Rachel, your subconscious mind is

Rachel, your subconscious mind is driven most by Love.

(According to the results of my inkblot test, anyway.)

06-29-2004 2:20 PM - comments (0)

And so it goes.

And so it goes.

06-28-2004 9:26 PM - comments (0)

This weekend • I'll probably

This weekend

• I'll probably write about this in more detail later, but for now I'll say just this: Fahrenheit 9/11 is an incredible movie. Anyone who cares about democracy, human rights and/or America has to see it. (It was pretty cool to be part of the opening night crowd, who applauded, booed and hissed throughout. Actual hissing took place! All thanks to John Ashcroft's amusing scenes!)

• I dyed my hair blue-black and got it chopped off. I still have problems looking at myself in the mirror. I'm trying to be zen about it, but it's hard. It doesn't feel like me at all, but everyone's been really nice about it, which makes it easier. All weekend I wanted to hide under the covers and never come out.

• I watched the Cardinals destroy Kansas City with Michael. Good stuff. I'm rediscovering my love for Major League Baseball, and the fact that my team (mine!) was 19-6 in June and has some of the best players in the game just delights me. I'm holding out for the Yankees-Cardinals World Series. Wouldn't that rock?

• I had a really good day at work Friday. There's a new reporter — he's actually covering the beat I used to — who is really cool. And not just in the Journals kind of way. (We have a joke that a hot guy here is "hot by Journals standards." The same could be said for interesting guys.) Anyway, the first thing I really talked to him about was music. My former boss overheard me asking and said, kinda condescendingly, "That's so high school." And he responded, "Actually, it's not. Music is really important to me." He proceeded to rattle off a list of bands he liked — The White Stripes, the Pixies, the Rolling Stones, Modest Mouse, Pearl Jam, even the Starlight Mints (!). I think my jaw hit the ground. An interesting, cool, not unattractive guy at the Journals? I must have done something good in a past life. Or maybe last week at work.

• Also, a guy everyone thinks is hot who is here auditing introduced himself to me and sort of hit on me. He's cute in an Abercrombie kind of way, which is not really my type. (Michael is my type, in case he's fuming right now.) It was pretty funny. I offered him the use of my new massage chair, which he eagerly took me up on. He said it felt good on his butt and just sort of flashed me this million-dollar smile. Everyone thinks I'm a pimp now or something.

• I think I lost my pimp status after this haircut. Sigh. But how can I be upset about losing something I never really had? :)

06-28-2004 11:25 AM - comments (2)

I love being by myself.

I love being by myself. There's not a lot better in the world than sitting alone in a dark* theater with popcorn and a Cherry Coke for two hours. I'm not sure if I ever told you about that period of time in college when I went to movies on Thursday nights by myself. There were always three or four other people there by themselves, too, and I always wanted to say something to them, maybe suggest we start an official movie night, but then I realized that wouldn't make any sense. We were there to get away from people, not have to socialize with them.

One thing I don't particularly like doing is eating out by myself. I do it every now and then, but it's not as rewarding as seeing a movie. I went to P.F. Chang's for lunch a few days ago with a book.

"How many in your party?" the hostess asked.

"Party of one," I declared with a little too much zeal.

"Sometimes that's the best kind of party," the hostess said, as if she felt she had to say something to make me feel like less of a loser (which I didn't feel like until that moment).

"Booth or table?" she asked.

"Booth...if you have one," I responded. (I am a Booth Person. Table People scare me.)

She showed me to a booth that was made for about eight people.

"Um, that's a little big. I can just take a table," I said.

"Oh no, sit here. You deserve a booth," she said.

So I slid into the huge booth, not knowing what exactly it was I had done to deserve it. I kept moving from side to side, finally settling on somewhere in the middle facing out into the restaurant. So what if everyone saw me in a monster booth by myself? So what if they wondered why I didn't just sit at a table for two. Hyperbole is my specialty, people!

I began reading my book as I waited for my entree to arrive (why they don't just leave the menus for you to read obsessively is beyond me. Doesn't everyone like poring over them?).

