Tuesday, March 28, 2006

LifeSavor Me!

Work is insanely busy at the moment with an event called LifeSavor that pulls in about half of our annual income in one glitzy, indulgent, over-stuffed night. I, being responsible for the guest list ensuring that each person willing to pay XXX amount of money can get in the door, am terrified of making a mistake and sending us down in flames, so unfortunately there won't be much time for blogging in the next few days, unless I'm miraculously awake enough when I get home at night.

In the meantime, though... enjoy some pictures of Will Dailey's CD-listening party last Saturday night at Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. This kid is so tricky, and so much fun, to photograph. He's also unfairly cute, and nice, to boot.

See y'all in the Days of Fools...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Are You My New Boyfriend?

The adult equivalent to writing out your name with your crush’s last name in your third-grade notebooks might be: arranging, in your head, how you will get to each other’s houses via public transportation once you find out where he lives, and whose house will be nicer for Sunday morning breakfasts. Or ascertaining, upon learning said person’s occupation, whether he’ll mesh well with your friends. Or envisioning the kind of jokes you’ll make together, or the things you’ll fight about, because you’re sick of being the one to make sacrifices of your time, dammit, you’re busy too and if he’s not even going to re-prioritize once in a while, then…! And, of course, there’s the end to think about. Because all the others before this have ended, haven’t they? And you have no inclination to think this one will be any different.

Of course, this is all assuming you’ve even met the person and had more than a ten line conversation with them.

It’s what breeds the cynicism, because most times, things don’t pan out – it was only a passing flirtation, or a drink in a bar, a quick conversation at a mutual friend’s party. But by the time he doesn’t call, or you go out for the second drink and you realize he’s so boring you want to slit your wrists with the cherry skewer in your drink… you’ve already had an entire relationship with him, alone, in your head. You stop letting yourself get so romantic about prospects.

posted a Missed Connection last week. It was a whim! I was out by myself shopping for gym clothes, and wandered into a bookstore to buy an instruction book on Dreamweaver, and found myself drawn to the cute boy who checked me out (as in, rang me up, as in, made me pay for my book). As I left I glanced back through the window, and it lifted my spirits a little, having had this little witty repartee with a cute stranger, and I thought, I’m going to post a Missed Connection. I knew his first name and last initial thanks to the nametag, so when I got home that night, I remembered it, and jotted off a quick post with several allusions to our encounter.

Three days later, I got an email from him. He said a coworker had shown him the posting, and though he was often cynical lately, too, he was trying to be more adventurous, and would be up for coffee with me.

And then, believe it or not, we fell in love and moved to Paris, where I immediately found work as a photographer and he did something vaguely political.

No, but really. We’ve been emailing back and forth for almost a week, and everything points to promise so far. Verbally, I can find no fault. He seems to be interested in my emails and they grow longer and more in depth every day, and until I get one from him, usually sometime in the late morning, I’m jittery and obsessive about checking my email. I have no idea when I’m going to get to meet this person; coordinating times has been difficult so far (see, it’s going to be the end of us! I can already tell!), but we have made loose but earnest plans to take a walk together at some point and continue our conversations of literary, culinary, and other kinds of adjectives ending in –ary variety. I don’t know, a third one escaped me.

There’s already so much for me to doubt: like the fact that the internet played matchmaker (just… ugh), or that I really had no reason for being drawn to this person except that my overly materialistic instincts told me he was cute, and what does that count for? But then… there’s the fact that he can write, and that he numbers his points in this tidy and Virgo-an fashion, and that he remembers me as the one attractive girl he’s ever seen buy a book on web design.

So bear with me as I go through some mental calisthenics, trying to open a mind that’s a little tight from scar tissue and a growing time span of cynicism. I promise I will keep you posted, as accurately as I can, given my runaway imagination.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


You know that feeling when you’re in the midst of a heated fight with someone, on the brink of tears and with a head full of wrong-doings and injustices, and suddenly the person you’re fighting with says, “Are you about to get your period?” And you realize you are, and that your hormones are having some sort of carnival in your bloodstream?

That’s kind of what it feels like to have been wringing your hands for months about how you can’t get out of this funk, and your relationships are all out of whack, and you’ve lost all your creativity, only to find yourself, on days when the thermometer expands to reach the 40 degree mark, skipping home from work, or laughing more than normal, and telling everyone how happy you are. It’s the most sheepish feeling ever.

Fortunately I already know I fight S.A.D. in a serious way. I remember days in Oberlin towards the end of February when I would leave my apartment and try to walk in the same direction as the wind so it wouldn’t blow snow it my face, but it just didn’t seem possible. Or I would see an old boyfriend and melt down at the unfairness of it all, or find myself heartbroken because some friend didn’t call me back when they said they would. I remember making an appointment at the counseling center when I just couldn’t pull myself out of the teary, weighted-down thing, and my appointment didn’t roll around for a couple of weeks. The day it came happened to be the first warm day of the spring, you know, when all the Ohio college kids get the kind of collective sunburn that makes you wince, and I found myself eating a popsicle and humming on my way to my appointment, where… I suddenly had nothing to talk about.

I can’t wait for that to happen. So far it’s just a tease, but I can’t wait to forget the feeling of never being able to get really warm.

