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November 28, 2003

Explain it to me

Like at Christmas, I once again realize how the addition of alcohol to mandatory family functions can really liven things up. Having finally been let into that club, I understand that my family has been getting sloshed without me for years - which is why, I assume, they don't mind getting together. This most recent holiday featured all New Zealand guests, and if anyone knows how to put away the liquor, it's them.

The brevity of my visit lent itself to me feeling a little overstimulated. I wanted to see everyone I was missing, but there was no time, and I had obligations to my family. For once, I believe that I actually fulfilled those obligations. I am a wayward black-sheep family member, and I imagine it will take many more Thanksgivings and the like before I am anything else. I screwed some things up when my brother died, and my filial attrition will be a long time coming. Still, at least I can have a drink while I'm putting in the time. That helps.

It's also tricky (for me at least) to see people for just minutes at a time. It's almost harder than not seeing them at all, because it simply refreshes my longing to have more time with them. I guess that's stupid, but it feels true. It doesn't stop me from trying to see them, though. I still miss them enough that I would be angry with myself for not trying.

Coming up is always exciting, but I leave a little sadder, a little confused about where my home really is. It's a feeling I don't understand, and don't really like, but I can't do anything about it. I must remember that it is better that I got to see anyone at all, even if it's just for a minute. Even if it hurts a little. It's still worth it.

Thankfully, I have tech for a show and much schoolwork to occupy my time in the immediate. Tech will be fun, schoolwork will not. But it's something to do. It's something to alleviate the stinging behind my eyes and my urge to kidnap people and selfishly keep them in my closet so they'll always be there. I'm no good when I am just sitting around. I prefer to be a busy girl. Less psychotic that way. And that helps, too.

Posted by kati at 06:16 PM

November 24, 2003

Lean Green Fighting Machine

"Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

My roommate came home early from work today, completely unaware that I was harboring a fiery demon in my chest. For that matter, I thought myself in a rather jovial mood and was equally unaware of the beast sleeping within me.

I had some chocolate cake out on the counter. It was leftover from an amazing dinner from yesterday, and I had taken it out of the fridge to warm up before I devoured it. The roommate asked to eat some. With some resignation I muttered "ok" and fumed quietly as he ate half of it.

Then he asked to put The Sopranos on. I like the Sopranos, but I had just seen that episode, and I didn't really want to watch it. Still, I said nothing. Sitting there, watching James Gandolfini beat a man to death with his bare hands, I couldn't help thinking how nice it might feel to throw something at my disruptive roommate.

So why all the rage? Why does half a piece of chocolate cake and an hour of repeated tv threaten to spoil my otherwise good day? Would yelling like a psychotic bitch at my poor unwitting roommate make anything any better? Probably not. Is it worth it to say 'fuck off, that's my cake' or 'I don't want to watch the Sopranos. I want to watch crap instead, and if you wanna be in here so bad then you'd better just suck it up and watch crap too'? Would that really solve anything? Nah, probably not.

It's better just to deal with it, try and control the rage and wait for it to subside. Better for public relations, that's for sure.
Besides, he didn't really do anything wrong. and that's just less cake going to my ass in the long run.

He's actually doing me a favor.

Posted by kati at 07:54 PM

November 22, 2003

Rocket Man

"I know most people don't like me. I don't care. I don't like most people."

Dr. Romano,

You were, by all accounts, a total asshole. You took pleasure in offending your colleagues and embarrassing everyone around you. You yelled at med students, grabbed the nurses asses, demoralized residents, undermined attendings, and were rude to absolutely everybody. No one was safe. You even told Kerry Weaver that you had your fingers crossed when you took the Hippocratic oath. You were gleefully malicious, and there was something strangely attractive in how much we all wanted to strangle you sometimes.
You were a chauvinist, a bigot, a homophobe, and dammit we loved you.

"I’m beginning to think that ER stands for 'everyone’s retarded'. I mean it's honestly a wonder you all find your way to work every day."

Who could have known that your life would end in a blaze of fire on Thursday night? How could we have guessed that the same instrument of torture that severed your arm not 2 years ago would come crashing down upon you - even as you fled from it into the ambulance bay. It was a shock to say the least. We all screamed in disbelief, and then whimpered in stunned sadness at the thought that you were actually gone. Really, we should have known. It was only just before they killed you off that the show's producers would dare include the inevitable "Talk to the (robotic) hand" joke ... eh.
The Emergency Room docs are none the wiser, having not even pulled the helicopter off your cremated corpse. You didn't die with honor as I would have hoped, saving some cripple from burning to death in a building or something appropriately heroic. Instead, you died screaming in fear. You died under a pile of fiery, razor-sharp metal. Adding insult to injury, your last few efforts to *improve* the hospital will go unheeded and unheard by your survivors. You were a bastard, Romano, and I just don't see how the ER is going to get by without you.

