Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Carpet, Honor, Europe




That title, in a nutshell, is why I've been absent from these hallowed halls the past 14 days -- the inherent duality of the universe has been completely and utterly evident in that space of breathing and blood flow that I occupy, trapping me inside an existential yin-yang constructed of both ouchy mountains and comfy clouds.

Carpet

A fortnight ago, my bathroom toilet decided to plot its revenge for my continual assaults and quietly overflow while I was at work. Of course I didn't discover it until several hours later, so I returned home not only to my usual floor-full of already-stained, beige, tract housing carpet, but with the added bonus of squishy sound effects, and after a few days, unbearable stank. All the carpet in the house had to be pulled up and industrial fans had to run for about a week to dry the place out. I suppose it's not so bad. I wanted laminate anyway.

Honor

Though nominated last year, this year, I was elected Teacher of the Year for my particular school by my peers. I will now have to write an essay and move on to the district-wide competition (which reminds me of winning the 4th grade spelling bee). The prize at this level? Unparallelled daily congratulation at work, and free lunch with my boss. Woot.

Europe

Some money came in. The last few times that happened, I just paid off credit card debt. This time, I decided to go to Europe with it, and to go alone. I leave tomorrow for London and will also ride the Eurostar (Chunnel) train to Paris (under the ocean!!) and spend a day there. Let's hope my high school language skillz don't fail me: "Ou est le salle de bain, s'il vous plait?"

Other than my 2 hour jaunt into Mexico this past summer, this will be my only time to have left the warm, comforting shores of Mother America. I'm scared and somewhat anxious, but excited to realize something I've been dreaming of for the past 25 years or so.
I have already been instructed not to involve myself in any international political affairs while I'm there.

I have a plethora of mixed feelings: guilt because I'm going and everyone else I know wants to go but can't afford it, fear that I'll be hated as a typical fat American or forget all the French I know or someone will look askance at me on the plane (for 7 hours) because I might take up an extra inch or two in the seat, that I'll accidentally lapse into my "really good" British accent... But beyond all that, I know it will be smashing. I idolize the British for their steadfastness and snobbery and wit and class, and I respect the French for being the existential, intellectual, artistic folk they are, even in the face of hatred from the most good-looking, popular nation on Earth. I expect to get a better view of who we are by walking among those who aren't us.


Every time I leave Texas and visit other places, I enjoy it, but I appreciate Dallas all the more. So I know I'll be glad while I'm gone, and gladder when I get home. Pray I don't exceed TSA suitcase limits for Mr. Kipling's and tea.
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“I'm from a little place called England ... We used to run the world before you.” -- Ricky Gervais

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Forty Minutes to GF

Sometimes, I entertain random messaging on the interwebs. Sure, I know it's foolish but I sometimes do. I think it has something to do with ongoing research about what percentage of the human race has anything interesting to say. By current estimates, data approaches approximately 1.2%. And you, of course.

The other night I was bantering boringly with some random jackass. The conversation wasn't moving along very swimmingly at all. He kept quizzing me about general life info: what do I do, kids, family, hobbies, sorry your parents are dead, blah, blah, etc.

Then after about 40 drawn out moments, in which I was giving halfass answers and chatting with two other (interesting) people, reading Wikipedia or some such at the same time, he says, "So do you want to be my gf?"

Hmm. GF. Garden Funder? Grappling Fondue? Gargoyle Foot?

He also refused to send any pics at first, asking, "Is my appearance all that important to you?" and then when he did, it looked like he'd haphazardly clipped 3 different shots from the Abercrombie catalog.

I am now befuddled. Should I be this man's Gesso Furnace?

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There's always something to write about. If there's not then you need to live life more aggressively.
-- Min Kim, Better Blogging Brainstorming, SXSW 2006

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thought Amblings

Do you ever just come home from toil and go and lie down, not sleeping nor waking?

"Who has time?" you may ask.

I don't have time either, but I do it anyway. Always have. It's a need, sort of.

When I do this, odd stuff floats to the surface of my consciousness.

Just now, this thought emerged slowly from the unformed ether:

"If I die tomorrow, I will at least know this about myself:"

A few seconds later, a rough-edged, unvarnished truth emerged:

"I live more in the world of ideas than in the real world."


It's true, I say.

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"Say hello." -- Deep Dish (Angello & Ingrosso remix)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Quick Music Geekly Note for a Sunday Night


I don't get Lou Reed.

By "don't get" I mean I don't understand what the big deal is about him and why he's considered so influential when the majority of folk have only ever heard one song. With a lot of crusty, bleak, grim artists (see Pink Floyd), maybe I don't like their stuff but I get it, I fathom their influence; however, with Reed, no. Just no.

I'd rather listen to Skid Row's "I Remember You" and be called a musical cretin than sit through just one more time of "Walk on the Wild Side." Ugh. Sebastian Bach up.


If you do get him, please explain.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Threesome

When at Starbucks, I have a moral, jingoistic, and/or Texan instinctual thing going in which I refuse to order in Italian, as posted on and imposed by their menu. I also don't order a latte, or half-caff anything. I just say "a large coffee with cream and Equal." The other day when I did this, I actually had to explain what I meant by large:

Baristo: "You mean venti?"
Me: "Uhmm, yes. ::thinking to self:: "We're still speaking English. You are officially brainwashed, you clueless cog in the international corporate machine, you."

--------------------------

Being part of a huge, lumbering, mammoth, inefficient school district, I occasionally have to attend trainings which seem virtually pointless. I had to do this recently. While there, someone corrected my drawing of a multiplication array.

I drew this:
3 X 5

. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .

Her contention was that I should've drawn this:

3 X 5
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .

My assertion is that, due to multiplication's commutative property, IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER. So she pointed it out, and I kind of just went, "Yeah." Immediately afterward, I had a sinking sensation that because this training will have other sessions and I will most certainly encounter this woman later on, that this will become a Larry David-like moment, and that a second of rudeness will punish me on and on in the not-so-distant future. Which is why I love Curb Your Enthusiasm so damn much -- I feel a certain solidarity with Larry David's fictional? self.

--------------------------------

Physical bodies are gross... everyone has a thoracic duct, an alimentary canal. We are compelled to eat the dead flesh of other formerly living things to survive. It just gets gross if I think too much about it. Hence the nature of this blog -- overthinking things that are unchangeable and pointless to think of even in the first place.

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[Apologies to LBB for jumping his train a bit; however, none of these merited a full posting, I didn't think.]

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Crying Fowl


Man, isn't that idyllic.


I like this picture for its mixture of turkeyscat pseudo-history
and potential for inventive captioning.

Pilgrim Matron: Well, that makes sense! Dark meat for thee!
Pilgrim Padre: (thinking to self) O, when shall the festivities make way for the after-feasting footy?


King Lear (beruffed): I scent a treason and turning against upon the winds.
Earl of Kent: I shall eat no fish. The venison smells sweet, however.
Miles: Priscilla, I lay awake last eve with thoughts of thy sweet corn pudding!
Priscilla: Mind your countenance, Miles!
I mayn't stand closer than two feet to thee -- our elders
condemn the wicked thoughts of handholding such proximity shall produce!
Etc... Please! Add thy own!


But most importantly, know that I am thankful for each of thee, dear blogpals,
and PLEASE,
enjoy thy feasting and football, and have a



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"You ever notice you never seem to get laid much on Thanksgiving? I think it's because all the coats are on the bed." -- George Carlin

The real Thanksgiving story?

Monday, November 19, 2007

On Target (part 3): Requiem for the Red and Khaki


During my tenure of nearly a decade spent in the Crimson Limbo above Walmart and K-Mart and below, say, Macy's, I worked most of my time at the customer service desk. Working every single holiday of my life was de rigeur during that time, as was donning the horrid color combo of red shirt and khaki pants -- there's nothing like a pair of khaki pants to make me run (slowly) screaming, even now -- only black pants can camouflage flab effectively, which is why it is now de mon rigeur to wear black pants 99.4% of the time. To this day, you will never catch me, even if all my other clothes have been burned up in a fire, wearing red and khaki together. Ugh.



At Tar-zhay in the 90's, there was a "no-hassle" return policy -- we accepted virtually any item we had ever sold at any time in the past as a return, as long as we could string a few numbers together to make that identifying number and some semblance of a selling price. I have personally refunded money on leaking car batteries, stolen Monistat, and once, a Nintendo box that was still shrink wrapped, but cleverly filled with juice boxes (oops). Generally I was perfectly happy giving away the store's money, as I was trained to do, and tried my best to assist the thirty and forty and fiftysomethings who came to me with desperate shopping emergencies, imploring me to do such things as call all dozen stores in the greater Metroplex area to find that last fucking cabbage rose chintz sham that was on clearance.

Sometimes, however, it got to be a bit much, as with the lady who returned a paper sack full of white $4.00 canvas deck shoes that were severely worn on the soles, split down the sides, and impregnated with so much red dirt, they looked like they had been worn through a full game by every player in major league baseball throughout the 1992 season. We took them back. Another time, someone dug about three stiff pairs of indigo blue jeans out of their closet. They had tags pinned on with straight pins (a practice I remembered from my visits to Target as a wee babe, in the SEVENTIES). We took them back. It was a magic time. Some of that ill-gotten "no-hassle return" cash doubtless went to substances that would eliminate the awareness of ANY of the hassles of existence, and might just end them altogether.

Working at the service desk beat cashiering, though, just because it was more interesting. It was later deemed "Guest Service" after Target began copying Disneyworld's idea that the customer was a "guest" to be treated as such (a silly notion since guests typically aren't charged for the hospitality you show them). In the particular store that I worked at (now closed -- a SuperTarget opened down the road), Guest Service was located right next to the front door, which meant you could watch as shoplifters were physically apprehended by store security. If things got too serious, the call went out for all male store employees to proceed to the front to assist. A few redshirts could claim that they had run some shoplifter down out in the parking lot. The best fight was put up by a man in a trenchcoat, who had long, lanky hair and was probably in his fifties. He struggled against two or three employees, thrashing wildly in the glass enclosure between the in and out doors like a caged animal. If you've seen Blade Runner, it was somewhat reminiscent of Deckard shooting Zora in the clear plastic trenchcoat, without the shots or blood.



Over time, I even worked my way up to being operator, which means I sat in the fitting room and folded clothes while monitoring the passage of tryers-on and also answering the phone. I liked that position because I got to make announcements over the intercom. Give me a mic and I'm happy, I suppose. This post also allowed for considerable multitasking, and I enjoyed the challenge of juggling the daily onslaught of calls that the store would get. Chief among the perks of this job was that I didn't have to close. Closing meant staying until everything was neat and tidy to the assistant manager's satisfaction (zoning). Even today, I will "zone" behind myself, pulling up cans to fill in the spaces I create if it's close to closing time, no matter what store I'm at.



So as you can see, muchachos, when I walk into a Target store, I know the ins and outs. I have done virtually every job there -- even stocking the shelves. Target is where I learned that soylent green is made from people (as one night manager queried me about my movie watching habits). Target is where I learned to get price adjustments by "returning" items on sale and repurchasing them. Target is where I learned to foil confidence tricksters who would ask for change in a repeated fashion until they ended up with more bills than they should have. Target is where I got a whopping 10% discount for so many years. Target is where most of my paychecks from 1988 - 1996 went.

Was the time I spent there pissed away, or a valuable learning experience?

Yes.

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"Breathing in the fumes from so many idling cars,
Right beneath the sign with the dusty yellow stars,
Watching the sun go,
Watching the sun go down."


-- Cake, "Alpha Beta Parking Lot"

Sunday, November 11, 2007

On Target, Part 2: Ask me. I like to help.


Back in 1988, "Ask me. I like to help." was printed on a white plastic card in large Arial script on a ground of thin red-lined grid. This card was fused in some fashion to the large, uncomfortably identifying name tag which is the universal badge of shame of the retail store employee. I would have preferred, as at the telemarketing job that I held for one day when I tried in desperation to quit the red-walled retailer, to have been able to use an alias emblazoned above the lofty plastic claim of undaunted helpfulness, but it was not to be. From the first time I pinned on that promise of unqualified assistance with ANYthing the customer might need, it galled me daily.

