I Am Not A Reliable Narrator

30 April 2008

My Awesome Mix Tape

I have a DJ name.

After much deliberation I have decided on DJ Zbornak. You may call me Dorothy for short. When in doubt you should always turn to the Golden Girls.

Our dance night also has a name. My Awesome Mix Tape. It's got a Facebook page and everything. I still have to firm up my set list but make no mistake, it is going to be awesome.

People have been asking me what I'm gonna play and I tell them that the centerpiece of my slot will be Hazy Shade of Winter by The Bangles and they seem to need more info. They are all doubters who do not understand the power of The Bangles and the Less Than Zero Soundtrack. As of Friday 9th May 2008 they will all understand!

This weekend is a bank holiday (bank holidays = why I love the UK) and we are going to spend it painting. We'll finish the living room (there was some plaster than hadn't dried fully before) and do the master bedroom in a nice greyish blue color. It's going to be pretty great to finally have a house that is mostly how we want it.

Then, starting the week of 19th May, chaos will reign as we get our bathroom ripped out and replaced by the awesomest bathroom ever. It will have a roll top bathtub, a small shower stall, new sink, new cup boards, new toilet, cream tiles on one wall, beautiful natural slate type tiles onf the floor, underfloor heating (that's right bitches, UNDERFLOOR HEATING!) and it will no longer be the most hideous shade of blue known to mankind. I am psyched. I don't even care how middle class I sound yammering on about my new bathroom, it will have underfloor heating! If that makes me a yuppy then I don't care, because my feet will be warm all year round and that will be worth the 2 weeks inconvenience while they install everything.

Then, Mike D (no, not the one from the Beastie Boys, the one from Allen Park, Mi) will be visiting and we have not seen him in, Christ, 4.5 years! And that is totally wrong. He promised to buy pizza and beer thus securing my undying devotion.

THEN in mid June, finally, FINALLY (I know I'm playing fast and loose with the Caps Lock today but I just can't help it) we got to the Dominican Republic for what I fully expect to be the laziest week of my life.

There is lots of good coming up

ETA I forgot to mention this! I got a ticket to see Sebadoh do a Don't Look Back show next week. They will be performing all of Bubble and Scrape at KOKO on Wednesday. I'm not like some crazy mad Sabadoh fan but they are a band I thought I had missed out on seeing so I am pretty excited about this chance to see them. Generally I am opposed to reuninon tours of any sort, but occasionally (like for The Pixies or Devo) I will makke exceptions. Sebadoh totally warrants an exception.

28 April 2008

In Her Shoes or My Slightly Aggravating Movie Experience on Sunday Night

So In Her Shoes was playing on Channel 4 last night. I read the book when we were between countries and felt it was okay. Good for an airplane and days made hazy by jetlag, but not great. I really want to like Jennifer Weiner's books because I think her heart is in the right place and that there are good stories there but something about them always rubs me the wrong way. I still read them though, so I guess it's not enough the wrong way.

So the movie was on and I thought hey, I'll watch this, Curtis Hanson is good director and has proven himself with at least one movie based on a book (I really really really liked Wonder Boys. As much as the book even, although I'm still not toally sold on M Douglas as the lead, but I can suck it up (Jeff Bridges or John Goodman would have been better, but no one asked me, no one EVER asks me)). And the movie was okay. Like the book, nice enough but not great. Sort of what I was expecting. But there was one thing that really bothered me throughout.

Toni Collette is not fat! Just like Barbra Streisand never looked like a boy in Yentl or like a hideous doggo in the The Mirror Has Two Faces, Toni Collette never at any point looked like a big fatty fatty 2X4 in the movie In Her Shoes. And that is lame. If at any point in a movie one character calles the other a fat pig, said fat pig should actually be fat. If the character who has inner monologues about how fat and horrible she is throughout the movie then SHE SHOULD BE FAT! If you want to make a movie about a person learning to love and accept herself then give her a reason, don't just give her a bad hairdo and some baggy clothes for Christ's sake!

I hate hate hate hate hate the whole cinimatic concept of fat as anything over size 2. Even though I never watched that Farrelly Bros movie with Gwynneth in the fat suit, at least they had the balls to make her properly fat and not just sort of curvy. Or curvy at all for that matter.

Seriously, during the whole transformation bit where Rose becomes a dog walker and this is her workout plan that cures her you couldn't even see a difference, they just suddenly put her in clothe that fit. Totally annoying.

Also the open toe boots Cameron Diaz wore during her seduction scene were totally ugly. Just so you know.