As many people know, I did sustain a particularly crushing and awful emotional blow recently. Yesterday my mother called to say how proud she is of the way I’m handling it, but I say, Grief is Capitalism. All I’ve really done is join an overpriced gym, sign up for an incredibly expensive photography workshop, and go ahead and buy the camera I’ve been saving for for so long. These are all things I’d wanted to do; I just hadn’t because of the financial strain. But my parents are paying for the gym for now, because they don’t know what else to do with their delicate daughter, and I already had enough for the camera - this particular event just spurred my decision making.

I feel better, too. Different. Pried loose from something, if not by choice then by necessity. Ready for change. Ready for forward motion. It’s not always a bad thing to be so swayed by the seasons.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Look What My Baby Can Do!

Tonight I uploaded the first images from my new Olympus Evolt-500, a purchase that took me nearly 7 months to make. Kim took this one.

And here she is. Now there's a purdy southern gal.

Oh yes, good times are ahead for me and my baby.

Excerpts From an Email to a New Friend

News of the week: Mon appareil-photo est arrivé! Why I felt inclined to say that in French, I have no idea, but I keep thinking it that way. My camera is here. It's great. I haven't been this in love with a material object since I got my little Powerbook two years ago. I generally try to avoid the sentiment.

Sadly I barely got to kiss it hello before shoving it under my desk - work is bordering on insane right now and I've been juggling projects like a circus clown. Though you wouldn't think it, given my long emails. I just type fast! Next week CS is throwing a huge fundraiser called LifeSavor, which entails a huge silent auction and cocktail party before guests are trolleyed off (in actual trolleys!) to dinner at the city's best restaurants in groups of ten. The dinner is completely donated by the restaurants, and at $250/ticket, we make a lot of money with very little expenditure! But whew, it's a lot of work.

My friend Asher just sent me a list of his recommendations of graphic novels. I've only read a few, and I've been in the mood for one lately. I'll pass it along to you.

1) Spiral Bound, by Aaron Renier - around $14, paperback.
This book is just so inventive and beautifully drawn. Don't be put off by the fact that it's all animal characters, it might be one of the most creative and endearing books that has entered the comic sphere in the past couple of years. Plus, he's working on some projects with Alec Longstreth too! (check out their joint work at
www.alec-longstreth.com) Alec is a college friend.

2) Blankets, by Craig Thompson - around $30, paperback
Wow. Gorgeous line drawings. Heart wrenching story about the author's first love and struggle with religeous faith. It's astonishing. I've read it at least 5 times, and each time I find something new hidden in the narrative or rich graphics. Maybe this isn't the time for you to read it, but at some point, you'd be doing yourself a great disservice if you let it go.

3) Louis Riel, by Chester Brown - around $18, hardcover
Chester Brown has an odd, removed way of telling the story of the French Canadian revolutionary Louis Riel. Very well written and constructed, Brown's graphics are distinctly his own. Sterile, but a very enlightening and cool read.

4) Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Boy on Earth, by Chris Ware, about
$25, paperback.
Another hearbreaking book that following the family of Jimmy Corrigan, a chubby, depressed momma's boy from the suburbs of Chicago. The book jumps back and forth from his story in the present to the stories of his family all the way back to the World's fair in Chicago at the turn of the century. What might be most remarkable about this book, though, is Ware's amazing style. His work is schematic and perfect, resembling theatrical drafting and cinematic storyboards more than traditional comix. Enjoy!

5) Any issue between 2-7 of Optic Nerve, by Adrian Tomine, about $3
each, magazine
Adrian Tomine has mastered telling the story of the guy next door. Amazingly well constructed stories about petty drama and social reality. I love this guy.

Your overly-caffeinated friend,


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Up and Running, and My Ass Hurts

Get me, I'm up!

Umbrellablues.com is still pretty far from finished, but the photos are being organized, the domain has been purchased, and my good friend Sean drunkenly helped me launch a coming soon page to keep you all enticed. We sat slouched over my computer talking about FTP while our cohorts rallied for the 5th or 6th hour of drinking on a Saturday night. Pitiful.

I am blessed with the gift of scavanging, and tend to find amazing and otherwise expensive stuff out on the street, abandoned by my blasé and overly moneyed neighbors. A couple of weeks ago offered up a box of books, mostly out-of-date travel guides to the UK and religious blabberings, but among them was a hardbound, black-with-huge-gold-text epic called, alluringly, The Book of Secrets. It turns out it's a sexist handbook for bored housewives, instructing them on everything from being a smart traveler to maintaining Your Good Looks (featuring For men: how to dress at the office. Women get no such chapter).

I bring you a passage from the chapter, In And Around the Home, under the subheading, Are men taking more interest in decorating these days? (These days being the late '80's.)

Most men's priorities are a comfortable bed and chair, a lamp and a popcorn machine.

A popcorn machine? What?

My roommate (and dear friend) Kim wants to be in my blog. She makes insanely tasty beefy mac 'n' cheese. That's all I meant by that. It's always a party with Kim around. Even if her life is all about breasts and we get "The Journal of Human Lactation" delivered to our house monthly. She's in public health, people.

My friend Asher, who works for Current TV, was at SXSW this week, and got to meet Craig. Craig started some networking site in San Francisco or something. No, in all seriousness, I have this inkling I'm going to want to want thank him personally in a week or so for his magic List. I'll tell you later. Maybe.

It's good to be here, and I feel plenty of verbal spillage forthcoming.