Friday, March 31, 2006

Does Anyone Else Smell Bacon?

Dear Officer Reese,

Were you smoking crack when you left this on my windshield yesterday?

I only ask this because, well, my vehicle's not abandoned. I simply parked it overnight on the street outside my house. See, I live in the city and, like many of my neighbors, I don't have a garage or a driveway. So what we city-folk do is park on the street. It's perfectly legal, except on the first Wednesday of every month between 9 and 10 am. That's when they clean the street.

I can see how you might have thought my almost-new car with the sunroof and the leather interior was abandoned if it had been parked in the same place for over four days. You know, like your silly notice says it has to be if you're going to fill out the silly notice. But, as you can see, my car has only been parked there since 3/30/06, which was the same day you left this for me.

Perhaps it was my expired state license that led you to believe the vehicle was abadoned. I could buy into that, but the thing is my tags aren't expired. They expire 12/06, just like my inspection.

So, Officer Reese, I hope you're not serious about towing my car on April 3rd. Because that's really gonna piss me off. . .

Monday, March 27, 2006

Something's Missing From My Life

It's called the news. I realized how starved I have been for the news -- I mean the real news -- on Sunday morning when I awoke at my parents' DC-area home and promptly scampered out to the curb in my pajamas (sorry Dad, I know that's against the rules) to get the Post, then scampered back up the driveway scanning the headlines and thinking, "Oooooh, Washington Post," much like Homer Simpson thinks of doughnuts.

To make matters worse in the news-withdrawal department, about a month ago I cancelled my subscription to my local daily, the Virginian Pilot, after Dave noticed nearly a week's worth of newspapers piled inside my front door and asked, "Why do you get the paper if you don't even read it?" Good question, Dave. Simply for the sheer pleasure of recycling it I guess. Actually, I used to get the paper because I like the idea of being an informed citizen. Plus it gives me a lot to bitch about. Unfortunately, in a momentary lapse of sanity, I stopped getting the paper because I was working so much that I never had time to read it. That seems reasonable, right? If you're working too much to read the paper, just stop getting the paper. No dumbass, stop working so much!

Have I mentioned that I'm a teacher? A Social Studies teacher? I kinda need to be up on world events. And since I don't own a television it's probably a good idea to subscribe to a newspaper or two.

Now, to be fair (to me) the Virginian Pilot is not exactly reknowned for its coverage of global news. In fact, most of the articles in the Pilot are about various ships/troops coming/going, whether or not the local air base (the largest on the east coast) will remain open, or how to make really good ribs. They also frequently run the same story in multiple sections of the paper. But at least it's something. At least when one of my 15-year-old students says to me, "Hey, what do you think of this Dubai Ports deal thing?" I can respond with something other than, "Um, Dubai Ports? Yeah, we're gonna talk about that in class tomorrow," as I discreetly type "dubai ports" into the search engine at

So starting tomorrow I'm not fucking around anymore. I'm re-subscribing to the Pilot and I'm going to read it every day (but not the Business or Sports sections. Puh-leaze.) Never again will the comings or goings of various ships catch me unawares. And on Sundays I'm really not fucking around: on Sundays I will read a real newspaper -- the Washington Post or the New York Times, or maybe both. I'm getting ready to be soooooo informed.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Who Knew Grownups Still Played Tag?

Apparently there's this internet/blog tag game where if someone writes about something and "tags" you, then you have to write about the same thing. Either that or I'm completely out of touch. Either way, I've been tagged. . .

Accent -- If I have an accent at all (and the Geography teacher in me knows that everyone has an accent) it's probably a slight Southern accent. However, more than a handful of stangers -- upon hearing me speak -- have asked me if I'm from New Zealand, so at the very least we know I talk funny.

Booze of Choice -- Wine. I can drink the hell out of some wine. I've also grown quite partial to Hoegaarden (a Belgian beer) and I've been known to drink more than my fair share of bourbon, although everyone really wishes I wouldn't. And in the summer there's gin.

Chore I Hate -- Cleaning the shower. And it's probably the only chore I hate.

Dog or Cat? -- I've always considered myself a dog person, and I definitely love dogs, but I currently have the most adorable cat in the world and I'm pretty partial to her.

Essential Electronics -- Computer, cell phone, and CD player.

Favorite Perfume(s) or Cologne(s) -- Aveda Love for me. On a man I prefer a nice combination of Dial and Tide.

Gold or Silver? -- Um, have you seen me in the past 20 years? Silver. And not from Tiffany's.

Hometown -- Well, I grew up in Virginia Beach and that's where I consider myself to be "from," but my current hometown -- and one that I could get very used to -- is Norfolk, VA.

Insomnia? -- Not a chance.

Job Title -- My official job title is "teacher," but I prefer the term "educator" because there's a lot more to this whole teaching thing than the actual teaching.

Kids? -- Not at the moment. I really like the idea of kids, but so far I haven't gotten to a point where I actually want to have any. Someday though, yes, I'd like to be a mom.

Living Arrangement -- Just me and the cat and about 30 houseplants.

Most-admired Trait -- How should I know? I'm a pretty giving person, and I think most people kinda dig that about me, but who knows, maybe they simply admire my incredible hotness.

Number of Sexual Partners -- Whoa! Isn't this the kind of question only your doctor gets to ask you? I think anyone reading this either A) already knows my magic number, B) doesn't want to, or C) doesn't need to.

Overnight Hospital Stays -- I've spent a night or two lounging around various emergency rooms, but I've never been admitted.

Phobia -- I'm terrified of being eaten by a shark! I would prefer never to encounter a shark at all, but it is a risk I run because I'm certainly not staying out of the ocean. If I have to interact with a shark in a chomping kind of way, I would really prefer that the shark just take a bite out of me rather than eating me alive. Does that seem reasonable to you, sharks?

Quote -- Wow, that's tough, as I absolutely love quotations. Here's one of my favorites: "You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand." - Woodrow Wilson

Religion -- No thanks. I consider myself to be a very spiritual (but definitely not religious) person. This just means that I spend a lot of time talking to trees and the moon and such.

Siblings -- Younger sister and little brother.

Time I Wake Up -- 5:30ish on a school day, anywhere from 8:00 to 11:30 AM on the weekends or in the summer.

Unusual Talent/Skill -- I see dead people. Seriously. I think the fact that I seem to act as a gravitional field for ghosts qualifies as unusual, though I don't know that I'd call it a talent or skill. And it's rarely fun.

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat -- I'm a vegetarian. I pretty much eat all vegetables. Oh wait, beets. One time when I was a kid my mom, who adores beets, fixed us a nice can of beets and forced us to eat them, which caused me to throw up. Ever since then I've kinda steered clear of beets, although I hear fresh beets are actually quite tasty.

Worst Habit -- I have tendency to be slightly dogmatic. And sometimes I leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight.

X-rays -- Yes, every time I have to get a TB test, for starters.

Yummy foods I Make -- In order of popularity: crabcakes, apple pie (with bourbon!), grilled vegetables, tuna steaks with a corn and tomato relish.

Zodiac Sign -- Libra

People I'm Tagging -- How 'bout E-Ditty? She hasn't posted a damn thing since November and it's about time she got her shit together.

Drive Much?

Attention DC-area drivers: the left lane is for passing. That's all, just passing. Now move the fuck over!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bedtime for Bonzo

It’s 8:15 and I want to go to bed. This despite the fact that just a few short hours ago I stopped by Fair Grounds and drank what I considered at the time to be way too much coffee. Perhaps I wouldn't be so tired if on Friday I hadn't gone to bed drunk and consequently been unable to sleep, or if I could somehow program myself to sleep through the disturbingly delicious smell of frying pork that has come to characterize my Sunday mornings.

So (you may be asking) if I’m tired, why don’t I quit whining about it and just go to bed?

Did I mention that it’s 8:15? I didn’t even go to bed at 8:15 when I was in elementary school. Back when I was cool. Back when I secretly stayed up reading by the night-light when they sent me to bed. (Wait, maybe that’s not that cool. I wasn’t reading. I was, um, doing something cool. Like playing Barbies. Barbies are cool, right?)

I’m tired, but I’m 30 years old and I’m staying up till 9 goddamnit. Or maybe 8:45.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I (Secretly) Heart Hair Metal

Attention Steve: Did you have to give lend me this "Monsters of Rock" CD? I mean, it seemed like a nice gesture at the time, but that was two weeks ago and the novelty just won't wear off. I could be listening to all kinds of good music, but no, here I sit with "Cum on Feel the Noise" on repeat.

For the love of god, I'm a feminist! With fairly good taste in music!

And attention Razor & Tie Records: Why doesn't this particular compilation include "Kiss Me Deadly"?! What, Lita Ford isn't a monster of rock? Just because she's a woman?

Is there a hair metal fans anonymous? Because I might need that.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Color Me Happy

Yesterday I discovered yet another reason I love living where I do: The Greening of Ghent, a St. Patrick’s Day block party held on the main drag of my very very cool neighborhood (Ghent). The local business association closed several blocks of the street to traffic, set up beer tents, and brought in a few bands. So we (we being Dave and I) pretty much walked downstairs out of my place to the corner and bought a beer at the nearest beer tent (technically Dave bought the beer -- I just drank it). When we had to pee we walked back around the corner to my place, at which point a revelation struck us: we don’t need to wait in line to buy beer -- we can just pour the beer from my fridge into our “Greening of Ghent” plastic beer cups and walk back downstairs. Dave thinks they should do this every Friday.

Have I mentioned how much I love it here?

