Monthly Archives: February 2008

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I’m like an alcoholic, but for fonts

1. This is why Rosie the Wrist Twister is the natural-born leader of CLAW:

Me – I have a brilliant idea! We should get two pregnant women to arm wrestle!

RtWT – I already lined that up for our next meeting.

2. I wish all the babies I adopt from Korea could sing like this.

3. Mitch Van Yahres was a great man.

4. After I took an alcohol sabbatical two weeks ago, I realized that my sobriety coincided exactly with Lent. Now it is obvious that I am doing this for Jesus, instead of selfishly just “not being an alcoholic.”

I don’t mind not drinking as much as I thought I would. And if I am out on the town and I start getting jealous of all the people with beers in their hands, I imagine that their bottles are full of ketchup and I get grossed out.

5. My friend Tyler Magill’s poetry is published in the first issue of literary magazine Makeout Creek.

6. How adorable are Cookie and Sugar of the Acorn Sisters? It kills me when they wear matching outfits.

7. At dinner last night I found myself (yet again) in the thick of a heated conversation about fonts. The bbf has a font wishlist on worth $800. To distinguish myself from the typeface dorks sharing my guacamole, I pointed out that I have only downloaded one font in my life, the WWE font Misproject, which I use for my personal journaling.

A message from guest blogger Debbie Danger

Dear friends,

I was honored by your attendance and polite hand clapping last night at the inaugural match of CLAW, the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers. Although I declined to advance to the final round, the small moustachio’ed gentleman in the cape was quite chivalrous to yours truly and I believe he deserved to win. In preparation for next month’s arm wrestling bout, I will continue teaching my etiquette classes at Sweet Briar College, and I will also pump some iron.

Yours sincerely,

Debbie “The Debutante” Danger

Wal-Mart shopping list

1. Nude pantyhose

2. Black ski mask

3. Heart-shaped box of chocolates

A friend who chased foxes

I once had a friend who chased foxes on horseback. I met her at a makeup counter at the mall. I sat on her high stool and she pressed the thin skin around my eye sockets, rubbing shimmer across my lids. The most skittish strangers trusted her with the lining of their lashes. When you were in her hands, you closed your eyes and let go. She smelled like lavender. On the first day I met her, I spent $100 on credit and decided she should marry into my family.

She was young and in love with so many things. She especially loved horses and the stray dogs she was always picking up from the side of the road. She used to be a professional snowboarder, and when she rode the lift, her dogs would run up the mountain beneath her chair.

She told me that some foxes seemed to enjoy the hunt. If the hound dogs lost their scent, the foxes would come out of their hiding places to taunt them and prolong the chase. I admit that I didn’t believe her at the time. What kind of animal would laugh in the face of death, just for the thrill of the hunt? But now when I imagine her galloping across the countryside, always grinning behind the fox, behind the dogs, behind her horse’s bucking head, I can see that she too was being chased. A heavy fate was following her as well, but it never fazed her. She kept running, kept laughing, kept teasing the bitter wind that tailed her like a baying hound. And I like to think that maybe when that hound caught up to her, she wasn’t sad or angry like the rest of us; she just took it in stride like the fox who enjoyed his run but knows his time is up.

Amy Saulter’s memorial was yesterday afternoon. She died after a long illness that still remains a mystery. She was in a coma in the neurological ICU for five months, during which time her hair was cut short, she endured over three hundred thousand medical tests, and her parents had to touch her with rubber gloves.

But that’s the sad part of the story. The happy part is that Amy’s life blessed so many of us, if all too briefly, and that her energy will always be fixed somewhere in our thoughts, and that she was a sly and ecstatic sport in this foxhunt life that will one day catch up to us all.

Keyword-intensive dieting secret of the stars

Today I will divulge a big secret, possibly the biggest secret I have ever been privy to. And I promise I’m not revealing this secret just because I know the keywords “dieting secrets” are going to send a lot of internet traffic my way. This dieting tip is for real, Britney Spears skinny lose weight fast how to drop pounds without exercise Angelina Jolie easy weight loss low-carb diet.

I present to you a hot dieting secret that apocryphally stems from anorexic Gap salesgirls via a local, unnamed source:

Approach a soda fountain. Fill a cup 90% of the way full with Diet Coke. Then top off your beverage with regular, full-calorie root beer. Guess what? Your whole drink now tastes like root beer! Now you’re drinking root beer like there’s no tomorrow and you’re not getting fat! Now you’re dropping lbs like you’re not even trying!

So next time you want to drink a couple gallons of root beer, just remember that you really suck at this weight loss thing. You’re chugging the wrong kind of soft drink.

I know I sound facetious here, but this “Diet Coke + Root Beer = Root Beer” equation blew my mind yesterday. Thank you, The Gap, for making size zero jeans.

