Month: December 2005

100 Things I Learned in 2005, Part 2

Oh, god. I’ll do anything to put off “Getting To Empty”, won’t I?

  1. I really really really like living on my own.
  2. I can see the day I’ll be ready to give it up anyway.
  3. Despite my good intentions, I probably will not finish the curtains before that happens.
  4. Surprise miracles are even better than the ones you wish for.
  5. The best way to make peppers is to sauté them in a bunch of olive oil, garlic and onions, a wee bit of red wine, then throw in a crapload of spinach at the end.
  6. The best way to cook steaks it to let The BF do it.
  7. My sister, Liz, makes the most amazing silver jewelry.
  8. My sister, Cathy, is amazing, period.
  9. My spirit guides were right.
  10. I don’t need a lot of stuff, but I need the stuff I have to be nice.
  11. The red sofa is too big for my living room.
  12. I am not, perhaps, the white tornado, after all.
  13. I have a visceral dislike for the color mint green.
  14. Vonage is cooler in theory than it is in practice.
  15. My jewelry isn’t worth as much as I thought it was.
  16. I need more art in my life.
  17. If my gut tells me something, I need to pay attention.
  18. That goes for literally as well as figuratively, in my case.
  19. That colorectal surgeon who withheld results from me, sending me into a tailspin of illness it took me a year and a half to climb out of didn’t realize what he wasn’t doing, and didn’t do it on purpose.
  20. I really and truly understand this.
  21. I’m ready to forgive him.
  22. Everything changes.
  23. It is 100% worth it to buy the wireless mouse.
  24. For each computer.
  25. Including an extra for your boyfriend’s house.
  26. It is way harder to design your own logo than it is to design someone else’s.
  27. There will always be some version of having to go to your friends’ shows just because they are your friends, even when you have effectively left the building.
  28. I have way too many clothes.
  29. I have more than enough money, even when I think I don’t.
  30. There will never be enough time.
  31. Should it come to that, it will be much easier to give up booze than it will coffee.
  32. Bloggy crushes are as much fun as show crushes, and very similar in nature.
  33. Except for short stretches, I will never be as glamorous as my mother, either of my grandmothers, most of my friends and both of my sisters.
  34. I am okay with that.
  35. They always have been.
  36. You do not know how beautiful life can be until you have added a delete button to your Gmail.
  37. The difference between love and attachment is the short step between living and shadow-living.
  38. If you buy a forest-green rug from Urban Outfitters and use it as a bedspread, you will wake up every morning with forest-green snot in your nose.
  39. Holidays are better for me as an orphan.
  40. My eyes will always be bigger than my stomach, so I better get jiggy with the workarounds.
  41. Estrofest is at least as transformative as morning pages.
  42. Implementing GTD is both easier and harder than I thought it would be.
  43. My level of ongoing commitment to something is dictated by delight, shame and money, in that order.
  44. I learned more about piano and guitar than I thought I would.
  45. The nano was made for the podcast.
  46. Despite 43 years of evidence to the contrary, I can get fat.
  47. I don’t need presents at Christmas, but I must have them on my birthday.
  48. The St. André at Trader Joe’s is not bad, not bad at all.
  49. Vodka is good for summer and scotch is good by the fire but my favorite flavor of hootch is bourbon.
  50. Writing things down makes all the difference.

May the lessons and gifts of 2005 make your 2006 all the richer.




100 Things I Learned in 2005, Part 1

I have been busy gorging myself on movies, sex and certain foods I will have to give up when I resume the diet I must observe to keep the blood from coming out of my ass. Such are the holidays for me.

Of course, the holidays were supposed to be devoted to organizing, blog-moving and other dorky things, but before I could properly set about arranging things for 2006, it was important that I sort out 2005.

