Zhaba Zhournal
Sunday, February 06, 2005 
Bowl, yes; Super, not so much 
I was going to start this post like this:
At ten points down with two minutes left, I just want to say, before we lose, that I don't care if we lose.
While I was waiting-waiting-waiting for my computer to get its act together, I heard J. yell "Touchdown!" downstairs; me: "Us?"—shortly thereafter realizing that if it hadn't been us, he'd have yelled something more along the lines of "Oh shit!" Anyway, I ran downstairs to watch the replay and the one-point kick, then came back upstairs, and planned to re-start the post like this:
At three points down with 1:47 left, I just want to say, before we lose, that I care more if we lose by three points than by ten points, but I still don't care if we lose.
But my browser and frippin' Blogger still weren't loading, so I went down to watch the rest of the game in solidarity with J. and the rest of Philadelphia, and was unable to post, before we lost, that I didn't care if we lost. And now it'll just look like I'm saying that retroactively to make myself feel better. But, really: I didn't care if we lost. We were in the Superbowl; and, now that we've gotten past the NFC Championship hex (I'm not going to call it a curse; it was only three years), the championship doesn't have to be the big hump of the season; the focus can be on winning the Superbowl, not getting to the Superbowl. (And even if we don't get to it for another 24 years—what the hell, we're still in the statistics.)

Over the previous two weeks, I've been saying I didn't care if we lost, as long as we didn't lose embarrassingly. Lose by three points, ouch; lose by ten points, oh well; lose by thirty points...oh fuck. Tonight, watching the scores inch up, I decided it doesn't only matter what you lose by, but also what you lose with; in any football game, if you lose with at least 7 points, it's not too pathetic; at least you got a touchdown. If you lose by thirty points, but it's 37 to 7, it's less pathetic than if you lose by 10 points but it's 13 to 3...or by three points, if it's 3 to zero. When we were down 24 to 14, I was perfectly happy to shrug and finish my margarita. Two touchdowns in the Superbowl? Yeah, not bad at all. I almost wish we hadn't gotten that third touchdown...it raised the terrible spectre of hope. I was right, those past two weeks: losing by three...ouch. Still: at least we didn't lose big. At least we lost with points on the board. And at least our Superbowl won't be forever remembered as The One With The Breast.

(Was anyone else hoping, when Paul McCartney took off his jacket, that he'd eventually take off his shirt too, just as a tongue-in-cheek nod to last year's halftime hullaballoo? Not that I want to see his late-middle-aged gray-haired chest, but it would have been funny.)

Outside I hear the whup-a-whup-a-whup of the news helicopters, and a few sirens; I don't hear the shouts and the horns and the gunshots, though, and that's fine with me. Now, just another few days of media coverage, the requisite "it sucks, but there's always next year" fan interviews, the "you lost, but you won the championship" semi-parade, and I won't have to hear "Fly, Eagles, fly" till August. And as far as I know, the Sixers and the Phillies don't have obnoxious fight songs, and Temple and St. Joe's aren't going anywhere in the NCAA basketball championships, so it'll be safe to listen to the radio and watch the 6 o'clock news without earplugs again. Yeah, that doesn't suck.

P.S. You know what does suck? Harvard sucks.

P.P.S. There are many games, but there's only one Game. And the Super Bowl may be the Big game, but it isn't The Game.

P.P.P.S. Actually, Yale lost The Game this year, too; but we pulled a hell of a prank on the Harvard fans, so I'm calling it at least a tie. And since they were the ones holding up the signs saying "WE SUCK," I'm gonna say they'll be remembered as the losers.

[ at 11:03 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Saturday, February 05, 2005 
Weekly Wrapup 
I know "Weekly Wrapup" is the name of a meme (the alternate Friday Five, back when there was a Friday Five), but this is just me trying to wrap up my week, and I couldn't think of a more appropriate title.
If I could do a screen capture of my TV, you'd see that my local NBC station has redesigned the NBC peacock logo to have an all-green tail and an eagle head.

It's a good thing Ben Franklin didn't get his way on making the national bird the turkey, because then we'd have to be the Philadelphia Turkeys (of course it would be us; if Billy Penn hadn't named us first, we'd be Ben Franklinville), and it wouldn't sound nearly as good in the ads and the stadiums: "Go Turkeys!" "Fly, Turkeys, fly..." (Although after all the appallingly bad renditions of "Fly, Eagles, fly" I've heard this week, a flightless mascot would be a welcome change.)