All you need to know about tonight’s basketball game

I went to a UVA basketball game tonight and was cruelly disappointed. Once again, John Grisham did not propose marriage to me on the Jumbotron. I could see him there in his floor seat, probably pretending he was Jay-Z or Jack Nicholson at a Lakers game. Then something about Clemson. Points. Points. Fire. A circus artist painting a portrait of Ray Charles at half time. Points. Half a bucket of popcorn. Some diet soda. Time out. Flashing lights. Loud noises. Dunk. Dunk. No marriage proposal from a handsome and wealthy older man who wears blazers with his jeans. A hotdog. Old lady hit in head with basketball. Points. Cheerleader formations (stop directing your splits toward Grisham, ladies; he is mine). A blimp. Some guy named Harris Teeter who really wants my business.

Sports Illustrated will probably be calling me soon about a writing position.

Maybe I don’t deserve to hang out at John Paul Jones Arena. But I know someone who does. Tonight I am going to launch the Onestarwatt Send My Friend Leslie to the Van Halen Show Contest. If you provide Leslie with a ticket to see David Lee Roth next week, you win the contest. She is a huge fan, maybe the biggest fan. Certainly the baddest fan with the least amount of money. And tonight she told me that if DLR ever ripped his spandex pants, she would patch them up for him. That’s right, she loves him and she knows how to sew. Let’s send her to the Arena.

I will pick a Onestarwatt Send My Friend Leslie to the Van Halen Show Contest winner just as soon as the Van Halen ticket comes in.

Inspirational tear-jerker on PBS

I watch television purely for its entertainment value. I like my programming stupid, obnoxious, and grossly irrelevant. When I’m sitting on the couch I like my frontal lobe to lapse into a sitcom rerun coma. Which might seem weird because on the whole I am a serious person. I avoid fluffy books. I am always trying to quit tabloid magazines. But if I’m going to watch TV, I want to be able to turn my brain off completely.

Yet last night when I was babysitting Harper “I Want to Wear My Purple Flip-Flops to Bed” June, I could find nothing worthless on TV. Therefore I was forced to watch something good. And it turned out to be really good.

Have you guys heard of PBS? PBS. . .Pretty Bitching Shows. Last night African American Lives 2 was on. Besides making me fall in love with Chris Rock in a way I never thought I could (maybe my newfound infatuation has something to do with the little hat he was wearing. The bbf has a similar hat that also makes me wild. Sometimes I borrow it and expect strangers to fall in love with me. But it doesn’t seem to work the same way for girls.), the AALives2 special made me forget that I might be missing some reality show or crime drama on CBS.

Henry Louis Gates narrates the series, which guest stars Don Cheadle, Tina Turner, Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock, and Maya Angelou, among others. Granted, I tuned in at the end of the program, but here is the gist of it: Gates (I love that he’s a Harvard professor and his family still calls him “Skip”) presents a handful of famous African Americans with their own family histories, copiously researched back to the days of the Civil War. On camera, Gates reveals to his guests who their great great grandparents were; he shows them their roots. The institution of slavery and its omnipresent aftermath deprived millions of people of their histories. For Gates to give them back, even if only to a select few, is deeply moving. Especially to a girl who hasn’t had a drink for a week and is consequently an emotional rollercoaster.

I have two highlights I want to write about, so don’t read any further if you are immediately going to order the DVDs. But there are plenty more highlights in the series, to be sure.

1) Gates tells Chris Rock, who wears his little hat so endearingly, that one of his ancestors became a North Carolina state legislator after emancipation. This is the same ancestor who fought for his freedom in an all-black regiment in the Civil War.

In his heartbreaking response to the news that his great great grandfather was a state legislator, Rock says, “Until I lucked into a comedy club at, you know, age 20, just on a whim, I assumed I would pick up things for white people for the rest of my life. . . .If I’d known this, it would have taken away the inevitability that I was going to be nothing.”

Rock says that when he was a kid, he wanted to be President of the United States. That’s all he wanted to be. But he was born just days after Malcolm X was assassinated, and in that violent climate, what mother wants her black son to grow up to be a powerful leader? Yet if Rock’s Brooklyn family had not had its history wiped out by racist revision, maybe he would have had the self assurance to pursue politics. But he did all right for himself. It’s just crushing to imagine all the young people who don’t succeed as a direct result of being deprived of their histories.

2) Gates tells Morgan Freeman about the legacy of his great great grandfather, a white slaveowner, and his great great grandmother, a slave on his plantation. Working only from census and land records, Gates determines that these great great grandparents stayed together for decades after emancipation. They raised seven children in the same household. The former slaveowner deeded land to his “illegitimate” sons. And then, for one last kick in the nuts, Gates shows Freeman a recent photo of the gravestones of his great great grandparents. The two stones are side by side, surrounded by those of the children. And on the gravestone, the great great grandmother shares her partner’s last name.

I can’t make this stuff up.

And it’s not just a show on PBS. The African American Lives project is ongoing, with educational outreach, some deal with Oprah, and a companion book to the series. I only wish someone would mass-produce Chris Rock’s devastating little hat.