Home-Schooled By a Cackling Jackal
2004 - 2009
Monday, August 28, 2006
Tomorrow I'm headed to the beach. I hope to have a guest blogger for the week -- but if that doesn't happen, never fear, I won't leave you high and dry. In addition to all of the great blogs on the right-hand blogroll there's:
Issue #3 of GALATEA RESURRECTS 48 poetry reviews!
Lorna Dee Cervantes all week at the Poetry Foundation
That's what I'll be reading when I get back.
This Week at No Tell
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
More Pgh Debauchery
What does one do when she has the whole morning to herself?
She goes to Monroeville Fucking Mall for a manicure!
The last time I got a manicure at Monroeville Mall it was 1993. Nothing has changed. The salon is still called 90's Nails and their slogan is still Get that 90's Look.
And I think I did.
I asked the manicurist to round the tips of my nails, but she told me no, only old ladies rounded their nails.
So I have a french manicure with sharp square tips.
Well that's one deterrent to nose picking.
Also, today was the grand opening of a new department store.
* A disposable camera (forgot mine at home)
* A free drink with my pretzel
* Yelled at for taking a piece of chocolate off a plate (I was supposed to wait and let the candy lady hand it to me for sanitary reasons -- oops)
I did not:
* Wait in line and spin the Chick a fila wheel for free food
* Find a copy of APR at either Barnes and Noble or Borders (I'm told my name appears in lights and wanted to see)
I did all this wearing my Mom - P[o]et tee.
Somebody has to represent.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Just watched the Steelers lose their 3rd pre-season game with my dad. Even though he has TiVO (thanks to me), he still watches a lot of TV live so I'm seeing something I don't see that often: commercials.
There's a disgusting one from Dominos where a little girl hugs a walking square-turdlike object fronting as a brownie. The unfortunate hug results in the girl getting covered with what I presume is supposed to be chocolate.
I change too many diapers to consider that even remotely appetizing, but find it a fitting advertisement for Dominos.
I'm in Pittsburgh for my favorite cousin's wedding. Monday is Burlesque and Tuesday I reunite with Chris and Gideon, already at the beach, and will no doubt be expected rub salve on burnt bums.
But while I'm free and dangerous in the motherland, I'm totally hooking up with a mullet-man.
Or maybe this guy.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
No Tell Motel's Nominations for "Best of the Net"
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Time to Take My Paranoid Pill
When somebody you know pretty well sends a compliment (in her trademark badass fashion, i.e. ends it with the affirmative "whore") -- and your reading of said compliment is sarcastic and your response is "Oh my god, where did you see that? Who's saying that about me?"
It might be time to take your paranoid pill.
Monday, August 21, 2006
What I've Done Today So Far
Narrowed down No Tell's nominations for the Best of the Net. I have 7, they only will take 6. Forced to swing my secret axe once again.
Started the long process of deciding which No Tell poems to reprint in The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel - Second Floor, also known as We Won't Make You Say Cock - Unless You Like Saying Cock. (How do I say that in Spanish?)
Chased down missing Bedside submissions.
Broke someone's e-mail. Better her's than mine.
A couple folks wrote regarding the Bedside Guide submissions.
To be clear, if you sent a submission to bedsidesubmit (at) notellmotel (dot) org and did not hear back either
1. You didn't receive our response
2. We didn't receive your submission
We respond to ALL submissions. No response means there was a disconnect. Never assume silence is a no thank you. We will say no thank you.
So if you haven't heard, contact me ASAP.
If you're curious to know if your work that has appeared or is scheduled to appear in No Tell Motel will be reprinted in the Bedside Guide -- we haven't made those decisions yet and will contact you if there's something we wish to reprint. Less than half of this anthology will be reprinted poems.
This Week at No Tell
John Mulligan proclaims context is sexy apparatus this week at No Tell Motel.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Molly and I finished responding to every single submission for The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel - Second Floor. If you sent work and haven't heard -- let me know.
Friday, August 18, 2006
After a brief summer hiatus, a new "Crucial Rooster" up at The Happy Booker.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Misc. Thoughts in No Order
While I may still be kinda young (I feel young), I'm a suburban housewife -- pretty sure that disqualifies me from being "hip" (unless we're being ironic, let's not be ironic, my childhood mullet was quite sincere). My not taking it probably has more to do with the sheer numbers and focused vision. Or perhaps there was lack of concensus with the other. No need for the awkward or personal. We can say hello on the street or dine together. I don't know the ages of most and some of my favorite poets are old. A few so old, they're dead. As for those "hip" dead poets, here's a secret: if they're hip now, they definitely weren't hip in their lifetimes.
