Friday, October 31, 2003

The Scariest Night of the Year

Tonight is the night my husband and I will close and lock all the windows and doors, pull down all the shades, and retreat to the rear room of our house. The TV will be turned down lowand almost all the lights will be off. We will talk very little. And we will wait.

I love giving out candy to the little kids in their cute little costumes. It's funny to see the parents standing near the street or just beyond the porch light, reminding the demons and pirates and witches and fairy princesses to say "Trick-or-Treat" and "Thank you". I miss it.

Too many Teens, you see.

There's nothing wrong with a teenager going trick or treat. Really. However, I feel they should wear a costume. And not carry a Hefty bag. It's also nice if they have at least a token Small Child with them. Otherwise, when I open the door and stare up at three or four kids all taller than I am, at least two of them smoking, I feel a little bit as if I'm in danger.

If you're sixteen, you're probably arguing with your parents about how much of an adult you are, so you should be allowed to stay out late or go to that club or have your bf/gf over without a chaparone or any number of other grown-up things. Acting like a 9 year old is not helping your position. If you're sixteen, you should not be going door to door begging candy. You should be at a party, or with a group of friends watching scary movies. You should get a part time job if you want to buy some Hershey's Minis and some candy corn.

We've got a lot of high school kids in this area. I don't know any of them. The porch light is off at my house.

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I've succumbed, at long last, to Netflix. Blockbuster has become onerous -- the selection is limited, I never seem to get the DVDs returned on time, and it's pricey. Plus there's the whole "get there before everything is gone" problem, and the "80 copies of stuff I don't want and 2 copies, both out, of what I do want". And it's not uncommon for the Husband and I to search the store and not find ANYTHING we want to see.

But I still feel like I'm running late to catch a trend. I just hate that feeling.

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The Reading went pretty well last night. It's the second performance of the DR Reader's Theatre and now we are getting ready to "formalize" things -- well, you know, pretend like we are more than just a bunch of local folks who like to show off and get a little more serious. We've got some excellent performers in the group, and some mediocre ones, and a few with more enthusiasm than talent, but it's ok, this is a community thing and no one (except maybe the bookstore) is making any money. On the other hand, a lack of clear rules creates all kinds of situations. Being the sort of bossy bitch I am -- I always know the best way to do anything -- I'm putting together the package of stuff. Whoo hoo.

Now we are getting ready for a Christmas program that DOES NOT include "A Christmas Carol". Whoo hoo once more!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Changing My Entire Life

More on the "want to have a baby" front. If you don't want to know, stop now.

Went to the specialist today to discuss having the fibroids removed from my uterus. This won't be the simple procedure that my doctor described -- no laproscopy. First, there is more than one tumor and they are deep in the walls of the uterus. Oh joy. Second, they actually pull the uterus OUT of the body to do this! While I appreciated the doctor's frankness, it was just not a mental picture I really wanted.

Third, I must lose weight, both because of my dificulties with anesthesia and because it will make the surgery easier and I'll heal faster. Well, I knew I had to lose weight one way or another. I suppose this is a sufficient kick in the ass.

I'm still game for it. I still think I want a child. I keep trying to talk myself out of it -- I mean, my life will NOT end if I do not have a child of my own and no one is pressuring me. I just keep coming back to "This is something I'd like to do." In my head, I have conversations with my imaginary child. I think of how I want to be, what I want to do and say. It doesn't go away like it used to.

There's one thing I'm really admanant about though. I do NOT want a histerectomy. I am not at all a fan of the idea that my pieces and parts are removable and interchangeable. No no no, if I was born with it, I'd like to keep it until I die, thankyouverymuch. Even if the surgery doesn't go so well, I want them to just put everything back where they got it and stitch me up.

It isn't the being pregnant part that bothers me. It's the thought of going to sleep and letting some one else cut open my body and do whatever they think is best. I don't have that much trust. I'm not casual about this. I cannot make myself believe that a doctor really sees me as more than my problem-at-the-moment. That doctor won't be around when the other problems crop up. That really bothers me. Intensely. No, bother is much too light a word. How about "horrifies me"? How about "fucking scares the shit out of me and all my ancestors"? Yeah, that almost encompasses it.

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I've got a popup blocker running (Google Toolbar). It works pretty well, but some popups sneak through. What's really annoying, though, are popups with soundtracks. I'll be sitting online, looking at a site or typing in this weblog, and suddenly I'm HEARING an ad. I just HEARD a preview spot for the upcoming movie "Elf" -- a movie I so do not want to see that I think I'd pay $5 for someone to see it for me if I could be guaranteed I'd never be exposed to an ad, a preview, a soundbite, or any market item related to that movie, much less any portion of the movie including outtakes and still photos. I don't even want to think about Bob Newhart being in that movie. I used to like him.

Is no where safe?

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Tonight, the Dicken's Reader's Theatre group (to which I belong) is doing a presentation of Edgar Allen Poe. Hey, it's Halloween, what do you expect? I'm reading an excerpt from "The Pit and the Pendulum", having been relieved of the more tedious "The Bells" when the person who picked "Pit" realized she didn't have the whatever to read it. Without the slightest bit of modesty I will announce that I have a damn fine reading voice. I'm not that wild about my speaking voice, but when I read, it is better. Hell, my singing voice is supposedly quite good, but I don't really TRULY think it sounds that wonderful. Of course, what I hear is not what others hear, and even when I hear myself recorded, it isn't really the same. I hear a rather thick, syrupy voice -- not sweet, no, my tone is too low for that -- but a thick, slightly rough edged speaking voice unless I'm really controlling my tone, in which case I get this deep, sort of breathy sound.

I suppose hearing your own voice is similar to seeing yourself in a mirror -- nothing ever quite matches up to the you in your head.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Pissy

I've got this vague desire to pick a fight. Well, no, not that exactly. I want to pick a fight and WIN. I want to viciously rip and tear at someone else's ineptitude, to leave their feeble rationale in ribbons.

Maybe I just want to alliterate some.

I don't know. I've been rather at loose ends all morning due to something I posted on Hidden City.. The remarks themselves were intended to be tongue in cheek, but got a reaction from someone else that set me off.

You see, I do believe in playing with one's own mind, especially in the pursuit of feeling better when one is feeling deeply and puzzlingly depressed. There's some evidence to indicate that I'm right, too. It's like this -- when a person is situationally or temporarily depressed, they tend to slow down, stop moving, wallow in their misery, and are often mystified as to what happened. Sometimes, the best way to combat that slow spiral into the pit is to pretend to be happy. I mean, to do things you'd do when you feel good, to get moving, to practice believing until you believe. Sometimes, just doing things that we normally enjoy when we are feeling at odds with the world can act like a tonic. We forget why we were unhappy and find our happiness again. It won't happen just sitting in the dark analyzing the unhappiness and the darkness. Some sunlight is required. If you wish you were feeling like putting up the Christmas decorations but find yourself without enthusiasm for it, sometimes if you just haul them out and start doing it rather than dwelling on all the reasons you don't want to do it, you get passed the whole down feeling. You're doing something that means happiness to you. It can help you find your way back.

No, it's not the cure all -- I know that quite well. I also know that you can get so far down in the depth of the well that it's you and a knife. But if you don't think you are there yet -- if you can still take steps on your own to do something -- then this is a good first step. Pretend for a while, like when you were a child and pretended you could fly until you COULD feel yourself flying. It's like reading a book so good that you forget where you are and stop seeing words because you are seeing the places and the characters in the book and feeling what they feel, think what they think. It's the same thing, only turned to serve yourself and your own desires.

Feh. I'm arguing with someone who's never going to hear me or agree, which is a good reason to keep that out of it. But it needed mentioning for me. My damn weblog and all that. I'm so used to the paralyzing effects of depression, so used to those tight dark painted walls squeezing out every possibility that I'm very keen to pull any art to my aid. Even the art of self deception can be quite useful, when done properly.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Just a little more bitter marketing

ashleigh brilliant -- home page

Nothing to add.

As if there aren't enough reasons to fear employment

A catalog arrived in today's snailmail from Despair, Inc.. There's something...wonderful...about this incredibly cynical look at motivational tools and work in general. This is more Dilbert than Dilbert. A few samplings of their trademarked (yes, there's a little TM there) words of wisdom.

Burnout: Attitudes are contagious. Mine might kill you.

Motivational posters don't work. But our Demotivational posters don't work even better.

Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

I sense an entirely new source of holiday gift items.

In Other News

I've had a second word accepted by the Pseudodictionary. I feel soooo special.

snarkasm

My first word is some years old, but it still in use in my life

wambly


I so love the Pseudodictionary. Language is a living thing and watching it grow is fascinating and funny. Of course, I expect that the first time a word from the PD makes it into the OED, there will be massive celebration -- or have words already made the migration? I wonder...

Another Morning After

I read over last night's entry. If I had any dignity left, I'd correct some of those creative spellings. On the other hand, I think it shows more clearly exactly where I was.

I'm in a slightly better place today. Of course, it's still early and I am supposed to spend some "quality time" with the MIL this afternoon. On the one hand, I'm reasonably sure that it will be fine, nothing in particular will happen, and all will be well. On the other (there's a good reason we come equipped with two) I am trepidatious that there is a "You must do something about your husband" talk or a "You have to really think about ...." talk or some other type of talk in the offing. Something that equals "You Really Should Fix This".

Ya know, I don't see a lot of broken stuff in my life. Oh, the facade on the dishwasher door fell off for mysterious reasons and won't reattach, but the dishwasher itself still works fine. I don't think of that as "broken". I think of it as "cosmetically impaired". Other than that, everything seems good. The marriage is clicking along in fine marital fashion. I'm reasonably healthy, as are the Husband, the Cats, the Dog and the Birds. I even have four live plants in the house.

Well, that could be it. I have Too Much. I have too much fat on my body. I have too many books. I have too many cats. I have too much hair growing from my head. I spend too much money. I have too much dust on my shelves. I have too much time on my hands.

Maybe we will just go to the mall and have dinner. Yeah. That's where I'll put my thinking.



Sunday, October 26, 2003

Definitions

If you are among the nice, clean, purehearted of this great country of ours, you may be unfamiliar with the venue I'm about to discuss. Let me define a "con" as I am using the word. "Con" is short for "Convention", in particular a convention of fans of science fiction movies, TV shows and books, fantasy movies, TV shows, and books, comic books, computer or video games, RPG (not to be confused with the video games erroneously also refered to as RPG), anime, or any number of sub catagories describeing the type of fun geeks have when they gather in large groups. A Con is when such people gather en masse at a hotel or group of hotels for the purpose of admiring those who produce material in favorited genres, to peruse and acquire such material goods as may pertain to their particular fandom, discuss and debate said fandoms, wear costumes in public places without fear of arrest, and party with much alcohol.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday -- Necrocomicon. Husband doing massage, me selling jewelry and buttons. Oh, the dealer's room of a small con.

This is a local show, and one we've done for several years, so we know a lot of people. At any con, we are either in the dealer's room, the art show, or both. This means we don't "do" the con. We are working. We don't party. We go back to our hotel room and fall asleep, because we have to spend the next day being nice to people in order to trade our goods and services for their money.

I used to do cons for fun. They were fun. It was like a gathering of the tribes where ancient rituals were performed and the traditions so revered by those before us were confirmed and passed on for another year. It was a chance to venerate the heros. It was a chance to not sleep for three days, to have sex with someone you'd potentially never see again, to wear outlandish clothes and have people admire you for it. Lots of positive energy.

Now I work at a con. There is little or no fun except that which I make for myself. I can't go to any programming because I have to be at my booth. I can't wander the art show at leisure. i can't roam the halls people watching. I can't run around to meet celebrities. I have to be at the booth. I can't stay up late because the dealer's room opens early and I have to be at the booth.

Is my general sense of exhaustion coming through these words?

Why do we do it? $1000 minus expenses for 3 days work and the chance to hang with friends we don't get to see that often.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

A life without Spam

I don't know about you, but when I read that the Senate Votes 97-0 To Restrict E-Mail Ads I felt a swelling of hope.

I was a little deflated when I read that a Do-Not-Spam List Probably Won't Work, but then I thought -- hey, why not a Do-Not-Spam Sledge Hammer?

They just aren't making TV shows like this anymore

I find this interesting not because I'm either mourning or trumpeting their demise (I've never gotten to watch them and hey! They're in Dutch, of which I understand nothing) but because of one quote.

"I think it's true of most Western European countries compared with the United States: We're less sensitive to eroticism and sex, and more sensitive to violence."

And I'm pondering that because I think it's true. If you were to present a highschool boy of my generation (since they are the ones I know best) with the choice of kissing another man or shooting him with a gun, I think a fair number would pick up the gun. I think a disturbingly large portion of the highschool girls I knew would concur with the choice. And when presented with a highly violent movie and a highly erotic movie and asked which was more shocking, I'd suspect the highly erotic movie would have caused more discomfort.

But why?



Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Nothing is Easy

This link is purely for myself. For some weird reason, I occasionally spend minutes clicking the "Fresh Blogs" on Blogger (gah, I hate that word) and I sometimes find something exciting. Like Quinn Skylark's BookWatch. Ok, it's...eclectic. Still, I'm all for anyone thinking about books, and even more for anyone TALKING about them.

So, aside from that, I'm avoiding my mother in law. I don't hate her. I don't think she hates me. But I feel the weight of her dissapproval within five minutes of her entering the house ... and starting to clean it. For the last ten years, I hid in my bedroom and let her run. Now, it's making me angry. Yes, I know, it's lovely having someone else cleaning your house. Sure. Some of you don't mind someone else going into your closet and cabinets and who knows where else. The thing is, my house was clean enough. I didn't ASK for her to do DIDDLY. I'd be just as happy if she came down and watched TV all day. All I ask of anyone staying in this house is to pick up after themselves and occasionally throw in with the cooking or the dishes.

You know, it's the disapproval part that bugs me. Everything she does is an indictment of my abilities, my character, my choices, and my judgement. Somehow, somewhere, that's what comes across. Even if 1/3rd of it is in my head, I'm not completely making it up -- the husband notices it, too. He's just more immune.

Still, I stand by my choices. Sure, a perfectly clean and tidy house is a lovely thing. Occasionaly I really want to clean. But in the grand scheme of things, I just don't see my worth as a human being as summed up by the state of my laundry, or the crumb-free-ness of my kitchen counters. How many things do we miss out on doing because we are obsessed with creating magazine-cover perfection in our homes? There are better things to do than spray chemicals and wipe up a coffee cup stain. I'd rather read a book, write a story, talk to my cats, laugh with my friends. It's jut not that important! I think back to my own childhood and my mother's particular attitude toward cleanliness. Oh, our house was always clean, but more because my mother had few hobbies and interests and because activities were strictly limited (aka, most of my mess making activities were confined to my room, which was hidden down a hall and behind a door.) On the positive side, Saturday morning housecleaning was a regular part of the week, over with relatively quickly, and consisted of vacuuming, dusting, and mopping hard floors.

I suspect a lot of other things went on of which I was not aware. I also don't think my mom spilled anything in her whole life. She was also Queen of the One Pan Meal. If a meal didn't all fit onto one plate, you didn't need to eat anything that wouldn't go. And no ever perished from a green bean touching the mashed potatos.

There's another thing to this. My mother died before I turned 17. The time between my 11th and 17th birthdays was oddly empty of her much of the time -- she had a bout with cancer that lasted 2 years, from which she recovered. I was a teenager with my own set of mental, emotional and physical problems, highly isolated even from her, despite living in the same house. I think the point of keenest regret for me on her death was that the year previous (she died in early January 1982) we'd begun to actually build a relationship where I was learning from her. I'd gotten over a lot of my stuff, she'd gotten over a lot of hers, and we were actually connecting on a very different level. When she died, I was again isolated --this time from my dad, because I was forced by circumstances to live with my stepfather in what became a very, shall we say, abusive, situation. I quickly became resistant to other people trying to mother me, while still trying to find a relationship like that I was developing with my mother.

I blame her for her own death, you know. She had high blood pressure and a hit-or-miss attitude toward her medications. Her smoking and heavy drinking (that was a left over of attempts to self medicate during her cancer) didn't help. I've never really put that thought into words before. I've gotten over it and gone on -- the story of her death is now reduced to a zingy little joke "My mom dropped dead while vacuuming our living room. Housework will kill ya!"

Which is another reason I don't particularly want to spend my life cleaning house, especially to gain the approval of a mother figure I have learned to live without. And I resent having to live with and quietly accept without demure someone else's dissapproval of the intimate details of my life. I'm forced to accept the intimacy and the dissapproval in one gulp. I used to crumble under it. Now it makes me mad. There's no one to blame except perhaps myself -- my mother in law is not a bad person. She is just a person who has clear, strong, and unshakeable ideas of what is "right" and "wrong" in the world, and who has never learned (never needed to learn) that her ideas are not shared by everyone. Even when she says "Well, I guess not everyone agrees with me", I can hear the subtext "but everyone with any brains or sense or who matters DOES agree with me, completely."

Ugh. I'm not writing the anger away. I'm building it up. I should delete this, but I won't, so that I can look later. My husband will read this and be hurt, I'm pretty sure, but I know that he's upset by the situation anyway and pretending doesn't fool him (he's much too smart and perceptive for that.) Thus it goes. Life isn't fair, nothing is easy, and sometimes you have to live with situations you'd rather not.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Sometimes there's just no damned excuse

I am, at one time, very proud of my freedom on the web to do whatever I feel like at the time, and terribly worried about being rude to someone (accidentally, i should add. If I'm going to be rude, I want to enjoy it. Live in the moment and all that.) I got an email today that just made me smile. And then it made me feel terribly guilty. You just know I'm going to explain this in detail, don't you?

I read a lot of weblogs and online journals. I'm always checking other people's links to see if there's something new to add, and I've got a long list of links. I have looking at very long lists of bookmarks, so I usually divide them into subfolders based on how often I use them. T Efficient, no? Sites I view daily or almost daily are in the "Daily" list. Sites with less frequent updates go into the "Occasionally" folder. If site goes on hiatus, or just stops being updated, I will move it to the "occasionally" folder. When my lists get long I go through, cull the sites I don't really enjoy, and everyone is happy, no?

There are some sites that have bounced back and forth on my lists. If I get pissed off about what someone says, I don't have to argue with them. I delete them off my list and feel just spiffy. If I get bored, or just can't work up an interest, bye bye bookmark. No one hurt, no one insulted, everyone is happy.

Except that sometimes I don't notice if a site is back to posting. Or I just plain forget about it, or only think about it when I'm elsewhere and forget about it before I go look. Or something like that. Or I go through one of my "not reading anything" periods. Who knows?

And that's what happened. There was a site (I'm not going to name it) that I liked, and checked pretty frequently some time back. Then, for whatever reason, the posts got slow or my mood changed or -- oh, who knows, *I* don't even remember -- and I stopped reading it. I thought about it a few times, but didn't act on my thought or had something interfere. Anyway...the person who runs the site sent me an EMAIL today about MY return to online writing. And it was a lovely feeling, to be noticed and to hear.

And then I felt the crushing guilt because I had NEGLECTED this person. Oh, the shame!

I don't really care for crushing guilt. I'm trying to dispell it now because, well, I know that there's really nothing to feel guilty about. No, honest, there isn't. No, I am not going to type everything in my head in little italics like the chorus in my head is also on my weblog. I refuse to give my neuroses any more air time than they already get!

Anyway, so I found my old link ( at least I didn't DELETE it!) and started reading and remembered all the things I liked. So I'm handling it.

Sort of.



Monday, October 20, 2003

This is not the trend I'm looking for

I just can't. I've thought about it. I've considered it. I've read opinions about it. But I can't.

I can't get into iTunes.

I've had a "hands off" relationship with all Apple Computers since the very beginning. I started with a Commodore 64, way back in the day. Before that, I remember having geekbrain friends who were among the priviledged in our brand new, no one ever heard of it before, high school computer lab. They'd let me play the text adventures with the little ASCII character graphics. Whoo hoo.

Go North.

There were no Apples in those days. Everyone was making their own computers or computerized typewriters (Remember Wang? Remember the Xerox Memory Writer?). I was working as a temp, and I used whatever computer the company I was temping at had.

They never had Apples.

It was many many years before I actually SAW a real, live Apple computer, when I worked at UCF. There were, I think, three of them in the computer lab for students in the particular grad school building where I worked. I once had to move some files from one of them onto a disk. Seemed easy enough. I'd been able to make the transition from DOS to WINDOWS without too much screaming, how hard could THIS be? Everyone said Apples and Macs were so darn easy, so intuitive, so cool. Sure, why not? Should be a snap! "I'll be back in a minute".

Famous last words, those. It took me 30 minutes. And I never did get the files moved. You see, there was this trash can. Every time I tried to open the drive I wanted, the computer insisted I close the other drive. In order to close it, I had to drag it into the trash can.

Do you sense where this is going?

