Sunday, January 29, 2006

Obligatory Piece on James Frey and the Evils of Deceit

Turns out James Frey is a big liar. I bought his book for my son for Christmas, because (a) it had an Oprah sticker on it, and (b) the first couple pages are some really hot writing. Makes you want to read more. I believe in good writing and want to reward it, because there is soooooo much lousy-ass writing out there. And I’m talking about best-selling books. Awful stuff. (Now, here we get into a bit of a self-conscious bind since I am actually writing, and I guess I am implying that my own writing is not awful. But then again, you’re not paying for it, so do I really have to hold myself to the same standard?) Anyway, here are some thoughts.

If I had seen him on Oprah before I bought the book, I probably would not have bought it, because he is awfully mousy and whiny – not good attributes in either writers or drug addicts.

I did see him on Oprah the other day after she found out about the fact that he had really stretched the truth in his book. She really tore him a new one. I think its fine to tear someone a new one when he has been bad and hurt someone, but I get the feeling that the most offended one was her royal self, and she was really just mad because he messed up her book club’s reputation. Hey, that book club needed a shake-up anyway. What’s with all the sad, deep stuff? How about some Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Moore, or Chuck Palahniuk? If she needs a Book Club Guru, I would accept the job. As long as I didn’t have to move to Chicago.

That said, I had to feel for the guy getting raked over the coals like that. Once they cut to a commercial just before I know he must have burst into tears. One of the things that really made me feel for him was that I don’t think he knew the answers to some of the questions Oprah was asking about the details in the book that were found to be untrue. After all, nobody was denying that he had been really drugged up for years. I’m sure he did not know or remember the whole truth (although no matter how messed up you are, you know the difference between a couple days in the joint and a couple of months).

Now that I know the book is tainted and sort of made-up, I would not have bought the book as a gift. (For a primer on taint, go to and find Ed Helms’ Daily Show piece on the “Level of Taint” in Washington. Awful. Just awful. I did NOT laugh my head off.) Let alone the Smoking Gun piece that exposed the lies in the book, just watching James Frey on Oprah would have changed my mind about buying it. Chuck Palahniuk he is not.

Told You So.

Remember last year when the weather was beautiful and I would walk along the Columbia in the sun in January and I was all “we are so going to pay for this”? Well, the bill has apparently come due.

The weather report for the last month and a half has been rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. “The wettest month since (whatever)!” “Flooding in (everywhere with a river)!)”

It’s dark. It’s grey. It’s wet. Wet. Wet. Even my bouncy, bouncy toddler-dog is curled up in a wet funk today.

The front page of the Oregonian yesterday was a satellite picture of a gaggle of huge wet storms lined up across the Pacific waiting for their turn to soak us, and the witty slogan, “Looks Like Rain.” Ha ha. I laugh lest I cry.

I used to be all “quit yer bitchin” about people getting fed-up with the Northwest winter rain. Hey, the rain makes this place what it is. Green, clean, beautiful, and less crowded than LA. If you complain about the rain, you need to go back to California, blondie, and stay out of my real estate market. But now I’m beginning to start, and I was born and raised here.

It’s making me lazy and depressed. I need a jolt of pure sunshine. But if you played me one of those 60’s happy-sunshine songs right now, I would seriously slug you.

I wonder if tanning beds help. I doubt it. They’re not full-spectrum sunlight. I couldn’t try it, because my dermatologist would frown at me, and I can’t take that kind of pressure.

And I’m not sure going away would help, because you just have to come back. And experience tells me this rain still has many, many weeks to go before it lets up. And that let-up will be temporary, as it usually stays pretty wet around here until Independence Day. No joke there. Just the sad truth.

Oh, and never tell me to smile. I hate that. HATE that. Come around again in July and I’ll smile for you. Till then, bite me.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Random Thoughts Part 4, Maybe 5, I've Lost Track

  • I like the Beastie Boys (Like, Dottie!) (sorry, non-Pee Wee Herman aficionados). But I feel like they have a limited range, musically. For those of you not acquainted with the Beastie Boys, it is a range limited mainly to hollering at the top of their voices. They are like the Paul Lynde of musicians (Sorry, people younger than 40. Think Steve Carrell in Bewitched, only stuck in that persona for life).
  • My oven has a button that says "Stop Time." I haven't tried it yet.
  • I heard a cool quote this morning: Tommy Lee Jones quoting Flannery O'Conner, who is reputed to say, "Faith is what you know to be true whether you believe it or not."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Just Between Us Girls


Have you ever had one of those days right before the Urgent Haircut call, where nothing goes right in the morning, blow-dryer-wise, so you end up leaving the house looking like Farrah Fawcett’s ugly little sister, and then later that day, your Signiffy-O tells you he thinks your hair looks hot?

What do you do with that?

Or is it just me because Captain America is still Lovin’ the 70’s?

