Saturday, November 08, 2008


Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'd like to take a short break from the politcal madness to pose this important question:

Is Madonna blind?

Guy = hotness

A-Rod = fugness

Oy. The guy looks like a hunk of brown wax that melted over a mannequin.

Also, she's calling Guy (and supposedly Englishmen in general) "emotionally retarded"? As if American men are known for their boundless warmth and sensitivity. Tell me another one, Madge.

At least maybe now she'll give up the nauseating faux-British accent.

PS--Guy Ritchie? Call me.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I have a question. It's about Sarah Palin's hair: Is it fiberglass, or steel?

On a lighter note, I will award one million points to whomever catches that fairly obscure movie reference.

Friday, September 26, 2008

New song by the fabulous Jane Jensen.

How do I love this girl? Let me count the ways:

1.) She was a B-movie actress in the 1990's and starred in the cult film Tromeo and Juliet.
2.) Luv Song. Also, Highway 90. Also, King of My Heart. Also...well you get the picture.
3.) She is from my hometown (Indianapolis)!
4.) She is like an American Shirley Manson, but quirkier. (And blonde!)
5.) Comic Book Whore
6.) The CD booklet for Comic Book Whore.

Oh, just stop reading this and go check her out, cause she rocks.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dave = Awesome.

Also, Keith Olbermann--will you marry me?

Monday, September 22, 2008

EXCELLENT article in the latest Rolling Stone by the brilliant Matt Taibbi, the best political writer out there. I've been eagerly awaiting his thoughts on Palin, and he did not disappoint.

An excerpt:

Here's the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and footballl, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.

And none of it matters, so long as you remember a few months before Election Day to offer them a two-bit caricature culled from some cutting-room-floor episode of Roseanne as part of your presidential ticket. And if she's a good enough likeness of a loudmouth Middle American archetype, as Sarah Palin is, John Q. Public will drop his giant sized bag of Doritos in gratitude, wipe the Sizzlin' Picante dust from his lips and rush to the booth to vote for her. Not because it makes sense, or because it has a chance of improving his life or anyone else's, but simply because it appeals to the low-humming narcissism that substitutes for his personality, because the image on TV reminds him of the mean, brainless slob he sees in the mirror every morning.

Sarah Palin is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the modern United States. As a representative of our political system, she's a new low in reptilian villainy, the ultimate cynical masterwork of puppeteers like Karl Rove. But more than that, she is a horrifying symbol of how little we ask for in return for the total surrender of our political power. Not only is Sarah Palin a fraud, she's the tawdriest, most half-assed fraud imaginable, 20 floors below the lowest common denominator, a character too dumb even for daytime TV--and this country is going to eat her up, cheering her every step of the way. All because most Americans no longer have the energy to do anything but lie back and allow ourselves to be jacked off by the calculating thieves who run this grasping consumer paradise we call a nation.
See more Gina Gershon videos at Funny or Die

Not as awesome as Tina Fey (who is?) but still pretty damn funny.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Right now you may be asking yourself, WHY is Andie so happy? You may be, but that is pretty damn unlikely because I haven't seen anyone that I know today, and I don't think anyone really gives a rat's ass anyhoo.

But I AM happy!

Sure, it has something to do with the fact that just a few minutes ago in Sebastian Joe's coffee and ice cream establishment, they played "Dirty Creatures" by Split Enz. This made me so ecstatic I almost got up from my comfy armchair and danced the macarena. After that they played the Thompson Twins, who are almost as good. (SHUT UP. Just shut up right now because I am not taking any more crap about my taste in music. Or don't, because I am not even listening to you). (Also, I have to admit that I have not a clue "they" are. Whomever chooses the music that is piped into Sebastian Joe's sound system, I suppose--but I am not entirely sure if it is a CD or somebody's iPod or some sort of sattellite music service that pipes in endless music. Text me if you know the answer to this one. Do it now. I'm serious).

The biggest reason I am happy today is that I have declared myself legally insane.

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, They are now playing Tears For Fears. Could this day get any better?

Back to my insanity.

The biggest thing that prompted this declaration is that today I am proudly walking the streets of south Minneapolis in sweatpants. You see, long ago, about the time that grunge died, I made a promise to myself that I would never wear sweatpants in public because I believe it is just wrong to do so. (The gym doesn't count, by the by). But today before I walked to Starbucks (yes, first I was at Starbucks, now I am at Sebastian Joe's. Think I may need to curb my caffeine habit?) I consciously swathed myself in a pair of sweatpants and a tank top before leaving the house.


True, these are sweatpants...but not just any old pair of sweatpants.

These are my (relatively) new PINK sweatpants purchased with SIMON REID's money (see previous post) at Vicky's Secret. I capitalize PINK not only because of the color of said sweatpants, but because that's what it says on the ass in big capital letters. I love it. In fact, I picked out this pair of sweatpants at the store largely because the word PINK is emblazoned across the ass. In maroon-colored, high-school-letterman's-jacket style letters, which is even more awesome. (PINK is the name of a clothing line by Victoria's Secret. I really want them to come out with a WHITE clothing line, so I can buy a pair of sweatpants with some guy's money and walk around with the word WHITE on my ass. Actually, it would be even better if the name of this fictitious clothing line were WHITEY).

I almost forgot to mention that there is some small cursive writing above the word PINK, but I can't tell what it says because every time I am admiring my own ass, I am (naturally), looking in a mirror and (naturally) the writing is backwards. I'll post a photo on here soon so someone else can tell me what the writing says.

And I haven't even told about the rest of my outfit. That's right, you don't know the half of it, because even better than the sweatpants (some might argue) is my tank top, also from Victoria's Secret--though not part of the PINK line as far as I can tell--which has a built-in push-up bra that gives me some of the best cleavage SIMON REID's money could buy. I mean, I have really amazing cleavage in this thing. So amazing, that when I was out earlier today this Asian guy I passed on the street walked straight into a parking meter because he couldn't take his eyes off my d├ęcolletage. And every time someone gets to enjoy my appearance in something purchased with that asshole's money, another angel gets its wings.

True story.

So as you can now see, how can I not wear an ensemble like this out in public?