Some of my best friends rejected my poems. Vice versa too.
I don't have any "hip" friends.
I once attended a wedding full of "hip" people.
I felt embarrassed.
I'm a fun gal and enjoy bawdy humor -- but handjob humor (if asking for one is considered humorous) is best kept to friends, or at the very least, acquaintances.
Or at least that's how I perceive.
Yes, it's a joke, I know.
Handjobs are not especially "hip," but they stand the test of time.
I guess that's the definition of "classic."
People who call things "modern-day classics" are being peremptory.
Artgems is having a sale on carnelian beads. All of my beads and jewelry supplies are packed away. I haven't made any jewelry for two years and it'll be at least that long before I start again.
Beading is easy. I taught myself from a book.
Someday (probably in the near future), beaded jewelry will go back to being "unhip."
Perhaps it has already.
Beading is bad for your vision.
Easy to strain your eyes.
I have numerous nightmares.
One nightmare is losing my vision and not being able to read.
Confession: The following lines from the poem "If You've Got Nothing Nice to Say" (which can found in Pterodactyls Soar Again) are plagarized from my juvenilia:
The front of a boy’s butt
is a wiener and a nut.
Probably the only memorable lines I wrote during the first 20 years of my life. I have a little over six years left of my 2nd 20 years. After that only the really old people will view my editorial judgments as "young and hip."
Don't hate me because I drive a station wagon.
It's my husband's.
He's wearing a black NANOG t-shirt.
That will never be "hip" in our lifetime.
He was wearing something nicer, but changed for Gideon's bath.
Gideon likes to splash.
Yesterday he turn 18 months and we learned that he grew 2 inches over the last 6 months.
Apparently it's "hip" to have a baby these days.
When I was born babies were "unhip."
Yet for some reason people had them anyway.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
I Got It!
I'm going to buy Molly a poem here.
Today is No Tell Motel's second anniversary.
I didn't get Molly anything, not even grocery store flowers.
I'm a bad co-editor.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Yesterday was Chris' 34th birthday. I bought a strawberry cheesecake to celebrate. It tasted like a scooter crunch.
Heard a commercial on the radio today.
It began with a guy trying to sell his used toothbrush held together with duct tape. It made the point that there are some things you don't want to buy used.
Sure. Let me think, in addition to toothbrushes, there are definitely things I don't want to buy used like say mattresses, underwear, diapers, condoms, plenty of things.
So what was this commercial pitching? What is it that I definitely don't want to buy used?
Apparently buying a home where someone else had previously lived and used, possibly a number of other people can be equated to buying a used toothbrush.
If that's not conspicuous consumerism, what is?
Monday, August 14, 2006
This Week at No Tell
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Back from Hippieville
Had a fabulous weekend -- always get a mini-high after I travel for a reading. But don't worry Mom and Dad -- it's all natural!
Spent Friday night chatting on Betsy Wheeler's front porch. Reminded me how much I want a porch and how much I adore Betsy. She has a HUGE sleigh bed. Bucknell really knows how to treat its visiting poets. But I didn't sleep in the sleigh bed, I slept downstairs in her neighbor's guest room. That was nice too.
Aaron Tieger showed me all around Ithaca and the most amazing Kinkos I'd ever been in. Glue and staplers everywhere! Not at my local Kinkos. I don't think Reston has the same DIY spirit. We use our Kinkos for printing resumes and quarterly reports.
We were at Kinkos to trim my awesome broadside Aaron made for the reading. It was the first thing I showed Chris when I got home and his response was: "You wrote a poem with 'Necropolis' in the title?" Yes. Yes I did and it is a love poem.
Karl Parker and Ivy Kleinbart came to the reading as did David Lehman (to my surprise and delight). Lots of folks showed up. Julie Phillips Brown and I were fortunate to have such a gracious audience and I think our readings went well together. I was happy to have a chance to hear her work. If you're near Ithaca, you should really consider attending Soon -- it's a lovely reading venue.
After the reading, Karl, Ivy, Theo Hummer (the other fabulous Soon Production host -- Josh and Karen were out of town) and I went to David's house to see his etchings.
They were very impressive.
As were his Manhattans and homemade sodas.
Karl talks more than me. I believe I finally met my match. He'll be at my cousin's wedding at the end of the month. I will train these next two weeks and crush Karl with my m4d conversation sk1llz. He won't make it to the cake cutting.
Spent the night at Theo's. She has a clawfoot tub. You don't see those in Reston either.
