Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sufjan Stevens and I wish you a merry Christmas

Uno, dos, tres, quatro

Tie up your boots
Jump off the ladder
Pack up your clothes
Nothing's the matter
Mistletoe hangs
Up in the bedroom
Your sister's bangs
She cut them herself

Santa is here
Sleighbells are ringing
Twenty-one elves
They are all singing
K-Mart is closed
So is the bakery
Everyone's at home
Watching TV

Santa Claus is coming
Hear the banjo strumming
Santa Claus is coming
Hear the banjo strumming

Chestnuts and fire
Holly and hay
Jesus and Mary
What a great day

Evergreen tree
Covered in snow
Tower of Babel
Tower of glow
There's Aunt Marie
And Uncle Bob
They give us good gifts
Like mittens and socks
Hijack a snow plow
Clear out the streets
Tell all of the neighbors
There's cookies to eat

Off the floor and give a shout
There's a lot to shout about
Santa Claus is coming to town
He's got the greatest gifts around

Away in a manger
No crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down his sweet head
The stars in the bright sky
Looked down where he lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay...

-excerpted from Sufjan's song, "Come on, Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Apologies, and Italy.

Apologies to whomever reads this blog on occasion, for the terrible gaps in communication the blog experiences. Anyone who has ever left me a voicemail is familiar with the feeling. Again as we near the monthly deadline for the magazine, my creativity tends to be otherwise directed.

I'd say in every life, there are certain lengths of time or situations that seem like the technicolor parts of The Wizard of Oz, in that they stand out for being beyond the ordinary and kind of wistfully lovely. I was just looking at my water bottle (in effort to avoid looking at the photos in need of captions beside said bottle of Aqua Panna - which I of course buy because the packaging is so pretty.) This particular brand of water is apparently bottled at the source in Italy, which made me think of the trip I took there with some other GPS folk over spring break my senior year of high school. There are other things that remind me of that trip too, like gelatto, and John Mayer's album "Room for Squares" (there were a lot of long busrides. Ben Folds "Whatever and ever, amen" also reminds me of the trip - sorry Margaret, I still have your cd...) It was like a nine-day whirlwind tour of one of the most chock-full-of-stuff-to-see countries in the world, so I feel like everything was pretty jumbled, and it wasn't until afterward that I realized how cool it was.

Our travels began in Rome, and from there went to Florence, Venice, and Milan, with smaller and lesser known towns in between each. The first day, in addition to wanting to just lay down in some ancient, cobbled street and sleep due to jet lag, I remember being so thrown off by the fact that people in this great city go to work everyday, and they could look out their car windows or their offices and be like "oh, that's where Caesar was stabbed. Yeah, and that's the jail Paul was kept in." So much history, right there, smack in the center of a big, modern city, totally incredible. Particularly, I suppose, to an American, since most of the historical things in our cities don't date much further back than Paul Revere.

The last night we were in Rome, we went to a discotheque, which I'm sure Mrs. Pierce, the principal of the upper school and our chaperone, really enjoyed. It was somewhat intimidating to be in a crowded room, with Dido thumping through the strobe lights, surrounded by big guys with lots of necklaces speaking another language. (Especially if you hate Dido.) A guy in a black tanktop and a gold chain asked me to dance (or inferred the invitation by standing extremely close to me) and I mumbled something about my boyfriend and darted away.

Eventually I spotted the most J.Crew-looking guy in the room, wearing a button-up shirt and a pullover sweater, and I made my way towards him. Eager to practice his English, he asked me to dance (using words, a good sign.) As we danced (probably awkwardly, I have never claimed to be a good dancer, although it was a slow song) he asked me all the questions we learn in Spainish class, but he had of course learned them in English. "What sport do you like to play?" (I told him I ran, which he seemed pleased about. One question successfully asked and answered.) "Do you like basketball?" (I told him it was ok. He was more of a fan than I.) "Do you like Allen Iverson? My favorite player." (Interesting choice. I believe I mentioned Michael Jordan - again, not a big basketball fan.) "You like music?" (I did, as did he - kind of...) "You like Bob Marley?" (Seriously? Um, I guess. I like John Mayer. This was a point of confusion as we had exited his realm of English related topics.) This went on for a couple of songs, then it was time to extricate the bolder girls from a throng of Italian men and head back to the hotel.

Florence and Venice, unfortunately, are kind of a blur, although I took detailed and copious notes in my travel journal (as per my Grandmother's instructions) so it's all retrieveable. Those pigeons in the piazza are gross, and one of the reasons I hate birds. Our tour guide wore Dolce & Gabana 'Blue', and anytime I get a whiff of it now I think of her, tirelessly leading our group of chattering American high school girls through the streets of these beautiful old cities in the wake of her perfume, singing the Dixie Chicks' "Travelling Soldier" over and over and over again. What a patient lady.

The Doge's Palace was so beautiful, and I always think of it in reading the bit in The Pursuit of Love about how Fabrice's grandmother once rode past a small villa in a gondola, and stopped to look inside because it was so lovely. Once inside, she looked around at the pale blue platster walls and said "If there is a box with a key on a velvet ribbon in that drawer, then I own this house." There was. Some forgotten love of hers had given her the house long before. (Sidenote, I love Nancy Mitford. I am reading a book of the letters of the Mitford sisters right now, and it's so completely fascinating.)

