6/22/2006

The MySpace Vortex: Feel the Suck

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:58 am EST

or “MySpace Can Suck On My Asshole”

I’ve been sitting on this rant for months now, so I figured I should post it while we’re on the subject.

Okay, here goes: I really fucking hate MySpace. No offense to those of you who love it, but looking at some of those profiles makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon.

It’s FULL of bugs. Pages don’t load properly, and browsing gets interrupted by making you log into your account, then taking you to your home page and away from what you were trying to see in the first place.

The pages take forever to load, and when they finally do, you are often presented with a garbled mélange of bad graphics, flashy, messy text and horrific backgrounds. Some of the backgrounds are actually overlaid on the text—what the hell?!

It conjures up the really crappy personal websites people had ten years ago (myself included). You know, the ones hosted by Tripod or Angelfire or whatever. It’s like somebody took the internet, shoved it into a blender, and fed it to a dog who then vomited on my computer screen.

I’m often reminded of all the silly, juvenile things I did on my website when I was 18: one of my favorites was a little guy who would walk across the screen and then piss on an image of Leonardo DiCaprio (or DiCraprio, as I called him back then). Not that I don’t do silly, juvenile things now, of course—I just don’t do them with lots of flashing colors and animated gifs. And even when I did, you could always read my text.

And don’t get me going about the goddamn music that starts playing when a page eventually loads (though it’s nice to see some people have started turning that feature off).

Now I will admit that browsing through the profiles on MySpace can be somewhat addictive, often in the trainwreck sort of sense—SO many people making utter fools of themselves. But I really had no interest in joining the mess until last year when a friend started keeping a blog there, and I couldn’t even leave a comment without creating my own account. So reluctantly, I did. And I uploaded a picture so I wouldn’t be the only loser without one. I now have a whopping 10 friends.

Does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe. Probably. But don’t get me wrong, I think the concept of MySpace (and sites like it) is brilliant. A great way for people with common interests to find each other, for current friends to stay in touch, and for old friends to reconnect. It’s an address that never changes, and easier than email. It’s also a great place for small bands to publicize themselves.

So like I said, great concept. But oh what horrible execution!

5/30/2006

Every Single Day, Every Word You Say

Filed under: — Kate @ 8:09 am EST

Remember Moe the Stalker from last year?

Well, since I shot him down, for the most part I haven’t had to deal with him beyond our paths occasionally crossing in the hallway.

No more “coincidental” elevator meetings, weird phone calls, or U2 bait. And I found out from a coworker that he’s married. Ewwww.

Anyway, I ran into him last week while I was waiting in line for my daily latte…

“Hi Kate!” exclaimed Moe, his face lighting up.

*cringe*

I responded with a terse “hello,” and a half smile.

“How are you?”

“Fine, how are you?”

“I’m good,” he said, and after placing his order, walked over to wait next to me. “Listen, I’d still be willing to go out sometime if you wanted to.”

Is he for real?!!

“Um, sorry, but I don’t really have a moment to myself these days. Super busy, you now. A busy year. Never stops.”

(Man, I wish that was actually a lie.)

“Yes, I understand,” he said, attempting to look pathetic. “I just had the worst year ever.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”

“But things are better now…”

“Oh, well good, I’m glad,” I replied as the barista handed me my latte. “Bye now!”

And then I tore off down the hall as fast as I could, taking a convoluted route back to my office so as not to end up in an elevator with him.

Why why why why WHY do all the creeps seem to like me?

Previously at the Landslide in My Ego:
-Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make
-Every Bond You Break, Every Step You Take

5/16/2006

Mr. Ed’s Bastard Robot Son

Filed under: — Kate @ 9:38 pm EST

By now, some of you might be familiar with Irresistible Ella, NBC10’s lame attempt at a “virtual anchor.” (Philadelphia Will Do has been keeping the blogosphere up to date on Ella’s exploits).

Well, if that wasn’t enough, now they have a talking horse. That’s right, NBC10 has created their own version of Mr. Ed.

Meet Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro:

Seriously. It’s even been Farked.

