Thursday, October 28, 2004

Hi internet! I'm back!

Hi everyone! How y'all doing? I'm still over here kickin' it in Kiev, doing my thing.

In three hours I fly from Kiev to Luhansk, an industrial region in the far west of Ukraine where I'll be observing Sunday's elections. I can't remember the type of plane we're flying on, but as my coordinator put it, chuckling, "Well. You can just tell your grandchildren about it someday. And don't eat first." I'm already a bit skittish on major commercial airliners, so please pity whoever is seated next to me. They'll have a mauled arm by flight's end. Considering drugging self with NyQuil as sedative. Anyway, I'll be deep in Yanukovych territory - pro-government power base - and all the workers have been subtly reminded that they'll be sacked should they vote for the opposition. So we're not expecting too much trouble.

For now I'm in an internet cafe flanked by 250 boys from 12 to 22 all playing Doom. Oh yeah. I fit in. Also interestingly, I'm sitting directly underneath the glass dome from Kriston's post linking to Bessarabska. Hi honey! There's caviar up there or something?

I'm sure I'll have some tales to tell when I return from my small mining town outside Luhansk. As usual, please send me your prayers that 50-cent beers don't cause me to make an ass of myself.

Dateline: five minutes later. Forget my calm demeanor. I'm fucking TERRIFIED; I'm so scared of planes and turbulence and anything that isn't completely smooth and reliable. I freak out on discount airlines, for the love of Christ. I'm going to DIE DIE DIE in a flaming FIREBALL over the Donbass. I don't want to go, this was a terrible idea, and I don't have so much as a teddy bear to squeeze the head off of. You all are dear, lovely people, and I'm sorry it had to end this way. Somebody please water my plants. AAARRGGGGHH.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Petey, My Heart!*

I am not one normally given over to histrionics or bouts with anxiety. But last night, at some point, the following thoughts occurred to me:

1) Fuck! I'm going to Kiev tomorrow.
2) I need to get all my recommendation forms, personal statements, and supplementary material with instructions and deadlines out to all of my recommenders. Now.
3) Fuck! I need to pack.
4) Is it cold there?
5) Do I really only have one glove?
6) Fuck!

And it's been one pulsating ulcer since then. I really wanted to have a nice quiet time with SueAndNotU, so we could reflect on our upcoming voyage, and more importantly, reflect on the colossal crash-and-burn of karmic proportions that was Ashlee Simpson's SNL performance. Oh little girl, you forgot to make your offering to Saint Milli and Vanilli, blessed patrons of talentless frauds and audacious hacks.

So many questions will be answered in my absence: Who will win the world series? Who will be our next President? Who will pay my rent? Where, exactly, am I going?

So wish me happy election observing; I've got a song in my heart and a look on my face that says, "I'm carrying $1500 cash; mug away!"

*NOTE: The following was, I think, a line from some martial arts or boxing movie in which the fighter gets hurt and cries "Petey, my heart" to his trainer or something. My old roommate thought that "Petey my heart" would be a perfect twee band name, and boy is she right.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Ya Heard?

Tell me true, is there anything funnier than eavesdropping on other people's conversations? And isn't that also just about the greatest part about living in a city where you have to, you know, walk places and take the subway and so forth?

Like just the other day, I was on the bus and these two little princesses flitted on board. I was guessing high school seniors, college freshman, somewhere around there. You know the type, all doe-eyed and naive but hyper-sexualized? Wearing the too-short Paris Hilton flouncy minis, of course.
Girl #1: Oh my God, it would totally suck if I died.
Girl #2: ...uh, yeah! It would!
Girl #1: [thoughtful pause] I don't know. Sometimes I say really stupid shit.
Right on, sister, and luckily for all of us, you say stupid shit out loud and so that we can all smirk and mentally mock you, and not think about the time we were once freshmen in college singing songs from Rent on the subway because we lived in the fucking intolerable fine arts dorm with a bunch of musical theater majors who we hated, but couldn't resist those catchy tunes.

