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March 2000

Whine and Boos

Lots of ups and downs this weekend, with the requisite amount of wacky stuff thrown in for good measure. since this is still a family show, I can't share all the details, natch'. I will say, however, that the new contact-lens-empowered Sparky has reason to think that ditching the glasses wasn't such a bad idea. If only that would help me land a foxy partner-in-crime instead of quick flings with Williamsburg hipsters or impossibly good-looking actor types. (seriously, it's been a fun couple of weekends, in that regard.)

Aside from fleeting moments of self-esteem and carnal adventure, this last mopey week made for a pretty mopey weekend. I really want to find a different way to support myself, FAST. I want to be a designer again. selling out was good in concept, but taking the techie route was not the best way to do it. Ironically enough, my years of doing high-end tech work and becoming a print-design whiz are now making it hard for me to find lucrative work. I never wanted to do HTML code-monkey jobs for a living because they were too tedious, and there was always something more interesting to tackle. But now it seems like I have no relevant Web design experience. I guess hand-coding my own web site for four years, just for the fun of it, doesn't count.

This weekend also had a few more of my musings about how much of a problem I might really have with depression. Am I just lazy, or is it normal to feel overwhelmed by things like returning phone calls or folding laundry or buying groceries? Who can say? The potential is certainly there — my family seems to be chock full of depressive types. Or maybe that’s just the Irish thing: it's not really a tendency toward substance abuse and moodiness, just good-natured drinkin' and being taciturn. I have my doubts. (In case you've never heard my explanation, that’s the condensed version — minus a lot of the racy details — of why I’m too afraid to start drinkin' or smokin'.)

And I want to be free of debt so I can do something fun with the money I’m making in the meanwhile. And I want my tonsils removed. And I want to get my driver's license. And I want a sweetie petunia to call my own. And I want to stop having hypoglycemic blackouts (see, I said it was a wacky weekend) every few years. Whine, whine, whine.

Thank goodness that despite the moping and the job panic, we finally finished Fragile. Clémence and John Fury came over saturday, and we finally assembled the other two copies of our 132-page, handbound, photocollage opus about the rituals of moving. It was nice to have a little reunion (especially without Chad the slacker) now that the semester is so far behind us. Fragile really turned out well, which makes me happy. since we tried to rethink the mechanics of how to go through a book, it could have been a freakin' disaster. But instead, it rocks. Our professor had some professional photography done of the first copy, so pictures will be forthcoming.

Tids and Bits

Good advice from Dori, who dropped me a note after she noticed me in her referral logs: "if you're lurking, speak the f*ck up!"

Word to that. My fragile soul could use a little positive reinforcement right now.

I was really bummed to see that RiotHero is shutting down "QuietRiot," his password-protected area, at his parents' insistence. I’ve only recently gotten sucked into the world of this kid, a 15-year-old in Connecticut who's been writing a surprisingly vivid account of being...well, 15. I’m really impressed that he kept the protected side going for so long, but I guess his parents' paranoia finally kicked in. It's too bad, he's been writing some really moving, daring stuff. His folks claim that his private journal should be private, and not semi-public, but I think that putting it out for the consumption of only peole who don't know him was pretty bold, and probably cathartic. But finally he's found himself censoring what he writes, even in the secret area, because he knows his girlfriend and a couple of friends are reading it. Don't we all, to some degree? It's like the painful, poignant end of a James at 15 episode for the fin de siècle.

By the way, if you're able to offer me a lucrative new job in the design field, tell me. Please. I beg you. And if that’s not a hint about what's had me so mopey lately, I don't know what is.

In happier news, though, I made a small fortune from my eBay auctions. so I’m now a believer in seeing how much ordinary folks will pay for my old crap. ¡Viva el capitalismo!

Let's Go to the Movies

Movies were the theme this weekend. And quite a contrast of them. Friday night, Stephen and I met up at the swanky little Chelsea gallery where our friend Abbey works, and then took off for another one of our "Teen Nights," to go see Final Destination. We were supposed to meet up with the members of sixteen gay soccer teams after that, but apparently we missed them. Their loss.

