Tuesday, August 31, 2004

But what does it mean?

A lot of backstory is going to be necessary here, and I'm going to make it as brief as possible.

When she was about 14, my younger sister went to live with my aunt (our mom's sister) and uncle, Laura and Greg. K had been unhappy living at home, was not responding well to homeschooling, and just generally needed a change. My mother reluctantly agreed, wanting K to be happy. Laura and Greg have a bit of money and act as though they have a great deal more. They also are the sorts who feel that their way is the only way, and expect people to adhere accordingly.

For several years their lifestyle was ideal for K - she finished high school with honors and attended the community college, where Greg is President, for one year. In the time that had passed, Laura and Greg adopted two sons and K took care of them in almost an au pair capacity. She changed her last name to theirs and took a more conventional spelling of her first name. She had wanted to apply to Wells college, but been talked into doing CC first.

One day she decided (she was 19) that she could make her own decisions and wanted to leave. She did not know how to approach Laura and Greg, and called my mother. At this point I am not entirely clear on what happened other than K left and moved in with mom, and Laura and Greg were furious. They felt undermined by ungrateful relations and have not forgiven K or our mother. Most of the family has taken Laura's side without consulting anyone else to find out what happened, and only my grandparents are speaking to my mom. I have taken mom and K's "side," inasmuch as I refuse to stop talking to them because my ADULT sister decided she'd rather live with her mother through college than her aunt, but I also am aware that I don't know the entire story.

I haven't heard from my aunt or any of my uncles (her and mom's brothers) in the 4 years since this happened, but since we hadn't been in touch prior to that it was not the end of the world. In fact, the worst part of all of it for me was seeing my sister's heartbreak at being cut off from contacting our cousins, who she considered brothers.

I was torn on who to invite to the wedding. I decided that since there is no bad blood between me and any of these relatives, and because it is only proper if you invite one aunt or uncle to invite all aunts and uncles, to send Laura and Greg an invitation. I confess, part of me hoped that they would not be able to resist showing off (they really do think they're better than everyone else) and possibly bring Ryan and Spencer. It was a long shot at best but it would have been really nice for K.

I received reply cards from Laura and Greg and from my uncle Brenton (the youngest and I believe also not speaking to mom), both regrets. Then yesterday I got an envelope from Uncle Brenton. It looked like a letter.

Let's just say it wasn't.

It was a photocopy of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" - alone in the envelope.

I haven't the faintest idea what he means by it. Will and I discussed it and came up with several unlikely possibilities. It could be an admonishment of some sort for standing by my ONLY SISTER (not to mention mother) instead of siding with the rest of the family. It could be an apology for cutting me off in favor of the rest of the family - but then wouldn't I be the road less traveled by? And what am I in trouble for, anyway? I WAS IN CHICAGO.

Oy. I am so baffled. Please help.

Stop bothering me!

I'm kidding. No one's bothering me. However, several people have asked where Will and I are registered, so I put links in the sidebar. As soon as I remember where I got the countdown I used for my birthday, I'll be adding one of those as well, because Will wants me to (and I rather like the idea myself).

You are in no way obligated to give us wedding gifts.

That said, if you truly want to, my last name is Barranti, and will be until after the wedding.

Monday, August 30, 2004

I have to send a Thank You note.

To a woman upon whom I wish pain, humiliation and death.

This is what I've got so far:

Franny, Charlie, Natalie, Julia & Chaz,

Thank you for thinking of us in Yellow Springs. As you can imagine, that town is full of memories for us. Most of them lousy. Meeting each other was the only good thing that happened there. So thank you for pouring salt in that wound.

The picture of the Little Art theater is on display in our living room, between our two favorite theater prints. Note that I did not say it is on par with them, just that it is next to them.

Planning the wedding has all but taken over our lives, putting us at least a month behind on all of our other endeavors. But we are of course looking forward to making it official after so long! No thanks to you, cuntface bitch monster. HOW many times did you try to break us up? Don't ever send anything again.

Hope that you are settling nicely into life in Hong Kong. Stay as long as you like, and then stay at least another year. My sympathies to the locals. Best of luck to Natalie at University. SHE never did anything to us, anyway.

