Return of Couscous

Awoke yesterday to the sound of a plastic bag rustling. As the fan was pointed in the opposite direction, my groggy brain began to send warning signals to my hung over body.

Crawling out of bed — many hours spent playing a drinking game revolving around being the first one to know the name and/or title of the random 90s songs that kept coming on at the bar made me realize the years of mosh pits and free DJ passes to the Rocket, Babyhead, Rathskellar, countless clubs named Trocadero and many more I can barely remember, may have finally taken their toll — I stared at the Whole Foods bag that held the remains of a massive vegan chocolate chip cookie eaten over several e-mail sessions.

Slightly to the left of said bag I realized, even in my half-blind non-contact-lensed state, something was staring back at me, and that’s when I realized that yep, it really is fall, and Couscous — or his bastard offspring; he was mighty small — had already taken up residence in my humble abode.

A little back story: I don’t mind most animals or spiders; most other bugs heeb me out. Unless, that is, I’m laying in the middle of the woods surrounded by a canvas tent or some other form of camping acoutrement, in which case I am inhabiting some other creatures’ home — thus, I can cope. But, in my own home, I prefer to live in solitude. Plus, I’m afraid they’re going to crawl in my mouth while I sleep and take itty bitty digital pictures to send to all their furry friends… (“Woo hoo! Lookie me! ha ha! I got my whole HEAD in that snoring human’s mouth! Betcha’ she’d freak out if she knew! Squeak!”)

So, it was a bit disturbing when, last winter, I realized I have a roommate of the small, furry variety. Calling him one day, in vain, he was anointed with his nom de squeak: CousCous. (Imagine this, people: a few glasses of red wine and I’m wandering about, flashlight in hand, sing-songing, “moose-moose! C’mere moose-moose!” Thus, Couscous stuck…)

So, Couscous, or, perhaps, Spawn of Couscous, has returned, and with him, crisp, cool weather. That I do not mind, though that means driving in snow isn’t much behind, but that as well I am a bit of an expert at, so it’s all good. (Riding in snow: different story. I’m a wimp. It’s true. Walked out of Whole Foods today (yes, it’s an affliction: I am yuppie, hear me roar as I carry organic non-BSE laden cheese products to my mouse-ful lair… *sigh*) into the pouring rain.

Skidding on painted stripes, nearly getting taken out by buses and getting drenched in the process as I slowly turned the pedals toward home, I had a massive flashback to El Nino, and my long-lost messenger 50-degree always wet sniffles EmergenC in the water bottle getting hit on Polk Street unable to stop and get out of the way of the nearsighted station wagon driver nerve damage makes the left hand go numb after too much time on the drops and the messenger bag digging into the shoulder doesn’t help much days. Sometimes the worker bee cubicle don’t seem so goddamned bad…

And, as my roommate came dragging in as wet and dirty as me thanks to her similar two-wheeled trip up Walnut, and we sat in front of the idiot box watching some new sitcom er other, I found myself wondering if a single mouse is really that bad. Because, as Thendara can attest, once upon a time in the SF we were overrun…

Although, and laugh at me all you want if it doesn’t work: my mom told me she uses dryer sheets to keep them out of her camper.

My entire room now smells like a Bounce factory exploded…

Buddha I am SO not

Tossed on the running shoes last night and people never cease to amaze me: now that school’s in, all the UPenn students are swarming around the ‘hood like sorostitutes to a frat kegger. I swear I saw a handful of people attempting, very poorly, to parallel park, on my relatively short run.


And yes, they were all women.


Someone tell me what that’s all about.
I mean, I can parallel park a Suburban for chrissakes — Hondas and the other assorted parent-purchased sedans practically park themselves!


Maybe it’s an age thing. Or a car thing. I was shite at parking until I got the VW — it’s pretty much like piloting a big red sneaker…


Or a neighbourhood thing: what with megamalls and massive parking lots populating most of the U.S.


Or perhaps it’s just that some people have absolutely no driving abilities whatsoever… which is why I’m glad we don’t yet have flying cars…


Although, that would just mean more girls dressed like Paris Hilton sobbing into their Motorola Razor phones to their boyfriends about how they accidentally drove the saucer up a tree…



The Devil Wears Hatred

So it seems there a big flap over Vogue Editor-at-Large Andre Leon Talley telling Oprah that Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour has an aversion to fat people.

“Most of the Vogue girls are so thin, tremendously thin, because Miss Anna don’t like fat people,” he said. And Oprah should know: according to the story in the Daily News, she was forced to lose 30 lbs. by Wintour before she’d let her face stare out from the cover of the vapid mag (even though I do buy it occasionally—I’m human, people!).

Apparently, this set off a firestorm over at the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.

“That you can make that statement and not realize it’s hateful, in this day in age, is shocking. Either he thinks the world hates fat people and that’s an okay thing, or he’s so self-hating that he didn’t see how hurtful this statement is,” said NAAFA spokesperson (not sure if it’s male or female!) Sandy Schaffer.

Forgive me for pointing out the blatantly obvious, but duh! OF COURSE Wintour hates fat people—her entire existence revolves around anorexic coat hangers and the fabric hanging off their skeletal frames.

Good lord, how much of a complete gobshite do you have to be to not realize that Talley’s remarks are about as shocking as Dick Cheney eating puppies for lunch or photos showing supermodel Kate Moss doing lines of coke?

I think Schaffer needs to rename the organization National Association of Clueless People Just Looking for a Reason to Whine.

And, seriously, if NAAFA thinks that some dude spewing that Wintour, who makes $2 million a year and can afford to be thin and toned, dislikes cellulite is hurtful and hateful, they need to get their heads out of the sand and look around at what’s really wrong with this world.

Maybe they should take some cues from PETA.

Fruitless fantasies of the closet gadget girl

This weekend makes me angry. Angry I tell you!

Why? Oh why oh why oh why … did I just get sucked into the void created by the combination of couch and television turned, ever so tantalizingly, to the Food Network?!!?

Now, usually, being the masochistic freakshow I am, I’ll watch the Food Network while I’m at the gym, panting like a dying field mouse after cat’s had her way with it, watching all the waaay too good foodstuffs they concoct on any of the bajillion shows. I love it all; I even love the stuff I don’t eat. I just like to watch. (Ooh, I mean, the food … the food!)

However, this afternoon was far more insidious: remember the cartoons they’d sometimes show on Tom & Jerry, where the housewife (always pert and you just know loaded to the curlers with Valium!) would marvel at the kitchen of the future?

Well, FN just did the same thing, only it was immediately followed by kitchen gadgets. I found myself salivating, and it certainly had nothing to do with the leftover pasta and soy sausage I rummaged from the fridge after bicycling myself silly up, down, over and around Manayunk for several hours.

Of course, everyone who knows me also knows I do not cook. Hell, half nights microwaving is too much of a chore and I can, invariably, be found sitting on the porch in front of half a glass of merlot and plate of cheese and crackers. But, I have to wonder: if I had really cool shit, would I use it?

I mean, I cook at my parents’ house. They have cool shit. But then again, so do I: mutha’ Kitchen Aid, orange microwave, blenders in every combination, and a food processor (though currently broken thanks to Cuisinart’s shitty plastic construction. Gr.). Not to mention the European-style electric water kettle (and the British tea to go with it, straight from the Thames … er … market).

But I want more. MORE!

Or maybe just some counter space … ah, it’s the little things.

Which, unfortunately, this weekend have been ignored. You know, little things like balancing checkbook, going grocery shopping, cleaning … oh, wait. No, that I did in spades. Cleaned like I’d been possessed by Mr. Clean, actually, thankfully, though, without the baldness and silly outfit (although Halloween is coming up …)

Cleaned the kitchen, cleaned the bathroom, wandered to the store that makes the Dollar Store look expensive next to the Fu Wah for new shower curtains, re-taped my handlebars, did the laundry, and, of course, the dishes … and felt like the biggest dork known to man!