By the time we got to Milan, our last stop, we were all exhausted from the rushed seeing and doing. Our first night there, an homesick and melancholy Margaret was drooping around the room. Mary Howard and I were unsure of how to cheer her up, and turned on the television, thinking perhaps Italian "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" would be on, or something equally amusing. Instead, the screen opened to a channel which was playing Lord of the Rings - in English. Margaret, at the time, was a huge fan, and we were all shocked (we hadn't seen television in English the whole time we'd been there) and immensely pleased, as Margaret was cheered immediately by Liv Tyler's glowing skin and pointy ears.

The next day, we went to visit a huge cathedral (these are copious in Italy, to say the least.) The inside I don't really remember, but I'm sure it was grand, etc. Our guide told us that if we wanted, we could go up the circular staircase in a turret to the roof. Well, sure. Upon exiting that staircase, Margaret was further cheered, because it was apparent that we were in Rivendell (I realize I just outed myself as a huge nerd...oh well. Probably not much of a shock.) Intricately carved stone covered every inch of the roof. There we stood, high above the city of Milan, surrounded by the work of stone masons hundreds of years ago. These were people who began carving their fleur-de-lis and curving arches with the full knowledge that they would never live to see the final product. And they dedicated their lives to this carving - on the roof. Not at the altar, or around the door, where everyone would see it, but on the roof, for God to look at and enjoy.

In addition to the beautiful carvings, photos of which hang in my living room to this day, Mary Howard and I noticed a man, who was one of the several people scattered across the top of the building. He was different than everyone else there as he was clearly not part of a tourist group. He was a handsome guy, Italian in features, probably about thirty. He was wearing a navy suit, a blue shirt, and a red and blue tie, and had a little shopping bag in his hand, and he was smiling contentedly to himself. Here was a guy, we presumed, maybe on his lunch break, who left the office, and came to the top of a cathedral to walk around by himself and enjoy the grandeur of the carvings and the view. It seemed like something in a book. Of course, we loved him and took several pictures. Little did he know that several American girls were not-so-subtly stalking him that day and still have his charming image in a photo album.

Anyhow, now that I've rambled for a while, those are a few of my techinicolor images from the past. Just thought I'd regale you with some tales, given my absence as of late, and considering how long this probably is, I'm sure I've made up for it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Well, as many of you know, I have wanted a kitten for a long time. Finally living in my own apartment, it seemed like this might be the year, but alas, Mr. Straussberger (landlord and father to Anna) said "no cats." I have continued to visit the cats at the McKamey Animal Shelter all year, and right now they are having a special - cat, including shots and vaccinations, neutering/spaying (respectively), and microchip on sale for $25. Deal, right? So then I found Francis, and he was charming and friendly, and likes to be held and rub his face on you, and purrs a lot. Also, he has long, very soft hairs and an extremely long and swishy black tail. Obvi, I wanted him. 

Anna happened to be home on a vacation this week, and her parents had a gathering at their house Sunday night to which Jason and I were invited. I told Anna about Francis, and how we had to convince her dad to say yes, and so she worked her daughterly wiles on him, and I said "pleeease" and promised that Francis would only pee in his litter box. And so Mr. Straussberger relented! And thus, yesterday we went and picked him up! He sat quietly and patiently in his box all the way home in the car, and when we got him out, he didn't seem scared at all, just walked around a little bit. After a while, he seemed very comfortable and was all purring and climbing on everyone. However, last night he was so happy to be home that he did not sleep at all, I'm pretty sure, and spent the evening waking people up, climbing on their faces, and meowing. Hopefully this is not a habit he plans to continue as I must sleep sometimes. He had a somewhat rough day yesterday which culminated in his going to the Cat Clinic for grooming and treatment for the various illnesses and parasites he contracted while living at the shelter. 

This is not going to become a blog about Francis, however, several have requested to see his photo, so the following are his introduction to the world!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


*Let me begin with the caveat that, for the sake of finding it amusing, I am operating under the assumption that no one has been hurt in the situation I am about to discuss. If so, they haven't said it on npr, and they usually don't shy away from grim details.

This is the year 2008. There are men orbiting the earth in sophisticated space craft. People carry telephones the size of an index card that play music and use the internet to find them restaurants when they're stumped on dinner. A black man has been elected president of the United States. Warren Sapp, former NFL defensive tackle, is in the running to win Dancing with the Stars, and Kmart sells cashmere sweaters. The point being, this world has come a long way since, oh I don't know, the 1600's. And then, this morning, I wake up and while showering hear this on the news. Somali pirates have captured a Saudi Arabian oil tanker and are holding it for ransom.


As in "arrrghh, matey," "someone catch that crocodile!" "those *ing amateurs. you left your dog, you idiots!" and "I can’t bring this ship into Tortuga all by me onesies, savvy?" I actually heard someone on the radio say that the pirates had presumably attached ropes to the side of the vessel and swung aboard. "This is dangerous work but isn't particularly hard work for the pirates," reads the npr article regarding the situation.

