amyscoop.com

JANUARY 2004
Friday, January 30, 2004
So this is disturbing: Earlier today, I went into the kitchen to get a yogurt, and I looked out the kitchen door into the backyard, and there was this huge bird there. I'm no bird expert, so I don't know what kind of bird it was, but it was really big, like a hawk or something. I had never seen a bird like that before around here, and it was just sitting there looking at me. Then I noticed that there was a mess of blood and feathers at its feet, and after a second or two, I realized that the blood and feathers was a freshly killed bird, but one of a smaller variety. After what seemed like a few minutes of me standing there and looking, the big bird did something with its feet and then flew away carrying the dead bird. Now there is a red, feather-littered crater in the snow behind my house, and there's something in it. I think it's one of the legs of the dead bird, but I can't tell and won't be able to tell until the snow melts a little. Anyway, the whole thing creeped me out.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Finally -- a snow day! Yesterday they made us come in to work, even though it was a mess out, and then decided ooops, it was a mistake, and sent us all home early. But today they got it right, and I appreciated the day off.

I did, however, shovel the foot of snow off my driveway, and now my arms and wrists are aching. Still, I have one of the cleaner driveways on my street, and I hope it's sunny out tomorrow so that it all dries off. I'm realizing that this is something that I take a strange kind of pride in. I'm also realizing that during the majority of my younger days, I used to make fun of my father for the exact same thing. Imagine my internal struggle.

I should also mention that today is the 26th birthday of my two brothers (yes they are twins, no we are not triplets, yes I know we look like triplets, no we really aren't triplets). My biggest memory of my brothers' birthday is on this day in 1986 when the Challenger exploded after launch and everyone in the country was feeling awful, but we still went out for Chinese to celebrate, and there was hardly anyone else in the restaurant. So, in birth order, happy birthday Evan and happy birthday Randy, and yes mom, I did call them and even sent a present.

Monday, January 26, 2004
It's raining ice out, and there's snow on the way. I have a big deadline on Wednesday, so I'm really pulling for a snow day tomorrow. Keep hope alive!

Sunday, January 25, 2004
A rather uneventful weekend, mostly due to the amount of stuff I need to get done in the next few weeks. But during breaks from the computer, I did manage to shovel my driveway, cook a kickass squid dinner (I had never made squid before, so I was pretty happy when it turned out good), get a few workouts in, and daydream about having free time.

I frequently wake up at 5 or 6 am on weekends, usually because that's close to the time my alarm goes off during the week. To get myself back to sleep, I usually listen to talk radio. Have you ever listened to these ultraconservative radio guys when you're in a state of semi-consciousness? It's weird because you hear them slamming people you tend to think are intelligent, but you're not quite sure that you're hearing it correctly because they're so obnoxious and you're not really awake. On early Saturday mornings, I get to fall back asleep to the Dr. Dean Edell show, which is equally weird because he's pro-legalization of marijuana, and the first few times I listened to him in this semi-awake state, I thought I was hearing things, because you don't usually hear doctors advocating drugs. Anyway, it's an interesting experience, and I'd recommend it the next time it's the middle of the night and you can't sleep.

Thursday, January 22, 2004
I saw Big Fish and it was excellent. I ate a bag of popcorn and I cried and I don't want to talk about it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Some realizations and decisions today: I am tired. In fact, I am exhausted. I just looked in the mirror, and I look kind of crappy. I feel like I am trying to do too much and not telling enough people no, I can't do that right now. I figure it's not a good sign when I get out of bed in the morning and I can't wait until I can get back into it at night, and that I know there's an insane amount that I have to get done between now and then. So, in the spirit of self-preservation, I have made the following promises to myself:

  1. I will finish my current projects and follow through on my outstanding commitments. I can't stand it when people back out of things they had previously committed to, so I'll make every effort not to do it myself. I will do them well, and if someone tells me that I've done them well, I will try not to tell them how much it all took out of me.
  2. I will not accept any new projects. No editing, no writing, no teaching -- nothing. There's no time. I like to sleep too much.
  3. I'm going to a movie tomorrow afternoon. I haven't been to one in months. If I have to fake illness to get out of my 3:00 meeting that will probably run long, I will.
  4. I will take the summer off. The entire summer. No projects, no freelance, no teaching evening classes at the local community college -- nothing. I'm sleeping late. Every day. If I get up at noon everyday, that's fine. I will spend all summer in the sun with a book in my hand and my phone off. Maybe I won't even check my email. Well, okay, of course I'll check my email, but I probably won't reply to most of them. Starting Memorial Day, I am doing nothing but reading, sleeping, working out, and taking road trips. This is the summer of George! (I mean Amy!)
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
I just had dinner at a neighborhood restaurant, and I really feel sick now. Not food poisoning, doubled over, empty-out-my-digestive-system sick, but queasy and heavy and uncomfortable. I'm debating whether or not I should make myself puke it up so I feel better, but this is more difficult for me than you might think. I don't have much of a gag reflex, and I'd probably make myself sicker by poking around in my throat. It would probably take me a good 15 or 20 minutes, if at all. I seriously don't understand how people with eating disorders make themselves puke so easily. Like, la di da, I just puked up my lunch, nothing to it. I couldn't be bulimic if I wanted to -- it's too much work. That's probably for the best, but for now, I'd really like to get this stuff out of me, and a quick yak is probably all it would take. But I won't do it. Goddamn my stomach hurts.

