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I’ve migrated to It was time, since I’m finding myself posting more media than text. You can find me there from now on.

“Secant” is a previous incarnation of Internet Me, but is taken. Arc secant is the inverse of secant… it all seemed appropriate. And with the way the world is going, I don’t think I’ll have a paisley house any time in the next decade.

If math was never your bag, don’t worry about what secant or arc secant is. For simplicity, secant is the finder of roots. It always served me well.


My House of Cards survived the Week of Total Upheaval in strangely astonishing fashion. I can only liken it to someone shutting an attic window on me and then opening a fucking stargate to another realm of endless possibility. I still rub my eyes in disbelief at the gracious texts from the new shop owner, thanking me for my work and telling me to enjoy my evening.

This all turned out amazingly well, and the person who got me the new job deserves straight sainthood (thank you again), but uh…let’s not do that again any time soon. Now, a nap, and then, to figure out how to pay all this forward.

…they look at the stars and laugh.

I can’t hear this song, especially in a car at night, without thinking of October 1996. It’s 2 a.m., somewhere in nowhere Utah enroute to Idaho, and So-and-So, my boyfriend at the time, and I were exhausted and freezing, careening through the mountain darkness listening to this album. I spent a majority of its duration trying to simultaneously watch the road and look at the most amazing sky I’d ever seen. I don’t recommend the circumstances that brought us to that place at that time, but if you can re-create the situation in an easier way, do.

(for those playing along at home with my 10k escapades..)

While tracking a PR 10k pace average this morning, a lightning storm I didn’t know was coming broke out and a sudden deluge of rain completely took out my iPod at 5k. I got stranded in front of a Hair Cuttery for a good 20 minutes just trying not to die. Did I mention I was also holding a key?

Ben Franklin called. He said “You gun DIE.”

Then I was late for work. Then MCA died. Then co-worker was out sick. Then then then then….

Motherfucking first world problems man. Today was the opposite of an Ice Cube track. Sometimes, you just have to put this stuff somewhere. Dear world, you win Friday, but this bottle of wine says I got next.


Veggies and dirt will heal my soul. Veggies and dirt will heal my soul. Veggies and dirt will heal my soul.

Now please.

So here we go. Year one almost over. 24 hours from now, 2/13/11, you met your end with no warning and that was it. Lights out, end of the road, gone from this earth. I’ll never hear your voice again.

I’m shaken by how much that still takes the wind out of me. How sometimes I still zone out while driving and miss my exit and have no idea how I got there. How there’s still a big, sucking hole in my chest. How I want to spend the next 24 hours in Memphis, laying on your grave black-out drunk and screaming.

I still don’t know where to put this information — it’s not like you want to tell people this shit. It feels like so much dramatic selfish bullshit. I want to celebrate your life and what you meant to me, but instead I just find myself mourning for the living.

Someday, I’ll be able to fill this date with something good. Love, warmth, trust, saftey? For now…adrift in a bottle of Velvet Devil.

I may be completely MIA from this blog at the moment, but I couldn’t let 2011: Year of WTF? go by without a wrap-up. How can I even begin to summarize the past 12 months? Last January, I knew my life would take drastic turns this year, but I never could’ve imagined. My apologies if this comes out kind of stream-of-consciousness style.

In February, I lost one of the loves of my life in a freak car accident, and felt emotionally set adrift for the majority of the year. In April, I left the corporate grind, completely and dramatically, and packed up the entirety of my life for the second time in 8 months to move an hour west to the middle of a field…and I worked. REALLY worked, for the first time in a long time. In July I then lost my grandmother–the grounding, sane foundation of the otherwise insane maternal side of my family. The world continued to send its reminder: nothing is promised but the fact that it all will end. Live now, not later.

I reconnected with running and finally figured out why workouts in the gym never felt like enough: it’s the outdoors, stupid. (I did not renew my gym membership.) I read the entire Harry Potter series, frantically planted kale on the back of a transplanter at 8:15 at night, tried $300 caviar, and deepened my love affair with the art of beer and cooking. I vowed, when the farming season was over, to not take a job that prevents being outside at least 4 days of the week. This has been possibly the most important improvement in my life so far.

