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.