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June 24, 2002
on tour

This weekend I toured Pittsburgh with Greg's family. We went on Just Ducky Tours, and it was hot and boring. We went to the Heinz museum, which is a very good museum, but I'd been to it before. We also went on the Monongahela Incline, which is like a giant elevator that moves up the side of a mountain. When you get to the top, you stand on this white circular platform that looks very 1970s, and you have a great view of the city, and your loved ones take pictures of you in front of the skyline.

I felt separated from the city this time, unable to exist in it, because I was attached to five other people walking around on hot sidewalks, carrying on inane conversations. I thought a lot about how certain places used to be so well-tread, so familiar and necessary. There's the 71-C passing by, without me and my sense of tired purpose on it (on the way to work or to Pittsburgh Filmmakers). Here are the Cathedral stairs, where my Doc-clad and chuck-clad feet used to step. It's funny to think of what I wore in 1997 and how those clothes seemed so perfectly normal. Corduroys. Short jean skirts with black tights.

I guess this is what nostalgia is, but really, that's not what I felt. Just a disconnect. No longing.

On Saturday afternoon, Greg and I sat in some bar at Station Square during one of our rare times alone this weekend. The Cheese Cellar, I think it's called. I expressed my frustration with my participation in a trip I didn't want to go on over two large rum and cokes. The bartender, who was all of 25, called us "doll" and "sweetheart." Then Greg and I sat for awhile and didn't talk. Somehow my displeasure with the weekend seemed to be a metaphor for a displeasure of life with him on the whole. I wondered what we had in common, what we could ever talk about, how we could continue being together when we can't find anything to say to each other as we intoxicate ourselves. That and the way he speaks, his intonation, the way he sometimes cuts himself off mid-sentence, his sense of authority, suddenly started grating on my nerves.

But then, driving back to Reading with him (and only him, thankfully, she thinks, as 12 of the past 60-odd hours were spent in a minivan with five other people), we talked, and the conversation was so good, so satisfying, and I wondered how I could ever give up someone who understands me so well and expresses this understanding with such easygoing confidence, even when he's telling me that the movie of our lives together is going to end on the corner in the rain.

File under DIARYLAND. Posted at 08:10 PM

June 20, 2002
Is this risqué? I don't think it is.

this isn't risqué This is what I look like when I watch something slightly amusing on television, on weekend mornings/early afternoons/perhaps evenings, on Greg's brother's horrible sectional couch. The introduction of this couch has caused a downturn in our quality of life. Greg's keeping it for his brother Steve (aka "The Boy") while said Boy lives in his former frat house for free, performing advisory duties. (Many jokes have been made about the nature of those duties as relating to freshman women.) The couch is huge, and the cushions fall off, and the sections split apart, and there's no great way to lounge on it without neck pain.

If everyone whose homes I visit put me in charge of choosing furniture, life would be a lot better for all involved. It might also be a tad more expensive than it would be if these folks were to buy couches at the local La-Z-Boy, or keep their current substandard couches. Sometimes, though, you just have to make sacrifices for the good of the people.

Of course, let's not forget this couch, which wasn't terribly comfortable but had as much style as it could muster, when it wasn't falling apart.

I've been very cheekily self-bolstering in the past couple of entries, and I apologize for that.

Tonight I dined alone at the Court Diner. I almost wanted to keep driving and get take-out so I could keep listening to Fresh Air. I've taken to liking Terry Gross (I didn't at first), though sometimes (rarely) she seems flustered by her guests. I actually—and this is a big feat if you know me—listened to a whole episode of Fresh Air on someone who wrote a book about blood transfusions. (In high school, for instance, I almost fainted when we learned about why alcohol makes you feel warm but doesn't truly make you warm.) I only had to switch stations once briefly. But tonight, I craved a Cheeseburger Royale, and the stomach won out over the ears.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

June 19, 2002

Everything's been smoothed over with Dave. He said he realized he'd never given me a deadline, etc., and that he was glad I brought it up. It was one of those conflicts/resolutions where I got to feel mature, because it was worked out without much pain or commotion. Of course the entire incident, if it could be called an incident, occurred over the email, which makes it much easier to be calm and smart-sounding and nice.

He said he might take me up on my offer to help him edit. Finally, I wanted to say. I didn't.

File under DIARYLAND. Posted at 03:39 PM

venting about admonishment

Dear Diary,

So Dave wrote a letter to all the people on the Yinzer list about keeping deadlines and how he depends on us, etc. I'm sure it's mostly because of my lapse, but the thing is, he didn't give me a deadline until last Thursday, at which point he said he wanted it on Saturday. But to him, see, by that time, I'd already missed the Monday deadline. It's just that I didn't know that he'd wanted it that Monday. Because HE NEVER TOLD ME.

