Friday, March 23, 2007

I Don't Like To Take Up Causes

This world is not perfect.

People get shot for just walking to the corner store. Natural disasters take out entire villages. Innocent babies are thrown in the trash shortly after being born. These are a given. I hear about stuff like that and I let it roll off my back. Because I have to.

I'm not strong enough to care.

My psyche is fragile at best. If I had to sit and read the stats on how many children die of starvation or malnutrition everyday, while I overeat on a regular basis, throwing out perfectly good fruit because it has a tiny bruise, it will kill me. If I watched every documentary on the mistreatment of POWs or cattle or the earth, knowing that I don't recycle regularly and that I still eat meat on occasion, I'd hide in a corner of my closet and never come out.

I don't want to know that KFC slaughters its chickens by kicking them around and slamming them up against a wall. I just want to enjoy a 3-pc meal at the mall and be done with it.

I don't want to know that the milk I love to drink- like it's my JOB- is obtained inhumanely. I just want to down a glass with a short stack of apple-cinnamon pancakes and not know where it comes from.

I don't want to know that every time I forget to turn my lights off at night I'm contributing to the impending power shortage that this world is facing. I just want to keep the boogie-man away and watch movies all night.

And I really, really didn't want to know that Japanese fisherman hunt whales and dolphins in the most vicious and cruel manner, as seen in this video here:

This doesn't help me. This doesn't make me want to lead the charge against Japanese fisherman. All it does is make me feel powerless and depressed and selfish. I know that more than half of the horrible things happening to poorer nations and helpless animals benefit my way of life in some way. And although I know that a lot of this is wrong to the 100th power, I don't want to lose my comfort zone.

So I'll sign petitions to keep the government from drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Reserve, to save the polar bears and whales and dolphins. But I won't march, and chances are, I'll never stop drinking milk.

However, each time something like this surfaces, I lose a little more respect for the human race.

And myself.

*smooches...with a dash of shame and an ounce of apathy*
imagine what loneliness
will drive someone to do
now multiply that times me
and multiply that times you
now imagine what it would take to make
this all happen again
and just when you think you're gonna cry
multiply that times ten

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Why Yes, This is TMI...

It's been four man-less months.

Didn't think I could do it, did ya? Thought I'd cave around Valentine's Day because I didn't have anyone? Little did you know I NEVER celebrate that Hallmark holiday, man or not, so it did not phase me at all. I'm tap-dancing all the way to April as celibate as priest who actually takes his vows seriously.

I've found other ways to fill my time on nights and weekends when the pickneys are gone.

Sometimes I'll watch movies until my retinas burn out.

Sometimes I'll sleep until I develop bedsores.

And sometimes I'll order in something so fattening and filling that the thought of doing the do makes me want to vomit and I pass out on the couch.

When I start feeling the ill-withdrawal shakes, I'll go so far as spending the weekend with my mom. Nothing kills a skanky libido faster than a bible-quoting, church-loving, judgemental Dominican mom. She's been such a help and doesn't even know it!

This weekend will be no different:

  • Friday- working all night on three different freelance assignments
  • Saturday- cleaning my apartment, laundry, girls' poker night (no men allowed!)
  • Sunday- another freelance gig all morning, brunch w/mom and friends, pickneys back by dinner

See how anonymous, NSA, junglistic, sweaty, nasty, heart-pounding activities with a booty call just do not fit into that schedule?

*smooches...with a chastity belt made out of pure will and determination*
virtue is relative at best
there's nothing worse than a sunset
when you're driving due west
and i'm afraid that my love
is gonna come up short
that there is no there there
i guess i'm scared
'cuz i want to have good news to report
every time i come up for air

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm A Little Bit Nosy, I'm A Little Bit Rock n Roll

When you see me walking towards the F-train on 23rd Street with my NY face on, I'm not usually thinking, "Move, bitch, get out the way." Sometimes I'm thinking, "You might as well speak up, bitch, I can't hear everything you just said."

