Seen / Déjà vu

If you're at all interested, and I don't see why you should be, this page reads from the bottom up. The most recent entry is at the top.

August 2001

I'll never understand the phenomenon of cruising. Okay, okay, I understand it intellectually, I can even understand the allure of it, but I'll never quite grasp the reality. Maybe that's why it's less prevalent among lesbians. Maybe I'm not the only one with this disconnect.

For those of you who think I'm talking about riding around town with the top down and checking out the goods, you go right ahead and keep thinking that. Probably better off that way.

For several years I commuted by a small park that was heavily trafficked. There was more action in that park on a weekday afternoon than on Melrose Place in a month. I know this because I also, for a time, used to bike through that park. After stumbling across a couple en flagrante, so to speak, I decided to ride around the park instead. It was an enlightening experience. I've never looked at a small park or rest stop quite the same way.

I had been riding through the park for a month or so thinking, "Isn't this wonderful? So many people are using this beautiful park, people really do appreciate these places." I've told you before, I'm slow on the uptake.

Which brings me to yesterday. We went for a walk because it was a fanfriggin'tastic afternoon and so perfect that the outdoors could not be denied. We went lookin' for sunshine (Ume for birds) and sights. We walked through an area that I knew beforehand was bound to have a few men also looking for something on the wild side, but I figured it wouldn't be much of a distraction. Well, well, wasn't I surprised? Nice weather isn't just for the nature lovers anymore... It was unbelievable. Fascinating in that poke the bruise type fashion I'm always on about. I've never seen anything quite so absurd and... I dunno, odd.

Here are all of these guys, middle aged white men mostly, strolling nonchalantly into well trod, and I mean, well trod, little trails that go off into the thickets from the walking paths of this area. And then strolling, just as nonchalantly, out, some 30 yards later. This just looks weird, guys.

And then there's us, walking along being geeky and whatnot and knowing that all around us there are guys goin' at it in the woods. Then strolling by us like they didn't just get... whatever. Life is weird and man does that ever throw it into relief.

We did spot a kingfisher in that stretch of park. Funky bird. Ume wanted to look at some pods growing on a tree there, but I kinda thought that maybe we ought to go to another area I knew wasn't quite so... populated. Not that I thought anyone there was overly interested in us, but there was this one guy who kept staring at us. He wasn't my type.

When we got back to the car and I was getting in, two women were getting out of the car next to us. They were older, a woman in her late fifties helping her mother out of the car. We chatted about how beautiful the day was (outside of our neighborhood people can be nice). A guy walked by and smiled and tipped his hat. I'm thinkin', how weird is this? I saw him back in the woods. And here we all are being friendly and sociable and I'm also thinkin', "Yeah buddy, I know why you're in such a good mood."

Just one of those things I haven't quite reconciled in my mind. I know sex is a human behavior thing... A natural act and all, but on the other hand, I don't want to feel uncomfortable about being in the nice, quasi solitary places there are in this cramped urban environment. Pisses me off. But if it wasn't the guys there, it'd probably be a bunch of unruly adolescents or some such. I went for a walk in a secluded city park not too long ago and found several people living in there. Thay had a whole campsight set up. You cannot get away from people in the city... so trying to manage your experience becomes... tricky. Of course, if I paid less attention to people and, like Ume, watched the trees or the sky or the grass, I might not have this problem.

Reading a small biography of Edward Gorey. A Strange Case of Edward Gorey, by Alexander Theroux.

I love Gorey and will miss his twisted brilliance. He passed away last year.

You may be familiar with his work if you've ever seen the animated opener to "Mystery" on PBS. He's known for those black and white ink renderings of darkly wonderful Victorian tableaus.

I have greatly admired his work since adolescence.

Good for some examples of his work:

If you want some biographical info as well...

I just ate too much. I should know better, but I was celebrating a significant life event and you know how that goes. "Whoohoo! I'm feelin' great! Havin' a grand ol' time! I think I'll stuff myself 'til I'm sick and I don't feel so good anymore! Whoohoo!"

Okay, okay, I wasn't that out of control. I rode my bike home from my impromptu feast and didn't wretch or anything. There's nothing I find more distasteful - no pun intended - than ruining good food by vomiting. I don't even like to ruin mediocre food by getting stressed while digesting it. I'm kinda picky about it.