Now, apparently the reason that people in Somalia have resorted to pirating has its roots in the fact that their government has been in turmoil for the last 25 or so years, and the economy there is completely unstable. That is very unfortunate, and I would love it if our foreign policy had more to do with helping people in countries like Somalia establish an infrastructure than certain other ventures.

That said, pirating apparently also has other draws. According to npr, once again, pirates say 'A woman won't even look at me unless I'm a pirate making a lot of money.' That's right, they're in it for the ladies. Johnny Depp's appeal has apparently spread beyond Claire to the entire rest of the world, including eastern Africa.

The New York Times actually conducted an interview with some of these pirates in September, and they offered further reasoning for their actions, presumably in addition to impressing their lady friends. “We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits...We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard.” So their pirating has an environmental and humanitarian aspect as well.

The news reports even offer the fact that the pirates are often unarmed...perhaps they use the traditional "or you'll walk the plank!" threat to keep the hostages compliant. Apparently the boats are mainly captured by the element of surprise.

Although, I suppose, hijacking a boat that doesn't belong to you and holding its sailors hostage is not the right thing to do, in a way I appreciate these fellas. In these days of doomsday economic news, and things falling down around our ears, it is nice to wake up and hear on the news that pirates are capturing frigates on the high seas, like it's 1700. Just hearing Robert Segal say "pirates" adds a whimsical note to the day, let's be honest.

Long live Captain Jack.

Monday, November 17, 2008

donde esta mi muse

In the interest of looking busy during a lull, but lacking true inspiration, I present "Assorted thoughts, with Emily."

1. Why is there no J. Crew in Chattanooga? This question haunts me daily, although to my paycheck it is more like Casper, the friendly ghost.

2. Although I swore I would never patronize 'Fanta' after seeing one of those genuinely obnoxious commercials with the girls singing the 'wanna fanta' song, I have devised the perfect fountain beverage, and it unfortunately includes their product. 3/4ths glass of cherry fanta + 1/4th glass of coke = perfection.

3. While I still tip my hat to the architecture of yesteryear, I have a new appreciation for modern conveniences, such as central heat and air, after my experience thus far with baseboard heaters.

4. Without the pace-setting convenience of school breaks (and the helpful anticipation built up by Claire decorating the apartment for Christmas in October), it is easy for holidays, like the rapidly approaching Thanksgiving, to totally sneak up on you. Only last night did I realize that said holiday was in fact next week. My sad lack of vacation days smirks at me.

5. Will there be a new "Elf" this year? I don't mean like, a remake of a 5 year-old movie, but a solidly amusing, heart-warming, holiday themed film? In the tradition of the Grinch, Home Alone, and Muppets' Christmas Carol?

6. There is something completely great about living in a city where you can go to lunch at a downtown sandwich shop and run into people you know. I need at least ONE of you Auburn people to move here, though, please, so I can run into people from college too.

7. I predict snow this holiday season. Really.

8. Sigh. I used up all my creativeness this morning thinking of story ideas and covers for the magazine. I just couldn't end on an odd number. I apologize for the lameness of this entry. The next one will be better.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let me tell you a story

(while I wait on proofs to edit at work at 6:22 pm.)

This story is not about something that happened to me, although it did happen to my friend Ali, who some say is freakishly like me in many ways, so it is almost the same thing. I share this story with you because Ali does not keep a blog, and can only tell it via word of mouth, so I volunteered to present it here.

*A little back-story: Ali (is a genius and works for CNN and) lives in Washington, DC. She recently moved into a new apartment in the basement of a home, which is occupied by a family with two young daughters. Ali has mentioned these children to me in passing, and that she was enjoying being in close proximity to a family while not feeling obligated to continually interact with them. The other day, on gchat of course, she noted that she had "just taken some kids to the zoo," but for some reason this was left unexplained. Last night at my apartment (she is in town, yay!), I asked her about it, assuming that the kids she had taken to the zoo were those of the family she lives beneath. She reacted with surprise that she had neglected to tell me the whole story, and then shared the following tale, which I found amusing.

(Ali and Kevin)

Many days, Ali's work schedule is such that she meets her (also genius) boyfriend Kevin for lunch at some charming restaurant in one of DC's equally charming neighborhoods. The neighborhood where Ali lives happens to be the one where the National Zoo is. As she and Kevin stepped out of their lunch spot one day, two very clean and well-kempt young children approached them - a boy of about 10 and a girl of about seven. "Excuse me, ma'am," said the boy, "can you tell us where the Zoo is?"

Ali and Kevin looked around for adults belonging to the children, and realized there were none. Perhaps this was a "Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiller" kind-of thing, and these children had run away to spend some time at the Zoo - did their parents know where they were? "Yes." Maybe they were time travelers from back in the day, when parents felt completely comfortable sending their young children unaccompanied on the Metro into one of the largest, busiest cities in the country, with the instruction that they get off at the stop that said "Zoo" and ask someone how to get there.

