Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Frailty, thy name is technology.

Okay, first of all let me start off by announcing that I hate technology.

While doing so in a blog is a lot like Terry Pratchett described, which is standing on a hill in wet copper armor shouting "All Gods Are Bastards", so be it. I've installed the new modem as near as I can tell, and it seems to be working--other than the computer keeps constantly telling me that I do NOT have any internet connection. Even though I do. Even though it is blatantly obvious by the fact that I am able to post this, there are two little icons; one has a wireless signal emerging from its computer-like signal, and one has two computers with a big red X over them. I just want to get rid of that one. Is that so much to ask?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

'Cause I Know A Habit Is A Hard Thing to Bear...naise...

I'm watching station 11-4. I don't know what that is on digital TV, I just know that on my digital converter box it's 11-4, and there is currently a man on it winning my heart with a French accent, seared steaks, sauteed thyme, and a new and exotic way to make bearnaise sauce. Sweet crunchy cracker, I don't even know what to say. Who knew? Who knew that bearnaise could be wrestled far more simply than I have ever dreamt possible?*

I am spending the week in the company of family. Family can, from time to time, be far more fun than anything on the earth save the board game Encore**. The Whit, Bighead Ethan, Destructicon, and Smiley Kylie spent last night with me. Moments like this make me wish I weren't so confident that as a woman living alone there is no reason for extraneous room, as I will just fill it with crap; gracious as they are, I can't help but wanting to apologize every fifteen seconds for the fact that I live in approximately 800 square feet, and that when the boys try to write a report on Pilgrims, they can reference weeks like this as they try to write their Magnum Opus, "What It Felt Like To Cross On The Mayflower." They are all exceptionally kind, though, and make me feel like I could host a thousand. I can't help but adore each of them, and the Best! Thing! Ever! Is that now they live close enough that it is entirely probable I can show up randomly on a weekend and touch their stuff and smell funny. Just like they do to me.

I love those kids. I love them so much that if I were to try and express it, I'd turn into Creepy Aunt who Pinches Cheeks or Kisses Noisily When Not Invited. I'd wrap my arms around them and snuggle with them for a thousand years and refuse to let them go, not even for bathroom breaks. (We all know it's just a matter of time, but leave me my illusions.)

This evening was no exception, as the Nutz Brothas continue to grow and expand in their gorgeousness.

Tomorrow is the wedding of the eldest sista of the Nutz Brothas, and I am sure all will be resplendant and on their best behavior. In the interim, however, I will remind myself that I need a pedicure but won't have time for one between now and tomorrow night, that Chris Isaak loves pedicures, and that no matter how much time you take off work, it's just going to suck worse tomorrow.

Got that goin' for me.

*Probably every chef in the world knew. Well, shut the hell up. Unless you told me, your knowledge does NOTHING to help me at this juncture, so I will continue in my crush on the French guy with the bad hair and the suggestion that bearnaise can be handled by whisking the egg yolks and butter together, then sauteeing the vinegar, wine, tarragon, and shallots, bringing them to room temperature and combining the two. How come that seems so much easier than every version I've ever tried? Is that authentic? Is it NOT authentic, but TASTES authentic, differentiated only by pretentious wieners who insist they can taste the difference if they know that it was prepared differently?

**Which nobody will play with me. I tried it once, figuring I was in a room full of music afficionados and geeks. The insufferable malaise of watching them deign to try and suffer through such a plebian game nearly was their undoing, never mind mine.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

KILLIN' me, Smalls.

"So I got 50 texts about Michael Jackson dying," the text read.
"Just wondering how that's supposed to affect my life."

Yeah, you and me both, as it seems.

Really, dude? Really? The most momentous event of a world in the past three weeks is that a former chimp-owning, kiddie-diddling alabaster-skinned habitue cacked it? REALLY?!

Well, fine. I will acknowledge that my own attempts to glamorize [the] hoi polloi have resulted in nil, of late. I am willing to accede a recent skirmish with my dress size, which I (both humiliatingly and definitively) lost. I may even, under duress, acknowledge that I am a bit of a cynic. But C'MON, PEOPLE. Really?


My little sister called me today. "Hey, Michael Jackson died," my boss announced, moments before.

"Yeah? Were you just on the phone with my little sister?" I shot back, only to have the receptionist interrupt.

"You have a phone call," she said, and Emily Mr. Beaned it across the room. "That's your sister, calling to tell you Michael Jackson died," she said, and I mugged at her and answered the call.

"," my sister intoned eerily.

"Hey, Whit," I said, ignoring the greater sin of ruining her news; " dead."

The entire assistant pool cackled uncontrollably.

"WHAT?! You already KNEW?!" Whit howled.

"The boss told us."

"I will never tell him I can't...I have to go!" She shrieked, and hung up on me.

Stupid Twitter.

The boss only cares about Lance Armstrong ("LA"), to be sure; but since he absolutely has to know to the very second what ounce of pressure LA is exerting at any given time, he's ascribed to Twitter and never mind the fact that each update (read: Nugget of Joy, heavy on Facetious Intonation) is heralded by a 'ping' seldom heard outside of the soundtrack for Hunt for Red October; each ping might mean that LA has exceeded all previous expectations that he will pedal faster than a mongoose in heat at the Mongooses for Potential Mating Extravaganza bazaar. And only a cad and a bounder would fail to recognize this achievement as Top Drawer Stuff, By Gar.

I dunno. Life was certainly simpler when Whit would call me, and in tones enigmatic report "Heath Ledger is dead. Remember, you heard it from me first." and then hang up. And then it would be true.

As it is, life is far from perfect. I have planted all sorts of (and I quote) "easy to grow, prolific" plants such as zucchini and tomatoes, only to have them turn on me like rabid bastard plants. If I had known this was an option from such purportedly easy-going vegetables and fruit, I might have stuck with cross-stitch as an expression of contempt for modern society. (Okay, not really.) Extensive internet research tells me that I may or may not have aphids, beetles, some sort of sucking bug, or a lack of appropriate soil in which to plant my zucchini. If it had powdery white mold, I'd know what to do, because EVERYBODY IN THE EFFING WORLD seems to come down with powdery white mold on their zucchini; however, this shilly-shallying is indicative more of a reflection of my personality, and everybody knows that a mirror is annoying as shit if it means it doesn't leave you at least 10 pounds skinnier in its reflection.

At least my latest gadget for cheese-making is scheduled to arrive sometime before the next New Moon. Hormones notwithstanding, I and those I love most might never make it past the coming four days if I didn't have the hope of draining, aging, and cagily manipulating the fate of several gallons of milk currently residing in my fridge.

Viva la cheesemakers!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It Can't Get No Worse

I just finished reading the latest biography of John Lennon this afternoon; for those who might wish to follow up on things that make me swoon, it's by Philip Norman. Far less acidic than the aforementioned and not religiously understudied biography written by Albert Goldman (easy to accomplish; all one would have to do is not mathetimatically try to equate genius with asshattery and then contain one's verbal expulsions), it still made me teary-eyed. I'm not gonna lie; there isn't much (outside of Ono) that doesn't make one particularly sensitive. If I were going to be truthful, even the Ono crap makes me melt cannot possibly watch The U.S. vs. John Lennon and not for a second believe that the man, whatever lunacy included, wasn't completely and totally entranced by the concept of love. And not even the concept; he actually found love, how tremendous is that?! He found a partner who felt the same. How often can one of we lesser-crawling maggots find validity? Even how less frequently do we find not just validity, but sympatico?

Not a whole hell of a lot, I am willing to conjecture.

And by that conjecture, I have to point out the following;

One), that questioning mortality is possibly sexy but more importantly ineffective; and

Two), that love is what it is, and who are we to declare differently?

Apparently Yoko isn't a fan of this latest recount, citing the fact that the author "wasn't nice" to John. Well, the hell with her, I say. The hell. We aren't always nice. And a man well into his second formal relationship deserves the ability to shake his wiener at the earlier parts of either. It doesn't discount the importance of what that man has done; it simply reminds the world that he had a wiener. Is that such a terrible sentence for any man?

I'm Just Sayin.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"NO!" I yelped. "Stop! No! Absolutely not, no! You're not--you're not really--NO!"

And Nutz Brotha #2 continued to pee into a bottle.

Seriously. At this point I appeal to parents, to youth caseworkers, to juvenile delinquents everywhere. What do you do? You can't slam on the brakes, for fear of everyone being baptized with aqueous effluvia. There is absolutely no answer for "Public Urination, Moving Vehicle, Adolescent Perpetration Thereof," anywhere. If there is, I WANT IT. Please. Not even want.


The Nutz Brothas and I drove to Nevada this weekend to take in a play directed by Mama T.
They are all directed by Mama T; notwithstanding the fact that she's the only game in town, she's a damn fine good one.

Some years are better than others. Coaches understand this; although we approach things from different ends of the spectrum, I can't imagine that sport coaches feel any differently. Some years are "growing" years. Those are the years that you train kids, you search desperately for that wheat that makes all the chaff worthwhile, and you inevitably have to give way to the fact that the high school football team needs the auditorium for its pre-game assembly. And's like alchemy. Out of nowhere, one of the kids has real talent. They are relatively normal, and they bring their friends to the fray. Suddenly you have half-a-dozen with Real Talent, and you're not sure where to put them all. You pray to Dionysus, hoping all the time that a Greek god is going to understand the plight of the modern-day drama teacher (Rick Riordian notwithstanding), and you cast your show. Grade check, sports seasons, and residual trauma ensue. And at the end you're left standing, wild-eyed, five-nights-of-sleep deprived, and giddy because "THEY EFFING GOT THAT LAST CUE RIGHT!!!!!! YOU CAN'T! BEAT! THAT!!!!!"

I spend my whole life wishing to be even an eighth of the drama coach that Mama T is.

This time she let me be a part of cast notes.

"The crowd scene as you're all coming in to the camp," I said, and was horrified to feel the tears not just pricking but threatening to erode what little was left of my eyeliner. "The Nazi guard that picks up the little boy and hauls him away as he's screaming for his family...I mean this in the nicest possible way, but you're a bastard!"

The girl I know is both sweet, kind, and gentle. She loves theater--she, as near as I can tell, is a total Drama Geek--and her mission in this current production is to be as unlikeable and realistic as she can be. I respect her. I envy her to a certain level; as an adult you can't produce that kind of trauma and terror when technically you can be classified as a Little Person. (We as Little People tend to get head pats and the ever-so-sweet nod that lets us know that we are set, as long as we want Victorian dolls and verbena-smelling underpinnings.) And yet never, even once, did I get the sense that she was anything other than totally committed to where she was, when she was, and everything that it meant.

I don't know; maybe it means more when you see someone behaving totally differently than you know them to be. Maybe it imbues you with a completely different sense of reality, one which allows them to be Total Bastards and yet still be some of the most charming, sweet, kind, and considerate people you'll ever meet.

Great show, White Pine! You can't. BEAT. THAT!!!!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Since everybody knows I don't do New Years' Resolutions, but because I am loathe to let the holiday go quite yet (although that tree MUST come down, no matter how prickly and temper-flaring a task it may be, it's started giving me the stinkeye and no longer glows, it glowers), I've been pondering on what I learned throughout the past year of my life On This Planet. I may not set goals, but I do learn. So in no particular order, they are as follows:

Men Who Fix Cars Do Not Find Me Funny. I know nothing about cars. I don't care about knowing about cars. I know I should. I know that, like Dane Cook, when I drive in to get my car fixed they will say to me "It looks like you had unicorns in your muffler." "Really?" I will say. "Unicorns? Imagine that. I wondered what that noise was." "Yeah, it'll cost you $700." "Goody. That's about what I figured it would be for a unicorn extraction. So reasonably priced, too." And the guy will smile, and throw away my old wiper blades, and I will drive away and the car will still make that noise, and I will decide that the unicorn probably had a baby, but it must be nothing to worry about or they would have caught it. So when we had a giant snowstorm and I signaled that I was turning left and then sailed majestically forward into oncoming traffic despite pumping of said brakes, I figured it was time to get new tires.
"When did you last replace your tires, ma'am?" the Tire Guy asked me.
"I dunno, I think about the last time I had a bean sidhe in my carburetor," I told him, and he just looked at me.
"And what kind of tires do you want, ma'am?" he asked.
"I don't know," I said. "Ones that I can drive on in the snow."
"Any particular brand or model?" he asked, rubbing the bridge of hise nose with that impending-migraine look.
"What do you recommend?"
"Well, what sort of driving do you do?"
"Cautious," I said. "Like old people having sex level of cautious. I'm not a very good driver."
"I mean, where do you drive?"
"Um, you know. Work. The store. Over medians sometimes."
"Right," he said, resting his head on the counter. "We'll take care of you. Can I have your keys, please?"
I handed them over, and he glared at the eight inches of red-polka-dot scarf tied around them.
"I lose them," I explained. "I lose them a lot."
"I'm really surprised, lady," he said, and went into the back room while I wondered what I did to get demoted from ma'am to lady. I didn't see him again. Someone else came and helped me, someone younger and presumably without a daughter so he didn't have to imagine her fifteen years hence, having this conversation with the Tire Guy.

I Find Once Boring Things Exciting. Now, I'm not talking about the stuff that SOME people think is boring. (I'm primarily thinking of Whitney and Kirk, who love to play the game where they pick the Most Boring Thing On TV and wait for me to come in. "Oh, wow, this is that special on Jules Verne," I will enthuse, and they will both cackle and then change the channel.) No, I mean wish lists. In the days of yore I always had a wish list a mile long; this year, though, when mom and dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday..."I'd really like some food storage," I said.
And I meant it.
The Great Mouse Hunt of '08 took quite a bit out of me; having discovered evidence of nasty, filthy, hanta-disease-bearing vermin prancing their way through my vermicelli, bouillon, and Ghiradelli bars (BLASPHEMY, DARLING!) I commenced to toss everything that couldn't be washed in bleach. Then I had to live like a shopkeeper with canned food perched on counters while I played Lucrecia Borgia to Fievel the Marauder.
It's not bad enough that I have no idea what to do with most food storage. I don't EAT most of those things, because my theory is that those things are there for when there isn't REAL food and then they will taste better. My food storage has vanilla beans, and artichoke hearts, and tomatoes...and very little else. I should quit worrying about skills for Bartertown, because I won't MAKE it to Bartertown. I will have expired when I tried to make a casserole and didn't check the dates on the cans of soup. Anyway, if someone had presented me with canned chicken breast, thirty pounds of sugar, and evaporated milk ten years ago, I would have been grateful for the thought that counted. Now I'm just delighted. I open the cupboard doors and coo at my bounty.
Never water the Christmas tree nude. You'd think I'd remember, but every! Damn! Year! I get a very pointed reminder, as well as a few wounds in places I can't show anyone and get symathy.

Time really will deliver the genetic betrayal that is your legacy. I don't like to exercise. In fact, that's probably the biggest understatement that I can say without involving the words "Daniel Craig" and "attractive". I don't like anything about it. I don't like to sweat, I don't like to wear the special outfits, I don't like to jump around or run or jog or jazzercise or do any of it. In fact, I have long maintained that exercise goes against our very genetic code. Seriously. Thousands of years of human history, and everything we do is designed to MAKE LIFE EASIER. If it was so much fun chasing dinner with pointy sticks and eating dirt and scavenging, why aren't we still doing it? Because it's not fun. People want to relax. They don't want to walk ten miles to find wild carrots, they figured out that sucked and planted gardens and raised farm animals so they could sit down at some point and not have to constantly be moving around in order to survive. Every invention has been to lessen man's need to be involved in the work process. So when faced with physical activity, what is my natural instinct? TO STOP WORKING SO DAMN HARD. I get on the exercise bike and start working away, and look down and realize that I've slowed down because I was getting overheated. What is the point, I ask you?
Or I would have asked you before realizing that my ability to consume my own weight in dairy products and bacon meant that i was eating MORE dairy products and bacon, to make up for the additional body weight. Stupid, stupid mid-thirties. They are clearly working against me.
The family is going to do the Biggest Loser game. Originally, I said I'd participate, if by participating it meant not doing anything. "But don't you feel like it inspires you a little, you know, to have someone else to answer to?" Whit said.
"Nope. I have NO SHAME," I said. "I don't care if someone knows I didn't exercise, or if I ate a pound of bacon last night by myself."
"You didn't."
"Fine, have it your way."
So I'm on the game, largely because I can't get into those Chinese-red silk cigarette pants that I love more than...well, apparently more than bacon.

Home Isn't Always Safe. Your BED isn't always safe. My ankle still hurts. On the plus side, I can now Basil Fawlty it and scream about how I'm getting twinges from the old war wound to distract people during conversation. This will be a nice counterpoint to my usual feigned narcolepsy.

You can never have too many books. This can also be listed under the subset of "She Who Dies with the Most Books Wins." I'd like to at least be in the running someday. Shelf space is currently at a premium, but I cannot stop myself. No interventions, thank you very much. I'm a junkie of the printed word, and there are very few things in life more satisfying than having a stockpile of Things To Read.

A Random Sampling of Favorite Books I've Read 2008: I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith. If you haven't read it, READ IT. I love it. I heart it. I would put it under my pillow except that space is already occupied by a box of crackers (in case I get hungry in the night) and whatever book I'm reading at the moment. (That way you get to screech through the whole place looking for it, yelling imprecations and tearing books off of shelves until you remember you were reading it last night and fell asleep with your finger marking your place.) I'm just angry I never read it sooner, but I attribute that to the crappy, crappy, innocuous book jacket description. DON'T LET IT FOOL YOU.

Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean. I read this as a kid (okay, late teens) and couldn't for the life of me remember much about it, other than it was set in a college and I liked it tremendously. I found it again and devoured it. Full of literary references and very little Magic until the last...oh, fifty pages or so, it makes me happy and feel like I could have pretended to be a Brainy Classics Major at some upscale private university.

Confederates in the Attic, by Tony Horwitz. I am not a nonfiction reader, generally. I don't know why I'll read a contemporary novel set now if it's fiction, but refuse to pick up anything about anyone in history outside of the Tudor period...but there it is. Nevertheless, this was recommended by the Great Carriesnow, and I could not put it down. I read it on my way to visit The Brother in AlaBAMA (as it must be said, a la Forrest Gump) and it's on my read and re-read list. Hysterical reenactors? C'mon, that's my bread and butter! They may not say "milady" and whack each other in the park with padded PVC pipe, these are the HARDCORE. Absolutely not to be missed.

The Lodger Shakespeare, by Charles Nicholl. See my aforementioned caveat regarding nonfiction...but, as GOB says, "COME ON!" It's Shakespeare. It's history. It's researched history about Shakespeare. What else would you expect? DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT.

And as a final note, I have achieved my heart's desire. Santa Claus brought me...a Kindle. For this, I might need an intervention. Those of you who question technology...or its place in the world...clearly, you are the people who have not been forced to give up packing socks and underwear, because you require at least five paperbacks on the "getting there" portion of your trip. And then you buy two in the airport wandering around because they looked interesting, and when you get to your destination you find your host doesn't have ANYTHING worth reading, and while you'll read John Grisham because there's nothing else there, when you're out at the supermarket you inadvertently buy two more paperbacks waiting in the checkout line, and then you talk them into visiting a bookstore, and then on your way home you realize you packed the one you were reading in your big checked suitcase and the ones you have with you don't look interesting, so you are forced to buy a few more and you return home with 15 new paperbacks and a walking pattern Igor would envy due to the extra weight in your carry on. As it is, I can have 200 books at my fingertips. If I don't want to read what I have, I can use the Whispernet (don't ask me what it is, I can only relay terms like a parrot) and download a new book in under a minute. I can read periodicals. I can check the NY Times. I can verify my claims to my seatmate using Wikipedia. It is, in short, a means to an end. They will pry it out of my cold, dead hand, and even so I will be annoyed that I didn't get to finish whatever book I was reading. It doesn't relieve the intense pressure of acquiring more of the printed word, but it does mean I will have clean underwear when I arrive at my destination.

Provided I did laundry before I left, that is.