Que Sera Sera

One word in a Rhett Miller interview that can make me weep:



Dear The Fair,

First of all, I feel like I owe you an apology for snubbing you all these years. It was really my dad’s fault, because when we were little and clamored to go visit you, he’d always say, “It’s our family tradition to not go to the fair,” and we just accepted that. Then when I was in college and my boyfriend longed for your Indian tacos and Tilt-a-Whirl, I totally blew him off. But oh, The Fair… those days are past. This weekend has shown me the error of my ways. I promise never to neglect you again.

Now that I have seen you in all your glory, and tasted some of your wares—well, let’s pause there for a moment. I agree, the corndog and pretzel and lemonade and funnel cake were all divine, but a deep fat-fried Twinkie? It was like the corndog raped a poor unsuspecting Hostess product, and then it had the audacity to burn my tongue. And don’t even try to appease me with a deep fat-fried Oreo. The spongey, slutty Twinkie may be asking for it, but the Oreo is a noble treat, and I won’t abet your mistreating of it.

I’m sorry. Where were we? The sights and sounds! Like most snotty college graduates, I savor any opportunity to snicker at my fellow Americans, and you offered up the girls named Kayla by the boatload, and for that, I must thank you. That toddler with his fly down in the leprechaun mask holding the giant plush alien doll was an especially nice touch. So was the BIGGEST PIG, although I must ask, the biggest pig of what? The fair? If so, kudos. Otherwise, I think maybe next year you should do a little further searching. It was cute of you to place him in between the Polish sausage and corndog stands, though. The Fair, you certainly have an eye for details.

Has anyone ever told you what a whirlwind you are? I got so caught up in your atmosphere, I somehow came home with a newly-purchased $13 cowboy hat. Was I so drunk with my new-found crush on you that I did something so unlike myself? Or was it just that I was actually drunk and the guy selling the cowboy hats was cute and flirty? Either way, I now have something to wear next weekend when I visit your cousin, The Monster Truck Rally. I’ll tell him you said hello. I’ll also give a shout-out to Mini Me, who will evidently be hosting it, in some bizarre ironic twist.

Of all my moments with you, I really loved the part where the face painting man suddenly seized my hand while I stood between Lauren and Emily and said seductively in his vague foreign tongue, “You want? You want? I do these two butterflies, but you are dragon.” The Fair, you know that totally made my night. Nay, perhaps my weekend. He was so right: I am dragon! Why is it that no one else has noticed this before?

Thank you for the opportunity to ride the mechanical bull, and I know all those nice gentlemen were encouraging me to so because of my new hat, but I knew that I was also wearing my Vans, and that Levis commercial was so last year. And thank you also for the sculpture made out of butter, and all the hot tub and four wheeler displays, and especially for leading me to my long-sought-after vanity plate with the purple cobra and the name Lola. The Fair, it’s like you know the secret wishes of my heart! It’s so eerie, I am seriously kind of freaked out. But in a good way.

Anyway, I should probably wrap this up now, but don’t worry: I’ll try to make it back later this week for your Skid Row concert, but I wouldn’t waste your time looking for me at the Village People show. If you want, maybe we could meet behind the Scrambler and make out instead? Let me know. I’ll be the one in the cowboy hat.

Yours truly,
Sarah B.

Kindred spirits:

There are some new links, and they are all fabulous and you should stop everything you’re doing this instant to check them all out. One is Sure Thing, Babs, and after spending most of my morning reading through her archives and surely frightening her with multiple emails exclaiming that we are secret best friends, I am now convinced that we might possibly be kin.

First case in point: compare this story (parts 1, 2, and 3) with this.

Second case in point: I had no idea that anyone else’s mother but mine used the “just swallow your spit until we get home” response to whiny thirsty kids while shopping. Sometimes mine would also to try appease us with Chewels gum, the kind with the liquid cinnamon center, but that only made things worse.

Anyway. Babs, I am on my way to buy our Best Friend heart necklaces right now. Dibs on Be Fri.


