Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Giant 72-Hour Cleaning Project

I have spent the last three days cleaning, organizing and de-cluttering the entire apartment. I should say first that Joel deserves a lap dance for grinning and bearing it. He is firmly of the "ignorance is bliss" camp when it comes to housekeeping, but he really stuck with me on this. And we are DONE.

Every single closet is organized. We vacuumed under the bed. The spinning lazy susan cabinet in the kitchen actually spins. We have neatly organized baskets of categorized objects formerly known as clutter. We cleaned an inch of dust off the top of the fridge. I windexed a seemingly clear window and the wet wipe was BLACK after two passes.

(Who wants to visit?!? Come on, who?!)

Honestly, I vacuum, dust, mop the floors, scrub the bathroom and wipe down the counters aqnd sinks once a week. I bleach the cat box religiously. The pets are bathed more frequently than I suspect the Marxist artist guy with the lip ring I dated for a week fall of freshman year did. (No, not the mohawk guy who worked at Adult World and played the tuba. He actually always smelled like Tide and Listerine. No one who reads this ever met the Marxist artist guy. On purpose.) And yet somehow this Giant 72-Hour Cleaning Project was revealed to be, um, very very necessary. I scrubbed behind the toilet! I am way too excited about this.

I answered all the emails I've owed people for months. I filed bills that I paid in November. I'm caught up with wedding clients. I also changed around all the artwork. The photos in frames have all been updated. The Christmas decorations are finally put away. Joel's nerdy collection of shot glasses from National Parks (sorry, he's taken, ladies ;) are finally displayed in their special cabinet that we hadn't found the time to put up since he moved in last May. I took a carload of books, clothes, and miscellanous things we just don't need to the Salvation Army today.

We went through all the old sheets, towels and cat toys left for dead behind the fridge and gave two full bags of donations to the humane society. Interestingly enough, the fitted sheets always seem to get little holes in them while the top sheets never do. That's almost definitely the work of certain quadrapeds with pointy pointy feet who like to hide under the covers. I suppose it's their way of giving back to the homeless pet community- put itty bitty holes in the sheets that become big holes in the sheets so that the sheets get taken to other homeless pets. Or something.

I'm really, really tired.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Update, Schmupdate

Schmupdate is just fun to say. Schmupdate. Schmupdate!

So I have a new template, and I finally added links to the categories on the side, because I hadn't really updated anything since... oh, OCTOBER?!? How'd that happen?

Also, photos from Fun Girl Weekend are online here.

I've actually been quite lucky in terms of seeing my sister/friend and sisterfriends fairly often recently, though this marks the beginning of a long stretch of time without plans to see each other. This was our second annual Fun Girl Weekend, with all the bonding and laughter and shopping and sex talk six women can cram into a 72 hour period.

Two Photos for Joel...

... who is out of town until Thursday.

Do you miss us yet? :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Now back to Jody with more school news!"

Gah. Back in 1996, I was the morning anchor at my high school's TV studio. (Just like Degrassi. It all comes back to that.) I know there's a tape somewhere of me reading the morning announcements, wearing my best science fair blazer, informing the student body that today the cafeteria would be serving hamburgers with a fixin's bar, tator tots and a "choice of milk." Wetzel would always make fun of me for the tag line THAT I WAS TOLD TO SAY BY THE TEACHER; IT WASN'T UP TO ME! STORMIN' DORMAN WASN'T KIDDING AROUND as I passed off my turn to the co-anchor: "Now back to Jody with more school news!"

I'm having total WHHS (cringe) flashbacks today, because I have a featured interview on today's webcast for work. If you skip past the Toyota commercial, the report of a triple/murder suicide, a fatal fire that killed an elderly shut-in, the weather forecast, a promo for an appliance store and a plug for the local hospital, you get to a four-minute interview with me. (There is no mention of a fixin's bar.) They take turns interviewing photographers and reporters about stories we work on, to give an "inside look" about that thing you sort of read about before skipping to the comics and and using the paper to line the bottom of your parakeet cage.

Yesterday I heard an episode of NPR's This American Life about home movies and the things they unintentionally reveal. I'm so impressed that the people they interview for the show can watch and describe their home movies without debilitating embarrassment. Today I find myself thinking about the cabinet full of video tapes in my parents' house. I know what's in there, and I wonder if there wouldn't be any value in converting them to DVDs and making short, quick packages, just a few minutes of the highlights, set to music, just for my family.

But I'm scared to look.

I know there's footage of me, Amanda, and the Plotners playing with baby rabbits after my First Communion. Brad and Greg are walking, even running. I know that we had chicken pox the week before. I'm scared to look.