And so, without (much) further ado, I give you that which I have learned this year, part the first:

  1. Online dating works.
  2. The courts don’t always.
  3. Tasty Bites makes one type of heat-and-eat Indian food that is SCD-legal.
  4. Making your bed every day gives one an odd sense of accomplishment.
  5. John Waters gives good theater.
  6. Coffee tastes better in the yellow mug.
  7. Tea tastes better in the blue one.
  8. Given the work is interesting, I’d rather do it than a vacation.
  9. rocks.
  10. Ditto Bloglines.
  11. Double-secret-probation ditto ELF.
  12. When the diet that stopped the blood from shooting out of you
    like a backwards bidet specifies “fanatical adherence”, don’t be an asshole, fanatically adhere.
  13. Clogs are a lot like crack, only more expensive and your first taste isn’t free.
  14. Sometimes when The BF wants to spend 25 bucks on a doohickey from Dwell magazine, he’s right.
  15. After health, my well-being on a given day is most directly tied to how good my hair looks.
  16. I cannot begin to describe how rattling that admission is.
  17. Amazingly, grocery-store sushi can actually be good.
  18. Even more amazingly, so can something with the total asshole name of “engagement chicken”.
  19. Tom Leykis and Dr. Laura Schlessinger have more in common than they’d like to admit.
  20. I would rather design the postcard for a play than be in one.
  21. I’m okay with that.
  22. If you are the kind of chick who says “I feel more comfortable around men,” you have yet to become the super-fabulous chick you can ultimately become.
  23. Meyer’s Dark tastes nothing like Maker’s Mark, but they are apparently interchangeable in a noisy bar.
  24. You cannot, under any circumstances, turn left on a red arrow.
  25. If you do, it will cost you $400.
  26. If you don’t reply in time because it is your first mover EVER and you are too stupid to read the ticket properly, it will cost you an extra hundred and untold hours in lines at traffic court.
  27. A stronger prescription has absolutely zero effect on night vision.
  28. The Brits make the best soaps.
  29. The Yanks make the best trash.
  30. Sometimes 12″ beats 15″.
  31. To make a really good SCD-compliant pizza, you need to put the cheese on first.
  32. Then the toppings, then the sauce.
  33. It still doesn’t taste as good cold.
  34. Old boyfriends never die; they just lurk on communicatrix.
  35. Sometimes you have to wait to be proved the funniest boy in class, but when you do, your victory will be all the sweeter.
  36. Grocery-store sushi kicks ass.
  37. You can make a roomful of complete strangers laugh with other people’s slides and videos.
  38. People who drive SUVs really are ruder.
  39. A bunch of cats playing pop songs from the Middle Ages makes for a mesmerizing show.
  40. A bunch of cats howling in Icelandic makes for an even better one.
  41. Vegas is one and a half hours too far away to be worth it.
  42. Blunnies look better online than they do in person.
  43. No matter how many oaths I swear not to, I will always buy more books than I have shelf space for.
  44. The clients you think will be difficult can turn out to be your staunchest supporters.
  45. The clients you think will be easy will inevitably turn out to be the biggest pain in the keister.
  46. Given the option of any fancy entertainment available in one of the most exciting metropolitan areas in the world, I will most likely choose burgers and a movie in the ‘Deener.
  47. Just because someone dumps a pile of crap in your lap doesn’t mean you are obligated to keep it.
  48. The best movie of the year is less than 90 minutes long and has a kid wiping spooge on school lockers.
  49. The Americanos are best at Kings Road and the eggs are best at Lulu’s, but overall best breakfast score goes to Backdoor Bakery.
  50. To spare yourself untold private misery and public humiliation, change the default setting on your blog software to “draft.”


Previous editions:


Searches, we get searchesâ„¢: Year-end gala edition!

searchesBefore I leave for my sunshine winter holiday of lights, sound and fatty food, a few words from weary, wanderin’ strangers ’round the globe. Lot of rhymin’ fools this time of year…

memory loss & crohn’s disease (MSN Search)

I forget, do I have blood coming out of my ass or not?

what kind of relationships are in jamaica (MSN Search)

Lazy ones, mon.

camel toe song ppt (Google)

Now there’s a presentation the boys in marketing can sit through.

what rhymes with sad (Google)


rhymes from daughters to fathers (Google)


Cher Pere:
Ou est la mer?


Dear Dad:
You’re rad!
Love, Mad.

high tech shit (MSN)

The kind of crap I want for Christmas.

Poetry lesson and “Ball of Confusion” (MSN)

LESSON ONE: Become a Temptation.

william shatner dead wife vodka (Google)

Hm. Do you eat the pinky when you kill the bottle?

“heather woodbury” fomenting (Google)

Who says art isn’t stirring, dammit!?!

sad rhymes (Google Deutsch)

Ein, schwei, drei…die, muthafucker!

And finally, to ensure that I endear myself to the fine folks at DreamHost next year by jamming their servers with useless shit:

“what does nsa mean” (Google)

NSA? You want to know the definition of NSA? You mean, you went online to Craig’s List, trolled the personals, stumbled across the term “NSA”, thought to yourself, “Self, I wonder what NSA means”, Googled “NSA”, pulled up a bunch of sites that seemed like they might “explain what NSA means”, landed here…and now you’re wanting to know “the meaning of NSA”? That’s easy! NSA means…

“Neo-Swiftian Archetypes”.

Merry Christmas, Fred! God bless us, every one!


Gee…no, GTD!

I confess: my passion for giving unsolicited advice is almost as great as my passion for making lists. So when Neil Kramer, a.k.a. Citizen of the Month, a.k.a. Blogebrity‘s newest word pimp, posted this semi-solicitous comment on a semi-recent post about the power of making lists, my hard little heart leapt for joy. (All I really want for Christmas is to be like Heather Havrilesky.)

Dear C-trix,

You seem to be a person who’s found a great deal of inspiration from list-making and organizational tools. Since I look up to in these matters, I’ve tried to sit down and make lists of my own: things I want to do with my life, places I want to go, people I want to meet. But after writing down the numbers on the left hand side of the page, I get a severe case of jitters as I think about what I truly want, and I always end up ripping the list up. What is wrong with me?

Well, Neil, I do get a lot out of making lists. Listmaking is more than useful to me in the organizational sense, I also derive great comfort and security from my lists. They relax me! They cheer me up! They are much, much cheaper than cigarettes, alcohol, or dulling lifestyle pr0n like cable TV, Oprah magazine and weekend getaways.

That said, there is, or can be, a masturbatory quality to lists. Right now, for example, if that old saw were true and applied to listmaking, I’d be getting fur stuck in the keyboard as I type this.

That’s why, along with a few other projects I’m implementing over the holiday break, I’ll be baptizing myself at the church of David Allen and adopting my new faith: GTD.

Much has been written about the GTD, short for “Getting Things Done”, method of organization. Don’t believe me? Check Technorati*. Google that sucker. Shrines have been erected for Allen and his philosophy of stress-free management all over this geek paradise we call the interwebs. So I won’t go into too much detail here, other than to say this:

GTD is not about organization for organization’s sake, but clearing your mental (and I believe, spiritual) decks for bigger and better things than remembering whether you need to pick up socks at the grocery store, making it especially good for creative people who spin like tops most of the time.

Good? Wait, let me revise that: terrifying. The 25% implementation I did of GTD two years ago scared me so much with its potential for change and growth, I immediately abandoned it for fear of the potential (and attendant responsibility) I could suddenly see lay (lie? laid? christ!) with getting my shit together.

But the world turns and times don’t change and eventually, I get sick of it. Besides, I finally saw the part where Allen says it’s just FINE to make lists for fun if that’s what floats your boat: just don’t forget to do the heavy lifting first.

So I’m using my blog once again for what it does best: humiliate me into making changes. I’ll stop posting after this Friday (one more treat left for good little boys and girls!) and use the time to get my house in order. Literally**. The first step in implementing GTD is what Allen calls the Collection Process, or “Getting to Empty.” That means grabbing every bit of stray paper, every item on every list, every to-do/read/pay/whatever in your paper, electronic and voice corrals, putting them in one place and then sorting through, beginning to end, until you know where everything in your life is. No “I’ll think about this later.” Now. Do it. Delegate it. File it. Trash it.

He warns people to block out a minimum of one day, preferably two for this escapade. I’m thinking two and keeping a third day flexible, just in case. I’m not looking forward to it, and yet I am: he’s described the feeling most people have at the end of the processing, and it sounds like two parts realizing the monster in the corner was just a coat on the chair and one part noticing how good your head feels when you stop banging it against the wall.

