Saturday, April 29, 2006

My spidey-senses tell me...

that something fishy is going on downtown (Cleveland, that is).

About two weeks ago, the local news anchors had a lot of fluff for news about the Indians, the Cavs playoffs and Lebron James, but mostly it was all a bunch of talk about Spiderman filming downtown.

I suppose that it's easier to close down Euclid Avenue from the hours of 8-6 every day for two weeks than some NYC street if you want to film a bunch of car crash scenes. But for the people who actually work downtown, they aren't too thrilled with adding a good forty-five minutes to their commute.

Yes, Spiderman III is being filmed here, but for the love of God, it ain't like Tobey McGuire is dangling from his feet off the Hunting Bank building and upside-down kissing Kirsten Dunst.

Those silly news anchors. They tried to get everybody all excited, but they can't fool me. The best part about it, is that there's some freak walking around dressed in a Spiderman costume downtown everyday. Now there's a grown man who probably still lives with his parents. He's Spidey's number one fan. But his costume looks like he got it on sale after Halloween at Kmart, it's all ill-fitting.

John said he's heard about the freak and a couple of guys he works with have seen him, too. I first saw him on Channel 3 News. Yeah, this is the guy they picked to interview about all the hubbub of Spiderman. And he sounded like a fairly normal guy and said all the usual pleasantries like, "Oh, this is very exciting," and "it's great for Cleveland." But did the news guy stop and ask, "Hey, what's going on with the Spidey get-up? Let's talk about that."? No, he didn't. Come on, that's the real news. I wish David Letterman could have been our guest news anchor.

We're going to take Jack down today, since it's supposed to be the last day of filming. John said he saw Spiderman last night while he was trying to get over to the Rapid (local train). He said he watched for a minute, and basically it was Spiderman holding on to a truck while two guys that were working on the set held up his legs. He was most impressed with the costume, other than that, it was pretty uneventful.

All night he kept going on about that costume. "That Spiderman costume was really nice," he'd say. I asked if it looked better than the thirty-five year old freak's drugstore version. But the real thing's spandex is always going to look better than that rayon/polyester crap that's so thin you can see through it.

If we don't see the real Spiderman, I really hope we run into some weirdos dressed up like him. I have some great questions prepared on index cards just in case.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Let your finger do the talking.

I don't remember exactly how it got started, but I could say that about most of the family's inside jokes.

The talking pinky.

It might have been born from a Saturday Night Live skit that we evolved into our own thing, but the the talking pinky has been around for years.

When I find myself being very polite and proper around people who'd never get my sarcasm I start to feel nauseous. It's hard being my "proper self" around certain people. You know the ones, they just can't take a joke. You couldn't break that face with a hammer. So I rely on my old trustworthy friend, the pinky.

The pinky tells it like it is. Or at least like it is in your head. The pinky represents truth and honesty, but not necessarily honor and modesty.

Don't like someone's sweater? You could say to them, "Oh, that is a lovely holiday sweater! Where'd you get that? It's sooooo cute!" and the pinky can say, "Yeah, that's a real nice sweater...for a moron."

The pinky can get away with saying anything. But you have to do it right. All you need is two things, a pinky and a general hatred of people.

Be saccarin sweet to the victim, then raise your pinky and speak in a low voice out the side of your mouth. Be careful, though. You don't want them to notice and ask things like, "What was that? Did you just call me a fucking idiot?" You better be quick with a back-pedal response then, and that's not an area I can help you with. Good cover-ups take a lot of time and experience to perfect. Just ask my uncle, Mickey.

He's been in hot water plenty of times for his side-of-the-mouth remarks, especially when for the ones he lets rip in front customers of the shoe store. He still hasn't gotten the hang of the pinky. Muttering things like, "little shits" after complimenting a mother on her "lovely children" just doesn't fly. Without the pinky, you're just insulting people under your breath. The pinky works sort of like a vantriliquist's dummy would on his arm. It talks a lot of trash, but it's okay because everybody just accepts the dummy as a character, eventhough, it's really the voice of a passive-aggressive miserable puppeteer.

In the shoe store that my dad owns and my uncle works in, there used to be a card catalogue of all the customers. It was a way to keep track of their purchases and shoe preferences before the computer age. But since all the old people working there liked it so much, they never bothered to update the system. The real pain-in-the-ass customers had a red marker line topping their card.