Turns out, they were not time travelers, but apparently the quite cosmopolitan children of parents who are very optimistic about today's society, and they were looking for the Zoo. Ali felt apprehensive about sending them off into the city alone (an emotion their parents had, again, avoided), and so bid Kevin farewell and took off to walk the several blocks with the kids.

As they walked, she asked them whether they weren't meant to be in school. "No," they said, "it's Election Day, so we have the day off." They went on to tell her that they normally attended a Jewish private school in Maryland, and had decided to take in the Zoo while they had some spare time. "We had a fake election at school yesterday," they proceeded to tell her as they made their way down the street. "It was totally pointless though [*here I would like to note that I'm quoting them] because, come on, we're all Jews, and everybody knows that all Jews are Democrats, and we're all just going to vote the way our parents do anyway. So, Obama won in a landslide." Ali, surprised by both their political and cultural acumen, as well as their frankness, responded "What about Joe Lieberman?" "Ohh, he's no Democrat," the children responded disdainfully.

They continued on their way to the Zoo, chattering happily about their dog and their favorite cousin, of whom Ali reminded them. Ali also reminded them to look both ways and stick together as they crossed the street and reached their destination. They stood in front of the gates. Ali surveyed the sky above them, and said, "you know guys, I think it might rain, I have an umbrella I could give-" "No," they said pleasantly, "we don't mind. No big deal. Thanks for walking with us." "Um, sure, no problem, have a good time," Ali said, and watched them walk cheerfully into the National Zoo together.

As she walked home, Ali realized that in their approximately 20-minute walk, she had never gotten their names. "It was weird, we had just had this long conversation, I knew all about them and their school and pets, then they just left. I felt like I should have shaken their hands or gotten their cell phone numbers or something, but they were kids, so of course I hadn't. Very surreal."

And that is the story of how Ali took some kids to the Zoo.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Historically speaking...

Regardless of who you voted for, this is a monumental day for our country. We should be proud of the fact that people finally got involved in the political process again, and we should be proud that over the last 50 years, we have been able to arrive at a point where a black man can be elected to the highest office in our country. David Gergen, CNN political analyst, quoted Dr. Martin Luther King last night. Dr. King, who gave his life for this future a day after saying these words, was looking forward to an America where all men were truly equal. He said:

"I just want to do God's will. He's allowed me to go up to the mountain and I've looked over and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land."

It's a shame that Dr. King was unable to see the triumph of his work last night in Chicago's Grant Park, but he would certainly be proud.

Other things that are good about this:

1. As Stephen Colbert noted, America should be happy about electing its first Hawaiian president.

2. Record-breaking voter turn-out, and celebrating Americans filling the streets to welcome their new president elect - welcome to the political process, America. Keep it up!

3. Bill Bennett, former Secretary of Education, noted on CNN last night (transcript unavailable at this time, so this is paraphrased:)'There is no longer a legitimate excuse to come from African Americans who claim that their race is an unmovable impediment to their success. In school, in the culture, in their lives. Senator Obama has proven that this is no longer viable.' Perhaps now we can ALL move into the "post-racial" era that Obama aspired to in his campaign.

4. Holograms on CNN...were they serious about that? "Help us, Obi Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope..." (The one of the capitol was pretty cool, though.) (also if I spelled that Star Wars guy's name wrong, think twice about what it says about you before you correct it.)

5. The whole world is excited about a new American president. I heard a recording on NPR of Chinese people shouting last night in unison, with their accents, "Yes we can!" Maybe people will quit talking about how America is a "crumbling empire." This country was not founded to be an "empire," it was founded to be great. As long as we hold to the tenets the nation was founded on, we will always continue to be great.

6. Senators McCain and Obama were as classy as they could be last night, which always helps heal factions.

So, go America, and now we can hopefully move on to other things besides politics.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get out the Vote!

It's Election Day!!! I love Election Day. Really, I love things that seem like big events, where everybody is doing something neat at the same time, like New Years Eve or Gameday. But Election Day is even better than all of those days because unlike most holidays, the actual partaking in the election isn't anti-climactic. The denouement doesn't happen until night-time (or a month later, as the case may be. please Florida, try to get it together this time.)

People often say that they don't feel like voting because, after all, "what's one vote?" And while I think P. Diddy might have taken it a little to the extreme by saying "VOTE OR DIE," I believe that thinking of an individual vote as worthless isn't right. Simplistically speaking, if every person was like "oh what does it matter, it's just one vote" and never stopped by the polling place on Election Day, there wouldn't be any votes.

It's true, America is not a direct democracy (which would mean that all the people of voting age in the whole country are required to vote on every single piece of legislation or appointment that occurs.) Instead, we are a republic (although a lot of Americans would probably answer incorrectly if you asked them this on the street.) For many reasons, we should be really, really glad about that. For one thing, if we were a direct democracy, no one would ever get any work done at work because we'd be voting or studying policy all the time. For another thing, there are an awful lot of ridiculous and uninformed voters out there who pick candidates based on how handsome they are, or how many movie stars are voting for them, or how funny they were on Saturday Night Live. Votes like that have to be tempered by the system (ours is called the Electoral College) and by the fact that most of the actual legislating that goes on is done by elected officials who voters have selected and trust to do the leg-work on figuring out the details. These people spend all their time working in Washington or various state capitols educating themselves (hopefully...) on policy, and legislation, and repercussions - and then they vote on it.

