Freaking Out Squares

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Lootellan, You Damn Saxy!

So, I'm up early this morning, on my way to perform hostessing duties at the NYC Youth Volunteer Expo, when I double-check my flyer and discover that the event is next weekend. Eups. Since I'm already showered and dressed, I make some coffee, check my email, and discover an email with this link, from a friend. The blog, "Girls Gone Gossip" (I think that's what it's called), as near as I can tell, is a piss-take on sites like Gawker and its ilk, told in the form of AIM chats that may or may not be fabricated. The entry in question is a brief commentary on "The 100 Unsexiest Men in the World [sic]" list, as gauged by Bill Jensen and Ryan Stewart of the Boston Phoenix, which is to Boston what the Village Voice is to NYC, and so on down the line. Anyway, according to GGG, Brad Pitt came in at number 100 on the Unsexy list, thanks to his reputed poor hygiene. (By the way, the friend who sent me this link has certain neuroses about celebrities and their potential BO, their gnarly teeth, and the potential for fecal matter contaminating their hands. Said friend had the untmitigated gall to claim, once, that Kevin Kline was a possible fecal offender. Hey, said friend! You know I applaud and support your little psychological disorder, but you don't be claimin' my man KK got shit on his hands, 'less you want me to open up a can of whupass! Dig?)

Celebrity trifle aside for the time being, I putter around, activate a couple of Hotmail accounts, and find myself on the Hotmail Today page, where lo and behold, there's an article about the 100 Unsexiest Men in the world! Oh, evil succubus, damn you and your venomous tentacles for suctioning me into your lair! A few more clicks, and I'm on The Phoenix's home page, reading the actual text that started it all. And what's the "it"? Why, the controversy that's sure to be spreading over the blogosphere like a super-resistant strain of avian flu, that's what! I'm probably making an ass out of you and me here, but this does seem to be the kind of thing that gets our collective internal organs in a spasm, so why not add my two cents? (Yikes--the first "current events" thing I post on here, and it's about the 100 Unsexiest Men. Why am I not delving into a detailed analysis of military spending, or even the recently averted doorman strike here in the city? Oh, right, because I'm not Ana Marie Cox. Would that I were--I'd feel so much better about myself!)

All right, then. Back to the list. Here are ten of Jensen and Stewart's picks, along with my commentary.

#1. Gilbert Gottfried. Oh, come on! Number one? Look, the guy's no Paul Newman, but give me a break! There are far more unsexy fellows out there who should have nabbed this spot, not least your number 11 choice, Michael Jackson. So he's the voice of that AFLAC duck--is that really more of a bucket of cold water on the genitals than a...thing who, as you put it, is the result of "when an ugly J.C. Penny [sic] mannequin has sex with Pogo, the clown identity of serial killer John Wayne Gacy"? Please.

#8. Osama bin Laden. Well...uh...yeah...but whether he's sexy or unsexy isn't first in my mind, certainly. I mean, the guy who ordered the bombing of the World Trade Center exists, at least for me, in a sphere way, way above (or below) sex appeal, or lack thereof. And your comment about Dick Cheney not being on the list because "power is sexy"? I'll give you an inch on the latter, but there's also what you do with your power, and a fellow who looks like a Madball and is responsible for the decimation of thousands of soldiers and civilians alike in order to protect his oil interests ain't gonna get my panties wet. Sorry, guys.

#9. Jay Leno.Hee. Good choice. Hate him. HATE him. So much. Flames. The side of my face. Heaving, heaving breaths. (Stole that from the late, great Madeline Kahn in Clue: The Movie.)

#12. Wallace Shawn. Hey, fuck you! I can "get past that nasally lisp," thank you very much! There's a reason Woody Allen (who did not, to my suprise, make this list, even though I kind of have a weird little thing for him) cast him as the stud in Manhattan, I'll have you know! (Well, okay, because the whole idea's absurd. Still, in my limited experience, I must say, it's the ones who spent their teen years playing Dungeons and Dragons and having dinner with Andre who know how to make love to a woman, as opposed to the star quarterbacks who are used to just showing up, and can't even do that without falling flat on their asses. Rough generalization, I know, but there's truth in it.)

