Saturday, December 31, 2005

Fresh fuel for the sodium flares.

Our landlady's cleaning team (yeah, that's right) is flitting around upstairs. I'm still confused as to how much shit can crop up around a person who is never home, but it's beginning to crystallize as once a month the whole house trembles with the activity of three latina women and their cleaning appliances.

She's a sweet girl, but it's times like these that her strange priorities hit me squarely. The house is very literally falling to pieces, but won't she be damned if it doesn't sparkle on its way down? Her brand new upstairs washer/dryer combo has just flown off kilter and is sending showers of paint chips from the closet ceiling onto our clean towels. The loose panes of glass in the front door are dancing in time to her dishwasher. A vaccuum has been turned on and my computer screen is flickering accordingly, running on the fumes of our electrical system. Some industrious soul is cleaning the carpets and the whirring is competing with the efforts of our newly installed, eleven year old boiler (she discovered it moldering in another basement where it was apparently just waiting to shine in our's).

But her new rhododendrons look so nice encased in snow, and the chandelier is just lovely spinning on its last rotted nail.

Friday, December 30, 2005


From earlier this month, but right now I'm plumb out of ideas.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Is that you?

Still a little shaky from drinking with our betters last night.

We saw Chronicles of Narnia this evening. It was pretty and mild and dimensionless, and the perfect toast to my reeling stomach--until some kid threw up all over herself and her nachos and very nearly on my heels. I suppose that's what we get for insisting on driving the twenty minutes out to suburbia for our viewing pleasures (under the flimsy excuse that the sound is better at the Transit Regal, when really it's just that I can't stand the smell of weed). But it's a fair trade.

Oh, and I've a weenzy crush on Tilda Swinton. Her arms are like Hera's, though her makeup could've used some popping. I'm also going to suggest Orlando for the billionth time. It's got Billy Zane....

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


It was a harrowing end to the holiday. The Cousin Who Will Not Be Named decided that to drive home after a bottle and a half of wine would not be safe. Clearly not understanding the danger she put herself in by opting to stay.

At seven she scooped up my uncle's skittish dog and started to cuddle it and coo repeatedly, "She comes to no one else but me. She loves me best" as the poor things soul drained from its eyes.

At eight she smacked my dad in the back of his head and got a severe talking-to that shut her up until eight forty--

--when she bounded into the computer room where Alex and I were lurking, spilled her don Ramon, and leapt into Alex's lap for what I obligingly timed to be seventeen minutes. And he sat, good man, and comitted himself to one of his store of benign expressions, and played Mario Cart, and looked at her not at all, and endured the screaming and whisker-pulling and desperate pleas for attention--an unlikely Santa to her spoiled brat.

At ten thirty we had a reprieve when the accent she'd affected since her five day trip to Spain finally breathed its last.

And then there was this morning, when she yawned mightily from the back room and called into the quiet: "Guys? How do you spell lusive? As in lusive dreaming."

Friday, December 23, 2005


Spent the bulk of Christmas Eve apologizing to mortified babas for my language. It seems that I can't carry on any kind of conversation without swearing. There was the flurry of whoopses and half-finished sentences in the first half hour of mingling. By dinner I was reduced to pointing and sputtering. After gift-opening my stores of default profanity had been stretched thin and at the stroke of midnight all of my baloneys turned back into bullshits.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I kick a fair amount of ass at holiday gatherings. Years ago I went toe to toe with my fearsome great-aunt and won for myself a place as second-in-command in her kitchen. It seems that my abrasive and unyeilding nature was the perfect fit for her culinary regime. That or she figured if I was going to be constantly poking about in her fridge, she might as well put me to work.

The position is a lofty one and I'm granted the ready fear and respect that all cooks enjoy in their own kitchens. It's a heady experience that has nothing to do with food or drink and everything to do with being Big Fat Kitchen Bully. All I need is a wide skirt, some yapping dogs, and an extra hundred and fifty pounds and I'll be ready to join the ranks of the terror-inspiring, spoon-weilding tyrants of yore.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Fuelus Nationalia that all of New York should pay terrible gas prices. And all had to pay, every one in his own city. And the man went up from Roswell, out of the Medical Corridor, into the Elmwood Village and unto his home to consume the precious heat with his espoused wife who was a great child. And so it was that while they were there, the days of winter were accomplished that she should go crazy and insist on keeping the heat at 60 degrees. And she brought forth her madness, and wrapped herself in a swaddling Red Blankee, and sat herself shivering with it at the dining room table because there was no room in her miserly soul to pay one damn cent more.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Oh, man. I just found out that Tolkien's Earendil was inspired by Anglo Saxon poetry, specifically Crist, where "earendel" is linked to the morning star. Blows my mind.

And also, Wikipedia is dominated by the geeks. There's an extensive breakdown of the Halfelven line there that makes me embarassed.

And now that no one at all is reading, I can come out and say that Thundercats Season One was released on dvd this past Tuesday. Good week.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Part Deux.

The front man's eyes are crooked. And the dude way in the back on the left is totally throwing up the horns.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Ever pass by a mirror and think "Whoa, crazy person"?

Today the yo-yo-ing temperatures decided to make an embarassment out of me. I will blame the weather, as my cloistered life demands no dress code and I should not be held accountable to walls and rugs for my appearance. If things go well or poorly for my state of affairs, credit is given to an outside force--an angry puck of the Tangled Hair Guild, or, in today's case, the fitful elements.

And they raged. My hands puffed and shrivelled accordingly. My hair alternated between clinging to my scalp for warmth and springing away from my head at right angles towards any spare heat. All very amusing until I emerged into public for food. As I walked to my table and unwound myself from Midgardian lengths of scarf and drifts of snow, I got the look/look away/snicker from a table of glossy ladies and decided that "hats on" was the way to go. And that from now on I would keep the dining to inside with my uncomplaining tea cups and broken kitchen chairs.

Rocking faces.

I've spent more time being driven home in snowstorms to Bon Jovi's Dead or Alive than I care to discuss.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


This is the best time of the year for study. When the bones of the earth are just poking through.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Keeping the receipt.

A copy of N.Y. Salad arrived yesterday. Much sooner than expected. I went mano a mano for my Amano with our wretched mailman who took his sweet time finding a pen and who had the temerity to touch my hand and rest his boot inside our lobby. I swallowed the bile and smiled like a darling and quelled the impulse to do something evil and inspired with his Bic. Then ran whooping into the house--all loathsome contact forgotten.

It's a lovely book and will look even better after I slice it open and harvest its pictures for the kitchen. I'm feeling some guilt, but it seems I'll do anything to add to the horde of obscure hangings that runs rampant over our walls. It's actually starting to get a little ridiculous in here. Things are walking a faint line between dark nursery rhyme and geek chic. I think I'm going to have to start roping sections off before things get violent and the iron frogs start suing for territory and Shakespeare's Britain starts developing fleets of its own.

Monday, December 12, 2005

"She ate me up for breakfast. She put me in a vice."

Wanna see the slow decay of the creative mind? Illustrator Louis Wain fell victim to schizoprhenia in 1917 but kept drawing well into his illness, fixated on cats. By degrees, his style changed in some startling ways.

It's fascinating to witness the documented disintegration of an artist through his work. Thing is, the pieces made during the late stages of his affliction are arguably better than anything done previous.

I was given a tart "Don't even think about it," after humming appreciatively over those last paintings. But I can't help but feel that Wain may have stumbled upon something in his insanity--or was cursed to madness for an unlucky discovery. Nor can I shake the image of what I suspect he eventually became--a figure sitting over a fire, clasping his creation between two fingers and burning away all traces of mortality from the canvas. Until all that was left was the divine essence of Feline. A thing of fire and mathematical beauty, with only a faint telltale thumbprint sealed into the paint to hint at what was once body and blood. Or whiskers and fur.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


In order to keep up appearances, we are headed off to my parents'. I would have liked to surprise them, but that would have given my mom no time to make potato salad for our arrival.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


From the mind of a crazysmart local. An experiment.

I'm not sure if I like it. I'm also not sure if I should be 'experimenting' with people's Christmas gifts. Another version is in the works, along more traditional lines. I like giving people a lesser-of-two-evils option.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Score one for the grandkids.

My grandmother-in-law has her quirks. She looks disturbingly like Larry King. She refers to herself almost exclusively in the third person and she never shuts up. But she's got an engaging gap-toothed smile, she's quick as a whip, and she yarns on about life in 1930's NYC. We get along famously. It's been a while since she's had someone who doesn't quit the room at the first hint of a story, and it's a novelty for me to have a grandparent who doesn't give me old cereal box toys on my birthday.

That being said, she is hell to buy for at Christmas. She's naturally picky and, as a matter of principle, has decided to be nervy in her old age. Every year we agonize over her gift and wait in a state of terror/delight to hear those words: "Well, I'm not sure exactly where a single-serving tea pot is going to go in my packed cupboards. But it certainly is interesting."

So, this year, I threw my hands up, uttered a gusty "fuck it" and bought the fallback of all presents. One bitsy tantrum, two free gifts, and an obnoxious amount of money later, and we were headed out of Godiva in shame. But apparently thoughtlessness and snazzy gold wrapping are the perfect combination, because three days later she called us crowing:
"Guess what arrived today! You sure do know what Grandma likes!"

Monday, December 05, 2005


Is it too late to take back all of the nasty shit I said about Fiona Apple's latest?

I've been listening to her on the sly. And while I still maintain that Extraordinary Machine is full of show tunes masquerading as adult contemporary pop, it seems that cutting back to a cigarette a week has restored my vocals, and I'm beginning to take a sick pride in being able to hit those annoying high notes.

