Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Asking for your good thoughts and your crossed fingers.

This is one of the most exciting moments of my life. Mike has finally deemed his novel COMPLETE. He's submitting it to his top choice publisher tomorrow morning. He's also prepping queries to his top five lit agents - some to be sent via email first thing in the morning, some to be sent via snail mail, depending on the agents preference. I am shivering with the thrill of it all. I read the new draft over a 24 hour period because I LITERALLY COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN IT IS THAT GOOD. And please believe me when I say that I am almost as harsh a critic of him as I am of myself. There is no biased-ness going on here. The man is gifted. This is as exciting as the day my agent called me to tell me I booked 'Life On Mars'. I can't sit still. I'm totally freaking out. And you know what else? He told me today that he is 23,000 words into his second novel AND HE WON'T LET ME READ IT UNTIL THE FIRST DRAFT IS DONE. 

I'm asking for all of your most positive thoughts and feelings and crossed fingers and crossed toes and goodwill. I can't think of a better way to close out 2008 - and a better way to welcome 2009.


I'm so happy I could cry. 

Happy freaking New Year, people. I could kiss each one of you!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Touched by the Christmas spirit. Not in a creepy way, don't worry.

Surprised by a day off - I thought the temp agency was going to call me for work today but they didn't - which is too bad because, holy crap, I'm unemployed - but it's also good because who really wants to spend a snowy, wintry day stuck in some crappy cubicle at some crappy temp job? I mean, really.

Anyway, since I've some spare time today, I thought I'd tell you the story of how the Christmas spirit touched me this week. It all started this past weekend when my husband and I had a little falling out because I felt like he wasn't taking Christmas seriously enough and he felt like I was being childish. And maybe I was. I don't know. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday and the weeks leading up to it have always been my favorite time of year. In my family, as I imagine in most families, Christmas really is a wonderful celebration of, well, family. And it's not just the 24th and 25th that are special. Weeks before, we gather together to drink eggnog and trim the tree. Even after all of us were grown and had our own trees in our own homes, the trimming of Mama and Papa's tree continues to be a family tradition: A chance for us to joke and laugh and talk about our Christmas wishes and admire all the ornaments that we'd made throughout the years. My parents tree is not draped with store-bought balls and trinkets. No, no. My parents tree is hung full of memories - each ornament has a story, a memory attached. The family Christmas tree, hugged by hundreds of ornaments made by each of us over the last forty some-odd years. Here are egg-shell ornaments made by Nana before any of us kids were born, here are the milkmaids and geese-a-layin' and golden rings made by Mama when her children were babies, here are ornaments made by my brothers and sister when I was still just a glint in Papa's eye, here is the first ornament I made in pre-school, here hangs Sweetie's scarf, here is the glass ball gifted to me by my brother when I was five, here is the little cardboard Santa put on Mama's dinner tray when she was still in the hospital after Trina was born, and it goes on and on, this tree shrouded in the past of my family. 

I am married to a wonderful man who cares deeply about the environment and what Earth will be like for his grand-children. This means that he does not believe in cutting down a tree to put in one's living room for a couple of weeks just so that it can end up in a landfill by January 1st. Then there is the matter of us being Adults with Responsibilities and A Budget and the fact that one of us (me) is Unemployed. So even if he did believe in the cutting down of balsam firs for the holidays, a Christmas tree is not in The Budget. Especially not an environmentally-friendly reusable "fake" tree. And this is largely due to decisions I have made that affect our life, so please do not think I am laying blame. I am not. But as a result, I have been feeling very sad at the absence of Christmas in my life this year - because that's what it's felt like. 

Maybe you, like my husband, think I'm being ridiculous about the whole thing. But in my childhood family tradition, the tree is always at the center of things, like a symbol of the family. It is hard enough to spend such an important day away from my family, but to have to do it without any semblance of the things that make the day special for me? And of course, I left all of my Christmasy things in a box in my parents garage in California, apparently to give myself a reason to feel blue for the holidays. I know, this is a superficial, first-world problem. If this is the worst thing that happens to me all year, I am extremely fortunate. I know. And I try to take comfort in that. Call me ridiculous, but maybe I would be further comforted if I thought my husband felt as strongly about the holiday as I do, because then at least I could believe that we would make our own holiday magic. But instead I think that for him it is really just another day. He's spent more Christmases at work than he has with family, so it doesn't hold the same kind of importance for him. And so I feel very, very alone.

Until last Sunday.

My dear, sweet, wonderful husband went against his beliefs and brought home a Christmas tree. When I walked into the living room Sunday night and was met with the spicy sent of pine and the beautiful tree sitting there, proudly spreading her boughs, I nearly collapsed in a pile of sobs. And he started laughing and wrapped his arms around me and whispered sweet nothings until I was laughing too. And I suddenly realized how silly I've been because I am not separated from my family this Christmas. My childhood family is in my heart and my husband, my chosen family, is right here with his arms around me. It turns out I was all wrong about him - he's thrilled to share the Christmas magic from my childhood and he is eager to make our own memories and traditions. This is our first Christmas as our own little family, just the two of us and our animals. So our first tradition? Crying over the tree. No, no, I kid. We started by making our own special ornaments to hang on the tree. A tradition in my childhood family, and now in my married family. We pulled out my collection of craft supplies and combed the tenement for things that could be turned into ornaments. We dedicated a whole evening to making ornaments. And years from now, our children and grand-children will recognize these ornaments as the ones we made for our very first Christmas alone and together. 'Here is the cork from the bottle of champagne they opened on their wedding day,' they'll say. 'And here is the lacy snow drop Papa Mike made, here is a broken crystal saved from great-great-great Aunt Sue's crystal lamp, here is a wind-up toy from Mama Ish's 2003 Christmas stocking, here is the box of Christmas Cheer that great-Grandmama sent to New York for their first Christmas away from home,' and on and on.

I've been told over and over that it is time for me to grow up and become my own family with my husband. I don't want to have a separate family from the one that I was born into, but I suppose that is the way it works? My parents had to separate from their childhood families in order to create the family that I so treasure. I am just so thankful that I found such a wonderful person to do it with. Not to mention that whenever life leads me back home to California, Christmases spent with my childhood family and my married family all together will be treasured that much more.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's still on my mind, pretty constantly.

Remember when I posted this? About all the sacrifices that actors make? Well, it was recently brought to my attention that that quote suggests that if you aren't some kind of an artist living an exciting life, then you must be a regular old boring home owner. And I was really unreasonably hurt when I discovered that someone I love and respect thought that I was trying to say that. The thing is, that is not what the quote meant at all. Not even a little bit. At least not to me.

David Ackert, the guy who I quoted (and who, by the way, I don't know anything about except that he said that and I love it) is not referring to, let alone idolizing, celebrities and famous actors. Celebrities are freaks of nature - and I mean that in a respectful way. I believe that Mr. Ackert is referring to your average working actor. He's talking about me. He's talking about the fact that I am pursuing a dream despite the very real possibility that I may NEVER own my own house. I may NEVER be in the appropriate financial situation to purchase a new car, let alone a weekend cottage. I may NEVER be in the right situation to feel comfortable starting my own family. He's talking about the fact that every single morning when I wake up, I have to deal with the reality that I have no idea where my next job is coming from. I have no idea how I will make my rent in two weeks. I don't even know if I will be able to pay my electric bill. And on top of that, my refrigerator is literally nearly empty. Not packed full of food and I just don't like what's in it. No. It's literally almost empty. Open my refrigerator and find some expired condiments and the stale heel of a loaf of bread. And I have to figure out a way to make a meal out of that. But please, don't think I am complaining. I live this way by choice - because I believe that if I persist, if I am patient, if I work hard, I will get another acting job and it will have been worth it.  (And besides, most of the time I earn enough at whatever J-O-B I'm working that I end up able to cover the rent and stuff, so it isn't all THAT bad. But sometimes it is. And that's why I'm consumed with credit card debt. And also why I no longer socialize with friends. It's too damn expensive.)

When I get called for an audition, I devote hours, days, sometimes weeks to developing a character and researching the role - I give my heart and soul. And then I walk into the audition room and open my wrists and let my heart-blood spill on the filthy floor and 99 times out of a 100 they knew before I even opened my mouth that they would not hire me because I look too young. Or I look too old. Or I'm not pretty enough. Or I'm not tall enough. Or they really wanted a redhead. But I do it anyway. I have no security, no way of knowing for sure, no health insurance, no IRA, no 401k, no savings account. But I have hope. And I work my ass off. And it's fucking terrifying. It is the most terrifying thing I have ever done in my life. Sometimes it is so terrifying that I spend months in a black hole of despair, unable to do more than function on a most basic level. And in those months, I disappear from the internets because I can't think of a single positive or funny thing to say. That's where I was for most of September, all of October and the majority of November. And then, miracle of miracles, my hard work paid off and I booked a role on ABC's 'Life On Mars'.