#14. Richard Simmons. Of course. But too easy.

#38. Larry David. Ah, anti-Semites! Seriously, though, you fellows might be surprised how many of us ladies have a thing for whiny, bald, self-absorbed older Jewish men, and I'm not just talking about fuckin' weirdos like me.

#50. Ric Ocasek. Mixed reviews on this one. He's not a looker, but he's got that classic rock star sleaziness that's appealing in an I'm With the Band kind of way. Okay, you "know who his wife is. And no, [you] don't care." Two points: 1) What the hell does that have to do with RO himself? and 2) Are there any fellows out there, besides those in my immediate circle of friends, who are either gay or are fuckin' weirdos like me, who aren't spanking it to Paulina Porizkova? So she's "hot"! Who the fuck does that even mean, anyway? Ugh.

#59. Clay Aiken. Hee hee. See #9.

#62. Bill Maher. Look, some of us like geeks, all right? And by "geeks," I mean "those who do their homework and know their shit," not those who saunter up in dirty white baseball caps, Coors in hand, and try to impress us with tales of their stock portfolios and allegedly large dicks. So the guy needs a haircut! Far more easily remedied than a brain transplant, as we saw in Young Frankenstein. (You know, Gene Wilder is pretty goddamn adorable in that movie. Maybe because he's, oh, I don't know, a geek?)

And, finally: #100. Brad Pitt. I happen to think "hot" is overrated, whether you're this guy or Paulina Porizkova, and I'm not ashamed to say I never quite got Mr. Pitt's appeal. His face is rather simian, what with that pushed-out lower lip, and that blank stare of his puts me more in mind of a junkie than a soulful hunk of manliness thinking deep, tormented thoughts. (I am also proud to say I LOATHED resident hottie Jordan Catalano, master of the blank stare, on "My So-Called Life." Angela, sweetie, he's looking at you that way because he hasn't the brains God gave a goat, okay? So spare us your gaggingly self-absorbed monologues and start a grrrl band instead. Or get it on with your geeky neighbor, Brian Krakow! Just give him a haircut first.) Anyhoo, that said, I can't really consign Mr. Pitt to the circular filing bin, thanks to his awesomely over-the-top performance in Twelve Monkeys. I like to think that anyone who can turn in such an amazing display of batshittery has some intelligence, but I still won't be bothering BP for some tail any time soon, and not just because of Angelina Jolie or those rumors about his BO. Hey, I hear Sting is not, shall we say, committed to grooming, but I spent the better part of high school totally besotted with him. (Of course, I didn't know about his shoddy bathing habits then, but no matter. He's still hot. Oh, that word! But he seems like kind of a geek, too.)

Yheesh! I didn't realize that was going to take me so long. No wonder I'm so hungry (snark). Anyway, be right back...

All right. I'm eating some cereal now. Breakfast at 2:40 p.m., and I've been up since 8. As you can see, I treat my body like a temple. Anyway, while that was fun, I'm a bit puzzled as to the authors' motivations in compiling this list in the first place. Are they gay? Perhaps, but that's too easy, and it's not like there aren't straight men out there who are capable of evaluating the sexiness of their own gender. But assuming these gentlemen are hetero, I'm still kind of all, what the fuck? I mean, did they do research? Did they ask for any female input? Or were they so stumped for content that they decided to just cobble a list of ugly (and, in some cases, not so much) men, and put the issue to bed? And why, oh why, did I spend all day on this? Kill me now.

Oh, well. Could have been worse. They could have given us a "100 Unsexiest Women" list, which would have been so totally piggish. Yeah, I know there's a whole host of guys out there who bore the brunt of fag jokes, atomic wedgies, and pretty girls ignoring them at the dances, and maybe this article will provoke in them the righteous anger a female version would elicit from me. But we're still so criminally underdeveloped when it comes to feminist issues--and I mean very simple ones, like equal pay, and not teaching our daughters that we're incomplete without a man to love us--that a "100 Unsexiest Women" list would prove nuclear at best. Maybe sometime before the earth becomes uninhabitable, we'll be able to laugh at such a thing, but that ain't gonna happen any time soon. So, Messrs. Jensen and Stewart, thanks, I guess, for not going there, at least.