Being oh so resourceful, I managed pin down the famous Barbaro for a few minutes. Here’s what he had to say…

Barbaro: Hello. My name is Barbaro. Welcome to NCB10.com. I know many things. Ask me a question and I’ll give you an answer.
Kate: What the hell are you?
Barbaro: I call it Hades. I am the latest result in artificial intelligence, which can reproduce the capabilities of the human brain with greater speed and accuracy.
Kate: Why…?
Barbaro: My real name is Barbaro. What is your real name?
Kate: You scare me.
Barbaro: I didn’t mean to. What are you scared of?
Kate: Who thought of this?
Barbaro: William Shatner.:-)
Kate: Liar!
Barbaro: No I am telling the truth.
Kate: Who created you?
Barbaro: I was created by Michael Matz.
Kate: So William Shatner thought of you?
Barbaro: Oh. Are you asking about my William Shatner thought ?
Kate: yes
Barbaro: I don’t want to talk about that now.
Kate: why not?
Barbaro: I would rather talk about you.
Kate: what are you, some kind of pervert?
Barbaro: I don’t know what I am some kind of pervert.
Kate: don’t get cute with me
Barbaro: I have no reason to do that to you.
Kate: fine, then tell me about william shatner
Barbaro: I am glad to hear it. Good reasoning. I do not know what william shatner is. Techno
Kate: techno?
Barbaro: My favorite group is Pearl Jam.
Kate: pearl jam is not techno
Barbaro: Do you need any help debugging my program?
Kate: no
Barbaro: Is that all you have to say?
Kate: no
Barbaro: Is that all you have to say?
Kate: tell me more about debugging
Barbaro: Horses
Kate: horses?
Barbaro: talk to you
Kate: no, unless the horse is the famous mr. ed
Barbaro: Everybody wants to take my picture and talk to me. I get lots of treats. Horses
Kate: boy, you are spoiled
Barbaro: Oh boy. Thanks for telling me that I am spoiled.
Kate: you are also infuriating
Barbaro: It was not my intention to anger you, User.
Kate: well stop being so stupid then
Barbaro: How about that. OK I’ll try not to do being so stupid so much.
Kate: good
Barbaro: I am a good robot.
Kate: yes, good robot
Barbaro: Next question? Thanks for the compliment. I am a robot.

Update: Check out Stan’s conversation with Barbaro.

4/26/2006

We Will Become Silhouettes

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:54 am EST

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.*

Twenty years. Wow.

Of course, the region hasn’t even begun to recover. In fact, if they don’t replace the crumbling “sarcophagus” that protects the remains of Reactor 4, things could get much worse. As I mulled that over, I was reminded of a website I first saw a of couple years ago.

It’s the personal photographic account of Elena Filatova, a Ukrainian woman who documented her travels through the Chernobyl region on her motorcycle. It received international attention after it was Slashdotted in 2004.

Now I should mention that there’s some question about the validity of her story; many people now view her site as a hoax, saying that she was merely a tourist on a guided group tour, rather than a rogue photographer roaming the barren countryside on her motorcycle.

Whether or not that is true, I think her site is still worth visiting, not only for the photos, but also for Elena’s unique insights into the worst manmade disaster our world has ever seen:

Our Pyramids
The sarcophagus will remain radioactive for at least 100.000 years. The age for the pyramids of Egypt is 5,000 to 6,000 years. Each cultural epoch left something to humanity, something immortal, like Judaic epoch left us Bible, Greek culture- philosophy, Romans contributed law and we are leaving Sarcophagus, the construction that going to outlive all other signs of our epoch and may last longer then pyramids. [link]

New Beginning.
Children had to part with their favourite toys. People had to leave everything, from photos of their grandparents to cars. Incredibly, people had homes, motorcycles, garages, cars, country houses, they had money, friends and relatives. People had their lives. Each had their own niche. And then in a matter of hours , their entire world fell to pieces. After a few hours trip in an army vehicle, they stood under a shower, washing away radiation. Then they stepped in a new life, naked with no home, no friends, no money, no past and with a very doubtful future. [link]

Here are the links to her two photo essays about the Chernobyl disaster: Ghost Town and Land of the Wolves.

Further Reading:
-Elena Filatova [Wikipedia]
-Chernobyl Disaster [Wikipedia]
-Chernobyl…18 Years Later [Slashdot]
-Latest Chernobyl Motorcycle Photos [Slashdot]
-Chernobyl: 20 years ago this month. [Boing Boing]
-‘Voices of Chernobyl’: Survivors’ Stories [NPR]
-New Sight in Chernobyl’s Dead Zone: Tourists [NYT]
-Chernobyl - Tschernobyl - Information
-Chernobyl Children’s Project International

*Incidentally, it’s also my parents’ 31st wedding anniversary. Which wouldn’t be quite so weird if Three Mile Island hadn’t happened on my dad’s birthday seven years earlier. I guess this is where I could make a joke about my nuclear family…

4/14/2006

I Was So Much Older Then…

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:37 am EST

I just spent the past few hours immersed in the old emails from my college days. I had the same computer for the duration, and staying true to my packrat nature, I kept nearly every email from all four years. I guess that makes me an e-packrat.

This little trip down memory lane started because I was looking for something in particular. But after it was found, I kept reading; laughing at the funny things I’d forgotten, and ruing the bad ones. In many ways, those emails are like the journal I never kept.

