Thursday, January 19, 2006

So Long, Farewell

The title of this post obviously means two things: 1) I am indeed ending my blog and 2) I have been watching too much Sound of Music since I got the 40th Anniversary Edition DVD for Christmas. It was my best Christmas gift. (I would say people know me really well but the truth is I just asked for it.) You must admit: that Auf Wiedersehn song is some powerful stuff. My favorite part is when the kids troop upstairs singing it and the camera turns to the crowd below while the waving adults sing the final "goodnight." That is super nice. I am totally devoid of cynicism or irony when it comes to The Sound of Music.

I suppose this ending comes as no surprise, since most of the month has passed without me putting up a post. I just had to make absolutely sure I could say goodbye to all the fun I have had with this blog before putting it to bed forever, and that I could properly say goodbye to you, my loyal blog readers. With characteristic reluctance to display emotion and weakness at this sad moment, I am going to repress my feelings with the use of lists to say farewell.

First, here is a list of reasons I decided I do indeed have to stop:

1. I need to finish my dissertation. No, I really do. It's a tedious enough task as it is without the tempting possibility of writing about the Red Sox, my favorite t.v. shows, and how many people removed I am from Christina Aguilera every time I sit down at my computer instead of what I should be writing about: diaspora, ekphrasis, and hybridity (no I am not making these words up, sadly).

2. Well, that's really the main reason.

Next, to comfort you in my blog's absence, I have put together a list of things you can do to help you through this time of loss:

1. Go back and read all the posts you missed, leaving inappropriate comments on them that you think I will never find. (I assure you, I will.)

2. Research reverse osmosis water filters on the internet. This will take you 3 to 4 hours, minimum. Seriously, stop drinking fluoride.

3. Get your own blog. It couldn't be easier. Look right up there on the top right-hand corner of this page, there it is: "Get Your Own Blog." Do it: I'll read it religiously.

4. Email me, the way normal people communicate. I will attempt to write interesting and witty replies that include updates on my organic lifestyle (this week: cleaning the house with nothing but vinegar and baking soda) and any further research I complete on 9/11 conspiracy theories.

5. Consider possible titles for my next blog, when I am bold and employed enough to begin again (say, 2009?). Possible titles I have already thought of include: a) Capitol Beat: My Life as a Hugely Successful Political Operative b) Organic Baby [alternate title "How my Experiment with Natural Family Planning went bad but I am making the best of it"] or c) Ten Years and Counting: Getting a PhD in Irish Literature Blows

And, finally, since this is the last time I will have your collectively undivided attention, I want to give you a list of things I have enjoyed most about keeping this blog over the course of 2005:

1. Reading or hearing something crazy or interesting and thinking: oooh! I have to blog about that. At any one point over the year, I have had a little post-it on my desk scrawled with future topics such as: Big truck/baby truck, Fox News, juice fasts, racist maps, Ann Coulter/crazy, Nutter Butters, Boycott Monsanto, Fung-Wah deathtrap, homemade bomb-making, sci-fi as highest form of art, childhood obesity, Britney & Kevin, etc. (As you can see, not all of these topics went to press--I'll save the material for my next blog.) I am going to miss keeping that little post-it.

2. Being completely surprised by which of you turned out to be my most loyal blog readers. Really: not the people I would expect. JQ gets a special mention here. (The funny thing is I almost didn't send him the URL because I thought this blog's liberal leanings would fill him with Orange County-style feelings of loathing and enmity. Glad it didn't work out that way.) My unrequited high school love interest Jonny H warrants mention at the top of the list of "People Least Likely to Ever Find this Blog who Nonetheless Did." His last-ditch effort to halt cancellation of the blog was especially touching, even though I thought it was a conspiracy master-minded by JQ. And of course, Mark Huntsman deserves credit as the original inspiration to start this blog in the first place. I would acknowledge more people but this is already getting out of hand.

