Your Little Black Backpack.

You're trying to find a reason for the way you feel tonight
Your mind is lined with layers of lead
Have you heard one thing that I've said?

(I have got to start learning how to put my more complicated emotions into my own words instead of borrowing lyrics from one-hit wonders to do the job for me.)

11-30-2004 10:27 PM - comments (0)

I've Got Jalapeno Eye.

I had a memorable Thanksgiving Day weekend. The highlights:

• As promised, I made chili on Wednesday night. Then I cut my finger open with one of my new (kitchen) knives, got onion all over my hands and rubbed jalapeno into my right eye, causing me to shriek, "I've got JALAPENO EYE!" over and over, to no one in particular. But it was all for a good cause; Michael seemed to like the weird recipe (it called for sirloin instead of ground beef and one can of ale. I really only chose it because it had the word "ale" in it), and now I have enough food for the next two weeks, it seems.

• I spent Thanksgiving Day with Michael's extended family. His aunt Eileen's house in St. Charles is really nice, and all of her kids are awesome (one of them even hugged me tightly as I was leaving and told me I had to stay because she loved me. How cute is that?). So is the rest of Michael's VERY BIG family (in numbers, not in weight).

• His grandmother, whom I briefly sort of met at last year's meal, made it a point to come downstairs and introduce herself. She enveloped me in a big hug and grabbed my hand and started telling me how happy she was that I was there. Then she introduced me to Mr. Flanagan, Michael's grandfather. The first thing he said was, "I knew that was Rachel the second she walked into the room!" (Of course, he asked my name again a few minutes later, but it was still really cute.) They told me all about how they met almost six decades ago —he was back from the service and called a bowling alley to see if his sister was there, and Mrs. Flanagan picked up the phone. "I had always wanted to do that," she said.

• I brought a bottle of Yellow Tail chardonnay to the event, knowing they probably wouldn't need any more food. As we sat down to eat, one of Michael's cousins started complaining about how bad the Yellow Tail was. "Whatever you do, don't drink it. It's awful," she said kind of loudly. Then she proceeded to ask me which wine I had brought so she could pour me a glass. Instead of deadpanning, "Actually, the Yellow Tail," all I could do was stutter pathetically, "Um, I don't remember." Michael's mom came out and only heard that last bit and said, "If you want to know what wine you brought, I could tell you." Panicked, I said, "Just bring me out whatever you're drinking." Awkward! Besides, Yellow Tail rocks. And it makes me think of Jen, who seems to be MIA. (Jen, call me! I need to tell you about the weird dream I had about you.)

• Later on, Michael told me his mom let him know I had "passed the family test." They passed mine, too.

• I'm not sure what got into me, but I decided I had to go shopping on Friday. I did the smart thing and had Michael drop me off and pick me up to avoid having to find a parking spot. Anyway, I went to about 4,000 stores (or 10) and tried on gowns for this gala thing Michael and I are going to for my work. The invitation specifically said "black-tie," and being the bridal editor that I am, I knew that to mean "floor-length." Which is a shame, because I found a lot of cool dresses that were cocktail- and tealength that I liked (let me tell you, shopping is a lot more fun now that I can fit into size 6s and the like versus 12s).

• I finally came upon an absolutely gorgeous BCBG Max Azria siren-red halter dress (size small! How is this possible? Well, it's a little snug around the chest and hips, but whatever). I had tried on countless dresses — sparkly, ruffly, black, turquoise, hot pink, bows, sashes, etc. — but this one was perfect. The BCBG lady advised me to get gold shoes and accessories, which at first I cringed at because I really, really do not like gold, but I found some cute strappy gold sandals at Bakers, some sexy gold Givenchy chandelier earrings and a little gold purse at Dillard's. I modeled the whole thing for Michael, who totally should have wolf whistled at me, but that's OK. He can save that for the gala. Photos from the event will follow.

• I drove to Columbia with Michael this weekend — he to see his family and me to see Christie and Melissa. The girls and I had a lovely dinner at Sophia's (martinis = $4) and then Christie and I went to the new martini bar, cleverly titled The Martini Bar, next door. As we walked in, we saw Quin "The Hair" Snyder, who looked at us for a long time expectantly, as if we were supposed to acknowledge his presence somehow. Maybe he wanted a wolf whistle or something.

