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Category Archives: local

The new kid in town

Moving to a new area (especially after spending over a decade in the last area) there’s a bit of a transitional period. I mean, more than you have to unpack everything and put everything away and figure out where the closest grocery store is. Of course I’ve done that. If I hadn’t, I’d probably have starved to death by now (or tripped over a box in my living room and broken my neck and Dumbcat would have eaten my face.)

I WILL EAT YOUR FAYCE, MOMME.

I WILL EAT YOUR FAYCE, MOMME.

No, it’s more the little things you have to get used to and relearn about your new place before you can feel truly at home there. Those are the things that keep popping up and tripping you up and reminding you that you’re a newbie.

THINGS THAT KEEP CONFUSING AND UPSETTING (AND SOMETIMES DELIGHTING) ME IN MY NEW HOME!

  • Where all the local towns are. I have to ask people at work this ALL! THE! TIME! A lot of my job is sorting towns on this one website by county (we serve a tri-county area, with a few forays into the other surrounding counties) and I have to look up all these towns online to find out where they are, and I’m forever asking my coworkers “OMG WHERE IS COPENHAGEN!” (Side note: Copenhagen is actually a town here, not just a town in Denmark. TRUE FACTS!) And then they explain to be “that’s south of us” or whatever and I have no sense of direction and they have to show it to me on a map and I’m still all “where is north” and then they all laugh at me because I am a freak of nature but also lovable like a stuffed animal made of hugs.

    Also, see Theresa? You pronounce the "h." THE-resa. I have a LOT to learn.

    Also, see Theresa? You pronounce the “h.” THE-resa. I have a LOT to learn.

  • The local news. We have one local news channel (THIS IS OUR COMPETITION! We watch this broadcast in the newsroom at night to make sure we have all of the big stories. And if we had them first, we like to say “WE SCOOPED YOU!” OK, fine, I’m the only one who says that. But I say it with a LOT of enthusiasm.) The local news is fine (they make a lot of typos on their website, which I like to point out and laugh at) except they have this local sports guy who makes me want to light both my eyeballs and eardrums on fire. His name is Busler. I don’t know what his first name is. (The website says it’s Mel.) He looks and talks like Champ from Anchorman. And he does this thing called “Busler’s Beauties” where he narrates sports plays with things like “Uh-oh! Spaghettios!” when someone falls down in a really obnoxious voice. According to my coworkers, who also think he’s got the most annoying voice ever, he’s a very generous guy who raises a lot of money locally for charities, so I suppose I shouldn’t pick on him. But when his segment of the news comes on, I always say “CAN WE TURN OFF THE NEWS NOW?” and coworker R. always says “Oh, yes, SORRY AMY!” because he knows Busler’s Beauties makes me want to stab kittens.
    Doesn't goold old Mel Busler...

    Doesn’t goold old Mel Busler…

    ...look like Champ from "Anchorman?" I totally want the WWNY team to get in a rumble with PBS. I would watch that.

    …look like Champ from “Anchorman?” I totally want the WWNY team to get in a rumble with PBS. I would watch that.

  • The local commercials. This should be a side-note to the last one, because good old Mel Busler does about 3/4 of the local commercials. He’s selling cars and vacations and who even knows what else. Also, there’s this one local commercial where a car company has their kids (grandkids? I don’t even know) do the commercial, and the little girl says “IT’S CRAAAAAZY!” with this weird look to and then away from the camera and the finger-around-her-ear gesture that signifies crazy and it makes me insane so I guess the fact that it MAKES me crazy means it’s working. I’m used to local commercials starring my friends (one of the best parts of being friends with the actors in the area!) so seeing these is jarring and weirdo-times.

    (This one actually isn’t THAT cheesy, but it provides you some local flavor. And now you totally all want frozen yogurt, don’t you? I’ve been to this place. It was a weird time of the day and most of the good flavors were gone but if I go back on another day I’m sure I’ll have better luck with it. There really are a billion toppings.)
  • Local stores and restaurants. FIRST you have to deal with the fact that you miss all of your favorite restaurants (Ala Shanghai – *sniff*) and find NEW favorite restaurants (I’ve found some that will do, but none that I’m crazy about yet. However, I’ve only been here 5 months.) Then you have to find your way amongst new and perplexing stores. There’s a store here called Herb Philipson’s (which seems like kind of a outdoorsy Big Lots? Like, it sells a lot of camo gear, but also random bins of sunscreen? I don’t even know.) I cannot remember the name of Herb Philipson’s to save my life. So whenever I talk about it I call it Harvey Fierstein’s. Dad always says, “IT IS NOT HARVEY FIERSTEIN’S!” So now of COURSE I call it that ALL! THE! TIME! (In this town’s defense, I have to applaud it for its shopping and restaurant choices. We have more shopping and eating venues here than you’d imagine. It’s kind of impressive.)
    It's Herb Philipson's!

    It’s Herb Philipson’s!

    Not Harvey Fierstein's! I AM SHOCKED WITH YOU, AMY!

    Not Harvey Fierstein’s! I AM SHOCKED WITH YOU, AMY!

  • Finding a new local radio station. I had FINALLY found a station I loved in Albany, with a nice mix of alt-folksy-rock and sometimes they’d play Pink, and now I have to start all over again. I’ve found one that randomly plays “Oops I Did It Again” and then five seconds later plays “Pour Some Sugar on Me” so I like that it’s unpredictable, but I need an alternative channel for my Brandi Carlile days. I don’t think we have that here. SIGH SIGH. Yeah, I know, that’s what the music on your phone is for, but I really like not knowing what’s coming up on the radio. It’s like a Magic 8-Ball of music for me. I’m easily amused.
  • Learning all the local lore. In Albany, you had Mayor McCheese, with the most prodigious orange tan (who left office right before I moved away.) Now I have to get used to our NEW mayor, who has a blog and owns a bar and is said to have an eye for the lay-deez. I have to re-learn things like “don’t eat there, because food poisoning” and “this is where the best coffee is” and “don’t trust that, because LIES” and “OMG, that’s the part of town where you’re going to get hooked on heroin, don’t drive there” and “that’s a stabmurderer, don’t slow down, JUST KEEP DRIVING.”
    This is my current mayor. He's nowhere near orange enough to be a mayor.

    This is my current mayor. He’s nowhere near orange enough to be a mayor.

    Right, Former Mayor McCheese?