It is true, again, that many of our politicians seem sketch, and aren't exactly scholars. (Sigh. More people should be like Ron Paul. Whatever else you may say about him, that is a man of principle.) That is where it becomes up to us, as voters, to do our homework and pick the candidate we feel is most qualified, and best represents the ideals and tenets this country was founded on.

All too many times, unfortunately, it feels like we are forced to chose between the lesser of two evils as far as candidates go. I don't want to advocate a particular candidate here. My hope would be that you would take a look at the constitution of our country, and take a look at the federalist papers composed by our founding fathers as they were literally in the process of establishing this nation. Too often people scramble around in deep seas of policy and agendas, forgetting that there are guidebooks to navigating through all the mess. In voting, we need to go back to the roots of this country, the principles it was founded on, the freedoms our forefathers sought, and the rights each citizen is endowed with to shape and guide our decisions.

So, don't disregard your right to vote. No matter how small you feel like your voice is, you have a say in what goes on. Do your part, it's the only way you can earn the right to complain later. Go stand in line, cast your ballot, enjoy being a part of something bigger than yourself. Then put on your sticker and go to Starbucks for a free coffee.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Early start for the Christmas list...

I saw this pretty, pretty light in the design*sponge guest blog at and I had to post it because I love it so much. Please note that in addition to being delightful to look at, it would also cast fun shadows all over your room, and it's real ART (there's one in the permanent collection at MoMA in New York, and Victoria and Albert in London.) Classy, pretty, and legitimate. My favorite things :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wall heaters are sketchy.

Dear wall heaters,

Please don't catch on fire in the night. I hope no one has told you that I don't have a fire extinguisher and so you are now plotting against me before I go to bed. I was going to try and make it through the winter without you, but turns out it is already at the freezing point outside and it is pretty darn cold in here. Sarah Palin and her Russian neighbors might be cozy, but my digits are already starting to get frosty.

I said brrr it's cold in here...



Tomato, tomahto...

"The Enlightenment, with its emphasis on reason, would finally provide democracy with its philosophical underpinnings. The 17th and 18th centuries produced a wave of prominent thinkers espousing political systems based on what they called "the social contract." Government, they theorized, was a sort of legal agreement between the rulers and the ruled, the terms of which were binding on both parties. It was a groundbreaking theory. All they needed now was some country dumb enough to try it before the King found out and had them all drawn and quartered." - Jon Stewart's America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
The social contract that Mr. Stewart's book speaks of is one of the fundamentals of our government. The differences in ideas between today's political parties are a result of varied interpretations of that "legal agreement" between the rulers and the ruled. In some elections, these ideological differences are quite clear, while in others (like the one to be held in a week's time) - not as much. As I am not John Adams, I cannot profess to be an authority on political discourse, but I try to base my opinions on fact (a basic concept, by the way, that many bankers and politicians should consider in their decision making processes.)

That said, there was a time when "conservative," believe it or not, did not mean 'God-fearing gun-toters'. Rather, it meant people who were basically interested in a limited federal government (this means no creepy big-brotherness), personal responsibility, and an attention to (and scholarship of) the ideas our Founding Fathers hammered out in documents like, say, the Constitution, or the Federalist Papers. I once read a statement from Garrison Keillor regarding the Republican party, specifically, that expresses the point more eloquently:

"Something has gone wrong with the Republican Party. Once it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities, and supported the kind of prosperity that raises all ships. Now it's the number one reason why the rest of the world thinks we're deaf, dumb, and dangerous."

Senator McCain has found himself at the end of a campaign of almost Marx-brothers-esque heights in terms of ridiculousness. He garbles his ideas and speeches, he makes "erratic" shifts in attitude and policy, and he attempts "bold" moves to convince the public that he's a "maverick" (maybe he should have chosen Mel Gibson as his running mate), while trying to feign "conservatism" enough to convince the GOP that they didn't make a mistake in picking him as their candidate. Remember the old adage about "if you try to please all the people all the time you're likely not to please any of them any of the time?"

I feel like (again this is just my opinion, I don't claim to know everything) in his struggle to be the candidate for the conservatives, but at the same time be his "bi-partisan", maverick-y self, McCain's policy pronouncements have lost all tenor. The only way to attempt to gauge decisions he might make as president is not to listen to his campaign rhetoric, but to look at his record as a statesman. There, the only things we have to go on are the fact that he sided with George Bush the infamous 90 % of the time (which is part of how the party got where it is in the first place), and the reputation he has for being bi-partisan.

Monday, October 27, 2008


It's true, this is my second post of the day. However, I feel that the experience warrants notice.

As noted in my first post of the day, I am usually in a bit of a hurry in the morning. Therefore, I rarely actually pack myself a lunch in the morning anymore (also I never go to the grocery store so there isn't really a lot to pack even if I had time.) Depending on how late I am in the morning (dictating how much time I give myself for lunch), I either go somewhere charming (-ish, Panera or super-charming, Mercatino) or somewhere fast (Wendy's; the faux-Chickfila sandwich is not bad.) Another time I will write about how desperately I wish we had a deli of some sort in our building like every other large business downtown.

Anyhow, given my lateness this a.m. I darted over to the Wendy's on Broad to get my chicken sandwich and coca cola classic. Upon arrival I found that joining me in my dart were every other person in town with a lunch break. As we are creeping forward in the line, these three girls who turned out to be employees come jogging through the back of the parking lot, towards the drive-up line. the line is moving, and two of them went around, but one was coming the other way, as though she was considering walking through the moving line of traffic, which was backing up almost into the street. She looked as though she was contemplating cutting in front of my [moving] car, but reconsidered. After she passed me, she turned and made a very angry face, and pointed at my car and discussed it with her friends. I then became concerned that they were plotting against me because I did not stop and allow her to cut in front of me.

I got up to the drive-up window and to my dismay, found that one of her friends was the girl who takes the orders over the crackly microphone and accepts payment. Then I got my order, fearing sabotage.

They gave me diet coke. Maybe it was an accident, but I ALWAYS drink regular coke, and that is what I ordered. How cruel, to give a regular coke drinker diet icky cancer-bubbles with their lunch. Fountain coke can make or break a meal, and EW.

This is just one more piece of evidence regarding the unusual breed of pedestrians in the Scenic City. Ken and I have discussed this before, and he compared our fair city to rural Montana strictly because of the lack of regard citizens here have for basic traffic laws. These people look at roads as one giant sidewalk. They cross when the hand is clearly red at an intersection, they cross in the middle of the road where there is clearly no cross-walk, they cross traffic. All the while, expecting motorists to stop for them and allow them to pass. If you don't stop, they glare angrily. I am fine with stopping for people on a crosswalk, or if it is their turn to cross a street. But jaywalking is against the rules of traffic, and you can get a ticket for it, not to mention get run over, so don't get mad at me for not aiding you in your crime!

And certainly don't take out your crime-driven rage on me by giving me diet coke when I ask for regular. That's just mean.

I don't wake up well.

It is a fact, and there are no two ways about it. If there was some kind of competition in being bad at this very thing, I would totally win (especially now that Claire has a baby and has to get up when it is time because there are lives at stake.)

I set my alarm for 6:20. I do this not because I need to be up by 6:20, but because I like to be able to go back to bed after my alarm goes off. I like it so much that I allow myself FORTY extra minutes to lounge underneath my fluffy comforter. Before any of you lodge protests on this point, I acknowledge that it takes me forever to get ready, but I don't have to be at work til 8:30. It doesn't take me two hours. Regardless of this fact, and regardless of the fact that I never go back to sleep, I just lay there and listen to NPR, I still manage to get up later than I should. Every day. Today, I didn't make it to work until 9.

This, I'm afraid, says something awful about my willpower. Something has to change. Perhaps I should give in and turn on the creepy wall heaters in my apartment so I won't dread venturing out from under the covers so much. (If anyone knows someone who services these creepy wall heaters, please send them to 417 Tremont. I fear that if I turn them on my apartment will burn down.)

Part of the problem lies in the fact that my being late to work here doesn't really cause any big issues. I mean, it would if I was really late, but 15-30 minutes doesn't really disrupt anyone's flow that much. I always set my own alarm and rose accordingly in middle and high school, with the exception of a couple of days where I slept through the blasted thing. Maybe if they gave demerits for tardiness at the Chattanooga Times Free Press I would feel more compelled to peel back the covers.

Last year if I was late, there would be (in addition to the apoplectic fits the assistant principal would have gone into knowing the schedule of anyone in the school was off by more than 30 seconds) eight third graders sitting unattended in a classroom, half of them stroking out because things wouldn't be going they way they normally did and no one had given them their morningwork sheet, and if the schedule wasn't written on the board yet, they probably would have lost their minds. The other half would have been yelling and screaming and beating each other up.

The girls of course would have tried to take control of the situation, because in my experience there's nothing third grade girls like more than bossing someone around (it's the crux of each main game they play - "teacher", in which one child tells the others what to do; "house", in which two children tell the others what to do; and "fort", in which whoever is there first tells the other children in school what to do.) The boys would have resisted this, and the yelling and screaming would have ramped up until another teacher came in to see what on earth was going on. Clearly, my non-presence in the classroom would have been noticed, and a large problem. It only happened a couple times. (Atlanta traffic is a disaster...)

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the last time I was truly late here (I usually allow like 15 minutes leeway) I went in to apologize to Ken. His reaction? "Oh, are you late? I didn't notice. No problem."

While this laid-back attitude makes for a very pleasant work place, it incidentally does not serve as the true incentive I apparently need to get me out of bed before 7:45. I would love to be one of those people who gets up in time to like, actually fix my hair, not dress in a rush, and stop at Panera on the way to work for a muffin and a chai tea (conversely, I would also like to be one of those people who gets paid enough so that they don't feel bad about stopping every morning for a muffin and chai tea, but that's a different story.) I did that once and it was such a pleasant way to start the day.