3. You guys have been great readers. I am really going to miss your funny comments, either on the blog or via email, your needling me about being lazy when I didn't write for a while, and knowing I had an audience that would indulge my rants on any subject I found fit to blather about. Seriously, that has been so great. Look at that I'm getting all mushy. Damn lists not doing their job.

So, one year to the day that I started this grand experiment, perhaps you will allow me one final Sound of Music reference. In this metaphor, I get to be Liesel, Brigita and all those other cute Austrian kids leaving the party, and you all are those fancy-dressed adults who end the song. Don't be bitter or sad, just wave me a nice goodbye.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Notice RE: Death of the Blog

I have to say, I have been very impressed by the heartfelt, sincere, and sometimes whiny responses to the impending death of my blog. They have made me want to reconsider my decision. However, I am currently visiting my family in Whittier, where the following conditions apply:

1. I have caught a severe head cold and can't hear out of my right ear.

2. The region will be subjected to downpours for the next three days, i.e. the remainder of my trip to "Sunny California."

3. I am crushed and weakened by the steady diet of white flour, fast food, and Laffy Taffy that is the only sustenance available in the suburbs.

As a result of the aforesaid conditions, I find myself stripped of any decision-making capability. For this reason, I am afraid you will have to check back at this location in a few days' time to see if your galvanizing efforts have paid off. In the meantime, Happy 2006! (I will be spending mine under a blanket watching a "Star Trek" marathon. The burbs aren't all bad.)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Consider this a Card

I really respect people who send out Christmas cards. Actually owning the addresses of all your friends, licking and stamping scores of holiday envelopes, and trudging to the post office with the final bundle are things that impress me, yes they do. I am not one of those people, though. It is yet another one of those projects that are muscled out of my life each year by things like poorly timed literary journal deadlines and a roomful of unwrapped and irregularly shaped Christmas gifts.

But I think a Christmas card can tell you a lot about the people who send it out. Do they send you a photo from the past year of them doing something meaningful? (Another option: doing something sporty and windblown) Do they settle upon the traditional snow-covered valley scene or perhaps something in the manger family? Or, do they go with this year's special, a card from the Baby Explosion movement. (This is a very cute option, even when, as in the case of two of our friends, this means a picture of their dog.)

Since the arrival of so many cards in my little mailbox over the last few weeks engenders feelings of, you guessed it, Christmas guilt, I feel the need to take the unabashedly half-assed way out and send a Christmas e-card to y'all right now. After all, the mini outpouring of support and resistance at the news of my blog's ending was touching and fills me with something not unlike the Christmas spirit. (It also had the side benefit of revealing my most loyal blog readers as well as those who have mysteriously fallen off the face of the earth yes that means you Mark Huntsman.) So, this is what I would have said, had I gotten my act together and sent out the 60-odd Christmas cards necessary to get the job done:

Greeting and Merry Christmas! We hope everyone is doing great. James and I had a great 2005, a year that saw us take on new jobs, visit Prague, and have lots of good times with...

Yeah, okay, I see why this isn't working. Any Christmas card about my year that would be suitable reading material for all sixty people on the list, including grandparent-types and former bosses is, let's face it, just not fun to read. Upon further reflection, I stand by my original decision. If you read this blog, you already know what I did this year and are probably sick of hearing about how I'm "working on my dissertation" and "eating organic food." I've just realized that my blog is my (year-long) Christmas card, and, viewed that way, is actually much more extensive than most people's. So, less guilt for me. I suppose if I didn't cancel my blog I wouldn't have to do Christmas cards next year, either.

At any rate, I did enjoy receiving Christmas cards from all of you who sent them, I really did, and please don't strike me from your list next year in anger. I must sign off now, as I am headed to Fenway Park to pick up a few last minute Christmas gifts (I just love saying "I am headed to Fenway Park." When I eventually leave Boston, that will be one of the things I miss saying the most.) Since this will be my last post before Sunday, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday and a most cheerful Christmas morning, itchy reindeer sweaters and all.

