(this is annie)

c-span on a school night

You know, it's interesting to see how ridiculously frosted these presidential debates are. Politicians wonder why young people don't vote, but they do so while creating specious situations for practically every campaign opportunity. As both parties squabble about where the timer light goes and how high the podiums should be raised, the youth of America call bullshit on the whole thing. Really, can you blame them? It's all so false and diversionary; the phonies of which Holden Caulfield spoke have grown up, and they are running the show.

I don't think we'll see higher voter turnout among the 18-to-24 population unless candidates start speaking their language. That doesn't mean pulling a Wesley Clark and talking about Outkast (although that was kinda funny). It means respecting them enough to cut the nonsense. Young people (oh god, I sound so old) went crazy for Howard Dean in large part because he ran an inclusive campaign that wasn't all about flag-wrapped showmanship. People talk about youthful idealism as though it's a bad thing, but the hope and drive of youth is what everyone should hold dear. What I see happening is this: as the campaigns descend even further into petty mud-slinging and media-jocking poses, people of all ages decide that it's all a bunch of grandstanding hoo-ha. Some of them might not vote, but I'm guessing that many who still do vote do so wishing that our potential leaders would spend more time on things that matter and less on whose skin looks orange.

Because I take all of this mess pretty seriously, I'm still going to watch the debates with great enthusiasm. In fact, I have combined my newborn passion for politics with a long-standing love of home entertainment. That's why I'm hosting a debate-watching party at my apartment tonight, and that is why the cupcakes served at this party will be decorated with these little signs:

kerry edwards cupcake

What does this say about the company I keep?

gothic hair styles
how to hipster
how to hook up
zodiac love match
Straight Guys
model agency
depression treatment
burberry blue label
juicy couture
gucci handbags

London pictures

Earlier this year, my good friend Trevor and I went to London and Paris. We were delighted by the cheapness of the flight ($199 round-trip) and excited by the opportunity to do the big trip that we never took in college. Here are a few photographs (London first, Paris later) if that's your thing:

hotel hoppa

This sign stands outside of Heathrow. Our flight arrived around five in the morning local time, which may have been why I found the Hotel Hoppa heeeeeeelarious. Nobody else who sees the photo thinks it's funny. Go figure.

olafur eliasson

After sleeping off some of the jet lag, Trevor and I took the train from the suburbs into London. Our first stop: the Tate Modern, which was hosting this exhibit by Olafur Eliasson. Absolutely stunning sunning.

unhappy and hungry

I didn't eat very well in London. This grumpy photo was taken the morning after a particularly unsatisfying vegetarian stew in Covent Garden, if memory serves. I tried to have a positive attitude toward dining in merry olde England, but most of my attempts fell flat. I was too scared to try the famous curries, because while we were visiting, that scary tandoori/cancer report came out. Yikes.


Spring hadn't hit back in the States, so we were very happy to see flowers and greenery and sunshine at Westminster Abbey.


The buses in London are great because there's an element of danger to them. You get to hop on and off while they're moving. Although the older buses are being replaced by safer models, there are still quite a few fun ones in service. They're much more fun and old-fashioned than any other buses I've been on before.

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It's 12:47 p.m. and I am sitting in a lawn chair while wearing squirrel pajamas and flip-flops. I think this might be where it all starts to go downhill. See, usually I will get dressed when it's time to leave the house. It's just the normal, appropriate thing to do. But yesterday, at 2:00 p.m., I waddled down the street in a fluffy pink bathrobe. And this morning, I drove to Megan's apartment while wearing the squirrelpants and a jacket. I fear that I am becoming the female, non-reefered version of The Dude. Say, does anybody want to go bowling?

the power of music!

Earlier this week, I was feeling a little sentimental, so I decided to listen to that old American Football CD. There's a little guitar loop in the song "Never Meant" that I like a lot. Anyway, guess who I kept seeing around town? Mike Kinsella. Here a Kinsella, there a Kinsella, everywhere a Kinsella Kinsella. I saw him twice yesterday, once the day before that. Today I saw him walking to the train. Later and elsewhere, when I boarded the train, you can guess who was in the car. So we chatted it up for a bit ("I play guitar now too," I said). After we left the train, we began to part ways—but not before I inadvertently paused over the subway grate. Whoosh! There goes the train! Up goes the dress! Red go the cheeks! Fortunately, I managed to hide everything except a bit of scandalous thigh, but still. So embarrassing.

that is so gay

I don't like it when people use "gay" in a pejorative sense, and believe me when I say that I go all Freshman Year Politically Correct on people who do that. "Queer" already has been taken back by the gay community, and 99% of the time I hear it, it's being used in the reclaimed sense of the term. That said, I think "homo" is a really funny-sounding word. I don't know if it's the thuddy rhyme or the vowel sounds, but I can't hear it without giggling like a seventh grader. A lesbian friend of mine throws it around pretty well ("Economy is tanking? Blame the homos! War not going well? It's the fault of homos who want to marry!" The homosexual menace!). Especially when the word is used in context of mocking homophobia—as in the case of The Homos or even The Homosexual Lifestyle—it just sounds as ridiculous as the bigots who initially said it. I'm not trying to make light of homophobia at all—I take it pretty seriously, and my possible Halloween costume/consciousness-raising exercise this year is Team Dresch—but there's something really funny about the syllables. Or is it just me?

By the way, I am all nervous about posting this.

a few thoughts.

One of the nice things about not going to work from nine to five is that you can take breaks here and there. That's why I could watch Bushie give his United Nations speech this morning. While the content of the speech was nothing new (Invading Iraq was the right thing to do; Afghanistan is doing really, really great now), his delivery was not bad. He kept saying "peoples" rather than "people," but that's more of a stylistic preference. I'm very curious to see how he fares during the upcoming debates. On the one hand, I love/hate seeing the guy trip over his words, and every now and then it makes me think, "Oh man, how can Kerry not trounce him?" On the other hand, if Bush gets into office again (notice I did not say "gets re-elected"), it would be preferable to have a leader who speaks well. So, we'll see. All I know is, September 30, debate-watching party at my apartment. There will be cupcakes.

I have a, um, date tonight. I think it's a date. I had told Jesse that I didn't think that this crush reciprocated my fancy, but he said that I was being ridiculous, and that everybody is HFT (hot for Tomlin). I wrote back that SNIHFTAFAICT (Sadly, nobody is hot for Tomlin as far as I can tell) and that it was probably just a friendly friend-time planned. But I do not think that is the case anymore. So, okay, Jesse was right in a way. Maybe this summer crush is LFT (lukewarm for Tomlin). That's actually a good temperature for me. I can handle that.

top fives

top 5 worst things said to me by dates or crushes

5. "You're so... innocent."
Said to me by one of those boys who usually shows up only in graphic novels: scooter-riding, dark-haired, Joy Division-listening, hot with infinite T's. I was too much of a good girl for him, it seems. I still see him from time to time and occasionally wish that he'd develop a Pollyanna fetish.

4. "I think I will call you Pork Butt!"
And I think I will develop a complex about my porcine posterior now.

3. "You're like a little sister to me."
The sinking of the S.S. Self-Esteem happened on a warm summer day. The ship was sailing along in warm waters, when suddenly she was rocked by a deluge of sexlessness. The ship plunged into the murky waters of the Sea of Sibling, and to this day a recovery crew feebly attempts to reassemble what's left of its dignity and allure.

2. "You dress business-casual.
Just because I was not following the day-old vomit spill of electroclash fashion, that does not mean I am Talbots-ed out.

1. "I'll call you."
Not very nice when it's meant to mean "I am not interested." I like directness.

top 5 worst things i've said on dates or to potential dates, 2003-2004

5. "Ooh, did you see the Colin Powell camera debacle on Meet The Press?
Of course not. Only the twelve other people who like to eat their eggs florentine while watching the televised spectre of Tim Russert did.

4. "The cat has a t-shirt he likes to wear."

3. "Come look at my closet!"
As it turns out, the way to win someone's interest is not through meticulous shoe organization.

2. "I feel really plain around you."
I still feel bad about having said this. See, the recipient of this statement is disarmingly good-looking. I mean, people stare. In comparison to his appearance, I felt so unremarkable that it set off a series of little explosions of insecurity. The end result is that I made him feel self-conscious. Ugh. Me=jerk.

1. "That reminds me of the time I shot a hole in the living room wall."
No, seriously, I shot a hole in the wall. With a pistol. I was only twelve. My punishment was no Girl Scout meetings for two weeks. We covered the hole with a framed cross-stitching. What's that? You're going outside for a cigarette? But wait, I thought you didn't smoke. Well, okay, I will wait right here for you...