And who knows: maybe there will be extra blogging. One of the unexpected benefits most people feel (outside of relief) is a surge of creative energy. If you’re not keeping a bunch of crap in the RAM, there’s room for some cool stuff. God knows, I like cool stuff.

So keep a good thought. Buy the book and play along if you like. It should be an interesting journey.

If nothing else, it’ll be a really dorky one.


*21 posts in the last fifteen minutes!!!

**Well, it’s an apartment, almost literally.

GTD references:

You can get the book here.
You can read a good intro to GTD on Merlin Mann’s website, here.

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The city mouse and the inner-city mouse

The BF grew up on a farm and hates nature; I grew up in downtown Chicago and have quaint notions about how great it would be to live in a small town, i.e., someplace with a smattering of the goods and services I need within walking distance, adjacent to a shitload of nature.

You can see the potential problem here.

Right now, we’re both still relatively young* and able to cross large, busy intersections before some turd in a Hummer mows us down. But I can see the day ahead when I’m going to be over the filth, done with the congestion, and stranded on that tiny island in the middle of the street, clinging to the traffic light for dear life until the ‘walk’ sign comes back on. Not a pretty picture.

Plus I want to make sure we are compatible for the long haul. The BF is adamant on the issue of city life; I am adamant on the issue of The BF. Could someone, somewhere, be kidding herself here?

Fortunately, in a stroke of Christmastime serendipity, my blog doppelganger, Samantha Burns (I swear, it’s like we were separated at birth, 20 years apart), came up with the answer: the Where You Should Live Quiz.

I took it immediately and pressed The BF to do the same. Surely this rigorous scientific measuring tool would provide us with the answer to our future, something more actionable than “ask again later”.

The eerily-true stuff

Relatively speaking, The BF is, no surprise, The Yuppie of the relationship. He is constantly dragging me out to breakfast, lunch and dinner at charming neighborhood eateries when there is perfectly good food in grocery stores lying there uncooked and on special.

Also, the test mavens see him in a loft; so does he. I, on the other hand, lived in a crap part of Brooklyn for two years, and have had enough pee stink and garbage to last a lifetime (although I do miss the ‘F’ train). And he definitely has a better job than me, The Bohemian Gentrifier, or, as my friend, Scott Ferguson, used to call our little cohort, the Downwardly Mobile White Trash Who Make the Neighborhood Safe for Land Speculators.

The not-so-true stuff

Contrary to test conclusions, The BF does not think he is cooler than everyone else: he thinks he’s cooler than everyone else…in Indiana, which is probably true.

The BF is also less likely to patronize a chain store of any sort than I, cheap bastard that I am, and I think he’d rather eat moth balls than a Big Mac. Me? If SCD allowed it, I’d still be enjoying my monthly Extra Value Meal #9, a.k.a. Filet-O-Fish with fries and a Coke. Supersize that baby and I’ll meet you at the vomitorium.

The final result: a lifetime of mutual bliss, albeit the urban variety

Fortunately for our relationship, The BF and I still enjoy significant areas of overlap: both of us loathe resort vacations; neither one of us would feel one whit safer if the government and military were the only ones armed (especially under this particular administration); and, despite living in the American city that most resembles one, we are united in our hatred of the dreaded suburbs.

In fact, my acceptable population-to-land-mass ratio is only slightly lower than The BF’s, and I’m in the 81st percentile for my age and sex, making me an utter fucking freak as far as lifestyle choices go:

Perhaps that’s a good thing**. If I think about it, I’m just as happy with my fellow citizens not knowing, or, more accurately, not caring, whether my recycle bin clanks on the way to the curb and how much I like my nooners. God bless my gay, hophead neighbors.

And yes, that goes for you guys, too.


*Quit laughing Neil, Jenny, Brandon and the rest of you baby-something punks. You are so much closer to the senior citizen discount than you know.

**It’s definitely a good thing for The BF, who has said flat-out that one of the reasons he likes me is because I’m a freak.

Where You Should Live Quiz by TwelveFloorsUp, a city planner from Arlington, VA.

Wherein we explore, a year into the process, exactly what the hell a “communicatrix” is supposed to do

tele10.JPGI had an interesting session with my shrink yesterday.

