Hey, whaddya know. I like sardines.

I love the smell of old home movies. The film, the projector, the hot fragrance of the bulb on cellulose. I love the clickety whirring sound. I love the flickery picture. I love the silvery glint of the screen. Unfortunately, all of our old home movies feature me prominently making a complete ass of myself. Apparently, I mistook my father and his Bell & Howell Super 8 for a big time movie executive who might conceivably offer me a cushy studio contract once he had an opportunity to examine my talents -- mostly just cavorting about like a halfwit and saying things like, "Hey, Dad, look at me! Over here, Dad! Over here!"

On a similar note, I do not love the smell of napalm in the morning.

When I finished reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I did NOT go about the house looking for secret passages in cupboards and closets. So there. I did, however, undertake to write my very own adolescent fantasy story which was, not surprisingly,  basically the exact same story with most of the names changed.  It was never published.

Say! I just won $250 in the office Superbowl pool! Three cheers for the year 2001! What an appropriate way to officially "kick off" the best year of my life, as I am sure it will be. I just read my horoscope, and it said, "Don't kill yourself this year." Talk about promising prospects for great things in the works!

Epilogue: The year 2001 was not actually the best year of my life after all. But it was certainly a year in which an extra two hundred and fifty bones came in handy.

A guy once argued with me about the ethics of eating meat, while I attempted to politely devour a perfectly grilled T-bone. Not only did I find this phenomenally annoying at the time, but his premise was inherently flawed. He started in on this "God gave man dominion over the animals" trip, as if it's my job to look after the damn cows instead of turning them into a dignified meal. And I was like, "Yeah, DOMINION. Absolute ownership, supreme authority, pick whatever definition you like. It still means God doesn't mind me having a ham sandwich when the fancy strikes me." I don't have anything against vegetarians. I admire their dedication and their asceticism. But I have a strict rule when it comes to the just and kind treatment of animals: Anything that makes my tummy happy is justifiable. Sorry, veal. With little reluctance, I nibble thee.

I spend a lot of money on clothes and shoes. To some degree, I do it because I want to look my best and feel good about what I see when I happen past a reflective surface. But mostly I just do it because I like compliments. If you see me, you should keep this in mind.

I love pants. I have been buying a lot of pants lately. Not so much the shoes anymore. Not even so much the tops. And hardly ever skirts. Just pants. A ridiculous number of them. More pants than any girl should own. If I lived in the days when women were not allowed to wear pants, I'd be very frustrated.

My favorite kind of jerky is pork. Beef jerky, turkey jerky, ostrich jerky, tofu jerky, for Pete's sake -- CLAM jerky -- you can all take a flying leap as far as I'm concerned. I like sweet, sticky pork jerky in a vacuum-sealed bag with a resealable top and a logo that looks like a combination between a snake and a lion on it. Or maybe it's a five wearing a lion hand puppet on top. I can't tell. Asian symbology can be a little cryptic.

I have been exercising my dominion over the lesser species quite frequently of late. Two mice in traps in the garage and a big nasty spider at least once every other day. Last summer, I won the battle over the ground squirrels. But there were heavy casualties. And my heart was softened. Stay away from my yard, poor bunnies -- the shadow of death lingers.

I've met Barry Levinson. He was eating an Oreo (TM) and he shook my hand and introduced himself. He still had little chocolate cookie crumbs on the corners of his mouth. I love that story.

I'm the kind of girl who loves to lay around and do nothing but feels despondent in the face of wasting time. I feel my mortality pressing down on me with ever more urgency and worry that I will accomplish the myriad tasks I once assumed would take care of themselves. For instance, I always just took it for granted that I would write a book and be catapulted to international stardom in the blink of an eye. And yet here I sit, my ass firmly planted in the spoon part of the catapult, and no one around to cut the rope and send me hurtling off into my destiny. Rats!

I sure do like it when people tell me I'm pretty.

I always carry an umbrella. Sometimes two. If the rains come, you will see me and my little umbrella, the one with the leopard spots on, and you will think, "She must be from Seattle." And you will be wrong.

Ritz(R) Air Crisps (R) will be the death of me. Their wholesome goodness is frightening. And yet they are so very delicious. I will probably be found dead one day with my trachea crammed full of them.

I know one thing: You don't know you really love someone until you spend $4,000 on them.
I have more shoes than I have hairs on my head. I know this is true because I have counted neither my shoes nor my hairs -- mainly because there are so many of both it would be a huge waste of my time. And I've got things to do. For instance, I find that I'm constantly running out of Fruity Pebbles and having to scurry off to the store and buy more. I wish there were some sort of cereal and milk home delivery program. There's an idea. Who says I'll never be rich?!

