Monday Morning Madness (Abbreviated)   

Fact is folks, I'm on vacation so I've been busy doing stuff other than surfing the Internet for the past few days (including, but not limited to: once again helping haunt a local ship, going on a moonlit scavenger hunt, attending the annual Halloween event I look most forward to every year and going to see Freaks at the local museum of medical oddities) - so I've not had much time to look for links. Mea culpa, and all that. Try and catch me again after Halloween.

(Oh - and dan p - I'm not dodging your question. I'm still working out an answer that's more erudite than "It's just really cool.)

However - I shan't leave you entirely linkless. There's still a Monday Morning Quiz and some fake celebrity mug shots (this being the most inspired).

Happy Monday.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, October 29, 2006
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My Deepest, Darkest, Most Horrifying Secret is Surprisingly Frilly   

The time vortex (also known as the dance school I am currently attending) has weekly practice "dance parties" I have secretly dubbed "The Saddest Prom Ever." This moniker is not because the 'parties' aren't fun, even despite the authoritarian pressure to attend, nor for the enforced dancing1; in fact, I always end up having a good time. Rather, it is the Saddest Prom Ever because it takes place in a lounge that could have been plucked from the Catskills circa 1962; one that has a ridiculous proliferation of disco balls. I swear, there are more of the glittering things every time I go. I rather expect in a few weeks from now, every nook, cranny, and corner of the floor will be crowded with them, and we'll all being try to rock-step, triple-step, triple-step our way around them. They're almost creepy.

Another part of the Saddest Prom Ever is "The Show." This portion comes near the end of the evening - where certain students are singled out to demonstrate their skill in a short recital. I alway enjoy "The Show." For starters, it means I can sit out the dancing for a few minutes and catch my breath. Further, it let's me see what people who can actually dance can do. It isn't unusual for me to find myself envious after watching a performance. I find myself full of longing, thinking, "Oh - I want to learn how to do that." This is precisely why I have signed my soul over to this place, and why I will likely never escape their well-postured clutches. I'm exactly the kind of sucker they're looking for.

It also makes me envious of the other girl's sparkly shoes and swirly skirts. And when I even started noticing the other girls shoes and skirts, I should have known I had a problem.

Last week, I had the following exchange with my teacher:

Me: "So - my sister and brother-in-law are coming to the party2 this week, and I think Sarcasmom might come check it out next week."
Instructor: "That's great. We're going to get your ready for an exhibition at next week's party."
Me: "Thing is, I think I might break my ankle this weekend."
Instructor: "Funny how that works. How do you feel about the Waltz."
Me: "It's a lovely dance for people without broken ankles."
Instructor: "Great, I think that's our dance then."

I had three practice sessions to prepare for The Show. They weren't rehearsals, exactly - since the dance wasn't choreographed. We went over an opening step, and he told me what step he would close with - and for the rest it would be up to me to just follow. Not my strongest skill, following. I was a wreck of nerves. The night before the party he told me that when the time for the exhibition came, I was to block everything out and just think of him.

Actually, what he said was more along the lines of "Think of me. Think of me leading you, and of socking into my arm" (which he was using to lead me.) But in my head - I got stuck on the "Think of me," bit, because it reminded me of "Lie back and think of England" as though this was - not something dirty - but rather something to be grimly endured.

On Think of England night - the night just before The Saddest Prom Ever, mind you, I was informed that the Saddest Prom Ever would Halloween themed, and that I should come in costume. Now - you know me - I'll dress up for just about anything at the drop of the hat,3 but the last-minuteness threw me, and I wasn't sure what a big deal it was. When another instructor asked me if I would be dressing up, I said, "If I do, will I be the only one dressing up?" I was told that everyone dressed up, so I said I'd see what I could do.

At this point my instructor suggested we try and coordinate costumes together, for the exhibition - and what did I have availble. I briefly considred recyling my Go Gos costume, but it would have been weird with just two of us, so suggested that I might be able to pull some pirate stuff together (pirate is my official costume of the year this year). And then I said, "Wait, actually, if it still fits me, I have this dress." "Pirates are good. You could wear a beard, it would be funny."

