Archive for October, 2008

Happy Halloween, everyone!


With about a week to go

You come after the fruitfly, you’d better be ready.  From the always vocal and former Bush-supporter Christopher Hitchens, comes this gem:

“This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus.  Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist.  They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured.  And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just ‘people of faith’ but theocratic bullies.  On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.”

Also, it’s been reported that it is snowing in Madison, Wisconsin. I don’t have a window office — this, despite the fact that when I started here four years ago my boss assured me it would be a matter of days until I would be able to see outside — so I cannot confirm.

The right decision?

Ok, I did it: I just emailed Sundance and told them I couldn’t do the ’09 festival.  Sigh.  Was this the right decision?  I think so.  When I signed up to do it last year, it’s not something I ever thought I’d want to do more than once.  And for almost the entire time I was there, it wasn’t sonething that I thought I’d ever need to repeat.  But then, at the tail end of the fest — as I started to get a hang of things — I thought, “Maybe again would be ok.”  And then months and months passed with very little of my brain devoted to Sundance, but then that email INVITING me back!!  And I replied!  I admit: I fell for it out of vanity.  But I’ve now come to my senses.  I think. 

These are the reasons that I don’t need to do it again: I already did it.


The pride of Wisconsin

And I don’t mean lions.  Or Lions.  Yesterday, I went to see the Packers clobber the Colts in a sensational game at Lambeau.  The weather was so perfect — crisp and cool and windy, but also sunny and bright.  Really good football weather.  And the company was great.  Aside from the odd Colts guy behind me, I got to spend the day with 70,000 or so Packer fans, including my two aunts and my mama.  It was just great.  That was at the game.  Before the game and after the game are, though, as they say, a different story.

Because we live in Madison and because Green Bay is about two and a half hours away and because it was an afternoon game and fall (meaning it would be dark on the drive back), we opted to take the Packer Backer bus to and from the game.   The bus is an option we’ve used before, but never with any frequency.  The bus is something of a well-kept secret.  My aunt Terry discovered it years ago when she was out campaigning for a local candidate.  Approaching a man doing lawn work with a yardsign for the opposition beside him, but noticing his car held a bumper sticker for the green and gold, Terry told him she was from Green Bay.  She was nonplussed he didn’t run to give her a hug when she announced this.  She shook the feeling off, however, and persevered.  She forced him to talk about the team’s prospects that year, as well as her candidate’s greatness.  He took her literature, gave her his business card and informed her of the Packer Backer group, of which he was president.  This is how my family came to know of the bus.  They leave South Towne (they used to leave from Monona) hours before home games (though not the ones for Milwaukee ticket holders) and drop you off at Kroll’s across from the stadium and take you home again, all for $25.  It’s not a bad deal for not having to drive and park.  Plus, the bus driver was deft at navigating us out of Green Bay on back roads my mom didn’t even recognize.  [My mom is from GB].  But, it turns out, the bus comes with a different price tag.  And it’s a lot more than $25 and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to afford to pay it again.

To be fair, there are two buses, aptly called Bus Number One and Bus Number Two.  Bus Number Two is known as the quiet bus, whereas Bus Number One is not.  By the time Terry called to get us our seats, there were only three seats left and they were all on Bus Number One.  How bad could it really be, we thought.  I mean, it’s a bus.  We’re all adults (though there were some kids — I actually wish there’d been more; maybe things would have quieted down), it’s eleven in the morning, it’s only a two and a half hour ride.   Oops.  Score one for Bus Number One and zero for Kate.

It started out harmless enough, though I was quickly asked to move from my nice window seat to an aisle seat in the way back to accommodate a late couple wanting to sit together.  Shortly after this, I could see that nearly everyone had brought a cooler and the drinks were flowing.  Some were drinking Bloody Marys, some chocolate vodka with coffee.  As we all know, I am far from a teetotaler but I was a tad surprised — mostly in the, oh, that’s cute sense, not the alarmed sense.  I went back to my book.  Soon, though, I was interrupted by jello shots.  Yes, green and gold jello shots were paraded up and down the aisle of the bus and everyone was offered one, two, three or more.  I, again, declined.  Though they looked kinda fun they (a) had whipped cream on them — ick! and (b) it was about noon and I didn’t want to sleep through the game.  After this, more jello shots came down the aisles.  These were called Fuzzy Monkeys.  And everyone acted like they knew what that was.  Probably around the same time this is all going on, two women are selling raffle tickets to win various crappy items people brought, I assume, from their basements (or, like ours, from Walgreens) with the proceeds going to a local boys’ rehabilitative ranch.  Then came the woman down the aisle with the game pools to bet on.  [I actually won $10.  Hooray!  My mom won $15.  Double hooray!].  After most of this had subsided, we hit highway 41, which takes us straight up to Green Bay.  At this point, the music starts and videos come on the tv screens.  A million different songs rewritten with Packer lyrics are playing at decibel-breaking levels and the karaoke machine starts to make it down the aisle.  And we are all forced — I’m serious, forced — to sing MULTIPLE times.  So, we have to sing things like — set to the tune of Beck’s Loser — “Oh gosh darn it, don’t you know? I’m a Cheesehead, baby, the pride of Wisconsin.”  And then there’s the famous Bears Still Suck song with lyircs like, “The Bears still suck.  Still, I wouldn’t mind Ditka run over by a truck.  They make fun of Wisconsin, but I don’t mind.  Where do you think they go every chance they get?  The Bears still suck.”  As if this weren’t bad enough, that Chumbawamba song from all those years ago — remember the “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down?”  — comes on and the GB-pajama-clad, green-and-gold-mardi-gras-bead-wearing karaoke woman starts doing this dance in the aisle that she thinks goes with the song.  You can imagine, I’m sure: she goes down, then shoots back up and then does a weird boxing motion to “You’re never gonna keep me down.”  So then — and I SWEAR I was avoiding eye contact — she grabs me and insists I dance with her.  Of course I laugh and politely decline.  She says, “Yes, come on, it’ll be fun.”  I say, “No, it really won’t be.”  She says “Yeah, come on” and drags me up with her and there I am doing this super cool Chumbawamba dance of hers.  Awesome.  This is just awesome.

