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.
Also, I've added a new subsection. You can learn more about it at the bottom of the page. Look for the lavender entry.
More news from the front:
We're winning! We're winning! Only one landing per day that I can count. Not so bold now! Freakin' flying miscreants. Messin' up the porch next door. It's not an optimal solution, but it'll do for me.
The guys who live over there don't use their porch anyway. They're too busy entertaining the ladies elsewhere. These guys are the spitting image of the "Wild And Crazy Guys" from the old Saturday Night Live sketch. Except these guys are Slovakian, not Czechs. They've got coordinated sports gear and stuff for every season. They're kinda fun.
For a while, one of them was constantly inviting us over for a beer, "or something". He's not a bad guy and has figured out that we don't mean to be rude, but we're not interested in the "or something" part.
He's still friendly, but his pal does everything he can to avoid us in the stairway or the street. I think it's mostly because he finds it difficult to be civil and disgusted at the same time. Sigh. But you've got to love those European manners because he manages to pull it off pretty well.
Everyone okay? Good, let me tell you a story.
There was once a young woman who didn't fit in in her home town. The people there weren't evil, so much as ignorant bigots whom she didn't understand. One day, a bad assed warrior chick shows up and saves a bunch of these ungrateful wusses from a nasty fate. Something clicks for the young woman and she tails after the bad assed chick for all she's worth and wears down any wall of resistance this warrior chick's got, because in all of her bad assed days, not once has the warrior ever come across a young woman who can do this adorable wrinkling thing with her nose. Before she knows it she's not only letting this kid follow her and light her campfires, she's actually listening to her incessant chatter.
They travel around, working to redeem the warrior babe's soul (she'd pawned it to the devil years before, so she's got a lot of makin' up to do).
One day the young woman gets a hold of some rancid nutbread. After eating it, she has the most increadible hallucination... That she's with the warrior for many years. Their travels, which began in a magical world of hope and possibility, become twisted. They betray each other, they're mutilated by forces unseen, mutilated by forces all too well seen and tortured by a love that dare not speak it's name - though it gets alluded to a whole lot of the time.
The warrior chick, seeing that her young woman (she's kinda possesive) is having a bad trip on fermented nutbread, finds a couple of herbs to counteract the evil poison. The herbs, while counteracting it, also wipe the memory of the gruesome trip from the young woman's mind. She awakes into a complex and difficult world, that's still filled with possibility and hope, partially because she's looking into the most amazing eyes her young mind can recall ever having seen. Right then and there she knows that it's about damned time one of them said something about all of the secretive looks, quiet yearning and lack of nudity that's been going on around their campfires at night. She opens her mouth to speak, but it's too late. The warrior has beaten her to the punch, yet again, and kisses her full on the mouth. And there are no back of the head shots obscuring the swapping of tongues and saliva.
I was shot with a BB gun once. Let's just say it was a sibling rivalry gone bad kind of moment, and I was on the wrong end of the gun. 'Cuz you can bet I'd enjoy this story a whole lot better if it started out, 'I shot my annoying brother once.' But it doesn't. I did hit him with a rock another time though, so don't picture me the innocent victim. Only, I can't remember if that was before or after the time he tricked me into eating glue...
Anyway, there was a dog named Bullet who lived in our neighborhood. When you picture the social climate of my childhood environs, picture a rural, Lord Of The Flies meets the 'Brady Bunch' type atmosphere, and you wouldn't be far off the mark.
Bullet was a funny little mut. A sweet dog that followed it's owner everywhere it went and was loyal and loving and all of those things you'd want in a dog companion. Too bad it's owner was Jake Grisley, the youngest of the Grisley clan.
