Noise Control

I can’t think of a better place to take a newborn child than the 10pm showing of The Matrix. Just wrap that kid up in a blanket, toss him over your shoulder and get him home by one in the morning. What a great evening. stee said it perfectly, in his best Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama voice: “You have a baby! In the Matrix!”

Other confusing things that happened recently involve a man in the aerobics class beside my treadmill this morning who felt the need to periodically scream at the top of his lungs during his workout. Dude. It’s called “low impact.” It’s sad when you scream during low impact. Unless you’re out there with a shredded ACL, keep your enthusiasm to yourself.

We have some new visitors recently, from Bookslut and msnbc. Welcome, new kids. If you’re looking for info on the Oakland Book Drive, that all starts here. If you’re looking to help Chris and Allison, go here. If you’re wondering who the hell I am, go here.

Before the new books, I thought I’d reprint Allison’s recent posting over at MathPlusOne, checking in, since many of you have written to ask how she and Chris are doing:


Well, I’m checking in. I don’t know how to thank all of you for your generosity and good wishes. To say that we are overwhelmed and flabbergasted at your goodness… well, that wouldn’t even approach the truth. You can’t burn down the Internet.

This is going to be a day-by-day rebuilding, and I don’t know how we’re going to manage it – honestly, it will take a spreadsheet the size of a football field – but the MOC and I are solid as a rock.

You wouldn’t believe the number of people who have, instead of condolences, say “This is the kind of thing that will really test a marriage…” and then they sort of pat my shoulder all knowingly.

And I’m like, “People. This is ME and the MEAT of CHEESE. We are FINE. We just have NO STUFF. AT ALL! And… ARRGHHHHH!!!”

So, y’all don’t worry about that. We’ve had some frustrating moments, got into an argument at T’s house in front of my favorite Sister of T, and nearly stabbed each other at our Red Cross Funded trip to the Shoney’s breakfast bar, but we have been laughing just as often. You really have no concept of “losing everything,” even when it happens to you.

An example:

JoLo: “Al, look at these shoes. You could wear these with all your summer clothes…”

Al: “My summer clothes…”

Together: “That burned in the fire. ARRRGGHHHH!!!!”


Chris: “What was that story about the people riding around in their car…?”

Al: “Oh, hell, I can’t even think of it right now…”


Together: “ARRGGGHHHHH!!!!”

There have been lots and lots of moments like that. Lots of shaking our fists at the sky and stomping around and cursing. Yesterday, we went back to the building, which was INCINERATED, and I had a mild breakdown that culminated in me picking up a huge brick and bunging it at the rental agency sign. The place does not look like, you know, a building that burned. It looks like Ground Zero on Sept. 12. As irreverent as that is, it’s no exaggeration.

In regard to Murphy, I can hardly talk about it. The three of us were a crazy little family. He was not your average dog, and we miss him more than words can say, that is for real. Our only solace is that the place went so fast. He was such a favorite of our neighbors, even, that I thought these two guys that lived downstairs from us were just going to fall apart at the fire scene. I’m sure you all realize that that was the most devastating blow. We lost a lot of stuff – Chris’s drum set, my wedding gown, my dad’s typewriter, desk and lettersweaters, every love letter ever written to each of us… just everything. But we’d give it all up again to have Murph back. Crazy little dog.

Stuff is just stuff, no matter how precious it was to us. I hate it that it’s lost and it makes us absolutely sick to remember things that were in there, but we are going to rise again, like a couple of phoenixes… phoenixii? Whatever. Y’all know what I’m saying.

Thank you for your offers to help, and thanks especially to T, Hannah, AB and Pamie for setting up that wishlist and the website and all of that. Every little thing will go a long way to help us – because we don’t have any little thing at all, you know? So, thank you so much. I feel funny about it and feel like we don’t deserve it, but we’re so grateful, and so humbled.

We’ll be paying it forward the rest of our lives.[/readermail]

And now the books:

From Scott:

[readermail]While I haven’t donated any books to the Oakland library, my wife and I did go through our bookshelf and donate about 6 boxes of books to our local Salvation Army and the children’s floor at a local hospital.[/readermail]

From Kristen:

[readermail]Way to use your power for good instead of evil! ‘Cause, you know, if it were me, I’d be having people send me shoes and make-up.