Theo and I spent the whole morning talking about you and became so caught up in your affairs we were almost late for our brunch with Aaron (where we continued talking about you).
New Issue of Melancholia’s Tremulous Dreadlocks
I have some poems at melancholia’s tremulous dreadlocks, a bi-weekly journal of poetry and curious bits
issue 2 features poetry by jenna cardinale...caleb puckett...scott keeney...glenn bach...mary kasimor...christine hamm...donald illich...kudra delaney...pierre joris...reb livingston...louise landes levi...jessy randall...françois luong...tomaz salamun...elizabeth kate switaj...brian boutwell...and lena dunham...cover art by michal macku...
Friday, August 11, 2006
I'm heading up north later today -- decided to break my journey to Ithaca into two parts so I'm not an exhausted, fainting mess on Saturday. Tonight I'm staying with the FABULOUS Betsy Wheeler at Bucknell.
Saturday I'll be reading in Ithaca at Soon Productions with Julie Phillips Brown. If that's near where you live, come to the reading. And for goodness sake, don't be a weirdo, introduce yourself.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
It's August, summer is almost over and I'm trying to gauge how far I'm behind in my projects --
Bruce's book and Rebecca's chapbook are layed out and pretty much finished, PF's book is in the editing stage, my chapbook collaboration is completed, layed out and we've just begun the editing stage -- but half of it was edited earlier this year, so it shouldn't be too much work unless we decide to make major changes. You never know with collaborations -- especially when working with someone with different aesthetics. But I think mingling different styles make for more interesting collaborations and I'm happy with what we've accomplished over (on and off) the past two years.
All cover designs are all in different stages, but so far there are no indications that things won't be ready in time.
Responded to over half of the Bedside Guide submissions (only rejections sent so far, acceptances will go out last -- Molly and I are doing the whittle-down method). Still have to decide which No Tell Motel poems to include as well. This is all taking longer than expected. We have a designer and pretty much decided on the cover design.
Have a stack of manuscripts to read and consider for No Tell Books releases for late 2007. Maybe when I head to the beach at the end of the month.
Should have design sketches to consider for the No Tell Books website this evening -- hoping the designer will be able to get that up by September.
With the help of the brilliant and amazing Jill Essbaum edited my new manuscript into something I'm proud to have authored. Although I'm now leaning towards going against her advice regarding my title and may go back to my original. Sometimes staying in place is a process.
Sent the manuscript to one person considering starting his own press, if he does decide to start his press he says he'd like to publish it -- there's one concern (not related directly to the manuscript) that we'd have to make sure we're both OK with -- I'm OK with it. So maybe in the coming months I'll have news about a full-length book coming out. Or maybe I won't. It'll be fine either way. I'm not nearly as pre-occupied with this as I used to be -- my book will come out when its supposed to come out and I'm glad I'm no longer in my 20's under the ridiculous notion that anyone great made his/her mark before 30. That whole "gotta make my mark and gotta make it fast" was immensely self-defeating and only generated anxiety. Talk about going nowhere. I want to write poems and create books and create other things. I sincerely hope what I create is good and would be thrilled if it's appreciated by others. I have no desire to be great. I'm satisfied merely being fabulous.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Monday, August 07, 2006
This Week at No Tell
Derek Pollard renders this moment for all its indescribability this week at No Tell Motel.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Some Mommy Blogging
Took Gideon to the children's section of our local chain bookstore so he could select some books since apparently everything I pick out lately "sucks."
One of the books he chose was Ten Little Dinosaurs with gimmicky googly eyeballs. I didn't read it while I was there, but I did the standard flip though to make sure there weren't any nursing breasts inside. Would hate to have to explain to my son that women have things called breasts and some mothers feed their babies with them. My goodness, and what if my husband saw? It's not easy protecting one's family from the perversions of society.
So I didn't read it until we got home and you know what? It totally plagiarizes Eight Silly Monkeys. Or no, wait, it looks like Eight Silly Monkeys (copyright 2003) plagiarizes Ten Little Dinosaurs (copyright 1996).
Compare the first section of each:
Ten little dinosaurs bouncing on the bed,
Pachycephalosaurus fell off and broke his head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
"No more boneheads bouncing on the bed."
Eight silly monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mama called the doctor
and the doctor said,
"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"
Either way, now I need to have the "plagiarism" talk with my 18 month old. I was really hoping I could avoid that completely and let the school system handle it one afternoon in Health class when he's older. That's why I pay taxes.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Ithaca Next Saturday
They haven't updated their site yet, but I'll be reading on Saturday, August 12th at 7 p.m. at Soon Productions in Ithaca, NY. If you're nearby -- why don't you come hear me?