You know what I'm talking about- all those bitches who take the phrase "outdoor voice" just a bit too literal, to the point where you might be tempted to weigh in on the discussion being forced down your ear canal.

Here are some of the golden nuggets I've had the (dis)pleasure of being privy to:

Woman on Lexington and 23rd: A real landlord would take a check, right?

Yes. Yes he opposed to the fake landlords that take Spanish Doubloons. Those guys are wicked fake!

Ghetto Mama on Madison and 23rd: ...and I told him 2 broke females will not fuck you up...

...but the refurbished ones have at least 90 days from when the beef started to kick your ass.

NYU Tart in The Village: Say we're all vegan, right, wouldn't we just be taking all of their [the animals'] food?

We? Bitch, who is this "we" of which you speak? Now excuse me- you're blocking the entrance to McDonald's!

Heavy Metal Poser at Virgin Mega Store: This music today is ass! They just don't make guitar legends like [Marilyn Manson's] Daisy Berkowitz...

OMG! I just want Hendrix to rise up out of the ground and beat you senseless with Daisy's severed ARM!!!

*smooches...with too many outside voices competing with the indoor ones*
i wonder what you look like
under your t-shirt
i wonder what you sound like
when you're not wearing words
i wonder what we have
when we're not pretending
it is never ending
haven't you heard

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Maybe He Did C, F and R...

Maybe I watch too many movies. Maybe as a writer I can't help but to NOT take things at face value and instead allow my imagination to get away from me, creating fantastical versions of truth.

Maybe I have trust issues with the current Administration. But whatever it is, I find it hard to believe that we actually have, in our possession, the person responsible for EVERY TERRORIST ATTACK EVER who is more than willing to fess up to everything...and show remorse:

By ANDY SOLTIS, New York Post

March 15, 2007 -- Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, confessed to that atrocity and a string of other major al Qaeda attacks, according to a chilling transcript of a closed-door hearing released last night.

"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z," Mohammed boasted during his appearance at the U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Mohammed compared himself to George Washington as he claimed responsibility for planning, financing, and training a string of other attacks, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the horrific blast at a Bali nightclub in 2002 that killed 202 people.

In a bizarre, rambling confession he also boasted of playing the major role in al Qaeda plots that failed.

These including attempts to assassinate Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and the bid by would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes.

He denied he was "making myself [a] hero" but portrayed al Qaeda as a valiant band of Muslim fundamentalists.

"When we made . . . war against America, we are jackals fighting in the nights," he said in his first statement made public.

He accused the U.S. of starting every war it took part in and said it was bound to suffer fatalities.

"It's your war," he declared.

But he added, "I'm not happy that 3,000 [were] killed in America," referring to the 9/11 victims. "I feel sorry, even. I don't like to kill children and kids."

In all, Mohammed said he was responsible directly or in part for 31 attacks.

Excuse me? Do I look like I fell off the Hillbilly truck with my brother/uncle/husband and 12 inbred children??

And don't give me that, "people are capable of remorse" bullshit. And I especially don't want to hear that our intelligence operatives did a really stellar job and found the culprit. Because I don't own a shovel big enough to dig out of that mess.

I will, however, give dude props for sticking to his guns:

Before he launched his broken-English speech, he refused to take an oath because that would mean "that I'm accepting American Constitution, American law or whatever you are doing here."

This man is a scapegoat. Because Bush and his League of Extraordinary Idiots started a war they cannot win and cannot end. And Bin Ladin is chillin somewhere in South Beach with a harem of hoes LAUGHING HIS ASS OFF!

Don't get me wrong- I love this country. Any other place would probably not allow me to write so brazenly against the elected officials chosen to represent me to the world. Only in America can I write, "G.W. is a slack-jawed yokel redneck" and get a way with it.

But sometimes, man, I just don't know...

* a steaming pile*
up up up up up up points the
spire of the steeple
but god's work isn't done by god
it's done by people

The Fruit Told Me To Do It

I do believe one can consider themselves at "rock bottom" when they decide to take life advice from a bottle of Nak├ęd's All Natural Cherry and Pomegranate Juice Smoothie.