I’ve learned an incredible amount about vegetables, physicality, wine, cheese, personal customer service and business structure from some incredibly unlikely places. I’ve been constantly reminded of the Apache Relay lyric, “Home is not places, it is love.” So here’s to 2012, making all this knowledge and change work together, and never forgetting to live. What. A Fucking. Year.

1. Firsts this Year:

  • There’s 800,000 of these, easily. Living in a house with snakes?
  • Driving multiple F-150s
  • Crashing a golf cart through a creek (repeatedly)
  • Harvesting garlic, turnips, kale, rhubarb, chard, lettuces, potatoes, beans, beets, everything
  • Finding a grasshopper, blister beetle, ticks, johnson grass, rocks, a small potato etc. in my pants
  • Launching watermelons off the back of a truck to watch them explode on the ground
  • Logging 10+ hour days of work without once seeing a computer screen
  • Being paid and consulted as a beverage expert

2. Song for 2011
I guess it’d have to be Apache Relay – Home is Not Places. But Eddie Vedder’s Hard Sun and Necro Facility’s Explode are close seconds.

3. Movie for 2011
Heh, the last Harry Potter, man!

4. Restaurant of the Year
Magnolias At the Mill kept me sane through one of the hottest Julys on record and provided hockey broadcasts when I was in need. Go see Morgan at the bar for some delicious brews.

5. Book of the Year
George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (almost done with Book 3…must…finish….)

6. TV Show of the Year
Game of Thrones. Though Hell on Wheels is giving it a run for its money in the off-season.

7. Best Decision of the Year
Deciding to do whatever it takes financially to cut the corporate rope.

8. Bad Idea That Seemed Like A Good Idea At the Time
Many nights out at the Black Cat. Ugh.

9. Best Relationship of 2011

Carrie/Matty/Chris – my DC support crew trifecta, as was true for 2010. Though Ms. Mollie Z, my co-farmhand this summer, is a close contender to make it a er, quad-fecta?

10. Most Memorable “WTF?” Moment of 2011
Having my birthday vacation almost wiped out for the second year in a row by a hurricane. (We’re no longer going to the beach for my birthday.)

11. Newcomer of the Year Award
Mollie Z, Stacey & Casey and the rest of the farm crew. Much love.

12. Low Point of the Year
Late July was pretty ugly. Mid-February a close second.

13. Biggest Change of the Year


14. Plans/Goals for Next Year
Stability. Maine. More hiking. More $$ saving.

15. High Point of the Year
Hard to name just one. Many a Twin Peaks & cherry pie weekend, many a hockey & couch & beer night, many a farm happy hour / beer o’clock.

16. New Year’s Resolution(s)
No resolutions. Just forward motion.

Totally required reading for anyone that’s worked in an industry that actually “makes” stuff, under management that is obsessed with meetings. There should be an entire required college course on this for anyone getting a B.A. or B.S.
Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule

I’ve acquired some gems of wisdom on the farm that can be applied pretty broadly. I feel the need to save them somewhere, as well as share the wealth, but please note that these nuggets of wisdom will always be dropped with tongue firmly in cheek.

1) Hoe in the direction you want to go. Don’t push that dirt forward onto yourself.

2) You can handle infinitely more grossness while wearing gloves.

3) Hard labor is much easier with classic rock (during), and beer (after).

Basil Harvest

Michelle and Kate harvesting basil way too early in the morning, two Fridays ago.

I feel like we can already call this mid-summer with how hot it’s been. My apologies, the season is marching on and I have been remiss in my farm blogging duties.

We’re now into what I’d call the beginning of The Real Season. We’re beginning to take squash, peas, and the first of the tomatoes to market, and our trucks don’t just look like big packs of greens on wheels anymore, which is a nice change of pace. Our roadside stand opens full-time this Friday, and as its manager this year, well…shizz is about to get real for me I think. I have to say, I’m looking forward to the half-day shifts in the stand as a nice break for my bones and a way to enjoy the fruits/veggies of our labor while meeting some of our local customer base. It’s nice to remember why you’re doing this in the first place…feeding the people!

I’m starting to feel like I almost know what I’m doing most of the time. I can identify plants and tools, have an idea of seasons within the season and what grows when, how to identify pest damage, how long things should take to accomplish, etc. If I wanted to plant a garden in someone’s (small!) backyard, I feel like I now have the rudimentary knowledge to get it done. That’s pretty satisfying.

