(this is annie)

news flash: the beta band is overrated

Is anybody else bothered by the way our president's suggestion that Afghans actively resist the Taliban? I mean, again, we're talking about a man who, a short year ago, thought the Taliban was a rock band. Forgive me if I question the complexity of his thinking. By urging Afghans to go against this regime, Bush is showing what may be (I hope not) an underestimation of the Taliban's capability for brutality upon the people of Afghanistan. These people are punished, tortured, killed for far less than an uprising.

I have neither sympathy nor empathy for the Taliban. I never have. The naïve girl me within hopes that the United States will give some long-overdue attention and aid to the women and children of Afghanistan. Alas, U.S. involvement beyond ousting the Taliban doesn't look probable, as The New York Times snarkily reports: While calling on Afghans to cooperate against the Taliban, [Bush] said he was not interested in creating a government to replace the Taliban should it fall as a result of American military strikes or internal unrest.

"We're not into nation building," he said. "We're focused on justice." How it would be possible in practice for the United States to engage in military action that might lead to the downfall of a government without taking any interest in its successor was not immediately clear.

And now I'll step off the soapbox, with one more thing: please consider donating to the Red Cross if you haven't done so already, and to the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.

Today at work, I had to send Matty A. a list of images to pull from the show. Our former Secretary of State was one of the guests, and so in my e-mail, I requested an image of Madeleine (the kids are) Albright. Haw haw haw.

Hello, stranger; goodbye.

Last night I had a terrible time falling asleep. My heart hurt, not in a whiny emo sense, but literally. I've been having intermittent chest pains along with leg and arm numbness. It might be a good idea to go back to the doctor, but I am lazy, cheap, and scared of needles.

Saturday was one of those perfect sunny Autumn days, a promising beginning for the season. I woke up early because a telemarketer called, offering discounted subscriptions to magazines. He kept pushing Marie Claire, which Evan had given me for Christmas, and Shape. I told the telemarketer that I was not interested in buying magazines. He suggested Fitness, which made me wonder if somehow he knew that I hadn't been riding my bicycle enough. Finally I acquiesced and said that I would buy a subscription to either Bitch or Bust. He backed off. They do every time.

I then picked up some oil, fed it to Vespy, and gave her a good cleaning. Then I zipped into the sunshine and scooted around town, honking at other scooters and enjoying the day. At night, Arrin came over so that we could walk to a party at Evan and Jaime's. He seemed unusually worried that the cats would pee on his jacket. This might be understandable if I had mentioned their incontinence, but they're really good at using their litter box. The party was fun, because lots of people were there (including another Ann T. [for the record, I'm Anne with an -e, like Anne Shirley]). Erin and I left around midnight. We took Vespy north on Clark, and boy howdy, did we get attention from the rowdy, happy bar stumblers. It's great to have girl friends. We are living the days that we'll recall as old ladies. My mom has a collection of pictures from the mid-sixties, when she was my age. I have always wanted that photographed lifestyle, complete with girlfriends and picnics and the sun filtering through leaves in Lincoln Park. Except, you know, updated for today's youth and their Spock Rock style.

Anyway, after dropping Erin off, I scooted up to Andersonville, which is one of my favorite places to visit. Sometimes I like to ride my bicycle along the lakefront, stop at the Foster Avenue Beach, and then stroll around the neighborhood. There's a shop called The Acorn (!) as well as a feminist bookstore called Women and Children First. Anyway, I wandered into Simon's around 1. Generally speaking, I don't like bars, but for some reason I like Simon's. It's the place where hipsters come to die, in a way. The crowd is made up of locals and late-twentysomethings who have outgrown the Rainbo. Simon's has Schlitz signs, pretty colored lights in the front window, and comfortable sofas in the back. The bar was crowded but not packed, and I bought my Cherry Coke and sat on the corner bench by the front window. I tried to look nonchalant while reading my museum brochures, but it's hard to not feel a little pathetic when you're sipping a non-alcoholic beverage at a bar on a Saturday night. I just didn't want to be alone that night, and even in isolation, it was better to be alone with others than alone with self. Evan and I have a long-standing argument over whether Simon's is my bar or his bar. He claims it as his, because he goes there more often than I do (which makes sense, as he drinks and I don't). But I say it's mine, because Todd treated me to a soda there first.

