Monthly Archives: September 2010

legos!!!!!!!!!!!

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on saturday, ray & i went to the toy & plastic brick museum in bellaire, OH (about an hour west of pittsburgh.) if you are ever in the western PA/eastern OH/northern WV area, and are moderately to incredibly nerdy, i would highly recommend a visit. it’s in a mildly creepy abandoned elementary skewl, and it is in actuality a lego museum, but they have to refer to it as a “plastic brick museum” because they aren’t officially affiliated.

anyway! this whole place is, like, a museum of obsessiveness, or a shrine to every weird, quirky, interesting thing one can do with legos. i won’t ruin the whole museum, but here are a few highlights:


uh oh! looks like there’s some dischord in lego land! a lot of these little lego guys were doing such funny, weird, quirky things. i wish i had taken more pics of them. i especially liked the king tut randomly hanging out on a city street corner, and all the skeletons wandering around…basically the whole thing is like being invited into a really strange, imaginative world.

fake assembly line! this was also really strange and creative and i wish i’d taken more pictures.

i think my favorite thing is this genderqueer pirate that ray bought at the gift shop! this little pirate and their pretty pink bike makes me so happy.

this whole day reminded me of playing legos for hours with my brother when we were kids, the whole worlds that we created. i always liked playing with the little people more than actually building stuff, so i guess it makes sense that i was more drawn to the little people than the gargantuan structures. the whole day was strange and sad and beautiful in a way i can’t even explain.

other than that, i’ve been pretty good. my new job is going well and i finished my book proposal!!! i’ve been working on my book since 2006, and i’m pretty much done, i just needed to sum it up to send out to potential publishers. i’m not actually done done, because it needs an epilogue, but i’m getting really close…

oh, the things one thinks about when one is bored.

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remember school? remember the hours of sitting, pointlessly, how it wore on you, how it brought strange things to the top of your head? work gets boring, yes, but it’s different than school, because there’s usually some work, or gossip, or drama to distract you from your own boredom.
i’m in training for my new job, all week, and it’s kind of like school. sitting numbly in a windowless room, watching power point presentations and trying to sift through an endless stream of rules, policies and forms, often making little to no sense, or contradicting each other. such is the life of a government worker, i know. and every so often my brain can’t take it any more, and i check out.
i’ve been reading the most excellent and highly recommended (by me, and probably a lot of other people too) book a visit from the goon squad by jennifer egan. it’s the kind of book that gets you into other peoples’ heads, makes you know them, understand them, sympathize with them even when they’re awful people. so this has made me more aware of my own thoughts, made me remember things more in-depth and meaningfully.
one memory that i’ve been dwelling on is so mundane. i don’t know why i’m even thinking about it. it’s just a food not bombs cooking from seven years ago. my friend walt0r and i sat on the couch of my girlfriend-at-the-time’s punk house and made sandwiches for serving from a garbage bag full of almost-stale bagels. slice bagel, smear with veganaise, lettuce, tomato, wrap in saran wrap. nothing interesting or poignant happened. we made sandwiches until we ran out of veganaise. i remember nothing else of that day, but i’ve been reliving that strange, pointless memory over and over again at work. why? i have no clue. when my brain tires of that it moves to another strange lettuce-and-tomato related memory–this thing, which i don’t remember ever owning as a kid but i must have played with it at someone’s house, and i’m thinking about how you could put a tiny blob of play-doh under the lever and press it down and a tiny, perfectly-indented tomato would come out. it was so cool, and as i sit there pretending to pay attention my brain does it again, and again, and again.

i have accomplished very little else this evening, besides listening to “the queen is dead” twice..

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…and uploading a select few pictures of ye olde bike trip to my flickr. for you real life friends out there, ray is putting a much more extensive collection on his facebook, but it may take a while.
today was my first day at my new job. it was mostly okay, except a co-worker expressed dismay that we aren’t mandated to report to INS if we discover a client is in the country illegally. (i now work for a government agency that provides assistance with heating bills for low-income peeps). like, she was seriously DISAPPOINTED that she wasn’t going to get anyone deported! i missed about 20 minutes worth of important info imagining smashing her face into the oyster-gray table we were all sitting at, and/or giving her a good talking to.
other than that, it was okay. and i have nothing else to share!

home again, home again

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away from home for nearly two weeks, which doesn’t sound that long, but is. yesterday i had one crazy station-wagon ride to brooklyn, where my dad did the infamous “dump and run”, as he calls it. this was more insane than most: we hurtled off the BQE and my dad squealed to a stop right by the exit ramp, right next to a NO STANDING ANY TIME sign. i said, “dad…” he said, “it’s okay, let’s get moving!” so we leapt to our feet, pulled my and ray’s bikes and panniers out of the back seat in record time (as ray was still unbuckling his seat belt in a daze, typical). my dad hugged both of us goodbye and then sped off in a cloud of exhaust. as ray hilariously and succinctly put it, “that was the dumpiest dump-and-run EVER.”
we put our bikes back together, attached panniers, bungeed sleeping bags, and then rode over the manhattan bridge into chinatown. OMG, new york is so bike-friendly these days! it’s almost as if bicycling is a valid, sensible, eco-friendly mode of transportation and not something for scofflaws, crazies, and the actively suicidal. that’s how i felt, anyway, riding up allen street to bluestockings in an amazing median bike lane WITH LITTLE REFLECTIVE BARRIERS SO CARS CAN’T USE IT AS A PARKING SPACE OR TURN LANE!!!!!!!!!!!!! srsly, those of you who ride bikes in cities know my pain. i actually rode down a very busy street in manhattan and i was totally calm, didn’t come anywhere close to dying, just had a nice, relaxing, fast-paced ride to one of my fave feminist bookstores in the country. i can’t even explain how awesome it was to ride a bike AND be treated like a valid human being who doesn’t want to be honked at, threatened, hit, sideswiped or scared. it makes being back in pgh suck a lot more.
not that being back here necessarily sucks. it’s nice to be home again, curled up in our big comfortable bed, a stack of mail on the kitchen table.
anyway. maybe i should write a little bit about our whirlwind east coast tour. we were going to spend a lot more time, like maybe a week in DC, three days in philly, a week in NYC…but then i found out i got a new job, which i’m starting on monday, so we had to rush home.
so there were two nights in DC, where we ate a lot of delicious food and went to a lot of museums (the best being the postal museum, which is a truly wonderful place to be if you’re a nerd. and it’s free! free! freeeeee! we also got lost a lot and i was too overwhelmed with being back in civilization again to call j.bee, which i am pissed at myself for.
then we hopped a chinatown bus to philly for eighteen whirlwind hours, in which i met my friend’s toddler, talked a lot about bikes, was stood up for breakfast by my ex and introduced my boyfriend to one of my favorite places in the world.
then, another c-town bus ride to manhattan, a babeland visit, a red bamboo dinner, sitting around washington square park shaking our heads at all the fixies prancing around, a truly annoying LIRR ride with our bikes and all the miserable dead-eyed commuters acting like we were being such assholes for existing, and then a hilarious drinking session with my family. the next day we went to the nude beach at cherry grove with one of my oldest friends, and even though it was only in the 70’s we still got naked and went in the water. ray was kinda apprehensive about getting naked, but the beach was very queer & safe-feeling (also, mostly abandoned) and he made the decision to show the world how beautiful & sexy trans bodies can be, and i am glad he did.
several completely hilarious things that i can’t write about here ensued, and then we took the ferry home, and then went out to dinner with my mom, which was loud and hilarious. and now i am back here.

we biked for days & days

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i’m sitting in ray’s uncle’s house in washington DC right now. we did it, we fucking did it, can you believe it? 320 dusty, sweaty miles on our loaded-down bikes. i had a couple of strikes against me: couldn’t afford fancy panniers, so i used my nearly-10-pound rear baskets (someone i met on the trail referred to it as my “shopping cart”, which is a fairly accurate description) to load all my shit instead. because of these baskets and their awesome carrying capacity, i got saddled with carrying all the water for both me AND ray, by far the heaviest thing on the trip. and, oh, did i mention my bike was stuck in 3rd gear (the biggest/hardest chainring) so i was in 3rd gear the whole motherfucking way?
more than one person, bike mechanics and friends alike, expressed doubt that i’d be able to complete this mission at all. but bikey and i showed them, and the weird thing is, it wasn’t even really that hard. physically, anyway. emotionally i hit some rough ground about halfway through the trip, but i’m okay now i guess. the scenery was beautiful, and our first few nights sleeping in a tent we were feeling so alive and so free that we never wanted it to be over.
but eventually the miles & the heat & the endless shouting over the crunch of gravel, the repetitive misunderstandings, the crappy food and the inconvenience of tent life kinda got to me. now in my memory it’s all a big blur, like one extremely long intense day. i am still sorting it out.
am i different? i don’t know. i expected to be. my thighs feel a lot more muscular, but i don’t really look any different, i don’t feel any different. there’s no fanfare at the end of the trail–it just stops–and ray & i didn’t have the dramatic entrance into washington dc that we envisioned. not even a “welcome to washington” sign or a milepost 0, for fuck’s sake! instead we were thrust into a yuppie shopping district packed with people, after spending a week pretty much by ourselves. it was mega-overwhelming. we rode by the washington monument but were too busy arguing about the most efficient way to get to ray’s uncle’s house to really look at it and think, wow, we’re here.
ray’s parents, who live about an hour away, surprised us with their presence. his whole family is so genuinely nice, so unabashed in their love of each other, and they include me in that too, which is always so nice but a little sad because it’s not at all the experience i have with my own family. so i was happy to see them but also sad because i didn’t want to talk anymore, i just wanted to eat and go to bed. but everyone else was low-energy too, and understanding of my sullenness. and after riding over 50 miles that day in a frenzy it was so nice to sleep on a real bed, in a house, with a toilet and a pillow. the things i didn’t know i had.
we’re going to philly tomorrow! the nude beach at cherry grove with one of my old-school BFF’s on thursday! hopefully home by friday night! and on monday, i start my new job (which i found out that i got via voicemail in the middle of the woods in maryland, long after i’d given up all hope…but that’s another story)!