beggars and choosers!

lately i’ve been wanting to add some interesting vintage stuff to my wardrobe. this is difficult and discouraging, because most vintage clothes are too small for me. it’s not just a weight issue; my shoulders are usually too wide for the jackets and shirts. this was even the case when i was in high school and was very slim. couple that with the fact that vintage clothes are usually just more difficult to shop for– they tend to be crammed into racks, in dark stores, with little sensible organization and a poor signal-to-noise ratio– and i haven’t made much of an effort in this direction in many years.

but i was feeling like i’d be up for it this week, and since “sarah”: and i had planned to hang out today, i was hoping she’d be up for a trip down to “beggars and choosers”: in pittsboro, and indeed she was.

i kind of knew they’d renovated recently, but i was amazed at the changes in the store. everything has been cleaned out and organized. the main floor is still a jumble of housewares and furniture (and a kitten!) but it’s a bit easier to negotiate. the back room has been fully cleaned out and organized, and is full of patterns (organized in easy to access drawers, by decade), fabric, and a huge assortment of vintage buttons, belt buckles, and other notions. the basement has had most of the junky furniture removed, and is again much easier to negotiate. one long wall is a rack of bargain clothes, and that’s where i had the most luck. i also started noticing that her prices are much, _much_ better than they used to be. the bargain clothes are 2 for $5. i found a vintage shirt, coat, blazer, and a 40’s era purse for a grand total of $10. the clothes all have some issues, of course, but i think i can work with them. the basic fit of the blazer, in particular, is perfect.

the upper floor is still devoted to clothes and accessories. she has culled the clothing heavily and the signal _far_ outweighs the noise now. the clothes are much less crowded on the racks, and the lighting is better, too, i think. the prices are _astounding_ when you compare them to untidy museum! sarah found two fabulous mod hats, one of which is actually mink, for little more than her similar hat from untidy cost.

(i don’t mean to dis on untidy– y’all know i love that place. their rent on broad street must be astronomical, especially compared to rent in pittsboro. i don’t fault them for their prices but it’s natural to compare.)

i didn’t find anything upstairs but i really did look at everything. i didn’t let myself get discouraged. sarah did great, finding the two hats, two pairs of shoes, and some other items from both upstairs and from the basement. (note that the hat you see her in to the right is not one she bought– i’ll let her describe it in her blog though. that’s a special hat.)

it was a nice outing and the changes in the store are definitely for the better.

the tkdf project

many years ago, i was involved in an improvisational audio collage show on wxdu. personnel were typically “jason!,”: ian rothwell, and me, although the cast rotated and we had folks come in and help from time to time.

ian is a very meticulous person and he taped every show. each tape was carefully labelled with the name of that week’s show, the date, and the show number. at some point, he divided the tapes three ways and we each received a set. i believe we were supposed to sift through the tapes, identify the best sections, and possibly compile them in some kind of digitized form.

i’ve always intended to follow through with this project, but software (and motivation) has been an issue. i recently found a blog post about digitizing and editing old cassettes that finally pointed me in the right direction and i’ve got two apps that seem to work and have the features i need. Audio Recorder for sound capture, and Audacity for editing. Audacity has a visual representation of the sound waves, which I need for editing… i can’t navigate sound without a visual. Just the way my brain works.

so last night i captured the first tape, show #4, recorded on may 31, 1996. this show may be so early that it’s only ian… jason and i joined up after ian had done a few shows by himself, i think.

i always thought of it as unlistenable– something that was immensely fun to _do,_ but probably hell to actually hear on the radio. but as i sit here listening to this show, i find that i don’t want to stop. it’s more mesmerizing than irritating. i don’t think it’s because i was involved… i have no memory of this particular show, i don’t even know if i was there when it was created. having done the show probably affected the way i listen to music in general… i know i probably have a higher than average tolerance for music that many people would consider to be “just noise”. but much of what i am hearing right now isn’t too far off from what i hear on xdu’s playlist these days. it’s kind of nice, actually.

i’m not sure how possible it will be to pull out sections of a show, but i think i still want to try to do that. i could also make entire shows available for download in mp3 form if anyone wants them.

i also have a lot of photos that i took during shows that i should scan. i was the main photographer, which means that i don’t appear in many photos. that kind of pisses me off… because there were so few women working in audio collage at that time (maybe none?). because we never speak during the shows, without the photos, the people involved kind of disappear, there is no record of who was involved except in our own memories and the photos. i do have “this one picture.”: it was taken by our old black & white webcam, reflecting off the minidisc player (a cool camera angle invented by jim haverkamp).

anyway, i’m hoping that i’ll continue to follow through with this and come up with an end product that i could give to the station for our library. maybe it could even go on our playlist for a while– that would be cool.


update: here’s an excerpt from show #4. “excerpt #1, 2.6mb, mp3 format,”: and just for jason! “excerpt #1, 3.3mb, ogg format.”:

hoist ’em up there!

so i _did_ do something productive today… although it was also shopping. i’m creative that way. i decided i hate all my bras, i can never find anything that’s properly supportive, and “the girls” now need a bit of a hand up.