26 April 2008

Willie Nelson clips on YouTube are probably not the answer

I have been pretty low this week. The dramas are getting me down and work is getting me down and I wish I just had time to sit at my typewriter and work on the things I want to work on but even when I'm home there's cleaning to do and in a couple weeks our bathroom will be all torn up. Jeremy's having one of his bimonthly money spazzes so I can't even go drink my troubles away because it costs too much money. And despite the acupuncture and new pain pills and the better weather my arthritis is clinging to my lower back. So in response to these woes i am looking up Willie Nelson clips on YouTube.

Like this one where he sings with LeeAnn Womack. I like how they both ride horses in the video, country music videos are the best.
I keep getting the chorus stuck in my head.

And how about this one, Rainbow Connection bitches, you can't beat that shit. The video is sort of crap, but still Willie singing the Muppets

And that lead me to this, Debbie Harry and Kermit singing Rainbow Connection

And then you add Willie to the Wizard of Oz and you get this (again ignore the video)

I know I should be poking around in clips of the pixies, I know that debaser would help out my melancholia, but I'd rather listen to Willie right now

22 April 2008

Books - love em, hate em, something in between em

I just finished reading Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. The blurb on the cover featured a opositive quote from Jonothan Franzen (whose books I have not read) comparing it to Donna Tartt's A Secret History (which I did read and did not like thankyouverymuch) but used words like 'under the froth' so I said to myself, I will give this a try.

So I started reading and was totally enthralled by the intro and the first 2/3 of the book. I was willing to overlook the fact that Ms. Pessl was born the same year as me and that she looked totally hot in her photo. I really enjoyed the maze of the book, the way she annotated everything and the pace she set, I was reading hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages but they were zooming by despite the density of the prose. But then the last third, the climax, the ehh of it all. Here was this book I'd really been enjoying and it just exploded into this weird sort of lunacy that seemed so incongruous to me. Just ugh.

I do think that Pessl is an awesome writer, and I can see the merits of this book, even the end, but I just don't buy it. I don't buy it at all. And I don't even mind her choice to make the last chapter a final exam. I think that was sort of awesome, honestly. But the explosion of the plot at the end left me feeling betrayed in a way. I don't always feel betrayed by plot twists. Usually I think they're pretty great. But this one just left me feeling (as stated before) ehh, maybe even meh.

I was so close to loving this book and then it was all ripped away from me. No fair.

To be discussed later: Carolyn's strong dislike of Donna Tartt's books (subtitled - Over rated and boring!), Excitement over Michael Chabon's newest book (subtitled - yay it's FINALLY out in paperback), Hemingway - love? hate? both?

20 April 2008

birthday memoranda


breakfast on the way to Brighton, bacon bagel and cappucino

an awesome palm reading sign, prof mirza's was sadly closed so i did not get my fortune told, boo

butternut squash and chicken pie with mash and peas and gravy plus victorian lemonade and one of my presents to myself, the newest michael chabon book in paperback (i have been waiting for ages!)

words from my typewriter, old blue is back in business

peppermint tea

coffee and words from my head, yay

presents! a vintage vanity set and dragonfly brooch (jeremy) pretty necklace (my coworkers)

anchor earrings from jeremy!

skull and fruit bead bracelet from jeremy, nice

2. Brighton was good, it did not rain, i wrote four pages and drank coffee. i also bought a couple cheap cds (hot fuss by the killers and in utero by nirvana, two albums that have been sadly missing from my collection) and i got some american tootsie roll based treats at cyber candy to take into the office and some bubble gum cigarettes for tonight. i cam close to buying other stuff, a hat, a dress, a tee shirt, some undercrackers, but nothing was 100% right so i said no

3. dinner with my brother at The Wapping Project was also very good. But i didn't take pictures so you will have to trust my words
1st raspberry mule made from reastpberry infused vodka, fucking awesome
2nd scallop ceviche on crushed new potatoes with salmon roe, fucking awesome
3rd baby chicken (it had a fancy name, i forget what it was) on purple sprouting broccoli and soft polenta and roasted garlic, with a really nice chardonnay, fucking awesome
4th rhubarb crumble with very delicate rosewater ice cream, fucking awesome despite my concerns re the rosewater ice cream

4. on my actual birthday we got insulation for the attic, went to the tate modern where i made many derogotory comments about duchamp and that fucking stool. i have issues with duchamp. and then went out for dinner with friends at a mediocre tex mex place (the pitchers of margaritas make up for any failings in the food). i got more cards and a candle!

5. plans, this is the year. i'm gonna write a first draft of a fucking book. i don't care if it sucks all the ass in all the world i'm just gonna write the damn thing. i know i said this last year and the year before, but this year i fucking mean it okay.

17 April 2008

Ghost of myself

Last night I had my second acupuncture session. The acupuncture guy (aka Dan) stuck needles in the left side of my neck, the lower left side of my back and my left ankle. He put a burning piece of charcoal on one of the needles in my lower back. It felt strange to be laying there in a small room with needles sticking out my back as I answered questions about my diet (sweet cravings should be denied, hot drinks in the morning rather than cold water, more hot lunches). Sometimes I find myself in situations where I have voluntarily chosen to something that suddenly strikes me as comical, for instance I can distinctly remember sitting in the dentist's chair getting 2 of my wisdom teeth pulled and thinking, as I opened my eyes for a second and saw blood that had spurted out of my mouth, "Holy Christ, I am paying these people to hurt me!" And it was hard not to laugh around the mouth guards, fingers and dental tools filling my mouth.

I also had a strange Simpsons moment that day when as they were using the laser to cut my gums and all I could hear in my head was Ralph Wiggum saying "It tastes like burning." Because, honestly, it did taste like burning.

Last night was similar. I couldn't stop thinking that I was paying someone to do something that really sounds quite sinister to me. What would 14 year old me think of such a situation? She would likely be aghast. Just like she would think I was a crackpot for going into raptures about cheeses, art and Tropicalia (not too mention Leonard Cohen, 14 year old me thought LC was lamesville, don't even get her started on Willie Nelson).

Sometimes I think I can see 14 year old me sitting on the floor in the corner watching almost 31 year old me with looks of horror. She wears a pair of too big Converse All Stars and over sized sweatshirts (occasionally, foolishly tucked into her jeans, oh 14 year old me why do you never learn?) and she has no idea why I find joy in these thing. She still like Wilson Phillipps and TGIF on ABC and she has an unfortunate crush on a geeky boy who wears over large glasses. Oh wait, that didn't change

At least Jeremy's were vintage and therefore ironic and cool.

Do you ever wonder about things like this? What younger you would think of the situation when you do something so patently adult and boring (ie spend all day Saturday looking at bathroom tiles and then getting excited over them, choosing to stay in on a Friday night to read a book and drink a glass of wine, ranting about high level of legging sightings in your neighborhood, etc)? What would past tense you think of present tense you?

I'm pretty sure that past tense me would be a little surprised, occasionally impressed but mostly bored with present tense me. Not that that's a bad thing, past tense wasn't always an especially bright kid, it's just that times like these (birthday times) put me in the mood to think of think of these things, especially the day after I spent an hour getting stuck with needles.

16 April 2008


I'm gonna be 31 gotdamn years old on Saturday. That's right, 31. My eggs are drying up, and I'm getting old, or something. Actually the whole concept of getting old, doesn't bug me that much except for the fact that more and more author blurbs seem to include the year of my birth (damn you, Marisha Pessl and Jonothan Safran Foer!) but not my name, but I'm working on that, and most writers don't even get really good until after they're thirty anyhow, look at Carver, he didn't get published until he was way older* than me and now he's a literary legend (at least according to my old writing professor who was taught by him in the 70s. Also by John Irving. You want Carver and Irving stories, I've got Carver and Irving stories. Also a couple of vague Borges stories but those involve less gin), so I've got time.

Sure I've got an old woman's ailments at the moment, but I've still got a young woman's time.

So here are my goals for, this, my 31st year:
  1. Write the first draft of a novel, any novel, crappy or good, just get the fuck past page 55
  2. Try not to go crazy during the bathroom remodel of May 08
  3. Continue swimming on a regular basis (but not so much that I start to look like an East German swimmer at the 84 Olympics)
  4. Buy more dresses (this will give me an air of sophistication I currently lack, I'm sure of it)

*And by way older I mean 33 when his first collection of short stories was published. We're not talking about poetry because I am not a poet okay! Anyhow, i;m just saying that 2 years is a really long time, really, a looooooong time.

11 April 2008

another key to happiness

dinosaur, jr. covering just like heaven

my friend j once dedicated this song to me on his radio show because i was dating a boy (see entry titled first kiss) who liked the cure. j did not approve of the cure. he did approve of dinosaur, jr. though.

DJ What Now?

  1. I need to figure out some sort of DJ name for May the 9th when I will be playing my musics in the opening slot of our dance night at The Dogstar in Brixton. Maybe DJ Mypursegotstolenacrossthestreetfromhere or DJ Whitegirl or DJ Walk Like Your from Michigan? Something to ponder. We still don't have a name for the night in general and it sounds like my suggestion of Turn Down the Suck is not in the lead, it is in fact 4th place on the official polling website with Top Shelf in the lead.