Every operating system I'd ever used -- EVERY SINGLE ONE (and there were a lot in the pre-windows days, starting with GEOS) -- used a garbage can as a way to delete files. Delete. As in Gone, goodby, adios, miss ya, safe trip. For 30 long minutes I tried NOT to put anything in that trash can, because I didn't want to DELETE the drive, or the files I wanted, or the disk I was trying to move the files to. No no no, get the trash can out of the way. Stop it!

I crept back to my desk, defeated, humiliated, my self esteem in shreds. Later, a friend of mine took me by the hand and showed me that the trash can WAS the way to close the drive. I expressed my disbelief, and he, amazingly enough, agreed with a shrug and said "Well, you learn to deal with it."

The trauma has scarred me permanently. I won't go near Macs. I won't go near anything named with a lowercase 'i' before a capitalized noun. There's no point in torturing myself like that.

I have friends who are staunch Mac users, who complain and cry and denounce Windows machines and recoil in horror at non-Apple PCs. I have no problems with them, really, even the ones who prostletyze about the Mac as if seeking to save my Microsoft infected soul. I've sat in relative silence while my Mac-lover friends have trashed PCs in general, Microsoft windows in particular, and then went on to exclaim in exultant tones of all the wonders they could produce on their Mac and how I, the unwashed, ignorant PC user, could convert if only I would see the light. I've come to believe that one does not actually own and use a Macintosh. Rather, one is indoctrinated into a cult of Mac-ness. One becomes a Macinite. There might be special underwear and dietary laws involved.

I don't really mind. Let them believe what they want to believe. There are many paths to enlightenment, and the Mac is the way for some. For me, I've invested my money in the Windows world, and, hey, it gets what I need done. I don't spend nights lying awake tormented because Windows prevents me from reaching some golden computer goal. In fact, my operating system rarely even crosses my mind. I do pretty much what I want on my PC and work around problems without much agony. Like my Mac attuned friend said so long ago "Well, you just learn to deal with it."

Sunday, October 19, 2003

It's hard thinking up titles, since I'm never sure what I'm going to talk about

I'm just not that clever. Or stable.

I'm starting to feel confident about this little weblog thingie here. I've got the old site -- bad links and all -- up again for the morbidly curious, and I'm thinking about some of the other things I've always wanted to do with a website and never really managed to make happen.

And I'm listening exclusively to the Electronica channel on Spinner. That's Rien's fault. He's the big trance fan and sends me CDs and tapes. I haven't quite gotten into trance, but I'm heavily enjoying this mix channel.

It's convenient to blame Rien for things. First, he's a very long way off and not likely to paper my house for it. Second, he's an instigator at heart and likes to have his influence recognized. Third, he has this perfect shrug that tosses everything right onto the floor.

I'm not blaming him for things like strange smells in the house, though. I have cats and a husband to blame for that. No, Rien is pretty much availble only for web-related and music-related stuff. Still, it's awfully convenient. If I say I like electronica and someone gives me that look -- you know the one, you're probably using it right now -- I can just imitate Rien's shrug and say "Hey, it's Rien's fault. He introduced me to it." and leave it at that. I mean, I've already as much as admitted I'm unable to think for myself and in thrall to Rien. I just hope no one is so committed to changing my particular opinion that they decide an intervention is necessary and attempt to convert me to -- oh, I dunno, pop-country or evangelical chant-beat-- so that I have to defend my total belief in the Cult of Rien and scream about my musical freedom and kick someone in the shins.

I mean, who wants to go to all that effort anyway?

Ah, a perfectly unsullied day. Didn't do much. Didn't feel the need. Enjoyed sunshine and cool breezes and I made the bed. Oh, and washed my hair just so I could let it dry in the sun. Perfection.

Is it Sunday Morning yet?

1:22 am and I'm doing the Google thing for "celebrity weblogs". I don't even know why except that I've been reading Margaret Cho ravings and thinking "I like her even when she gets on my nerves, which is saying something." Because Margaret Cho is talented, hot, funny as hell and quite capable of getting all over my nerves for which I completely forgive her because, well, I love her anyway.

Not in a slathering, fawning minion sort of way. That's both embarrassing and scary. No, in a distant "I'd love to see her in concert if the venue isn't a bar or club or something where I can't breathe or hear," watch her videos and read her weblog and think "Angry cool bitch woman is happening here." sort of way.

I spend a lot of time thinking about famous people I admire, and a good portion of that thinking time is spent pondering the actual nature of fame and the cultural aspects of it and all sorts of sociological shit. I've written about it because it strikes me as such a weird, unreal thing, this modern fame construct.

You know those quizzes that ask you what famous people you'd invite to a dinner party, or be left on a desert island with, or whatever? Yeah, you know what I mean. I can never really come up with answers to those. Oh, when I was younger and hadn't thought about it so much I could spout off a list of names with a gleam in my innocent eye. But now I'm older and I think I understand more about the strings between people. I have no more time for unrequited love, onesided relationships, and slavering fandom. Oh, I still adore my favorite famous people. I just don't imagine talking to them.

After all, what could I possibly say that they haven't heard enough times to be bored by it..."I love your work..." or some inane question. I've come to the conclusion that for me to have any measure of intelligent conversation with someone I admire, I'd have to pretend I didn't know who they were.

I'd have to be a liar, in other words. Or at least I'd have to exercise incredible self control.

It's really the incredible imbalance between me and any person I admire. Nothing is equal. If I strike up a conversation with someone, say, in line at the grocery store, things are fairly equal there. But if I were put in a position of having to converse with, say, Peter Woodward or Sting or Margaret Cho, there's no way I could manage it without heavy amounts of babbling on my part.

I know too much about them, while not knowing a damn thing about them. I'm too interested, too eager. I've spent too much time thinking about them, wondering and talking and speculating, yadayada, reading the news about them, watching them on TV, listening to them. It's all one way. And I can't make myself imagine that, despite any interest I might have in them, that they'd have the slightest, tiniest interest in me. Especially since I'd be babbling idiotically.

I know. I've done it.

Again, there's the imbalance, at least in my head. Inside the little world I inhabit, I see this person as a One, while there are Many fans and admirers. So, this One has to do a number of things -- spread around attention, protect him/herself, present the right public image, and otherwise Be A Celebrity. It's not like standing at the cashier in Wal Mart waiting for the lady ahead to fill out her checkbook. No, I'm just a Many in this situation, part of a faceless group, a mob. a large and perhaps threatening THING.

And I'm concious of it to a ridiculous level. I don't want to be rude. I don't WANT to babble. I don't like admitting I want some of this person's limited time and attention while at the same time wanting it. I don't want to be remembered for anything bad, but I do want to be remembered, but I don't want to ADMIT I want to be rememembered --- you can see where this is going. Craziness. Overthinking to the point of breakdown.

I don't think I'm a bad person, despite my assortment of hangups and weird habits. I have friends who apparently find something worthwhile in my company. I can be funny, charming, compassionate, helpful, and companionable. I like to make others comfortable.

