tiaras optional

"My only argument is with those who do not view the world as cynically as I do." Michael Korda

Thursday, December 29, 2005

36 Things I Hate About You

I just realized that today will be my 100th post. I’ve noticed that many bloggers celebrate their 100th post by posting 100 fun facts about themselves. I’m not sure that I can actually come up with that many facts that I’m willing to reveal in a public forum, but I’m sure I can come up with a few.

1. I don’t have a driver’s license. It was not taken away; I have never had one. I don’t know how to drive. Yes, I know this is weird.
2. I am the consummate city girl (see no. 1), but I spent many summers of my childhood deep in the Irish countryside, in a place so remote, it wasn’t even considered a village.
3. I have become totally obsessed with Rent since the movie came out. I saw it twice (tried to make it a third time, but it’s not playing nearby anymore), I bought the soundtrack, and I plan to buy the DVD. And yes, I’m a little embarrassed since liking Rent doesn’t exactly enhance my fading punk rock credibility.
4. I love old school show tunes (e.g., Camelot, The King and I, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, etc.).
5. I have been told by several people that I am a gay man trapped in a woman’s body. There may be some truth to this.
6. My taste in music is mostly indie rock, britpop, lots of 80s stuff, and punk. I also enjoy Baroque music and old school country (Cash, Williams Sr., Cline).
7. I can’t stand modern country music.
8. I really really dig Neil Finn and Paul Weller in all their incarnations.
9. My first concert was Duran Duran. It was pretty much the pinnacle of my existence at that point. My best friend wasn’t allowed to go the show because her mother was convinced that girls get gang raped at rock concerts. I really can’t imagine that the Duran Duran show was a hotbed of gang rape.
10. I still have a soft spot for Duran Duran.
11. I used to act.
12. My taste in books tends toward literary fiction and the classics. There are a few exceptions:
13. I love mysteries, particularly British ones. I heart Agatha Christie.
14. I have been known to enjoy the occasional chick lit book.
15. I read a lot of nonfiction.
16. My favorite book is Independent People by Halldor Laxness, the Icelandic Nobel Laureate. It’s about an Icelandic sheep farmer. Seriously, it’s amazing.
17. I like to reread Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion when I’m feeling down.
18. I don’t have cable. This is partly because I don’t watch that much TV, but also, I am afraid that if I get cable, my inner couch potato will come out and I’ll never read another book.
19. I religiously watch the Simpsons in reruns, although I try to force myself to turn it off it’s one of the lousy newer episodes.
20. Lord Kissington and I often quote the Simpsons back and forth to each other. If it were a competition, he would win because he can remember every quote exactly, and I usually only remember the gist of things rather than the exact words.
21. I love the movie Zoolander, and I’ve seen it about 8 times and counting.
22. I am always trying to convert people to my love of Zoolander, but most people I know don’t like it. I have one friend who is still annoyed that I made her watch it three years ago.
23. I am an only child, but I grew up with two people who are basically my brother and sister.
24. My parents are divorced.
25. My parents are super artsy and they were always the weird parents (at least to me) when I was growing up. They were totally embarrassing at the time, but looking back, it was much better to have cool, interesting parents than the dull, conformist parents that surrounded me.
26. I had my first kiss at 11, from my best friend’s creepy older brother, who was 13. It was totally gross.
27. I really love soap operas. This totally embarrasses me, because it doesn’t exactly go along with the whole highbrow intellectual thing I try to project. But I tape Guiding Light every day.
28. While I’m watching Guiding Light, I like to read the latest US Weekly. There, I’ve just killed that intellectual image, right?
29. I have had a thing for Hugh Laurie since the early 90s when he was in Jeeves and Wooster and Blackadder. I am very happy for his American TV success in House, but now that everyone loves him, I feel like I have to keep telling people that I have loved him for years, because I am no longer unique.
30. I have a horror of being mainstream (see no. 29).
31. I really love Swiss Miss vanilla pudding cups. It’s got to be Swiss Miss and it’s got to be vanilla.
32. I went to Iceland on my own in 1998, because I had always wanted to go there and I couldn’t get anyone (including my boyfriend at the time) to go with me. I was kind of terrified to travel there alone, but it ended up being an amazing time.
33. My favorite college professor died last year, and I am really sad that I never got around to writing him the letter I planned to write him forever, to tell him how much he inspired me.
34. My mother tells people that I met my fiancé when we were in a Ulysses (James Joyce) reading group.
35. Actually, I met Lord Kissington at a bar several times before we were in the book group. My mother knows this, but prefers the other story.
36. I probably would never have read Ulysses if it hadn’t been for the professor in no. 33, so I owe him a lot, since it was during the book group that I really got to know Lord Kissington. (That James Joyce can really bring people together.)