Sunday, January 18, 2004
The movie Joe Dirt is on tv tonight. On Telemundo. Dubbed in Spanish. I haven't been drinking, and I don't do drugs, so you know I'm not making this up. Why am I watching it? No se.

Happily, I have tomorrow off from work. Unhappily, I still have stuff to do, and I still have to teach my community college class tomorrow night. Today I made lentil soup and my neighbors said it was really good. Oh, and I have also realized that in these cold and dreary days of winter, bread makes me happy. Not any bread -- French baguettes. I swear I can eat one a day. Good thing I don't do Atkins.

Friday, January 16, 2004
You're right. I haven't written much this week. I'm busy. I even have the stress hives to prove it. Stupid stress hives.

You may want to check out popgurls.com, which features, among other things, a nice interview with Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket fame ("fame"). Plus, the site is by another fellow UB graduate. You know how I feel about that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Interesting encounter today: Lots of people where I live have never been to New York. Many of them, in fact, are afraid of New York. I'm not sure why, and neither are they, but they are. So when someone around here has actually lived in New York, or been there for any extended period of time, they sometimes brag about it and drop all kinds of New York names to try to impress people and demonstrate to others just how cool they are. I try really hard not to play this card, just because it's so easy. In fact, I try to make other people think that New York is not a too-cool foreign place, but actually a fun city that they should visit without fear. So when someone else tries to wow people with their brief New York address, it really pisses me off, and I want to tell these people who do this with me that I'm not impressed with the fact that you once went jogging in Central Park, and that I'm from New York, asshole.

Anyway, today I had to sit through a meeting with someone who (I felt) was a little sketchy. Just my spider senses tingling, I guess. Apparently, this person lived in New York for a year or two, and was name dropping like crazy. At one point, he talked about trying to have an event in Bryant Park and just running over to Zabar's to get some wine. I didn't want to be a jerk, but I really felt like telling him to shut the fuck up, that he sounds like an idiot, that Manhattan is littered with liquor stores, and that you don't just run over to Zabar's from Bryant Park because they're quite a few blocks apart, asshole.

Oh, and this guy also tried to do the "I'm cool" thing directly at me by every now and then using a Yiddish word, and then looking at me and winking, as if I would somehow feel closer to him because he knows the language of "my people." Actually, I think he is half-Jewish, and Jews are somewhat of a novelty in this town, which to me made it worse. Again, I didn't want to be a jerk, but I really felt like telling him not to wink at me everytime you say chutzpah when my boss, who is from Wisconsin and doesn't get your little joke, is sitting right next to me, asshole.

So I sat through the meeting, and when it was over I vented to my coworkers, who were also unimpressed with his oooh, look at me, I know about New York bullshit.

Sunday, January 11, 2004
So a few months ago in this space, I wrote about fellow UB graudate Parry Shen and how he was in a little movie called Better Luck Tomorrow. I then went on to say things like how Parry used to talk about acting, and how I never really thought it would happen. And then I found out that Parry reads this site, and he was all like, hey it's a cool movie, and I was all like, whatever, and he was all like, no seriously, you should see it. Well, it went something like that. He was actually much nicer and I was much less glib.

So anyway, now I stand fully corrected and a little sheepish. I watched the movie this weekend, and I must say that it is surprisingly good. The movie had striking similarities to Goodfellas (in fact, the first three fourths of the script was pretty much Goodfellas except in a high school and with Asians intead of Italians), but Goodfellas is one of my favorite movies, so it didn't bother me. And it's extremely well shot and well edited, so in addition to having a good script, it was really nice to look at. And for a business major, Parry is a really good actor! Wait, that was backhanded. Parry is good and you should watch the movie for all of the aforementioned reasons and Parry's excellent performance.