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o humility, i once knew thee

I'd like to pretend that I am not a little bit geeky-excited about being on the cover of NewCity this week, but that would be a lie.

dear kitten

Early this week, I learned that I didn't get a job I really, really wanted. I wasn't shocked (it's a competitive market, and all you can do is your best) but I was still disappointed. I found out the news while I was visiting my parents. That pulled down all my defenses and led to me sniffling in the basement. "I want to soar with the editorial eagles," I said to my mother. "Yet maybe I am merely a bumbling sparrow! A clumsy, moulting sparrow!" My dad gently rested his hands on my shoulders and said, "Just think of that poster with the kitten hanging on the tree branch. You just hang in there, okay?" I lost my shit (crying, snotting) when he said that, because I could tell he was trying his hardest to fix the unfixable. I could sense a mild helplessness in his attempt to make me feel better, because my problems are no longer little-girl problems. He can't make things better like he used to. And these days, I wind up helping him in his old age more often than he can help me. It's okay. It's just hard to deal with the shifted balance, and to quiet the voice inside me that wonders if he'll still remember me three years from now.


where are we headed?

I just spent a couple of days in Michigan with my parents. I don't think I've felt this close to them since I was a little girl. More on this family love fest later, but first:

This article is about a woman who was fired from her job. Why? Because she put a Kerry/Edwards sticker on her automobile and refused to remove it at her boss' demand. He fired her. What happened to free speech? To respecting someone's right to a differing opinion?

I have a Kerry/Edwards sticker on my car, too. I don't have a day job from which to get fired—at least, not really—yet I, too, had bumper-sticker trouble while driving to see my parents. I passed a red pickup truck, moved far ahead of the truck, signaled, and returned to the non-passing lane. I was singing along to the Magnetic Fields. It is impossible to give a dirty look while crooning "I'm the luckiest guy on the Lower East Side," which is why I knew I hadn't made any stinkface at the two twenty-something dudes in the red truck. Therefore, since I am a polite singing driver, I can say that it is only because of my John-boy bumper sticker that they then drove parallel to me. I looked over at them. They were giving me the bird and yelling "Four more years, bitch!"

What does that mean? Four more years until you finally decide to send away for a correspondence-school course in etiquette? Ugh.

i feel bad about this.

As I was pedaling to Kinko's this morning, I saw a guy in his early twenties chasing a woman of about the same age. They were in the parking lot of a gas station, running around feverishly and shouting. At first I thought they were perhaps playing some sort of game like "Oh dang! You threw a water balloon at me and I'm gonna totally get you back." But then she ran into the middle of heavy traffic, yelling and looking seriously distressed. He followed her and pushed her to the sidewalk, where she curled up into a fetal position.

I looked around. Not counting drivers, a half-dozen people were watching this scene go down: me, two white women, an old Latino, a white dude watching from his condo balcony, and a black woman. We all stood there with concerned looks on our faces, waiting for someone to do something. Everybody looked worried, but nobody moved. The original couple was still in trouble.

The guy pulled the still-screaming woman back through traffic. The spectators gawked. So I darted into traffic, looking really tough while pushing a Free Spirit "Brittany" bicycle (with basket). By this point, the guy had pushed the woman into the back of a SUV. I hurried up to the car. "Hey, it looks like there's a problem here," I said as forcefully as I could. "BITCH," the guy replied, hurling something (a bottlecap?) at me before driving away. So I dialed 911 to report the bastard (for what he did to the woman, not to me). Half of the witnesses then came forward chanting variations on the license plate.

I wish I could say that I was really heroic and that I instinctively did the right thing. But I'm ashamed to admit that I hesitated, and I really didn't want to get involved. I kept hoping that it was all a joke, or that someone bigger and stronger than me would have stepped in. I keep thinking that if someone had acted faster—if I had acted faster—maybe that woman wouldn't be in such a bad situation, at least for now.


things you can do

"You think there are only two cities in the world: New York and Paris," my mother said recently.


I grew up in rural Michigan, happy to climb trees and tangle my legs in seaweed. As a child, I was perfectly content with the idea of moving to Chicago after college. The city had been good to me during my frequent visits. I could see myself there, living only a few miles from my older brothers and a few hours from my parents. It was a grand plan. Then I went to New York, and everything changed.


sour kraut

In the previous entry, I used the word Krauty. And I am writing this bit because I know that somewhere, someone is waiting to anonymously type a comment that says, "How dare you insult Germans by using that slang? It is a slur and you are a racist jerk!"