I started my training far earlier than that first week of employment. As a kid, we took weekly trips to Target, complete with the obligatory two-foot tall bag of popcorn. Once, when I wouldn't obey my mom, I got my ass flat-out busted in front of the shopping carts, to the amusement of the whole store, it seemed. This was only to be the beginning of Target-fueled punishment, however.
In September of 1988, I was 17, and really only cared about two things: going to as many rock shows as humanly possible and my serious boyfriend. I was taking a fluff Marketing class during my senior year of high school, for which I was 20-30 minutes late almost daily. I hated high school with a passion, almost enough to quit, because, except for English class, it was nothing more than passing time doing things I had little interest in on the way to a murky future for which no one had really helped me prepare. To stay in this class, one had to find a job at some sort of retail establishment. I had been given 2 or 3 weeks to do so, and in my teenaged efficiency had halfassedly applied at 1 or 2 places. Apparently Sears didn't like the Peter Frampton-haired look of me, so some guy in the class grudgingly referred me at his place of employment and off I went. Little did I know that that successful interview would spell retail imprisonment for the next eight years.
It was a sad time, my time of toil at Target between 1988 and 1996, but a time that has nonetheless shaped my being permanently. I have come to recognize with laser sharpness, the lack of training in giving a shit for the customer's wants of most stuff-vending places today. For back in that day, when I jockeyed the register, valiantly staffed the complaint desk throughout all seasons of the year, flipped burgers at the snack bar for an additional $0.10 per hour!, or sometimes filled in at the jewelry counter, we were instructed that the customer's word was as a magical bush aflame, to be heeded as we fell prostrate before its echoing sound. (Though I know that is, even at Target itself now, a foolish dream, I still on some level want the same level of service that I was trained to provide.)
I started working there BEFORE the appearance of laser scanners by probably about a year or two. Even now, all Target's merchandise is identified by means of a six-digit number: department, class and item. At that time, you had to punch in EVERY SINGLE NUMBER for EVERY item you rang up through the use of what they termed "ten-key", as well as sliding items into the bag immediately after ringing them, and properly, too. You were periodically tested and made to run cashiering gauntlets of more and more difficult items. Not only did I learn how to cashier correctly in those crimson lanes, my awareness of and opposition to the workplace as "The Man" began there, too. I would frequently remark how Target cared nothing for developing marketable skills in its wage earners: over time, I became the fastest cashiering gun in the store; however all the number punching I did was not in traditional, office transferable ten-key, but REVERSE ten-key. Now of course, I accept as given that companies do not necessarily wish to train their employees to better themselves out from under their serfdom. Then, my idealism had not yet faltered...
Next time: Fun with Complaints! (unless I bore myself any further with this)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

On Target (part 1)


Cashiering would seem to be the province of the swift, friendly, and accurate.

Yet today, I was checked out at my town's new Super Target by a mostly silent older woman, name of Nadine, who likely lived a previous life as a good and moral sloth, and thus earned reincarnation into a higher, yet not any speedier, form.
I felt like my blood itself might have turned to vinegar between the time that she asked me for my ID because I had dared to purchase a bottleful of Yellowtail Shiraz (pedestrian, I know, but it has a nice bite and does the trick besides of fuzzing and furring the sharp edges of consciousness) and the time when she finally, with a lethargic stuffing of bananas into concentric-circle-dotted plastic, completed my purchase.
As she sloooooooooooooooooooowly scanned and dragged my merchandise across a filthy rectangle of glass, I had time to rate and rank every male person within a 50 yard radius according to level of attractiveness to my peculiar likings. I also had time to admire one guy's yellow Heavy Metal Karaoke shirt, as well as consider and choose a song, "Still Lovin' You" by the Scorpions, that I would perform should I ever get the chance to enter such an event. I might well take the $150 prize, I mused.
It probably didn't help that my g-damn underwear was too loose and was falling off my ass, held on only by the gentle caress of my thighs in twain. Apparently, the constraints of money and time allowed me to lose a pound or two, but not to purchase correctly-fitting underwear.
I did not foresee that a simple trip to Syooper Tarzhay for olives, wine, and mushroom "purse" appetizers would be such an opportunity to deal with repressed anger. Though I wanted to shout out, "STEP OUT FROM BEHIND THERE, SLOVENLY SLATTERN, AND LET ME PLY MY HANDS TO THE TASK!" a few dozen times, I did not, even once, utter it.
{Here at Overthunk we only blog about the issues within a hair's breadth of your blood-filled heart, so this shall be the first in a Targeted series. And yes, the Yellowtail Shiraz is quite nice, thank you.}
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Done, done, and I'm onto the next one.
-- D. Grohl

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Shopping OCD in its Various Forms

I've been paring down the amount of makeup I carry around with me at all times.

Currently, I am at the following purse totals:
  • Three eyeliners -- brown-black, purple and blue
  • One mascara -- brown-black
  • Three lipsticks (including one that doesn't come off unless scrubbed)
  • One clear lip gloss
  • Concealer (although the one I have is old and I've already bought a new one)
AND, this is only what I carry around... I have two makeup cases full of brushes, nail polish, eye shadow, glittery dust and other stuff, not to mention the dozens of tubes and packets I have shoved away in drawers.

It's foolishness, I know. How much makeup can one person wear at a time?
(Well, woman I mean, as I'm sure drag queens can wear significantly more.)

I cannot really explain this other than feeling that I have to have a CHOICE.

I do the same thing with shoes. I have probably 30 pairs. And oddly, I have noted that $6.00 Chinese-made shoes from Dollar General can smell like gasoline (making me wonder if I should avoid lit matches or flung cigarette butts).

The span between me and a small furry forest animal squirrelling away its precious for the winter is immeasurably small at times.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Weirdass Recipe the Third














The origins of this unholy, calorie-laden concoction go back twenty years or more, to the kitchen of my aunt, where my cousin was inspired by the ghost of William Howard Taft or somebody to mix two incredibly rich substances: peanut butter and syrup. Whether anyone else does this, I don't know.

Today's version was somewhat halfass in it's pantry-product indulgence, because rather than Skippy peanut butter and Griffin's Waffle Syrup,
I had to use Simply Jif (reduced fat) and Karo, hardcore corn fructose confection of our grandmothers and a pillar of all true Texan pecan pies (which I didn't even like until this past year). Anyway, here's the recipe, if you and your pancreas can handle the deliciousness:

1. Purchase, then slam a can of cheapass white biscuits across the kitchen counter a few times until it pops, remove and bake according to the directions on the package (spend no more than 40 cents per can).
2. Put about 2 tablespoons of peanut butter into a bowl.
3. Drizzle syrup over the top of the blob of peanut butter until it runs down the sides of the blob and pools slightly in the bottom of the bowl.
4. Stir, stir, stir!
5. Taste, adding more syrup if needed. Ideally, the finished dressing? hors d'oeuvre? dipping sauce? will possess a glossy sheen.
6. For added culinary delight, pour yourself a frosty glass of milk. I prefer mine over ice.
7. Dip biscuits and eat, one delicious, supersweet bite at a time, as death draws nigh.

Thus have I relayed these instructions from antiquity as I witnessed them.
Go thou, and experience the white trashy goodness.

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dootdootdootdootdootdootdootdootdootdootdoot
dootdootdootdootdootdootdootdootdootdoot
-- "Cristalle", Paul Van Dyk

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Driving Barefoot

Some habits persist, and some come and go.

Although my driving instructor bud tells me it's terribly dangerous, I must confess that I've been creating a new habit over the past few months: driving unshod. I can't seem to get home through the all-too-long afternoon commute with my shoes still on.

Really, this is just an extension of my lifelong practice of eschewing shoes as often as I can. As a kid, I would refuse shoes to ridiculous levels: Hey! Let's see which barefoot kid can stand on the oven-hot Texas summer baked concrete the longest! Hey! Let's walk barefoot across Grandaddy's cow pasture full of torturous stickers to get to the pony that lives next door! How about over and over, for years!? I'm not quite that ridiculous about it anymore, but even now, the callouses on my feet are probably at least 1/4 inch thick (which was my handy excuse to the adult remedial involuntary driving lesson -- "my feet are like shoes").

Fifteen or twenty seconds after I plop down in the Prius, I pop on Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket because it amuses me, and pop off mis zapatos, nestling them to the left, well away from the gas and brake. In Dallas, one's car is such a second home that you might hang curtains or art, and I think that's why I do this, reveling in the comfort and airy deliciousness of having nothing on my feet. I speed or plod along with the shiny, unending flow of all the other machines, trying to maintain my space cushion fore and aft. Because my feet are broad and strong, I often brake with only my right big toe. A ton or so of glass, plastic and steel, gradually halted by one capable digit. (Come to think of it, maybe that part is dangerous.)

Is it illegal? I don't know. What I do know is that while I am entrapped in traffic, my feet are unfettered and free, and in that way, I am a little bit closer to being home.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Aunt Flo Helps Schools


Just by bleeding, you can contribute 10 cents per box of flow stanchers to your chosen neighborhood school.
Well, at least it's good for something other than letting you know you're not expecting a new lil' scholar.

Monday, August 27, 2007

School has begun...


and I have been recruited to assist with the business of running it, as well as teach my regular class.


That is all for now, though I can hardly stand the necessity of sleep over blogging....


See your stuff soon, peeps!

Monday, August 13, 2007

How Hot Is It?



I've lived in Texas all my life, and I've made it through some damned hot summers. Yet only today, and never before, have I witnessed this: cows going for a dip in the afternoon sun.*
Of about a dozen cows standing around in the pasture as I sped past, two seemed a little bit smarter than the others. They were skinny dipping, even, and seemed to be smiling, and perhaps snorting the bovine version of the following playlet:
Black and White Cow: "Vaya Con Dios, bitches!! We're swimming!! In your and our water hole, even! We are one step closer to taking down our human oppressors!"
Black Cow: "Word! I'm sick of just standing here absorbing the sun's rays!"
'Course, what cows actually say to one another as they graze in the blazing sun will perhaps never be known. Any scientists fool enough to try to trek all the way out to the water hole on a 104-degree day like today while lugging heavy data recording instruments and wearing white lab coats would no doubt shrivel from heat exhaustion just as easily as a spinach leaf sauteed in butter in a pan.
Though cows are generally thought of as dumb animals that are better off eaten, they are in fact, stoic denizens of the Texas prairie.

(* Artist/Witness Rendering - actual photo unavailable due to high speeds and choking laughter)

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Sometimes it's better not to stick bits of each other in each other for each other. -- Hot Club de Paris

Friday, August 10, 2007

To Write

To cleave into one’s innards, like a sharp steel blade slicing into a paper-bag-ripened nectarine: eventually, you’ll get to the mazing, shriveled core, but when you do, it’ll be messy, juice will be spilled, and the prospect of the truth of new life and renewal inside that crinkly brown pit is completely unenvisionable.

Everything comes before it: cleaning that long-dead Junebug out of the corner of the kitchen counter, flipping from song to song to song to song on Internet radio, flinging washed clothes into the dryer, pretending to perform an Everclear song to a sellout stadium crowd while the roommate’s off buying cigarettes, watching some exhibitionist on a webcam.

Guilt: The feeling that if you do it, if you REALLY do it, you’ve outed some dirty secret about everyone you know in some fashion or other, including, and perhaps most importantly, yourself.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bugger Off!!

Though I like owning my house, I wish from time to time that instead of in a middle-class neighborhood, that it was in the middle of a hundred-acre wood or something.

I have a crappy little bench, that needs either a coat of paint, or just to be thrown out, sitting in my front yard, fairly close to the door. You can sit on it, but it rather lists to one side. I don't sit on it for fear of causing its last day on earth in a sudden collapse, but it looks somewhat fetching sitting alongside the flowers that I usually remember to water in the bed that needs weeding.

I pull up to the homestead today, after a day of toil in which every moment was begrudged (seeing as how I AM a teacher and it IS still summer, but today there was a pesky training day that could be finished in 3 hours but took 7 just to fill up the state-required time), a bank trip that shouldn't have taken 45 minutes in the 100 degree heat, and a lengthy stint at Walmart shopping. All of this was done while wanting nothing more than to run home and fling off every sweaty article of clothing I had on. Finally, I arrive and what do I see before me but some errant youth, probably 20 or so, in a Terminix polo shirt, clutching a clipboard, SITTING on MY fucking BENCH.

I don't even get out of the car. I roll down my window like I'm at the Squatter Shooing Drive-in and shout out, "Sir? You can take a walk now!"

"I was just taking a rest; it's hot," he replies, standing up.

"Not on my property you don't!" I say, visibly agitated and wishing I had something sawn-off to go with my hillbilly-type utterances.

He then APPROACHES THE CAR AS IF TO BEGIN HIS SPIEL.

I just stare, incredulous, for a second.

I then wave my hand, dismissing him. "GOODBYE!!" I say, less nicely.

"Bye," he replies, and ambles on.

Oh, did I mention that I live across the street from a public park, that's full of benches, has a picnic pavillion and even a water fountain! Shade, seating, and water, all in one convenient location that I don't own.

I swear I'd build a moat, infested with a clutch of monster Louisiana swamp gators trained to scent soliciting at twenty paces, around this place if I could.

Let's see them exterminate THAT.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

What's Learnt in the Cradle


Release date: August 15th, 1984.

My purchase date: 1985, probably.

I still know all the lyrics.

p.s. I'm waiting to get all the desert pix to post along with my desert tales. When those are all available, I'll reveal the secrets of the Texas mountains.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Into the Desert

It's road trip time.
Tomorrow I embark on a 500 mile journey towards Big Bend National Park, in southwest Texas, into the Chihuahuan Desert -- the largest in North America.

It will be my first excursion into such a place, though for unknown reasons, deserts have always fascinated me. Perhaps, on this trip, I'll find out why.


In any case, hasta luego! See y'all on the flip side!

Maybe is Baby

So, upon entering the local Chinese food buffet, I determined that I had to GO.

As I rushed into the restroom, a horrid stench wafted out.

Against all olfactory sense, I still had to GO, so unto the breach I proceeded, holding a piece of shirt over mouth and nose to enable me to survive.

Someone else entered as I did, but apparently didn't have to GO like I did, and I said casually, "Wow, we should tell them at the front desk about this." As I was checking each stall, I noted that in one, someone had... missed the shot they'd attempted to take, let's say. It had bounced off the rim. Then they'd tried to clean it up... they just didn't do a very good job.

Slightly horrified, I recoiled, and chose another stall. When I gotta GO, I gotta GO.

Anyway, in the meantime, the management had been notified. A tiny, older Asian woman dressed in business attire appeared in the restroom door, exclaiming, "Oh my GAAAAWD!!" as she opened it, then shouting in Chinese to her unluckiest employee to get the mop and bucket. She wouldn't come inside, but stood there continuing to make little noises about the stink. About the same time, I came out and as rapidly as possible, washed my hands, and prepared to push past her without a thought of even drying them.

I kind of laughed, suggesting, "Maybe it was from a baby or a kid or something..." but as I looked at her in the mirror, her words said, "Yeah. Maybe is baby."

Her eyes, however, stated clearly that she rather suspected it was me.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Posterior Emblazonment


I know, this trend is old news now, but its ridiculosity has not lessened.
Do you want to say that this part of you is juicy?
That may be a possibly serious medical problem, possibly related to ingestion of bad enchiladas.
Why don't they get more descriptive with it? Like "Gassy" or "Pimply"?
And hell, why doesn't the rest of the world besides fashionistas join in?
These could appear in all parts of a department store:
Menswear
"Hairy"
"Stanky"
"Betta than Brad Pitt's"
"Not an Entrance"
"Bubble"
Infants/Toddlers
"Change This"
"Caution: May Be Poopy"
"Despite what I say, I should actually go potty"
Plus Sizes
"Got Back"
"May Be Hot, May Not Depending on your Proclivities"
The list is endless.
I mean, if you're going to do a thing, don't do it half-assed!
p.s. Go on, add your own!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Weaponry Accessory


This isn't exactly it but today in Spencer's Gifts I saw this hobo purse with a large, uhh, bead? attached to the front that was actually brass (well, aluminum) knuckles.

This one is far more fashionable and expensive and made by James Piatt, who dubs it the "Peacekeeper." Hmm. I'm not sure that peace is what you're gearing up for when you carry this. Nonetheless, it is rather cool and kind of brings up a subject near and dear to me, which is, carrying some form of weaponry on one's person at all times.

As a teenager, I had a double-edged dagger with a blade of about three inches, a brass crosspiece, and a hilt of stacked wood in rainbow hues. It was illegal due to having a double edge, but it looked cool. (Hey, tell the dollar store guy I got it from. Yes, dollar store.)

I carried it with me everywhere, either in my purse or in my pocket, to school, to Ozzy Osbourne concerts, everywhere. I don't know why, but having it made me feel better. It was the kind of weapon, according to someone's dad I knew back then, who in the 50's had been a bona fide leather-jacket-wearing hoodlum, that one didn't mind leaving behind in a pinch, because it didn't cost much! I never envisioned using it, nor did I want to, but I wish I still had it today. It was just an insurance policy that I hoped I'd never need.

Well, post 9/11, I stopped carrying a knife with me at all times, until recently I was at Home Depot and purchased a nice, sharp $10 pocket knife. So nice and sharp, in fact, that I sliced a tiny cut into my own finger about 12 seconds after opening its packaging -- a packaging from which I was reading a caution about not slicing oneself.

Why did I choose now to reinstate the policy of carrying a weapon, however small, with me everywhere? There are lots of reasons, but not the least of which is that shooters come to my place of employment specifically because they know no one at a school is likely to be armed. I've been thinking that maybe it's a better idea to put a tranquilizer gun in the hallway of every school. Maybe every classroom even, as long as they're carefully labeled NOT FOR QUIETING STUDENTS.

Why fall to the Harrises and the Klebolds and the Chos?
Tranq them like the animals they are, then throw them to litigious lions of justice.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How hickass is too hickass?


We've been having a lot of rain here in Dallas lately. Not as much as in Gainesville, 70 miles north (see photo), but still, enough to turn a few pastures into sort-of rice paddies, or fishing grounds for egrets.

So the other day I was lazing about and realized that yet again, it was going to pour down. It was going to pour down cats and dogs, and my particular dogs had a blanket they had soiled and needed washin'. So I threw it outside in the backyard, into said rain.

It got washed by the good waters of God, purged of its doggy-stink sins.

Later, I washed it in the washing machine, but still, it wasn't AS dirty as it COULD have been, due to quick advantage taken of natural resources .

Assertion: I am hickass.
Question: Too hickass?

----------------------

Well, it's floodin' down in Texas
All the telephone lines are down
I've been tryin' to call my baby
And I can't get a single sound
-- S. Ray Vaughan

--------------------------------------

Country folk can survive.
-- H. Williams Jr.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

On the Edge


I await.

I try to do other things, but I am continually distracted.

Will Tony get whacked, commit suicide, lose his family, turn to the feds?

Will A.J. flip out?

Why the shovel?

I just can't stop thinking about it... the alternate endings, the end of an era, almost everyone else is already gone.

Soon, we'll know.... but not soon enough!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Ugh... cool blogthing jacked things up


I did have a scrolling blogthing here that showed the lyrics to my latest enamorment in song: Mika's "Grace Kelly" (specifically, the trance remix version), but somehow posts got disabled by copying the script here and when I enabled them, things got even more wonky and a new song I'd never even heard of replaced it.
So, for the safety of all concerned, it has been deleted.
This is no fault of the song, however; it's melodic, anxious, just a snip (ok, a lot) gay, and fun, as Violet of The Lemonade Stand can attest!
Check it out!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bagged 'N' Tagged

Today I've been, amongst other things, trying to tag as many past posts as possible with keywords, like poetry, contradiction, pig races, sock monkey.... stuff like that.

At the end of this lengthy and laborious process, I shall make a bar graph depicting the frequency upon which I expound on variant topics, evidencing the intervals at which they sashay and mosey through my neurons.

Or not.

Really I just wanted a reason to post the following song snippet, a 17-word microcosm of a perfect love experience. See below.

-----------------------------------

"It'll be you and me,
Up in the trees,
And the forests will give us the answers..."
- M. Casey and Lovehammers

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I've Been Called Worse...




You Are a Centaur



In general, you are a very cautious and reserved person.

However, you are also warm hearted, and you enjoy helping others in practical ways.

You are a great teacher, and you are really good at helping people get their lives in order.

You are very intuitive, and you go with your gut. You make good decisions easily.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another weirdass recipe


Some of you may remember this gift from the gods of Foods That Should Not Be.

Well, here's another.

Sweet 'N' Sour Cupcakes

1. Prepare white cake mix, pour into cupcake cups (preferably of the rockin' stars variety, but I've only seen those at Christmas and have been saving them ever since), and bake.

2. Mix one packet of tropical punch flavored Kool Aid and about 1/4 cup sugar.

3. Sprinkle mixture over warm cupcakes and watch in amazement as it turns from a greyish powder to bright red, even though you know that's what's going to happen.

4. Serve to kids you know and await their accolades, which, I assure you, will be forthcoming.

5. Eat one yourself, with visible doubt. Like it and eat another.


Amazing what a lack of icing can do to stimulate the imagination. I made these once before for the class just due to lack of materials, but this time they were clamoring for the oddness again.

Try it!


WARNING: Yes, of course it stains everything in sight.

p.s. Yes, that is a cool camera effect, but like the cakes themselves, it was unplanned. Camera fall down (months ago) go boom (now). :(

-------------

You need a whole lot more than money, you need more than to survive.
You gotta keep your love, now, keep your love alive.

--- A. and N. Wilson

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Movie Tagged!

Sorry for the long absence! Work and life are tag teaming to kick my patoot. Speaking of tagging, I've been tagged by Name Hidden of The Unseen Blogger fame.

So here are 10 movies I like, listed by imdb plot keywords. Can you guess them?

1. Franz Kafka, Buddhism, Environmental Activism, Watermelon, Sudanese (hmm... half of these don't describe the movie to me... oh well.)
2. Androgyny, Sequel mentioned during end credits, Apocrypha, Revenge, Depiction of God
3. Performance Artist, Left Handedness, Female Nudity, Foot Fetish, Head in Toilet
4. Technology, Experiment Gone Wrong, Cyborg, Regicide, Science Runs Amok
5. Ancient Sword, Magic, Against the Odds, Villian, Stylized
6. Dumped by Girlfriend, Actor's Life, Ex Girlfriend, Dating, Swing
7. Time for Title, Double Cross, Duty, China, Teepee
8. Thief, Remake, Hotel, Caper, Escapade
9. Black Comedy, Part Stop Motion, Tragic Hero, U Boat, Surreal
10. Soul transference, Actor playing Himself, No opening credits, Chrysler Building New York, Possession

I'm not going to tag anyone because I'm not so sure anyone's reading anymore.

::fade out to crickets::

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Things I Never Thought I'd Have to Say to Them


(third graders, that is)

These are the new lunch policies, from now until THE END OF THE YEAR:

1) Don't ask for anyone else's food at lunch.

2) Don't give anyone else food at lunch.

3) If someone else gives you food at lunch, don't eat it.

4) Henceforth, if you DO eat six pieces of cake, OR drink six cartons of juice, or the like, and then throw up, guess who's NOT going to the nurse?


Violate these policies and you will be taking the bowling field trip, field day, and the end of the year party into your own hands.




Yep, it's seventeen days 'til summer, alright.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Guess the Mystery Ailment!



After nine years, this occupational hazard strikes.

Guess what it is and I'll flip off a latte-clutching soccer mom in your honor.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

People with Placards


People with placards
All over this town
People with placards
Bring me down

Come buy the leather
Sofa that must go
This is the final week
For the twelfth week in a row

Every item 6 dollars
And splotched all with flowers
Every item 6 dollars
And it lasts 6 hours

Hire someone desperate
Forty-nine bucks a pop
To stand in a cow suit
On the corner block

Ousting the unborn
Out of the womb
I'll never do it
Do I have to look?

If I didn't think
Getting saved was required
Is one verse on a poster
Going to save me from fire?

People with placards
All over this town
People with placards
Bring me down

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Way It Goes


Sometimes I get ideas for posts and I just save them as drafts and forget. Today I was digging around here in the blog closet and found this darkly sparkly scrap, originally thought of back in November 2005 and languishing here until now. Enjoy.


God makes trent reznor in his dark angelic glory
trent experiences a life of woe enough so that he becomes an artist
trent toils for years, distilling anger and pride and self-loathing into this:

there is a game I play
try to make myself okay
try so hard to make the pieces all fit
smash it apart
just for the fuck of it


it works its way down to me
this distilled darkness allows me to go on another day
I say thanks, God. thanks, trent
I go on and have woe of my own
I post here
you read it
maybe you don't feel so bad

art will save us all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

It's Lovely


I've already been pimping this guy all over the place, but I have to do it officially: Aqueduct, is, in fact, good music. Written and sung entirely (and sometimes performed!) by this one man, David Terry, it's a collection of indie confections, sweet and sinister all at once.

What's it like? He claims the Beach Boys! as a big influence but I think I hear Beck and Cake, too. There's lots of Moog-y synth stuff. There are dark storylines of romantic intrigue woven throughout with syrupy, irresistible hooks (and one song based on The Princess Bride). It's often sad, jaded, and even violent, but little bundles of hilarity and hope are interspersed throughout (just like some gunslinger tales I know). His voice sounds like some 70's singer whom I can't place. You can listen to his complete latest record, Or Give Me Death, at the link above, but buy it if you can, because we should all support self-made musical innovation out of a bedroom in Oklahoma.

This loveliness is unique and thus is probably a love it/hate it type thing.

Yet I urge you to decide which side you're on.

----------------------
I need your love... Given that I have none to give, I need your love.
-- see above

Monday, April 09, 2007

Who Makes America Go Round?


Here in Dallas, many people are from other places.

Make no mistake, I have no problem with people immigrating -- if I did, I wouldn't be here, I'd be on the slopes of Ireland or Scotland paying the UK's exorbitant 40% taxes, digging potatoes from the soil, and dancing jigs and reels without moving my arms. If there were no immigrants, I'd be out of a job, as many of my students' parents came here from Mexico. Furthermore, I don't believe for a moment that anyone is taking any job that any native-born American wants. But I digress...

Not that long ago, a protest called "Day Without An Immigrant" was staged in which immigrants stayed home one day from work to show people the value of immigrants working in our society, and that they provide vital services that the country can't run well without.

Well, I don't dispute that, but I think that the day-to-day life of upwardly mobile 30 somethings like me is run from hidden centers of power not by immigrants, but by teenagers.

Such a thought is sobering, but stop and consider:

Did you buy fast food today?
Starbucks?
Go to Wal-Mart or Target and purchase something?
Get the car washed?
Go to Chili's for a burger?
Buy movie tickets?
Shop at any store in the mall?
Go out for ice cream?

How many people below the age of 21 (sorry kids, you're a teenager until at LEAST that long -- 40 is the new 30) did you encounter?