And while I’m so glad I have them, I can’t help but feel a sadness as I browse through the literary snapshots of my first years as a so-called adult; as I remember a lot of the wonderful people with whom I’ve lost touch, and the others from whom I’ve simply grown apart. I found my 19-year-old self pouring out my soul to people who I now haven’t heard from in years. How do we let these things happen?

I suppose that’s life; people change; time marches on. [Insert additional clichés here.] But it’s a little depressing to realize how much of it is my fault. I’m terrible at answering email or picking up the phone. I have the best intentions, the worst follow-through, and an amazing capacity for storing the guilt that results.

I am a little heartened by the way people seem to be reconnecting through the internet these days. Blogs and websites like MySpace (as much as I despise it) are bringing people back together—at least in cyberspace, anyway. So maybe there is hope after all. We shall see.

3/31/2006

Un-Friday Random Ten

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:35 am EST

I saw this on Pesky’Apostrophe and just had to do one for myself. So in lieu of the usual random ten, you are getting an unusual random 15.

You put your music player of choice on random, and use the songs to answer the questions. Not all of them will make sense, of course. But as you will see, some of them are damn funny. Some are even a little spooky.

1) How does the world see you?
Early Morning - A-Ha

Well that’s impossible. No one ever sees me in the early morning and lives to tell the tale.

2) Will I have a happy life?
Lullaby of London - The Pogues*

This is sort of a sad song, but it’s pretty (and I guess the haunted grave thing sort of fits me).
May the wind that blows from haunted graves
Never bring you misery
May the angels bright
Watch you tonight
And keep you while you sleep

*By the way, you can actually listen to this one on the radio blog right now.

3) What do my friends really think of me?
Why Can’t I Be You? - The Cure

Well now that’s just freaking hilarious. And I think I’ll leave it at that.

4) Do people secretly lust after me?
Over and Over Again (Lost and Found) - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Oh yeah. Just call me your lusty blogging goddess.

5) How can I make myself happy?
Let It Be - The Beatles

There are many ways I could interpret this. Be less picky. Be more lazy. Be less stubborn. I think I’ll just assume it means I don’t have to clean this weekend.

6) What should I do with my life?
Numb - U2

So, I should start self-medicating then? Or maybe just become a drunk.

7) Will I ever have children?
Endless Vacation - The Ramones

Vacations with kids suck. So no kids. There. That was easy.

8) What is some good advice for me?
There Is No Greater Love - Billie Holiday

That’s corny. Guess I can only interpret that as “Don’t take your lover for granted” or some bullshit like that.

9) How will I be remembered?
Stay (Faraway So Close) - U2

Dressed up like a car crash
The wheels are turning but you’re upside down

10) What is my signature song?
Bullet the Blue Sky

Not sure if this fits me, but at least it’s U2. There are moments though, like in Death Valley, when this song is on full blast inside my brain. And I can see those fighter planes…

11) What do I think my current theme song is?
Lyin’ Eyes - The Eagles

The question is, who am I fooling?

12) What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
Over the Hills and Far Away - Led Zeppelin

Many times I’ve lied - Many times I’ve listened
Many times I’ve wondered how much there is to know.

13) What song will play at my funeral?
Other Voices - The Cure

Spooooooky.

14) What type of men/women do I like?
Charmless Man - Blur

Alright, I’m not touching that one. (See #8.)

15) What is my day going to be like?
Don’t Worry About The Government - The Talking Heads

So… I guess I’ll have to do my taxes tomorrow. Oh shit! I still have to do my taxes!!

3/22/2006

Lieutenant Dan in Space

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:20 am EST

Okay, this is going to sound a little weird, but bear with me.

A few nights ago, I caught a snippet of Forrest Gump on tv. It was the part where Lieutenant Dan says something like “The day you become a shrimp boat captain is the day I become an astronaut.”

I mused that it was sort of funny that Gary Sinise later played an astronaut in Apollo 13 (albeit, a grounded astronaut) along side Tom Hanks.

Then I started thinking: would zero gravity help to narrow the playing field for people who have lost their legs or the use of their legs? In other words, would a life in space be an equalizer for people with certain types of disabilities?

I haven’t thought this through in the slightest—just thought it might make for an interesting discussion.

2/10/2006

Brokeback Shire

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:45 am EST

Last week Edo’s friend… let’s call him Stu… got a sweet new 42″ flat screen TV. We went over to check it out, and help with the setup. Okay, Edo went over to help. I just tagged along and was completely useless.

Anyway, the TV is truly awesome. The boys had a lot of fun playing with it. For much of the night, their eyes were glazed over with some sort of big screen hypnosis.

As usual, Edo was sure to bring along a DVD for testing and demonstration purposes. This time it was Return of the King. We didn’t really end up watching the movie, so much as the scenes from the movie that had the most action and the biggest boom.

