Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Grand Island was straining under the weight.

Around five o'clock yesterday, the silence of the street and of the city was more than we could bear. The amazing weather had lost it's novelty and my "Hey, I'm Bored, Pay Attention To Me" phase was quickly being replaced by the desire to just pick a fight. So we abanadoned the bowl of salsa and the porch, threw ten Molsons in a plastic bag, and packed into the car with a defeated air.


Yes, it took all weekend, but we finally fell victim to the strange exodus that characterizes the beginning of summer. When city dwellers shrug their shoulders, grin sheepishly, and doff their urban pretentions in favor of toll booths and games of whiffleball in dogshit backyards.

Monday, May 30, 2005


The uncharitable thoughts of the previous post have been rewarded with a case of writer's and artist's block.

Also with a bad dream about drowning, an inexplicable case of shin-splints, and a pesky craving for some Strawberry Quick.

My superstitions know no bounds.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Have you no shame?

To the portly man taking in his garbage cans: First put on a shirt, then I'll think about responding to your hearty hello.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Always three there are.

A tepid version. I may need to bite the bullet and invest in a new scanner.

And I discovered what had unnerved me about the garbage truck tableau. It was incomplete. Goddesses come in triad. Maiden, Mother, Crone. Artemis, Demeter, Hecate. Always, they correspond to phases of the moon--full, sickle, dark. Less often, they are tagged with certain colors--white, red, black. (Anyone fortunate enough to have read The Neverending Story, or unfortunate enough to have seen The Neverending Story: Part II, might have noticed this. White haired Moon Child, redheaded Xayide, and Dame Eyola who turns into a black tree are perfect examples. The Germans are nothing if not thorough.).

So, it dawned on me. Our sanitation vehicle is missing a Red Queen.

Anyone have any sultry, disembodied redheads laying around? No Raggedy Anns.

She of the many faces.

Giving the devil its due.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

They were yellowjackets. I hate yellowjackets.

Crazy Grandma,

Where do you go when we make plans for lunch and you aren't there? To the noon o'clock Episcopalian service? To drink tea at Mrs. George's? Out for your daily twinkies? Or are you hiding in the bedroom, waiting for me to leave? Watching as I sit for half an hour on the porch and glare at the Adelphia guy and kick my feet against the plastic chair and periodically spaz out at the bees.

All I know is that, after ringing the bell twice and banging on your windows, I can only mutter my silent thanks and leave.

That bag on the screen door, by the way, contains the oatnut bread you so politely requested over the phone. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"I get up when I want, except on Wednesdays when I get rudely awakened by the dustman."

The garbage truck for our street has an odd accessory. Nailed somewhat unceremoniously to its side are two heads. The first is a monster mask. Nothing terribly scary--all mashed plastic and fake hair--your typical witchy ghoul. The second is from a mannequin--featureless, hairless, ghostly pale--again, nothing extraordinary.

But I find the pair of them to be horrific.

It's not so much the question of "What the hell are they doing there?". Every man needs a female totem--especially men with rigs. Sailors carve goddesses into the prows of their ships, pilots paint pinups on their jets. Who's to say that a garbageman doesn't have a similar bond with his truck? I would be disappointed if he didn't.

No, my problem is that there are two of them and that they are so desperately different. And when the truck moves they bounce and clack violently against each other and sometimes they kiss. Two sides of one goddess. And I run inside trembling because the sight is terrifying and maddening and completely appropriate. But I can't figure out if the effect is intentional or whimsical and I'm not about to ask her high priests with their sunshine grins and midnight blue uniforms.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Necessity breeds stupidity.

To clarify things, another Hansel and Gretel pic. Not quite what I imagined, and I'm still wracking my brains and my number two's on how to differentiate between little stones and little breadcrumbs.

But I suppose that they cast both at some point in the story, so there's my reprieve. I never understood why two children on the brink of starvation would choose to throw their food away in hopes of it leading them back to an abusive home. Especially considering that the stones had worked so well on the first attempt. I'm also at a loss as to how pocketsfull of pearls were going to help a family so obviously removed from civilization, whose only neighbors were the "thousands of birds of the forest", a crazed confectioner, and an excessively large duck. What good were baubles to people hacking out life on the Uzbakistani frontier? They would have done better to dismantle the witch's home and hunker down for a winter of toothaches. Or even better, develop a craft and start setting nets for the birds. At the very least, lead the duck home and enjoy one healthy meal. But wit does not seem to run in the forester's family.

I foresee approximately two hours of jubilation followed by endless dinners of poached sapphire and boiled ruby stew.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


"But really I'm not actually your friend, but I am."

