Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

Me in high school. Yes, the hair is real, there is scrunchie on my wrist
and I wasn't even CLOSE to coming out yet.

Tonight is thanksgiving eve.

That magical time of year when everyone returns home for that oh-so-American holiday celebrating togetherness. Ironic since the pilgrims landing included invasion, genocide and smallpox carrying Europeans systematically destroying native culture but, whatever!

If your home town is anything like mine than you will probably find yourself at some local dive bar drinking with people better off forgotten. You might find yourself staring at your gin and tonic trying to listen but inwardly wanting to end whatever awkward conversation has brought you to this moment. You might be wondering what, if anything, you have in common with this almost total stranger that once upon a time you shared a high school with.

The Onion has a great satirical article about this phenomenon.

Like prison time I imagine that High School is something you just have to get through. High school is something you survive certainly not something you enjoy.

Not if you are like me, anyway.

If you were one of those girls who never had an awkward stage; someone who was perpetually well-liked, if you knew what clothes to wear and understood the secrets of make up and how to avoid looking stupid or ridiculous at every turn, this blog is probably not for you. I have successfully repressed many of my memories from high school which probably makes it all the more difficult for me to interact with the people I know who still lurk around town that remind me of high school. There's a girl or two that go to my gym. We graduated in the same year. We say our quiet hello's in passing. A quick nod or our eyes meet. One of the male trainers is a former football jock who has apparently made his life as a physical trainer. Well done sir!

But tonight, should I see you out, we'll have no more to talk about than we did back in the 90's. We as people have changed I'm sure, but the relationships between us probably haven't.

Which brings me to my next point: The Dive Bar.

Even the dive bar is no longer the dive bar. We used to have this restaurant turned dance hall turned restaurant turned bar room in Marshfield called Brian's Place. It wasn't a dump exactly but it was close. Pink plastic booths lined up along the far wall, an impractically massive bar all but blocking the front door, inept bartender's who inevitably become flustered with even the easiest requests, and (of all things) a fish tank mounted in a dividing wall separating the bar and the dart boards in the back.

My cousins and I would frequent this dive bar every Wednesday when Corinne got out of work and occasionally on Fridays. We claim at least one, sometimes two of the dart boards out back and I'd waggle my fingers up near the top of the tank to get the fish all frenzied up (Waggling fingers is the universal fish sign for 'food!') and we'd throw darts until Marae beat the pants off everyone and we'd cart ourselves home.

But tonight there will be no dive bar, no dark corner, no impromptu bust-a-moves to celebrate a random bullseye. Instead I'll be heading to one of two pseudo-swank hot spots. Either the new Japanese-infused restaurant with fancy red furniture and a cover band playing loudly or a place affectionately nicknamed 'The Penis,' real name: The Venus. Variations on this rhyme are encouraged.

But for now, I am off to wash up (finally) maybe catch a nap and try to rally. Who knows, perhaps someone from the distant past will surprise me. I'll confess something to you though. Being a girl has it's advantages. One of my favorites on night like this is overhearing all of the finicky conversations that still occur in the women's bathroom, conversations that bear a striking resemblance to those overheard a decade ago in the toilet stalls at good old Marshfield High about who-likes-who and she-did-what?! that sort of illuminate that time of my life.

Whatever you do tonight I hope you have fun.
And happy turkey day everybody.
Be safe out there.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm such a liar.
Or perhaps my forgetfulness has reached new levels in my 28th year.

Not only do I have pictures from Dbar, I also have them from Thursday nights wine tasting AND the trip to Club Cafe after. Woah! Thanks to Katie for reminding me.

Here are some from the organic wine tasting at Laural's.
Lorn and Nikki and Kerry and Veronika all took me out for a fancy 4 course dinner paired with 4 organic wines. 2 whites, 2 reds. We started with a soft crab cake, crunchy outside petite salad with maple infused dressing drizzled over top. The wine was a 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from Columbia valley. Next came a butternut squash soup paired with a naked chardonnay. Naked refers to the bottling procedure which occurs "without delay" to capture the essence of this fresh, pure style (quoted from the wine lady). The soup was sprinkled with glazed pecans which were warm and delicious with the hot soup.

After that came the Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 from Maipo Valley. I found this first bottle to be slightly tart finishing too crisp for my taste. I prefer a smooth Cab. The coolest thing was the fact that you could actually smell the mint notes if you didn't swirl the wine to start and, if you swirled it softly after, it erupted in a fragrant bouquet. (I'm not being pretentious, it really did and if you had smelled it you'd have gasped out loud I'm quite certain.) Finally we had thinly sliced steak, medium, that paired with another Cab this time smooth and full bodied that finished red-berries forward not spicy.