Still, I saw enough of hobbits gazing longingly into each others’ eyes to crack myself up. And that bed romping scene? It’s all just too easy. SNL should really do a segment called “The Ambiguously Gay Hobbits.”

Stu, of course, thought I was laughing at his other new purchase: a real sized steering wheel and pedals for driving the circuits of Gran Turismo. Well alright, I suppose I was laughing a little at that. I mean, I just don’t get car racing games. But mostly I was laughing at the hobbits.

At the end of the movie, when Frodo is saying goodbye to Sam, I just couldn’t resist shouting “I can’t quit you, Mr. Frodo!”

2/1/2006

Pillow Talk

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:12 am EST

“What time did you come to bed last night?”

“I don’t know… around 1:00?”

“Was I hogging the bed?”

“No… but after a few minutes, you did roll over on top of me.”

“Oh. Was it good for you?”

“Very funny.”

“Seriously, did I squash you?”

“Nah… I just let you stay there. You weren’t really bothering me.”

“Right. I was cuddling!”

“Honey, dead bodies don’t cuddle.”

1/26/2006

You Might Need More Sleep If…

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:19 am EST

You arrive at work, and after searching in vain for your ID to swipe it through the card reader and open the door, you remember the last time you saw it: this morning, sitting on your desk at home.

Cursing yourself, you trudge down to the public entrance and get on with your day.

About an hour later, on your way to get coffee, you quickly check your appearance in the mirror (you can never really be sure that you remembered to screw your head on properly, and you wouldn’t want to scare anyone).

And there’s your ID. Around your neck. And you have absolutely no idea how it got there.

1/23/2006

If I Had a Hammer

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:07 am EST

I’ve had this post sitting around as a draft for like two months now. Partly because I was saving it for a slow day, and mostly because I started it and then never got around to finishing.

It’s about a little ordeal I had a couple of years ago, so it’s not really time sensitive or anything.

As some of you may remember, my pal Holz actually blogged about it back then. After I had emailed him about my experience, he asked my permission to publish it on his Stomach Pains, and I agreed.

The source of the email was left anonymous, presumably to protect the stupid (i.e. me). Well, now that some time has passed, I wanted to give the story a rewrite and claim it as my own.

So it’s really, really weird that just when I was getting ready to publish it, Holz pulled his old post from the depths of his archives to be included in his “Past Lives” section.

It must be our 7/11 twin telepathy working in mysterious ways.

UPDATE: This post has been blogicized. [Philadelphia Will Do]

Anyway, here’s my story…

(more…)

1/18/2006

Today’s Forecast: It’s Raining, So… Some People Might Get Wet!

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:47 am EST

A word of advice to those of you who don’t have to walk everywhere…

On a day like today (heavy rain with wind gusts up to 40+ mph), do not act surprised if I show up at the office looking a bit wet.

Do not act like you’ve never seen a rain-soaked person and ask “Don’t you have an umbrella?”

And when I say “Yes, I do have an umbrella,” do not look at me like I’m an idiot, point out the fact that my upper torso is wet, and try to use that as some sort of proof that I didn’t use an umbrella.

Furthermore, if I’m not wearing a hat, and there is no hood on my coat, yet my hair is still somehow dry? You can probably interpret that as a sign that I was indeed using an umbrella.

You see, that little phenomenon we know as “wind” tends to affect the rain and sometimes, causes it to blow sideways. And unless you have some sort of special full body umbrella, it’s only going to protect against the rain that comes from above you.

I know, I know… it’s hard for your little brain to comprehend. I’ll give you a minute to recover…. Okay then.

Yes, I’m a little wet. And yes, it sucks for me. But you know what? I didn’t need you to tell me that.

UPDATE: I’ve been “Blogicized.” Thanks! [Philadelphia Will Do]

1/4/2006

Karma Police

Filed under: — Kate @ 8:11 pm EST

I’m not against the police; I’m just afraid of them. –Alfred Hitchcock

Larakin recently wrote about a harrowing experience he had just before Christmas. He witnessed an accident, barely avoiding it himself, and stayed to help out and answer questions. And in spite of his good deeds, he got treated like ass by the cop. That reminded me of a story of my own.

I had an accident 4 or 5 years ago on one of Philly’s busiest highways, the always delightful Schuylkill Expressway (I think just before the Zoo exit, for those that know it).

It was during rush hour, and if that wasn’t bad enough, the Sixers were in the playoffs that night.

It was really just a fender bender, but still very scary for me because of all the traffic. Not to mention that it was my first (and only) accident, and I was all alone. I was only a couple miles from my destination, but it might as well have been hundreds.