Thursday, August 03, 2006
I Think I Just Found God
It's thundering and raining here! It's going down to 80 degrees tonight. Tomorrow's high is only supposed to be 93.
Did I ever mention that my car has black leather seats and the air conditioning hasn't worked in 3 years? The car is 12 years old and to fix it would cost about as much as the car is worth, so I've been grinning and bearing it these past few summers.
A lot less grinning this past week.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
"I hate the Mommy Bloggers," I overheard one conference-goer say. "They're like the freaking Junior League."
Sent to me by Josh Hanson:
Susie Bright on the Blogher conference:
Well, if American men today wrote about their reproductive life and sexual mind, their journalism would be treated like the finest prose and argument. "Andrew Sullivan, please accept our Pulitzer for your work on man-o-pause."
Dream on. In the real world, when a woman writes with grace or clarity about her female passage, it's considered obscene or trivial— definitively not safe for work or men's imaginations.
When I produced the first g-spot ejaculation movies with my friends in the 80s, we were told that our videos were "fetish" that could not be legally distributed anywhere in the country.
It's biological female sexual response. Why is a woman's orgasm considered an obscenity?
Why are women nursing their children considered a prelude to a sex panic?
Why is a woman writing anything about abortion politics considered NSFW on the Web?
Remember when AOL shut down the chat room for breast cancer survivors, because they used the word "breast"?
And yes, we watch the news about children being bombed to bits, skin flambeing off their bones, because it's all Absolutely Safe for Work, as long as you don't show any woman's tits.
So I'm watching Colors with a young Sean Penn and less old Robert Duvall on TiVo. Haven't seen this movie since I was on a date in 10th grade. I didn't remember much of the story, just that I didn't much care for it (I can appreciate it more now) and how my boyfriend went on and on about how it was his new favorite movie and how it made him want to join a gang.
I'm trying to figure out the glamour he saw, not sure if it was the bitch slapping the gang members regularly received from the cops, killing each other or destroying their own communities. I think the romance was the idea of urban war which seems to be a variation on war in general. It's an inane machismo I can recognize but never relate. Sure, I can pick a fight, say hurtful things --once when I was 20 I threw a tea cup, my own tea cup, my favorite tea cup and it went smash and shattered and I immediately regretted it and I learned my lesson and now have a cupboard full of intact tea cups. I've never had the desire to destroy a room or a car or a restaurant or a whole city block. I understand frustration, rage, the desire for revenge. It's the carnage I have a tough time with.
Watching Platoon or Hamburger Hill or Apocolypse Now (which I saw a few weeks ago with Chris -- really wish I hadn't) always leaves me with the same conclusion, I wouldn't want to be there! I can imagine participating in a thrilling adventure, something where the are goals and positive payoffs, something substantial to gained by the risk. But the tit for tat senselessness? Is there glory to be found in that?
Here was a boy from a working class family, growing up in a "freedom-loving democracy," his neighborhood, home, family, friends, way of life untouched and unthreatened. Pretty much could make any plans for his future that he could dream up -- and that was what appealed to him. It didn't appeal to all boys his age, but some, enough. And sure he was just a kid and I don't think he grew up to be a gang banger or a crimminal (doesn't show up in Google), but maybe if he lived somewhere else under different circumstances he'd be one of those ripe for the pickings.
Camille Paglia once said something along the lines that before there can be a female Shakespeare there has to be a female Jack the Ripper. (I think I mentioned that here before. I think about that a lot actually.) That's a provocative statement and easy to dismiss, but for sake of argument while I'm babbling, I'll pretend it's true. That for there to be women CEOs there needs to be women on death row, for there to be women leading nations there needs to be women suicide bombers -- these are some fucked up rules. Or maybe it's that the spectrum must be balanced and as we expand from the center, we have to go both ways.
Am I playing the same game, only differently by my own rules or am I playing a totally different game? I'm playing -- that's about all I'm sure of. What am I playing? Why do I like the movie Gladiator even after learning of Russell Crowe's small penis? Oh head, going murky places.
I don't know, I'm rambling and trying to figure out why this movie would make a 16 year old boy think gangs are sexy. There's no Holy Grail, no girl's heart to be won, no riches, no fame or adoration. People die and other people stand over them and cry. I'm watching the part where the guy who's having sex with his girlfriend is mistaken for someone else and is shot and killed by a trigger-happy police officier.