I took this full weekend off (my first in 6 weeks or so) to try and let my joints recover a bit and see my chiropractor. While I was ready for daily labor, there is definitely an aspect to this life that you can’t really wrap your head around until you’re living it. Anyone who’s trained hard in the gym for an event knows the feeling: hitting the “thickest” part of your training where you’re training 6 days a week for a brief spell, trying to capitalize on the peak of your fitness before easing up right before the event. This is what working the farm feels like almost all the time.

It’s odd, because I’m never actually sore, not the way I am after days of hard runs and weight training, but it’s more like my skeleton is sore. Like my resolve is weary and my endurance is bruised. It sneaks up on you, because you’re never moving fast on the farm…the ground is uneven, the loads are heavy, the air is thick…light and quick has no meaning there. It’s a different, more grinding tired all together. The main result? It has re-amped my love for running a hundred times over. To move, in light clothes, with no heavy gear, listening to loud music, fast and hard down a road uninterrupted for an hour is a total revelation.

That said, my kingdom for a professional massage. Reminder: my 31st birthday is August 29th. 😉 Just sayin.

The six has been postponed because I had to watch Game of Thrones and the workday went late. You know.. priorities. But here’s a preview. (Edit: isn’t the guy playing the “booty feeler” in that video one of the guys from Naughty By Nature? Just sayin.)

U2 – Drowning Man
I found a copy of U2 – War in the farmhouse that got left behind and decided it should replace my wrecked and over-loved copy…been listening to it a lot lately.

Sia – The Girl You Lost to Cocaine
Sia needs to make more music. Girrrrrrrl. *snaps*

Iggy Pop & Kate Pierson – Candy
Have always loved this song. It’s one of those tracks that kind of got lost in time, then the internet caught up and brought it back to me. Belting it out in the car is very satisfying.
(I remembered it being epic so I had to have the original beefcake Iggy Pop video. Sorry for the ad, but it’s worth it.)

Massive Attack – Pray for Rain
Even though I’m definitely not.

Beirut – In the Mausoleum

Saw these guys live at Amoeba a few years ago — sticks with me. Just the raw talent and mastery of multiple instruments among them kind of blows my mind.

Ben Folds – Free Coffee
This song always pops into my head when I’m broke. Speaking of insanely talented people.

Bonus: Index – Static Sky
This song, at this point in time, sounds so primitive it’s kind of hilarious. But hearing it gives me goosebumps simply because it’s suddenly 1996 and I’m driving down 50 or 66 on a muggy July night with the windows down, inevitably going to pick up So & So or a related hoodlum. 😉

Work got rained out today, so I have zero excuse. I even had it written out for last night but then had to make some killer green beans and shallots for a sudden farmer potluck (I guess this is one of those things you get used to living in a farm community?). More on that awesomeness later.

New Order – Turn My Way
This CD sifted out of a pile of CDs crammed in a bag from my move back from LA. Someday I will have a (paisley)house and this stuff will stop happening. BUT! It was a great soundtrack for cruising around running errands this weekend.

Assemblage 23 – Light

I can only handle A23 in short bursts, but was recently reminded of the awesomeness of this track. Great for running. GOD I MISS RUNNING. Have to make that happen on Sunday. *note to self*

The National – Afraid of Everyone

I mean… I kind of am.

Click Click – Did You Get What I Want?
Someone said something very close to the title of this song last week and it immediately started playing in my head. I listened to the album again during a really loud thunderstorm earlier this week and had to chuckle at my high school goth-ness. Have always liked the horror movie soundtrack-quality of this CD.

Ani DiFranco – Going Once
Discovered this song in college and routinely forget about it for years at a time, only to become re-obsessed with it.

Nada Surf – Killians Red

I really shouldn’t be allowed to drink wine and listen to this. But it’s been happening more often than I’d like to admit.

May 18th Bonus:
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
RIP Ian. Both of you.

As you may know/have heard, I left advertising to go grow things. At the moment I’m between the two occupations, panicking getting my stuff in order and packing to move, and let me tell you…when you can make your own schedule, there is no schedule. Time is getting away from me like whoa.