That’s probably enough embarrassing things about me for now.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Roundup

Christmas was interesting this year. It was all pretty low-key. My whole extended family seemed a little down, or at least just very mellow. But it wasn’t a bad Christmas. Everyone seemed happy with their gifts, so that made me feel like I got it right this year. I was very happy with mine. People actually got me what I wanted this year. Wish lists are a great invention. I don’t send them to anyone unsolicited, but if anyone asks, I’m happy to pass it on. My list was a little dorky, but hey, it was what I really wanted. Hence, my presents included three books on the Cathars, two biographies of Roman empresses (see I, Claudius, the book or the BBC miniseries for the genesis of that interest), the latest Booker Prize winner, an obscure Hugh Laurie film, the film version of Persuasion, and the miniseries of Pride and Prejudice (can’t get enough Jane Austen, even in my dreams).

I was feeling pretty sick all weekend, and I seem to be fighting off a cold or something. Perhaps not feeling well had something to do with the enormous amount of food I have consumed since Friday (especially the excessive sugar consumption. Seriously, I’m amazed I’m not in a diabetic coma.). So, I decided that I was going to do absolutely nothing yesterday, other than lie on the couch, peruse all my new books, and watch soap operas. This plan looked to be in danger in the morning when Lord Kissington somehow managed to slice the top of his right foot open. We’re still not sure how it happened, but it was pretty bad, and I figured that a trip to the hospital was going to be in the cards (although I warned him that the doctors would probably tell that his problem was not an injured foot, but instead syphilis). The thing was spurting blood like a geyser, but I somehow managed the stop the flow, but not before we had turned the dining room, kitchen, and bathroom floors into a crime scene right out of CSI. I am still finding blood spatters. I sure hope I am never accused of a gory crime, because if they test for blood in the apartment, they will find it all over. Once the medical scare was over, I was able to return to my original plan. Lord Kissington went off to hang out with his brothers, and I settled down with my lunch (Manhattan clam chowder with oyster crackers, about 12 pieces of chocolate, and two Swiss Miss vanilla pudding cups. Yes, I’m officially disgusting) and caught up on some serious soap time. It had been many months since I had last seen All My Children, so I had to call up Lord Merlin with some questions:

Me: Last I remembered, Jonathan was a psychotic woman beater and murderer. Now he appears to be mentally challenged. What gives?
Lord Merlin: I think he had a brain tumor and when they removed it, he wasn’t evil anymore.
Me: Ummh, ok. I thought Babe was all in love with Jamie, and now she appears to be back with J.R., the ex-husband she totally hated? Again, what gives?
Lord Merlin: Jamie inherited all of Phoebe’s millions when she died, but only if he never married Babe. So Babe broke up with him so he could have the millions. And then she pretended to want to get back together with J.R. to get custody of the kid. Only now, they are actually really falling back in love.
Me: Of course. And who the hell is that woman with the dioramas of the town and the little dolls whose heads she keeps ripping off and whatnot?
Lord Merlin: I have no idea. Really, all you need to know is that everyone on the show is really pretty.