When Uncle Mickey rapped up a sale with a difficult man, he took it upon himself to use the red marker and record that "This guy's a clown." The difficult man may have deserved it, but trouble started when Uncle Mickey learned that he could also read upside-down. When backed into a corner, all that Uncle Mickey could come up with was that writing he's "a clown" was the store's code for a "really good customer". I'm starting to believe that maybe it's because he's so good at back-pedalling, that Uncle Mickey takes secret pleasure in getting caught. It gives him a reason to exersize his underrated talent.

But until you've become a master back-pedaller, I suggest you start with baby steps and use the pinky. Use it or lose it, that's what I say. I mean most of us have two that don't do much for us except make a poor attempt at looking fancy when you drink your tea.

Go on, what are you waiting for? Use yours...TODAY!


A couple little extras for you here, and I don't mean that in like thumbkins and pointers regarding the post.

I'm pretty excited about the latest renter I just took in on the sidebar over there---------------->

HauntedHouseDressing is a blog I had planned to stick up on my links at some point and time. I mentioned it about month or so ago in an old post called "Paying it For(ward) no reason at all" telling everyone about some interesting blogs that were definetely worth a click. It rocks. You need to take some time to really check this guy out. And be sure to click on the links under the "Jack and the Beanstalk" picture. Bubbles are magic. Wanna know more? I'm not making any sense? Well, of course I'm not, Silly! It won't make much of any darntootin' sense if you don't click on it.

And I am not going to give you an easy-peasy link to click on if that's what you're looking for, because that takes away from showing the true amount of clicks the renter recieves...Just ask our little friend at StumblingThroughLifeWithGrace. And you don't get a link there, either. No, no, no. You'll have to take your own lazy mouse's behind over there on the sidebar and do it yourself. Don't look at me like that. Hey! I saw you roll your eyes- don't you start with me!

Also, you must, you must, you must increase in my reccomendations! ( I know the Judy Blume fans feel a little let down). Click on this link to Tai's post over at Hello?IsThisThingOn? I promise you'll laugh- at her movie poster, if nothing else. And I'm sure that little blogger'll end up on the sidebar soon enough.

Dear [online] Diary,

Dear Diary,

I know, I know. It's been awhile. I'm sorry, okay? It's just been a little hectic around here...Or at least it has been according to my neuroses. You know, between the recent trip to Connecticut and the whole deal with a realtor coming to taking pictures of the house, I could have really used a drink. But instead, I ended up with two back to back migraines and cramps. And we all know that mixing Codeine with alcohol can make for a very sloppy mess. I mean, I would have probably left laundry undone and and sink full of dishes because I was too busy being passed out on the floor.

Well, I know, you've heard every excuse in the book. But I've really been meaning to tell you all about it, it's just that my head's been spinning. And before you jump to any conclusions, I have not been "getting busy" over at My Space. What? You don't believe me? Go ahead and look for yourself, there's no news over there. In fact, the My Space people are still looking at my book signing post. Poor fellas.

Speaking of which, I rewrote the whole damned thing. I knew you thought it sucked. I kept the good parts, subtracted some of the lame, and multiplied it by twenty paragraphs. Yeah, that's long. I took your advice and decided to not post the new and improved version. Who wants to read that again? Not me, I tell you. I've had enough of looking and reading and rewriting it a thousand times. No thank you. So I guess it's just gonna sit in my laptop hard drive. Huh. No place to send it really.

Oh well, anyhoo.

So I guess I could tell you about how my body is so stiff and sore that hurts to just sit on the couch. Finally got John off his seat to help me move this God forsaken computer armoire. Sheesh, that was heavy. Oh and that dresser thing we use to stuff all of books in. Then of course he starts in with the "Do you really want to keep all these books?" but I told him to shut it. He's got just as many books in there. I don't want to hear about it, or I'll abduct his out-of-print paperback Amityville Horror and hold it hostage somewhere. I could take pictures of it holding today's newspaper, followed by one of it next to a book of matches, you know, just for kicks. Aw, who am I kidding? I love that book. We both know I'd never go through with it.

Well, I have been thinking. Dangerous, I know. Maybe if I could dig it up, I could post some of my really old diary entries. No, no, no, no. I thought of that, already. But I'll wait, I mean if anyone really wanted the "best of" this blog, they could snoop around the archives. I'm talking about the diary I used to write every night with a pencil. That's got some real gems in it. It has all that stuff I wrote about in the fourth grade, it's sure to be a hit. I'm gonna have to look in Mom's attic. It's around there somewhere, I'm sure.


That could take a while to find, you're right. As usual. What would I do without you, Diary? I'm gonna start writing you more often. Don't expect too much from me, I've got to ease into it. Maybe I'll get an old fashioned version of you with a lock and key. I don't want John peeking in there. You're probably right, I mean he doesn't even read this one. Not likely he'll be so curious to go breaking the lock on another. I could probably leave it lying openfaced on his pillow every night and he wouldn't bother reading it. In fact, I think I will.

Okay, then diary. I need a cup of coffee. No, I didn't just wake up, well sort of. I mean, I just haven't typed yet today, that's why I sound so hoarce. Oh get off my back already, Diary.

I'll talk to you later.


Deb : )

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Meeting Sedaris

Except for when I was twelve and my bedroom was wallpapered with New Kids On The Block pictures, I’ve never been a star-struck sort of person. I’ve never liked the idea of putting someone on a pedestal. I might have an admiration of people rather than an obsession about them. I tend to think of myself as one who thoroughly appreciates the talents of others, but I wouldn’t go so far as to consider them superhuman. I guess it’s admirable that, when compared to rest of us, they’ve accomplished a lot more.

It even feels a little creepy even calling myself a fan, because a fan tends to worship another person and swear that they can do no wrong. No matter how I much I cringed knowing that I looked like just another "fan", here I stood with the rest them. I was waiting to have my book signed in a very long line full of his obsessed number one fans who thought the entire world of him.

I’d read every book David Sedaris had written, and a couple of them more than once. But I’d like to think of myself as a connoisseur of his works and not one of his "number one fans!!!!" "Well, good news!" a smirking theatre usher said, "I think I saw someone up there that looked like him!" He rushed by the line and appeared to be on his way to some other duty. He was ribbing us, of course. He thought we were a bunch of morons, I could tell. We were so far back in the line, we couldn’t even see the front. Our position was pathetic enough as it stood. "Ya know, I think if you aren’t even in the line, you shouldn’t mock the people at the very end of it," the girl behind us said. She had a good point, I mean, didn’t we already feel like big enough assholes spending our Saturday night standing in a long line?

I wouldn’t have anything to say when I got up there. Even if I managed to scrounge up a little something, it’d probably sound stupid. I think I know myself well enough to be sure of that. I began to think that maybe if I was lucky, they’d cut off the line and say that "Mr. Sedaris simply cannot sign anymore books. He’s really had enough now, people. Please, go home." I thought that if at least that happened, I wouldn’t have to endure weeks of beating myself up for tripping when I walked up to him, or even worse; attempting to say something witty, only to end up sounding mildly retarded.

I mean, what are you supposed to say? Do I have to ask a question? Sure, I had a few, I guess, but I didn’t want to be the loser who asked the most frequently asked question that had ever been asked. Anyone who’s in the line should probably quite enough about him just from reading any one of his essays. Was I supposed to remark about his reading? "Oh, yes, you read very well this evening. So did you practice reading the night before, or was that all done off the cuff?"

I’m sure there’s nothing I could have said that he hadn’t heard already.
The only small comfort I took was that there was probably some schmuck up ahead who would be the guy that pitches story ideas to him. At least most of us know better than to do that. That’s the guy who honestly believes he’s such a genius that a best-selling author will look up from autographing a book and pause thoughtfully feeling his pockets for a notepad, "What a minute, say that again...Oh this will be great for my next book!" Was I supposed to remark on how I was a little bit of a writer myself? Oh yeah, that’s rich. And then what’s he supposed to say? "Oh, really? Um, good for you. I mean, aren’t we all writers when you really think about it? Putting together a grocery list is writing. You are writing it down. Oh get away from me, already." And I would fully respect him for it, too, because that would be a real idiotic thing to say. I resolved to say nothing. Nothing at all.

The longer we waited in line, the more painful it was. Painful, not just because on this unseasonably cold day it turned out to be ninety degrees inside the theatre and everybody was complaining they were so thirsty. It wasn’t painful because I hadn’t worn the most supportive shoes. And it also wasn’t because I was forced to look at the Akron Civic Theatre’s terribly over the top decor.