I would say this should be my new years resolution, but I should really try and address it before will be my late-October resolution.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Friday, so that of course means supermodels and Krispy Kream in the office.

As I type, I can hear her in the photo studio down the hall commenting on photos as they are being taken [of herself]: "Oh that's really cute! I love that one!" Sigh. I should not be irritated by this girl, she is very pleasant and certainly quite pretty, but she is the third pleasant and quite pretty girl in here this morning, as we are doing shots for covers. And actually, she is not a supermodel as much as she is a regular model, but I am regardless pleased that there is not a mirror in front of my desk (although I cannot imagine why there would be, the corner here at the end of the hall would be a strange place for a mirror, it's not like I work at Versailles, or Conde' Nast.)

*Conde' Nast, by the way, is so fabulous I should talk just briefly about how besotted with their products I am. It began, of course, with my subscription to Vogue, back in the sixth grade. It has since proceeded to my additional, unwavering love for Domino, Vanity Fair, and Portfolio. I love magazines in general, and working for one only intensifies this love. If Conde' Nast, J. Crew, Apple, Ron Paul, and NPR ruled the world, this would be a beautiful thing.

Anyhow, the presence of models for the photo shoot resulted in our Creative Director bringing in pumpkin spice doughnuts (go to Krispy Kream right now and get one, you won't be sorry.) As they are models, they obvi did not eat the doughnuts, so I (not being a model) had a free and delightful breakfast. Thank you, modern standards of beauty.

My vanishing boss has vanished yet again, today for a longer period of time than normal. He mentioned something the other day about the CEO and the department heads doing something, so I suppose that is where he is. Sometimes I'm pretty sure he is in possession of an invisible suit or cloaking device of some kind that he puts on whenever he's about to walk out of his office. And by walk, I mean hover, because he is somehow able to proceed across the hardwood floors with no report (as in gunshot - oh how I also love "You've Got Mail," now that it's fall it's time to watch...) Inevitably, every time this happens, someone important is like "Do you know where Ken is?" and I, like a dope, am forced to respond "No, last I checked he was in his office. I don't know how he does this..." It would be fab if I kept his calendar, which I should probably look into.

After such a productive morning, I think I will go to lunch.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's a hard knock life

As I sat here at my desk, only moments ago, working on the City Events Calendar for the November/December issue of the magazine, I came across the fact that "Annie!" will be playing at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium here in town on November 25. In reminiscing over my childhood memories ("We LOVE YOU Miss Hannigan...") of the classic musical (and by so doing, developing a clever lead,) I thought hey, isn't it convenient that this particular musical is coming to town right as we're circling this looming global recession (or LGR as it has affectionately become known around the office)...then I realized who it is that must be behind the LGR - TAPA 2008-09 Broadway series. They have clearly planned this entire economic crisis in order to cleverly draw the masses to see "Annie!" at Memorial Auditorium.

I mean, it's a classic tale of silver-lining optimism in the face of dark situations (orphanages! the great depression! people named "rooster"!) and it's always enjoyable, but in these days of shaky (read: historically repetitive?) economic and political landscapes, we could all use a reminder that "The Sun will come out tomorrow." But people these days, in this world of movies with huge exploding special effects and cynicism, people don't watch musicals how to draw people out to the theater? And there you have it. An LGR so big it reminds people of the Great Depression, and homeless people are getting out their fedoras again, and the government is acting like a vast, supporting Daddy Warbucks, lending us $700 billion to pick ourselves up again. Thanks a lot, Tennessee broadway musical fans. Perhaps next year you'll make your intentions to go see the musicals clear sooner, and we won't run into these kinds of problems again. If Americans will just renew their interest in musical theater, the Ghosts of Gilbert and Sullivan would stop sneaking into the Wall Street investment banks and haunting around, whispering bad ideas about risk and derivitives into greedy bankers' ears. Problem solved, Mr. Bernanke.

In other news, Claire, once a prominent figure in blogs gone by (she was practically the co-author and co-star of the legendary livejournal) has vanished into the abyss that is Houston. Our once beautiful friendship is now reduced to voicemails, poignently reminiscent of Jim and Pam on The Office now that Pam is in graphic design school. I'm not sure who should be held responsible for this (of course I am looking into the Broadway musical people first), but something must clearly be done. My life is less colorful, and certainly less entertaining, without her constant presence. Perhaps if I kidnapped the child, I could entice the Elliotts to move closer to me. I'll have to write Lucy a letter and see what she thinks.

Although I thoroughly enjoy coming home to my own apartment, I certainly miss my roomates, who now have roomates of their own (of the friend or husband variety.) I was thinking the other day about our pet raccoon, Ray (if you have ever watched a raccoon feel around rapidly with its paws for food on the ground while looking up with its face and eyes at other things, you know why his name was Ray.) And about how our apartment was fully decked out for Halloween, then the day after, Claire had wrapped our front door in Christmas paper, and we started stringing lights. We even (unsuccessfully) attempted to toss one of those nets of lights over the bradford pear kind of by Claire's turret. Unfortunately, the logistics made that effort impossible. The leg lamp in the window was perhaps the crowning achievement of our holiday decor, in addition to the amazing swag of various light strands on the balcony that inspired the entire apartment complex to haul out the holly, so to speak.