Look what I found:

Check it out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

More paranoia, less talk, please.

Should radio stations really play the new Coldplay release just because it's from Coldplay? I think they need to go back and try to recreate the creepy-crazy vibe they had before. Let's talk. Bleagh.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A Quick Note About the Decline and Fall of America

In a quick trip through Target today, I found the following items that were made in the U.S.A.:

Jelly Beans
Garden Clogs

Pretty much everything else I checked was made in China. The clothes were made in China, India and Malaysia. Even the rawhide dog bones were from China. If China shut down tomorrow, we'd be in a world of hurt.

Think about it. We're dependent on the Middle East for oil, and China for pretty much everything else. Is that healthy?

This New Year's resolution is bumming me out. Next year I'm going to resolve to dance more.

Friday, January 20, 2006

In Which I Save America by Shopping

Ever since January 1, I’ve been meaning to post something about my resolution, but it’s not a very exciting resolution, and I can’t think of a way to make it funny. And maybe I’m a little worried that it won’t last long – not because of my lack of will power, but because of its lack of practicality in 2006-world.

Resolution 2006: I promised myself that I would try to buy products made in the USA whenever I had a choice.

This isn’t such a challenge in the supermarket or at the paint store, but the clothing thing is way different. Look in your own closet and try to find two pieces of clothing made in this country. What happened? Yeah, I’m old, whatever, but I remember those union commercials – you know, it was a bunch of garment workers singing, “Look for the union label, when you are buying your (something about clothes),” Then they would sing about how they are working hard to feed their kids and stuff. Is there still a garment workers’ union in the US? Glancing at the labels in the mall today, they must be a lonely bunch.

Dean told me about a store downtown (Portland) called American Apparel that sells clothes made in LA. He took me over there last weekend so I could check it out.

First, let me say that American Apparel is exactly what I was hoping to find and support – an apparel company dedicated to providing sweatshop-free clothing while supporting family-wage jobs in a constructive (vs. service) industry in this country. It’s good for people, the environment, and the economy.

That said, walking into American Apparel is – well, it’s a cross between Term Project Day at Home Ec class and a look at the first clothing shop to open after a Mad Max-like apocalypse where the only thing left is one sterno-powered sewing machine and a truck full of jersey fabric, hijacked after being mistaken for a load of hooch.

Everything in the store is made of jersey. Everything is sewn using the simplest of patterns, with the most basic of serged hems. And we’re talking basic. One of their signature pieces is a piece of fabric. Honest. It comes with a video which shows the lucky (i.e. gullible) customer how to tie the piece of fabric onto one’s body to resemble a shirt. This, I guess, in place of an actual shirt.

In the interest of research and my New Year’s vow, I bought a shirt (an actual shirt, not the piece of fabric) for about the same amount of money I could have spent on a DVD player at Wal-Mart (no, I don’t shop at Wal-Mart. Just allow me the joke). Since American Apparel seemed to be going for the crowd that is too cool to shop at Abercrombie and Fitch, I decided to go with a Large, knowing that although I am a Medium Mervyn’s/Small Ann Taylor, I am most definitely a Large American Apparel.

At home, I wore The Shirt, which feels kind of tight, under a sweater (it’s not quite jersey weather in the Great Northwest. It’s tarp weather). It was okay.

Okay, that was a kind of lame ending to that story. The shirt didn’t blow up, or stab me, or give me a rash. Actually, it was pretty comfy.

I’m going to give American Apparel another year or two to evolve past the Mad Max stage and go back. I probably won’t buy anything next time, merely because I will be one year older and their target audience will not have aged at all.

I’ll keep you posted on my quest to Save America.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

In Which I Demonstrate A Scientific Phenomenon and Give Myself a Headache

Just this week there was a news blurb about a recent study showing that your brain is so fuzzy upon waking up, that you are about as useful as if you were sloppy drunk. I’m sure this came as no surprise to any of us who have actually experienced waking up. However, this morning, I performed a highly amusing demonstration of this phenomenon, and I am so glad no one was here to actually witness it.

Scot Evil could not stay in bed a minute past seven-thirty, so in defense of the carpet, I got up, threw some sweats on, and tossed him out the back while I fed the cat and made coffee. Before I could get the coffee made (of course), I noticed Scotty out in the back yard chewing on something nasty looking. Since I just finished giving him his second worming in one month, I wasn’t anxious to wait to find out what this back-yard treat would evolve into when it came out the other end, so I started around the kitchen counter, picking up a good head of steam through the family room, and slammed face first into the plate glass sliding door that divides the family room from the sun room. I’m considering leaving the face print on the glass for Drew to take a gander at. It’s quite Turin-esque in its picture-like quality.