And I don't like to admit things about myself that I don't think are terribly admirable, no matter how normal, natural or Human they are. So I usually try to admire the people I like from a distance, respectfully and safely. Hell, even in the private and all powerful world of my daydreams, I'm so damned polite and self-effacing that it's almost pointless to HAVE a daydream about meeting someone famous. I figure the only way I could manage it gracefully is to be knocked unconsious and fall bleeding into the arms of the particular famous person I'm thinking about. Then the whole thing wouldn't be any fault of mine, and it's hard to be considered rude or pushy or any of the things I don't want thought about me in such a situation.

Which is still too pyschologically revealing for me to discuss comfortably. I've tried. believe me.

It's getting much closer to 2 am than I've seen in a while. I suspect that, since there should be housecleaning tomorrow, I should arrange to meet with my pillows and pretend, somewhere in my dreams, that one of those famous and beautiful people I so admire falls helplessly in love with me enough not to mind my complete inability to hold a conversation.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

At last, I have evidence

Thanks to Rien I can at last speak with confidence when I say I am a woman.

Actually, if the link works and my particular little chart shows up, my locator places me fairly in the middle of the statistical spread. I am a woman because I know that clams are alive.

Which has its own set of connotations. We shan't go there.

Husband took the same test. He's more female than I am. He also knew that clams are alive. AH well.

Interestingly, if you say the test is wrong, it responds by saying that you (the test taker) are a medical mistake, an anomaly of nature. I take it to mean that no matter what answers you pick, the test will say you are female. I'm tempted to test this theory by taking the test again and answering everything to the reverse of what I did the first time, except that I landed smack in the center of the statistical spread, so I'd most likely end up there again. Or I could just pick the left hand answer each time...or not waste my time on a silly test.

I'm still laughing. And I will state, for anyone who cares to know, that my husband is demonstrably more male than I am.

Saturday Morning Roundup

Thing 1) The weather holds beautiful in a way completely special to Florida. It's like a magic wand waved over the land -- well, a magic cold front mellowed to perfection by the southward sliding semi-tropical sun. The sky is darkening, the heat (and it's associate, humidity) recede from memory, and it's possible to open all the windows in the house and turn off the air conditioner. The real reason that air conditioners run for so much of the year in Florida is not completely that Floridians are wimps and can't deal with heat. It is there's so much moisture in the air that, if you let it into the kind of closed off, dark spaces houses create, you get incredible amounts of mildew and mold.

From the air.

Let that thought sink in a minute.

Let me add to the picture. Fast growing, highly destructive, stinking, staining mildew living on the clean clothes you put in the closet four days ago.

Air conditioners, in cooling the air, also condense the moisture out of it. There's a pipe running from the unit to the outside of the house to drain off the copious amounts of water. Once a year we have to clean it, or the water will back up and flood the garage. Betcha didn't know that.

Thing 2) I've been trying to write about our trip to England and meeting Rien . I kept a journal while I was there, which I thought would help. Yet, everything I write sounds so maudlin that it drains all the wonder and happiness right out of the trip. I couldn't figure out why it was so hard to write about, but I should have known. It's not the writing, it's the expected tone. In a weblog or online journal, people write about anger, depression, alienation, loneliness, sadness, indignation, bogglement, inconvenience and malaise. Happiness, contentment and good stuff make for boring writing (or a plethora of rainbows, cliche cute kitty pictures, and little sunfaces). No one believes you, and those who do get bored with the tedious repetition of your good fortune pretty quick.

So, I've whittled down everything I wanted to say about a really good trip where very little bad, inconvenient or uncomfortable happened.

-- All of England is either upstairs or downstairs.
-- So are large portions of the Netherlands.
-- Rien is one of those online people who is just like that when you meet him. If everyone I met online were as authentically themselves as he is himself, I'd want to meet them all, if just to bring them cookies.
-- I got blisters from walking, and was upset only about the fact that they kept me from walking as fast as I wanted.
-- It's an amazing thing to have all your history living with you in the present, and we have very little of that in the US, which I think is a huge underlying part of the US personality.
-- I hate airplane turbulence, ok? Hate it hate it hate it.
-- Virgin Atlantic feeds you identifiable and tasty food,like, every 10 minutes, sometimes even when there's turbulence.
-- If I could have any vacation I wanted, expenses not considered, I'd invite 4 friends to go with me and the Husband on a 2 week theatre/museum tour of London. We'd see a minimum of 6 shows, and I'd go through the British museum completely before moving on to all the other ones I *didn't* get to see.
-- I'd do the same thing in the Netherlands, reducing the number of shows and increasing the number of flower markets. (The redlight district can offer nothing to my happiness except any number of things to laugh about).
-- I want to go to Germany one day. And Ireland. And Northern England. And Canada. And Australia and New Zealand. Maybe Japan. It would be even better to visit someone someone I know online who lives in each of those places, so I could 1) get around some of the tourist stuff 2) learn a little of what it's like to live, breathe and think in another part of the world.

Thing 3) I have the best husband I can imagine. I need to mention that because I do rag on him frequently here, and I'm often a less than wonderful person, but he still hangs around. I'm lucky.

Thing 4) My mother in law is arriving in 3 days for a short, unscheduled stay. Oh lawsy lawsy. At least it's short. Not like when she shows up in December. When she's shows up in December, it is like a two month dental visit -- deep cleaning, two fillings.

Thing 5) It's so beautiful outside, but the perfect place is here in my library with all the windows open and the morning sun shining in on me, my cats, and everything else. I'm feeling so Pollianna-ish that someone is going to have to kick me.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

My weird

It's almost midnight. I've had far too much sugar. I should go to bed, but I'm not quite ready yet. I've toured every weblog I usually visit, just to see if there is anything new or anything I missed. I'm clicking through news sights.

In other words, I'm not doing a damn thing worth doing.

What is it about the web that invites the same pointless clicking that television does? I go from site to site, everywhere I've been just 20 minutes before. Nothing has changed, usually. What did I expect? Or did the TV form this weird expectation? Even with all the channels we have now, there are times I simply flip from channel to channel, looking for something to distract me. It's like checking the refrigerator for the 14th time -- is something going to magically appear that wasn't there before? Are the fridge fairies going to drop off more icecream any moment now?

Or maybe it's my appetites that I'm slowly flipping through, and I have to keep checking -- "Am I in the mood for it now? How about now? Now?"

But the web is worse. because it is so vast, and I cover such a tiny portion of it. Of course, there's only so much of it that is "worthwhile", in that there are too many sites trying to sell me something, or show me something I don't want, or tease and titillate me into sharing my credit card number, or otherwise get something from me. I'm picky about the web stuff I look at and if I go through a lot of sites, they tend to run together so I can't tell what's cool from what's drek. What am I hungry for?

Maybe, maybe, somewhere in my head, there's some little kid trying to close that fridge door and open it again, so she can see the little penguin run out to turn off the light.

The Princess of Tidiness

Ugh. 5 days later and I'm STILL working on the library. There are three distinct, if shrinking, piles yet to be dealt with. Matches and lighter fluid are beginning to be attractive.

Actually, the room looks pretty damn good compared to it's previous condition. I mean, there are wide stretches of floor actually UNCLUTTERED. You can see the couch. You can walk around the shelves. You can see most of the books, and REACH THEM. I admit to being pleased.

Last night we went to Home Depot in search of a narrow bookshelf and a small rug for said room. The cats immediately attacked the little rug, clawing and rolling and taking short naps on it, which means it needs vacuuming already. We spent most of the evening sitting in there and watching the cats declare ownership of the rug. It was much funnier to watch than it is to describe.

I assembled the bookcase today and put all the albums in it. ALL the albums. So far, it hasn't fallen over. Score a point for me. My fingers and shoulders ache, though. Every rough surface managed to snag me and make my delicate little fingertips sore.

I'm also planning things for around here. I've added to the photo galleries, and I'm getting ready to add in a link to my old journal site for those who are just too darn curious (as B-squared so wisely points out, why waste all that writing?)
Got to redo a little there and so forth, but, still, it fulfills my packrat needs and doesn't take up floor space. I'm ready to sit down and mess with it, because hauling all that stuff wore me out. Keep your eye on that left side list.

Oh, and Matrix Reloaded arrived. So I'm gonna be sitting down ANYWAY....

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Nostalgia

I used to have a Micky Mouse record player. It was the second record player of my life, the first being a portable turn table in a dark grey plastic case. The Micky Mouse player was in a white plastic case, rather large, and inside the lid was a picture of Micky. He wore a white and light blue striped shirt. His sleeve ended where the tone arm started. The needle was housed in his plastic white gloved hand.

I'm not sure exactly when I got this wonder, but it was somewhere after 8 years old. Probably for Christmas.

I didn't have a lot of kids albums when I was young. I think I had one Chipmunks album that I sort of liked, and I had a children's choir Christmas album I played to death. I had a lot of 45s that had been my mothers (lots of classic stuff from the 50's and early 60's which, my mother being who she was, were all thrown away/dissappeared to make room for all new ones. I'm not sure why, exactly, either, but man-o-man I wish I still had THOSE.) I also had Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" and Loggins and Messina's "Full Sail".

I had that white plastic record player, with it's rubbly outer surface and cheerful Micky face, probably until I was 13 or so. I remember when my mom and stepdad offered to buy me a stereo -- in the time before boom boxes and bookshelf systems, if you weren't buying a component system, you could purchase these "all in one" systems. One big box that would have a radio, a cassette (or 8-track) player/recorder, and a turntable, paired with a couple of half-assed speakers. I didn't want this thing -- I don't remember why, because it WAS a step up. I think it was part of the "hey stop trying to change my life" thing I developed at 13. Again, my mom, bless her, worked at a Holiday Inn and when the hotel redecorated, they unloaded a LOT of furniture -- all of it covered in orange peel fomica and in bright shades of yellow and orange, with chrome legs. She brought home this HUGE ass desk -- orange, my absolute least favorite color -- and put it in my room without asking me. It was a surprise. She was so pleased.

I went into the garage and cried until I could face it.

In any case, the huge desk eventually housed the new stereo, which I accepted because 1) it was beginning to look silly to play Queen's "Night at the Opera" under Micky's grinning mug and 2) I'd spent two weeks with my brother Ed and HE had one of those stereos and let me listen to it a lot. I eventually became totally addicted to my stereo, and my album collection began growing. My allowance went to albums and books, pretty much exclusively.

Now I have a few hundred albums and 45's and a turntable hooked to a computer. I feel like I'm time traveling.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

An Opinion

I don't know exactly what it is about seeing Kill Bill that caused one to have an irresistable urge for Dunkin' Donuts, but you have been warned.

Kill Bill managed to make me laugh at some really horrible things. It dragged a lot of horrible ideas forward and cast them into such an absurd light that your only choices were screaming or laughing. For example looking down onto a restaurant dance floor filled with some 80+ groaning, screaming, bleeding or dead men and women -- all wearing black suits, white shirts, black ties, and wearing black masks -- after watching one yellow jumpsuited woman kick all their asses, or more correctly, cut off assorted body parts and stabbed them a lot -- I had to laugh. I kept remembering the interview with Uma Thurman and how she talked about the syrup used for the blood. The crew flavored it, she said, with mint for when she had to have it in her mouth. I wondered if they used cherry or grape or cinnamon. I wonder how many gallons of the stuff they went through while filming this movie. I wonder if it could possibly be a world record.

Intense? That's hardly a word for it. I haven't seen any Tarantino films before -- at least, not all the way through -- and I've only seen a small selection of the various genres from which he's drawing for this film. Still, I got caught up in it -- in the humor, the emotion, the action. The moments that were most extreme for me were not really in the big fights.

<<>>

For example, when The Bride wakes up from her coma and realizes she is no longer pregnant, the scream of pain and longing went right through me, and I really felt sympathy for her loss -- which, I realise, was greater than her suffering from the attempted murder. Then, shortly after this, when the orderly brings in the "john" to rape her -- this was so twisted and sick that, as awful as his particular death was, I didn't find myself reactiong much to it.

<<>>

So, I'm waiting for February to see "Pt 2". Despite all the fuss and furor and accusations concerning the splitting of this movie, I found myself grateful. First, the movie ended at a good spot -- our "heroine" had successfully completed half her mission and she'd set up events for the next, and the "villian" dropped a real cliffhanging question. I don't know that I would have made it through 3 +hours at the level of intensity "Pt 1" kept at -- I was wound when the movie ended, and I needed the break. Maybe on a second viewing I could sit through the whole thing ( and I imagine that's how it will appear on DVD) but for a first watch, the pause to catch breath is a good thing.

Even the after-movie sugar rush feels like I'm coming DOWN.

Wires

I'm working on clearing the collection of computer components, odd bits, and WIRES that have have accumulated over several years. I've found connector cables, dongles, more phone cord than anyone might need, and at least two auto power converters for computers. I also went through a box of 3.5 disks, marveling at the history of it (they are SO early ninties. I remember when people horded these things and recycled and reused them, because they were pricy. Amazing.) I've found about 8 ac power supplies, none with a piece of equipment.

And I've got more to go. I had to take a break from untangling, winding up, bundling, and twisty tying to reflect on two things. The first is the incredibly rapidity with which technology is changing. Since my grandmother was born (almost 100 years ago, now that I think about it, as my mother's mother was born in 1896), the changes have been immense. Since my mother's birth in 1927, since my own birth in 1965, the changes have come more and more quickly. I've been married 10 years and in those 10 years we've moved from having desktops wired to dial up modems to laptops on wireless.

Which leads to the immense pile of cables and connectors we no longer need, but that I can't quite make myself toss out to the landfill. Someone, somewhere, is still using this stuff.

The second thing I was reflecting on is my own tenacity in hanging on to these things. I mean, why? I have packratitis, oh yes indeed, that inability to throw things out because 1) it's still GOOD 2) I might need it someday 3) I could sell it 4) We might know someone who will want it. Packratitis is an inherited disorder. My mother's mother had it (growing up dirt poor and then living through the Depression seems to be a deciding factor in how serious the disorder becomes). It skipped my mom, who was very much of the "throw it out and get something new" mindset (probably from having grown up in the Depression and then living in the boomtime 50's). My father had packratitis very badly. I am completely controlled by it, except in moments like these when I look at all the stuff that owns me and go "NO! Give me back my space! Give me back my time!"

