Friday, December 29, 2006

Vindication is Ours

In yo FACE, Mom!

After having to recycle approximately 9 billion books on how to organize your life/car/house/brain/other spaces that you can fill to the brim with crap, finally there's a book that says it's okay to practice, shall we say, "creative disorder."

According to Eric Abramson and David Freedman, my new best friends, restrictive organization may actually hinder creativity by eliminating random behavior and therefore the potential for random breakthroughs of greatness.

Yeah, that's it.

It is nice to have someone acknowledge for once that my random-but-not-so-random piling, er, filing system is actually fine as long as I know where every single thing is (and I do). I am, in my mind, a very organized person, even if that organization doesn't necessarily manifest itself on my desk or in my kitchen pantry. Truly random clutter gives me claustrophobia. And uncleanliness in the form of dirt and grime, well, let's just say ewwwww.

I actually spent time as an employee of The Container Store telling other people how to organize their lives. But it's the classic case of Do As I Say, Not As I Do. Sure, I came out of my stint at The Container Store with a few nice tricks to lighten the piles a little, but when it comes right down to it, neatness for its own sake wastes my time; time that can be spent wrestling with my kids, or throwing the ball for my dog, or volunteering in the community, or, uh, blogging. Given a choice of what to do with my fifteen extra minutes a day that are left over after work and shuttling kids and paying bills and watching YouTube, I know exactly where that time is going.

And in a few years, those kids can really help out around the house. Tea thinks her new Playskool Talking Vacuum is fun; I think it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why I Love My Family, Reason Number 5984

What did my son and husband do on Christmas Eve? Trim the tree? Visit Santa and give him a list? Bake adorable non-denominational holiday cookies? Wrong, wrong, and wrong! Martha Stewart does not live here. But the Mythbusters can come party with us any time.

Because the familial Geek Squad spent the entire day on December 24 perfecting their very own Rube Goldberg Device. It took some patience and a lot of tinkering, but at least twice that day their amazing chain-reaction machine ran like clockwork.

In a matter of minutes, it went down like this:

The Thomas Jet Engine tied to a string moved forward, which:
launched the Hot Wheels Car down the steep, death-defying track, which:
hit the Railroad Spike, which fell onto the:
Hot Pink T-Mobile inflatable thing, which:
pushed up a Plastic Rod that:
pushed up some pipes, which:
tipped over the 8lb Medicine Ball, which:
fell on the Stomp Rocket Launcher, which:
launched the Stomp Rocket, which:
collided tragically with the George W. Bush Voodoo Doll!

It was a sight to behold. That I sadly didn't videotape because I suck. You'll just have to take my word for it.

But at least you get a double post today because I have slacked so hard lately. Happy Holidays.

Smile For The Evil Man With The Beard

I would never terrorize my kids for a momentary photo op on Santa's lap.

But I can still laugh my ass off when other people do it.

SF Gate's occasionally funny blog, The Poop, sponsored a contest for Best Photo of Kids Screaming on Santa's Lap. It's pretty funny. I need to forward it to my sister, who has a vintage photo of her son beaming proudly on Santa's lap, while my toddler niece screams her face off.

Go to to see for yourself.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday is Donut Day

It's Monday! Open Wiiiide!

It's Monday. First day of the work week, off to school again, and for Gianni, it's Donut Day.

I know what you're thinking. Every day should be Donut Day (no, wait, that's what I'm thinking.) But Donut Day has a context that has made our lives so much easier.

Like scores of other parents of willful young children, breakfast and eating meals in general has always been a struggle. We face the usual challenges:

"I don't WANT to eat that!"
"I've decided that I hate cereal."
"I'm only eating breakfast if it's Cap'n Crunch."

Pair that with the fact that Gianni has two food groups--Macaroni and Cheese--and you have the makings of a first-rate power struggle.

One day, Rick hit upon a brilliant idea. We were watching a Wallace and Gromit short and at one point, Wallace is getting breakfast ready. "Tuesday is porridge day, Gromit!" (insert bad Ringo Starr accent here.) Gianni adores all things W and G and seemed to really groove on the idea that Tuesdays in clay character land are reserved for porridge. So he and Rick made up a breakfast chart for our own home. And yes, Tuesday is porridge day. The week shapes like this:

Monday: Donuts
Tuesday: Porridge (or in our case, oatmeal)
Wednesday: Waffles
Thursday: Cinnamon Toast
Friday: Cereal and milk
Saturday: Pancakes
Sunday: Surprise!

It works. It really works. No matter what else is going on, Gianni accepts wholeheartedly that if it's Wednesday, you better be shoving that waffle in your piehole because It's the Law. Making pancakes on Saturday morning is one fine tradition. We even adapted a slightly looser schedule for lunch, since we must slavishly pack G's lunch every day (complicated by the fact that The Demon Nut is banned at his school. So Peanut Butter Sandwich Day is not happening so much).

Anyway, it's safe to say that we do lots of crack-brained parenting in our trial-and-error odyssey, but breakfast is one thing that we got just right. Sure, there are better things you can give your kid for breakfast than a yeasty Homer Simpson Special, but the chance to eliminate the morning breakfast fight is worth a baker's dozen.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Perfect Gift For Mom



If Mom is tired of the same old kitchen gadgets and printed scarves year after year, head on over to, where you can get--what else?--a picture of your favorite loved one as a brain-eating zombie! Just send a headshot and let the magic happen. Give doting grandparents pictures of your undead offspring! You can even damn the dog!

Sadly, doesn't guarantee Christmas delivery at this time. Shucks.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Driving Me Crazy

Our car's warranty must have expired, like, yesterday. Over the past month, from the brakes to the catalytic converter, our trusty Passat wagon has been crapping out on us piece by piece. I've had a good run with our car, but when the built-in garage-door opener falls out onto my lap while I'm driving, I start to wonder if we're coming to the end of our relationship.

I'm developing a wandering eye, surreptitiously checking out other, newer cars as I go through my days. And not so surreptitiously too, for example going to the SF Auto Show and drooling over the 2007 models like a St. Bernard. Rick had to pull me away from the BMW booth before I started humping the wheels of the 5-series wagon.

Hey baby...come here often?

And so we are starting to face the inevitable--at some time in the near future, we will be getting a new car. This process is much harder for us than for average humans. First, because we are a one-car family. We live smack in the middle of San Francisco, and live by the one parking space = one car rule. It saves us from circling the block 10 million times every night and getting our windows broken by crackheads.

Also, although Rick and I agree on one or two things, nothing brings out our differences in upbringing and material values like shopping for a multi-thousand-dollar purchase. The car selection process is proving to be even more of a landmine than the Great TV Fight of 2005 (still too painful to talk about--all I'll say is, plasma roolz and CRT droolz).

We are in total agreement (sort of) that our next car will be a hybrid. But that's where it ends. To Rick, cars are the ultimate value statement. A car is not for luxuriating in or showing off. Your car should say, "Do not seek comfort in my seats! Use not my climate controlled A/C! I am saving the planet!" In other words, Rick's dream car is an electric shitbox that resembles a sooped-up golf cart. If it doesn't get at least 50 miles to the gallon, toss it back.

How many clowns do you think we can fit in this?

The thing is, Rick rides his bike all the time. When the shit comes down, and 2 kids need to be picked up or groceries need to be gotten, I'm the one behind the wheel. Maybe I'm getting old and soft, or maybe I just get hot when I smell that new leather interior, but for once I would like to splurge a little and get something quasi-fancy. I'm not talking about navigation systems and DVD for the kiddies, I just want to feel comfortable in my car. And safe on our winter drives to Lake Tahoe. I want a car that is good for the planet, but also pretty nice to me. I want this:

The Lexus 400h. I KNOW it's an SUV. But it's a hybrid. And a 4-wheel drive. And it's smokin'.

Unfortunately, Rick thinks that I am smokin'--something--for even thinking about it. He would compromise on a Prius or a Civic hybrid, but I'm convinced that we would crush either of those cars under the sheer weight of all of our crap. And in light of recent tragic events, I don't really care if I'm protecting our natural resources if I'm seeing them as I sail through the guardrail of I-80 in a snowstorm. I want 4WD and heated seats and this baby has it all.