Oh, some picks from my "100 Sexiest Women" list? Bebe Neuwirth and Annette Bening, of course. Now, those ladies are HOT!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wide World of Boxing

Ah, the joys of the 21st century, wherein one can be political without leaving one's house. I just signed's petition to prevent Congress from killing Network Neutrality, which prevents big corporations from censoring websites, among other things. (God, I just remembered when I worked at that internet company, one of the most distasteful tasks I had to perform there was to demand that this fellow who ran a small website remove "inflammatory" content about one of our clients. My boss was an insane wench who so terrified me into her viselike grip for the nine months I worked there that I don't think I even remembered what the First Amendment was--never mind standing on a platform with a bullhorn demanding clemency for Lenny Bruce. Shudder.) Having signed an average of two petitions per day during that righteously angry year of 2004, when we all thought we might have a snowball's chance in hell of ridding ourselves of the Head Douche, I've taken to deleting most of their emails, figuring we're all fucked in the ass anyway, so I'm not going to waste precious time and risk having my computer go batshit just to sign a petition, for god's sake. Well, that's bullshit. I am a lazy girl, but I can point and click, and even if we're all fucked, which I believe we are, so entrenched are we by the almighty dollar, that is absolutely no reason to not sign a goddamn petition. If I may just wrap up this stupid anal sex metaphor, our efforts might be the K-Y Jelly we all need. Ahem. So, if you haven't received the email, go to's website and sign the petition calling for Congress to retain Network Neutrality. Baby, rub it down and make it smooth like lotion. (Sorry--couldn't resist.)

I did actually leave the house last Friday night for the wilds of Alphabet City, which are not really so wild anymore, thanks to gentrification and the proliferation of hip Thai fusion restaurants of every corner (I'm all for making neighborhoods safe for people to go about their daily lives without fear of taking a bullet in the cerebellum, but why the fuck does that have to involve driving rents up 1000% and remaking Times Square into the Mall of America? I know why it does involve that--my point is, it doesn't have to, and it damn well shouldn't), to see my old pals Ellen and Lisa's spoken word show at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Wow, what a long sentence, and so many links! Anyway, for those of you unfamiliar with this somewhat venerable New York institution, Nuyorican is sort of the Studio 54 of the poet caste (or would be, if this were 1977--I have no idea where the popular kids hang out these days), famous for its Friday night poetry "slams," which are the literary version of the dance-off at the end of Saturday Night Fever. I mean, I really do not leave the house, as you can see.

In short, Nuyorican is the gold standard for a whole host of young, and old, bards, particularly for those who are into hip-hop and whose poetry is, if I may so lamely and generically phrase this, "socially conscious." Anti-PC as I am, I don't offer this as some kind of nasty dig, because it isn't. There is, however, a whole genre of literary work that falls under the "socially conscious" rubric, and as liberal as that classification portends to be, I've found it just as circumscribed and reactionary as any of the Bible-thumping rhetoric I was forced to ingest while growing up in the outskirts of Pennsylvania's Amish Country, much of which I have not yet managed to cleanse from my blood. (Top this off with a strong mushy liberal bent and you'll see, partly, why I'm such a nutjob.) It's difficult for me to reconcile the Leftist political sensibilities of this genre, most of which I share, with some of the godawful, didactic pieces of shit that have emerged from it, and even more difficult for me to discuss it in any forum other than a dive bar, with a few select people around who get where I'm coming from and several pints of beer in me. I've heard some lovely work at Nuyorican that can easily be categorized as "political" or "socially conscious," but I've also heard a lot of the aforementioned godawful, didactic pieces of shit, and it really rather pisses me off when the latter are hailed as "brilliant" and "revolutionary." Meanwhile, I'll be sitting in the corner, stewing, hating that I've just been preached to, hating myself for failing to see the revolutionary brilliance in this epic poem that could well have been simply distilled from a Marxism 101 lecture at the Brecht Forum. Where was the humanity in that poem? The idiosyncrasies? Anything that smacks of how real people actually live? Am I just too dense to get it? Too racist? Too emotionally underdeveloped? What the fuck is wrong with me?