Anyway, my run playlist was in desperate need of a tune-up last week, so a lot of this made it onto the ‘Pod.

Great Northern – Houses
How can you not love a band named for Twin Peaks?

The Veils – The Letter
Goddamn I love this band. I really don’t understand why they’re not huge indie darlings, but I guess it’s better that way? AMAZING live. Unfortunately live on the other side of the planet.

La Roux – Bulletproof
All I want to do when I hear this is bounce around on a dance floor. Or the gym floor. Or the living room. Or the parking lot.

Berlin – Like Flames
Great for sprints. Berlin f’ing rules. Still. And man do I love me some epic 80s videos involving canyons and flag carrying, etc.

The Apache Relay – Home is Not Places
I resemble this sentiment. Again, not available on the youtubez evidently, but the amazon page has it.

Sheryl Crow – My Favorite Mistake
Another seasonal favorite that I associate with spring/summer evenings. I really liked this odd, in-between era of hers.

The six is coming. The whole not-having-a-job at the moment thing has just thoroughly derailed my sense of time.

Yep. It’s Tuesday again.

Pharoahe Monch (ft. Immortal Technique and Vernon Reid) – W.A.R.
Evidently this is too new for the youtubezz, but you can check out a sample at that link. Nothing groundbreaking from Pharoahe, but man, you can’t help but nod to it. I’ve always liked something about his cadence or.. something. Can’t quite put my finger on it. “What It Is” and “Bar Tap” off Desire have made multiple appearances on the previous incarnations of the Six.

Living Colour – Glamour Boys
Weirdly, no relation to the Vernon Reid cameo in the previous track. I *hated* this song when it came out, but for some reason it popped into my head after seeing a recent NPR video of Cory Glover doing a track off of Living Colour’s new album, and I…keep….listening to it. I remember the video for it being cringe-worthy, but don’t want to subject you all to all the Vevo crap wrapped around it.

Screen Vinyl Image – Fever / Lost in Repeat
Local favorites. Like old Cure and I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness are sitting in a dark basement smoking hash with Jesus & Mary Chain and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Pearl Jam – Porch / Why Go
Came across an interesting re-master with “remixes” and remembered why I like these tracks so much.

Thievery Corporation – Focus on Sight
Oooh actual video, complete with DC scenic-ness. Whenever it gets warm, the Thievery comes out.


Just because I like to keep you on your toes.

White Lies – From the Stars
Seriously, I don’t know what it is about this band. But it’s doing it for me right now. The guy’s voice is so impossible-sounding and weird…check out the live versions on youtube.

Dinah Washington – Come Rain or Come Shine
She seems to seep into my playlist every spring. Good wine drinking-while-cooking music, for starters.

Aerosmith – Sweet Emotion
There’s a lot of Aerosmith’s stuff that I can’t stand, but there’s 2-3 tracks that I love fiercely. Dream On being one, this being another. Makes me think of blowing down a deserted highway on a 90 degree night in a cowboy hat or something. (Which would be a nice change from the weather we’re having this week.)

Eddie Vedder – Hard Sun
I hear your collective groaning out there — I know more than a few of you hate Eddie Vedder, but I’ve always been fond of him, even when I haven’t been fond of what Pearl Jam is up to (*cough* the last 15 years *cough*). I saw that Vedder was going on a one-man ukulele tour (seriously), which made me go and listen to his solo stuff, which led me to this.

Salem – Frost
I admit it, I’m down with witchhouse. These guys were great live… like standing around in a Twin Peaks episode. Throw your triangles in the air.

Guns N’ Roses – Patience
Have always loved this track. For some reason it’s been on the radio a lot lately.

Bonus 7:
LCD Soundsystem – New York I Love You
Yes, that’s the Kermit version. But it’s a great tune. Especially fun to belt out when you’ve had one glass too many. Lends itself to dramatic swaying and hand gestures.

Last week got away from me, but the six returns triumphantly!

Interpol – Rest My Chemistry
The Amirian brothers, friends of mine of the Crossfit persuasion, adopted Interpol’s title “pace is the trick” as one of their training mantras around the time Our Love to Admire came out. I always thought it was funny in a way, and always offered the need to Rest My Chemistry (“minus the whole cocaine part”) in retort. The exchange happened again recently via Facebook and prompted me to dig out the album. Haters gunn’ hate, but it reminds me of late, hazy nights driving home from Silverlake alone.

