Thursday, August 11, 2011

A New Blog Post Finally

This is a new blog post. I'm considering starting a new blog that's slightly more focused on a theme or two or more themes, but I'm not sure yet how it should look. Possibly it would be OK to just continue to post stuff in this old blog. I am not sure.

Today, I went to the hardware store to buy some light bulbs -- I had bought a couple of lamps that needed special tiny bulbs. It was shocking how long I'd had the lamps in my home with no bulbs in them. Walking around the hardware store was peaceful and exciting at the same time; I love going to the hardware store because it reminds me of all the things I need for my home and all the things I already have. Too, knowing that I have the wherewithal to improve my home myself is empowering. I bought the light bulbs and walked home with them.

On my street, at the top of the steps leading to the front door of a house in the same row of houses as mine, I met a man carrying a small puppy named "Duncan." Duncan had an injured leg and so was a special case: though he was a little puppy, it was hard to give him the exercise he needed because he had to stay off his leg. When I walked up the steps and started to pet Duncan, he wiggled and licked my hand and was very cute. He had shaggy blond hair.

Next, I went into my apartment and installed the light bulbs into the two lamps. Seeing for myself that I could now turn the lamps on gave me a feeling of deep satisfaction. Lately I have tended to feel this way, deeply satisfied by mundane things and activities.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oh, Stella, Stella for star!

Stella's memorial, continued. Here are a bunch of drawings and stuff from when we were all so young.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stella Overman

Stella, the dog that Gabe and I adopted when we were 22, was put to sleep yesterday at the vet near Jefferson, NY, where she had been living since 2001. Nobody is sure exactly how old she was, but we know she was no younger than 14.

I first met Stella when I was working at Dog and Company, a pet care outfit based in Williamsburg and the East Village (my first job out of college save a brief, terrible stint at the NBC Experience store). Her owner was one of our boarder clients, which meant Stella came to stay at the facility overnight for a week or so at a time. Back then she was a slick, wiry, and very nervous dog; we were always cautioned not to feed her on the last day of her stay because she would vomit in the car.

The owner was a young woman whose last name was Overman. I spoke with her on the phone a couple of times but never met her. She'd adopted Stella from the Humane Society a couple of years before and now was trying to give her the greatest life possible: a Park Avenue address, lunch at sidewalk cafes. But the dog, who had a few behavior problems, proved too much for her when she decided to move away from the city. She surrendered Stella to the care of Dog and Company until we could find her a "forever home."

Gabe Silva, one of my best friends from college who remains a dear friend today, was my roommate at the time and also the one who got me the dog care job. We lived together at 604 Riverside Drive, constantly drinking. I had misgivings about adopting Stella, but he leaned on me every day: "When are we going to get Stella Overman?" (She was often referred to by her first and last name, to distinguish her from the other Stellas we took care of.) Before I knew it, Gabe and I were calling her Stella Our-Dog, pronounced like Stella Artois.

Stella was a sweetheart at home with us: she would sleep with Gabe on the futon and nudge magazines out of my hand with her nose, so I could pet her instead of reading. She had a smirking, mischievous air; her back legs swung back and forth when she walked, because her tail was always wagging. However, when we left her alone in her crate she raised the roof for hours -- neighbors complained about her piercing, incessant bark. We could never take her into the dog run because she would climb the fence and run away, chasing squirrels.

A couple of weekends I rented a car to visit my parents upstate along with Gabe and my then-boyfriend, Jordan. We took Stella with us, though she did puke every time, and noticed that in the country she became a different dog. She could run around and chase/murder animals, and never had to be alone for long. My mom and stepfather recognized this; they told me they would adopt the adopted and take Stella in as their own. A few months later they got Tilly, a farm puppy who became Stella's constant companion. Stella was the boss of the duo -- Tilly, an anxious "Velcro dog" that needed to be cuddled all the time (my stepfather calls her a "faggot") existed in sharp contrast to Stella, who was aloof and queenly. Tilly would also never kill, whereas Stella regularly got into trouble for attacking animals bigger and more dangerous than her. During her tenure she had run-ins with deer, raccoons, beavers, and porcupines.

(Gabe's routine, spoken in the voice he created for Stella: "Well, I tell you Tilly. There's one thing you should neeeever eeeever do, and that's chase a porcupi -- OH LOOK A PORCUPINE!")

Throughout Stella's long life in the country, there were a few things about her that remained a mystery. Weird clues would surface that we never traced: why did she love anyone who smoked cigarettes? Why was she so cautious about the doggie door, hating the idea that a door would close on her? Just how many chipmunks, groundhogs, bunnies, and even cats did she kill unbeknownst to us in her long days of roaming unsupervised? We'll never know. The important part was that she was loved by us all for exactly what she was: weird, funny, disobedient, full of life.

There is so much more I want to say about this dog. I knew her for essentially my entire adulthood. But in the interest of space it's best for me to just open it up to comments from you guys. Leave some! RIP STELLA XOXOXOXOXOX

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


It's my birthday today. Here is the card from my mom (outside + inside), which features an eerily accurate portrait of me that I assume she commissioned some artist to do. When you open it up it plays "I Will Survive."

And here is the front of my stepdad's card. This is, hands down, my favorite photo of the three of us ever taken.

Yay! I'm going to go out of my house and do some stuff now.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Money Gig

I don't talk about it too much because I imagine it's boring, and I'm a weirdly precious "artist" and artists sometimes get cagey about things they do for money, but I have a column now on Patch Fort Lee. It's called "Culture and Character" and delves into the hearts/minds of Fort Lee-ians, commenting upon the arts scene and slight oddness of that Northern NJ community. The articles go up every Wednesday; here's one, and at the bottom are more links to some others. You can Facebook-like the pieces and recommend them, if you are inclined to do so.

I am really enjoying the job so far. When I was growing up, my fam and I would pass through Fort Lee every weekend on our way back into NYC from the country (it's the last town in New Jersey before you cross the George Washington Bridge), and it's fun learning more about it. So close to the city, quite small, full of interesting history and strangeness.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Inventory of Light Jackets

Part 1: Hoodies

Part 2: Other

Friday, December 31, 2010

It's January

Just like that! Here we are!

Nothing much to add to that besides: I almost lost my phone yesterday on the 158 bus to Fort Lee. My phone! With all my numbers in it! Do you know how many brilliant/entertaining/sexy people are attached to those numbers??? And I know I could have sent that mass email asking everyone for their numbers, but that kind of thing is so awful for me to even think of, my notions of decorum and propriety being grotesquely overdeveloped.

So, understanding that losing my phone would mortify me, refusing to enter 2011 with a social and professional clean slate, I crossed the street and waited for the bus, which terminates in Fort Lee, to loop around and head back to wherever it goes after the route is over. (I am not sure where that is. It probably doesn't go all the way back to the Port Authority, but it might.) It came back bearing a banner that said NO PASSENGERS, so I ran up to the door and waved my arms and yelled. The driver pointed to his ceiling and said, "Read the sign!" the way bus drivers do. I said, "No! No, I LEFT SOMETHING IN THERE!" and so he shrugged and let me run inside. It was on a seat in the back that I found my phone, sitting upright like a commuter, waiting for me to claim it. "You're blessed," the driver told me, laughing, as I ran triumphantly out again.

I was so happy that I got a haircut right away. Here are the results of that:

Happy New Year, all. I love you.

ETA: I've been trying for an entire week to post an mp3 here but the file host is being bullshit, so you get nothing. If you can, find a song called "11:59 It's January" by Scrawl, download it, and then play it while reading this.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From Brooklyn

Throughout my childhood my stepfather, Tom Clack, ran a sound effects studio. Every Christmas that I can remember, our family have listened to a holiday mix tape made in 1980 by a guy, Doug DeFranco, who was Thomas's engineer. (Just yesterday, Thomas told me that Doug also scored the first-ever MTV bumper, with the spaceman -- if that's true, a super big deal!) They lost touch and I don't think I ever met him, which is a shame.

I love the 1980 Doug DeFranco Christmas Tape -- "Accept No Substitutes," the label on the original warned -- which was burned onto a CD years ago and which I have saved in my iTunes library. The songs on it are mostly classics, good classics but still, ones you probably don't need to hear again: Run Rudolph Run, Sinatra singing Jingle Bells, couple of Phil Spector Christmas tracks, "Blue Christmas (To Whom It May Concern)" by Miles Davis and Bob Dorough. I love it less for the songs than for the care he took in making it a perfect mix tape, before I knew what a mix tape even was. My sister and I know every note and sing phrases from each song to each other, the Beatles' Christmas record from 1967 featuring "Plenty of Jam Jars, Baby" being a particular favorite.

There's but one song on the comp that's excitingly rare -- "Merry Christmas From Brooklyn," by Emerson Bimby and the Cadman Kids. Cursory web searching reveals that Emerson Bimby is/was a name used by musician D.B. Fisher, but the origins of this song are not readily apparent; indeed, I don't have any info at all on it and I'd love to hear from anyone who does. ETA: I realize this might be a known song and I am just ignorant about it -- if so, tell me! It is included on DeFranco's tape along with a warm intro by DJ Vin Scelsa at WNEW, which I present also. My parents tell me that when I was three/four years old and I heard him describe the state the station's Alvin and the Chipmunks record was in, I would wail in anguish every time.

Anyway, this is for you, dear Christmas Day blog reader of mine. The quality isn't great, but I think you'll enjoy it anyway, and I hope love and fun-ness find you wherever you are.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Word Twist Thoughts, Part LVII

Word Twist is a game you can play on Facebook, my proficiency in which I like to use as intellectual currency in some of my friendships. Should I hesitate to call these people "friends"? Anyway, I play Word Twist so much that there are a bunch of words I score with in Word Twist whose meanings have remained, nevertheless, unknown to me. Today is the day my lazy ass looks up all those words so I can a.) become smarter and b.) feel like I did something today. Most importantly, this will probably indirectly contribute to my getting better at Word Twist. And here they are.


BEY: (n.) a provincial governor in the Ottoman Empire.

GAR: (n.) Also called garfish, garpike. any predaceous freshwater fish of the genus Lepisosteus, of North America, covered with hard, diamond-shaped scales and having long jaws with needlelike teeth.

HOD: (n.) I'm actually embarrassed I didn't know this one -- a hod is the same thing as a coal scuttle. I mean, you know what THAT is, of course.

NETT: (adj.) This is an alternate spelling of "net" as in "net profits."

RANI: (n.) (in India) 1. the wife of a rajah. 2. a reigning queen or princess.

SETT: (n.) 1. Also called pitcher. a small, rectangular paving stone. 2. Also called stake. a hand-held tool that is struck by a hammer to shape or deform a metal object. 3. Also, set. the distinctively colored pattern of crisscrossed lines and stripes against a background in which a Scottish tartan is woven. <-- WINNER, MOST INFURIATING WORD

SOH: (n.) music (in tonic sol-fa) the name used for the fifth note or dominant of any scale. <-- ALSO INFURIATING; EVERYONE KNOWS THIS IS SPELLED "SOL"

TOLE: (n.) enameled or lacquered metalware, usually with gilt decoration, often used, esp. in the 18th century, for trays, lampshades, etc.

UMBEL: (n.) Botany. an inflorescence in which a number of flower stalks or pedicels, nearly equal in length, spread from a common center.