  2. I started acupuncture this week. There were needles in my butt and my knee and my back. All I could think as the needles were going in was that my Grandpa would totally have fainted at the thought of such a process (he has a well documented fear of needles) and that made me feel sort of like a bad ass, but not really, I doubt I would have managed as a fireman in the navy during WWII with quite the same panache as he did. But still, I didn't faint. I did discuss my poo, my eating habits and my tongue in fairly extensive detail. In case you were wondering, my tongue veers off to the side a bit which normally happens with sroke victims, I suffer from a yang deficiency and my arthritis is a hot wind problem. Oh and the acupunturist got really excited when I told him that the arthritis really kicked in the day after we flew from London, this is, apparently very important, possibly a sign of a Wind stroke and could be the key to all my toubles, acupuncturally speaking. Next week we discus diet. If he tells me to cut back on the Top Ramen Oriental Flavor Noodles, we could have a problem.

  3. My ass has gotten bigger. I'm sure this could be partially blamed on the aforementioned Top Ramen Oriental Flavor Noodles but I think it might also be down to my lack of excercise for the last couple months because of the arthritis. In order to combat the spread I have joined a local pool with my friend Paula at the suggestion of my Physical Therapist. I can now be seen dog paddling like in the fashion of an epileptic terrier at the Peckham Pulse twice a week. As you can guess, this is a very good look for me. Swimming laps is a lot more work than I imagined and I imagined and I am hopeful that it ill make me svelte or at least less assily endowed.

  4. I'm going to Brighton on Friday. While there I plan to drink coffee, look at the sea, drink coffee, eat nice cakes, write a best selling novel, drink coffee, read a book or 5, celebrate my very last day as a 30 year old, berate myself for not writing a book yet even though I swore I would have one done by the end of this year, drink coffee, create an action plan in order to get a stupid first draft finished by the end of the year, eat cakes, try not to hate myself for falling short of the goals I set for myself last year at this time, and maybe take some pictures. I'm looking forward to having the day off. After Brighton I'll be meeting up with my brother to go out for dinner and do some gloating about being our parents' favorite. We like to keep score as we both tend to fall in and out of favorthroughout any given year. Currently I am solidly in favor despite the fact that I have provided no grandchildren and live far away and he is solidly out of favor despite the fact the has prvided 3 grandchildren and live 45 minutes away from my parents. Ever since we reached adulthood we've had this weird competion going on, sometimes we gloat about being the black sheep, sometimes we gloat about being the favorite. It all depends on what you did to get you into your current position or which shift was more unlikely.
  5. As you may have surmised from point 4, the family Kohl is currently experiencing an awful lot of drama. It is both nice and horrible to be physically removed as I currently hame. Mostly it's just weird but I'm making do and have not bought any more cigarettes since the start of the drama about a month ago.
  6. I got my eyes checked on Monday and they showed me a picture of the back of my eyeball. It was pretty cool.

09 April 2008

The secret to Happiness, I Found (Remembered) It!

Do you want to know what it is? Do You?

The Pixies, specifically Debaser played loudly as a sing along song. this is the best part

"got me a movie
ha ha ha ho
slicing up eyeballs
ha ha ha ho
girlie so groovieha ha ha ho
don't know about you
but i am un chien andalusia
i am un chien andalusia
i am un chien andalusia
i am un chien andalusia
(debaser), debaser
(debaser), debaser
(debaser), debaser
(debaser), debaser
(debaser), debaser
(debaser), debaser"

Sometimes i make up my own words too, like

"kitten so awesome ha ha ha ho!
he's got cute paws ha ha ha ho!"

Suprisingly, Oliver is not a fan of the Pixies.

Here Comes Your Man works like a treat too.

The more shouting and erratic dancing the better.

I can't believe I forgot about this trick. Especially after it got me through the denouement of a particularly devastating crush in 1998.

07 April 2008

Shallow truth

On Friday my brother was in town so I met up with him and some friends for dinner and drinks at a pub on the Thames (Doggett's, it's my standard, oh you're here for one night pub because it has nice views, okay food and reasonable for Zone 1 prices, that's not the shallow truth I am here to present to you though). At about 9:30 we came back to our neighbourhood for a couple more drinks sans brother and on the bus back to Zone 2 my friend Paula told me (without prompting!) that my accent was 'different, softer' than my brother's.

I was so pleased that I was almost ashamed of myself.