    Right, Former Mayor McCheese?

I’m sure there are many more, but these are the ones that keep standing out. I say “HELP ME I AM NEW!” over and over at work, and my coworkers, who are sparkly-shiny-wonderful, always help, which is reason number 47 billion and 4 that I love them more than anything. They want me to fit in. I love that about them. (And in return, I tell them stories about my hometown, which is one of the counties we cover now and then, and sometimes I know people we write about because they’re someone I remember from my childhood so I give them the inside scoop and it makes them laugh.)

Until next time, my little chickadees. May you find a radio station that’s always playing your favorite songs and may you visit Harvey Fierstein’s, where I assume they would sell feather boas and FABULOUS false eyelash kits at an amazing discount!

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It’s like my own personal episode of COPS every night.

A newspaper-thing that’s always intrigued me, ever since I was younger, is the cop briefs.

Don’t even deny they intrigue you as well. If you haven’t read them for entertainment value, you’ve read them to see if anyone you know was arrested. They’re vicarious sordidness, aren’t they?

Cop brieffffffs! (Don't Google "cop briefs" unless you want to see a lot of men's underpants, my friends.)

Cop brieffffffs! (Don’t Google “cop briefs” unless you want to see a lot of men’s underpants, my friends.)

Oh, in case you don’t have these where you are (doesn’t everyone have these? I’d assume yes, but you know what they say about assuming…) cop briefs are those quick little blurbs in the paper that say something like “John Doe, 46, of Somewheresville, was arrested by state police on Saturday at 1:02 a.m. He was charged with lewd lewdness, crazy loudness, and public urination.” Things like that.

One of my (many) jobs at the paper is to put certain things online immediately, as soon as they’re proofread. Major stories, some wire stories that we think people will be interested in, and the cop briefs. Cop briefs are *very* popular around here. (I don’t know if it’s just around here. I think they’re probably popular everywhere. People are alike all over. Somewhat nosy.)

I almost immediately realized that the cop briefs were both the funniest and saddest things I would be reading at the paper.

Things that seem surprisingly popular around here, so much so that they’re probably 75% or more of our cop briefs:

  • heroin-related crimes (heroin is HUGE around here. Apparently locals really enjoy riding the horse. Who knew?)
  • Meth-related crimes (cookin’ the meth, yo, cookin’ the meth)
  • drunk driving
  • domestic violence
  • child molestation (yes, I know…shudder)
  • petit larceny
  • check forgery

SIDE NOTE: There is a 50/50 split at work of people who say “petit” (just like it looks – “pet it”, like you would do to a cat, specifically, Dumbcat, who ALWAYS wants petting) larceny and who say “petty” larceny. I’m in the latter camp – too many years of French classes drilled the latter pronunciation into my head. But the “pet it” people are as adamant about their choice as the “petty” people are. I find this fascinating.

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: We have a road here named “Gotham Street.” How would you say that? I’d assume, based on the world’s consumption of Batman-related things, you’d say “Gaw-thumb”, right? Nope. Here, it’s “Goe-thumb.” This makes me laugh. Like, a lot.

"It's GAW-thumb! DID MY PARENTS DIE FOR THIS!?!?!?"

“It’s GAW-thumb! DID MY PARENTS DIE FOR THIS!?!?!?”

So. Most of the cop briefs are for the things above. It’s gotten so second-hand that I’m all “ho-hum, another trailer exploded because they were cooking meth in it.” The domestic violence and child molestation ones bother me, I’m not going to lie. I don’t know if I’ll ever get inured to those. I think if the day comes that I am, I’m done. Roll me up and throw me in the sea.

My favorites, however, are the petit larceny ones. Specifically, the FUNNY petit larceny ones. Yes, yes. I know. Stealing’s not all that funny. But when you’re hanging your hat on dark humor, you take it where you can get it, you know?

There was…

  • the man who bought a bunch of crap at Walmart with counterfeit $100s, got caught, got arrested, got an appearance ticket, then THREE DAYS LATER got caught AGAIN for trying to buy MORE THINGS with a counterfeit $100. (Vitamins. He was trying to buy vitamins at the drug store.) This time, the cops were all “yeah…think we’ll keep you” and he had $50,000 bail, or something. We were all, “Hee! You know he’s saying ‘oh! $50k? I HAVE THAT! Do you take $100s?'”

    Ben Franklin disapproves of your shenanigans.

    Ben Franklin disapproves of your shenanigans.

  • the woman who decided she HAD TO HAVE the Keurig from her hotel room, so she put it in her bag and was all “gonna gooooo now” but got caught (not sure how…but based on future info, I’m guessing it was just poking on out of her bag, she doesn’t seem the brightest) and when the cops showed up she had a PLETHORA of wee bags of meth on her. Now, my thought: if you’re packing, like, MULTIPLE bags of meth? Probably don’t also steal the Keurig from your hotel room. You can buy one from your meth money later, and you want to keep a low profile, you know? You don’t need that Keurig right now. No. You don’t. Put it down. PUT IT DOWNNNN.

    "If it's in the hotel room, it's mine, right? I'm just going to take this, then. Thanks. DO NOT CHECK MY POCKETS FOR CRACK COCAINE."

    “If it’s in the hotel room, it’s mine, right? I’m just going to take this, then. Thanks. DO NOT CHECK MY POCKETS FOR METH.”

  • the guy who got arrested at his home for stealing something but then resisted arrest, and then his mother got arrested for trying to stop the cops from arresting him, and then SHE resisted arrest as WELL, and then his BROTHER tried to stop the cops from arresting his MOM and then resisted his OWN arrest. So, we’re three for three, then. Good show, folks.
  • the woman that got arrested for stealing a Dr. Pepper and some Cracker Jack from the convenience store. That one just made me sad. It was less than $4 of stuff. I kind of wanted to find her and give her $5 and tell her to keep the change.
  • The woman that just walked right out of the grocery store with something called a “mega meat savings pack.” This one was kind of the best, because the reporter who was on cops that night was on the phone with the police station, and we overheard him say, “I’d like a little more detail about this petit larceny of the ‘mega meat savings pack?'” And Coworker R. and I (BTW, I’m quite convinced Coworker R. and I are siblings separated at birth) at the exact same time said “Mega meat savings pack?” and got the giggles. And then the poor reporter was trying to hold it together while he was talking to the cops, but it was like on “Saturday Night Live” when everyone gets the giggles and no one can behave. Church-giggles, is what it was. And when he got off the phone, he was all “YOU GUYS” and I was all “MEGA MEAT SAVINGS PACK!” and even now I can’t say that without laughing like a looney.