-Will & Annika
OK, so the stuff in italics isn't really in the letter. But OOOOH! how I wish I could send it that way.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

(Cross-posted from the Testing Forum at Buffyguide.)

EDIT: Let me elaborate a little bit here, since many people have suggested returning the gift or skipping the thank you note, which seems quite reasonable. The person in question, Franny, is a long-time family friend of Will's parents as well as his mother's former employer of many years. She has also given Will some work in the past and 'helped' him in his career - most notably by taking him to Los Angeles and introducing him to the person who wound up helping him find his job. (She did this to get him to leave me, by the way, but probably also had kind intentions toward him. For more details, try the google search at the bottom of the page, as I have written about her in detail in the past.) Though she is 100% persona non gratis (is that the correct phrase?) in my house, it would be messy at best to carry it any further than we have - no contact initiated by us, and refusing to invite her to the wedding. Not to mention that the gift would have been awkward to return - at best.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I've been a bad, bad girl...

So, this morning I went to Target because we needed toilet paper and assorted other junk.

While I was there I checked out the DVDs that were on sale. Stand By Me was marked down from its normally low price of $9.44 to a mere $7.50 - it was on a 2 for $15 shelf. Also on that shelf were Spaceballs and The Fifth Element. I went with the latter but something tells me I will forever regret not adding Spaceballs to our collection.

Then I found a shelf marked $5.50 and just had to buy Way of the Gun. Will has forgiven me, because he is totally gay for that movie. I don't know how you can be gay for a movie, but he is.

I'm so hungry! Is it 1:00 yet?

In other news, it it very bad of me to have jumped for joy when we got our first Regrets in the mail yesterday? I think not, since the caterer's quote gave me hives, but still.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Long time no blog

You know how sometimes when you have a lot of stuff to do you get overwhelmed and don't seem to get anything done? My entire life feels like that. Go-go-go with no results.

It will be a miracle if we pull this wedding off.

It will be an even bigger miracle if I ever catch up on laundry. Like, I will be up for Sainthood. You get to be a Saint if you perform miracles, right?

Boy, I hope so.

On the other hand, I don't really know what Sainthood entails. I have this nagging suspicion that it involves Being Dead, which sounds like a big let-down after Performing Miracles. Especially if my Miracle is laundry, because as we all know, You Can't Take It With You. And I really, really need to wash my favorite pants.

I am 1/2 Roman Catholic. Lapsed. I hope that's good enough. Don't you only have to be, like, 1/32 Lakota to be considered Native American? And I don't think they even make you own a casino or anything, so I should be fine. Right? RIGHT?

Oh dear.

Monday, August 23, 2004


Sorry no posts lately. My brain is pudding.

Trust me, you don't want me posting until I can think coherently. Will remains the crazy stream-of-consciousness writer in this family.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

I should be a studio exec.

On Sunday we went to Wal-Mart, as I mentioned earlier. We needed water and Ace bandages and it was convenient. OK, it was the only option. Anyway, I stopped at the $5.50 DVD bin and started digging through. Found many funny choices, including several Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. Each time I found one, I held it up and asked Will to buy it for me. But when I held up Derailed, he said, "I think Jace and Adam wrote that!" I checked, and they surely did, so we bought the DVD, along with Strange Days, which Will really likes and I was totally underwhelmed by the one time I saw it.

We watched it last night. It was hilarious. Now, I have not actually watched any other Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, so I couldn't really say where it fits on the Van Dammeter. But there was only one Jean-Claude Van Damme (I can't say only part of his name - it's like how I can only say "William Fucking Shatner," even though I really like him - and it all comes out as one word when I say it aloud).

After the movie we were sitting on the porch and I was trying to figure out how to get Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal and Dolph Lundgren all into one movie. I tried to come up with other Straight-To-Video action stars of their caliber, but failed, thereby negating any ideas of a Magnificent Seven (which Dolph has already done anyway).

Then I had it.

"Will," I said. "Jean-Claude Van Damme. Steven Seagal. Dolph Lundgren."