The allure is lost on me. There's much that is lost on me right now.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
No, we haven't lost the Bedside Guide submissions -- Molly and I are still reading and discussing them. There are a lot and we haven't decided if we're going with less poems, the same or more. If you haven't heard yet, your work has made it past the first few rounds of cuts. Only a hundred rounds to go.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
OK, Fine Don't Take My Woman Money
As I was on my way out this afternoon the phone rang. It was a soliciter trying to make small talk about the heatwave. Yeah it's hot, it's so hot the last thing I want to do is make meaningless small talk about how hot it is. If Chris answered the phone, he would have collected all of the company's information and reported them because we're on the on the no solicitor call list and Chris is very law abiding. I don't report unsolicited calls, I usually just tell them not to call again and hang up, but today I interrupted the annoying chitter chatter and said, "What can I do for you?" The solicitor explained See-Thru Windows and Doors was offering free estimates for windows. That is probably the one thing I am interested getting a call about. Our windows leak a ton of air, especially in Gideon's room, and they're all painted shut. This year there's a tax credit if you replace your windows with energy saving ones, so this might be the year I get them.
I told him yes, I would like a free estimate and arranged a time for them to come by tomorrow. He said he'd have to call back tonight to confirm. I asked why, I could give all the information he needed now. He said he had to call back. I told him I'm out the door and won't be back until 8 p.m. He said he'd call me from his home number because he's very dedicated to his job (oh aren't we all). I told him that won't be good because my son will be asleep and I don't like the phone ringing that late, so I gave him my cell phone number to call.
Great he said, then he asked if my husband would be home during that time as well. I said no, just me. He asked if we could schedule a different time when my husband would be home. I said no, there is no need for my husband to be here -- I handle these things, not him. He asked if I'm the sole homeowner because they need both homeowners to be there when the guy comes for an estimate. That's not going to happen, I tell him. He says, Ok, I'm sure we can get an exception.
Ten minutes later the "VP" of the company called to confirm, but said they can't send an estimator unless my husband is present because they're contractors and don't get paid for doing estimates and too often they come once and then have to come a second time when the other homeowner is present. I told him I wouldn't ask for a second visit since I make these decisions and am the only person they need to deal with. He said they can't do that so I ended the call with "Then I guess we can't do business together" and hung up.
We have owned our home for 11 years and had numerous estimators for a variety of projects come by. More often than not, only one of us have been present. This has never been an issue before and for a moment was perplexed until the obvious struck me.
We need both "homeowners" is code for we need your husband there because you're a ninny woman and aren't capable of deciding what kind of windows your home needs and surely aren't allowed to make financial situations of such magnitude. If we send a guy out there, you're gonna waste his time hemming and hawing oh my gawd, this is so complicated, going on about baking, Bloomingdales and how you need to discuss this with your husband.
I only pull the "I need to discuss this with my husband" when I'm trying to blow you off or when you're an auto mechanic not listening to what I'm saying and I decide your punishment is speaking to my angry, hard-ass husband who first heard all about the situation from my point of view and wants to tear your throat out for disrepecting "his woman." You think I'm difficult? Meet my chosen mate. At least I'm cute when I'm pissed off. The husband is very large and scary. You really want to deal with me.
This asshole company missed an opportunity for thousands of dollars of business because they refused to deal with a woman. Like I was going to pay them in tampons.
What's Recently Made It Into My Grubby Little Hands Report
Whirligig by Christopher Salerno (Spuyten Duyvil)
Is it the King? by Farid Matuk (effing press)
World Jelly by Tony Tost (effing press)
Ocho 3 edited by Didi Menendez
1913 (Issue 2)
Oh, and last week I forgot to brag that I got all 5 of Big Game's first round and forever sold-out tinysides.
Actually, I didn't forget, I feared that if people found out they would break into my house and steal these rarities. But now that my rabid squirrel-shooting cannons and electric alligators-filled moats are installed, I sleep soundly.
Labels: grubby hands
Bettie and the Poets
Got a surprise package from Lulu yesterday. A BIG package. Turned out to be a gorgeous and giant 2007 calendar with all my favorite poets rendered by Didi Menendez. The perfect replacement to my 2006 sexy boy poet calendar.
I can't wait until June when my imaginary online magazine nemesis, Tony Tost, will adorn my study's wall. We're gonna have a lot of interesting conversations and this time I'm going to be very important to his thinking.
I suspect no work will be done in August when dreamy Charlie Jensen smiles down upon me.
The year starts with a green-haired Amy King and Lorna Dee graces April and Eduardo is October's cover boy.