I posted that quote as a way of trying to clear up the despair that was fogging my brain. It had been so long since I'd had an acting job that I'd forgotten why I choose to live this difficult life. I wanted to feel a connection with other actors and feel like I'm not the only one who feels as if she is giving up everything. Because the truth is, if I'd taken another career path, I'd probably already own a house. I'd surely own a car. Maybe I'd even be getting ready to welcome a baby into this wild world - an event I have dreamt of my entire life. I do not feel like people who are not actors aren't worthy or loyal. I envy them. I envy their lovely lives and pray I might have that life one day, too. I just wanted to feel like what I'm doing has some sort of purpose. And it does.

It hurt me that that quote was taken so out of context. It's taken me a while to respond because I couldn't figure out why I took it so personally - I know I'm being ridiculous. Surely my beloved family member didn't intend to hurt my feelings. I know I have a tendency to take things WAY too personally and I'd really like to be the kind of person who lets stuff like that slide off my back. I've really had to think about it and I think what it comes down to is that I felt grossly misunderstood. And terribly unappreciated. But why should anybody appreciate the choices I make? In some ways, my life must seem pretty ridiculous. Why would I choose to be so broke that I risk having my lights turned off and I can't afford to make a grocery run? Why do I spend my electric bill money on another acting class? It's fucking crazy. It's absurd. But if I spent the time and energy it takes to earn a larger income, I would not be able to spend the time and energy required to book that next acting job. So I make the trade off. I am broke and I won't get to spend Christmas with my family because I can't afford the plane tickets or the days off from the J-O-B, hell, I can't even afford a Christmas tree. (Have you ever had a Christmas without a tree? This is my second one. Talk about bleak.) But what I get in return is the time to go to auditions. And I can't give more of an explanation than that. I can say that I've just spent a week on the set of a network television show and EVERY SINGLE DAY I had to pinch myself because I couldn't believe I was actually there. For a full week, I sat on set looking around at the lights and the props and the other actors and the make-up crew and I felt absolutely breathless. It took every ounce of self-control in my body not to break out dancing like a maniac to the constant chant in my head of "THIS IS MY JOB THIS IS MY JOB THIS IS MY JOB!" And I may not know when the next job will come along, but I know that my rent is covered this month, thank god. And I believe that another job will come along eventually and if I get to be that blissfully, perfectly happy for another couple of days, than the weeks and months of hardship in between will have been totally worth it.

You don't have to understand. You don't have to care. I just had to explain it. Maybe more to myself than to you. Believe me, I quietly envy your beautiful home, your weekend cottage, your gorgeous car, and your happy family. And I hope and pray that one day I might have a life like yours. I respect you and all that you do. I love you. And if I never get to achieve the many things that you have worked so hard for, well, maybe you'll invite me over for dinner so I can live vicariously through you? And anyway, life is a journey and I will have to find whatever good I can along the way. I am blessed with a loving family, an exquisitely supportive husband, and the wisdom to enjoy what I have - despite the fact that it is nothing like what I thought I would have at my age. 

P.S. Just in case you're wondering why my husband doesn't get a higher paying job so that we don't have to be so broke, it's because he is also an artist and he is making the same sacrifices I am making so that he can pursue his dream. This is our gift to each other. The ability to recklessly chase our dreams until we succeed or decide that another dream is calling our attention. And it is worth it. It is worth it.

P.P.S. Yes, I realize that in our current economic crisis, many many many people wonder how they will make their mortgage, rent, buy groceries, etc. I realize that I am not alone. I know that I am actually lucky, because at least I don't know how I'll pay my rent by choice. But were we not in this horrid economic crisis - fuck it. You know what I'm trying to say. Hopefully. If you don't, nothing I say will make you understand. And when I say "you" I'm not talking to anyone in particular, but to everyone and anyone who reads this. 

P.P.S.S. Can I get an award for Worlds Longest Blog Post Ever? And also maybe an award for Girl Who Takes Herself Way Too Fucking Seriously? I have definitely earned that one.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

First one to guess what film/book/tv show this quote is from wins my heart and my undying respect FOREVER. P.S. I think it will be George.

Why don't you just crawl back into that open sewer pipe you call the 'Holland Tunnel' and flush yourselves back to "Almost New York". Because I will do a lot of things to get laid, but I will NOT go to New Jersey.

P.P.S. I miss you Georges!

Friday, November 07, 2008

I know I've been away for a really long time but trust me, you were better off.

And I also know that my last few posts, and this post as well, are not "real" posts. But you're gonna have to give me some time while I warm up to this whole blogging thing again. In the mean time, I just had to share this with you because, well, I want to know if it makes you cry and laugh simultaneously, as it did me.

I hesitated when you asked me, because I am mean and evil and enjoy the sound of your head exploding, and then said yes. Of course. It's Halloween. And Leta, I don't think you have ever loved me more than you did in that moment. In fact, you took the time to hug me and tell me that I am wonderful before ripping into a full-sized Hershey's bar. It is not lost on me that you showed such affection because of a goddamn chocolate bar and not because I carried you in my womb for nine months or because I pushed your seven-pound body out my wee waw. For a chocolate bar that did not whip out its boob while standing in line at the post office because you needed to be fed. A chocolate bar that has not cupped its hands underneath your mouth as you throw up a cheese quesadilla. That being said, there is a reason you give boxes of chocolate to your loved ones on Valentine's Day and not, say, a picture of vaginal stitches next to a thought bubble that says, "I love you THIS much!"

Dooce. I adore her.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sarah Palin In The Closet

Meet my friend, Marni Penning. She is my new hero.

p.s. she has three other Sarah Palin videos on her YouTube page, www.youtube.com/theladyhamlet

Monday, September 15, 2008

This is what's been on my mind, pretty constantly, for the last several weeks. It's keeping me awake at night, so pay close attention.

Actor David Ackert said this on his website. A good friend of mine, who is also one of my mentors, sent this to me a couple of years ago, probably when she was the age I am now, and feeling the way I've been feeling.

Actors are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, actors face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get "real" jobs, and their own fear that they'll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every role, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life - the car, the family, the house, the nest egg.

But they stay true to their dream, in spite of the sacrifices. Why?

Because actors are willing to give their entire lives to a moment - to that line, that laugh, that gesture, or that interpretation that will stir the audience's soul. Actors are beings who have tasted life's nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another's heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Weekly Poll - Should we keep this up?

I was kinda surprised, guys. 57% said you totally love the weekly poll. 21% are over it and 21% didn't even know it existed.

If you didn't know it existed, why did you vote? Just askin'.

So I guess majority rules and I'll keep it up for a little while longer. Although, this week I'm getting a little deeper than usual. Because I've really been reexamining my life and I'm curious how other people view their life. And there is a fly buzzing by my head and it's making me loopy.

Next week I'll ask you what you think about farts.

A Warm Family Welcome.

Me: Dude. Your weiner missed me.

Him: Yeah, he did.

Me: Your weiner is all over me! Geez!

Him: Well, my weiner likes pretty girls.

Me: Alright, baby. I'm tired. Can you get your weiner off me?

Him: I don't have a lot of control over my weiner.

Me: But he's slobbering all over my face!

Him: Well, sometimes my weiner just has a mind of his own.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Weekly Poll - Boogers

When asked what you would do upon meeting a really cool potential boyfriend/girlfriend who happened to have a giant booger hanging out of their nose, 6% of you said you'd tell them, but try to make a joke out of it; 4% would tell them, but in a really nice way; and 1% would be so grossed out that they'd walk away and never look back. And I know who that 1% is. Sicko. HA HA JUST KIDDING. Nah, actually, that is totally what I would do, too. Only I'd ALSO be inwardly laughing at them.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I am so mad I can barely see straight.

Hypothetical Situation, Or Perhaps Something My Husband Is Currently Experiencing. 

You plan a vacation. You get the dates approved by your employer before purchasing the plane tickets. During the four month period prior to leaving for said vacation, you periodically remind your employer that you will be leaving on the vacation on previously agreed upon dates. One week before you are scheduled to leave for your vacation, your vacation that you have been planning for four months, that you have already paid for, some bitch you work with quits unexpectedly and your employer tells you that if you choose to take your vacation anyway, you will not have a job when you return. It costs you $100 to cancel the plane tickets that you ONLY PURCHASED ONCE YOU'D GOTTEN APPROVAL FROM YOUR EMPLOYER. Should you be reimbursed for the financial burden caused to you by your employer? Or should you suck it up?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Is it 1823 and am I not allowed to have my own thoughts?