He stared expectantly, and possibly a little annoyed since I had been prattling on about them for half an hour by now.

"...And Jason Statham as D'Artagnan."

I marvel at my own brilliance. We agreed that Seagal would play Porthos (have you seen his commercials? He can do comedy), Jean-Claude Van Damme would play Aramis and Dolph would be Athos. Then, of course, we cast the rest of the movie, because we can never resist recasting that movie whenever the opportunity presents itself. Seriously, I have - somewhere - an entire notebook full of casts for it from several years ago when our friend Slaine visited.

But here is this one.

Dolph Lundgren - Athos
Steven Seagal - Porthos
Jean-Claude van Damme - Aramis

Jason Statham - D'Artagnan

Lance Henriksen - Cardinal Richeleu
Mark Dacascos - Rochefort

Thomas Ian Griffith - Jussac

Brigitte Nielson - Milady De Winter
Jaime Pressly - Constance
Jessica Alba - Kitty

Cynthia Rothrock - Queen Anne
Christopher Lambert - King Louis XIII
Ice T - Buckingham
Tim Guinee - Felton

Chris Penn - Planchet

We're still missing a few characters - Bonancieux, Treville - but feel pretty satisfied with what we've got so far. And yes, we're aware that a few of them have non-straight-to-video careers, but in general they don't really deserve them.

Weekend in Review (by request).

Friday evening we drove to our friends Erin and Andy's place and played with their lovely dogs, Bo and Lena. When we last saw Lena, she was a 15 pound puppy who was enchanted by our staircase. She is now at least 50 pounds and only 6 months old, and can easily knock me over before she even notices my presence. I want a puppy!

Saturday morning we stumbled out of bed rather early and got on the road to Oakland. Will drove the whole way there for some reason that I am not aware of, which resulted in nasty painful swelling in his hand and wrist (either tendonitis or carpal tunnel, no idea). We arrived at the lovely Park Plaza in time for a late lunch and a shower. And when I say the hotel was lovely, I am telling the opposite of the truth. At least the bed was big - but more on that in a moment.

So we drove to the Tenescal Beach thingy and met Kirk. Yay! Then we saw Andy and when I went to find Amy I met Mary-Jane, who is just lovely. (I am also quite mad for her mother, who cracked me up.) The ceremony was very nice, and also educational as we are having one of those pretty soon and need to decide what to include. Then supper and socializing and all that stuff that is done at weddings, including the bouquet toss which I was forcibly included in (even though I insisted that I was a foregone conclusion) but luckily the bride's sister caught it.

Our hotel room had a King size bed, which is something that I would very much like to have at home. However, due to the size and absurd softness of the bed, we slept rather fitfully and couldn't find each other during the night. At least there was Hotel Sex, which is always a Good Thing.

More coffee. Be right back.

Mmmm. Sweet ambrosia.

Sunday morning we had breakfast with Amy and Andy. Note to self: stop ordering the Continental Breakfast; it always sucks.

Then it was back in the car for the long drive home. As is probably the case with most long drives the day after a long drive, it took longer and included more stops to stretch (and buy Ace bandages for poor Will's wrist). We went into a Wal-Mart, something I have not done in years and years, and had a funny adventure that I will write about later.

When we finally got back to Los Angeles, we went to The Electric Lotus, which is a very good Indian restaurant in Los Feliz, and ate delicious food while I drooled over the waitress. Then we discussed threesomes and came home, where we slept like the dead.

Yesterday I mailed our wedding invitations. This involved begging the man at the counter of the post office to hand cancel them. Damn you, Assorted Wedding Websites, for convincing me that this was necessary. Then I went and bought pants.

And thus concludes my report.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Have a lovely weekend, dear readers.

We will be in Oakland. On the way, I plan to listen to "Queen of the Surface Streets" at least eight thousand times.

Here is a picture of the singer, Nick, with whom I am madly in love, and Jeanie, who is a chick with a tuba (and it doesn't get any hotter than that).

Thursday, August 12, 2004

I feel so naughty!

I just ordered a comic book.