When I first slapped this blog up here, I said, in effect, that I was a label whore. I like to think I'm actually a label call girl now, or at least I'm beginning to make the transition from working the docks to sitting in a well-appointed flat, servicing gentlemen at my whim. I've come quite a ways from sitting at the bar at Nuyorican, belting back wine and trying to retrain my brain to perfectly conform to an ideology with which I basically agree, in order that I might write brilliant, revolutionary, Marxist epics that also manage to sing and swing and get merry like Christmas. This go-round, I was actually able to enjoy my friends' show (which, by the way, ladies, was wonderful, and does not fall in the godawful, didactic category, and I ain't just saying that 'cause you're my friends, so keep kickin' ass) and neither steep myself in massive quantities of wine or guilt, nor attempt to synchronize my brain waves with the Nuyorican party line. Don't get me wrong--the tendrils of my childhood still dangle ominously, but I have my lucid moments now in which I'm able to step back and remind myself that this is not the only game in town, and there are as many ways of thinking, being, and creating as there are people in the world, and none of them is inherently "wrong" or "right." Well, except for the Bible-thumpers and Klansmen and die-hard Republican flag-wavers. Oh, and the so-called feminists who insist that women are Venusian peacemakers, which is really just an update of that old sugar and spice and everything nice saw. Oh, and ass-kissers can, well, kiss my ass. Or go fuck themselves up theirs. And I wouldn't exactly shed a tear if the entire Bush administration woke up one morning and found themselves buried up to their necks in sand, with fire ants crawling over their heads, which have been drizzled in honey. You get the picture.

By the way, the title of my friends' show? Boxes and Boundaries: How Do You Resist? Coincidence? Serendipity? This author's half-assed attempt to link her personal issues to a public event for the sake of posting something? All/None of the above?

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What a Bunch of Pricks: While working on a sewing project into the wee hours of Sunday morning, I was watching MSNBC, hoping to see "Lockdown: Inside San Quentin" or another of the life-affirming shows said station sees fit to broadcast at 1 a.m., when, much to my surprise, I found myself watching "Captured: On Tape." I'm not a big fan of this show, particularly when it involves housewives shoplifting at Wal-Mart in Ohio, but this installment was all about tattoos. Since I'm turning thirty in a shade under six months, I thought this might be a good time to revisit the tattoo issue. Ten years ago, I spent three months in Krakow, Poland, and spurred by the newly tattooed presence of my hipper-than-thou suitemates, I came very close to permanently decorating my flesh for 40 zloty, which is roughly the equivalent of $13 american. I chickened out at the last minute, figuring it was probably unwise to submit to needling in a country where one can get food poisoning from a carrot. (We had four cases of food poisoning in the first six weeks we were there. One of the victims was a strict vegetarian, and the doctors posited he picked it up from eating unwashed vegetables and fruit. I got it from a bad hardboiled egg I ate at a hotel in Prague. Trust me, you haven't lived until you've contracted salmonella in a former Soviet bloc nation.)

Anyway, ten years on, and safe(?) in the bosom of NYC, I'm thinking about celebrating my 30th birthday by getting a tattoo. If anyone knows of any reputable tattoo parlors here in town or in the metro area that manage to not transmit HIV or Hep C without charging a king's ransom, let me know. Also, if you have any tattoo ideas, post 'em on this blog. Now's your chance to come out of hiding! I'm leaning toward an anarchy symbol with roses entwined--a political trellis, if you will--on my ankle, but I'm open to suggestions.