So I'm totally psyched that my free time will now be spent perusing a site dedicated to eavesdropping: Overheard in New York. Gorgeous idea. And it gave me the greatest line I've heard since America's Next Top Model Season 3 ("Bitch poured beer in my weave!), overhead in the East village: I want Gloria Steinem's eyeballs in my fucking martini!

I'm not sure what it means, but it's fantastic and I'm almost tempted to bump Johnny Cash from my blog subtitle.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Vaccination Nation

Alright, is anyone else thinking what I am?

What's the big deal with the flu? I totally get it for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems and all that. But then I read Josh Marshall, and he's all "The President MUST get a flu shot!" which to me, is akin to "The President MUST look both ways and eat his broccoli" insofar as both are good, healthy things to do, but if you skip 'em, well: eh. We're not talking Bubonic Plague here, right?

I know people used to drop dead from it back in the day, but that was when it was called influenza, which is much more dire-sounding. Plus people had chamber pots and no Kleenex and probably didn't wash their hands after using the chamber pot. Now it has a nickname, just "flu," and it really sucks when you get it, but this mass panic? I don't know, I'm surely missing something, but it smacks of beanie babies to me. I never had a flu shot before in my life, but now that I can't have one, I sorta want one.

Really, though. Flu? The Silent Killer? The Masque of the Red Death? Am I just in the dark on this one?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Fame Whore

Following Catherine's lead, please join me for a little trip down memory lane, in a segment called "The Celebrities I Have Known." I'll do my best to stay in chronological order.

The Incredible Hulk: My Grandma tried to interest me with dolls, and I would later develop a taste for My Little Pony and Care Bears, but in 1986, I was all about The Incredible Hulk. I had a little green figurine that went everywhere with me, and when his show came on TV, I'd sit with my nose inches from the screen while my big brother hid behind the couch. One day, a local movie theater hosted a promotional event where The Incredible Hulk was appearing to hand out raffle prizes with his mighty fist. (It was hard times for the Hulkster.) I was there, dancing around from foot-to-foot, sooooooo sure that my hero would call my name. And he did! I won a free root beer float! I went running, I mean really careening full-tilt, down the theater aisle and wrapped my little arms around the Hulk as far as they could and just hugged and hugged and squeezed my little face off. It wasn't until a little later, back at my seat, that I discovered green paint all over my arms and shirt and face. I started bawling. Not because a childhood illusion had been smashed, but because I thought the Hulk was melting.

Dennis Rodman: So it went like this. His hair was in a bright orange mood, and two flunkies were heeling on either side of him. I saw him from about 25 feet away, and he looked at me, and came straight for me. There was no mistaking it, he was definitely walking towards me. I couldn't make out his eyes through the shades, but he seemed to be looking straight into my soul. He sidled up right in front of me, looked squarely into my eyes, and said, "I'll take a grande latte. And whatever my boys want." Moments later, fellow barista Dan scraped himself off of the floor and breathlessly sputtered, "Holy shit! Dennis Rodman!" To which I replied, "Who?" Lesson: it's easier to be calm around celebrities if you have no idea who they are.

Katarina Witt and Kristi Yamaguchi: Also coffee drinkers. Also very tiny and cute, just like you imagine.

Carlos Santana: In which Clarissa and I are shameless sluts. The band saw us in the front row of a show and took a shine to Clarissa's curvy underage physique. (Side note: you men are all terrible dogs. When I think of the disproportionate amount of male attention I received as an underage pup... Now it's all Humbert Humbert and I'm too baggy and overripe.) Anyway, we got invites to backstage and followed Carlos and the boys back to the hotel. I don't really know why; this was the stage in our lives when we just did stuff because why not? Like jump off a Chicago pier into some strange men's boat, just because they offered to take us for a ride. I would shoot any girl in the head for pulling some of the dangerous stunts we pulled. Anyway, aging rock stars aren't so much for the rocking after party. Carlos burned some hippy incense and went to bed. We just sat and talked to the drummer, Rodney, about traveling for a few hours and went home. BOORING.

Ron Jeremy: Shutup, no. It was my very second NYC celebrity sighting, chronicled here. My very first NYC celebrity sighting was Samuel Jackson.

Samuel Jackson: He was very obligingly posing for tourists in mid-town, and I screamed "Samuel Jackson!" and pulled out my camera. And I noticed that he was a very good poser, really able to keep still for pictures. And then, the camera lens of my eyes panned wide and I noticed that he was standing in front of Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. And then I panned left and noticed Kriston doubled over in cruel laughter. Oh, he really really loves this story. NYC can really make you feel like a yokel. Camera still in hand, jaw stupidly slack, surrounded by cackling companions, I had gone from zero to Des Moines in like .5 seconds.

First Lady Face-Off

From the October Atlantic:
Each election year since 1992the presidential candidates' wives have submitted cookie recipes to Family Circle magazine, whose readers then voted for a favorite. So far, the cook-off winner has always been the next First Lady. Laura Bush's recipe this year is for oatmeal chocolate-chunk cookies, Teresa Heinz Kerry's for pumpkin spice. But the predictive effect of the cook-off may not hold this time, because Teresa recently revealed that she doesn't even like pumpkin-spice cookies; a panicked staffer submitted the recipe on her behalf after Family Circle determined that Teresa's first recipe (for "Yummy Wonders") simply didn't work.

And that, my friends, is why I heart THK. Because you know that some beleaguered staffer approached her with this retarded little June Cleaver tradition (that, since it dates to '92 was clearly a doomed Barb Bush attempt to kick some Hillary ass around the kitchen) and Teresa was like, "I have to submit a what to where?" And then settled upon the improbably named "Yummy Wonders" as an appropriately maudlin title, blissfully unaware of how the name just sounds off. And when the recipe turns out to be like the recipe for cookies I wrote in 2nd grade (they included lemonade and rocket ships were somehow involved), she just tells some other beleaguered staffer to send some recipe for some shit, she could care less, and doesn't even bother to cover up the fact that it's all a farce and she's going through the motions. It's all so weird anyway; why is the entire nation collectively searching for a Platonic Mommy figure? Look, country: I'm sorry your mom tossed a couple Oreos at you rather than laboring on homemade Snickerdoodles, but that doesn't mean you can go around turning every respectable political wife into some caricature of your misplaced fantasies. It's sick. Stop it.

I'm sure Laura's cookies will be superior. I'm sure she scoops them with a scooper to shape them perfectly and bakes them on parchment paper and artfully arranges the distribution of chunks per cookie.

That may work for Family Circle, but as for my demographic (Insecurity Hedonists), we're not impressed by cookies. Nosiree. If you want to impress us, we're talking hard stuff. We're talkin' martinis. Any half-wit can make a cookie, but it takes a true artiste to achieve the perfect whisper of vermouth and tame the wanton bite of the perfect martini. Presentation, garnish, execution; if we insist on testing our first ladies in the kitchen, let's at least make this interesting. My money's on the for'ner.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Don't Forget About Ukraine!

(From RFE/RL newswire, I'm too lazy to find a link. Y'all trust me.)

Opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko has announced that immediately after becoming president he would sign a decree on pulling out the Ukrainian military contingent from Iraq, Interfax reported on 18 October. "Our servicemen will be withdrawn from Iraq in a quiet way, without rush," Yushchenko said. "They will be replaced by politicians, diplomats, and businessmen. Ukraine is ready to participate in the restoration of Iraq's economy." Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Yushchenko's main rival in the 31 October elections, said at a meeting with voters on 18 October that he foresees a gradual pullout of the Ukrainian troops from Iraq in 2005.

Yushchenko stressed that the contingent cannot be withdrawn immediately as such a move would only add impetus to international terrorism.

I especially like this plan: Our servicemen will be withdrawn from Iraq... They will be replaced by politicians. Can we try that one?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Love is...

Remember those stupid little cartoons with the naked cherubs? Those little one-frame scenes that are clipped out and hung on refrigerators by women who are delighted to discover that picking up toenail clippings after their slovenly husbands isn't gross, it's actually love?

I cringe to think what one of those would have to portray to apply to my relationship. We were watching TV last night, and this female character had just had her heart utterly broken and ripped out of her chest. She was so torn to shreds that she actually started throwing up.