It was a foregone conclusion in the 'hood that all of the Grisley boys would spend time in the county correctional facility before they reached the full bloom of manhood. I can't remember if this was just local lore, or truth. And keep in mind that this was way back in the days when going to jail was not considered a viable alternative to an education by society at large (a society that had not yet forsaken the idea of a good public education for all... but I digress...) Jake Grisley was our generation's neighborhood bully, kindasorta. I say 'kindasorta' because it amuses me and also because there were times that Jake was an okay normal kid, who hung out and played with his dog and occasionally other kids. These were most likely the times that things were going well for him at home.
His dog Bullet was a small, cheerful canine. I remember seeing him from time to time and thinking it would be nice to have a dog like that. A lot of the boys where I lived had dogs. The girls had dolls (even me, only mine were called 'action figures'). Maybe this was considered an acceptible way of socializing the boys so that they could grow up and be responsible husbands and partners... Might explain some things (besides the thriving divorce rate in that town...).
You may be wondering, "Why would anyone name their dog Bullet?" And unless you're from that little town (I've changed all names to protect the innocent and myself...), you wouldn't know that the little dog in question wasn't exactly speedy. So why was it? Why 'bullet'?
Well, you see, the dog got its name from the projectile that was lodged in it's skull. It was a short haired dog. The foreign object was situated in the top of its head, right between the ears - you couldn't miss it. There was a scar and a bump where the bullet had been left. We were told that if the it were removed, the dog would die. I don't know how true that was, but it made for a good telling at the bus stop.
Ume's busy pondering the importance of insect flatulence. Yes, she's cracked as well. A few screws short of a deck, if you catch my drift. You thought someone as charmingly eccentric as I am would have a regular partner type woman who sat around doing her nails and shopping from catalogues? Ha! No chance. Ume's a freak o' nature that I call my very own. She's geek chic personified and I'm her favorite specimen. It works for us.
I think I'm going to have to call it quits and cut out early. I spent the day buying useless crap off the internet to help me make more useless crap with it. A vicious circle of useless crap. It's like an early twenty-first century allegory of some kind... but my brain is too fried to go with it.
I felt like this the other day at a friend's house. Someone was telling us that soon the big "they" will be able to project anyone's face onto a 3D dummy and create a digital puppet of that person. A friend sitting next to me said, "That's going to make porn a whole lot better!"
I turned and gave him an "I'm a feminist with a short temper" look. And he looked back at me and said, "Well it will!" It was early, I was tired and channeling a conscientious version of my younger self. I gave him another look, more peevish than the first, and said, "What about all of those women in trailer parks, don't they deserve a shot at that money too?" That short circuited his sensitive male gone post-feminist processing device and I figured we were even.
What was actually going on inside my brain, sadly enough, was a riot of conflicting feelings about actor's salaries, copyright and contractual issues. I know, I know, I'm pathetic.
Can you imagine what the contractual clauses would look like for Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor's digital avatars?
Actor's lawyer: "Okay, the avatars can touch, but my clients have stipulated that they can't do anything that would overtly promote a homosexual lifestyle. Only actions that would string dykes along and keep them guessing."
Drooling porn consortium lawyer: "Can they kiss?"
AL: "It would be nice, but not while anyone's watching."
DPCL: "This is porn we're talking about here! My bosses at AOL/Time Warner aren't going to like this."
AL: "We're not selling the avatars for homosexual porn use."
DPCL: "We're free and clear on the heterosexual usages, right?"
AL: "Sure. On, in, out, up, down, you name it. Have yourself a party."
DPCL: "Seems kinda unfair though, doesn't it? I mean, there are all of those poor dykes out there..."
AL: "I know, I know, but that's the way it's gonna be. If we want to keep selling the franchise as a clean-cut family enterprise, we have to make a few exceptions."
DPCL: "Yeah, I can see what you mean. Must be kinda creepy for 'em, ya know? To have all of those women out there... thinking about them like that."
AL: "They don't seem to mind it that much. As long as everybody understands that it's all in fun."
DCPL: "So, care to tell us how this subtext thing works?"