When I was in the second grade, I got chicken pox. I was down and out for two weeks, but actually sick for only one. I was no longer contagious, but I was terrified to go back to school with any pox remnants on my face, because there was an especially nasty little boy in my class named Scott who was mean to me on a regular basis, and I sure as hell didn’t want to give him any easy ammo.

My mother, however, being a shrewd and astute woman, quickly saw through my “I’m still sick” ruse, probably because I spent most of the second week running around the backyard. She sat me down on the couch and gently asked me why I didn’t want to go back to school. After my teary explanation, her loving expression hardened into her fierce mother hen face and she lowered her voice and looked me in the eye and said, “If that kid gives you any trouble, you just say, I had chicken pox, what’s your excuse?

The sheer brilliance of this retort made my mouth fall open and dried my tears immediately, and so I put on my shoes and asked her to take me back to school. I arrived at lunch time, and armed with my mother’s brilliant comeback, tried my damnedest to get close to Scott in line. I wasn’t really sure how it would go down; I didn’t really say anything, attempting merely to taunt him with my spots, but for some reason, he didn’t pay any attention to me. When we got back into the classroom after recess, Scott asked to go to the nurse, and was out for the next week and a half with (wait for it…) chicken pox.

(For those of you who enjoy an epilogue, I ran into Scott in a bar two years ago and he totally hit on me, depsite the tiny chicken pox scar on my upper lip.)

You just kinda wasted all my precious time:

Ten songs that I still find it difficult to listen to since my breakup two months ago:

The Sea and Cake, “Parasol”
Jets to Brazil, “Sea Anemone”
Deathray, “Now That I Am Blind”
Modest Mouse, “Sleepwalking”
Badly Drawn Boy, “Epitaph”
Built to Spill, “Some Things Last A Long Time”
Wilco, “California Stars”
Big Star, “13”
Papas Fritas, “Live by the Water”
Murder City Devils, “I’ll Come Running”

Ten songs that I have absolutely no difficulty listening to since my breakup two months ago:

Possum Dixon, “Farewell My Lovely”
Mazarin, “Deed to Drugs”
Pavement, “Here”
Noise Addict, “Mouthwash”
Superchunk, “Detroit Has A Skyline”
The Bogmen, “Suddenly”
Wilco, “Outta Site (Outta Mind)”
The Anniversary, “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”
Barcelona, “Shell Account”
Bob Dylan, “Don’t Think Twice”

Girls against boys:

I saw Sweet Home Alabama last night, and my Reese Witherspoon hatred aside, it really pissed me off. So many movies and books and television shows offer these heroines operating under the guise of spunky or sassy, when in fact they’re really just bitchy. I cannot even begin to think all of the sins committed towards men in the name of being a feisty spitfire.

Julia Roberts is the queen of this type of character. These women are rude, selfish and scheming, but in the end, they do a quick aw shucks and look frazzled and maybe get their hair in their eyes, and bam, they get their man. This is such bullshit. It just perpetuates the myth to young girls that being snotty and cute (“Princess” T-shirts, anyone?) entitles you to something. Like, he should be proud of the fact that I am so, so sassy. I am so sassy, in fact, I deserve big expensive jewelry, and he doesn’t really love me if the jewelry doesn’t meet certain requirements. I cannot even begin to imagine how anyone would think being proposed to by a man taking you into Tiffany and saying “Pick whatever you want,” is supposed to be romantic, but the entire theater sighed when this happened. I have come across many girls my age who make broad claims to not even wanting an engagement ring unless it’s this big or from Tiffany, completely unaware of not just how shallow, but how truly white trash that sort of claim is. What a great way to start your life with a person you supposedly love unconditionally.