So Adam (who is visiting from LA because he is getting ready to move here) and I are sitting on my stoop yesterday afternoon chatting. I've got a big glass of iced tea and he's got a cigarette and we're just hanging out, enjoying the autumn weather, talking about life and whatnot, when this guy walks up to us. Now, he's walking west down the street, and because of the way we're sitting, as he approaches he'll have to pass me before passing Adam. So he walks up to us, passes me, stands in front of Adam and without even acknowledging I'm there, says, "Hey, do you live here? Can you tell me the parking situation?"

"No, man. I'm sorry. I don't live here, I don't know." Adam replies.

Eyes still on Adam, the guy says, "Well, does she know?" I take a sip of my iced tea. Adam takes a drag off his cigarette. The guy is getting impatient. I'm waiting for him to look at me, you know, acknowledge my presence or something, maybe ask me directly, but he doesn't. Another awkward moment goes by. The guy says, "WELL? DOES SHE?"

Adam looks over at me. I look up at the guy, but he is still glaring at Adam. I think about dumping my iced tea all over his shoes, but instead I say: "Yeah, I do. But you didn't ask me."

This reminds me of the night when I was in college and I had a shaved head and Adam and I were at a club watching my brother's band play and this guy walked up to Adam and said, "Can I touch her head?" and then pointed at me. And Adam was like, "Um, why don't you ask her?"

Either I look like the kind of girl who doesn't have the right to speak out loud to men outside my family, or Adam is freakishly intimidating.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Weekly Poll - About 2 Weeks Late

I'm sorry guys. I know, I know, it's been 16 days. Things come up and life just moves so damn quickly. But what I can't believe is that out of 11 people, TEN of you voted that you'd rather be Jerry. That's 90%. I know that because I'm SMART. I don't know, I guess I'm not really surprised that more people didn't want to be the dumb hunter.

Anyway, I can't really think straight right now because on Saturday night after my nephew left to go back to LA (did I mention my nephew was here visiting for a week and we had the best time ever and he's so cool and I am crazy about him and one of the cool things about living three thousand miles away from everyone I love is that when someone gets to visit, even though I haven't seen them in a year, I get to spend a whole week of nearly uninterrupted time with them and it provides a bonding experience that I probably would never really get if I lived in the same city and saw them regularly at family functions and what not. Anyway, it was a fantastic week and now I'm wondering when my niece is going to come spend a week with me because I know she's growing up really fast and I'd really like to get to know her better, too. But I digress.) Poompy took me way the fuck uptown, to the very tippy top of Manhattan to this neighborhood that he and my nephew had explored together. AND I COMPLETELY FELL IN LOVE WITH IT. It's the second-to-last stop off the A express train and so I was really hesitant to go because THAT IS SO FAR AWAY. But on a Saturday evening, with the all the trains running local and having just missed our train when we got to the platform so that we had to wait 15 minutes for another one, it only took us 45 minutes to get there. Including the 15 minute wait for a train. And on the way home? After 8 p.m. on a Saturday night? THIRTY MINUTES. THIRTY MINUTES TO 42ND ST. It's not that far away after all.

Oh and I can't even begin to tell you how spectacularly gorgeous this neighborhood is. It's like, it's like not even being in the city, except that you are still in Manhattan. And you're surrounded by huge parks on three sides and there is such a huge expanse of blue sky and so many trees everywhere and the parks are actually what is left over of actual REAL OLD GROWTH FOREST, THEY ARE NOT EVEN MAN-MADE PARKS DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE GRAVITY OF THE SITUATION? DO YOU? BECAUSE I DON'T REALLY THINK YOU DO.

So we're moving. We don't know when, but hopefully it will be soon. And when I say "soon" I mean "next month". But I know, I have to be patient, it isn't as easy as all that, blah blah. It's just that I'm totally crawling out of my skin to go live in a place where I can be surrounded by trees and sky and more trees and trees that aren't all wimpy with little gates wrapped around them and still be really close to civilization. And honestly? There is a tiny part of me that is afraid to move to this neighborhood because up until now I've basically been counting down until I feel like it's ok for me to give up on NYC and move back to California but now? Now that I've found this oasis of nature at the top of the island? Now I think that if I lived there I might not ever want to leave.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Practicing their Kill Technique

And also, another example of why we call the blonde one "The Hellhound".

P.S. They did this for an hour and a half today, ALL OVER Central Park. But mostly wherever there were large expanses of dirt. They also did this all over Central Park yesterday morning and Friday morning. Is it any wonder then, why they are both passed out on the living room floor right now? Or why, when I jangle their leashes for a mid-afternoon pee walk they both look up at me as if saying, "God Woman! Haven't you had enough for one day?"

P.P.S. This video, as well as yesterday's, were shot on my PHONE. I can't believe it, can you?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Warning: Will Make Your Heart Melt

Unless you are just a cold, cold worm.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Girl In The Window

I'm sorry, I can't NOT post this. It's just too incredible. You must read it.

Hard as it was to imagine, they doubted she had ever been taken out in the sun, sung to sleep, even hugged or held. She was fragile and beautiful, but whatever makes a person human seemed somehow missing.

Also, I had no idea how important the first five years are to human development. It just blows my mind. And makes me REALLY APPRECIATE the time my parents took playing with me, snuggling me, feeding me, talking to me and teaching me how to use a toilet. I know I sound snarky, but I'm being completely serious. And genuine. Which is unusual for me, so enjoy it.

Thanks to Dooce for pointing it out.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The New Girl - Belated Update

I bet you're all wondering how things turned out with the new girl, huh?

Well, long story short, she tried to bully Dr. Boss and got fired. And then I told everyone at work about how she used to bully me when we were little kids and all the girls got really upset and asked me if I wanted them to kick the new girls ass and I felt SO VINDICATED.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Poll Results: If you could only pick one...

If you could only pick ONE rock band/musician/pop artist to listen to for the rest of your life, which/who would it be?

13 people voted. 46% of you chose Pink Floyd, 30% chose Radiohead, 15% chose Chopin, 7% chose Patsy Cline and NOT A SINGLE PERSON chose Prince or Elvis. WTF? Why you gotta hate?

Is it animal cruelty if the animal likes it?

Fish Pedicure

I can't believe I was JUST IN D.C. AND I MISSED THIS. I am so going back asap.

Thanks for sharing, Kim!

Monday, August 04, 2008

That Time I Partied Backwards.

Shame on me for never telling you all about my trip home to Los Angeles this past May. I'm a naughty blogger.

It was a really wonderful trip home, though really too short. Poompy and I got to spend time with my friend Mich and her husband and their 8 week old baby. (He won't admit it, but Poompy totally got all weepy-eyed when he held the infant in his arms.) We spent lots of time in our jammies visiting with my mama. We broke bread with friends and family multiple times. We stopped by our beautiful Hollywood bungalow and visited with our old neighbors. We took a road trip to Huntington Beach with Dopey to spend more time with family. We spent an afternoon on the Santa Monica Pier with more family. I went horse-back riding with my neice and nephew while Poompy ate at our favorite sushi place with his big brother. (After which Poompy gloated for hours about how awesome the sushi was and how NY sushi "sucks major balls" in comparison.) But I think the very best story of all comes from our second night in town, when my best fried Dopey threw us The Most Awesome Welcome To LA Party EVER.

Dopey had planned this rad party for us and she'd sent out invitations to all our friends and I was super excited about it. So excited about it that the first thing I did when I arrived at Dopey's house to help her prepare for the party was pass out on the pavement next to her pool. Why? Who knows. My brother suggested that perhaps I shouldn't have started drinking so early in the day, but what does he know? Anyway, the next thing I did was spend a couple of hours stretched across Dopey's bed, holding my stomach and groaning. About forty minutes before guests were supposed to start arriving, Poompy managed to convince me that it would be a good idea to stick my finger down my throat. I won't go into the gory details except to tell you all about how you can tell someone really loves you when they sit on the floor in the bathroom holding your hair and rubbing your back while you wretch and sob and say things like: "blaaaaagh*wretch*gag* I'm dying! *sob*bleeegh*gag* I think I'm dying please *wretch* make it stop! *gag*blegh* I don't want to die! *wretch*sob*gag*" Throwing up is gross. And it sucks. And it is NOT dignified. Certainly not when I do it.