Well, first off, I do love the sound of "kraut." Sauerkraut. Kraut rock. Two acquired tastes.

But secondly and more importantly: I am German, so there. Yes, there's Scottish blood on my father's side, but my mother is the daughter of a German immigrant. I grew up in a very German family, even though I didn't realize our Teutonic intensity until after I'd left home.

In my family, we sang "Silent Nacht" and "O Tannenbaum" during the holidays. We called snakes "schlangies" (a cuter form of schlangen) and called the family to dinner in German. Birthdays meant Black Forest cake, my parents' wedding reception was at Zum Deutschen Eck, and I had Opa and Oma rather than Grandpa and Grandma. Grandpa and Grandma are foreign words to me.

There are two big problems with being German. First, the ankles. Show me an old German lady with dainty ankles and I'll show you incredulity. Decades down the line, my ankles will be the size of my current waistline, and I will start wearing those thick tan stockings that squeeze them into sensible shoes. German genetics ain't so kind on that end.

Then there's the little problem of German pride. You can have Irish pride. People like that: hey, leprechauns and potatoes! And you can have Puerto Rican pride, French pride, whatever. But thanks to some truly immoral and horrible events committed by Germany during the past century, you can't really run around yelling "German pride, yeeeeeah! German people are tops! Deutschland, Deutschland, eine kleine awesome!" Questionable taste at best. The closest thing to sanctioned German pride is Oktoberfest, which—let's face it—is about tourists getting sloshed on watered-down Beck's while watching a group of accordionists pump out oom-pa-pa covers of Blink-182 songs.

let's call the whole thing off

I just completely revamped my resume. Funny word, that "resume." We put the accents over both E's, but it's not like we say "ray-soo-may" as the accents request. Instead, it's "rez-uh-may" with the vowels dragged out like lazy water pooling in a roadside ditch.

I have never enjoyed writing my resume, mostly because of my perfectionist tendencies. One of the things I'm working on is the ability to savor a success rather than checking it off of a to-do list. Generally, I am focused on new challenges and accomplishments, rarely resting to pat myself on the back. This year's big deal is next year's big whoop. So on my resume, I have to remind myself that I am actually a good catch as far as employers go.

In rewriting my resume, I had to take off my Cap of Humility. Believe it or not, I am actually not one to make a huge hoo-ha over something I've done. It's my German upbringing: you just do what you're supposed to do, you do it well, and you don't throw yourself a parade when it's done. The thing is, I'm learning that most of the world is not so Krauty, and you have to call attention to your accomplishments for people to know they exist.

I'm really pleased with my finished resume. It's honest and pretty good, if I do say so myself. I'd hire me. Of course, in an ideal world, this straightforward resume would get me a job:


the bush twins

Last night as I was watching C-SPAN (stop laughing!), I caught a bit of Jenna and Barbara Bush's speech. Say what you will about the First Twins, but I've always felt that they should be left alone by the press unless they hop into the media spotlight.

Except now, Jenna and Barbara are stumping for their father. I watched their convention speech, my heart filled with a combination of amusement and embarrassment. Nobody expects the Bush twins to deliver a speech of Obama-like quality, but it seemed as though their preparation may have consisted of a five-minute run-through just before they went on. Their cadence was stilted, their jokes uncomfortably unfunny, their lack of enthusiasm palpable. And their constant giggling—I can't tell if it was nerves or "Oh my god, can you believe these corny-ass jokes?" snickering—made them come off like the female Beavis and Butt-head.

Even though you couldn't pay me to vote for their father, I actually felt bad for the twins and their awkward oration.

What I can't figure out is this: why did the campaign bring the twins on? They don't seem to want to be there. They're not exactly political overachievers; from all accounts, they just want to be Manhattan girls in their party prime. They certainly aren't going to reach the youth vote without showing excitement, even with fumbled OutKast jokes (and, um, OutKast supports Kerry). Their sense of obligation is evident, and you can sense that the girls just want to be left alone, to not be in the spotlight, to be away from this whole political machine.

say hello

    it's anniet at gmail.


© 2009 avt

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