Monday, April 24, 2006

Thomas Dolby at the Fenix

For me, Thomas Dolby will forever be one of the biggest icons of New Wave. And so, imagine my disgust at seeing him in such an awful venue as the Fenix last Saturday night.

The Fenix, in it's former location, was once a great place to see shows. The intimate yet wide open space made it easy to wiggle my way up to the front to see some great performers, including Marc Almond, John Taylor--hell, even Buckethead was mildly amusing if not terrifyingly loud.

But the new space is cramped, flanked by a wide staircase and low hanging balcony with barely enough room on the main floor to accomodate concert attendees, much less TMDR fans who've waited 15 years to see him again.

TMDR did put on a wonderful show, though I was pinned between DJ Trent's table and the fire door door and couldn't hear a damn word he said to the audience, nor see his fabulously elaborate video production. It made me pine for the experience I had seeing him at the Wiltern Theatre during the Lost Toy People tour.

I might've scored a better spot in the venue if I had camped out starting at 8 when the doors opened, but that would have meant standing in one place until 10:45 and suffering through the opening act, Basic Pleasure Model, which Pa renamed Amalgam since they basically sounded like anybody else.

But we meandered through the other levels of the club, since there were plenty of wide open spaces OUTSIDE of the room with the stage and listened to DJ Trent's 80s playlist and even tried our luck in scoring a highly-coveted "purple stamp" that appeared on random receipts for TMDR merch-purchases, which qualified lucky recipients to meet him 15 minutes after the show. I struck out.

And so, my excitement was quelled by a lackluster evening. I was so looking forward to seeing Thomas Dolby, I had dusted off all my records, including one of the first 12" singles I bought--"Hyperactive!" and played them ad nauseum weeks before the concert.

So much for great expectations!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Earth Day!

I remember when this first came out in '92. I heard it last night on Kevin Cole's show on KEXP and it's been in my head all day.

The suit that makes the monkey

I am now the proud owner of an O'Neill Reactor wetsuit, which I'll be wearing while I brave the chilly, murky, Nutria-infested waters of Lake Washington while training for and participating in the SEAFAIR triathlon.

I love it, this hulking piece of neoprene. It's way cool and it was on sale for $65 at GI Joe's and best of all, Mr. Na says it makes me look like a superhero.

This weekend is the "Friends of the Seattle Public Library" book sale at Sand Point and as a "friend" I was able to get into the super-huge airplane hangar last night and shop before the crowds. Apparently there are many other "friends" as the place was packed last night--which is a good thing for the library and a bad thing for people like me who can't stand huge crowds. I swear people fart in crowded places just so they can clear the area. And it works, too. There's nothing worse than going to a place right after the dinner hour and succumb to other people's highly noxious gas. Truly nasty.

I made a huge mistake in not reading the fine print on my invitation indicating that as a friend, I could purchase up to 25 books and you can only imagine my frustration when I had to argue with Pa and Na to get rid of the extra 25 we had. Despite that, I am very pleased with my purchases. You can't go wrong with spending only $1 per hardcover book.

I can only blame my mistake on how much I ran around town yesterday. The highlight was having to go to the Northwest Outpatient Imaging Center for an ultrasound. See, I've had this god-awful pain on my right side for about a week now and I was worried that it was either some sort of cyst or I twisted something internally during the marathon. Going for an ultrasound sucks, too, because you have to drink a whole quart of water an hour before the appointment and while you feel like you're gonna pee at any moment, the lab tech takes the doppler and PRESSES DOWN on your bladder to get a good look at your innards. Sure enough, I've got a 2cm cyst which doesn't seem like it's creating a torsion (twist) but it definitely hurts like hell. I'll have to wait to hear from my doctor on Monday, but I just wish the fucker would go away.

Anyway, I'm sure that's more information than most of you wanna know, so I'll leave you now with a little something that Mr. Na picked out at Dilettante for me for Easter.

I think he's trying to tell my that I talk on my cellphone too much. Nevertheless, it was tasty!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

So yeah, as I mentioned below, I've been getting up with the roosters lately--although, technically speaking, there are no roosters in my neighborhood, unless you count this one. I can't get up any earlier than 6 a.m., though I have tried. It's just impossible because that'd mean going to bed before Mr. Na and that's just not right.