That's right, it pleases me to no end to know that I no longer sound like where I come from. Not that I don't still sound American. I'll always sound American. But maybe, just maybe, I no longer sound like I'm from Port Huron and there's something in that fact that I find desperately pleasing (key word here is probably desperate).

After visiting the UK and Germany when I was 17 I began to actively change the way I talked. I started to say things like bloody and shite. By the time I was about 18, I realised this made me sound like a poser and an idiot, so I stopped with the Anglophile bullshit, but I did start changing other smaller things in my speech. For example, I stopped saying either with a long E sound and switched to the eye noise instead. I don't know why I liked this better but I did and it's stuck. Sometimes my dad will shout at me for saying EYE-ther, "You're from Michigan! Talk right!" Mostly he's joking.

I've made other, sort of silly changes to my speech as well, like saying a with a sharp a sound instead of the softer a when I want particular empahsis on something, usually for humorous effect, like no it wasn't just any monkey it was A Rhesus Monkey! Hi Yo! Except I rarely do Ed McMahon sound effects, but for digital interpretation I thought it could use a little something extra.

But I do stupid things like that, I'm aware that they're stupid and that it's an almost teenaged affectation on my part but I like it, I like that I put conscious effort into how my sentences sound, I like that I choose my words with care, I like that I'm able to change. As if these small superficial changes are proof that I am capable of greater and deeper change.

And I like that maybe, just maybe I don't sound so small town anymore. I'm not going to put on a faux British accent a la Madonna, I'm not even going to try to throw off the mantle of my Michigan specific Midwestern accent (and she shouldn't either. For shame, Madonna, be proud of you Michigander roots!) but I can't help but be pleased that my accent has evolved a little bit, that maybe, just maybe, it's not quite so nasally as it used to be. And I know it's a stupid and silly thing to care about, but I do, I can't help it. I'l always come from where I come from but I sound like who I've become.

04 April 2008

it's official

I am old. Do you want to know how I know this officially? Because today I went to see my GP about getting my pain medication changed and my wonky periods and acupuncture (I like to pack in as much as I can on the NHS's dime) and after discussing those wonky periods (she says to give it another month since I just got off the no baby pills two months ago because they were making me mean) she asked if I was planning to get pregnant. And I said, "Maybe in the next year or two." And she said, "Don't leave it too long , Carolyn." In a very nice way, I mean, not like hey, you old bag, your eggs are drying up and a woman's only purpose in life is to make babies so get cracking! or anything but more in the gentle concern of a kind dr sort of way. And I made a crack about how my mother says the same thing. And she said very seriously, " No really, you can't leave it too long, it can be very devastating." And I know she wasn't trying to make me feel old or anxious or anything bad, she was just pointing out the state of womanly affairs.

The whole exchange left me with the two following reactions.

  1. When did I get to the point where making babies has become a concern of this nature? You know, like it's no longer, oh shit my period is late, but rather oh shit my eggs are not as plentiful as they were in my youth! When did I stop being 22? Because I'm pretty sure that in my head I am still approximately 22 years old. When did everything change and go all topsy turvy? I'm not old yet, really, am I? I'm still young, aren't I? Authors are considered Young Authors until they're 35, so doesn't that apply to my womb as well? And how is it possible that I am two weeks away from being 31 and my goddamn book is still not written? What the hell is up with me? When did these grownup adult ass concerns become valid?
  2. Babies. My peer group is currently making a lot of them and they all seem really psyched about it. Sure they aren't sleeping and they're having crazy mood swings and one of them has lasting issues due to the most dreaded word I have ever heard, the episiotomy. But they all claim to love and adore the fruit of their loins. They all claim that seeing the face of their baby(ies) makes it all worthwhile and that all else pales in comparison. But I (obviously) remain unconvinced. What if I do make a baby (with Jeremy's assistance of course) and what if it isn't all worth it? What if I'm like the We Need to Talk about Kevin mother and I never connect with my child on a deep and meaningful level and my child ends up shooting all the kids at his/her school? What if I'm a lousy fucking parent? What if i have a baby and realise that I was right all those years when I said I didn't want children and that I would be happy without them? God, I miss that conviction I had that I was not maternal in the least. But I was also convinced that I would never marry, and here I am, married. So I feel that I owe it to myself to reconsider this too. I need to figure this shit out but I worry it's one of those things you can't know for certain until you're in it. Babies scare me. The whole idea of bearing them and raising them into responsible citizens of the world is scary. It's really really scary, and for someone as easily frightened as me it takes on huger and huger proportions every day. I'm not ready. But if I'm going to do it I need to get ready pretty fast.

There, that was your slice of neurotic reproductive cake for the day. I'm going to go bang my head into something now.