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April 29, 2003
how to have a good weekend

This weekend was fulfilling and featured more diverse social interaction (or maybe just more comfortable diverse social interaction) than perhaps any weekend I've had in years. It went like this:

It was the birthday of Victor (Stephen's coworker and coordinator of the Super Mecca Karaoke Smack Downs, which you have heard enough about already), and Victor wanted to dress up and see a boxing match with his friends. I left work early Friday, bought a pair of discount shoes to go with my red dress, painted my toenails red, and met Stephen at his apartment. Then we walked over to the Ritz Carlton for drinks with Victor and his wife and a couple other friends. It was my first time at the Ritz Carlton, but it was familiar to me from "Great Hotels," a show I used to watch on TLC. I ate expensive mini burgers and tortilla chips and drank a lemondrop martini. I wasn't feeling too well, but my spirits were high.

After drinks, we moved on to the Blue Horizon to drink Budweiser and watch eight pairs of men try to beat each other up. The skillful violence contained in the small, roped-in platform seemed proper and good and refreshing. Some of the men bled, and this was okay with me (with me!).

Finally, we ended up at the Kickstart, a tiny bar in Northeast Philadelphia whose lesbian patrons were very friendly to me. I helped Stephen with his endearingly awful rendition of George Michael's "Freedom" (he didn't know the song at all, except for the chorus); at the end of the night, I gave an undeniably bad rendition of Stevie Nicks singing "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." I'll never sing that one again. Also, I have zero control over my voice when I'm drunk. It's pathetic.

Becca and Chrissie visited with their old clothes, and we had a swap-fest. I highly recommend this to all women with friends who are in their size range. I scored a few shirts and skirts. The stuff was in good condition -- it just didn't fit its previous owners correctly. And Bec and Chris had similar good fortune. I was sleepy from the night before and steered Chrissie the wrong way to the so-so Mexican place where we ate an early dinner. At the restaurant, we discussed the "90210" ten-year reunion and the weird new show "Mr. Personality," in which the male contestants vying for the heart of the female wear creepy colored masks. Oh, and it's hosted by Monica Lewinsky. What a wacky country this is.

I had two tickets to the Flaming Lips concert that night, and I'd been turned down by everyone I'd asked to take the extra one. Then I remembered Liam was in town, jumped onto AIM, and found him fortuitously online. He was busy that night and had seen the Lips in New York the night before, but he didn't want to turn down a free ticket. I drove down to the Electric Factory, rebuffed the parking attendant's advances ("Hey, where you been, I been missin' you," he said, and when I didn't reply, he said, "Yeah, don't even try it, right?" I laughed, and he said, "Hey, I gotta at least try."), and ended up meeting Liam in front of le venue.

We had a nice catch-up session before the Lips took the stage. Liam has a way of phrasing sentiments that makes me smile. We talked about Ulysses and he said, "I just didn't get it -- or really, it didn't get me." We talked about creativity and he said he needs to stop inhaling and start exhaling. I've been in a prolonged inhale phase, myself.

I had never seen the Flaming Lips perform before, and Wayne Coyne won my heart easily with his graying hair and white suit and easygoing charm. He thanked the audience after every song, he asked us to sing along at one point, he poured fake blood over his head, he made sure the giant balloons kept afloat in the audience, and he cracked himself up making his nun handpuppet sing. Oh, and the songs themselves, for the most part, were nothing other than beautiful. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen.

The hot water in my bathroom had been turned off, so after I woke up I drove to my parents' place to shower. Around 12:30, my dad and I left to go to the Phillies game. We ended up sitting in traffic on Broad Street for twenty minutes before we were able to get into the parking lot (this is what happens when they build new ballparks), causing us to miss the Phils' lone run. But the rest of the game was a gem. Kevin Millwood, the home team's pitcher, threw a no-hitter. After the centerfielder caught a fly ball for the final out, the Phillies rushed the field to hug Millwood. Even the annoying couple in front of us -- fans of the visiting Giants -- stood and clapped at the end of the game. It's always heartwarming when the other side acknowledges the magic of good baseball.

