Mighty Girl
My face.

contact: maggie at mightygirl dot net

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I read:
Bryan Mason
Heather Armstrong
Matthew Baldwin
Sarah Brown
Heather Champ
Matt Haughey
Eden Kennedy
Jason Kottke
Merlin Mann's 5ives
Obscure Store and Reading Room
Post Secret
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San Francisco is at Burning Man. It's like someone took the city, turned it upside down, and shook out all the bottled water, faux fur, and Cool Ranch Doritos.

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8.30.04 PLAN B
Our friend Josh is in for the weekend. We're having a quiet, excessively hung over breakfast at the Pork Store.

Me: Where are we going today?
Bryan: Well, Lori wants to meet up, and she's babysitting her godchildren.
Me: Right. We were talking about going to the Exploratorium.
Josh: What's that?
Me: It's a kids' science museum with all these exhibits you can touch. The kids can kind of run around.
Josh: We're going to the museum of screaming?
Me: That's one way to put it.
Bryan: They also have drums!
Me: And flashing lights!

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Lamprey mouth (via rebecky)

Queasy Pops (via Mimi Smartypants)

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I decide to watch a little TV, and realize there's an "Oprah" on Tivo that I haven't seen. I read the show description:

"Children sold into prostitution, children trained to kill, babies raped by men."

Yeah. So, if I flip over to VH1 to watch "Behind the Music" with George Michael, I'm definitely going to hell.

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8.19.04 BY EXAMPLE
A parenting lesson from Fussy:

"The more stringently you forbid something, the more attractive it becomes to the forbidee, correct? And shameful, because you still want to do it, but you also know you have to hide it, and the situation gets everso charged. And we want to drain all the charge out of things like . . . this! My neighbor's five-year-old daughter, the other day, she walks in, cocks her hip, puts an imaginary Pall Mall to her lips, and whispers, We must smoke. And my neighbor was like, Wha-huh? Where the Bette Davis did she get that? We only ever watch Animal Planet. But, in alignment with the non-freaking-out philosophy, she replied in her best Marlene Dietrich, Yes, we must smoke, but we must also cough. So they started swanning around the room taking elegant drags off their imaginary cigarettes and then immediately pretending to hack up a lung. This, I thought, was educational roleplaying at its finest."

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We're in D.C. staying at the gorgeous, velvety, sunlit Hotel Monaco. The rooms come equipped with animal-print bathrobes, they'll loan you a goldfish for the duration of your stay, and our suite has a cavernous bathtub. It's the kind of bathtub that makes you hesitate if you don't know how to swim, the kind of bathtub that makes you think, "We could fit, like, eleven people in here!"

And so, last night, we hosted a Champagne Bubble Bath Roaming Robe Party. Everyone donned their swimsuits and robes in their rooms, then came back to the suite for a bubble bath.

You never know how ludicrously long your friends' toenails are until you're in a bath with them. People, cut your toenails.

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Last night, we went to Six Apart's very first official party, where we ran into some friends we hadn't seen in awhile. One of them said, "We should hang out more. You guys don't annoy us."

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The bathrooms have little "security seal" stickers all over everything. I think they're supposed to indicate that no one has placed a bomb in the paper-towel rack. By day three, all of the seals are broken. While the absence of security seals wouldn't concern me, for some reason, the broken security seals are making me think twice about using the soap.

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I've always known that I tear up when I hear large groups of people singing patriotic songs. So it was no surprise when I had to bust out my hanky for the "Star Spangled Banner." "This Land is My Land"? Check. "America the Beautiful"? Check. And then "Johnny Be Good" came on.

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I return a rental car about a mile from the Fleet Center, and a bomb-sniffing dog searches my car. As I walk over to the convention space, I'm struck by how many men in dark suits seem to have descended in the last twelve hours. On every street, there are packs of men having a Reservior Dogs moments.

I pass through the barbwire-encased free-speech zone on my way in. It's the size of a football field, and it's utterly empty except for four or five people listening to a man with an unusually loud megaphone. He screams, "THIS IS WHAT IT'S LIKE TO LIVE IN A POLICE STATE, PEOPLE!" I can hear him in my teeth.

As I wait to get in, a small group of protesters marches past. They are shirtless, even the women, and are wearing hoods over their heads to mimic the plight of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib. A boy in the front has a whistle that he blows at regular intervals to match their footfalls.

I go through the metal detector, give up my umbrella and my bottled water, and show my credentials to the woman at the door, and then the guy at the escalator, and then the guy at the next door. Near to the boiler room I stop to watch a class of grade-schoolers pass. The union workers offer high fives, and the kids jump to reach their hands. A volunteer pushes past with a huge taiko drum. He thumps it with his thumbs and sings, "I bang my drum for you, a rum-pum-pum-pum!" Larry King is behind him.