    MEGA meat! We seriously discussed for like 20 minutes how she hid this to get it out of the store. Like, in her bra, or what?

    MEGA meat! We seriously discussed for like 20 minutes how she hid this to get it out of the store. Like, in her bra, or what?

  • The couple that got arrested for stealing a shopping cart filled with camping supplies from Walmart (Walmart gets stolen from, on average, 47 bajillion times a week…ok, I’m exaggerating, it’s like 47 KABILLION times a week) and then after listing all the things that were stolen, like “Sterno, a tent, tent poles, marshmallows, an inflatable mattress” it also listed “sexual lubricant.” Heh. Well, I guess the point of couples camping is that it’s (turn your eyes away, kiddos) fucking in tents. Or maybe they had some other campy use for that lubricant; I don’t really do outdoorsy well, so I couldn’t begin to tell you. Like, maybe it keeps away bears, you don’t know.

    "QUICK! GET THE K-Y!"

    “QUICK! GET THE K-Y!”

Probably the best, though, which was NOT petit larceny related, was the chick who foiled a kidnapper.

YES! A man called the cops, and said “someone tried to kidnap my ladyfriend in front of the convenience store!” so the cops were all on red alert and ran over and took statements and there was a lookout for a black SUV with a couple of nefarious white guys in it, and the woman was all “I left the store, they tried to pull me into their SUV, I fought ’em off with my sweet ninja moves” (I might be making that part up a little, but it was something to that effect.)

Everyone on our Facebook page, when we posted the story, FREAKED OUT. “Why are the cops hiding something from us?” “It’s like they WANT us to be kidnapped!” “FIND THESE EVILDOERS!” “CASTRATE THEM WITH RUSTY GARDEN SHEARS!” (Again, I might be making that part up a little.)

There was no news for a day or two…then the truth came out.

So, the chick had a job interview across the street from the convenience store. She and her boyfriend showed up early. Because she had time to kill, she proceeded to get very drunk (…yeah, I don’t know, either) and then she somehow lost her boyfriend in the convenience store. Convinced he’d left without her, she went in the parking lot, angry at him. When he came out looking for her, she was all, “YOU ABANDONED ME. And…um…because you did that, SOMEONE TRIED TO KIDNAP ME. I hope you’re HAPPY, Frank.” (His name wasn’t Frank. Like I remember his name. Please.)

So the boyfriend, who wasn’t (I’m assuming) drunk, was all, “babe, I was just inside this convenience store, how did you lose me? And more importantly, WE GOTTA CALL THE COPS ABOUT THIS KIDNAPPING.” And, mired in her web of drunken lies, she said, “Um. Yeeees? Yes, sure we sure do. Those dirty kidnappers who totally tried to kidnap me just now heh heh I’m not even lying at all even a little bit.”

The cops then broke her down after intense questioning (I’m guessing “intense” was just they looked at her seriously and she was all “OMG I AM SO SORRY” and started crying, she’s not really the criminal mastermind type, is she?) and she was charged with wasting police resources and reporting a false claim and inciting a riot. I made up that last one because it sounded cool. And, I have to assume, she did not get the job, probably. Unless the job was “professional drunken parking-lot kidnap liar,” in which case, she NAILED the interview (and I’m guessing there wasn’t much competition.)

As you can expect if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, I totally crack up over these kinds of stories. And I tell ALL my coworkers about them. “DEAR COWORKERS!” I say, and proceed to tell them the latest transgression in a VERY dramatic reading, which I like to think is appreciated by all. (Or, if it’s not, they’re too polite to tell me to shush it.)

What have we learned?

If you do something stupid, your name’s going to be in the paper. THAT IS SO EMBARRASSING!

(Also, just an FYI, we have computerized archives going back to the 80s. So don’t be thinking I won’t look you up and see if you were ever in the cop briefs. I SO WILL. This is like the next step in Googling one’s date. Newspaper-archive-searching one’s date. I am not going out with someone and then finding out after I’m head-over-heels he deals meth out of his nasty meth-trailer. I also, by the way, researched my apartment to see if it was a murder house. What, like you wouldn’t. It was never a murder house. But it WAS a drug house in the 90s. So if I find any little packets crammed in the corners, I’m going to probably not eat those, then.)

So…probably don’t do stupid things, my little gumdrops. Or someone, somewhere, is laughing HYSTERICALLY at you at the copydesk of a paper with their amazing coworkers they love more than all the cheese in the world. (ALL the cheese. And there’s a lot of cheese in the world, is how much those coworkers are loved.)

Thus endeth the lesson.

(Oh, and I guess also bring K-Y jelly camping? I don’t even know about that one.)


Why diminish your soul being run-of-the-mill at something?

“But why diminish your soul being run-of-the-mill at something? Mediocrity: now there is ugliness for you. Mediocrity’s a hairball coughed up on the Persian carpet of Creation.” ― Tom Robbins, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

While I was in Baltimore at the beginning of the month, I ran across an article that I found very upsetting. However, I was on vacation, and upsetting things are not allowed to enter my vacation-space. The only things that are allowed in my vacation-space are laughs and delicious foodstuffs and the reading of many books.

HOWEVER, now I am home. Yes, I suppose you could argue I’ve been home for weeks and weeks but I had other things to talk about; cut me some slack, Jack. I have a lot of things in my brain-area. They don’t always come in a logical order.

OK, so here’s the thing: apparently, according to some company called Acxiom, who ran some serious tests in 2004 to come up with this data, guess what the number one most average city in all of Merka is.

No, seriously, guess.

ALBANY IT IS ALBANY.

You GUYS! This company called Acxiom (which Wikipedia says is “one of the biggest companies you’ve never heard of,” so that’s not at all shady) says MY HOME is the MOST AVERAGE CITY IN ALL THE LAND!

Well. This cannot stand. Average? Average means BORING. Who wants to be average? No. Not me. I want to be stellar. I want to be amazing. I want to be EXTRAORDINARY. And I want the place where I live to be extraordinary as well.

OK, yes, TECHNICALLY, I do not LIVE in Albany, I live just OUTSIDE of Albany, but that’s not the POINT. THEY ARE MALIGNING MY HOME.