This is why I love soap operas. They don’t really make sense and you just have to completely suspend your disbelief and go with the flow. It’s totally mindless entertainment. You really can’t think too much about it, or you will give yourself a headache. Pretty people falling in love with other pretty people and then going on the run from evil mobsters or evil tycoons or weird international evil organizations. Most soap opera towns have more mobsters than lawyers. And every tiny soap town of approximately 40 inhabitants has at least one major international corporation based in that sleepy little town. The major corporation usually has a London or Paris office, but for some reason is based in a small American town, not, say, New York, or LA.

I rounded out the evening by watching a little Pride and Prejudice (love you to death, Colin Firth). I went to bed with a splitting headache (maybe I thought too much when I was watching all those hours of soaps?) and I still had it when I woke up this morning, so I came into work two hours late. It’s really hard to get anything done. It’s really empty and it still feels like it’s a holiday.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Holidays

It seems to be all quiet on the blog front today. Most of you have probably taken off for wherever you’re going, or you’re out doing last minute shopping, or perhaps you’re sleeping off an eggnog hangover (in which case, God help you). In some sort of bizarre compulsive behavior, I finished all my Christmas shopping two weeks ago, so I have no last minute things to do. I am not usually this organized, but I took a week off from work early in December since I had some time I needed to use before the end of the year. I went on a crazy shopping jag, and suddenly I was all done. Not bad. I managed to get most of my Christmas cards mailed out by the 21st (apologies to Singapore; I misplaced your address, so I haven’t sent the card yet. I got your card yesterday and felt bad.). I even wrapped the majority of my presents last weekend. I also wrapped most of Lord’s Kissington’s presents to others (he wouldn’t let me wrap my own presents for some reason). I just couldn’t stop myself. I really love wrapping. I bought all this pretty paper and ribbons, and the packages look so cute. I figure, even if the present sucks, at least it came in a nice package, right? Last Saturday, we bought our tree (a beautiful Frasier fir. It’s all Frasier, all the time for me. I can do a Douglas fir if there are no Frasiers, but don’t even try to sell me a Scotch pine. Oh, the horror.). I decided I wouldn’t decorate it until Sunday, since I was tired and feeling kind of sick that day. But then the Christmas compulsion took over again, and I just had to decorate it that evening. I was good this year; I didn’t criticize his lordship’s placement of the ornaments, and I didn’t redecorate the tree after he left the room. (Yes, I am really that awful. I can’t help it. My tree has to be PERFECT. This and the fascination with lovely wrapping jobs are my only Martha Stewart-esque qualities, I swear.)

On Sunday, I got my mother a tree. Normally, getting my mother a tree is just a painful experience. She always picks the coldest day of the year to do it, and sometimes she wants to look at several different tree lots, just in case the perfect tree is at the next lot. We usually end up going back to the first lot. This year wasn’t bad at all. It’s now in the stand, but it hasn’t been decorated yet. Decorating her tree is sort of a Christmas Eve tradition. When she was a child, her family always decorated it on the 24th. (It’s my impression that this was much more customary back in the day.) So, come Christmas Eve, I always drag my hungover self (hey, there is always someone visiting on the 23rd who wants to go out) over to her place and work my decorating magic. This year, I’ve promised myself that I will not be hungover. This is not going to be hard. Lord Kissington and I are having dinner with his parents tonight, and I don’t really make a habit of getting wasted in front of the future in-laws. (Fortunately, they are very nice people who seem to really like me, so excessive drinking is not at all necessary to deal with them.)

Every night, I get home from work, I turn on the Christmas lights, and I inhale the delightful pine scent. The presents look so pretty under the tree that I almost hate to give them to their recipients, because they’ll just rip all that pretty paper to shreds. But that is sort of a metaphor for the transitory nature of Christmas. All this buildup, and then it’s over so quickly. The day after Christmas is always sort of depressing. I’m usually exhausted from dealing with my entire family. The presents no longer look so pretty, as there are all opened and piled willy-nilly under the tree. Sometimes, there is a feeling of letdown. But then you remember that there’s always next year.