I barely had time to brush my teeth before the guests started arriving and by then, well I just felt so much better that I drank two gin martini's and spent the rest of the night dancing on Dopey's coffee table before getting completely sober and driving home while working on next years taxes. I know how to have a good time, you know?

Cade and Meph

Cade and Meph, originally uploaded by Pretty Poo Eater.

I can't look at this photo without feeling like my entire body is melting, starting with that lump of black coal otherwise known as my "heart". I miss both of these guys so much that I can't even find words to talk about it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bump in the Night

I have always had a love/hate relationship with the supernatural. On the one hand, I'm COMPLETELY FASCINATED by the paranormal. And on the other hand? I'd rather eat a plate of steaming shit than have to face a real, honest-to-goodness ghost.

As a little kid, I often spent long weekends with my beloved Aunt Sue, who regularly communicated with the Great Beyond. (She also had weekly phone chats with Santa Claus, and I had her to thank for asking the Tooth Fairy to give me a raise - but those are other stories for other posts.) The two of us would stay up late together and watch Unsolved Mysteries, America's Most Wanted,  and other creepy weekend specials about ghosts, murderers, kidnappers, aliens and phantoms and then, like clockwork, every night at 11:45 she'd look over at me and say, "It's almost midnight. Doo yooou knoooow whaat thaaat meeeeans? Midnight is THE WITCHING HOUR! Quick! Off to bed before the witches come out!" And with my wee little heart thumping in my chest, I'd race off to her bedroom and dive under the covers for safety. And while I was at once terrified by the thought of what I might see once that clock struck 12, I was also thrilled by it.

When I planned Poompy's birthday trip to Gettysburg, I booked us two nights at a self-proclaimed "haunted" Bed & Breakfast. The Farnsworth House Inn was built in
1810, followed in 1833 by the brick structure that still stands today. The walls, floors and rafters are all original - one can only imagine what they've seen and heard in 175 years. During the battle of Gettysburg the house was owned by the Sweney family. The wife and daughter fled their home before the battle began, but Mr. Sweney chose to stay. He was basically forced to spend the three day battle hiding in his cellar because on the first day of battle, after Federal units retreated to Cemetery Hill, the 2 1/2 story brick house became a shelter and hide-out for Confederate sharpshooters. The house was strategically located very near Union lines and the garret window (photo of window from inside the garret below, right) offered a protected site for the Confederate sharpshooters as they maintained a deadly fire on the Union forces on Cemetery Hill. The side of the house (pictured above left) bears over 100 bullet scars from Union riflemen firing back at the Confederates.

When we checked into our room in Gettysburg, the first thing I noticed was a pretty little journal on the dresser. Curiosity got the best of me, so I opened it. Apparently, hotel staff leaves that little journal so guests have a place to write about their supernatural stories. There wasn't anything too scary written in it, mostly it was people who'd written to say that nothing weird happened while they were staying there, thank goodness. Though there were a couple of stories about groaning walls and bumps in the night - the kind of thing which, in my opinion, one should expect in a house with 175 year old walls and floors. Later, we found out that the room next to ours has "the most spirit activity in the whole house". But I wasn't going to let that bother me because at least it wasn't the room we were staying in. Just the room next-door. Despite my resolve, I did not sleep a wink. I laid awake ALL NIGHT LONG straining to hear strange noises while simultaneously trying not to hear anything at all. And I couldn't stand that I was wide awake and Poompy was fast asleep, so I kept elbowing him in the ribs, hoping that he might wake up and keep me company, but to no avail. All the hardest nudging in the world gave me nothing more than a muffled "hrrrgmf" or two. The next morning at breakfast, the guy staying in the room next-door tried to ask me if I'd heard strange footsteps in the hallway the night before, but I interrupted before he had a chance to get the question out and said, "that was probably just me and my husband coming in for the night!" I didn't want to think that he'd heard anything strange. I just couldn't handle it.

Our second night in Gettysburg we went on a Ghost Walk that promised to fill us with thrills and chills, a Ghost Walk led by phantoms in period dress, a Ghost Walk we would never forget. Well, it turned out to be the lamest Ghost Walk EVER. The guides, in their Rite-Aid brand pirate costumes, spoke to us, a group of 25 adults, as if we were kindergartners with IQ's below 40. When once I got a little behind the group because I'd stopped to take a photo of a dead bird, I was screeeeeamed at by the guide for falling out of line. (Yeah, I said "line". She made us stand in a line. Like kindergartners.) While our guide did provide us with some interesting town history, she did not tell us any real ghost stories. I'm sorry, but a real ghost story doesn't end with a punch line. And I have a hard time appreciating the history lessons she provided, because she couldn't open her mouth without rolling her eyes in boredom and hacking her left lung out of her chest. The scariest thing about the entire walk, actually, was her phlegmy, body wracking cough. It was so scary I had to stay at the back of the line the whole time.  But, I'm not being altogether fair. She did tell one story that made the Ghost Walk worthwhile. She took us into the garret of the Farnsworth House and, in between eye-rolling and body-wracking, lung-launching, phlegm-spraying coughs, she told us the story of what Mr. Sweney found in his garret after the battle of Gettysburg ended. Story goes that when he finally felt it was safe to come out of hiding, he began to explore his home to asses the damage caused. He made his up into the garret and discovered the bodies of six dead Confederate soldiers piled in a corner opposite the garret window. (As I type this, I keep spinning around to look behind me because I'm getting the creeps so bad.) The floor was thick with congealed blood, and the walls were crawling with lice from the dead bodies. It seemed as though each time a sharpshooter posted at the garret window was shot, his buddies would drag him across the floor and leave him on the other side of the garret while another guy took his place. By the way, that floor? The one that had a thick layer of congealed blood on it? It's still there. I walked on it. And to make matters better? The very room where Poompy and I were staying was DIRECTLY UNDER THE GARRET. But not under the entire garret, oh no. JUST UNDER THE SIDE OF THE GARRET WHERE THE BODIES WERE PILED. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Creepy, scary, gross.

The ghost walk ended at about 11 p.m. and Poompy and I headed back to our room to pack our suitcases and catch some sleep. We needed to get up and hit the road by 6 a.m. if we would make it to work on time the next day. As we prepared for bed, I said a little prayer that I'd fall asleep FAST - I was exhausted because I hadn't been able to sleep a wink the night before. We crawled into bed and before I even turned the light off, Poompy was snoring. I stuck my elbow in his ribs. Nothing. Not even a "hrrrgmf". I elbowed him harder. Still nothing. The man was OUT. So I lay there, in the dark, trying to fall asleep, trying NOT to stare at the ceiling over my head because I was afraid I might see ghost-blood spread in a pool over my head. I heard the grandfather clock downstairs strike 11:30, then 11:45. When I heard it strike midnight a little voice in my head whispered, "Now it's the Witching Hour!" And I thought, Dear GOD HELP ME SLEEP. I heard the clock strike 12:15. Then 12:30. And then I heard footsteps. In the garret. The very clear and very distinct sound of someone pacing in the garret above my head. The footsteps were heavy, precise, intentional. And then I heard an enormous bang, and then silence. Complete silence.

I spent the rest of the night wide awake, sweaty and trembling. But I never heard or saw anything strange after that. When Poompy woke up in the morning I told him everything. He looked at me, his head cocked to one side, his brow furrowed in skepticism. "Seriously?" He said. "It was just staff cleaning up for the night. You're being ridiculous." Except, if it was staff, if it was HUMAN, I would've heard footsteps coming down the creaky garret steps into the hallway outside our room. I would've then heard those footsteps going down the creaky steps to the main floor, to make their way out of the Inn. Unless there is staff who sleeps in the garret at night. Which I HIGHLY DOUBT.

I will NEVER stay in a haunted B&B again. EVER.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Poll Results - Which Would You Rather Have

So, WTF guys? Only 11 votes this week, after last weeks 22 votes. And it was interesting, the results. 18% would prefer cockroaches over bedbugs, lice or fleas. 18% would prefer to have headlice and 63% would prefer fleas. Not a single person voted for bedbugs. Not that I blame them. I voted for fleas. Totally. I heart fleas.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm a Judgy Little Bitch

I am apologizing in advance for using so many capital letters all at once, but I just couldn't help myself. I'm a loud talker, too.

So, I go to this EPA* today and since they asked for a contemporary dramatic monologue, I prepared Harper from Angels in America. And like a good little actress, I worked on the monologue yesterday and today, just to make sure I had it in tip-top form. And of course it is in tip-top form because I've done the damn thing about a thousand times. So I get to my audition, I'm feeling really good, really confident, I'm wearing a new dress, I'm having a good hair day, I know this is going to be a good experience. My name is called, I walk into the audition room, I'm still feeling really confident, really sure of myself. I introduce myself, tell them what I'm doing, "Oh! Angels! Great!" says the casting director. I smile. Good foot to start out on. I take a moment to get into character and I start.

The minute I open my mouth, this big huge voice in my head starts in: "Oh. You did not just say that line like that. Oh. My. Gawd. Awful. Wow. You're really pushing. You're totally not connected. You should just stop. You should just walk out now before you make yourself look any stupider. Did you REALLY just do that with your face? How. Em. Barrasing. No, really, this is probably the worst you've EVER done in an audition. You're AWFUL! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? SHUT UP! YOU'RE COMPLETELY HUMILIATING YOURSELF." I finish the monologue, say thank you, and turn to GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE ROOM so I can run home and cry about what a terrible job I just did when the casting director says, "That was excellent!"

I freeze. "What?"

"That is a really hard monologue and you did it excellently. Really good work. Really good. I'm impressed."

"Thank you! Thank you very much!" I say as a ginormous shit-eating grin spreads across my face.

It just goes to show that I obviously have no fucking clue what I'm doing while I'm doing it so MAYBE I SHOULD STOP JUDGING MYSELF SO HARSHLY, STUPID JUDGY LITTLE BITCH. Aaaaand there I go again with the judging. But you know what I mean. I'm really grateful that she stopped me and said that to me, but I cannot rely on casting directors to stroke my ego. For reals. I have got to get a handle on this self-defeating, crippling, evil voice in my head. Any suggestions?

*Equity Principal Audition - Basically, in order for a show to be granted an Equity contract, one of the things the producers must do is hold open auditions for any and all Equity members to attend. Rumor has it that almost NO ONE actually gets cast from an EPA, but supposedly it's good to go to them anyway. I try to see them as a good opportunity to practice my audition skills. Or my audition skillz. Either way.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Almost 20,000 Views

If you haven't yet, please double click on the video so you'll be redirected to YouTube, then rate and leave some positive feedback. Let's get it up past 20,000 views!!!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Poll Results: What's Grosser?

Very nice, folks. 22 people voted, and a wild 77% agree that it is grosser to walk around with sweat dripping of your body, than to carry a towel around the city to periodically mop up with. I'm gonna go put a clean towel in my purse.

Check over there on the right for this weeks poll.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Friends

My apartment is way cleaner than yours. Remember last summer when our tenement building was infested with bed bugs? This summer, it's cockroaches. And apparently, cockroaches bother Poompy 100 times more than bed bugs. Apparently, he feels about cockroaches the way I feel about spiders. I HATE SPIDERS.

A couple of days ago, our neighbor (interestingly enough, the same neighbor who first told us about the building bed bugs) stopped me in the hallway:

"Have you had a problem with roaches?"
"Huh? Uh, nope."
"Did you see them in the hall on Tuesday?"
"What? No. Wait... now that you mention it, I did see one on the wall in the second-floor hallway."
"While I was eating breakfast on Tuesday morning a stream of cockroaches started pouring in under my front door. I opened my front door to see what was going on, and I swear to god, it was like a scene in a horror film. There must've been a thousand cockroaches swarming the walls, ceiling and floor of the hallway. I called the super and I guess he sprayed or whatever because they were gone that night. But you better spray your apartment."
"Wow. That's disgusting. Thanks."

Last night when I came home from work I was greeted by five fist-sized roaches scurrying along the baseboards of the third-floor hallway. My hallway. I opened my front door and the first thing I saw was a huge roach on the wall above my kitchen table. Poompy walked in right then to greet me, saw the look on my face, looked at the wall I was staring at, and then he almost started crying. And that was that. The cleaning began. And continued when he dragged my sorry ass out of bed at 8 a.m. to help him. I mean, he is serious about this cleaning. After I'd slurped down a cup of coffee this morning, the first thing he had me do was empty all the book shelves and vacuum each book individually, then scrub down each shelf, the walls behind the bookcases and the floor underneath them. That alone took me 2 1/2 hours. Then I had to empty all the shelves where I keep my girly primping things and scrub those shelves, then give each bottle of everything its very own bath. Poompy had me washing picture frames, chachkis and windowsills. Windowsills! When I left for work this afternoon, he was scrubbing the walls behind the refrigerator. Poompy is The Home Cleaning Nazi.

I have to admit though, our apartment was, well, it needed a good cleaning. It is remarkable to me the dust and dirt that I manage to completely ignore. I saw dust today that I've never seen before, except that I know it's been there for awhile because an inch of dust doesn't collect over night. So how come I never noticed it? Don't misunderstand, we aren't dirty people. We're messy, but we're not dirty. We vacuum every other day, we mop and clean out the bathtub and toilet at least every other week. That's pretty good, right? We do our dishes after every meal and we never let old food sit out. But we don't dust. Ever. Ever. Ever. I was astonished to pull a book off a shelf and discover an INCH of dust on the shelf rail behind it. My parents were in town recently and I watched my mother pick up a framed photo of Poompy and I. She looked at it and put it back and I thought to myself, "Awww. She's admiring a sweet photo of me and my beloved. Isn't that nice?" Today, I picked up that same frame to clean the windowsill underneath it and discovered that it was wearing it's own fur coat. A fur coat made of NYC grime and dog hair. And I realized what my mother had actually been thinking when she looked at the photo: "Dear God, my daughter never cleans her apartment. Get me out of here before I catch something." Only she's just too classy to say anything.

Well, don't worry, Mama. That picture frame is cleaner now than it was when I bought it. And the rest of the apartment? Even Aunt Sue would be proud.

But I'm curious. How often am I supposed to dust? How often do you dust? And really, honestly, how long does it take you? Because I only have so much time in a week to dedicate to apartment cleaning, and I just can't see myself doing the kind of cleaning we did today on a regular basis.

P.S. I say "we" but actually it was mostly Poompy. What kind of special treat says "Thank you for being the Home Cleaning Nazi"? Suggestions welcome.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

If given the opportunity, he absolutely would eat my face.

I've had this huge blister on my left heel for WEEKS. It was completely painless, just this annoying bubble of flesh on the bottom of my foot. I've been dying to cut it open and trim all the dead skin off, but I knew it would be stupid to mess with it, so I've exercised incredible restraint and just left it alone. It finally ripped open last night and the first thing I did was grab my little nail scissors and trim the quarter sized piece of skin off the bottom of my foot. And then, just because... I don't know... maybe because I'd recently consumed 8 or 14 oz of gin, I gave the piece of skin to Theo. I mean, he was sitting at my feet, gazing up at me with that pretty tail of his thump-thump-thumping the linoleum. When I held the flap of skin out to him, he literally started jumping in circles. How am I supposed to resist the jumping in circles thing? So I handed him the piece of me and he ate it. Just gobbled it right up. Then looked up at me as if to say, "Got any more?"

We Barely Dodged The Crazy

The other night, actually, I can tell you exactly which night it was, it was Thursday night, July 3rd, I was walking home from the movies with my good old pal Barnaby, when we were assaulted by a New York Crazy.

I have lived in New York for roughly a year and I have never ever ever not once been assaulted by a New York Crazy. I once had a late-night conversation with a man wearing a suit made of newspapers about how he'd been delivered unto this Earth by aliens from the planet Magacacapoopee. I once watched a guy get bashed in the head with a steel baseball bat. I once overheard someone telling his pal that he didn't really rape that girl, the bitch wanted it. But no one has ever bothered me, personally.

Barnaby is a good friend of mine from college. We met during rehearsals for a show where I played this cult leader who convinced her twelve sisters to give themselves hysterectomies using a dirty knife she pulls from her boot and without the use of painkillers or drugs and he was playing a dog with a 12 inch black boner. Yes, his costume actually involved a 12 inch rubber penis. A black 12 inch rubber penis. And yes, both sets of parents came to see this play. Mine liked it so much they came back a second time. Anyway, Barnaby and I have been through a lot together. Once you've introduced someone to your parents while they're wearing a giant rubber dildo outside their pants, the relationship is pretty much sealed. Barnaby is definitely one of my more NY savvy friends, having visited the city enough times that, even though he's never lived here, was actually born and raised in LA just like me, he's probably spent more time in the city than I have even though I live here. So, you know, he's not an idiot and he knows how to handle himself on the streets of NY.

That being said, it's probably hard to understand why I was surprised when, walking across 44th St. on 9th Ave. at 1:30 a.m., Barnaby doesn't even flinch as he's accosted by a very round, very sweaty, very hairy, very loud man. In fact, he doesn't even notice. And when I point out to him what just happened, how we almost died at the hands of a round, sweaty, hairy, loud man, he says, "Really? That's weird."

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008

Overheard on 86th St.

Just as the 86 crosstown bus is pulling up to the stop and opening it's gaping doors, a little boy cries out, " NOOOOOOOOO! THE BUS IS GOING TO EEEEEEEEAT US!"

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Third Day of Battle

Today is the 143rd anniversary of the third day of The Battle of Gettysburg. When Poompy and I visited Gettysburg, it was the events of the third day that occupied our thoughts the most. The battlefields of the third day was where we spent most of our time wandering and where, no matter where else we went, we kept coming back to see again.

On July 3, 1863, General Lee wished to attack the Federals again, using the
same basic plan as the previous day: Longstreet would attack the Federal left,
while Ewell attacked Culp's Hill. However, before Longstreet was ready, Union
XII Corps troops started a dawn artillery bombardment against the Confederates
on Culp's Hill in an effort to regain a portion of their lost works. The
Confederates attacked, and the second fight for Culp's Hill ended around 11
a.m., after some seven hours of bitter combat.

Lee was forced to change
his plans. Longstreet would command Pickett's Virginia division of his own First
Corps, plus six brigades from Hill's Corps, in an attack on the Federal II Corps
position at the right center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge. Prior to the
attack, all the artillery the Confederacy could bring to bear on the Federal
positions would bombard and weaken the
enemy's line.

Around 1 p.m.,
from 150 to 170 Confederate guns began an artillery bombardment that was
probably the largest of the war. In order to save valuable ammunition for the
infantry attack that they knew would follow, the Army of the Potomac's artillery
at first did not return the enemy's fire. After waiting about 15 minutes, about
80 Federal cannons added to the din. The Army of Northern Virginia was
critically low on artillery ammunition, and the cannonade
did not
significantly affect the Union position. Around 3 p.m., the cannon fire
subsided, and 12,500 Southern soldiers stepped from the ridgeline and advanced
the three-quarters of a mile to Cemetery Ridge in what is known to history as
"Pickett's Charge".

As the Confederates approached, there was fierce
flanking artillery fire from Union positions on Cemetery Hill and north of
Little Round Top, and musket and canister fire from Hancock's II Corps. Nearly
one half of the attackers did not return to their own lines. Although the
Federal line wavered and broke temporarily at a jog called the "Angle" in a low
stone fence, just north of a patch of vegetation called the Copse of Trees,
reinforcements rushed into the breach, and the Confederate attack was
- From www.wikipedia.org

More than anything else in the whole wide world, Poompy wanted to walk across the field where Pickett led his charge. So we did. It was surreal. The day was peaceful, breezy, gorgeous. Birds sang all around us. But we walked on earth that had been soaked with blood, baptized in violence. We took our time crossing that sloping field. We tried to imagine what it must have been like, the air so thick with smoke the men were rendered blind, their brothers and their best friends dying all around them, the din of battle, the screams of the fallen. Unimaginable.

I thought that today I would post more of the photos we took on our trip, but I don't feel like it. I'm thinking of all the men who died today, 143 years ago. I'm going to close my eyes and take a moment of silence and then I'm going to give my thanks that since the Civil War ended in 1865, America has not had to fight on it's own soil. I'm not sure there is a single living American who really understands how valuable that is. Especially not me, though I'm trying.

p.s. Have a wonderful, safe 4th of July.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

K, I gotta learn how to do this.

Second Day of Battle

Today is the 143rd anniversary of the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. FYI: This post is probably the most informative thing I've EVER posted. I gleaned (read: copied and pasted) all of this information from Wikipedia.org. All of the links I've provided shoot you straight over to a photo of our trip. I know. You're salivating with excitement. So am I. Only I really am, whereas you probably really aren't.

On the second day of battle, the Union line ran from Culp's Hill southeast of the town, northwest to Cemetery Hill just south of town, then south for nearly two miles along Cemetery Ridge, terminating just north of Little Round Top. The Union line was shaped like a fishhook and the Confederate line paralleled the Union line for about a mile to the west on Seminary Ridge, ran east through the town, then curved southeast to a point opposite Culp's Hill.

We stayed at the Farnsworth House Inn, which sits on the edge of town. After Union lines retreated through town on the first day of the battle and settled on Cemetery Hill, the Farnsworth House was occupied by Confederate sharpshooters. At the time of the battle the house was owned by the Sweney Family. Wife and daughter fled from the town before the battle began, but Mr. Sweney hid in the cellar for three days. The house happened to be very close to Federal lines on Cemetery Hill and the garret window you see up there at the top provided a protected site for the Confederates during the next two days, while they maintained a deadly fire against the Union forces on Cemetery Hill. Look closely - you can see over 100 bullet scars - proof that the Union riflemen worked hard to overcome this Confederate stronghold.

On July 2, Lee wanted Longstreet's men to stealthily attack the Union left flank, and to roll up the Federal line. The attack sequence was supposed to begin with Maj. Gens. John Bell Hood's and Lafayette McLaws's divisions, followed by Maj. Gen. Richard H. Anderson's division of Hill's Third Corps. This attack is called "en echelon" and Lee believed it would prevent Meade from shifting troops from his center to bolster his left. At the same time, Maj. Gen. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson's and Jubal Early's Second Corps divisions were ordered to make a "demonstration" against Culp's and Cemetery Hills (again, to prevent the shifting of Federal troops), and to turn the demonstration into a full-scale attack if a favorable opportunity presented itself.

Lee's plan, however, was based on faulty intelligence, exacerbated by J.E.B. Stuart's continued absence from the battlefield. (Stuart had been joyriding for days, more interested in getting his name in the papers than fighting a battle.) As a result, things did not work out at all the way Lee intended. Instead of moving beyond the Federals' left and attacking their flank, Longstreet's left division faced Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles's III Corps. Sickles was dissatisfied with the position assigned him on the southern end of Cemetery Ridge. Seeing higher ground more favorable to artillery positions a half mile to the west, he advanced his corps—WITHOUT ORDERS—to the slightly higher ground along the Emmitsburg Road. The new line ran from Devil's Den, northwest to the Sherfy farm's Peach Orchard, then northeast along the Emmitsburg Road to south of the Codori farm. This created big problems. Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys's division (in position along the Emmitsburg Road) and Maj. Gen. David B. Birney's division (to the south) were subject to attacks from two sides and were spread out over a longer front than their small corps could defend effectively.

Longstreet's attack was to be made as early as practicable; however, Longstreet got permission from Lee to await the arrival of one of his brigades, and while marching to the assigned position, his men came within sight of a Union signal station on Little Round Top. Countermarching to avoid detection wasted much time, and Hood's and McLaws's divisions did not launch their attacks until just after 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.

Attacks on the Union left flank:
As Longstreet's divisions slammed into the Union III Corps, Meade was forced to send 20,000 reinforcements in the form of the entire V Corps, Brig. Gen. John C. Caldwell's division of the II Corps, most of the XII Corps, and small portions of the newly arrived VI Corps. The Confederate assault deviated from Lee's plan since Hood's division moved more easterly than intended, losing its alignment with the Emmitsburg Road, attacking Devil's Den and Little Round Top. McLaws, coming in on Hood's left, drove multiple attacks into the thinly stretched III Corps in the Wheatfield and overwhelmed them in Sherfy's Peach Orchard. McLaws's attack eventually reached Plum Run Valley (the "Valley of Death") before being beaten back by the Pennsylvania Reserves division of the V Corps, moving down from Little Round Top. The III Corps was virtually destroyed as a combat unit in this battle, and Sickles's leg was amputated after it was shattered by a cannonball. Caldwell's division was destroyed piecemeal in the Wheatfield. Anderson's division assault on McLaws's left, starting around 6 p.m., reached the crest of Cemetery Ridge, but they could not hold the position in the face of counterattacks from the II Corps, including an almost suicidal counterattack by the 1st Minnesota against a Confederate brigade, ordered in desperation by Hancock.

As fighting raged in the Wheatfield and Devil's Den, Col. Strong Vincent of V Corps had a precarious hold on Little Round Top, an important hill at the extreme left of the Union line. His brigade of four relatively small regiments was able to resist repeated assaults by Brig. Gen. Evander Law's brigade of Hood's division. Meade's chief engineer, Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, had realized the importance of this position, and dispatched Vincent's brigade, an artillery battery, and the 140th New York to occupy Little Round Top mere minutes before Hood's troops arrived. The defense of Little Round Top with a bayonet charge by the 20th Maine was one of the most fabled episodes in the Civil War and propelled Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain into prominence after the war. Col. Strong Vincent was one of many men who died that day on Little Round Top. 