I really just use it for my morning musical exercises. Gets me prepped for my lunchtime System of a Down.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Short "O", not long.

The heat is working, though one wouldn't know it by the temperature I've been keeping things at lately--but I miss my plumbers. I miss the clanging and whistling beneath my feet. The trembling floors and jets of steam and the sounds of industry, however misplaced. It was all very Hephaestian around here for a couple of days.

And (clumsy segue) speaking of the classics, I got a pleasant surprise when I found that our apprentice plumber had majored in Latin and math . It's not often that a girl in overalls and soot stands tinkering at your thermostat and says, "I'm checking for bleeders in your radiators--I'll be out of your hair in a second, if I could just steal some paper towels. Oh, and if you like Ovid, you should probably check out Catullus."


Friday, December 02, 2005

"Maybe you should offer them a fireflower?"

Sittin' in a blankee. In the freezing cold.

Doot dee doot.

Our heat's not working. The plumbers came yesterday morning and wrestled with the boiler until eight. It was a grand effort with much banging and swearing and a few scattered conversations about thug life that I could just barely make out beneath the floorboards. But some thingy still won't ignite. They promised to return with the broad daylight, but I've heard nothing as of yet and the temp just dropped to 57.

No matter. I like a good challenge. There are two hundred fifty million Chinese people who are only recently getting heat in their homes, so who am I to complain? Besides, I have faith in our handymen. Not only because the head plumber is kindof cute (and I only say kindof for decency's sake), but also because his apprentice has a cell phone that rings to the tune from Mario Brothers.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Gimme some castles. Gimme some underwater.

Something of a role reversal going on tonight. The after dinner hour found him sitting in the auntie chair, bundled in the cigarette-burn blanket, dandling a cup of tea, and humming "Shake It Off" in a tuneless daze. While I sat at the computer and played a video game.

In his defense, he is sick and shaky and, at this point, not a little mindless (and blaming me, I'm sure, for the Mariah). In my defense, the game is Cloud, and has apparently been crafted with me in mind. Little, black-haired anime boy, flying around in his nightshift (that's pajamas, not Commodores), chasing around a silmaril of sorts, making cloud designs. After a few minutes, I abandoned my bunnies and duckies and just went wandering. There's a lot that could be added, but the idea is fantastic. And I think I stumbled, Ender style, on some kind of Bermuda Triangle that was never meant for gameplay. No Hive Queens as of yet, but I'll keep things updated.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Curiosity killed the cat, you know.

I dreamt I was walking through a maze of office cubes with my Quenya-speaking uncle (yes he does, and not just in dreamworld--though it's fair to say that the borders for him are a bit blurred). At some point I lost him but continued on my way, staring at walls covered with calendars of kittens, and pink reminder notes and, reasonably enough, evil versions of Successories posters. Each glossy and professional and innocuous but for wry, dark twists on the mottos.

And the photos had been slightly magicked. Nothing too wild--but they moved in their frames and bumped at the glass and made muffled sounds. Before I woke up I passed one of a dark-eyed, dark haired woman who turned to me. Her hands were together and her fingers shuttered a golden bird that cried. She just smiled and winked at me under a gloomy perversion of "A bird in the hand."

Sunday, November 27, 2005


The numbers for the five day weekend have just come in:

79 beers drunk (including company)
48 and 1/2 hours slept (excluding naps)
60 hours spent in pajamas (exactly half the weekend)
1 episode of AirBender watched
1/2 a cigarette smoked
23 emails mentioning (okay, slandering) in-laws
5 miles run
1 drunken rendition of Sweet Caroline
uncounted mint Hershey's kisses consumed
2 trips to Target
1 christmas tree to be purchased

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Final thoughts.

12:08. We've dropped off our precious cargo at their respective doors. All decorum is thrown to the snows and I become increasingly annoying and shrill. I recommend that we blow through all stopsigns, as no one is on the roads. I start ticking off the names on my current shitlists. I draw up grand plans for Christmas decorating. I demand a mild bean burrito.

The pilot indulges my last request in a desperate stab at silence and wins the gamble. I sit and mumble around tortilla and don't care that there is no response to my (profound) theories about fish fries and Kiss 98.5. But as my senses probe through lettuce and tomato the last cogent thought is that five vodka tonics have done their part in priming me for the realization that Mighty Taco has been serving up Chef Boyardee as hot sauce. And it rocks my world.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

And why the hell not, I ask?

J: "Have we got everything?"
A: "Yeah, just put the wine in the black bag with our slippers and my PDA."
J: "All right. Let's go."
A: "What's that?"
J: "What's what? Oh. Well...nothing. That's just in case we get stuck there overnight."
A: "Um. No. You cannot bring The Lord of the Rings Trivia Game to Thanksgiving."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

That's all I got.

When all else fails, just make an avatar of yourself. Compliments of BFJFY.

Monday, November 21, 2005

"Serum" makes it sound much cooler.

We just had a delivery. Any package is cause for celebration, but this one was full of smelly face lotions, so I allowed myself a few extra skippies and an outburst of "yay"s. Admittedly, I have a problem. I cannot tell how many jars and gels have been secreted away throughout the house. I have three different tonics just for my hands--one for fingertips alone. The bottom of my drawer is peppered with seemingly identical containers that I can sort and select by touch. The bathroom is like a minefield. The words white tea and alpha hydroxy have an embarassing power over me. It seems that I am both shallow and self absorbed. But this should come as no surprise--two of my last three posts have revolved around the WB, for chrissakes.

The most recent addition to the horde is a mushroom-based face stuff. Sounds weird. Looks weird. Should work. And considering all of the fresh mushrooms that I've been eating lately, I had hoped that maybe those expiring out and those sinking in would meet and "activate"(!) in some kind of age-defying fungal magic. Nothing. Nothing but smell. But I suppose the least of my worries is that I should walk around smelling like a plate of chicken marsala. The worst is that the combination of about three dozen brands of lotion makes me shrink and shrink like Lily Tomlin until I have to live in a Barbie house and eventually I run down the drain with the rest of the shampoos and conditioners and citrus flavored soaps...

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Tonight's episode of Smallville will be showing the new Superman Returns teaser trailer. We will be taping it. Hankies will be at the ready.

Last night we stood in the kitchen discussing the man himself for the uncountedth time--so stridently that I think we may have driven our landlady into the snows. The standard half dozen or so topics were raised. That Superman is to America what Jesus is to Christianity. That it's no coincidence he popped up around the same time the U.S. was becoming the major superpower. That he is arguably the most complex and fascinating comic book character (sorry, Bats.) That he can only be portrayed by the best of men--also, is this quality a requirement for the job or the other way around (does the role make the man or the man make the role?)? That Chris Reeve defined the character for our generation.

And finally, that, at any time, there can be only one Superman. And that somehow Reeve understood this down to its essence in passing on the red cape. In any case, the thought makes his death a little easier to accept.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Where you lead, I will follow.

I'm going to state very quietly, very gingerly, that I think, within the past couple of hours, I may possibly have started to emerge from The Funk.

I can't be sure, but I suspect that it has something to do with Rory and Lorelai patching things up. It had troubled me so.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Has it been so long?

Jorinda and Joringel. Witch freezes boy, transforms girl into a bird. Boy unfreezes, becomes a shepherd, searches the woods for the witch's castle, finds it by way of some lucky dreaming and a curious flower, frees girl from spell. Smoochie woochie.

But a sad story, at it's edges. It seems that Joringel is the only boy in the whole of the Black Forest with any sense of fidelity. Before finding and freeing Jorinda, he must first release the many birds that have been languishing in cages for lord knows how long. Hundreds of cages with hundreds of abandoned loves. How many had sung away their bloom in bird-form, waiting for boys that never returned? How many had passed out of youth, into sad, childless years, and now teetered into old age and senility?

My guess is that when Joringel transforms the birds back to "maidens" what he finds instead are the husks of women--bitter and hopeless, with pale flickers of humanity, but with a powerful sense of betrayal. And when they see what they've become, they weep and rage and beat their withered limbs and curse lovers and love in half-remembered languages. And become a new breed of witches.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

...and geeks.

After a particularly heinous Wegman's experience:

"Do I really look like one?"
"No. Stop being so sensitive."
"It's not the first time I've been called a freak by a total stranger, you'll recall."
"Oh, you mean those dudes in front of Panos? Years ago?"
"Well, two times in one decade is more than enough to start a person thinking."
"She misspoke. She should have said asshole."
"Yes! Asshole! I would have accepted asshole and moved on! Not so with freak."
"She said freaks. It was plural. It was meant for the shoppers in general."
"Yeah, but I was the head freak. I was what elicited the remark, and she went with freak as her insult of choice."
"Well, maybe you shouldn't have tried to run her over with your cart."
"Well, maybe she should've waited her goddamn turn. There's such a thing as market courtesy, you know. She apparently needed to be schooled in it. And I was the one to do it. People just can't go stepping out of turn. I had been patient enough...and my turkey was thawing."


Saturday, November 12, 2005

The hole-dwellers.

"I almost feel that I dislike you both, but do not let us be hasty."

Pretty much. I think that another version may be in order. That seems to be the tune I'm singing lately.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

When she was small.

Day eight-and-not-counting of current funk:

In a desperate stab at inspiration I decided to fry up every mushroom in the house and dump them into a can of Progresso. I figured I'm too squeamish to try any banned substance, but reasoned that maybe a half-pound of very tame, very legal produce should somehow approximate the potency of one good hallucinagen. At best I would encourage some thought-provoking visions, at worst, I would get about a week's worth of riboflavin in one lunch.

