Postings are in chronological order, with the most recent entry at the top. The tunes come from flashkit.com.
I been surfing and whatnot, here's a random sampling...
Found this site by way of this page - it's an RAQ (rarely asked questions) for androgyny:
But I enjoyed the site for it's primary focus - terrific stuff:
Ooh, ooh! Loren Cameron has a site! Ooh!
Link to the gallery:
Link to the bio:
And let's hear it for reality online!
Skeptics home page:
The Museum of Hoaxes:
A site for the Humanists among you:
Say you came across a sentence that read like this:
"...Furthermore, the enigma of whether the recalcitrance of the empirical order of possibilities is due to sedimentation of habitual beliefs or to perceptual factors remains unresolved."Would you A: throw the book it was in as far away from you as possible and run in the opposite direction?
B: strike through the sentance with a black permanent marker?
C: wonder what the hell the author had been smoking?
D: wonder what you had been smoking when you bought the book it's in?
E: try desperately to wake yourself from the final semester term paper nightmare you're having?
or F: wonder why it is you keep books you're not likely to read in this lifetime?
I used to collect sentences (shut up - it was before the internet, I needed something to keep me busy). I would type them out on a typewriter (this was a machine people used to use to create printed text before computers were ubiquitous...), cut them out of the sheet of paper and tape them to the wall.
I liked sentences that, in context, might have had some meaning, but taken out of context seemed impossibly ornate to the point of meaningless (which, at times, they were). Philosophy, with it's need to define each term ad nauseum, is perfect for this. Which is probably why I read a lot of it for a while. Not for greater understanding of myself and the world I'm still surprised to find myself in, but for odd sounding sentences to paste on my wall.
I have no idea why I felt the need to share this information with you. Perhaps I thought it more interesting than relating my seasonal conflict with the pigeons trying to roost on my porch. Foul beasts.
I need a new coat. My old one isn't broken or anything, unless you consider the loose strands hanging off the sleeves a defect. I consider them irregular fringe...
It isn't like I can't afford a new coat; I can't afford the stress related to shopping for one. Like Cryptonite to Superman, I'm undone by consumer environments. There are some exceptions (stationary stores rank high on that short list), but for the most part, stores are a living mysery for yours truly.
Clothes are such a curious phenomenon. Take the dress I wore to the prom my junior year in high school (gasp, it's true!). There's a whole story behind it. It goes like this...
I told my mother that I was going to go to the prom being held by my high school and that I was going to wear a tuxedo. My mother, having barely recovered from the first shock to her system (hearing that I was going to do something social and even normal by most standards), was blown mentally sideways by the second shock - that I had plans for going to said noraml function in drag. My mother, being clever and all (she didn't survive raising a mob of children by accident), asked me to please let her make me a dress to wear to the prom. She gave me that "you gave me stretch marks and a nervous breakdown so you may as well let your mother have this one small pleasure in a life bereft of joy" type speil. I always fell for that crap - even though I was not technically responsible for her nervous breakdown no matter what anyone else might think; she had it years before I was born.
Anyway, I made her a deal (I'm a pushover, but I put up a good fight), I said that I'd tolerate a dress made by her (she was pretty good in the tailoring department, actually) but I was wearing a tux if I went to my senior prom the following year. My mother smiled, relieved, having observed natural phenomena for years, she knew that lightning didn't strike the same ground twice. She hastily agreed.
I went to my junior prom wearing a feminine looking number and managed to survive. This, despite the fact that I'd rather have danced naked in a briar patch then showered in lemon juice than wear what I did. Not to mention the other fact that I spent the evening surrounded by a couple of hundred adolescents (a class of people I'd never understood to my satisfaction and am still vague on) that I spent the greater part of my days wishing would dissappear when I closed my eyes like I pretended they could.
A year passed. I invited a nice guy to the senior prom (I was too chickenshit to ask the not very nice gal I had a crush on). I was going to wear a damned tux. This was the mid-eightees, Annie Lennox made the cover of Newsweek for looking less than mainstream feminine in short cropped orange hair. That's what it took to get you on the cover of Newsweek back then. No one was suing their high school to go to the prom with a same sexed partner, yet... Me, I just wanted to annoy my mother and wear drag.
Mom got all athrill when I broke the news about the lightening having struck twice. She'd forgotten our deal. I reminded her, at volume, I'm sure. She, being a devilish clever woman of southern heritage, acquiesced.
A couple of weeks went by, during which she said things not unfavorable about me wearing a tux... and then she started... "Don't you think it would look better if you wore it with a three quarter length skirt? A nice straight one, like your black one? And pumps?"
"No. No. No! I'm wearing it with the pants and my service shoes!" And nice shiny service shoes they were too.
"Fine. I just want you to have a little style, that's all."
There would be silence on the topic for a few days and she'd start again.
"I've never liked the piping on tux pants..."
The big day arrived. We made our journey to Mr. Tux. I was thrilled. She wasn't. But she drove me and came in and did all of the talking (if I was going to do this to her... uh... do this, I was going to do it right). Things became kinda difficult because the rather fay gentleman working in the store that day didn't want me to rent a tuxedo (something that confused me no end at the time). Seems he didn't think it was appropriate. Good thing I had mom on hand. If there was one thing she couldn't abide it was someone else trying to tell her children anything about appropriate. That was her job. I was fitted for a short cropped tuxedo jacket and the works. Good old mom. She had a way with people (and when that didn't work she'd just scare the piss out of 'em).
While I was getting ready, my mother pointed out that the pants, however stunning... didn't fit very well. She'd been such a trooper (I always appreciated when my mother stood up for my right to be as unnatrual as I was - it didn't happen often), that I wore the skirt and yes, even the pumps. And you know what? It did look better. On me, anyway.
Recounting this tale hasn't gotten me any closer to coat shopping... What has, is the look that Ume gave me the other day when she said, "Your clothes are looking a bit chewed on. And you know that if I've noticed it, it's got to be bad." So, to avoid causing my beloved embarrassment public wise, I will make the ultimate sacrifice - I will go shopping for clothes.
According to the information on this page, this may be a regional problem: click here
Note: It's a fun page, but one should know that there is a fine for not clearing snow from the walkway in front of your building or house in many New England cities and towns - it's not done out of a community spirit type feeling.
This site has another section that I enjoyed: click here
If at first you don't succeed - reboot and try again.
Y'all change your clocks? In New England, we enjoy the perverse ritual that is Daylight Savings Time. You people who buck the system in Arizona and other such places are missing out. You get to lose and gain hours - it really messes you up. Like having mini jet lag, but everyone around you is along for the ride. It's a communal mind warp.
Last week was so depressing, not to mention terrifying. You know it has to be bad for something George Bush did to give me hope. I'll take that kind of surprise anytime. I won't bother you with my lack of insight into the politics of the Middle East. It's not like I could offer a solution. Though I think the guy who suggested that they stick Sharon and Arafat in a room together until they come out with a solution was on the right track
While listening to George Bush's speech I had a surreal moment (not just because he said something I agreed with) when I recognized the call of the bird that was making a racket in the background. It was a cardinal.
Early last week, I found these programs helpful for sorting out some of the issues:
Dennis Ross spoke on this program - you can get the gist of the program and the benefit of this guy's amazing comprehension of the situation by skipping to the 39:00 minute mark and listening to the last eight minutes. To listen to the show, scroll down to the program "US Strategy in the Middle East": click here
An interview with Christopher Dickey (journalist), he knows the situation on the ground and communicates it really well: click here
Also a good one about events leading up to last week: click here
We were feeling transcendental, so we took ourselves over to Walden Pond for a stroll. Walden Pond is a lovely little preserve where you can find a life sized reproduction of Henry D. Thoreau's (18171862) little house and woodshed. That one where he wrote, Walden. It's small indeed.
If you hike around the pond, you'll find a couple of markers that show where the original cabin rested. The pond is a lively swimming hole in summer (that's nigh impossible to park near). In winter it's still bustling with a goodly number of folk strolling about, skipping stones, fishing (not to mention the odd couple necking in the woods, which I wouldn't have mentioned, but they kind of grossed me out).
I've always found myself drawn to the Transcendentalists. Which is why I've never read them. I'm contrary like that. Oh, okay, I tried Walden, but have to admit that I've never read my own grocery lists or laundry receipts especially carefully, so I wasn't about to take a deep and abiding interest in someone else's. I grew up in a natural setting, until my adolescence, and I do have a deep and abiding love of nature. No laundry lists and receipts in my version of nature.
Ume and I strolled around the lake. I did some pishing and impressed my mate by attracting all manner of the usual suspects - nuthatches and titmice. But I got extra points for the brown creeper. She hadn't seen one since she was a kid. I hadn't seen one ever... that I know of... Last time we were there I spotted an osprey and I'll tell you it did marvels for our relationship. The woman's damned odd and she's mine.
I was a regular lover and rescuer of animals as a kid. So were my sisters. If it looked even remotely damaged, we were all over it. I nearly lost a finger while trying to rescue a bird. It took a dim view of my attentions, however well meant. I couldn't understand why it wasn't thrilled with my fervent effort to ministrate to it's condition. I chased the damn thing all over a neighbor's yard (it had a busted wing) in an attempt to capture it.
I caught it - finally - and the thing went at me. It bit me so hard I yelled and dropped it. It was a goodly sized bird with distinctive plumage (part of the attraction, no doubt). I had no idea that birds could bite and that it could hurt so damned much. The bird took the opportunity my shock afforded it and shimmied under a pile of branches - out of range. I returned to the scene of the crime with an adult, but they were no more able to spot the distinctive looking bird than I was. Lot of use adults are. Recently, while mulling over this episode and my good intentions... I realized that the reason that bird's beak hurt so damned much had a lot to do with its distinctive plumage. It was a mostly black feathered bird, with white patches and a shock of red feathers on its head. It was a damned woodpecker - that's why it hurt so much.
All manner of natural happenstances occured to me when I was a kid growing up (mostly unsupervised) in the woods. There's a ton of trouble a mischievous kid can get into in the woods. I was nearly trapped beneath a huge boulder where no fire engine or rescue vehicle could have reached me. I managed to wriggle free... a good lesson for me in a life that's fraught with difficult spaces and situations. Wriggle, wriggle, wriggle.
I saw all manner of wildlife growing up and once a group of horses (not wild, but on the run) sauntered passed my house. I chased spiders the size of cats out of our bathtub in the summer and feared snakes coming up the drains. But I was talking about the woods, not our house (a diffeent breed of wildlife altogether, I assure you).
I was fishing one morning. Enjoying a fine time on my lonesome. Just my trusty Kingfisher casting rod, a bucket of bait and a good sized boulder to rest on (I'd learned, through experience you see, that this was the preferable method where boulders were concerned). I wasn't as alone as I would have really liked to be. My brother's dog had insisted on following me on my fishing expedition. That dog was the bane of my existence. I'd loathed that dog ever since it had savaged my graduating frog (it had a cap and gown) and my pink bunny stuffed animals. These were smaller stuffed animals I'd inherited from older siblings, yet taken a liking to. I burried their half mangled bodies in the back yard at the foot of the tree where the remains of my brother's tree fort dangled.
