I finally made it to the Social Security office to replace the card that I lost in college. Now that I'm unemployed, I've got nothing but time. Nothing but time to spend waiting for the wheels of bureaucracy to grind slowly. There were many people at the Social Security office, and an astonishing number of infants. I thought wistfully of the signs at the unemployment office that command "Please Control Your Children". Most public places could use such a sign. I wiated over an hour to speak to an agent for two minutes, to get a piece of paper stating that I will receive a new card in two weeks. I shall endeavor not to lose that one for fear of a return trip. I then trotted over to the unemployment office for the fourth time in seven days to drop off a copy of the temp card, necessary for the affadavit in process...That was mercifully quick.
Lewis and I holed up in the editing studio and watched the VMAs, under the influence of Pop Rocks. I hadn't thought about them in a million years, until they were featured on I Love the Seventies. I bought two packs and a bottle of coke. The VMAs were hit or miss. Excellent jokes were had at the expense of others. It was a lavish display, other than the disgusting kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears. Perhaps I'll write a critical essay on it, but for now I will say this: that performance was undoubtedly intended to be provocative and sexy, and succeeded only in being cheap and crass. How will this affect Brit's career? Granted, she's been moving towards a more adult image lately, but I'm not sure she wants to look like one of the Vivid girls.
Lewis and I stayed up all night in order to meet Wayne's red eye flight at the airport. There was almost no traffic in either direction on the Stevenson, and after collecting Wayne we all had breakfast at Clarke's. Six a.m. is probably the only time there's easy parking in Lakeview.
Wayne bought a big stack of DVDs in Las Vegas, including several rare ones. I hope to watch The Red Shoes with him soon. The remaster is supposed to be breathtaking. I'll never know the difference, since I've never managed to find a copy of the film before.
I found a couple of websites today that absolutely fascinated me. They both deal with forgotten urban elements in New York, such as abandoned subway stations and streets that no longer exist. The amount of urban archeology--and interest--possible in New York astonishes me. I'd heard that you can see the first subway station, the abandoned City Hall stop, on the 6 train if you stay aboard the train through the loop--which is not strictly legal--but never found myself on the 6 that far south. I'll have to attempt it on my next trip: the station is simply amazing. How sad that the powers that be are all too ready to dispose of such gems and "replace" them with hideous star trekky tile tubes.
After pouring over the New York pages, I looked for an equivalent in Chicago. There is a group of train enthusiasts that does a tour of CTA stations every year. It wasn't half as interesting, but neither is the L. The tour featured the one abandoned underground station in the system, which was as modern and uninteresting as the ugly 70s East Side stations in Manhattan. If we had any interesting, architecturally charming abandoned stations, they'd soon be converted to condos.
Here are the NY links:

abandoned stations
forgotten new york


Well, it’s been an emotional week thus far. And it’s only Wednesday.
Inspired by a flip through a friend’s yearbook (he’s four years older than I am, so the hair was quite humorous), I decided to take mine off the shelf. I hadn’t looked at them in a couple years and have been avoiding it lately. I don’t want to get suckered into going to the upcoming all-school reunion. That is not to say that graduates of all schools are invited, but that anyone who ever graduated from my alma mater (and no, it was not the mother of my soul) can attend. The town will be overrun with green and gold, I fear, and I will be hiding out in my studio on the North Side. Avoidance of chance meetings is key.
I don’t have enough distance between that time and the present to get all misty and shell out the big bucks to go to the reunion. Maybe I’ll go to the next one.

So, a flip through the old Lagoons revealed the following:
*I never smiled in high school until my senior year, after my braces were removed.
*I apparently spent all of my free time tweezing my brows, as they are virtually invisible in all photos in which I am not wearing stage makeup.
*I still hate every costume I ever had to wear in high school. Hate.
*Low-rise pants really do look better than the “traditional” cut jeans we were wearing back in the 90s.
* I don’t think any of the techies pictured in the yearbook is still in technical theatre, nor are the actors acting. But damn, did I have a laugh over that light board!
*Our sets look even worse in retrospect.
And, worst of all, my senior photo, printed in color, features my natural hair color. I thought I’d destroyed all the evidence!