Also, how could I not be happy?

It's a wonderful life.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Can you spot the Anti-Christ in the above photo? Hint: it isn't the one with the nice threads and cool hair. It's the other one. Yeah, turns out there is an Anti-Christ and his name is SIMON REID. We were "together" (I use the term loosely) nearly two months to the day: from June 13, 2008 to August 10, 2008. This man declared his undying love for me on our second date. On our third date he said "you won't be my girlfriend for long, you know. I'm the marrying kind." After that he told me to start looking for a wedding gown suitable for a ceremony on the beach. I swallowed ALL of this because a.) I am a total moron and b.) SIMON REID is (sigh), well...he's British. I know. Blame the impish lads I drooled over at age 8 on The Adventures of Black Beauty and (later) Duran Duran and their ilk. I hold them responsible for corrupting my impressionable little psyche. But I digress.

The demise of our relationship happened thusly: SIMON REID disappeared on August 7. I was frantic for three days, wondering what the fuck was going on. Then on the afternoon of August 10 I got a call from (are you ready for this? Cause it's good) his WIFE. Yup. SIMON REID is not only an evil lying bastard, he is a MARRIED evil lying bastard. So basically the only thing he told me that turned out to be true is that he is indeed the marrying kind.

According to his wife, I ain't the first. During our phone call of August 10, she informed me (I was mostly too shocked to speak) that I am but one in a long parade of girlfriends he has had since they married seven years ago.

Among the many lies that SIMON REID told me, these are the biggest ones: he was buying a cottage outside Brighton for us to stay in when we visited his family in England, the house his construction company is fixing up in St. Paul was to be ours when it was finished, he was going to buy me a Mini-Cooper for a wedding present, and a lie that took the form of a suggestive query on the occasion of our third date: "One question for you--gold or platinum?"

There are a few good things that came out of this joke of a relationship. One, he took me to Victoria's Secret and bought me $500 worth of lingerie (see receipt below).

So while I feel like complete mug, at least I am wearing fantastic underwear. He also bought me a new TV, a bunch of meals, drinks, coffees, the dress I am wearing in the photo at the beginning of this post, and a little playhouse for my cats. Another positive thing SIMON REID did was pay my July rent. He also told me he would pay my August and September rent (we were going to move in together in October. Isn't that funny? I bet his wife would laugh really hard if she heard that one), but he took off before giving it to me. So basically he owes me two months rent. We had a verbal agreement--and I could probably get any lawyer off a billboard in the 'hood to concur.

The final positive SIMON REID did for me was to give me a chance to warn the citizens of the Twin Cities and--hell, the entire world--to watch out for this douche. If you see him, give him a good punch in the crotch for me, and, for the love of all things holy, DO NOT believe anything that comes out of his mouth. If he tells you 2 + 2 = 4, check his facts.

By the way, don't give me any of that sexist "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" nonsense. This has nothing to do with being a woman. I am a Leo, and Leos are all about loyalty. We are sort of like the Mob Bosses of the zodiac. Be good to us and we'll take a bullet for you. Screw us over and it's your ass. I am also a writer, and there's a great quote I once read (I have no idea who said it) that goes something like "When a writer is born into a family, that family is doomed." The same goes double for a writer's exes.

I have not heard from SIMON REID since he disappeared on August 7, and I am confident that I never will again. The man is a coward, plain and simple. He also knows I am now aware of his marital status and what a sad, sad liar he is and is too afraid to show his face. He has not called, texted, emailed, anything.

Fine, whatever. There is nothing I can do to change what he did to me or how I am feeling about it right now. I just have to feel this way until I don't feel this way anymore (as Teri Garr said in Tootsie).

I can also take comfort in these words of wisdom from the esteemed poet Bono: Instant karma's gonna get him, if I don't get him first.

I know this much is true.

Introducing my new book:
Thanks, That Was Fun

A kinda sorta semi-autobiographical novel
Rather funny, a little sad, definitely sordid
Available now on Kindle
Not a Kindle user? Buy it here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer Rants n' Raves

I was at the gym the other day and I saw the dumbest-ass commercial ever. It was a JC Penney back-to-school ad, (which, on a separate note, really pisses me off that stores start hawking school supplies and fall-weather clothes in the middle of July. It's still summer people! We have a whole month left! Incidentally, I never considered summer officially over until the week following my birthday, which is in late August. So suck it, department stores; summer ain't over until I say so!) But I digress....

So the commercial is a tribute/send-up/rip-off of The Breakfast Club, featuring an assortment of wholesome-looking teens being dropped off one by one at Shermer High School (the advertisers get a little credit for getting the name right) and assembling in the library where (in a series of rapid-fire montages) they sulk, fidget, eat their lunches, run through the halls, bond with one another, and dance. Of course, the advertisers opted not to include the part where the Judd Nelson "rebel" stand-in (a rebel who shops at JC Penney? Um, okay...) buries his face in the Molly Ringwald chick's crotch. Also missing was the loogie swallowing, the weirdo Ally Sheedy girl shaking dandruff from her hair, and (naturally) the pot smoking scene. It sort of looks like a High School Musical version of The Breakfast Club, which is a scary, scary thought.

Judge for yourself.

Other observations: interestingly enough, they made both the Anthony Michael Hall/nerd and the Molly Ringwald/princess characters African-American, and--in a gay-ass nod to Paris Hilton--the princess girl is clutching a Chihuahua. In the school library. Yeah. Also, after the princess girl "pretties up" the Ally Sheedy weirdo girl, she looks exactly the same (she should have made her change out of that fugly purple outfit)--the only thing different about the weird girl post-"makeover" is that she is sporting a thin plastic headband, the likes of which I have not seen since I was twelve. Dear God, don't tell me those things are back.

Wow, I have given way too much thought to this crappy JC Penney commercial. That's sort of sad.

Anyway, on to some recommendations.


What is the What by Dave Eggers

Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno


The Wackness (Mary-Kate Olsen notwithstanding, it's a great movie)


The Black Kids, Partie Traumatic (They're not gonna teach your boyfriend how to dance with you!)


The Filth and the Fury


The mashed potato bar at Joe's Garage (I had mine with mock duck and broccoli smothered in Wisconsin cheese. Awesome!)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

First things first...

Happy Birthday to Marcus and Mike W., two of my favorite people! Actually, their birthdays were 7/7 (yesterday), but my brain is a bit soft so my regards are a day late. In honor of their birthdays (and also because summertime makes me lazy and apt to fall back on my favorite old standby for lazy blog posting, YouTube), here is some awesomeness for all to enjoy.

Fun with treadmills! This video rocks my world. Check out the guy in the red pants. He is all kinds of cool.

If only our American Idol counterparts were this smart and charismatic...

...or this talented:

Happy Birthday M&M! Hope these made you laugh.

Friday, June 13, 2008

"And she gave away the secrets to her past and said I've lost control again..."

I have waited for months, and last week it finally happened: Control was released on DVD. (And thanks to JOHN, I can watch it on a DVD player that actually works!) I am fully in the grips of an obsession with Control, "The Joy Division Movie," starring Sam Riley who is so cute and sad and vulnerable I can't decide whether I want to marry him or adopt him. Maybe both. I love the scene at the Bowie concert. He's wearing eyeliner. Mmmm, British boys with eyeliner. I also dug the scene where the boys soon to be known as Joy Division see the Sex Pistols show and immediately decide to form a band. According to both the Tony Wilson biopic (24 Hour Party People) and Deborah Curtis's memoir (Touching From A Distance), the Sex Pistols gig at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall was pretty much the spark that ignited Joy Division.

The epilepsy, the depression, the genius, the infidelity, the lyrics, the music.
Fucking Ian Curtis. Fucking Joy Division.
Fucking Hallelujah.

Here is the trailer....

The video (go here to see it, the bastards won't let me embed) is the actors who play Joy Division watching The Killers on TV playing a cover of Shadowplay, the Joy Division song, interspersed with clips from the film about Ian Curtis and Joy Division. Confusing, but cool.

Now go see this movie already!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Riles. Rile Dawg. Kilo Riley. The Big Boy. The Dude. H.R. Fluf n' Puf. Yellow Fang. Big Guy. Ri Guy. John Wayne. Chief Big Paw. Mr. Cat. Mr. Boo. Mr. Big Fluff. Boo-Berry. The Stay Fluft Marshmallow Cat. Rilos: The Paws of Fate. Sweet Boy. Sweetpea. Love Bug. Grampa (in his later years). The Notorious C.A.T.

Just a few of the nicknames I had for my beloved Riley, who passed away last week after a long and happy life. He was sixteen years old and his kidneys had just about given out, so last week I made the painful decision to put him to sleep. I set the appointment for Thursday, but (being an independent soul), Riley died on his own the day before--the morning of Wednesday, May 14. Like Fleetwood Mac, he preferred to go his own way.

I didn't know Riley when he was a kitten, but he must have been adorable--just a little ball of fluff with ears and a tail. His previous owners bought him from a Maine Coon breeder when he was a wee one, gave him a dorky show cat name ("Just Clowning Around"), and a home for the first seven years of his life. I assume that they loved and cared for him as best they could while he was part of their family, but I have no way of knowing that for sure. I do know that they surrendered him to the Indianapolis Humane Society in January of 2000, because (according to his chart), their granddaughter was allergic to him. (First of all, I'd have gotten rid of the granddaughter before I'd given up Riley, but that's just me--I have more compassion than most people. Secondly, there is something called allergy medication. Duh.) But as lame as I think his first family was for giving him up, I am obviously very grateful to them for doing so. If they hadn't taken him to the shelter, I would have missed out on the most wonderful cat ever.

Riley came into my life in early 2000 when my ex-boyfriend Rick and I were looking for a second cat--a companion for our cat Shelby to hang out with during the day while we were at work. We stopped by the Humane Society just a day after Riley was dropped off by his previous owners. When we first saw him he was scrunched up in a far corner of his cage, petrified by the strange sounds and smells of the shelter. Rick and I took him into a glassed-off private room to see how he reacted to us and Riley sat quietly on my lap (a testament to how terrified he must have been--Riley was NOT a lap cat) while Rick and I read his information chart. We learned that he was seven years old, got along great with other cats (his owners had another cat and a dog), and had never bitten or scratched anyone. I think it took us all of five minutes to decide that Riley (or The Cat Soon To Be Known As Riley) would be coming home with us that day.

From that moment on, Riley was the one of the few constants in my life. He was with me through two broken engagements, countless boyfriends, sort-of boyfriends, half-assed boyfriends (there were A LOT of those), three roommates, and five moves (one of them across four states). He was always there, purring and looking on patiently with plenty of love to give.

He was rather eccentric, which was one of the things I loved best about him. He liked to eat but wasn't exactly a health nut; his favorite foods were macaroni and cheese, vanilla Haagen Dazs, canned chicken chunks, deli ham and melted mozzarella. If you were eating something he was interested in he would sit by you and pat your arm with his paw until you offered him a bite (he didn't always eat it, he just wanted you to offer it to him. He was a stickler for manners, I guess). He was also a bit of a couch potato--one of his favorite things to do was watch TV with me when I got home from work at night. He even sat down with Shane once and watched an entire Notre Dame football game; Shane claims he even meowed at the TV during an exciting play.

He was my rock, my guy, my loverboy. A friend of mine back home once said she wished she could kiss Riley and transform him into a human version of himself, like in The Frog Prince. She said that if Riley were human, he would be the perfect man: sweet, gentle, appreciative, always in the mood for a cuddle. "What do you mean? He already IS the perfect man," I told her. "Changing to human form would be a step down for him."

He was the cat with a heart of gold, and I consider myself lucky to have found him, to have shared my life with such a kind, funny, loving little animal. I love and miss him terribly, and I know that I always will.

So wherever you are tonight, I ask you to raise a glass for the big guy.

Hail Riley, full of grace, my cat is with me. Blessed art thou among kittens, and blessed art thou for being so fucking awesome.

As he was in the beginning, as he is and ever shall be, always and forever.

The Dude abides.

Riley Cat
1993 - 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Thursday night 2/28/08
We settled at Lodmoor House B&B in Weymouth, which so far is my favorite B&B of the trip. The owner is incredibly nice, and seems genuinely happy to have our business. She served us tea and cookies while Ian filled out our register info, and she chatted to us about the time she spent living in America in the late seventies. She worked in Cape Canaveral Florida and did a bit of traveling around the U.S.---Florida to California on a Greyhound bus. She lived in FL for two years and considered settling there, but said she missed English food too much. She has a ton of Native American memorabilia in her place; dream catchers and paintings of famous (and non-famous) Indians.

Ian and I ate at a little place in town just about two blocks away from the B&B (it was too cold to walk, and we were both tired!) I had a cheese plate and mushrooms with a white wine sauce. We had more excellent British beer with our food (I'll never be able to go back to watery American beer now). I am getting a bit melancholy about my trip winding down. I know I won't want to leave England when it's time to go.

Made an appointment to visit Othona in Burton Bradstock (the hippie farm I where I had applied to volunteer a few years back). Found the farm and met with Mandy (assistant) and Tony (the main dude). They were both very nice. Tony was laid back, funny and friendly. Had a chat with him and then he sent Ian and me to have a look around the grounds. We looked at the little vegetable greenhouse and talked to the little old lady and old man who were tending the gardens. She was complaining about rabbits. The garden was outside the house where the core members lived. Then we found a paddock where we could see the ocean. It was a cold day and the waves were rough. Ian was pointing out which direction South America is from where we were (it's the closest land mass from that point if you're facing the right direction--not that you can see it from England, of course). The air was chilly and the paddock was soft and squishy (I still have Othona mud on the boots I purchased in Canterbury!) Ian being Ian, he wanted to go through a part of the gate that said PRIVATE--NO ADMITTANCE. I hesitated but he maintained that it was still Othona property (it wasn't). We ended up in the back yard of a private house, so we picked our way back (I love Ian) to the paddock, then through another entrance where there was some sort of pool apparatus with pipes running through it. Ian called it "the cess pit." We made our way back and up the hill to the Othona art building and chatted to the lady volunteer who was cleaning it. Ian was interested in all the art projects that were around--mostly made by children who had visited the farm. He told me he had done a lot of work in clay. The woman there told us that art was not her "thing," and that music was her passion. She and Ian discussed piano and organ (he plays both). Ian spied a postcard of the huge naked giant carved into the hillside on Cerne Abbas. "They drew Y-fronts on him!" he said (Y-fronts is Brit for jockey shorts). The woman said "Oh, I dont' mind the naked giant on the hillside, because it's just an ancient fertility symbol. People shouldn't get all uptight about it. If it wasn't a fertility symbol though," she added, "believe me, I'd be the first one to object." (!) Ian and I were too busy laughing at the Y-fronts. He remarked "When I was a kid, I didn't realize that the giant was naked, I just thought (the penis) was just some sort of funny design drawn on him!" Ian was probably a very interesting child. :-) Sp we left the little art hut and checked out the gazebo that was built entirely out of wagon wheels and wagon parts. We wanted to find Tony's house, because he had mentioned he had a little place in the woods out behind the bigger buildings. After searching several minutes through the woods (it was in a dense part) we found it. There was a little black and white cat lurking about (who I learned later is Tony's cat, Otto) and we peered in the kitchen window of the cabin where we spied another cat (Bella, Otto's mother) lying on the counter with the dirty dishes. Tony had warned us that his place was all broken down and that the next big project was tearing his old house down and building a new one. We went back to the main house so that we could have a look at the chapel and the library that was connected. (We had to pull off our mud-caked boots before going in). The chapel was small but cute, Christian-hippie style, with a mural painted on one wall. Ian and I went up some stairs that led to a little storage area where you could look down over the chapel. We poked around but there wasn't much up there, just boxes of old books and churchy-type decorations and stuff. I found a book titled something like "Planning church services for young people in the 80's." It looked straight out of MHA religion class! We went back downstairs and into the little library connected to the chapel. Among the books I saw were The Da Vinci Code, something by Maeve Binchy, and The Gospel According to Peanuts. All the books were carefully organized and cataloged like an actual library. Ian found a book by Bill Oddie, the environmentalist mentioned in "I'm Alan Partridge." The library was filled with cushy chairs and had windows with wooded views. It was very peaceful and serene; the type of room I could imagine disappearing in for hours.
We headed back inside so I could have a chat with Tony. I asked a few questions about openings for volunteers--he said they would likely have some coming up in the next few months, perhaps for the amount of time I was looking for (3-6 months). Tony suggested a preliminary week-long visit to "try on" Othona and see if it was the right place for me (and, presumably, to screen me a bit and make sure I'm not some anti-social psychotic). There is also a question of getting a work permit for me so they'd be able to pay me a (very modest) stipend if I volunteer there for any length of time. We then broke for lunch with some of the other (very friendly) volunteers that included cous cous, pita bread, hummus, spinach and tomatoes, and feta cheese, most of which was homemade and/or from the (organic) garden. Tony sat next to me and we chatted some more and explained what every day life is like for the Othona volunteers, how the routine goes, who cooks, who cleans, and how the chores are divided. The most important tasks are devoted to looking after the guests who come for retreats and seminars. After lunch Ian and I helped clear up the dishes (I noticed a sign in the dining room detailing "Compostable" items and "Non-compostable" items). We both had a look upstairs at the bedrooms where the Othona guests stay, then we went downstairs to bid Tony and Mandy goodbye. I mentioned to Tony that I would like to come visit this summer and possibly stay for a weeklong workshop at Othona to try it on, and he took down my email to put me on their monthly newsletter list.
On our way to Cerne Abbas to see the naked giant on the hill we stopped to look at a tiny little village--the tiniest that we had come across--called Nether Cerne. All it had besides a church and maybe three houses was a dirt road that had turned to mud. I marveled at the fact that it had a name and a chuch; it was little more than a rural cul-de-sac.
We found Cerne Abbas and the naked giant. Ian said that he didn't think that we could walk along the hill by the carving like he did as a child because it seemed to be all blocked off now. We had to stand near the base of the hill and admire the ancient naked man from a distance. The information board stated that (like Stonehenge), no one knew for sure who had done the carving and what purpose it was supposed to serve, but a popular theory was that it had been there since Druidian times and that (as the lady at Othona said) it was meant to be a fertility symbol. We didn't stay long--it was so cold and windy--so we got back in the car and drove to Salisbury so we could check out Stonehenge. We arrived there about 3:45 (it closed at 4:00). I had to pee so badly, so Ian and I (literally) ran to the restrooms. The women's loo at Stonehenge turned out to be the nastiest I'd encountered in all of England. After availing myself of the facilities I met Ian and we crossed the street and stood outside of the fence that enclosed Stonehenge. We didn't want to pay the fee to get inside since we would only have about five minutes to spend before the chased us out for closing time, so we watched some crazy French and Italian tourists take photos. I bemoaned the fact that--yet again--my digital camera was out of battery juice and I couldn't even take photos from outside of the fence. Ian walked around with me and helped me find some chalky rocks to take back to my friend Ellie, reasoning that they were probably part of some of the same minerals that made up the "real" Stonehenge rocks. We tried to go inside the gift shop so I could at least pick up some Stonehenge postcards, but it was closed by that time as well.
Ian and I debated whether to check out Oxford or to go on back to London. Ian theorized that I could see Oxford and more of the countryside during my next visit, when the weather would be warmer; whereas you don't really need nice weather for London. Ian rang his office to see if someone could look up the "Alan Partrige petrol station" on the internet (the BP where Michael the Geordie worked in the second series of I'm Alan Partridge.) Graham found an address on the net for us and Ian entered it onto his Tom Tom. It turned out to be not far from Staines (home of Ali G!). We passed it once, then turned around so I could use the bathroom and buy some batteries to take photos of (what we think) is the Alan Partridge petrol station. Ian was very precise about the picture taking and tried to get a photo from the exact angle where the exterior shots were filmed in the show.