But it seems that I can stomach neither lawbreaking nor large amounts of fungi. My meal is ruined and my paper remains blank.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

That's it, we're moving to Germany.

The Kansas Board of Education has voted six to four for setting new "science standards" that will allow doubt to be cast on the theory of evolution. Now, I'm all for the questioning and reworking (even debunking) of any theory through research and new evidence, but what I read next struck fear into my cold, damned heart:

In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

Um. Is the Kansas Board of Education really allowed to do that?

Either way, as I'm sure that, when the time comes, we'll be in the first lot tagged for "correction", I've had our bags packed and our tickets pending.

Witchy woman.

Oh, and did I mention that I'm in the fiercest of slumps and that I believe a hex from the subject of my three last flubs to be at the root of it all?

Well, I am, and I do.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Level up.

We began yesterday with Christmas lists. Inevitably, this spiralled into simply "what the hell do we want for the house?"--innocent enough discussion for a lazy Sunday. But it seems that the phrases "video game room" and "complete overhaul" have a combined power that is too much for even the most unflappable of men. Add a little online browsing and some offhand comments about color schemes and we were packed into the car before I could retract anything, weather-be-damned.

Things went smoothly. Decisions were made quickly. There may have been some choice remarks made in the Target parking lot about Eagle scouts and their supposed knot-tying abilities. But we made it home without sailing off into the breeze and with only the one minor fracas.

And now the work begins. Furniture will be moved. Consoles will be stacked just so. I've heard whispered plans for something secret and big that I know only as "the control(ler) tower". The crayola-box desk has been banished to the basement. Artwork is being selected. Lighting has been approved with screensavers to match. We're making the slow progress into streamlined and mature.

Oh, and then there are the blueprints for the NES cupholder. But I guess everything is two steps forward, one step back.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


I ran across the game Go (igo in Japan, pinyin in China) and it's balls-hard. It's a maddeningly pared-down version of chess (which I do not play) and involves surrounding and destroying the enemy (everything's both simpler and tougher in Asian incarnation). It was invented by a Chinese emperor sometime around 2000 B.C. and became one of the four essential art forms of chinese gentry. Japanese samurai were encouraged to master it. It stresses patience, strategy, cause and effect, and the principles of balance.

I've played at least ten rounds on super-retard setting and managed to capture five pieces.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Quiet, creeping madness.

Major suckage. Good thing the scan came out so shitty. The pic just wouldn't budge. I screamed "What the fuck?" once, very loudly, and promised to follow it with certain unprintable invectives if things didn't shape up, but remembered that if I can hear the nicotine wench next door warbling to Our Lady Peace, she can probably hear me too.
Instead I decided to even the score by not giving the little lady any hands. Let's see how well you cast spells now, mein frau. Heheh.

I'm sure to reap a nice kharmic whollop from this.

Better than ice cream.

New addiction. Hershey's (Limited Edition) Dulce de Leche syrup. I've been pouring it on spoonfuls of Cool Whip Lite and pretending that they're sundaes. So. good.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Blame game.

At five-thirty yesterday, our landlady called asking if we were going to hand out treats.
"No. We'll be gone."
"Well, then I guess we'd better turn off all the lights, because no one here has candy."

I wondered briefly if she was, in her awkward, blubbering way, slamming us. We live downstairs and I realize that it's easiest for us to deal with the brats, but I also realize that we took a shift last year with nary a bag or a 'thank you' thrown our way. That she is the homeowner and ultimate responsibility falls to her. And that when you perch a grotesque, orange, inflatable monstrosity on your top porch, you are pretty much broadcasting to the neighborhood kids "Come and get your Sugar Babies here!". It's simply unconscionable to decorate and not deliver, and it galled me that she thought to saddle us with the task.

And so I managed to convince myself out of guilt. We abandoned our post under the pretext of chivalry--"We're going to help a friend hand out candy--don't want to leave her on her own, you know!" (never mind the fact that our landlady is a young, single, female homeowner herself) and left her to deal with whatever eggs and toilet paper she had coming to her.

Monday, October 31, 2005

And keep the details in a jar, and bury them underwater.

If anyone's been itching for some fresh autumn fare, I'm going to suggest All-Time Quarterback. It's a Ben Gibbard side project from 2003, so maybe not that fresh. It has none of the summery confidence of Postal Service or Death Cab-- rather, it's more the sound of a man keeping out the dark. All cold vocals and desperate strumming. Perfect for turning the corner into fall.

The other night, I dreamt of a voice muttering over and over "and now we come to that last pale divide" and I woke up knowing that it meant the river Styx.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Nice kitty.

That's three times that I've seen the damned thing. Once downtown, once by the lake, and now a couple houses away. Looking as ill tempered and creepy as any cat can, green-eyed and black with strange, noose-like markings as if it stepped right out of Poe.

Perhaps it's three different cats, perhaps it's one well-travelled animal, perhaps my demons have finally materialized into feline form and are now very literally trailing me around. The fact is that I can't ignore it as a Sign and the question follows whether or not to pursue. It seems preoccupied and completely unaware of me, but as any student of folklore will tell you, this should not be a deterrent. In fact, some of the greatest adventures are undertaken on the heels of some careless magic thing that fails to cover its tracks (White Rabbit, Sir Orfeo). My (unreliable) gut tells me to chuck everything and follow it--around the blue garbage cans, between the yellow leaves, and into the beyond.

But beyond to where? Towards the next Great Hunt? To a hapless end?
More likely into the back yard one house over and into a prickly and embarassing confrontation with our despicable neighbor. Somehow I doubt she'd think "questing" an acceptable excuse for floundering around in her infested, abandoned pool.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Violent.

Warmongers, suicides, and blashphemers. About what I expected:

Level 7
Guarded by the Minotaur, who snarls in fury, and encircled within the river Phlegethon, filled with boiling blood, is the Seventh Level of Hell. The violent, the assasins, the tyrants, and the war-mongers lament their pitiless mischiefs in the river, while centaurs armed with bows and arrows shoot those who try to escape their punishment. The stench here is overpowering. This level is also home to the wood of the suicides- stunted and gnarled trees with twisting branches and poisoned fruit. At the time of final judgement, their bodies will hang from their branches. In those branches the Harpies, foul birdlike creatures with human faces, make their nests. Beyond the wood is scorching sand where those who committed violence against God and nature are showered with flakes of fire that rain down against their naked bodies. Blasphemers and sodomites writhe in pain, their tongues more loosed to lamentation, and out of their eyes gushes forth their woe. Usurers, who followed neither nature nor art, also share company in the Seventh Level.

Heigh ho.

This began with lofty Unseely plans, but degenerated into a simple Snow White. And I'm glad, seeing as how the first comment on it involved the word "cartoonish". A sure sign to wait to get a better hold of things before tackling the fey.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The stars at night...

My brother and his wife are closing on a house. It's at the base of the mountain range that I used to run in El Paso. Aside from the pesky summer fires and a water reserve that's had ten years to go for the last fifteen, it's a great area with matchless weather. Their back yard is essentially a State Park, complete with twenty foot tall yuccas and abandoned cabins. They get coyotes and desert deer in the morning, and wind scorpions at night. They can see the sunrise over the flats. They have four bedrooms and a garage and a golden retriever that can roll around in the pink gravel that serves as a lawn.

And I get the distinct impression that I'm falling behind.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I recommend Hershey's syrup over Quick.

A: "You freaked the hell out last night about getting milk."
J: "Well, I need it. You know I drank at least three glasses of chocolate milk this morning between the hours of four and six."
A: "What were you doing between four and six?"
J: "Reading."
A: "Maybe you should consider Lunestra."
J: "Maybe I should consider sobriety."
A: "Let's not get radical, here."

Monday, October 24, 2005

City of Light.

The power for our block went out last night. Since I'm fairly confident that the Buffalo grid has not been updated since the World's Fair, it came as no surprise. But as we approached a full day, I started to fret that a century's worth of wiring and rewiring was finally breathing its last. Our food was spoiling, we were going to be thrown into another evening of complete dark, and eventually we'd be forced to move in with my aunt until the boyos at Niagara Mohawk got their shit together. We would live off of pot roast and prune soup for the rest of the winter. Be dragged to nine thirty mass. Have to watch Regis, and Channel 2, and damned Bills games.

The twentieth hour, however, must be the magic hour. Everything has hummed back to life (including numerous house alarms). My fingers are thawing. The Budweiser Select is cooling. I've learned my lesson and finally turned the heat on and am now going to indulge in one more cup of tea.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I think she stole my pajama pants.

I'd like to say that my cousin's overnight visit was a bit of just payback for last week's in-law-invasion. Unfortunately any vengeful delight was blotted out by the clickety-clack of someone emailing her boyfriend at 8:15 a.m. and the smell of spilt perfume on new dining room furniture.

Also, my toothbrush was soggy this morning. Guh-huh.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Custom concern.

Yesterday afternoon I passed some kid who'd been hit by a car. I wasn't there when it happened, but I did see him sprawled on the ground by his bike. He was surrounded by half a dozen people on cell phones and he was bleeding from the face. Cars had been pulled onto lawns, so at least it wasn't a hit and run. I don't know why I feel for the driver in these situations. Probably because I see a lot of stupid kids on bikes exploding across streets like they're god.

I didn't do anything. I have no cell. I'm not a doctor. I don't know CPR. I'm not even good at pretending concern. And everyone seemed to have it covered. I kept walking, figuring it would all be cleaned up by the time I circled back. Nothing left to blemish the pretty afternoon. Just fresh scrubbed pavement. And I was right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Young Dozens.