I don't know if it's worth mentioning this stuff to him. Maybe it is. I don't know how pissed off he is, but I sensed an undercurrent of deep pissed-offness in his tone yesterday.

Whatever. This is just a tiny internet magazine. And I'm into supporting it, and I feel like I've put a lot of effort into helping it, but I'm not sure it's all been time well spent.

Ultimately, if you're a writer and you're not getting paid to write, you write for yourself. And if you for some reason can't write, you don't owe it to anyone to do that. I don't know. Maybe you do. Maybe you should make every effort to support your friends. But maybe not to the exclusion of plans you already have.

File under DIARYLAND. Posted at 09:15 AM

June 18, 2002
sometimes people get annoyed with me

I'm going to redo and switch to using Movable Type, I think, but that's just one of many time-consuming projects for the summer.

So in the meantime, when I want to moan a little, I can use the ever-handy It's been more than a year since my last post. I think Chris still sometimes checks up on me. Funny.

Dave is annoyed with me because I didn't get the drive-in article to him in time. I feel bad. But I don't know, I guess that's what he has to deal with as an editor of a magazine that doesn't pay its writers. The article would be shitty if I turned it in today, and that isn't fair to me or to the Yinzer.

I love treating this like a real diary and not even thinking twice about the entertainment value of a post. With dorkist I actually try. Woo hoo, I'm a bore!

File under DIARYLAND. Posted at 02:28 PM

June 17, 2002
this is how I'm avoiding writing about drive-ins

I'm supposed to be working on an article for the Yinzer right now, but I can't. Dave, I'm sorry. I cannot. When this article happens, it is going to be very good. If this article were attending a Chastity Day festival, it would receive a button that reads "I'm Worth Waiting For," which it would then wear proudly, but the thing is, it doesn't even need to go to the Chastity Day festival, because everyone already knows how worthwhile it is. Or will be, when I write it.

The piece will examine how it's possible to feel nostalgic about a past you haven't experienced, which I sensed Jane Feuer wanted me to write about for teen film class in relation to American Grafitti and Dazed and Confused, but instead I wrote about, god, I don't even remember. Anyway, the article also will discuss the failure of nostalgia to live up to its promise in the present incarnation of the drive-in, meanwhile maintaining the ability to make the viewer who so wants to enjoy a nostalgic experience go back for more self-defeating, subpar moviegoing non-adventures. And there will be interviews. (The interviews, though, will probably counter my claims, since I'm probably one of few people who go to drive-ins for the nostalgia aspect. Drive-ins, for the most part, are cheap family entertainment. Kids often get in at reduced rates and can play outside at night, and everyone can catch two recent releases for $5/head. Still, occasionally the teenagers driving their souped-up Ford Mavericks and Chevy Novas will appear, and I can look at them and believe, momentarily, in a romanticized American summer.)

But I'm blocked right now.

Saturday I spent mostly drunk at a wine festival in Klingerstown, PA talking loudly to Greg's mom and neighbors and dizzily finding my way to the portable loo. Afterward, I napped in Greg's old bedroom. His bedroom has fake wood paneling, and a picture of a Lamborghini Countach in it, and a poster of Cindy Crawford, and a really big poster of Jim Morrison, and a Trixter CD (and other regrettable music purchases), and some funny senior pictures of Greg (in which he sports a cowboy hat), and the ashes of his dog Jumper. Greg's waterbed is very warm and inviting, and when I'm in his old room I want it all to myself.

After an hour of blissful inebriated sleep, Greg woke me up so we could attend a wedding reception. There I sat, still drunk, in the cozy, unself-consciously retro banquet hall, ate a piece of stuffed chicken (all central Pennyslvania weddings, without fail, serve stuffed chicken), and listened to Greg and Petey talk about Mustang Sally's, the strip joint in Bloomsburg, which sounds like it's significantly more interesting than Al's Diamond Cabaret. We didn't dance, because Greg didn't believe me when I said I wanted to dance to Elvis, and I was too tired to make my "no, yeah, I mean it" sound like it wasn't sarcastic. I could've just stood up and grabbed his hand, but I knew if I did I'd feel foolish.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

June 12, 2002
[it's too warm to sleep...]

It's too warm to sleep. So it's late. Or early. I've been sort of bored lately. Discontent (what a surprise). I want to look forward to something. I don't know whether to go to Sweden, or how long to stay if I do. Maybe I should go somewhere else. But later today — in about 15 hours — my brother is departing for Sweden, and I will be there to say so long.