Attacks on the Union right flank:
About 7:00 p.m., the Second Corps' attack by Johnson's division on Culp's Hill got off to a late start. Most of the hill's defenders, the Union XII Corps, had been sent to the left to defend against Longstreet's attacks, and the only portion of the corps remaining on the hill was a brigade of New Yorkers under Brig. Gen. George S. Greene. Because of Greene's insistence on constructing strong defensive works, and with reinforcements from the I and XI Corps, Greene's men held off the Confederate attackers, although the Southerners did capture a portion of the abandoned Federal works on the lower part of Culp's Hill.

Just at dark, two of Jubal Early's brigades attacked the Union XI Corps positions on East Cemetery Hill where Col. Andrew L. Harris of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, came under a withering attack, losing half his men; however, Early failed to support his brigades in their attack, and Ewell's remaining division, that of Maj. Gen. Robert E. Rodes, failed to aid Early's attack by moving against Cemetery Hill from the west. The Union army's interior lines enabled its commanders to shift troops quickly to critical areas, and with reinforcements from II Corps, the Federal troops retained possession of East Cemetery Hill, and Early's brigades were forced to withdraw.

Jeb Stuart and his three cavalry brigades arrived in Gettysburg around noon on July 2. A day and a half too late. In my opinion, Stuart failed Lee, and the fact that he wasn't punished is unbelievable to me. 

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

First Day of Battle

Today is the 143rd anniversary of the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Poompy and I began our Gettysburg tour on Seminary Ridge, where Poompy gave me my first history lesson of the trip:This is Seminary Ridge. The road is approximately where Bufords men were lined up. Poompy is pointing to where the Confederates were marching from, but while they came from that direction, they looped behind Poompy and attacked from the other side.

This photo shows a little better where the Confederates actually attacked from. Imagine the Union men lined up where that road is, facing that open field. Suddenly, the Confederate units burst through the woods, marching across this open field. This is where, at approximately 7:30 a.m., the first skirmishes of the battle began. I CAN'T BELIEVE I WALKED AROUND HERE. Story goes, that the Confederates were only in town to get new shoes. Most of the men were barefoot and they'd heard that there was a large shoe factory in Gettysburg. But when they arrived, they bumped into Union cavalry and ... well .... the rest is history.

This is Gen. Reynolds monument, erected on the ground where he fell. It was still early on the first day and he'd only just arrived with his men. As he was directing troop and artillery placements just to the east of the woods you are looking at, he fell from his horse, struck by a bullet just behind his right ear. His men said of him, "wherever the battle is fiercest, he is there." He was a great general.

I took this photo standing on McPherson's Ridge. My camera is balanced on Union cannon, looking towards the Confederate line. It is difficult to imagine what it must have looked like that day, 143 years ago. Probably not much, for all the smoke in the air.

Opposite view: you are looking at the Union lines from the perspective of the Confederates.

As the day wore on, the Union units were pushed back into Gettysburg town. By early afternoon, the Federal line ran in a semi-circle west, north and northeast of Gettysburg. As Federal positions collapsed both north and west of town, Gen. Howard ordered a retreat to the high ground south of town at Cemetery Hill, where he had left the division of Brig. Gen. Adolph von Steinwehr as a reserve. Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock assumed command of the battlefield, sent by Meade when he heard that Reynolds had been killed. Hancock was ordered to take command of the field and to determine whether Gettysburg was an appropriate place for a major battle. Hancock told Howard, who was technically superior in rank, "I think this the strongest position by nature upon which to fight a battle that I ever saw." When Howard agreed, Hancock concluded the discussion: "Very well, sir, I select this as the battle-field." Hancock's determination had a morale-boosting effect on the retreating Union soldiers, but he played no direct tactical role on the first day.

Gen. Lee understood the defensive potential to the Union if they held this high ground. He sent orders to Ewell that Cemetery Hill be taken "if practicable." Ewell chose not to attempt the assault; this decision is considered by historians to be a great missed opportunity.

In this photo Poompy is standing approximately where the Union lines were on Cemetery Hill, in preparation for the Confederate attack that Ewell chose not to attempt. This land is now Gettysburg National Cemetery. Behind Poompy you can see Evergreen Cemetery - the reason the hill is called Cemetery Hill.

The first day at Gettysburg, more significant than simply a prelude to the bloody second and third days, ranks as the 23rd biggest battle of the war by number of troops engaged. About one quarter of Meade's army (22,000 men) and one third of Lee's army (27,000) were engaged.

Here we are, on an observation tower on Culp's Hill overlooking the town of Gettysburg and just beyond that, the blood soaked fields of the first day of The Battle of Gettysburg.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Stop laughing. That's what my apartment looks like.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gettysburg: Part Uno

We've been home from Gettysburg for a week now and I still haven't really had a chance to write about the trip, even though I'VE BEEN DYING TO. We had such a fabulous time and we both felt like we squeezed a week long trip into two days. Which is a good thing. At least in our opinion.

Anyway, since there are a weeks worth of stories to tell, I'll try to break this up into a few parts. I can be pretty verbose as it is and I don't want anyone's eyes to drop out of their heads before we get to the part about the ticks. So here, for you, is Gettysburg: Part Uno.

Day one in Gettysburg was AWESOME. We couldn't have asked for better weather, really. It was raining when we first arrived in town, but it didn't matter because the first thing we did was hit the brand new Visitor Center which is home to a HUGE new museum. We got to see tons and tons of relics - relics that were known to have personally belonged to famous generals as opposed to just, you know, random relics. Have you ever seen this flag?

Badass, right? It was carried into battle by - uh, I totally forgot who - but it's pretty cool, huh? Each star represents a Union state or territory.

This is the very stretcher that carried Stonewall Jackson from the battlefield at Chancellorsville when he was accidentally shot by his own pickets. The blood stains you see? Totally his blood. Does that mean we could theoretically, potentially clone Stonewall Jackson? I wonder how he'd wear his facial hair nowadays

We finished up at the museum at about 2:55 p.m., but before we headed to the B&B I wanted to stop by the Visitors Information booth to ask about any special events that might be happening in the next two days. Poompy sort of went along with me because he couldn't go to the B&B without me, but he wasn't really interested in knowing about any special events. We ended up talking to the COOLEST park ranger EVER for about a half an hour. This guy had to be in his seventies, is a TOTAL Civil War buff and had some really cool suggestions for things we could do that most people don't know about. We had to endure a lecture on NOT hunting for relics, because I made a joke about a metal detector, but other than that it was super awesome. He even told us all about the history of the Iron Brigade - the brigade from Poompy's hometown. The brigade he would have been a part of if he had been born in the 1840's or 50's. Weird, huh?


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Love Dead Things.

ef·flu·vi·um (ĭ-flōō'vē-əm) n. pl. ef·flu·vi·a (-vē-ə) or ef·flu·vi·ums
1. A usually invisible emanation or exhalation, as of vapor or gas.
2. a) A byproduct or residue; waste.
b) The odorous fumes given off by waste or decaying matter.
3. An impalpable emanation; an aura.

nec·ro·phil·i·a (něk'rə-fĭl'ē-ə) n.
1. Obsessive fascination with death and corpses.
2. Erotic attraction to or sexual contact with corpses.

No results found for necroamicus.
Did you mean keramics
 (in dictionary) or Necromanis (in encyclopedia)?

Poompy says I collect effluvia. But that isn't really right. I don't collect invisible emanations or vapors or odorous fumes. That's what he does, sure, but only when he eats too much dairy.

I collect dead things. I have just spent the last twenty minutes doing an online search to try to find out if there is a name for what I do, something along the lines of "necroamicus" ("necro" being Latin for "dead" and "amicus" being Latin for "friend") but that doesn't seem to exist. I am certainly not a necropheliac even though one could call my fascination with dead things a little bit obsessive. Sure I might be obsessed with dead things, BUT I DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH THEM. YOU SICKO.

The night before we left for Gettysburg, I found a newly dead baby bird on the sidewalk. Poompy and I were walking to Jen's apartment to drop Theo off for the next couple of days (the Bitch was staying with our friend Stef) when I found the little gem. This bird was so perfect and so beautiful. It's little body wasn't even cold yet. I crouched on the sidewalk, Poompy waiting impatiently behind me, admiring this perfect specimen and bashing myself for having left my camera at home. Again. And since I couldn't take a photo of the bird, I decided to take the bird home with me and take a photo of it there. So I used a poop bag and carefully picked up my little treasure and that was that.