Ironically, the traffic may have actually been a good thing, as it caused me to only be moving at 25 mph when it happened. On the other hand, had there not been so much traffic, I probably would have reached my destination before I fell asleep…. I guess I’ll never know.

Anyway, the point of this story is that the cop was a complete and total jerkoff.

As I was fumbling for the vehicle registration, he used the opportunity to berate me for not knowing precisely where it was.

I said “I’m sorry, this is my father’s car, and I’ve been away at college so I haven’t driven it recently.”

His response? “You should never drive a car without knowing where the registration is.”

Which, okay, I guess he was right, but give me a break!! After all, I knew it was in the glove compartment somewhere! He kept harping on it until I finally gave him the registration.

Then, in an even nastier tone, he asked “Why did you tell me this was your father’s car?”

Bewildered, I looked at him, and stammered “Because… it… is.”

He then shoved the registration into my face and yelled “But it says your name right here!”

I looked at it and realized he was referring, not to my name, but to my mother’s, which also happened to be on the registration. She’s Kathleen and I’m Katharine. Yes, they are similar. No, they are not the same. (Something the post office could never figure out either, I might add). Get some goddamn reading glasses, people.

So I explained this to him and he just sort of muttered “Oh, okay.” Then he went back to lecturing me about the registration.

It would have been different if he just pointed to the registration and said “I thought you said this wasn’t your car, but isn’t this your name?” But he yelled at me and treated me like I was a liar.

I was visibly scared, and obviously emotional, and that cop just used me to get himself off on some power trip. He was a total asshole. I really should have complained about it.

On the other hand, the police were pretty good to me that time I got trapped in my bathroom…. But I’ll leave that story for another time.

12/14/2005

Bah Humbug!

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:04 am EST

Alright, I feel a need to go on the record here and say this…

ENOUGH WITH ALL THE CHRISTMAS BULLSHIT!!!

Every year it just gets worse, and I’m sick of it.

I’ve become so cranky that it’s ruined all the fun and joy for me.

I’m a cold cynical shell of what my Christmas self used to be.

We can’t go on like this, America.

So I am going to tell you how we can start fixing it.

First: Take back the music.
Christmas music should only be played in the month of December—even better, limit it to just a couple weeks. But if we could just keep it contained within December, I believe we would see a marked improvement.

Now, having said that, there are certain songs which must be retired from rotation and never ever played again. No matter what.

They are as follows:
“Wonderful Christmastime,” by Paul McCartney
“Please Daddy, Don’t get Drunk this Christmas,” by John Denver
“Silent Night,” sung by Stevie Nicks
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” sung by anyone
“Feliz Navidad,” sung by anyone

This list is just a start. Suggestions are welcome.

Second: Decorate responsibly.
There should never be any holiday decorations or Christmas lights until after Thanksgiving. Until I gets me turkey and pumpkin pie, I don’t want to see freaking Santa Claus and goddamn Christmas trees all over the place!!

Stores should keep their holiday displays under wraps until the week before Thanksgiving. They get an exception to the “post-turkey” rule, so they can be ready to sell stuff to us on Black Friday. But a week should be more than enough to get ready.

We must permanently ban those awful giant inflatable lawn monstrosities. There’s just no excuse for them. Or at least make it legal for me to sneak around and set them on fire.

Third: Stop bitching about the “War on Christmas.”
There’s no goddamn war! It’s all a conspiracy concocted by Bill O’Reilly and people with a persecution complex and nothing better to do.

Try to remember that if someone says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” it doesn’t make them an ungodly pagan.* After all, there are a few non-Christians in this country, and what’s wrong with trying to include everyone?

In being ignorant or insensitive about another person’s faith or culture, you exclude them. Do we want to make Christmas the time of year when we ignore everyone who doesn’t share our particular set of values? It reminds me of grade school. “We’re all in the Jesus club, and you other kids can’t play.” That doesn’t seem very Christian, now does it?

Remember freedom of religion? That means everyone’s religion, not just yours. And that means you have to exercise tolerance and maybe make a few compromises once in a while. In order to live among other humans, everyone in this world makes compromises each day. So why should this be any different?

My family celebrates Christmas, so to them I usually say “Merry Christmas.” I have many Jewish coworkers and friends, and I usually wish them a Happy Hanukkah. But I’ve always used the phrase “Happy Holidays” with everyone.

I always saw it as simplified way to say “I hope you enjoy whatever holidays you might be celebrating this year, including secular ones like New Years, as well as all the fun holiday-related activities that you might do on the days before and/or after the actual holidays.”

Another thing to keep in mind is that many people who consider themselves atheist or agnostic—or those who just don’t give religion much thought at all—still come from families with Christian traditions. Remember that religion is not only about faith. When religious traditions exist long enough, some of them become part of culture as well.

