Thursday, January 29, 2009

Don't Go Breakin' Moi's Heart

I've been barking up the wrong tree, y'all. I should have been rooting for Top Chef's Stefan all along. Sorry. I forgot that, oftentimes, there's a valid reason for arrogance. Like oh, I dunno, competence.

Okay, so his dish last night was grody to the max, but you know what, out of the three men who stood in front of the judges for their own failures, he was the only one who didn't yak on and on about it. All he said was, "I apologize." No fancy excuses, no cry baby tactics.

Unlike my former boyfriend,

who completely fell apart and got himself booted off the show.
Darn it.

Stefan, on the other hand, remained silent and kept his gaze on his shoes. Which just goes to underscore the validity of Moi's Tenet #349 Defining a Mighty Fine Man: The ability to shut the hell up. And, when he does speak? He does it with an accent so we can barely understand what he's saying.

Don't screw this up, Stefan. You do, and I'll be forced to switch my allegiance to Carla the Kooky Love Child. And y'all know how I feel about hippies.

Still, last night, this bundle of sunshine wrapped in neurosis managed to make a rockin' crawfish dish in 20 minutes flat, effectively smokin' your and everyone else's ass. She is not, it turns out, to be underestimated. You have been warned.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And If Thou Hast Not Taste, Let Thy Feet Be Bare

I have found them, Party People! A pair of shoes I hate worse than Crocs!


You sure?


Here they are:

The Caged Jelly Flat

Hack. Cough. Gag. Pitooee.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Definition of Insanity


How 'bout something different?

I'm going to make some predictions about Obama's presidency.
Essentially, I'm going to predict that four years from now, an Obama presidency will not look very different from the George W. Bush presidency, or from what I imagine a John McCain presidency would bring.

– Bretigne Shaffer, An Open-Letter to My Pro-Obama Friends

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Size of the Fight in the Dog

Today, one of Moi's best blog buddies lost one of her best buddies. Those who know and love Boxer also know of her devotion to her rescue Chihuahuas - Stella, Mickey, and Paco. Paco is now in doggie heaven. Please join me in a moment of silence to wish Paco well in the great beyond. And hope to heck he didn't bite St. Peter's ankles when he got there.

Rest in Peace, Señor Paco.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wherefore Art Thou Romeo? At home. In your workshop. Where you belong.

Warning: Do Not Try This At Home

* * *
It must have been the super-sized lunchtime margarita that made me so magnanimous, so sloppy silly with my words, but at least I was sober enough to regret them almost as soon as they came spilling out of my mouth: "Honey bunny, since we're right next door to Dillard's, do you mind if we pop in quickly so I can check out the Fryes?"

S.B. shrugged. He'd never been to the Dillard's shoe department before. Not just a shrine to which I make frequent pilgrimages, but My Church. Seriously. Anyone who doesn't think it's possible to speak to Jesus during normal working hours and get an answer has yet to attend a 75 percent off Dillard's shoe sale. So I was a little nervous about S.B. entering my other world.

Sure enough, as soon as we got there, I knew I should never have asked. Not that S.B. fidgeted or rolled his eyes or tugged at his collar or anything like that. It's just that he looked so out of place, so wrong, sitting there all politely stoic among all the shiny new shoes and spiky heels and decorous sales folks who have perfected the art of the hushed tone.

Because S.B. looked so wrong, so out of place, I of course couldn't enjoy myself, couldn't give the merchandise the proper consideration it deserved and so all I could manage was a hasty pass at a pair of Fryes for fit before high tailing it out of there for the nearest Sportsman's Warehouse. Had I not acted as quickly as I had, most likely S.B.'s alpha presence would have sucked all the atmosphere from the building, leaving me and the other women in attendance with the dawning sense that maybe, just maybe, lusting after a neon pink pair of Vincent Caputo snakeskin cage pumps with hammered silvertone buckles might not be all that normal after all.

So I got us out of there and we never spoke of it again.

So, listen. All you ladies who drag your men shopping with you? Unless he's gay? Stop it. They don't like it. In fact, not only do they not like it, they can't handle it. You ask your girlfriend, "Do these jeans make my butt look fat?" you'll get an honest answer. Or at least one so superlatively shined on that, hell, it doesn't really matter what the truth is.

