Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I Feel it All

Well, I knew when my friend ercwttmn had lapped me that it had been too long since I'd posted a blog. The last couple of weeks, being high stress and high activity, have left me a bit cranky. And you know, if you don't have anything nice to say...

So let's talk about Leslie Feist and Laura Veirs, as a little warm-up. Thanks to a dear friend of mine, an envelope from STL arrived with burned copies of these two lovely ladies' latest discs. I'd been chomping at the bit for Veirs' "Saltbreakers" after sampling a few tracks on my internet radio station, and it was as good as I expected. Pair it with the Shins' "Wincing the Night Away," and you've got yourself a nice little nautical adventure. Enchantment under the sea.

Feist, whom I love to see live, didn't disappoint either. I think her latest disc is much, much better than "Let it Die," which I bought excitedly after seeing her at Lollapalooza last year and abandoned after a few months. I read a review in the NYTimes of her latest NY show, and the writer said something about how Feist is the word "chanteuse" embodied. I couldn't agree more; what IS it about her voice? "I Feel it All" is my favorite track so far.

I turned 24 last Friday, and celebrated with many of my dear friends. I spent a lot of the old "birthday week" discussing how 24 seems much, much older than 23. Maybe I'm really letting myself settle into 24, knowing that the year ahead is more on track with the me that I think I am. On the other hand, there's this, summed up beautifully in an email sent by my fellow future student: do you ever worry that the heads will figure us out? like, we'll show up and they'll take one look and say, "wait, we thought you were someone else!"

Wait, we thought you were someone else! On days like yesterday, where I ping-pong between feeling like I'm running a 70 person training and feeling like I'm running a 70 person training into the ground, I wonder what the university will make of me upon my return to academia. Either way, I can't imagine a Beth not going back to school, so I must be doing something right.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Stories from a Sober Weekend

Indulge me in a scene: It's a sunny Saturday afternoon at the lake. 5 beautiful ladies in kids' sunglasses (all the extras they had at the lakehouse) take off for a boat ride with two young gentlemen. Jeanie's cousin, antsy for some outside stimulus, steers the boat in the direction of what he's heard is "a good dive bar." "This should be interesting," thinks the girl who can't drink.

Their boat pulls into a cove. A crowded, crowded cove. There are two oversized yacht-boats parked at the edge of a cram-full dock. A girl, caucasian in descent but brown in color, waves a skinny arm to signal an open spot behind one of the yacht-boats. Her cash tips are tucked into the waistband of her rolled up cotton shorts, because her bikini top doesn't afford any pockets. Billy, aforementioned cousin, steers the boat into a small spot next to a loooong, long fast boat. A glorified cigarette boat, if you will. The heroines mill about their own boat, applying sunscreen and taking in the sights.

In the long boat next to these lovely ladies, there are young men. Skeezy, skeezy young men. In the boat across from the ladies? More skeeze balls. Our protagonist has the distinct feeling of being ogled. She ignores the feeling to look out on the general chaos around her.

Inland from the crowded dock is a small swimming beach, with its own, bused-in sand. The beach is littered with children, and sits in front of the establishment. The protagonist, expecting a dive bar, was surprised to find the lake's version of an outdoor (privately owned) Applebee's. This wonder was called Louie and Dave's or something equally lake-y.

After everyone finishes their road sodas, our heroes leave the boat and walk down the long (ogling) dock to approach the restaurant. They find a table and plop into the plastic deck chairs, inspecting menus of fried goodness and pizzas. Frozen drink machines swirl sweet daiquiris behind the free-standing bar. These confectionery drinks are over-priced, but adequately liquored, or so they tell our protagonist. She orders a glass of water and pizza.

As the food is served, they notice the true ambiance of the place. A trip to the women's bathroom displays two toilets, separated not by stalls but by a single partition. A friend asks the protagonist if this is, in fact, a converted men's room with toilets where urinals should be. They wind their way back from the bathroom through crowds of bleach-blonde hair and fake Coach purses.

A one-man band is playing Jimmy Buffet covers and bad country music. There are three, maybe four women dancing and hooting on the large dance floor in front of this troubadour. Occasionally, the young children of these women join them for a dance. They wear the kind of two-pieces where the bottom piece is a ruffled skirt, and dance with drinks in hand. At a table near the dance floor, a man is holding a tiny dog. The dog is wearing a life jacket.

After eating, the group of our interest orders a drink for the road and retreats to their boat. So much for stimulus: our heroine is inundated with bad cover music, dancing ladies, dogs in life jackets, and sunshine. They motor the boat over to a deserted cove, and spend the rest of the afternoon floating on fun noodles, boat anchored safely in quiet waters.

And in other news: I stole the following link from my friend Tom Drew. Read it and you'll understand why this "gay bomb" was too good to pass up.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Space Arranger

Debbie Debee entered our Foundation on Aging lives last month. A board member dragged her in to find ways to freshen up our office. Our office (four rooms and a "kitchen"), would need... well, it would need a lot to become fresh again. It lives in building that, ironically enough, smells like old people. The walls are covered in a scratchy-textured wallpaper that is cream? dirty white? thatched with the exhaled dreams of tired accountants? I don't know, but it's ugly.

Debbie Debee's main objective, her killer idea to make the office more inhabitable, is "softening" the light with sheers, "just a sheer, to soften that up." For example, a sheer on the glass that sits next to the door, and affords me a beautiful view of the wood-panel wallpaper in the hall. She wants to put sheer curtains up on a window that looks out into a hallway.

Here are some phrases overheard when this space arranger was in our office yesterday: "As much as I'd love to be able to put some throw rugs down..." or "That was obviously NOT designed by a woman" followed by knowing laugh. "We need what I call a 'mama drama piece,' something to draw the eye up here." What?!?

My reaction to this woman and her behavior is strong: I think she's a fool, and I resent her for wasting the time of my boss and myself. This may not be fair - she's here to help, she's working as a volunteer - but it's hard to accommodate oneself to unrequested help. We know our office is a dump; what's to be done about it? She refers to the office as stark, but I want to let her know that this is a not-for-profit that we're running, not a brothel. We're allowed to be stark.