Friday, December 16, 2005

In With the New

I always knew I would only do this blog for a year. It was one of those things I had always wanted to do (and by "always," I mean since about 2002, when I first heard about blogs), so last January I decided to start it up. Incredibly, that year is almost up; the days left in 2005 and in this blog are ticking by quickly, so if you have a burning desire to hear me wax profound (or inane) on a particular topic, now is definitely the time to put in your request. It's a "Last Dance" kind of moment. (Speaking of "Last Dance," I have to say that is the weirdest, most alienating song to play at the end of a wedding/prom/party type event that I can think of. It starts out slow and touchy-feely and then breaks into this jolting disco inferno style wackiness. Just a bad, bad song.)

2005 was a good year to try out a few other new things as well. If you don't know what they were, that just means you weren't paying enough attention to this blog and you missed the post about my lesbian kiss on the beach. Wait. No, that was the O.C. Well, I did get hooked on a LOT of new t.v. shows.

And I did take an acting class, and I joined the adolescent yet somehow fully absorbing world of fantasy basketball, and I taught at Harvard, and I played a convincing adult at several Irish lit conferences, and I worked on a (losing) local political campaign, and I learned how to cook with fennel, and I was on t.v., albeit on the worst channel ever, and I turned 30, and I learned that fluoride is slowly killing us all. (Damn, I won't have a chance to post about that. Just trust me on this and get a reverse-osmosis filter for your tap asap.) I enjoyed 2005, for the most part, and I really liked trying out a few new things.

I would like to hear if you tackled anything new this year, large or small. Please do write in if so--just make sure it wasn't anything too impressive so I don't feel dwarfed by your achievements. Only a few more days left to post your inner feelings...

Thursday, December 08, 2005


It's almost Christmas, which explains my persistently crabby demeanor and frequently alarming mood swings. I just realized it's almost Christmas a few days ago, at the same time that I realized I have purchased zero Christmas presents. Zero. And the thing is, I can't even go out and rush around fake-festive department stores clogged with billions of other people to buy overpriced gifts that no one really wants because I can't think of anything creative or useful to get them right now because I have other things to do, like read an entire book of Joyce criticism and write a review on it for an obscure Irish literary publication so that 15 people can read it come February.

No matter how well everything is clicking or how precisely I have lined up my little ducks, right around this time of year I always suddenly feel overwhelmed and over-rushed. I find myself cursing more and smiling less as the end of each year creeps up. Until New Year's Eve, of course, which I love and who doesn't--because what's better than a holiday where the only requirement is to dress slutty and drink a lot before midnight? Thanksgiving, with all that eating, is fabulous, and New Year's Eve, with all that drinking, is a great time, but Christmas BLOWS. Is anyone else with me on this? In case you're still not convinced, here are a few more reasons:

1. If you've moved to the other side of the country in an ill-advised bid for a fun autumn lark eight years ago and never moved back, you have to fly home for Christmas. Which is the most expensive time of the year to fly, as well as the most congested, and by congested I mean both the airports and the nasty, snuffling man next to you on the plane who snorts phlegm into tissues which he then stuffs in the crack between your seats.

2. The aforementioned gift-buying. A task which doubles in size and unpleasantness when you get married and have to now think about appropriate gifts for all of your in-laws, who are secretly but undoubtedly mad at you anyway for taking their first-born son away from them to accursed California every year for the holidays.

3. Guilt. The guilt of the Christmas spirit, namely determining whether you have it or not. When lights go up all around downtown and fancy office buildings put polar bears in the vestibule, you feel the obligation to get "in the holiday spirit," even though I've noticed it generally takes either a windfall of cash or actual spirits to make this really happen. It's especially hard to get in the "holiday spirit" when you are rushing to the grocery store or the dry cleaners in a car that persistently threatens to seize up and die in the cold altogether, or trekking down to Government Center where you must apply in person for a Boston parking permit when it is 7 degrees outside with the wind chill. It almost makes me miss those foil-wrapped palm trees that come out every year for Christmas in L.A.