Another thing I have been thinking is that I really love scarves. They are so functional, I mean, it's amazing how much warmer you are when your neck is warm. But they are also such a nice look, and their current in-ness means they're even better right now. Go, scarves!

I was just handed a proposal for a book store who will potentially sponsor book reviews in the magazine. As I would love nothing more than to write book reviews, I must now go see if I can sign myself up for this job.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Well, it's Friday. Two of my four bosses are already gone, and they are the two whose offices are directly beside me. So, I suppose it is time to post.

The GPS/McCallie Five year High School Reunion is this weekend. As Blaes and I are the co-chairs (meaning I wrote a letter and helped stuff envelopes and Blaes made all the Facebook things and put the r.s.v.p.s in an excell spreadsheet...I should be called sub-co-captain), it is a weekend in which all of our hard work and careful planning will finally come to fruition. As B. and I are also extremely competitive (and were very disappointed in what we thought was a champion showing at the Young Alums phone-a-thon on Tuesday, only to learn that Vivian and Katie both dominated our pledges by - in one case- literal hundreds of dollars) we are aiming for record turn outs at all weekend events, even the ones not really organized by us, like the Baylor/McCallie football game. This would prove once and for all that our class was better than the class of 2002.

A third of my four bosses just left. It is 4:10. I am currently on my cell phone, which I never do at work. I like how sometimes a day just feels like a throw-away day, like, "you don't have to do anything, it's Friday." A couple of weeks ago we went to lunch at the Bluegrass Grille on the Southside, and it's next door to some lofts. The sign outside said "first floor lofts" which to me is kind of an anomoly because I always thought lofts were like, by definition, on top of stuff, but I am not an architect so what do I know? Anyway, outside, on the sidewalk and in the street, literally, the street, in front of the building, these people were just having a little party. They had drug a couch and two chairs outside, in addition to some green astroturf, some tiki torches, a boom box, and a cooler. Keep in mind that this is at approximately 12:45 on a Friday afternoon.

I had an instant college flashback to leaving campus on a Friday afternoon and seeing the Fijis with their couches and chairs out on the lawn on College Street, already drunk at 1:00, playing bocce ball and listening to Phish or something really loud. All around campus, the tailgaters would be sitting in their folding chairs all day, drinking and hanging out, waiting til four so they could mark their tailgating spots. I always wondered what those people did for a living that they had time to sit in a folding chair for 6-8 hours on a workday, but it was always cheering to see them there. Friday, when the weather is nice, is always a throw-away day.

So it's fall, officially, I needed a jacket yesterday, and the weather is nice, and it's Friday. High School football tonight, and high school friends collecting at various air ports. What a charming way to start the weekend.

And now it's five. This blog post is my productivity for almost an hour, interrupted periodically by various work-related things. I deserve a raise.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Krisan made me do this...

So any complaints or general irritation that results from reading postings here should be sent directly to her. Also, as I am hopelessly and perhaps irrevocably trapped in the 20th century as far as photography goes, there will not be any digital photographs displayed here (apologies.)

Also, as another caveat to future entries, I have a tendency to be wordy and, perhaps, to ramble a bit. (Anyone familiar with previous blogging efforts,, is well aware of the style.) Some enjoy it, although Ernest Hemingway most likely would not. (Which seems rude as I have conceded publicly to enjoying his very terse writings, but what can we do now?)

I have selected the title of this blog as a result of where I am currently posting, my desk on the third floor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. This is a wonderful place and I love it and so many people upon hearing that I work here have asked me if I feel like Lois Lane I thought it appropriate. On occasion I have nothing to do but sit here at my lovely desk and gaze down the long hallway, which the vp of production who always wears bowties and tortoise-shell glasses and often seersucker (I know, you're probably thinking that we're perfect for each other but he's married and over 60, que sera) is always saying he'd like to turn into bowling lanes. Usually I fill my time by working on my deco file and reading designers blogs at (just try it. you'll love it. well, depending on your gender.) However, upon Krisan's urging I decided that on occasion I could practice the writing skills I am meant to be developing while working here and post some blogging of my own.

Earlier today I received a forward from someone who works here that I have never met. It was all these cheesey computer renderings/"art" pieces (that looked like they may have been painted on velvet) with sappy and somewhat theologically dubious messages incorporated into them like "God will not ask you what clothes were in your closet but how many people you helped clothe" and other similar notions. At the end, in an even larger and more dramatic image (they looked like those science fiction posters with like unicorns and knights and dragons in them) with a message about how "God will not ask you how many people you chose to forward this to because He already knows your decision..." My thoughts? Wow. Someone actually took this seriously. And forwarded it to EVERYONE who works at the Times Free Press. Our president is not going to be thrilled about this.

Approximately ten minutes later I received an email, also sent to everyone who works here, from the HR director, kindly reminding us to get any email that will be sent to the whole company approved by the president first, and referred us to an attached copy of the email rules and regulations.

Guess I'll think twice before I send out that hilarious list of "Top Ten Ways You Know You're a Vols Fan..."