So. damn. worth it. Worth the half an hour standing in the cold. Worth the disintegrating bathrooms and surly bartenders. Worth this morning's headache.

We stood rooted in a row in the back by the bar. Sometimes clapping around our drinks, sometimes whispering. But mostly quiet and still--expressionless, arms crossed, and completely blown away under it all.

Oh, and he was going to be a Classics major. Which means I have to love him, right? Of course I'm right.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Still waters go stagnant, bodies bloat.

Mountain Goats concert tonight. I'm a bit out of the loop. Do we dress up for these things still? I can remember freshman year being dragged in a state of complete fashion oblivion (khakis, light blue turtleneck, jedi coat--and an apparent deathwish) to my first concert. How was I to know that the pretty little blond girl the next dorm over was a goth poser? Marilyn Manson to me was just another rocker chick.

But I'm older now, and need to be more concerned about my image. No doubt, I should right now be surrounded by different piles of clothing (dark and intimidating? cool and unconcerned? I just don't know!) and playing Tallahassee until I'm whipped into a pre-show frenzy. Instead, I find myself attired in something similar to the ensemble of eleven years ago and standing in front of the mirror lipsynching this.

Monday, October 17, 2005

See how they run.

Who knew that burnt sienna was just so orange? I was counting on an umber flavor, or maybe a nice modest saffron, but instead I got something that would look more appropriate on a trick or treater, or in a pumpkin patch. No wonder they made such easy targets.

Perhaps I should take it as a sign to settle into something more seasonal from here out, but I've got a problem with expectations, especially my own, and my store of Halloween ideas is slender at present.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005

Gross-out quote of the day.


"Babe, the wine is starting to dehydrate me, can you grab me a beer?"

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Outta here.

I'm holding our impending visitors directly responsible for the picture lying in shambles on the table. God knows I'm not to blame. My muse has a very delicate constitution. She packed her bags at around eleven this morning when she saw the guest towels come out.

And I'm left with nada else but the growing desire to see that new Tom Welling movie.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Roughing it.

I passed two neighbors on my walk the other day. One was offloading wood from a pick-up truck. The other was standing by, watching. Both were making friendly conversation.

Neighbor #1: I got this cord from C___. (Puffing out his chest) I'm proud to say that we haven't turned on the thermostat yet. So far, we've done all our heating with wood.
Neighbor #2: (laughing) Well, I've got you out-Jonesed with that one! I haven't even started using my fireplace.
Neighbor #1: Man! I knew I couldn't compete with you!

So that's how it goes.
An image flashed to me of rows of houses huddling in the cold as people peered out their windows. Each refusing to light a match or turn a knob until he saw the telltale stream of smoke creeping from his neighbor's chimney in the signal of defeat. I myself crowed when I heard our landlady's heat whoosh on the other night. "She's caved! We win!". Proving once more that Buffalonians will take things to ridiculous and dangerous levels to out-cheap each other. We're simply slaves to our blue collar demons.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Rotten apples.

I'm a big Fiona fan, but I'm going to argue against her latest. At best, it's a difficult listen with untethered vocals and headachy rhymes. At worst, it's a dissonant, plunky mess.

Or maybe I'm getting harder to please with age.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Thumb screws.

A couple of corrections before someone in blogworld gives me the smackdown:

-Bloody Mary and Mary of Scots were two different women, the nursery rhymes deal with the former. If I had paid attention in that awful class instead of passing notes, I would have known this, but how can a professor with a French last name really be trusted with a course called The British Monarchy?
-"silver bells" and "maids" may instead have been metaphors for church bells and nuns, in keeping with the Catholic theme. But I prefer to give 16th century Brits credit for a more grisly inventiveness, so I'll be sticking with instruments of toture until someone actually does correct me.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Quite contrary.

And that's it for the mice.

Apparently they represent three Protestant clergyman burned at the stake under the reign of (Bloody) Queen Mary (of Scots), an averred Catholic. Mary seems to have been an inspiring sort of figure if you go by the amount of nursery lore that's cropped up around her. Let's just say that if the rumors are correct, "silver bells" aren't flowers, "pretty maids" are a pretty nickname for the guillotine, and "cockle shells"...well, I'll leave that to one's imagination.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bjork over the speakers.

I've waited long enough. Today is the day I bring out the two staples of my winter wardrobe.

We went to a different Wegmans last night to refill our Octoberfest beer and candy corn stashes. It had orange floors and a contingent of pumpkins standing watch at the doors, but what should have been a pleasant seasonal experience was just a little off. The decorations were losing a battle with chalkboards proclaiming "49 cents per pound of bananas". At least three old men were dying in the bulk candy section, but not of anything interesting or goulish. There was a loose kid whose crying would have been far more convincing if he hadn't been sporting the slightly ridiculous eighties haircut that made me point and laugh. The floors were less construction paper orange and more lifeless sherbet, and the pumpkin guard was rotting into its pallets and smelling up the entire place.

"The suburbs fall short once again."

And we walked out disappointed under an unsettling islamic moonrise and tried to find the Grand Am amongst the flocks and flocks of ghostly grey sedans...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

And purple...I HATE purple.

In the grand tradition of Grimace, the Purple Pieman, and Prince, I submit to you a sliver of Fee. She was commissioned by some theater dude in Missouri (pronounced Missour-uh, if you know what's good for you) and is destined to be the last piece of mine to be headed for the heartland. This is partly due to my inability to follow directions. Partly because I take criticism very poorly and am unlikely to be approachable for any re-draws. Partly because I don't know lilac from lavender. But largely because I could find no 16X20 inch envelopes and, in a characteristic snit, ended up crushing the whole mess into a smallish tube and cramming what amounted to a "fuck you and your ideas" note into its hole.

Unfortunate, because Right Up Your Alleys don't really fall out of the sky that often.

Monday, October 03, 2005

As right as the mail.

I think I got a little too caught up in last night's viewing of Portrait of a Lady:

"I've decided that I want to suffer from consumption."
"You realize that it's tuberculosis and that people still die of it."
"Yes, which makes it all the easier for me. It's really a very artistic disease."
"All of the great poets did have it."
"And Doc Holiday. Just think, you get to sit around, swaddled in blankets, speaking in a pained voice before falling back into your armchair with a hankie to your lips. Things are always much more profound when said by someone who could swoon at any moment."
"How very romantic. You'd have to wear blousy shirts and walk the moors."
"Only before the fact. Afterwards it's all about scarves, and I've got that covered. Plus, you get to travel a lot."
"It's true. People with consumption are always going to 'the country'."
"Or to the Mediterranean. Or at least Egypt or Araby. Anywhere dry."
"El Paso."
"I wouldn't mind being consumed in El Paso."

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Be gone with you.

Fairly uninspired. I had about a billion interruptions (or just one, in the form of an ginormous purple fairy) and just wanted to get it over with. A revisit is definitely in order. I've made a slightly crazed promise to myself to one day master mice.

Friday, September 30, 2005


the basement smells like lunchbox.

that's all I need. to be reminded of mouldering yellow Garfield thermosware and years of sitting alone in the cafeterias of a half dozen high schools.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Love among the tofu cubes.

Okay, so maybe not all hippies are uncute.

I was just caught staring with no pride whatsoever at a lovely boy at the co-op. First there was the startlement. Then the creeping blush. Then the disdainful huff/nasty eyeroll of "I was so not looking at you. To think! Ring up my bagel, smelly girl!"

It was shameless, I'll confess. But a man passes the six-foot mark so infrequently in Buffalo that I consider it my right--nay, my obligation-- to pay him homage with a dutiful gape.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Oh. My. God.

Our house is showing its seasonal colors and has once again proved to be a whore to Mother Nature. Little more than twenty four hours after our insulation project, it decided to stamp its foot and declare "I will not be kept from my lady love!"

Apparently the liaison was set for Sunday night. At around eleven, rainwater began pouring into the basement from several weaknesses in the foundation. Little freshets came bubbling up through cracks in the floor and the french drains flooded their banks in passionate excesses. Paint buckets floated and butted together for little kisses. I saw a Coke can paddling its way towards a midnight meeting with a bottle of Dawn behind the washing machines. And we stood in shock like offended clergy, past our ankles in water, as everything spun and bobbed in indecorous riot.

All I could do was wait for the exodus of prudish silverfish that was sure to make its way upstairs and into my slippers.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Pumpkins, mums, and street art.

We recently witnessed two hippies--vagrants?drunks? (takeyerpick)--duking it out on Elmwood. They were falling over each other in a smelly tangle of dredlocks and Rush teeshirts and nearly careened into the Grand Am. They did a couple of somersaults for our enjoyment and rolled to a stop in front of the toystore where the stouter or wilier or more sober of the two took the opportunity to 'pants' the other. Not to be daunted by a trifling nekkid ass, Bum #2 left the offending corduroys where they lay and pelted after his attacker towards Bagel Brothers--no doubt to reclaim his stolen bag of weed or hemp necklace.

No word yet on whether this was all some kind of staged entertainment funded by the co-op. You know, just to keep up appearances.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Our ways...are not your ways.

My parents came up to help in Child Relief Effort '05. Last year it was something involving 220 lines, washing machines, and a stiff distrust of landlords. This year it was the windows. It seems they realized that the only way to save me from an annual bout of pneumonia was to weatherproof the apartment. So they came unbidden, but much welcomed, with rolls of pink and paint scrapers--military drums a-rollin'.