SO there you have it. That was dinner. We laughed a lot and teased Lorn about how fucking fast she eats. Seriously. It's scary. I'm like "did you drop your food on the floor?" Everyone is on their second bite and she's done. We told stories about the fast eaters in our families and how Kerry's dad doesn't even chew he just swallows. In his house, says Kerry, if you wanted seconds you had to be the first one done. It's something that just stayed with him his whole life. Lorn protested saying she enjoys her food and even if she doesn't chew it she still tastes it and loves it. She told us about the time her twin brother videotaped her eating a piece of chocolate cake back in high school - she wasn't aware he was taping her -- and she starts out slow enough enough then, a few bites in she devours it bam bam bam. burp. done. I nearly fell off my chair laughing.

After that we walked around the corner to Club Cafe (also known as Club So-Gay) to have some gay boys mix us drinks and meet up with some kids that couldn't make it to dinner. Taryn had class but showed up wearing the coolest fingerless palm gloves and all was forgiven.

We tried to push two tables together to fit everyone but as usually happens in large groups we wound up segregated. I did my best to blend the worlds but alas. Over on the far end we have 4 mechanical engineers. Scruffy face and giggles were both hilarious. Scruffy face kept stealing Erika's phone and changing her facebook status. We still don't know what the hell "Erika is ben" means.

Drinks were drank and laughs were had and so closed out a Thursday night pre-birthday celebration.
Friday morning rolled around -my actual birthday! Matthew had given me the day off work and booked light so he could get out early and meet up for a long night of celebration. First up we went over to Carrie's house for taco dip and really strong gin and tonics. We played on the floor with Eva and Amanda, talked about families and babies and how life never turns out the way you expect it to. I was warm and happy and, by the time Jason showed up, I was broken in enough to poke fun at him. Somewhere along the line a keyboard drowned to death. I wish we had pictures of this.

After the taco party (ha!) Matt and I went into the city for dinner at Dbar. I met up with my closest and most lovable. Ellen wants to kill me for posting the only picture of her we took the whole night so I am going to post it again here! Ellen, if you are out there know that I love your face and this reminds me of days together as roommate and roommate.

Here is Katie giving Matt her Katie face. I often get the Katie face when I do not understand something (usually) very simple. Beth and Katie were trying to guess what type of gift giver Matthew tends to be: Thoughtful? Practical? Surprising? The answer is awesome. He got me my very own tomtom to replace my foolishly stolen one from a few months back. Thanks Matthew!

Here is a lovely picture of AP and Meg.
My love for you both is eternal.
I shall sing rock ballads to you for-ever just point in the direction of karaoke machine.
(TOTALLY joking. Me and karaoke do not blend)

At some point they brought us out a bottle of champagne. Thanks Dbar! The house party I sort of recapped already. All in all it was a tremendous night and very excellent birthday. I feel well loved by everybody.

So get out there and kiss your kids and hug your loved ones and remember to make somebody's birthday extra special this year. They'll remember it forever.


Post Birthday Celebrations

Well, my birthday celebrations have come to a close.

AP and Meghan and I joked about turning this birthday week celebration into a birthday year celebration. thereby turning the phrase I have been using over and over: "But, it's my birthday week!" into "But it's my birthday year!" This really should be a national holiday. Let's put that on a ballot box.

Thank you to everybody who made my birthday one tremendous success.

I’m sorry to say I don’t have pictures of my taco dip and gin party with the Lindsey’s or any of the swank birthday dinner at DBar that Smellen and Jo and B all came to (not to mention Katie and Beth and Zee and Emily and Matthew [that’s a given] and Erika and Emily and AP and Meghan).

I got to eat the fabulous lobster gnocchi that is out of this world delicious, warm and sweet and lobsteriffic. And Meg let me eat off her plate which boasted some chicken under a brick something or other with sauce and asparagus which was to DIE for. The drinks were delectable. My glass was always full and so was my belly and my heart.

Thank you guys.

The part of the night that I do have pictures of is the house party in Somerville. To the best of my knowledge none of these guys would mind if I posted pictures of them up on this here blogspot website but just to be safe I’ll only post a few. [Note: If you guys are reading this and don’t want your mugs up just shoot me off an email and I’ll make sure none of your pretty faces get stolen by the internets.]


Without further ado here are some (but not nearly all since I took like 5,000 pictures) of my birthday in Somerville:

Meghan Anderson and Matthew (Along with Special Teams Captain AP) comprised the upper 2% of the party population known as the Tall People. Some of the shorter party goers attempted to augment this group by insisting that we too are tall however, the ruling on the field stands.