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A week before all the action starts, the office is overwhelmed with interns. They're playing catch in all the open spaces, wandering aimlessly through the hallways, Web surfing in every cubicle.

-Where the hell did all these interns come from?
-I don't know. They're everywhere.
-What are they supposed to be doing?
-No one has figured that out yet. We're calling them the cicadas.

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I returned home for Heather and Derek's (very touching) wedding, and Bryan and I learned that the Armstrongs were in town for the festivities. Though we'd never met them, we called often enough to guarantee that they would either meet us for breakfast or issue a restraining order. Jon, Heather, and lovely little Leta arrived at the Pork Store that morning, where Jon asked about my new line of work.

How do you like working at the convention?
It's really fun and interesting, but the pace is terrifying.
Yeah, I'm used to being a freelancer, you know? I get up at ten, have a cup of tea, write a little, go to lunch with a girlfriend, write a little more. Boston is a different world.
How so?
Well, compared to my old life, it's like stepping out of a warm bath and being thrown into a vat of ferrets.

Then I ate the baby's hands. Armstrongs, I am sorry about your handless baby.

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In the press area, each seat has a deco-looking desk lamp that lights with a touch of your fingers. When the hall is empty, you can run back and forth along a row of seats with your arm outstretched, lighting all the lamps and then turning them off again. That is, you can do this until one of the hall workers gives you a stern look. Then you might want to head down to the CNN set and conduct mock interviews instead.

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In Boston, Jessica and Melanie invited me to drinks at Delux. I'd never met or corresponded with either of them, but I was a little lonely in a new city, and I needed a drink. We had my first conversation in weeks that didn't touch on the VP nominee, CNN, or swing states. Mostly we talked about books and boys and how the two had crossed our paths at various points.

For me, meeting writers has sometimes been a let down. They often seem less witty, less kind, or more neurotic than I imagined. This may be why I've never offered to meet readers when I'm traveling, I'm afraid of seeing the disappointment in their dear reader faces. It's quite possible, after all, that one of them could turn to me and say, "You're kind of boring, and much less attractive than I expected."

Neither Melanie nor Jessica said that, which was really rather sweet of them, and made me much more open to meeting readers who don't seem to be knife-wielding sorts. Thanks for the drink, ladies.

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For years, I've yearned to be a go-go dancer. I thought it would be like stepping into a '60s musical: mod mini-dress, tall white boots, an arsenal of kittenish glances. I imagined Ann-Margaret and Elvis palpitating in the foreground, me and five other girls rocking the bars of our cages in the back. We would shake it, pause for the briefest dramatic moment, and then shake it once more.

MTV squelched that dream.

The Rock the Vote party was empty at the street-level door, so we headed up a narrow flight of stairs, following the sound of a live band. Behind the band was a large sign with hot pink and orange lettering that read, "FRICKIN' A!" In front of the band? Real, live go-go dancers.

My eyes opened wide, my eyebrows drew together. Where were the boots? Where was the fringe and the big hair? Why were they licking their lips like that?

The dancers were grinding in hot-pink bras and panties. They weren't particularly good dancers, just... explicit. Forget the kittenish glances friends, these faces said much more than "come hither." The crowd was slack-jawed, utterly still, and entirely male. They weren't watching the band.

It was then I realized what go-go dancers have become: strippers who don't take their clothes off. And that, my friends, makes for some lame-ass strippers.

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Things moved faster in Boston than they do in the real world. I arrived in the morning, having taken the red-eye from San Francisco. I dropped my bags at home and came into the office to start my first day at about 8 a.m. By 1 p.m., I'd had four versions of this conversation:

Them: Say, can you tackle this hour-long project?
Me: Sure. I'll send it to you in an hour or so.
Them: Thanks!
(Twenty minutes later)
Them: Hey, Maggie.
Me: Hey.
Them: Have you finished up that project? Can you email me your results?
Me: Actually, it's only been twenty minutes since you asked me. I'm still in the middle of it.
Them: Oh... Well send it when you've got it, I guess.
Me: (blink blink)

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8.05.04 BACK HOME
The convention broke me. It cracked me open and spilled me all over the Fleet Center floor. Interestingly enough, I seem to be filled with confetti and small enamel commemorative pins.

Anyway, now that I'm back in San Francisco and have slept for three days straight, I'm no longer stupid with exhaustion. I'll be posting some convention stuff over the next few days. Thanks for your patience while I was away.

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