Shortly after the contracts are signed, pirated versions of the avatars crop up on the cybernet - a place where avatars hang out and do their thing (like 'cyberspace' in William Gibson's books). Fanfiction sites get so many hits that the net melts down and all of civilization goes with it.
I think I need to go out and get some air... I don't think it's just my brain that's fried today.
So there I am, just about home from my afternoon bikeout. I'm sweaty and gross and thinking that maybe a shower's in order. I'm sitting in traffic, waiting for the light to change... long light. I look around - ever observant (sometimes)... and there's this chick giving me an intense, pouty look.
This threw me off a bit. Had I offended her in some way? Was I blocking her view? Why so pouty miss tall, dark and intense? Then it occurred to me that I was being given 'a look'. That's how pathetically out of the loop I am - being partnered and all.
But there she was, being young and professional and on her way home from work - doing the look thing at me. She was cute too.
So I'm saying more power to her. She'll probably get a girlfriend if she keeps that up. But I don't know how she expects to make it work at a stop light. That part's bound to get tricky. I've never been very good at logistics.
My guess is that she was on her way home from a meeting and there I was looking all normal and relaxed (if also a little stinky and gross), having just had a fine ride through the afternoon traffic and she was thinking , "My roommate had better not have polished off the last of that ice cream that I bought last night!" But she was spacing out and looking at me while she was thinking it.
But that would be a sad and less interesting encounter to relate. So we'll leave it back with the first interpretation... The one where she was gettin' all kinds of intense and needful while gazing upon my person - resplendent in my down to earth, practical bikewear. Poor thing, I hope I didn't break her heart...
News from the front:
Advances have been made in the campaign against the scourge of flying rats that have taken up residence on our porch. I'm finding that a spray bottle is an effective weapon when used at close range. It may not deter them entirely, but I get the satisfaction of watching them try to shake the water out of their ears after they land on my neighbor's roof. And I can shoot at them from the comforts of my apartment without risking rabies or god knows what by actually sharing air with them.
I know, I know, the likelihood of getting rabies from a pigeon is slim at best... But I wouldn't put anything past 'em.
Warring with the winged menace is a nice distraction from my life which seems to be filling up with all manner of family related drama. "The world is too much with us." I think that's a Browning quote and if I could alter it, I'd say, "Our families are too much with us and it would be nice to have a break." But life is rarely so convenient.
It would also be nice if I could wise crack it away. My sister and I were making a valiant effort on the phone last night as she was finally beginning to recognize that maybe, possibly, she has a mood disorder and may need to do something about it. I only wish she'd started having these humorous thoughts two years ago, before she'd lost touch with reality and torpedoed her life. Sigh. The good news is that she's a strong, resourceful woman, who's got a lot going for her when she's not lost in or sideswiped by the crap that comes from having an 'interesting' childhood and crooked genes.
My sisters are very competitive on the point of which one of us had the most gothic childhood experience. I'm not attached to that particular prize. I have some wacky siblings, have I mentioned that? They're not bad people, just people that I need to keep at a very particular distance if I want to maintain the healthy level of instability that I've grown accustomed to.
Yes, I come from one of those families. That's what makes me so clever.
The one sister that I really understand in this mix, is also the one with the biggest problems maintaining functionality. She's a recovering alcoholic among other things. She sees our family in much the way I do. Only, her vocabulary for it is much richer than mine as a result of years of ALANON. Me, I've decided that avoiding my family is the best strategy to not having to learn a whole bunch of new words that boil down to, "Take care of your own crap, mine's annoying enough."
So I'm shooting water at pigeons... Works for me.
I need some air. I'm going for a walk. I might meet up with this woman I met recently. She's a trip. Quiet, shy Japanese woman who's got a wicked sense of humor. I know, you're thinking, "Don't you know enough people like that already?" I'll never learn... I like that sense of humor too much.
We met for tea one day and she was telling me how her schedule's going to be crazy in the fall and how she's going to have to plan it carefully. She outlines this project for me and I'm thinkin', "Yeah, that's a lot of work." But she's very talented and I figured she'll manage it. Then she says, as if she'd forgotten and was surprised by it herself, "I'm pregnant and due in the middle of the project!"
It's probably one of those, 'you had to be there' moments. Maybe I shouldn't have laughed as much as I did, but she seemed to appreciate that it was funny too. I asked her what she was going to do about this challenge to her schedule. She said she'd called her mother in Japan and her mother told her that when... let's call her... Kiko, when Kiko was a baby, she'd kept her in a basket to keep her out of trouble. She assured me that it was the kind of basket that opened at the top. I asked her if she knew that in this country that would probably be considered child abuse. We talked about work, women and children and she was saying how important it was for her to keep doing her work. I could identify with that and I told her she ought to have her mother send over that basket in case she couldn't find one here, just to be on the safe side.
That's, that. I'm off to enjoy the air and clear my head.
I'd like to send a personal shout out to the man of the hour, my main man, Jim Jeffords! The honorable Senator from Vermont. I didn't think it was possible for a Republican to make me this happy. Oh but wait, that's right, he's not a Republican anymore! He's an Independent!
Take that, you bunch of self-interested, mean spirited, environmentally unfriendly bullying maniacs - ha!
It's too sweet. This man made my day!
Stuff your freakin' Weapons Death Program, George Bush. We're stickin' with the ABM Treaty you... you... you jerk.
Okay, so tomorrow some Democrat could turn and we'd be right back where we started, but I'm going to savor this moment. As I savored the moment when Newt Gingrich fell from power by tripping over his own revolution (hadn't he ever heard of Robespierre, or was he too busy worrying about women's periods? But I digress...) And then, there was that brief thrill when Livingston stepped down a short while later... Happy times.
And maybe there will be less news to grind my teeth by in the next few months. I can dream.
I'm not well versed in the symbology of the underworld, so maybe you can let us know if someone is trying to warn us, intimidate us, or just plain gross us out.
We live in a culturally mixed neighborhood, so I can't tell you who's the likely culprit - ethnic wise. But I can tell you that when my partner Ume went out to the car this morning, she found it odd to spy a raw fish fillet on the road, below the car door on the driver's side.
She found this curious and stinky, but didn't give it a whole lot of thought. We have a lot of weird stuff in our neighborhood - a fish fillet is the least of our problems. So Ume arrives at the cemetery (that's where she was headed to do her early morning birdwatching thing), steps out of the car, and smells something funky. She figures that she must have run over the fillet pulling out of the parking spot, but then she sees that she's wrong. There's yet another fish fillet on the roof of the car.
Disposing of the fish fillet is a story in itself. Ume is a fastidious wench and would never consider polluting a birding site with anything so heinous. So she drove around looking for some place to trash the thing.
Anyway... what we're wondering is, is this a sign? Is there some deranged Pices out there marking vehicles with fillets? Is it a warning sign from the Portuguese mafia? "Youz guys need to fish some place else." Or, more likely, is it my favorite neighbor, Junior, being his usual loser self?
I can see him now. He comes home late, plastered. He sees our car parked in front of his house. "I'll show those snotty dykes." He goes into his house, thaws a couple of fillets in the microwave and throws them at our car as he's drinking and belching beer on his porch. "That'll show 'em." He says this as he scratches himself and retreats into his home to sleep it off for the next two days.
I'd be giving Junior too much credit if I were to suspect him of being anything so glorious as a suspect. I'm thinking that there's some random answer to how a couple of fish fillets ended up next to and on our car. But come on! It begs for explanation.
I was taken in by the gurus of marketing, suckered by clever packaging. Yes, I, even I, who have labored in the underbelly of the consumer culture beast, helping to dupe the public with sexy containers and slick photography. And you thought you were buying spaghetti, or tacos, or whatever... I'm here to tell you otherwise.
Oh! No I'm not. I'm here to tell you about my fulfilling consumer experience. To hell with my flirtation with marketing culture (very short flirtation, we decided to see other people and you know how that goes...). I bought something for the packaging alone. I couldn't resist a product that had a label that read, "Giant French Prunes". How could I resist? Not just Prunes. Not just Giant Prunes, but Giant French Prunes. Everytime I've opened the pantry and seen that jar I've laughed. How could I not?
I don't make a habit out of laughing at my groceries, but there's something whimsical about a prune with an attitude. Who was the marketing genius who came up with this idea? I'd have loved to be in the room when an ad company was trying to pitch that. "Yeah, yeah, Americans like things big! Real big! And they'll buy anything if you tell them it's French! Hell, we'll call them Giant French Prunes and get 100% market share in Texas. We'll use that momentum to gouge the eyes out of our competition in the Midwest and the Northeast will roll over with the rest of them."
So there I was laughing in the middle of the aisle at the supermarket one day. I had to go find Ume and point out this fascinating product. She shook her head when I dropped them in the basket. Hey, everyone has their own bent impulse buying behaviors. The prune guys gambled and won with me. But I don't think it's a strategy that's going to get them the prune market.
And you know what? Those designer prunes are pretty good.
I have two things to report.
One: My floppy drive is alive and well. You might think that I'd be more concerned with my sex drive, but sadly, the health of my floppy drive takes precedence this month. Another one of those details that makes me wonder exactly what it is that I'm doing with my life.
Two: I'm on the war path again. Maybe the gripe path, because Ume insists that I not kill the objects of my seasonal frustration. The pigeons are back. Each year they land on the porch and make a mess that no germ fearing person without a death wish would approach unprotected. Much less hang out and eat near. It's gross.
Once the female has laid an egg, they usually leave. Make sense? These birds are so stupid that they push their own eggs off the side of the porch. Which I appreciate, because it saves me from having to do the job. Why me, a sensitive and delicate creature to be sure? Why am I put on pigeon egg patrol? Ume can barely kill a misquito without suffering a massive guilt attack. I have fewer qualms about it. Especially since I'm the one who cleans the porch too. That alone makes the evil deed weigh less heavily on my mind.
And this year they're back early. Not only that, but they're a kinky lot. There's three of 'em. There's some sharing of resources going on out there.
Which reminds me of the first menage I ever ran into. It wasn't a mormon family, but a hippie kinda situation, with two women and a man. They had two kids. And they've been together forever. I always wonder what kind of temperament that takes. I mean, it's a huge clue that it's two women. How many men do you think are going to be able to negotiate a situation like that?
I didn't know these people well, but my parents had dealings with them and liked them well enough. My father would joke about it (envious I'm sure) and my mother would pretend he hadn't mentioned it.
That's the news from the front.
A note to let you know that I haven't fallen off the edge of cyberspace into oblivion. Though, if you consider my current project, maybe I have... Anyway, I'll be back in the update business in a week or so.
I like the vacation stuff, so I'm going to leave it up for a while. In the meantime I've made a subsection called the Compassion Fatigue Entries. I thought I'd try it out, see how it goes. I might change my mind about it, I might not...
Take me to the CF Entries, please!
Or you could e-mail me by clicking here. I mean, aren't you even the least bit curious?
Or you can contemplate how very sweet Ume is. You know how some women get emotional during PMS? She's one of those women. It's not usually sweet or anything I'd comment on, but she was kinda weepy this morning. She said that you knew your hormones were doing their thing when you started crying at the least bit of sentimentality. Like when she started weeping over an especially moving bit of information in the bird migration book she's reading... Only, then she said she had to start laughing because even she could see that there's something funny about getting weepy over bird data.
A sense of perspective is an important thing in life.
If you're looking for the vacation stuff, I moved it to the misadventures page in the Déjà vu section. Look down at the bottom of the page there where it says Déjà vu, and click Misadventures. Or not, I'm cool with it.