Sunday, June 29, 2008

Also Maine, and the future

Some fears I harbor, which I lay squarely at the feet of Stephen King: 

--Small towns, especially idyllic ones. The more perfect the place, the more certain I am that I'm going to be devoured by needle-toothed frogs, or abducted into the audience for a neverending concert by dead rock stars, or menaced by an antique truck or something. Bad scene all around.
--Clowns. Maybe they're just vaguely creepy and totally depressing and unfunny, but maybe they're interdimensional beings that will become your worst fear and eat you alive. 
--Random doom of the right place/wrong time scenario. Thanks to Steve-o, you never know -- you might've just boarded a plane that never left yesterday and is going to be destroyed at the molecular level while you wait, or chosen a lunch spot with a waiter who's been going crazy for awhile and happens to be about to machete some people to death today, or gotten a big old snootful of a deadly virus that's gonna kill you and 99 percent of the rest of humanity.
--Nevada. If it ain't the Devil, it's a psycho cop or some sort of ancient motherfuckin curse or other. Either way, you're gonna get torn limb from limb at the very least.
--Very bad things happening to the Achilles tendon while you stand by your bed. A nice specificity within the general "something under the bed" fear, don't you think? 
--Cornfields. I think that's all I need to say. 

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Capricorn is an Earth sign, doncha know.

The Official Damn Kids Ranking: Bodies of Water and Whether I Will Swim in Them or Not

1.) Ocean. Turquoisey and bathwater-warm near Miami, bracingly cold off Long Island, clear and fresh on Maui, super-salty and gentle in the Gulf of Mexico, chilly but swimmable in the south of France – I’m scared to death of the ocean’s power, but I love it (them?) best of all.

2.) Swimming pool. Must be outdoors, well-maintained, have absolutely clear water and no weird stains anywhere, must have unblemished white shell (no tiles, designs, or colors below the waterline), must not have overly large drain; any one of these factors renders the pool unusable to me.

3.) River. I don’t do whitewater, but a lazy river is at least a possibility. If I’ve got a good raft or a bunch of people and innertubes. And beer. Because then I can forget about slimy things lining the riverbed, and snakes, and deadly whirlpools.

4.) Lake. Ugh – never again, except maybe Tahoe (where you can see to the bottom). I have a crippling fear of lakes – they’re pretty when viewed from the deck of your lake house, but no way would I swim in one again. Cottonmouth snakes, water you can’t see through, murky stuff underfoot, bacteria soup, eeeegh. And that’s in the good ones; there are those that advertise themselves as “bottomless,” which gives me the Level Seven Super-Meemie Howling Fantods.

5.) Pond. I used to love ponds so much as a kid, I dug my own in our yard, with a spade. I wanted to row about in a pond, in a little boat, under a parasol. But then I realized how they’re basically breeding grounds for mosquitoes, algae, leeches, snakes, water spiders (shut up, I know it’s true), and stench, and the dream died.

6.) Water park. The summer of 1991 is the last one that saw me anywhere near a water park. Holy sunburnt pisswater blubberfest! Well, OK, I was pressganged into going to Schlitterbahn with the yute group for whom I was pressganged into acting as chaperone in the summer of 1996, but I didn’t actually go into the water. Speaking of yute groups, the 1991 trip was with one as well, only I was one of the yutes, and it was actually pretty fun, as I was trying to get something going with A Boy at that point in time, and hell, when you’re 17, a lot of things seem fun that don’t later in life, am I right?

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ignorance can kill

Yesterday morning, I'm riding up in a full elevator when this girl spies a baseball cap in the hand of a guy who works on my floor. She sort of hollers, "Thank GOD we won last night, or we were gonna get swept!" He looks startled, but agrees, and she gets off at the next floor. He turns to me, holding out the cap, which I see has the hated Boston "B" on it, and at his beseeching look I say, "Huh uh, man. Yankees household over here." He still looks totally mystified and not a little weirded out, and mumbles to the car at large, "It's not even my hat -- it's my friend's, he left it at my place ... asked if I could bring it back to him ... " I laugh and say, "That shit's like gang colors -- gotta know what you're doing, showing it in public." When we disbark at our mutual destination and go separate directions, I'm still sorta laughing, and he's trying to stuff the cap into his messenger bag.

On reflection: It is at times like these that I gain insight into why some people think I am amusing (like a monkey, a loud loud monkey) and others think I am a fearsome beast of a girl ...

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Friday, June 20, 2008

And also, the extraterrestrial origin of both Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood

In lieu of any form of organized religion or theism, I give you:

Half a Dozen Things I Do Believe In

--Sasquatch (you know he's real)
--Aliens (among us, watching us from galaxies far away, whatevs)
--The recurrence phenomenon*
--Dolphins and parrots being smarter than they let on
--Warding off Evil by tossing a few grains of salt over your shoulder when you spill any

*Recurrence phenomenon: First identified by my dad, this is when you see/hear/notice something you've never seen/heard/noticed before, and suddenly you see/hear/notice it everywhere -- like when you don't know anyone who has a robin's-egg blue Vespa, then you buy one, and then you see four on your way to work. Simple, yet profound -- it has an unholy power.

PS: Just had to share, from a blog I recently stumbled upon – if lolcats makes you laugh helplessly, you’ll appreciate this post: “I am the mighty hunter. I am Death made flesh.”

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On the plus side, there were no boy bands yet.

In Walgreens this a.m. looking for baby Orajel (which Target doesn’t sell – weird, huh?), I am assaulted by that goddamned “Good mornin' America how are ya / somethin somethin train somethin New Orleans” song (can’t be arsed to look it up, earworm already in FULL EFFECT, kthxbai). I said out loud at louder-than-conversational volume, “This is the worst song in the history of recorded music.” And this one guy walking past, probably early 40s, Dockers and a blazer, looks me right in the eye and says flatly, “Yup.”

Fucking awesome!

The seventies. God. All that national interest in, like, the open road, and trucking, and hillbillies, and kuntry-style songs that tell stories, ugh.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Who needs teeth, anyway? Or feet. Or eyesight.

Saw this ad the other day on the side of a city bus – McDonald’s pimping a 32-ounce sweet tea for one dollar (American), described as a sweet treat for summer or some such. My initial reaction was a grimacing “bluh!” and the thought “Yeah, like this country needs 32 ounces of sweet tea for a buck, cause not everybody has Type II dia-BEET-us yet.”

But then it occurred to me that McDunk’s is just nationalizing what My People have been doing for like ever. In my hostessing/waitressing career at various chain eateries in the Cowburg, Texass area back in the day, it was always part of the job to keep those 10-gallon tea maker things brewing and to offer the drinks immediately – and it was a rare table that would not have iced tea all around. For about a dollar, the glasses were 32 ounces, with constant unlimited free refills, and “iced tea” meant “sweet tea” – you had to ask special for unsweetened (which, eew). In fact, the thing about the beverage I know as “tea” is that you have to pour in your million pounds of sugar while the water is still hot, before you add the cold water, or it won’t all dissolve. (Internets, I can actually see in my mind the full-face rictus of disgust involuntarily stamped on Mr. Gleemonex’s head as he reads this – he’s not from My People, you know, and even after sixteen years of knowing me, he still watches with horror as the empty sugar packets pile up on restaurant tables we share ... I tell him he should just look away, but perhaps he is compelled, in a train-wreck sort of way.)

So anyhoo, drink up, America, and remember to use fluoride rinse tonight!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Can't pitch Sunday -- that's the Sabbath

You guys know how much I hate the Oakland A's, right? Well, one of my many reasons is the variety of nasty facial hair on display at any given time, but the other night a relief pitcher named Chad "Mose" Gaudin was sporting the most awesome Amish red beard-o-rama that Mr. Gleemonex and I could not stop ourselves -- for like an hour we were all:

"He just got back from Rumspringa."

"He totally made his own glove from a cow he slaughtered himself."

"He's got to raise a barn on Saturday."

"I hear his wife is really plain."

"His uniform fastens with hooks and eyes. And I'm pretty sure I see suspenders under there."

"He only pitches day games cause you can't light a stadium with candles."

"There's talk of having him shunned!"

"I hope he's careful out there among them English."

"Well, guess he won't be pitching again for a few weeks -- they gotta send him on ahead of the team in his horse and buggy."

Oh, the A's -- the team that keeps on giving!

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Thursday, June 12, 2008


Today is the ninth anniversary of my dad’s passing. I didn’t write about it here last year, and I could’ve saved this post for next year and a nice round number, but for some reason (maybe that I’m a parent now too?), I’m feeling it somewhat keenly this year, so allow me, willya?

My dad was like nobody else, man. I’m not even going to go into it, but to illustrate: A few years ago, after a Howard Dean rally, I cornered keynote speaker and Dad’s Harvard classmate Peter Coyote and thanked him for being part of this movement (which I suspected the old man would’ve really gotten behind, incidentally), and asked him if he remembered [Dad’s name], from back in the day. Pete Coyote -- a guy who has met so many freaks and crazies in his life, so many rockstars and giants and lone gunmen and Hell’s Angels and politicians – he recognized the un-famous name instantly, said “Oh yeah – a real bandito! Are you his daughter?” and talked with me about him for a few minutes before someone else got hold of him. You wouldn’t get that with just any schmo.

There was something of Allie Fox in my dad, of Hunter S. Thompson, of Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac and Jimmy frickin Hoffa; he was a patron to hardworking people like himself, a crusader for what he saw as Right and True, a deeply, deeply sexist person who nonetheless raised his daughters to fear nothing and nobody. He was an alcoholic, a smoker, a conflicted Christian, a believer both in The Rules and in his personal right to break every single one of them with a fucking sledgehammer. Prideful, epically stubborn, judgmental (apple don’t fall far from the tree, do it?), sometimes megalomaniacal, with a wingspan that could cover most of humanity if he wanted to – far from a perfect person, flawed and damaged, but a loving and fiercely loyal soul, he opened up the world for me and was, as he always put it, “my biggest fan.”

There are things I’m still mad at him for, and things that make me miss the hell out of him; I hate that he never got to meet his granddaughter, but I probably wouldn’t have let him drive with her in the car (between the drinking and the scorning of seatbelts in general and carseats in particular as nanny-state tools of The Man which are going to make a generation of pussies out of our children … oh, I can hear it now …).

But as my friend Tom the Drummer says: “Here’s to ‘im.” Miss you, dad. Wish you were here.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Greener than Ed Begley up over in here

You know how one of the easiest ways to lower your kitchen water & energy consumption levels is to run a full dishwasher? Well, not so much if you have to run it twice because you forgot to put soap in, and then you start putting everything away and don't figure it out till you get to the baby's bottles and they're like just not clean and you're all, hey, what's the deal with ... why are these ... oh, right. That strange thin greasy film over everything you just put away wasn't your imagination after all. Reduce, reuse, recycle, re-wash.

On a not-really-related note: You know how people where I'm from tend to say "warsh"? Well, in Kindergarten, we had this student teacher, and during this one spelling test, she kept saying "won't." Won't, won't, won't. I kept asking, until she got mad, because I didn't remember "won't" being on our list for the week. So I dutifully wrote w-o-n-apostrophe-t, won't. I got it wrong. Turns out, she was saying "want." I argued for the credit, but no go, and my lifetime of raging against the injustices of the educational system had begun in flames.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Moses supposes his toeses are roses

Not the timeliest post (that would've been around when he died, natch), but have I ever told you guys how deeply, thoroughly hilarious I find Charlton Heston? Oh MAN, does he kill me!

Soylent Green is peeeeepullllllllll! Those damn dirty apes! They can have my guns when they pry them from my cold, dead hands!

Comedy gold, people.

So we Netflixed Omega Man recently (having seen the pretty-good I Am Legend, we decided to see the other movie based on the good idea/poorly-executed novella I Am Legend -- although, quick digression: Why do zombies and/or other vampiric/flesh-eating undead develop superspeed and superstrength in movies? They're fucking DEAD(ish), so how come they get stronger? Only the seriously funny Shaun of the Dead got that part right, the part about zombies being -- you know, zombies, like slow and stupid but relentless).

And but so Omega Man -- here's ol' Charlston, already a little past his prime but still workin it pretty good. He's the last non-undead guy in the world, as far as he knows, so he spends his time flyin through the streets in hott cars, talkin to himself and whatnot. I don't think it's a spoiler to tell you that there's some real weird stuff in there about this "Family" of, um, like afflicted people who only come out at night, and some time-capsule-y 1971 bizarrity in which our boy Chuckles bags a sassy black chick (and don't you know HE'S the best she ever had! aww yeah).