There was one room in the house devoted entirely to the playing of Beirut (otherwise known as beer pong) complete with custom painted table and everything. I believe other people call this room a "dining room." How boring. There were beer pong games raging all night but I didn't get to play once. It's just as well I suppose since telling by how crimson my face is I think it's safe to assume my aim would be crap.

Matthew and I had a picture perfect moment but Erika's friend Emily kept interrupting. She was on her phone with her boy toy and kept nearly walking into the middle of the shot. It didn't help things that the camera takes eleventy billion hours to snap one picture. But still. Watch it! Ha.

Eventually we made a good one.

Notice how careful I am to make sure my cheeks match my scarf?

This was a theme.

Here we have my party people as a group. Other antics we got up to that night: talking about the merits of having your boobs measured by an 80 year old woman versus a young Victoria's Secret girl, singing into kitchen utensils, misspelling the words "Fighting Irish," making sexy face at the camera, someone got their sleeve ripped off while another girl wore that sleeve around all night (I don't know if she was cold or just thought the sleeve looked lonely somehow but it made for an interesting effect.) The beer pong raged, there was much laughter and silly jokes, someone was drinking PBR out of 24 ounce cans (be ashamed you know who you are!) and chocolate cupcakes with flower shaped frosting designs were slowly disappearing off the kitchen stove.

All in all it was a really great night. You'll notice the shorty up front was the ring leader for the "I'm tall too" party which is probably why we got voted off the tall island. I'm just saying.

Happy Monday folks!

I've got to start tackling this mountain of work or I'll never get out of here today. I hope you remember to pour one out for your homie.

November 21st for life!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pre-Birthday Celebrations!

Hello Everyone!

I won't be posting much over the next few days as I don't expect to be a) sober much and b) near a computer much. Tonight Lorn is taking me out for a wine tasting thingamajig and then we are meeting some people out and tomorrow is my low-key dinner party with house party to follow.

How fun!

Happy birthday (yesterday) to Patrick. 26 was a good year for me and I hope it's awesome for you too. Happy Birthday to Nana! Tomorrow! We are both November 21st babies.

Nan, I have never blamed you for being the reason I got saddled with the rhyming first name (johanna tana) but rather enjoy sharing a birthday. I mean, what are the odds?
(About 1 in 365 I'd guess?)

I could do without being called Tana-Banana so much, but even that is kind of cute sometimes. Al used to call me Banana-creme pie and I liked that.

Anyway, everyone have a happy and safe weekend!
And remember to pour one out for your homie.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the Gay "Youtes".

James Howe, author and my new friend.
I am finally refreshed.

QUESTION: What's more adorable than 500 queer high school kids punk-rocking around an auditorium trying not to look awkward together?

A: not much.

The PrideWorks Conference in New York was an entertaining success. Jim Howe gave a rousing keynote about his coming out process and his struggle growing up different in the 50's and 60's. It was so quiet you could hear the proverbial pin drop (no small success given there was a room of almost 500 rowdy teens). He called on us all to tell our stories and after the break teachers came up to him asking for a video copy of his speech to show to their classes. Women clutched their hearts and held his shirt sleeve with tears in their eyes telling him it was just so powerful.
This is what my copy of Bunnicula looked like. Minus the 3 million sold sticker.

James Howe is the author of the Bunnicula series of books and 'Totally Joe' and I'm telling you GO READ IT. For those of you with teens and tweens add it to the holiday shopping list (kids still read books right?) While you're at it grab The Misfits, too. They're both excellent reads extremely well written. Look forward to having a conversation about it after.

Jim and his partner of 8 years Mark opened their house to us and we had a lovely time. Sipped a little red wine, listened to chick singers singing folk music. Turns out they are total Dar Williams junkies! And Katie and I plugged in the ipods and swapped some Antje Duvekot for whatever litany of guitar strumming chicas Mark pulled off the shelf. We ate mint chip ice cream, talked about the dogs we love and have ever loved, stayed up much too late considering how exhausted we all were and how early we all had to get up and finally, dragging my feet, we went to bed.

The PrideWorks sessions were good but not terribly great. Mostly it was nice to see all these energetic young people (listen to me! how old am I?) get amped about queer issues. I went to 'Gay Images in the Media', "That's So Gay" is not Okay', and 'The T in Transgender" panels.
I admit I wanted to pull the only FtM (named ADAM) to the side to talk to him about his experience and pick his brain for awhile but sadly, there wasn't enough time. Katie and I had been talking about how you usually only see MtF people, at least in our experience, at things like this or out in public. Either I don't hang out in the right areas of Boston or I've fallen out of the circles or (probably) both.