Ask your guy? All you're doing is sending his brain into response overload, the equivalent of turning his amplifier up to eleven, and what you'll get is not a helpful answer, but a blubbering mass of stammers so inconclusive, you'll likely go all girly girl on his ass and starting thinking he no longer finds you attractive and just whose butt does he think looks good anyway and then you'll go home and give him the silent treatment and he'll slink off to play Hitman on his Xbox and before you know it, you're sending two more divorce lawyer's children to Harvard.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Dress: Yay or Nay?

Many fashion pundits have said that Michelle looked like she was, "Wearing a sofa." I disagree. I loved it. Daring choice of color, too. So what if she channels a little bit of Jackie O? Better than channeling mother-of-the-bride.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mute Monday: A is For

I was born an original sinner.
I was borne from original sin.
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin.

- Eurythmics

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Was She Thinking? The Troll Interview

This is a little meme that has been going around the blogs and when I read Troll's interview this morning I thought, why not. The thing about interviews is that they very often reveal interesting things about the person doing the asking, and not just the answering.

At any rate, if you're interesting in playing along, you can read the rules below.

In the meantime, The Troll asks Moi Five Pertinent Questions for the Day:

TROLL: Post apocalypse, you can only have one gun and five rounds of ammo. What do you choose?

MOI: My first instinct was to choose the Glock 19 because I can shoot it like it were a stick of butter and the magazine holds 15 rounds with one in the chamber. But then S.B. said ixnay to the automatic eaponway in a post apocalypse world because it can wear out. Therefore, despite the fact that I’m a crap shot with it, I’d choose the S&W 357 magnum revolver with which I can shoot both 38s and 357s. But S.B. said my real pick should the Remington R-25 semi automatic assault rifle, with the camo body, natch.

TROLL: Describe the experience of eating your favorite SAVORY baked good and provide us the recipe.

MOI: About eight or nine years ago when I was writing restaurant reviews for a local alternative weekly, I was sent to a now sadly defunct Moroccan restaurant just across from the university. That’s where I tasted my first ever bastilla, the crowing glory of North African cuisine. Bastilla is traditionally made with pigeon but here in the states chicken is substituted because, well, would YOU want to eat an American pigeon? But the rest is pretty spot on: a mixture of chopped chicken, scrambled eggs, sliced almonds, and fragrant spices all wrapped inside a phyllo-type dough, deep fried and topped with a generous dusting of cinnamon and powdered sugar. Love at first bite –sweet and savory, crispy and custardy. And I can’t give you the recipe because for some reason I’ve never actually made one, but I might now, given the yummy looking recipes I just Googled.

TROLL: Two-Parter: Why don't libertarian-leaning Conservatives have more influence on today's Republican Party? Why don't moderates have any influence on today's Traitor-Democrat-Party-Of-Filth?

MOI: Because it is my belief that most people either want to enslave or be enslaved. Few want to do neither and instead stand alone, take responsibility for their own actions, and refrain from sucking the life from others. Go ahead and ask someone, “Do you believe in individual liberty?” and you will most likely get an answer in the affirmative. Yet five minutes later that same person will get all up in arms over some perceived injustice and demand the government make some kind of law or take some kind of action to remedy the situation, which usually ends up doing more harm than good. Therefore, since most of us want to control or be controlled, it is no surprise that true conservatives and moderates – who operate from a rational, healthy distrust of government – currently have no influence over the Republican and Democratic parties. That’s because the R&D ideology and methodology as it stands today is fascist, fostering fear, hate, and hysteria in order to gain control over every part of our lives from cradle to grave. Unfortunately, we the people are buying the fascist philosophies, on both sides, hook, line, and sinker. Why? Perhaps because we’ve lost our capacity for rugged individualism, righteous indignation, and charitable concern for family, friends, and neighbors. We need to quit being so lazy in our thinking.

TROLL: You have a year to go someplace appropriate with a companion and write the "Great American Novel" with no other responsibilities. Where do you and the Ivanator go and what's the central theme of the novel?

MOI: We head to Springdale, Utah, which sits at the entrance to Zion National Park, to work on a book I envision as a kind of Deliverance, but with chicks. Central theme of the novel is the inability of modern American females to define a roll for ourselves in the face of failed feminist ethics, and the implications for our embattled attempts to seek meaning in everything from mindless sexual encounters to power careers to New Age religions. (When, really, all we need is a good set of heels and a Glock.)

TROLL: What are your 3 favorite dog-breeds and why?

MOI: Irish Wolfhounds – studies in supreme sweetness, majesty, and grace. Aristocratic in their bearing without ever being standoffish, they are the gentlest of the canine giants.

Alaskan Malamute/any of the Alaskan sled dog breeds – brave, tough, fiercely independent. They are the call of the wild, the heart of primeval canis lupis.

The American Pit Bull Terrier – tenacious, joyful, resilient, forgiving, they are unwavering in their love for life, liberty, and the pursuit of a good time. Their unabashed adoration of humans of all sizes, shapes, and ages make them the ultimate working and companion animal.

Want to be interviewed by Moi? Here's the instructions:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions and let me know when you have posted it, so I can link it.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Lazy Shade of Winter

About a year ago, during a shopping mall lunch with my then fourteen-year-old niece, the child suddenly shifted focus from her plate of rapidly congealing lo mien to ask, “Aunt Moi? What is it that you do for a living again?”

I explained to her that I was a writer.

She paused for a second, looked down at the bag holding the latest Stephen King novel I had allowed her to purchase earlier that day, and said, “You mean like him?”

“No, honey,” I replied. “If I were a writer like him, you and I wouldn’t be sitting here eating crap Chinese food and drinking flat Diet Coke.”

We’d be at the Four Seasons in Manhattan quaffing caviar and Cosmos. Or, rather, I’d be at the Four Seasons. The niece would be in boarding school.

Of course, it’s not that bad, writing for a living. It’s just that I didn’t want to glamorize the profession, because I’m hoping my niece ends up doing what any smart kid in this day and age should do upon exiting high school and that is study to become a doctor, lawyer, or computer programmer. A rock star would be good, too.

So, yes, there are advantages to my chosen vocation. Like the unassailable fact that regardless of laughable pay and chop happy editors, writing for a living is like having the universe hand you a never-expiring hall pass to life.

Which means that on any given day, if we writers so choose, we can shower, put on clean clothing, hoist ourselves out from behind our computers and go out into the world, in the middle of the day, while everyone else is slogging it out in cubicles breathing re-conditioned air and counting down the minutes to lunch. And if, like me, you are also a person who regularly likes to go out into the world alone (all the better to focus on the perfume samples at Sephora)? Bonus.

Yesterday was one of those bonus days, filled not just with things I had to do, but with things I wanted to do. Like, first and foremost, stop off at the local Barnes and Noble to see which writers are currently snagging Random House contracts regardless of talent and to purchase the entire three seasons of the dearly departed series, Deadwood. Because not only are S.B. and I major fans of anything related to the history of the American West, we are now in the middle of that mid-winter wasteland known as television re-run season. After fourteen bazillion years of marriage, it is, trust Moi, tres importante to have a set schedule of shared television shows.

Any of y'all ever been to Deadwood, South Dakota? Highly storied place. Not that you'd know it, visiting there today. S.B. and I certainly were not impressed, and I don't think it was just because our visit fell on the day after we’d just finished three excruciating pitches up Devil’s Tower before being forced down by rain. Yes, we were as bruised and battered on the inside as we were on the outside, but, even worse, we'd timed the whole trip to unknowingly coincide with the week before the Sturgis motorcycle rally. Not only were we dismayed to discover that Deadwood is mostly one long-ass tourist-trappy mainstreet, but on that particular occasion it was also teeming with sun-soaked hoards of doctors, lawyers, and stock brokers slumming it for the duration. All wearing ass-less chaps, no less. Shiver. Biker chic is SO not Moi.

I ask you: in what universe is this look even remotely okay?


Back to Barnes and Noble. As I stood in line behind a half dozen other patiently waiting purchasers, I got to wondering: just who in the heck are all these Middle of the Day People who, for some reason, seem to have all the time in the world to peruse the book, DVD, and CD racks at their local bookshop at 10:23 on a Monday morning?

Were they, like Moi, side-stepping a looming 1,000-word feature article on their region’s new septic tank regulations or were they here for other reasons? Like, retirement? I looked around. Only one gentleman seemed old enough. On the dole? Not with that amount of stuff clutched in their arms. Independently wealthy? Not unless pilled fleece has suddenly become the uniform of trust fund babies everywhere and, besides, all those folks hang out up in Santa Fe anyway.

No, all these Middle of the Day People seemed, in fact, to belong to a distinctive category of mid-thirties male all bound by the singular inability to pronounce the sibilant “s” and whose DVD purchase of the day is not the latest teen sex comedy or newly released Saw anthology, but the lone, discount bin copy of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In other words, when not cruising the stacks at the ol' B&N? These guys are at home. In their parent's basement. Writing computer code for the next Dungeons and Dragons.


Enough of that.

Tomorrow: why men should never, ever, and I mean EVER, accompany women on shopping trips.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gimme Shelter

Ever since I can remember, I've found a strange sort of safety in objects.

I get that from my mother. She had exquisite taste, carefully cultivated after her dirt poor childhood in post war-Germany finally gave way to the economic opportunity of her newly-adopted homeland. Mom never spent indiscriminately nor lavishly, but her purchases (with one exception) were always surprising for their beauty, their craftsmanship, and their potential for increasing in value.

Above: The ugly ass exception to my mother's impeccable taste.
You can read the whole ugly ass story here.

Growing up, I often accompanied my mother on her weekend pilgrimages to flea markets, antique shops, and estate sales. She was the kind of woman who also regularly talked her way into people's attics and basements. Once, on our way back from her picking me up from school, she came to a screeching halt in front of a nearby house. She got out of the car, rapped on the front door, and within minutes, a puzzled but obliging woman led her into the home's side yard. My mother pointed to what looked like one of those winged chairs from the 1950s, only one made entirely out of metal mesh. How much did she want for it, my mother asked? The woman shrugged. Nothing. They were going to throw it out with that week's garbage. My mother could have it. It turned out to be a Bertoia.

To my mother, these objects of hers had meaning beyond their immediate usefulness or beauty. They had history. They told stories. They were to be respected and treasured and cared for.

For better or worse, I believed her, absorbed her philosophy, and continue to scour not just antique shops and garage sales, but also eBay, Goodwill on-line, and sometimes even Craig's List, all in the pursuit of my own particular passions. I am also the keeper of several of my mother's collections, some of which I use and take great delight in (the old pawn Navajo jewelry, her ginormous collection of Fire King Jadeite Restaurant Ware that not even Martha Stewart can touch) and some of which have become a certain kind of burden (do you know how crazy ass expensive it is to replace a cracked 9" dinner plate in Stig Lindberg's Bersa pattern?).

Above: The Mid Century Modern china pattern that ate Moi's bank account.

Right before she died, mom was also starting to develop a taste for vintage rhinestone jewelry. There's not much of it, but I'll never wear it, so off it goes. I need the room. For something else. Exactly what, I haven't yet decided. But you can bet it's out there. Calling my name.

Boxer, if you heart these pins, they are yours. Just say the word.

P.S. I know this necklace isn't rhinestone, but I've put it in here anyway because it's so damn bizarre. It's too hippiefied for me to ever consider wrapping around my neck, but someone, somewhere, just might love it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

When the Dog Bites, When the Bee Stings, When I'm Feeling Sad

Anyone who asks my parents what I was like as a child will always, always, regardless of day, time, year, or mood of said parental unit, receive the same standard answer:

"Oh, she was such a good child. No trouble at all." Then the inevitable lowering of voice and shifting of eyes. "Unless you messed with her stuff."

To say I was a child possessed of a possessiveness towards my possessions is like saying the earth revolves around the sun instead of the other way around. In other words: DUH. Once, when I was six, my brother, in a fit of toddler pique (and just to piss me right the heck off), somehow managed to wrestle my beloved teddy bear from my Iron Grip of Death and mercilessly fling it into the fire where it immediately burned to an amorphous mass of singed synthetic wool that wafted what I am sure were dangerously toxic fumes out and into our lungs. But screw my lungs; my heart was broken into a million little pieces.

My father, witness to the whole unfortunate event, sprang into immediate action. Scooping me up in one of those safety holds that teachers use on kids who aren't quite right, he then yelled at my mother to quick! open my bedroom door! so he could prevent me from going flat out nuclear on my brother's ass. Reflexes like a cat, my father. Of course, he'd had plenty of practice. Just two months earlier, when my brother broke into my bedroom and cold as ice scalped one of my Barbies? I attempted to stab him in the head with my plastic Easy Bake Oven bread knife.

Don't worry. I am no longer violent. But I am still possessive. So much so, that I have a hard time letting go of most stuff that enters my household. Some people would call this neurotic. I call it prescient. As in, "This could be worth something some day and when it is and I sell it on eBay for a gazillion dollars and retire to my über cool villa on Capri complete with vintage Vespas and bronzed, non-gay pool boys toting margaritas and crap magazines, we'll see who's calling who neurotic."

In other words: You never know.