Now, All Over Albany (one of our most excellent local blogs; suck on THAT, “average”) did a more up-t0-date comparison to see if we’re “average” or not. They measured us against the nation’s average in all kinds of categories to see just how average we are, exactly, since the statistics to us being known as THE MOST AVERAGE CITY IN MERKA are about ten years old.

What did they find out?

As opposed to the nation’s average, we have:

  • More adult residents
  • A higher household income
  • Many more white people; therefore, fewer non-white people
  • Less families; more non-family units living together (apparently we like livin’ in sin ’round these here parts…or it could be that we have many colleges here, so that means there are a lot of roommate situations happening here)
  • Many more households that speak English only (and, of course, therefore, fewer households with English as a non-primary language)
  • Many more people with a graduate degree
  • Fewer married couples
  • More people who live alone
  • Women who tend to have fewer children

SUCK ON THAT ACXIOM!

Ok. FINE. Those aren’t really all that awe-inspiring, those statistics, are they. They’re just kind of slight variations. And they’re easily explained away. We’re a very professional, very educated group of people. Our biggest employers are the state, the county, and our various colleges and universities; you need a higher degree to either get ahead in these things, or to do these things.

Well. I’m really going to have to wow you, to prove to you that where I live isn’t average. Because it’s not, you see. It’s not at all average. I knew that the minute I first pulled into town. I knew that the minute I arrived. It was home, and it was just as stellar as I needed a home of mine to be. And, I mean, all you have to do is look at the comments on that Mother Jones article up there to see what people think of where I live. BLEAK! They think it’s BLEAK! What is WRONG with people?

DOES THIS LOOK BLEAK TO YOU? I don't THINK so!

DOES THIS LOOK BLEAK TO YOU? I don’t THINK so!

So, without ANY further ado, here are some VERY excellent reasons why my home is FAR from average.

The Egg!

Now, how can any city with a building as amazing as The Egg be AVERAGE? I mean, come on. This is a building filled with WHIMSY, you guys. Every concert or talk or reading I’ve ever seen here starts with the person performing remarking upon the utter insane awesomeness of The Egg. THERE IS NOTHING ORDINARY ABOUT THE EGG.

We are the state capital!

There are a lot of cities in New York, but WE, my friends, are the CAPITAL OF THEM ALL! We have GOVERNMENT here! With SENATORS and CONGRESSMEN and such! We have a CAPITOL BUILDING with CARVINGS and GHOSTS in it! We have a GOVERNOR’S MANSION here! Yes, fine, maybe the governor doesn’t exactly LIVE in the mansion, but that’s not the POINT, we HAVE a mansion! And our governor is dating SANDRA LEE! Who is a very famous television lady! And he’s not a shabby governor himself! He always looks pissy and cantankerous and he GETS SHIT DONE!

We are the longest continuously chartered city in all of Merka!

ALL! OF! MERKA! Think of how big Merka is, you guys. Think of all those cities, both big and small. ALBANY IS THE LONGEST CONTINUOUSLY CHARTERED CITY OF THEM ALL! Think of all that history! Think of all the people who’ve lived here! Think of all the fur-traders and ironworkers and Dutch immigrants who went to and fro RIGHT IN MY CITY! It’s mind-boggling. I won’t be upset if you need to go get a cool drink and take a few deep breaths before you continue.

We have awesome town names!

Because we are so old, we have many town names with old foreign (and domestic!) roots. Canajoharie. Castleton-on-Hudson. Coeymans. Poestenkill. Rensselaer. Schaghticoke. Schenectady. Stuyvesant. Valatie. (That’s pronounced Va-LAY-sha, just in case you thought it was VAL-uh-tee.) Watervliet (which my mom pronounced “Watervillay” for the longest time, even though I told her over and over “Mom! IT IS WATERVLEET!”) Voorheesville (which always makes me think of Jason Voorhees.) Kaaterskill. How can you not love an area with names like this? Aren’t those names AMAZING? When I first moved to the area, I would read street signs and highway signs and just giggle with glee and try to guess how they were pronounced. I know how they’re pronounced now, but they still give me glee. MUCH glee.

Tulip Fest! Lark Fest! Pearlapalooza!

We love street festivals here. We have Tulip Fest, where we celebrate the coming of the summer and the blooming of the tulips! We have Lark Fest, where we celebrate Lark Street, which is one of my favorite streets in all of Albany with old buildings and cobblestones and artsy residents and cool businesses! We have Pearlapalooza, which is trying too hard to be Lark Fest but is still enjoyable! Also, at all of these things, you can get fried dough. FRIED! DOUGH! And real musical acts come and play at them! It’s all very happy and sunshiney. Except for when it rains. Which is almost every time there’s an outdoor festival. Because the heavens have a sense of humor.

Famous people were born and/or grew up around here!

FAMOUS!

FAMOUS!

Martha Quinn from MTV! Gregory Maguire who wrote Wicked! Andy Rooney from 60 Minutes! Kristen Gillibrand, one of my favorite politicians! The guy who directed Die Hard and is in prison now because of that weird private eye scandal! The woman who wrote The Mists of Avalon! Jimmy Fallon went to the College of St. Rose and worked for one of our local papers in college and grew up down near Poughkeepsie! David Hyde Pierce from Frasier grew up in Saratoga! Rachael Ray grew up in Lake George! Mickey Rourke was born in Schenectady! Even Grandpa Simpson said he was the handsomest boy in Albany, New York in his childhood on an episode of The Simpsons! LOOK AT ALL THOSE FANCY PEOPLE!

ALL THE THEATER!

We have such an amazing and vibrant theater scene in the area. There is always something you can watch. We have big, beautiful, historic theaters – Proctors, The Palace – and smaller, newer ones – Capital Repertory – and more community theaters than you can imagine. If you want culture, here’s your place. Is that average? I DO NOT THINK SO!

Fun and kooky things to do!

In the winter, our entire Washington Park (which is really big) gets all lit up by some local business (I want to say it’s Quick Response Restoration or something) and you pay like a billion dollars* (*fine, it’s like $10) and you drive slowly through the park and are alternately charmed by and worried by the light display. It’s a holiday tradition around here. One year, there was what was SUPPOSED to be a man beating a drum, but the drum had burned out, so the man looked like he was…um…pleasuring himself…and the drumstick was his…well, his drumstick. That’s totally a euphemism. We drove by that thing three times and laughed until we cried. It’s one of my most favorite local memories.