Kriston watched this all very seriously and intently, brows furrowed. He turned to me and said, with great concern over the implications of my answer and the depth of my affection, "If I broke up with you, would you puke?"

And how can I leave my man dangling with such uncertainty and unease? I am happy to comply.

"Yes, I would. I would puke everywhere, honey."

Sunday, October 17, 2004


I guess I never really thought about it before.

I just accepted what society told me, you know, that people are supposed to use PCs. It's natural, it's God's way. You've heard it all.

But, I mean, deep down they're all just computers, and these different makes are just social constructs that society forces on us to preserve the patriarchy of billionaire boy geniuses. What I'm saying is, people should just be with a computer and it doesn't matter if it's a PC or not.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't ever curious. Some of my friends have tried it, and it's like they're totally liberated. Sure, not everyone understands. People frown, say it's not right, it's disgusting. They stare at you when you're out together in public. But that's just their own small-minded prejudices. I'm above all that, and I'm going to do something about it.

I'm kind of nervous; I know my friends will support me but I don't know what my family will say. But I'll never know what I truly want until I try, and so, after the New Year, if I haven't chickened out, I think I might make the big switch.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The Rovinator 3000

I happened to catch the unsinkable Molly Ivins on CNN yesterday, and she was joining in on the latest popular party game to guess what Karl Rove's next move is going to be. Her guess? Whisper campaign aimed at Teresa Heinz-Kerry. Me, I'm not so sure. I'm more inclined to think it will involve photoshop and a Saigon brothel. And Michael Moore. However, as I have said many a time, as each new "revelation" about JK is revealed: the only conceivable revelation that could change my vote, is if they revealed that John Kerry is actually George Bush. Then I'd be in quite the pickle. However, apparently not all of America has the same sophisticated political insight as myself, so there's still some wiggle room for in which Karl can do his shimmy.

The Fallen

I fought valiantly.

I strove with all my wits, my valor, and my honor.

I thought that I had tasted the sweet nectar of unblemished victory, but just as soon as I relaxed, my foe snatched victory from my clutches. If you are weak and have pathetic attachments to this sad world, you can never beat one who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his cause. I, I have finally met my match.

The long battle of Sue v. Computer has come to an end. Ten days I foisted a DSL connection onto my long-suffering computer. Ten days it whizzed and whirred across cyberspace. But tonight, just as I was finishing a document for work, it took its own life rather than submit to any more. It sighed its final electronic sigh, and settled into a slumber from which not even a long-hoarded Windows 98 Startup Floppy Disk could rouse it. R.I.P., my hard drive.

So I have managed to hook up a computer that dates way back into my days as a virgin, so it's practically an abacus. I'll be happy if I get seven days out of it before it goes all kamikaze on me as well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Sue, the New U

My, something's different around here! I noticed that poor, faithful SueAndNotU was a little out of sorts lately. A bit haggard, rather under-the-weather, feeling sort of chunky and frumpy and unfashionable. And what do we do when we're feeling so blue? Why, a makeover, of course! So, while keeping the basic blue color scheme, we've spiffed things up a little bit around here. A little trim here, a highlight there, and we should be back on our feet in no time.

So tell Sue how nice she looks. She needs some support.

Who's Asking?

Kerry to Bush: Your execution of the Iraq war blows. I would bring on allies.

Bush to Kerry: Girl, please. What ally is going to join you when all you do is talk about what a big mistake the war is?

Germany to Bush: Um, how 'bout us?

That makes me laugh. I was wondering if any country would do this, just to make Bush look bad. Oh, Germany, you bitch!

But on a more serious note, aside from making Germany look a little snide, this really does underscore how serious our allies are about feeling that they cannot and will not work with a Bush administration. The trust and mutual respect just isn't there. On both sides.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Trying to gently, tenderly wean myself from coffee just a teensy bit, I purchased a box of herbal tea last night from Whole Foods. I pondered the shelves of tea for a long while, shifting thoughtfully from foot to foot as I weighed the relative merits of "Digestive Health," "Female Toner," and "Positive mood," finally settling on an herbal lemongrass tea that promotes "Mental Alertness."