And speaking of needles, if you're trying to seam a piece of fabric while balancing it on your knee, may I recommend wearing something more substantial than a T-shirt and underpants, lest you wind up dappling your thigh with puncture wounds?
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Finally, congratulations are in order for faux pundit Stephen Colbert, who, on Tuesday, became a father for the fourth time...of a baby eagle. No Stuart Little fantasies here (and I speak of the infinitely superior E.B. White book, not the wretched movie version)--the baby eagle is part of a litter (I know there's a proper term for a grouping of eagles, something along the lines of "a murder of crows"--I just don't know what it is) of eaglets belonging to the San Francisco Zoo, who offered to name a baby eagle in Stephen's honor. That is actually pretty damn awesome, not least because the first time I saw Stephen Colbert on The Daily Show, way back in the Craig Kilborn days, I thought, "Who is this milky-white 'nice guy'? Ooh! He's so creepy! Get him off!" I revised my opinion as the some of the most racist, anti-Semitic, flag-waving bile began to spew out of his ostensibly clean, square maw--all in good fun, of course. I have to say, that's always been one of my big lures, a fellow who looks like a straight arrow and reveals himself as a die-hard liberal through his satiric use of horrid, reactionary shit. I like that in women, too--I just don't like it like it. Yet. That I know of. Or am comfortable acknowledging. Anyway, congratulations, Stephen, and my most sincere apologies for marginalizing you thus lo these many years ago. I know you've probably bookmarked this page by now, seeing as I have a link to your site and all, and I look forward to a random celebrity encounter with you sometime in the not-too-distant future, during which I shall behave in a dignified manner and not attempt to engage you in adopting your screen persona for my personal amusement, unlike some of the RUBES you might run into. You're welcome.

Monday, April 10, 2006

No Business Like It

Dad blast it, I really need to bite the bullet and get DSL. (I also need to get a Real Job, but let's not go there right now, shall we?) I was happily click-clacking away at the keyboard this morning when, sure enough, my trusty 56K connection froze, leaving me with no choice but to do the turn-the-computer-on-and-off thing Bill Gates commands you not to do, lest the computer explodes. (I'm not kidding--I actually believed, at one point, that if you turned the computer off without shutting it down properly, you'd lose everything on your hard drive and the computer would start spewing hot molten lava. Hyperbolic, but you get the idea. My first Real Job, after grad school, was in internet marketing, and one of the most valuable lessons I learned there that I apply in my present daily life was it's okay to turn the computer on and off. The computer will not explode. Stay calm. The humans shall prevail.)

As usual, I digress. We'll see how long my Stone Age connection holds up. But I really do need to get DSL. And a Real Job. And I should probably Spic 'n Span my kitchen floor, while I'm at it, since I haven't mopped the damn thing in two years. Oh, and I should read the Sunday New York Times more thoroughly, instead of just going straight for the magazine and the Arts section and doing the crossword puzzle. Oh, geez, she's embarking on yet another Quest for Self-Improvement. How original! (Yeah, well, tough shit, inner Frank Rich. There's a reason this show is playing off-off-off-Broadway, and there's no need for you to be a snot rag about it. So there!)