I'm reading, or rather was reading, "Gerald's Game" by Stephen King. It sounded interesting: wife is growing tired of a loveless marriage to a man who enjoys sadomasochistic activities. Wife reluctantly allows husband to handcuff her to the bed but then realizes she wants out. He at first thinks she's just acting, but then realizes she's serious and still continues his advances. She somehow kicks him hard enough to kill him.

So now she's stuck in this cabin in Maine with no neighbors for miles. And then you find out she's kind of crazy; the voices of her multiple personalities (or so it seems) are getting louder and louder. A stray dog gets into the house looking for food. He discovers the corpse of her husband, and, you guessed it, begins eating his flesh. I had just gotten to the part where the dog is walking away with a flap of skin in his mouth when my crispy honey chicken arrived.

I think I'll stick to going to the movies.

*I am a freak about the conditions within a movie theater. It has to be perfectly dark, have amazing sound and have stadium seating. So far, the only theater in the St. Louis area that I've been to that meets those conditions is the AMC Creve Coeur. Too bad it's 25 damn minutes away.

06-25-2004 9:20 AM - comments (1)

• Mmmm, nothing cures a

• Mmmm, nothing cures a headache like a hot fudge sundae.

• In other news, happy birthday to Sally! She's having a get-together at her new apartment, but Michael and I have had plans for a few weeks to see Guster/Ben Folds/Rufus Wainwright at the Fox Theater (free tickets, I might add). So I'll have to help her celebrate this weekend instead.

• Speaking of Michael, there's nothing cuter than watching him watch a Cardinals game. (I know this will embarrass him, but I maintain it's my right to gush.)

• I have the best parents in the world.

06-23-2004 2:06 PM - comments (1)

On the Today Show this

On the Today Show this morning, they did a piece on Mattie Stepanek, the 13-year-old MDA ambassador/poet, who died. He seemed like a great kid, and an intelligent one at that.

This is from an e-mail I got about his death:

"Stepanek, of Rockville, Md., had dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy, a genetic neuromuscular disease that impaired almost all of his body's major
functions, such as heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and digestion, and
caused generalized muscle weakness. In his last few years, he used a power
wheelchair, ventilator and supplemental oxygen, and had regular blood
transfusions to keep going.

Stepanek's mother, Jeni, 44, has the adult-onset form of the disease, and
his three older siblings died of it in early childhood.

Perhaps because he witnessed death at an early age, Stepanek was acutely
aware of the value of life."

There's no doubt this kid did value life. But why did he have to? If the mother had the disease and gave birth to a child with the disease, why in the hell did she continue to have kids if she knew they were all going to die from it? Maybe I'm missing something (and I apologize if I am), but it seems incredibly selfish to do that, knowing they won't live to see adulthood. But no, she went on to have four children, who ALL DIED FROM THE SAME DISEASE. Why not adopt?

06-23-2004 8:42 AM - comments (6)

A couple of weeks ago,

A couple of weeks ago, Michael and I were driving home from Fuddruckers (yum, nacho cheese on hamburgers!) on I-44. At the Hampton exit, we saw highway signs — you know, the big green ones with the white reflective lettering — directing drivers to the Saint Louis Zoo. And then we had to do a double-take to see what they were directing us to next:


Giant Wheel. Not "The Giant Wheel" or "Ferris Wheel" or even "St. Louis Wheel." Giant Wheel. We happened upon this sign as I was busy with my Giant Fruit Gum. I had paid $.50 for it minutes earlier at Toys 'R Us. It was a gigantic watermelon, green striped on the outside and pink on the inside. The novelty was staggering. I could only chew half of it at once, it was so huge. I grew tired of it quickly (apparently gum can either be fun or long-lasting, but never both at once) and, as it did not come wrapped, I had no place to put it. Until I realized I could simply put the chewed gum into the other half of the watermelon shell.

Anyway. This helps explain my mental state as I witnessed the sign for Giant Wheel, which, I should explain, is really just a Ferris wheel on Highway 40 overlooking downtown. Apparently, it is supposed to be a St. Louis landmark or something, like the Giant, err, Gateway Arch.

So I have now found my new favorite sign ever in the history of the world, and I need to find a way to take a photo of it and enlarge it and hang it on my cubicle walls. Now if I could only find a place to put my watermelon gum shell containing chewed up watermelon gum.

06-21-2004 1:53 PM - comments (1)

A real-life story I said

A real-life story

I said I wouldn't talk about work on my site, but I have to post this. Here's the setup: Jamie and I were browsing the web for Elvis collectible dolls. (Jamie is a huge Elvis fan, and a coworker brought her an Elvis doll today, so we were trying to see how much it was worth.) The janitor came over to collect our trash. It is important to note the janitor is mentally handicapped, though not severely so. It is also important to note that she always tries to engage us in conversation about really weird things, and the result is generally awkward silence.

Today -- today of all days -- was no exception.

Rachel: Hey, look. There's the Elvis doll Stephanie gave you.
Jamie: Yeah. Look, that one is a 1950s version, and it comes with a vintage-looking Barbie doll.
Janitor: Oh yeah? I had one of those old Barbies.
Rachel: Really? That's nice. They're worth a lot these days. You should try to sell it.
Janitor: Well, I would except my brother cut its hair off. He told me that it would grow back but it didn't. So it has no hair.
Rachel and Jamie, somewhat simultaneously: That's not very nice!
Janitor: Well, it's OK now because we have a son together.
Most awkward of awkward silences ensues, as Jamie and I stare at the computer screen and try to process what has just been said.
Janitor, sensing our disbelief: Well, we do!

06-18-2004 5:35 PM - comments (2)

I thought of something silly

I thought of something silly to tell you.

I was at the grocery store tonight, searching for the one item on my list (Pringles, and Pringles con 1/3 Menos de Grasa que los Pringles Regulares at that) when I heard "I Just Called To Say I Love You." And as a ridiculous smile spread across my face, I realized that there are only a couple of songs that make me that happy. Specifically, the aforementioned work of genius; "Float On" by Modest Mouse (a new addition to the short list); and "End of the Line" by ultimate folk group Travelling Willburys. And that song is in the trailer for "The Terminal," so I get to have a ridiculous smile on my face a lot these days.

Y todos flotaremos en bueno

06-16-2004 9:46 PM - comments (4)

God, this website has gotten

God, this website has gotten so boring. Or maybe I have. I don't know. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only person who feels constant pressure to put aside my wildly fluctuating emotions and become a dull, professionally minded adult. But that's crazy, isn't it? It's not like we all just graduate from college and instantly grow up, do we? We get 75, maybe 100 years to live, and I figure I get at least the first 30 to enjoy things. Doesn't everyone else?

Because the truth is, I still feel like the unpredictable, silly, moody person I was when I was 16. I might have a bigger vocabulary and more money (not to mention a bit less angst), but I still don't exactly have a foot in the grave. I can't write about anything interesting here for fear people at work will find it and fire my unpredictable, silly, moody ass. So how can I make you believe my life is more interesting now than it's been in a while? There's uncertainty and constants and accomplishment and failure and everything in between. It's been fantastic, even though it doesn't always feel that way.

Maybe when I get back some of the chutzpah I had when I was 16, I'll tell you all about it. I get the feeling if I take too long, there won't be anything to tell anymore.

So so long to them thieves who came and took all the things to say
I play the joker sometimes, but then those moments slide back my way
'cause for real, I'd give my soul away
give it all away

06-16-2004 9:28 PM - comments (3)

I had what was quite

I had what was quite possibly the best Saturday ever. Who would have thought sleeping in, having lunch at St. Louis Bread Co., measuring windows, going to two different Target stores, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Linens 'n Things, taking a nap, going to Kobe for dinner and watching an old Saturday Night Live would qualify for that? (Oh, right. Michael was there the whole time!)

06-14-2004 7:44 AM - comments (0)

Slate, which introduced to the

Slate, which introduced to the word "Bushisms" (you know, "misunderestimate" and such), now brings us "Kerryisms." With one slight difference. The point of Bushisms was to humorously point out that Bush is a complete moron. Kerryisms aren't really pointing out anything other than the fact that Kerry isn't as economical in his language as, say, William Safire.

Kerryism of the Day
The senator's caveats and curlicues.
By William Saletan

Question: You once opposed mandatory sentences for people convicted of drug crimes.

Kerry: Yeah. There may have been an individual instance where I thought they were too long or didn't make sense.
—Time, Feb. 9, 2004

Kerry version:

Yeah, but I voted for them later on. There may have been an individual instance where I thought they were too long or didn't make sense. But I've voted for mandatory minimums in certain instances.

I took out the footnotes (if you read the article on Slate, you'll understand) because, frankly, all they do is make the Kerryisms really hard to understand.

If this is the best they can do to "insult" Kerry — in the loosest sense of the word — then I think Democrats don't have too much to worry about in November.

06-10-2004 2:35 PM - comments (0)

I worry that I sometimes

I worry that I sometimes take:

1) being in love with him
2) him being in love with me

for granted.

06-09-2004 9:17 PM - comments (1)

You don't know where and

You don't know where
and you don't know when
but you've still got your words
and you've got your friends

Walk along to another day
work a little harder
work another way

Well uh uh baby, I ain't got no plan
we'll float on maybe
would you understand?

--Modest Mouse, "The World at Large"

06-09-2004 9:13 PM - comments (0)

I was first thrilled and

I was first thrilled and then confused when TBS announced it would be airing "Sex and the City" (not "Sex in the City," as many "fans" think) starting next week. Thrilled because I, like every other American woman, love the show; confused because, how can a station such as TBS keep the, er, integrity of the show? What's the point of watching it if we can't hear Big say in that sexy growl "abso-fucking-lutely"?

The New York Times writes about the very same thing today, though I'm not really pleased by what they come up with. (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/09/arts/television/09SEX.html?8hpib) Guess I'll stick with the DVDs. (Though certainly not the first half of Season 6 for a whopping $41.99 at Target. I think I'll wait for all 16 episodes to be released, thanks.)

06-09-2004 12:11 PM - comments (2)

After four comments and three

After four comments and three e-mailed entries (which included some really, really bad suggestions from the non-journalists...but thanks for playing), we have a winner for the headline-guideline contest: Justin M. of Overland Park, Kan.! (I think that's where he lives. I'm too lazy to look it up. That and if I have more than one window open, my computer starts acting like a Pinto approaching 70 on the freeway.)

Justin, kudos on your music-inspired rules, which I will turn into a laminated guide for my office, er, cubicle:

I suggest following Every Sunday: Drag's headline style. You're pretty much on the right track anyway. All words should be capitalized except articles and short prepositions and conjunctions (four or fewer letters, I think). It's possible I am forgetting other litle pissant words. The important thing is to capitalize the important words: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc. Oh. Capitalize those pronouns, too. They're like nouns, after all. Always capitalize the first and last word no matter what.

Think about this: If you were titling a poem, album or song, what would you capitalize? Hail to the Thief. The Bends. In the first, you don't capitalize the article or the preposition. In the second, you capitalize the article because it's the first word. Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On" would look silly with a lowercased "on" as the last word of the title. Le Tigre's "My My Metrocard" and The Beatles' "I Me Mine" properly show pronouns with big letters at their beginnings. What about the longest title in the Pearl Jam catalog? Make sure you capitalize "Behind" in "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" because it's a preposition with six letters — two more than the "with" in "Devil with a Blue Dress On." The "Is" in "Judy Is a Punk" is short in length but not in height because it's a verb, and you should capitalize verbs.

If you have either Oh, Inverted World or Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins, check the song titles. They are capitalized perfectly.

Justin, somehow get your address to me and I'll ship you out your own copy of "Eats, Shoots and Leaves."

06-08-2004 11:01 AM - comments (0)

OK, people, I've got one

OK, people, I've got one free copy (including shipping and handling) of "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" riding on this.

One of the magazines I edit uses upstyle headlines. While I wish we could change this, we can't make major changes more than once every year (or some other such rule). I am having an enormous problem with consistency; specifically, I never know which words to leave uncapitalized. I generally keep articles lowercased, but I get confused on pronouns, prepositions and others.

The challenge: Send to me some guidelines for how to take care of this problem, using common sense and typical journalistic style. Include a list of words that should never be capitalized and why (it need not take you long). Of course, if you think every word should be capitalized, even articles and the like, let me know that, too.

The contest ends Friday at 5 p.m. Journalists and laypeople alike are encouraged to enter. Feel free to get ideas from national or local publications.

You can either leave me comments or e-mail me. Thanks!

06-02-2004 10:02 AM - comments (4)

I got this from Chase,

I got this from Chase, my favorite political convert.


New York, NY

6:00 p.m. Opening Prayer led by the Reverend Jerry Falwell

6:30 p.m. Pledge of Allegiance

6:35 p.m. Burning of Bill of Rights (excluding 2nd Amendment)

6:45 p.m. Salute to the Coalition of the Willing

6:46 p.m. Seminar #1 "Getting Your Kid a Military Deferment"

7:30 p.m. First Presidential Beer Bash for Bush

7:35 p.m. Serve Freedom Fries

7:40 p.m. EPA Address #1: "Mercury, It's What's for Dinner"

8:00 p.m. Vote on which country to invade next

8:10 p.m. Call EMTs to revive Rush Limbaugh

8:15 p.m. Lecture by John Ashcroft: "The Homos are After Your Children"

8:30 p.m. Roundtable discussion on reproductive rights (men only)

8:50 p.m. Seminar #2 "Corporations: The Government of the Future"

9:00 p.m. Condi Rice sings "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man"

9:05 p.m. Second Presidential Beer Bash for Bush

9:10 p.m. EPA Address #2 "Trees: The Real Cause of Forest Fires"

9:30 p.m. Break for secret meetings

10:00 p.m. Second prayer led by Pat Robertson

10:15 p.m. Lecture by Karl Rove: "Doublespeak Made Easy"

10:30 p.m. Rumsfeld demonstration of how to squint and talk macho

10:35 p.m. Bush demonstration of trademark "deer in headlights" stare

10:40 p.m. John Ashcroft demonstrates new mandatory kevlar chastity belt

10:45 p.m. Clarence Thomas reads list of black Republicans

10:46 p.m. Third Presidential Beer Bash for Bush

10:50 p.m. Seminar #3 "Education: A Drain on our Nation's Economy"

11:10 p.m. Hillary Clinton Pinata

11:20 p.m. Second Lecture by John Ashcroft: "Evolutionists — The Dangerous New Cult"

11:30 p.m. Call EMTs to revive Rush Limbaugh again

11:35 p.m. Blame Clinton

11:40 p.m. Laura serves milk and cookies

11:50 p.m. Closing Prayer led by Jesus Himself

12:00 a.m. Nomination of George W. Bush as Holy Supreme Planetary Leader

06-02-2004 8:44 AM - comments (0)

"Without the skin, Beneath the

"Without the skin,
Beneath the storm,
Under these tears
The walls came down.

And the snake is drowned and
As I look in his eyes,
My fear begins to fade
Recalling all of those times.

I could have cried then.
I should have cried then.

And as the walls come down and
As I look in your eyes
My fear begins to fade
Recalling all of the times
I have died
and will die.
It's all right.
I don't mind.

I am too connected to you to
Slip away, to fade away.
Days away I still feel you
Touching me, changing me."

-Maynard Keenan, who is far sexier than Paul Krugman

06-01-2004 9:31 PM - comments (0)

"Three years ago George Bush

"Three years ago George Bush claimed that he was cutting taxes to return a budget surplus to the public. Instead, he presided over a move to huge deficits. As a result, the modest tax cuts received by the great majority of Americans are, in a fundamental sense, fraudulent. It's as if someone expected gratitude for giving you a gift, when he actually bought it using your credit card."

-Paul Krugman in today's New York Times

06-01-2004 5:47 PM - comments (0)

Lord help me, I like

Lord help me, I like the new Modest Mouse album.

No, scratch that. I love it. I guess my ban on the band is officially over.

06-01-2004 10:25 AM - comments (5)