Que Sera Sera

Champagne flutes / And handmade suits:

The on-hold music for the unemployment office? Tony Bennett’s “The Good Life.” I am not making this up.


It wasn’t until very recently that I knew other people didn’t do this, too. For me, it all started in first grade, when we were learning numbers that added up to ten. All of them had colors in my head. (5 + 5? Navy blue. 4 + 6? Yellow and red.) Then, when I was in high school, I offhandedly told my friend Alex that her phone number was red and yellow and green, and she was intrigued, so we sat there all night with her reciting people’s phone numbers, and me telling her their colors. I usually just get a combination of colors, but with the numbers, I can break them down into individual hues. I get this mostly with proper nouns—names and places. States are an entire color. City names are combinations. People’s names are fun.

Letters have colors for me too, but I don’t think they come from synesthesia. They come from my most prized possession when I was very little: my magnetic refrigerator alphabet. Evidently, I loved the “little green B” so much that I slept with it. Then I lost it, and had to make do with the black B, which was not an easy transition. If you’re interested, my parents will be more than happy to tell you this story, several times.

A boy I know likes to sit there for hours and just name things, and places, and numbers, just to see what I say. I like that about him. He asked, “How does that work when you’re reading a book? Does everything show up as a color?” It’s not like that. Maybe I read too quickly for them to register, but sometimes, individual words stand out if I mull them over for a bit.

Anyway, it’s nice to know there’s a name for it, and such a good name, too. (And in case you were wondering, “synesthesia” is dark blue and gold and silver.)

Lucky Ladybug:

Last night, I saw the Harry Potter movie with my parents. (Like I said: cred, down the drain.) I am not ashamed of my love and devotion for the Harry Potter books. Sure, I once scoffed with the rest of you scoffers, but then I read one, and I had to admit: excellent books. Make me wish I was nine again. But then, what doesn’t? The movie was fun to watch, but more of a supplement. However, it did reaffirm my desire to have British children. So rosy-cheeked! So well-scrubbed! Is it wrong to want to be called Mum someday?

Tony made me a CD, and I am so enamored with it, I am going to share the playlist with you all right now.

Sonic Youth – Wild Flower Soul
Built to Spill – Strange
Apples in Stereo – Tidal Wave
Folk Implosion – Chained to the Moon
Heavy Vegetable – E/Or
Guv’ner – Lucky Ladybug
Superchunk – Watery Hands
JSBX – Blue Green Olga
Jets to Brazil – Conrad
Modest Mouse – Summer
Caustic Resin – She’s Real
Neutral Milk Hotel – Engine
Pinback – (untitled)
Radiohead – In Limbo
Yo La Tengo – Sugarcube
Apples in Stereo – Stay Gold

You just can’t go wrong with a mix like that.

Sweet, sweet consumerism:

Okay, Adbusters: I didn’t buy anything yesterday, unless you count pizza and beer. Is this feeling of uncertain dizziness from my sudden lack of consumerism? Personally, I think it’s withdrawal symptoms.

In other news, I got my Slow Wave T-shirt in the mail today. I highly recommend you check out Jesse Reklaw’s genius. The Dreamtoons book is excellent, and this is on my Christmas list.


Tony and I went to eat at Hideaway Pizza on Cherry Street last night (the most fabulous pizza in the whole world, I’m certain), and after the waiter brought us our drinks, we realized that sitting across the restaurant from us was none other than Topanga from Boy Meets World. Tony, the most mild-mannered, unexcitable person I know, was just beside himself with glee. I’ve never seen him so antsy. It must be a boy thing, because the two guys at the table behind us noticed her too, and could barely control themselves. I remember when Emily and I lived together my senior year, we could never leave to go out to eat on Friday night until after Tony and Joey had watched Boy Meets World. This from two intelligent, worldly men. They just had it bad for Topanga. Anyway, I got kind of excited myself, because she was sitting with a guy who looked exactly like James Frain, who has been in excellent movies like Titus and Elizabeth, and real stinkers like Where the Heart Is. A very odd couple, if you ask me. Also: Topanga had the biggest rock on her ring finger I’ve ever seen.

Such yokels, us. I wonder what the hell Topanga was doing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the day after Thanksgiving. Aside from enjoying the most fabulous pizza in existence. And the company of James Frain, or at least James Frain’s doppelganger.

Astrolabe Revisited:

In the same vein as my Whatnot post on 11/6, did you know that Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning named their son Pen? I love it.