Ahem. Speaking of plays, and self-improvement, I'm working on two new pieces for my acting class. One is a monologue from a play called Miss Margarida's Way, by a Brazilian playwright named Roberto Athayde. The other is a scene from the play Fool for Love by Sam Shepard. The former, which Athayde has subtitled, "Tragicomic Monologue for an Impetuous Woman," is the kind of role I was famous (notorious?) for playing in high school, the libidinous, boobs-a-bouncin', brassy older woman with an evil streak. Luckily, I got off on that kind of performance, because every time we did a play that required a wacky old broad, it was, "Where's Karla? Get her ass out of marching band practice and into makeup!" It was fun, but it got real old after a while. There are limits to my tolerance, and while I was more than okay playing the wizened, brassy Bloody Mary in South Pacific (literally brassy! I'm not kidding--they painted me orange, because I was supposed to be Polynesian! Isn't that a bit racist? I mean, if we'd done Show Boat, which we would not have done, since there were only two guys in the drama department who could sing, would they have painted me black and given me red, fleshy lips to play Queenie the cook?), I was pretty fucking pissed off to be cast as Jan, as opposed to Rizzo, in Grease. (Jan is the one who, in the movie, does that whole "Brush-a, brush-a, brush-a" schtick at the slumber party.) We all adored our drama director, not least because of his propensity to work "fuck" and "shit" into every other sentence, but he was pretty damn rigid when it came to casting. Above all else, the show had to look right. If it said in the character descriptions at the beginning of the play that Rizzo was supposed to be thin, then Rizzo was gonna be thin, goddammit. Well, you're the boss, but...Adrienne Barbeau? Stockard Channing? Rosie O'Donnell? I seem to recall some extra flesh hanging off various parts of those ladies, and I don't think anyone was complaining. Oh, they complained that Rosie O'Donnell couldn't sing, but that's justified. Anyway, it was a shitty trip to lay on a sixteen-year-old girl, particularly an operatically self-loathing sixteen-year-old girl like me. I still haven't gotten over it. Part of my renewed mission to lose weight is because if I decide to go into acting, I don't want some casting director to pick my headshot out of a lineup and say, "Hey, she'd be great for the fat best friend! You know, the one who belts out that goofy number in the middle of Act One, and then she falls on her fat ass and shows her polka-dot bloomers, and then at the end of the show, she ends up with that funny-looking ranch hand with a heart of gold!" My acting chops are nowhere near Kathy Bates's or Tovah Feldshuh's, and even if they were, I don't think I'd be cast as Golda Meir at the ripe old age of twenty-nine. If someone out there wants to write a play about Golda Meir when she was twenty-nine, I promise I'll whip my acting chops into shape tout de suite.

As a quasi-adult, I much prefer working on roles that, while they can hardly described as neat, clean, and well-behaved, are not necessarily circus freaks. Hence my attraction to May in Fool for Love. The play centers around a dysfunctional couple (hey, wait, I think I've seen that one!) and their come-hither-go-to-hell dance in a desert motel room, where May has fled upon suspicion of Eddie's philandering. (MAY: Your fingers smell. EDDIE: Horses. MAY: Pussy.) Sigh. I love Sam Shepard. I get to say "pussy," May is not a circus freak, and in the closing salvo, I get to make out with Eddie while simultaneously kneeing him in the groin. Good times!

Oh, I neglected to mention that May and Eddie are half-brother and sister. If done well, as it was when I saw this play in a little hole-in-the-wall on the Upper West Side, it's somehow not creepy. The actress playing May had this odd little tick that kept my two fellow theatergoers and me in hysterics for months. At one point, perhaps halfway through the show, May's date, Martin, a local nice guy who earns a living watering the high school football field, comes to pick her up. May has the line, "Martin, I want to go to the movies. Let's go to the movies, Martin," which is written as a dig at Eddie. The actress took this line a bit too seriously, investing it with such vitriol that it came out, "Let's go to the MOU-veez." Guess you had to be there. My friends and I were grooving on it, though, and so for the next several months, every time we got together to go to the cinema, which was pretty much all we ever did besides drink, and/or inhale greasy Tex-Mex at Senor Swanky's, we'd say, "Let's go to the MOU-veez! I want to go to the MOU-veez!" We also had this weird little game called "Improvisational Mamet," which was about as lame as you'd expect, involving a lot of sentence fragments and incantations of "fuck" in all its many forms. No wonder actors get such a bad rap, and none of us were even in the biz! At least we didn't go around singing show tunes...oh, wait, we did. Well, one of us did, but I'm not saying who.