I'm a simple girl. Not dumb or anything. But I like to think of myself as relatively uncomplicated -- a free spirit, if you will. I'm probably wrong. But I like to think of myself this way just the same.

The pistachio is king of the nuts. I've heard numerous arguments to the contrary, often citing inferior upstarts such as the cashew and the macadamia. But this is all sheer madness. Pistachio is king. On your knees, rest of the nut kingdom.

In my childhood autograph book -- the one with the puffy red vinyl binding and the pages folded over in alternating triangles and the Scholastic Book Order stickers on the inside cover saying things like "Champeen Spellar" and "The Man in the Iron Mask had bad breath" -- I have an autograph from a very large Polynesian fellow who was on Hawaii Five-O at one time. He came to our house when we lived in the Philippines, and he sat on our couch. And I was so excited that we had a real live has-been TV star in our house that I went and grabbed my autograph book -- that's what it's for, after all -- and had him sign it just for me, which he did. After he left, I made some lofty claim that I would never let anyone else sit on the couch cushion he had sat on. That was short-lived. I don't even remember his name or who he played on the show. What do you want? -- I was seven.

I am a fan of three-quarter sleeves. But not on boys. Same goes for cropped pants. Show your ankles, ladies, but, gents, rethink the man capri. It's one of those fashion tricks. Like shiny skin and that artfully unwashed look. It was never meant to catch on.

When Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played oh so deliciously by Patrick Stewart) said, "The line must be drawn here!" in Star Trek: First Contact, I actually felt my ovaries quake. I'm not lying.

I used to write copy for the International Male catalog. No foolin'.

I don't think Krispy Kreme doughnuts are particularly or very surprisingly good.

The women of my  family make the best damned osso buco this side of Tuscany.

Sometimes I spend too much money. Especially when I'm buying crap. You never get your money's worth with crap.

God help me, I am an emotional prisoner of Beethoven's nine symphonies. Take your pick. Any one of them will stamp an irritatingly sincere smile on my face in no time. (No disco versions, please.) And the ever-lovin' 9th will be the ruination of my mascara on any day. I went to see the San Diego Symphony perform it on my birthday last year, and I was sobbing like a little baby -- or maybe like a very strange grown woman. We were sitting very near the front, and I worried that I was making the soloists uncomfortable. They kept singing and everything, but they were all looking at me funny.

I cry easily. I will cry during a Kodak commercial. I will cry remembering a Kodak commercial. I was genetically engineered by scientists at the Kleenex Corporation.

Some people call me "the Hatemobile." Don't ask me why. I have also been accused of making things up. For instance, no one has ever  called me "the Hatemobile." Sorry about that.

It's too bad movies aren't real.

I have gone thrift store CRAZY. Really. I'm out of control. Anyone want to buy a copy of Parker Brothers' Mille Bornes (the classic French card game)? I've got three sets. I could stand to give one up. Honest.

The fireplace is the most important invention of modern existence.

When you stay in a hotel, take a long hot bath. Who cares if the other guests have to take cold ones. You're paying for it. Live it up! And if you don't need a bath, just run the water for a long time. That way you get your money's worth. That's what my mom would tell you anyway.

Get this: I was at my first orchestra rehearsal for My Fair Lady -- I'm a violinist, if you must know -- and we were about two hours into playing. We took a short break, and when I came back to my seat, I was feeling all the telltale symptoms of low blood sugar. The shakiness, the verge-of-a-cold-sweat ickiness, the weakness, the dizziness. I wondered to myself if a bowl of Quaker Crunchy Corn Bran (a fine meal on any day) might not be enough nourishment for an 18-hour day. Well, I knew I needed something, but there were no victuals to be had. So I resorted to opening a pack of Butter Rum Life Savers (not to be used as a flotation device) I found in my violin case. Clumsily cramming two or three of these tasty morsels into my mouth quickly restored my insulin levels to normal. Relieved sigh. The interesting detail in this seemingly pointless anecdote is that this roll of Life Savers has been in my violin case for FOURTEEN YEARS. Don't ask me why. It's not a very engaging explanation. But suffice it to say that these were not the freshest candies my mouth had ever seen. Although the hole was still delightfully intact.

The list of retailers who have tried to rip me off is ever-lengthening. To the ranks of Blockbuster Music (who actually pulled a full-on bait and switch with me, the details of which are so harrowing you will exhale relievedly that they have now become the Wherehouse -- not that that makes any sense whatever), Fry's Electronics (Calvin Peterson, Customer Service Supervisor, you are dead to me), and the Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store (don't ask) now add Burger King (what's a girl gotta do to get a sandwich without onions in this town?!) and UMAX (scanner, my ass). I'll keep you posted as further details present themselves.