I sent a copy of A Kiss from Maddalena by Christopher Castellani to the Oakland Public Library’s Main Branch. It wasn’t on their list, but it was written by one of my favorite people in the whole world, so I had to send it. –I’ve known Chris since high school and the rest of our little group is, frankly, giddy about the whole thing. Our friend! Wrote a book! That you can buy in a store! Oh my GOD!!

And, since I wanted to act locally as well, I found that one of the downstate libraries had a wish list. The Georgetown, Delaware Public Library is waiting with breathless anticipation for their very own copy of Why Girls Are Weird, in honor of both your social consciousness and of the people in LA and TX who are running around saying “Pamie! Wrote a book! That you can buy in a store! Oh my GOD!” and who will come to your readings and cry ’cause they’re so proud.[/readermail]

You guys make me feel like a rock star.

Newt writes:

[readermail]Thanks for bringing my attention to the problems that the Oakland Library is facing. I sent them two books off their Amazon wishlist today:

The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler” James Cross Giblin (Author)

A Corner of the Universe” Ann Martin (Author)

413 books so far… wow![/readermail]

Actually, that’s the number of donations on the index page. Some of those donations are of two copies of a book or a box of books.

People always think I don’t remember them when they write, but usually if we’ve had an email conversation (or I sent you a vintage shirt), I tend to remember you.

Christine writes:

[readermail]Christine from Brooklyn. I know. You don’t remember me. You’ve only sent me a t-shirt a couple (?) years back. And I tried to be the first to tell you about the Page Six scoop but I failed miserably. Other than that, my normally big mouth has been relatively quiet.


I sent “Why Is A Blue Dog Blue?” to the Piedmont Branch and received a lovely note from the Children’s Librarian. I also sent a little donation to Chris and Allison on Friday and spent the past few days trying to do something more.

Do not tell anyone people in Brooklyn are nice. This email will self-destruct in 2 minutes…[/readermail]

I was hanging out on Alissa’s site recently, and mentioned that I stalked Janeane Garofalo at a buffet table once. Alissa wrote back:

[readermail]Hi. Ok. Finally got my lazy butt over to amazon. The Oakland library will now be receiving Degas and the Dance: The Painter and the Petits Rats, Perfecting Their Art, mainly because, well, I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art 2 weeks ago with this guy I was seeing. Somehow, he decided that I should pay for the tickets, since, um, I’m in grad school and he has a well paying job. Right. So, since I couldn’t afford the special exhibit tickets, we had to skip the Degas and the Dance exhibit. But at least the children of Oakland can look at the pretty pictures in this book and think about the once-again single grad student in PA who sent the book because the mean cheapskate man sucks.

Also, I would totally stalk Janeane Garofalo at a buffet table, but I think I’d die if we made eye contact.

thanks for prompting me to get my ass in gear and send a book already.[/readermail]

See all the Oakland donations here.

What else? This site’s so filled with good karma lately that I almost feel dirty for talking about my own life, or wanting to complain about things, like how my coffee pot died yesterday morning with no notice, no warning, no reason. It just won’t put hot water through the filter, thus negating the coffee-making process. We are trying to get by on a 4-cup hotel room kind of coffee machine, which means that one of us gets a cup of coffee with each brew. I just turn my head away and weep. There’s no point in making coffee in that thing. It creates only a hint of coffee.

All of my problems are so petty. Like the cable, and how it goes out every afternoon and the cable company thinks that it’s fine to turn off the cable every afteroon because I should be out of my house and at an office like everyone else. Well, I’m not. And I want my Forever Summer with Nigella, dammit! And the neighbors who won’t stop renovating are now painting their house. That means they’ve been renovating their house now for nine straight months. Nine months. The house could have given birth, created life, in the time it’s taken them to fix their lawn and landscaping. But today I get my revenge. They may think they’ve won with their Spanish talk radio station, but today I have anime scripts to write. They’re gonna get five uninterrupted hours of people screaming in Japanese. It’s only fair.

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