Saturday night, after an afternoon watching all of More Tales of the City (not all it was cracked up to be) while curled up on the couch in my underwear and under a blanket, I went to go see the breathtakinlgly beautiful 70s-gay-art-porn classic, Pink Narcissus. Beforehand, after checking out the very addictive star Links site, where you can see how any two actors are connected (usually through work with veteran character actors like Shelley Winters that have made movies with almost everyone), we launched into our own Celebrity six Degrees obsession. some of our triumphs include linking Ingrid Bergman to Don Knotts, and Peter Lorre to Casper van Dien.

While we were listening to Simon's rare vinyl copy of the soundtrack to Liquid sky (sunday's couch-and-blanket feature), we talked about how wild it would have been to be urbane adults back in the early 80s in New York. I have a very pop-kitsch fondness for the West Coast 80s (as distilled in the classic Valley Girl), but a real fascination with the arty, New Wave, hedonistic, pre-Giuliani New York of that era. John made a good point, though: if the three of us had been around through all that, we'd surely be dead now, considering what we would have been doing to entertain ourselves. A chilling thought, but very true.

Tonight I'll finally see All About my Mother with a couple of new hipster pals from North Williamsburg. (A neighborhood I love and loathe at the same time. Dori's journal at Saran Warp illustrates the dilemma perfectly.)

My ambivalence about life in New York grows and grows, but that’s a rant for another day...

Toy Frenzy

Toy Week continues, full throttle! My awesome pal Dave had one of his toy-collecting minions send me this incredible Space Ghost figure, complete with desk, coffee cup, index cards, and removable hands so he can play either hero or talk show host. Carrying the box in from the mailman at work had me all giggly.

And then I discovered something incredible that I had overlooked on a fun site I visit once in a while: Doll Soup! It's a wildly funny and trashy soap opera played out by an assortment of dolls. It's all Melrose-esque and Valley-of-the-Dolls-alicious. It harkens back to such entertainment classics as Todd Haynes' brilliant superstar: The Karen Carpenter story, cast entirely with Barbie dolls.

And, of course, a happy birthday to Mark!

The Mego Years

Made-Over Megos

None of these guys are in my collection anymore. This is a historical photo from the Rhatigan family archives.

It's all about Mego, baby. As I’ve been putting more stuff up for my big auction on eBay, I realized that I should do a little research about some of the more obscure Mego items I had floating around.

Please tell me you know about the Mego superhero dolls. They were the cornerstone of my childhood, my favorite toys throughout elementary school. Being cursed with an overactive imagination, I refused to play with any of my toys as they characers they were sold as, so I made up all new characters for every onbe of them. What was great about the Mego dolls, aside from their excellent flexibility, was the fact that you could swap around all their costumes and accessories to form exciting new combinations.

Well, when I went hunting around for some background on the Mego dolls, I stumbled onto the motherlode of all Mego sites. I spent hours and hours poking around there, not just looking at the almost complete picture archive of all the dolls, but also checking out the incredible galleries of customized Mego dolls made to look like almost every other comic and sci-fi character around.

Another exciting, one much closer to my own Mego experience was SmallNet, a group of people who've transformed their Mego figures onto whole universes of their own characters. "You are big, but we are small!" The photo-documentary of the Rocket to the Roof mission was particularly fun. It produced many smiles here in the Rumpus Room.

Ol' Blue Eyes

Peripheral vision kicks ass. I finally got contacts this week, and it's a very startling change. Not only can I see clearly for the first time in months, but I have peripheral vision for the first time in about ten years. That first ride home on the subway was a bit of a sensory overload. Half the shock came from catching my reflection in the window of the train and seeing my face clearly. Yes, my eyes do have a color, a fact not many people notice when my eyes are obscured by glasses. so far, though, focusing on things in the foreground is a real bitch. I hope I get used to that soon.

Life has been pretty slow lately. A shocker, I know. I haven't been in the best of moods or the best of health (my winter cold finally caught up with me), so I’ve been laying low. I’ve watched a bunch of movies, but I’m sure no one needs to hear more reviews of anything.

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