When I was 11, I remember someone videotaping our aged, failing Golden retriever Canis enjoying a giant pack of beef jerky, his favorite thing, right before we took him to the vet to put him down.. which... WHAT? Why did we do that? I mean, I know why. But we've never watched it. Now? I'm scared to look.

I know that we recorded Amanda's Law School graduation, but I've never seen the tape. I know my dad recorded my thesis defense in 2001, when I was assigned to go first and my mouth got so dry that my lips stuck together and I had to painfully, stickily and repeatedly lick my dry teeth until I actually leaned down to ask the professor sitting closest to me for a swig of her coffee MY GOD I CAN'T FATHOM WATCHING THAT TAPE. The moderator remembered to place a pitcher of water and cups on the podium for every thesis candidate after me. Awesome. I know my mom videotaped a visit to me in Florida when Fred was just a kitten, but we never played it back.

I know there's a tape Kelly, Gwen, and I made the night before Gwen left for Wesleyan wherein I accidentally flash the camera. I know there are six or seven "fashion shows" starring me and Wendy, my best friend from kindergarten until seventh grade. I know there's footage of my high school friends playing with baby ducks in my parents' backyard. There's footage of Kelly and I talking about peanut butter and jelly with clothespins on our noses, a reference to something we once found hilarious and would now be mortifying. I'm scared to look.

Why, I wonder, do we have the desire to record, to capture these moments, and then we almost never play them back? Or do we? I know Anne and Lauren get together to watch "The Pirates of Penzance," the musical from our senior year, once a year, right? And Cindy's already made two movies of Baby Cate. I've watched them both. Is it changing in this age of YouTube?

Do you have home movies? Do you watch them?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Did you know?

Bald eagles aren't endangered anymore. Seriously, they're going to be de-listed this coming June. They're actually pretty prevalent around here. There's one that particularly likes sitting in a tree on Jefferson Street. Joel and I sat out in the cold last Saturday taking pictures. This is my best shot. We saw a total of four. I know someone who's seen as many as 14 in this one park on any given day.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

First Try

My first attempt at web video is up.

Also? The kid the video features is CUTE.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Super Happy Fun Quiz Time

For as much as you guys mock the way I say the words "wolf" and "hammock," you'll be pleased to know that this fun special quiz says I should just like I should for where I was raised, dammit. AND I have a good voice for radio, as if working for a newspaper isn't archaic and futile enough in this era of instant, digital media. (I'm doing web video now, though! I'm kind of bad at it.)

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Northeast
The Inland North
The West
The South
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mango, mango! Mango-mango-mango! MANGoooo!

Joel just showed me something created by the "badger badger badger MUSHROOM MUSHROOM" people. This made my whole freakin' day, even though Joel is kicking himself for just now showing me something that is both funny AND blog-worthy, on the one night I've actually been sleepy before 2 a.m. since my parents stopped setting my bedtime.

Here comes the Pope! He's blessing some apples!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Spending a Day in Someone Else's Dream

I've been doing a lot of high school basketball, day in the life of your local schools! features, an article on the only girl on the wrestling team (Strong young woman! Achieving things!)- Who, can I just say?- should consider having her name legally changed to Kick Ass. Which is all well and good, but all that basketball gets a little boring after a while. AND THEN I get to do something really cool, and the monotony? Gets thrown out the window,

Yesterday, I got to spend two hours in someone else's dream life. I got to photograph the choreographer and composer/songwriter for a new musical opening on Broadway. So the Broadway beat reporter and I get to go into the 42nd Street Studios where we can do interviews and photos over the cast's lunch break. We get off the elevator and wait for our PR escorts, and the reporter sees someone he knows from a previous interview. Introductions all around, and as this incredibly familiar-looking man shakes my hand, he says, "Hakuna Matata."

Oh-kay. Now, I myself have a tendency to just blurt things out (which comes into play a little later in this story), but at this point I'm still trying to do my best impression of a Professional Who Has Her Shit Together. After a nice little chat, the actor's elevator comes, and my colleague was able to confirm, that yes, that was indeed the man who did the voice of Pumbaa in "The Lion King" movie. Which is good, because throwing "Were you the voice of an animated Disney warthog?" into conversation is just awkward, even when the answer is yes, even when it's in response to the statement "Hakuna Matata."

I pull out my laptop for a sec while we wait, and there's a guy in sweatpants kind of humming to himself beside me, checking the afternoon schedule. And it's David Hyde Pierce! Well, alrighty then. He smiles and says hi in that random eye contact kind of way. Okey dokey. If I weren't in enough of a Frasier state of mind, this guy comes out of the rehearsal space.

Before I can get too star struck, they break for lunch. I get to do my thing with the Broadway composer/songwriter and choreographer, which bizarrely enough, doesn't phase me at all. I move around props, change my lighting, chat about the one restaurant near my apartment where people come from all over Stepford to eat because cajun hush puppies and jalapeno cornbread YUMMM. We're posing; we're shooting; we're joking; I'm saying all the normal things like "Lift your chin up just a little bit" and "Keep your head just like that, and just with your eyes look at me. Perfect." etc. Fine.