One of the reasons I've been so depressed this week (other than PMS, a frickin' week early): all the denial I've been in since election day had a hard time standing up against Inauguration Day in January, and has collapsed under the pressure of this week's State of the Union address. Yes, everything I've been pretending didn't happen or wouldn't happen is, in fact, happening, and it's on all the networks in prime time. Crap. Give me a wine bottle or a razor blade, I need to get away from it all...

Last night, insomnaic, trying to avoid news reports on the State of the Union, heard myself thinking "I don't want to live in this world anymore"—then, before anyone could call the men with the white jackets, clarified: the emphasis isn't on "I don't want to live"; it's "I don't want to live in this world." The one where everyone hates us and we hate each other and our president can't frippin' form a complete sentence. (I will readily admit that I didn't like Clinton, but at least the guy could get a subject, verb and object in the correct order without mispronouncing or creating any new words along the way.)

Fortunately, it turns out that my insomnia, irritability, and general bad mood over the past few days are mainly due to my period coming a week earlier than I expected...or, if they aren't, I'm going to say they are, because it's a good excuse. (If I've got to have the inconvenience and the cramps a week early, I may as well take the excuse along with them.) And the work week is finally over, thank God, and the project that was due on Monday, and then due on Wednesday, still isn't finished, so the deadline pressure is gone until next Monday...once things are overdue, due dates become considerably more relaxed; "if it was supposed to be done last week and it's not done now, will it really kill you if it's not done till next week? Didn't think so. Pass the vodka."

Well, not vodka. My office is next door to a bar, and as I've previously mentioned, you can tell the weekend is near by all the beer trucks pulling up on Friday afternoon; and this week, I've determined, you can tell what kind of a weekend it's going to be by how many, and how big, and of what brand, the beer trucks are. (That sentence doesn't totally scan, but pretend it does.) This week, you couldn't not tell there was a local team playing in a national championship on Sunday: yesterday came the Coors and the Miller trucks, this afternoon the Guinness truck, and just as I was leaving the office this evening, the Budweiser truck. Big-ass panel trucks, the kind the entire first floor of my house could fit into, although not 18-wheeler big; the biggest truck you can fit down a numbered Philadelphia street, though, I bet. Alas, I didn't get any of that beer...I did take care of an entire bottle of Rosemont grenache/shiraz tonight, though, and ordered a pizza from my neighborhood Best-of-Philly restaurant (if you live in any self-respecting part of South Philly you're never more than a block away from at least one "top ten best pizza" place; I've got one half a block south, and another a block and a half north and half a block west, which is just too far away to bother with).

I'd better wrap up this wrapup; it's technically Saturday, and I've got an incumbent hangover to fend off. (Lots of water, vitamin B, and then some more water.) I'll have something to say, probably, about the football game on Sunday that you've probably heard about...honestly, I don't care if we win, I just hope we don't lose embarrassingly. Lost by three, ouch; lose by ten, okay; lose by thirty...oh fuck. But even if we lose by thirty, at least we'll have lost the big game. Who remembers the scores?—as long as you can say "we were in Super Bowl Whatever-the-heck," you're okay. So. Water, vitamins, sleep. I can handle that. Good night...

[ at 12:14 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Monday, January 31, 2005 
Hair today, hair tomorrow 
File this under "Ew, I didn't even know that happened in first-world countries that manufactured soap": a 29-year-old woman in Britain hasn't washed her hair in 11 years. Let me blink rapidly and try looking at that again: 11 years. Damn. (When I saw the Fark headline, which didn't specify "Britain," I was wondering if it would be an East Asian holy person who didn't cut her hair for religious reasons and didn't wash it either for religious reasons or just because it took too damn long. [I have some justification for anticipating that conclusion: the Guinness Record for the world's longest hair is in fact held an East Asian holy person—a Thai shaman who hasn't cut his hair for sixty years—but even though it's over 17 feet long, at least his village helps him wash it once a year.])