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Well, I think I have the right to be a little angry.

I'm a stickler for sidewalk protocal. There are just certain rules that need to be followed if you are a pedestrian in a city.

--a single walker must move over for a couple
--two couples walking towards each other need to go single file. Don't be greedy. Unless of course it's an elderly couple, then move your asses over all the way.
--give wide berth to families with strollers or small children. Cross the street if you must. This saves you and the family time and embarassment--no one likes a gusher.
--Dog walkers must move over. If they refuse to move to the grass, they must suffer their dog to be petted.
--Walkers may greet other walkers.
--Runners may greet other runners.
--Runners and walkers are obliged to ignore each other. If you are a walker, do not assume that a runner has the time or breath to say hello. Gosh.
--Pedestrians always have the right of way. This includes surprise sprints in front of traffic at four-way stops.
--if you are in a car and ask a runner for directions, expect to be roundly abused.

and, as today showed some unlucky piece of shit:
--if you are a home owner with loose dogs that are prone to attack runners, you will be called a "stupid fucker" and your dog's life may be in danger.

Just a warning. But next time I'm taking a penknife and some fishing line, and I'm very creative.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Is the word "mussulman" even fit to print anymore?

Just when it seemed that the last two items clacking around in the old head were regarding Gilmore Girls and ice cream, I rediscover reading. It happens that we have a Parrish-illustrated abbreviation of the Arabian Nights, so praise be to Allah.

I don't know what I was expecting. I don't know if I'm disappointed or not. They are certainly pretty, certainly polite. But also completely anaemic. As if the storyteller were more concerened with having his tongue lopped off than with relating anything of interest. And I suppose that's the whole idea. I mean, Scheherazade feared nightly for the state of her neck. But it's no wonder that she lasted--not when the the sultan's ego was being constantly petted by each successive story.

After this I am definitely revisiting some tales from the more democratic North, where cruel and greedy rulers are dealt with in the most inventive ways.


That's it. Tuesday nights have officially become Cherry Garcia nights. Why do I resist? I should just start stockpiling Ben&Jerry's frozen yogurt the way we do raisin bran and Labbatt's.

And that's all I got.

Has anyone else been really gunning for Christmas lately?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Passing the Torch.

Yes, I watched NBC's Hercules last night. No, I didn't have much of a problem with it. Yes, I did sit with one ear tuned to the plot and one eye fixed on a copy of Graves' Mythology just for fun. In my defense, the other ear was occupied by a slew of phone calls and some healthy post-dinner gossip.

In related news, it seems that Timothy Dalton has finally found his niche as That Guy Who's in Every TV Movie With Triremes, Sandals, and Spears. And I can't say that I disapprove. Rutger Hauer was getting a bit too old.

Monday, May 16, 2005

He called it Devolution.

Last week I allowed myself to participate in a little neighborly intrigue. My landlady, myself, and the next door lady converged on the lawn and bonded in the only way women know how--by clustering in a knot and deliberately and maliciously tearing apart the nearest lifeform.

The subject of our acrimony? Strange Gardening Man across the street. Over the past year his lawn has been the focal point of a neighborhood gripe. It started as something resembling a mud hut that reeked and crumbled and ran in goopy rivulets down the road when it rained. It has become incrementally better--a strange combination of green mounds and artfully fallen trees and haphazard flowers. I've watched it's progress and have decided that it's an entrance to a tunnel system for a race of subcity dwellers a la Lovecraft. I did not, however, mention this to my fellows.

But there we stood, silent and hissing. Our conversation touched on everything from the aesthetic to the practical, was peppered with bits of personal gossip ("Did you know he owns So and So?"), and was capped off with stray, unrelated complaints for good measure ("Don't even get me started on the company he keeps."). We were very thorough.

Perhaps from fatigue, perhaps from a vestigial sense of guilt, it ended as quickly as it started. We broke company, settled our feathers, cleaned our talons, and retreated behind our respective windows. And I vowed never to get caught outside again without a male buffer.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


I walked into the house at two thirty last night more than a little drunk and nearly tripped over my dad's shoes. It seems that he had cut his fishing trip short and decided to join my mom who was already staying over.
A fierce but hushed debate then ensued in the kitchen outside of my sleeping parents' room.