These faux-spunky romantic comedy heroines are the girls who grow up to the be the bland, sexless women in detergent or JC Penney commercials, with their short hair, khaki capris, and open, untucked denim button-down shirt, sighing because their balding paunchy hapless husband is just sooooo hopelessly clueless. Bitch. Maybe you shouldn’t be complaining about his lack of balls since you obviously had to tape yours back to marry him. If the tables were turned and it was the men whining about women being so stupid and expendable, the shit would fly.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting any Taming of the Shrew-like measures here. I consider myself a feminist, but these women are getting by with passing off rude as ballsy, and it’s so, so different. Maybe I’m too lame and vanilla to see how anyone being hateful and selfish is sexy; I’ve never been one of those girls who likes assholes. I understand a little Hepburn and Tracy friction is a good time, but how rare is that sort of attraction in real life? There’s nothing wrong with men or women being sarcastic and assertive—God knows it’s how I operate—but there has to be a little nice in there, too.


I am so sick and tired of having to pass over several shirts in my closet just because they’re too thin to withstand the office AC, but it has led to a multimillion dollar idea: a bra that prevents nippage. At first I imagined it like an electric blanket, but we don’t really need anything there at risk for burns, so how about if it’s lined with the same stuff that’s in those little handwarmers you put in your pocket?

I’ll call it NoNip. Or is that too precious?


I’ve decided that when I meet someone new, I’m going to start saying, “You seem nice. Are you?”


When you play the Miss America drinking game, you drink when anyone says children, education, hope, heroes, or breast cancer, and since you finish the bottle of wine before they even narrow it down to five contestants (Miss Nevada was robbed, yo), you run the risk of standing in front of an ironing board before 10 pm, ironing choice words and phrases onto more than just the T-shirts purchased earlier that day. For instance, I personally know of two people whose pink panties now have the word PUNK across the ass in tall red letters. And, maybe, one person’s just say “tap.”


After being offline all weekend, I signed on today and realized I had been named a Blog of Note. I feel like I should thank someone or something, but instead I’ll just say hello, lots of new people reading my site, and I’d really appreciate it if you wouldn’t tell my mother or co-workers about it.

IM with my father:

My parents’ screenname: hello
Auto response from Sarah: Fresh out of batteries/But I’m still makin’ noise
My parents’ screenname: is that code?
Sarah: Hello! Sorry. No, song lyrics.
Sarah: Is this Mom or Dad?
My parents’ screenname: dad
Sarah: I can never tell.
My parents’ screenname: i have the moustache
Sarah: That’s right. Tall guy. Now I remember.
My parents’ screenname: is laura there yet?
Sarah: Not yet. She should be here in the next half hour or so.
Sarah: What are you all doing tonight?
My parents’ screenname: dining, sports event, home
Sarah: The American dream.
My parents’ screenname: et tu?
Sarah: We’ll probably go out to eat, and then who knows.
My parents’ screenname: have a fun evening
My parents’ screenname: stay out of the papers
Sarah: Will do.
My parents’ screenname: adieu, mon pomme de terre
Sarah: Love you!

I’m pretty sure my dad just called me a potato.


Nothing makes me feel more alive than having to pee and being desperately thirsty at the same time.


In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, what is your pirate name?

I was Red Mary Rackham, which is pretty cool I guess, but I was kind of hoping for something with “Brandy” in it, since my life, my love, and my lady is the sea.

No. 5

The visitor currently gracing our lobby has evidently just taken a bath in Chanel. I mean, seriously taken a bath in it. Filled the tub to the brim with hot perfume and climbed in, ignoring the burning it must have caused her more sensitive areas, and then just marinated for a good 45 minutes. Oh, with the burning and the screaming. Oh, the humanity. Oh, the stench. Then I’m assuming she climbed out and layered her scent (like the bitch at The Body Shop is always pressuring me to do—No, really, I just want the soap) with body cream, lotion, powder, splash and spray. Perhaps spritzer. She probably burned a Chanel-scented candle while she applied her makeup. Then she stood in the rain to soak the scent in good and hard before she walked into my lobby and assualted my poor, unsuspecting senses. My eyes are burning and my throat is closing up. I am taking every third breath into my own hair. If I don’t post again, it’s because I have asphyxiated.