I went to a Mormon wedding (just the reception, mind you -- I'm unclean) recently, and I was quite literally the only single woman there. The bride mercifully didn't force me to go out and leap for the bouquet. She didn't give it to me at all. Phew. Dodged that bullet, huh?

I take at least one camera with me everywhere I go. And I take pictures that no one will ever want to see. And I take pictures of myself in objects that reflect. And I take pictures of people around me. Even the ones I don't know. One day, when the world and the dissenters insist that I never happened -- that I was a bit of propaganda invented by the marketing industry to dull the sense of future generations -- these pictures will be proof that I was here but that I was never such a wonderful photographer.

Furniture with button-tufted surfaces creates the illusion of luxury to me. I am fond of a little bit of loft.

I like a good, messy chili cheeseburger, and I don't care who knows it. And I will also put sour cream on anything. Anything.

Whilst driving to work one morning, a guy in front of me was deliberately driving slowly so that he could maintain his position, parallel to the car of an apparent friend of his.  They were laughing and gesturing at each other and having just the best time -- all the while keeping me from passing either of them and/or getting on with my very busy life.  I, furious, observed this same mobile irritant depress his brake pedal to allow the chick to my right (his buddy) to pass him, slowing to well below the posted maximum speed.  After letting his pal pass, he decided it was a good time to speed up . . . right into the waiting laser gun path of a friendly motorcycle cop, who proceeded to pull over my new best friend and give him a ticket I wish I could have written myself.  Ah, me -- few things are as satisfying as good old-fashioned justice.

I am in love with Alec Baldwin! I actually dragged my ass out of bed just now, having watched Alec give an amazingly affable performance on David Letterman's fine program -- one in a long string of such appearances -- and I found myself simultaneously laughing aloud, congratulating myself on recognizing his great talent and wit, and shamefully resenting Kim Basinger for snaring him. Of course, I must point out that I'm not in love with Alec for any shallow sexual reason. Sure, he's a pleasant enough looking fellow. But it's not that at all, I assure you. He's so smart and funny and personable and well-read, and what a storyteller! His brothers must just HATE him.

When bananas have all sorts of brown spots on them, I get all grossed out. I don't know why. I can barely stand to look at them. It's creepy. I'll eat 'em. I just can't look at 'em. Call me crazy. You won't be the first.

I like ice cream more than I like cake.

I got a perfect score on a civil service exam once, when I was a tender eighteen years of age. Everyone marveled and scrambled around nervously, as if they were trying to find the sedan chair on which to seat me, hoist me on their shoulders, and parade me to and fro in the hallways of the Bureau of the Census. I remember getting done so quickly that I wondered if I'd missed a page. I remember wondering if the alphabetizing section had trick questions in it, because it seemed impossibly simple. Does "Mc" have it's own section when you alphabetize surnames? And, if so, does it come before or after the normal "M" section? I was a hero that day. A hero to a bunch of retired people and tenderfooted high school graduates who could dream no higher than $6.92 an hour. Later, some of those people got fired because they made too many mistakes. I, on the other hand, got certificates for accuracy and was offered a job in "management." I hope I made paper aeroplanes out of those certificates. Instead of just accidentally leaving them somewhere.

I bought an electric violin a while ago. I was very proud of myself for doing it. I carry it around proudly, except when I'm noticing how the two backpack-style straps on the back of the case are so taut that a woman made of paper and shaped like an envelope would have difficulty putting them over her shoulders. I was pulled over at the border checkpoint recently -- and inexplicably -- and was asked to open my trunk, revealing my two violin cases and some clothes and my professional tote. I rather hoped the agents would ask me to open the cases, so I could show them my fancy new fiddle, but they seemed more interested in whether I'm half Japanese and how long I've been a musician and where I live and how old I am. That silent question I kept asking in my head, "Am I under arrest?" quickly turned into another question, "Am I on a date?" My skirt was far too short for a run-in with the law. I made sure to be wearing jeans the next time I made the crossing.

If you keep everything, you will have too much. This is what my closets and cupboards would tell you if they could speak. And if they could speak, I would smack them across the mouths for their insolence.

Remember when someone -- a respected family friend or elder loved one -- imparted to you the wisdom that life isn't fair? It turns out that's very true.


© Copyright 1997-2006 Mary Forrest.
Don't even think about passing this off as your own handiwork!

This site created and maintained by Mary Forrest.