In any event, the drive to N.Y. was smooth both out there and back. We laughed a lot. Listened to story time from NPR (This American Life and the Moth something?-true life stories told without notes live). Neil Gaiman did one. And this man who had the funniest most RIDICULOUS voice known to man! I could hardly listen to the first 8 minutes of his story I was in stitches.

Then, after I picked up the Bails, I went home, took a loooong, HOT, shower and slept until I woke up.
Thank god.

It's good to be home.
(**Ed. Note. I plan on posting some pics from the actual event if Katie ever gets around to unloading them for me. Ahem. **)

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Am So Exhausted.

Government Center T Stop.
There were thousands of us swarming City Hall!

Wow, I had a busy weekend.

First on Saturday was the Protest rally about Proposition 8.
Now, I must confess I expected this little rally to be, well... little. Turns out it wasn't. A huge amount of people showed up most of them gay and all of them allies. I was on a mission to read every clever sign, my favorites being "Hey, California... WTF?!" And "Did we get to vote on your marriage?" I was standing on the steps next to a gay couple who were holding foam-core signs that read "Repeal Crazy8" And there was a lesbian couple in front of us who brought what I'm assuming was their daughter. She kept hamming it up for the people who waved at her as they walked past then would collapse on her moms shoulder all Protesting-is-Hard style.
I'm pretty sure one of the presenters was on my softball team.
No joke. Go 2Cent!

Then Camille left and I was adopted for the day by my new friends. We went to get some food and I had a delicious and thought-provoking BLT with avocado wrap and sweet potato fries. We met up with AP and Meghan because would my weekend be complete without at least one dose of them? It would not! We had some beers at The Globe and shot the shit for awhile. The rain held out until after the protest which was a blessing and further proof that God does not hate us but wants us to rally.

Sunday night was the Ani Concert in Symphony Hall. How much do I love thee, let me count the ways... From her joke about "Wow, so there really is more than just the Orpheum in Boston," to all of her politically themed songs for the night, to her rousing oration on Barack Obama and even more than all of that, was her almost empathetic take on Sarah Palin. Has there ever been a woman more pimped by a group of white men? She asked. I can't do Ani's observations justice but a there was a surprising... relief... in me to hear her speak so obviously about the presence of the patriarchy.
There she is! Can you see her?
She's mouthing my name over and over again

Oh, the patriarchy. I feel like I'm an undergrad all over again.

I don't know where you were when you first feel in love with Ani but I was a freshman in college. Ani's music become the soundtrack to my feminist rising. Her first albums Ani DiFranco, Not So Soft, and Like I Said were my first experience with independent music. Everything up until then was Top 40 stuff or the soft rock, magic 106.7, Air Supply, feathered-haired, Phil Collins stuff my mother and aunts listened to. As my hayseed mind was being opened in classes like Women and Sexuality and History of Race Class and Gender Ani Difranco brought a heartbeat to my learning, a soul that kept the pace with my intellectual awakening. And last night, almost a decade later, she brought back all those feelings for me.

Thanks Ani.
You Rock.

And, as has become our custom, Katie and I smuggled in teeny wines and drank them in our seats careful not to spill anything. My friend is a walking heart attack and tried to hide the little bottle anytime someone would open a door behind us or the one time an usher took some people to their seats using his usher-flashlight. Someday I will bribe someone to actually tell us off and watch her wither.


We were sitting behind that annoying girl that stands and dances for the entire show. I hate that girl. I mean, I can understand your enthusiasm and all but Ani can't see you and you are annoying as fuck so please sit down. Katie was sitting next to sings-along-for-every-song and there were moments I would just look over and laugh.

During the opening act -some chick who can SING! and play guitar like WOAH! but who hasn't found her song writing chops yet kept conducting the audience. Stand up sit down hum along. I'm not your instrument lady. She wrote obvious songs with no metaphor that sounded okay until you listened to the lyrics which were silly at their worst and obvious at their best. Don't worry whoever you were opening act, you'll get it. I have faith.

Anyway, while we rudely half-listening one of her songs Katie showed me this picture she keeps in her phone called whatdoesitsoundlike:

Did you miss it?
It says "Alarm sounds like: WHOOP"
I was laughing so hard I nearly snorted my teeny wine. Apologies to all those sitting around us as I'm sure we got quite annoying during the opening hum along act.

So ends another excellent weekend.
I'm off to my really gay conference tonight in New York and I'll report back later.
Remember to send in all that birthday hooplah soon. Friday's the big 28.