Then my time in the rehearsal space is up, and I pack it in. I walk out with the reporter and the director, and I have another David Hyde Pierce and Co. encounter as the cast trickles back in. One famous actor after another steps off the elevator, comes out of the bathroom, pulls on a rehearsal skirt. I can not BELIEVE I'm in the presence of so much talent. There are bottles of water, and character shoes, and a rehearsal schedule, and comps request forms for cast members' families, and sign-in sheets.

This is the moment when it hits me- HARD- that this is what every high school musical, drama camp, community theater troupe, regional fringe tour, intensive workshop and college drama department emulates. For so many people, this is what they want to be. This is literally WHERE they want to be. I think of all the people I love(d) who passionately love theater- not just Stephen, though obviously, yes, I thought of him, but especially my college roommates, because 1950s style Cowboy Western play-within-a-play Big! Broadway! Musicals! were never Stephen's bag, persay- and I know that I'm pushing the down elevator button and hitching up my camera bag right in the middle of their dreams.

As the elevator doors close, I'm wondering if the uber-talented actors ever get over it, or if it blows their mind, too, when a woman on the elevator says in an awed sort of voice, "Oh my God, there are SO many talented people in this building. I never get used to it." I've heard that voice before, in my living room every night, in fact, and it's a Law and Order: SVU actress. Which is when I can't keep up the charade of being a quietly cool professional any longer.

(The blurting I mentioned before, it happens now.)

"Oh My God, are you kidding me?! I was just thinking the same thing about you!" She's like, "Me?!? What, the crappy TV lawyer?" So I said, "I just can't believe you're talking about how your mind is blown by other people, because my mind is blown by the fact that I'm in an elevator with Alex Cabot right now." She laughed, and was like, "Well, I'm glad I could do that for you!" And when we got to the lobby, I was all confused and like, "This is the lobby?" BECAUSE I AM AWESOME LIKE THAT and she was all Duh? and then we were walking toward the door, and I stopped to turn my guest pass in at the reception desk, and she was like, "You should probably put your coat on." And that was it.

Then I schlepped all my stuff into this Starbucks to caption the photos and write this entry and a kill a little time before my next assignment. In a little while, I'll haul three cameras (two still, one video), a tripod and a laptop up to Lincoln Center for a Julliard student's graduation recital, because someone else's dreams are coming true tonight. And the truth is, mine are, too, even if there will be more high school basketball on the schedule tomorrow.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Wigging Out

Okay, so my sister has a lot more time on her hands these days before starting her new job on March 1. ::::Golf clap to celebrate her unbelievably brave choice to jump to a firm where 65 hours a week or so should be considered fulltime.:::

Anyway, she is ROCKIN' around YouTube in her newfound free time, and she's sharing the BEST stuff with me these days. Now usually *I'm* the Internet junkie blogger who's all, Hey, did you see that thing online where Jon Stewart went on Crossfire and called that guy a dick? and she's all, "If I don't send a certain piece of paper by messenger to a FedEx plane waiting on the tarmac at Logan in the next five minutes, the supervising partner on this deal will dangle me out of the Hancock Building by my toes in accordance with tax code 5678 in compliance with the ad hoc nin com pupe statute of 1987 OMG ANGIE I HAVE TO HANG UP NOW-" Click.

It's all good, though. I know she's not REALLY having an anxiety attack unless she calls back five minutes later, screaming "I can't fweel my WIPS! My mouf is numb! Why can't I feel my WIPS?!?" Um, I don't know why you can't feel your lips. Are you having a stroke? "NOT HELPFWULL." Click.

To be fair to her and her old soul-crushing job, she really did handle the whole "Miranda Hobbs, Attorney at Law" lifestyle quite gracefully most of the time. In fact, if I recall correctly, I think the numb lips episode was the result of job stress + wedding planning + craptastic birthday + bad health news about a family member. I shouldn't blame it all on the offices of Bendover N. Takeit, Attorneys at Law.

I'm proud of her for admitting the partner track lifestyle isn't for her, though. I'm proud of her for making this choice to switch firms. I'm proud of her for finding a way to be an attorney, use her degrees, and maybe even- *gasp*- eat dinner with her husband before midnight several nights a week! It's gonna be GREAT!

ANYWAY, all of this rambling comes to this YouTube video she told me about yesterday. It starts out a little slow, but hang in there. It's worth it. And then- let's discuss- do you think it's real? I went back and forth on it, and I've come to a firm decision. But I want to hear what you think first! So...

Watch. Debate and discuss.