You're probably wondering what brought on this moment of good cheer and binging... then again... maybe you're not, dunno. I'll tell those of you still hangin' on for the big news.

There are two major parts. One - the real BIG news: My father underwent and survived a major invasive surgery. He also managed to hold in there afterward to FINALLY hear the friggin' test results that took for-god-damned-ever to get back and reveal that, as of now, he's cancer free. So the crochety old bastard will remain with us and ornery for some time to come! I find this terribly reassuring because I'm not near done torturing that man for my screwed up childhood. What a relief!

Two: Not the most significant piece of the news, but reassuring to me, nevertheless... is that somehow over the last week and a half I managed to maintain my sanity. Against all odds. I'm thoroughly impressed with myself. I mean about the sanity, not in general. If you couldn't tell that I'm impressed with myself in general already, you've been skimming these entries - you're naughty. You think I write this stuff for my health?

I would like to say now that those doctors are unfreakin'believeable. Not just because they've prolonged my father's life with their amazing skills, but because they prolonged his life after he'd had them on his joke e-mail list for a month. My father's penchant for nasty humor is legendary. It's also offensive.

And his surgeon is a really nice, down to earth guy, which is a kind of miracle in itself. My father's follow up doctor, whom I thought was on the stiff side - blossomed under my father's unique attentions and even cracked a joke before he was discharged. I nearly fainted when I saw her smile.

A banana is a berry.

This is the kind of information my partner will come at me with out of the blue. Thus throwing off my world view and rendering me suspicious of all heretofore self-proclaimed fruit type objects.

Ume's had the audacity to vacate the premises and go traveling and adventuring without me. Me! The woman who can duct tape headlights into cars and stuff. What's she gonna do if her headlight falls out? Now that didn't sound exactly right... but you know what I mean. Woman's lost without me. Can't duct tape a headlight to save her life. She's dependent on my skills I'm tellin' ya. Got no business going off to parts unknown without me.

How's that for a pout?

Damned straight.

I'm trying to decide if I outta put one of those third party hit counters on my site as Fortune City has so kindly removed that useless, but entertaining function...

In my search for information on the third party "free" hit counter phenomenon, I came across some interesting stuff. I excerpted a couple of bits of an article off of the Center for Democracy and Technology site (which is too cool).

In the abstract, women may be concerned about personal privacy,[6] but out surfing the web, this concern may be overshadowed by a desire to participate fully in online life.  Women are lured to special "women-oriented" web sites that efficiently facilitate the extraction of personal information. Attracted to interesting, high quality content and the promise of supportive, dynamic on-line communities, women are persuaded to actively share personal information with site owners and advertisers.  Simultaneously and often unmindfully, women also passively share information by virtue of the articles they select for reading, by participating in online discussions, and by visiting site attractions and  advertisers.  Corporate entities monitor women's on-line efforts to educate and inform themselves, support each other, and purchase goods and services for their families and themselves. Indeed, web analysts postulate that some women actually form emotional bond with certain sites, using cyber fora to create social networks for themselves.[7] E-commerce entities then attempt to exploit this networking for commercial gain.

I promise that I'm not intentionally 'luring' you to my site for any purpose other than mind numbing boredom. You have doubtlessly noticed the popup ads FC uses as payoff for my "free" site. You are being bombarded by ads and cookies that track your "clickstream", I get a website... sounds like a deal to me. And if you take proper precautions, we both get out of this transaction relatively unharmed. Ask me why I participate in this culture again...

This, from the same article, was interesting as well...

It's not just that technology collates existing information like public records in new and ways. It also creates new kinds of information. One of the most interesting is "clickstream" monitoring, a page-by-page tracking of people as they wander through the Web. Your clickstream reveals your interests and tastes with unnerving precision. (Did you go from to a Volvo dealer's Web site? Did you then buy some brie from, the online grocery? You may be one of those limousine liberals we've been hearing  about.) And when Web merchants combine clickstream analysis with another new software technique known as "collaborative filtering," which makes educated inferences about your likes and dislikes based on comparing your user profile with others in the database, they have a marketing tool of high potential not only for customer satisfaction but also for abuse.

