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He Ain't Heavy; He's My Brother: OR, an Essay on Being the Eldest AND Adopted

So Much For That Writer's Block... )
ink_n_imp: (ZIM! love)
Waiting in line last night for District 9, I was sandwiched between a group of guys—one of whom was wearing a yellow shirt that read Kirk Spock McCoy Sulu Chekov Uhura Scotty--and a guy and a girl who were playing Scrabble on their iphone. The guy used "Andorian" as a word. All I could think was "this needs a twittering."

My God. What would I have done had I been born before the Age of Fandom?

In regards to Distict 9...I wish I was intelligent enough to give it a review that would do it justice. I don’t even know if I’d want to review it, because I’d probably spoil it, and boy oh boy, for the first time…I really, REALLY don’t want to do that to ANYONE. But whatever that review would be, it would most definitely be sub-titled:

District 9: "Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most...Human"

Oh, fuck it, here’s what thoughts I wrote on the long subway ride from hell back to Queens this morning at 2:30 am. It’s long, rambling, and about as deep as I can get, which is probably quite shallow. Maybe minor spoilers? My movie reviewing rights should be revoked. You have been warned. )

Also last evening, the Hip Obscurity fundraiser was a great success! It was also an insane amount of fun! I had a great time MCing the Trivia portion—that is, I had great fun when I wasn’t battling wits with a shoddy microphone. It was frustrating to no end, though everyone told me afterwards as MC I handled the microphone SNAFU bullshit like a pro.

I suppose being a pro entails dancing around the room like a child on the verge of a temper tantrum hopped up on sugar while violently blaspheming against God, Jesus, his Mother and all the Saints. Whodathunk?

Holy God, am I really only running on 4 hours of sleep?

Once again, PETA has missed the point.

Usually, the antics of PETA barely make a blip on the Nella Radar of worldly-going-ons. But as my brother has recently become a vegetarian, I've been getting snarky in regards to the bean and leafy greens set.

I am one of nature's omnivores in the broadest of senses--I'll eat ANYTHING, be it shit junk food or uber healthy vegan feed, because holy cow, I just love to eat. Meat? Boom baby! Tofu? Hell Yes. Vegetables? Load them on the plate. Fruits, nuts, and grains? Why hello there, delicious! Various fats and sugars that no man should put in their body? I'll regret it in the morning, and probably while I'm putting it in my mouth, but it's, er...part of the adventure?

Ok, so I've been trying to nix that last part out of my life--unsuccessfully--but the point is I would have been the crazy ass hunter gatherer who would have been looking at unidentified plant #637 and been thinking "Well, I saw a bird eat it once, and it didn't fall out of the sky right away."

But to the point. My brother has given up meat. And if he wasn't being so high and mighty obnoxious about it, I'd probably be happy for him. But as is my brother's want, he's gone and taking a perfectly reasonable lifestyle and make me want to bash him over the head with a frozen leg of lamb a la that Roald Dahl short story "Innocence of the Lamb" for it (GO READ IT NOW!! ONE DAY I WILL WRITE A STAGE ADAPTATION OF IT, AND IT WILL BE BETTER THAN HITCHCOCK'S!!!).

First off, he insists on repeating, over and over again, to us his family members that have to sit through this EVERY MEAL, that he finds meat "repulsive" and that he can't understand how anyone could stomach eating something that was "alive". And then he proceeds to complain about how he's tired of "Beans" and that my mother doesn't cook anything for him.

Ok, the repulsive I'll give him. I've move a rotten pig caress out of a blown up car in the dead heat of summer, meat IS repulsive, especially once the flies come. I get it. It turns your stomach. To each man his own, and mine is meaty, preferably fresh and grilled. However, since we've changed OUR diets to accommodate you--since you don't, you know, COOK FOR YOURSELF--how about you stop hating on the cooks, eh? We hear you every night. It gets old. Fast.

if you don't like mom's absolutely fabulous zucchini soup, how about YOU bust open a cook book and try to make something yourself? Christ, she's the one trying to at least make sure you're getting a balanced vegetarian diet, but you're the dumb ass who insists you don't need protein every day, and who still refuses to eat most of the vegetables she prepares. This woman has be jumping hoops for you since they brought you home, and as an 18 year old, you don't like what's cooking, MAN UP. Remember that story mom liked to tell, about how as a kid she hated lentil soup and refused to eat it, and grandma took her plate, dumped it over her head and sent her to bed without dinner? WHY we never did that to you while you were a child is beyond me. Who knows, as your older sister I may have to pick up the slack, do the world a favor and dump soup on your picky little head.