It was a cross between an old English castle or one of those Medieval-themed restaurants. It also had hints of Roman sort of place because it had all those Caesar sculptures, and the Disney’s mockup of Mexico in EPCOT Center. They couldn’t have used more colors of paint if they’d wanted to. There were orange faux finish stucco for walls, teal crown molding, and bejewelled light fixtures. The carpet matched, being that it wasn’t short on pizzaz either. It was a parrot pattern. Each parrot had a swirling feathered tail that went around in loopy curly-q’s. It reminded me of the type of carpet you’d find in a Vegas casino, flashy with wild designs. You’d never find a stain in all that confusion.

These were all pains I could take. It was the awful doom of the impending awkward situation I found the hardest to withstand.

Meeting David Sedaris is something I have always thought I wanted to do, but all along I knew that this wasn’t the way I wanted it to go down.

I never wanted to be the lowly blubbering fan who sheepishly asks for an autograph. To be clear, I never looked down on anyone who asks for an autograph, it’s just not something I never really pictured doing myself. It’s not me.

I was fourteen when we went to the Penn Pilot in New Haven, Connecticut. During one of the breaks between tennis matches, the up and coming Jensen Twins sat on the bleachers a couple rows from us. My father handed me a slip of paper and pen and told me to "go on and get their autograph!" "I’m not going over there," I said looking at the players. "Oh come on, Deb! It’ll be neat!" Mom chimed. Neat for who? I thought. I couldn’t care less about those guys. "You want it so bad, go get it yourself," I said. . My parents play tennis. My parents watch "Breakfast at Wimbledon" every year in it’s entirety. They’ve been watching it for as long as NBC has broadcasted it. My father was disappointed in me. To him, I was turning down the opportunity of a lifetime, as if the sheer act of going up to these people and getting an autograph was going to open doors for me.

We were halfway to the front of the line. At this point I figured that he was going to sign a book for everyone. As admirable as that seemed, it made me even more nervous. I was going to have to face him, now. I still couldn’t think of anything to say. By the time I reached the front, I’d had over two hours to consider what I could say. I drew a blank. But watching the people that had gone ahead of us, it was easy to see I was the only person who would have nothing to say. I was going to be the weird mute fan. Oh, great, I thought, Do you want to be remembered by this guy because you said something stupid or because you were the one who said nothing? The truth was I didn’t want to be remembered at all. We were fourth from the last people in line. The last person in line would surely remain the freshest memory, that is until the next book-signing gig, of course. I still had nothing. So I was going to say nothing. That was it.

I had also noticed people having him sign all sorts of things, like every book that had of his plus other copies that belonged to friends of theirs. How annoying are those people? Then one couple had him sign a few of their business cards. That was definetely more creative than having him sign a bra, I suppose. I tried to picture this guy at business lunch with a potential client. "Yes, Mrs. Harris, it’s been a pleasure. I would love to assist you in drawing up a living will. But before we go, let me give my card....I beg your pardon?....Oh, my, I forgot all about that! Did I give you one of my specially autographed cards? Silly me."

The people in front of us went up for their turn. Five books. Five books, they had for him to sign. John thought this was getting ridiculous. I agreed. Really, now, was that necessary? But somewhere between the back of the line and the front, I’d thought that maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to ask him to sign my notepad. I carry it around with me in case an idea strikes me in the car, the grocery store, or even in line for getting a book signed. What’s the harm in asking for that? It was just one book and a notepad. That’s not too much to ask for, right?

While we waited for the people in front of us to have their entire library collection signed, we talked to the usher who was manning the front of the line. We learned he was from Connecticut. We also learned that if you stood on one foot at a time your feet wouldn’t tire so quickly when standing for hours on end. I had wished he’d been in charge of the back of the line so he could have shared this information with us much earlier.

The usher had stopped himself from saying anymore and gave us a wave of introduction to the man of the hour. It was our turn. Shit, it was actually our turn. I hadn’t considered that we’d ever be finished waiting.