The other day he sent me the link for the Phoenix SUV:

But it has a great personality!

It's all-electric. It has a 240-mile range. It's $40,000 and it's available next year.

And it's fug. I'm not supposed to care, but I do. I am a failure as an environmentalist. But at least I look good.

Can this marriage be saved?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Last One to the Beach is a Turkey!

Thanksgiving Day, 2006

Thanksgiving used to be one of my favorite holidays. When I was a kid, it meant 35 of us gathering at my grandmother's house for a huge turkey and all of the comfort-food trimmings. We would eat at the kids' table while the Ladies laughed and gossiped around the table and the male of the species watched the Lions on TV. We kids always watched the Macy's parade in the morning, including the year when someone pantsed Santa as he got off his sleigh. Good times.

When I moved to California, Thanksgiving became a celebration of friendship and food, where all of us who had family far, far away would band together and cook the best food we could and drink it with as much of the best wine as possible. It helped alleviate the pangs I got when I thought of my family in Indiana and how I missed my Grandma's dressing and mashed potatoes.

Once we all got coupled and started popping out kids, something happened. Suddenly we all needed space and our kids needed somewhere decent to go to school, because we're selfish like that. Pretty much all of our friends left for greener pastures, free babysitting from family members, and better-funded public schools.

We miss them.

And Thanksgiving has become stressful. I love a party, but not a sad little turkey party for our family alone. My family no longer goes to Grandma's (Grandma being 95 and totally over the whole cooking for the world thing). But they don't come here, either. Add to that this year a particularly shitty fall and my sister heading down to my mom's in Florida (cue the world's tiniest violin playing, "My Family Hates Me") and I was not feeling the group turkey hug.

So this year, we dropped out. No cooking. No tradition. We went to the beach.

Moondoggie in Training

We packed up the kids and headed to San Diego, where we headed to Sea World, the Zoo, and on Turkey Day, to the beach for some first-class boogie-boarding. We rented G a wetsuit and he braved the waves for the first time, tentatively but with joy. Tea dug in the sand and tried unsuccessfully to drown herself. Our T-day feast was a turkey buffet at a beachside restaurant called World Famous. We're not sure what it's World Famous for, but Gianni will always have the chocolate fountain. We determined that Gianni's ideal dessert would probably be a chocolate fountain dipped in another chocolate fountain.

This fixes everything. Just ask Gianni.

Anyway, it was a blast. And maybe even a new tradition. Feel free to join us next year.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Someone Needs a Hug

Ever have one of those days where you feel like you are just unraveling at the seams? I had one yesterday. Through a harmonic convergence of stupid circumstances and PMS, I really was not sure I would make it through the day. My car is in the shop, the cafe where I ate lunch kinda forgot to bring me food, and I got no work done.

Later, the kids were kids in the worst sense of the word. Tea somehow managed to eat half a jar of petroleum jelly and smear the other half over her entire upper body and head. Even after a bath, she looks like she's about to swim the English Channel. And Gianni did something so extraordinarily boneheaded that my mind has already repressed the memory and my fingers cannot type it due to PTSD.

But later! We had a sitter so we could see a movie! Sweet relief! Not. Thanks to a bitchy couple shrieking at us as they got off the train for reasons that are still unclear, I ended up sobbing my eyes out smack in the middle of a crowded Muni car. That crazy person you see on Muni every day? That was me! Loooovely.

Obviously I need a vacation.

The good news is, my nervous breakdown took a brief hiatus and I got to see Borat and laugh at stupid rednecks and hairy naked guys wrestling each other. (Proving once again that the best cure for a bad day is laughing at someone else's misfortune.) And then I ate a cream puff. If only life were always so good.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Whoever Spelt It, Dealt It

Defying the culinary laws of nature, one hole at a time.

"Excuse me, do you have spelt donuts?"

Of all the unlikely phrases to ever come out of my mouth, this is easily in the top three. Yet, there I was in Whole Foods yesterday, bypassing the delicious delectables in their Baked Goods department and looking for something that defies the laws of at least three of the five senses.

Why? Because I'm a good parent.

When does feeding your child something that I can only imagine tastes approximately like a frosted pincushion (I wouldn't know, I like my donuts good and yeasty) constitute good parenting? When you're trying to save your kid's emotional life.

Gianni has been having, shall we say, difficulty adjusting to kindergarten. He is very bright, but also an extremely sensitive and super intense little kid. He throws tantrums. He melts down. He chucks hard objects at other kids. He hits. Let's just say we will not be receiving a Student of the Month bumper sticker any time soon. We have tried OT, behavior modification, role playing, time outs, and all of the usual tacks. We are now consulting a child shrink to help us figure out what to do next, and we are also grasping at straws with any number of alternative treatments, 100 percent of which I have openly mocked in the past.

This won't hurt a bit!

But even the most wizened and cynical parents get to a point where they are desperate; they will do anything to make the frustration go away. If someone told me that heroin was the only cure for what ails Gianni, I would tie him off right now. I would let a witch doctor dance over his purple-painted body wearing a gorilla suit and a thong if it would help even the slightest bit. At this point when it comes to diet, healing, meds, or outright ridiculous bullshit, there are no athiests in the terrifying foxhole of parenting.

Hence, spelt donuts.

We read on The Internets that sometimes sensory issues and impulsive behavior can be exaggerated by wheat in the diet. Apparently, some kids' digestive systems don't effectively break down wheat and it gets stuck in the intestinal tract and the wheaty goodness leaches out into the body at large and it makes them cranky. Or something like that. And we noticed that Gianni had a couple of really good days last week, and the common thread we discovered for both days was: he ate oatmeal for breakfast, and in general had a pretty wheatless day. As we discussed, if we discovered that twice a week he wore a jester's hat and his behavior improved, he'd never have a bare head again. So we decided to give it a shot.

So there I was yesterday, in Whole Foods, where I never shop, buying things I never thought I'd buy. I'd filled my cart to the brim with wheat-free, gluten-free goodies to sample and prayed that Gianni would never know the difference. And then, suddenly, in front of the $20 cheese, I had a post-traumatic flashback to the Pep-up.

I was also a difficult kid. (I know, shocker.) I acted up at school and smarted off and was generally every teacher's nightmare. I think if the principal could have expelled me, he would have tossed me out on my keister faster than you could say Anger Management. My parents, in their own desperation, decided that sugar was the culprit. They banned anything sweet or otherwise frosted and candied from our house. Cold Turkey. Being a junior sugar hound, it threw my world into an uproar.

If that wasn't enough, we now had to visit places more foreign than Saturn to buy our groceries. No more Eisner's in Eastland Plaza. And sure as hell no Whole Foods. We traveled into the bowels of our 1970s college town, to funky little back-alley stores where hairy people strummed guitars outside the door and they sold wheat germ in bulk. It was terrifying.

One day, in a magazine called Hippie Bullshit Weekly or somesuch, my dad discovered a recipe for something called a Pep-Up. It was some kind of smoothie shake that existed before they figured out how to make smoothies taste like fruit popsicles. The only ingredients I can remember for sure were wheat germ, brewer's yeast, and pure evil. My dad dragged me down to the funky, stinky store and excitedly asked the bemused employees where he could score some Pep-Up ingredients. Keep in mind that this was a place where people were firing up spliffs in the aisles and my dad resembled nothing so much as a Reactionary Insurance Salesman. Oh, the hilarity.

Anyway, we got our ingredients and headed home. My dad got out the blender and lovingly spooned ingredients to make his Pep-Up masterpiece. I watched skeptically. At the moment of truth, he proudly pushed the button on the blender. We were on.


He left the spoon in the blender. The glass pitcher exploded and threw Pep-Up into every corner of our house. Our kitchen smelled like a combination of bananas and Milwaukee's Best. I never got to taste it, but watching that catastrophe did pep me up considerably. In a sense, it worked.