The naughty part comes in with the spending money part. I mean, yeah, we still have a little bit to spare (especially if I give up on the Savings Account idea), but it isn't exactly my money so I always feel tremendous guilt if I buy anything that's for me.

The comic I bought is actually only a preview, but it looks so very, very me. And it ought to go nicely with "Fables."

I can never bring myself to put less than five bucks on a credit (or even debit) card, and didn't know how much shipping was anyway (free!) so I also ordered this poster. Yay! I am doing quite well with getting the office organized (I finally got the filing cabinet put together yesterday) and now I can start decorating it. Because, you know, we don't already have five billion decorations sitting around. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I remembered what I forgot!

Well, one of the things I forgot.


Watch/listen to "A World of Vampires," which is an interactive map with information about vampire mythology around the world, narrated by MY future HUSBAND.

In brief.

  • Bettie for President! I have been nominated for President of the WD. I intend to win, so I suggest that you vote for me. If you are not a member of the WD, I suggest that you register, then vote for me.

  • Kerry for President! OK, seriously, if you plan to vote for anyone other than Kerry in November, fuck off. (This does not apply to readers under 18 or from countries other than America, unless you are now American citizens, in which case go vote, you goddamn Aliens. You have acid for blood, don't you? Weirdo!)

  • Politics. In continuation of the above: I am not a Democrat, but I am more Democratic than Republican. I am not a Liberal, but I am more liberal than Conservative. I think Libertarian is a closer fit than either, but there are lots of crazy anarchist Libertarians, which makes it a rather unappealing label. I think I will stick with Librarian. EDIT: Dude, on re-reading that it sounds awfully harsh on anarchists. I didn't mean it that way.

    Also, George W. Bush is a lousy President.

  • Food, Glorious Food! On Monday I made Chile Verde, Pork Pibil, and Chickpea Chile, which needs a better name. Last night I looked at our refrigerator full of delicious Mexican food leftovers and decided to make nachos instead. They were disgustingly good.

  • Wedding Headaches Planning. I've left yet another message for my caterer. If I don't hear from her by the end of the day, it's on to Plan B. Unfortunately, I don't know exactly what Plan B is... A lot of phone calls, I presume. And possibly some crying. The good news is that we have our invitations and they are gorgeous. I have addressed over half of the envelopes and will be buying stamps later today, if I can bring myself to leave my apartment. EDIT: I have a Plan B now, but still no stamps.

  • Other: Last night while I was in bed waiting for sleep I had about sixty ideas of things to blog about. They're all gone, so I guess I'll stop here.

Monday, August 09, 2004

I could sleep for a thousand years.

Wedding invitations were delivered this morning. I have yet to see them. Technically, so does Will, even though they are in his office right this second, because he decided to wait to open the box until he gets home so that we can do it together.

When buying pork for stews, it is probably advisable to have the butcher cut the roasts into stew-sized bits. Doing it yourself is very time consuming and makes your hands sore and tired.

My graphic design skills are minimal.

After naming this post, I found an MP3 of DeVotchKa covering "Venus in Furs." Coincidence? Of course not. DeVotchKa is madly in love with me and even wrote a song about me ("Queen of the Surface Streets").

I still have not managed to put my filing cabinet together.

The oven has been on for nearly an hour and I still have not managed to put the peppers in to roast.

I forgot to buy cheese.

I changed the ink cartridges in my printer this morning. I think I am almost out of ink again.

I am tired. I am weary.

I wonder if Lou Reed knew about coffee. That's how I plan to fix my problems.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

This entry is for Jimmy, who leaves me comments.

Odwalla Superfood is a pre-packaged smoothie that humans of any age can drink. I know that the way I was carrying on about it I probably made it sound dangerously alcoholic, but it really isn't.

Busy Backson is indeed in The Tao of Pooh, though I was referencing The House at Pooh Corner, which is where the phrase originally appears. Also, there is probably something I don't know about, but it probably isn't very important.

One thing I know for sure: LUNCH.

"Annika's high."

I heard those words many times last night. Most of those times, it was in reference to my cards.

At our Wednesday night poker game, I was the Queen of 7 Card Stud.