I held out my notepad and copy of Naked. "Hi," we said to one another. "Just two things," I was trying to communicate that he only had to sign two things instead of four or five or a pack of business cards, but I don’t know if it really came across that way. He asked who to make it out to and I answered "Debbie....IE!" another attempt at speaking. I was trying to explain that my name ended with an "ie" and not some of the alternatives other Debbies of the world use. "I mean, ie, you know, D-e-b-b-i-e. No ‘Y’. Please, not a ‘Y’" I tried to explain myself. "So that’s the classy ‘Debbie’, right?" he asked. "Yeah, I mean the ‘Debby’ with a ‘Y’ is sort of, like, whitetrashy," I said. "And when it ends with just an ‘i’, that’s sort of like a slut, don’t you think?" he asked. I did. I thought so exactly. How gracious of him to save me from making a complete fool of myself. When he’d finished a cartoon drawing of TNT and writing "To Debbie: You’re dynomite" on the inside of the book, he handed it back to me. "And I was wondering if maybe you could sign my little idea book?" I said handed the notepad to him with a trembling hand. Did I just say "idea book"? I don’t even know what that is. He thought for a second and asked, "Do you have plans tomorrow?" "No, just sleeping in and John’s going to church, you know, being it’s Palm Sunday," I said giving out way too much information. And then he said, "I’m going to make you a To Do List." He jotted down three things. I was too embarrassed to try and read what he was writing. I felt like I was in grade school and had to see the really cute teacher after class that I’d had a longstanding crush on. I did have some kind of crush on him. But not in the traditional sense. It was like I had a crush on his talent. He asked where we were from and I told him, "Solon, Ohio. Not far from Gates Mills." I was referring to a story he’d written about his rich aunt who’d lived and died there leaving an inheritance to his mother. "Ah, I had an aunt who lived there once," he said, trying to humor me. God, I was such an idiot. I couldn’t leave well enough alone, now could I? I wanted to go back to my original plan of saying nothing. It would have worked too, if he hadn’t been asking me so many questions. It was so unexpected. "Thanks a lot," I said and then I stuck out my hand which he didn’t notice at first, but then did, and shook it. "It was nice meeting you," I said. John was already halfway out the door. I was hoping he could have at least held my stuff so I could put on my coat if he hadn’t been such a goddamned hurry.

Feeling like the biggest dork, I sat in the car and went over that two minute meeting the whole way home. I would go back and replay the entire scene in slow motion and hitting the pause button on the most awkward parts. I cringed.

I could have asked him where he came up with the title of Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim. I’d read it twice and couldn’t remember ever finding a reference to it. I could have asked an even more obvious question like, when was his next book coming out? I could have told him that the reason I bought my ratty looking copy of Naked was because it the first book I’d read that made me realize that all the little things I’d been writing could add up to a book one day. It introduced me to many other writers of essays and short stories that I didn’t even know where out there. I never knew you could make a living writing that way. I should have told him that when he read his story about Mrs. Peacock, I forgot I was sitting in a theater and swore I was in a rundown neighborhood inside her house staring at her mish-mosh collection of dolls. One had a dirty face with no eyelids and half her hair was cut off.

I could have told him any one of these things.

But I couldn’t.

I didn’t.

I was star-struck.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Oh, how nice of you to drop in.....DEBBIE.

I was pleasantly suprised and more than un-deserving to find a load of comments on my malnourished blog. Thanks, really.

I'll have to ask you to excuse the lack of a new post in a while. I'm sure that some of you have thought, "Enough already with the inside-out potato chip bag, get over yourself and pick it up already. Sheesh." I know, it's getting a little old. If that post were a loaf of bread, it would have been sporting something of a doggy sweater made of white fuzzy mold by now.

A quick little ditty to let you know what's been keeping me (if you ever really cared to know, that is. If not, that's okay. I get it. It's not like breaking news that I'd been abducted or something.)

I'll make it a bullet point list. Those are fun to do, right?


  • Been house hunting. With a realtor.
  • Realtor brought a "Staging Consultant" (hold all giggles please) to my home to assess our place and how we need to make it look presentable enough for showing.
  • Went to Trader Joes. On a Sunday. So crowded with hippies and wannabes I vowed to never go again on a Sunday.
  • I have nothing against hippies, just the "crowded" part.
  • Went to see David Sedaris do a reading in Akron.
  • Waited in line for well over two hours to have him sign my book.
  • Got home very late, indeed.
  • I'm getting to old to stay up past my bedtime.
  • I felt hungover the next morning.
  • Spent time with Mom and Dad, who took Jack for the night. Hadn't been able to hang out and have bagels in a while. Enjoyed that.
  • Went home and crashed on the couch. All night. Over tired and couldn't sleep.
  • Feel like poo today.
  • Wondered to self this morning; Why is it always a bright sunny day when you feel like crawling into a dark cave to get some sleep?
  • I will attempt to finish post about the Sedaris reading and the joys of waiting in a line for 2+hours at eleven o'clock at night.
  • Note to Mom:
  • Mom,
  • I will put up a longer post. I know, the diary entries are short. You want a "real story I can read". In the words of SNL's MiddleAgeMan, "I'm WORKING ON IT."