So, thirty years later, the irony of walking through Whole Foods with a shopping cart full of Pep-Up is not lost on me. The things we do for our kids. Hopefully at least a few of these things taste better than a spoonful of wheat germ. If not, we go to Plan B. I'm not sure what Plan B is, but I think it has something to do with soy pudding.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Beta and Switch

I'm now posting with the new and "improved" Blogger Beta. My opinion after two days?


I suppose it is my fault for signing onto a beta product, but this version brings a whole new meaning to Confusion and Delay. If I edit copy or post photos, it's about a 50 percent chance that my Save or Publish commands will yield results, 50 percent that my request will hang in oblivion, indefinitely. I long for the good old days when infrequent posting and formatting errors were 100 percent due to my being a lazy slacker.

Here's to getting the bugs knocked out so I can go back to kickin' it old style.

If you're reading this, something worked. A good sign indeed.

UPDATE: In the Change is Good department, today's Valleywag reveals that Courier body type joins Nick Douglas in Dumpsville. Which now makes Dumpsville overcrowded (one of these things does not belong.)

But the change makes the new layout infinitely less fugly and reduces the chances that I will stab my eyes out before I get to the bottom of the page. Thanks for listening!

Monday, November 13, 2006

And the Award for Fugliest Redesign of the Month Goes To....

Courier? Please tell us you're joking.

Valleywag! Step forward and claim your bouquet of dandelions and $20 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse! I went to the site today to get my daily dose of tech info and gossip and oh my God, in the name of all that is decent and aesthetically pleasing! Instead, I got a double dose of evil:

  1. Nick Douglas has been unceremoniously canned for, well, being 25.
  2. The Valleywag design pros have put their heads together and their creative genius has come up with a redesign that resembles a poor man's Hotwired circa 1997. I mean, it is hideoso. I could do better with stock clip art and a blindfold. And believe me, that is not saying much.
Read all about it here.

Be sure to read the comments.

So many questions. Why fire Nick Douglas? Why not just let him do the writing and hire a business savvy Valley hound to do the research? He wasn't bad, he just didn't know very much. I mean, I care less about Jason Calacanis and Michael Arrington that just about anyone on the planet, but why lose the good voice?

And what is crawling up Nick Denton's butt? Why fire and redesign in the same swoop? Easy us in gently, man.

And finally, who the fuck approved that design? Stevie Wonder? Boy Howdy does it suck ass. In case I wasn't clear the first time.

I'm sure answers will be coming soon. Either that or April Fool's came early this year.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dems in the HOUUUUUSE!

Step Aside, Boys!

In case you're wondering, I'm having a glass of chilled champagne right now.

A Democratic House! A Democratic Senate! Democratic Governors in Ohio and Kansas! Democratic House victories in INDIANA, for pete's sake! Rick Santorum back molesting donkeys or whatever it is that he does when the Senate is in recess!

If I'm dreaming, please don't pinch me!

You go, Nancy Pelosi, let's show what "San Francisco Values" are all about: Compassion, Acceptance, Honesty, and Hope. 'Cause whatever those other values are, they're not working.

Update: And Donald Rumsfeld is outta there too. This is like Christmas a month early.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Trick or Treat, Smell Our Feet

Why did the chicken cross the road?

SO glad that is over. This year's Bataan Candy March went better than expected, actually. Tea had full appreciation for all of the amazing stuff we saw, Gianni got a metric buttload of candy, and no one TP'ed our house. So I have to call it a success. But one paid for in parent blood.

To Catch the Streetcar! (Please ignore the exhausted mom)

I can't possibly fit all of the thrills, chills, and excitement of Halloween 2006 in one blog post, so here's a cop-out Halloween Index detailing our ghoulish night.

Number of toddler costumes planned out in elaborate detail: 1
Number of elaborate toddler costumes actually made by Mom: 0

Approximate bedtime after coloring Gianni's costume: 11:45 pm
Number of hours of sleep saved by not piecing together Tea's Pluto costume, too: at least 4

Number of Polito dogs embarrassed with humiliating costumes: 0
Number of neighborhood dogs embarrassed with same: approximately 2200

Number of toddlers seen dressed up as chickens, including Tea: 3
Number of babies seen dressed up as pumpkins: 12 million and 3

Number of household pumpkins smashed out of 8: 1 (Yes we had 8 pumpkins for 2 households, SHUT UP)
Number of Kleenex ghosts stolen from the front of our house: ALL OF THEM (fuckers)

More stats:

Best costume, teenage division: Girl dressed up as the Mona Lisa painting
Best costume, kid division: Gianni dressed up as the F-line Streetcar (I'm biased, but it was really super cool.)
Most hideous sight, all-ages division: Young trick-or-treater talking on a cell phone while hitting a house. No candy for you, kid. Even an agent wouldn't be that crass.
Best impersonation of a Spielberg movie: Belvedere Street
Best house on Belvedere: The modern one, where they did a window display of Monsters Inc, complete with life-sized Sully, papier mache Mike (also life-sized), Boo's room, and a Scream Catcher. Same house did Finding Nemo the year before, and the year before that, under construction, the owner dressed up as Spiderman and climbed the wooden frame and threw out candy. Yeah, the kids really hated it.
Best Pumpkin: Intricately carved portrait. Either they commissioned Van Gogh to rise from the dead and carve their pumpkin or someone has a) too much free time, and/or b) no kids.
Worst Pumpkin: Any of mine. Seriously, they really blew. The special pumpkin carving knife? Don't believe the hype.
Best Candy (tie): Anything chocolate, natch, and special 6-year-old judges' ruling for the Froot by the Foot given out at the Monsters Inc house.
Worst Treats (tie):
A Pencil (a PENCIL?? thanks, but we have a pencil, Poindexter) Are You Made of Chocolate? Then no.

And.... a small bag filled with popsicle sticks. Yes, just the sticks. May actually be the Worst Treat Ever. What were they THINKING? Do our kids look like beavers? What the hell are we supposed to do with five popsicle sticks? If we buy a box, we get 6 sticks AND POPSICLES. I can only hope that someone spelled out "Fuck You" in popsicle sticks on their front porch. Oh, except you would need more than five. Assholes.

Even WE think popsicle sticks are a sucky treat!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Devil's Night--Oh, And Halloween's Coming, Too

We're in full-on Halloween preparation mode here at Casa Polito. The Kleenex ghosts are flying off the tree (Literally flying off in some cases, courtesy of some drunk teenage haters that swooped by early yesterday morning. Thanks for thinking of the children, jerks!), and the giant spider web and its resident are hanging from the doorway. Pumpkins are coming tonight and costumes are well on their way to being brilliant and adorable. Pictures to come!

I think that for once, we've done a pretty good job of a. being prepared with decorations and fun projects for the big 'Ween, and b. not exhausting the kids completely by October 25. In San Francisco, it's entirely possible to be so overstimmed/oversugared/over Halloween in general far before the big night, since you can go to about 10 parties and events a day for at least 10 days before. Living in Halloween Central is hard work and very exhausting if you don't pace yourself. But we've limited Halloween to pumpkin carving and decorating and costume making and saving the sugar and all-out hyperactivity until Tuesday.

Which brings me to the important part, the candy. As far as Gianni's concerned, Halloween could be a day-long insurance seminar, as long as there's sugar involved. He has complete tunnel vision focused laser-like on all of the loot he'll be getting tomorrow. He is pretty equal-opportunity when it comes to candy--at this age, it's all good. Amazing how a kid who makes me take basil and herbs off of the top of his pizza because it's "green stuff" can wolf down circus peanuts like they're the delectable bon bons of the gods.

We try to be good Halloweeners and buy the good candy--you can't go wrong with chocolate bars and jolly ranchers. But some parents will just never learn. A short list of some of the nasty-ass shit we've gotten in Gianni's bag, and in general the vilest stuff that goes masquerading as "candy" this time of year:

1. Candy Corn--Seriously people, this stuff is the devil's eyeteeth. Which makes it on some level appropriate for Halloween. But as a candy treat? Candy corn BLOWS. Like the Santa Anas. Why do you continue to buy it? Because it's orange? Because it's sweet? Because it comes in nice little individually-wrapped pouches? If there was ever a case where the sum of the parts does not add up to anything good, this is it. No one likes candy corn. And if they do, there's something wrong with them. Save it for the candy farm animals.