I stumbled back, deciding that Scotty can chew another moment while I try to regain consciousness and assess the damage. The glass was surprisingly intact, so the shattering sound must have been something more in the vicinity of my skull. In school, they try to tell you that the brain doesn’t have any nerves of its own that are dedicated to its own pain. I think they missed some. I think I found them.

The rest of the day, I walked around like somebody trying not to wake a panther sleeping on her head (a panther that has a tendency to be cross when wakened), as I found quite early that sudden, jerky movements are followed by new shards of pain.

Scotty has taken a cue from the new, more pathetic-looking Piglet and has calmed down quite noticeably today.

I had scads of things to write about, but my mind is a little fuzzy and thinking only makes it worse. I will save them for later. Mind your head.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Wet dogs are funny!

You promised. You can laugh at Scotty, but you can't laugh at me. This is what a rough collie looks like when he's wet and unhappy. This is what Celtic skin looks like in the winter. And summer.

Guess I Didn't Have Enough Dog Hair

He looked so small in the kennel at the Humane Society dog ward. Small and pathetic. And he had been in the joint for a week with no takers. What was I supposed to do?

Besides, I wasn’t the one who went down the next day and picked him up. It was Drew. So don’t start.

Here he is, picking up some begging tips from Annie. For some reason, Annie thought the camera looked delicious.

His name is Scot Evil, because we had a feeling, after we realized we had introduced a bouncy, bouncy toddler-age dog into a non-child- or dog-proofed home (what, dog-proof for Annie, affectionately known as “the lump”?), that we would be saying, “Scotty don’t” a lot. And “zip it.” And “SCOT!!!” (For those of you unaware of the mystique that is Seth Green as Scot Evil, I refer you to the Austin Powers trilogy.)

Annie was clearly disturbed and sulked for two days. After her two days were up, she came out of her bed and asserted herself as top dog. Odd to see Miss Submissive become Miss Whips & Chains overnight. You would have to see it to believe it. The second night of her new life as Miss Dominant, we woke up to hellish snarls and turned on the light to find Scotty pinned to the wall by his throat. Who knows what disallowed behavior he was attempting, but it obviously didn’t fly with Miss Leather & Heels over there.

Now Annie is a much more active, happy dog. Dogs are pack animals. They like to have company. As long as the company knows its place.

He was so dirty and skinny. Now he’s just skinny. And we know that he hates baths. I’ll show you a picture of Scott and me in the tub if you promise not to laugh at my uber-Celtic winter skin color (which isn’t really much different than my summer skin color). But he follows us everywhere, runs (happily) with me in the morning, and reminds us of our first collie, Shelby (R.I.P.).

He’s going to be my fitness regimen. There’s nothing like a bored and twitchy collie toddler to make you get up early in the morning.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Sweat Pants, Clothing-Induced Guilt and Portland Operagoers

Did you ever have a piece of clothing (I was going to say “garment,” but that sounds too much like “I wear glasses on a chain and read historical fiction.” Which I don’t. Unless it’s historical fiction with hot sex scenes. I know. That was an awesome historical fiction joke.) Sorry. Let’s start over.

Did you ever have a piece of clothing that you thought looked okay in the store, but then you brought home to find that it actually makes you look like Jerome Bettis of the Pittsburgh Steelers (complete with beard)? But you wear it anyway, because either (a) you paid too much for it and feel guilty, (b) you feel sorry for it, or (c) it is just too comfy?

I have a pair of pretend sweat pants like that. I say pretend sweat pants because they are of the sweat-pant genre that is too dressy and unpractical to sweat in, (ever really jog in velour? I thought not.) but is not quite dressy enough for the opera (Portland being the exception, where I believe you could not induce disapproving looks by wearing only a coconut bra, Hello Kitty boxers, swimming goggles and flippers).

I definitely didn’t pay too much for them (I do have a pair of pants that fall into this category. They look like I stole them from Star Jones, but I wear them anyway. Hey, I thought they would shrink!) And I don’t feel sorry for them, although I have possessed garments that fall into this category (See, I’m not afraid of nerd words. Extra points for using “garments” with “possessed” which is just as geeky when not used in the occult sense.) You know the ones – they are so cute, but you don’t have anything to go with them, or you don’t have anywhere cool to wear them, so you end up wearing them to work where everybody asks you if you have a hot date after work, and you have to admit you don’t… Just me? Anyhoo…..

These particular pretend sweat pants are just really comfortable. Not too tight, too loose, too short or too long. Black (slimming!) with white stripes down the sides. Sounds fine, right? But now add another stripe AROUND THE MIDDLE OF THE HIPS. I’m not kidding. Right around the top of the hip bones, right under the belly button, blithely highlighting my belly.

Now after ten years of looking for shirts that don’t hang down to my knees (which seem to be alarmingly close to my waist), I find myself rifling through my drawer looking for a shirt that will cover up this whitewall tire around my waist.

Oh well. You can’t see me from there, so I’m putting ‘em on.