Yes. We feel like we own stuff, but it also owns us. It requires time to maintain, space to store, energy to use or worry about or secure. Anything you have that you don't use is just taking up your space and time. People who live minimally have it right.

Only, they don't have packratitis, and the warm cozy feeling of snuggling in with all your STUFF.

Did you ever see Labyrinth? There's a scene in that movie that explains, perfectly, what I'm talking about. Even if it is mostly with puppets. Whenever I am cleaning things out, I recall that junkyard and the old woman with the huge pile of trash on her back, and I go find another garbage bag.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Complications

I'm a very contradictory person. On the one hand, I'm addicted to neatness. I love everything to be organized, tidy, dusted, and beautiful. On the other hand, I don't want to do it.

Well, I will up to a point. I get the occasional mood when there's nothing so delightful to me as spending a few hours rearranging my bookshelves, or cleaning my sock drawer. Suddenly I'll wake up knowing that every file on my computer is in the wrong place and must be moved, or that I can no longer stand a particular room and it must must MUST be cleaned up.

Then I have to actually move around and finish it. This presents problems.

A few of the problems are more than just in my head. I do have a malformation in my lower back that makes it very painful to be on my feet for many hours at a time, and also makes lifting anything heavy rather risky. I've pulled my hip and back out many times, and it's not something I really enjoy, so I'm cautious. I have a nice, strong husband who's perfect for heavy lifting, if I can just guilt/persuade/bribe him to do it.

Next, I share a life with six cats. I know, I know, but I love each and every one of them. Anything I'm doing is always of immense interest to them, especially if means they can climb into, onto, over, under, around, beside, or through whatever it is (yes, I have the participal cats -- aren't they all?) It's even better if I'm stacking things up, because then they can knock it over. Cats conduct frequent experiments in gravity, did you know? They control it like no one else. It's how they manage to levitate across a room without touching anything, yet can weight 30,000 pounds when they land on your stomach while you are sleeping. Amazing animals, cats. Anyway, cats do not mesh well with cleaning.

The last problem is that, as noble and ambitious as my cleaning intentiions are, I almost always run out of interest, energy or both before I'm done. Well before I'm done. I mean HOURS before I'm done.

At this moment I am sitting on the bed. The bed has four sleeping cats, three small pizza boxes, a set of desk boxes, some CD's a bowl, three paper punches, a saddle stapler, some computer speakers, and a pile of catalogs on it. It's amazing I fit at all. Next to the bed is the chair for the desk we removed today. On the chair is a pack of ledger sized paper and some flat cardboard boxes. All of this must find a new home before I can settle down to sleep tonight.

From the bed I can look into the library. The library has been a permement overcrammed, dangerous to walk in mess for about 4 years, and today I decided that it just couldn't be messy anymore, so the desk is out and the old TV/Stereo stand was brought back from the storage unit. It's managing to hold everything the desk did in less space, and with a few book cases moved, the room is much more open and easy to move in. Well, it will be after I pick all the books back up and put them on their shelves, as well as finding new space for all the books that were sort of piled up because I didn't actually have a place for them. There are also some boxes on the floor full of files, and a wire rack of assorted electrical gizmos, wires, cords, cables, connectors, and other things. Somehow I must get these all tidy and put away somewhere. Husband must also sort through things, since a goodly portion of them are HIS, or at least he knows what they are so that we can decide if something can be thrown or given away without causing us to curse/scream/cry or repurchase something just like it later.

Right now the room could only look worse to me if there were landmines buried in it. Ugh.

Well, I've done all the grousing I can manage. It's 10 pm, so I'd best start doing the bedcleaning part, at least, and try to make some space for feet on the floor.

Wire Spaghetti

I love my husband. I want to say this right up front.

Today, I am emptying the computer desk in preparation for removal. No, we aren't moving, just the desk, because it's too big and neither of us use it for more than a place to hold crap. Anyway, I've gotten most of the loose stuff off and out of the drawers and all, and now I'm trying to remove the computer periphrials and this is the problem.

My husband set up most of the computer perfs on that desk. He's pulled things out and put things back and moved this and that over the course of a couple of different routers and modems and other things. For every one of these things there are at least two wires. In our particular case, those two wires are wound around at least six other pairs of wires, which are wrapped at least 3 times around every other wire, forming a sort of electrically powered macrame.

So I'm back there trying to pull all this apart in my typical logical manner -- that is, picking up one piece of something and following it to it's wirey conclusion -- and trying to unwind this carefully constructed monstrosity when I find a new wire. I follow it along and -- woo hoo -- it's not plugged into either one of the two power strips or into the triple plug that is somehow tangled into all this. So I hunt down the other end to find what device was attached and...there was nothing. No device. This cord had been woven into the macrame so long that it remained even after whatever device it had connected was removed and taken away.

That's my husband in action. Me? I'm too anal for that. I have to have the device, the cables, the book, the old box and the receipt before I'm happy. I don't even know what device this wire was plugged into.

In our house there is a large plastic box (that will be developing a twin soon) that holds all the strange and unidentified wires. I've a very nice Casio keyboard I can't use because the power supply/cord has vanished somewhere and the power supplies we HAVE in the box don't work with it. Why? Because my husband unplugged it once and moved the keyboard without taking the cord with it. Now the cord has died and gone to cord heaven and I can't use my nice Casio keyboard.

It's a gift, it must be. I don't think I could braid those cords any tighter. If they weren't the only things that powered all the goodies, I'd use scissors.

Friday, October 10, 2003

The Joy of Spam

Hmm, what's this in my email folder this afternoon?


From: Barrister Musu Muhammed
Phone:234-80-33005587
Fax:234-1-4401041

Attn:The president,

Well, that's a big miss. Perhaps Mr. Bush would be interested...

I am Barrister Musu Muhammed, a solicitor at law.

I am the personal attorney to late Mr. Robert Chapman the African Area Director of SIL International, who unfortunately died in the crash of Kenya Airways Flight 431 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, January 30 2000. You will read morestories about the crash on visiting this website,

http://www.news.airwise.com/airlines/archive/2000/kenya2000.html

and also in this website, where Chapman's company talked about his death in the Kenya crash. You shall as well find the pictures of Chapman and his wife there. Mr. Chapman Hailed from Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

Good gory story. Is this even a real website? Oh, this is building up nicely. Now tell me about this poor dead guy

Since the death of Chapman, I as his personal attorney, have made several enquiries to locate his only surviving relation, without any success. I came across your name and contact on the course of my personal searching for Chapman's relations, so I decided to contact you for this project.

And I wonder how in the hell this Mr. Chapman had my email address? Maybe Chapman was a Spammer, too? I don't feel so bad now about his untimely death...

I am contacting you to assist in repatriating and securing the wealth left behind in a fixed deposit account by Robert, before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by AfriBank where my client operates an account worth $USD7.5 Million Dollars. The board of AfriBank has issued me a notice that after 2 months from now and no next of kin shown up for the claiming of the said funds, the funds will be confiscated and declared unserviceable.

Wow, that's just awful. All that money just given over to something as undeserving as a bank.