"If wishes were horses, then we'd all be knee deep in crap."

But you weren't always the "horrid little turd" that everyone makes you out to be. True, you were exactly that a solid 99.5% of the time we saw you, but occasionally we could catch something human seep out the side of your hardass exterior. You couldn't fool us all the time, Robert. That's what made you so interesting, so great. You were a mean little man with a lot to compensate for, and a very tart way of doing it. You got angry, defensive, scared, and so very occasionally you were even sweet. (Never sensitive, though, that's not your style.) It was always very fun to watch you work.

"Yeah ... there might be a brand new Hyundai behind door #1, but odds are it's really just a jackass and a thousand pounds of elbow macaroni."

Well it looks like it's Macaroni for you this time. Farewell, Doctor. We'll miss you a lot. You miserable little prick.

Posted by kati at 05:55 PM

November 20, 2003

Eu, Gene.

Happy Birthday, Gene!

I met you at a dinner after you came back from Germany - back when you were a blonde.
I got drunk and made an ass of myself. You were mildly amused. I haven't changed, and we're still friends. I have to respect that.

It's too bad we can't hang out anymore, though. I wish we could. It's just ... you're so damn old.

Ich wünsche Sie gut im nächsten Jahr und in Ihrem Leben. Ich habe so viel Spass gehabt seitdem ich Sie traf, und ich für Ihre Freundschaft dankbar bin. Ich wünsche Glück, Liebe, gute Gesundheit, und gute Zeiten für Sie. Hier ist zu Ihnen, einem guten Mann und einem guten Freund! Glücklicher Geburtstag.

Have a great birthday, Mr. Wood. Try not to break a hip.

Posted by kati at 07:55 AM

November 10, 2003

Black Ops Sunday

Sunday Mission: An evening in the Natural Hotsprings of Murrieta.
Ops team: Kati, Kelly, Alan, and Theo
Armed with: New headlight for Mission Vehicle, burgers, swimsuits, towels, half a gallon of cheap wine, U.S. Geological Survey Map.

Short-term Mish 1: Locate Hotsprings -
Our USGS map lead us to residential housing, past a Christian "hot springs" resort. The Christian at the front gate said that there hadn't been hotsprings there in 8 years. Really? We suspected the Christian compound had something to hide, though that wouldn't seem too Christian of them, now would it?
Still, we followed our internet directions to a dark and sleepy cul-de-sac. We also happened to be in the midst of a retirement community, so no one was about. We spotted a public easement leading to a trail beside one of the homes, and slipped to do some stealth mission reconnaissance.

Spotted hotsprings down the trail. Moved in for closer surveillance. Most of the sulfurous pools had been converted into decorative fountains. We were now clearly on Christian property, having snuck in through the back. The eerie part was - for all the steaming springs and sprawling lawns and bridges and paths and fountains we encountered, there was not ONE human. Nowhere. Black Ops Team found a suitable spring, and we returned to the car to regroup before infiltration.

Short-term Mish 2: Undercover Infiltration - after a quick briefing (wine), and some clothing removal, we returned to enemy territory. Now people could be seen walking around and the team was nervous. Surveillance of the newcomers revealed them to be students of some kind, so we decided to infiltrate by "hiding in plain sight." Our stealth mission had become an undercover operation. We finally reached our spring, and after some debate, disrobed and hopped in. We were clearly on a main path of travel, with students walking or biking by, looking once and then keeping their eyes fixed on the ground. Eventually, one zealous Christian approached.
First Christian: Are you guys students?
Me: No. We're visitors. Why? Isn't this allowed?
First Christian: Yeah, I mean we don't allow men and women to be in the hot tub together. The pool's ok, but if you aren't students ... I guess it's fine.

Later, we were approached again.
Second Christian: Are you students?
Me: No, we're guests. We were told we were ok here.
Second Christian: Well, are you married?
(awed silence) Me: No we're not.
Second Christian: Well I think the same rules still apply. If you want to hang around, you should get dressed.

Female Ops Team members dressed and left the boys bathing, assigning husbands and marriage dates to each, and headed to the trail above the campus so Kelly could have a cigarette - as I was sure *that* would not be allowed on the campus. Upon return, the rest of the team was not at Bravo location, so it was assumed they had retreated to Alpha location (car). On our way up, we were accosted by security, our cover blown.

Security: First of all, don't go up there. That's the men's dorm.
(we step down)
Second of all, can I help you with something?
Female Ops Team: Lies. Lies lies and more lies.
Security: Well you're trespassing so I should have you arrested, but just get out of here. Go straight down that road and get out of here. Now. Go.

After much stealth running, we found ourselves *above* the men's dorms. Two enemy spies were at their cars (one of which had a huge decal of Christ with His thorny crown on the back windshield - yikes!) We tortured them for information, and eventually got back to the trail. Male Ops was right behind us, and we made it safely back to HQ.

Mission: accomplished.

Posted by kati at 12:54 PM

November 07, 2003

Bar maids

Pulled together like some kindergarten Christmas project, I've found a place to wait. Some lonely bar, maybe in a hotel, where people walk past but not in. Here is where I sit watching in my Sunday finest. An awkward but well intentioned creation of eyeliner and lip gloss, sparkle and spackle. My hair smells like soap and tastes like salt, my neck and wrists smell of Calvin Kline. I sit at the bar, fidget with the peanuts, nervously cross and uncross my legs and try not to bite my nails. The smoke from my neglected cigarette gets into my eyes, eliciting reactionary tears. Tears that are mirrored by the drink that sits, ice melting, a pool of water collecting at its base. I remain collected, clearing my throat and trying hard to give off an air of unwavering self-possession. I try not to look hopeful, like I'm waiting for someone to come in for me. Like if no one ever does it won't be a wasted trip.

But I do wonder where he is. Sometimes. That wondrous mixture of all the men who I've wished I could love, or thought I did. The one who couldn't possibly exist. The one who might someday sit down next to me in that bar, or get me to leave it. I wonder where she is, too - the girl who wouldn't be afraid to leave with him if he came along.

I don't mind the wait really. I am silently hopeful that it won't be entirely fruitless. But then again, I can't get too upset about anything. I'm only a metaphor.

Posted by kati at 11:15 PM

November 02, 2003

Phair Weather Fans (pt. 1)

It was only a few months ago that I didn't know much about Liz Phair. I lowered my head and blushed with embarrassment when Erica asked me if I knew her and I, with my usual tact and good timing, unsteadily replied "I think I've heard of ... them." Oh God. I am so lame.

In fact, I *had* heard of "them" or rather her, able to later identify the song running through my head at the time as "Supernova". It was Liz Phair, wasn't it, who I had seen on VH1 only days before as I tried to rouse myself for work? Blonde woman? Guitar? Was that right?

Yeah, it was. Sitting in my friends car later I heard the uber-catchy "Why Can't I?" and asked who we were listening to. Liz. Such a coincidence! My interest was totally piqued. I figured it wouldn't hurt to find a little more of her music and educate myself, right?

Since then I have listened to as much Liz Phair as I can get my hands on, amazed that I had missed out on her for so long. All her albums, live recordings, anything really. I love to sing along with her low, gravely voice and rock out to her in my car.

I read Ms. D's thought provoking Letter to Liz before I had heard all of her albums. It wasn't until later that I understood where Erica was coming from with it. Since then I've heard far harsher statements regarding Liz's "sell out" stature. It seems that some fans have turned on the woman because she wears a mini-skirt on the Tonight Show and is spending more money on record production. And while I agree that some things have certainly changed, I think there might be another way to look at it.

Sure, the lyrics on her new album are distinctly more pop, and her new single in nauseatingly over-produced. Sure, the same people who spawned that Avril monster were collaborators on her latest release. However, the album is hardly a total loss. The tone of her writing is different than it has been before, even schoolgirly and idealistic when she sings about love, etc. But not all tracks have the same heightened production as the big single, and like all her previous records, there are some absolute gems. "It's poppy, but it's still Liz."
Also, she's 36 now, divorced, and still supporting a child. My friend pointed out to me that she can't be a strictly indie hit forever, not if she wants to make any money. She needs to move some records, sell out some tour dates, and keep herself in the running if she wants any kind of longevity. Is it fair for us to criticize her image-shift? Wouldn't we do the same? Does it really come at the expense of all her artistic integrity? Maybe it does, but maybe not.

I'm all for watching an artist play with their style, change things around. Sometimes they lose me, but sometimes I like where they end up. I'm willing to stick around and see where Liz ends up, too. I was a little startled by her performance on Ellen Degeneres' talk show. She didn't sound comfortable with her own song. Would that hold true for the whole new album?

Thoughts on her concert in Pt. 2

Posted by kati at 06:34 PM