me to one because he was looking for an emergency shirt or something, and still even then, I looked to see. They didn't.
I have a vague memory of buying a car battery at that Kmart. They had a carousel in front of the store entrance, one of those tiny metal ones that small kids beg to ride, and one of those rocket ships. It was a terrible Kmart, those rides were easily the best part.
So when we went to look at this building next to it, it didn't surprise me really that it was closed. But it was a really horrible sad feeling, parking in this empty lot, with the large stretch of boarded up Kmart in front of me. I'm way more nostalgic about that neighborhood than I like to be, because honestly, being sentimental about that area sucks. You are just going to have your heart broken again and again, even for things you don't care about, like the Payless you went to once, just once. And then oh my god, when we left and drove up Denison and that steel truss bridge, the tiny short cute one, had been torn down and replace with a shaky stretch of beige painted concrete? With the roller skating rink right there, in your line of sight? It's inexplicably bad. I hate it. The feeling. Not the neighborhood. You can't hate a place you grew up.
There was a fire in the building adjacent to this a while ago, and the glass panes were melted in their frames. But all the rolls of carpet in this one survived untouched. Carpet and chairs everywhere. Way more colorful than we were used to. Almost like being in one of the abandoned schools. But definitely not childish.
And why were there this beautiful colored pieces in the shattered glass block? And why were the walls painted in teal stripes? Why were the murder rooms, tucked away in corners, with locks and nothing else, all painted in bright primary colors?
This was like the movie set where the gang of misfit failed artists/stoners/hanger on girls/unloved white trash boys with good hearts all hung out. Escaping from their blue collar homes with tired cranky moms and dads. Until they all died in the fire, suffocating on the smells of the dirtiest industries, maybe hanging out in the alley ways, maybe moving out to Parma, maybe getting someone pregnant and getting married, getting a trucking job. Maybe getting a job at Big Lots, hoping to get tenure some day and benefits. But most likely not. Buying the cheap Easter baskets that came premade and wrapped in green and pink cellophane for their kids, to take to Grandma's house down the street. I used to be so jealous of those baskets, they looked so big, when my own mother would make our own with Malleys and kites and Easter bonnets, which looking back were so much better.
Monday, November 15, 2010
A couple of things coming up this week:
This Tuesday, my sister is hosting a book discussion at Visible Voices. Even if you haven't read Sex At Dawn: The Prehistoric Origin of Modern Sexuality, the title alone should tell you that the conversation will be more interesting than staying home and watching NCIS reruns. It starts at 6:30pm, any and all welcome. I can't make it cause I work till 10, but Carrie is way prettier and more engaging than me, so you'll like her. Which is the opposite of a perfect segue to this....
This Friday, the 19th, come out to see me present Excerpt from the Compendium of Cleveland Monsters at PechaKucha Volume 10. The event is free, starts at 7pm, and there will be a cash bar, so you can use me as an excuse to get drunk in the Old Arcade in a more civil way than just walking around on a Tuesday afternoon with a brown paper bag. I am, frankly, terrified about doing this, so while I know some of you will be singing opera or on your way to Spain (how do I know you people again?), everyone else should show up. I don't know what my place is in the schedule, but the other presenters will probably be tops as well. As in they will all be better than me and I will look like a babbling fool. Ugh. I'm so nervous about this, I've actually crossed the line into "fuck it", then back into "oh my god", then back into "no one will miss me if I run away to Michigan and never come back." So you know, it will be what it will be and I can only do my best, and at the very least I already know what I'm going to wear so at least I won't be freaking out about that the day of.
Saturday night Colleen and I went to Halycon Lodge to see a boxing match. The fighters were all teenage boys, the highest weight was 154, and all over the auditorium were their nervous mothers, desperately chewing gum, or groups of young people in matching hoodies with the names of their gyms on them cheering for their fighters. We sat up in the balcony with some friends, and talked about the ethics of watching boys beat each other up. My point is that it's just like a karate demonstration. The New York Time's point is that repeat concussions are bad for you. Amy's point is that roller coasters shake your head around a lot too, so are those bad as well? Colleen knows more about fighting than I do, but I like to look at the guy before he gets in the ring, when he's just standing there on the sidelines waiting and thinking about it. It's like looking at the horses walk by before a race, and you're looking for the one with the sleekest lines and the calmest face.
After the fight, we went to a tequila tasting, which was equal parts education, dance party, dog chasing, scarf eating, keg hoisting, and sweet. The sweet parts came from sitting on steps by myself. Every time you get drunk in such a way that people are going to fall down around you like dominoes, it's best to reapply your lip gloss, find a quiet place, and just sit for a moment feeling innocent. Of course, I don't know what it says about me that I have to actively find my moments of innocence, but at least I know how to.
The next morning, the survivors (there were only 4 of us, it was carnage, there were bodies everywhere, and then they kept getting up and walking around, and finally we had to just tie them up in sleeping bags and run) went to the Polish American Cultural Center for lunch, where 10 dollars buys you mashed potatoes and sauerkraut soup and chicken thighs in gravy, also old Polish men who want to kiss you just because you are half Polish, and later you hear their life's story from their wives, which involves secret train trips and starvation camps and scrimped trips to America, and you think to yourself that men like that have earned every right to kiss young girls for no real reason.
After eating, and filling in some memory gaps from the night before, we got a tour around the museum, which is in process of being coagulated from donations and inheritances and antique finds. My favorite sections were the Solidarnosc posters and pins and flyers. It made me think of that t-shirt Carrie had for a while in high school, and the pin I used to keep in my jewelry drawer. Stylistically exactly what little liberal raised blue blooded girls with birthing hips and political aspirations like.
Also, all the little painted wooden eggs Mom used to have, and the little dolls. And I wonder why the color scheme of Polish Americans is the same in every church and bingo hall, the pale pale pink, burgundy, white flowers, occasionally a burst of the bright flag red, and white draping things. That's how St. Boniface used to look too, before it became more of a Korean church, when the 3rd generation stockyard workers moved out of the neighborhood, out to Westlake and Brecksville. And that church in Manayunk that Grandma Bert used to take us to, where they still said the mass in Polish, same thing, all sparse and light colored. It's a very different look from the Irish Catholic churches, more reserved. But meeting halls are always meeting halls, no matter what color scheme they have, church, immigrants, or otherwise. Giant metal vats of coffee, and old women with brooches talking, and little bundles of flowers on the table. They have a Wigilia dinner at the Center the weekend before Christmas, so I'll probably try to go with Mom, and then she can tell me stories about Babka, and we can both feel a little guilty for not knowing more, but still pretty grateful we don't have to. Cause the history of Poland is one of a lot of people dying and a lot of people starving and a lot of people leaving.
Did you know almost half the girls in Cleveland are half Irish, half Polish? That is a fact I made up just now.