So, as I was saying: 11 years. Yuck. And now, at last, I don't feel like the single dirtiest twenty-something non-institutionalized otherwise-clean long-haired female. I admittedly do not wash my hair very often—I'm surprised that I've had to wash it once a week this winter, and the time between shampoos is generally best measured in moon phases—but at least it's way more often than every 11 years. (I haven't cut my hair for almost 10 years, though—I've had an inch or two taken off every year or two, but no serious shortening—so washing it isn't terribly convenient; it takes half an hour to wash and half a day to dry, and I don't sweat much or do anything involving actual dirt, so I avoid it until I start feeling like I need to carry a bell and cry "Unclean! Unclean!" as I walk the streets.)

Well, there; I've confessed. And see, you're not thinking "Ew, that Zhaba is the most unclean person I've ever heard of"; even if you're thinking "Ew, that Zhaba should wash her hair more often," it's not overwhelming the "Ew, that British woman should wash her hair at all" thought that's the main takeaway message here. (Is it?) And in case you're wondering, I washed my hair yesterday, so you don't have to feel embarrassed to associate with me. (At least not for that reason.)

[ at 1:03 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Friday, January 28, 2005 
Gee, thanks 
I know everyone's excited about the Eagles getting into the Superbowl, but the local NBC station is really taking it a bit far with this weather report on their homepage:

(Although at least now I know it's not insultingly warmer in Florida than it is here. If it were above 60° down there I'd really have to go bang my head against something.)

[ at 3:13 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Thursday, January 27, 2005 
Still here, still 
Time for one of my occasional "I'm not dead" posts; I've had a few things I wanted to post about, but I haven't been able to scrounge up the time and the energy. Busy, weird, stressful stuff at work; weird, stressful stuff medically (nothing too bad; just the follow-up to the sleep clinic study that I'm still not thrilled about having had to do, and a remarkable amount of trouble getting prescriptions written, filled, and refilled); and although I feel neither regret nor guilt for having spent $299 on a full-length fox-fur-trimmed wool bouclé coat—I've waited years to buy a coat this nice, and hey, it was marked down from $430!—it certainly limits my money-spending choices until my next paycheck. (Just-add-water noodle bowls for lunch at my desk every day this week; at least with the weather so cold and the sidewalks so icy, it's a good time not to have to go out for lunch.)

So, yeah, busy, weird, stressful, but I'm still here. Hopefully I'll keep being still here. And hopefully have time and energy simultaneously so I can get back to reading and posting and remembering to eat. Till then, I leave you with an article from this week's Onion that had my whole office snarfing: Someday, I Will Copyedit The Great American Novel. (Sometimes you've just got to dream the achievable dream...)

[ at 2:21 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Sunday, January 23, 2005 
Snow screens 
I said I'd post pictures, and for once, I'm really doing it: I call this series "Sunday Semi-Silence; or, South Philly Side Street, With Snow." I took these in front of my house at about 2 p.m. today, and the street's probably going to stay like this until the weather warms up enough for the snow to melt; plows can't fit down our street, and if they did, there's nowhere for the snow to go except up on the sidewalk (and the cars) again. Some of our neighbors spent the morning digging their cars out, and you can bet they're keeping a jealous eye on those parking spaces. (Hopefully without gun in hand. People have been shot over parking spaces, but not in my neighborhood, that I know of.) (This is, by the way, the only time of year when I'm actually glad I don't have a car.)

Click on any of these thumbnails for the big(ger) picture.

Establishing shot, looking down my street. (The stadium where the Eagles play is about a mile away in this direction.)

snow street south

Establishing shot in the opposite direction. Notice the guy on the next block trying to get his car into the street.

snow street north

This one gives you a better look at the depth of the snow (and the tire tracks) in the middle of the street.

snow street tracks

Snowed-covered cars, and a parking space that's been turned into a shoveling drop-off site.

snow street cars

My front porch; our shoveling drop-off is that dead space between the gate and the big planting pot. (One year it got piled up so high we had to take the snow inside and melt it in the laundry tub.)

snow steps porch

Right in front of my door. I like the way the ironwork looks against the snow; I wish I had a better camera.

snow steps rail

[ at 9:55 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

We (okay, they) did it! 
Yes, technically only the Eagles players and coaches actually won the game...but, the heck with that, it's a city-wide synecdoche: We did it! And now I can finally stop worrying about losing another NFC championship...I don't know if I'll feel this way on February 6th, but right now I almost don't care if they win the Superbowl, I'm just glad they finally got to it.

The stadium's just about a mile due south of here, and the main street running through the city is a block and a half west; there's a veritable motorcade of fans making their way up Broad St., and I can hear the honking and the shouting and the sirens through the office window. (Someone on my street was trying to set off firecrackers after the game-winning touchdown, but the snow, as I hoped, has dampened both enthusiasm and fuses.)

Now I've got to go back downstairs and root for the Steelers...as counterintuitive as that feels, I really want an all-PA Superbowl. (New England vs. Pittsburgh is going to be a lot less affected by the snow and freezing weather than Atlanta vs. Philadelphia was; J. says New England has a better chance of winning in this weather, but then, he's from Boston. [Hey, Boston doesn't need to win anything else this year anyway; you got the Red Sox, let us have the Superbowl. Go Steelers!])

More sirens, louder honking, and man, I can't believe how loud those people must be yelling for me to hear it a block and a half away, two stories up, and through a brick-faced plaster wall. I guess they don't really need their voices for another two weeks, though...I wonder how many people will call in sick tomorrow?—either with hangovers or with head colds brought on by screaming their throats raw in below-freezing weather.

Oohhh, here come the traffic helicopters: whuppa-whuppa-whuppa. I think I know what'll be on the news tonight. And tomorrow morning. And tomorrow night. And Tuesday morning. And...

Oh, but I'll let myself be tired of that then. Right now? Dude, this rocks. If I didn't lose my voice at the drop of an octave and a thermometer, I'd be screaming too. And I've got to go make another margarita and cheer for the Steelers now. Woo-hoo!

Update: Aw, Pittsburgh didn't make it. So it's Philly vs. New England; I like New England (the region) just fine, but I think the Patriots have won quite enough Superbowls in the past three years, don't you? (New England residents excluded from that question.)

[ at 6:40 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Game day 
Another good thing about lots of snow the day before a big football game: if we win, it'll be much harder for people to celebrate(=riot) in the streets. (Conversely, if we lose, it'll be harder for them to express their disappointment[=riot] in the streets.) With the sidewalks and side streets blocked, you can't run amok very efficiently; and who wants to turn over a car when they have to dig it out from under a foot of snow first?

I started writing this about an hour ago—I've got pictures to post, and I've been editing them and working on the Javascript—but the game's just started, so I'm going to post this and go downstairs and get to work on the barbecue chicken wings. Pictures to come, though, perhaps at halftime; a South Philly side street the day after a weekend snowfall is as close to impassable as a major metropolitan area below the 60th latitude can get.

[ at 3:21 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Saturday, January 22, 2005 
Snow, part deux 
Lots of snow today—not by Massachusetts or Minnesota standards, but 8"-12" is quite a bit for a single day's snowfall in Philadelphia. No one's getting a car out of my street for a while, certainly. I'd prefer a big snowfall to happen on a weekday, so I'd get a day off from work; but, if it's gotta be on a Saturday, the day before the Eagles play the Atlanta Falcons is the best one I can think of. (The 11 o'clock news is a frantic series of Godardian cross-cuts between the weather guy and the sports guy, with the anchors in between hardly knowing which they should be more excited about. [My favorite "...but it's snowing!" newscaster perplexity: the day Saddam Hussein was captured, there was also a winter storm on the way. Those poor anchorpersons. They just didn't know what to do with themselves.])

I dreamed about the Eagles again last night; this is pathetic, I don't remember ever dreaming about a sports team before, let alone two nights in one week. In this one, they were winning what apparently was tomorrow's game; another person watching was saying "It's stupid to think they'll lose, look at that play!" and I said "It's stupid to assume they'll win, they've got plenty of time to screw it up." (At least, in my dream, it was a Terrell Owens play we were watching; perhaps it's a sign that he'll be back on the field tomorrow. [You never get a second chance to lose your first NFC championship!])

What, overly pessimistic? You can't be too cautious. I'm not gonna say anything to jinx it.

[ at 11:17 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Yes, that's me.


JanFebhome (i.e. right now)

about zhaba
what the heck is "zhaba"?
amazon wish list

feed me
  Subscribe with Bloglines

who's got the button?
sign my guestmap  
join us
Get Firefox   Get Thunderbird
days till the next U.S. presidential election

>=recently updated
>Blogroll Me!<



even more buttons
Feedback by backBlog

© 2003–05 Zhaba Productions, so don't steal anything.