This week is a decent concert week: Sigur Ros plays the Vic on Thursday. Tickets are $20 and they're probably already sold out, but I'm tempted to check it out. It's only a few blocks from home, and post-rockin' shows are slightly amusing in their un-fun-ness. Then, on John's birthday, zee American Analog Set is playing. Lots of head-nodding to ensue. It's too bad that every show couldn't be a Ted Leo show. Everybody would dance.

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lay the blame on luck

On Saturday, in Wicker Park, Jaime gave me a slick laminate churchy flyer. It advertised a concert for "rapper CHRIST FA REAL," which made me think of Krysta (she's my girl, girl). Suddenly, rapper CHRIST FA REAL is making the rounds of the Michigan alumni hipster elite. Kevin witnessed crowds lining up to get a glimpse of CFR. I found some mp3s of "Demon Killa" and other CFR hot traxxx. Unfortunately, I'm not feelin' rapper CHRIST FA REAL. He sounds like a dubbed-out version of Jay-Z, with a children's choir in the background singing about killing demons. Fa real.

I was going through some old journal entries today, just reflecting on how much things have changed in personal, political, worldwide arenas over the past years (and recently, days). I've been doing this web site for just under five years now, and what was once an intensely personal endeavor has now become just another update-type site. It is too difficult to share anything of much depth anymore.

F'rinstance, did I mention that Evan and I stopped dating? That happened a long time ago. Last summer, we were tired of doing the long-distance lurve thing. But we weren't tired of each other, aside from little things that are almost endearing in their annoyance (his post-rock analysis, my constant drowsiness). So we decided that one of us could make a cross-country move, and we'd make a nest together. He thought of transferring to a law school in New York, but we agreed that it was simply too expensive (and I didn't want to be saddled with guilt if things between us were to sour). New York was shaving a part of me (and my finances) every day, and I missed my family. So, while still living in Brooklyn, I flew to Chicago a few times for job interviews. I snagged a job, subleased the Brooklyn apartment, and reserved a Ryder truck. My mother flew out to help me move, and two days before I was to arrive in Chicago, Evan said that he could not live with me. So with no Brooklyn apartment, with boxes everywhere, and with eight hundred miles ahead, I left New York anyway. And here I am now. Evan lives a few blocks away; we shop at the same grocery and record stores. I don't have any emotional analysis to put up here. I don't really want to think about it now, either. Time to purge the sturm und drang.

Erin and I went to Penny's Noodle Shop last night. We dined outside on plastic furniture, watching packs of Gapped-out men walk to the nearby bars. Mysterious Yellow Vespa Guy drove past us. I see him around town maybe once a week. I had seen his scooter at Scooterworks when I was shopping for a ride of my own. A pretty vehicle, but also overpriced for what it is. We went to a pub after eating, and a band of old Irish guys played their hearts out while we sipped our Guinness (Erin) and Cedona (moi). A girl turned twenty-one and Erin made a possible missed connection. It was good to not feel old that night.


just a word

I feel alternately sad and happy lately. Tuesday stretches on, and it's hard not to think about what's happened. I had fitful sleep and explosive nightmares until Sunday morning. I felt queasy until this morning. And every time I start to feel less sick, I see something new and my stomach bounces into my throat. For example:

On the way from the Ms. offices to the World Trade Center, where I'd often go on my lunch breaks, there was an urban mini-park. It was the kind of park that had trees in planters, but the ground was still paved with bricks. Suited workers lunched while sitting on benches: taking in the day, talking with friends, or maybe holding a paperback in one hand while nibbling a sandwich. Food carts and vendors of one-dollar ties formed a gentle border around this park, and despite the honking cabs and busy pedestrians, it was easy to find a break in this park. Without fail, I'd always be taken aback by a certain statue. It depicted a businessman working on his laptop. "Oy, there's a pigeon on that man's HEAD," I'd think, before remembering that it was just a statue.

I hadn't thought of that statue in over a year, and I hadn't seen it until the NYT Magazine printed this picture yesterday. I clapped my hand over my mouth. This isn't a one-two punch, all of this. Instead, it's the initial shock, trailed by a series of little things, little changes that you wouldn't have thought of until they tap your shoulder from behind, pushing you to the ground like a feather.