I caught a fish. The kind we called a "crappy" (also refered to as "sunnies"). It was about five inches long. Not the biggest fish, but a good size for a crappy. I stood up with the fish still dangling on the line and jogged over to where my other stuff was. I was hopping off of a rock, about to land on a bit of mud and hop back up to another, when I noted something interesting... the bit of mud that I was about to set my foot on was patterned. Having grown up in the woods I knew that nature isn't usually so neat and on further inspection I noted that this patterned mud was actually a coiled snake. I'd never seen a copperhead snake before, but it was clear to me in about the space of a quarter second that landing on one, even the first one I'd ever seen, wasn't a good idea. Copperheads are poisonous -as their diamond shaped heads will attest to. And as all of the people who'd been warning the kids of my area had been attesting to for years. I managed, by some feat known only to the supple fibres of young muscle tissue, to change the trajectory of my fall about a foot over and bounce away onto a higher surface.
Snakes are odd creatures. Not very social. It gave me what I took to be a sneer, and uncoiled itself into the water. That was fine with me, I didn't want to hang out with it either. The only problem was that the dog that I loathed also happened to be in the water about fifteen yards away making its usual ruckus (which is probably why I caught nothing but crappies for the first few years of my fishing career). The snake was moving in what seemed to be a purposeful manner, toward the dog. I began to yell for the dog to get out of the water. The dog, having never responded to a thing I'd ever said to it, chose that moment to turn and look at me. That's when it spotted the snake... and swam right toward it.
I could have decided then and there to leave things be and let that dog meet it's fate. A fate probably more kind than the one meted out on my stuffed animals. But I've never been quite as mean as the voices that populate my mind and so I was propelled into action. I started screeming at the dog. I screamed at the snake too, but they don't have ears on the outside like us, so it didn't do any good. The dog had ears on the outside like us, but no brain, so that didn't do any good either. I wasn't anywhere near an adult who could have screamed with me, so I had to do the next thing that came to mind. I had to stop the snake.
I wasn't stupid enough to get in the water with that snake, like I said, I didn't really care for that dog (if it'd been my cat I would have been in that water wrestling that snake in a heartbeat - my cat, who had a brain, didn't go anywhere near the lake, but lived on the roof of our house, which, by comparison, was relatively safe). I grabbed the closest weapon to hand. My fishing pole. I swung the poor crappy fish up into the air and brought it smack down on the snake's head. Both the crappy and the snake disappeared under the water for a second, then resurfaced. The crappy was still stuck on my line, the snake was still heading toward the dog. The third time I managed to whack the snake, it decided to give up. No dog, no matter how stupid, could have been worth being pummelled with a fish.
The brainless canine, having noted that the moving stick was gone, decided to swim for shore. I considered whacking it with the crappy for good measure, but decided that it would have been unfair to the fish who'd been a trooper up until that point. I still feel bad for that fish.
I had many a misadventure around and about that lake. Especially once I passed the boat test and was allowed to take the row boat out on the water on my lonesome. The boat test, for all Brulee children, was a test requiring great skill and coordination:
(1) you had to be capable of hefting the oars of the boat
(2) carrying them on your own through the woods to the dock - and back (down and then up a goodly sized and steep hill)
(3) managing to unlock the boat without contracting tetnus at the same time and move it onto the dock and into the water - unaided
(4) rowing the boat away from and then back to the dock
If you could perform all of those complex tasks... you were allowed to risk your life on the open waters of the lake at your will (Life jacket? What's a life jacket?).
I was small, but strong for my size (not to mention wiley and determined). I found a way to get up to where the oars were stored and get them down fairly easily. Getting them through the woods wasn't easy (they were about three times my length), but I made it. The toughie was flipping the boat to my father's satisfaction. He didn't want you dinging it up (he also didn't want to test me more than once so he let it slide when I had trouble dragging it onto the dock - "Christ Creme! Pick it up, don't scrape it along the ground!" I nodded my head and redoubled my efforts - I wanted to pass!). I did. And at the ripe age of ten (or thereabouts) I was free to roam.
And roam, I did. But mostly I fished. Out in the middle of the lake, way the hell away from that dog.
Nature's a cool place as long as you've got plenty of bug repellant and comfortable shoes. I think I'm going to give the Trasendentalists another go.
It's killer - desserty, but not cloying. Which, come to think of it, is how I describe myself...
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