The original intention for getting up at dawn was so I could sit in my office and write for a few hours before the force of nature known as Mr. Na goes into high gear. But I find myself finding more shit to read on the Internets and most of it (as evidenced with the post from this morning) is just plain garbage, so I'm filling my free time with CRAP instead of finishing this stupid book and it's driving me crazy!

I'm glad I'm not alone though. I heard Anne Lamott speak on Monday night and she mentioned how the little voice inside her head often tries to plead with her: "Just let me do this one load of laundry..." or "Just ten minutes of CNN..." The difference, though, between she and I (at least one of them) is that she is an accomplished author with 8 books under her belt and a regular column in Salon while I am a little maggot still making futile attempts at editing a novel that's taken way too long to finish.

I've often wondered what it'd be like if I could just leave town for a weekend and go to a place that doesn't have an Internet connection or a TV. Would I go completely crazy or would I actually get a lot of work done? Many of my friends who have done this have, in fact, finished books or other pieces and so I could see it working and I've asked a few fellow writers to join me for a weekend sometime in the fall. But until then, I've thought about having a solo writing session in Paris when we travel there next month. While I won't be able to get away for more than a few hours, I could see myself holing up in someplace like the Café de la Mairie on the Place Saint Sulpice, the Café de Flore and the Café Aux Deux Magots with many cups of espresso. Ah, the romance of it! We'll see what the reality will be like, though!

Meantime, send a little chutzpah my way to actually WORK ON MY BOOK in the mornings instead of surfin' the 'net. I'd appreciate it!

My Spidey Senses Are Tingling

I'm sorry, maybe it's because I'm getting up so early in the morning these days, but I've been rolling on the floor with laughter over this.

Monday, April 17, 2006

What do to with those leftover Peeps you won't eat

Photo from Seattle Times

Pa and I came *this close* to submitting our entry to the Seattle Times "Peeps" contest this year but life kinda got in the way and...well shucks, maybe we'll try again next year. I won't tell you our entry but it's sure to be a hit.

Meantime, if you're so inclined to check out the winners of this year's contest, here's an article.

Nutria: It's not just for breakfast anymore

Hopefully, during my swims in the open waters of Lake Washington, I'll never have the opportunity to run into one of these.

Who the hell named these things anyway?

Friday, April 14, 2006

It's Friday...What's so Good about it?

Whenever I think of Good Friday I think about the time I stayed over at my Grandma's house in Long Island and she, being a devout Catholic, ripped me a new one when I grabbed a slice of bologna out of the fridge for lunch.

To this day, although I'm so far from practicing Catholicism I might as well be Hindu, I cannot eat a piece of meat on Good Friday without these intense feelings of guilt passing through me. I can hear Grandma in my head going, "Tsk tsk!" and that's it. All cravings for the hamburger in my hand are long gone.

I seriously believe this is one of my reasons for turning away from religion; yet, despite my waywardness, Good Friday + eating meat = G-U-I-L-T. Pa, also being a former Catholic, could care less. In fact, he just came into my office, saw that I was writing about Good Friday, commented on the fact that it was Good Friday and proudly announced he just helped himself to a nice slice of ham. No remorse or signs of guilt--he just smacked his lips and said, "It's Good Friday and that was good ham!" And yet here am I, secretly planning a meatless dinner so that a) I don't feel guilty and b) my husband doesn't figure out I'm purposely going meatless because then he'll make fun of my guilt.

And so it goes, my Good Friday conundrum. Could you imagine if I suffered like this all during Lent?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Today's Gemmelsmerch

From the NY Times this morning (A, take note of the Bluetooth Fairy definition!):
Published: April 9, 2006

WAS there gridlock before there were automobiles? Was there jet lag before there were airplanes? Who was the first person to say "I Googled it" or "he's cyberstalking me"? At what moment did a "web log" turn into a "blog"?

Language makes things official. Change in the pace of life over the last decade can be measured by change in our vocabulary. We I.M., we get phished, we have PIN's. We HotSync, therefore we are.