• Anyway, Quin lingered for a while while (weird, two whiles in a row) Christie and I downed, er, sipped some very good but very expensive drinks (apple pie shot, mint martini, chocolate raspberry martini and a whiskey and coke for me; chocolate mint martini, french raspberry martini and german chocolate cake martini for her). Kim Massie and her band, who I found out later on are from St. Louis, performed, and they were so amazing. Her voice was one of the best I've ever heard — she did some Etta James and Jill Scott stuff and some other R&B songs from yesteryear, and it was so soulful that I had to dance. Well, some guy grabbed Christie and me to dance to the band's version of Clarence Carter's "Strokin.'" I hardly think you can blame me, with lyrics like "Stroke it to the east, stroke it to the west, stroke it to the woman that I love the best." Oh, and "Clarence Carter, Clarence Carter, OOOOH SHIT!"

• Two words: Shakespeare's pizza.

• One more word: Jujyfruits.

• Some more words, related to work: PEOPLE NEED TO TURN IN THEIR FREAKING INSERTION ORDERS SO I DO NOT KILL THEM OR MYSELF. Let's just say having to write 12 stories, even if they are "fillers" and "short" in 18 hours, is insane at best.

• The new Interpol record is fantastic. I listened to it seven times in a row while trying to drown out the people in the cubicles around me.

• Check out the Currently section. Now. I mean, if you have time and are curious about what trite things I've been up to/watching/wearing/etc.

11-30-2004 5:55 PM - comments (2)

Chili Today, Hot Tamale.

Snow is better in theory than in practice, but it does give me an excuse to dust off the crock pot and make some chili. And cornbread. And all that other weird Midwestern/Southern stuff. I planned on eating light in preparation of Thanksgiving tomorrow, but alas. The snow was impatient. Staying inside with my other half and using Elliott to keep warm (don't laugh; his fur/tubbiness mixture is a force to be reckoned with) seems like the best thing tonight.

But this does not in any way mean that that other half is not going to be dragged to see the new Bridget Jones movie. I'm due.

11-24-2004 3:42 PM - comments (0)

Journalists For Sale.

News broke Saturday night that Pulitzer Inc. is seeking strategic alternatives and has retained Goldman, Sachs & Co. to advise for a possible divestiture. I used to read and analyze press releases like the one they handed out at work yesterday for a living, and when people here try to tell me it doesn't necessarily mean we're being sold and that there isn't yet a buyer, I have to disagree (silently). Yes, we're being sold. Yes, there is a buyer in mind. Yes, this has been going on for quite some time. And, finally, yes, people will be laid off.

But I'm not too worried about my job. The new projects division is nothing more than a few words in Pulitzer's investor kit, but it's still (marginally) profitable. If anything, if a Gannett or Knight-Ridder ends up buying us, we might get better office supplies. That and the whole increased efficiency thing. The news of a possible buyout alone increased our stock 17 percent to $64.25.

And on that note, I won't mention this again until I have something new to report on. I may not lose my job due to the sale, but I could for talking about it.

11-23-2004 11:10 AM - comments (2)

The Underrated Music Magazine.

I just got the December issue of Spin yesterday. U2 is on the cover, and it brought back memories of, well, Saturday night when they performed on SNL. Specifically, it brought back memories of when they played that third song, supposedly spontaneously, and Bono humped that scared-looking girl. And then got all up on Amy Poehler, who had a look on her face like, "I am finally rewarded for being funny!" to which I replied in my head, "You totally suck on Weekend Update. You suck so badly that you make Jimmy Fallon look like, um..." and I couldn't finish the thought because even in my head my comebacks are terrible.

Rolling Stone has non-musician sluts on their cover and rotten political stories that they think are important or going to change the way Americans think or something. Music always seems to be an afterthought there. Spin might be a little too in love with image-based bands (The Hives, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, anyone with lots of growling or sparkly eye makeup, really), but they really pack their pages with as many bands as they can write about, which I appreciate.

Being an aging pre-adult (harkening back to the days of, well, this past Saturday and the "cool teacher" sketch on the aforementioned SNL), I don't have time to rifle through the CD racks at Vintage Vinyl or even Best Buy, which is where I look more at home. So I rely pretty much solely on Spin, ITunes, Pitchfork and Michael for anything new. Sad but true.

But the best thing about Spin is that it has Chuck Klosterman and Dave Eggers. This month, Klosterman writes about "accurately rated bands" -- that is, bands that are neither under- nor overrated. I laughed out loud many times while reading it. Some samples of accurately rated bands: Tone Loc, The Blue Oyster Cult and the Black Crowes. And Eggers writes about that gross couple who always shows up to good shows (he went to the Pixies show in L.A.) and makes you feel weird about liking the same band as very lame people.

So, um, in conclusion (I never was very good at wrapping up), Spin would make a nice gift for someone this holiday season.