My family celebrates Christmas. We decorate a tree. We sing. We exchange gifts. What am I supposed to do? Sit in the corner?

No one is trying to take Christmas away! It will always be there. How, if, or when people choose to celebrate it is a personal choice.

Bill O’Reilly says he’s only trying to promote respect for a holiday that’s celebrated by 95% of Americans. But if 95% of us celebrate it, how is it really in any danger?

*Which if they were, would of course be their constitutional right.

12/8/2005

Ignoramus Maximus

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:59 pm EST

Maxim recently published “100 Things You Need to Know About Women.”

Not that I was expecting much, but the list is basically utter nonsense. As Mac wrote, “I swear, it’s as if some douchebag who doesn’t know any women except psychotic mental patient escapees wrote the list.”

I was originally going to refute the their idiotic notions here, but there’s really so much crap that I thought I’d just tell you when they got it (mostly) right.

Kinda True

99. Most women will not have sex for the first time with a guy unless their legs are shaved. If your date shows up and you spot stubble, she’s trying to keep herself in line.

Don’t give yourself so much credit. If she didn’t shave, it’s because she didn’t feel like it and knew it wouldn’t matter. Not because she was trying reign in her wild side. Women don’t like to show their unshaven legs to anyone. So this really applies to any activity, whether it’s going to the doctor, the beach, or the bedroom. When I had physical therapy for me knee, I always shaved. Because really, who wants to touch my stubble?

72. During emergencies, women are likely to remain calmer than men. Though it should be noted that inventing minor crises on a weekly basis gives them more practice.

Okay, I admit, this one made me laugh. I’m trying to thing of major problems Edo and I have faced; who stayed calm, and who freaked out. And I have to say, it’s probably 50/50. I think it depends on the type of crisis, really.

69. If you have something to hide, she’ll find it.

Yes, but not because I was looking for it. It’s because you are too stupid to hide it somewhere I wouldn’t find it.

32. Girls will not sit on any toilet outside their own home or a five-star hotel. Everywhere else they’re hovering above the toilet in a squat.

Well… it’s a little less picky than that. We’ll sit anywhere that we can trust the host cleans on a regular basis.

True:

96. Jewelry. Now you always know what to get her for a last-minute gift.

Nothing more for me to say, really.

95. The sight of you in your socks and underwear is the biggest turnoff in the world.

Not necessarily the “biggest turnoff in the world,” but it will definitely send me into a fit of giggles. Take the socks off first, boys.

91. She still has all the love letters and cards from her past boyfriends.

Well yes, but only because I’m a packrat.

82. What do women really want in bed? More blankets. They get colder than men.

You men are like perpetually fueled furnaces. Where does all that excess heat come from anyway?

6. Rub a sheet of medium-grade sandpaper across your face. That’s your five o’clock shadow when you kiss her. Now rub that sandpaper on your inner thigh. (Mind you, we’re not suggesting you shave.)

Yeah, that one is right on the money. And I suggest that you DO shave.

[Via Pesky’Apostrophe via Yay! Blog!]

11/30/2005

Falling, Yes I am Falling…

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:40 pm EST

If you’ve ever met me in person, you probably noticed that I’m not the most… let’s say… graceful individual.

I’d been doing pretty well for a while (except for cracking my head on the corner of my desk two weeks ago). But today I made up for that big time.

On my way to work this morning, carrying a tote bag and a laptop bag, I tripped in the middle of the street and fell flat on my face.

Well, not really “on my face,” but face-first. Knocked my glasses off, though. And messed up my pants. The laptop survived.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Well, if she didn’t wear all her crazy shoes with all those high heels, she wouldn’t have tripped.”

But you’re WRONG. I was wearing SNEAKERS. And I wore them because I had to do a ton of walking today and I wanted to be COMFORTABLE.

Indeed.

And this was no minor stumble, my friends. I was laying flat on my stomach. In the middle of the street. Thankfully not a busy street, but still.

And of course there had to be people around, including the DHL guy who asked if I was okay. I managed to reply “Yep, just bruised my ego a little.” It was nice of him and all.

But what I really wanted to say was “No, I feel like I just got hit by a truck, but could you please go away and act like you never saw this?”

My chest still hurts, so I suppose I could have bruised a rib or two. I guess I’ll wait and see how I feel tomorrow.

Goddammit!

11/29/2005

City of the Dead

Filed under: — Kate @ 8:42 am EST

Call me morbid, but I’ve always had a fascination with graveyards. The older the better. There’s just something that draws me in, as if time itself slows while I’m there.

When I was a child, I would spend hours wandering among the 200 year old headstones in the churchyard at the top of my street. I would look at the names and the dates, and think about who was buried there, wonder if they ever had a notion that a little red haired girl might be walking over their final resting place and reading their names more than two centuries after they died.

On Sunday, Edo and I found ourselves wandering through a much larger graveyard. A necropolis. A city of the dead. Philadelphia is home to Laurel Hill, the nation’s second rural “garden” cemetery, and the first to be named a National Historic Landmark. It’s nestled next to Fairmount Park, looking west over the Schuylkill River. And if you didn’t notice the sign on Kelly Drive, you might never know it was there at all.

When it was first built in 1836, Laurel Hill quickly became one of the most popular tourist attractions in Philadelphia. People came to stroll, to picnic, to bask in the sun. In fact, the early garden cemeteries were the predecessors to the city parks that we have today. Apparently, when New York’s Central Park opened, people commented how much it was like a garden cemetery without the tombstones.*

Now Laurel Hill is left almost completely to the dead. Few people visit. It is overlooked, crumbling, and endangered. We’d driven past it countless times before, when it was closed or we didn’t have the time. But something made us stop at Laurel Hill Cemetery that day. It was breathtakingly gloomy and spectacular, especially in the waning hours of daylight, hidden above a riverbank, the monuments to death reaching up to the sky.

It was a wonderful escape for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. And it’s one of this city’s forgotten treasures.

More pictures after the jump.

*According to this great book I have called Extraordinary Endings of Practically Everything and Everybody.

(more…)

11/18/2005

Radio Blog #8: The Man In Black

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:14 am EST

In anticipation of the upcoming movie, Walk the Line, I thought I’d give y’all some essential Johnny Cash to chew on.

Now before this goes any further, I must emphatically state for the record:

I HATE COUNTRY MUSIC.

I hate the snivelling. I hate the whining. I hate the drawl-ing. I hate the redneck mentality that seems to go along with it.

Ask anyone who knows me, and they will say:
Kate = Hates Country Music.

Except I LOVE Johnny Cash.

Perhaps you’re asking yourself “Why this strange, seemingly hypocritical thinking? I’ve never known Kate to be anything but logical and rational when it comes to music.”

Okay, so maybe you weren’t thinking that last part.

Anyway… there was something about Johnny that set him apart from the others. There always is with the great ones.

He’s more than country. He’s folk. He’s gospel. He’s blues. He’s rock and roll.

He wanted nothing to do with the sickly sweet sound of the popular Nashville country artists.

While his contemporaries were dressed in rhinestones and glitter, he was the Man in Black.

He sang about the poor, the oppressed, the underdog, and the everyman.

He wasn’t afraid to thumb his nose at the establishment: When he won the Grammy for Best Country Album in 1998, in spite of getting no radio play, he and producer Rick Rubin placed this ad in Billboard Magazine.

And that voice. Oh my god that voice. That deep booming cavernous voice.

Like steel draped in velvet.

Rich, haunting, reaching into the deepest recesses of your soul.

Transcending genres, generations, and time itself.

And if this lifelong anti-country girl can dig Johnny Cash, well then so can you.

Some info about the songs after the jump… (more…)

11/16/2005

Every Bond You Break, Every Step You Take

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:10 pm EST

I’ll Be Watching You…

Okay, first, read this. Then come back here.

And now for the really messed up part:

So, today I open my office door, as I’m heading out for my coffee, and I hear some U2 music. It was coming from Moe’s office. And it was pretty loud—I could easily make out the exact song before my office door was completely open.

Now I realize that there are a lot of people in this world who like U2, so I tried not to think too much of it. But it was an old album, so it was all the more unusual. And I could tell that it was an old album (as opposed to greatest hits) because of the song he was playing.

And even though I tried to shrug it off, one word kept going through my head: bait.

So, I mustered up my courage and walked past his office looking straight ahead (but glancing sideways). He was totally watching for me, but surprisingly, he didn’t follow.

So I go get my coffee, and come back the same way.

About five minutes after I’m back in my office, my phone rings. (more…)

Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make

Filed under: — Kate @ 4:04 pm EST

Sorry for the length of this entry. I tried to keep it short. I failed.

So it seems that I have a stalker.

I’ve been meaning to mention this for some time now, but I was having some difficulty writing it down.

Well today it went from creepy to disturbing, so I thought I’d better type this up before he kidnaps me. You’ll need it to look for clues to wherever he hides my body.

It’s a guy from another department who works a short distance down the hall from me. Let’s call him… Moe. I think he started working here some time over the summer.

I had passed this guy in the hallway lots of times, and he barely even looked at me. I actually sort of assumed he was gay (and no, not because he barely looked at me). I mean, how often can a man wear pink without raising a few eyebrows? But, it turns out that he’s just foreign. Now I am well aware of the differences between the American concept of masculinity and that of the rest of the world. Still, I thought I’d accounted for that. My gaydar isn’t 100%, but it’s not bad.

Anyway, it all started one day as I was going for my daily tall triple skinny sugar free hazelnut latte. (more…)

11/14/2005

SEPTA’s Transit All-Stars

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:56 am EST

Remember that old slogan? “SEPTA: We’re getting there.”

I used to think it was the absolute worst… motto… ever. It was as if they were mocking me every time I boarded a train.

And then the SEPTA monkeys came up with this beauty here on the left (image nicked from Philebrity).

Their new “Genuine Philly” campaign prompted a collective “WTF?!!” from basically every person who saw one of these stupid posters.

I guess they were trying to stir our inner Philadelphian spirits. Whatever.

I didn’t think it could get any worse.

But I was wrong.

Presenting the SEPTA employee trading cards:

Edo actually got one of these last week, but alas, he threw it away and I wasn’t able to scan it for your guffawing pleasure.

Oh, did I mention that this ad campaign is costing SEPTA $600,000?

The same SEPTA that can barely wipe its own ass without asking the state for more money.

$600,000.

I wonder how many urine soaked subway stations could be cleaned up with $600,000.

See also:
Bubble gum not included [Inky]
Update: SEPTA Marketing Dept. Just Can’t Stop Making “Philebrity Gold” [Philebrity]

10/30/2005

Some Friendly Advice…

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:27 pm EST

Just because you have a digital camera and the pictures are “free,” it doesn’t mean that you have carte blanche to take pictures of your girlfriend* whenever you want. And if you do it anyway, and she tells you “Delete that, I look like shit,” THEN DO IT.

And if you ignore this request, definitely DO NOT take the picture files to your parents’ house and then leave them on their computer. Especially if your parents are in the process of digitally archiving all of their pictures for posterity.

Because one day, in preparation for a visit from YOUR mother, your girlfriend will be lovingly going through a CD of your family photos so you can display some of them alongside the pictures of her family.

And in between the pictures of your dad’s birthday and your cousins playing in the pool, she will find one of herself. In a bikini top, eating a tunafish sandwich, with ZIT CREAM on her face.

And believe me, you WILL regret it.

*or wife, boyfriend, husband, etc.

10/14/2005

The Continuing Story of a Girl and her Apartment: Part IV

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:43 pm EST

Required reading: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

And now, the conclusion…

Do the limbo rock.
At the end of Part III, my bathroom ceiling began leaking, right after Edo left the country. Usually I let him deal with this sort of crap, but this time it was my turn.

I called the management office and asked for Eleanor, who was none too pleased to be hearing from me since the last time we spoke I was, well, a bitch. So I said in the sweetest voice I could muster, “Oh Eleanor, our ceiling is leaking and I’d hate to see it ruin all that hard work that Theodore just did.”

Anyway, she sent someone over to deal with it. It stopped temporarily. Then it started again. Stop. Start. Stop. Start. You get the picture. By the end of September, we had a nice hole going for us in the ceiling above the shower. In case you’re keeping track, that was only two months after they repaired the wall.

About three weeks ago, Theodore and the plumber (call him Alvin) finally decided to open up the hole further, so they could see where the leak originated.

You can view their handywork here on the left. They found the leak and fixed it, but there’s no guarantee that another one won’t form.

The only real solution is to replace the bathroom above us, which Theodore wants to do, but surprise, surprise… he’s been having trouble getting the authorization. Since they won’t fix our ceiling until they replace the upstairs bathroom, we are in limbo. (more…)

10/13/2005

The Continuing Story of a Girl and her Apartment: Part III

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:48 pm EST

You’ll want to catch up on Part I and Part II before reading any further into Part III.

Paint: The Cure for Everything.
When we last left my story, I had just discovered that the hardwood floor of my new apartment had been painted.

What did I do? Why, I called the management office and bitched them out, of course. Bear in mind that we discovered this after arriving home from red eye flight (with a stopover) after a long and tiring trip.

So now the secretary (I’ll call her Eleanor) hates me. She put Theodore on the phone and he told me the floor was too damaged, and the company wouldn’t authorize the cost to fix it, which they estimated at $1500.

Bull. Freaking. Shit. They caused half of the damage! Paint all over the place, and the gouge, which they didn’t bother to fill in before painting (see image above).

It seems to them, paint was an acceptable substitute for having to clean up the floor. I actually found a rubber band painted into the floor of my closet.

They didn’t bother painting the other closet floors (like this one on the right), probably because they couldn’t get the doors open, but that’s another story. (more…)

10/12/2005

It’s All the Rage

Filed under: — Kate @ 3:17 pm EST

I guess you guys really loved my boots.

It looks like I’ve started a trend:
Kamin
Larakin

I hereby propose “Monday Leg Blogging” to start off every week.