Luckily — or maybe not — I’m not the only one forced to dance on the bus.  They made the “rookies” — peeps who naively admitted to never having ridden the bus before — do some goofy “boogie” (GOD, I hate that word) for what seemed like an eternity.  The braces-clad teenager dancing in the aisle next to me turned to his dad during the dance and said, “I think this is the longest song ever made.”  And then there were the odd folks who danced of their own volition — getting up right in front of me and polka-ing to every polka played, which, it being Wisconsin, were quite a few.

On the way back, it was quieter, but we kinda got yelled at for that, with one of the Packer Backer officers screaming into her microphone, “Am I on Bus Number One or Bus Number Two?”  When the guy across the aisle from me started to snore, though, I was annoyed, but mostly relieved.  At least it was quieter than karaoke.

Topics: three

First up, Project Runway finale. If you didn’t watch last night because, say, you were watching the third & final debate, and you don’t want to know the results, don’t read any further. The winner? My darling Leanne! She crushed the competition. Well, not really. All three collections were impressive and well-executed, I thought. Leanne’s, though, was just so much more — more cohesive, more thematic (in a good way), more stunning. The colors were phenomenal and it was all so pretty. I just have loved her for so long and I’m happy to have had my early fave do so well. She reminds me of Chloe. Anyone else?

While Kenley’s collection was nice (I’m not really into the painted fabric), it was her attitude that was more upsetting. In the usual Kenley way, she was defensive and offensive at the same time. The judges, again, felt that she was copying ideas and designs that were already out in the world. Kenley stated that she had no idea that others were doing what she was doing and, I think, I might actually believe that. But it doesn’t really matter. Even if she didn’t explicitly rip-off other designers, it’s the fact that her designs aren’t fresh that’s the problem. If someone lives in a cave their entire life and comes out in 2008 with an amazing sculpture that looks just like the David, it doesn’t make that artist as cool as Michelangelo. It may make that person a pretty good craftsman and an artist who’s good with stone, but it doesn’t make the second David a masterpiece. So, Kenley, quit your crying.

Korto. There’s really not much to say. I have little doubt that she has a great future in fashion. She’s an incredible designer.

Next up, the debate. So, since I chose PR over Debate Three, I saw only snippets of the first hour and the last thirty minutes. What do you guys think? Is Joe the Plumber related to Joe Six-Pack? Are they the same guy? I was confused. Also, from what I hear, plumbers do pretty well for themselves and plumbing — unlike, say, the peeps working at the GM plant in Janesville that’s closing up shop any day now — seems like it’s a career that probably withstands a depression. We still need water and working pipes even if the stock market collapses. So, I guess, I’m unclear why the plumber is the icon being tossed around for your average Joe. Though his name, apparently, is Joe. But, again, I missed the beginning of McCain’s thread on this, so I’ll wait to hear from you guys for further evaluation. I’d like to go back today and listen to what they both said about the Supreme Court. Who was the first politician to talk litmus tests with regard to the Court? For some reason, that phrase just really annoys me. Probably because it’s thrown around all the time with no sincerity and it rings hollow.

Third up, I had dinner with Ben last night. Though we talk, email or text every day, we hadn’t seen each other in a couple of months, I’d say. It was really great to see him. He’s doing so well — he’s got all these friends and he’s practically running his school. He had a cute new orange raincoat and scruff on his face like he did back in the 2001-03 era. It’s hard to see him, too, of course. It’s a reminder that our relationship didn’t “work out” in the way we both had hoped it would. As more and more time is put between us and the pumpkin, I can’t always remember what exactly went wrong. In thinking about it this morning, I think it was, to be simple about it, that we stopped being nice to each other. Not that we were necessarily mean (though sometimes of course we were), but we stopped valuing being nice, being extra considerate, being patient and just kind. I know I’m no one anyone wants to take advice from, but I think that it’s important to remember that there is no substitute for being kind. Although being polite is part of it, I think being kind — really considering your friend or partner or lover’s needs and wants — is the most important thing in a relationship. Any relationship. And once you lose that, it’s really hard to get back.

October 2008

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