Does a phenomenon fully exist until it has a name? Dr. Edward M. Hallowell thinks not, and he knows more than a little about naming a trend into existence. He was the first to name adult attention deficit disorder, or Adult A.D.D., back in 1995, and now he is taking on the rest of modern life in "CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone A.D.D." (Ballantine Books, 2006). The frenzy of our wired world, he argues, is giving nearly all of us the symptoms of attention deficit disorder. To conquer the enemy, he says, we first need to name it.

So he has come up with the following suggestions, among others:

Screensucking, which he defines as "wasting time engaging with any screen — for instance, computer, video game, television, BlackBerry." He goes on to use his new word in a sentence: "I was supposed to write that article, but instead I spent the whole afternoon screensucking." That concept hits particularly close to home.

EMV, or E-Mail Voice. This, Dr. Hallowell writes, is "the unearthly tone a person's voice takes on when he is reading e-mail while talking to you on the telephone." Researchers at M.I.T., he tells us, have developed a program that can electronically measure how engaged people are in a conversation, giving scientific certainty to your suspicion that you are not being listened to.

Frazzing. Defined as "multitasking ineffectively." The term multitasking itself was originally coined to describe what a computer does during the microseconds between keystrokes. Then it came to mean something humans are proud to do. And when we crash (also a computer term) while trying to multitask, we frazz.

Gemmelsmerch. "The force that distracts the mind or steals it away from what it wants to do or ought to be doing." For example, "Accidents along the highway are high in gemmelsmerch, compelling drivers to slow down and gawk. A jackhammer outside your window is high in gemmelsmerch. Getting news that you will be audited by the I.R.S. is high in gemmelsmerch. ... As if covered in a radioactive cloud of the stuff, the world has never been as high in gemmelsmerch as it is today."

These are all good words. But Dr. Hallowell's list is far from complete. A world transforming itself at an almost cancerous pace requires an exponentially new vocabulary. Coined with the help of some friends — particularly my husband, Bruce Gelb, word maven extraordinaire, and Al Cattabiani, founder of Garagista Records and the best punster I know — here are a few of my own additions:

Spammified: to end up in your spam folder by mistake. This is becoming the new "check is in the mail" excuse for why we don't answer e-mail messages. "I am so sorry, but I only just got your message. It had been spammified."

Cellopain: the jerk who talks loudly and obliviously on his cellphone in a crowd. There are other words for this person, but they are not printable.

Regurgimailer: people who forward to everyone they know everything that lands in their in-boxes. Warnings about techniques that rapists use in parking lots; photos of adorable missing children; heart-warming lists of why women and their friendships are so wonderful; jokes about, well, everything. The fact that most of the items either have been traveling the Internet for years or turn out not to be true, or both, does not stop them. A word to regurgimailers — check before you forward, please.

Reverberon: the kind of e-mail described above, which has been forwarded endlessly and everywhere.

Telamnesia: a condition that restricts you to talking only to people who are on your speed-dial list because you no longer keep phone numbers in your head. For me, this includes my own home, which I misdialed the other day.

Logonorrhea: a related condition that renders you unable to use certain online accounts because you can remember neither your screen name nor your password.

Bluetooth fairy: a person who walks around with the blinking glow of a Bluetooth headset permanently in one ear. I stand guilty as charged.

There are more, of course. Send me yours. And e-mail this to everyone you know. If it doesn't end up spammified, it can become a reverberon.

This column about the intersection of jobs and personal lives appears every other week. E-mail:

Friday, April 07, 2006

I recently reconnected with someone I had met through an online women's support group for Infertility. The group proved to be a valuable resource for many women who were battling fertility issues, and after sharing our daily rants with one another for well over a year, seven of us from around the country met during a spring weekend in Chicago in 2001.

We were a diverse group of women, having come from all over the country--some women were from cities, others hailed from rural areas and our backgrounds were equally as different, yet we shared one thing in common: the hope of getting pregnant.

Since we were linked by only one commonality, shortly after our meeting, the group slowly began to disband--with several women finally getting pregnant and others, myself included, quietly moving on either to grieve over our losses and failed attempts, or simply just to take a break from a very long, expensive and painful process. I managed to stay in contact with one or two of the women, but for the most part, I lost touch with the group.