Ok, sorry, didn’t really mean to end on such a downer note. Merry Christmas everybody!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Can I Just Curl up in a Ball and Sob?

Last Wednesday, I arrived at work to find that my computer was broken. I quickly diagnosed the problem and informed the tech people about it. The person who came to look at my machine told me I was wrong, wrong, wrong. They took the CPU away, and I just got it back today. Turns out I was right, right, right about the problem, but that’s small consolation for not having the damn thing for 8 days. I had to work from someone else’s office, and so I felt it best to steer clear of blogging. Normally, I would just write from home, but sadly, the home machine is also not working. This problem seems to be simpler to fix, however. Lord Kissington brought it into work where he and a co-worker tried to figure out why it wouldn’t turn on. They thought it might have something to do with dust being caught in the fan. Well, sort of. Turns out there was a dead bug caught in the fan. Yes, I am quite the little housekeeper. Anyway, that’s the short version of why there haven’t been any posts.

I’m not feeling much in the holiday spirit at the moment, but it’s not all bad. June and Ward’s baby arrived this weekend, and he is 6 pounds 2 ounces of adorableness. Lord K and I actually arrived at their house to pick up some travel books about 5 minutes after her water broke. (I swear, we’re not really that insensitive; we had made the plans a half-hour earlier when the water was totally intact.) June was extremely calm and was yelling out travel tips as she was packing to head to the hospital. So, congratulations to them, and I hope they get a little sleep between now and the kid going off to college.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Because of recent drastic computer issues both at home and work, I have been unable to blog. Sorry kids. I know my readers (all 6 of you) must be devastated. But no fears--I'll be back tomorrow, and boy, do I have a lot to say (a full week's worth of spleen all saved up).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

"Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley…"

Well, not exactly. Actually, I dreamed that I was in a Jane Austen novel. Or maybe just in her milieu. It was the early 19th century. It seemed to be England. I was with a bunch of young women wearing high-waisted short-sleeved dresses. We all had our hair up with little tendrils hanging down. We were in the country, spending much of our time at a lovely estate. And everyone was obsessed with getting married. So obsessed, in fact, that someone had organized a sort of marriage market. All the unmarried young ladies and all the “eligible” (only in the strictest sense of the word) bachelors had been invited to the estate. It was sort of like a cattle market, or at least what I imagine a cattle market would be like. Young ladies would be trotted around to see if they sparked any interest on the part of the men. I stood off to the sidelines, not knowing what to make of the whole thing. The youngest women were all extremely excited and there was lots of jumping up and down when someone picked them. My dream best friend found herself a fiancé, but wasn’t at all happy about it. She kept asking me if I would still be her friend after she was married. I assured her that I would, but then she asked, “Will you still call me?” And I thought, “What do you mean ‘call’? There are no phones in the 1800s.” I overheard someone saying that young Miss So-and-so should be introduced to Mr. John Knightley, and I thought, “No, that won’t work, because he is going to marry Isabella Woodhouse.” Then I woke up. I have weird dreams*.

*It should be noted that I reread Emma while I was off last week and I watched Sense and Sensibility, so it’s not completely odd that I have Jane Austen on the brain. And I’m busy planning my own wedding, which is hovering near the edge of my subconscious at all times (hence, the waking up in the middle of the night with free-floating anxiety). Still, it was an awfully vivid dream.

Monday, December 12, 2005

I'm Back, Baby

I took last week off from work to use up some use or lose leave. I have been having trouble with internet access, and on top of that, my computer now doesn’t even want to turn on. Hence, no blogging last week (and also hence, the laptop being tossed across the room).