2. Those Peanut Butter Chewy Things--You know what I'm talking about, those nasty little chews wrapped in orange and black wrappers. I would have thought these things had died out from natural selection years ago, but no. Every year in Gianni's bag, we get a handful of vaguely peanut-flavored evil. Hey, adults who buy these things--have you ever TASTED them? You probably think that dog turds wrapped up in orange and black are a cute idea, too. It's enough to make you barf in the moment, and then you still get the joy of picking them out of your teeth and having your dentist yell at you a month later for eating them. It's the worst of both worlds.

3. Sugar-Free Candy--On the flip side of the sticky peanut chews from hell, there's the sugar-free candy, devoid of any pleasure at all. Are you the black-hole of fun? Have you totally forgotten what it's like to be a kid? Why don't you just give out STD pamphlets and Bibles and be done with it? My downstairs neighbor gave sugar-free candy a few years back, and I openly accused her of hitting the crack pipe. And to prove my point, kids trick-or-treating actually snubbed her candy bucket, looking at it like it smelled bad or was sprouting hair. Do you really think kids aren't going to know that it's sugar-free? Even the smallest ones are smarter than that. You can go inside and eat all the sugar-free candy and carrot sticks you want, but one day a year, suck it up and throw the kids some Snickers bars.

4. Toothbrushes--Yet another self-righteous public-service announcement masquerading as a Halloween "treat." Yes, we know! Kids eat sugar on Halloween! Alert the media! Even dentists aren't stupid enough to try this trick. And I'm pretty sure most kids already have toothbrushes. I want to set up a stand at the end of the block where kids can exchange their toothbrushes for actual sugary treats. Kind of like needle exchange. Giving out toothbrushes at Halloween won't get kids to brush their teeth more; it'll just get them to think you're an asshole and egg your house.

5. No Candy--It's amazing that anyone would ever THINK to actively and vehemently not give candy at Halloween. Yet it happens. Don't want to participate? Turn off your lights and hide. Better yet, leave the neighborhood. Go out for a nice dinner and a movie. Avoid! Here's what not to do: put a sign in your window telling any and all who walk by that you're not doing Halloween because you hate kids/think it promotes devil worship/can't imagine celebrating a holiday when there is so much pain in the world and September 11 just happened and all those poor people are suffering. Note that the last one ACTUALLY HAPPENED in our neighborhood in 2001. Hi, why don't you put up a sign instead that just says BRING ON THE ROTTEN EGGS! COSTCO HAS GREAT DEALS ON TOILET PAPER! IF YOU HURRY THEY'LL STILL BE OPEN! Idiots.

On one level, I'm hoping that I come back here on Wednesday with nothing but smiles and pictures of adorable kids in costume. But realistically, there will be some morons. And I live to serve. So here's to Halloween, may it provide with great stories that we can mock for years to come. But no candy corn. I beg of you.

Friday, October 13, 2006

An Open Letter

Dear KGO's Pete Wilson,

Fuck you.

Your pal,

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Me and Mr. T

The T-Man, Pre-Katrina

Mr. T is back in action!

One of the most underappreciated performers of our generation is giving interviews, touting his new reality series called--of COURSE--"I Pity the Fool." According to the T, in the show he helps struggling businesses and families with his own brand of tough luv.

Among the things the Reuters story reveals:

  • He struggled with, and survived, T-cell lymphoma (oh, the irony!). Way to go, man. The story also says that "As his illness became known, the calls offering him work stopped which Mr. T put down to the stigma surrounding cancer." Uh-huh. Whatever gets you through the night, Mr. T. (He is now in remission, so we should be seeing him all over the silver screen now that he is not contagious.)
  • Mr. T stopped wearing gold chains because he felt that "after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast and New Orleans as it felt wrong to be covered in wealth when others had lost everything."
  • And, he won't do just ANY reality show. ""Before this show I was offered some other reality TV shows but I won't do anything with nudity, obscenities, eating worms or things like that." Good to know the man has his standards.
Seriously, how can you not love Mr. T? Sure, he cut all those trees down in Lake Forest, but he's such a righteous dude. When I was in college, I was working in downtown Chicago and Mr. T drove by us, right down Michigan Avenue, in a cherry-red Rolls Royce convertible (License plate: MR T). He was in full Mohawk-and-gold-chain T-regalia and looking like he was on top of the world. We all waved and shouted, "Hey, Mr. T!" and he smiled and waved right back. He was and always will be a man of the people. And hey, after what, 20 years, he's still here. Long live the T.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Terror in the Skies

Take that, Tree Huggers!

It’s Fleet Week in San Francisco! The Blue Angels are in the house! Grab your earplugs, civilians!

You’ll want to block out the deafening noise, the incessant roar, that horrifying sound that makes you want to crouch under your desk in fetal position until it’s all over.

And I’m not talking about the jet noise.

I’m talking about the whiiiiining.

“They’re so looouuudd!”

“We’re waaaasting taxpayer dooolllaaars!”

“I caaan’t wooork! The noise makes it impossible to coooncentrate!”

“Why do they have to come every yeeear?”

It is the great San Francisco pastime, a Blue State merit badge, the mark of a true progressive intellectual, to bitch about the Blue Angels. You either love them or you hate them, and if you care about our country and our planet, you hate them, of course. It's the first thing they teach you at UC Santa Cruz. A vote for the Blue Angels is a vote for the Other Side, or at least a big red flag drawing attention to your blissful ignorance. Right?

Not so fast, hippies.

I vote Democrat. I take Muni. I give money to progressive causes. I think George W. Bush is a smirking, brainless chimp.

But I love the Blue Angels. Like good coffee and the Gay Pride Parade, it’s one of those things that makes living in San Francisco such a gift. That’s right, the Blue Angels and the Pride Parade. And I know I’m not the first one to think of them both in the same paragraph.

I savor my peace and quiet as much as the next working mom of two, but the Blue Angels are just cool. They are fast! And shiny! And they do cool stuff! There is something to be said for primal audiovisual gratification. Come on. Is San Francisco really so far up it’s own ass that we can’t come out for two days and have a little fun? Let’s leave our agendas inside for a few hours, shall we?

I hear you. They pimp for the Navy. They glorify war. They burn fuel. They could crash into one another over downtown and take us all down in a flaming ball of hellfire. Blah Blah Blah. Having armies and fighting wars? Not the same thing. I wish our armed forces were doing something besides fighting a brainless war for oil, but I still appreciate them. Personally, I am happy to see the Blue Angels are here trick-riding over the Bay and not out shooting folks. (I know, they don’t shoot folks, but as long as we’re all making blanket generalizations…)

True, those planes burn a shitload of fuel. It's wrong. Tell you what: Why don’t you leave your cars at home and take the train down to the Valley to go to work, and maybe turn your computers off for a week, and not fly down to Disneyland twice a year, and pick your kids up by public transportation instead of driving them to and from school and the soccer field every day, and then we can talk.

Frankly, between the deterioration of third-world infrastructure and the population explosion and the global warming and the overfishing and the greedy warmongering, I think we are so far fucked in so many other crucial ways that grounding the Blue Angels for a weekend is really not going to do the trick. There are many other things I'd put the kibosh on first--No Child Left Behind, Dennis Hastert's franking privileges, at least one of our stupid wars...let's not cut out something that's actually entertaining and doesn't harm anyone.

Then there's the NOISE. Oh, the humanity. You can’t work? It’s too loud? Both of my kids were, well, kids during Fleet Week, when the Blue Angels flew directly over our house during naptime. Did either of them even twitch, much less wake up? I THINK NOT. So cowboy up; if the kids can sleep through it, so can you. Pin your ADD on something else.

Ahem. I apologize. I’m not a hawkish jackass. And I love you all. Really. But please, people, you live in a beautiful place. You’re not in the Midwest. You walk outside and you see sun, and mountains, and ocean, and yes, the Blue Angels. Life is good. All I have to do is look at my 6-year-old son staring at the sky with an expression of wonder on his face and say, anything that makes my kid that happy can’t be all bad. Until he drives down the block in his SUV to mail his application to Halliburton, I’m going to keep my head up and enjoy the show.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Army Dresses Down

My friend Lily is the most unconventional Army wife I know. She is a talented, no-bullshit writer, former fetish-zine editor, and ex-stripper and sex-positive issues advocate. Not the kind of lady you usually meet at an Army spouse luncheon. But she and her alt cred live a wonderful life up in the Hudson River Valley with her West Point officer husband, two teenaged stepsons, and an adorable golden lab. The places love takes you....

Anyway, Lily has a great op-ed in the Times today, on her sentimental sadness about the retirement of the Army's Battle Dress Uniform for more modern combat duds. It's really wonderful and I'm so glad she's writing about her life. She shows so well that the Army is not just Them, it's all of us. Thanks, Lily.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Best. Music Video. Ever.

Or, at least the best that I've seen in months.

In my continuing quest to spotlight things that anyone under 35 has already seen a thousand times over, I LOVE this video from Ok Go. The song (and the album, and their other album) are great, too. Very power-pop, Knack-esque with Cars and Cardigans undertones and other groovy 70s/80s influences. This was choreographed by one of the band members and his sister, and it is their SECOND single-take video. (A Million Ways was the first, and it's also pretty awesome.) Ok Go, I bow down before you and your treadmill gracefulness!

Important, Hard-Hitting News

How about that Foley freak? Did anyone catch the Veronica Mars premiere last night? Read any good books lately?

Okay, I'll stop pretending that I care what's going on in the world. I just wanted to post a complimentary picture of Tea. Is she cute or what?


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

B is for Bitchout

nice to customers!

The new Bloomingdale's is open! I feel so complete. I actually stumbled on the grand opening yesterday as I wandered aimlessly downtown to find a fancy dress for the many fancy things I must do this fall. I just waltzed right in the only open door, which happened to be in an alley behind about ten delivery trucks belching exhaust onto those of us crafty enough to find the entrance.

My verdict yesterday? Fan-fucking-tabulous. I have been waiting for this moment all of my adult life. Literally! A store less cheesy than Macy's, less frumpy than Nordstrom, and less godawful expensive than Saks or Neiman's. It's not Barneys, but it'll do. There are shoes that I would wear, intersecting with shoes that I can actually afford! Amazing. I spent a few hours poking around as one of the only customers, with a whole staff of hyper-solicitous salesfolks fawning over me. Not bad. I even found a dress I liked, that I decided to come back and get the next day when I had time to try it on.

Bad, bad idea. If you were anywhere near 5th and Mission yesterday, you know exactly what I mean. Where there was no one yesterday, there was a giant line of Bloomie's-lovin' consumers snaking all the way down Mission Street and back into the alley where I sneaked in yesterday. There were security guards posted everywhere and they were not letting anyone in who didn't have some kind of card and who didn't park their ass in that line for a few hours. Apparently people had been there since 6am. What the f---?

UPDATE: Here is a picture from today's Chron.

Once again, I say, ARE YOU PEOPLE FREAKIN' NUTS? The store--it's not going anywhere! They will still have zillions of pairs of black boots next week!

I walked up to the salesdude guarding the Jessie Street door and asked precisely that. He said, they were offering some kind of special promotion where people who opened Bloomingdale's charges yesterday and brought some kind of special card got in "by invitation only." You would not fucking believe this line. It was "by invitation only" the way McDonald's is "by invitation only." I think all of Walnut Creek and most of Milpitas were waiting to get inside. I mean, it's a nice store, but come ON.

Of course, I determined immediately that I was not going to wait in no stinkin' line. I went up to the door guard/sales manager and told him that I had a kid to pick up from school and a busy life and my ass was not going to be spending the next two hours in line so I could walk out with a few perfume samples. I would either be let in to spend my many dollars of cold hard cash on a dress that I had been lovingly sold yesterday, or I would walk up the street to buy another dress, never, ever to return to Bloomingdale's.

Apparently no one (except me) wants to be a dick on the first day. To the guy's credit, he let me in only if I PROMISED to go straight up to the Fancy Dress Section and buy only the dress and nothing else. Well, the joke's on him, I tried on lipstick too! But I did get out in time to pick up Gianni.

So two thumbs up for the new Bloomie's, one for nice stuff and the other for customer service!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Running with Tinkerbell

For reasons that are not entirely clear even to me, I have decided to run a half-marathon in November. I have been more or less retired from racing since my high-school track days. Even then one could argue that I was semi-retired, 'cause it's not like I really tried. Despite possibly having some aptitude for running, I was just getting my jock card punched in sports-crazy southern Indiana, where if you didn't do SOMETHING you weren't worth knowing. Anyway, I digress, because other than running the San Francisco Marathon in 1998 just to prove that I could, and getting up to do the Run to the Far Side every Thanksgiving weekend (there's just something about running next to people dressed up like giant bananas and insects and dogs in suits riding a bus that makes life worthwhile) I mostly just run for my own enjoyment. And so I don't get fat.

But a few weeks ago my friend Atoosa, with whom I run on weekends, asked me if I wanted to do a half-marathon with her and a few of her friends, and I thought, why the hell not? It turns out that Atoosa can only do a race the week that I'm out of town, and she's out of town for the race I can do, so we are not actually running a race together, but now I have got the bug so far up my butt that I want to run a half-marathon that there's no turning back.

I started training a few weeks ago and realized something I'd forgotten in all of my years of leisurely running--training for a race makes you HUNGRY. Like, all the time. I feel like I have a tapeworm. I'm constantly starving and shoving snacks in my piehole all day long. It's just bizarre to polish off a big meal and still be like, mmmm, when's the second course? Excuse me, I need to go eat something now.

Okay, now that I'm back, I'll share my moment of the week, heck, the whole month, that happened while I was training for this blessed event. I was out running the Lyon Street Steps. If you don't live in San Francisco, these are some steep motherfucking steps that climb a big hill next to some gorgeous mansions and kick your ass all the way. When you get to the top, there's a gorgeous view of the waterfront. It's both heavenly and vomitous all at the same time. Anyway, I was coming down the steps, and this woman was running up. She was very California blonde, all tanned and fit and dressed in matching workout clothes and barely breaking a sweat. She was keeping a steady pace and in one hand she was carrying....

Wait for it...

A chihuahua. I shit you not. It was very Paris Hilton. I really thought I'd seen the chihuahua as accessory to just about every occasion, but I was wrong. At least she did carry the thing freehand and didn't have it in a little Adidas bag, or wearing a matching LuluLemon dog track suit or something. If you think about it, it was practically subdued.

All I'm saying is that if I'm on the last mile of the half marathon in November and a kinkajou named BabyLuv passes me, I'm gonna be really pissed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Look What the Stork (or L. Ron Hubbard) Brought!

It's a big week for celebrity babies and I'm just catching up on news of two little bundles of...something.

First, my brand new copy of Vanity Fair came on Monday. Along with the usual stories about rich old white guys and Eurotrash, there's that Suri Cruise right on the cover! Man, what a cute baby! Who apparently was born bundled with Photoshop! I haven't seen that much airbrushing since Miss December! How many blemishes does a baby need to hide? Now really. If that's our standard, if I'm ever photographed for Vanity Fair I should just put a bag over my head and be done with it. Still, I begrudgingly admit that little Suri is one adorable little muffin. Well done, you Scientology freaks!

And as anyone who reads Perez Hilton knows already, life at the Spears-Federline double-wide just got a little cozier with the birth of little Sutton Pierce Federline (love the name!) on September 12, two days before big brother's first birthday. (All the cool kids are born in mid-September! Maybe Sean Preston and I can have a double B-day celebration! With a pony!)

Anyway. Congratulations to Britney and the Federchimp! Mazel tov! Many happy returns!

Now please stop breeding. Or at least slow the fuck down.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Quiet Day Is A Good Day

Today is September 11, if you didn't notice. As much as I'd like to say I've been out hugging firefighters and singing "God Bless America" through a megaphone, I've had a nice, mellow day and that is truly a gift that I appreciate with all my soul after months of suckiness. In fact, I'm still anticipating the roundhouse kick to the head that seems to come with every calm moment lately, but hopefully it won't come this time.

Five years ago, I was getting ready to drop then-11-month-old Gianni off with the nanny for the first time. It was the first day I'd ever been apart from him for an entire day and I was, honestly, feeling guilty that I was feeling so happy that I would be away from him. I woke up that morning, and my first thought was: Free at last! I was already planning all of the amazing child-free things I'd be doing that day (Long lunches! Naps! Porn!) when my phone rang. It was my sister, calling at 7:45. I thought: someone died, since that's the only reason anyone is allowed to call me before 8:30. Someone died, all right. A lot of someones. She was calling to make sure that we were not driving on the Golden Gate Bridge, and that someone was not blowing it up right at that moment.

And then it hit me: oh my God, I'm leaving my child with a stranger and the world has gone nuts. I can't do this! Serves me right for being so gleeful at the thought of ditching Gianni to live a life of grown-up leisure.

Then I got it together--I have to do this. We have to keep on truckin'. So I scooped Gianni up, and drove him out for his first day in the care of someone else. He had a blast. I walked around Golden Gate Park, crying and listening to the freakish lack of air traffic noise from above.

I never imagined on that hellish day that I would wake up five years later to a similarly calm and sunny day and actually have that adult free time I'd planned so diligently before. (Okay, no porn, but maybe tomorrow.) My son was off at kindergarten, my daughter with HER new nanny. I was alone, listening to the silence again. And this time, it was good. I hope that the families of those who died on 9/11 are getting their peace too. Times a hundred.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Timing is Everything!

First of all, let's all just take a moment to acknowledge that I suck. I could say that I've been on vacation, I could chalk up my sparse posting as of late to a nasty shitstorm of events in my life that have taken up all my time. And I would be half right in both cases. But the truth is, I just got lazy. My apologies to my one reader. (Hi Honey.)

Anyway, I'm back. And I gotta say, it's amazing how much a few minutes can affect your life in such drastic ways. Two days ago, Gianni had his orientation afternoon at kindergarten. Naturally, we were all planning to go and embarrass him, er, I mean send him off in fine fashion. The plan was for Gianni and Rick to pedal over on the tagalong bike and for me and Tea to meet them at the school. But thanks to some dumb-assed forgetfulness on my part and a booster seat that wasn't quite strapped down to the chair, Tea managed to do a full face-plant on the kitchen floor the minute G and Rick were walking out the front door.

I called Rick on the cell phone and told him that we were going to be a little late, since we had to rush to the doctor and make sure Tea hadn't knocked all of her teeth loose in her grand stunt. Rick came back inside for a second, made sure that we were all fine (bloody, but fine) and then went on the way. They arrived at school with no difficulties, Gianni had a grand time,and I missed the whole thing because I was sitting in a doctor's office for two hours waiting for a consultation that took five minutes to tell me that Tea was just fine. (insert tiny violin and expletive-filled rant about health care here.)

When we saw the local news later, I realized what a blessing a blood-soaked face-plant can be for a family. Because Rick was a few minutes late getting started, he and Gianni were a few minutes late crossing California street. Thus, they barely missed this lunatic, who plowed down 14 pedestrians deliberately and was finally stopped literally blocks from Gianni's new school. While sitting in a waiting room with a grumpy, scraped-up baby is no fun, we all realize that it could have been much much much much worse and thank goodness for life's little delays.

So thanks Tea, and I promise not to be such a scattered dumb ass next time and buckle the booster seat.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Chron Will Print Anything These Days

The paper proved that already, when last week they published a whiny, entitled "humor" essay by a young "writer" living in her grandmother's Eichler home in Palo Alto. For free. Really the only way to do the story justice is to read it in the voice of a 16-year-old Valley Girl. The walls are, like, green? And the couch is totally orange? And it's, like, really cold? I totally have to wear my fake fur coat all the time! Like, there's not even a jacuzzi tub! Eeuww!

Anyway. It sucked. And I'm not even an Eichler nut.

The paper printed a pageful of letters to the editor regarding the story today, including mine! I'm proud, not just because I got a letter in the paper, but because I got the phrase "takes a dump" into a family newspaper. That is a true accomplishment. Joe Eichler would be proud.

Editor -- Need I even say it: a gift horse that takes a dump on your lawn is still a gift horse. In a time when even non-freelancers can barely afford to make rent on frighteningly small and ugly places in the Bay Area, I cannot even begin to measure how much chutzpah one would have to possess to tell us this tale of "woe." The writer lives in an architecturally significant home that, for better or worse, is historically intact, more because of your grandmother's laziness in maintaining it than anything else. It's rent-free. It's worth a fortune. Cry me a river.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Irwin Allen it Ain't

People are still talking about where they were during the Earthquake. I'm not talking about the 1906 Big One, or even the 1989 Pretty Damned Big One. (In case you're wondering, I was not born yet, and sitting on a couch in Illinois watching the World Series, respectively.) I'm referring to the moderate temblor we experienced just a few days ago. Yes, it was a shaker. Or so I'm told.

For a bunch of supposedly jaded Bay Areans, we sure love to talk about quakes, no matter how tiny. I was walking from the family room into the hallway with Tea for her bedtime. Rick was in the kitchen and he said: "Earthquake."

I said: "Huh?"

Rick was certain that we'd just had an earthquake. The windows rattled. The light fixtures swayed. By the time I looked, there was nothing. But he was certain. He checked the USGS Web site. Nothing reported yet. So I told him to go to the real source of all information.

"Try The Well," I said.

He checked into the San Francisco Earthquake topic on The Well and, before the USGS had a chance to check their seismographs, there were already 20 posts about the quake. Felt it in Bernal Heights! Didn't feel it in the East Bay! I didn't feel it, but I'm on vacation in Europe (thanks for sharing.) People were beginning to go through the stages of Earthquake Processing on The Well. Which are:

1. Report whether you did/didn't feel the quake, even if you don't live in the area. No matter how inane or uninteresting your observations. Please share.

2. Bring up your Bay Area Cred with regards to Earthquakery. I was born here! My grandparents were born here! And the old standby, I was here for Loma Prieta! I was standing on the San Andreas Fault! I am OLD SCHOOL.

3. Segue into how you scoff at people who freak and jump into doorways for anything less than a 6.0 shaker. Ha ha, you cowardly rubes! Look how casual I am.

Now, I have missed pretty much every quake we've had here for the past two years. And by "missed," I mean slept through, mistook for a truck driving by, or otherwise didn't catch because I was too busy gazing at my own thumb or something. But each time I hear the newscasters catching up or see that red square on the USGS map, I bow down in deference to the mighty earth, knowing that, while this time we were safe, it's just a difference of a few Richter points and 30 seconds between standing on solid ground and finding ourselves under the weight of our house and worldly possessions. I cross my fingers and thank some higher power that I still have a doorway to stand under and that my plaster ceiling is intact. May it continue to be so indefinitely.

By the way--4.4, centered near Glen Ellen in Sonoma County. And we're fine, mom.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Fuck Cancer. Again.

My friend Linda Dyer died tonight. She fought breast cancer hard for way too many years, and I think more than anyone expected. She went through jobs, health insurance, many apartments, many really crappy treatments, and a whole lot of exhaustion. And through it all, she was luminous. High-spirited. Beautiful. A real gem of a human being.

I was not on vigil with Linda in her final days. In fact, I have not seen her since she started to go downhill in the last few months. Not because I didn't want to; just that she was busy, I was busy, and we always seemed to find each other when we needed to. When I think about time spent with Linda, I think about her being a fun and caring babysitter to my son until she lacked the energy to do it anymore. I think about helping her move into her in-law apartment down the street, just as she was starting to fight her disease, none of us really knowing where it would take her.

I think of running into her at Zazie, her coming from a chemo treatment and me in my 11th week of pregnancy with Tea. She was one of the first people I told, and we had breakfast together that day, both of us eating pancakes and fighting nausea for, sadly, entirely different reasons. I think about her joining our very earnest writing group and wowing us with her effective and spare prose poems. She was a writer for the sake of writing and I always appreciated that about Linda. It doesn't always work out that way for a lot of us and she kept it real for me.

They tell me she was not in pain when she died. She was at peace. She was surrounded by many friends in real life and many, many virtual friends in spirit. Me included.

I miss you already, Lin. I knew this day would come, but that doesn't make it any easier. Peace and love.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

More Fun with's spreading like a virus, I tell you. My friend Kristen tells me that she tried it with a photo of her baby daughter Kate, and got...

Louis Pasteur!

I tried to tell Kristen that it is an auspicious honor in our society to resemble the father of bacteriology. She is not buying it.

You know, Louis Pasteur tried it with his daughter and she looked just like Christina Ricci. Who knew?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Try and Put this Book Down... won't be able to do it. It's impossible. Try, the debut novel from Lily Burana, has that all-too-rare combination of beautiful, delicious, writing and an actual plot. She perfectly captures Wyoming, rodeo culture, cowboys, and the tentative, aching first days of true luv. I stayed up until 1am last night reading it--my ass is dragging this morning and it's all your fault, Lily.

I'm not just blowing sunshine on this book because Lily is my pal and a brilliant writer. It's a really terrific read. I am a tough customer and I am really digging it. I wish I could churn out a novel like this. But does anyone really want to read a 350-page tome detailing the wacky misadventures of a San Francisco mom and her neurotic dog? Apparently, yes.

Oh well. I need to find a new hook. Anyway, read Try, this year's perfect beach book and then some.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Joss Whedon Rocks

If you haven't seen footage of Joss Whedon giving a speech at Equality Now's awards banquet, it's pretty much the best speech I've seen, ever. This speech is the one thing that made me feel great in an otherwise crap week. Not only is it brilliant, but to my trained eye, Joss looks like he's ad-libbing the thing. I am in awe.

For the uninitiated, Joss Whedon is the creator of some really kickass entertainment, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, Firefly, Angel, and other great stuff. His shows are filled with wit, emotion, excitement, provocative themes, and strong characters, both female AND male.

The dozens of misogynistic fuckheads working in media and entertainment right now could take a page or twenty from his book. Anyway, great, great, speech, Joss. Please marry me, or be my cool boss, or be my best friend, or something.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Craigslist, Hoosier Style

The all-knowing, all-purpose Craigslist now has an outpost in my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. This cracks me up for so many reasons. For a week, my husband, who assumes that every resident of Indiana hunts squirrels and thinks Larry the Cable Guy is a laff riot, has been forwarding me Missed Connections and Rants and Raves from the Bloomington site.

The thought of a "missed connection" in a town as claustrophobic as Bloomington is to laugh. From my experience, a MC on Craiglist Bloomington would look something like this:

Tsk, Tsk, Tsk
Reply to:
Date: 2006-07-02, 5:45PM EST
Julia Lynn McCullough, of the brown house on Winslow Road, you walked past me at the IU game on Saturday afternoon. Don't think I didn't smell that cigarette smoke in your hair and on your jacket, young lady. I really don't think you should be hanging out with that Andrews girl--she is such a bad influence. I think she is on drugs, are you on drugs too? I will be calling your parents tonight. They are such nice people and I really I have no choice, I'm only doing it because I care about you and them and I'm concerned. By the way, why did you break up with that nice Joe Smith? He is so handsome and such a good athlete and you know, his dad makes a lot of money. You could do a lot worse, dear.
(Note that Joe Smith is a. a flaming homosexual, and/or b. deals coke to grade-school kids)

It's not that bad. But there are some good ones. Some of my favorites:

need a threesome baaad ;) - mw4w - 22

Reply to:
Date: 2006-07-02, 5:45PM EST

hi! my bf and i are looking for single female to have a threesome w/. his birthday is next week and i want to surprise him!!! pref. an asian girl but will consider other types as long as u r hot!! LOL. this is a one time thing i'm ONLY doing this for his bday!!! -kim

Hilarious because first of all, despite the world-class university, Bloomington is a really. small. town. My dad probably bought bagels from these people last week. And second, they actually posted a PICTURE.

Who posts a picture for a threesome ad on Craigslist? (Although, hey, they're cute! I'd do 'em.)

Gotta love this one, too:

Where can a nice looking guy go to get a good bj in this town?

Reply to:
Date: 2006-07-09, 12:02AM EST

Where's the best public place to get a good blow job in this town? I don't care if it's from a man or a woman.

Depends on what you are looking to gain from the experience, sir! If you're a sucker for Hoosier tradition, try the Well House, or the center line at Assembly Hall. There's nothing like those red banners waving to enhance a good BJ. If you want maximum exposure, try the Courthouse Square on a weekday! And if you want to freak the shit out of some proper Bloomington matrons, a table at Peterson's bakery at noon. Tell 'em I sent you. Happy hunting!

Another gem:

I hate this fucking town

Reply to:
Date: 2006-07-02, 4:53PM EST

I hate the fucking immature girls (and they are GIRLS, not women) in this town who care only about looks and how much shit their parents will buy them.

I hate the idiot east coasters who walk around this campus like they own the place because they come from money.

I hate people from Indianapolis. First of all, everyone within an hour of the damn place claims to be from "the city" when they're from a suburb. Second, they think it's a real city. Go to New York, Chicago, hell, even Boston or Miami. Those are real cities. They have sports teams that don't consistently choke too.

I hate the illegals and foreign exchange students who choose to live here but refuse to speak English.

I hate the rednecks here who also barely speak English.

I hate the Goddamn university bureaucracy that shoves diversity down our throats just to make themselves feel good.

I hate the fucking professors who don't actually teach anything but still walk around with an unwarranted sense of accomplishment.

All in all I hate this fucking town. If I didn't need a degree (which I now know doesn't prove you know jack shit) to get a job I would never spend a minute in this town and after I'm gone next year I will never come back. Nor will IU ever get a cent of my money. Fuck this place.

Can't really argue with that one.

And finally, the quintessential Bloomington post:

The new big building by Dicks at the Mall

Reply to:
Date: 2006-07-09, 9:13PM EST

Does anyone have any idea what the big building near Dicks Sporting Goods is going to be over at the mall? There is no signage yet, and I am just really curious! Thanks.
Totally loving that there is a place actually referred to as "Dicks at the Mall." Huh-huh. Uh-heh-heh-heh. (Let's pretend they didn't clarify that it's a sporting goods shop.)

Followed by the quintessential Bloomington response:

re:The new big building by Dicks at the Mall

Reply to:
Date: 2006-07-09, 9:41PM EST

Not sure but hopefully it will be a strip club.
A perfect complement to Dicks at the Mall. Finally they're putting some useful stuff in there. Beats Chick-fil-A any day.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Damn You, Daniel Radosh

I love Daniel Radosh's blog. It's everything a blog should be--a great mix of personal narrative, opinion on hot topics, and hilarious ridiculousness (like his June 14 entry--Richard Scarry meets Samuel L. Jackson. If you have kids under age 6, this is the funniest motherfucking post you've ever seen.) In short, it's what I try to do with my blog, except he does it so, so much better.

Radosh is responsible for my latest Internet time-suck obsession. lets you upload your photos and their face recognition software will find your closest celebrity likeness. By "closest," I mean "barely related in any way whatsoever." Hey, you wear glasses! Benjamin Franklin wears glasses! You're practically twins!

Not since LinkedIn has there been such a wonderful Web time-waster. Of course, I had to do the whole family. First, Rick:

And his celebrity doppelganger:

I think I speak for all of us when I say: WHO? (sorry Gheorghie.)

I prefer our own self-selected celebrity likeness, chosen long ago:

Am I right or am I right? Then there's me:

Bad hair day, just woke up, I'm so much cuter in person, etc. and so on.

My celebrity twin?

Granted, this is probably the most flattering photo of Martina Navratilova ever taken. Still, damning with faint praise. That's like saying, "You look like Janet Reno at her hottest."

How about the kids?

A nice coincidence, since we just finished the first Harry Potter book and movie.

Finally, Tea:

Oh dear.

Mommy's little sex kitten. I get Martina Navratilova, and my 14-month-old daughter gets the sexiest woman in history. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE?

I tried to do Vito, but there were no matches. C'mon, MyHeritage, you can come up with some of the most random matches ever, but you can't find a lookalike for my dog? You're slacking.

Personally, I think he's a dead ringer for Al Pacino.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

It's Called Spellcheck--Look Into It

In the best news I've heard since, well, ever, it turns out my heart will go on...and on and on. My doctor called yesterday. Apparently, the whole plaqued-up heart thing was just a big mistake! They started to wonder when my carotid ultrasound came back showing the most perfect, flawless carotid arteries to ever grace a sonogram. Apparently my carotids are the Brangelina of the cardiovascular world.

Anyway, my cholesterol level and my totally excellent blood vessels prompted my doc and her associates to check out that original aortal ultrasound. And guess what? The whole diagnosis stemmed from a TYPO on the initial report of the reading. I don't think "Oops" begins to cover it in this case. Not to mention, I'm not sure how one typo could turn a diagnosis from "You're healthy as a horse" into "Dick Cheney called and he wants his heart back." But I'm no doctor! (For one thing, I can spell and write legibly.)

The important thing is: I'm healthy. Super healthy. Always was, and hopefully will be for a long time. You're not going to get rid of me that easily. I"m going out for a chicken-fried steak to celebrate.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

JetBlue, You're My Hero

JetBlue Airlines proves once again that they rule. In response to my email to them, in which I said, "Flight 93--You might want to change that number, morons," I got the following email this morning:

Dear Ms. Polito,

Thank you for your email regarding JetBlue's flight numbers. We apologize for the uneasy feelingyou experienced when you booked your upcoming flight and discovered that it was numbered 93. We have passed along your suggestion that we eliminate this flight number to our Leadership Team for consideration.

If you would feel more comfortable changing to another flight, JetBlue does have two direct flights from JFK to Oakland which depart soon after flight #93. Please give us a call at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583), or visit our website and click the "manage your flights" button if you would like to make a change.

We thank you for choosing JetBlue and look forward to the opportunity to serve you.


Customer Commitment Crew
JetBlue Airways
Crewmember 25784

A speedy response, giving more or less the right answer. Seeing as how if I got home any later on Tuesday I would be buried under a pile of my own guilt, I'm sticking with Flight 93. But here's hoping for long-term change. Besides, if you address the bad juju head on, you eliminate the possibility of bad luck. Or so I say. Now I'm off to rub my rabbit's foot and knock three times on my wooden desk. Not that I'm superstitious or anything. Not me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Be Careful Out There

I was devastated to learn that an acquaintance from an online bike forum was killed Sunday by a motorist, during the first weekend of a cross-country ride.

It was seriously a few days ago that he was saying goodbye, off to do his dream ride on his recumbent. And now he's gone. I just can't believe it.

I did not know Phil well, but I did know his rides, his stories, and his amazing devotion to his teenage son. He is the second person within a year I've known who has died on his bike. I really hope he's the last. There are enough assholes in the world, we can't afford to lose any more good guys.

When we all go out riding, it's getting harder to take for granted that we'll all come back in one piece. Share the road, people, share the road.

Here's to Phil, who took chances and lived his life, up until the very end. Peace.

Bicyclist dies in fatal collision near Davenport

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hello? Jet Blue? Is This Thing On?

Let's say you're me. You are booking a round-trip flight on Jet Blue to and from the NYC tri-state area for the first all-girl pajama party getaway you've had since, ever. We're talking serious party! Wine! Beach! No sign of Nick Jr! Dogs and cats living together! You get the idea.

Still, five days away from the family. Flying across country when we hate flying. To New York, no less, where we know, we know in our rational brain planes fly back and forth every day without incident. Yet, 5 years ago, a little something happened to a plane bound from NY to SF. In fact, a very nice guy from the 'hood named Mark Bingham was on board. Anyway. Rational Brain has a grip, but Lizard Brain thinks about it, especially when already feeling guilty already for ditching the kids with dad for hedonistic selfish purposes. Damn you, Lizard Brain.

But--Rational Brain gets a grip in the end and books the flight. I am bound for NY and back in late August. Times and dates: check! Enter credit card number for nice people at JetBlue: check! Pick a nice comfy window seat: checkaroonie. Confirmation! Ms. Polito, you are confirmed both ways: arriving JFK on Thursday, returning Tuesday to OAK on...wait for it...


Are you fucking kidding me? Hey JetBlue, been to the movies lately? Watched the news since 9/11/2001? Believe even the tiniest bit in superstition? I mean, I believe the only the tiniest bit in superstition and more than a tiny bit in karma and out of the infinite bazillions of numbers you can assign to a cross-country flight originating in NY, I would not choose, oh, ANY ONE BUT THAT ONE. Please to be changing that number.

It's a sign. I'm a delinquent mom. But in August, I'll be a delinquent mom with a tan and a new outfit from Barney's.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bad Boy Bad Boy, Whatcha Gonna Do?

Gianni had his first brush with The Man today. Rick and G were riding to school on the tagalong bike. They were cruising along the streets of San Francisco when they heard behind them: BEuwwwwUP! The unmistakable sound of the police siren.

Rick's first thought, aside from the instinctive "where do I hide my weed?" (ha ha, just kidding, mom) was that he was riding too far into traffic. Or, that the cop just wanted to give him shit because he was on a bike and, you know, cops do that sort of thing sometimes.

But, the cop came up to Gianni and said, and I paraphrase: You were dragging your feet on the ground instead of pedaling. And that, young man, is not safe. He did not issue a ticket or lock up our young blond perp in the clink. But Officer Friendly gave G a stern warning and put the fear of God into him.

Rick told me that Gianni got pulled over, and I thought he was totally kidding! But it happened! Frankly, I think it's good for him to get a little scare--scoff at Mom and Dad if you will, but are you gonna fuck with the Five-O?

Our son, Down by Law, fingered by the cops at age 5. I hope we're still laughing in 20 years, and not reminiscing about Gianni's first pinch on our way to Visiting Day at San Quentin.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Old at Heart

Update on the ongoing bizarre saga of my crusty old blood vessels: today I had an ultrasound of my carotid arteries. It is weird indeed to go under the wand for something other than pregnancy--no one gasps with excitement when your arteries appear onscreen.

My Carotid Artery--A Dramatization

For those who are uninitiated to my weird luck, an ultrasound tech scanning for an unrelated condition a few months back noticed that I had calcification of my aorta. This is common in people who a. have high blood pressure and cholesterol readings and b. are old. I am neither.

Still, despite my rock-bottom cholesterol and BP, they thought it was best to be safe and brought me back in to look at my carotids. Apparently, with the carotids so close to the surface of the skin, it's really easy to see if they're junked up at all. And if they are, that means there's probably something to this whole atherosclerosis thing. If not, whatever is hanging out in my aorta is just a fluke, or a misdiagnosis. Or something.

Anyway, today the nice people at UCSF Mount Zion checked out my circulatory system up close and personal. It took an hour of poking things into my neck and clicking keys. I was getting fidgety, but the ultrasound tech told me that I was the easiest case she'd ever had--all of the other patients who undergo this reading are so old that they have humps on their backs and can't lay straight, and can't move their necks at all.

Should I feel better, or worse? I'm not sure.

But hopefully we will have good results and years of fun with the old ticker, and I won't have to revisit Mount Zion until I have my requisite back hump in place.