Peace MF-ers.
I need a nap.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Schoolhouse Rock

I am addicted to watching Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann videos in the morning. They have replaced my occasional news update from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Augmented them I suppose, really. Until this candid commentary by Keith Olbermann I admit I didn’t even know who the man was:

Anyway, this whole unlikely nomination and election of Barack Obama has me excited about our government for the first time in my adult life. I remember learning about the United States government back in 4th grade or something but the details of how we govern ourselves has fallen by the wayside. I therefore decided to re-educate myself and to that end will share my findings with you all.

A preface. Or perhaps a warning.

I don’t actually know what I’m talking about! And you shouldn’t quote me on anything! But if I’ve managed to spark your interest then look this stuff up for yourself. I have tried to be as accurate as I can be and apologize if I mislead you on anything but government is something we should all know more about.

Without further ado!

The U.S. Government is broken up into 3 branches that share power in a system of “checks and balances.” We’ve got the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches:

The Legislative Branch!

Consists of the House of Representatives (435 voting members) and the Senate (100 members -- as there are currently 50 states), who serve six-year terms (one third of the Senate stands for election every two years). These guys vote on policies, when we go to war, how to spend our tax money and soon: how to fix our health care system, the broken economy, and how to withdraw from the wars we are losing.

Remember this:

The Executive Branch!

Consists of the President, Veep and Cabinet.

The President!

He runs the show.


The Vice President becomes President upon the death, resignation, or removal of the President, which has happened nine times in U.S. history. The VEEP also serves as the The President of the Senate and breaks any tie votes in the Senate.

The Cabinet!

The Cabinet is composed of the most senior appointed officers of the executive branch of the federal government, and its existence dates back to the first President- George Washington - and these are the guys the Pres wants advising him and helping to run the show: Today's Rumor: That Hilary Clinton might be appointed as Secretary of STATE! ooh! Nice.

1. State (formerly called ‘Foreign Affairs’)

2. Treasury

3. Defense

4. Justice (Also called ‘Attorney General’)

5. Interior

6. Agriculture

7. Commerce

8. Labor

9. Health and Human Services

10. Housing and Urban Development

11. Transportation

12. Energy

13. Education

14. Veteran’s Affairs

15. Homeland Security

Did you know we had a Cabinet member for Veteran’s Services? I didn’t. Also these are listed in order of succession. Should the Pres and VEEP die or something these are the people who are in line to take over.

The Judicial Branch!

The United States Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the United States. It is headed by the Chief Justice and 8 Associate Justices (for a total of 9 – wow math!) these justices are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate and effectively serve for their lifetime.

Presently the justices of the S.C are:

Chief Justice John Roberts (age 53) G.W. Bush

John Paul Stevens (age 88) Ford

Antonin Scalia (age 72) Reagan

Anthony Kennedy (age 72) Reagan

David Souter (age 69) G.H.W. Bush (He’s from Massachusetts)

Clarence Thomas (age 60) G.H.W. Bush

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age 75) Clinton

Stephan Breyer (age 70) Clinton

Samuel Alito (age 58) G.W. Bush

The S.C makes rulings on things like how to interpret the constitution, the death penalty, abortion, stem cell research (or broadly: science and technology) uses of torture and things of that nature. Obama will be in a position to nominate new judges. We live in interesting times.

Oh, and remember that little election fraud in 2000 where Gore won the popular vote?

The S.C. decided to stop the Florida vote recount.

SO there you have it!

A brief (wasn't it kind brief?) look at the ruling class of the U.S. of A.

Go out and learn something new today!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Time to Feed the Geek

You Cannot Win
There's a phrase circulating on the internets (or at least in those dorkish areas that I frequent) called "feed the geek."

Feeding the geek is what happens when you stay at home all day Saturday to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy in succession, or when you stock up at your LCS* on all the trade paperbacks you've been waiting for and read them back to back to back with a bowl of pupcorn beside you on the bed. I feed the geek every morning when I log onto Newsarama and Comic Book Resources and when I watch videos about my favorite creators or find myself salivating over Blair Butler and her weekly comic book video blog from the G4 network.

I might be mistaken, but I am pretty sure my inner geekiness isn't immediately apparent. Even some of my rather close friends would (I suspect) be quite surprised to learn how much I love perusing the isles and isles of comics stacked on high. I mean, I'm not this guy but still... we could be cousins.Apologies to Napoleon Dynamite

One of my favorite dates is to walk to Anna's Taquiera for a chicken burrito with black beans and rice, a little bit of salsa, light on the hots and saunter straight over to the comics shop. I would while away my afternoons completely immersed in alternate universes. Invincible is a stand-by favorite (I suspect the cute girl at the Kenmore comic shop doesn't like Invincible beacuse I always get the feeling she's judging my selection when I bring it up to the counter. You're right. She probably loves Manga.) I cried at the end of Y The Last Man. I loved Girls by the Luna Brothers so much and I got so emotionally invested in the story line that I told Matthew I was considering drawing an alternate storyline about it. You can read the first issue of Girls free here (GIRLS!) but basically the story is about a town trapped in bubble with naked homicidal girls that hatch out of eggs and try to murder all the women while procreating as much as they can with the men.

