Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Deep and provocative posts are coming, but I've got company this week, so I havn't had the chance to finish them. Some very dear college chums of mine, Wally and Viola, are staying for the week, and since I havn't seen them in ages I've given myself a vacation from blogging (and all my other household responsibilities). When they leave on Friday I'll post something interesting for you.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Equal time for cat

In the interests of non-partisan pet love, it seemed only fair I bestow some of my excellent blogging publicity on my 17-year-old, neurotic, afflicted, hyper-thyroid, arthritic, hairball-hacking pussy. Here she is, in all her fuzzy glory...

Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup. Posted by Hello

Enjoying a rare moment of weak winter sun. Posted by Hello

Contortionist sleeper Posted by Hello

Crow pie a la mode

So that whole "best cartoon ever bit." Remember that? Yeah, well, apparently the "hello" software i've been using to post photos will only upload jpg images to my blog, but the cartoon is a gif file. I may be able to get it up at some point (this is starting to sound like a medical problem) but it's goint to be a PITA. I've contracted with a team of highly skilled experts to work on a solution. In the meantime, go read Hendrix Cat.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

almost there

Free Chaucer's Bitch super-duper secret decoder ring to the person who gets the one thousandth hit. Work it, work it...

Thursday, June 23, 2005


I havn't commented on shit in the news for a while, mostly because I think the news is shit and rarely worthy of comment. In this case, however, I'm making an exception. The news is shit, but something needs to be said, and this is it:

There is a story in America about an 8-year-old boy who got lost in the woods in the mountains of Utah for 4 days after wandering away from his Boy Scout camp. Part of the reason it took so long to find him (he was only 5 miles from camp) is that he was climbing trees to deliberately evade the searchers. His recovery is being called "the Miracle in the Mountains." Gag.

The kid was hiding from the search parties, and I saw the pictures of him when the found him. He did not look happy. He had hypothermia and was dehydrated, but his parents insisted on his release from the hospital in less than 24 hours, AGAINST DOCTORS' RECOMMENDATIONS.

Questions have to be asked. His uncle expained to the media that he hid because he had been told by his parents not to talk to strangers. Really? Even when you're 8 years old, hungy, thirsty, and cold, you don't talk to people wearing big red crosses on their jackets? This kid was running away from something, and his family is trying to keep him quiet by keeping him under lock and key. Someone needs to investigate that Boy Scout camp. Now.


Miller was my first love. I've been in love with him since I was 12 years old, and though I accepted years ago that he would never feel quite the same about me, he is still dear to my heart and will always have a place to stay there. I saw him today for the first time in four and a half years.

I still had an old email address of his in my address book, and when I sent out the general "congratulate me i got into bristol" letter, it went to him as well. I had no idea he was still in my address book, nor had i any idea that account was still active, but lo and behold! his was the very first congratulatory reply i received. I immediately replied and we decided to meet for lunch.

The man who walked into the resturaunt bore little resemblance to the dark, sinewy boy of my memory, but his voice and manners hadn't changed. We began talking as though no time had past; none of that "oh you've changed so much!" shit. We just sat down and picked up with such ease you might think we'd left high school only last week. And though our lives since then couldn't have been more different, we are still of like minds and thoughts and sitting there with him was like finding a piece of myself that i'd lost in the cushions of the couch years ago. I knew it was there somewhere, I just couldn't quite put my hands on it.

In my life I have met 3 people with whom I have been able to connect intimately on both the emotional and intellectual planes - one at each stage of my education. Miller is one of those three; the first, and possibly most precious. I am shocked at myself for allowing so much time to pass without attempting to speak with him.

The bitter irony is, if I had got my wish (of many years ago) and he had asked me to marry him, I don't think we would get along now as well as we did this afternoon. Part of why we still mesh, still gel so well, is that we really admire and respect each other. And part of that admiration stems from our unique and individual personal accomplishments (Miller has an MBA and a law degree). If we had gotten married, we would not be the individual people we are today, and I think our relationship would be diminished as a result. That figures. English majors flock to bitter irony like flies to dogshit.

At the end of the day, I'm deeply pleased that Miller is once again a part of my life (I think he feels the same; Lord knows what his wife thinks!), and if we ever again endure a 5-year separation, it won't be out of laziness on my part.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Lust on the Rocks, by Heather Mydosh

The cartoon is coming, i swear, but getting it up is a more involved process than you would think. In the meantime, here is a poem by a good friend of mine, Heather Mydosh. Heather is an English major at Lake Superior State University. I'm not giving her an alias on the website because she (justifiably) wants credit for the work. The poem is hilarious, and I almost peed myself laughing, but knowing her and the angst which generated this work is sobering. Here it is:

Lust on the Rocks with a Twist of Guilt


Disclaimer - pg. i
Introduction: Knowing when to swallow your pride and your hemlock - pg. 1
Chapter 1: Happiness isn't all it's craced up to be - pg. 22

Section 1: Define 'Friend' - pg. 23
Section 2: Family: The Ultimate Anxiety - pg. 28
Section 3: Relations and Reasons Not to Have Them - pg. 33
Section 4: Solitude: Is Hermitage for You? - pg. 45
Section 5: Decisions and Reactions - pg. 50

Chapter 2: Sometimes It's Out of Your Hands - pg. 60
Section 1: Why God Thinks It's Funny To Make You Cry - pg. 62
Section 2: The Merits of Tearing Out Your Hair - pg. 74
Section 3: Things Are Not Going to Get Any Better - pg. 81
Section 4: Why Camels Hate Straws & You Hate Schedules - pg. 93
Section 5: Conclusive Reasons to Not Have Neighbors - pg. 101
Section 6: You Can't Change Them, So Leave Them - pg. 110
Section 7: Acceptance v. Denial: A Systematic Arguement - pg. 122

Chapter 3: A Call To Action! The Myths of Modern Society - pg. 131
Section 1: The Myth of Social Change - pg. 137
Section 2: The Myth of Equality - pg. 144
Section 3: The Myth of Idealism - pg. 153
Section 4: The Myths of Honesty and Integrity - pg. 159
Section 5: Reform, and Why People Feel the Need to Lie to Us - pg. 172
Chapter 4: Giving Up: A Guide - pg. 180
Section 1: Mastering the Art of Apathy - pg. 188
Section 2: The Merits of Non-Communication - pg. 197
Section 3: When To Let It Go - pg. 205
Section 4: Removal From Society - pg. 213
Section 5: The Fine Art of Wallowing - pg. 220
Section 6: Angst, Loathing, Contempt, and Justified Disgust - pg. 230
Chapter 5: The Only Thing Left To Do - pg. 239
Section 1: Choosing the Method That's Right For You - pg. 244
Section 2: Popular Bridges - pg. 256
Section 3: Building Driving: Helpful Hints - pg. 259
Section 4: Pick Your Poison! - pg. 266
Section 5: A Head in the Oven - pg. 272
Section 6: Pistols v. Shotguns: Which is Better? - pg. 279
Section 7: To the Head or To the Chest: Pros and Cons - pg. 288
Section 8: Slitting Writst: Step by Slice Instructions - pg. 291
Section 9: Hanging Dos and Don'ts - pg. 298
Section 10: The Merits of Carbon Monoxide - pg. 303
Section 11: Pills and Booze: A Tasty Combination - pg. 309
Section 12: Finding the Right Lake for You - pg. 313
Section 13: Self-Immolation: It's Not For Monks Anymore! - pg. 320
Section 14: A Shocking End: Electrocution Can Be Fun! - pg. 328
Section 15: Other Ideas and Miscellaneious Methods - pg. 337
Chapter 6: Odds And Ends - pg. 340
Section 1: Notes and Where To Leave Them - pg. 341
Section 2: The Last Will and Testament - pg. 349
Section 3: Funeral Details: Flower, Casket, and Donation Preferences - pg. 353
Section 4: Popular Gravemarkers - pg. 366
Section 5: Budgets and Projected Costs - pg. 374
Afterwords: Some Thoughts on the Afterlife - pg. 378
Glossary - pg. 380
Further Reading - pg. 400

I think this is one of the most creative things I've ever read. Naturally if it had been my idea I would have done a few things differently; but alas, it wasn't my idea. Don't feel that because the poet is a friend of mine that you have to leave nice comments or none at all. Please be as scathingly honest as I know you lot are. We're big girls - we can take it.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Get ready

It's coming soon: the best cartoon EVER.

Watch this space...

weekend update

waste of a weekend.

it started off ok on friday night when the 'rents and i picked marley up from the airport in chicago and went to dinner. we found a terrific greek place right off the highway and got mom sloshed. she spent the next hour in the car on our way to wisconsin saying things like "we have to pay a toll? I'd rather pay a troll! Get it? Troll! Ha!" and laughing until she snorted and thought of something else entertainingly retarded to say. (Driving around one's drunken parents is a new experience. It would have been more fun if I had been drunk too, but then I wouldn't have been able to drive. So there it is.)

We got to Miss Happy's condo rather late, and her and her Mumsy were up waiting for us. Mumsy was rather rude. I had never met her before, and she made no effort to greet me or even get out of her chair. The only word she spoke was "hello." I thought, I drove 5 fucking hours through construction and weekend traffic for this? We left and checked in to our hotel, which did not think it necessary to provide blankets and pillows for all its guests.

Saturday. The ENGAGEMENT PARTY. Our purpose for driving to Wisconsin. I was informed on Saturday morning that I would be helping the spoilt obnoxious 4-year-old neice of the bride, Rocky, to decorate the condo for the party. Yay. I arrived early to help decorate and discovered that the party was NOT to be held in Miss Happy's condo, but rather in Miss Happy's GARAGE. Granted it's rather nice as garrages go, but it's still a fucking garage. I didn't drive 10 hours from Michigan in one-lane construction zones to eat hotdogs in someone's fucking GARAGE. Fucking hell. I know from hospitality, and that ain't it, sister.

The party started at two, at which time the other losers began to arrive. I have never met a more boring collection of single-celled "life" forms in the span of my existence. They could have been replaced with cardboard cutouts and we never would have known the difference. Not only were these people completey incapable of actively engaging in a conversation, they couldn't even answer questions with more than two syllables. We tried to draw them out, we tried to make interesting conversation, we tried to discuss things, but to no avail. They just sat there, blankly looking at me and my family as though we were speaking a different language. My father was brilliant. He got tanked on the rather nice Los Vascos reserve cabernet sauvingnon Marley put out and managed to spend 6 hours having a lively, one-sided conversation with about nine people. It looked like he was talking to a ward of comatose hospital inhabitants, only wierder. Brilliant man. Mom gave up trying and just sat in the back of the room, shaking her head in dismay and moaning to herself, "does he know what he's marrying into?" I went and found Curds, Marley's aptly-named Best Man, and his fiance', who were the only realy people there, and spent the entire afternoon with them. Charming, intelligent, interesting people. Lovely people. I felt so guilty that they drove even further than I did to get to that party. What a waste of a weekend. Thank god for Curds or I would have choked myself to death on a mustard-coated garage dog.

Then there were the aunties. I love the aunties, but they do drive me nuts. Actually, just one of them drives me nuts. Sister Pick-Up-My-Soap Aunt. The other one is fine. Sister PUMS Aunt was in top form, and it was my job to drive her and my other aunt home on sunday. So I got to spend that 16-hour-constrction-zone-in-a-raging-blizzard-at-night-drive defending all music of all genres that had been composed since she entered the convent in 1802. The conversation went something like this:

SA: No one writes good music any more.

Me: Yes they do. We're listening to good music right now (it was Paul Simon).

SA: I mean, no one writes any good music with a social message.

Me: Actually, lots of people do. The song we're listening to right now (Diamonds on the Souls of Their Shoes) is about aparthide.

SA: I mean new people. Paul Simon is from another generation.

Me (beginning to get seriously annoyed): Lots of country music is on the cutting edge of social issues. The Dixie Chicks had a number one hit about spousal abuse, and rap music was the first genre of music to address the issue of AIDS. And folk music is just as social-justice driven today as it's always been. Have you ever listened to Boris McCutchen?

SA: Well I've never heard of any of those people. (Because anyone she's never heard of is of no consequense by default).

Me: That's because you live under a rock. You still have your secratary print off all your emails because you don't know how to open them on the computer, and the only radio sation you listen to is NPR. If you bothered to listen to some contemporary country, rap, or folk music you would hear lots of social issues. Just because you don't know its out there doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

SA: But I don't like that kind of music.

Me: *CRASH!!!* as I deliberately drive the car off the road at 80 mph into a tree, killing myself and my two passengers so as to avoid having to continue the conversation. I love people who make sweeping, all-encompasing statements on subjects about which they know absolutely NOTHING.

What a waste of a weekend. And I didn't even mention the mass in the morning to which I was dragged against my will where they sang really awful christian rock/lounge lizzard muzak and paraded a naked baby around the church 3 times before it was sacrificed and burnt as an offering. You think i'm joking?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Oh my virgin ears

Went to a poetry reading on thursday night. A good friend of mine has recently published a book of poems, and she threw a reading in a local resturant to celebrate. she read from her book, some of which was quite good, and then turned over the mike to the floor. sweet jesus in heaven. let me put it this way: they could have been cast as the Vogons in the new Hitchhiker's Guide movie.

Friday, June 17, 2005


the rents and i are leaving in a couple hours for chicago. marley and miss happy's engagment shindig is this weekend, so blogging may or may not occur.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Falling by the wayside

I fully intended, as you probably inferred from the titles of the last few posts, to embark on a couple of serials. I was doing one about all the FSMs arriving to town, but so much has happened since then that i no longer give a shit about writing that particular story. Don't worry, you're not missing a whole lot.

I also have a great deal more to say on the subject of marriage (namely, i think the whole institution is an archaic construction invented for financial power and control and is no longer necessary, or even a good idea, in a modern, civilized society), but i'll get to that another day.

Right now my brain is being dominated by thoughts of 2 subjects: England, and sculling.

Re the latter. I joined the Ann Arbor Rowing Club this weekend, and went for my first outing last night. I spent 90 minutes flying solo on a wooded river beneath a gunmetal grey sky. 88 minutes of it was pure shite. I can't steer for fuck all, and on the S-shaped stretch of the Huron River which is my new home, I found myself either A, on the wrong side of the river, or B, having to pause every 5 strokes to make a course correction to avoid A. There was a strong, steady breeze. In an 8 it wouldn't have made me blink, but for one who can't steer a scull in the best of conditions, it was troublesome. Furthermore, I am unaccostomed to feathering with my right hand. That, combined with the fucking rubber oar handles equals a pile of novice blisters. Good god, blisters! I havn't had blade blisters in seven years. Fucking novice. On the up side, I didn't fall in. And during those brief moments when I got both blades off the water for the entire recovery (there were maybe a dozen such strokes over the course of the outing) and put the pressure down, my god it was like flying. That's it, game over: i'm hooked.

Re the former. My god where do i start? I will be in one place for the next three years. I havn't had that kind of stability since I was an undergrad. Ever since I left connecticut i've been floating about, moving every year or two, trying something new, never committing to anything. Now I can stay in one place for a while, really make some connections, have a life. On top of that, this is the first time ever in my life that I'm embarking an a new journey that I am absolutely certain I will genuinely enjoy. When I started at Connecticut thought hey, this might suck, but it can't possibly be worse than high school. I've got nowhere to go but up. When I left for Australia I thought hey, it might be the greatest experience of my life, but it might be the worst. oh, well, if it is, i can survive anything for three months. When i started my job in massachusetts i thought well, it's something to do and i'll be able to feed and house myself; that's something, anyway. And when I left for Manchester i thought well, it can't possibly be worse than what i'm doing now, and if it really sucks, well, i can survive anything for one lousy year.

Connecticut wasn't worse than high school, but the first 2 years were rough enough that by the middle of my second year i was seriously contmeplating dropping out. Australia, as it turned out, was both the best and worst experience of my life. Massachusetts was 2-year gap in my life where I learned exactly what I didn't want to do with the rest of my earthly existence. Manchester turned out to be absolutely fucking fabulous, but I had no way of knowing that when I boarded the plane. For the first time ever I'm doing something I know with total certainty will be wonderful, fulfilling, and ultimately get me where I want to go. I know what I want, I know how to get there, and I'm leaving soon. Good god the peace, the focus, the certainty, the contentment. if I were a better poet I could perhaps describe it more elegantly. I can say this, though: I'm happier now than I've been been in my life. Everything is falling in place.

Unfortunately, this perfect focus on the rest of my life has left me a little distracted in the here and now. I've developed a terminal case of Senioritis, which is the name we Americans give to teenagers whose brains graduate high school several months ahead of their bodies, thereby leaving their bodies to spend the entire last term sitting in their chairs staring meaninglessly into space. I developed Senioritis my sophomore year and it became increasingly severe over the next 2 1/2 years. This time it's far worse. The good people at the FSM have been ready to kill me since Tuesday morning when I got the good news from Bristol. It would seem I'm unable to complete a single task. Whatever. I don't give a flying fuck.
more posting soon, i promise. I have loads to say, just no time to type it....

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

pay attention, because i'm only going to say this just once...


Monday, June 13, 2005

On marraige, part I

Like the old man said, "mawwaige is wat bwings us togevah, tooday."

The subject of marraige has been coming up a lot lately, what with Marley and Miss Happy planning their big event, and the last of my single friends are taking (or contemplating taking) the plunge. I suppose it's normal for one at this stage of life to watch people pair off like swans into irretractable monogamous bondgage. Er, bonds. Yeah, bonds. Not bondage. What am I thinking of? It is somewhat less normal, perhaps, for one at my present stage of life (isn't that nicer than saying "age?" "Age" makes one sound so old, but "stage of life" could be absolutely fucking anything) to have so little personal experience regarding the internal workings of relationships (not to worry; amazingly, I'm not going to turn this post into a whiney, self-pitying diatribe about my miserable lonely state).

I havn't been in a relationship since I was 19. Depressing as that is, it has afforded me the opportunity to view with objectivity the relationships and marraiges of my friends and peers as they paired off around me like some twenty-first century ark-dwelling freak show. *sniff, sniff* Dost I detect the scent of bitterness? Well, perhaps a little. It's not possible to be 100% objective, but I do observe many marraiges with distant detachment, unclouded by personal involvement. It's become a sort of academic project for me. If one can't live in a rainforest, one can still learn a great deal about tropical ecology by watching episode after episode of Nature, Nova, and that dildo from Down Under, the Crocodile Hunter. (Of course, having lived in a rainforest, I can also gaurantee that watching Nature in no way compares to waking up each morning with Wompoo Fruit Doves calling out your cabin, the green smell of the moss while pissing on the damp leaves, or the magical sense of how incredibly privelledged you feel every time you encounter a previously unseen member of the local fauna, which happens about once every 38.5 seconds. But that is neither here nor there.)

In my years of emotional isolation I have observed many interesting phenomenon, but one stands out above all. Everyone, whether they are aware of it or no, has a reason for getting married. There are only three possible reasons. Everyone I've ever met falls into one of the three categories, but few do it consiously. Neither one is superior to the other, and it doesn't matter your particular reason. The key to making it work is that both parties have to be in it for the same reason. Here they are:

1. I want to marry you because you make me happy.
2. I want to marry you because I want to make you happy.
3. You have a lot of money and may die soon.

Take the case of my friends D and L. Their relationship is no longer based on love, devotion, or any of those storybook things. At the moment, it's based almost entirely on mutual codependency and abject terror of ever being single again. Why isn't eveything as hunkey-dorey as it once was? Simple. D is in category 1, and L is in category 2. To put it another way, D married L to make D happy, and L married D to make D happy. So we've got two people whose soul missions in life are to make D happy, and no one making any fucking effort to make L happy. Not surprisingly, L is unhappy. What is surprising is how puzzled everyone is by this.

It seems such an obvious thing, to ask yourself "Why do I want to get married?" yet few people do. Even fewer ever ask "Why do you want to marry me?" The categories I mention are polar opposites, and not many people are one extreme or the other. There is a whole spectrum of motivation, but it's still important to understand just how much of your energy you intended to devote to filling your partner's needs, and how much you intend to devote to filling your own needs. If you're both using all your resources to make half the pair happy, your relationship will be stilted and one-sided.

With so little personal experience, I can't say for sure where I fall, but it's definately on the "I will marry you to make you happy" side of the spectrum. I am more than willing to give everything to make the right person joyous and content, but I can only do that if I am absolutely confident that the better half will be doing the same for me. The most unsightly accessory for a wedding gown is a tatoo of the word "welcome" on one's forehead. Blushing bride = good. Doormat = bad.

Perhaps one day the experience of objective observation will prove helpful to me in navigating a successful relationship with a wonderful person. Perhaps everyone should spend seven plus years of their life in dark, lonely ineptitude, eating Godiva ice cream in front of Meg Ryan movies and callously watching the two-by-twos board the boat of salvation while the first faint rolls of thunder can be heard in the distance. Or not.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Day 1: Setup

By 8 am it was already 85 degrees (30 C for you fucking metric people) and 91% humidity. Lovely day for sitting in the moist green shade of a tropical rainforest listening to the maniacal mating calls of Chowchillas, but a lousy day for hauling 20 full size mattresses, box springs, metal frames, assorted lamps, chairs, mildewey sofas, and cleaning supplies in a non-airconditioned truck in the company of 8 toothless first-time offenders. Thus began the setting up.

The members of the FSM, the Fuzzy Sado-Massochists club, wil be arriving in two day's time, and it was our assigned task to set up the two empty houses and two apartments that will be their living quarters for their 14-week sexcapades in the sultry Michigan clime. 10 men and 8 women will spend the rest of the summer creating facades, playing mind games, maniuplating each other, going out of their way to piss one another off, and hopping from one soggy, sagging mattress to the next. I just love the little darlins.

Since the FSM is a non-profit organization (it would be positively unethical for us to make a living torturing our members the way we do), we are able to yolk the assistance of convicts who need to perform community service as part of their sentence. Except for the slimey, toothless, fat white guy who spent the day hitting on me and trying to convince me we were meant for each other.

Toothless felon: We think the same way, you and me.

Me: Truly, we are two bodies and one mind.

TF (grinning messily): Exactly!

I was torn between laughing myself into a hernia for the subtlety of my insult, and weeping because it was completely lost on it's recipient and all hearers present. Except for the TF, our crew was incredibly polite and hard working. We even wrote job references for 2 of them at the end of the day, so impressed were we with their patience and durablitiy.

I impressed all and sundry with my expert handling of the dilapidated, 15-foot rental truck. Having worked for 2 years in downtown Boston as a truck driver, during which time I put 20-foot box trucks in dark loading docks where Ford Pintos fear to tread, I have developed a skill with vehicle manoeverability wich can only be described as god-like. (Although I don't think even god could have fit his car in that parallel space in Machester where I got the minivan in 2 moves with less than 6 inches of space to spare off either end. Oh yeah, baby; I rock.)

The day was a fair success, I must admit. We only had a few minor crises, including
1. The inability of a double-size box spring to fit up the stairs of one of the houses, thereby forcing us to locate 6 twin-size beds at the last minute.
2. The inability of our genius laborers to count above 10 with their shoes on.
3. The inability of our housing coordinator to coordinate housing. (that last one includes a lot.)

By 4 pm it was 90 degrees, 95% humidity, and I was sweaty, sunburnt, filthy, and bruised. The disorderly arrangement of red, brown, grey, purple, and yellow-green on my skin made me look more like a Jackson Pollack than a person, proving that life imitates art.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's adventures as we follow The Bitch and her cohorts in their attempts, against superhuman odds, to accomplish the terrifying task of...

...making the beds. All the mattress, complete with broken springs (tetanus, anyone?) and virginity spots, need sheets and blankets. No, god, no. Please, anything but that.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


self-editing, we all agree, is bad. i will therefore not remove the previous post, but reading it again in the cold light of day i realized that it was a lot more interesting last night after half a bottle of red rotgut. oh, well.

erotic blog

Lounged I this evening on the porch, in order to escape the souless, sterile air conditioning. I was reading a novel which imagines the love life of William Shakespeare, fingering olives stuffed with bleu cheese, and sipping the bottom half of a bottle of red rotgut. The round, moist air being blown on me by the ceiling fan was extremely pleasant, though the raucous crows having a patio dinner party next door were not. I set aside my book and tilted my head back to take a bit of a near golf-ball sized olive. So ripe it was that a drop of oil slid out of it and took up residence on my left breast. I gazed at it curiously for a moment, admiring the way the oil distorted the evening light on my skin, before taking a finger and, unsuccessfully, wiping it off. The action only served to leave a smear of oil across the width of my breast (not a vast expanse, mind). I was left with no recouse but to lower my head and lick the sweet oil off with my tongue, at which point it dawned on me, somewhere in this world, there lives someone who would love to share this with me. Would that I knew who it is.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Episode IV: A False Hope

A woman in my body pump class just happens to be from Bristol. Last night after our workout I asked her what the city is like. She said it was lovely, and inquried after the source of my curiosity. I explained about the interview and the University's offer to cover my travel expenses. She said that was fantastic, and it means they've already decided they want me. She is of the belief that when a Uni is willing to pay money just to get you to the interview, it's because they want a chance you pursuade you to go there. Apparently I'm interviewing them, rather than the other way round.

Any reactions to this line of thought? It seems too good to be true, therefore I am nervous.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A glimmer of light!

There's a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel (I know, it's probably train). I got an email this a.m. from Bristol, who...

wait for it...

want me to come for an interview, and...

they offered to pay my travel expenses!

(Granted, they though I was in the UK when they made the offer, but I'm still taking it as a sign that they're serious about me.) I told them I would be happy to conduct a phone interview at their convenience, or, if a face-to-face interview was preferred, I would be on the next flight out as a demonstration of my committment to my work. My financial consultant (who knows a few things about Universities as well as a lot about money), said that was exactly the right response. I'll probably wind up spending 30 minutes on the phone, but I'm seriously hoping they'll demand a face-to-face. A week in Bristol would do wonders for me just now. Keep your fingers crossed, you cats and kittens. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Eye rain

Did you ever have one of those moments where you looked at something you've seen a million times before, but suddenly for some inexplicable reason, you see it differently? Occassionaly it happens with really good art. Flim, for example. The Graduate is terrific for this. You can watch it once a week for a year, and on the fifty-third viewing you'll notice something you never spotted before. Occassionally it happens with people. Perhaps there's someone you've known for years, and then one moment you look up and think "holy shit. this this is the most beautiful, incredible person i've ever met in my life! how could i not have seen it sooner?!" it happens.

i had one of those moments this weekend. not the falling in love kind i mention above (though that's happened to me before). this one was over a song. I was sitting on the stairs in the middle of the house, comforting the geriatric beagle who was afraid of the thunderstorm that was roaring outside. I was also crying for the umpteenth time that weekend and thinking "for fuck's sake, I just wish I could wake up in the morning and go to bed in the evening and not cry in between. If only I could get through one goddamnfucking day without bawling like a baby." Suddenly a song came into my head. Maybe it was the sound of the rain outside, but I found myself serenading the dog with...

I know a woman became a wife
These are the very words she uses to describe her life:
She said a good day ain't got no rain
She said a bad day's when I lie in bed and think of all the things I might have been.

Having been raised on s&G I've known the words to this song since I was seven, and I've sung it hundreds of times before. Now I get it. Yes, before I knew what the words meant, but now I understand it on a level that frankly is a little scary. I'm slip sliding away.

I walked down the street after the storm, and felt the warm water on the pavement slip between my toes. I watched the sky turn gold and the houses pink and the grass blue in the twilight, and I felt like I wasn't a part of the world. I'm just an observer, no participant. I'm not living, I'm exisitng, a half-life, a ghost. To be, or not to be? Yes please. One or the other. Life or death, pick one damnit. Even Hamlet never considered purgatory a viable option. What am I doing here? Waiting. For what? Life to return. From where? Don't know. How long will I be here? Don't know that, either. How did I get here? Not sure, but it was probably my fault. How do I get out? A wing and a prayer? Deliverance? Elbow grease and bootstraps? Fuck if i know, all or none.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

For TB...

As requested, here are some more photos of the geriatric beagle. She's really starting to act her age (13). After a rough spell this winter when she wouldn't eat or go outside, she perked up when the weather warmed. Now she seems to be slowing down again. This week for the first time ever she was unable to complete her usual walk around the park. 3/4 of the way home she just stopped and sat down. I had to carry her the rest of the way.

Daisy must lick the face of the alpha male each evening when he returns from work. Posted by Hello

Is this not the cutest dog in creation? Posted by Hello

Daisy likes to lounge in the garden and work on her tan. Posted by Hello
Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 04, 2005

In depression veritas

I have recently discovered that misery is a lot like alcohol.

This isn't entirely surprising, since alcohol is a known depressent, and though I know that one can rather easily lead to the other, I find it interesting that they also have similar side effects. In this case, the total inability to keep one's mouth shut. Just as it takes only minor prompting to get a drunk to spill his or her emotional guts on to the pavement with the kebab and reveal the innermost secrets of his or her heart to anyone unfortunate enough to be within earshot, the same also appears to be true of anyone sufficiently depressed to no longer give a rat's ass what anyone else thinks. The chemical properties of personal inhibitions vary from one individual to another. Properties like melting and boiling point run the gamut, but all inhibitions are alcohol soluble. (It is worth noting that unlike most people, rowers' inhibitions are also water soluble. Get us wet enough and we'll do fucking anything. Or anything fucking. Your pick.) When sober, it is our fear of social consequences which prevents us from comitting the faux pas of saying what we really think or feel. Add one heaping dose of depression, a pinch of self-absorbedness, and a dash of seriously crappy luck, beat well until smooth, bake at 350 for one hour, and watch as aforementioned fears of social consequences desolve before your eyes.

This is the state in which I presently find myself. No longer caring what others think or how they respond, I've begun blurting things out in response to questions that I would never normally say. It's a bit like a cross between Liar, Liar and Truth in Advertising. My absolute least favourite question in the entire world has become "How are you today?" I never realized just how many times a day I heard that question until I began answering it with things like "Absolutely fucking awful, thaks. You?" or "Teetering between suicidal and homicidal. What do you recommend?" That last one was greeted with rather nervous looks from the cashier at Home Despot, who, after glancing agitatedly about her for a manager, finally settled on offering me a 10% discount on my potted plant. It would seem that depression, at least, has a financial upshot. Another good one is "Welcome to McDonald's. Can I take your order?" "Probably not," I reply. "If you were capable of paying attention, remembering information, coveying that information accurately to the appropriate people, totalling my purchase and counting back correct change you wouldn't be working in this cockroach love canal, would you? But I suppose you can try."

If I sound like the chemically unbalanced love child of Eyeore and Marvin, it's only because I feel trapped in a lifeless, mindless, cultural black hole which I loathe with every mitochondria in my quadruceps (there are a lot of them, believe you me), and every day I stay here I hate myself more and more for not having the cohones to chew off my own foot, which is apparently the only way out. There is a breaking point, and it's coming soon. Very shortly I'll either bust out of here with all the energy of a galaxy being born, or I'll resign myself to an eternal existence of cave-dwelling, fish-eating, self-loathing, schizofrenic misery. Don't worry - you'll be the first to know.

Fly In

No, I have not yet found a reason to live, but I finally decided that if I need a reason to live before I resume blogging, I will never blog again, and then I wouldn't be able to share my most recent family bonding experience with all you lovely people. (Who are you people, anyway? I look at my counter stats occassionally, and there are days when I get upwards of two dozen unique visitors. I have very few regular readers, so I'm dying to know who else bothers with the shite I write. I'll have to think of some way to add a guest book. I'm just so curious.)

Right, so bonding. Every year on Memorial day weekend my dad's local EAA holds a fly-in pancake breakfast. Dad burns the sausages. Dad burns the best sausages in the western world.

We get up at the ass-crack of dawn and drive straight down to the hanger to get cookin', because the hard-core recreational pilots are already in the air, and when they come down, they're gonna want their fucking pancakes. The previous day the aerocoup and cesna were moved out of the hanger to make room for the dozens of table and hundreds of chairs. Everything is set up and ready: plastic tablecloths (taped to the tables), industrial size diner-style OJ maker, and a coffee pot that could fill an olympic swimming pool with bitter black sludge in 23 minutes flat. The best piece of equipment is the pancake grill. It's a totally homemade job. (These guys build airplanes for kicks, they weren't about to purchase something as simple as a garage-sized griddle.) The griddle is 5 feet across and 10 feet long. There is a 5 gallon tank on top of it that sits on rollers and dispenses batter through 4 spouts. With each new batch of pancakes, the tank is rolled down the griddle, plopping nice even pools of batter at regular intervals. There are 6 people with spatulas to do the flipping, and the griddle keeps them busy. It's really an ingenious contraption, a product of what happens when smart people have too much spare time and their own machine shop.

Let me impress upon you the size of this operation. To keep everything running smoothly you need:
1 person to sell tickets at the door
1 person to serve pancakes
1 person to serve sausage
1 person to serve OJ
1 person to serve coffee
1 person to make sure that the butter, syrup, sugar, creamer, plates, napkins, and untensils are kept full
2 people to make pancake batter (5 gallons at a time)
1 person to operate the griddle
6 people to flip pancakes
and way at the back of the operation, 3 people to burn sausages

we served over 200 pounds of burnt sausage on sunday morning. we just kept dumping it on the our grill 10 pounds at a time. as soon as we could see the grease boiling and bubbling inside the skins, time to shovel it off (literally - we use a copper dust pan) and start over. Dad and I were grilling with Bill. Bill is a great, loud-mouthed grandfather who is a retired nuclear engineer, thinks he knows everything about everthing, and loves to tell 6th-grade sex jokes ("Look down your shirt and spell 'attic.' Ha, ha!") We had a great time. Dad's been doing this my whole life, and I have always come down to eat pancakes and look at the dozens different airplanes, but this was my first year working behind the scenes. I scampered around in a purple tie-dyed bandana and rolled up jeans, and endeared myself to the sarcastic old flyboys. They watched me with amusemtent, and when they saw that I was actually working and not just getting in the way, they smacked me on the back and made friendly, disparaging cracks about my parentage.

Dad enjoyed it, too. I think he was pleased that I was making an effort to take an interest in his club and his friends, instead of the other way round, as it's been my whole life. As he turned sausages he told me stories about his training for Vietnam, the first time he had to make a solo landing, the most godawful drill sargent humanity ever created, the difference in flying different types of planes and helicopters, and the raucous parties he and his buddies had. Other old pilots would stop for a chat, and he would introduce me and tell me that S0-and-so's younger brother's friend was in this-and-that division or platoon and how they used to date the same girl and whatever became of him? Dead, huh? Heart attack you say? We're gettin old now. Same happened about six months ago to...

It was strange, this new insight into my dad's life as a young man. He doesn't talk about the war. (Unlike WWII veterans, Vietnam vets rarely do.) The most you'll ever get out him might be a crack about the food in the army while watching a M*A*S*H rerun. But the need is still there; the need just to be in the presence of other people who know and understand, people who get it, who saw it, who lived it.

So for one morning every year this motly collection of ex aces and top guns and ground mechanics, some of them artificially jocular, some openly bitter, fly in from all over the midwest to eat pancakes and burnt sausage, and show all the brightly-painted airplanes to their grandkids (who are more interested in extra maple syrup), and tell war stories and swap news about old buddies. For a few hours of smoky labor I got to listen and look at a bit of my dad's life that I had never seen before.

Our sunday-morning sausage burning adventure reminded me of the compliment dad gave me after I graduated college and i was considering a career in the military. It was, and will probably always be, the best compliment I have ever been given in my life. He told me that he wished he had had a CO like me. Listening to the combat tales and the near misses and the descriptions of idiot generals, that statement returned to the fore of my brain with intensified impact. Everyone says I take after my mother, but I hope I take after my dad, too.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

My mommy loves me

The following is a converstaion, recorded verbatim, which took place less than five minutes ago:

Mom: I'm walking home tonight. Will you take my big, black bag with you in the car so I don't have to carry it?

Me: Really? Can I? That's just the reason to live I've been looking for! Yay!

Mom (hugging me): *snort* You're sweet. Thanks, honey.

Me: Thank god for humor, or I'd shoot myself.

Mom: We all would. Shoot you, I mean.

I feel the love.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

New Links

I've added a couple more links for your procrastinating enjoyment. Check out Timourous Beastie and Store Wars. Proper blogging will resume when I have found a reason to live. Right now it's taking everything I've got to get out of bed in the am. My bed is so soft, and life is so hard.