While I've long given up trying to have a biological child, I no longer consider my efforts to have failed. If it hadn't been for the hardships Pa and I had faced during those dark years, we would never have welcomed Mr. Na into our lives. And even aside from being a very happy parent to the greatest kid in the world (smile), I learned so much about myself having endured my own little slice of hell. I realized, first and foremost, that there was so much more to life than that one, itty bitty aspect I had longed for. And as such, I began to really enjoy my life and do things I only dreamed of doing--like writing a book or running a marathon.

So the other day, I received an announcement from another old Infertility support group member that one of our other board mates had just published a book. And not just any old book, mind you, but an historical fiction novel that is set during WWII. I was amazed, not only of her success but also because during the time we knew one another, neither of us knew that the other was ever interested in writing historical fiction and since infertility was the twine that wove together our connection, we never really took the time to learn more about each other.

Once I learned of her success, I contacted Becky to congratulate her and we've since swapped a few e-mails, bringing eachother up to speed about our lives. Turns out that she's also teaching an historical fiction workshop through the University of Iowa this summer, something that I'd love to take.

Out of the seven of us who met up in Chicago, three finally got pregnant, two adopted children, and one fell out of touch with the rest of us, so I'm not sure what happened with her. But it's wonderful to hear that someone else within the group channeled all of that energy into something as wonderful as publishing a novel. She's a girl after my own heart!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Whoa! That's some walk!

I can't decide if this guy is utterly crazy or totally cool. (Okay, he's cool).

Imagine walking across the Bering Strait only to get busted on the other side!

( time, you might want to get a visa first!)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Anyone have some extra mojo lyin' around?

Three days post-marathon, and I'm still sore as hell. I can barely walk down the stairs. Who knew hills would take THIS much out of me?

I did manage to kick-off my triathlon training today, though, with a 20-minute/.5 mile swim. I just used one of those floatie thingies to keep my legs from moving.

I dusted off my bike in the basement and filled the tires with air--but just looking at it makes my thighs hurt. Maybe by Saturday I can take a short ride.

I have a very old Bianchi Strada road bike which I think I'll use during the race. The bike is so old but it's in excellent shape and I'm really fond of it. Every time I take it out, Pa shakes his head, laughs at me and says,
"You know my Boxter was lighter than this."

Anyway, I plan to take my bike in to Greggs and tell them to make my bike "sprint tri" worthy; but as backup, I also have a Cannondale hybrid I could use. It was Pa's, but I seemed to have inherited it. It's a fine bike as well, but my road bike is the right size and speed for me.

I just wish I could shake this lethargy I'm feeling. It's absolutely gorgeous outside and yet I'm ready for a nap. I've read that this happens after a race--and some people are more susceptible to feeling blah because it's over.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Herbie Phase

Mr. Na loves Herbie the Love Bug. A lot.

It's my fault, really. I thought it'd be cute to watch one of the old Herbie movies with him since they're pretty innocuous--at least I thought they were!

But now, Mr. Na hums "the Herbie song" NIGHT AND DAY. Doesn't matter what he's doing. He could be playing, pooping, eating, or standing in a time out, he's humming that frigging song. And it's worse, too, when we're out and about. I've never paid attention to so many "Herbies" in all my life, and there are literally THOUSANDS of them in our little hippie/yuppie neighborhood alone.

Sigh. I've created a monster.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

She's Going the Distance

I'm done. Hurray! I'm sore as hell, still in a fog, and I reek of Icy Hot but I'm so glad it's over. Took a little longer than I had hoped, but those damned hills--ugh! I was doing super great the first half, but by mile 16 I was feeling it. My legs started to lock up.

So, without further adieu, in the words of Warner Wolf: "Let's Go to the Videotape!" and I'll give you a rundown of today's event:

Miles 1-6 -- These were really uneventful, except for the scenic view across the Deception Pass Bridge. It was breathtakingly beautiful, but we ran across it during the first mile so I was still more geeked about running the race instead of site-seeing.

Miles 7-8 -- I spent some time talking to a man who was running his 16th marathon in four years. In fact, he had just returned from running the L.A. Marathon two weeks ago. If you think running an average of four marathons a year is ambitious, there were other runners who had just completed a marathon yesterday, before coming to run this one. Judging how I feel right now (sore, sore, sore), I couldn't imagine! Anyway, it was cool talking to someone during the race--it made the time pass really fast (even though it was only a mile) and he brought my pace up to about a minute faster, yet I managed to still carry on a conversation.