Cinema revisited:

Last night I attended another movie with my friend Brian, and let me assure you that you do not, under any circumstances, want to see The Four Feathers. No, really. You don’t. We got in for free and still wanted our money back.

The first line of dialogue you hear is actually “old chap.” Then there was the guy from American Beauty with a bad mustache and even worse accent, lots of shifty editing, and the horrible Kate Hudson. She looks vaguely fetal alcohol, and not even remotely British. Walking into the theater, I would not have believed you had you told me that in two and a half hours’ time I’d think Heath Ledger was the best thing about the movie, but he actually was. I mean, it still sucked, but he was okay. His voice is kind of hot. Maybe “best” is a bit much—he was the least bad thing.

My rating: worse than Swimfan, a tie with My Big Fat Greek Wedding. On the way home, Brian said he would rather watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding again instead of The Four Feathers, but I think I’d go with The Four Feathers a second time around, just because it would be easier to sleep through.

So, in summation: I’d see it again only if I could keep my eyes closed the whole time.

Rave review:

For the past week or so, I’ve decided to quit fighting nature and just let my hair curl naturally, mostly because I’ve realized that this way, I get to sleep half an hour later. The response to my new hair has been overwhelmingly positive, almost to the point that it freaks me out. Everyone has commented on it. One guy at work who never ever speaks came close to gushing. This is all very nice, but the level of surprise in their eyes is what makes me uneasy, as if they’re saying We had no idea! You always looked like such ass before!

My weekend in quotes:

1:08 am, Friday night/Saturday morning, at the bar:

Brian: …and so I walk in the door and Jon is on his stomach on the kitchen floor, ashtray by his side, aiming his gun at the space between the stove and the fridge.

Sarah (laughing): Are you serious?

Brian: I think he may have had a cup of coffee down there, too. Jon, do you remember if you had coffee, or just the ashtray? Jon?

Jon: I’m not going to lie to you guys: I haven’t heard anything you’ve said in the past two or three minutes, because I’ve been thinking about blowjobs.

2:21 am, Saturday night/Sunday morning, my living room:

Parker Posey, as Jackie O in The House of Yes: If people are going to start telling the truth, I’m going to bed.

7:34 pm, Sunday evening, my parents’ living room:

Sarah (motioning to the TV): Why do they hate Romulans again?

Mom: Everyone hates the Romulans. They just do.

Sarah: Yeah, but why? Is there a reason?

Dad: Why do you hate sorority girls?

Sarah: I got you.

Something in the water:

Evidently the whole freaking internet is getting married. Well, the parts of it that I read, at least.


Emily: …so we could have it in their Vista Room, but only if we don’t use candles.

Sarah: So? It’s going to be during the day, right?

Emily: Right. But God knows that my mother might freak out if there’s not a unity candle.

Sarah: Unity candles are so overrated anyway. Why not have unity flashlights?

Emily: Or maybe we could both carry floor lamps?

Sarah: What about those miners’ helmets with the little lights on the front?

Emily: Right! We could both wear one. Or, I could just wear one of those beercan hats, and he could drink from it.

Sarah: Why does it have to be light-related at all? What about a unity puppy? Or why don’t you just have a unity baby? Nothing brings people together like babies.

Emily: Maybe we could put it in a manger!

Sarah: This is going to be the best wedding ever.

I love my job:

Another hidden joy of sitting at the front desk is that people have entire conversations right in front of you, sometimes about people you know, like you’re deaf.

He: Have you heard from Danny lately?
She: Please.
He: Ohhhhh, that bad?
She: I mean, I love Danny to bits.
He: Danny’s a darling.
She: But you know how he is.
He: Oh, totally.
She: You know how he is with all of that.
He: Do I ever.
She: Don’t get me wrong; he’s a doll.
He: He’s just Danny.
She: Exactly.


The find of the week for the week of September 1 warms the cockles of me old sea-farin’ heart.

Buzz Aldrin punches moon conspiracy theorist:

Now that is the kind of headline I like to see.