Tonight Tony, Emily, Cameron and I went out for pizza, and then we watched the Dateline exorcism. I thought the only thing Stone Phillips ever did was go undercover at raves, but evidently I was mistaken. Anyway, it was a big letdown. I remember watching an exorcism once on 20/20 in eighth grade while I babysat, and it freaked me out so much, I went and woke the kid back up to keep me company. But this guy tonight… Tony said it best: “This guy doesn’t have a demon; he has a cold.”

Now if they had somehow combined it with the Michael Jackson concert on CBS, that would have been a show worthy of sweeps.

Homemade Zine Poetry:

Someone handed me this zine at the show the other night, and it’s your typical angsty fare, except for the poetry page, which kills me. It’s so vulgar, but I just can’t help it. Maybe it’s the 7th grade boy in me.

An excerpt:


Really, the all caps just makes it even more true to life.

Gilding the Lily:

Maybe this is terribly insensitive of me, but I saw President Bush speaking on TV this afternoon, and I noticed he was wearing an American flag pin on his lapel. Isn’t that kind of like pinning an American flag pin on the American flag itself? Not that I’d pick Bush as my symbol of America, but he is, kind of. Maybe they’ll paint the White House red, white and blue, too.

Today Erin asked me, “I know this sounds bad, but when do we stop wearing these little pins? Are they ever going to be last season or something?”

She was trying to make a joke, but I know the feeling.

Yeah yeah yeah, I’m going to hell.

Groove On:

I bought a new stereo this past winter. I bought it because it had a button marked “Groove.” When you push it, it says GROOVE ON. Which is the best reason to buy a stereo I can think of. Also, it eerily resembles a Transformer. The guy who sold it to me sent me a handwritten thank you note a week later.

All in all, the kind of experience that makes you glad you’re alive.


Tonight I impressed our waitress with my vast knowledge of MacGyver trivia. And by that, I mean: our waitress stopped at our table and inexplicably asked, “Do you all know the name of the actor who played MacGyver?” And out of my mouth, immediately before I could even think: “Richard Dean Anderson.” My friends stared at me with a mixture of amazement and horror. I tried to explain that perhaps it got stuck in my brain by way of the Simpsons, but I don’t think anyone bought that. Myself included.

First the Bryan Adams moment, now this. Someone, save me from myself.

Yes, Miss Scarlett:

I am such a good little Southern belle. I just answered a very formal invitation to a wedding rehearsal dinner—so super formal, it just said “Rsvp,” without the phone number, meaning you have to drag out the Crane monogrammed stationary someone gave you for graduation and write Mrs. Robinson in North Carolina to tell her how much you’re looking forward to seeing her and the rest of the wedding party on the 7th. I thought it might make me feel all Edith Wharton, but it didn’t.

Somewhere in heaven, my grandmother is smiling smugly.

My cred is going down the drain.

Thursday, 11:11 pm

Sad plants and weary bones.

In rotation: Low, Pedro the Lion, Mazarin.


Ten Years Gone:

Sarah: I hate math. Anything after long division.
John: I can’t do long division. Calculus is easy compared to fucking long division. Integrating is fun compared to long division.
Sarah: I remember FOIL. That’s about it.
John: First Outer Inner Last?
Sarah: Yes! It makes the little man.
John: It makes the little man?
Sarah: I don’t know. Ninth grade was ten years ago.
John: For the life of me I can’t remember how to do that.
Sarah: Oh my God: Ninth grade was ten years ago.
John: You should definitely write about that.
Sarah: What to say? Ten years ago I was a virgin, and had some Blossom-esque bangs. Nirvana had yet to hit it big. I’m a dinosaur. I know not of Dawson, nor his Creek.
John: Exactly.

Pet Peeve:

People who overuse the word “quite,” like they think it’s going to make them sound like all New Yorker-y or something.

I’m a loner, Dottie:

Once, a friend sent me a forwarded email, and while reading through the other addresses, I found one called “pagingmrherman@blahblah.com.” I immediately had a crush on whoever this mysterious cool person was, attributing to them unfounded, John Cusack-like charms. I was just so sure that he was tall, and dark-eyed, and affable, and maybe even the type of guy that already owned nice pants and wouldn’t need me to tell him where to go to buy them, but if he did, he wouldn’t mope around like I was making him buy them. I mean, it’s your job interview. I’m not your mom. I’ll be in Borders while you make up your mind, Captain Short Pants. Then we can break up right before Christmas.


I finally met pagingmrherman, and he was an asshole. With a stupid girlfriend, which somehow just added insult to injury.

I don’t know what made me think of that.

Punk Rock Girl:

In college, I always wanted to be one of those tiny, black-haired barrettes-and-bangs girls with no hips that could pull off wearing belts like these.

Now I’m kind of into my hips.

Make your mark:

98 hits, and only two people have signed the guestbook. That’s no fun.

On Exes and Exfoliating:

John: What’s a shower glove, wise woman?
Sarah: It’s like a loofah. Do you know what that is?
John: Of course not.
Sarah: It’s a rough shower scrub used to rub off the top layer of dead skin in order to expose the glowing complexion underneath. And someone made it into a glove.
John: AH! Does it hurt?
Sarah: No. It feels good.
John: Ahh…where can I pick up one of these?
Sarah: Target, probably. Everywhere. The Body Shop.
John: Cool.
Sarah: You should get one. You feel all tingly afterwards.
John: Is $14 enough to buy one?
Sarah: About $12 too much.
John: Excellent!
Sarah: Yes.
John: My inbox is empty.
Sarah: I am working on it, buddy!
Sarah: I have skin to exfoliate.
Sarah: Bands to see.
Sarah: Ex-boyfriends to avoid.
John: I hate those.
Sarah: They’re cumbersome.
John: If only we could get rid of them like so much dead skin.


Someone gave me an exfoliating shower glove, and I gave it a try today. I am the Michael Jackson of my shower! Due to the slippery surfaces, however, moonwalking is discouraged.

More Whatnot:

Best song title ever: If We Can Land a Man on the Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart

Best band name ever: Sweep the Leg Johnny

I can hear my next door neighbor being nice to her cat through my kitchen wall. I don’t care for cats, but it’s oddly touching. No one talks to even their most loved ones in the same voice they use to talk to their pets.

Things I Have Absolutely No Opinion About:

Okay, that’s kind of a lie. They’re just not very strong ones.


Going to see Slumber Party tomorrow night at Curly’s at the East End. I’m in the mood for some dreamy girl pop. I’ve nearly worn Retreat from the Sun through the past few weeks. I have no idea why.

Did you know that Abelard and Heloise named their son Peter Astrolabe? I love that.


While driving in my car yesterday, that Bryan Adams song from the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie came on, and I didn’t change the station or put my tape in.

I’m not sure what this means, but it can’t be good.

Whenever You See Fit (MM and 764-HERO):

Wake up early and you’ll live to regret / You go to bed early and you talk to your pillow

Maybe I just miss the memory of you.

Housewarming Gifts:

From Kerry: two candles
From Des: angel soap her wacky religious sister in Delaware makes
From Laura: one large candle, large candle holder
From Erin: trash disco tape
From Tony James: individually-wrapped roll of toilet paper (stolen from work)
From Cameron: book on knife-throwing
From Tony and Emily: shot glass, box of matches, plastic globe keychain, and switchblade (all won at the fair)

I love my friends.

Before They Were Rockstars:

My next-door neighbor is in a marginally-successful indie-rock band, and long before I moved in to my apartment, my ex-boyfriend made me a tape with one of their songs on it. I was playing the tape yesterday, and I wonder if he could hear me through the open screen door. He’s probably too busy smoking lots of pot and hanging out with his cats and playing his Casio keyboard. Oh, wait… he doesn’t do that last one until at least 3 am.

Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee:

I am quite possibly the one person in the country who doesn’t like the TV show “The West Wing.” Everyone’s too fast-talky for me. I sincerely doubt that politics are that glib or exciting. And I’m sorry, but does anyone else have a hard time getting over the fact that Rizzo is the first lady?

Of note:

While on hold with the phone company today, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that their on-hold music was some synth version of Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger.”

Also, I finished reading my Zelda Fitzgerald biography today. Very depressing. I wish I’d read it before I’d written my thesis. Scott was such an ass.


I’m sure you’ll be saddened to hear that the Babysitters Club books are no longer being produced. Which is bullshit, as the mill that tuns out that Sweet Valley High crap is still going strong. At least the BSC was giving something back to the community… although I’m sure Jessica Wakefield was giving out handjobs left and right from the back of her Spider Fiat.

My God, how do I remember all of that? I can never remember which way to point my tires when I park downhill, but I can remember the full name of every single member of the Babysitters Club, which I will kindly refrain from reciting for you now. Ah, sixth grade literature.

They belong to the ages now. Godspeed, BSC.

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