I am going to apply to grad school at Villanova, but only so I can take the interesting courses. I don't plan to pursue a degree there. The Masters of Liberal Studies program, therefore, is perfect, because I can take any course I want. They will want me to get a degree, but I will brush them off, because that would take a long time, and I will be wanting to pursue a relevant graduate degree before that long time is up. The worst part about the application is the three letters of recommendation part. I was never very buddy-buddy with any professors, though I'm fairly sure my favorite Pitt instructors will remember me. Still, I fear they won't.

I also am going to enter to become a Pirelli girl. Being a Pirelli girl would mean jaunting about Europe (and Africa, and New Zealand) with World Rally drivers. It'd be like being a groupie for people who drive cars that use Pirelli tires, which no one in her right mind would pass up, right? Of course not. And it would mean wearing many yellow and black spandexy outfits. So I'd look great and feel great about my contribution to society. I only have a couple more weeks to apply, so I suppose I should get cracking, since the one-page letter about myself plus picture have to make it to England by June 30. Somehow I have a feeling this scheme isn't going to materialize. If it does, though, I'll post the letter. And, heck, the picture too.

Friends are moving closer. Come July, Becca will be in Baltimore. Steve will be in NYC. These are good things.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

June 07, 2002
Freitag ist frei

Today is my day off. I like having days off, though the effects on my paycheck are a little rough. This is what I am going to do on my day off:

  1. Purchase wedding shower gift for cousin's wedding shower. I don't mind getting people gifts, but I abhor, hate hate hate showers. (Not the steamy cleany kind, though, of course.) Why do women have to go to these wretched events? I've told my mom already to skip the shower for me. She won't, she said; instead, she'll "make it fun." I think part of my problem with them is that I've yet to go to a shower for someone with whom I'm close. Usually the only person I know at showers is my mom. In these cases, I feel like I've only been invited so the honoree gets another present. Again, I like giving gifts, especially when I can find them at the online registry. I just feel the present should be a sufficient trade for my presence, which doesn't contribute anything to the party (if it could so be called) atmosphere, but which eats a lot of free food. Yes, my presence eats the food.

  2. Purchase Mother's Day gift for Mom. She wants plants, and I just have not had time to find the kind she likes.

  3. Purchase Father's Day gift for Dad. Dad finally got a new car and is all about CDs now. So I'm getting him a copy of Revolver and a handy CD carrying case. Interestingly, the Beatles are the only band my parents seem to feel strongly about. Dad kind of likes the Doors, too, and CSNY. He also likes the Righteous Brothers, I think. (I sort of like the Righteous Brothers, too. Should I be embarrassed about that?) But I wouldn't call him well-versed in the music of his day. Mom likes Motown, because she used to show off her dance moves at high school dances to the Motown tunes.

  4. Work on living room painting. I'm on the first of two 24x30 acrylics that will reside above the couch.

  5. Find/obtain three reasonably priced hotel rooms in Pittsburgh. Greg and I, plus Greg's parents, plus Nancy (a relative of sorts) and her daughter Elysse are going to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks so Elysse can decide whether she wants to go to Pitt. I've been designated the room-getter because I am a AAA member. I keep forgetting about this responsibility, which is why I'm writing it here. Writing helps me remember.

Okay, it's time for the cool kind of of shower now, because I am unclean. Best Wishes For A Bright Future, everyone!

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

June 04, 2002
Tape, glass, and people all are fragile

Nagras (old-school analog tape recorders) cost a lot. I was thinking about this because I can't sleep and Steve mentioned wanting to see the movie I made about him three years ago and I forgot to talk to him about it. There's no way anyone can watch it unless I have a flatbed (film editor thing) or a 16 mm projector + Nagra (or something else that plays quarter-inch analog audio tape, hmm). Or unless I finish it, which is a lot of work and money, and which would require the aforementioned flatbed.

Mind is racing when I want it to rest. I drank alcohol and everything. No luck.

The Corning Museum of Glass is cool. On Sunday I learned about how glass happens and about fiber optics, even though both still seem sort of magical. Especially fiber optics. There are pictures from CMOG, but I don't have them right now.

I was also thinking earlier about how nothing strange has happened recently. In college, weird things would occur occasionally because of the insane people who populated (or populate, I'm sure many still reside there) the area around campus. Like once this very old man approached me on the sidewalk, stood close to me, whispered something inaudible (as in, his mouth moved but no sound came out), and then walked away. I felt like I'd been touched by a ghost. This kind of thing hasn't happened to me lately. I'm not sure whether the abundant normalcy is a positive thing, but in a way I sort of miss the joy of unexpected weird encounters.

Oh, that reminds me, I made up a song this weekend. Greg swears it'd be a hit at raves. It's called "Insanity (Coming to Get You)." "Insanity (Coming to Get You)" is copyright Beth Sullivan 2002, okay? So don't steal my hit song.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM