Sunday, August 31, 2008

Things I've Been Wanting To Link To

End of life decisions are, not surprisingly, on my mind lately. Apparently I'm not the only one. Madame X over at My Open Wallet has had some parental issues tossed on her and she's getting proactive about it. Go see her post about all the things we should be doing to help out whoever is going to wrap things up for us after we're gone. As Auntie Blanche has declined it's become clear that, though there's someone with medical proxy, there are a lot of unanswered questions. I'd like to avoid that issue for whoever cleans up after me. Its a weird gift but an invaluable one.

Did you know that you can make your own dildo? I'm talking molding your own based on the shape of...anything. I find this so intriguing while still be way too much work for the return. If I'm going to invest that much time in a penis it ought to be able to take out the garbage or walk the dog or, well, a number of other things.

You know that Mac has been just killing me with their shitty roll out and customer service. I still covet the beautiful iPhone. However, when I read stories like this I remember why I'll be sticking with my basic blah phone until the service plan and the general foolishness of the process are fixed. I'm up for a new phone and my phone isn't holding a charge and the buttons are unreliable and the casing is sort of rattly. It would have been fun to get a cool computer phone thingamajig but they can kiss my white Scottish ass.

We've talked around here before about when to intervene when you see abuse happening. Feministing talked a little bit about it, too, and it was interesting but didn't help me figure out when to help people out.

Here's not so much a link as a kind of admission of guilt. You know I'm writing over at Please Pass the Popcorn, right? Everyone who writes there is good about pointing out spoilers, which I love. I have to admit, though, that if it's a movie I have any chance of seeing, even if you say the spoiler is minor I'm not going to read the post because I want to go in as freshly as possible. I feel bad not reading the pieces of fellow contributors but I just can't do it. I'm sorry!

Miss Doxie is back! She doesn't update often but she's always funny, my friends. I mean, who writes a sorry-I've-been-gone-I-had-a-huge-breakup post that brings tears of laughter to your eyes? The most recent post includes a re-enactment of a geese rescue that, honestly, about busted my actual gut. You have to go see it for yourself.

I can't remember when this happened or who I was reading or maybe even talking to but I know that the subject of swearing came up. I'm sure of it. I am pro swearing or at least pro choice on the swearing front. I don't think that if we swear the terrorists win or anything. So I was delighted by Schmutzie's post, Swearing Can Change Your Life. See? It's good for you!

Remember that Blog Action Day is October 15th. This year the idea is to jump start a global discussion on poverty which is a worthy idea if I ever heard one. If anyone has any ideas about how to inspire us all to participate I'd love to hear them.

Dude there's a place you can go just to smash shit! That's therapy I can get behind. Thanks to M for the heads up, I feel like booking my ticket to San Diego right now.

To bookend this entry I've got another one from My Open Wallet. There are more things I want to link to but my eyes are crossing and the dog needs a walk. She's reporting on people who are getting divorced for financial reasons. People who are perfectly happy in their marriages. Well that's a new one. Fucking health care system.

Now Blathering ALL Over The Internet

I just wrote another post over at Please Pass the Popcorn. I meant to just upload a photo while I was thinking of it and save it as a draft until I had time and brain energy to write the post but once I'd uploaded the photo I realized that I couldn't figure out how to save a draft and once I saw how to do that I didn't know how I'd be able to get back to it once I'd saved it. Yeah, still battling Wordpress for supremacy and it's still fucking winning. Jesus christ on a stale bun I hate that dashboard. OK, done now. I love the blog and the blog is on Wordpress so deal I will learn, right? Of course right.* I hope the post makes sense. I think it will. Some sense at least and I was able to upload a photo so that's one in the win column.

It's late, I'm tired, but I'm glad I worked out my next post on PPtP. I was feeling disconnected from it and now I'm back! Time to sleep now and wake up to delicious, delicious comments. Right? Of course right.*

*Can anyone name the classic American musical that employs that construct?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Create With A Purpose

I was walking home from the park with the dog today and saw the back of a man's shirt that said, "Create With A Purpose." I immediately started having a philosophical discussion in my head about if that was true and if art without a purpose was still valuable and if art with a purpose was still art and I wanted to write a bit about it and see what other people thought and I wished I had a camera to take a picture of the shirt.

Looking at it from a picture taking perspective led me to really see the man, though. I noticed that he was walking with a young girl, probably his daughter, she was dressed in jeans, a bright pink t-shirt and bright pink wellington boots and they were talking. Suddenly the phrase, "create with a purpose" might have a different meaning. If we were to create human beings only when we had a purpose behind the act what would that be like? Would there be any need to create more people for a while? What purposes would we have in creating them when we did? Is it even smart or ethical to put that kind of widespread predisposition on procreation?

It seems I have a philosophical discussion waiting in my head for everything.

And that, my friends, is a snapshot of how my day went.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fucking Floral Friday In A Vase

Auntie Blanche's birthday gathering last Saturday provided a lot of FFF fodder. This is one of the smaller bouquets but I think it was my favorite.

Today I'm heading to class then swinging back to the neighborhood to pick up the Bobster and stretch his legs. This is where the kidnapping part comes in. He'll hang with us until Kath comes home. I'm going over there to work on some PUPS calendar stuff with her and eat a little dinner before it's time for me to go into Manhattan again to see The Reformationists at The Bitter End.

Funny story, I was poking around Facebook (such a disturbing place) and came across a good friend who I've needed to call saying that she was going to see a totally different band at the same venue at the same time on the same day. According to the Bitter End's web site her band is going on later than they're advertising. Musicians do that because people are notoriously late to performances. I think it's a chicken and egg thing. Music starts late so people arrive late so the musicians push the start time back so people arrive later etc. I'm a theater person, I hate the late start crap. I'm annoying like that. Anyway, really hope that I run into my friend there, I miss her.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Down And A Little To The Left

Today I had to admit to Kath that I had a plan to kidnap her dog. I was going to put him right back, I promise! I just needed to take him to my house and lay on the couch with him and possibly rub my feet along his flanks for a time. Not in a creepy way. Well, not very creepy at any rate.

It was then that I realized what my thing is. I don't have the baby thing, you know the thing where people (mostly women) just have to see and touch and hold any baby that crosses their path? Don't get me wrong I like babies well enough and kids, that much should be clear if you've hung around here for any length of time. I like to hold them but I'm not going to snatch them from someone's hands or make snarky comments about you "hogging the baby". I am simply not compelled by them as a ... what would you call it ... genre maybe?

It turns out that my thing is dogs. I have a really hard time keeping my hands off other people's dogs. I want to snuggle them and walk them and play with them and feed them illicit treats and invite them up on the furniture and smell their stinky paws. If I see you on the street with your dog I will be compelled to come scritch said dog thoroughly. I will do all manner of things to make your dog like me better. Better than you, better than your spouse, better than the cat, the neighbor or anyone else I can get the jump on. I may not be successful but I will always be trying. I am obsessed with the dogs, I am in love with (almost) all of them.

If you want to leave your baby with me it's perfectly safe I'll take good care of him or her and won't get too attached. You might want to find someone else to sit with your dog, though, because I might cry when you take her home with you.

Woof, Meow, Ouch

The 12th PrompTuesday was a guest lesson and it was kind of hard. I was able to do it once I came up with a little inspiration. This one's dedicated to Bobby & Lorry.

With apologies to Aesop:

Once there was a kitten who found herself living with a very large dog. She was a small and frail thing, though she didn’t know it. He was a big brute, though he didn’t know it either. The kitten, being an uppity and intelligent sort, took advantage of the dog’s kindly disposition. She ordered him to give her his food and to bathe her. He didn’t mind that. She couldn’t eat enough to matter to him and it only took one or two swipes of his enormous tongue to clean her spotless. One day, however, the kitten saw the dog sitting on a comfortably fuzzy rug and she thought, “I am the smart one, I should get the deliciously fuzzy rug.” She asked him to move but he said that he had to wait there for his person to return from the waterfall. So she swatted him on the jowl and told him to go. He responded by nudging her gently away with his mammoth nose. In a fit of pique the kitten marched around to his haunches and bit the dog as hard as she could right on the ass. Surprised and betrayed the dog put one enormous paw down on the kitten’s head and held her there until she cried uncle.
The moral of the story is, respect the strength, ‘cause in a pitched battle you can still be pinned down until you surrender.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What You See Of Me

I told you that I bought some pants that fit, right? I decided to try something mid or low rise, like the kids do these days, to fix the waist gapping problem that was ticking me off. I'm wearing a pair of the dress pants today and it's just weird. It's like I'm still wearing the fat pants since the waist is all down around my still-ample hip/ass area except that the fit elsewhere is good. I feel exposed and odd. I'm wearing a shirt that comes down well over the waist band of the pants but it's still strangely vulnerable.

I am a girl who will follow wherever you lead if you place a strong, warm palm where my tramp stamp should be. (Welcome stalkers! My address is...) Seriously, if you want to win me over, turn me to jelly, get me to say yes or no or please or Yes I will be voting McCain, all you have to do is give me the tried and true lower back steer. The only thing that will win me over faster is the palm at the top of my spine with the thumb on one side and the fingers on the other with just the right amount of pressure applied to the neck. What can I say? I have control issues, they're just different than yours. While these things are welcome, even sought after, during a cocktail party when I want to be taken home to remove my pinchy shoes and whatever else is getting in the way they are decidedly not welcome on mass transit or walking through the park or in the office bathroom.

What the hell is she talking about? I feel like anyone could come up and touch my damn coccyx! Intellectually I know that no one would and I know that what I'm wearing isn't even exposing that part of my body and I know that it's all just a feeling of new and unfamiliar that's getting to me. This new $15 pair of freaking pants is giving me some anxiety, though.

This weekend I spent some time taking pictures of the Chili family. (Stick with me, I think you'll see the connection. If not be sure to tell me in the comments section.) Auntie was especially reluctant to be in the photos at first so she hung back while I was shooting other family members and at some point I realized that she was taking pictures of me! My brain immediately came out of my lens and spread throughout my body. "Stand up straight! Suck in your gut! Pull your hat brim down!" I had to almost physically place myself back in my job and I did it by firmly reminding myself what that job was and that is was most emphatically not about me. Every time I curved my spine to get on someone's level I had a little stomach flutter, though. Auntie posted a couple of the shots she took of me on her blog and I, of course, went straight to work critiquing not her photography but my body.

Auntie and I have always had a flirty relationship. I never fail to throw out an irresistible surprise straight line and her R rated response turns me into the most ridiculous unschooled little girl. It's foolish but funny and not the kind of thing I have with a lot of people so I'm grateful for it. This weekend's biggest zinger was:

Me (to Chili): I'm hungry, I just need...something to put in my mouth.

Chili: I've got peanut butter and....

Auntie: (fits of laughter)

Me: (cluelessly) What?

Auntie: Just don't ever ask for that at my house. I'll give you something to put in your mouth all right.

She's not a dirty girl overall. In fact I spent much of the day teasing her for her conservatism. So, though I'm sure it's not true, I get a charge out of feeling that this naughty comments are just for me. She makes me feel pretty...among other things. That is what I realized after a minute or two of tearing down the me that she had posted in her space. I made myself look at them again and remember that she's my friend, she likes me and she liked the me that she was taking these shots of and she liked these particular captures enough to share them with the internet. Now all I have to do is try to see what she sees and find it likable myself.

Easy peasy, right?

Yeah, right.

But a good place to start.

And A Boot to the Head for Jenny & the Wimp*

*Anyone know what that's from?

The 11th Prompt is an infomercial for this:

Here’s the winner of last year’s Invention Fest contest, Mr. Tobias Gunch. Mr. Gunch works at the local driving range in…where is it again?

Huh, he doesn’t seem to remember. That’s probably key to the story, though, isn’t it? Mr. Gunch is in charge of ball retrieval at the range and he got sick of punk ass golfers taking pot shots at him while returned their tiny balls to them. After a few nights in the hospital with his 10th? Mr. Gunch? No, 11th concussion, he came up with this beauty, The Golf Ball Cross Bow! Mr. Gunch happens to use it to shoot back at golfers who try to injure him but you could use it anywhere! Live near a golf course and sick of getting your windows broken? Just return to sender with your Golf Ball Cross Bow! Sick of those kids on your lawn? Go Braveheart on their asses! Too lazy to golf yourself but still want to hit the driving range with your friends? Cross Bow to the rescue! It’s fully automated since Mr. Gunch has only limited use of his arms after repeated bruisings and a couple of nasty breaks so if you can drive a car with power steering you can use this baby. It’s the ultimate piece of firepower for the modern day suburban war we’re fighting everyday. If you want to come out on top in this death match you need to get a Golf Ball Cross Bow before anyone else does.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Don't Know About This...

Your result for The Harry Potter Husband Test...

Mrs. Harry Potter

You like a guy who's not afraid to fight evil when evil picks a fight. There's a lot to say for bravery in the face of overwhelming odds, even if it does come with a prejudice against people who don't fit into his conception of "good guy" and a penchant for hurling objects across rooms when he gets angry. But in fairness, for an orphan who's spent the better part of his life being hunted by the most evil wizard in existence, he's turned out pretty well. Just be prepared to name your kids after everyone he's ever lost, because he's got a bit of an obsession about the past.

(Fanart by hito 76 Used with permission.)

Take The Harry Potter Husband Test at HelloQuizzy

Prompted by Rubies

Slowly but surely catching up with PROMPTuesdays. Here's #10. I remembered to keep it to 10 minutes while blithely forgetting about the one paragraph and 250 word boundaries. Whoopsie daisy.

Rubies Dripping Like Life

This isn’t me. I’m a pretty straightforward wallflower type of middling aged single chick. How I found myself in the bathroom of a dive bar on the wrong side of the tracks with two oddly beautiful puncture wounds on my wrist is anybody’s guess. I mean, I was there and I’m still not sure how it all came to pass. I blame James Marsters. Not directly, of course, but I hold him sort of generally responsible for my single life what with no one in real life every measuring up, so in the final analysis I think we can trace the blame for the ticklish trickle of blood down my palm to him.

I’m not being clear. That’s also not like me. Maybe it’s the blood loss. Maybe not, though, things started to get fuzzy a while before anyone nicked that thin skin near my radius. Or maybe it’s my ulna. On endless loop I hear him whispering “rubies, rubies, rubies.” It’s so good I think it’s making it hard for my wrist to clot, my heart just keeps pumping blood a little faster every time I hear the sibilance of that final s. In reality he only said it once, after he bit but before he sucked. He was behind me, holding my hand up near my ear where he leaned over my shoulder. He lowered my arm so we could both see the blood beading up where his teeth had so recently been and he turned into the whirl of my ear and whispered, “rubies.”

10 Weekend Things

How about 10 things I did this weekend? Simple enough, right?

1. Ate super chocolaty, surprisingly delicious birthday cake from Sam's Club. Yay for birthdays.

2. Went to see a movie at one of my favorite theaters in the nation. They have made some unfavorite changes but it's still fun to go and it was even more fun to regale Blondie Girl with a lecture of the Ioka Through The Years.

3. Went for girls night out sushi dinner and girly drinks. Luscious!

4. Took a quatrillion pictures of the Chili family. (Hoping to start processing those tonight, promise.)

5. Saved Auntie from cancerous lip rot.

6. Sang for Auntie Blanche, well sang along as mom played and played and played for Auntie Blanche. It worked, too. She perked up.

7. While running an errand I was sent down a local road that I have never ridden down before. Never. Wow. Kind of cool.

8. I er, "liberated" a couple of one of a kind photos from Auntie Blanche's collection because I know that no one who cleans that room....after will know that they're one of a kind or important in any way. OK and also one that's not one of a kind but one that I really wanted. I can scan all of them and slip them back in the collection if anyone is upset by it.

9. Finally bought 3 new pairs of pants that actually fit me.

10. Finally purchased and watched with glee (and much better sound) Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. It's somehow even better the second time around. Joss Whedon is my pilot.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Suggestion

On Friday night Pony Express and I went to see the New York City release party of Red Molly's latest CD, Love & Other Tragedies. They sing this song a cappella and it hit me right in the tender, tender defenses on Friday night. It's stuck with me since. Even without the melody (which you can download at DigStation) it's beautifully moving and I thought you might all like it.

From: New Non-Fiction (2001)
Copyright © Susan Werner

May I suggest
May I suggest to you
May I suggest this is the best part of your life
May I suggest
This time is blessed for you
This time is blessed and shining almost blinding bright
Just turn your head
And you'll begin to see
The thousand reasons that were just beyond your sight
The reasons why
Why I suggest to you
Why I suggest this is the best part of your life

There is a world
That's been addressed to you
Addressed to you, intended only for your eyes
A secret world
Like a treasure chest to you
Of private scenes and brilliant dreams that mesmerise
A lover's trusting smile
A tiny baby's hands
The million stars that fill the turning sky at night
Oh I suggest
Oh I suggest to you
Oh I suggest this is the best part of your life

There is a hope
That's been expressed in you
The hope of seven generations, maybe more
And this is the faith
That they invest in you
It's that you'll do one better than was done before
Inside you know
Inside you understand
Inside you know what's yours to finally set right
And I suggest
And I suggest to you
And I suggest this is the best part of your life

This is a song
Comes from the west to you
Comes from the west, comes from the slowly setting sun
With a request
With a request of you
To see how very short the endless days will run
And when they're gone
And when the dark descends
Oh we'd give anything for one more hour of light

And I suggest this is the best part of your life

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sometimes A Plan Does Not Come Together

I had a ticket to get on a bus at 6:30 this morning. Just remember that for background.

I have been waiting for my period to start for days. (Hello! Welcome to my bodily functions. Next up, how the period hormones affect [effect? GAH!] my digestion) No reason it wouldn't, no worries at all, just feeling like it should start (read: crappy) and it didn't. Last night I went out to see Red Molly play (whole other post) then had dinner with Pony Express then went home and did all the last minute things I needed to do since I wasn't going to get up any earlier than I absolutely had to. Last thing I had to do before I went to bed about midnight was pee.

So, yeah, hurray, I'd started bleeding. Awesome.

Was up at 3:10am and took some more a1eve. Up at 4:30. Alarm went off at 4:55. Through judicious application of pretending this wasn't happening and a disposable heating pad and a1eve and water and milk I was in a car service at 5:45 battling not to regurgitate the a1eve, water and milk. Bought an emergency bagel just before the bus pulled up.

I am of two minds about the girl who got on the wrong bus. On the one hand it's actually really nice to know that the bus driver is a kind soul who, upon hearing that she was accidentally traveling in exactly the wrong direction, would re-route the bus to New Rochelle to drop her off at the Metro North Station. On the other hand, given how delicate my stomach was the extra city street driving she forced us to do was like a punishment from the gods. Especially since at the time we got off the highway I was trying to put myself back together after using the bathroom. Fortunately those bathrooms are small so when you get bounced around like a pinball you don't have far to go. We were only 10 minutes late getting into South Station, too, and I had internet on the bus, which was cool and I did eventually start to feel some better.

It turns out that it takes 3 T trains to get from South Station to Wonderland. You only have to go one stop on two of them so your travel time isn't very long, it's the calculating whether you're supposed to be going inbound or outbound that will fuck you up your tender orifices without canola oil. This is my problem with navigating Boston both on the streets and on the T, the place started out as cow paths, there was no plan so it goes round and round like a maze and there's no direct route to anywhere. Even in London where the city is shaped similarly to Boston they have the Circle Line that just takes you around and around and around the city in a loop. You can't get on in the wrong direction because both directions will eventually get you to the connection you want. Short answer is, I started out heading the wrong way on the Red Line but I figured it out before I actually got on a train and I made the rest of the trip successfully until I arrived in Wonderland. There I wondered (heh) why my father wasn't in the parking lot and stood around like a drooling eejit for 5 minutes until I realized that I've actually been to Wonderland before and there are two parking lots! Surprise! There he was, in the parking lot on the side next to the road that goes to his house. A1eve + tired does not equal logic.

At that point other people were in charge of navigation so it all went a whole lot smoother. We drove up to celebrate Auntie Blanche's 98th birthday. She looks better now but is clearly not better. She was drinking enough water but only had the tiniest bite of cake. When asked if she'd like some more she said, "Maybe tomorrow." She is being made comfortable through judicious use of common opiates so she was tired and had moments of not being clear about what was going on but she did recognize most of us and participate a little in some conversation. She even asked after some people who weren't there. The rest of us had some good conversations and delicious chocolate cake. It wasn't the party we thought we were going to have when we started thinking about it a month or two ago but it was a much better party than we thought we'd be getting. I was able to make her smile a couple of times which made me feel good.

Blondie Girl and I hit the bookstore this evening. I had to get one thing. $50 bought two presents I needed to get, a book for Blondie and a splurge for me. She's a huge fan of the Twilight series and I think she's going to lend me the 4th book so we talked a lot about that. Then we hit the beautiful movie theater of my dreams. They've renovated it so it's not as fabulous as it once was but I still like to go there and I had fun sharing it with her. We saw Tropic Thunder. I'm just not in line with Ben Stiller's humor. I try but I usually don't find him funny. There were parts of this that I did get a hearty giggle out of and we had a great night. Best part? She drove. It's the first time I've ever been the responsible adult in a car with a learning driver and she did a marvelous job. I didn't feel even the tiniest bit nervous. I'm so beat right now and it was lovely to walk out of that theater and think, "I don't have to drive. I have people for that."

So, here I am. I feel like I've been up for a thousand years, even though I haven't. Some of you, I know, get up at 5 every day. I salute you. It just puts me out of my head and I can't seem to get back in.

On the other hand, that might be all the aleve.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fucking Floral-Adjacent Friday

Originally uploaded by kizzzbeth.

At a party in Maine in June. The rock was probably painted by my aunt.

Guessing Game

This is what I was up to last night. Only 3 blocks from my house, too. Anybody want to take a guess who that performer is?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Meet Me Around the Corner and Bring Snacks!

So Snob had an idea and Chili made a blog of it. That's her 6th one if you're counting, but I'm not. Please Pass the Popcorn is a "lazy person's book club" which means that we're talking about movies. I'm a contributor and I posted my first discussion springboard about Murderball, which I watched last night. (Yes, last night I watched Murderball then put the bonus features on my laptop and the Olympics on my TV and watched them in a seesaw fashion. I know, I have an addiction but I can stop any time I want, [No I can't.])

There's no set schedule so maybe you want to add us to your feed reader? I'll try to give you a heads up when I've put something to the mix. I'd love to hear what you have to say, you know how I love movies but do you know how much I love to talk about them? I'm not sure that you do.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oops, On So Many Levels

This is a picture of me in the shower today.

My mouth tasted a little weird. It was a flavor I knew but couldn't quite place, something I hadn't tasted in a long while. It was also gross so I tried to spit it out. I watched the spit because I don't like to spit on myself even in the shower when you're washing gross stuff off of yourself anyway and it was colored! I'm almost completely blind without my glasses so it could have been red, could have been chocolate. My thoughts went, "That's not right. Have I eaten breakfast? No. Oh. OH. That's blood, that taste in my mouth is blood, why is my MOUTH bleeding!!! What is wrong with my...oh, no, hold on..." at which point I swiped a hand across my upper lip and discovered the real issue.

I have had nosebleeds all my life. Some eras more spectacular than others. When I was a toddler I would wake up with my face and pillow all encrusted even. As first grader I got so sick that my nose bled every night in epic, gushing horror and I very nearly had to go to the hospital and have the aforementioned nose packed. Fortunately the horror of the description of what packing one's nose is like was enough for even my 6 year old self to be able to mind over bloody matter that nonsense. This apartment and my newly-grown-into allergies have made the nosebleeding situation more exciting. Hence the drinking more water and the militant humidifying and moisturizing and whatnot.

A few days ago I ran out of allergy spray. It's prescription and apparently the prescription expired and it was from a specialist so I don't know insurance-wise if I have to call my primary or the specialist or one and then the other and how many appointments that will take before I can get more spray and the spray is steroidal so long term use is probably not super smart anyway so I decided to wing it. Too many phone calls, too much having to fight for something I wasn't sure I wanted anyway, also laziness. Since I started using this allergy spray 2 years ago I have had not one nosebleed. This morning...well, see the picture above.

Have you ever tried to stop a nosebleed while having a hot shower? It ain't easy. Cold water is for stopping bleeding not warm water and pleasant steam. Water, indeed of any temperature is not for stopping bleeding, it's for washing away dirt and debris. You can hold a wash cloth firmly to your face and hope that simple pressure will do it but it's gonna be a long, long shower my prom-going friend. You can hold one side to your face while holding the other under the spray to wash out the blood until you actually go blind from the backsplash and still when you remove the pressure you're going to feel *pulse* and have to rinse your entire chest off again.

How about getting out of a shower with a nosebleed? Ever given that a shot? Try drying off without getting blood on the towel. Twisting your hair up in the towel with one hand is also a fun party game, try it the next time you throw a bridal shower. Especially since every time you bend over to put the towel on, dry between your toes, shoo the cat away from your dripping legs you get *pulse* and the game gets infinitely harder. It's like if you were playing World of Warcraft and they surprised you by just jumping you to the next level with no warning. (I've never played World of Warcraft, it might not be like that at all, I'm really just guessing. I've had blood loss people!) What I'm getting at is that my morning routine is pretty much all muscle memory. It looks like I'm awake before 10:00am but really it's just that once I set myself rolling down the slope it's all my limbs simply remembering on their own which way to lean to avoid the rocks. Trying to do that while trying not to bleed on anything important (cats don't count!) and to stay calm so the bleeding will actually stop and not to yak when you swallow the huge clumpy blood clots (how's your lunch by the way? mine is not so spectacular, no decent portable proteins in the house) totally fucks up the muscles. They can't remember a damn thing. Muscle amnesia is no joking matter.

Which is how I got to work today without remembering to brush my teeth.

That's not really me. That's Sissy Spacek in Carrie. Thanks Google Images!

Adult Responsibility Sucks Part II

This is what I missed when I went to work instead of calling in wiggly a few weeks ago. Scroll down for the pictures OF MY BOY just hanging out TWO BLOCKS from my house!!!!

I'm weeping. Or perhaps it's drooling.

I hate being a grown up.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Few More Olympic Things

First off, did you see that dude, Chen Yibing, on the still rings last night? The commentator describes him as weightless when he performs and damned if that wasn't spot on. It was, without question, the best performance of the group and a thing of beauty to behold.

I watch the coverage with my cable company issue DVR. This means that I can put the Olympic channel on, watch something I've recorded for 45 minutes then go back to the live TV and I can rewind as far as an hour. And that's what I do. I then fast forward through commercials, announcer blather, sappy athlete profiles and anything else that I don't feel like watching. When I catch up to the current time I repeat the process. It's totally working for me. Best Olympic coverage ever.

Overall, though, I'm not as interested as I was last week. I'm still interested but my god, I didn't see the coverage of ever single heat of the swimming. It feels like nothing but heats with the track and field these days. I get all excited and then people are jogging to the finish because it's not for a medal and they know they've qualified. Hell, the amazing Jamaican guy, Ussein Bolt, jogged his ass into a gold medal in the 100 meter dash. I'm a little sick of his jogging, run it out Bolty, don't be disrespectful of the event even if you are faster than an actual speeding bullet.

The shotgun-wide approach to the track and field is happening, I think, because there isn't a Phelps or a Torres or a Traener & May to focus the broadcast choices. It's great for America and all but it does mean they're going to show a wider range of heats because they don't want to miss having broadcast the quarterfinal heat of whoever ends up winning. Lots of injuries in the running and therefore lots of upsets so there's still plenty of drama but it's not as focused as the drama from swim week.

My other thoughts on the broadcast choices have to do with the "too much coverage of the US" complaint. I get that and I think that, to some extent, it's true. Then last night as I walked the dog I had a for instance run through my head. Let's say I knew a lesser known Olympic athlete but I didn't know them well enough to travel to Beijing to see the games in person. Then let's say that in order to show coverage of more countries they decide to show a Ukranian gymnast instead of my friend's less splashy heat or even medal contention. How pissed would I be that I live in my friend's country of origin and that country couldn't be bothered to cover her events in favor of showing someone from a different country? I'm thinking pretty damn pissed. I bet the grandparents of the amazing US fencing team who swept the medals are a little ticked that someone's having to FedEx them tape of their granddaughters' Olympic accomplishments since the 3.4 second clips of the winning touches were dissatisfying, to say the least. I'm not defending the NBC machine, don't get me wrong, I'm just saying that they may be wrong in an entirely different way than we think.

Tell me something good about what you're watching these days Olympic or not, please.

10 Questions

I'm reading this book called Legacy: A step-by-step guide to writing personal history by Linda Spence. I thought that ProfDoc lent it to me in a package of books she sent recently but when I mentioned it today she didn't seem to recognize so perhaps it came from somewhere else. Did any of you pass it along to me?

It's not exactly what I expected. In terms of a subway reading book it's been sort of a disappointment but in terms of an actual practical guide to writing autobiographically it's much better than what I thought I was getting. It's also perhaps not the calming choice when one's 98 year old grandmother is dying. Basically each chapter talks a little bit about a certain phase of life then lays out a metric shit ton (scientific term, it means a lot) of questions to prompt memories.

I'm finding the questions unexpectedly disturbing. Spence spends some time at the beginning of the book talking you through what to do in case you get to questions that unnerve you and when I read that I was prone to scoffing. Now I'm getting a little fight or flight response every couple of questions. It's illuminating. For my 10 things I'm going to hit you with 10 questions from the chapter I'm reading, "Early Adult Years." They'll be ones that speak to me in one way or another not necessarily ones that scare the shinola out of me.

1. If you were in school during your twenties and thirties why did you choose your field of study?
2. Why would you make or not make the same choices today? (as relates to field of study)
3. Tell about a teacher who inspired or encouraged you.
4. If you were working, how much were you earning? Give examples of the expenses you had to cover.
5. What were your career plans?
6. What was it like for you to leave home?
7. Who was your closest friend? How has the relationship endured over the years?
8. Tell of something you did that was adventurous.
9. Which was a road not taken and what are your thoughts about it today?
10. What were you thankful for during this period of your life?

It may be clear and it may not that these aren't meant to be short answers. However, if you wanted to throw some notes, impressions or leading statements into the comments section I bet we'd all be pretty impressed with you. I know I would be.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cautionary Tale

I would caution you never to let a little social anxiety stop you from meeting someone you like from the internet. (First person to throw this advice back in my face in a conversation about internet dating gets a boot to the head.)

You know when you've been away from someone you love to talk to for a long time and you start to talk right away but every other minute you come up with something else you have to talk about it so you say the new thing and promise to circle back to the unfinished thing but you never get a chance to because there's a new new thing and a thing after that and a thing after that like one of those complicated Martha Stewart fruit tarts? That was my entire marvelous evening with Mrs. G. If you had been going to meet her before I had and you'd been nervous and had asked me what I thought you should expect I would have described this exact evening, though my description could never do it justice. Nor can this one.

The bottom line is that if you have the opportunity to meet Mrs. G you should not let it pass you by. She's just as lovely in person, if not more so, than she is on the screen. I can't wait to see her again!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Poor Babies

I get intensely moved by kids who act like adults too soon. I don't, of course, mean girls obsessed with Bratz or even Miley Cyrus, I mean the little old ladies and men who aren't even out of elementary school yet. They worry about money or hurt feelings or logistics in a way that many of us struggle to do in our extreme late 30s.

Today I'm clearing the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games off of my DVR. Other than the Milli Vanilli type scandal I hadn't heard much of anything about them. Artistically they were, of course, gorgeous and brilliant and generally quite awesome. This little earthquake hero, though, is making me weep.

In case you, too, haven't heard his story he is a 9-year-old second grader named Lin Hao (pronounced Leen How). 20 of his 30 classmates were killed in the earthquake in May. He escaped the building then returned to rescue 2 more students. When asked why he went back he said, "I am a class leader*. It is my job." If that doesn't just break you then you must be made of stone. **

A stage manager for the show hustled this beautiful and intelligent boy over to the Chinese Team's flag bearer, basketball star Yao Ming. Ming stands 7' 6" tall and he has herded this child with him then hoisted him up while they stand in the crowd of athletes so he can see the rest of the event and they have continued to chat throughout. They even conducted an interview with NBC at the conclusion where Lin Hao took the initiative to thank the reporter in English. Thankfully the reporter had just thanked Ming in Chinese.

There are, certainly, a number of horrible things going on surrounding these events. In a week, when this is all over, I feel certain we will hear things that will chill our blood. Fortunately they have first warmed out hearts with a kid who is too old for his little body and too good to be crushed by what can be a dangerous country. We might all take a page from his primer.

*Equated too a hall monitor or line leader by NBC's commentary.

**I realize this may all have been fabricated by a savvy public relations machine. I choose to believe it's true, if not for this specific kid then for some kid somewhere.

You're Looking A Little Green

Guess who I'm meeting tonight?

Go on guess.

Are you envious yet?

I am giddy with the excitement.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Entirely Unrelated

Does anyone else have trouble taking our president seriously when he's telling Russia that real super powers don't use threats of violence to intimidate their global neighbors? Just me? Really?

Can anyone tell me what is up with the volleyball position where you wear a totally different color uniform and you can just be randomly rotated into the back row as a blocker and it's not a "real" substitution? When did this become a thing? Why?

Fucking Floral Friday - Cop Out Edition

Did I scare you with that? Heh. Sorry. I've been immersed in the Olympics this week and the photo computer is in the room without the DVR that connects me like an IV to the aforementioned Olympics so I just haven't gotten to it. I went to Google images to gank something free and pretty and I saw this and couldn't resist.

*Olympic interlude: I'm writing this on Thursday night and they just did a profile of Phelps' body and how it's built specifically for swimming, the way Lance Armstrong is genetically made for biking. What was odd about it was how it was listing all these virtues that sounded more like insults. "Dinner plate sized hands" "Size 14 feet for flippers" "perfectly tall and perfectly short with the legs of a man who stands 6' tall and the torso of someone 6'8" "..and concludes with narrow hips and a flat backside" I'm sorry did you just say that Michael Phelps has a flat ass? The hell?*

Anyhoo, back to the task at hand, our discussion of what our Fridays will bring. I'm told it's going to bring thunder and rain just like yesterday, and the day before that and the day before that. Not all day, though. I'll go to class in the morning and then, if the weather cooperates, I'll be meeting the ex-boss to make up for our missed date with a scruffy Will Smith. After that we'll see if I can make it home and keep up the gumption needed to do laundry. The work wardrobe is getting slightly desperate. I'll end the evening with food and drinks in the 'hood with Pony Express and another friend. Last weekend PE was away and I was caring for her felines. When I had to cut and run we called in a back up so we're going out for deviled egg of the day and girly drinks then walking over for delicious ice cream to thank each other for all the help. Should be a good day...

Looking forward to hearing what you're up to today, too.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Harder Than It Looked

Chili has been watching the Lawrence Fishburne (above) version of Othello in her literature class. Not surprisingly all that time spent enjoying the man inspired her to request a Hot People post. She wanted hot folk from Shakespeare films. No problemo, right? Oh, I am so conflicted. I hate so much of the verse speaking in Shakespeare films. You'll notice that no one from the M__ G______ Hamlet is here, not even Glenn Close. I could write a dissertation on why I'm so het up about the whole deal but for today's purposes let's just say "I am" and be done with it.

I have not seen Mr. Fishburne's Othello so I'm including him here provisionally. I have high hopes for him but I'm scared, I've been disappointed too often.

Trying to keep it positive, though, here are some folks whose approach to and execution of Shakespearean work I really admire. Below, Kristin Scott Thomas. There are a number of...issues with the updating of Richard III by Sir Ian McKellen but her portrayal of Lady Anne is not one of them.

Sir Lawrence Olivier...and friend. Need I say more?

If it were possible for you to watch Emma Thompson play Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing without having to hear any of the other major players (yes, I'm slagging Branagh, I know, it's with good reason) I would urge you to do that. She is a delight in everything but especially when putting an ass in his place.
Sir John Gielgud, who you probably know from Arthur but whose verse speaking we should all be so lucky to hear in our dreams.
Honestly Christopher Walken creeps me out these days. I like him, though, and that is due in large part to two outstanding performances. The first is, of course, his work in The Deerhunter, which is unmissably poignant and possibly the single best commentary on the Vietnam War ever given. The other was the first play I ever saw at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. He was Iago to Raul Julia's Othello. For his soliloquies he stepped to the edge of the stage in a moonlight-colored spotlight and simply told the assembled hundreds what he felt. I wanted to get up out of my seat and cling to him. It was disturbing in the most thrilling way.
If you think you recognize Fiona Shaw but don't know quite why it's because she plays Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter movies. From what I can tell she does the films so she can get on stage. Her "to be or not to be" is not to be missed, neither is her Medea.
Baby brother Joseph Fiennes seems a bit quirky in real life but he played the pantaloons off of Mr. Shakespeare himself did he not?
He's the inspiration, he gets two spots.

*As always Google Images has my back.

Remedial Shopper

I need help y'all. (Stop snickering in the back row!) I had 3 friends graduate in various ways in the past few months and I haven't bought any of them a present yet. I want to get them each something nice and I don't know what to get, I'm completely drawing a blank.

Here's the breakdown:

Female high school graduate from VT. She'll be headed to college in the fall, I believe she'll be going to a school on the Gulf Coast in Alabama. She loves baseball, she hates museums, she's a writer.

Male GED earner from NH. He's got a job in his town now. There has been some talk of a move out West but nothing concrete yet. He's a reader, he loves music (used to be in a ska band), we share a devotion to George Carlin. He used to love football, baseball, dogs and babies but I'm not sure at what level he loves those now.

Female college graduate from New York City. She's got a job waiting for her in Toulouse, France. She loves psychology and food and people in general. She's way more sophisticated and smart than I am but she either hasn't figured that out yet or she's humoring me.

HELP! No suggestion too ridiculous or bizarre. I want to give them all things that honor the weight of their accomplishment. I also have a rule about doing my level best to give things that they really will like and/or use. Money doesn't feel right in this instance, not least because I couldn't give them enough money to be worth their while in their coming endeavors.

I'm counting on you guys, you're good at this stuff.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Oh Wait I Have One More (Maybe Two)

Dear Chinese Women's Gymnastics Team,

We know that you aren't 16.

We know you aren't even close.

We're not mad, we just worry about you.

Let's be careful out there,

Dear US Women's Gymnastics Team,

I know you've had a hard week. I sympathize, really, and I feel for you.

I'm not sure if Mrs. Karolyi has told you this, though, but when you win a silver medal you have still won a medal in the motherhumping Olympics for the love of little green apples.

Don't be a Nancy Kerrigan. Nobody likes a Nancy Kerrigan.

Good, break a l...oh, um...well....have fun over there,

Out of Context

"...a win here could brand him as the world's greatest breast stroker..."

Sounds like a good guy to know.

Notes From The Precipice

Dear Delightfully Kind & Hard-working Amish Man at the Green Market,

These pickles are possibly the best bread & butter pickles I have ever had the pleasure of devouring. I have eaten a quarter of them straight out of the jar with a fork. I'm afraid I might not be able to stop scarfing them down before I make myself sick. I'm sort of OK with that, they're that good.

Thank you so very much for this deliciousness,

Dear USA Today Olympic Programmers,

Give a girl a warning when you make this big production of playing up the broadcast of the semi-final heat with the sweet young swimmer with ball cancer. If I'd known he was going to lose I would have left for work instead of standing around getting my heart broken.


Dear Favorite Kid in My Apartment Complex,

This evening you stood in the entryway and held open both the inner and outer doors for me with your Phelpsian wingspan. It broke your heart not to be able to pet the dog while you did it, too. You are kind and intelligent and bright and aware and you give me hope for the world and the future.

Keep that shit up,

Dear Bob Costas,

Is that a toupe?

No judgments,

Dear Kitchen,

Please clean yourself up, you stink. While you're at it cook all the stupid effortful food I just bought.

Love & chocolate,

Dear Universe,

Quit it with the pleasant feeling of well-being today. It's freaking me out and making me afraid to answer my phone.


Dear Readers,

You're pretty and you smell nice.

Now get back to watching the Olympics.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Poking the Tiger

You'd think after all the controversy that last week's 10 Things post garnered I might move to something different this week. The thing is my listing inspiration is somewhat limited. I could list you 10 cities and towns between Brooklyn, NY & Portsmouth, NH that if I see again it'll be too soon. How about 10 skanky rest stop observations (Observation #1 PUT THE TCBY BACK INTO THE REST STOP YOU MASOCHISTIC MOTHERFUCKERS!)? 10 Things you should write down before you die? Ugh. I can't face that one. Look for it in coming weeks. So instead I give you the short and the sweet, 10 Olympic Events I Have Spied Since Friday.

1. Trap shooting. It's what I would call skeet shooting but apparently that's not the right name. There's a bag with pink powder in it attached to the target so the judges, participants and spectators can more easily identify a hit. Also, the trap (the launcher thingamee) launches the targets in three different directions.

2. Team handball. Seriously, this is a thing? I had no idea. Visually it looks like a soccer/basketball hybrid. Emotionally (I watched the women) it felt like field hockey. The Korean goalie is freaking awesome!

3. Synchronized Diving. How do people judge that without instant replay? It's beautiful in a very stop and start heart-stopping way. Their success is predicated on the second or two from the platform to the water. It's fascinating but I can only judge it after I see the replay.

4. Equestrian. I actually don't know what sort of equestrian event I was watching. There was a guy on a horse and he was taking the horse in a very specific pattern around an empty rectangular area. They would do the pattern at one pace then up the speed a little and do it again. I watched 2 or 3 speeds and then I changed the channel, I admit it. I think that might have been the prelims for some sort of jumping, like how figure skaters used to have to actually skate figures.

5. Badminton. I can say I watched it but it's like saying I've been to West Virginia. I've driven through West Virginia a number of times but we never stop. I watched about 4 serves of badminton. That's some cutthroat shit right there.

6. Beach Volleyball. Well, of course I have. I mean, hasn't everyone? I've seen the US women's B team and I watched some of the men. I got hooked on Sunday when it was raining so hard and really changing the odds for everyone. Slippery balls! (Not a euphamism) Obscured goggles! Soggy Sand! Heavens to Betsy what a day.

7. Swimming. Chicks, dudes I've watched it all. Again, in the Days Of Phelps how can you miss it? Of course I totally missed the guys' HUGE relay win. It's enough to make someone quit her job and watch the Olympics full time*.

8. Women's Road Race. It was like the Tour de France on crack. Smog, rain, women, bicycles and an incline for the sprint! Speaking of masochistic there's an incline on the freaking sprint. I loved how happy that beautiful woman was when she finished. That's what it's all about.

9. Fencing. Now technically I've only seen the recapped highlights but it still sort of haunts me. Those women are fierce!

10. Gymnastics, again, you really can't escape them. I'm interested in the whole thing of it but not enough to watch every blessed second. My overall impression is that the races will be tight but not because the teams are great. There are big mistakes being made. During the women's qualifying round the media would not shut their pie holes about how horrific the women were, and I agree, mistakes they did abound, but then the women were in SECOND PLACE. I mean, how bad, comparatively, can they possibly be? Perhaps the entire sport is experiencing a lull/plateau/slump.

OK, your turn, what are you watching?

*I made that sound all light like I was joking, didn't I?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sporty Traveler

My dog is what we call in my family, a sporty traveler. She doesn't whine or try to jump out of the car or crawl into the front seat or vomit. (The not vomiting is so nice. The dog we lived with when I got her was a carsick dog, even on short trips. So unappealing.) She actually likes to travel. Mostly it's because she likes to know she's going with her person and not being left behind but she also likes to watch out the windows and smell new places and she's a real fan of toll booths since that once guy gave her a dog biscuit.

The thing is, though, traveling really takes it out of her. She's nervous in new places and afraid of being left behind (my fault, I've had to leave her behind too often) and when we're moving around she doesn't always get her customary 20 hours of napping per day.

She was a superstar on this trip, truly. We were trapped in rain and traffic for probably over 8 hours on Friday and she was fine with it. When I took her out for a pee at a rest stop she got out, found a spot, peed and went straight back to the car. I didn't have all the right food for her so she subsisted for 2 days mostly on pizza crust and dog biscuits. Not having the right food meant not getting her supplements and meds into her either. Didn't matter to her. She probably wonders why pizza crust isn't a staple of her diet all the time.

She shone, however, at the nursing home. My mother, bless her, decided the dog should come with us all day on Saturday. I had been planning to leave her in Joe the Barber's empty-yet-unsold house for the day (see above re: my fault) but mom had a different plan and kidnapped the dog while I was having breakfast with ChemE. Unlike here in Brooklyn everyone in the nursing home facility is dog friendly. All the residents wanted to see her and talk to her and pet her. I'm not used to that. Visitors to Auntie Blanche's room kept saying things like, "She's 13? Wow. I never would have guessed." "She's in great shape!" "I need a dog just like Emily." "She's awfully good." "Hi puppy!" Auntie Blanche was able to feed her a few treats which was, possibly, the highlight of the day for both of them. It was hard work for the pooch, the entire day. I mean, every time she got settled and mostly asleep I'd do something inconsiderate like, I don't know, breathe and she'd have to pop up and check all the exits to make sure I wasn't making a break for it.

When we hit the highway on our ride home the dog lay down and didn't move for three states. Seriously, in the middle of Connecticut I began to plot out what I was going to do if I arrived in Brooklyn and discovered that she had expired in the back seat of the rental during the vet's closing hours. We went through the toll booth at the entrance to the Mass Pike and she didn't even stir. It was terrifying. Of course not terrifying enough for me to stop the car and hold a mirror up to her nose but terrifying nonetheless. Traffic snarled slightly at the bridge and she rolled over so I drove the last half hour with peace of mind. No dog has ever been happier to see my ass leave for work today and leave her alone!

I've said it before, I'll say it again, my dog is composed entirely of awesome and there will never be enough thanks to give to Pony Express for picking her cold, wet, nervewracked body up off the street.

*Photo is what my dog has looked like for the past 48 hours.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Getting The Call

Maybe you've never gotten the call. Maybe you've gotten the call a number of times for different people. Maybe you've gotten it more than once for one person. Maybe you've gotten the call once and you hope to hell you never get it again.

I've gotten that call more than once. I wouldn't say a lot but really, in cases like this, isn't more than once more than enough? Sometimes it's not clear that it's the call. Sometimes it's all too clear, words like "now" and "hurry" and "we're sure" get sprinkled into even the shortest conversation.

It's not the sort of situation where the "crying wolf" story applies. I suppose it can. I suppose if someone gives you the call for a hangnail or a broken leg or a bad hair day then it they could be accused of crying wolf. I've been lucky, though, the people that call me have a feel for when it's the real deal and when it isn't.

When I was 17 the family called everyone in for my great grandmother. It was the most time I've ever had for such a thing. Grammy had a stroke in February and died in April, one month shy of her 101st birthday. For the month of February we trickled in to see her, usually in mixed up family groups which served to confuse her already scrambled brain. My cousins wound up there with my mother and I went up alone a week later. It was the first long car trip I ever took by myself. I got stopped behind a huge car accident, I had car trouble and had to get roadside assistance for the first time and when I showed up at my grandparents house there was nobody there. But they'd left me a note, a key and a lobster roll so I was all taken care of.

In May of 2001 I got the call for Biddy and I headed home as fast as I could get there but I didn't make it. By the time I arrived people were saying that there was no way I could have made it in time but I don't know that that had been clear at the time I got into my car. I didn't have a cell phone so it wasn't as if anyone could turn me back halfway, either. I was glad to be there with everyone anyway.

Auntie Blanche is still alive, such as it is. By Friday morning the people who had seen her Thursday night said she'd done a 180 degree turn for the better. Still, when ChemE saw her later that morning she called me and said, "It's good you're coming." I got there at 8:30pm and sat with her a bit while she slept. She was breathing relatively easily but so fast asleep that she didn't even wake when they took her vitals. On Saturday I spent the majority of the day with her. She was awake, she recognized some of us, she was happy to see Emily and give her a treat. She's not well, though, and I don't know that she ever will be again.

This is a woman who was walking over half a mile a day and teaching piano lessons in March. My anger at the turn of events and the actions of many of the people in charge knows no bounds. Yet, there's no place for it now because as angry as I am I am so much sadder.

I get uncomfortable thinking that people will think that I've cried wolf when, on Friday, I said that my grandmother was dying. I have to put that out of my judgment criteria, though, because that's their deal. Perhaps they haven't ever gotten the call or perhaps gotten it and never responded to it.

It's good that I went.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Comin' Back Atcha

I'm home. The solid gold rental car has been returned (bringing its price down to a nice 14 carat sort of thing). I'm way too tired to explain even a little bit. It took me over 8 hours to get to NH yesterday. Today I flew back comparatively, departing at 5 and putting the car in park outside the homestead at 9:33.

I'm watching some Olympics before I collapse into bed in a couple of minutes. Have you seen this ad with the Budweiser Clydesdale who doesn't get picked for the team and goes into training for the following year? It's got the theme music from Rocky. I kind of love it. As far as commercials go, anyway, it really did it for me. Especially the dalmation-Clydesdale high 5. I think it's probably the music, it just drops me right back into that feeling of watching Rocky and how much I love sports flicks and, well, I actually teared up a little. So, hey, fun, huh?

How you doin'?

Yeah, What He Said

"What with going to kindergarten during the Cuban Missile Crisis and my father taking me to see Dr. Strangelove at age seven I believed for sure I was going to die in a nuclear apocalypse. Turning twenty came as a rude surprise to me since I had no real back up plan."

- Anthony Bourdain upon touring the Titan Missile Museum

I wasn't born yet during the CMC and I was 30 before I saw Dr. Strangelove but I so recognize the sentiment.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Floral Friday Flashback

You guys I just wish that I had more upbeat things to say on Fridays. I took this shot last year in the garden that Auntie Blanche tended at her last home. Today we're on the edge of our seats about her. We wait and we see. Wait. And see.

To the best of my knowledge today I'll go to class then to see Will Smith throw his weight around before heading back to the homefront to feed my cats and the ones Pony Express rents space from. Later I think I'll watch the Olympics. You never know, though, anything can happen, right?

Edited to Add: I wrote this last night and set it up to post today at 1. Since then...well, I've rented a car and I'm packing right now and we're headed to NH. I have some other things that were alread set up in the queue to post so it might seem like I'm here but it's just an internet illusion.

Casual Attire

Here's another PROMPTuesday entry. Unsurprisingly, it's #9. Why do I not do these every Tuesday? They're so much fun! This one is not a true story. I do not sail if I can possibly avoid it. I did, however, avidly watch Season 3 of Dawson's Creek so I have a soft spot for the activity.

The night gown is incredibly impractical for a sailing trip. He raised a scornful eyebrow when she unpacked it seven nights ago. It’s white and cotton and it billows around her ankles like a sail. If they had bad seas in the middle of the night she’d be useless.

She didn’t want to come on this trip. She doesn’t like sailing and she continually bumps her head on the way into the galley. She never moves fast enough for his liking and she stiffens with the fear of drowning when they finally get up some speed. He assumed the nightgown was a rebellion so he refused to acknowledge it.

Tonight, she’s sitting on the bow, toes trailing in the water and the nightgown bunched around her thighs. Leaning back on her hands with her head thrown back she surveys the vast night sky. The stars are the only reason she ever agrees to go sailing. No day trips for her.

In this light he sees the nightgown for what it is and what it can be. She looks like the girl he bought a Seabreeze for in a stale little bar in the East Village a hundred years ago. He doesn’t look like the boy who wrote his number on her hand as the sun came up over Tompkins Square Park.

He kicks off his topsiders and carefully navigates the deck to sit beside her. For the first time in a while he’d really like to see what she sees.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Could Not Be Less Prompt

On the other hand I am easy to prompt.

Part of my writing day involved catching up on some of San Diego Momma's PROMPTuesday inspirations. Here's #8. It is (mostly) a true story.

My free association words were: blue, glassy, lake

The sunsets on East Pond were beautiful. My grandfather prided himself in them and took photos almost every night, while he could see to do it. The screened in porch where we ate dinner faced the lake and if we were eating late we’d watch from there. Other nights we’d head down to the dock and sit, perhaps dangling out toes off the edge and into the water. The grown ups would talk and we all stared into the sunset.

Years later, in Wales I took a picture of the sun setting over the ocean. I proudly brought it back to my grandfather to show him the only other place, besides his pond, where I had seen the sun sink behind the water. He didn’t understand the attraction.

I was fine during the setting itself. I liked the fireworks quality of the sun bursting apart as it sank. It was after that last sliver disappeared that scared me. The twilight left the lake deep blue and glassy. It was too brittle, as though there were something lightly imprisoned underneath.

From far away it wasn’t so bad. Watching while we gnawed our corn on the cob it was a harmless documentary. But when we were right there, feet in the water as it happened I wondered what could come from beneath and I would lie awake all night, listening to the screaming of the loons and wishing I knew what they were trying to tell me.

Writing Day

I wrote the following piece last week. Since I've taken today off work as a writing day it seemed appropriate to share. I'm interested to hear what you think.

Slipping Away

We are walking along together when the path gets narrow. I am surprised but we are talking and it doesn’t seem important. You asked me out here specially and I recognize a gift when I’m given one. It would be the worst kind of rudeness to cut this short, to speed it up or change it in anyway. Later, out of the corner of my eye, I see that the path drops off. Its edge is steep and rocky and goes a long, long way down. I am frightened and, laughing, I say so.

“Don’t look down. Just look at me.”

So I do and we keep walking and the path continues to narrow. Eventually you have to turn sideways and inch yourself along so I turn sideways too and reach out to hold your hand. Loosely joined we shuffle along. We are awkward like two old men in a retirement home gymnastics competition.

When it happens it is, at first, in slow motion. There is time, so much time that I am able to think, “This is going to speed up. Any second it will speed up and it will all be over. I need to pay attention.” And pay attention I do as your hand slips from mine and your arms pinwheel. We both gasp and flail and reach each other again in a one handed cross grip, wrists secure in palms like a medieval greeting. No swords here just muscles pulled taut with the work of it all. My footing is inexplicably firm while yours deteriorates. Your toes, now bare, scrabble for purchase to no avail and eventually reach the end of the sandy, pebbled ledge.

Then you dangle from our melded hands like washing on a line. My back is firm against the canyon wall and my arm is fully extended, its whole purpose made up of reaching you where you hang. I can see the darkness all around you but I don’t look directly at it. I look at you, just you, right in the eyes.

What we never talked about is that I know you. At least that’s what I tell myself. It is at the bare minimum true that when you, the book, are open I can read the language with a certain fluency. Right behind your sparkling blue eyes I see what you are about to say and, in my heart, I hear myself thank you. Thank you for not saying it right away, thank you for holding on just one more second, and thank you for the next one and the next and the one after that.

We are connected by our fingers now. It hurts which is good I think because it reminds us to keep paying attention. I will not look away from you. I have one job, you gave it to me back there when we were both on the path. “Look at me.” I will. I will keep looking, if not unflinching at least unblinking, until we’re done here. Or me here and you there but done just the same. All our concentration is in the tips of our delicate digits. Every drop of sweat is a seismic shift and I watch your eyes, waiting to see you say the words.

“Let go.”

As fast as everything that came before it was slow you do. Some might ask how fingernails can let go but they can. It’s an act of will but it’s possible. I let go too. Not because I want to but because I know that I’m to do as I’m told. So I let go but I don’t pull back. With that arm outstretched I keep my eyes on yours as you fall farther and farther away from me. Even as the rest of you goes small in the distance I pick out the pinpricks of those ice blue eyes and hold them with my own.

I don’t hear you land. I’m told, much later, that the bottom of the fissure is just too far away. I stay a while just in case, though. What if you were stuck on a ledge and needed, well I don’t have any rope but what if you needed…some company? You don’t, of course.

Alone again I realize that only steps in front of me the path widens out and the way is clearly marked back down to base camp. I’ll take it slow. My arm is still sore, I’ve broken some fingernails right down to the quick and my breathing isn’t yet back to normal. I’ll get down there, though, in my own time, and when I do I’ll tell them that you said goodbye even though you didn’t.

I didn’t either. We didn’t have to.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

"a demanding, observant and inspiring teacher"

I had an e-mail from Ruby today letting me know that our British Shakespeare and classics teacher, David Perry, died last month. After reading this elegant obituary by our voice teacher I'm almost hesitant to eulogize him. Almost.

David was a cranky old queen. Despite long stretches of time spent abroad he had hardly a decent word to say about the entire continent of North America. His contempt for New York in particular was sharp and deep seated. You could work in his class for upwards of half an hour and not get past the second line of your sonnet. He might stop you after the first phrase or word, even. I have, in fact, been stopped on more than one occasion before I could get that first word out. Though I am traditionally intolerant of this sort of treatment of my person and my homeland I grew to love him. Somewhere between the first time he grudgingly told me I'd gotten something right and the day I figured out that his unerring ability to call a break exactly halfway through our class was due to blood sugar not omniscience I found the seat of the connection I felt with him and held on to it with all my might. My work with him over the past decade and a half both here and in London have made me a better actor, a better student and a more confident person all around.

In his honor I give you this description of the Globe Theatre as set out in the first prologue from Henry V. I never tired of his first session lesson on the origins and intents of William Shakespeare that began with this piece interwoven with well-practiced academic commentary.

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all,
The flat unraised spirits that have dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object: can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million;
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Are now confined two mighty monarchies,
Whose high upreared and abutting fronts
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder:
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;
Into a thousand parts divide one man,
And make imaginary puissance;
Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth;
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there; jumping o'er times,
Turning the accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this history;
Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.

Back in a Mo

There's a scheduled outage in a couple of minutes and I have spent most of my day over at Chili's place in a heavy conversation and then I got some sad news. So this is just to say "Hey, how are you?" and "I'll be back as soon as I've finished crafting the next installment of 2008: The Year That Should Be Sent To Bed Without Supper.

See you soon!

(No links! No time! Outage commencing!)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

You Can Quote Me

In reference to the HopeRevo Chili asked to be directed to a good quotations page. Here's what happened when I googled "quotes". I can't seem to find the page I used last week but they all look good. Within each site you can get the quotes sorted by topic, which I found helpful.

ProfDoc thinks herself cynical when she wonders, "I'm afraid the finders will assume the cards are from some sort of cult/religion/political group with a veiled agenda". Well, she's not alone. The HopeRevo people are aware that this project could easily be hijacked by those sorts of groups and they have a disclaimer on the site asking specifically that people with those kinds of agendas not use the group's url. That, of course, won't keep finders from thinking it at first but if you put the url on your note they have the tools to learn that it's not a bunch of bad crazy people. Crazy, perhaps, but not in a bad way.

I'm glad you guys love this. I can't wait to hear what you do!

10 Things Olympic

1. Let's start small. I love the Olympics and will probably watch all together too much sporting coverage over the course of the games.

2. I'm a little afraid of these Olympics. They're giving me a bad Munich sort of feeling.

3. I worry that post-natural-disaster there are ordinary Chinese citizens who aren't getting the help they need because resources are being diverted to the Olympics.

4. On the other hand hopefully having people spend time and money at the Olympics will help the aforementioned ordinary citizens get the resources they need in the long term.

5. Do you know how cutthroat the swimming trials are? Only the top 2 competitors in any event go on to the Olympics.

6. Apparently the gymnastics scoring system is all different this year. Miflohny has explained it to me but I'm not certain I get it. I'm pretty sure that after 72 quatrillion explanations by the fine people at NBC sports I'll have it sorted.

7. As grateful as I will be to the aforementioned fine folk for the tutorial in gymnastics scoring I will be spending pretty much all my viewing time making so much fun of them. "So, what are they saying here? I think the deal is that coming in first is best. Don't you think? And from what I can glean 2nd and 3rd aren't bad but 4th? Well 4th is useless. But you know, I'm not sure. Maybe they'll tell me again. Hey! They will!"

8. I would like someone to invent a plug-in for my DVR that seamlessly edits out any story about a trouper of an Olympic competitor who is here for the very last time because they are [fill in an age as old or younger than me].

9. I will cry during at least one special interest profile. I can't help it. I bet you cry too.

10. They name the marathon after a situation in which a man ran a really long time with a message, fought a battle, ran another really, really long time with a message (incidentally because he was greedy and wanted the money with which people would shower him since he had good news) and then...dropped dead. How is there anything but wrong in that?

What's your stance on the Olympics?