(Dutifully lowered my head in shame when Justin called Friday night and I was … I was … reading!!!! I figure it’s either that or take one friend’s advice and troll for a rebound fuck, though considering the fact that holding the book up to my face is taxing, I’d best wait ‘til I’m feeling a bit more rambunctious—and obviously insane—for that business.)

Maybe what I really need is a break. I’ve been trapped in this mini-opolis (not to be confused with Minneapolis) and maybe what I need to go is get in the car and head north, visit the fam, run around with the dogs (or after them as they’re very misbehaved), and go get some badass canned goods and homemade wine from Justin, and hang upstate staring at the leaves as they change as fast and furiously as my recently volatile life … only they look prettier in the process!

Meanderings of an addled mind

It was bound to happen: Google now has a blogsearch function.


Of course, seeing as many, if not most bloggers tend to be rather anonymous, it’s not that easy to find people. In fact, the only person I was able to find was myself, but then again, if you know me it’s not too difficult to figure out. Either way, for me it was a letdown: I know where my blog is.


The most interesting part, however, was how many previous SPL posts it located have been deleted.


Many of you know I have somewhat recently performed a virtual purge on these here pages, and my life, of someone I shall hitherto refer to as the Deleted One, a.k.a. Dead-To-Me-Go-Rot-In-Hell. (Unfortunately, deleting people from your brain takes a bit longer, but I’m working on it by maniacally watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind .)


In the meantime, I have wasted half a day looking.


Of course, it’s easy to get sucked into the Web—so far today between looking for blogs, bikes and room and board (my bro’s on a mission to move me to Manayunk, or ManyHunks as that bald anorexic beyond-vegan raw food junkie Justin calls it, so curiosity’s got me thinking a move to Philly’s bicycle-mecca might be in order post-snow days) I’ve done nada.


Except for a quick trip to that great green Satan: Starbucks.


Failed vegan I may be these days, what with my recent Swiss-on-crackers addiction, but with the exception of those minor cow milk fat magnet transgressions, I love my soy and soy products. Is that so wrong? (Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I did take the Farm Sanctuary "Go Vegan!" sticker off my car so as not to appear the hypocrite as I carted the cow-stuff outta’ Trader Joe’s!)


And goddamn did it taste good, like a little liquid slice of chocolate heaven as I drove back to the dark, dismal Bat Cave* marveling at how fast the weather’s changing to fall (or autumn for you humorless hardasses).


As if the Halloween candy and decorations at the drug store didn’t give it away, the swirly wind sending leaves in circles under my tires as I rode home from ManyHunks last night sealed the deal. The paved path along the Schuykill is dumb pedestrian hell in daylight, but as soon as it’s dark and the yuppies retreat to their TVs the river looks like a dark, placid lake and all you can hear is turning of your wheels … and the occasional boomin’ system going by.


Even though, it’s awesome.


Fall is my favorite season, and this one’s gearing up to be one of the best yet. After the suicidal tendency-inducing summer complete with lying losers, broken cars, shitty jobs and house-disrupting construction I’ve suffered through, I certainly deserve it.


Bring on the pumpkins!!!

Fwd: Only in North Dakota…

My friend Charles sent this to me today. It totally cheered a grey, rainy day up for me:

This was in the local newspaper today…LOL

The West Fargo Chamber Of Commerce requested restricted parking signsaround their building. They requested 10 or 15 minute parking onlysigns, giving the city the choice of making them 10 or 15 minutes. The city gave them this…. How diplomatic can you be?

Norwegians vote to keep the welfare state

Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, a Christian Democrat, announced today he will step down after his party lost majority rule in the country’s national assembly in yesterday’s election.