Also, there used to be (and might still be, I don’t know) New Year’s fireworks, and we went to the top of a parking garage to watch them, and people were being too loud in the crowd, and the mayor was on the PA system saying happy New Year! Enjoy the fireworks! And the people were talking TOO LOUD and the mayor was SO MAD and so he was all – ON THE PA – “IF YOU DON’T CUT THAT OUT THERE WON’T BE ANY FIREWORKS!” and we laughed and laughed because he was TOTALLY gonna cancel those fireworks and also send us to bed without dessert.

Come on. There’s magic in every corner of Albany. You just have to approach it with the right attitude. I feel that if you bring your A game? Albany will give it right back to you.

Also, I just want to mention that one time there was a chocolate festival where you got to walk around the State Museum and eat all the free chocolate and look at weird dioramas of prehistoric people. It was very surreal and also very wonderful. I got to have food dipped in a chocolate fountain AND cacao nibs for the first time. YUM.

People here are super-nice!

They really are. It’s a big city (and a big area) but it doesn’t FEEL big. People are really very friendly. Yes, sometimes the traffic makes you want to punch someone in the neck but that’s what you get when you live somewhere that’s got things to do in it. People are nice and look out for each other and welcome new people into their groups and can be incredibly kind, even when you don’t expect it. There’s a real sense of community here.

Sometimes you see wildlife!

HI AMY! Says the hawk.

HI AMY! Says the hawk.

It might be a city, but there’s enough wilderness around that you still see wild things, and you guys know how much I love wild things. I’ve seen typical things like skunks and possums and woodchucks (mostly as roadkill, sadly) but I’ve also seen deer (just hangin’ on out in the work parking lot, hi, you daily-grind 9-to-5-ers! I AM A DEER!) and a few hawks (which I LOVE, I totally watch those for longer than I should, probably, but I think hawks are the coolest) and wild turkeys (NO, not the alcoholic kind.) I like that there are huge high-rises not too far away, but also turkeys.

I LIVE HERE!

Listen, it all boils down to this. I LIVE HERE. How the hell can anything be ordinary if I live here? I mean, I’m like a shooting star of a human, baby. ZAP ZIP ZOOM! I’m pretty sure just by me living in an area, it IMMEDIATELY stops being average and turns EXTRAORDINARY. Because I don’t see anything like a normal person would. I see the magic and the wonder in EVERYTHING. And I totally see it here. Or I wouldn’t have stayed as long as I have, and I certainly wouldn’t be planning on staying for the rest of my life.

MY VERDICT?

Suck it, Acxiom. We’re not average. We’re AMAZING around here. If you come here and you think we’re blah and boring and industrial and – ugh – BLEAK – you are not looking hard enough. Look again. Rub your eyes a little. There’s so much magic here. And I’m going to spend the rest of my life finding every last bit of it.


Murder…ON HIS MIND!

I had a whole big plan for this post. But, you know what they say. THE BEST LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEN…um…often get attacked and eaten by Dumbcat? Something something. FINE, I will look it up. It is “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft agley.” That is not really the best of English. It just means, don’t plan nothin’, sunshine, because your little old heart’s gonna get squashed like a spider climbing up the living room wall.

So a few weeks ago, I read that Lifetime (TELEVISION FOR WOMEN!!! I am a woman! It’s for ME!) was going to be doing a movie based on the Chris Porco story. I WAS VERY EXCITED. Why? Because it was Lifetime? No. Because Porco is kind of a funny last name? No. Because I’m nuts? Perhaps.

Because it happened HERE! IN MY TOWN! And also, as you know, I’m obsessed with murder. Also with rolling one’s “r”s so words sound more portentous. Murrrrrderrrrrr.

So back in 2004, when I’d not been here very long (but was totally already in love with my new town) there was totally an axe murder here. An AXE-MURDER! I know, that’s the most salacious. Someone broke into the house of a very nice man and his wife and axe-murdered the husband and also attempted to axe-murder the wife, but she survived. The husband did not survive. Also, you guys, AXE-MURDER. Shocking!

Even more shocking? Guess who was the number one suspect?

THEIR COLLEGE-AGE SON CHRIS PORCO!

All these details started coming out. Their son was pretending to be rich to all of his college friends, even though he wasn’t. He forged his dad’s name on a big loan and his dad found out and was threatening to call the cops. He was flunking out of college. He’d stolen and sold some of his parents’ electronics on Ebay. Whoever broke into the house that night not only knew the alarm code, but left a door-key in the lock. His Jeep was seen on camera leaving campus and returning to campus in the exact perfect timeframe for the murder. And he stood to inherit a lot of money when his parents died.

Oh, also, when the cops and EMTs showed up at his parents’ house that night, one of the cops asked her who did this. Was it a family member? She nodded yes. Was it Chris? She nodded yes again.

So the cops questioned him but he had answers for all of their questions. And he kept saying he would never axe-murder his parents. Who would axe-murder their parents? What kind of person would do that?

So they arrested him, and then there was a trial, and one of my most favorite local lawyers represented him (no, seriously, he’s awesomeness, and if I ever get arrested for murder, I’m so calling him, and when I told my mom that, she said, “Are you PLANNING murder? Don’t plan murder”) and it was ALL OVER THE PAPERS and it was MOST SALACIOUS.

This is Terry Kindlon. If you murder someone in Albany, you call Terry. He's awesomeness.

This is Terry Kindlon. If you murder someone in Albany, you call Terry. He’s awesomeness.

Oh, also, apparently all the ladies were in love with Chris Porco? I didn’t understand that, so much. He was a good enough looking kid, I guess, but he must have been super-charming, because I don’t know that I would want to be hanging out with an axe-murderer. SORRY! “Alleged” axe-murderer at that point, right? Did I just spoil everyone? Shit.

See? Just an ordinary kid. He must have magic powers or something, I don't know.

See? Just an ordinary kid. He must have magic powers or something, I don’t know.

They moved the trial to Goshen which is down by Woodstock because they didn’t think he could get a fair trial here. I like the town of Goshen because somewhere at some point in my life (I want to say from my grandmother?) someone used to say “Land o’ Goshen!” when they were surprised by something. Like, “Land o’ Goshen, why are you climbing on the bookcase?” Then when I found out it was a real town, I laughed and laughed and now whenever I drive past it or someone mentions it I call it LAND O’ GOSHEN!