Sound like a virginal comic kids wet dream? You bet it is. So what is an almost 28 year old lesbian doing reading this shit? Well, I have one answer for you:

Because it's good!
I got my geek face on.

Comics are a near-perfect form of entertainment. When they are done well they tell engaging stories, incorporate beautiful sometimes breathtaking art, they reach a wide audience and they are a hell of a lot cheaper to make than movies. But mostly - the stories they tell are GOOD. And the people who make them are fun and creative and awesome.

As many of you may know, I have a birthday coming up. And comic books make a great gift. Not just for me but for any of you who have kids. The holidays they are-a-coming. The good news: Comic books inspire creativity in all children. Hand over an issue of Spiderman or Invincible with paper and some crayons and I guarantee that child will be drawing before they read the last page. Single issues retail at about $3 each or you can buy the trade (comic talk for a complete storyline) for about $10-$14. With our economy in the toilet (or as Rachel Maddow said today past the toilet and on it's way to the septic tank) people aren't buying comics anymore and those really talented, creative people could lose their livlihood.


You like HEROES the show? Buy HEREOS the comic book.
Like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? That started as a comic book. So did The Tick.
Hellboy? Hell yeah. There's a gorgeous art book out from the movie 300 -- you know the one about the Spartans I still haven't seen. Great coffee table reading.

And, small kids LOVE Mouseguard.
I can't recommend that one highly enough. IT's AWESOME!

So, band together geeks and non-geeks.
Save the cheerleader, save the industry!
Go buy some comic books.


*LCS = Local Comic Shop
**"pupcorn" is the appropriate pronunciation of the word in tanaland.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Shelves

U2 posters, photogram artwork, a dictionary on a stand, maps of the world
and an Albert Camus quotation over the door.
What's your office like?
Matt made an observation about me this morning as we were hanging the new shelves in the office.
He said "I know two things to be true about you Tana. One is that when our finances get tight you want to redecorate and when we are slammed with work you have the strongest urge to renovate."
We laughed.
That tends to be true of me once I go through a breakup, too.
I helped too but someone had to take the picture.

This year alone I repainted the entire upstairs of my mother's house, renovated the largest bedroom, hung shelves, organized the attic and trimmed the upstairs floor and hallway. I also replaced all the broken or cracked face plates on the light switches and power outlets and caulked every crack and crevice around the windows, which, I reasoned, would help mom out come the winter time. No more windy windows.

Anyway, Without further ado: the bookcases turned shelves.
xTTada! Fancy new bookcases turned on their side.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy (Late) Halloween!


This DJ costume might be the scariest thing EVER!

Saturday night's party was so much freaking fun. This is one of those not-so-rare moments when I'm psyched I have such a crazy family. Marae had to work until 5 or 6pm so I went over early and helped Corinne put the finishing touches on the house. We went to Target and the liquor store, set up the Beirut table, Corinne finished her costume --she had decided to dress up as an old Hooters waitress, with a big plastic butt and saggy boobs. It was successfully disgusting! She sewed the orange shorts herself and made the boobs from nylons and little rubber bottle nipples. She made Kristi a matching costume as well (eeeew!).

My brother's both came. Johnny made an excellent Capt'n Jack Sparrow and Patrick ... I didn't know WHAT Patrick was at first. He told me he was CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper. The initial idea was for him to come as moderator between his 2 roommates, Murph and Bear who intended to come as Obama and McCain. Oh, the fights. As it was they put off mask shopping until Friday morning and (not surprisingly) couldn't find any. So the boys fell back on last years' costumes Fred and Barney.

This is Anderson Cooper:

I think I rocked the shit out of the Samantha Ronson costume. Jackie made a great Lindsay Lohan but when it came to the play-acting part we couldn't find anything to fight about all night. Bummer. A few notes about my actual 'costume': I couldn't decide on a tee shirt so I wore a blank white tee over to Corinne's house, looked up the DJ picture I posted here a few weeks ago and copied the design using a sharpie. Instead of the enormous man-cocks on chains (did you happen to notice that in the original? I didn't until after the fact) I drew roosters in bondage (get it?). I don't think you can really tell what I'm wearing in most of the pictures but it entertained me to no end. And, since Samantha Ronson lives almost exclusively on redbull and cigarettes and since I don't smoke, I got several packs of candy cigarettes, stuck one behind my ear for the night and then made a fake pack to hold them all called Camel-Toe. Extra Flavor.