We then drove into London and then went to Harrod's, parking on a little sidestreet in Knightsbridge--very rich area of London, although it didn't look that extravagent from the outside--and then raced into Harrod's because of the cold! Harrod's was truly amazing, like a palace. It was packed with very well-heeled tourists, mostly French and Muslim. We browsed in the fancy deli areas, looking at the cheeses and the specialty counters: Indian food, sushi, etc. Ian showed me a very posh little cafe where they present your food stacked on tiered trays on the table. Everything was so ornate and detailed--SO much money in there.

We just randomly picked an area because we knew we didn't have much time (Harrod's closed at 8:00). We looked in the china department. It had some amazing works of art--colored glass vases and sculptures from artists, some weren't for sale and were just on display. I actually contemplated buying a little orange glass votive holder priced at about 10 pounds, but instead decided to pick up a mug designed by David Bowie (it cost 11 pounds--roughly $22), a much better choice. Ian and I wandered through the electronics section, where we encountered a crazy dark-haired, fifty-ish woman laughing maniacally at images on a flat-screen, high-def TV. We sidled away from her as quickly as possible. (Ian later proclaimed the woman NFN--"Normal For Norfolk"--an expression the Brits use to describe anyone who seems a bit simple or slightly touched in the head. Norfolk is apparently where the simple folk live, a reason why Ian finds Alan Partridge so funny). The TVs were outrageously expensive, some around 4,500 pounds. We checked out the toy department, where cute, twenty-ish sales guys were zooming around on little wheels attached to the heels of their shoes. "Very cool," I murmured, and the salesman goes, "Ah, the American says 'very cool,' that's how I can tell you're Americans!" I protested that Ian was actually English, and he said "A British person would say 'Wicked!" I was like, whatevs, dude. As we were leaving (Harrod's was starting to close for the night), we checked out a creepy looking wax sculpture of the owner of Harrod's--that al-Fayed guy who was the father of Princess Diana's late boyfriend (Dodi al Fayed.)

Outside, I got a good shot of one of Harrod's very elaborate display windows.

We ran back to the car and Ian drove me around so I could see some more of London that we didn't have time for when we were there on Sunday. We drove by Buckingham Palace, then around the perimeter of Hyde Park. I told Ian that I wanted to see the dodgy areas, so he proceded to drive me around the cockney district, including Commercial Street, which he told me was probably the worst road in London. We drove by a seedy looking building with laundry draped over the balcony railings and hanging on clothes lines. Ian said "That's where the dole people live." (I thought at first he said "dull people"). We gave up on finding the vegetarian restaurant Ian had heard about (as well as the idea of staying in London for the night), since it was a Friday evening and everything would be packed. We decided to make our way back to Cambridge and stop at an Indian restaurant along the way. We hit Loughton, a London suburb and found an intimate little Indian place where I proceeded to pig out...we hadn't had anything to eat since our light lunch at Othona. When we were leaving, we somehow got roped into a conversation with two drunk, paunchy middle-aged guys who were waiting for their takeaway order. One of them was a piano tuner ("music is close to my heart", he said) and I shifted from foot to foot as he and Ian discussed pianos and organs and then engineering and science--I didn't mean to be so impatient but I was suffering from fatigue and very sore legs. After about ten minutes I nudged Ian, since it looked as if the guy was not going to shut up, but it took a while for Ian to get the hint and excuse himself from the conversation so we could go. When we finally tore ourselves away and were walking back to the car, Ian had this to say about the guy: "He was interesting and had some good ideas, but just when he would start to make a solid point he would veer off into something totally off the wall that made no sense. Typical hippie!" I had not a clue what they had been discussing, as I tend to automatically zone out when the talk turns to logical, left-brainy sort of topics. It's a bad habit of mine.


Friday, March 28, 2008


Detroit airport

Slept about 4 hours last night. Up by 5am, finished packing for trip. Showered, ready to go by 7:15, when Shane picked me up. Stopped at pharmacy to get happy pills then got to the airport in time to catch my flight to Detroit, the first leg of my international trip! Sat by friendly middle-aged couple on their way to Syracuse. I read the new Mortified book and dozed off. Now in Chili's at the Detroit airport waiting for my beer and spinach/artichoke dip. Chatty college girl sitting in next booth gabbing into her cell phone. Detroit is a cool airport - an overhead tram takes you up over the shops and deposits you at your gate. Seeing a lot of eighties hair in the airports today, sported by people way too young to be wearing them. Eerie. Beer is good--Chili's sucks. Not much in the way of vegetarian friendly food. The music in Chili's is like the best (worst) of my high school jukebox. They just played C&C Music Factory and before that Good Vibrations by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Now it's something (I think?) by Expose, and I also heard Creep by TLC. That pretty much sums up Chili's--a restaurant forever trapped in early-90's hell. Oh, just heard Janet Jackson Love Will Never Do Without You and Whitney Houston - All the Man That I Need. God, I forgot songs like this even existed! (Probably a good thing). I'm almost tempted to stick around to see what they play next. Oh finally--something good: U2 Even Better Than the Real Thing.

Almost to Amsterdam
time in US - 10:30pm
time where I'm going: 4:30am

Good flight, couldn't see much out the window because of clouds, then darkness. It's weird to travel into such a radically different time zone. Almost like time travel. I went to the loo before the plane took off and haven't been back since; amazing considering I've had two sizable meals, three glasses of water and a cup of coffee. Prehaps (sic) the air pressure does weird things to my bladder? International flights are cool, with the huge planes and three rows of seats and movies. I watched Dan In Real Life (not that funny, contrived, heavily cliched) then Things We Lost in the Fire (uneven and overlong, but interesting, with strong performances). I dozed a bit in between movies, not very much though. My drowsiness was drug-induced. I just finished Mortified. My ears are exploding. I am ready to land!

Time in US- 1:32am
Time in Amsterdam 7:32am

I've been waiting FOREVER and I can't even get into the fucking gate area where there are real seats. The Amsterdam airport is cool looking but it was completely desolate when I arrived, which sucked. I was hoping to see some action. Finally, they're letting us in the gate area. How nice of them.

USA time 3:56pm
England 9:56 pm

I was searched at airport customs by very polite Muslim British woman. Willing to bet American customs are not so polite and apologetic. Ian picked me up at London City airport and we ate beans and toast at ASDA, shopped for food and came back to Cambridge, Ian's place. Slept for 8 hours, now drinking wine and watching Top Gear and Alan Partridge. So nice to snuggle with Ian. :-)

On our way to London and the Tate Modern. We've taken protein bars, cous cous and pasta to eat on the way. The roads are very twisty in Cambridge and (all) the stripes on the streets are white, so that it looks like we are always going the wrong way on the roads! No way to tell if they are one way or two way, you just have to guess I suppose.

Saw Tate Modern, then across the street to St. Paul's Cathedral. Couldn't stay long, as a service was starting. The mosaics inside were gorgeous! Hiked from the East End to the West End (stopped at an Irish pub on the way), then passed Parliament House, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye.

Ate at a dodgy (but nice on the inside) Korean restaurant. Then took a cab back to the car and hung out with Ian's friend Mariella and some of her mates. Spent today watching Alan Partridge and Some Mothers Do Have 'Em with Michael Crawford while Ian did his taxes.

2-26-08Made a stop by Ian's office to pick up 27 computers. Saw a bit of what their casino monitoring software does, and learned about a card casino game called Punto Banco (apparently popular in American casinos?) Now we're driving down to Canterbury to deliver the computers and do some sightseeing. After that we're off to Dover to see the white cliffs.

Walked around Canterbury today--it's a great town! Very posh, lots of cool shops and trendy people.

Did some window shopping, then had a pickled egg over chips at a fish and chips place. Ian had fried mushrooms and a fried Mars bar. He also finished my chips for me. I had so much grease in my system (it was a massive portion of chips) that I was afraid I would explode. I don't know how Ian stays so skinny.

We walked around Canterbury and walked for a bit along the wall. Saw two rats on the sidewalk and nearly peed myself in terror. Walked up a big steep hill with a monument at the top built in memory of some famous dead Canterburian. It was an amazing view at the top--you could see the whole city from there! My feet were freezing by this point, so I had to stop and buy some cheap boots on our way back to the car. We also tried to go in the church (where the Archbishop of Canterbury is), but it was too expensive and we decided to save our money for the hotel tonight. We're in Dover now, it's nighttime but I did catch a glimpse of the white cliffs and Dover Castle (breathtaking!) Looking forward to seeing them in the daylight tomorrow.

Stayed at Castle House B&B in Dover last night, had a beer at Ellie's (Ella's?) pub, then Italian food at a quiet, friendly little restaurant. Woke up early this morn and had breakfast (eggs, baked beans, hash browns and toast), then went back to the room. Two pissed-off cleaning people chased us out of the room--came by once and groused "It's half ten!" but Ian was responding to some work emails and wasn't ready to go. He said "They're just trying it on, I'm sure they've got other rooms to clean." I said, "Okay, next time they knock, YOU answer." They came by again as we were getting our stuff together, and this time Ian was all apologetic to them and said to me, "I think we were the only guests, that's why they were keen to get us out." When I was leaving the room I was all smiles and apologized, but they just glared at me and the woman said (again!) "It was half ten!" I would have told them to kiss my fat American butt, although I'm sure that wouldn't have gone over too well.

Visited Dover Castle after that, which was awesome. I especially liked being up high and seeing the views of the English Channel (you could barely see France for the fog) and of course the white cliffs. Toured the entire castle, learned what a pain in the ass Henry the VIII was (as well as how he selected some of his brides), saw his "throne," saw how he took a crap--all very interesting, but my favorite part was climbing to various points outside the castle and looking out onto the town and the English Channel. The views were absolutely amazing. I got some good photos (despite my digital camera repeatedly assing out on me). We also toured a WWII command center built inside one of the white cliffs (this was on the castle grounds) and saw the inside of the church, as well as the remains of a Roman lighthouse built in the 1st century A.D.

We drove along the south coast, through some cute fishing villages, saw lots of sheep, stopped in Eastbourne ("a seaside resort for old people," according to Ian), walked along the pier and the gravel beach, then stopped for Indian food at a tiny place in Eastbourne that took us forever to get to ("all the good restaurants are in dodgy parts of town"--Ian) Great food, but I think I left my favorite scarf there.