Vocation education:

Evidently Monster.com has given up and decided to just start matching me with jobs that rhyme with my search agent. “Copy writer”? How about “delivery driver”? Hey, that’s catchy!

I’m still wondering how they figure that “phlebotomist” rhymes with “editor.” Maybe it’s one of those orange rhyming dictionary deals.


Last night I accompanied my friend Brian to see Swimfan so he could review it for our local NPR station. My four-word movie review? Worse than The Faculty. My friend Brian, however, gets five stars, because he opened my car door for me and all that other nice stuff I’d forgotten about.

To put things into perspective, I would rather see Swimfan three times in a row before ever viewing My Big Fat Greek Wedding again. I would watch eight back-to-back episodes of Becker on CBS before ever viewing My Big Fat Greek Wedding again. Evidently I am the only person in America who feels this way, but I hated that movie with the heat of one thousand white-hot suns. It tried so hard to do everything the wonderful Monsoon Wedding did, failed miserably, and now it’s getting all the credit Monsoon Wedding deserved. It sucked sooooo bad. Really.

No, really.

I Never:

You know what’s my favorite drinking game? “I Never.” No one ever wants to play this game. I don’t really hang out with people who play a lot of drinking games, but when I do, they always want to play games that require rules and coordination and cards and tongue twisters. I can’t handle all that crap when I’m drunk. I just want to talk and gossip and laugh at someone else’s expense. You know, kind of like when I’m sober.

Eat fresh:

I hate that new Subway guy. He’s such an asshole. If I had to place my order for “the usual” with him interrupting me more than twice, I’d say, “No, wait… how about a knuckle sandwich?” And then I’d punch him in the gut, because he wouldn’t be expecting that.

And would you like your dignity in the bag, or in your purse?

Yesterday I went to the mall and actually got money back. I used two Aveda gift certificates that had been languishing in my purse all summer, sold nine old CDs, and returned a pair of shoes I’d purchased in a spending frenzy in Dallas over Labor Day weekend. Freshly-scented and high on this upswing of commerce, I got cocky and decided to try and return another pair of shoes, one that I’d purchased in July but only worn once, and only indoors. I walked in to Famous Footwear, announced my intentions, and decided to look around before I decided on an exchange or just a return. There was nothing that caught my fancy, so I walked back up to the register, where the salesboy promptly busted me.

“Ma’am, I’d be happy to give you store credit, but I don’t think we can take a full exchange on these.”

“Why not?” I asked, feigning soccer-mom levels of irritation. The only way I was going to pull this off was to be ballsy. “They’ve never been worn before.” Lie, lie, lie.

“Well, maybe they got scuffed in the store or something,” he said, humoring me. “Plus, there’s this.”

He tapped on the lid of the shoebox, where my former beau had scribbled I HEART SB in blue ballpoint pen two months ago.

Oh. Yeah. Well, there’s always that.

As if I needed a smug, acne-ridden teenaged shoe salesman to remind me.

Love and War:

I will be contributing to the revamped Me Head about once a week or so. I just made my first entry, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: her name was Meagan, not Mandy.

You should read him:

Jason Royal has had a hard summer. His girlfriend of two years dumped him and then got engaged to his best friend, all while still sharing an apartment with Jason, who has dealt with it by growing a mustache, rocking the side part, and being really funny. I spent a good hour at work yesterday reading through his archives, and I laughed and laughed and laughed. Plus, he’s cute.

First Place Cops Looked Was Inside AT-AT:

Every week, I fall in love with the Onion all over again.

If I met a man that consistently funny, I’d marry him. Then I’d lock him in the basement so no one else could steal him away.


I haven’t ever really mentioned September 11 here, partly because I didn’t feel qualified, but mostly because I didn’t feel that it belonged in this sort of arena. My thoughts and feelings about it are strong and varied and confusing, and I haven’t really known how to express them, or if I really wanted to express them publicly, since it happened.