Here are some highlights (and, sadly, lowlights) of the week:

1. Having to go into work on my first day off. Totes bitter.

2. Saw Rent for the second time. It was just as good as the first time. I am now totally obsessed with Rent. I put the full soundtrack on my Amazon wish list, but I couldn’t wait until Christmas for it, so I had to run out and buy it. (Yes, I realize that I have turned into someone I would usually make fun of.)

3. I finished all my Christmas shopping, except for something for my hard to buy for cousin. What do you get for someone whose main interests are hockey and women of ill repute? (Since I am also a hockey fan, I have totally done the hockey-related gifts to death.)

4. My living room looks like some sort of Christmas explosion hit it. I bought way too much wrapping paper and bright shiny ribbons are everywhere. I prefer to think of it as “festive,” rather than, say, “messy.”

5. My quest for the perfect boots has finally come to an end. I bought them, they were not superexpensive, and I lurve them. Yes, they pinch my toes a bit, but I can live with that because of the aforementioned lurving.

6. I worked out a fair amount. Usually I like to listen to disco-y type music and watch TV at the same time just for some visual stimulation. One day, I was watching the History Channel and a documentary about Auschwitz came on. Listening to Kylie Minogue while watching that just seemed so inappropriate. Also, it was so devastating that I started to tear up, and then I got all phlegmy, which made it hard to breathe. The next day I watched a Christmas episode of The Nanny on Lifetime, since that seemed a lot more lightweight. Unfortunately, that also induced tears. Did I mention that I cry really easily? Of course, tearing up at a documentary about the slaughter of innocent people is understandable. But The Nanny?

7. We saw The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on Friday. Despite having read this book several times (first when I was seven, most recently a few years back), I somehow missed that it’s an allegory for Christianity. Not being religious, I tend to miss really obvious references to the Jesus. I'm slow that way. Anyways, it's pretty good, even if you are not all into the Jesus.

8. I tried on and rejected several velour tracksuits. This is a look I want to work, but deep down I know it just isn’t happening. It was a very Goldilocks moment. This one is too big. This one is too small. This one makes my ass look like Texas. Sadly, there was no “this one is just right.”

Friday, December 02, 2005

Belated Wrap-up

I would have posted about Wednesday night’s happenin’ happy hour, but yesterday, I spent groaning in pain with a migraine. Like an idiot, I went to work (didn’t really have much choice, since I had a deadline). I considered live blogging my migraine. It would have gone something like this:

9:12 a.m. Owwwwww.
9:15 a.m. Writhing in pain.
9:22 a.m. Waves of nausea.
9:37 a.m. More waves of nausea.
9:52 a.m. Stumble out to CVS for Pepto to combat nausea. Swig Pepto on way back to office.
10:17 a.m. Shut office door and curl up in fetal position on tiny office couch.

Yup, it was a fantastic day.

The happy hour was loads of fun. I am pretty shy (although for some reason, no one ever believes me when I say that), but I forced myself to talk to people and not just sit in a corner guzzling wine. There was a huge turnout, as you no doubt know already from the more timely summaries. Our hostesses Kathryn, DC Cookie, Rhinestone Cowgirl, and Asian Mistress did a fab job organizing. I met/chatted with/caught up with I-66, A Unique Alias, Rock Creek Rambler, DC Bachelor, the Boy (and his friends, not sure if they are bloggers), Heather B, Sharkbait, Velvet, Lance, the VP of Dior, EJ Takes Life, a non-blogging commenter, and probably some others that I can’t remember because of having my brain pretty messed up yesterday. It was a great time, and overcoming my shyness for the night was definitely a good thing.

I have this bad habit of putting my CDs back in the wrong cases. I just grab whatever is nearest. This turns out to be a real problem when you open up a Clash case and find Kylie Minogue instead. I mean, I love Kylie to pieces, but when you are in a Clash kind of mood, she just won’t do. Lately, a new problem has arisen. I open up a CD case and it’s empty. But I have no idea where the CDs are. I don’t have a huge pile of loose CDs lying around. This is just weird.