4. Santa and "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" and Kwanzaa stamps and bell-ringers and fake Christmas trees. Just the fact that Christmas isn't real anymore. If I was going to do Christmas, I would take my family (just people that I like) out into a really cozy cabin in the woods with a fireplace, and we could bake homemade sugar cookies with icing that are so easy to make that those Pillsbury break-apart things in a bag are a travesty, and we could watch '80s movies, and have wonderful, sleepy pajama breakfasts and no one would have to buy each other a thing to make this happen. Wouldn't that be nice? Of course that's not how it's going to be. The reality is awkward small talk with distant relatives and dressing up in itchy sweaters for uncomfortably boring get-togethers and the familiar haze of the Christmas story in the background that is in desperate need of a fresh re-telling to make you care.

If you disagree, by all means make your case. Maybe you are one of those people who hauls out the Christmas stuff after Thanksgiving dinner, or whose favorite childhood memories involve steaming mugs of yuletide cider and non-terrifying visits to the mall Santa to tell him your gift list. Maybe you like all the non-stop holiday parties, those embarrassing displays of inebriation, oversharing, and erratic behavior from co-workers that are an inevitable part of every office Christmas party (Actually, I like those too). Perhaps you don't tire of hearing about Joseph, Mary, and Bethlehem, and this story somehow still strikes you as unusual and poignant. Far be it from me to marginalize the true believers among you. If you love Christmas, let me know like Cindy-Lou Who so you can warm my Grinchy heart.

Even now, I have to admit all might not be totally lost. As it does for all good Scrooges, redemption for my curmudgeony little self beckons this coming weekend, in the form of tickets to "The Nutcracker Suite," one of my own childhood favorites and a lovely tradition just re-introduced by my sister, who believes in Christmas. It might be just the event that brings me back to the holidays. Whatever the case, it will be accompanied, as all good holidays should, by lots of eating beforehand and plenty of drinking afterwards.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Desperate Last-Ditch Efforts

Back on May 3rd, I wrote an impassioned plea to save "Arrested Development," the show that was fearing cancellation despite its superior comic writing, great casting, and all around greatness. Well, it's that time again, as FOX is yet again threatening to cancel the show (in fact, they all but have already). There is a small, thin thread of hope however. The programming director at FOX has said they plan to put the show on the air in December and "see what happens." It's on Monday nights. Watch it, especially if you have a Nielsen box. In the meantime, go sign another geeky petition just to mollify me:

A loyal fan

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Madness

I am having 17 people over for Thanksgiving dinner and/or dessert on Thursday. I offer to you a list of what I am making as a way to explain my absence on the blog lately:

Cranberry Mimosas
Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Port Reduction Sauce
Shrimp and cocktail sauce
Sweet Onion, White Bean, and Artichoke Heart Dip with pita chips
Salami, cheese, crackers, olives, grapes
Butternut Squash Soup
Apple and Pomegranate Salad with Cider Vinaigrette, Spiced Walnuts, and Goat Cheese
Cider-Brined Turkey and gravy
Spiral Ham
Clementine Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Sourdough and Country Sausage Stuffing
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup
Honey Ginger Carrots
Flaky Dinner Rolls
Asparagus with Parmesan Butter
Mulled Apple Cider
Nutcracker Pie
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Raspberry Sauce
Spiced Pumpkin Dip with Gingersnaps and Apple Slices

As I look at this list written out, I realize again how ridiculous I am and how very much Martha Stewart is in the house. I also realize how very adept I am at undertaking large Herculean tasks in lieu of dissertation-writing. How much I love huge, organization-heavy tasks that have nothing to do with Irish poetry or transnationalism.

You wouldn't believe how many countless hours one can spend in seeking out recipes, planning a menu, grocery shopping in various specialty shops for things like candied ginger, reorganizing the living room, baking pies from scratch, making vats of ice, ironing napkins and tablecloths, and other sundry and unnecessary tasks involved in making The Perfect Thanksgiving. I imagine every year it will get worse and worse, until by 2028 I will start cooking around Halloween. Oh well, it is my favorite holiday. And this year, my very favorite procrastination tool.

What is everyone doing for Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Book Club

With much fanfare, Oprah has re-opened her Book Club (after closing it down two years ago over hurt feelings that Jonathan Franzen would not let her select his novel "The Corrections" for her monthly pick. That bastard).

If Oprah can do it, so can I. I'm thick in the middle of the doldrums of the fall semester: buried under papers and student conferences, but I have had a little time to read on the bus I take to Cambridge, so I thought I'd pass some (non-fiction) recommendations your way.

Speaking of Oprah, I finally checked out Michael Moore's Dude Where's My Country, which is pretty funny (although not as funny as Al Franken's Lying Liars and the Lies they Tell) and contains the compelling argument that Oprah should be our next president. He's not kidding about this either. He thinks Oprah is the only person that could win, hands-down, when running against anybody, based on her widespread appeal, name recognition, and the general respect she commands in this country. When I see her passing out free Christmas gifts to a screaming audience of hysterical housewives, I'm not so sure. But most of the time, I have to agree. Who doesn't like Oprah?

Moving away from politics (reluctantly), I found Freakonomics (by two science-y guys) really interesting. It's that book that has the green apple on the cover, sliced into so that you can see it's an orange inside. So right away I was intrigued. Basically the book breaks complex issues down to their nitty-gritty by using math and statistics. It's actually MUCH more entertaining than I just made that sound. For example, authors Levitt and Dubner debunk all sorts of commonly-held beliefs--like, crack dealers make lots of money and reading to your kids will make them smarter--and they show you how your swimming pool is much more likely to kill your children than the guns you might have in the house. It also has a really fascinating chapter on the long-term effect of the name you choose for your baby.

I also recently taught an excerpt from Nicked and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich to my Harvard Extension students. It's an interesting case study. This journalist, a middle-class, middle-aged woman, slips into the low-wage workforce (as a waitress at a charming family style restaurant called "The Hearthside") for a few months to see if you really can survive on minimum wage (without welfare). The results are pretty illuminating, making fools of those Republicans who led all that welfare reform in the late '90s. Oh look at that, we're back to politics again.

And finally, one book that everyone should read that owns a trash can: Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte. It shows where your garbage goes after you throw it away. It is never preachy or depressing, more of an interesting look at something you never think about...sort of like when Mr. Rogers would visit those factories that make toothpaste or drinking straws to show you how it's done. I always loved those factories.

Okay, so no more saying "I don't have time to read" then spending four hours watching that Desperate Housewives/OC/Lost cocktail you recorded to DVR. Now you have some good options. And, if you've read anything interesting yourself lately, do post it up here for our collective benefit.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

It's always fun to be something that you're not. This is why I like Halloween. Carte blanche to im- or ex- plicitly make fun of famous people is another staple of the holiday, and another reason why I like it.

So I don't understand the trend these days towards skipping Halloween. Can we ever really get too mature and responsible to don something ridiculous and drink bad spiked punch while wearing something unwieldly? I say no.

I know there are others out there who share my vision. So, if you dressed up this year, most likely on Saturday, when all the Halloweeny festivities seemed to happen, please send me a picture of you in your outfit. If you didn't dress up yet, there's still time tonight to make a sheet with two holes in it and run out into the streets during trick-or-treating time (which, in these days of rampant unease is about 3:00 in the afternoon). If you have no intention of getting in the Halloween spirit this year, you'd better have a good excuse, so I want to hear that too.

I recognize that some of us were busy this weekend doing things like having babies, but I have high hopes for the rest of you. Make me proud, people! Bonus points if you can guess my costume just by its top half, without its incriminating props.

Update: okay, Casson (cheatingly) guessed it. Here we are, props included:


To Benji and Skyla, the newest set of parents in our increasingly-parental group. Welcome to little Riley Berneace, who arrived on Friday at 12:28 am (she's clearly a night person--a girl after my own heart).

Monday, October 17, 2005

Coffee Conundrum

Where do you get your coffee? Apparently, your answer says a lot about your socio-economic status, your political leanings, and your ideals. And you just thought you were getting a little caffeine.

I have almost always hated Starbucks. At the beginning of their chain explosion in the early '90s I was uninterested in any coffee drink other than the Cappuccino Blast at Baskin Robbins which, let's face it, is just ice cream. During college (mid '90s now), Starbucks was just a place to do a little half-hearted studying in between celebrity sightings, seeing as my local shop in Montecito was the mecca for Steve Martin (bike helmet), Rob Lowe (every morning, with his kids), and Julia Roberts (just the one time, and didn't order anything because she already had ice cream in her hand--my kind of girl.) Somehow over the decade, Starbucks got super huge and corporate and became known for shoving out local coffee shops and for snobby customers who liked that you had to order in Italian.

As the heady, frenzied days of late '90s prosperity passed me and my entry-level job right by, coffee insinuated itself into my surroundings. At the Carlyle Group, the coffee and the Republican group-think were both free, and their consumption encouraged. Each kitchen was stacked with tiny Evian bottles and small, tight green packages with the Starbucks logo, ripped open to be brewed and served to the steady stream of billionaires dropping by. I myself mostly tanked up on coke (a-cola).

It wasn't until graduate school and the last gasp of the '90s that I finally accepted the fact that real coffee, sans ice cream, would be fundamental to my survival strategy if I was to finish four 20-page papers at the end of every semester. It was then that I finally tasted Starbucks coffee, straight-up. And realized it tasted like hot water mixed with a little char. Those of you with a Starbucks habit will immediately start squawking, but that's only because you're used to it after years of mega-dosing. You are in fact addicted to the alarming levels of caffeine particular to the Starbucks brew, levels that keep you buzzed and twitching all day. But people: it doesn't taste good. What's more insidious is that Starbucks coffee is so unabashedly stronger, so recklessly noxious, that once you've developed a taste for it, all other coffee actually tastes bad. Those corporate guys up in Seattle are no dummies.

I needed my coffee though, and I realized Starbucks coffee tastes like shit, and I found myself in Massachusetts. What's a poor, transplanted graduate student to do? It was clear. I joined the church of Dunkin' Donuts, a New England institution on par with Fenway Park, and it was there that I became a true Bostonian. In California, there is one small, sad and grimy Dunkin' Donuts for every three or four suburban cities. People go there to buy (small, sad and slightly stale) donuts. Imagine my bewilderment then, when I encountered gleaming, bustling Dunkin' Donuts on every corner of my new city, five branches at the airport, and lines out the door of every one! (One store for every 7,000 Massachusetts residents, compared to just one Starbucks per 15,000 people in Washington State.) People in New England don't go to Dunkin' Donuts primarily for the pastries, they go for the coffee: soft, comforting varieties such as French Vanilla and Hazelnut that don't make your eyes water as you read the Boston Herald. And they go a lot. Dunkin' Donuts is a way of life, familiar and respected like the blue-collar workers that are as plentiful around here as the chain. Although DD has moved slightly upscale lately, adding cappuccinos and other nonsense to their menu, at heart the franchise says simplicity, speed (the efficiency of the workers is amazing), Red Sox endorsements, and yummy stuff. As a result of this chain's ubiquity and its good-tasting coffee, I developed a legitimate habit. I had my standing order--"medium French Vanilla, skim milk, four sugars"--and I slowly incorporated Dunkin' Donuts' products into my life as a major food group. It was a wonderful relationship.

Unfortunately, the relationship turned bad. Not because things stopped tasting good, but because of the sheer number of ham, egg, and American cheese on-a-bagel sandwiches that I consumed per week along with my extremely sweet coffee. At some point, I added "Coolattas" to the rotation--foamy concoctions made with real cream and lots of sugar. Then they introduced steak bagels. Then I realized how good the Coffee Cake muffin was. Then I feared for my triglycerides. It became time to put an end to the madness. I ended my affair with Dunkin' Donuts at the same time I broke up with my native New Englander boyfriend. Cut all ties.

Now, in a cruel twist of fate, I have come full circle. There is a Starbucks beneath my gym, and that curious green/burning odor peculiar to the chain wafts up into the club at all hours. From my treadmill I have a view of the parking lot and an endless stream of commuter-ants scurrying into the store below, emerging with cups surgically planted into their palms. After my workout, I join them. Sadly, there is no other air-conditioned spot in my entire neighborhood where I can plug in a laptop and eat while working on my dissertation. I also have collected what seems to be hundreds of dollars' worth of Starbucks gift cards from my stepmother over the preceding five Christmases. All of which have put me square in my plushy chair at the local Starbucks, ordering $3 tea and trying to buy the "serenity" the chain is now apparently selling while I pound out a few pages. It rarely works, if only because invariably a gaggle of Boston College sorority girls traipse in to talk loudly about L.L. Bean and boys.

I am sad to have ended up here, among the slacker-chic baristas and the XM music. It feels like a defeat, like a violation of my honorary New Englander status. I am told that I belong more at Starbucks than at Dunkin' Donuts--Starbucksters vote Democrat, have advanced degrees, and read the Boston Globe. Dunkin Donutsters work construction, vote with the red states, and know the box score from last night's game. (Well, I'm with them on that one.) So, I belong here, even though I hate the pseudo-European fakery (I will never order a "venti" anything unless I'm in Rome) and the slick packaging of a product under the guise of "relaxed sophistication." I actually don't drink coffee anymore at all--I gave it up completely two years ago and no longer have crushing headaches in the morning as a result--so maybe this is why I am no longer blinded by the effect of all that green and caffeine. After all, anything you do each day, every day, becomes more than a habit and something nearing an identity: that's bad for both crowds, of the New England or Seattle variety. So I suppose it's best not to pledge allegiance to either side.

But I'm curious to know about everyone else--are you hopelessly addicted to the green bean? Do you have a weakness for the Dunkaccino that I used to love so much? Or have you broken free of the cycle altogether, maybe frequenting one of the nearly extinct local coffee shops in your neighborhood, or forgoing coffee stores altogether for trips to the library, the museum, and your own living room couch (who are we kidding about the library & the museum). Anyway, let me know. Perhaps your answers will inspire me to break free of the Starbucks cycle once and for all, slamming the door on its air-conditioned splendor and grossly expensive coffee forever!... with one more toffee-almond bar for the road.

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's Over

Getting swept by the White Sox wasn't too much fun, no. Witnessing the inglorious end of the Red Sox season up close and personal at a rapidly quieting Fenway Park on Friday was a mite depressing, yes. But no one can say we didn't deserve to lose. If you can't score with the bases loaded and no outs, it just feels like it's time to hang up the gear and head for winter vacation. Which is exactly what the Red Sox did. And I'm okay with it (considering). I really am.

I will return to the metaphor I made before the season even started. You remember--the Sox were the scrappy, maybe even freckly guy who had made it all the way with the hottest girl in camp the previous summer and thought, "you know what, I might be able to do that again." Well, he didn't. He crashed and burned before he could get close to sealing the deal. What's worse: the biggest asshole in camp is still in the chase. But (after a weekend of reflection and vodka tonics) it's okay--his first time is behind him, it was fabulous, and there will be other summers, other girls. He's okay. We're okay.

Onward, Sox.