But he's been alone for like three years, and before he meets any non-undeads, he has this thing where he thinks the phone's ringin. He's just crashed his car through the window of a dealership, preparatory to selecting another one, and suddenly it seems like every pay phone on every corner in Los Angeles is just rrrrringin its balls off, and Chuck's staggering around clutching his head, hollering at himself that it isn't real, it isn't happening, aaauuugggh! -- and y'all, I laughed for like ten solid minutes. Good times, good times.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Mental quicksand

There is a blog I frequent, a very entertaining and interesting blog based in my home county back in Texass. The comments section, unfortunately, is overrun by bigots, racists, the half-smart and a lot of people who fancy themselves libertarians and/or mavericks of some sort, but who spout the neocon Republican party line like they're getting the same blast faxes Fox "News" gets with their ten-gallon breakfasts every morning.

It is depressing, but not surprising, to find out what this sub-race of people are calling Barack Obama, now that he's the nominee (I assume you can use your imagination to figure out what they're well-accustomed to calling Hillary). Among the most popular are: Obammy (rhymes with beloved black stereotype "Mammy," geddit??), Hussein, Osama, and "brutha" (et. al.). On the other hand, when it suits their ridiculous circular and/or straw man arguments, they love to assail him as basically a limp-wristed champagne-swilling Ivy-League pussy, whiter than your very own sainted grandmama and half as butch.

So which is it, shitheads? Is he a terrorist, a n****r or a white f****t? Do make up your minds so y'all can all get on the one hate train instead of splitting up the base.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I gotta take it easy or I’m gonna throw a clot.

Two things brought to you by the happy-fun-outrage box lately:

$2.99 gas
Friday night, we were stuck watching live TV because the Yankees game was on and TiVo was recording BSG (an ultimately frustrating episode, because I begrudge every single minute that that lawyer twat is onscreen, especially with only one ep to go, but that’s neither here nor there). And but so it being live TV, I saw a bunch of commercials for the Jeep/Chrysler/Dodge $2.99 gas bullshit, and it just about made my head explode. This is hey-look-over-there! whizzbang gimmickry at its very worst – robbing Peter to pay Paul, fiddling while Rome burns, three-card-monte shell-game shuck-the-rubes-and-send-‘em-home-penniless, wake-up-in-a-bathtub-full-of-ice-minus-a-kidney craptaculosity. Seriously, numbnuts American automakers – instead of using all this famous American ingenuity to figure out how to make a more fuel-efficient car (and/or get in on the Next Big Thing fuelwise, from which you can make your next $100 billion), you’re tryna get me to buy one of your ugly, poorly-made gas-guzzling behemoths by offering me three-dollar gas for a couple of years? Fuck all y’all, right in the ear, and double fuck whichever dumbasses are stupid enough to fall for it.

Comparative moral values
During the A&E Movie Event: The Andromeda Strain, Mr. Gleemonex and I observed that apparently it is perfectly OK to televise in great detail such choice moments as a guy cutting his own head off with a chainsaw, a woman pouring gasoline over herself and lighting herself on fire, and a guy murdering three people with a handgun at close range, then putting the gun under his own chin and pulling the trigger. Fountains of blood, screams, ultraviolence – all thumbs-up from the network censors. On the other hand, the words “shit” and “ass” (among other mildish curses) were bleeped out.

To recap: OK to show horrible homicidal and suicidal violence in prime time. Not OK for a scientist charged with saving the world to mutter “shit” under his breath. Goooood to know.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Sudden clarity

As I made yet another "write it down or I'll forget it because my brains are like Swiss cheez these days and it drives me nuts when I can't remember something I was thinking of, no matter how insignificant or trivial that thing was" note to self on a pad of paper made from the cut-into-eighths waste paper from my office's fax machine last night, I realized something, which is: When I have merged with the infinite, they are going to find my earthly husk among stacks, sheaves, piles and drifts of Post-It notes, paper napkins and bits of scrap paper all scribbled over with things like "blonde girl on House ep -- Missy Crider -- who? IMDB" and "the bends -- can get it from just being deep underground or only in water? ref. Brooklyn Bridge construction" and "Jeremy Bentham." It's my version of Crazy Cat Lady, only safer because insane-sounding, disconnected bits of thoughts on paper do not eat your corpse, generally speaking.

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Would you like that on the rocks?