11-23-2004 7:54 AM - comments (2)

Truer Words.

Passion or coincidence once prompted you to stay
Pride will tear us both apart.

11-19-2004 3:51 PM - comments (1)

Kittens, Rainbows and Butterflies.

I'll post soon to recap my week in sunny Mexico, which included everything in that little pink title above.

I realize I've been inconsistent with my post titles. Sometimes they're lower-cased, sometimes they're actually within the body of the post and most of the time they're non-existent. I'm jealous of Justin's titling skills; he handily blends song/book titles with other common phrases, which actually reminds me the friend of Dave Eggers in "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" who has the cool band names, the ones that splice together a high-culture thing with a low-culture thing, like Scott Beowulf, JFKFC and, come to think of it, my high school friends' band, Frank Zapatista. (Presuming, of course, that Frank Zappa is the low-culture thing. But I've been wrong before.)

So. More consistent titles. Capitalized. But not funny, clever or anything like that. I don't want anyone mistaking me for the version of myself I have in my head. Though she is fucking awesome.

11-18-2004 2:53 PM - comments (1)

So my fabulous all-expenses paid

So my fabulous all-expenses paid business trip to Cancun/Playa del Carmen has been extended a few more days. It turns out Funjet "didn't have room on the return flight." I'm not sure why I just used quote marks there, but go with it.

Anyway, they graciously offered to put up my mom and me (yes, I'm bringing my mom — we both could use a vacation) in the hotel from the 10th-17th. If I don't come home as tan as a Delta Gamma, something is seriously wrong with me. Also, I'm not sure why I just used Delta Gamma as my sorority example. I mean, I'm definitely not coming home as hot as a Delta Gamma. Maybe I should have gone with a less attractive sorority for self-handicapping reasons.

Who cares? My picture is on Blacktie St. Louis (from the Women of Achievement thing at the Ritz)! And I think another one from the same night will be in the Ladue News! I was the youngest, poorest person there. (And the tallest, by the looks of the photo.)

Anyway. So, yeah, seven days on the beach. I wonder if I can get some sexy Mexican boys to slather sunscreen on me. Well, slowly rub more than slather, rather. Mmm. (I don't think Michael reads my site anymore, so I'm OK.)

I'm sorry, but "Everlong" is one of the best songs ever written.

I think Mary Ann is going to give me the editorial side of Old Newsboys Day to coordinate next year. It was really hard jumping into it mid-project (well, more like late-project). That would be really neat, if time-consuming — it would really prepare me for working with charity projects, and it's one more thing to add to my resume. Also, I found out today I'm getting another raise starting Jan. 1. I asked how much it would be, but depending on how much of it is approved, I won't know probably until December. That's OK; I have a good idea of how much it is, and let me say, my credit card bills will thank me. Or will they?

How's everyone holding up? I know Joe and Doug are in the same boat with me — how about the rest of you?

11-05-2004 4:14 PM - comments (4)

Just Another Day (Without Overwhelming Sadness)

I've been pretty angry these last few days. Angry, sad, bitter, surprised, disappointed...I kind of feel like I just experienced a rotten breakup or the death of a loved one, as Sally mentioned. I don't think it's exactly hit me yet, but I suppose it has four more years to hit and hit and hit.

Which is why I'm glad to have a nice Friday afternoon, complete with the promise of the approaching weekend, a nice lunch with my friends and Jon Secada mourning lost love over my headphones. No joke.

11-05-2004 2:33 PM - comments (5)

November 3, 2004

If it's a war they want, it's a war they'll get. Who's with me?

Some say the end is near
some say we'll see armageddon soon
I certainly hope we will.
I sure could use a vacation from this
bullshit, three-ring circus sideshow of freaks...

Some say a comet will fall from the sky
followed by meteor showers and tidal waves
followed by faultlines that cannot sit still
followed by millions of dumbfounded dipshits

One great big festering neon distraction
I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied:

Learn to swim.

11-03-2004 2:29 PM - comments (2)

November 2, 2004

I talk of freedom
You talk of the flag
I talk of revolution
You'd much rather brag
And as the decibels of this disenchanting discourse
continue to dampen the day
The coin flips again and again and again and again
as our sanity walks away
All this discussion, though politically correct,
is dead beyond destruction,
though it leaves me quite erect

And as the final sunset rolls behind the earth
and the clock is finally dead
I'll look at you, you'll look at me
and we'll cry a lot
But this will be what we said:

Look where all this talking got us, baby

11-01-2004 9:04 PM - comments (2)