But before taking the trip they must gird themselves. Our habits are very different. We live cold, silent lives in virtual dark, of virtual ice. They must suspect us of extreme laziness. I maintain that it's the oblivion of genius. Whatever it is, they come armed against it:

Gallons of fresh water--they have a mighty disdain for the city stuff
Blankets, gloves, sweaters--knowing full well that I refuse to pay the theiving bastards at National Fuel one red cent before mid-October.
Food--in the form of lunch meats, coffee-mate, tea bags (anything heavily salted or nonperishable--who knows how long they'll have to subsist in this state?)
Light--multitudes of tiny night lights for those midnight bathroom runs, and for the six o'clock hour when no true human under forty-eight should be awake.
Batteries--God forbid that our remote (remote?) should fail.
Tools--for the million, odd, unnoticed tweaks.

And I swear they leave crossing themselves and praying that they've saved us from one more winter of slow cold death in front of our respective screens.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

When all else fails.

Last night on the porch:

A: "I don't like the way your parents decorate."
J: "Yeah. At least they got rid of those horrible flower pictures."
A (In a spasm of emotion): "Those pictures are a sin! A sin against God. Beauty is truth, and truth beauty. The only truth is the Lord, our God. Therefore, such ugliness is a sin against God."
J (laughing): "What about our bust of Alexander?"
A: "The bust of Alexander is a sin, but it's Vanity. Not the same. (More laughing) Oh, and you can blog that."
J: "I'm not going to blog your witticisms."
A: "Feel free. I allow it. I'm practically swimming in them."
J: "Thanks."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pass the sugarplums.

Oh man. I like to pretend like it doesn't, but it all comes down to tea parties and froggies for me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's autumn sunrise. Do you like it?

This morning I had a haircut appointment. I pared my fingernails, covered my calloused feet in socks and walked down Elmwood, noting that it smelled of hotdogs and thinking that this wasn't a good sign. Either it was the heat and it would only get worse with the afternoon, or it was me.

Beauty salons make me distinctly uncomfortable. The people that run them are like chimney sweeps--wiry and dour, dressed in black and pushing brooms, skilled in an unfathomable art. They move like cats and talk like funeral directors and throw me into complete confusion. I stand like an ogre and fall over myself trying to apologize for my split ends, my frizzies, and my self-cuts to whatever dark sibyl that gets saddled with me. Today it was a gentle little man with a pinky ring. He was that not-quite-American type with a name that sounded like an arab nut tree. I contented myself with calling him "narwhal" and earned his general disapproval.

"What product do you use?"
Blank stare.
"What product do you buy?" (Is she deaf?)
"The cheapest one?" (Please like me!)
"What do you put in your hair?" (How many ways can I ask the same question?)
"Is shampoo a product?" (See! I'm eager to learn!)
Deflated. "Oh. Well, then 'no product' is my answer, sir."

And for some reason, I think I failed.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Are you crazy? You don't drive between them.

A great weekend. Between giant helpings of potato salad, we gossipped about family members and briefly murmured about the hurricane before moving on to discuss window insulation. We walked along the river by the park, inspected my parents' new shed, and made appropriate comments about the flowerbeds and the crabapple tree in their front yard. I went for a run by a llama farm and chased chipmunks away from the garage. We were altogether submerged in Americana.

And of course, to cap it all off, there was the visit to the local nuclear power plant.
I swear, nothing says small town sensibility quite like the tightly harnessed power of the atom.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

P.A., here we come. Whooo!

My parents resorted to guilt ("I finished the shed last week...all by myself.") and bribery ("Steaks on the grill or lasagna?") and finally managed to woo us out for the weekend. It should be a nice getaway, but I find that waking up at three fifteen to take a mental inventory of our overnight bag goes a long way towards undercutting any restorative good. By five I'll have posted and had some tea. By six I'll have consulted Local on the Eights on the Weather Channel and be bounding into the bedroom to wake up my grumpy carmate. At six thirty we'll be on our way and I'll be giddy and playing the first of the Gomez cd's. We'll get there at ten and I'll be all like "see how early we left, bitches? don't you love us? I'm so your best child.". And by lunch I'll be passed out on the sectional with my hand in a bowl of Hershey's kisses and my parents will be cursing me and my misplaced energy.

All because I couldn't decide on whether to bring the dragon tee shirt or the dragon button down.

On the plus side, we'll be missing our street's annual Block Party. Oh, the things I could say.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Last one...I promise.

I may have just exhausted The Emperor's New Clothes with this one.

It took for damn ever and I don't know why--I even cut some corners as far as embellishments went. But, aside from the head tailor bearing an unsettling resemblance to Perry Ferrell, it's pretty unremarkable. The throne room doesn't even look like a throne room. Nary a feathered fan or a dancing girl. Not even a slouching jester. In fact, that lovely wood panelling is beginning to remind me of the trailer I used to live in as a baby. Perhaps a well placed afghan and some sesame street toys would have been more in order.

Maybe it's a makeshift throne room--for mobility. Perhaps he's an emperor on the go. Likes to travel, see his subjects. How munificent, how benevolent. What a man o' the people. And this is his thanks.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I would while away the hours.

I couldn't sleep. One day I'll learn to take full advantage of my insomnia and use the wee hours to read or do crunches or churn butter. Until that day, I will stare at the shadows the nightlight makes over the computer and scare the hell out of myself imagining fingers creeping around corners and dark snuffling things coursing through the walls.

Last night it was scarecrows. I was entertaining myself trying to think of green skinned things. Kermit, Atreu, Slythe...and I stopped short at the Wicked Witch of the West because an image of the Scarecrow had flashed into my brain. And for some reason his good-natured burlap face had blood on it. And then I thought of the made for tv movie I'd seen when I was nine called Night of the Scarecrow where some dude hid in a scarecrow and the police tracked him with dogs and shot him up but he wasn't really dead and he got revenge on the townsfolk with inventive agrarian ways like killing some woman by drowning her in a corn silo. And that I couldn't watch Scarecrow and Mrs. King because the title alone terrified me. And that red and black plaid reminds me of scarecrows and I can't buy Brawny.

And just before I started sweating and hyperventilating, a small, evil voice whispered in my ear, "Scarecrows are really crucified clowns" and I fainted into sleep.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Radioactive blood.

Jess's Law of Probability: If a spider can land on you, it will.

This one went through three different mutations ( fat and happy? comical? maddened by fear?) before I settled on "normal kiddo". I really wanted to do "dark and creepy" but decided to hold out for autumn on that one--for everything it's season.

It also saw about half a dozen erasings. By the time Battlestar Galactica was starting, the paper was grey and pocked with ghostly Muffet faces and I'd gone through about twenty Coldplay songs and a bag of bbq Baked Lays. Funny considering that it was supposed to provide a nice evening breather from the current piece that is taking for freaking ever.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Get ready.

It is SO not too early. I'm breaking out the candy corns.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Labbatt Blue and Spiral Mac 'n Cheese.

(The new and improved JRR scan. If I'm going to pursue anything Tolkien, I'm going to be a real pain in the ass stickler about it.)

I seem to remember posting in a drunken haze last night. Something about Death Cab For Cutie being undeserving of all of the current fuss. How I don't blame Ben Gibbard for coasting on the fumes of his Postal Service success, but that his whining is just whining without the sweet bloops and bleeps backing it up, and that we shouldn't fool ourselves into fandom. I probably said something about it all being a metaphor for life stripped bare of art or some shit. Blah blah blah. Oh, I railed and ranted. And then realized I was practically drooling on the keyboard, fruck out and deleted everything in shame.

Either way, I would suggest saving oneself the disappointment and skipping Plans.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

W-w-want some candy?

I think something in this neighborhood is being ritually bled onto the sidewalks. Beneath one of the trees is a small sticky circle of damp that doesn't quite wash away with rain. My bets are on the squirrels. They're horrible around here--waging constant warfare on us and each other. More than once, I've been chattered at and pelted with fragments of chestnuts. They've obviously kidnapped some unfortunate animal and are using it for their own dark purposes.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

She's too heavy, Captain!

We're getting a new chair. It's soft and green with metal (okay, plastic) retro buttons and long arms. We paid the terrifying old clerk who'd chased us around the store with her walker and were told that it would take eight weeks to arrive from Rome. I had clapped my hands and cooed fatuously "oooh, from Rome! Goody, goody!" until I was snidely informed by my companion that she probably meant Rome, NY, dear. At this, I stopped, frowned, and brayed loudly into the showroom, effectively destroying our cultivated "oh, such nice, tall, well mannered people!" image that works so well with the sales community.

Despite my antics, the chair is coming. And I'm left with a dilemma. My army brat years instilled in me a nervous compulsion to keep the status quo regarding possessions. You buy a shirt, you throw a shirt away. Five new pairs of socks in the drawer, a couple of unused dishes in the trash. It's all about weight and volume and most certainly stems from the knowledge that if you buy it now, you'll pack it later, and the next move is right around the corner. Some call it a disorder, I call it efficiency.

So, now we have this thing arriving. Pounds of wood and stuffing and springs (not to mention the Target throw pillows that are bound to follow) that have my scales swinging wildly off balance. Some major paring down is obviously in order. That's a lot of Corporate Challenge tee-shirts and Snoopy mugs.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Apologies for the godawful scan. There's really nothing here of the original.

The Boy walked in and congratulated me on my first pic of Bilbo. I nearly snapped his head off with my, "It's not Bilbo. It's Tolkien." As if even the whisper of it would commit me to an endeavor for which I'm not yet equipped. But I suppose they are much the same animal--Bilbo and old JRR. Pipe smoking writers with a fondness for waistcoats. I'm guessing on the last, but I've got a gut feeling about it.