And so there's that, but there's also the life that goes on. It has to. I went to Chinatown yesterday and had a fruitless search for cherry turnovers and dinner rolls. We did find little red slippers, though, and a most peculiar drink, Bubble Tea with Ball Ball. With a name like that, how can you not order it? The drink wound up being some sweet milky tea with slimy little balls of some sort in it. My tea comrade suggested that perhaps they were beef bits or fish eggs (gross on both accounts), but I think it was red bean jiggly somethingorother. We had a few sips and then decided that our tea foray was over.

nothing to say, but attempts:

I woke up on Tuesday morning with a feline halo around my head, Mikan on the left and Truman on the right. I didn't feel tired. After feeding the cats, I shuffled into the living room and flipped on the television to check the weather. The top of the World Trade Center was charred, smoking, surreal. It didn't seem possible. I called Jaime and told him to turn on the news. Another plane crashed. Then I showered, clothed myself, and waited at Briar and Orchard for him to pick me up. Evan was in the car, too. The three of us drove down Lake Shore Drive while listening to NPR. Aside from a few words, we said nothing. I watched the sun lick the waves of the lake, looked at Chicago's still-intact skyline, hoped my friends were safe.

After we dropped Evan off, the radio told us that one of the towers had collapsed. I imagined that it had caved in slightly, sticking up like an upside-down tooth in lower Manhattan. By the time we arrived at work only minutes later, I realized that I was sadly, horribly wrong. We all have televisions at our desks, and everybody was watching different networks. The room was a cacophony of talking heads and horrifying scenes on screens. I got in touch with Trevor, Ophi, Maysan, Tali, Danielle, Jake, Brian, Ben... by the end of the day I would know that my friends were safe, but even today I have a rock in my stomach.

I can't watch television very much now, because it's the same news and footage over and over again. People are dead. Trevor says that the avenues are desolate. And it's almost as though the sunshine and beautiful weather is rubbing it in. Yesterday in one of the suburbs, there was an anti-Arab American rally. Disgusting. I hope we don't go to war, because then more people will die, and we'll just watch it happen on our television screens (eventually detached, as we are when mass death happens elsewhere). Interesting that W—who, only a year ago, thought the Taliban was a ROCK BAND—is likely chomping at the bit to bomb the hell out of Afghanistan (or whomever we find guilty).

And despite the empathy and sympathy I hold for the people in DC and New York, I feel odd because I lack this surge of patriotism that so many others seem to have brought up from their hearts. This talk of "proud to be an American," I can't identify with that. Even as a child I thought it was robotic to pledge allegiance to the flag. Call me a commie pinko if you want, but I think you can feel a connection with people even if it's not simply because they're American. Maybe part of it is that we as a citizenry aren't unified politically or morally. Being American means different things for different people right now, and frankly, I'm scared of some people's definition. I don't want us to go to war; I don't want Muslims being scapegoated; I don't want revenge to be the only thing on our mind.

Enough with the political; now it's personal. I used to work a few blocks from the World Trade Center. On lunch hours I'd go to Krispy Kreme for hot doughnuts. Or I'd go shoe shopping at Century 21 after work. One July weekend, Evan and his family visited New York; they stayed in the WTC Marriott, and we took cheesy touristy photos on the pavilion. During balmy Brooklyn nights, I'd sit on the promenade and look at the towers blocking part of the sunset in what was never an obtrusive manner. During my first days in New York, I'd be disoriented, and I would spin around until I found the twin towers. They always told me where I was and where I needed to go.

Days like those have always been in the past, but now they seem buried. It's like the first crush you ever have: you can't go back, you can't regain the feeling and experience you once had. I'm hundreds of miles away, yet I feel like something is missing now. I have never felt like Chicago was mine, even though now I've lived here longer than I lived in New York. But New York, I feel like she belongs to me, shared with millions of other people. Everybody has his or her New York, and it will never be the same for any of us. And oddly enough, I want to go back there right now.

sugar city

I am currently at work, where I will be for hours and days more. Last night I was here until nine, and I left the building only to face a torrential downpour. Too cheap to take a cab, too stubborn to wait more than a few minutes, I rode home at a snail's pace. It was not the most uplifting evening in recent history.

I like Madonna and I like The Darling Buds, both of whom released albums called Erotica on the same day 10-odd years ago. Madonna is great and all, but that album wasn't her best; on the other hand, the B uds' release was darling. Plus, the cover art is yellow and dreamy. If you like sugary/shoegazey/lady-voiced pop, you should really pick it up.

Update: it is 9:55 and I am still here at work. This is the longest day I've ever worked: thirteen hours so far, with many more to come. If i were paid by the hour, man, would I be cleaning up. Alas, I am not, on both counts. Does anybody know of an open job position that calls for part-time squirrelology? If so, please contact me; I will send you my resume and we can chat.


say hello

    it's anniet at gmail.


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