so, “like others before me,”: off i went to the bra patch!

like xta, i found i did not mind the “ladyhandling”, especially since i was expecting it. now interestingly, she fitted me at about the same size as victoria’s secret did– so i guess there’s at least one vic secret gal who knows what she’s doing to some degree. the funny thing is though that i’m in between sizes– neither a 38 D nor a 40 C– which effectively means that i can wear both, or in some cases, neither, depending on the bra.

the woman who fitted me gave me a lot more information, though, than the most helpful vic secret salesgirl ever did for me. she pointed out an area where i need support, where i never really though about needing support before. and of course, she pointed out the one crucial fact that all women need to have pointed out, probably– that the band needs to be low in the back to give you proper support.

she was helping a group of three women when i came in so i had to wait. another woman came in while i was there– she had called ahead for something specific. she was very, very tall and fairly well-endowed. the woman took one look at her and said, “honey, you’re not a double-d, you’re bigger than that. you need to let me fit you.” so she waited with me and we chatted a little. she was looking to get the exact thing that xta had originally gotten there years ago– a strapless bra that would actually provide support for a large bosom. the saleswoman diplomatically suggested that i let her be fitted ahead of me since she was looking for something specific. when it was my turn, the sales woman told me that she’d wound up fitting her to a _TRIPLE F!_ i was floored. that poor woman… how awful to cram yourself into something that’s that much too small. but as she said to me while we were waiting, now she knows where to go in the future.

it’ll be a while before i know if i’m really pleased with what i got there. two of them are not underwire and are similar in construction to the jeaunique bra that xta describes. they are not really all that pretty (well, kinda… they are lace…) but i put my shirt on over one and i was sold– it looked great. and i have to admit that the kind of 50’s look they have has its own sort of appeal– i guess this is how bras were constructed back in the day, before the $10 wal-mart underwire came along. you know how women looked in sweaters in the 50’s, right? ok, you get why i was sold.

sadly, due to my weird size, which is not quite full-figure and not quite… normal? (for lack of a better word), there weren’t many pretty, non-basic bras to choose from. she did show me one that i may go back for– it’s made to be worn under something with a low neckline. it wouldn’t be comfortable enough to wear every day, but might be nice for an evening. and now that i’ve got the basics covered, i may stray into victoria’s secret again… shhh, don’t tell the bra patch lady though, i think she is probably not a fan 🙂

my tough life continues

true to my word, no shopping yesterday except a very necessary trip to the grocery store. worked my way through s&tc s6 pt2*. awesome. no spoilers here though please, i still have a few friends who read this blog and haven’t seen it yet. also watched the last part of “second sight,”: a really rockin’ good pbs miniseries featuring the perpetually droolworthy clive owen. and re-watched ‘lost in translation’.

also, of course, on air. was strangely sleepy and out of it before my shift, convinced i was getting the stomach flu. 45 minutes in it became clear that i had merely been sleepy.

after my long stressful taxing day, i had to take a hot bath to relax. i swear, i don’t know what i’ll do if all this stress continues.

the cat is becoming cuddlier and cuddlier. it’s very sweet.

it’s looking like lunch today with jb and dinner with d&s perhaps. i shall be well fed.

* sex & the city, season 6, part 2

more mmmm

shopping yesterday with s.; she wisely volunteered to drive, knowing after our adventure on sunday, i might not want to. and she was right.

shopping went very well and i shouldn’t have to wander around in t-shirts while its 20 degrees out any longer.

last night i started thinking about all the things i would like to do during the break, and i gave in and made a list.

this morning, i deleted the file.

when my stepfather was attempting to describe how great the tour company for their trip to italy had been, he said, “i don’t think your mom made even _one_ list!” in that moment, i knew where i got the list thing from.

a lot of the time, lists feel good. i like making them, i like reading them, and i like checking things off of them. but this particular list made me feel just awful, so i had to get rid of it. i felt like it was hanging over me.

today i shopped a little more and was treated to a surprise vomit encounter in the target bathroom. i think i need to avoid public restrooms during flu season, this is two years in a row now. i know; better to be a witness than to be a victim. it just happens to be a mild phobia of mine.

tomorrow, i swear, i’ll do something other than shop…

a sigh of contentment

really, i am a very good date. i have a fireplace, and know how to use it. i have emmenthaler cheese and know enough to warm it by said fireplace. i have a completely absurd amount of red zin and no qualms whatsoever about uncorking a bottle in my similarly-hued, library-lit living room.

i would say “oh it’s too bad i’m here alone with the cat”, but really, i am way too happy and content to have any problem with the current situation whatsoever. more cheese and wine for me.


earlier today had a rather bracing experience in the van with the very tolerant s. we went out for hamburgers and i discovered– the hard way, on a blind curve of a very busy road– that the gas pedal had come loose in such a way that it was impossible to make the thing move. so we sat there with emergency blinkers on, on the worst possible part of duke street, cars honking with full doppler effect as they sped by, attempting to figure out what the fuck was up with the gas pedal. we cobbled together a sort of solution, which involved me driving barefoot, and not mentioning, until we were parked, that the brakes were also terrifyingly soft.

arriving at the cook-out parking lot, i shut off the engine and proceeded to yank a part of the dash off in dramatic fashion. this is how you get to the brake fluid reservoir, which i explained to s. as she stared at me in wonderment. sure enough it was low. we got it topped off, got cheeseburgers as planned, and used extra brake fluid to clean the rusty metal around the gas pedal so we could apply a little duct tape to the situation. we made it home ok, but i really hate to think of those moments on the blind curve with the blinkers on. jesus.

advice for online dating

* if you are 20 years older than i am, have kids, and your listed interests are pool and poker, i am not going to be interested in you, and and this should not really come as a big surprise to you.