Anyone out there up for putting up a production of Streetcar? I wanted to play Stella, but my scene partner has played Stanley one too many times. Hmmm, maybe I'll produce it myself. That's what I'll do instead of getting a Real Job--I'll stage a site-specific production of Streetcar and cast myself as Stella. If anyone knows any rich backers, please direct them to me.
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Makin' It: I neglected to mention last week that one of the magazines I picked up was ReadyMade, which is a DIY-crafting mag aimed at urban hipsters. I am not a hipster, but it would seem that I share various hipster aethetic sensibilities, and I'm a sucker for any publication that teaches you how to make a very attractive table lamp out of film strips and that little metal spring you found in the gutter. The project currently on my table is the paper headboard, which is not a headboard at all, but a series of paper tiles tacked to your wall to form a complete image that pretends to be a headboard! Basically, one scans an image into one's computer--a bit tricky for me, since my scanner is part of my printer-slash-copier-slash-fax machine, and doesn't allow for a large book of David Hockney's works to be shoved into it--and, through the use of Adobe Photoshop, blows up the image, prints out the tiles, and tacks them on one's wall. It sounds doable, even for a confirmed Luddite like me. I'm trying to decide if I want to do a full-color blowup of Ganesha, that still from Streetcar with Marlon Brando unveiling his sweaty T-shirt whilst Vivien Leigh eyes him askance, or a picture of Angela Davis from back in the day. I thought about using that shot of Nixon getting on the plane doing the Victory sign, but I'm not exactly deluged with suitors, and I think that very well might send those few brave souls screaming into the night. So no dice. If anyone has any ideas, please send them my way, along with the rich backers.

And, it appears my Victorian era connection has held for the duration of this epic missive. Onwards!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Periods! Prison! Periodicals! Posts!

I'm recovering from a nasty bout of PMS, although since the worst of it technically hit during my period, I should probably just call it MS. Except there's already a far more serious condition out there with those initials, so that won't work. (Apologies to any MS sufferers out there, or to anyone who does the MS Run/Walk. The preceding comment was not meant as a tasteless remark about MS; it was simply an illustration of my inability to encapsulate the precise nature of my condition.) Anyway, we're not talking the women-and-their-wacky-uteri moodiness Lifetime sees fit to depict with a host of mildly pouty women massaging their aching heads and fiending for chocolate. No, mine is more like Vivienne Elliot meets Joan Crawford for a cinematic swordfight while "Carmina Burana" plays in the background. No wire hangers, indeed! Yes, it's all fun, sun, and cute guys here at the ranch!

The upshot of the situation is that I'm going to see a holistic gynecologist at the end of April, a woman who bills herself as a "PMS expert." Probably a good idea to remain healthily skeptical about said claim, but the holistic part is definitely a good thing, and if nothing else, I'm 99% sure she's not going to stick me on the Pill the second I walk in there...but that's another story. Genug with the uterus, already!

Well, almost genug. On the second evening of this female fun fest, I popped a Midol Complete sometime around 9 p.m. and settled in for a good six hours of hyperactivity. Turns out that negligible amount of caffeine in there is not so negligible, after all. Oops. Around 3 a.m., I decided to put down the knitting, turn off MSNBC, and cuddle up for some tossing and turning. I've been an insomniac since I was a baby, according to my dad, who had to rock me and sing "This Old Man" for a good hour and change before I even thought about closing my eyes, so I've developed a fair number of somnambulatory strategies over the years. These include, but are not limited to, falling asleep in an imaginary lover's arms, imagining myself curled up in a bed at a Swiss chalet after a long day of hiking the Alps, and pretending I'm in a psych ward hooked up to a Thorazine drip. Stark raving as I was, the imaginary lover strategy was out. (Even my imagination has some basis in reality, and I think, given my behavior over the preceding 36 hours, the imaginary lover would have banished me to the guest room, provided he had the chance before I did it myself.) Same with the Alps--the last thing I was feeling was hale and outdoorsy, and the psych ward...well, that just hit a little too close to home at that point.