I am not a big joiner; I never have been. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself after September 11—I would never have worn a patriotic T-shirt before then, and I would have felt even stranger wearing one after. The news and images sickened me, and captivated me, and upset me, but I didn’t cry. I felt a little guilty for this, but tears would have felt false, like when I used to make myself cry at youth group retreats when everyone would cry and talk about Jesus. These were important things, and emotional things, but they weren’t my things. They belonged to other people, and although I felt them, I felt like it was crass for me to pretend I was affected as they were.

I just finished reading the September 11 anniversary issue of Time, and the article about the 12-year old girl who lost her father in the World Trade Center attack made me cry. It made me want to put on my pajamas at 7 pm and eat rolls and milk and gummy bears for dinner, so I did. I don’t really know what else to say about it. I’m still confused and sickened by the whole thing, and by the way things are now. Even as I write this, I’m not sure why I chose to do so.

Last night I read some things I’d written from last fall, and I noticed how I was far more absorbed with what was happening in my own life than the tragedy and panic in the world. Worry and hope were prevalent: I was falling in love, I was about to lose my job. I didn’t know where else to focus my emotions and attention. The other events in my life were prompting me to look for escape and comfort already, so I can’t really say that it was as a result of September 11.

I still don’t have anything profound to say about it, really. All of the events of this past year have prompted me to realize who and what is important to me, and to embrace and focus on those people and things, regardless of what I’d previously thought I should or should not do. I’m not saying I don’t still worry about frivolous things—anyone who reads what I write here knows that—but I do feel more at ease with recognizing the longings of my heart, and pursuing them. Life seems too short not to.

It’s great, actually:

When you sit at the front desk, you cannot scratch itches.

When you sit at the front desk, you cannot readjust undergarments.

When you sit at the front desk, you cannot pick.

When you sit at the front desk, your mp3s are verboten.

When you sit at the front desk, it’s glaringly obvious if you take a long lunch.

When you sit at the front desk, personal calls are often reduced to the “Uh huh? Uh-uh” level.

When you sit at the front desk, sometimes you consider opening a vein if you have to make small talk about the weather with one more person.

When you sit at the front desk, sometimes you want to tattoo your college diploma to your forehead.

When you sit at the front desk, you realize that people who are condescending to you are the same people who are rude to waitstaff.

When you sit at the front desk, you get to give out your autograph a lot.

When you sit at the front desk, the vending machine guy winks at you.

When you sit at the front desk, you get to practice answering the phone in your Grace Kelly voice.

When you sit at the front desk, and you wake up late, it’s okay if your pants aren’t ironed.

When you sit at the front desk, everyone confides in you.

When you sit at the front desk, it’s okay to be on the internet when you’re not busy.

When you sit at the front desk, you get to be on the other end of it when people call in fake sick.

When you sit at the front desk, you get to leave at 5 on the dot, and not think twice about work until 8 the next day.

When you sit at the front desk, life is smooth sailing, my friends.

You’ve Got...

I wonder if when Britney Spears checks her email, she has all these spam messages about her and a horse too.


For the most part, I view tattoos kind of in the same way I view organized religion: not my thing, but perhaps other people get something out of it, so who am I to judge? I am not against them for any moral reason; it’s mostly aesthetic. No matter where you put a tattoo, eventually, that skin is going to sag, and it’s just not going to be cool anymore. All those freaking sorority girls that went to Cancun during spring break their freshman year of college and got a tiny butterfly on their ankles? Those are going to look pretty fucking stupid when they’re fifty and have to wear pantyhose with their mother-of-the-bride dress.

I personally would never get a tattoo because I cannot think of anything that is important enough to me to have on my body until I die. When I realize what I would have willingly put on my skin ten years ago, I shudder. The way I see it is, if there’s any sentiment or symbol I feel that strongly enough about, I’ll just make a T-shirt.

For the rest of the world, though, I have taken it upon myself to compile a list of acceptable and unacceptable tattoos. My basic rule of thumb is if you’re going to do it, do it up old school, and remember: when in doubt, don’t.



IFFY (very few people can pull these off):

I encourage you to print out this list, and pass it out to friends, family, or just strangers on the street. Their mothers will thank you.

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