Though, going by the only photo I've ever seen of him, I sometimes get twinklings of Gandalf. Such eyebrows.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A Long Expected Read.

Started Lord of the Rings. (Do I need to specify that I'm reading it?) I can never quite hold out until September 22nd, but figure that Bilbo's birthday preparations begin in earnest a few weeks prior to the event itself, so I'm right on schedule. I took last year off both because I'd had my fill of the mania and because I wanted to let my reeling sensibilities recover from Peter Jackson's dope-induced, D&D interpretations.

Maybe this will be the year that I grow some balls and start tinkering artistically with the book. But I doubt it. Not after my nineteenth read of the Forward where he smashes his critics, bashes allegorists, and upbraids anyone without the sense to "buy Ballantine". The man loved his work, loved his own editions. For chrissakes, he illustrated his own stuff. Not well, mind you, but with a confidence that comes only from overweening pride. That and, as far as I can tell, a childish refusal to let anyone else touch his shit. And he was right, considering that he's been so often reduced to blue skinned elves and bitch-slapping wizards. So I'm a little daunted. I'm also rambling.

Did anyone know that Christopher Tolkien was in the RAF? How did I miss that bullshit? Now he's turned from a pasty bespectacled literary lamprey into a young british man, brooding in the sands of North Africa, reading his dad's letters, draped in his bomber jacket, and sexy as all hell. Great.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Put the bunny in the box.

Wanna shamelessly fem out? I'm addicted. Also try the flashgames to the left.

It's like Barbie but the earrings don't get lost in the carpet.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Like a good book, I can't put this day back.

It's seems that my fallback fairy tale is the frog prince. Though I'm not loving this one. An odd combination of too angular and too girly. Despite the best attempts, my pieces sometimes fall a little too close to the land of Cutesy.

Just yesterday I was sitting at my post, staring into space and wah-wah-ing appropriately to some song about drowning or driving or death. Sufficiently quiet, sufficiently dour. Until I looked down to find that I had doodled a pretty little turret. I gave a muffled yip of dismay, threw an accusing glance in the direction of the music, and erased the evidence into oblivion. But what the eff? Next it'll be tall, yellow-haired unicorns with pink ribbons and flowers. When any idiot knows that they are dwarfish, grey and mean-tempered.

Is this how the perversion of folklore begins? A little bit of laziness, a little bit of Tori?

I'll have to be more guarded. But I assume it's nothing that a little Childe Roland won't cure.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I'm totally stealing this from Sarah:

Go to your music player of choice and put it all on shuffle. Say the
following questions aloud, and after each one press play. Use the song
title as the answer to the question.

What do you think of me, Rhapsody?
Psyche--Nouvelle Vague's cover of Killing Joke. Not a bad pick, if you're sticking with mythology.

Will I have a happy life?
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by The Postal Service. Oddly enough, that sounds nice.

What do my friends think of me?
Shot Shot by Gomez. Yikes. Maybe I shouldn't have asked.

Do people secretly lust after me?
Don't Look Back by Telepopmusic. Why? Are some behind me right now?

How can I make myself happy?
From Black to Blue by Yo La Tengo. All I can think of is Batman and Superman, which works.

What should I do with me life?
You Come In Burned by The Dandy Warhols. Figuratively?

Why must life be so full of pain?
Time Is Just The Same by Isobel Campbell. Cryptic, Isobel, very cryptic.

How can I maximize my pleasure during sex?
Guns of Brixton by Nouvelle Vague, cover of the Clash. (Giggle.)

Can you give me some advice?
I Am A Scientist by The Dandy Warhols. So no then. Just as well.

What do you think happiness is?
This Place Is A Prison by The Postal Service. Well. I'm going to take the optimistic approach and assume you're talking about the grounds from the Cascades to Puget Sound. Me too. So let's just leave it at that.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


What does it say about me that my snackies of choice are Stoned Wheat Thins and Baked(!) Cheddar Ruffles?

Nothing accurate, I'll wager.

The Binding.

There's a strange house a couple lots down. Amidst the desperate conformity of our neighborhood it must be considered an eyesore, but I like it. It's a mess of colors too close to be complimentary--rust and tangerine, slate and grey. It's a confusion of angles that are neither logical nor artful. It's perpetually under construction and therefore choked in tangles of sheets and scaffolding. An affront, to be sure.

But there's a certain charm to it's style. Combination of styles, really. The colors are definitely pueblo and the iron accents look French, or at least French Quarter. The clapboard sides have a sturdy british feel, but the windows are done in criss-cross Deutsche fashion and may as well be paned with plate sugar. The roof is burnt and vaguely Venetian. The porch is concrete and unapologetically American. There's a tower on it's right face that, while not unusual for this area, is fanciful enough to grab notice. Especially considering that it's topped off with a cap that's part Kremlin, part mosque. I'm not ashamed to say that I've peeked in when passing by in the evening and it's innards are red brick and arches, just begging to be ornamented with iron crockery and a nasty fat cook.

The family is equally elusive. Are they black? italian? latina? indian? eastern hungarian? I'm not sure. Don't really care. I'm more fascinated by the workman that sits outside, more fisherman than painter. Who tugs at his whiskers and casts his stones and grins and clacks and terrifies the stupid soft neighborhood kids. Whose hands are busy on thin air, whose eyes look forward, but whose concentration is obviously on the house behind him.

And it looks like it will all break apart at any moment--some parts claimed by the garden, others swallowed by rocks and earth, others flying off into the sky. I can only assume that it's one hell of a spell that keeps it trembling in uncertain obedience.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Oh, Muse sing through me.

I suppose I should be happy that it's taking movie form at all, but it just ensures that this will never be made.

I enjoyed Sin City in a tepid sort of way. I devoured 300 with the same fanaticism I would give to a crappy bootleg of Radiohead--"Just give me anything!". But to have Pressfield's incisive, cunning treatment take a back seat to Miller's glossy hamfisted style is just painful. And Bruce Willis would have made a much better Dienekes than a Detective Hartigan and now that's not going to happen either.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Look, Ma. No pants.

Another Emperor's New Clothes.

Or, "The Royal Wee".

That was The Boy's idea and he demanded to be given credit for it. Whatever. Yes, he's so witty. Aren't we all jealous. Blat, blat, blat.

The garb doesn't really follow stylistically from the first. She looks more eastern European than the Spanish-or-Persian-or-Tex-Mex or whatever I was going for in the first. But what the hell.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


It's always in the dog days that Rackham mocks me most.

Perhaps because his stuff always seems to have been plucked out of August. Thorny and dry and color breathing faintly on the page.

So, I hold my breath for fall.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

And it's too bright outside.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I'm cranky.

-The price of my once-a-week-bagel went up fifteen cents.
-Some homeless guy outside of Wilson Farms called me "Sir". As if my asshole reflex around these dudes wasn't already barely in check.
-Add cancer patients to the long list of people I hate that shop at the Co-op. Some woman in an elaborate white and gold turban decided to take fifteen minutes cashing out, whining, raising invisible eyebrows, begging things to be placed just so in those annoying little co-op bags, and generally pissing me off. (Oh? It's not cool to be mad at cancer patients? Well, fuck you, too.)
-My allergies are inflamed, as are my knees. They've been turning rosy colors all morning with absolutely no provocation.
-And I'm in love with Christopher Reeve from the orginal Supe movie. Was that not obvious? And there's nothing I can do about it unless I have some real luck with a pocketwatch. Or maybe a 1978 penny.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

First drink's on me. Let me get my hat.

That's it. I'm watching it tonight.

Some snippets within the last few minutes since discovering this. (Journal hours 22-20)

A: "We're going to have to bring tissues. It's going to get tearful. Whoa. Are you crying right now?"
J: "Shut yer mouth."

A: "It's going to be like Iron Giant all over again."
J: "No. It's going to be like the last words of the Iron Giant said for two hours straight."

J: "I heard that they're using some of the original Williams music. As soon as that shit starts, the wailing will begin. Loud wailing. Loud and embarassing."

A: "We're not watching it with your parents, I don't want them to see me cry."

A: "Christ, woman. Pull yourself together."

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

I played into the whole unemployed artist image today and spent the afternoon at a coffeeshop. I always feel a little out of my element surrounded by the college kids and old Italian men that are the staples of Elmwood, a little daunted by the sneering, liberal posters. But the chairs at Cafe Aroma are comfortable and the mugs are clean and the snobbish air of the place is slightly undercut by the smell of Whoppers.

And I sat and dodged the bees and the Omigod-That-Weird-Guy, and gossipped happily and sillily. But there must be something in the village water because as the tea cooled the conversation got heated and turned to politics, and the rise and fall of our voices started to sound annoyingly appropriate to the environment. I didn't realize this until the guy next to us made a snort of disagreement into his mahi concoction, at which point I fell silent and abashed.

And took the next opportunity to swear as dirtily and creatively as I could.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I am a visitor here. I am not permanent.

The Emperor's New Clothes.
I just couldn't bring myself to draw him as he should be. I have limits and apparently they lay somewhere before complete bare-assedness. Or maybe it was a cool day.

I also can't decide if I like it. The goal was to play around with buildings and shadows and cityscapes. The people were an afterthought and therefore don't seem natural in their places. They don't own them as they should. I could have walked a Puss 'n Boots or a Lir or any one of a million characters under that archway and not have it make any difference. It would have been a city, but it would not have been theirs.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Tap. Tap. Spin.