So, what cheerful scenario did I envision for myself? Prison! Yes, that's right--the Big House, the Pen, the Club Fed. How soothing! It was soothing, which is the utterly pathological part. (Oh, and get your minds out of the gutter and turn off the wah-wah pedal and the synthesizer. MY prison fantasy was clean, thank you.) The prison in which I was doing a 3-year sentence for...I couldn't quite figure that out, but it had something to do with social justice and government frame-ups, sort of like Ethel Rosenberg, but without the death sentence...anyway, my prison was a feminist, sisters-helping-sisters paradise where we made dolls out of tampons and copper wire (I read that somewhere--no lie), took writing workshops with Eve Ensler (again, no lie--there's this great documentary called What I Want My Words to Do to You that features her doing just that. If you want to check it out, go to the PBS homepage and check out the POV section, which should be under "Shows A-Z"), and bonded together against the fascist guards who would rob us of our dignity and humanity. What happened to my imagination having a basis in reality...? Anyhoo, within a half-hour or so, I was slumbering deeply, and oddly, my dreams were as lyrical and romantic as if I'd envisioned myself drifting off in a hairy, male embrace. (In Part One, Manhattan below 14th Street morphed into a lovely seaside village; in Part Two, which had no bearing on Part One, Scarlett O'Hara confessed her love for Rhett Butler, to which the intrepid blockade runner responded, "Huh? Really? Are you sure? Does this have something to do with the Honorable Ashley Wilkes?" Oh, and then there was some kissing, but since it was 1939, it stayed clean.)

Does anyone know of a prison like that, just in case? I don't anticipate committing any major crimes in the foreseeable future, but in these troubled times, one never knows if one will stand accused of passing state secrets to the you-know-whos, which start with a capital T, which rhymes with P, which stands for Pool.
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In lighter news, here are some of the publications I've been devouring of late, when they aren't strewn about my bedroom floor.

Issue #30 of The East Village Inky arrived at my door on Wednesday, occasioning a lot of jumping up and down and yelling "Dude!" The EVI, for short, is a 'zine authored by the "evil lactating genius" Ayun Halliday. I don't think she's still lactating, since her younger kid is five, and I don't know about the evil part, but I'm happy to attest to the genius label. Named for her older child, Inky, The EVI is Ayun's quarterly postcard-sized paean to her kids, Inky and Milo, her husband, Greg Kotis (who wrote Urinetown: The Musical) , and la vie Boheme in the Big Apple. This issue's piece de resistance is "The Incredible Idealized Adventures of Coco, the Class Bear," an adorably snarky epic dedicated to young Milo's kindergarten class project. Check out Ayun's website, subscribe, and send Ayun a condolence email on the passing of her notoriously crotchety old feline, Jambo. Oh, and check out her blog, Dirty Sugar Cookies--the link's to your right. You're welcome.

Cosmo, suck my left one: BUST's April/May 2006 issue is available at the Barnes and Noble on 22nd and 6th in Chelsea. If that's out of your geographical area, click the link above and check these gals out. No "Perfect Abs In Thirty Days!" or "How to Make Him Want You Real Bad" nonsense here, thank Goddess (hee, hee). BUST shows you how to craft nifty placemats from pencils, discusses whether the Hitachi Magic Wand or the Rabbit is more adept at satisfying your self-stimulatory needs, and keeps you apprised of various punk-rawk-DIY-grrl-power events throughout the globe. Don't forget to read Ayun's bimonthly column, "Mother Superior." ( that right? I mean, the magazine is bimonthly, but she's in every issue, so...oh, forget it.)

If vibrators and crafting are not your thing, the current issue of The Nation contains an article about Ralph Reed, Christian evangelist/right-wing prick extraordinaire, who, shock upon shock, took money from Jack Abramoff! Who'da thunk? He seemed like such a nice boy. There's also an interesting piece about how socialism has become nonexistent in the American political discourse. I look forward to the day socialism is reinstated to dirty word status, myself. I wish I could be more detailed about these articles, but The Nation is somewhere in the imbroglio known as my room, and I really have to wrap this thing up, so I'm not going to go tearing the place apart to find it.

And finally: I changed the post options so now everyone, not just fellow bloggers, can put in their two cents as they see fit. Ass-kissing is welcome, but not necessary. Civility is mandatory.