Me, stuffing cold bockwurst into my face as a desperate preventative measure: "Maybe he isn't really here. Maybe my mom just set his shoes out for when he gets in tomorrow at noon."
The Boy, leaning up against the fridge and rolling his eyes: "How many people do you know drive green trucks with huge stickers of fish on the cabs?"
Me: "More than you might think, I'll have you know."
The Boy: "Well, I guess this means no pancakes tomorrow."
Me: "That's the least of our worries."
The Boy: "You got mustard on yourself."

Friday, May 13, 2005

"Where mute memories start talking."

I got two hits today from people googling for stuff. The first was for two words from a favorite childhood book of mine*, the second for a phrase from a song I used to sing in the second grade**. This, on top of the general reminiscing that comes from quiet and dusting and not having had enough to eat, made for an odd, lightheaded afternoon.

And it's Friday the 13th.

* A Wind in the Door
** Old Dan Tucker

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Today's one of those days where I go looking for trouble just to have something interesting to talk about later. Unfortunately, I'm ill-equipped for starting shit.

I got chased halfheartedly by a neighbor's dog and almost kicked it.

A passing bum threw the standard gripe at my feet and I gave him a dirty look.

I toyed with the idea of stealing my uncle's copy of Theogeny. (It's thin and soft and the notes in Greek that he's written in the margins make it irresistable--I'm such a sucker for the random theta).

I got into a pissing contest with the electricians upstairs when I started blasting System of a Down.

And that's all I got. Poor fare for discussion over popcorn, I'm afraid. But it's clear and cloudless outside, and the air tastes like cold water, and I've a good walk ahead of me and leftover lasagna in the fridge, and no real cause to bitch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Crazy Grandma quote of the day.

It's a sad day. My intolerant uncle could no longer stand the mood swings and finally agreed to put her on meds. So, in final homage to Her Crazedness here are two oldies:

(Fourth of July): "Yeah, you'll be counting telegraph poles in the back of the bus."

(at the dinner table, mouth of full of chocolate cake and various other sweet goopies): "Alex, do you think a fireplace is romantic?"

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Gloves off.

Recently, a random passer-through admonished me "not to assume Alice is dark". I don't know which picture they'd stumbled on, but it likely wasn't my pastelled, butterflied version of the White Rabbit.

Regardless of what they saw, the only way I'm allowing myself to interpret this is as A Challenge.

Monday, May 09, 2005


After a sleepless night trying to recreate my mom's lasagna in my head and an uneasy morning trying to decide if my aunt and cousin were worth the recreation, I ventured out of doors and into the rigors of the holiday.
I opted against running, as traffic on Mother's Day defies logic and law and can only be described as panicky. I kept my head down on the way to the store, assuming everyone I passed was either too grumpy or too drunk to make eye contact. I braved the florist and the chocolateer. I came home with an armload of daisies, truffles, ricotta cheese and cigarettes and worked some speedy magic set to Rhapsody's Classic Soul Station. I juggled phone calls from San Diego, Pittsburgh, Grand Island and one sheepish Canadian who protested that she would not be bringing the wine she promised for toasting because she'd had too much last night and didn't want to drink today. I tried in vain to prevent that same Canadian from baring all and tanning on my front steps while she discussed the attributes of hemp in front of my landlady and her parents. I did not start any arguments. I smoked too many cigarettes, had too few cuccidatti, drank just enough vodka tonic, and laughed myself silly on the porch until late-late.

It's now one thirty and all good mothers are safely in bed and all lovely cousins are securely back over their borders and I remain uncontested in my family as Best Daughter Ever.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I'm gonna look out the window of my color tv.

The great plans I had for the Play-stee (namely, an Invader Zim marathon) had to be postponed. I was instead blindsided by two chick flicks (I'm not saying which, but they both had dance scenes--always a plus) and a slew of music videos.

I wonder if the members of Greenday are aware that the Edgy Political Statement they were trying to make with their album cover art comes off looking more like the Seven-Up logo.

Oh, and I can't watch Coldplay's "Scientist" video without thinking that everything I see afterwards is backwards. Really effs me up.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

...and back to bed.

The self foraging begins.

Things went well this morning. Our trickster alarm decided for once to play nice. Nothing was dropped or broken as usually happens in the careful silence of a pre-dawn, pre-flight pack. The pick-up was smooth and timely. I thought we might possibly have a knock-down-drag-out over the Playstation ("But what if I want to play GT4?", "But what if I want to watch Last Unicorn?"), but nary a word was said and it lies safe and cool and dusty--waiting for the great things I have planned.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Not much better.

They're not called murders for nothing, people.

There's been some weird crow activity around here these last couple of days.