No, for real.

There's a lot of shyt going on right now, moral dilemmas I have to consider, serious grown-up things that keep me up at night, too many people depending on me for one thing or another, and I keep trying to find a way to just make it all go away.

Or maybe I can go away.

But then I think, no, you can't run away from stuff because with my luck, stuff has a tricked out Escalade with a'll find me at the local McDonald's passed out from a french fry overdose in a matter of seconds.

However today, as I desperately sought some sort of energy boost that did not involve the bitter coffee beans of one of the fifty Starbucks near my job, I saw this juice, and it promised me enough "cherry-pomegranate-power" to get through the day. And wouldn't you know it? It came with a message just for me, that might just get me through life:

"Shake well! Separation is natural."

And that spoke to me.

yes, i'm going to turn
and walk away
you can watch me go
or make me stay

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Subscriber Spotlight: The New Adventures of Old Irene

Readers, I'd like you to meet Irene.

We met over 15 years ago in Italian class...ask us if we can speak any of it today...

Irene was what you'd call a lost soul. When I found her, she was worshipping at the temple of Michael Bolton. The rocker in me could not sit back and watch her go down that path; I held an intervention with a little something I like to call: Heavy Metal. It was all downhill from there!!

Who'd a thunk she'd be married, pregnant, cooking for her man and *shoch shock, horror horror* NESTING!!! It's all a best friend can do to not cry in her pillow every night...

Her brutal honesty can be borderline mean, yet, strangely intoxicating...I have to have me some! And her alcohol-induced adventures, both with me and on her own, would sell out at the box office: her passed out in my closet at the Montauk cabin we used to rent; her beating up a homeless guy after partying too much at Culture Club; her hugging the toilet after a smidgeon too much Vodka at her company party; her skipping classes to get drunk...and set the cafeteria on know, the usual stuff.

But she's more than just my HS drinking buddy.

She's the one who uprooted herself and came upstate to help me with K. when my ex had to move to Long Island for a job. And took off from work to care for K. when I had to be hospitalized. She's been on the other end of the phone calming me down throughout my disasterous marriage, and kept me from running away and deserting my kid(s) oh-so-many times.

She's always there to bring the logic into the mix when all I want is to be a spoiled little brat, and she can problem solve like nobody's business. And best of all she will ALWAYS be two months older than me!

Classic Irene Moments:

• During the height of the Long Island Lolita hoopla, she dated a man 30 years her senior
• Senior year...she broke up with a dude in a Christmas card
• Rumor has it that another guy she dated tried to hang himself with his belt
• Arguing with some random dude on the bus after that Dave Matthews concert in Jersey
• I heard through the grapevine that she almost beat a girl to death with a phone...or was it a lamp...
• Watching her expression when she walked into her room and saw this:

Why she rocks:

• She's a cancer survivor, and it's made her so full of determination and drive
• She can spot a designer original on sale from across the street on a foggy day while blindfolded in the trunk of a car
• She don't take no shit
• She puts up with my crazy ass...even went to see Ani DiFranco with me TWICE...once in Poughkeepsie...when she LOATHES Ani Difranco...

Why she will make a good mommy to little Olivia:

• She knows that education matters
• She's not afraid to whoop that azz
• She knows better than to leave the baby with me for too long (Raquel: No Olivia, drop it like it's HOT...but don't tell mommy where you learned it...and this? This is Tequila. Can you say, te-qui-la? Good girl! Now CHUG IT!!!)

What I will never forget about her:

Irene created this whole "other life" in her head, in which, I believe, she was dating or married to John Malkovitch before finally settling with Jim Carey, with whom she had three sets of twins (in vitro, I know how those Hwood people are!); last I heard she had retired from acting and was the president of the United States...yes, I said United States...of America...

Her independent streak is enviable, and even though she's slowly but surely turning into a suburban soccer mom, whenever I have a tough as nails decision to make, I think: What would Irene do?

Usually the answer is- Go wonder we're so broke!!!

But there's nobody on this planet I'd rather be in debt with, and when we finally mobilize our Girl Army and take over this world, we will squash you all like the insignificant little bugs that you are.

That's right. Run and hide, bitches! Run...and...hide...

*smooches...only for Irene on her 32nd birthday...TWO WHOLE MONTHS before me*
i remember where we were standing
i remember how it felt
two little girls
growing out of their training bras
this little girl breaks furniture
this little girl breaks laws
two girls together
just a little less alone
this little girl cried wee wee wee
all the way home

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Biological Paternal Parental Units

I don't hide the fact that my "father," William and I do not have any semblance of a parent-child relationship. And for the longest time it has been a running gag: Raquel hates Willie; Raquel saw Willie on the street and walked by him like she didn't see him; did you see the look on Raquel's face when she had to take that picture with Willie? Laugh riot!!

Yes, yes, it's all very humorous, I hate Willie, ha ha ha, but I want to set the record straight. I don't hate him. How can I hate someone who doesn't exist to me?

I'll tell you what I really feel.

When I was a little girl I spent the majority of my time with my grandparents. Papi and Grandmami cared for us kids after school and on weekends and school holidays. We had a pretty cool life, if you overlooked the fact that we weren't allowed to play outside. We watched TV, loaded up on my grandmother's delicious food, got Friday treats from Papi like ice cream or Chinese food, and developed our over-active imaginations while under their supervision. It was fab. I liked it.

So I never really had a free minute to think about the fact that my mom was not around or involved as much, or that Willie was nothing more than a name attached to mine; I had my grandparents. Those kinds of thoughts didn't appear until much later in my life.

As a teen I still had Papi in my life and he was all the dad I needed. He did all the things a father does: went to birthday parties, graduations, showed us how to ride bikes, and loved us more than is humanly possible. That other father wasn't even a blip on my radar. Until, while I was in HS, William fathered two more boys by two different women. I wish I could say I didn't care, but I did. To me, these were two more beings who would grow up without him; it made me sad.

Especially because he was denying paternity for one of them.

I made it a point to visit that little boy after he was born. There was no doubt he was related to me. We were like twins. A little hate for William did brew at that moment. Some more hate bubbled over when I discovered that the boy he did recognize as his WOULD grow up with his "father" and that he and his subsequent baby brother and baby sister would form some happy little family that I didn't have with this man.

There were definitely feelings of hate at this point.

But not because I was lacking anything. Papi is more than I could ever hope for in a father figure. It was more of a righteous type of hate. The kind you'd have for a serial killer even if he hadn't killed anyone you knew. Like that.

Still, the little girl in me that now realizes that Papi is not her biological father, wonders where her "father" was during her formative years. And then the grown up in me reminds the little girl: he was in jail, sweetie. You were better off without him.

An even though I can very easily tie my sex addiction and failed relationships in with my non-existent relationship with William R. Penzo, the fact is, I was better off without him. I've made peace with that. He is not a part of my life and that doesn't make me sad.

What is a little sad, though, is his feeble attempt at a reconciliation: every time I see him at Penzo family functions he comes with the same schpiel..."We really need to talk. I want you to know where I'm coming from." He never follows through; I always just smile and nod.

Next time I might have to "dance."

And it's sad that I didn't have a chance to be a big sister to my siblings: William, 20-something, son of Vicky; William, 18 or 19, son of Evelyn; Steven, 18; Joseph, in his teens somewhere; and Stephanie, 13 or 14...who knows...all born to Madelyn. To attempt it now just feels forced and awkward. C'est la vie!

It's also a little frustrating to have his paternity shoved in my face at family functions by relatives who really should know better-

GRANDMA PENZO: Primo, come here. Meet Willie's daughter, the eldest one he had with Mercedes.
PRIMO PENZO: Oh, this is Willie's daughter? Wow, they look just alike. Hi Wilie's daughter.
ME: (not aloud, don't worry- I'm not THAT rude!) No, motherfucka, this is Raquel, Mercedes' daughter. Willie was the sperm donor. AND I DON'T LOOK LIKE HIM!!!

I don't really know what happened between my mom and William.

And frankly, I don't want to know because in my mind it's too late to make a difference. He's just an invisible entity that provided me with last name and fodder for this post.

*smooches...chock full of ambiguous feelings*
there's where i come from and
where i'm going
and i am lost in between
i might go out to that phone booth
and leave a veiled invitation
on your machine

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Manage Confrontations Now! Ask Me How!

Readers, has this ever happened to you?

Asshole VP: Listen, this report you submitted was just, sub-par. I thought you went to college; what is this dangling participle here, and this sentence over here that ends in a preposition...what the fuck?
You: Um...sorry? I'll, um, do better next time?
Asshole VP: Next time? Next time I'll just get a NYU intern to do the work! This report isn't worth the fucking paper it's printed on! [storms off]
You: [under your breath] Don't you mean, "on which it's printed?" Asshole!

Or this?

Bitchy Ex-Wife: Last week I sent Muffy over here with a red shirt, a blue shirt, a pair of light faded jeans and some tan corduroys, plus two pairs of white socks and a pair of blue socks. When she came home she was missing one of the pairs of white socks.
Shocked Ex-Husband: What?
Bitchy Ex-Wife: Listen, if you can't even keep track of a pair of socks I don't know how you expect me to trust you with Muffy.
Shocked Ex-Husband: What?
Bitchy Ex-Wife: That's it- I'm calling my lawyer!
Shocked Ex-Husband: WHAT?

Do you have a problem confronting the people in your life, whether at work or at home? Are you constantly used as a doormat by your older siblings? As a fall guy by your co-workers? As a sounding board by that BITCH-ASS-TRICK at the DMV?

Well try The Interpretive Dance Method (patent pending)- my new technique for handling any and all stress-inducing conflicts and confrontations that may come your way. The Interpretive Dance Method teaches you the moves and positions essential to let your aggressor know exactly how you feel, without resorting to raising your voice or dropping the F-bomb.

It works like this- say the Asshole VP comes into your office, mouthing off expletives and belittling the contributions you make at work-- don't haul off and punch him in the face. Instead try pose #00214:

This move will get your point across, shut him up and baffle one will ever yell at you in your office again.

Lets look at the Ex-Wife Scenario again:

Bitchy Ex-Wife: Last week I sent Muffy over here with a red shirt, a blue shirt, a pair of light faded jeans and some tan corduroys, plus two pairs of white socks and a pair of blue socks. When she came home she was missing one of the pairs of white socks.

Instead of letting the disbelief of her ludicrous statement render you mute, try this Interpretive Dance move that involves a half turn:

stretch: reach back:and tush tap: Your Ex-Wife will know, in no uncertain terms, that her petty concerns for a generic pair of white socks have been considered and dealt with accordingly. She might still call her lawyer, but she'll never bother you regarding alleged wardrobe malfunctions ever again.

These conflict resolution methods have been tested and proven effective in homes and offices all over the country. Shannon Doherty uses them at all BH 90210 reunion gatherings:and Lindsay Lohan was filmed perfecting The Method for paparazzi not too long ago:

And now they can be yours!

What are you waiting for?

For just $5.99, plus S&H, I will teach you how to dance your way to conflict resolution. Call toll free now!!!


If you act within five minutes of reading this blog, we'll send you this free Football you can clock that BITCH-ASS-TRICK at the DMV over the head with it!!

*smooches...interpretive dancing all up and down the F-train car*
it takes a stiff upper lip
just to hold up my face
i got to suck it up and savor
the taste of my own behavior
i am spinning with longing
faster then a roulette wheel
this is not who i meant to be
this is not how i meant to feel

Sunday, March 04, 2007

What To Do...What To Do...

Here it is, the moment I've been dreading since I got that awful email from FAFSA and realized that my MFA would be my last degree for a long time...I don't have anything to do.

I come home from work and sit at my computer and am confronted with the fact that there is nothing to do. Or it's the weekend and I wake up and...I just have no purpose. No deadlines to meet. It's all a waiting game now. One can only hope that my advisor finds GLARING ERRORS in my thesis and it needs to be revised.

On a day like today I would normally spend the majority of my time stressing over how to end my stories, or checking that the verb tenses are consistent throughout- a serious problem I have- or trying to BS my way to a finished craft thesis.

Instead I had nothing to do but file the four piles of papers by my desk...five hours worth of filing that threatened to take away my last bit of sanity...AWWW CRAP! I just realized there's another pack of papers hidden in the closet!!! DAMMIT!!!!!

I mean really! How does ONE WOMAN amass that many papers??? Poor trees!!! I dare say I am personally responsible for deforestation...

I tried to break up the monotony by watching movies on the computer, but 1/3 of the way through Brokeback Mountain I realized it was the most BORING movie on the planet, and that Heath Ledger's voice was like nails on a chalkboard to me.

So I switched to old episodes of Friends, but it just wasn't as funny as it used to be, you know? Kind of like watching old sitcoms on Nick at Nite- they used to crack you up back in the day but just can't see the funny...

Finally the girls and I settled on watching season one of Charmed, starring my girl Shannen Doherty, and that calmed my soul a little. That show makes me anxious for my own powers to awaken. That and Heroes. But everything at its own pace- you can't rush greatness...

...Am I rambling? Jeez! I need a hobby...

Fuck it- I'm off to look up more grad school programs. All I need is a scholarship and I'll be OK. Fuck FAFSA and Uncle Sam. They will not keep me from my dream of being called "Dr. Penzo." Nor will they force me to spend another 5 hours filing papers. I'll leave that for next Sunday.

I'm nothing if not a student!!!

* a granite-colored file cabinet*
i've got a slot at eye level like
a speakeasy door
and i know you know the password
cuz i've seen you here before
and i've got something sweet for you
and i don't care if it is more than you deserve
i've got a lot of love and a lot of nerve
so watch me while i take this curve

Thursday, March 01, 2007

You Are Cordially Invited...

I'm celebrating a few things and need to party hard. I'm thinking March 30th or 31st. You all need to accompany me to make sure I don't go home with a Hoover-type loser at the end of the night. And because I said so, dammit!

1. 90-day Review and Mas Dinero
My boss is impressed with my work. Apparently I'm a good worker (stop laughing, Irene!). So he gave me a $5G raise...I think that translates to 30 cents more per paycheck after taxes...

2. Paper Finito.
I handed it in. Still don't know if it's good, but it's done and it's in my thesis mentor's hands. Hopefully I still have a chance to graduate with my friends in August (you're all invited to that, too)

3. My 60-day Chip- Rehab is the New Church...
I think I've finally got my sex-addiction under control...two months and counting...YAY ME!!! (well, at least until JC and/or Slash come to their senses and become my love slaves)

4. West Visits East
My friend L from LA is coming out east during her spring break and we'll be painting the town red. You all need to meet her- she's awesome!!!

Party details are still in the planning stages, but expect the festivities to include a lavish dinner at a Mexican, Indian, Italian, Spanish or Mediterranean joint, bar-hopping, consuming massive amounts of alcohol, dancing till our clothes come off and ending with breakfast at a 24-hour diner.

Please be ready to pay your own way (cause you know I ain't got it and can't put nothin' on it) and to be featured in this blog the following day (cause you know you're gonna get so drunk and stupid that I WILL NEED to talk about you!).

RSVP due by March 23rd; presents not required but are more than can buy me a drink or two...also, cash is always appreciated :)

when you come to me
come to me with cake
in your pocket
come to me nicely
with that soft kinda cake
that's mostly icing
come to me ready and rude
bring me angel food
angel food