Jens Stoltenberg (above, thinking, "Why is there a weird flower swirly over my head? Oh, what, that’s our logo? Crap! Damn lefty hippies!"), a left-wing Labor leader who ran under the three-party Red-Green alliance, which includes the Labor, Socialist Left and Center parties, will take over on Oct. 14 provided his party has formed a government by that date (hey, progress takes time!).  


What’s interesting is that Bondevik’s platform called for tax cuts, owing to the country’s vast reservoir of wealth thanks to high oil prices ( Norway is the world’s third largest oil exporter, after Saudi Arabia and Russia). Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?


Norwegians had a different idea: Stoltenberg’s platform calls for using the country’s riches to increase funding for the socialist country’s welfare state, including increasing spending for education, health care and the elderly, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  


The Times reported that, “The most important thing the Americans will notice is that the main lines of Norwegian foreign policy will remain fixed,” Mr. Stoltenberg, 46, said in a pre-election television appearance. “But they will also notice that we pull back our soldiers from Iraq.”


Norway has a token 10 officers in Iraq, helping with reconstruction.


Stoltenberg will now be able to expand Norway’s focus on environmental and social protections, and repeal some of the previous tax cuts. The Times explains it well:


Under Mr. Bondevik’s fragile coalition of Christian Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, Norway experienced a surge in prosperity, with the stock market tripling since early 2003 on the strength of oil exports. Interest rates fell sharply, personal incomes rose and the United Nations Development Program designated Norway the best country in the world in which to live.


But letting the good times roll is not really the Scandinavian way. Even at the cost of moderately higher taxes, most Norwegians on Monday seemed intent on protecting or expanding generous sick-leave, pregnancy-leave and job-security policies along with subsidized day care and free college tuition.


What a concept: Looking to the future, anticipating the needs of the entire population, not simply the proverbial haves, to hell with the have-nots (as the glaring example now plays out in New Orleans) and social benefits such as health care, education and a work environment that actually allows for time off—whether it be for sickness, childbirth or, gasp!, vacation.


And this is why, if I am ever forced to choose between my two passports, I will choose Norway. And, considering the scary trajectory this U.S. empire seems to be following, I may have no choice!


I’m thinking of holding a lottery for some poor sap to marry me and get the citizenship, too!


On second thought, scratch that—I’d rather just do it the old-fashioned way and get knocked up … bwahaahaah! Oh, I kill me … I can’t even keep a plant alive…


Fortunately for me, and the potential demon spawn, being a Scandinavian I’m too responsible for anything like that to happen, and, being me, too enamored with being irresponsible to want to be tied for the rest of my life to anyone or anything.


Well, except for maybe a puppy … and, you don’t go to jail if you leave them at home in cages while you go to the pub …

A different sort of Orangemen


Just when you think things are getting better, the news comes ’round and slaps you square in the face, making you realize yeah, the countries, parties and deities may change but it’s always the same ol’ same ol’:


BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Protestant extremists attacked Northern Ireland police and British troops into a third day Monday, littering streets with rubble and burned-out vehicles in violence sparked by anger over a restricted parade. Crowds of masked men and youths confronted police backed by British troops in dozens of hard-line Protestant districts in Belfast and several other towns.


Two Protestant paramilitary groups, the Ulster Defense Association (UDA) and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), launched into violence against police—including homemade grenades—on Saturday when police prevented the Orange Order, a legal Protestant brotherhood, from parading near a hard-line Catholic neighborhood. (It’s always funny to think of the Orangemen as anything but Syracuse University players, being an alum and all, something Gerry Adams pointed out when he came to ‘Cuse for the St. Pat’s parade a few years ago.)


From the Guardian: But while the IRA has built a major base of support through its Sinn Fein party and has grown central to ongoing negotiations on Northern Ireland’s future, the Protestant paramilitary groups have dismally failed to win electoral support and barely register in political talks. Instead, they wield power through criminal graft backed by occasional intimidating shows of force.