Doves – Sea Song

Dreary rainy days are always made better by this track. Also an on-repeat-while-working candidate.

Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – Saturday Night
I almost prefer this cover to the original. Have no idea what made me think of it, but back in the playlist it went. (oh…and it was on the So I Married an Axe Murderer soundtrack, as you may guess from the video.)

INXS – What You Need

I think I heard a sliver of the chorus in a commercial or something last week and it implanted in my brain.

Concrete Blonde – Days and Days
“Like every heart to beat before
and every wave to kiss a shore
I’m not the first, I’m not the last…
and soon to be your past
But every morning when the light
comes creeping in around my eyes
another future falls behind
the one I had I mind”

The Knife – Marble House

I was thinking about a former co-worker with similar music taste, which led me to remember an exchange between her and an older, goofy and fatherly co-worker of ours when this track was playing in the office one afternoon (imagine this said in a heavy filipino accent): “WEEZA. What is this you’re playing? It sounds like…HALLOWEEN. What is it, Halloween?”

During the winter of 2007, it started with this:

List six songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions along with your six songs…

I liked writing it, reading others’ lists, and the ensuing conversations so much that I wrote one weekly, every Tuesday, for a year or so. After a job transfer and its related upheaval, I abandoned it, but now… I’m bringing it back!

So without further ado, the Tuesday Six for 2/15/11. Won’t you post yours?

White Lies – Bigger Than Us
( and Holy Ghost …aaaand Turn the Bells. Ok the whole album.)
Completely enamored with this album. I’m very wary of mainstream radio playing the crap out of it and making them the 2010-11 answer to She Wants Revenge (what happened to them, anyway?)

Mumford & Sons – Thistle & Weeds
Have come back to this album after an intense initial crush (and subsequent cooling) last year. This track just stands out for its slight…creepiness.

Killing Joke – Depth Charge
Great for running sprints and thinking about how humanity is ruining itself. …I kid. (sort of.)

Metallica – Wherever I May Roam
Recently heard this on the radio, and suddenly it’s back in rotation.
Do you really need a link?

Covenant – Lightbringer (Speedrun remix)
Sucker for swedes in suits… when they’re making good music. SWEEEEEDISH STYLE! *throws bacon*

Amon Amarth – Guardians of Asgaard
(or as I like to call it, “Guardians of Ascot”)
Unapologetic viking metal. Literally. Kind of hilarious. Great for rampaging through small villages.

Love this photo.

More great shots from the midwest storm here.

Since moving into a three-level house after living in one-level apartments for 10+ years, I’ve become acutely aware of a) how much it’s not my style (I evidently like my life very compact) and b) how much I rely on the TV to sonically fill space, especially when I’m home alone.

With the TV not on the main living level in my temporary abode, I’ve been “filling” the kitchen with either NPR or a jazz station, but watching (in envy) my brother’s experiments with a TV-less life, I’m wondering how much further I could take it.

For those that rarely or never have the TV on in the background at home, do you always listen to music? Radio? Dogs barking in the next yard over? I know a lot of people that just put on movies in the background when they’re at home. I….am not this person.

I do wonder if I’m suddenly drilling down on this topic because Fairfax is so damn quiet compared to LA. Maybe I just need to move closer to a freeway and I’m chasing a fly with a shotgun.

Lots and lots and lots of talk of CSA programs lately. Have you ever been a member of one? (No, seriously, I’m not blog navel-gazing here, I want to know! I’m looking to join one soon.) If you haven’t, what would change your mind about joining one?

Related: an excellently broad piece on the Food Safety Modernization Act politics and the rise of demon alfalfa…er, Roundup Ready alfalfa. Whether you’re into food or not, it’s worth the read.

If you want to really get yourself riled up, google Codex Alimentarius. Warning: it’s a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. Please keep your skeptical, and yet open-minded, good sense about you.

The only thing more uneventful than the middle of January is well… the middle of February. BUT!

Kylesa at the Black Cat tomorrow night.


Integrity at Sonar in Baltimore Saturday.