These bits are from an article written by Ann Bartow in 1999. It's an interesting article, especially if you're in the mood to freak out. To read it whole click the address:

If yer scared, you can check out the CDT top ten privacy guidelines:

If yer interested in how online profiling works, check out the CDT FAQ:

Sweet dreams and may your IP addresses remain unaggragated for anything but the most harmless data collection purposes.

Which ring of hell am I in now?

Whose idea was it to turn my apartment into a furnace? Was this George Bush's brilliant energy plan? Drill for oil in a wildlife refuge and light a fire under my ass?

I kin' hear him now, "Yeah, we'll burn all of the dykes in the country for fuel, that ought to get the religious right off our backs for ten minutes so that we can get back to the serious business of raping the land."

I think the heat has wilted my brain.

In case you were wondering... the war with the pigeons is still on. Yes, the winged menace still plagues our back porch. Though we made significant advances with the spray bottle, we were not able to deter them sufficiently. They managed to sneak in under the radar and launch two eggs.

We stepped up the patrol after that and have been able to discourage additional incursions into our territory.

In other neighborhood news you may be interested to hear the 'does she know? doesn't she know?' update on the lady next door. A while back I noticed that one of my older female neighbors who lives with her mother, had a suitor of the female persuasion. It wasn't clear to me that this neighbor lady, who I've gotten nary a vibe off of, knew that she was being courted. I think it's safe to report that yes, she knows. That, or they're having slumber parties over there, because I've glimpsed the suitor's car in the driveway on a morning or two. And having seen the suitor lady's tattoo and short coif, I'm thinkin' she's not the slumber party type - though I may be stereotyping... When you've got gaydar as crappy as mine, you've got to fall back on basic observational skills.

Le'see... on the other side of the fence, we've got the arabic speaking men -- they're not gay. At least that's the impression I got last week when one of them was inviting me over for coffee and to fix his computer. Way to hit on a woman! Ask her for a drink and free labor.

Or maybe I'm being harsh, maybe that's a surefire tactic in arabic speaking countries. Perhaps this was just a cultural misunderstanding.

In any case, I'm not fond of the group of men in that apartment, whatever their computer problems are. Since they're from a part of the world where they apparently had no use for blinds, they never learned the fine motor skills required to operate such a sensitive mechanical device. As a result they have broken all of the blinds in that apartment. That apartment, across the way - its windows face our windows... broken blinds, hanging and dangling - tortured aluminum souls left to swing in the breeze.

You're thinking I've lost it for sure this time. That to be so upset by what is, admittedly, an aesthetic scar, is kind of over the top. Surely this is no more than an unpleasant experience, easily avoided by turning the head (You sound so reasonable, any chance you're available as a therapist? I'm looking.). Anyway, the catch here is this...

There are four or five men living over there. They only sleep between 4AM and 9 or 10AM. At all other times of the day and night, those shades let all of the light shine in... and out. Out primarily, into our windows - the windows of our bedroom. I have hung opaque, room darkening shades, but this cannot stop the high beam search lights they have on over there. They also do not believe in lamp shades or covering bulbs in any way. It looks like high noon in our room at the most inopportune moments, like when we're trying to sleep.

A reasonable soul would be asking these guys to amend this problem, right? Not sealing up their boudoir and griping on the internet. Funny thing, living in the city... Unless you're prepared to convince your neighbors that you're the craziest son of a bitch on the planet and messing with you is as close to losing their life as they're likely to get - chances are, you should let it slide. At least in my neighborhood, you should. When you get to know them well enough, and you're pretty sure they're not ax murderers or the contemporary equivalent, then you ask them ever so nicely, if they wouldn't mind fixing their blinds or turning off some lights at a reasonable hour for their Western lifestyle accclimated neighbors so they don't make us FREAKIN' BLIND!

[Note: A couple of years have passed and I have to tell you the fix for the pesky little problem stated above... We tried knocking on the door sevral times, but they never answered. We were going to leave a note, but a miracle happened - a woman moved in. She fixed the blinds and insisted that the lights be covered - or at least we assumed she did, because that's what happened.]

splenetic (spli net'ik) adj. [[LL spleneticus]]
1 of the spleen; splenic
2 bad-tempered, irritable, peevish, spiteful, etc.; spleenful
3 [Obs.] melancholy

Déjà vu - July - June - Misadventures- April

Compassion Fatigue Entries - 2001

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