You have to understand that there is a $10 buy-in and I have never left with more than $3 at the end of the night. Total.

Last night I left with almost $20. My last hand of the night was a full house, Aces over Kings.

What's funny is that I'd arrived in a lousy mood. I was exhausted, had fallen asleep after my shower and not taken well to Will waking me up when he got home (he had to - I had to let him in the building), had a monster headache and bad hair, and just didn't feel like going anywhere.

But I did, which resulted in exposure to crappy traffic. Seriously, it took me 25 minutes to get to the highway (technically 30 but I swung through the Toxic Hell drive-through) and only 6 minutes from the on ramp to Rian's street, where I found parking immediately (the first Good Thing of the evening). And of course Ralph was happy to see me, which is always nice (as long as I don't stop to consider that he was really only happy to see my Taco Bell spoils).

Cassie and Meghan have both tried to take credit as my Good Luck Charm, since neither of them has been there before on the same night as me. Mark hasn't either, but he just sat there and good-naturedly let me win his money. And of course, Will wasn't there...

Rian and I are thinking of trying Doubles Poker, which I made up to justify our usual end-of-the-night cheating (things like swapping a random card); you play like normal except that you make the best hand out of both people's cards. We are also trying to get the rules amended to allow the 4-card straight, and possibly 3 pairs. So far no one seems to like any of our ideas.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

You know those Ikea cartons?

The gigundo flat packs that weigh a ton and have no handles ?

Yeah, I can carry those by myself. Not happily, but capably.

Just thought you'd all like to know.

IMPORTANT NEW INFORMATION: I can also assemble a daybed all by myself. I am Wonder Woman.

...I wonder if Wonder Woman gets this tired and sweaty.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Boys are funny.

"Mark, will you be bothered if I take off my clothes?"


Mark runs away as quickly as possible to avoid seeing my boobies.

There was nothing improper, really - Mark is Meghan's husband, and Meghan and I were changing out of our bathing suits. But it was v. funny.

Shelby was here this weekend and we had a lovely time, destroying my theory that he is not exactly my favorite house guest. Yay! I didn't much care for that theory anyway.

We watched Once Upon A Time in Mexico last night. It didn't make very much sense. Will thought I meant that I wasn't able to follow it, but that isn't the case. I know exactly what happened, it just didn't make very much sense. I don't care - it was gorgeously shot and a ton of fun. Also, my favorite part was the 10 Minute Cooking School. Robert Rodriguez cooks like I do, and gives much the same advice about it.

Which reminds me, I now have two cookbooks I need to write.

In other news, I have decided that I want to replace our crappy loveseat with a daybed. Ikea has a nice one for a hundred bucks (plus mattress), and I've had good luck with their metal bed frames in the past, so I think we're going to buy it. Picture! We'll obviously need to purchase a LOT of throw pillows, but I am very fond of the idea of having another sleeping space. And we can get a crappy mattress for now ($50 at Ikea) with a mattress pad or lots of blankets on it and upgrade later.

The caterer is not returning my phone calls. This is Not Good.

Note to self: go buy filing cabinet this week. You can take Jenny's truck and save yourself a massive headache on transport.

Going back to the theme of this entry (see title), Will seems to think that he needs clean clothes for something ("work") so I had better go sort.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Take THAT, Guido!

My copy of the out-of-print Criterion edition of Rebecca has just arrived in the mail. Yippee! And also Wow! That is one loaded DVD. AND it only cost me about $8. Lovely Jenn gave me an Amazon gift certificate on the occasion of my birthday, so I had only to pay the balance. I think Amazon still has a few in stock, so if anyone else does not own this movie, it can still be purchased.

My sister has someone on her LiveJournal Friends list whose username is bipolarcurious. I think this is the most clever username in the history of usernames, and I hate him/her for thinking of it before the rest of us.

Speaking of my sister, any ideas what I might be able to pawn off on her in terms of wedding prep? She is 3000 miles away and refuses to hop the next plane to Los Angeles to address invites (I do not blame her one bit and would do anything to get out of it myself - oh help they will be ready within a week or so and my hand is already cramping).

I repeat: oh help. Weddings are too much work.