Miles 9-10 -- We encountered our first big hill, which went on for an entire mile. So much for my faster pace!!! I'm thankful for my hill training. I dropped back a little, but I was still running faster than my half marathon and I was feeling really good. I take my first shot of Gu and chase it with water at the mile 10 station.

Mile 11 -- OH MY GOD, DEBBIE GIBSON???? Good grief! I can't believe Pa slipped that in to the mix! I literally busted up out loud and I must've looked like a crazy person when I blurted out, "NO WAY!"

Miles 12-13 -- I beat my half marathon time (from December) by four minutes; but what's this?? Aaaugh! Another mile-long hill. I shit you not, these hills were literally a mile long each. This was the first time I really paid attention to the scenery since we descended into Oak Harbor and passed the Naval Air Station.

Mile 14 -- The aforementioned hill that started at mile 13. Aaaaugh!

Miles 15-16 -- Okay, now I'm starting to feel the burn, especially in my lower back (right side) and my right heel. It doesn't help that I'm listening to "Shock the Monkey" in German. That man o' mine has some sense of humor. Har Har!

Miles 17-20 -- I recovered ok and started to make up some lost time on the last hill. Now we're starting to edge around Penn Cove and the outside of Oak Harbor. It's really starting to hit me that I'm going to finish in an hour!

Mile 21 -- I'm trying to remember if "Sulu" from Star Trek is Korean or Chinese and I take another shot of Gu.

Mile 22 -- Oh Lord, it's another hill.

Mile 23 -- I'm a fucking moron for doing this. I realize that I won't beat Oprah's time. Fucking Oprah! That last hill took a lot out of me and my legs are starting to lock up.

Mile 24 -- Ok, TWO MORE MILES!! I can do this. I actually start to pick up the pace a bit and wonder where this sudden burst of energy is coming from.

Mile 25 -- ANOTHER HILL! What the fuck??? So much for the extra reserve of energy. I try and take my mind off of the pain in my legs. We pass a really nice brown bungalow overlooking the water and I wonder how our bungalow would look in brown with pink windowpanes. I know Pa would scoff at the idea. Maybe in 50 years when he passes, I muse--so long, of course, as I still like those colors together. Of course knowing him, he'll add a clause to our Will specifiying what colors are allowed on the house.

Mile 26 -- Just .2 to go and since we have to round a corner, I can't see the finish line from here but, judging from the folks cheering on the corner, I know it's just 'round the bend. I get a little emotional here--knowing that I'm about to finish my first full marathon. All those months of hard work: running in the rain, running while sick, and running up all boils down to those final moments when I see Pa and Na smiling at me as I cross the finish.

Here's Pa's "Team Monkita Marathon Mix" Playlist:

While You See a Chance - Steve Winwood
Alphabet Lost and Found - They Might Be Giants
Annie Waits - Ben Folds
Army - Ben Folds
Born at the Right Time - Paul Simon
Clocks - Coldplay
corduroy - Pearl Jam
Doesn't Remind Me - Audioslave
Down on the Corner - Johnny Marr + The Healers
Drain You - Nirvana
Freedom 90 - George Michael
Groove is in the Heart - Dee-Lite
I Like the Way You Move - Outkast
If I Ever Lose My Faith in You - Sting
Il Ballerino - Jovanotti
It Takes Two - Rob Base
Just A Girl - No Doubt
Keep Feeling Fascination - The Human League
Key to Her Ferrari - Thomas Dolby
Millenium - Robbie Williams
Karma Police - Radiohead
Jet Airliner - Steve Miller
Only in my Dreams - Debbie Gibson
R.I.P. 20 C - Love and Rockets
Reeling in the Years - Steely Dan
Save it For Later - The English Beat
Shock Den Auffen - Peter Gabriel
That's Just What You Are - Aimee Mann
The Distance - Cake
This Love - Maroon 5
Feel Good - The Gorillaz
Under Pressure - Queen
Volcano - Presidents of the United States
Waiting for Somebody - Paul Westerberg
Welcome to the Jungle - Guns 'n Roses
Where it's At - Beck
Genius of Love - Tom Tom Club
Daft Punk is Playing at My House - LCD Soundsystem