Other exciting things:
Another trip to the Unemployment Office. I still have to generate more paperwork. And I have to go to the Social Security office to get a new card. They’re a necessary object in this process and I haven’t seen mine since college. I looked through my things in the garage, in the hopes that it could be tucked away in my high school wallet, but alas, no. I did find my expired passport, which will come in handy when I go to the Social Security office. It also means one less form to fill out when I want to renew my passport. Natural haircolor there too, but who really looks like their passport photo?

I dropped my laptop today. Well, let me rephrase that: it fell. I tripped over the cord and it fell to the floor, my poor precious irreplaceable computer fell to the floor, open, landing on its downstage edges. It is, as far as I can tell, fully functional. Thank god! However, it has a few largely cosmetic problems. The keyboard has shifted upstage right, so that the alt key is really clicky now. I think it’s too close to the upstage edge of its casing. The purely ornamental frame around the screen has opened in its seam. No, it’s not cracked open. The screen is fine. The seam just opened up a bit. And the little frame around the touchpad was askew, but I snapped it back into place. Luckily, the touchpad is as good as ever.
I can’t help but think that this wouldn’t have happened if I had a desk or a table on which to use my computer. I used to use a little stool, just the right size for my laptop, but my mother took it away and never brought it back. So, I’ve been using the ironing board instead. A bad solution, today’s events would indicate.
So, I called the lovely people at Sony Support. They were very nice. They told me, after several long holds, that my computer was still under warranty and it would be away for ten working days in turnaround for diagnostics and repair. Well, the thought of being without the computer for ten days made me nervous, but I was relieved that the extended warranty would come in handy. A largish sum of money was spent upon that extension. Then they transferred me to the repairs people. A different story was given there. The warranty will not cover physical damage and they estimated $300 in repair costs. I don’t have three hundred dollars and few prospects for getting three hundred dollars anytime in the near future. Well, maybe if the NY group would cough up my check… but I have other plans for that money. I’d hoped to use it to pay my phone bill, but its ETA is unclear and T-Mobile doesn’t take the idea of money. The swell thing about that situation is that it forces me to talk to my ex-boyfriend regarding the checks. I keep it strictly on topic, but it puts the kibosh on never speaking to him again.


I tied hand-dyed silk fringe onto my Tibetan silk scarf. I'm not sure that I like it as much now. The fringe is perhaps too much, as it has become the focal point of the scarf. That was not my intent---I wanted a really luxe scarf.
My ripped out Zodiac camisole is slowly growing again. Discouragement has set in.
Also discouraging-- my trip to the Unemployment office. The person manning the desk couldn't deviate from the script, unable to answer my question about acceptable forms of identification. What was I thinking, asking him to think on a Friday afternoon? Also, they weren't accepting any more applications at the time that I went in. Perhaps they are cooking their stats, or maybe processing the forms takes a really looong time. In any case, he stamped the form with Friday's date so that I'll get credit for this week. So I get to return to the incredibly unattractive neighborhood where the office is located again on Monday.
My mother sewed up the seams on my Cadiz v-neck, my big summer project. I am wearing it now, enjoying its lovely drape and sleevelessness. It's still quite hot here, though I heard that northern Alaska (an oxymoron?) got snow last night.
Hope to go to Stitches Midwest tomorrow, keeping an eye out for a good non-wool yarn. One of my friends is "allergic" to wool and in need of a replacement scarf. The last one, one of mine, was ruined by her roommate's cat. I am highly suspicious of wool allergies. There are so many different types of wool that one can be sensitive--or not--towards. Who can't tolerate a luscious merino? These allergies drive me nuts. I dated a man who was allergic to wool and didn't mention it until after I sent him a big Icelandic wool scarf. He also later used it as a pretext to make me remove my sweater. So you can understand my skepticism.
So what projects do I have in the works? Well, there are so many to choose from:
*Everyday cardigan (in a kit from Peace Fleece) in Hemlock, a tweedy green. I've dreamt of this sweater for years and hope that it lives up to my expectations. Similar in style and color to a chenille sweater that I had in high school.
*Scandinavian raglan/t-neck sweater, colorblocked in green and dark blue auraucania yarn, an organic wool produced in South America. It's scandanavian because the author of the pattern lives there.
*Many, many socks.
*Some xmas presents? I think that I've made a few too many scarves in the past few years, but doubt that sweaters will happen anytime soon. Hmmm...
Basically, I'm going to make some cold-weather clothes. Sleeveless sweaters are all nice and good until the temperatures drop. As they do with great predictability in Chicago.