Hmm…wonder what post-Christmas beer awesomeness the Cat has on tap? Anyone had any Hopslam yet? Not an IPA enthusiast myself, but I love a good story. I’m holding out for a Nugget Nectar…coming soon!

Doing an alumni talk at my high school tomorrow.
Key points:

  • learn to make $8 of food last 7 days
  • you will not be financially stable by 30 unless you can write serious code (it’s fine if you’re not and don’t but man, I would’ve liked to have known that shit.)
  • get a part-time server or barista job immediately to have in your back pocket when the revolution comes…you won’t be able to afford to be entry-level later
  • monsanto will kill us all–learn to farm
  • 99% of jobs will not reward time served. Corollary: companies don’t give a crap about your future…that’s on you
  • college is hard as shit, unfair and no reflection of how the world actually operates
  • your 20s are worse than your teens but at least there’s legal booze and your own place (make sure to get your own place)
  • don’t try and graduate in 4 years

…Uplifting? 😀

Cindy on Heavy Seas’ Siren Noire:
“Whoa. *makes face* This is like… iced coffee butts.”

We agreed, minus the butts part.

I don’t think I had her try the Winter Hook, but that was surprisingly good and butt-less as well.

From Rustico Ballston:
“Tuesday BIG Cask Event! ONLY Firkin in VA of Stillwater-Mikkeller “Our Side, A Collaborative Gypsy Ale” Exclusive Hybrid! 6PM (Ballston)”

SoberJanuar is not going to be easy.

My inability to handle people with loud/invasive/energy vampire-esque personalities is starting to become a serious quality of life issue. Makes me feel like an overly sensitive loser who’s brain never developed correctly. Do other people just instinctively know how to shut that crap out? Or am I just the only person that feels it?

There are certain kinds of personalities or energy that I can’t even stand next to in silence without feeling like I’m under attack or wanting to jump out of my skin. Really makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me sometimes.

Wish I could figure out what the hell it is so I could just….turn it off.

(and there’s your TMI for the New Year…good night!)

…for fantastic brews!

Here’s a nice list from the Post that hits some of my local and national favorites (MMmm Schlafly): Beer: A holiday nine-pack .

Next up on my list of want-to-trys:

I need more liver space.

An update on Starbucks’ foray into the booze business. Falling a little *ahem* …flat.

As you may have guessed, if you’ve visited here more than 2-3 times, I moved. That move was prompted by taking a job where I no longer write an e-mail blast every morning (a blessing and a curse all in one), thus destroying the main source of subject matter for this lovely blog, you see. BUT! I’m settling in and things are starting to click along, so here’s hoping that the radio silence will be a little less frequent from here on out.

First off, dude it’s cold here. But that’s GOOD. It’s f’n 90 degrees in LA right now. No. Thank you. Sir. Reasons why I had to leave #…I dunno… top 5, definitely.

Some points of interest from my day so far:

  • Burnout is stupid. Quit it.
  • The redonkulousness of mainstream women’s fitness debunked.
  • Happy Halloween!

    jack o' lanterns

    Those competing in any pub trivia nights in the near future will want to save this one somewhere.

    Not feeling very public lately. Working on that!

    The magazine industry ventures into something we at LAT are now expected to pull off on a daily basis. Would cut-throat turnarounds be less soul-crushing if we thought of them as a contest or marketing gimmick?

    (Trying to get back in the habit. I swear.)

    Warning: while you’ve probably seen all of these before, some of them are still a little jarring. 30 photos that changed the world.

    I moved! (and finished a marketing class, and…and.. and..) …let’s just say the last half of March was a little chaotic. But, here I am.

    Yes, it’s a slow news day (we’ve all talked enough about the iPad and The Earthquake, after all), but this is really cool! (er, really warm and dry!)

    Pew Research is telling me I’m very millennial despite my age. Is it my lack of desire to write Congress? Or just my lack of land line?

    How Millennial are YOU?

    I could kill DAYS on Fascinating stuff. Stepping awaaaaay from the keyboard now.

    Stand up, sit down, fight fight fight.

    Sorry for the radio silence here. Unexpected illness, travel and other mayhem the last week. Will resuming programming tomorrow!

    From Carolyn Hax, advice columnist for the Washington Post, who posts holiday horror stories every year. Here are a few that made me literally “LOL”.