We then drove up to the very top of a lookout cliff called Beachy Head (Alan Partridge made two Beachy Head jokes in series 2)'s supposed to be a suicide hot spot. The morbid (and hilarious) thing was that there was a little red emergency car that said "Chaplain" prowling the roads at the top of the cliff, shining a flashlight and presumably looking for potential suicides. He seemed awfully interested in us, but must have decided that we looked too happy, so he moved on. We wandered around in the dark on Beachy Head and saw more stars than I've ever seen before. It was one of my favorite moments here so far. We then drove down to Brighton and looked for a B&B (I wanted to stay at one by the seaside that had a cat in the lobby named Mr. Watts, but Ian deemed it too expensive), we settled on a place called Valentine House run by a girl with bright red hair that looks about 25.

We spent about an hour driving around looking for a pharmacy that was open late so I could buy contact lens solution, but no dice. We went to bed about midnight and woke up at 8:30 for a full English breakfast (with vegetarian sausage for me) cooked by the friendly red haired girl. It was much better food than the B&B in Dover.


Yesterday we explored Brighton. The first thing I had to do was buy a new top because I'm sick of wearing the same two tops (the rest of my clothes are back in Cambridge at Ian's). We stopped at a mall (Churchill Square?) where I bought a top, then we went back to the van so I could ditch my old shirt and change into the new one. Then we walked along the beach and collected shells that Ian called scollocks (sp?) very smooth, white shells edged with soft brown flecks. I got enough to make some cool jewelry for myself when I get back home. Saw the crumbling Victorian pier, took photos of the ocean, and then went to the pier that's actually operational. Had some fried donuts and went to an arcade. Ian played a flight simulator game that he scored high on, then we played air hockey (he beat me by one point).

We went back to the town and looked at some more shops. I dragged Ian into a hippie tarot card faerie emporium. He said "we'll get posessed by the devil." After that I bought a scarf at an Indian Hindu hippie place, as I had misplaced my scarf the night before. I got a giant purple chiffon one so I can blend in with the locals (all the woman in England are wearing giant silk or chiffon scarves around their necks). We stopped at a pub and had a beer (an old weird drunk Englsihman was wandering around the bar and laughing weirdly). Then on the way back to the car Ian spotted my scarf that I thought I'd lost the night before--someone had found it and hung it up on a little wrought iron fence! It's amazing that I even got it back. Ian said I'd better wash it before I wore it again as some bloke could have used it to wipe himself after shagging a crackwhore. ("You're such an optimist," I told him). At any rate, I haven't worn it since I got it back.

We set out for Weymouth (about a 2 hour drive from Brighton), and I fell asleep in the car. Had a minor hissy fit when I woke up because we were deep in the small fishing villages along the coast and there was nothing bigger than a convenience stor anywhere (I still needed contact lens solution and was getting desperate!) Since the pharmacies here close at like 4pm and it was about 6:30, I started to think I was S.O.L. We managed to find a big grocery store that had one, tiny bottle of solution on the last shelf that we looked on. Breathed a sigh of relief and promised Ian "no more hissy fits." We drove around Weymouth and then found the little village where Ian grew up (Preston?), including the houses he lived in as a wee one. So cute!


Friday, March 21, 2008

Ya, I was there too!

Actually, the above photo was taken in Canterbury, although London was one of the many places I hit on my first ever tour of England! I've been back for two weeks, but have just got round to posting (jet lag, post-holiday depression, work, etc. got in the way). There are many more photos to post from my fabulous UK vacation with my Ian...til then, you'll have to make do with this one.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I believe at one point I said that I was reluctant to post any political content on this blog, but now I think, fuck it. I'm a tree-hugging pro-choice hippie who fully supports gay marriage and health care reform and any and every issue that makes a Republican pro-life turbo-Christian crawl into a corner, curl up in a ball and tremble with fear. Furthermore, it's MY blog and I can spew each and every one of my liberal opinions whenever I goddamn feel like it.

So here I go...

I don't trust McCain (or any Republican candidate, for that matter). Despite McCain painting himself as a compassionate conservative (an oxymoron, BTW), and attempting to distance himself from Bush, the memo from (below) tells an entirely different story. Apparently McCain is perfectly willing to get down on all fours with the rest of his brethren and give Bush a good old fashioned ass-licking when no one is paying attention. And, given that Americans are famous for not paying attention, that is just what he's been doing.

Read on.

TO: Interested Parties
RE: Senator McCain's Real Record on the War in Iraq
DATE: February 8, 2008


Senator John McCain presents himself as a maverick and a critic of the Iraq war. But a close read of his record indicates that his position on the Iraq war has consistently matched President George W. Bush's.

Before The War:

McCain used many of the same arguments as Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Cheney and President Bush when advocating going to war with Iraq.

McCain co-sponsored the Use of Force Authorization that gave President George W. Bush the green light—and a blank check—for going to war with Iraq. [SJ Res 46, 10/3/02]

McCain argued Saddam was "a threat of the first order." Senator McCain said that a policy of containing Iraq to blunt its weapons of mass destruction program is "unsustainable, ineffective, unworkable and dangerous." McCain: "I believe Iraq is a threat of the first order, and only a change of regime will make Iraq a state that does not threaten us and others, and where liberated people assume the rights and responsibilities of freedom." [Speech to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, 2/13/03]

McCain echoed Bush and Cheney's rationale for going to war. McCain: "It's going to send the message throughout the Middle East that democracy can take hold in the Middle East." [Fox, Hannity & Colmes, 2/21/03]

McCain echoed Bush and Cheney's talking points that the U.S. would only be in Iraq for a short time. McCain: "It's clear that the end is very much in sight. ... It won't be'll be a fairly short period of time." [ABC, 4/9/03]

McCain said winning the war would be "easy." "I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women." [CNN, 9/24/02]

During The War:

Senator McCain praised Donald Rumsfeld as late as May 12, 2004, after the Abu Ghraib scandal.