Still, one must always push one's limits, mustn't one? So, in response to Aunty's challenge to clean out our closets for the New Year, I hereby pledge myself to let go of the Iron Grip of Death when it comes to the following items:

1. These shoes/boots. What possessed me to buy those Nanook of the North jobbies off to the left, I'll never know. Maybe because they were on sale for a buck and some change. Sketchers usually are. But they're useless in the snow and nearly just as much as a fashion statement. So off they go.

Those black boots in the middle that show hardly any wear? A wee bit too tartish por Moi. These days, I'm all about the riding boot. And the Frye. Thanks to eBay, I scored myself a deeply discounted pair and have literally been sleeping in the things. So, I dunno, maybe one day I'll be back into sky-high dominatrix-style boots, but it won't be anytime soon. Unless I can find these deeply discounted on eBay.

While I love a Mary Jane as well, the toe on the pair above make me look like I'm twelve years old and I dropped the Kinderwhore look somewhere back in 1994 when I suddenly woke to the face slapping reality that I would not grow up to play drums for Hole after all. So why did I hang on to these? Who knows. Likewise the knotted lil' cork heeled wedges. They hurt my feet. Really.

2. I also need to seriously edit my jacket wardrobe. Yes, Party People, I'm admitting it to y'all here first: "Hello. My name is Moi. And I'm addicted to jackets." It's almost as bad as the shoes. And not just jackets, but all outerwear, including sweaters and athletic gear. Loves me a Horny Toad hoodie. But, alas, I'd like to get the 'drobe down to the following essentials:

Two winter blazers, one light colored wool, one tweed.
Two summer blazers, one linen, one cotton.
One leather jacket.
One all purpose black blazer, poly/blend, multi-season.
One boyfriend cardigan.
One shrunken cardigan.
Two regular cardigans.
One black evening jacket.
One black wool pea coat.
One . . . oh, hell. Never mind. If I can get rid of that weird ass turquoise wool wrap peeking out there at the far left, I'll be happy.

And maybe this.

I know, here come Wicked and Boxer and maybe Shamu and K9 to shriek in horror, but dang it, it was five buckaroos at a vintage shop, y'all (clicky on photo for full effect). It's from the seventies, and I heart it so because it looks most excellent with the Fryes and a turtleneck and some skinny jeans. Tres Get Christy Love, no?

Besides, those rabbits were long dead and gone before I got to this jacket. So, you decide. Should it stay or should it go?

More stuff that's gotta go to follow tomorrow . . .

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Prospero año Nuevo, Homies!

I think it's only appropriate that my New Year begins not only with a warm and sunny day and a twinge of a champagne-induced hangover, but also with a redemptive act on the part of an institution I have boycotted for the past twenty years.

Prior to the mid 1980s, few people in the United States, much less the world, had heard of the American Pit Bull Terrier. The breed that had enjoyed top dog status as a beloved family pet from the mid 1800s to the first few decades of the 1900s, was now for the most part quietly owned by either the very few "dog men" (i.e. those who kept tight control on the quality of their lines by matching their dogs in fights) left in America, or by responsible people throughout the country who still valued the pit bull as a quality working dog and family pet.

Then Sports Illustrated released this issue and all hell broke loose.

In fact, it is a widely held belief among dog enthusiasts and historians that this cover single-handedly sparked the ensuing firestorm of hysteria surrounding the breed, leading to hundreds of inflammatory media stories as well as legislation banning these dogs from municipalities throughout the country. Ironically, one of the nation's first pit bull bans was passed by the good citizens of my very own burg. It remains in existence today, as does the ban implemented around the same time in the Great City State of Denver, despite a 2004 law passed by the Colorado General Assembly prohibiting breed specific laws.

At any rate, back to Sports Illustrated. Last week, the magazine redeemed itself with this:

You can read the whole story here.

So what? You might ask. It's just a breed of dog. Well, think about this: it has long been my contention that the hysteria surrounding pit bulls is not about the dogs themselves, but about the "kind" of people who own them. This is not an animal rights issues. As a matter of fact, I don't believe in animal rights. But I do believe in human rights, including the right to own whatever you damn well please to improve the quality of your life, so long as you act responsibly with your property. In my ten years advocating for these dogs and their owners, I have confronted scores of gooberment officials and community organizers on this issue, all of whom respond to me with the same tired old refrain: they implement pit bull bans because they don't want "those kinds of people" living in their neighborhoods.

Hmmm. Now where have we heard that before?