The moral of the story? Well, there are a few. First, just because a movie is distributed by MTV doesn't automatically mean that it's drivel aimed at brainless junior high kids. I enjoyed Better Luck Tomorrow, and I'm 11 months away from the moderately large 3-0. Second, and this isn't easy to admit, but I frequently jump to conclusions that maybe aren't so accurate. This was certainly the case with this movie. And finally, perhaps the most important lesson here is that UB graduates rock! We don't need no stinking private school! Go Bulls! (UB Bulls, that is.)

Thursday, January 8, 2004
Today I walked out of the grocery store with a baguette, and I was so hungry that I just started eating it on my way to the car. Didn't break off a piece, either -- I just started biting it at the end. A woman walked by me and gave me a weird look. I should mention that this was at the more upscale grocery store in town, where the more affluent and/or more pretentious people in town shop, and where everything is priced just a little bit higher than in the other grocery stores. So this woman probably was not accustomed to seeing people walking out of her store and gnawing on a long loaf of bread. But whatever.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004
A good day all around. Why? For starters, it was a snow day, and I got to go back to sleep until 10:30. And then I got my Alton Brown books in the mail, so I can look forward to reading them. And finally, I found out that my summer project got accepted into the East Lansing Film Festival at Michigan State, which kind of makes me feel like I didn't put all of this effort into it for nothing. All around, no complaints for today.

I also got my new duvet cover today, and a little while ago, I washed it and put it on my new down comforter. I don't know why I didn't realize that it might be difficult to put on -- it's kind of like putting a pillow case on a pillow, except the pillow is seven feet by seven feet and really floppy. You get the idea. Anyway, it took me a while to get it on there, and at one point I was actually inside the duvet cover myself; I'm glad no one was around to see, because I'm sure I looked pretty ridiculous. But after a slight struggle, I got it on and it looks nice on my bed, if not a little puffy, but that's probably because it's new. So yay for duvet. (The previous sentence is handy in that it rhymes if you pronounce "duvet" correctly. It's "doo-vay." But you knew that.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2004
No snow day again, and it's miserable out, but on the bright side, my extraordinarily nice upstairs neighbor shoveled my driveway because he knows I work late on Tuesdays. How nice is that? I suppose it's too much to hope that he cleans off my car before I leave for work in the morning.

Monday, January 5, 2004
My day in five haiku:

1
Snow fell yesterday.
Would I have my Monday off?
It was not to be.

2
7:10 am
Ice won't scrape off my windshield.
Miami sounds good.

3
Leftover eggplant.
Couldn't wait to heat my lunch.
Ouch. I burned my tongue.

4
Lots of stuff to do.
Laundry, projects, and the like.
Damn you, Average Joe!

5
It's snowing again.
I won't get my hopes up. Well,
Maybe just this once.

Sunday, January 4, 2004
Best tv headline about Britney's (aka Ms. Spears if you're nasty) jeans-and-tshirt wedding? From Fox News, "Oops, I Married a Friend." Umm...yeah.

I watched View from the Top, and I don't understand all of the bad reviews. I thought it was hysterical! Aside from the overall look of the film, which I thought was beautiful in a sort of retro-ish Kubrick kind of way, I thought the whole trailer-trashiness of the story was brilliant. And Mike Meyers was excellent as a flight attendant trainer, and I really liked Candace Bergen as the glam-fabulous international stewardess mentor extraordinaire. So it's not Shakespeare in Love (which I thought was totally overrated anyway) -- it's fun and funny and there's an airline with the motto, "Big hair, short skirts, good service." Maybe it's because I grew up so close to New Jersey, but I loved that. In fact, NJ might want to consider using that line as their state motto. Anyway, back to the movie: no, there's no profound message in it, but it's not supposed to be deep. It's supposed to be funny. And it is. I say go watch it.

I should also add that as a very very bad flier, it didn't do much to alleviate my fear/hatred of flying, and in fact, I kept waiting for the impending plane crash scene. It never happened, but see, this is what I think about when I watch movies about planes. But the movie was still good.

Friday, January 2, 2004
I guess at some point I should do some sort of 2003 wrap up, as it's the thing to do and all. But forget best album, best movie, blah blah blah. Let's see:

Biggest addiction of 2003
Trash tv. I got cable in my new apartment, and things just haven't been the same. All of those stupid celebrity-focused shows on VH1, E!, and other lesser cable channels -- I watch them all. Or try to. Most of them anyway. I've wasted so much time on it, too, yet (cue dramatic lighting) I cannot look away. But I know I'm not the only one, because I've been involved in conversations where people talk about these very tv shows, and I almost always interject with, "I'd like to say that I don't know what you're talking about, but unfortunately I do." I've actually carried on a 10-minute conversation about Rich Girls. How sad is that?

Best thing I quit in 2003
I recently made a serious effort to cut out all overly-processed, partially-hydrogenated, ultra-packaged food products. I bid a long-overdue farewell to frozen pizzas, Lipton Noodles and Sauce packets, Oreos, and the like. So far it's been going well. The holidays were tough, but I did manage to stay away from almost anything not homemade. In 2004, I resolve to not eat foods that require 2 cups of water and one tablespoon of butter or margarine to prepare.

Best thing I discovered in 2003
The music of Marshall Crenshaw. I am a little peeved that no one clued me in sooner. If there are other things that I should be made aware of, please don't keep me in the dark.

Best thing I learned in 2003
That I can teach a 3-hour class with little or no preparation. For the reason why I learned this, see "Biggest addiction of 2003."

Most memorable day of 2003
August 14, driving home from the mall in New Jersey and all of the traffic lights and most of the radio stations cut out. It was hot, it was dark, and if it weren't for the gas stove at mom and dad's, I probably would have been hungry. I rigged up some entertainment with a walkman and some $5 Radio Shack speakers. Our lights came on around 10:30, but NYC wasn't so lucky. (Note: August 14 is also the first day my mom ate pasta in like 6 months. It's hard to do Atkins when you can't open the fridge!)

Worst day of 2003
The day after labor day when I had to fly (ugh) home from a funeral and got stuck in a layover in Atlanta for four hours. I thought the day would get better when I started talking to a really cute guy on the flight, but realized that the day was truly cursed when I discovered that we had absolutely nothing in common and that he smelled like patchouli (ick).

Biggest overhype of 2003
American diet mania. Enough already with the Atkins-South Beach insanity. Here's my three-part diet plan: 1. Eat less. 2. Work out. 3. Don't be stupid. Guaranteed to keep the pounds off.

Favorite people of 2003
Toss up between the Queer Eye gentlemen and Alton Brown. A tough decision, because the former showed me how to fabulize, and the latter showed me how to smoke a salmon using only a cardboard box, a hot plate, and a mess of sawdust. I just can't choose.

Least favorite people of 2003
Negativity is so 2001.

Best purchase in 2003
My Apple G5 with the big big cinema display, with props to my Canon G5 with the big big 5 megapixels.

What I wish I had bought in 2003
Either a seafoam green Vespa or a Segway. Alas, I bought a computer and expensive monitor, and therefore cannot afford said fun means of transportation.

2003 summed up in one word
Tired.

Sure, I have favorite movies, CDs, etc. But so does everyone.

Thursday, January 1, 2004
For the first of the year, another installment in the fairly infrequent series of interviews with me, by me. Ahem.

So, Amy. First of the year. How does it feel?
Well, I didn't really do much last night, so whereas in previous years I was hung over and useless on January 1st, I was in pretty good shape today. I was even productive. I made soup.

Soup sounds lovely. May I have some?
Sure. It's in the fridge. You know where the bowls are.

Yes I do. Anyway, do you have any New Year's resolutions?
I don't really do New Year's resolutions. I do a March Makeover, as I'm more inclined to keep my promises with swimsuit season in sight. But by the end of 2004, I would like to feel like I've progressed some, both personally and professionally. I've felt a little stagnant lately, and so I'm hoping to break out of that. If you want to call that a resolution, that's it.

What about biting your nails? Don't you want to resolve to stop doing that?
Oh, I resolve to do that every year. That doesn't even count anymore. Besides, it helps me deal with stress. I don't drink excessively, I don't abuse drugs, and I don't smoke. I even gave up the occasional clove cigarette. And, I might add, my toenails are always nicely manicured over the summer. For now, if I chew my fingers once in a while, I'm not going to worry about it.

That sounds fair enough. But won't your mom be disappointed?
Maybe. But she'll get over it. Besides, I just changed my hair, and she seems pretty pleased about that.

Oh, right. How is the hair working out?
Surprisingly well. I still like the color, and sometimes I wish it were even a little more drastic. The jury's still out on the curls. I'm not completely sure that I like it, but everyone else thinks it looks really good (my weird neighbor even told me I looked beautiful, but to be fair, he was severely jetlagged when he said this and so maybe he wasn't seeing too clearly). So now I have a bit of a moral dilemma: do I do what I want, or do I do what everyone else wants?

That is a tough decision. But ultimately, it's just hair, right?
Yes, it is.

Yes.
Yes.

Yes, well. I think I'm out of questions.
That's okay. I have stuff to do anyway.

Okay, then. I'm going to have some soup.
Just leave me some for lunch.


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