In the four years (off and on, give or take) I’ve been seeing her, we’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting towards self-actualization, leaving room to focus on some “problems”* that are really luxurious in nature: you know, the philosophical biggies like “why am I here?” and “how can I best use my talents to help others?” rather than “how can I keep myself from sticking my head in this oven and making the rest of my family’s lives a living hell on earth?”.

So…why am I here? And what the hell should I do with my life, or what’s left of it?

tele3.JPGThe truth is, while over the years I’ve become a passable copywriter, a decent actress, a fairly good designer and made money at all of them, nothing** has proved as rewarding as writing this stupid blog.

Not financially, of course: you make a helluva lot more jack shilling for General Mills and Toyota than spewing random meanderings. But occasionally, I’ll get a comment or an email or even a face-to-face exchange where someone actually thanks me for what I’ve written and/or says it’s helped them in some way and boy, howdy, let me tell you, that shit is better than the finest sipping whiskey. It’s the feeling of plugging in to the universe, the all-that-is, the matrix/collective-unconscious/what-the-bleep pool of love that epiphanies, Singular Glorious Moments and holding fresh babies are born of.

tele2.JPGThat, along with my recent shrink-rap, have gotten me thinking: maybe I’m just supposed to share. Maybe the reason I went through hell and made it through to the other side was to show other people how they could get there, only without the hell part. Or if they’re in the hell part, maybe I could help them see the gently air-cooled room at the other end of it.

I’m planning to spend the next few months really focusing on what it is I’m “supposed” to do, and my winter holiday jumpstarting the process by reading Is Your Genius At Work?***, a book I found via Dave Pollard’s excellent How To Save The World.

In the meantime, I signed up for a lens at Squidoo, Seth Godin‘s new social bookmarking/aggregating/web-2.0-ing venture where, as they say, everyone is an expert at something. I maybe would shun the term “expert”, but I know a fair bit about happiness, specifically, the kind you’re not born with. (I’ve met those people; I marvel over them.)

Anyway, I know that a lot of the people who come here do so for the random meanderings or the reviews or the pissy rants about stupid Vegas and stupid online daters and stupid Hollywood horse-pokey. And that’s okay, because I dig writing that stuff, too. Hey, I’m a generalist!

So rather than suck all the fun out of communicatrix-dot-com, I figured I’d continue to post all the wacky things that make me, well, me, but occasionally, do a more of a how-to entry that I can link to (Squidoo is more of a pointing device than a place for long-winded diatribes…er, lessons.) We’ll see how it goes. I’m actually a big fan of the oblique method of nudging, kind of a wax-on, wax-off approach rather than the three-steps-to-kicking-ultimate-ass way we like here in the U.S. But maybe it’ll be a good exercise for me to help clarify some of my own thinking on what’s necessary to get to happy (or tequila-mastery, or whatever else I decide I’m an ‘expert’ at).


tele9.JPG*Please understand, I am fully aware of what a luxury it is to have the
time and money and lack of immediate food/shelter/clothing worries to see a shrink at all. I’m painfully aware of the below-subsistence life that so many on the planet are forced to live right this second, and for the foreseeable future. I’m just trying to leverage the good that I have into something better for everyone. Namaste, and all that.

**With the possible exception of the writing and performing of #1 & #2, my collaborative piece on illness as the road to wellness. The #1 refers to my writing partner’s interstitual cystitis; the #2 stands for my Crohn’s. Or poop, if you prefer.

***The author uses the word “genius” to define that exact particular thing that you and only you are good, nay, the best, at. Not genius. I am not a genius. Believe me, I only wish I were a genius.

Images via kunstradio. Danke schoen!

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Who in the world is Samantha Burns?

My site traffic has been up significantly* this month, despite anemic posting.

Most of it I owe to the hit-and-run gossip juiceheads coming from a particular celebrity board (note to all you looky-loos: yes, I really did kiss him, on the lips, and yes, there really were zero fireworks on either side). I can’t really count that because, like the geeks Merlin sent over back in October when I did a rare (but spicy) riff about my unbridled nerdlust, you don’t gain new readers from your random meanderings, and pretty much all I do on communicatrix is randomly meander. What can I say? Sometimes I like to talk about Sartre; sometimes I like to talk about my twat. Hey, who’s paying for bandwidth here?