God, I crack myself up.

Marae and Corinne make their own costumes almost every year at Halloween. They get this form their mother Lucy who has an almost endless river of creativity flowing through her veins, not to mention a slightly whacked sense of humor. This year the three of them all made their own costumes. Lucy went as an elf sitting on a mushroom, she made her husband a costume (he is supposed to be Patrick the starfish from Spongebob Squarepants -why he's not pink though I don't know). Marae went as a Native American Princess from the Slap-A-Ho tribe and Corinne.... well.... let's just say no one is going to forget that costume for a good long time. (Shudder)

The fabled triple-kiss! Oo-la-la!

Because they keep all the costumes they have ever made there was a virtual treasure trove of costumes downstairs and no less than three people came over without costumes and wound up wearing one of them. Siobahn was a tree complete with leaves and birdhouse and bird nest hat. We had a batman who couldn't hear a damn thing through his rubber cowl. As soon as he took it off Patrick shouted "Bruce Wayne! Nice to see you!"

Bear, Murph and Capt'n Jack

And Patrick.
Oh, Patrick.
He's got the shoes and everything.
The real size of the costume.

My brother decided it would be hilarious to change his costume right in the middle of the party. He found one of Taela's old toddler costumes -I'm not even sure what it was, a gypsy? a geisha? a genie?- and with the help of the boys struggled into it emerging from the basement looking like hooker. It was awesome. In the morning we couldn't find the costume and were sure he went home wearing it. If only they had been pulled over! (No, officer this isn't what it looks like...). It appears the Bear might be attempting to get lucky.

we put the 'fun' in dysfunctional.

Oh man.
The party ended for me at 2am when I pulled my ninja move and fell asleep in an upstairs bedroom. In my defense this time it was unintentional. Usually I know just when the time has come for me to sleep and I seek the bedroom. This time though I was upstairs hiding my sunglasses as we had reached that time in the night where shit will get broken and I sat on the bed, on the soft, warm, bed in the quiet comfortable... bam! asleep. Marae popped in to check on me about a half hour later we looked at each other and she said 'okay.' So slept I did.

In the morning we cleaned up, made brunch, sipped mimosas. I was giving Caitlyn and Johnny a ride home so after everything was made right in the house that's what I did. I spent Sunday afternoon supine on the couch watching football and cat napping.

So ends another a weekend and in some sense an entire season.
Up next: the winter holidays.

Did you check out the Daily Coyote yet?
NO? Well you should. It's good for the spirit.

On that note.

Friday, November 7, 2008



The Daily Coyote

This woman in Wyoming adopted a coyote and her insights on instinct are exceptional.
I am still reading it so I don't have any fully formed thoughts yet, but I thought I'd share since this is Friday and I won't be posting (presumably) for the rest of the weekend.

Also -the Halloween party is tomorrow night and that should be fun to say the least.

Artists I Like

Look Closely.
In addition to coloring books for the kiddos we've got
"Wicked," "Blankets," "A Prayer For Owen Meany," "Candide," some "Battle Pope,"
"Despereaux," and "The Prophet" to name a few.

Yesterday was a great draw day. I penciled 3 pages, polished 6 total. I flew through faces and gestures and the play-acting required to move a graphic story forward. Then, when I came to work this morning I sat at my desk and... nothing. Pencil farts. Couldn't draw for shit.

So I did what I often do to try and snap out of it. I trolled the internets. There are a dozen or more artists' pages that I like and follow. Many of them are listed on the side of my blog here. We've got simple, entertaining artwork by Kate Beaton, the cartoony very comic-booky work of Ryan Ottley, I almost always check out the Dykes To Watch Out For blog to see what's new with my fellow New England artist Alison Bechdel and Sean Gordon Murphy's artwork which updates often and almost ALWAYS knocks my socks off. This kid can draw. Yowza.

I'm not actually grumpy, it's just early is all.
Also, I win the messiest desk award. What is all that crap?

And usually that's enough to turn the tide. I look at the way they rendered an ear, or the way they pulled off some subtle expression and I start drawing too. If I still can't get my pencil hand moving fluidly than typically I'll try some other form of creation. Writing, for instance. Or inking something I have already drawn. With this new version of the book (remember the great computer crash of 2008?) I am not going to ink anything until all of the pages are pencilled. That means the whole god damn revised book.

So far we've got close to 19 pages done.
We're right on pace.
You can see right into my trash.

And, if all else fails and I just can't stop sucking than I'll pick up a graphic novel and hunker down and read. You can never read too much. But for now, back to work. Such that it is.