PS okay, to be honest our beer cups said “Fraim for Mayor” but no one I know is voting for Fraim so allow me a little poetic license here.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I'm Falling out of Love

David Payne is one of my favorite authors. He hasn't published a book since 2000, so I was very excited when I received an email from ML at the Island Bookstore that said, "We're booking David Payne for a June 8 signing. I'm going to send you the reading copy of his new book only if you promise to read it and give me a full report." I was even more excited when the book arrived, and I began reading it almost immediately. However, my excitement was short-lived because, well, how do I say this?. . .the book sucks. It's not just that I don't like this book as much as Payne's others, because I was prepared for that. It's that this book is bad. I mean really really bad. Awful. Like worse than a Nicholas Sparks book, which is pretty much as bad as it gets.

Okay, specifically, here's what I don't like about David Payne's new book (which, incidentally, is called Back to Wando Passo and is due out in June):

1) It's melodramatic and overwritten. Payne does lean a bit towards the dramatic, but I've always excused this because he writes such good stories and I get emotionally caught up in them. This is not true of Wando Passo, which is full of shit like this: "Finally -- to the tune of "Five Little Ducks" -- they set out. They were down to four, when the opossum or raccoon -- the remains had reached the state where it was hard to differentiate -- disappeared under the hood. As the tires tump-tumped, Ran caught Hope's expression in the rearview. Her face had gone grave; her eyes had that scintillating and musing light. She seemed like a tiny mathematician working out a problem, and it struck her father that his little girl had found the deep equation that would occupy her life. She had the artist gene -- Ran didn't know what else to call it, or if he would have wished her spared." Ugh. What the hell is he even talking about?!

2) The plot is ridiculous. In a nutshell, and without giving anything away, this is a book about a washed-up rock star who's been estranged from his wife and children and is returning home (to Wando Passo!) to make things right. Unfortunately, he's bipolar and he's off his meds so he keeps fucking everything up. Or wait, maybe he's fucking everything up because Wando Passo, an old South Carolina plantation with a history of. . .wait for it. . .slavery, is cursed. Because we also learn that something sketchy went down at Wando Passo a few hundred years ago, and that the something sketchy centers around the fact that the white plantation owner had an affair with one of his black slaves and did not subsequently free her or their offspring. How original.

3) None of the characters is likeable or believable. There's Ransom (or Ran, for short), the troubled musician who won't take the medicine that keeps him from being quite so troubled; his wife Claire, who inherited the cursed plantation, is apparently quite hot, and who may or may not be having an affair with her long-time friend (and Ran's long-time enemy) Marcel (or Cell, for short), who is black, which we don't even find out until chapter 15. A few hundred years ago there was Percival, the master of Wando Passo, and his mistress Paloma; Harlan, Percival's legitimate and white son, who has recently married Adelaide (or Addie, for short), a nice girl from a nice family in Charleston; Jarry, the illegitimate mixed-race son of Percival and Paloma; and Clarisse, Paloma's daughter by a previous master (or is she?). It is nearly impossible to give a shit about what happens to any of these people, as there seems to be little more to them than their respective skin tones.

So what does this mean for my beloved David Payne? Do I still love him? Can I still love him? I don't know. I know that when I read Gravesend Light in 2001 I loved it, and then I read Ruin Creek, which he wrote before Gravesend Light, and loved that one slightly more. Then I hunted down a used copy of Early from the Dance (which was out of print at the time but has since been reissued) and fell head over heels for it. Early from the Dance is one of my all-time favorite books, and one that I frequently re-read. But I'm afraid to now. What if stupid Wando Passo has ruined David Payne for me forever? What if I've fallen out of love?

Monday, March 06, 2006

South Dakota

Let's all take a moment to thank god we don't live in South Dakota, which just took it upon its backward-ass self to challenge Roe v. Wade by making it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless the mother's life is in danger. This is, of course, in direct violation of the US Supreme Court's 1973 ruling that all citizens have a constitutional right to privacy and that for women this right to privacy includes the right to terminate a pregnancy, but I think we've already established that religious fanatics don't let pesky little things like fundamental rights stand in their way.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Giving up on Lent

Hi, my name is Megan and I am a recovering Catholic.

One of the last vestiges of my Catholic upbringing is that I feel compelled to acknowledge Lent -- to show some sort of weird solidarity with Jesus and his 40 days of desert solitude (or whatever the hell Lent is about).

On Tuesday, after careful consideration, I decided to give up the f-word for Lent, which began on Wednesday and ends on Easter. I considered this plan ambitious, although Mama (who doesn't even give anything up for Lent!) reminded me that Lent is supposed to be a time of sacrifice, as if doing without the F-word for 40 days is an easy undertaking.

On Friday, after a concerted but unsuccessful effort to curtail my use of the f-word, I decided to give up on Lent entirely. I think it's better this way. I need the f-word for certain situations: dealing with an overall crappy week; having to talk (pleasantly!) for HOURS to a guy who recently graduated from UVA (the University) and claims to have actually read Ulysses (puh-leaze); explaining to a colleague that yes, in fact, students do have a constitutionally protected right not to stand for the pledge of allegiance, and yes, actually I can understand why someone would not want to stand for "our country".

So there you have it. . .I guess I'm going to hell. Fuck.