* if you also message me three times and i don’t return any of your messages, you should stop. now. you’re freaking me out.


operated on my own schedule this morning which i have to admit is really nice; normally i’m scheduled to pick up gran at a particular time so i’m locked into a time frame. finished grandma’s present, pulled the wreath out of the attic and wired it to the front of the van, had a nice breakfast and got rolling around 11am.

was startled to pass fong, one of the two sisters who run shanghai, attempting to cross 55 as i drove by. felt like santa cruising through all the neighborhoods in my tall sleigh. almost waved at a couple of kids. somehow the van just feels like the right vehicle for christmas, maybe because it makes me feel like i’m living in the past just to drive it, of course this is a soft-focus, glowing, perfectly retro past… like living in a fantasy land. which christmas is supposed to be, right?

said to mom, hey, i didn’t know megan was moving to vegas. “Oh, that girl. She’s not moving to Vegas permanently– it’s just for three months, but she’s driving her parents crazy making a big deal of it.” ah. i get it. she’s going out there for work, and actually, it sounds damn cool– her company is developing a multimedia security system, and i guess some casinos are interested in it. maybe i should go visit…

mom and i actually had a nice talk, we talked some about how weird and unfriendly a lot of her sibs are… that really joan is the only one either of us really feel comfortable with. which made me feel a bit better. i mean, i’m still a bit of a square peg, but in the context of our family, i’m probably fairly friendly and have reasonable social skills. it makes me appreciate that i’m not only getting some social awkwardness from my dad’s side, but from her side as well.

dinner was great– ham, homemade mac & cheese, spinach casserole, rolls and coconut cake for dessert. wayne pulled out a bottle of special wine they’d gotten in nova scotia– you can only get it there. i forget what it’s called. it was delicious.

the stovetop espresso maker that i got was the most exciting present. we decided to try it out after dessert. it’s very dramatic the way it works. you wait and wait and then a little trickle of brown appears, and you wonder if that is all, then suddenly after more waiting, it explodes three times, and on the third explosion, it foams and you get the creamy stuff on top. stuart decided to try it, his first espresso experience, so it was a little unfortunate that there were no fat-bearing dairy products in the house suitable for blending with it. wayne and i agreed that it was pretty damn good though and we all got into a whole discussion of coffee whilst crammed into their tiny galley kitchen, watching the espresso maker expectantly. daniel and i schooled everyone on ‘espresso’ vs. ‘expresso’, even mom didn’t know the right way to say it. which is shocking, because she’s an editor _and_ loves travelling in italy.

gran’s family in alabama, whom she never gets to see, compiled an utterly (and unintentially) hysterical video-letter for her over thanksgiving. each family unit sat down in front of the camera for a little interview (“hi aunt bonnie, this is holly, i’m 17 now and a senior at…”) with stage-whispered prompting from behind the camera (“and _what_ do you do…?”) the best was the 17 year old girl who plays two sports, plans to become an engineer, was homecoming queen, and is representing her county at a beauty pageant. stuart looked at me and said, “she’s in _our_ family??” and we all cracked up. i’m not sure we’ve ever managed to breed a homecoming queen before.

we started talking about the new $800k “cottages” that are being built in another part of the neighborhood, so i asked gran how much the house cost when they bought it new in 1948. she wasn’t sure but said it was under $20k. there was only one other complete and occupied house on the street when they moved in; that house was and still is occupied by a woman named peggy, who gran said came over to say hi the day they moved in and invited them to dinner that night. peggy and her two daughters mary and margaret came to visit today, which was a trip.

stuart and daniel each gave me an xtc cd, so i have enough now to get started with a mix. so far the mix is about 3 hours long and i’m still missing a lot of stuff. it’s kind of difficult to do justice to a band that has been recording for 27 years, and produced an album a year for about the first ten years of that career. i’m finding unexpected convergences in things recorded 20 years apart, and that the dukes of stratosphear stuff makes really good transitions in some of the more difficult places. it’s hard not to include the entirety of the first dukes record; it’s so fucking good, all the way through. i should hit the used bookstores to see if i can find the stuff i’m still missing.

so now i can relax. a whole week with no work and no travel and no real plans of any kind. wheee!!

Moses’ Day

I made my grandmother a Christmas present. She loves kitties and she’s not so good with words and names any more. I made her a little comic book about one day in the life of Moses The Cat.

“You can check it out for yourself on the web.”: