Friday, November 30, 2007

It's time to stop taking Islam seriously

I used to be a flaming liberal, always ready to defend the rights, freedoms, and thoughts of anyone. I felt that all cultures were equally valid and no one had the right to criticize anyone else's culture. Our Muslim friends and neighbors have finally convinced me I was wrong. (Oh, the irony.)

I thought the whole Danish cartoon scandal was rediculous, but those sympathetic to the over-reacting Muslims did have one good point: the cartoonists were deliberately poking fun. Now most people can take a joke, and even those of us who can't will usually just sulk for a while. We certainly don't go around calling for the public decapitation of the person who made the unwelcome crack. And yet a bunch of "extremist" Muslims did just that.

But this time, this time there is no excuse, no defense, no justification for the insanity. The cartoonists may have sparked riots, but the fact is they did intend to be insulting (that is the point of a satirical political cartoon.) Mrs. Gibbons plainly had no such intent. Hers was a well-intentioned, if slightly (and only slightly) misinformed act. (I say 'slightly minsinformed' because apparently the ban on using the name isn't universal -- for several months kids took the teddy home before a parent complained. Clearly the parents of all the other kids were as blisfully ignorant of their religion as Mrs. Gibbons.) And now there are riots calling for her execution.

I refuse to resepct any culture/religion/ideology/whatever that suggests death (or even 15 days in prison) is an appropriate punishment for an accidental insult. Mrs. Gibbons harmed no one. She hurt no one. No property was damaged, no lives or reputations unraveled or destroyed. This is out of all proportion, and we are under no obligation to respect it.

I'm sure that the government and some other prominent individuals will be reminding us shortly that this isn't the majority of muslims, it's just a crazy "extremist" minorty. But is it really? Where are the protesters telling the protesters to shut up, chill out, and go home? Where are the MUSLIM voices crying out that this is nuts? They are conspicuous by their absence.

Ben Macintyre of the The Times would like us to believe that the Sudanese government is using Mrs. Gibbons as a pawn in their political games. That's probably true. But if it were only a few corrupt and nasty government officials who were making a scapegoat of Mrs. Gibbons, the incident would be much smaller in scale. The problem is that thousands of people agree with the goverment. The Sudanese people are not crying "Our corrupt goverment is using an innocent woman to maniuplate our support! They are shit and we will oust them!" No, they are crying "Death to the infidel! They are as happy to make Mrs. Gibbons a scapegoat as the government is, and that makes them just as crazy and just as extremist.

And this isn't just a few nutters in Kartoum. There is slilent complicity all over the world. Middle Eastern nations should be condemning this for the insanity it is, repremanding the Sudanese government for making Muslims the world over look bad. Where is the outrage from other Islamic nations?

Now, before you go and delcare a fatwah on me (oh hell, go ahead and delcare it anyway; nothing I say to you will make any difference if you're of the fatwah-issuing mindset), I'm not saying that every Muslim is a crazy extremist. Just the majority of them. Why? Because Islam itelf it inherently irrational. Built into the very fabric of the relgion is intolerance, over-reation, extremism, impatience, suspicioun and contempt. No rational, thinking being would view the reaction to Mrs. Gibbons faux pas as appropriate. End of. The people calling for her death or imprisonment are not rational and they don't think. Furthermore it appears that this is the majority of Muslims.

If you do not behave in a reasonable manner, I am under no cultural obligation to accept you as a reasonable person. And if you follow a philosophy that condemns reason, thought, and rationale, I will dismiss you as unreasonable, thoughtless, and irrational. Political correctness be damned.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Weekend musings, part the turd

2 (or maybe 3) weeks ago, at the conclusion of a snuggly, pillow-talk discussion about the future, both the long-term and what we were going to do with ourselves the rest of the afternoon:

{disclaimer to A, close personal friend (and now part-time housemate) of Pirate-- if you're reading this, please pretend you didn't. thank you.}

Pirate: I know. I've got an idea that will answer your questions and solve the problem of what to do today.

Me: Oh?

P: We need to go shopping.

M: shopping?

P: But I need to ask you a question first.

M: (mind spinning!)

P: or maybe we should go shopping first, and then I should ask you the question...

M: (stunned silence, terrified to hope)

P: (more to himself than me) I'm not sure the best way to do this. Question first or shopping first...

M: (remembering that Pirate has a habit of saying things that are open to a variety of interpretations) You realize how this sounds, don't you? My mind is spinning. If you're talking about going grocery shopping because you're low on yogurt and bananas, please Please PLEASE for the love of all that's holy -- disillusion me right. now.

P: I know how it sounds.

M: (waiting)

P: (also waiting. for what? invitation from the Queen?) I don't know if I should ask you the question first or if we should go shopping first.

M: If you can't decide, then I will. Question first.

P: (more silence)

P: (still more silence)

M: (gives P kiss for reassurance)

P: (squirming)...

M: (eventually deciding that P has painted himself into a corner and in need of a rescue) If it's that hard to spit out, this obviously isn't the time. You wanna go to the gym?

P: (leaping out of bed) Yes! Let's go to the gym! (bounces like Tigger into his gym shorts)

M: *sigh*

progress. definately progress. I decided to let it lie. I genuinely don't want to pressure him. Then last weekend:

Sunday night Pirate says (in the course of a long, silly conversation about nothing in particular), "I'm really happy with life the way it is. I don't feel the need to change it."
I, of course, am slightly concerned by this seeming turn of events, but it was late at night, and I'm shit at discussions late at night. I get all emotional and cry at the drop of a hat and nothing is ever accomplished, so I decided to forget it.

The next morning we had a few minutes before he had to be off for work. I was packing my bags and he sat down beside me. Perfect opportunity.
"Perhaps you could clear something up for me," say I. "Remember your little waffle a couple weeks ago when you couldn't decide to go shopping or ask me a question and ended up doing neither?"
"I'm just a little confused, because that seems to conflict with what you said last night. Could you clarify that for me?"
"Oh! Last night I meant that I was happy with the universe in general. I don't need superpowers or anything to be happy. I just meant that I'm happy the way I am, and life is good. And I've worked out that other matter. You'll find out next weekend."

Well! That was far more of an explanation than I'd hoped for. (And when I thought about it later, I realized what a romantic thing he'd said. We had been talking about silly party questions like 'If you could have any one animal part as part of our body, what would it be?' and that kind of stuff. But he's genuinely, completely happy with his life and himself, and that's a hell of a thing. It really is.) And the 'next weekend' of which he spoke is this coming weekend. I haven't done a lick of work all week. I'm all a-twitter. My brain is everywhere except where it should be.

So kiddies. Be here Monday afternoon (Greenwich time), and maybe, just maybe, there will be an exciting announcement here at M.E.

(and if the suspense is killing you, just imagine what it's doing to me!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Weekend musings, part II

Saturday was the UBBC Head, a head race on the Avon river sponsored and organized by the Bristol U boat club.

It was also my first competition since Fours Head last november when I ruptured a disk in my spine. Almost a year to the day, and I was finally competing again.

Neither my coach nor captain wanted me to do the race. They didn't feel I was ready. I felt that ready or not, if I didn't at least give it a go I would explode with frustration. I finally went over my coach's head to Head Coach Big G, who told my own coach that I could do as I bloody pleased and if I wanted to race it was his job to make sure I was entered. Big G is mostly a giant prick, but when push comes to shove he does get your back.

The compromise was that I would compete in a single scull. I much prefer crew boats, but we all know that if I'm in a crew boat and my back starts to crumble i will actually kill myself before I stop rowing. The First Commandment of Rowing is: Thou shalt not let they team mates down. In a single, though, if it all went tits up I would allow myself to stop and be rescued without the worry of ruining someone else's race. So a single it was.

There were only two of us in the W Champ 1x division: myslef and my team mate, C. Pirate was there to lend support (translation: abuse hurled at me from the last bridge) and rescue me if need be. The weather wasn't great, but far better than it could have been. It stopped drizzling just before we arrived and didn't start up again until after everything was over. The temperature was barely above freezing, but there was no wind at all, so I didn't get too cold up at the start marshalling.

I was the very last boat of the day, which sucked. I didn't have anyone baring down on my stern to push off of, which is too bad. It's a big psychological boost when you are out-running someone. Being last also meant that by the time I came heaving by nearly all the spectators were gone, so there was no one left cheering except the Pirate and my coach. Otherwise the banks were silent. It reminded me vaguely of a description I once wrote about the last woman in the Athens Olympic marathon, but only when I thought about it later. At the time, I coudn't hear the silence over the sound of my own breathing and my blades popping in and out of the water.

I did finish, and finished strongly, but not quickly. I was under-rating. I didn't have a stroke-coach on board, and I was shooting for a rate of about 25-26. (Not ambitious, I know, espeically for a 3.5k head, but remember I haven't done this for a year, I'd done hardly any training in the last 3 weeks owing to my cold/flu things, and before that, I had been unable to do any difficult training pieces without suffering serious consequences. Hence the reason my coach didn't want me out there at all.) Basically, my goals were to scull a strong, steady rhythm, keep the power on but not kill myself, take good line down the windy bits of the course, and cross the finish line withoug a career-ending injury.

Actually that's complete and total bullshit. Who are we kidding here? My goal was to fucking WIN. End of. All that crap I just said was what my goal should have been, and if it had been, I might be a lot happier today, having achieved all of the above. But no. My goal was a very unrealistic gold medal. But who gives a shit about realism? goals aren't meant to be realistic, they're meant to be hard. And there's no fucking point in racing if you're not in it to win.

Hence the reason I was so crushed to have had the slowest time of the day. Bah. Sheer stubbornness should be able to overcome circumstance; that's what it's for. Next time, damnit, next time. And tonight I have a 5k erg test to murder.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Weekend musings

All through this weekend I kept having the thought, "ooh, this is SO going on the blog!"
and now I can't remember what half of it was. I'm sure i thought it was important at the time. What is important now is that my faulty memory has become my editor, so you're getting the benefit of reading the condensed version, with all the extra, unnecessary bits conveniently forgotten.

Cycled to the Pirate's after work. The first 16 miles is more or less level, but of the last 9, 6 are uphill. Ouch.
Cool Thing That Happened On The Cycle Ride, Part I:
I was leaving Bristol via the Bristol-Bath Cycle Path. I was still within the city, and up ahead of me I saw a motorcycle. There were 2 teenagers on it, and a third climbing on. Fucking punks. Motorized vehicles are NOT allowed on the path. If I wanted to play chicken in traffic I'd use the fucking roads -- they're a lot more direct. I passed by them, trying not to make eye contact. Then I heard the engine rev behind me, and they came tearing past me. They disappeared quickly into the darkness, since they were moving fast and had no lights on. I stopped and got out my mobile phone.
"999 emergency. What service do you require?"
I waited while they connected me.
"Avon and Bristol Constabulary. How can help?"
"I'd like to report 3 youths riding a motorcyle on the Bristol-Bath cycle path near Whitehall road."
"3 youths on a moped?"
"Not a moped, a full-on motorcycle. Traveling east-bound at approximately 25 miles an hour, with no lights on."
"Can you describe the youths?"
"No, but would you like the number plate?"
"You got the registration number???"
"X-ray eight eight niner, bravo alpha mike."
"Ah. That motorcycle was reported stolen this evening."
After a few more details, describing the teenagers, giving a more precise location, and my personal details, I hung up feeling a tad smug. Also a tad nervous, as they had headed up the path in the direction I was traveling and I was worried about encountering them again.

And I did.
About 10 minutes later I head the whine of a motorcycle engine coming toward me. I knew they were riding without lights, so I immediately pulled off onto the grass. A second later I saw them. They whizzed past me and made a sharp right turn, off the cycle path and onto a road. I didn't know the name of the road, but there was a middle-aged couple walking nearby.
"Excuse me. Do you know the name of this street?"
They did, and the nearest cross street. I got out my phone again.
After the momentary rigamarole I said to the operator "I just phoned a few minutes ago about a motorcyle on the Bristol-Bath cycle path."
"Yes," said the helpful operator. "I remember you." Thank heavens. By a stroke of luck I'd got the same woman.
"I just wanted to let you know that I've seen them again. They came back on the cycle-path west-bound, then got off it and are heading west-bound on Colston Road from [whatever] Street."
"Oh! Super! Thank you for that information."
"You're very welcome."
As I hung up the phone I heard a siren go on not more than 2 blocks away from me and heading in the direction I had described. Yes!!! Go get 'em, Smokey! I let out a cheer. I hope they nailed those little shits to the wall.

(I'm kinda bummed they never called me in to ID a line-up, though. That would have been cool.)

Now feeling extremely, insufferably smug, I continued on my way. It was completely dark before I even left the house, and eventually I came out of the city bit, where there are street lights illuminating the path, and into the more desolate suburbs. Further and further into the countryside I traveled, and the darkness became more and more complete.

It was cold; very cold. Only 1 degree C by the thermometer, and wind chills making it feel below freezing. All I could see was the cone of light from my (amazing, utterly bust-ass) headlamp shining on the path and the trees on either side of me. I looked up and saw a full moon shining above me in a barren, cloudless sky. That gave me an idea. I turned off my headlamp.

It wasn't dark at all. I could see quite well by the moonlight. Everything was beautiful shades of blue and grey, the moon casting stark shadows of the bare tree branches across my path. ("Whose woods these are, I think I know...") Without my headlamp, the rabbits and foxes paid me no more heed than were I a passing deer running deftly through the woods, and they did not flee from my approach. I passed over the river several times, and saw it create a perfect, silent, unmoving black line through the white fields, which were already becoming bright and shimmery with frost. ("Between the woods and frozen lake...") It was beautiful and haunting. I felt as though I was the only person alive on the planet, and not in the least bit afraid. I was exhilerated by the sheer emptiness, the vacant, life-less feeling of my surroundings.

Finally I began to put some effort in to warm my body up. I had layers upon layers, but I knew I would get chilled if I didn't keep working. I still had more than an hour of riding before reaching the warm arms of the Pirate. I put my headlamp back on and put the hammer down. (And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.")

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Baby winge

I read an article last week in the BBC. I genuinely don't remember what it was about, but one line stuck out in my mind, and has been turning over and over in my brain ever since:

"Many women blame the lack of adequate child care."

What exactly are they blaming on the on the lack of childcare? I don't remember, but it was probably something to do with either why so few women are in full-time employment, or possibly falling birth rates. It doesn't really matter, though. What is amazing about this statement is how blaze' it is. I bet few, if any, other readers of the article even batted an eye when they read it. Of course it's to do with inadequate child care. Duh.

And yet, this is an extraordinary assertion. I find it incredible that anyone, in any situation, should feel entitled to child care of any form. It really is an amazing assumption, completely new in the past couple of decades (which is but a pimple on the butt of the sum total of human history), that we feel entitled to give birth, spend a couple months with baby, and then go back to our careers, leaving someone else to look after the spog until he or she is 18 and old enough to leave home.

Ok, maybe not completely new. Extremely wealthy women throughout history were obligated to produce heirs to inherit their husband's property, but refused to engage in anything so bovine as actually feeding their own children, and after the first loud wail the bairns were handed off to be raised by wet nurses and governesses. But that is by far the exception, and even then it was never viewed as a government's responsibility. It was still a personal choice (either raise them yourself or spend your own money to hire other people). No one used other people's money to hire other people to raise their own children. Such an idea would have been preposterous. And yet, that's exactly what we do today.

Japan, Italy, and pretty much all of the developed world are facing major birth rate crises. The problem is that couples have been breeding far below the necessary 2.1 kids per couple to sustain the population, and the result is that in a few more years there won't be enough workers paying in to the social benefits scheme to support all the old people retiring and living off it. In both these countries women cite The Lack of Adequate Child Care as a primary reason for having one or no kids. Interestingly, when presented with a choice of raising kids or having a career, most people seem to be choosing the career. Fine. At least it's a choice. They are saying "I can't do both, so I choose one over the other." I can respect that.**

What I can't respect is the sense of entitlement, that the government has some sort of obligation to raise my children so I don't have to sacrifice anything to have them. And that kind of attitude is all too common. It's deeply reminiscint of people who want pets but don't want to do any of the dirty work, like walking the dog and scooping the cat litter. Can you imagine someone writing an article for the BBC, or giving a story on the news, saying "I'm completely entitled to have a dog, but I don't have time to take it out twice a day to walk and poop because I work full time. Clearly the government needs to institute more comprehensive dog-ownership programs to assist working dog-owners with their dog-walking and poop-scooping tasks. These programs need to be made especially accessible to poorer dog owners, who often have the most dogs but the fewest resources to look after them." Man, would I love to see that.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that a woman's place is in the home making babies. I am saying that you shouldn't even be contemplating having kids (and that's "you" meaning all of you, male and female alike) unless you're prepared give something up to have them (that is the nature of parenting) and are prepared to raise them your bloody self.

What do you think? There are a few moms and dads who hang out here. Do you think you are entitled to child care and after-school programs so you can continue to work? If so, why?

**Interestingly, no one has suggested a mass adoption campaign to move unwanted or orphaned babies from overpopulated countries like India and China to developed countries. If Italy is willing to pay its women cash to make babies, why shouldn't they just spend the cash to import and raise babies that would otherwise languish in a 3rd-world orphanage? It would help balance things out a lot. Everybody wins! I'm serious about this.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Movie Review: Elizabeth: The Contrived Sequel

Off Pirating. Will post on monday a provocative discussion of the obligations of childcare. Or Tuesday. We'll see.

Oh, saw "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" tonight. Good film as a film. Had nothing whatsoever to do with history. Portrayed Elizabeth as an Elightenment thinker. *snort* Will also have feminists up in arms about blatant suggestion that even the strongest woman in the land needs a good, strong, male shoulder to cry on for comfort and every woman secretly yearns for the domestic life. *gag* That said, Kate Blanchett kicks ass, and Samatha Morton was FABULOUS as Mary Queen of Scots. Geoffrey Rush fell a bit flat, which is a shame as I usually adore him, but the extreme hotness of Clive Owen made up for it. OMG the tights. And boots. Oh yes.
The cinematography was at times amazing, at times so ott i laughed out loud. Ditto the costuming. In her famous speech to the troops at Tilbury they had her decked out is this metallic thing that made her look like a cross between Joan of Arc and a Star Trek alien (original series, when all the alien chicks were hawt). Actually, what it really reminded me of was the scene at the end of Dogma where Alanis Morissette is God and walks out of the church in the armor-plated tutu. You know that scene? Yeah. They even kept the hair. I was wetting myself.

There was a bit too much gore for me, but I know I'm more bothered by that than most people. I had to cover my ears because I can't stand the sound of horses screaming.
Conclusion: worth watching if you want to be entertained, but not if you want to learn anything about history.
Rating: 4 1/4 tortured Papists.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hair and hamsters

first, the hamsters. One hamster, actually. This one:

This is Goebbels, my new hamster. Truth is I've had him for a while, but he's camera shy and it's taken me ages to get a decent picture of him. For one thing, he's never fucking awake when I am. If I go to bed at 10 he gets up at 12. If I stay awake til 12 he sleeps until 2. Weeks have gone by where I haven't seen him once.

On the rare occasion he is awake and about, he's a fast little bastard. He doesn't sit still long enough to get a clear photo. In this case I bribed him with a yogurt treat which, by some miracle, he decided to eat immediately instead of stashing in a cheek and running off somewhere.

So why the name? He's named after this guy, another bastard:

Joseph Goebbels, head of propaganda for Hitler. Yes, I named my hamster after a Nazi. Why? Because
a. He's evil. He bites all the time. I have to wear heavy leather gardening gloves to handle him.
b. He's blonde/aryan. He's even got red eyes -- super evil!

Can you think of a better name for an evil, aryan hamster? I couldn't.

Next: Hair. I got mine cut today. Now I look like Ro Laren, but with less hotness. Also less angst. So I guess that cancels out.

Sex, drugs, and the inevitable conclusion

So after the last two posts I guess I need to write something about Rock and Roll. Except what I know about Rock and Roll could be carved in courier caps on the Pirate's big toe nail.* I thought about putting up a link to Herebe's place, because he knows everything about Rock and Roll that I don't (which is all of it), but that would be a cop-out. So instead this is going to be an educational post... my education.

I'm getting bored with my current music collection and I want to find some new artists that I like. This is not easy for me. There are a lot of new artists out there, I'm picky, and I don't listen to the radio (except for Radio 4), which, I understand, is the main was of learning about 'hot new talent' (as they say in the 'biz).

So here's what we're going to do. I'm going to tell you some of my favorite artists and what I like about them, and you're going to play the Amazon game and suggest some new artists/groups/vocalists that you think I might like, based on your assessment of my taste. Sound like fun? No? Do it anyway.

I Like:

Simon and Garfunkel
Brian Adams
Melissa Etheridge
Def Leppard (especially "Rocket," best drumbeat EVER)
some Billy Joel
Boyz 2 Men (ok, that's Motown not Rock, I know that much)
Indigo Girls
Jeff Buckley
some Kaiser Chiefs
Journey (stop laughing)
The Monkees
The Pogues
Flogging Molly
some Green Day (American Idiot is a great tune)

In general, I like music with
a. Words I can understand
b. energy and a good beat, and
c. (and this is KEY) a melody I can hum
Inarticulate screaming rage just doesn't do it for me, I'm afraid.

So, my little Amazons! Can you suggest any recent artists that I might like? (You'll notice there's nothing on that list more recent than about 7 years old, and only a small amount of that. Most of it's from the 80's.)

I can't wait to read the comments!

*the Pirate doesn't have a nail on his big toe. Seriously.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Get your fix here

Check this out, yo: Mental Excrement is the NUMBER 1 HIT on a Google search for "ingredients in heroine." Excellent.

Practice makes perfect

or as an old coach of mine used to say, "Perfect practice makes perfect."

Sex takes practice.

I didn't think it could get any better than it was, that first night, all those moons ago. That was thrilling and exhilerating and wonderful. But bodies are wierd, geometry is tangly, things don't always stay where you put them, angles are awkward, and you can't always reach your goal. Sex takes practice. Well, no. Sex is easy. Great sex takes practice.

And practice we do! Every weekend is better than the previous one, and I'm only just now beginning to realize the full extent of the potential here. Damn. I had no idea it could be like this.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Danger, danger Will Robinson!

Someone from my high school past has found me and is commenting anonymously! Ooh, spooky! Who could it be? How did he/she/it find me? Did they lurk for a time and slowly put together the clues, remember the personality, and work out who I was? Was it someone who came looking for my internet identity specifically? Was it someone to whom I gave the URL a long time ago and completely forgot they had it? I knew a LOT of people in high school, but had very, very few friends. Is this person friend or foe?

Lets unravel the clues and see if we can narrow it down, shall we?
  • The first thing we know is that Anon. is someone who knew me before 1996, and knew me well enough to remember that I hit a deer with my car. (It was a new/old car as well, my very first time driving it to school. A giant, gentle, lumbering 1987 Buick LaSabre in manatee grey. I liked that car, but it forever had the shadow of that tragic day over it.) This suggests it was one of my inner coven: Jayson, Steve, Rick, Joe, or Jacob. (Yes, all guys. I didn't get along very well with girls. They were mostly 2-faced and shrill.) There are a couple teachers who might, conceivably, have remembered the incident, but Mrs. L. is too busy to spend hours on t'internet playing with blogs, same with MEM. I could possibly see Art Cynic hanging out in blogland, but he wouldn't play goofy games of hide-and-seek in the comments. He'd just insult me and be done with it. So let's stick with the list of friends we've got going.
  • The second thing we notice in Anon's comment under the post about locking myself out is that he uses capitals and punctuation marks correctly, and does not abbreviate anything. This likely eliminates Jayson. We haven't kept in touch in years, but he would be more the type to write with more internet jargon and slang.
  • The next comment is also revealing. This is an individual who doesn't trust assumptions, but likes to have facts confirmed before presenting a response. A lower-case "i" notwithstanding, everything is still correctly spelled and punctuated, a true rarity in these short-cut times. It's a professional, almost legalistic attention to detail. Finally, there is the phrase "blue marble," a metaphor for the Earth. Our Anonymous commentor has something of the poet about him. That eliminates Steve, bless his methodical heart.
  • Next comment: ooh, now we come to it! A Star Wars reference! That could easily have been Jayson, Steve, or Joe, and we've already eliminated Jayson and Steve. I had been leaning towards Rick, on the grounds that if it had been Joe there would have been a sexual innuendo by now. But neither Rick nor Jacob would never use a Star Wars reference; couldn't never see what all the fuss was about. The rest of us were all proper freaks, tho. And Joe was always good for a laugh, like to play and tell jokes.
THEREFORE: based on the three comments in the previous post, my guess is that my anonymous commenting friend is none other than Joe Price: mathematician, pianist, and comic extrordinaire!

If I'm right, reveal (or indeed revile) yourself now! If I'm wrong, give us another clue?


So one weekend earlier this fall (I forgot to blog it at the time, but it's worth telling), Pirate and I were driving down a country road in his new/old 1973 AM Vantage. It was a beautiful, clear day; great day for a run in The Big Car.

I was dressed up, wearing a purple dress with longish (mid-calf) A-line skirt with buttons all down the front, proper stockings, and heels. (This is important to the punchline, I swear.)

I was sitting in the bucket seat to Pirate's left, my right leg crossed over my left at the knee. (There's a lot of leg-room in that car. me likes.)

We hit a stretch of open road, and with no traffic in sight, Pirate put the boot down. That car moves. It doesn't strain, it just responds. I felt myself pressed backwards into the seat from the acceleration. As the car thrust forward the hem of my skirt, which had been just resting at the top of my right knee, was also pulled backwards toward the seat, causing it to slide up my leg and reveal my thigh and the top of my stocking.

Pirate, upon seeing that the acceleration of the car was responsible for uncovering the smooth, firm, muscled flesh of my thigh, declared proudly: "I am such a man."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why I shouldn't be allowed to live alone

I locked my self out today. In a fluey fog I left the flat without my keys, and the door locked behind me. As soon as I heard it 'click' i knew what i'd done. You know that feeling, when you realize something in the very instant that it's too late to do anything about it? Like when a deer jumps into the headlights of your car 6 inches from your hood (bonnet) when you're driving 50 mph and you have just enough time to think "well crap, i'm going to hit a deer," before you plough into bambi. Yeah, one of those moments.

Me and doors that lock automatically don't get along. I really shouldn't have them. Sadly, lots of student housing is equipped with this type of door, and since I've been a student for the last 10 years, I've had a lot of these doors. And locked myself out a LOT.

Would you like to hear about my very best lock-out story of all time? It's a good one.

I was an undergrad at Connecticut College, doing my double major in English and Botany. ('cause i'm that cool, sistah. *snaps fingahs*) I was living in Blackstone House, the substance-free dorm, where no alcohol, tobacco, or drugs were allowed, even if you were legal. (Sorry, what was I just saying about cool? never mind.) I lived on the second floor (first floor to you Brits) next door to one of my best friends, Billy-Jean. (Who just had her first baby, by the way. I WANT A BABY! WAH!)

Outside our windows was this goofy little balcony thing. It wasn't accessible by any door, and in fact we weren't supposed to go out on it at all. It was just an architectural feature of the building (which was made of New England granite and built in 1914, one of the three original buildings of the college and the oldest dorm). The down-side of this balcony was that people were constantly accidently throwing their frisbees onto it, and either I or Billy-Jean would have to retrieve them by climbing out our windows. The upside was that A) it was a great place to keep ice-cream in the winter, since Blackstone didn't have a kitchen or a freezer, and B) when I locked myself out I could go to BJ's room, climb out her window, cross the balcony, and climb into my own. This was useful since, according to college rules, if you locked yourself out Campus Safety would let you in for free once, but after that they charged you $10 a pop. Generally Sampus Cafety was pretty sympathetic to 'Stoners (the ironic, self-styled residents of Blackstone) since we never caused any trouble with partying and damaging property, but even so I didn't like to push my luck.

So one day, in my usual dipshittedness, I locked my self out. I hung my head, mumbled "for fuck's sake" and went next door to BJ's room. No answer. I tried the next room down, which was BJ's boyfriend's (now husband's) room. BJ wasn't in Tooth's room, but had some suggestions where she might be. Being a shy kind of girl, the list wasn't very long, and I tracked her down without overmuch difficulty.

I apologized profusely and asked her if she could come open her room so I could climb out her window. You wouldn't think this was a huge favor, except that she had a fish tank set up in front of the window I needed to use, and there were several plants hanging from the curtain rod above with tendrils hanging all over the place, along with numerous other obstructions in the form of furniture and clothes crammed in everywhere. She sighed but came along willingly. In total it took about 15 minutes to move everything out of the was so I could get out the window, which eventually I did.

I squeezed myself out, padded gingerly across the balcony (which was actually the roof of the living room down stairs, but we were never certain how much weight that roof would hold), threw open my window, climbed inside, crawled across the (strategically located) bed, walked to my door, opened it -- with the intention of going next door to thank BJ one more time-- stepped into the hall, and...

you guess it. Closed and locked the door behind me.

When I realized what I'd done I fell to pieces right then and there in the hallway, laughing hysterically. BJ heard the rucus, saw me in a state of impenitrable giggle-fits, immediately deduced what I'd done (I'm fairly predictable), and joined me in the chorus. I don't know how long we sat there, laughing until we cried at my sublime stupidity, but eventually we went back into BJ's room and repeated the whole procedure.

I've never lived this incident down. To this day, whenever i do something really, really dumb (which is often), BJ still reminds me of this story. And I still giggle.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I'm dying


I can't breathe, my sinuses are full of yellow-brown goop, I've got a splitting headache, my ears are plugged, I'm coughing my lungs up, sneezing my brains out, and I ache all over.

Fucking flu.

(And before you even suggest it, Herebe, it's NOT from over-training.)

Now the only question remains, What do I want on my tombstone? Ham, mushroom, and pineapple, of course!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Saddle Sore

Last Saturday I cycled 25 miles (12 to the boathouse, and further 13 to the Pirate's).
Sunday I cycled 26 miles (13 each way from Pirate's to boathouse and back).
Monday I cycled 25 miles (home to Brizzle from Pirate's).
Tuesday I cycled 26 miles (13 miles each way to my chiropractor in Clevedon).
Wednesday I could have cyled to the boathouse and back (total 24 miles), but I got a lift because I was sick of cycling.
Thursday I cyled 26 miles (Clevedon and back to see my chiropractor).

Tonight I'm cycling to the Pirate's (25 miles).

Thank god the girls are in London racing this weekend, so I don't have to cycle to the boathouse. I can go to the gym and do a weights session instead.

Because on monday I have to cycle home from the Pirate's (25 miles) AND go to the chiropractor in the evening (26 miles). Total: 51 miles.

My bum hurts.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


The day began well enough with a light boxing session. I like waking up in the morning and beating the crap out of people. What a great way to start your day. Sooooo much better than coffee!

Then on to rowing: I got soft and got a lift to the boathouse instead of cycling the 11 miles each way like I usually do, and had a light outing in a scull. Only did about 9k owing to recovering from Sunday's disasterous back pain, but on the final leg i hollered to my team mate "Oi! Wanna race back to the pontoon?!" So we did. It was only about 700m, but I kicked her ass and that felt good.

Concluded the day here, with Pirate and good friend, Welsh Cake. I don't think Pirate enjoyed himself very much -- not really his thing apparently -- but the Cake and I had a good time. And hey, there was free ginger cake. What's not to love? So no candy, no dressing up, and no trick-or-treating, but ghost stories by candlelight in a medieval crypt (with ginger cake). Not a bad trade-off, really.

How was your Halloween?