I find tea dreadfully boring and inevitably disappointing. The taste is never as fulfilling as the smell of the tea bags. My mouth feels organic and grassy after a cup. And I miss the sensation of lesions scraping more deeply into my intestines that a good black cuppa Joe faithfully provides. But the long slow scream of my organs shutting down in dehydrated collapse finally reached my ears, and I decided that tea with a gimmick might be more palatable than just Plain Tea.

So after my morning cup of coffee (weaning, people! No cold turkeys to see here!), I reached for my Organic Lemon Yerba Maté, when I uncovered a dastardly deed. To my surprise, the box of tea had been opened, and 8 of my 16 tea bags were missing.

WTF? I thought, teenagely. This would never happen with coffee. What, is someone going to steal a few beans? Abscond with a handful of grounds? Not bloody likely. Stupid tea. And what kind of freaked-out hippy criminal needs their fix of mental alertness so bad that they have to swipe 8 bags of Organic Lemon Yerba Maté? Leaving me with insufficient mental alertness? Just take the damn box! There's some serious wicked karma coming your way. Man. Maybe you won't exactly qualify for any rings of hell, but certainly, a really bad lawn seat at the String Cheese Incident show and some crudded up mushrooms.

Freaking great. Now I need some Positive Mood tea. Or, as I more commonly refer to it, "vodka."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I Wonder

Is it possible that Cheney's superior command of the nuances of foreign policy and his ability to articulate even a bullshit defense of the conduct of the war be a detriment to the Bush campaign, insofar as it provides the starkest of contrasts between himself and the man who is ostensibly running this show? Last Thursday, Kerry made Bush look like a fool. This Tuesday, Dick Cheney made him look like a puppet.

UPDATE: As a side note, if you really want to see a ghost town, drive anywhere in DC during a debate. I skipped out of the last ten minutes or so last night, and let me tell you, there was tumbleweed skipping down Massachusettes Avenue. This town is so bizzaro.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Vroom vroom

Oh, hello?

I'm sorry. I didn't notice you there.

Because I'm going down this information highway SO FAST in my brand new wheels. It's the 2004 DSL. Haven't you heard?


(special thanks to Tommy for conniving computer tricks and Kriston for getting cozy with the Verizon help guys. I think they're invited to our barbecue this weekend.)

The Enemy Among Us

We had spent an idyllic afternoon at the Carter Mountain Festival picking apples, sipping fresh cider, gorging on apple cider donuts, throwing stacks of hay at one another, and taking creepy pictures of other peoples children. All was wholesome and gay.

And then, right there in the gift shop of ye olde apple barn, I spotted something sinister among the decorative wood carvings. You decide, my friends. Innocent country kitsch? Or has the fascist enemy found aid and succour in the central Virginia apple community?

Friday, October 01, 2004

Last Night

Although I wasn't physically ducking my head and covering my ears like some people, I was pretty nervous for our boy John. I feared he would meander and pontificate, and come off like a tool, and try to overcompensate by adopting a phony "aw shucks" attitude, and thus seem like an even bigger tool. Especially next to Mr. Likable.

But that was perhaps the biggest shocker of the evening. Mr Likable was, well, pretty unlikable. Whither the fabled charm? The folksy plain-speaking confidence that disarms his opponents' over-earnest agitation? Who would have guessed that Kerry, who is supposedly running for his life, hanging on by a thread, would be the one comfortable in his skin, collected and confident. That's not a man who thinks he's losing.

I'm so biased that it was very difficult for me to try to judge objectively. But some things were clear, such as how Kerry was armed with facts, figures, details, examples; Bush was left flapping in the wind about freedom. If I had touched down from Mars, I would have been convinced that Kerry was the sitting President, and that this other joker was some doomed challenger who had only a tenuous grasp on serious issues.

Like I said, I'm already biased, and I know it didn't play out quite so starkly for everyone. But this was a triumph for Kerry. In the debate that will probably reap the largest audience and create impressions that are hard to shake, Kerry dispelled the only defense the Bush administration has made for itself: Kerry is a man of weak will who is not up to the task. Well done.