TGIF people.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Day in 100 Seconds

Not much to post today. Just sort of reeling form all the history-in-the-making hub-bub.

Keep the faith.
Let's work for change, people.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post Election Day re-cap!

So I didn't make a voting comic yet and I might not do it at all. My voting experience was very no frills. I know that I am precinct 3 so I walked right in, there were a lot of people but none in my line. I floated over to my booth, saw my mom's church friend Martha (we are in the same precinct) I voted (!!) and handed in my ballot.

Matthew's very Republican old-world mother always works at the end table of precinct 3 so I see her every time I vote ("Make sure you vote early and often," says my Dad). I think she cringes on the inside knowing that I am about as liberal a person as she has ever met. Once, upon 'discovering' that I was gay (an outrage!) she tried to tear down a rainbow flag painting I had made for Matthew. At his request I painted an American eagle clutching an American flag and a rainbow flag in it's talons. The eagle is also wearing a leather Harley-Davidson jacket and motorcycle goggles -it's that kind of painting- and he hung it up on the wall in his office. This was some 6 years ago now. Matthew's mother and I have since become as close as I expect we will ever get which is to say there are some days when I can make her laugh and she happily tolerates my existence. Happily, I say.

The elation I feel about the election of our first African American President and being only a few seats away from a filibuster proof Democratic Senate is set-off slightly by Proposition 8 failure in California. equality of marriage in that state will have to wait I suspect. It's a bummer for those same-sex couples (like Alex and her wife and baby) who will not be recognized in the eyes of the law. Our work is cut out for us people. The great news is that millions of Americans voted for the first time ever which means a whole new generation of kids are becoming involved int he Democratic process. All new hordes of people will be working for change and unity.

That ain't a bad thing.
Dear Barack, please do not get assassinated.
Thank you.

Your loyal citizen,

Long Live the President!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ELECTION DAY! (part one)

It's historic!

Today, we as Americans will elect a new President of the Untied States of America and I am so excited I feel like I'm sitting on exclamation points with question marks swimming in my belly!

Katie said:
I waited in line for an hour. It was great. I had tons and tons of eighteen year olds in line. Big thuggy kids. It was awesome. Folks with their littles.

I can't wait to vote.
Maybe I'll come home and make a comic about it after.

Did you hear? O'Bama already took 2 precincts in New Hampster. It's looking good for the little guys. For the people by the people bitches!

I will make a comic about my voting experience! Holl-er!
More to come!
(Tana leaves to watch the polls and gmail chat excitedly with friends!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy November!

It's love! Meghan and my Asian-looking twin

Well folks it's officially my birthday month!

Feel free to start sending in the well-wishes.
I agree with you, I agree with you, this should be a National Holiday but really, I'm okay with keeping a low-profile this year. No applause. No paparazzi.

On a serious note football was freezing this week. But what fun! What was I thinking bring a cold six pack to an icy field? If I had any sense at all I would've packed some Bailey's and coffee or perhaps a little hot cider and rum. Ah, well. Live and learn.

Here we have Matt and Camille and Matt and Meghan. Matthew didn't wear enough layers so he was frozen to the bone. Scarves people! Scarves make all the difference in the world! Besides the bitter chill watching the actual football game was fun and exciting. The game between orange and green was decided by one point! (Nice touchdown AP!)

Camille surprised me by showing up for the first game of the green team double-header.
It was fun catching up with her. Marshfield lesbians represent! She peaced-out early though. Sad.

Sam (who plays for the green team) had a catch that they deemed not a catch -or didn't call a foul on - or something. I don't know football but I know she was robbed. Robbed I tell you! Here's a picture of AP and Sam.

We went to Costello's for the after-game social. That was fun and typically crowded. It was also extremely loud. I don't know why they had the music on so earsplitting high but they did. And my throat was sore on the ride home from having to shout to be heard. Costello's isn't a fucking club, people. Volume down.

I kept Matthew out later than expected. I had told him we'd be on the road by 5pm. In my defense our food was late and I was too caught up in talk-shouting to start eating right away. He's a peach about stuff like that though. Still he made it home in time to tuck the kiddos in and wish them goodnight.

Doesn't he look so handsome?

Once I get the Halloween pictures I'll post those. Warning: I'll be wearing make-up in some. Now, this wasn't my choice but it was rather hilarious. Clip-on hoop earrings and eye shadow and mascara. Put them all together and that spells S-C-A-R-Y.

As a final note (and speaking of scary) Marae's Halloween party is this weekend and my 'DJ Samantha Ronson' costume is nearly complete. I've got my desperately-seeking-Susan hat, my version of skinny jeans, and some funky shoes. Can't wait.

Happy Monday people. Stay warm out there.