Sometimes, and it gives me a funny feeling when I realize this, you go to a place and find that the ENTIRE PLACE, from the manager down to the lowest employee are ALL people who are 15-20 years younger than you. Oddly, these places usually do a great job or a horrible job, seldom in between.

The scary thought is this:
What if all these employees slacked from their jobs at the same time?????

The impact could be astounding. The nation could, nay, WOULD! grind to a halt.

Forget "Day Without An Immigrant."

I fear "Teenager Skip Day" far more.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

P - Bomb


Think that's my rapper name? Well, let me tell you a little story.

En route to Saturday School on Saturday, I became involved in the backwash from this. When two people are killed by a drunk driver, it really bungs up Central Expressway, as well it should, I suppose.

The ensuing traffic glut took THREE hours to get out of. Not only did I have to navigate the jam with my carpooling matey, but our battery also died in the middle of it. Thank God I live in Texas, where you can always count on a truck-drivin' bubba to come along momentarily and rescue you. And, bless him, one did and had the car jumped within about a minute.

But on we sat. And inched up. And sat. And inched up. And watched people drive the wrong way up the on ramp to get out of it. And watched people look at their watches time and again. And called our bosses to say we weren't going to be in. And sat. And it occurred to me that I had to go.

So I thought I'd try to wait. But on we sat. And inched up. And sat. And remained motionless. And felt the warmth of the sun. And inhaled the exhaust. And sat. And noticed that the underside of the foliage which spills over the concrete walls had no leaves. And that there was a lot of trash caught in it. And that it was too far and too dangerous to walk up the offramp to Ken's Shocks and Mufflers, which has an old-fashioned rotating sign atop the head of some Huckleberry Finn looking dude, to use the loo. And that doing it on the side of the highway, with an audience of hundreds, was also unattractive.

By and by, it was noted that action must be taken. Swift, effective, action.

Regrettably, a quick and dirty solution was found. A solution that hearkened back to the days of childhood road trips, when stops were not allowed, and when half-gallon milk containers were defiled. Necessity is a mother.

A plastic coffee cup with a screw-on lid that we generally use for coffee on our morning drives was located. It was decided that this would be its last valiant act of service. Taking care to keep hidden and again thanking the Lord that this was a van with tinted windows, and that I more than likely would not end up on YouTube, I completed the required task, screwed the lid back on, and locked it down.

So as if we weren't in enough of a mess, from that moment until we finally got out of the jam about an hour later, we had to transport hazardous materials, in the form of the P - Bomb. We almost used it on an asshole who cut us off, but thought better of it (and the possibility of backsplash).

We got out of the jam relatively unscathed and harmlessly disposed of the sealed bomb in a marked waste container at an undisclosed location (sorry, Racetrac guy).

The moral of this ordeal?

PLEASE: Don't drink and drive.

--------------------

I heard the world up, late night.
Holding my breath tight, trying to keep my head on right.
There's a chill in the air, nobody could care.
How you're caught up in the fight of your life.
-- O.A.R.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Words and Music

Click of keys and wail of song
Working out whatever's wrong
Throwing open my heart's door
May they blaze on forevermore


(Sure, you can get it tattooed on yourself somewhere in Gothic letters. No problem.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Four New Things to Listen To






Not to be an oldster hipster, but I do seek new stuff.
Occasionally, it brings me joy. Maybe it can joy you too.

In ABC order:

Cheeseburger

So throwback and ridiculously rock star, it's delightful. It's been done, but it's still fresh. How, I don't know.

Louis XIV
Sex, sex, sex. Let's keep that between me and you, ok?


Piebald

I'm still investigating, but things look promising.


Ian Moore

Bluesy deliciousness. Each new song I hear, I can't believe how beautiful and heart-capturing it is. Dandelion. I think he has short hair now.

Now have fun matching the pics and the descriptions!

(Having said that, I still burn candles at the altars of Corgan and Reznor on alternate Thursdays.)

--------

A wedding salad: lettuce alone.

(Ok, maybe you've heard it. I hadn't. But it was good.)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Pugcupine

The pugcupine is rumoured not to exist, but know all ye by these presents that I removed about the FIFTH black pugcupine quill from deep within the skin of the sole of my right foot as it was burrowing deeper and deeper.

Deceptive are these quills, for they look like single regular black dog hairs, but somehow they penetrate into the skin as I shamble about here shoeless in this pseudo-redneck dwelling like the sort of hick that I am.

Sure, I could stop the madness by just wearing shoes around here, but that is nigh unthinkable.

Just keep in mind that the ancestors of the hound shown here once had truck with quilled rodents.

They MUST have done.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Which Tree?

You scored as The Hazel. In Celtic astrology, you're a Hazel. The animal symbol that accompanies this tree is the salmon. The ancient Druids say Hazel people are creative, artistic, expressive, imaginative and perceptive. They often make good teachers. However, Hazels may be prone to being overly analytical, morose or preoccupied in their own thoughts.

The Hazel

80%

The Rowan

80%

The Hawthorn

60%

The Birch

60%

The Ash

60%

The Elder

60%

The Oak

60%

The Ivy

60%

The Reed

60%

The Vine

60%

The Alder

50%

The Holly

50%

The Willow

30%

What Tree Are You? (Celtic astrology)
created with QuizFarm.com

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Burrito Building Code

Section 59.287 Materials used in burrito construction must be sufficient to contain bean, meat and cheese loads up to 1.78 lbs. as determined by the Texas Department of Burrito Filling Weights and Measures.

Section 59.288 Burrito construction teams (at Taco Bell, Taco Bueno, or the like) must remain mindful of the high probability that end user of said burrito will likely be snarfing said foodstuff down at speeds of 45 mph or greater.

Section 59.289 Pursuant to Section 59.288, burritos, in addition to being constructed of tortilla (or shingling) outer covering of at least .0599 inch thickness, should also be centered in a paper holding device of sufficient thickness to contain spills of superheated filling goo, should said outer covering fail. At no time should the tortilla (or shingling) outer covering rupture, pooping said goo in smelly driblets upon the user's shirt like hot, steaming, chili-flavored scat from a burrito bird.*

Section 59.290 Pursuant to Sections 59.287, 59.288 and 59.289, a minimum of 25 paper fail-safe devices (napkins) should be provided with the sale of every constructed burrito to keep burrito snarfers safe in the event of an emergency.

Section 59.291 Failure to observe Burrito Building Code ordinances may result in suspension of one's Burrito Building License and result in sanctions against one's fast food overlords, at either general or specific locations, by end users and by the state government.

* -- extinct species

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Only in Texas 2: Iraqtic Boogaloo



Driving today (why do SO many posts start like that? I DRIVE TOO MUCH!), I saw this brilliant solution to all our Middle East problemos, articulated in seconds by a piece of sticky vinyl affixed to the back window of a pickup. I couldn't get a crappy cellphone picture in time, so I had to use my mad Paintskillz to recreate this piece of Americana for y'all.

Somewhat guiltily, I have to admit it had a certain lizard-brain, barbaric charm on some hickass level. I like to think that my cerebellum rapped the medulla oblongata (or wherever such cavewoman sentiments stem from) soundly. In any case, the thought went away. The laughing didn't, though.

Can you imagine the pacifist violence that would erupt in response to this if you were driving this truck in California or somewhere? A rock through the windshield or a lead pipe beating would be prescribed to drum up the lost compassion in your sick, Southern, Bush-loving heart.

Besides, it's not gas yet. It's just sweet, sweet oil right now.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Ungratifying Efficiency of Internet Dating

I wink you
or you wink me
we trade some stupid pleasantry

we choose some place
at which to dine
sip bucking stars
or glug some wine

then at this dump
we laugh and smile
words flit and jump
fling pearls to swine

and swiftly then
like some black hex
you disappoint
i holler, "Next!"

Sunday, February 04, 2007

BOTulism


Swelled cans... it's more than just the highly anticipated effect of a bust enhancement cream.*

It could be a life-threatening bacterial invasion of your earthly flesh.

It could be... BOTULISM!!

Why am I providing this public service messsage?

You see, kids, in high school, I was in Honors Biology. I had a teacher (possibly even a lesbian now that I think back on her button down men's oxford shirts, utter lack of makeup or a purse, cords, and short 'n fringy haircut even in the Big Dallas Hair era of the '80s). She went by the name of Ms. McFarland (names have been changed to protect the scientific). She had one class rule: respect.

So anyway, she taught us that we should always be on the lookout for swelled or dented cans, because they could be harboring seething hordes of BOTulism!!! We needed to worry about this because botulism causes a horrible death, you see, paralyzing bits of you until you die of death. A fatal dose of this powerful nerve toxin is ONE MICROGRAM, easily contained within a germ-ridden green bean or a single orange carrot disc. This, of course, became a standard high school catch phrase as my geek friends and I roamed the halls of our high school shouting, "BOTulism!!" in Python-esque fashion.

Little did we know that these japes would soon turn deadly for one unlucky freshman....

(Wait. That never happened. So I'll just go on.)

While one would not likely eat the contents from an obviously swollen and distended can of veg, the more hidden danger lay in DENTED cans. Dented cans could hide tiny perforations, she lectured, into which botulism would creep and wreak its deathly havoc within your spaghettios. By the time you'd had lunch, it would be too late, and for the privilege of getting 7 cents off at the Dented Can Clearance, you'd pay dearly -- with your LIFE.

Nowadays, of course, we actually USE botulism bacteria for such vain pursuits as poisoning and puffing wrinkles away via Botox, and, if we're of the unscrupulous warmongering ilk, for germ warfare.

Yet do I still check every blessed can, on every grocery store trip???

I do, good people. I do.


* -- Feel like I'm channeling LBB for some reason...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Just My Type(writer)

While it was never my original intent to turn this blog into an Antiques Roadshow competitor, that is the turn it has been taking of late. If you're not into old things, you might want to flip channels. If you are, stay tuned for a tale of lost relics, vulgarity and passion.

This, blogpals, is my first typewriter.

Now, I know: "WHa?!?!" you're shouting to the screen before you as you sputter forth flavorful capuccino and/or mouth-swished gatorade. Yet, no, I'm not much older than you thought. This ancient machine of uncertain age and lineage was purchased for me by my grandmother when I was but a young, nerdy writer whelp of 12 or 14. Though it languished in my mom's hall closet for many years, unreachable due to crap piled 10 feet high in there, recently we took stuff out of the closet and so it has returned.

It is still functional but for the lack of a ribbon -- it can type in black AND red, given the proper ribbon. To make the letters, a metal arm jumps forth from inside when a key is pressed and strikes the paper. It makes the COOLEST "clackclackclackclackityclack" sounds when you press its keys, like an old newscast background sound. If I type at my current speed on it, some of the keys crowd in as they try to strike the paper and stick together, frozen there mid-print.

I had a thought to post some of my writings of that time, but most were so vulgar or insipid that they are doubtless a violation of my Blogger usage agreement (see clause 3215b: "User shall not post adolescent sexual fantasies regarding members of the rock band Van Halen").

I feared it lost upon the recent move of all the stuff from my childhood home, and grew quite pissy. My brother retrieved it, though. It's one of those things that, even though I hadn't seen it for two decades, I still wanted it back, because it is emblematic of who I am. From my earliest story (about a litter of puppies on a farm and their mother, and which tragically lacked a plot) to this here post right now, writing is part of who I am.

Out of curiosity, and though I'd never sell it, I checked its value on eBay. Result? This antique machine is thought to be from the 40's or 50's and I could purchase a whole family of them if I wanted at a cost of $1.00 each ( + approximately $87.00 shipping -- the thing weighs 50 pounds easily).

Still, you can't put a price on memories, or on the hormonal rantings of a bored 13 year old.

Drivel such as that wouldn't even sell on eBay.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Sock Monkey Project

Recently, due to Arctic Blast 2007 (i.e. a quarter-inch of sleet upon these Dallas roadways), a much-anticipated night of drinking, fooling around and Sopranos was nixed.
Did I sulk? Well, hell yes, I did.
And then I did some more.


But after that, pouting began to bore me and I hit upon a mission: I was gonna make a goddamn sock monkey.


Why the flip did this occur to me? Well, I'd talked it up for many years, seeing as how my grandmother gave me one when I was six or seven and it was subsequently so cherished and frequently hugged that the tail developed a hole at the end. As it turns out, my friends listen to me on occasion, so I was gifted with this kit at Christmastime this year.
Though my original hosiery simian was far more tricked out than this one, with a red gingham dress and hat that had lace trim, this nostalgia-fueled, red felt vested ape would do nicely on a blustery, pissy winter's night. Besides, the original mon-chi-chi was lost.


Generally speaking, I'm not a seamstress, so the seams on this monkey are probably a little to a lot sloppy and poorly crafted. Yet on I sewed, into the night.

Toiling well past midnight, I fell into bed from exhaustion. The next morning I awoke, and within an hour or so, had the monkey finished.

It was a distinctly more Mennonite brand of fun than I'd had planned originally, but fun nonetheless.

And I most certainly have more to show for it.

-------------------

"Whoa, amber is the color of your energy, whoa." -- 311

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