    Still Not Gay
    : The chat reminded me. One Christmas I really wanted to build my record collection and so all I asked for was three Beatles albums. The White Album, the blue compilation album and the red compilation album. On Christmas Day I imagined singing along all day with John and Paul and when I opened it up it was … an electric crepe maker! What every 15-year-old boy wants! When I asked about the Beatles she said that the guy at the record store told her there was no Red, White and Blue album and who doesn’t like crepes!?! And as a quick reminder, this is the same mother who told all of her friends I was gay because she wanted to look hip and accepting of my lifestyle even though I could not possibly be straighter. Hmmm, I think I’m seeing a pattern here. Maybe she thought flambe stood for something else.

    Merry Christmas and may all your days be gay.

    Who is it for?: When we were young kids, my sister, 5 at the time, opened a gift from my aunt and uncle, while they watched.

    It was a robot. My sister lost her mind. “I hate it” she screamed as she bashed the present into the wood floor over and over again. My mom was horrified. I was secretly laughing as the robot bits went flying all over the place.

    When she finished up, my uncle calmly looked at her and said, “That was for your brother.”
    At which point I completely lost my mind.

    Now, at every Christmas, everyone asks (after the gift is opened), “Is this gift for me?”

    Re: Stockings: When my husband and I got engaged and had our first joint Christmas morning at my parents’ house, my mom pulled me aside to ask if I thought my husband would prefer my brother’s ex-wife’s former stocking or our childhood dog’s old stocking.

    A box of Christmas miracles: : Last year on Christmas, with all four of us grown kids and our spouses and children gathered around the tree, my mother gleefully presented Dad with his gift: a shoebox-sized box of generically packaged Viagra knockoffs.

    Atlanta, GA: : Re: stockings: Oh yes, I think this happens a lot (usually to the youngest child). My two siblings are 10 and 7 years older than I am. Before I was born, my parents enlisted a very talented seamstress to sew beautiful, personalized stockings for their family of four and a smaller stocking for the dog (maybe it was “the” thing to do in the 70’s?). By the time I came along, they decided to re-purpose the dog stocking and tape my name on it. So for the last 29 years, I’ve been using a re-purposed dog stocking, and my name usually has to be re-taped on each year. Do I have a complex? You bet. 29 years in the making.

    Indianapolis: My now 23-year-old daughter, when she was just 2, was unwrapping a Christmas gift of some sort of clothes … sweater and matching pants, I think. So, my daughter got the box open, saw the sweater, and cried out “A SHIRT!!” Except, she was only 2, and didn’t speak very clearly, so it really sounded more like she had yelled “AW, SH!!T!!!”
    The great thing is we got it all on video, and spent the next day playing it over and over for relatives and laughing until we cried. The sad thing is that Grandpa wasn’t very good with camcorders so he accidentally taped over it the next day.

    re: Should I bring him or not?: -Last week’s thread about the agnostic Jewish boyfriend] also leads to a favorite family holiday line.

    I was once dating a similar guy, and my very Catholic family was intrigued. He was a carpenter to boot (Jewish carpenter, ha, ha) I brought him home for Christmas, and he declined to go to church, he would feel “uncomfortable.” I should have told him to pretend he was an anthropologist. Instead he decided to make a special breakfast for the family while we were at Mass.

    Now, I had met him and was living in Alaska, so of course he was a big hunter. He brought special deer sausage in a cooler on the plane to make for my family. Evidently he got pretty hot while cooking, so stripped down to his tank top undershirt.

    So, we all troop in from church, and there’s my hairy Jewish Alaskan boyfriend in his undershirt. My mom went upstairs to change and said to my sister “WHY is there a Jewish carpenter in his undershirt making REINDEER sausage in my kitchen on CHRISTMAS?”

    For various reasons, the relationship didn’t last.

    Chocolate moose
    : Here’s my favorite family Christmas story: Ever since my parents retired to Maine 13 years ago, Mom has had a tradition of giving her grandchildren some kind of “chocolate moose” candy. Well, about 10 years ago, when my sons were teens, the ubiquitous package was labeled “moose droppings.” My older son took one bite of a colorful piece of candy, then promptly made a face and spit it out, exclaiming, “GRANDMA, WHAT IS THIS?!!!!” Turns out she had bought moose-dropping fire starters, which were real moose droppings with a colorful wax coating.