Asked if Donald Rumsfeld can continue to be an effective secretary of defense, McCain: "Yes, today I do and I believe he's done a fine job. He's an honorable man." [Hannity and Colmes, 5/12/04]

Senator McCain repeatedly supported President Bush on the Iraq War—voting with him in the Senate, defending his actions and publicly praising his leadership.

McCain maintains the war was a good idea.

At the 2004 Republican National Convention, McCain, focusing on the war in Iraq, said that while weapons of mass destruction were not found, Saddam once had them and "he would have acquired them again." McCain said the mission in Iraq "gave hope to people long oppressed" and it was "necessary, achievable and noble." McCain: "For his determination to undertake it, and for his unflagging resolve to see it through to a just end, President Bush

Senator McCain: "The war, the invasion was not a mistake. [Meet the Press, 1/6/08]

Asked if the war was a good idea worth the price in blood and treasure, McCain: "It was worth getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He had used weapons of mass destruction, and it's clear that he was hell-bent on acquiring them." [Republican Debate, 1/24/08]

McCain defended Bush's rationale for war. Asked if he thought the president exaggerated the case for war, McCain said, "I don't think so." [Fox News, 7/31/03]

McCain has been President Bush's most ardent Senate supporter on Iraq. According to Michael Shank of the Foreign Policy in Focus think tank, McCain was at times Bush's "most solid support in the Senate" on Iraq. [Foreign Policy in Focus, 1/15/08]

McCain voted against holding Bush accountable for his actions in the war. McCain opposed the creation of an independent commission to investigate the development and use of intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. [S. Amdt. 1275 to H.R. 2658, Vote # 284, 7/16/03]

McCain praised Bush's leadership on the war. McCain: "I think the president has led with great clarity and I think he's done a great job leading the country..." [MSNBC, Hardball, 4/23/03]

Senator McCain has constantly moved the goal posts of progress for the war—repeatedly saying it would be over soon.

January 2003: "But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily." [MSNBC, 1/22/03]

March 2003: "I believe that this conflict is still going to be relatively short." [NBC, Meet the Press, 3/30/03]

June 2004: "The terrorists know that this is a very critical time." [CNN, 6/23/04]

December 2005: "Overall, I think a year from now, we will have a fair amount of progress [in Iraq] if we stay the course." [The Hill, 12/8/05]

November 2006: "We're either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months." [NBC, Meet the Press, 11/12/06]

Senator McCain opposed efforts to end the overextension of the military that is having a devastating impact on our troops.

McCain voted against requiring mandatory minimum downtime between tours of duty for troops serving in Iraq. [S. Amdt.. 2909 to S Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote 341, 9/19/07; S Amdt. 2012 to S Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote #241, 7/11/07]

McCain was one of only 13 senators to vote against adding $430 million for inpatient and outpatient care for veterans. [S Amdt. 3642 to HR 4939, Vote 98, 4/26/06]

Senator McCain has consistently opposed any plan to withdraw troops from Iraq.

Senator McCain repeatedly voted against a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. [S. Amdt. 3876 to S.Amdt. 3874 to H.R. 2764, Vote #438, 12/18/07; S.Amdt.. 3875 to S.Amdt.. 3874 to H.R. 2764, Vote # 437, 12/18/07; S.Amdt.3164 to H.R. 3222, Vote # 362, 10/3/07; S.Amdt. 2898 to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585, Vote #346, 9/21/07; S.Amdt. 2924 to S.Amdt.. 2011 to H.R.1585, Vote #345, 9/21/07; S.Amdt.2 087 to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585, Vote #252, 7/18/07; S.Amdt. 643 to H.R. 1591, Vote #116, 3/27/07; S.Amdt. 4320 to S. 2766, Vote #182, 6/22/06; S.Amdt. 4442 to S. 2766, Vote #181, 6/22/06; S.Amdt.. 2519 to S.1042, Vote # 322, 11/15/05]

Senator McCain has consistently demonized Americans who want to find a responsible way to remove troops from Iraq so that we can take the fight to al Qaeda.
McCain: "I believe to set a date for withdrawal is to set a date for surrender." [Charlotte Observer, 9/16/07]

McCain called proponents of a congressional resolution opposing the troop surge in Iraq intellectually dishonest. [Associated Press. 2/4/07]

The Future:

Senator McCain now says he sees no end to the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq.

McCain: "[M]ake it a hundred" years in Iraq and "that would be fine with me." [Derry, New Hampshire Town Hall meeting, 1/3/08]

McCain on how long troops may remain in Iraq: "A thousand years. A million years. Ten million years. It depends on the arrangement we have with the Iraqi government." [Associated Press, 1/04/08]

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What kind of fuckery is this?

First Brad Renfro, now poor Heath Ledger. Talented actors just seem to have more demons than sucky ones (although Ledger's family believes his overdose was accidental--hopefully, that's the case). After Ten Things I Hate About You and A Knight's Tale, I dismissed Heath Ledger as another teenybopper pretty boy, but I had a change of heart after catching him in Monster's Ball. His performance was the only thing worthwhile about that overpraised turd of a movie. (Halle "Check Out My Tits!" Berry won an Oscar for that crap, and yet Heath was completely robbed of his Oscar a few years later...he SO should have won Best Actor for Brokeback Mountain!) Anyhow, it's depressing. I haven't been this shook up about an actor's death since River Phoenix in 1993.

R.I.P., Heath. You will be missed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sad news about an actor from one of my favorite films, Ghost World. Brad Renfro, (he played Josh), is dead at age 25. Apparently, he'd struggled with drugs and alcohol for many years.

R.I.P. Josh. :-(

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bambi's and the Bumble

I'm putting this video in for my Ian, who (being British) is unfamiliar with the oddly animated, vaguely creepy American classic "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" Christmas special that my generation went nuts for. (I'll admit, I still watch this thing whenever it's on TV...can't help it. I'm sentimental). When I took Ian to the Mall of America this year, he was puzzled by the Rudolph Christmas display...("What's with all the little Bambi's?")

So here is the Rudolph trailer, from way back in the day. A word of warning, at the end, the soundtrack goes all wonky and it's a bit startling. Someone on YouTube suggested that it was the sound of Bumble the Abominable Snowman taking out the sound crew. You decide.