In non-knitting news, I'm looking for a job. I had to register for an on-line talent matching service to get my unemployment benefits. Totally useless. None of the job descriptions are anything close to what I do. Their suggestions were amusing, but alarmingly far off from my attempts. Apparently stagehands, sound designers, lighting designers, theatre designers, sound engineers, etc. don't apply for unemployment. I ended up not entering one at all. So their suggested matches were far from my field. Thank god for the trades!


Yesterday, I picked up a copy of that annual fashion bible, the September issue of Vogue. Yeah!!! Not that I dress like anyone featured in that publication. I buy it for the photography. It's sort of the Playboy of women's magazines---seldom purchased for the articles. It took me a few hours to work my way through the magazine, which is approximately the same thickness as my phone book, and enjoyed most of it. One of the sittings was quite bad, but it's hard to function at 100% all the time.
I'd been waiting the release of the Vogue brick ever since I picked up the September issue of W magazine in New York. It was different from their usual tack, and interesting timing on their part. The issue featured a fairly large portfolio of images of Kate Moss, by a collection of varied by immensely talented artists. The daguerrotypes (or maybe they were ambrotypes, I don't recall and I ought to) by Chuck Close were really unflattering and quite compelling.

Other items recently read:
The New Yorker (toujours)
Atlantic Monthly
Smithsonian Magazine (AM and Smithsonian were thematically similar. AM featured an article on the popularity of the Founding Fathers, and Smithsonian a fascinating article about Benjamin Franklin. Did you know that one of his sons was the Royal Governor of New Jersey and that they had a falling out over the Revolution? That and so much more...)
Readers Digest
The Barbary Plague (I wanted this to be more like Devil in the White City, which had more suspense. Suppose it's hard to be suspenseful about the bubonic plague. A fascinating but slow read).
A History of Hand Knitting
American Photo

I decided to rip out the Zodiac camisole in progress, since I'd made such a mess of the waist shaping. Also, I'm not so worried about running out of yarn since I made my trip to Arcadia Knitting. They're so damn cool! I'm going to make a contrasting border and straps at the neck in red cotton. It's pretty spiffy with the teal of the body, though yellow would also have made a sharp contrast. Too Swedish perhaps...especially since I have an aversion to the color yellow. I used to have one to the color orange, but I'm working it out with my new Chinese shoes.
I'm going to the unemployment office. Did you know that one of the standards for adult literacy is whether or not the subject can understand and correctly fill out unmployment forms? What does that say about our country? What if I turn out to be "illiterate" after years of voracious reading habits?!


Well, I'm keeping up my bi-monthly posting habit. Much has happened. My contract with the company was shortened, due to their financial problems. The company is land poor, which is a hard thing to swing. They underestimated their operating costs by more than a half million dollars a year. So, obviously, giving me the axe was the solution to that problem! Oh well. I was about ready to get out of there anyway.
So I went to New York for a few days.

Interesting things seen/heard in New York:

* A woman in her late fifties or early sixties walking down 8th Avenue in Chelsea wearing a pair of Lilly Pulitzer capris and black espadrilles---and a black tube top. The top was gravitating towards her waist, as was what she was trying to cover, and she was putting forth a valiant effort to pull it up.
* The woman at School Products arguing with someone in the back room in Russian, then sweetly asking me in English if I needed help or advice. They give good advice there, and have some excellent samples on display. I bought mercerized cotton there to make a chickami. Chicknits
* Watching white tourists in Chinatown. Yes, I know I'm white, and I was technically a tourist, but the throng of mosly southerners that I saw on the sidewalks of Canal Street were so damn stupid/naive. Like talking about the asian proprietor of a stall while standing next to him, as though he wasn't there or didn't speak English. Many cringeworthy conversations overheard.
* An Indian man with a blue MZ-N707 on the E train headed north from W. 4th Street. I so rarely see other MDers, so I was excited.
* A megamix of every hit Madonna's ever had played at H&M in Soho. It was hot, and made me nostalgic for simpler days. Like when I didn't decide to walk all over lower Manhattan in 90 degree heat.
* I discovered that Virgin Megastore (and it is mega) in Times Square cut its tiny minidisc section. Now I have no idea where one might purchase pre-recorded minidiscs. At the same time, I've never purchased a pre-recorded minidisc, so I suppose I can't really complain. I'm just disappointed.
*I bought a pair of orange kicks at Pearl River Mart. They're satin with beaded embroidery on the toes in the shape of a pair of frolicking dragonflies. My grandmother complimented me on them yesterday, which is the ultimate footwear approval in my family.
*I was riding one of the many buses in Manhattan, headed uptown to The Yarn Co., when I began to fuss with my minidisc player. This caused the spare battery that I'd crammed into the case with the player to fall out onto the floor and roll a short distance up the aisle of the bus before I snatched it back up. I casually threw it in my purse. Fifteen minutes later, while browsing yarn, I felt a great heat emanating from my purse, as though my lighter was playing a nasty joke. I thrust my had in quickly and realised that it was the battery! Apparently, its dramatic drop and roll on the bus had kick started a chemical reaction that was throwing off a lot of energy. I quickly got out of the store and threw the offending battery in the trash at street level.
* On Lewis's recommendation, I went to see CAMP at Landmark Sunshine Cinema. An excellent choice. I loved the movie, but I loved seeing it with a theatre literate audience even more. I wasn't ever the only person laughing at a joke. And there were some obscure references thrown in for all the theatre kids out there.

Upon leaving New York, or why am I such a shit magnet?

I got a voicemail from my friend who had given me a lift into the city on Sunday morning. He was visiting friends on Long Island, and it was sort of assumed that we would meet up in the city. I assumed that meant that he would also give me a ride back to the Berkshires. No, no. He decided to spend a few days with his step-sister in Connecticut instead. No apology or offer to help me make alternate plans.
So I decided to take the Metro-North back, and called an acquaintance to ask for a ride from the station. No problem, he said. Well, it was, because I had to wait at the station in Wassaic, the middle of nowhere, the end of the line, for four and half hours. The acquaintance never showed up. I used up my phone card trying to reach him. Of course, my cell phone didn't work there. His girlfriend finally told me that I should find another ride. Incredibly lame. Fortunately, a generous Australian was also waiting and gave me a fistfull of change to make calls. I called my roommate, who came and got me just before it got dark and started to rain.
The only lucky thing about this tale is that I decided to leave New York on Tuesday, instead of Thursday as originally planned. I drove back to Chicago on Wednesday, leaving the Berkshires around ten am and arriving here at about 3 am EST. It wouldn't have taken so long had I not been caught in horrendous construction traffic in Gary. They foolishly did not set up an alternate route or even open the shoulder to traffic, so 80/90 was down to a single lane. All that fuss so that they could work on a piece of pavement the size of my living room.


I've thought of a possible new title for this site. It's an anagram of my name. Hijinks on Snort. Maybe that suggests a crazy, rock and roll lifestyle that I don't lead. Still, it amuses me greatly.
I wrote five nearly identical letters tonight. It was a bit of a drag. My nib kept clogging up with ink, so I had to lick it and scratch away on a piece of scrap paper. Life sure is fun with a black tongue!
I'm slaving away in the studio late again, largely my own fault. I wanted to take a nap this afternoon, so I get to make back up discs at 11 pm. That's still early....and there's no one around to pester me. If only the deck would stop inserting stupid dead tracks that I'll have to edit out later! It's funny how well minidiscs do some things and how poorly they do others.

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