    Worst gift competition: Every year I look forward to the holidays because my siblings compete for who receives the worst Christmas gift (not from each other, but from others). Last year I won because my MIL got me a basket of lotions and scented soaps even though she knows I’m allergic to these products (“I hope you can still enjoy these even though you’re allergic.”). The year before, my sister won because she got a holiday plate with the Last Supper on it from her Step-MIL, who happens to be Jewish. Bring on December 25th!

    Greensboro, NC: For Christmas in 1995, my sister’s little boy, “Andy,” who was 2, was going through that “What’s that? What’s that? What’s that?” and “Why? But why? But why?” phase. It’s a great way for kids to learn about the world and their environment, yeah, but it can also be annoying as h311 when it goes on for a few hours.

    For Christmas, my sister had gotten a large tray of dried fruit as a gift, and as she bustled around the kitchen, cooking (I was doing something tedious, like latticing a pie or something), Andy took an interest in the dried fruit and started asking what everything was. My sister was responding to him, but was really focused on the giant dinner, and was clearly getting a bit annoyed the longer the interrogation went on. “Those are pineapples … those are dates … those are raisins … those are papaya … those are apricots … those are prunes …” He got to the very middle, where there was a whole dried fig, and he said, “What’s that?” My sister, who was getting more annoyed and has always had a really twisted sense of humor, glanced at it and said, offhandedly, “It’s a human ear.”

    Well, Andy let out a bloodcurdling scream and started crying hysterically. My sister and I tried to calm him down, and we kept telling him she was just kidding (she really thought this kid, who was obsessed with shooting you and toy guns and wrestling and the like, would think it was funny), that it was a fig, etc. We had to hide the tray of dried fruit because he now thought the dates were fingers, and so on.
    Until he was about 8, he wouldn’t touch Fig Newtons because he thought they were made of people.

    Happy Holidays. 😉

    If you’re feeling incorrect while working with copy for a campaign, be sure to consult the new industry standard for style books.
    ““Who is that?” may be written as “Who dat?” if the person in question is talking about beating dem Saints.”

    It’s Tuesday! Perhaps you should take a monster break.

    Who decided that football uniforms have to be cheesy and poorly executed?
    “The Patriots’ helmet is plastered with their logo, which comes dangerously close to looking like a wind-swept John Kerry dressed up like a Minute Man.”

    Whoa, it’s been a heavy internet news day. This is why I keep sharp-eyed friends around.

    California isn’t just upside down in debt!

    The Darkside is back for your Christmas pleasure!

    The Muppets just destroyed that legendary Karaoke session you had in Vegas that one time!

    Obama is keeping an eye on the robot uprising!

    Phew. Good work out there guys.

    Ugh, those font-hate sites have ruined me. Another full-frontal papyrus experience

    2010 approacheth. Time to master your domain.
    “This for-profit field has been an oddity in letting its practitioners, the people who create the stuff that consumers consume, be blissfully ignorant of how their businesses run.”

    File under “Required Reading for Every Advertising, Branding and Marketing Management Position as of 2003.”

    Excerpt: “I’m not quite sure you can find a remote worker for $10/hour that really and truly understands the strategic integration of social media across the board. Call me crazy.”

    If you’re looking for a little brain food on the Web, the founder of the WordPress blogging platform has some great recommendations.


    SCONES! (from

    I’m currently obsessed with all things cinnamon. Namely, cinnamon scones and cinnamon in my coffee. What is it with this time of year that triggers that?

    I filled my house with the smell of apples and cinnamon roasting on Sunday night and everything was right with the world for a few minutes…

    …but now I need SCONE. Scoooooooooone.

    In case you were under a rock all weekend, today marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ausgezeichnet!

    Do you remember where you were when you heard? (I was watching the morning news, eating a pop tart, in a sweet pair of teal and pink Jamz. Seriously.)

    ….aaand she’s back.

    Apologies. Vacation + no computer to myself = no writing! But lots to say in coming days about a great five days in Portland.

    The secret to thinking innovatively? Cross-dressing, being stupid, and destroying PowerPoint.

    Outlook thinks “innovatively” is a word. Firefox disagrees. Interesting.