Sunday evening I visited the art supply store and bought some new brushes and paint, intending to "exhale" a little bit. Then I went home, realized how wiped out I was, and ended up finishing the romance novel I'd been reading.

Now it's Tuesday, and I'm dealing with the reality of the week. The designers were singled out at the staff meeting today for not having high enough sales (despite being more billable now than in our three-year tenure); I have to find a new car insurance company in the very near future; I need to complete a Photoshop test for a freelance position in New York that I'm trying to get; I have bills to pay.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

April 23, 2003
the photo

The caption that ran with it: Beth Sullivan, of Germantown, letting Psydde Delicious know that "I Touch Myself."

Fortunately, the picture isn't representative enough to make the folks at Wawa and other public places tell me I look familiar.

Oh, so I sang karaoke at another one of those shows. The entry from 02.16 is still on this page, which describes it in more detail. And the Philadelphia Daily News article in which this photo appeared is here (at least for the time being).

Psydde, the man singing with me in the photo, ended up whipping me off the stage, commenting, "I loved everything about you but the song."

See Mom? It's not that bad.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

April 21, 2003
[been meaning to update...]

Been meaning to update for awhile. Here's some of what I've been meaning to say, as well as some stuff I just thought of:

  • Seeing 9 movies in under two weeks really wears you out — especially when most of the movies are at 10 p.m. on school nights. But the Philadelphia Film Festival was a great experience, and while I might not see all of those movies if I had to do it again, I'm glad I did.
  • Warm weather is the best.
  • We lost phone service at work today because of a late bill. Whoops. I think this is pretty funny. Clients probably do not. Maybe I shouldn't, either.
  • My picture was in the paper today. But I've been to three places and have not been able to find a copy. Poop. I promise to obtain one and scan in my photo and show it to you.
  • I did Bikram yoga on Saturday. I think I'm going to keep doing it. I concur with the awesome web site linked above; it was very glamorous and amusing. Really it was just tough. But I felt great afterward.
  • I saw ... And You Will Know Us By Our Trail of Dead on Friday night. They only performed for about 30 minutes, and the crowd was very subdued, which was too bad, because this band deserves a more energetic audience. They reminded me a little bit of Liam's band Dillinger Escape Plan, at least in their freneticism.
  • I haven't forgotten about your Overheard submissions. I'll add them soon. Thank you, and keep them coming.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

April 02, 2003
days of wine and roses

You know, this year really hasn't been very good. Some of the details I've shared here, some of them only select people know about. The best part is, I have this sneaking feeling that things are going to become more difficult before they start improving.

Here's the story of my job:

In 2000, when I was hired, I was making X salary, which was more money than I ever thought I'd be making when I left college. I was ecstatic. I planned to start saving my extra money up for graduate school. First, though, I bought furniture and a TV and a car.

In 2001, things started to go bad. The salary of all employees was cut by 6%. Some people were laid off, and it was sad, but I felt lucky to have a job.

In 2002, I was cut to a 4-day work week. I made $13,000 less than my "salary."

Yesterday, we found out that our company has no money left. So:

We're going to be paid based on how much money we do in sales for a given pay period. It will be a percentage of our salaries. We will not get paid back the percentage of our salaries we do not receive. If we're still with the company when things improve, we may get a "bonus."

We no longer have any paid vacations. If people have vacations planned, they should either cancel them or take them unpaid. But if we have billable work to do, we should not plan vacations.

We're expected to put in extra time (the number mentioned was 60 hours) so that we bring in more money -- after all, it's for the good of everyone's salary.

This could end next week, or it could go on for 12 weeks, or perhaps even more. Woo hoo!

If any writing has ever been on any wall.... But I'm in a bit of a quandary. I want to move to New York, see. But I want to spend a final summer in Philadelphia. (The Phillies are going to be good this year, you know?) Will it take four months for me to get a job in New York? Will it take even longer? Can I just pack up and move if I found something that wanted me to start in two weeks? I don't live by myself, and I feel an obligation to give my roommate some notice to find someone new. I mean, she's barely scraping by, herself -- she owes me over $1000.

Man, I could really use a massage. (Drew Young, where are you when I need you?)

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM