the end of an era

My mom always says that, when something big changes. “Oh, it’s the end of an era,” followed by a sigh. Sometimes a mock sigh, but a sigh, nonetheless.

In any case, it is the end of an era — our Erik-as-roommate era. We had our last night at home with Erik last night. Monstro and I are very sad about the whole thing.

The night started after work. Kyle took us out for sushi, and we gorged. Anyone in Chico must run, not walk, to the newly reopened GenKai for Tamo and co’s outrageous sushi rolls. My favorite? It’s a tie between the Saturday Night Fever, which employs a blowtorch, and the Benson, which we ordered last time in tribute to my maiden name, and then learned it’s the best freakin’ roll ever created sans blowtorch. Instead of rice, they lay paper-thin red snapper over the top. Oh. My. Word.

After dinner we went back to the house and hung out on the porch for the hundredth-something time. I took a picture of Erik wrestling with the kitten. I honestly don’t know who will miss him more: Monstro, me, or Maxwell Hanes. They have a very avuncular (thanks, Julie) relationship. Max’ll be bummed to be stuck with Mom and Dad, I think.

“I know the picture I want of my roommates,” Erik said. “Monstro in his chair, smoking, with Motormouth behind and her arms around him.”

“Should I be holding my beer?” Monstro asked.

“Oh yeah,” Erik replied.

We got in position and Erik prepared to take the pic. “Monstro, look less gay, more Ethan Hawke.” Monstro puzzled over this until Erik clarified, “Ethan Hawke in ‘Gattaca,’ dude.” The picture was snapped. Erik went inside and I hijacked his camera and took a cleavage shot down my t-shirt. All the girls did this for Dusty at her graduation party, and it seemed like a fun tradition to continue.

Then we went inside, watched three episodes of “Family Guy” on DVD (Erik’s DVD), and at 11 I went to bed, after receiving a glasses-into-the-face hug from Erik.

Our consolation is, when we’re freezing our buns off in MA, Erik will be even colder in Aberdeen, Scotland. It’s a small consolation, but it’s something.

Spam jabberwocky

So I’ve been getting more spam than usual (which is saying a *lot*), and it’s been tricking me into opening it. It’s not offering to enlarge my johnson (which has taken on a whole ‘nother meaning since taking a married name), but rather, it’s a mess of unrelated words strung together. Like this:

bon brahmsian tabloid andrei bull bob felicity

cotyledon black chelate jitterbugger defiant souvenir aphasic ambassador solemn mathews shrugging herculean

Vocabulary list, maybe? Unsolicited make-it-yourself haiku? What do you think?

Good week for the e-word

Two sentences this week have made me laugh out loud.

First, from the Northampton Gazette: From a bear fatally mauling a dog off Route 66 to numerous reports of bears foraging in garbage cans in an Elm Street neighborhood and an incident in which a motorcyclist hit a dog that was chasing a bear on Spring Street, indications are clear: bear season is upon us.

A motorcycle hitting a dog that was chasing a bear. All I want to know is, what sort of dog chases a bear? I mean, our kitten might, but even sans manhood he has more courage than brains.

Great e-sentence, part two, from the Mercury News’s review of the new schlocky romance, “The Notebook”: After you’ve gotten horizontal under a green light, there’s no place left to go but making out.

…Just make sure that light hasn’t changed to red before you go.

Get well soon, Mary-Kate!

So yes, you’ve all been waiting for me to weigh in on the Mary-Kate Olsen health crisis. No pun intended.  I read today that someone wasn’t surprised that she has admitted herself for a one-month treatment for an undisclosed health issue (that bastion of journalistic integrity, “Us,” reports that the twin suffers from anorexia). Apparently this person saw her out for dinner one night: she cut a tomato into six slices and ate it very slowly.

That was it: one tomato.

Of course, the twins’ recent film, “New York Minute,” was deemed a failure by the entertainment industry because it only earned $14 million.

Fourteen million dollars. And it’s a failure.

Any of you ever made $14 million dollars? Yeah, me neither.

The entertainment industry just sucks: portraying unrealistic versions of unrealistic people making unrealistic sums of money for being unrealistic.

A New(er) Woman

I applied for a credit card last week (excited about 4.9 interest and the opportunity to transfer the balance from my evil, wicked AT&T Universal card) and got a phone call yesterday about it. We verified all of my information and then, right before we hung up, the agent asked, “Wait a minute – what’s your birthday?” Turns out that TransUnion credit agency has listed my birthdate as XXXX: one year off from my true XXXZ date of birth.

An optimist would look at it as gaining a year of youth. I look at it as a reason to contact all three credit agencies and tell ’em to get their (collective) act together.

Freakin’ data entry drones…

Summer in Chico

When Monstro and I were first courting, I googled him and read all of his opinion columns online at the Chico State newspaper. My favorite warned Chico summer visitors to be careful when they stand up so as not to hit one’s head on the sun.

It’s only funny because it’s true. It hit 104 last week and will only get hotter from there. We were at a barbeque on Saturday; the host kept the backyard cool with overhead water misters. It was just like being at Magic Mountain, except the food was free and there were fewer rides. Kyle made a big mess of ceviche and gave us the leftovers.

The students left a month ago, and now summer school is over so *all* the students are gone, leaving only the Chicoans (Chee-kho’-hans) to roam the streets. I was downtown yesterday and had a “28 Days Later” flashback (not to be confused with a “28 Days” flashback, which would be another thing entirely, and unlikely as I never saw that flick).

Oh well, at least that means it takes less time to get food.

Random weekend occurance: A taxi pulled up to our place and a bag-carrying driver came to our door. “Is this 376 A?” he asked, and when I said “yes” he said, “Did you folks call for the cigarettes?”

We did not. But I could tell that Monstro thought it was a great idea!

Friday afternoon

So it’s the aforementioned Friday afternoon and I’ve been not-so-busy at work but not-so-rich for leaving early. I do answer the phone and everything, but everyone in the office has their own back-door number so my phone, the general switchboard, doesn’t get in on the action unless it’s 1) one of the stores (which is cool) 2) a salesperson (in which case I play dumb and take a message or 3) a wrong number. Maybe five times a day the phone rings. Maybe.

That’s not all I do, of course. It’s actually an enjoyable job. I fulfill marketing and prize requests. I also process the mail when it comes in and, as such, get the first crack at any unclaimed catalogs. Office supply used to be my favorite genre; now it’s the promotions rags. Last week, I bit my tongue from purchasing a gross of flip-flop erasers in assorted neon colors for $3.49.

My favorite co-worker (though they’re all lovely) has also come to the conclusion that she’s either mastered her job or bullied all the stores into doing things the right way, because she’s got a lot of free work time on her hands. This morning was no exception.

“I usually have some corrections to make on the orders when I get them,” she told me. “Today, every store did it right, except for one error that will take me like, 10 minutes.” We laughed.

I went home for lunch, just in time to see Max-cat dash across the street in the path of the car in front of me. Everyone escaped without injury, though Maxwell’s pride suffered when I soundly berated him from across the street.

Monstro was going to come home but called at 12:35. “I guess you’ve figured I’m not coming home for lunch,” he said. True dat. “What are you doing this afternoon?”

“Well, the store mail to-be-logged usually keeps me busy for half an hour,” I said.

Despite what my Bible study said on Monday, my prophecy skills failed me (if you’ve already guessed the punchline, give yourself a bubble-gum cigar). Not a single piece of store mail to-be-logged. For the first time since I started work a month ago.

Just as well that I saved my big project for after lunch: an inventory of the stockroom that I organized and consolidated last Friday. Friday is our jeans day so it’s better to save the dirty work until then.