Anyway, occasionally someone funny and smart and literate will stumble upon my messy playpen and dig it and tell a few people and maybe even grow my actual reader base, and that’s fantastico, dude. To ease the burden of clicking through the 80 billion links you’ll have to by the time communicatrix is a household word, Michael Blowhard is the most likely patient zero for this here website, sending the far more quality-consistent and popular Neil, who sent the equally far more quality-consistent and popular Brandon, who has already sent more readers my way than I can ever hope to repay him for in tequila or sexual favors. (See? Booze! Sex! Tortuous, English-major-gone-mad sentences full of mismatched words, references and phrases! No wonder I am shunned like sushi at the Sizzler: I’m so incongruous, I can only mean trouble down the road!**)

Regardless of my lack of stickiness***, I still thrill to see those quality leads show up in my stats. You would, too, if your schizo blog cast such a wide, useless net. No one of substance reads me, but by gum, I am at the top of the Google rankings when anyone is looking for the 411 on NSA or the human organ that Georgia O’Keeffe based all those flower paintings on. Still, some things completely confound me.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Samantha Burns.

Somehow, I wound up on Miss Burns’ ‘random bloglog’, which, as she states in her highly comprehensive FAQ, “used to be part of a private blogroll for exploring new parts of the blogsphere, but several readers asked for it to be made public, and voila, it’s now public.”

Firstly, I cannot fathom having “several” readers ask me for anything. I’m lucky if one or two of you post about your fantastic poker site. Secondly, I can’t imagine myself in the RSS reader next to:

  1. Britpoppa, who closed up his gossip shop in May of this year
  2. Marc, whose ‘Messages’ bear the tagline “trying to keep up with God’s worldwide wonders”
  3. Tony, who moved his After Grog Blog to a new URL in May of 2003 (what is it about May, I wonder?)
  4. Taranne, who moved her whole Rue to a new URL a year ago (I think…it’s in French)

But thirdly, and most importantly, I couldn’t figure out where Samantha Burns came from. She’s been around since July and already she’s a Large Mammal in the TLB food chain, linked out the ass on Technorati and a finalist for Best Canadian Blog in the Weblog Awards. And while she is quite adorable (see photo, above), it’s not like she sits around pissing off liberals or yakking about her twat.

I think I will just have to get down with the fact that, if anything, I’m the tortoise in this blog race****. Perhaps it is due to my horrible coding skills: I don’t know how to make those fancy Javascript links that have my imprimatur in them even as they direct people elsewhere. Also, I have this little focus problem. As in, I can’t focus on this blog enough to come up with a cohesive theme, much less a marketing strategy.

Or maybe it’s really true that I’m just here for the beer, the blogging equivalent of ‘beer’ being ‘freedom to write whatever the hell I feel like’.

That’s bullshit, of course. I want my micro-brand-Oprah empire just like everyone else in this Oklahoma land rush we call the blogosphere. But after 10 years of writing ad copy and 3 more writing fascist sketch comedy, formats give me hives and self-promotion feels too much like a busman’s holiday.

I pay the price, of course: my little ditties may draw raves and earn me trips to Montreal, but my soapbox sketches still clear the theater.

Ah, well. You two are still here with me, right? Right?




*These things are relative, Chuckles. I’m wagering my former writing partner, Rick Crowley, will be able to eat me twice over in TTLB by the end of the year.

**I had really hoped to squeeze in a sneeze bar reference, but that paragraph was getting ridiculous even by my decidedly loopy standards.

***Yes, I’m reading The Tipping Point. As well as Blink, that Suze Orman book, Found, Getting Things Done (again) and the pertinent content from the New Yorker dating back to J-U-L-Y of 2004. Don’t ever let anyone tell you my eyes aren’t bigger than my stomach.

****Although recent reconfigurings in the TLB knocked me down from a brief
high of Flappy Bird to a shameful low of crunchy crustaceonness.

NOTE: This post originally uploaded on December 13th at 9:15am, but had to be back-dated since, as usual these days, TypePad status is SNAFU.