We arrived at Jen's apartment and got Theo all situated and chatted for a little while and then went home. And it wasn't until I walked in my front door that I realized I'd left my bird on Jen's kitchen counter. YOU CANNOT IMAGINE THE CRUSHING DISAPPOINTMENT. I picked up my phone.

"Hi, Jen? It's Frosty."
"Is this about the dead bird you left on my kitchen counter?"
"Um, yes. It is. Would you - "
"Oh god."
"Would you mind just popping it in your freezer for me? So I can pick it up from you when I get back from my trip?"
"No. No, I will not. That is just too much to ask."

When I was about 12 years old I returned from a week at Horse Camp with some interesting souvenirs. A few days after I came home my mom started noticing a foul odor emanating from my bedroom. The smell got worse and worse until she couldn't stand it anymore.

"What? What are you talking about?"
"No it's not! I don't know what you're talking about!"

She walked over to my bookcase where I'd prettily arranged my Horse Camp souvenirs. She gingerly picked one up and sniffed it.

"Horse toe-nail clippings."
"Horse toe-nail clippings. They're pretty. I bet you didn't even know that horses need their toe-nails clipped."

Then there was the time my father confronted my mother in their kitchen with a grim expression and a paper bag.
"What? What's wrong?" she asked.
"This is not funny."
"What is not funny?"
"This. This is disgusting. I thought there was a special treat in here for me. This is just mean."

My father dropped the bag on the kitchen table and stormed upstairs. My mother, completely mystified, opened the bag and found a little frozen mouse. A frozen mouse I'd left in their freezer probably four years before, since it had been at least that long since I'd moved out. All I have to say is, maybe they should clean out their freezer more often?

But you know, my family kind of encourages this little hobby of mine. A couple of years ago my parents vacationed in Kauai, Hawaii. They hadn't been there since the time they'd taken me as a child. The year they took me to Kauai, I spent the whole week running ahead of them to admire the hundreds of flattened frogs laying dead in the street. I was probably 7 or 8 at the time and I just couldn't get enough of these dead frogs. It seems that the frogs would come out at night and get flattened by cars zipping past. Then they would dry in the sun and turn into these perfect, frog-shaped pancakes. I wanted to take one home SO BADLY. But of course my parents wouldn't let me. So, now the year is 2006 and my folks are in Kauai without me. They've been there a couple of days when I get a box in the mail. It's marked "Fragile" in my fathers handwriting and my mother has written, "This is a special souvenir your father picked out just for you." I was so excited. What could it be? I eagerly, yet gently - minding the "Fragile" warning - ripped open the box. It was a frog-shaped pancake. I still have it. I'm trying to grow the balls to bring it to one of those framing stores to have it professionally framed. I will hang it in a place of honor.

Currently, my apartment is home to a box of rabbit and deer bones which I discovered on various hiking trips through the Santa Monica mountains when I was a kid, a box of snake shed sent to me by my dear friend who is caring for my python while I live in NYC, a box of cat whiskers which I add to whenever I find a stray one laying around somewhere, and of course, the flattened froggy. Oh! and let us not forget my Dead Things photo set on Flickr. It would really be awful if I were ever accused of a violent crime. People would come forward to testify: "She keeps dead frogs in her closet! And she collects animal bones! AND SHE ENJOYS TAKING PHOTOS OF DEAD BIRDS."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Like A Record, Baby

We left Manhattan via Zip Car at about 8 a.m. on Monday morning. It was stressful driving out of the city because we had to change highways about a million times and neither of us are familiar with anything west of the West Side Highway. I was a touch worried at that point because, you know, it's never a good sign when you start a vacation by bickering with your travel mate. I mean, is it really MY fault that he prefers a map over written directions? If he wanted a damn map, he should've said so. It's not my job to read his mind. HE'S SUPPOSED TO READ MINE.

So we were pretty grumpy as we started out towards Pennsylvania, but our icy demeanor's melted fast when the guy driving the big rig in front of us decided it was a good idea to put his truck in reverse. Because driving backwards on the freeway is perfectly safe. Just picture it: Poompy and I are sitting in our little rented Toyota Matrix, waiting our turn to merge from one highway to another, when the reverse lights on the Mack truck in front of us come on and the truck starts moving backwards. Quickly. I lay on the horn because I'M ON THE FUCKING HIGHWAY SO I CAN'T BACK UP and Big Rig Asshole starts driving faster. In reverse. On the highway. And, by the way, the sound my horn makes is this pathetic little squeak. So now I'm pushing both fists into the horn and the horn is going, "ssssssqueak?" and I'm screaming "SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!" and the truck is still moving backwards and by now I am envisioning the rear tires coming up onto the hood of the Matrix on their way to crush our skulls. And just before the sound of crunching metal pierces the air, just as I begin to see my life flash before my eyes, I glance into my rear view mirror and realize that the guy behind me is changing lanes and there is no one behind him, so I shove the automatic-gear-shifter-thingy into reverse and GUN IT backwards, while simultaneously swerving into the far right lane. I know, right? But I managed not to kill/maim/injure anyone and no damage was done to the vehicle and I still had time to flip off the driver of the truck as he sped backwards past me.

It's hard to stay grumpy after you survive a probably-would've-been-fatal-car-crash-if-you'd-actually-crashed close call. You know? After that we were both pretty breathless and giddy. I was certain I'd lost at least five years off my life. Poompy insisted that I'd maneuvered beautifully and that I should take up stunt driving.

"Really?" I wanted to know. "I wasn't the crazy one, right? That guy was totally fucked up, right?"

"That guy was nuts. Or something was wrong with his truck. Either way. You handled that really well."

"Except for the part where I just sat there screaming."

"You're on the freeway! What else were you supposed to do?"

"Yeah. The horn on this thing SUCKS, huh? I bet he couldn't even hear me honking."

"But he saw you flip him off."


And then we turned up the stereo and blasted "Road Trip Uno, Deaux, 3", a mix-CD I'd made especially for the occasion, and sang along to favorites like Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round" and Bangkok Five's "Straight Fell Off" and Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher". We stopped at a McD's in Jersey to pee and get some greasy hash browns and we were surprised to find the place staffed entirely by little old ladies who were not impressed with my belching. But mmmm.... hash browns.
Two hours later we stopped at a McD's in Harrisburg, PA for lunch where I got to share the restroom with a young daddy and his little girl. Because there wasn't any toilet paper in the men's room, isn't that ridiculous? By the way, you know you're really broke and on a road trip when you eat at McD's twice in one day. But it was awesome. Our horsing around gave way to some new in-jokes (Damn New Yorkers!) and we spent so much time talking that we rediscovered why we're so crazy about each other. We talked and we talked and we talked and we talked and seriously, who knew I was married to such a cool, smart, funny guy? I mean, so what if he needs a map to go on a road trip? I can forgive him that flaw because he kept me laughing for over three hours. And he shares his french fries.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gettysburg Preview Part 2

Stopped at Ragged Edge for a caffeine pick-us-up. Been tromping the battlefields for 6 1/2 hours. Walked Pickett's charge this morning - a mile through waist-high grasses - it was incredible. Incredible knowing what the men who did it must've endured that fateful day over 150 years ago. Hiked to the top of Big Round Top and Little Round Top. Explored Devil's Den, Valley of Death, and the Slaughter Pen. Walked the Union and Confederate lines along Seminary Ridge and Cemetery Ridge. As soon as the caffeine is keeping my eyelids propped open we'll head on out to Culp's Hill - it's the only thing we haven't explored yet.


Adventures in Gettysburg - A Preview

Hi folks! We're here in Gettysburg and it is JUST WONDERFUL. Really really really lovely. We're having a great time. I was getting a little ancy, having not checked my email in over 24 hours, so Poompy dropped me off at Ragged Edge - a local coffee shop that has wifi - so I could just make sure the world was still revolving as I'd left it, and then he went on to a local pharmacy to get some bug spray. Hopefully he'll find something strong.

When I get back, and I have time to actually write about this trip, remind me to tell you about the ticks. On my face.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

World News

This is story is WAAAAAAY more uplifting than the story I was going to post, about the Afghani child prostitutes. That story is a terrible, terrible story. This one isn't.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Uh.... Oh.....

Lately there has been some speculation regarding my gender. Several friends have suggested that perhaps I'm actually male, despite my feminine appearance. Recently I took this quiz to determine what kind of a wife I am and the results were not good. As a Wife, I rate "Poor". Something about red nail polish, vulgar stories and a general lack of ladylike manners.

Today, just for fun, I took Dopey's cue and took the quiz again, this time answering as if I were the Husband. It turns out I really am a man.


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

I've been wondering what that thing hanging between my knees is....