Maybe I could sneak in a book with me…

OK…time has passed… I did a lovely job on the inventory, didn’t sandbag or anything, and got it all typed up into a spreadsheet with subheadings and everything. Plus, when I got back to my desk, there was one envelope of store mail to be logged (the local stores sometimes drive it over to us). And it’s 3:56, 64 minutes to go until the weekend. Have a great one!

yesterday Bloomsdayday

Chico celebrates Bloomsday in grand style and I was no exception. Kyle came over at 6:00 with a twelve-pack of Guinness and a bottle of Bushmills. Angelica showed up at 6:30 and she and Erik (our roommate) ran out for dinner. We left at 7:00 — Kyle drove, bless him — and upon arrival at the Blue Room Theatre we found three perfect seats. I pulled three more Guinness from my big purse, popped the caps with my Staglin Family Vineyard corkscrew/bottle opener, and we drank.

The guy two seats over got Monstro’s attention. “Hey, I’m giving a toast during this. Can I borrow your bottle when the time comes?” (later, we were delighted to learn that Samuel Beckett was his role).

Fitz Smith started the evening with a lecture titled, “Who’s Who When Everybody’s Somebody Else,” a succinct syllabus of Ulysses, nothing I didn’t already know but I could tell that my theater partners were happy to hear it. 🙂

For “Sirens,” they opted for shadow-puppets — very clever and effective. Joe Hilsee blew me away with his narration. Dylan Latimer directed that segment and then segued in to his own commentary of the work, as the character of James Joyce, loyal-yet-fiesty Nora Barnacle (the always-a-treat Betty Burns) at his side.

Pound, Eliot, and Beckett offered toasts, and I swigged from the airline sample of Bushmills Irish Creme but did not finish it.

The raucus Motormouth Elliot, Steve Metzger, Matt Brown, Fitz Smith et all then claimed the stage as sailors (adorable) and sang 10 verses of “O, You New York Girls.” They’d printed the chorus in the program and we sang along lustily.

Frank Ficarra gave another scholarly lecture, reclaiming the stage with “Santanyana Revisited,” about which I remember little, because it was followed by “A Moral Pub,” adapted by Fitz, Directed by Mary Ann Latimer, and starring Paul Stout at Leopold Bloom. He was so Bloomish he didn’t even need to wear the bowler hat, which indeed he had foresworn. He was breathtaking; the best acting I’ve seen at the Blue Room, for certain.

Intermission — Monstro asked me for a Guinness and I bought him one, but by the time he returned he already had one, so I had to take it for Team Johnson.

Right as we were settling in for Act Two, some uncouth frat-boy’s phone rang, and it took more than a moment to realize that they were pounding their way on to the stage for the Steve Metzger interpretation of “Oxen of the Sun.” Very clever,  not so different from the chapter.  A good novel transcends time, especially in the hands of a gifted adapter, and Ulysses is no exception.

Denny Latimer promised us five but gave us 10 minutes of a musical, abridged version of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, another one of Julie’s favorites, I remember. Clark Brown lectured on James Joyce and time, which was lovely and probably got Erik all excited because that’s the stuff upon which he wrote his Masters thesis.

A not-quite-right-key-but-nonetheless-enthusiastic version of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” and then the pinnacle, Samantha Perry as Molly doing the last three pages of Molly’s soliloquy. This I was prepared to be harsh with but she was lovely.

Of course, ifshe’d done it with my interpretation she’d have been masturbating, as that’s how I’ve always read it, but every interpretation is a valid interpretation if you put enough mind and heart behind it.

So, a resounding “Yes!” to The Celtic Knights of the Sea for a magical evening of Joyce in a Parisian cafe more than 3000 miles from la ville des lumières. I’ll coin the expression “Blue Room Bliss,” which occurs when one is entertained like a Parisian while drinking like an Irishman. Highly, highly recommended.

Happy 100th birthday, June 16th, 1904. Thank God Mr. Joyce took Nora walking that day, the day she “made a man of me,” as the artist would say for the rest of his life — even though she hated his writing, didn’t understand a word of it, and was only happy that people bought it.

First Blogger post ever

[I moved to Blogger from hosting Motormouth on my own domain, and before that at –MM/LBJ]

Well, I’ve never “chatted,” I’ve never “IM”d, but I’m Blogger-ing.  Julie and Steve have been wonderful inspirations to me. And heck, it’s the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday, so maybe that contrary James Joyce has something to do with it. In any case, welcome and enjoy(ce)