Holy hell, Land o' Goshen is a THING! A Biblical THING!

Holy hell, Land o’ Goshen is a THING! A Biblical THING!

Well, long story…um…truncated, he was found guilty of murdering his father and attempting to murder his mother. Oh, and his poor mother. She was all chopped up and has a glass eye and totally was defending him up and down and said she never nodded when she was asked about it, and if she DID, it was because she was LYING IN A POOL OF BLOOD AND ALSO BRAIN MATTER. Decent point, Mrs. Porco. But also kind of sad. He got 50 years to life, is currently in prison up by my parents, and still says he did not axe-murder anyone. And someone once told me he gets all the fanmail. Which makes me sad for whoever’s sending that.

Now, I suppose he might be innocent. He might have been Shawshanked. I mean, it looked like Andy Dufresne killed his wife and her lover, too, but he was framed. So maybe Chris Porco was framed. Anything’s possible. But oh, my, if someone framed him, that was the best frame-job ever. Wait, is frame-job a euphemism like hand-job? It wasn’t meant to be. Unless you want it to be. Do you want it to be?

Shawshanked!!!

Shawshanked!!!

(I think an important disclaimer that should have been made a long time ago should be made right now. I don’t condone murder or think murder is cool. I’m just oddly fascinated by this kind of thing. I think in a former life I was a cop or a lawyer or a morgue attendant or more likely brutally axe-murdered.)

ANYWAY, so of course I was very excited when Lifetime decided to do the Chris Porco story. Oddly, they named it Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story, which was just confusing. What the hell did that have to do with axe-murder? But it’s Lifetime, I always set the bar low. This is the network that had the movie about the Craigslist killer and when they talked about Albany, where he went to college, they pronounced it Alll-banny, instead of Awl-bunny, and every time they did that, I screamed at the television, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, WE ARE THE STATE CAPITAL!”

See? Even old-timey newspapers know we're the STATE CAPITAL!

See? Even old-timey newspapers know we’re the STATE CAPITAL!

However, Chris Porco filed an injunction! And stopped the movie! And I was so so upset! Because I was all prepared to watch it and mock it and laugh and laugh! But then at the last minute the judge allowed it to air! Oh, the excitement!

Yeah. Well, here’s where the plans gang aft agley, friends.

THE MOVIE WAS THE MOST TERRIBLE THING.

I took notes but I kind of gave up at one point because it wasn’t even so bad it was good; it was just so, so bad. Embarrassingly so. I have no idea why Chris Porco stopped this. It had just about nothing to do with him. Nothing. Other than his name. And a tangential axe-murder. And at the end of the movie, they even SAID they’d made up a bunch of characters. They didn’t even stick to real characters! They made UP characters! Lifetime, you are the worst. The WORST! If you are television for women, what women, exactly, are you television FOR? Ones with terrible taste who like really bad things?

But I will share some of my notes with you. I mean, we’ve come this far, right?

OMG, already SO CREEPY with pictures of a SCARECROW and BLOWING LEAVES. It’s like a Halloween murder mystery!

DELMAR NEW YORK!!! OMG, this is EXCITING! I wonder how they’ll pronounce Delmar. Probably like Dalemore.

Dead people on the FLOOR! Blood on GLASSES! SALACIOUSNESS!

Heh, look at Porco going for a casual jog like he didn’t just axemurder his parents. Wait, why is this Porco blonde and all ripped? They couldn’t find a short dark-haired kid with glasses? This is misleading.

Not at ALL like Porco. What the hell?

Not at ALL like Porco. What the hell?

Will from Will and Grace! Oh, well, HE will lend some much-needed gravitas to this film, right?

He misses Jack. I think we all do.

He misses Jack. I think we all do.

Nope. Nevermind. Will seems to be in this film to grimace a lot, and also say things in a grumbly low cop-voice.

Ew, this is graphic for a Lifetime movie? Axe chops to the face? This is on like at 8pm on a Saturday night. Couldn’t kids be watching this? This is kind of upsetting my stomach.

Whew, they said Albany correctly. It’s like they did some research for this one. I approve, Lifetime.

Oh, so, see, Porco is a ROMEO. He can talk any woman into ANYTHING. I don’t remember that being mentioned in the paper or as part of the case or anything. Why is that the direction this movie decided to take? The story’s interesting enough without the weird “Porco is porking all the girls in the greater Delmar area” angle.

Will from Will and Grace is gonna solve this case, yo. You know what would help? Jack. Or Karen! Karen would totally help. She’d get all drunk and then Porco would try to seduce her and she’d get the secrets from him. CALL KAREN, WILL!

Oh, and now Will’s daughter is all in love with ROMEO. This is sad. Why’s everyone in love with this douche? I’m so confused with this movie. SO CONFUSED.

Heh. Every girl thinks they’re his girlfriend. Like, five different girls think they’re exclusive with an axemurderer. That’s the saddest.

Now he’s going to work with animals? Yeah, that’s how a lot of killers get their start. Good idea, lady who runs the vet clinic. Letting him have access to scalpels and animals and anesthetic and such.

This woman that loves him like a son that works in the vet clinic with him also seems to be happy in her pants about him. Is that on purpose, do you think? Or just a terrible acting job?

Oh, his girlfriend found out he was a LIAR! Your pants are on fire now, blonde Porco wannabe!

Heh. Now he’s saying his family are all mafioso and THAT’S who killed his family. Did that happen in the real case? I don’t remember that happening. That’s actually a very funny twist. “Yeah, I didn’t kill my family, but my other family members…the, um…mafioso? THEY DID THIS.”

Oh, now it’s all dirty-sexy and the cop’s daughter is all being seduced even though she KNOWS he’s the axemurderer, what is WRONG with people?!?!? Are they going to have sex in this swimming pool? Why is she in the high school swimming pool in the middle of the night? Aren’t places locked up? YAY SHE STOOD UP FOR HERSELF! Watch out. He might axemurder you. I kind of like this sexy song. What, he’s gonna sexually assault her in the pool? What is this shit? Why isn’t she more scared? Why is she laughing like this is a fun game of Marco Polo? (If you people watched television with me, this is kind of the things I say to myself as I’m watching something terrible. Or anything, really. I talk to myself a lot. I pretend I’m talking to the cats, but I really talk to myself, I’m not fooling anyone.)

This guy playing Porco’s lawyer is not at ALL as cool as the real guy. OH SIDE NOTE, the real guy was on television this week and was all, “Yeah, I watched the movie. The man playing me…um…quoted me a couple times? That’s about all I have to say about that.” Hee! I love him.

The real guy is much more awesome than this. This guy always just looked stunned.

The real guy is much more awesome than this. This guy always just looked stunned.

Good grief, this has nothing to do with the case. Chris Porco was not at all this sexified. He was like kind of a normal kid. Not gross, not super-hot. Just normal. This is so strange.

“Just tell me you were SOMEWHERE!” says his frat brother.  “He was somewhere. He was chopping up his parents,” says me.

MURDER ON HIS MIND!!! Oh, now this is why I watch Lifetime movies. Because they say things like “murder on his mind.”

Why the hell is the guy playing his lawyer Canadian? He keeps saying “aboot.” He’s not Canadian. This is so weird.

SO MUCH AXE CHOPPERY. This is turning my stomach and I’m usually very good about such things. GAH. OMG the dad WALKED AROUND WITH AXE CHOPS AND BRAIN DAMAGE GETTING READY FOR WORK BECAUSE HE DIDN’T REALIZE HE WAS DYING. This is the WORST. Can you imagine that your last actions on earth are getting ready for work? Emptying the damn dishwasher? When I go out, I want to go out doing something AWESOME. Rescuing someone from a burning building. Having all the sex. Eating a really good sandwich. Something other than EMPTYING THE DISHWASHER. (I don’t even HAVE a dishwasher!)

Then I gave up on taking notes, because the movie was terrible, and there was a TRUE CRIME thing after it that I watched and it was even MORE upsetting and also showed crime-scene photos and MORE axe-choppery and poor Mrs. Porco and Chris Porco in prison reiterating he would never, ever do this and also his older brother who was kind of a hottie in a severe angry ginger sort of way.

Also, my cable keeps freezing up, and I need to call Time Warner and ask them what the hell, because it’s always at the most exciting part, and it’s doing it again tonight during The Walking Dead and I almost missed something EXCITING.

So, as you can see, this totally COULD have been fun and exciting, but was NOT. However, because I am intrepid, I stretched this out into like a billion words. As I do. As I always do.

Hope you all had the best weekends ever, full of adventure and fun and…um…maybe chocolate? Sure. Chocolate. If that’s your thing. I’ve got two cats here that need some petting and are VERY underloved. Aw, I’m neglecty. See you all soon, jellybeans.


I think I need to get one of those helmets with a canary in it.

Random crap Saturday? Sure thing, buckaroos, saddle up. 

Winning Aunting with ADD Trains 

So it’s almost The Nephew’s third birthday. His mom’s having a party for him in the rec park near his house, happily on a Sunday so that means I can attend. Yippee! I like seeing The Nephew. He’s very excited about his birthday. He tells anyone who asks “I’m turning THREE YEARS OLD!” I think he’s also reached the age where he realizes that with birthdays, come presents. I think that’s a very auspicious age, when you can connect the two. 

I am going to show you a picture of The Nephew. I know, this is probably pretty unprecedented. If any pervs show up searching like they did on my friend Mer’s blog once, I’ll come to your house and make you eat your own testicles as an hors d’oeuvre, I swear on all that’s holy.

This is a picture of The Nephew fishing with his dad recently. It is possibly one of my favorite things in existence, because LOOK AT THAT SKEPTICAL FACE. He is NOT SURE OF SOMETHING. I love this child. To pieces.

His party is construction-themed, because right now The Nephew is into construction vehicles like dump trucks. He should come to Albany! All we HAVE is construction right now, Nephew! Come on down! I think you’d be a little less enamored with it if you were stuck behind one of these big trucks and it was driving super-slow and you JUST WANTED TO GO HOME AND RELAX IN FRONT OF THE FAN DAMMIT, but maybe that’s just me. 

My mom checked with The Nephew’s mom to see what gifts he wants for this very important birthday, and apparently, the answer is Chuggington. Which sounds like a euphemism to me, honestly. “Hey, honey, what time are you getting home tonight? Because I think it’s time for us to try out the Chuggington, right? Wink wink nudge nudge!” 

What is Chuggington, you ask? Some train shit, I don’t know. He likes trains. He used to like Thomas the Tank Engine, but there’s a scary train on it so he stopped watching that one. Listen, I just checked the website to show you which train scares my beloved little buddy and there are a LOT of scary-faced trains. Why is this a children’s show? 

I don’t trust the smile on this one, he looks like a child molester.

The hell? This might give me nightmares and I’m a grown up old person. WHY SO MAD, DOUGLAS?

Hector looks like he just walked in on his mom doing it with the pool guy on a pile of his Christmas presents. HIS LIFE AS HE KNOWS IT IS SHATTERED.

I asked my mom which one scared The Nephew and she said this one. He is scared of it because of “The Claw.” GOOD GRIEF. This show is NOT FOR CHILDREN. When I told her that, she said, “Eh, it’s British, what can you do.”

Anyway, Chuggington. I’d never heard of this so I did some research. Here is what the internet tells me about Chuggington: 

Now, come on. “Let’s ride the rails” has to be a euphemism, right? RIGHT?

It is British
It is about talking trains
One of the talking trains seems to have ADD
One of the talking trains is colorblind
Two of the talking trains are mischievous
There is a “movie star chugger” who flies (…I don’t know either)
One of the trains is a douchebag and tricks the other trains
One of the trains is named Hodge and “it takes a lot to get Hodge excited” (I think I dated Hodge in college)
There is a zoo with animals in it (I’m down the zoo situation)
The show seems to exist to teach us all about FRIENDSHIP 

OK, FINE, The Nephew, I’ll get you some Chuggington birthday presents. I’ll research this shit at Toys R Us.

Good GRACIOUS there are a lot of Chuggington toys at Toys R Us. 102! I had no idea. Toys R Us! Never one to not jump on a trend when it’s hot! JUMP ON IT LIKE IT’S HOT TOYS R US! 

“Bridge and Tunnel Starter Set.” EUPHEMISM!!!!

The problem is, if I get him Chuggington toys, everyone ELSE is ALSO getting him Chuggington toys and there’s a chance he’ll get repeat toys and I hate that. I like to stand out in the gift-giving department like the shining star that I am. I really, REALLY like to win aunting. I only have one other person to compete with, but I like to WIN, baby. 

Last year I got him a scooter, which was a total win and he did all the scooting. What should I get him this year that is better than all the other gifts, but costs like $50 or so? People that have three-year-olds or know some three-year-olds, help me out here. Remember: this is not about anything but WINNING AUNTING. Oh, what’s that? Also making The Nephew happy? Oh, yeah, that too. THAT TOO. (No, but seriously, seeing his little face light up when I’ve gotten him a good present makes my Grinch heart break the measuring device every damn time. I’m an easy mark when it comes to The Nephew. This is going to be a problem when he’s older and the gifts he wants are like computers and things.) 

I think I’m dying of black lung 

So we’re in rehearsal for our Director’s Showcase which opens Thursday (well, and closes Thursday, it’s a one-night thingamabobber) and since our building is owned by the City and our ceiling is falling in, they decided to come and fix it right now. So we’ve been coming into rehearsal and the theater is in various stages of disrepair. You’d think it would get better, but it just keeps getting worse. One day we showed up and we couldn’t get down the aisles without squeezing through ladders (BAD LUCK BAD LUCK!) then we showed up a couple days later and there are no seats to sit in so we have to sit on the stage to watch the actors, because the seats are covered in plywood. (I don’t have to sit on the stage. I get my own ROOM to sit in. I’m in the light booth. I’m running the lights and sound for this one. I’m FANCY.) 

I had to move old disgusting ductwork in the lobby in order to close the theater door (you need the doors closed when you’re doing lights, otherwise you get spill from the lobby and you don’t know how your lights will look in a dark theater – there’s some theater inside info for you! Listen, before we’re done here, you’re going to be able to run your own theater, I swear) and my hands were so covered with nastiness when I was done that would NOT come off no matter WHAT I did that I’m pretty sure I’m dying of asbestos poisoning right now. Also, there are electrical cords everywhere, and I don’t know if any of them are live, so it’s like a game of chicken to walk anywhere. Will I live? Will I die? WHAT WILL HAPPEN? 

I know what will happen. I’ll get mesothelioma and have to call one of those TV lawyers to sue my own theater, is what will happen. Cough. Cough cough. 

Oh, what, you think I didn’t take photos? THINK AGAIN BUSTER.

This is the ductwork I had to move with my own hands. That left black shit all over my hands and pants. BLACK LUNGGGGG!

This is the inside of the theater right now. In front of you: the wood on the seats. Under that wood: the seats. To your far left, almost inaccessible: the stage. Directly in front of you, to the top: a ladder, precariously balanced. Directly in front of you near the bottom – a…snow shovel? I don’t know.

This looks like a haunted house but it’s the theater. Oh, hey, there’s my light booth near the top right, hi, my light booth! This is more seats, covered in plastic. And an abandoned bucket, all lonely-like. Some hard hats. And some wood. Heh. Wood. Also, to your left? ORBS. The theater’s totally haunted, yo. Call the Ghost Douche.

This is the ceiling right now. The ceiling that I’m sure is covered in asbestos. NO, I don’t know that for sure, but since when do I not exaggerate? Also, dangerous electrical cords, you know, like you want hanging out of a ceiling.

Also, Thursday, the workmen dropped a deuce in the toilet and didn’t flush, and left us a filthy tanktop on the table we serve refreshments from. You know. Like the classy people they are. THANKS WORKMEN.

(Listen, the show looks great, though. I like working on the director’s showcase because it’s a new director, and it’s fun to see what they can do and how they bring it all together. Well, I guess it’s fun if you like the director and they do a good job. In this case, she’s doing a great job, the show looks excellent, she’s got a wonderful point of view and I think the audience is really going to enjoy it. Also, she hasn’t even complained about the mess in the theater, which, hey, kudos. Don’t worry. I’ll complain enough for the both of us. That shit is CRAZY messy and gross.) 

Righto, guv’nuh. 

So tomorrow, I am going on an ADVENTURE. I know, right? I’m actually leaving my house and purposely going on an adventure. Are we all the most excited? Sure we are. 

Cute, right? So cute.

A new tea house/restaurant opened up very close to where I work, and when they were in the process of opening it, I saw the sign and mentioned to Ken, hey, there’s a tea place opening near me, when it opens, I should check that out. Then it opened, and I kind of forgot about it. SHUT UP, I have a lot going on. But then I remembered when I saw a review of it on one of our local blogs, so I checked out the tea selection and sent the link to Ken because he has to tell me if I’m allowed to go to places like this (I don’t know if tea is any good or not, what do I look like, fancy? No), and he said not ONLY am I allowed, I NEEDED to go. So, Sunday, I’m going to visit the tea place, and then I’m writing you all up the tale of my tea adventures on Ken’s tea blog. So you have to go THERE to read it. Yeah, it’s all a nefarious plot to get you to read Ken’s blog(s) as much as I think you all should, I’m not even denying it. Plus, Ken has promised to be my on-call tea expert should I run into any tea-related emergencies while I’m there. I’m sure I will. I can’t imagine I won’t. I’m also trying tea WITH CAFFEINE IN IT. I know, this could totally be the end of me. And by “the end” I mean it could cause a migraine to happen. But it probably won’t. It’s been a long time since the doctor told me that maybe caffeine was my migraine trigger. Who knows what will happen? It’s not going to hurt to try. And I really really REALLY want to see what Oolong tastes like. Ken makes it sound delicious. And since they don’t offer it as decaf, well, you can see my conundrum. 

Also, there’s totally a tea-related gift shop, and someone I know who was mentioned a billion times in the preceding paragraph has a prize package coming to him and tea relates to his interests, so that’ll be fun to investigate, now won’t it? Sure it will. What? What’s that? NO I haven’t finished shopping for the Bloggiversary Gift Package yet. Shush, you, I only got paid Thursday and we’re teching a show, I’m a little busy. 

So be ready for tea adventures! Oh, also there’s food. There’s totally food. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty excited about the food, too. It looks delicious. 

OK, there’s three things. THREE RANDOM THINGS! Plus lots of pictures. I’m exhausted and I think I’m dying of maybe TB like Doc Holliday so now I should go around saying lines from Tombstone like “you’re a daisy if you do” and “I got two guns, one for each of ya.” HAPPY SATURDAY! Enjoy your day, it’s supposed to be lovely!

Nonsense. I have not yet begun to defile myself.



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