And in regards refusing to eat things that were "alive"--I've never seen my brother get more defensive and angry when I started pointing out (more like bullshitted, cause I don't think when I speak I just open my mouth and words come out) that that broccoli was once alive, growing to its full potential when it was cruelly plucked for our consumption, and that lemon, my GOD that LEMON had the potential to become a lemon TREE, but we denied it it's proper fate by using it to flavor our food, and that TOMATO, that tomato was the pride and joy of some--

At this point my brother punched me in the arm. And yes, I know comparing the harvesting of animals and plants is like comparing apples and oranges (OH WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE ORANGES!) but that's the problem with my brother. Every crusade he joins, every decision he makes he then uses to try and prove how better he is than my parents and myself. Like the time he decided all organized religion was inherently evil (we're catholic), or the time he was an anarchist (By God did I have fun ripping that apart!) I can respect honest belief and convictions. I can't abide holy-than-thou idiocy for the sake of holier-than-thou idiocy. And by God, if I wasn't put on this earth to knock my brother's ego down a few pegs, then there's just nothing left for me on this sweet green earth. At this point I'd post some pithy and appropriate Chesterton quote about vegetarians, but I'm at my public library, and all I can remember is a verse from one of his poems:

"You will find me drinking rum,
like a sailor in a slum,
you will find me drinking beer like a Baravian.
You will find me drinking gin
in the lowest sort of inn,
because I am at heart a vegetarian."

And to his wondering about how ANYONE could POSSIBLY eat meat--
Step One: Take the Meat. Step Two: place the meat in your mouth. Step Three: Chew completely. Step Four: Swallow. Step Five: Repeat.

Oddily enough, they are the same steps used in eating, well, anything! Fancy that.
When my grandparents and parents immigrated from Sicily to this fine country in the 1960's, most of them had to find work in the garment business, as there weren't many jobs for high school educated Sicilians elsewhere (most were skilled in trades, just lacking in the book learning). They worked in the sweatshops in Brooklyn for years, even my mom did for a few summers when she was in high school.

HOWEVER, my dad's dad was a little higher up on the garment making food chain because in Sicily he had been a tailor like his father before him and his father before him. And when he went to get a job (so I'm told) he was hired as a pattern maker. Designers would draw up their designs, and since they were generally ignorant in how to translate those drawings into clothes that were cheap and easy to produce, the drawings would be send to my grandda and he'd figure out the actual pattern for it.

I mention this long winded background of personal family history because right now, I think I'm making the poor man turn in his grave. Without any experience in these matters except for nearly breaking my mom's sewing machine several times and teaching myself how to work around a needle and thread for emergencies, I'm making a Wizard of Oz Dorothy costume for the camp Wizard of Oz skit on Friday. I dragged my grandfather's clothing manikin from the guest room, and right now I have…

This! )

I need to shorten the torso, but right now it's just all pinned there, waiting for me to take it downstairs and nearly break mom's sewing machine again sewing it together.

All this I'm doing, as if I didn't have ENOUGH on my plate to get done for camp tomorrow.

May God Have Mercy On My Soul.

EDIT: Finished in two and a half hours?


Finished dress!! )
ink_n_imp: (Ozma the Wise)
But I feel like posting, and by gum, I've nothing else to talk about. But first, a rather longish explanation as to why this post came to be.

Today was one of those glorious, late summer days that happen on occasion here on Long Island--the sun was shining, the sky was blue, everything was still green, and any other ridiculously sentimental dribble you can add to the above, by all means do!

I was meandering around the porch, only to discover that some of the figs on the fig tree had ripened! Now, I ADORE fresh figs; in fact I was of the habit of picking them for breakfast off of a tree on the NYU campus in Florence the semester I studied aboard. And if you might be of the mind to say "Silly Nella, why would you do that!"; rest assured I asked the president of the study aboard program if that was alright, to which he gave a wholehearted "YES!" It turns out NO ONE ate the figs off of that fig tree, and all those delicious figs would fall to the ground and rot away every year. And as I am cheap, figs make for a marvelous breakfast. Positively delicious, nothing like a freshly ripened fig. If you don't believe me, come to my house and try them for yourself.

So, I picked what I could, and ate what I could (saving some for the rest of the family, as one shouldn't be too greedy with figs) and meandered onward to find that there were ripened Concord grapes in the back of the yard as well! This has NEVER happened before--for years, I've stared all summer at the green, hard grapes in anticipation of what ripened Concord grapes might taste like to no avail--alas, they have always be snatched up by birds long before I could enjoy them in their dark purple glory.

But this year, there are GRAPES in the backyard, fully ripened Concord grapes. Now, I am aware that Concord grapes are usually only used for the making of juices and jellies, but I picked as many as I could and ate them as I walked about some more. I can honestly tell you to not eat the skins. They are bitter like beach plum skins (also in season now, and down by Long Beach to those who like to pick fruit in public parks), but the first tentative bite is wonderfully sweet. Even the gummy middle, that reminds one of tapioca pearls, is sour and delicious.

So, as I was eating fig and grape, the thought kept rolling through my mind that 'all was right in the world, the fig was on the vine'. And even though I KNEW that FIGS don't grow on VINES (DUH), I couldn't help repeating this ridiculous mantra to myself. It took me a while, but I finally realized that my brain was foolishly combining two of my loves; the Jeeves and Wooster stories by Wodehouse, and the American Revolution.

And if you don't understand how that could be, I've written this as the explanation, even if the punch line ended up FAR away from where I originally intended it to end. )

December 2010

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