-Monday: They were seen skirting the edge of a very obvious, very nasty looking cold front. Penning the northtowns in? Hemming us out? I don't know what was going on in there and I don't want to. For all I know, the Tonowandas have been laid to waste.
-Tuesday: Just as a local swarm was settling into its trees for the evening, our car radio fluttered and went dead. The first sign that they have the ability to block all communication.
-Wednesday: I ran by two of them perched on a dead rabbit. Nothing unusual, but the next day, I ran by the same spot, same rabbit. No crows. But Pressfield had it right in saying that they only go for the eyes and the assholes. Nature or Grim Ritualism? You decide.

This all on the heels of the now-famous Exploding German Frogs story. The latest theory: The crows have been pecking out livers and leaving the amphibians to slow death. A clear case of life imitating myth. But why the Prometheus one in particular? There are a slew of comparatively innocuous bird myths out there, why choose the most vengeful?

It's clear that they are massing for attack. Watchyerbacks.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


wow. "incubus" had a slightly different definition than I thought. oh, well. still works.

This may be the worst scan ever. All subtlety has been lost. I'll re-post it tomorrow.

no comment.


This for the failed pic that didn't even deserve to be sliced up.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Big Disgrace.

I've been trying to force myself to like the new Weezer song. I pulled off a semi-cheerful rendition on the ride back from Target but not without fending off some doubtful glances from my compatriot. I just can't accept the evidence of a group's fall from genius, even when it's smacking me in the face with it's awful "We Will Rock You" beat. Being forced to admit that a favorite band has started to suck is like admitting a flaw in your own musical preferences. Why didn't I see it coming? The signs must have always been there. Perhaps the video with the flying baby monkey should have cued me in. What was I thinking? So I keep singing. It's a matter of pride over taste.

We all float facedown.

Been having an issue lately. Three times in the past week, I've woken up abruptly from nightmares. Two of those times I've been screaming. The last time the screaming was accompanied by a bloody nose.

This is unheard of for me, but I don't think the problem ends here. The Boy has been having the same issue, and, unless she's on her cell at four in the morn, our landlady's been doing the same. Furthermore, it seems that we are all on different dream schedules--we never overlap.

My own explanation? Well, an incubus has taken up residence in our home. Obviously. Or perhaps we've taken up residence in its. And every night it perches on a different pillow and sets to work.

I can think of only one solution. The thing must be placated.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Are we forgetting anything?

We went down to the Pittsburgh area this weekend and it occurred to me that we both have travel OCD. It's portable! It's pint-sized! It's just as zany and fun as its full-blown counterpart!

The compulsions begin minutes before we leave and get progressively worse.

1. The Oven Check, the Thermostat Check, the Lock Check. All three times each, all have to be touched.
2. The Packing of the Art. I probably won't be doing any drawing, but god forbid Oven Check fails and the house burns down. No. Strike that. If I don't pack the art, I'm ensuring that the house will burn down. So into the trunk it goes.
3. The Romy and Michelle. After buckling up and before passing the first gas station we give a hearty "(City of destination), here we come! Whoo-hooo!". This is a must, or bad things will happen, and it extends to travel guests. We refused to even start the engine this past time until my mom joined in the chorus.
4. Jess Stays Awake. I'm not going to be doing any driving, but I am convinced that by staying awake, I pass my powers of alertness (by some little understood, but very real form of empathy) onto The Driver. If I fall asleep, we die. That's just how it goes.
5. The Toll Card Yell. Headed towards PA, there's a border town called Ripley. Upon receiving the toll card, I must yell "Ripley!" over and over again in the voice of the little girl from Aliens. This can go on indefinitely as my cue to stop is the giggling of The Driver and he sometimes proves to be humorless.
6. Hoist. The one album The Driver will sing along with and necessary only for the long haul to North Carolina. Nothing puts him into a better mood than a perfectly tuned duet to "If I Could". So, out it must come at the moment I deem crucial (most likely involving the Maryland border, noonday sunlight, or some yahoo in a red car with Jersey plates). Because if he's in a bad mood, we die.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Galled Readers Incensed (by) Maddened Matrons

Hansel and Gretel.

Yet another example of poor parenting. I'm beginning to think that there was a serious issue in pre-industrial Europe concerning spineless fathers and their waspish wives. That a continent-wide campaign was undertaken to combat it and that this was done under the guise of folk tale-ery.

Perhaps making it the first and best of the Special Interest groups.

Not yet.

In response to BAstart's so-called resolution of the Underworld debate that's been raging:

If Michael is living in Budapest, why the abbreviation of the Corvinus name to Corvin? It sounds like an American bastardization to me.