"Oh," I whined, "but it's a waltz. I'd really rather do the dress if I can."

Yes. I actually said that. Me. Ms. I Want to Live in Blue Jeans and Pajamas. Madame I Don't Even Own Real Makeup. Miss All the High Heeled Shoes I Own Were Purchased for a Specific Event and More or Less Against My Will. Ms. Skirts Are A Way to Control Women's Activity. Passed up the opportunity to dress like a pirate. To wear a dress.

And let's just address the dress for a moment. When I moved from my old place to my current place, I went from having 3 closets to one - this means I have one teeny closet to hold not only my clothes, but all my coats, and any other items that require storage. It is a minimal space. I had to economize. Many many things I love ended up in boxes. And yet - somehow - this dress made the cut to the closet.

In fairness, it is a lovely, lacey, silver & burgundy Sarcasmom & I made a few years ago for Dracula's Ball. It's got fantastic cuffs which I adore. It's also completely impractical to have around. I tend to spend my All Hallow's with the same folks every year - and I've already worn it in their presence, so as Halloween costumes go it's more or less defunct, since I clearly can't wear it again4. The only reason to have it around would be (1) in case I had a costume-related emergency5 or (2) down in the deepest, darkest depths of my pitch black, sarcastic, tom-boyish, skinned knee earning heart, I want to be a pretty pretty princess.6

For a 24-hour costume notice, I didn't go half-way with it either. Before getting dressed, I bathed in scented pink water that covered me in glitter. I put on rose-scented perfume7. I covered my face in white powder and makeup.

Now - the baby powder and makeup I only own for costume reasons...I rarely wear makeup in real life - except for some mascara most days to stop my eyes from being twin swirling vortexs that will suck the universe in when I don't get much sleep. But the troubling thing is - the glitter bath bar and rose perfume and things I already owned. Purchased for myself. Willinging. I didn't have to go out and get them for the event.

When did all this girlie sneak in? Who can I blame? Frankly, I'm feeling a little disoriented.

For the record, I'm told the waltz went well. I got lots of lovely compliments from the other students (although, what are they going to say, "You sucked."? and my teacher seemed pretty happy. Honestly, I barely remember the exhibition itself, other than the fact that my heart was beating a as though it would leap out of my chest - as though I was some rabbit caught in a cage. I was told the dress swirled well. I'd like to have seen it.

I suspect that's why some folks thought I looked graceful. It's the dress swirling. It must be hypnotic.

For the record, I'm back to tom boy today. Blue jeans. Warm socks. Lovecraftian scent and Calling All Fiends on iTunes. Sort of like totems to keep this strange, nigh feminine stranger at bay. She's strange and she frightens me.

And she's pretty crap when it comes to applying eye makeup.

1 Much like Fight Club requires its members to fight, The Saddest Prom Ever requires that everybody dance...nearly ever dance.

2 The parties are open to the public - in hopes, I'm certain, of luring more students into their elegant clutches. If you're local and ever want to laugh at me trying to dance, let me know and I'll give you the deets.

3 Hell, I'll even wear the hat.

4 Also, there's slightly less of me now than there was when first I wore it- which means the bodice is on the loose side. In the end, I had to wear a flesh colored-bra, and pin the shoulders of the dress to it. It seemed to me it would do ok for the dancing, but one of the teachers has a real fondness for dipping girls at the end of dances - and I was petrified he might try dipping me in that dress - which - since bra and dress were attached, would have ended up in my giving an exhibition of a very different sort. In the end, he didn't dip me - but he kept making Labyrinth references in relation to the dress, so he totally scores points in my book.

5 Which, I suppose, I did.

6 Or maybe Empress. Gorgeous, Girlie Empress. Who Can Destroy You. With Her Mind.

7 My normal, every day scent is Yog-Sothoth, named for a Lovecraftian elder god.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, October 27, 2006
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Friday Follies   

First, let me say this: Halloween Halloween Halloween Halloween Halloween Halloween HalloweenHalloweenHalloweenHalloweenHalloweenHalloweenHalloweenHalloweenHalloweenHalloween !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system.

Ok, to be fair, it's not anywhere near out of my system. Frankly, that's about wha the inside of my brain sounds like at the moment; particularly as tonight I get to go out in my second (and most last minute) costume of the season. More on that tomorrow, assuming both I and one of the oldest dances in the Western tradition survive the evening intact.

In the meantime, boo! Er..I mean links:

Also Hal

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, October 26, 2006
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Monday Morning Madness   

I think it signifies a milestone in one's life when a friend turns to you and suggests dressing up in naught but a towel and turban for a night of dancing in public, and (despite your zaftig stature) you say "sure!" without remorse or hesitation. Either I have no capacity for humilation left, or my Halloween season has officially begun.

Apologies to all of Philadelphia for my deigning to walk about your evening streets in such a state of undress - and apologies to Devo, Annie Lennox, Robert Smith, Siouxsie (sans banshees), the 2 Adam Ants and the scores of other 80s New Wave dance fans for completely rocking the party with my fellow Go-Go's ala Beauty and the Beat - as we were clearly the undressed belles of the ball. (There are photos, but I have yet to upload them1. You'll just have to try and visualize the fearful, frightening site of me dancing in spa gear and face cream).

Here are the links, in order to take that horrible, terrible image out of your head:

1 Never mind, they're uploaded now. Also, DJ Robert Drake put a very nice collection together from the evening as well. It was quite the flashback.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, October 23, 2006
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Friday Follies   

Who do I need to talk to in order to have Thursday be the beginning of the weekend? Or perhaps Monday the end?

Why is there never enough time?

Oh...right...the Internet. That explains so much. Speaking of which:

Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, October 20, 2006
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Not To Go All McSweeney's On You, But   

A list of physical shortcomings I have learned about myself since beginning dance lessons:

Personally, I'm now finding it amazing that I have been able to walk upright and on my own these past 33-years, what with all these shortcomings. Or at least I thought I was. Why didn't anyone tell me that I'd been limping along with a protozoa-like shuffle all this time?

At least my rhythm is good - which means I may not be very elegant, but my pseudopods, at least, undulate in time to the music.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, October 19, 2006
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Monday Morning Madness   

Dear Germs: Oh - how I loathe you. October is here - the weather nicely chill and Halloween nearly upon us, and you have to screw it all up by foisting upon me some hideous cold that has sapped both my voice and my will to do much more than loaf. But I've fooled you - I still have the will to surf the web. Mwu-ha-ha-ha!

Ahem. Sorry - my Airborne/Tylenol Multi-symptom cocktail seems to be going to my head. Here are the links, etc. I'll just go crawling back under the covers:

In other news, my sample pack of Moo cards came. They're teeny, tiny, and I really like 'em. I'm going to get a full set, I think, so I can carry them around in my wallet and forget about them, just like I do with my real business cards. If you want one, let me know, and I'll pass it along.

Of course, if you read this, you already know how to get in touch with me, so I don't know how useful you'd find it.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, October 15, 2006
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Friday Follies   

As a follow-up to my earlier complaint regarding My Funny Valentine, I thought I might give a small list of songs that I would like to have sung to me/about me as an alternative to My Funny Valentine. I offer this list, however, with one caveat: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SING THESE SONGS TO ME. Oh, sure, it sounds romantic to be sung to, but that's approximately 2.5 minutes of sitting uncomfortably in the spotlight; which is ok if you're the singer, since you're actually doing something, but all the singee can do is sit there with a petrified grin until the song is over and pray no one calls for an encore.1

A short selection of songs you can sing to Sarcasmo (not that you should ever sing to Sarcasmo) that will not immediately result in the reprisal of a Brancusi blow to the head:

More or Sunday in New York by Bobby Darin
Sleepin' In by Richard Julian2
Duncan Sheik's I Wouldn't Mind or For You - or, in fact, nearly anything by Duncan Sheik. And while we're on Mr. Sheik, he can feel free to sing anything from his repertoire to me anytime he likes.
Ditto on Neil Finn. I love all his love songs.
So Beautiful or The Drifter by David Poe
2GetHer's Calculus. (Thank you, YouTube!) Yes, I know they're a boy band - and a fictional boy band at that. I just think they're funny.
Several Thousand and Super Girl by Jim Boggia
Besame Mucho (as performed by the Beatles
Love Will Keep Us Together by Captain & Tenille, which is not especially romantic, I just really like it.
And finally, Count Baise's Shout and Feel It. This last one is a bit tricky as (as far as I know) there aren't any words to it; it's just that when I hear it I find myself wishing it was written about me.

Ok, caffiene crash imminent. On with the linky bits:

1 Also, in high school, after seeing Dead Poets Society for the umpteenth million times, I confessed to friends that if a guy came and recited Byron's She Walks in Beauty to me, I'd probably fall in love with him on the spot. Then someone came to the movie theater box office where I worked and recited Byron's She Walks in Beauty to me, and I did not fall in love with him on the spot. It was, to say the least, awkward.
2 Ooh. I see from his website he'll be touring with Madeleine Peyroux. I wouldn't mind catching that show.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, October 12, 2006
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Just an Old-Fashioned Love Song, Playing on My Radio   

Local radio station, WXPN, is currently broadcasting their 885 Greatest Artists of All Times playlist - which means they're playing a much wider variety of genres and artists than ususal. This has, so far, been fun to listen to (with the minor meltdown I had when Great White (GREAT WHITE?) somehow made the list.

However, My Funny Valentine (for Chet Baker) played not too long ago - and whereas I realize it's a jazz standard - it is one I loathe with my whole being. I don't find it remotely romantic, and I think if anyone ever sang it to me, I'd beat them with my favorite work of art (which, for this purpose, shall be deemed to be Brancusi's "Kiss" sculpture - because it's heavy). I like the tune well enough, though. So it's pretty safe to play it over Muzak in my general vicinity.

Look - I get that it's got the whole Sonnet 130 thing going on. But whereas Shakespeare manages to evoke feelings of deeply-seeded love in his celebration of an imperfect (by societal standards) woman - I always got impression that the narrator of My Funny Valentine wanted the object of the song to stick around for their own twisted amusement. Perhaps it is because while the heart of Sonnet 130 seems to be "she may not be beautiful, but she is beautiful to me," My Funny Valentine is more along the lines of "You're ugly and dumb, but hey - you know, stick around. For laughs."

Consider the lyrics: "Dim-witted?" "Vacant?" "slightly dopey?" And let us not forget the kicker - "Is your mouth a little weak? When you open it to speak, are you smart?" The singer hasn't even spoken to this person, and they're leading the romantic assault with insults?

Maybe it's because I believe "smart is sexy", - but I fail to believe that making love to someone through song by suggesting they are funny looking, clueless, and that you have no idea about their personality is remotely effective in the slightest. And yet it must, because the song has been around for ages.

Blargh. (Yeah - that's all I've got. Sometimes when I open my mouth, I'm not especially smart either.)

Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, October 11, 2006
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Monday Morning Madness   

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, October 08, 2006
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Friday Follies   

Fountain This is a photo of the Fountain at Logan Square, which I snapped on my camera phone on my way to the Free Library last night. For the very first time, I was sad it was Autumn, because that means the fountain will soon be shut-off; and when it's in its full, geiser-like glory, it's one of the more majestic sites in Center City.

It also made me sad, because when I went to take the photo, I realized I was stuck with only my camera phone (my digital camera being on the countertop at home, waiting for the battery to charge). This meant that despite the fact that John Hodgman, Jonathan Coulton, David Rees and Amy Sedaris were all going to be on stage together just yards away from the fountain, I wasn't going to be able to get any pictures.

Ah, well. They were very funny anyway. I like when Internet (and, you know, other) celebrities visit town in person. Then I get to go outside of my apartment, yet still be entertained like I'm chained to my PC.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, October 03, 2006
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Monday Morning Madness   

Autumn is here - it's really here! I'm ridiculously excited for this weather, and adore being outside in it. Also, October means Halloween, which I am also ridiculously excited for; but also a little panicked because I am still without costume. But hey, it's no biggie. I have a month, right? (Right?!)

What do you mean normal adults don't worry about this sort of thing. Pbbbbbttt to you!

Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, October 02, 2006
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