I've been working on a piece for the last couple of days and I'm starting to get nervous. It's always a delicate process, considering that all of my superstitions have been funnelled into this one area. The construction of any picture is dotted with rituals that are part OCD, part honest fear. The longer a piece sits on the dining room table, the more likely I am to make a slip or offend any stray spirit. So, I try to get done as quickly as possible, making everything just so, setting my pencils to one side and my tea and brushwater to the other (Dry=Left, Wet=Right), placing the lamp perfectly in its dustring, saying a few quiet words, and making all the necessary ablutions.

Even now, I wonder if the mere mention of this is enough to set some vengeful thing abroad. (Shrug). It's about time for me to offer up another sacrificial piece anyway.

2:45 A.M.

Elliott Smith's A Distorted Reality Is Now a Necessity to be Free has the best use of the word "fuck".

And, yes, I'm slightly drunk.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Warning: Parents.

I went for the customary end-of-the-visit Run of Shame with my dad. This involves being hoisted from my bed at some unholy hour and making stiff pleasantries before I've been properly fed or computered or caffeinnated. I lace my sneakers and pay respects to my mom, who sits like some ghostly red-headed sibyl and asks her questions, eyeing me through teacup steam as if divining how exactly my knees feel and if I should be running.

And then we jog into the morning at an hour that is fit only for park bench drunks, stray dogs and sprinklers. Some more polite but largely one-sided conversation. A "how're ya feeling?" which translates roughly to "no, we're not turning around yet, it's gonna be a long one". Some snide remarks made about the predawn dog-walkers that litter the path. And one gusty exhale at the halfway point around the lake: "Smells like Korea!". All of which I respond to with "hmphs" that fizzle into whining.

And with a high five and a "good job, buddy", it's over. And we all say our goodbyes, and I haul their suitcases out, and pummel their backs and wave stoutly as they drive off. And make my mad dash for the Motrin bottle.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Crazy Grandma quote of the day.

To the unfortunate bus driver that happened to stop for her a couple weeks ago:

"Take pity on an old lady. I got no money. I spent it all on Twinkies." She's a crafty one.

It's a testament to the forgiving nature of Buffalonians that he did give her a free ride.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Enjoy a drink now and then.

It seems that somewhere along the line we skipped a few rungs on the social monkey bars. Rather than follow a leisurely path into our late twenties, we swung from the strobe-and-bass of the college scene directly into the geriatric world of free popcorn and pitchers of Blue. We are people of extremes.
This weekend, however, we decided to backtrack. So we dug deep into our pockets, washed the backs of our necks, ironed our shirts and entered into some more age-appropriate venues.

I was more than a bit scared, but I did learn a few things:

-Everyone is a little taller, a little thinner, a little cooler than you. And the girls will kick your ass, so don't even think about falling back on your "endearing" punkishness.
-People turn their noses up at smoking but drink suicidal volumes of alcohol.
-Complete disregard for personal space. ("Oh, was that your kidney? I'm sorry.")
-You will run into someone you barely knew in college. And you will make forced conversation.
-Blue lights are rampant. And unflattering. (Think Mum-Ra rather than Rankin and Bass.)

Oh, and keep a hold of your date. Because once you turn your back, there will be no distinguishing them from the sea of black-clad, martini sipping, sixty dollar haircuts.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Blinds. They're blinds.

Wah-wah. Too hot to do anything more than stare.

Apparently the heat is effecting the scanner, too. Yeah. That's it.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Got some unexpected visitors the other day. Of the religious variety. I stood very quietly, not answering the door, balanced on some non-squeaky floorboards. But they are a patient breed and waited for what seemed like ever in their flowing skirts and sherbet polos.

And as they contemplated my door, I weighed my options. I could go outside, guns ablaze, some social Darwinism in one holster and my "I am God"-doozie in another. I could start shit and I could win. But it struck me that the current spectacle was much more terrifying. Me, looking with a pale, roving eyeball between the blinds. Them, inches away and unaware. Me, mouthing dark things through the glass and onto their polished shoes. Them, guileless and smiling into the sun.

It's the stuff of horror movies, really, and I was so freaked out by myself that I didn't even notice when they left.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

He's all puffed up, wanna be your king.

(Apparently, Peter Gabriel's is the only song having anything remotely to do with frogs. So I will keep quoting it until I've run out of lines.)

I'm a real fan of the imagery, but the story itself is much less pleasing. I can forgive the fact that the heroine is a spoiled brat who makes empty promises and then must be held to them by guilt. That she's of marriageable age and still plays with balls. That she ignores the laws of hospitality and in fact pitches her suitor against a wall in a murderous rage. Or that the resulting wedding is reward for what is really a nasty temper.

But the whole Iron Heinrich thing at the end is just downright queer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

And who's gonna save you, Junior?

I vegged last night and watched The Lost Boys and Point Break. At around midnight, the Boy decided to take advantage of my placid, drooling state and flipped to From Russia With Love. Four hours of SpikeTV must have created a short term tolerance and I gave in with only some halfhearted spastics.

I enjoyed it, but I was startled to discover how closely it's mirrored by The Last Crusade:

-Great speed boat chase
-Scene on a train (no zeppelins, sorry) where Bond asks an enemy for his ticket
-Underground escape scene where our hero and his chica outrun a horde of rats and emerge above ground via a sewer into a bustling city
-Seaside chase--Bond in a car, enemy in the air; Bond gets out of the car and takes the helicopter down from the ground with a shotgun (apparently forgetting his Charlemagne)
-Slavic looking babe who plays for the other side but who just can't resist the Scottish charmer
-makeout scene in Venice

Oh, and just in case you weren't already convinced that Speilberg has a massive hard-on for 007--the badass antagonist is none other than Quint from Jaws.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Like squeezing water from cheese.

Who likes The Valiant Tailor? This one.

I'm not quite up to seven, so four-with-one-blow will have to do. And I'm afraid (relieved?) that's all I've got in me.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Endless arguing.

"We're not going anywhere with you wearing a Transformers shirt and me wearing a Cobra shirt."

After a huffy change of clothing:

"Oh, so it's better if I'm wearing a Transformers shirt and you're wearing a Sandman shirt?"

Sunday, August 07, 2005

"The music's coming through me."

Several months ago, I submitted some samples of my work to the owner of an online nursery store. The woman's response was sweet, describing the pieces as "lovely, but too dark for the age group." Now, rejection letters don't get any better than that, but I was at a loss as to how any take on "Rub-a-dub-dub" could be construed as "dark". Or, maybe they just sucked, who knows?

Today I was working on my latest, listening to the Rhap. I take a perverse glee in rocking out the nu-metal while drawing nursery rhymes--there's something so deliciously wrong in it. But it occured to me that maybe I wasn't doing myself any favors. That as I sat, singing over my work in a shamanic pose, I may have been investing every line, every color with what can only be called Hard Core Godlessness. Was Serj Tankian unwittingly polluting my stuff? Did this poor matronly store-owner see my picture of the Ant and the Grasshopper and think "nicotine, valium, vicodin, marjuana, ecstasy, and alcohol"? Are my pieces simply that potent?

And finally, can my delusions range any farther?

Friday, August 05, 2005

August 26, 2005.

So, The Brothers Grimm is coming to theaters. I have my fears.

Those being that while I will no doubt sit and watch and sniff my disapproval, I will be secretly loving it, and that I'll walk out crushing on Heath Ledger rather than Matt Damon.

Lord, preserve me.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

"With more of a gleam in your eye! You're fighting a Gorgon, for chrissakes!"

We finally relented and got a digital camera. There've been too many weddings-new cars-new dogs-new homes of late for us to keep refusing to document our lives. So I finally allowed an investment of fifty dollars to be made in the lowest grade possible.

Now, heaven forbid that he indulge in a purchase without it first being approved for my own purposes--but it really does seem to be working out for both of us this time. He's using it to quietly undermine annoying urban pretenses. I'm using it to see how my ass looks in any given pair of pants ("Now for the capris. No, NO. You have to back up--I want my sandals in the shot."). To each his own.

More importantly, it's handy for drawing. No more contorting in front of the mirror, straining to see just what a person looks like when dancing a jig with a bearded snake. No more bolting back to the pens and paper in a race against my shoddy memory. Oh, no. Now I have a model, however unwilling, and the efficient means to capture and render. So, if my stalwart princes start sporting suspicious beer bellies, and if my greek heroes start resembling mild mannered HR directors--well, we'll all know who to blame.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I will call you the link-y post.

Yesterday I stumbled onto this article which threw me into a brief fit--complete with alarmist imaginings of tuna riots in the Pacific Northwest and marauding packs of wolves along the lines of The Day After Tomorrow.

Hours later, I came across this. Draw your own conclusions, is all I'm saying.

On a lighter side, this made me think of Alex's brothers.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

We'd better have a good explanation for all the fun we had.

Take a little artist's block and a restless pen. Add some Mr. Clean Citrus fumes. Ninety degree temps. A dash of Ani. And you've got yourself one strange mix of housewifery and girl power.

The boy-o's at Rhapsody have finally decided to include DiFranco's lovelies. Give 'er a whirl.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Yesterday was one of those days when sunshine and events conspire to give Buffalo the appearance of a city that's alive and kicking.

Our street took part in the Garden Walk, an event which I liken to Halloween for the over-fifty. Suburbanites arm themselves with small dogs and large bags filled with antacids and battery-operated fans. The weather is always lovely in a gracious, holiday manner. Nature decorates with obliging butterflies and a couple of drab hummingbirds. The horde of smirking homeowners that terrorizes our sidewalks sits on its porches while non-participants shut their shades and wait for curfew.

And we all stand watch behind our sunglasses to size up the traffic and guess at the costumes. Retired teachers are as abundant as fairy princesses. Divorcees are the hookers of the bunch. Spinsters the ghosts--white-legged and shy. The old Polish ladies are the bullies, travelling in packs, dominating the middle of the streets, eyeing you up for candy. Shaved-head rednecks and young gay men are the masked monsters--outnumbering everyone else and completely indistinguishable from each other. And they all manage to get along until it comes time to find a parking spot.
And then the switchblades come out and it gets good.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

"I'll take the branches. They must certainly be the heaviest."

I'm all about the Brave Little Tailor recently. Which is strange because as a kid I couldn't give him the time of day. Probably because he was neither soldierly nor good looking. I was a shallow sort of child. The dogeared portions of my Grimm's were shamefully the pages concerning ballgowns and kissing.

But see how I've reformed! No more empty romantic notions. From here out, it's all got to do with quick wits and courage. And perhaps a well-crafted tunic or two.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Great glowing green gorillas.

"I saw the trailer for King Kong today."
"How was it?"
"Pretty damn bad."
"Well, it is King-fucking-Kong."
"No, it is Peter-fucking-Jackson."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Get your hair out of my soy yogurt.

We went to the no-longer-on-Lexington Co-op yesterday in a reluctant effort to "Support Our City!" (yeah!).

I'm sorry, but I just can't do it again. Too many dirty hippies.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Pirouetting goldfish and eye of newt.

Last night we made ourselves watch as Empire came to its limping conclusion. It started off okay, but if you're going to completely abandon reality, at least let the cute boy and the solemn priestess end up together. As if any of the Vestals remained virgins. They were selling that shit off left and right, I'm sure.

So we retired to the computer room in disgust and he played golf while I sat listless in the papasan and was much better entertained by this screensaver. There's something zen-like about ticking off the images you see in fractals and light:

crushed insects
...a trachea
stars...not stars...
...helicopter searchlights...yes
eagle headdress
phoenix beak...

It's an odd mix between precision and randomness. That and it leaves you with a list of things that sounds like a recipe for witches broth.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

When does MY someday begin?

It's going to sound unlikely, but if ever there was an immortal, it's Babyface.

Don't ask me why I was rifling through the Kenneth Edmunds archives, but I've found that, other than the coiffure modifications made in the lapsing decades, the man does not change.

Yes, the name. But I suspect it's simply a device to conceal godliness by admitting to it. Roundabout logic. You know, kindof like Lestat in that awful(-ly good) movie that no one saw.

I'm not up to any hefty searching, though. You're just asking to be turned into a sprig of rowan or a long-necked wren when you start sniffing around such matters.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Red Badge of...

I've burst a blood vessel in my eye. I'm embarrassed to explain how, but let's just say that some vigorous vomitting and the aforementioned bottles of cranberry juice were involved. After a panicky internet search to make sure that it's nothing permanent, I'm now just waiting for it to go away.

In the meantime, I'm torn between hiding it behind sunglasses and displaying it in it's full, maniacal glory. I'm unsettling as it is, but the prospect of staring down Elmwood crazies and hapless check-out boys with my Look-of-Death-made-better might be too much to pass up.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

End of Days.

The house is cleared of guests. The linens are piled, the dishes are washed, the half empty bottles of cranberry juice have been dumped. All went well. Outside of a few slips (forgivable because they were made on the front porch after eleven), I got through without offending my sister-in-law's religious sensibilities, so we'll call that a near success.

But she was lucky to get out when she did, as I think our bottled irreverence was beginning to leak. After dropping her off we spent the rest of the afternoon letting it all out, restocking the cupboards and shelves with blaspemy. Whispering "goddammits" into the corners.

And got some quiet time in.

A passing remark made by The Boy: "Constantine AND The Gospel According to Jesus Christ? Wow. It really is Sunday."

Friday, July 22, 2005

Crazy grandma quote of the day.

"Here's a card for your anniversary, sweeteeee."
"Can you fill it out for meee? Sign it 'With love'."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Easy Breezy.

When in doubt, you can always fall back on silhouettes.

Gotta go. Gotta chat. Gotta eat huge mounds of ciabatta and sage cheddar.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

All hail.

Despite the fact that ABC's Empire could be set in Narnia for all its historical inaccuracy, I am enjoying it thoroughly. There's nothing I love more than the sympathetic and completely farfetched illustration of Caesar as a man o' the people. Uh-huh.

That being said, I am eagerly awaiting this. I'm hoping for a more multifaceted portrayal by Ciaran Hinds, who's been practically plucked from an Austen novel and whose voice always sounds like it's coming from underwater.
Yes, I am poised on the edge of crushdom for this one.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

There's got to be more than this boat I'm in.

The house has started acting weird again. Different than it's wintertime fits. More organic in a way. It's probably the warm. But old smells are being reanimated--the back hall reeks of puppy once more. The bathroom is seething and dripping and no amount of strangling can stop it or the tiny gnats that are driving me to distraction. The kitchen floor is shedding it's imitation linoleum squares like snakeskin.

And the upstairs is noisy when no one is home but me. Like the deck of a ship. No more of the cold patience of our January ghosts. But instead the hot militant sounds of flapping sails and wooden creaking and sailors running and all. And the house pitches in the wet winds and the trees slap themselves against its sides. And I go green and sickly and try to keep my pencils from rolling overboard.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Will he, nil he.

I may be the only one of my peers that has no memories of the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I blocked it all out years ago. I have deep seated issues with Gene Wilder that I'm always happy to noise about (it's the bleary eyes). I also have a fear of midgets of which I'm much less proud. Not to mention my phobias concerning drowning (especially in food), fat kids (remember the blond boy with the bugle in The Last Crusade? shudder), and dance numbers.

Surprisingly, I have no problems with squirrels.

Really, not the film for me.

So, I'll be sitting it out and waiting for Burton to wake the hell up and make Alice like a good little crackpot.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Shopping plaza adventures.

Giddy from air-conditioning and riding a Starbuck's contact high, they spent ludicrous amounts of money.


Today we held our breath and joined the cord of traffic that was feeding itself into every Barnes and Noble in the city. I've taken part in many a universal craze, but was curious as to how the Nerd Frenzy appears to an outsider.

The Potterists are a different geek crowd than what I'm used to. Made up primarily of overweight twelve year olds and adult females that drive VW bugs. It's a cleaner crowd, more feminine, less redolent. They sport pink purses rather than wallet chains, and Chai tea lattes instead of Mountain Dew. I was inclined to sneer at them and their wan geekitude, but I was mistaken. They look softer and milder, but they move fast, real fast. My cronies and I go at a comfortable plod, developed from decades-long relationships with Lucas and Tolkien. But I was aghast at the energy of these new-comers to obsession and, I must admit, slightly respectful.

It's a fresh crowd, with the annoying intensity that goes with it, but they must be given their due and their place. So, I lifted up my arms and my copy of The Golden Ass and suffered them to pass around me and near me with their high voices and fat jabbing fingers, all intent on those teetering mounds of green...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Where the shadows lie.

I have a passion for national park webcams.

Tell me this doesn't look like Mordor. Well, it did at five-thirty a.m. under a warning red sky.
I was terrified by (false?) stories of freshwater barracuda while canoeing here.
Instead of deer signs, this place has mountain lion signs.
And here's where I'll go back to die. I figure I'll lodge myself in a nice snow drift between Paradise and the Ice Caves.

Paint fumes.

Meh. Not the greatest scan. But not the greatest picture either. I kept getting distracted by thunder and caramel Hershey's kisses. Excuses.

But these guys are still there, and I wanted to give them a nod. I think the glamour's starting to rub thin, though. They're beginning to look more puckish than ever. Or maybe they're just getting careless.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Hey, you.

Listen to the Dandy Warhols. The cd with the banana on it. I think it's called Welcome to the Monkey House.

I'm going to call it funkish, grimy, otherworldly, and sweet. Think sweaty candy necklaces.

And speaking of the simian side, I finished Wicked. I'll recommend it as a library rental, not a purchase. Gorgeous cover, beautifully written. But the plot was a little aimless and I think he got lost in the language. So there.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Ziggy Piggy.

"I was thinking, maybe we should take Mari to Fat Bob's. Give her a little Bee-Bee-Q."

"Barbeque? Isn't your sister-in-law from the south?"

"Well, yeah. But she's from the Beef South, not the Pork South."

Monday, July 11, 2005

Is that a trireme in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

I'm going to give myself a little pat on the back for finally finishing The Peloponnesian War. It was arresting, intense, completely linear, and a surprisingly fast read.

But I feel that I must share the secret behind getting through these ridiculous texts that I tackle.

Well. I allow myself to develop serious crushes on historical figures.

It's all really very simple. I would go so far to say that the authors themselves encourage the process. Take any young man from either noble birth or meager beginnigs and follow his military and political ramblings. Add a generalship and my eye is caught. Throw in the words "daring" and "brave" and the heart palpatations begin. Describe him as "brash" and "inventive" and I'm in a full swoon.

In the past three weeks I've had mental affairs with the Spartan General Brasidas (bellicose), the Athenian General Demosthenes (brilliant), and the navarch and hero Thrasybulus (who needs pretty boy Alcibiades?). There was also a brief dalliance with Lysander ("where the lion's skin will not reach, it must be patched with the fox's"). And a mild curiosity regarding Cyrus.

When one of them dies in battle or is executed by enemy Syracusans, I dry my eyes and move onto the next. They are very abundant. And that's how I go, leap-frogging from one dashing man to the next until I end the book exhausted and emotionally drained, but enlightened nonetheless. And onto the next.

I have a feeling that The Mathematical Experience is going to be a tough one.