Since I and my team have been unsuccessful in locating Robert's relatives for sometime now,it on this note that I seek your consent to present you as the Next of Kin of the deceased since you are a foreigner,

I don't see how one relates to the other. Or does "foreigner" translate as "idiot" in your native language?

so that the proceed of this deposit valued at $USD7.5 Million Dollars can be released to you for our disbursments. I and my team have agreed to offer you 25% of the total sum,opon sucessful remittance of funds into your bank account,5% has been set aside to cover all expeses incurred both local and international, during the course of this transfer.,while 70% will be for me and my team. All requires is your honest cooperation to enable us see this business successful. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement which will protect you from any breach of the law. Robert was a very good man and it is not wise for me to allow his hard earned wealth to be stolen by the greedy directors of AfriBank.

Oh no, they are much better stolen by greedy folk like you and -- obviously -- me. Right? I mean, this IS about stealing. Of course, if WE do it, then you start charging me for all sorts of little "expenses" that will be reimbursed out of the 5% set aside of this nonexistant $7.5 Million.

Further details awaits your response by email. PLEASE, TREAT THIS PROPOSAL AS TOP SECRET.

OOPS! Screwed up that one. Of course, I'm sure the other 60,000 or so people you've sent this to will preserve the security of this e-mail.

Do not hesitate to include your private phone and fax number,when replying this proposal,you can also email me on this alternative email address:m_m2003@post.cz

Yours faithfully,

Barrister Musu Muhammed(Esq)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What boggles me, aside from the poor typing, spelling and grammar of this particular epistle, is that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, is going to buy into this bullshit! Someone out there with a large bank account, weak morals, and no particular abundance of working grey matter is going to reply to this with their credit card number. Am I unbelievably cynical? No, I think I'm just cynical enough.

But, in the spirit of public service, and just in case someone out there reads this, here is why this email and others like it are so damn bogus.

1) This bozo doesn't know my name. He addresses me with an erroneous title. This is Stupid. Someone offering you millions of dollars should at least know your name and title.

2) Do you know of the Mr. Robert Chapman mentioned here? If you do know a person by that name, would he have had your email address? Would you have known already he was dead (it's been 3 years)?

3) Although Mr. Muhammed states you are "saving" this money from theft by greedy bankers whom we all know are generally evil people and eat small children with shrimp forks, what he is proposing is stealing, too. Stealing is bad.

4) This man purports to be a lawyer (that's what a barrister is, actually). Lawyers are usually grouped with bankers in the "evil people who eat small children" catagory.

5) In almost any movie where someone attempts to steal a large amount of money that's wound up in some sort of legal shinnanigans, and they contact a stranger to help them, Something Bad always happens to that stranger. This should teach you, since if you are still considering the offer presented, you've obviously learned everything you know via action movies and sit coms on TV.

6) Total strangers do not offer large sums of money, in general, to people via e-mail. I mean, would YOU do it?

If all that isn't enough to convince you, you are beyond the reach of sense and deserve to be fleeced of everything you own in yourattempt to obtain these illicit and ficitious riches. Just don't attempt to sue afterwards. We will all laugh at you. I mean, every one in the whole world, including Mr. Muhammed.

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

And we

complain about our political system.

Yahoo! News - Brazil Gunmen Kill Police Abuse Witness

Sort of shoves things right into perspective, doesn't it?

Fear and Litigation

This story caught my attention this morning as I ate my granola. I'm not going to call these people names. They are afraid. They fear something they don't understand, or understand imperfectly, or understand through the lens of information that may or may not be true, but SOUNDS convincing.

Remember Radon Gas? A few years back, that was the big scary thing no one understood that would kill you. And Power Lines cause cancer, and don't forget the dangers of Fluoride. (I think the part about fluoride use making one more susceptible to mind control is interesting; only, if you were so subjected, would you be able to prove it enough to sue?) And I'm sure a little research would turn up hundreds of other dangers, real and perceived.

I can't judge if any of these are or are not real dangers. The idea is that they all represent new things, things that are supposed to improve our lives. Things on which we project fears.

There's a strong tendency for humans to place blame. It's part of the whole cause and effect way of looking at the universe, born from (or parent of) the scientific method. Of course, humans are also famous for attaching the wrong cause to whatever effect is witnessed, as evidenced in the theory of Spontaneous Generation. And even the venerable scientific method requires repeatability of the experiment's results before the hypothesis can be elevated to fact -- and facts will fall when new evidence arises to contradict them.

In any case, most people don't have the time, patience, knowledge or intelligence to carry out scientific research of their own. Most of us depend upon the research of others. The same lacks that prevent us from doing our own research also can prevent us researching the researchers, thus making many people subject to, at best, jumping to conclusions or taking theory as fact. At worst, we are fooled by frauds and charlatans bent on achieving ends of their own by selling books, programs or health gadgets. Otherwise intelligent people purchase odd little things like the Q-link -- which is fine with me, as I put down any positive effects from such a trinket to the power of the human mind.

Then we get around to the other side of this idea -- litigation to prevent those who don't fear what we fear from subjecting us to the objects of our fears by claiming 1) we know more than they know 2) we are trying to protect everyone 3) caution is always wise 4) if you don't, it's going to cost you money. It isn't surprising. After all, we've learned that even the most innocuous of daily items can harm you if you don't exercise diligence and caution handling them. Why shouldn't we sue to reduce that effort of attention and caution on our part? Hey world, stop exposing us to so many dangers, adding to our burden!

And it makes a kind of sense. I'm not sure it makes GOOD sense. Yes, I prefer not to be exposed to dangerous chemicals and bio-organisms in my food, water and air. I feel better when the objects in my environment have no invisible, unknown, or undetectable dangerous effects on me. And it worries me that sometimes I can be fooled by "scientific" claims unless I do some research myself into the issue.

But I guess that's my point. It is incumbent upon me to check out the "authorities", the "scientists", the mysterious theys who say things. And in order for me to make a balanced decision, I need to find opposing opinions and a variety of data (all of which is much easier these days). I also have to be careful about my own automatic response of "it's new, it's different, I don't know about it, it must be bad, I'm scared of it." It is a reality that the relative "badness" or "goodness" of a particular thing depends in great part upon how the object is used and to what end it is used (Fire is very good for warming a house, cooking food, and providing light, but it's very bad as a method of removing hair from sensitive skin).

So, I'm not sure if these parents suing over WI-Fe in their schools are simply Luddites with lawyers or perceptive, thoughtful people with a variety of research at hand who have tried every other method available to protect their children. I tend to lean toward the first, actually, because my own research and anecdotal evidence tends to indicate the dangers of radio signals (hammering us from all sides as they pour down from space and bellow from a million different devices) is, shall we say, somewhat overstated in this instance. Perhaps the school district could buy each of them a Q-link.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

I want a TARDIS and a chocolate chip cookie

Caught this Link about a New Doctor Who TV series from Brennan and, of course, had to look it up for myself.

I watched Dr. Who on and off for years, mostly because I had friends who lived and breathed for it. I didn't actually get deeply interested until Sylvester McCoy took over, and by the time I was hooked, it was canceled (all part of my ability to bring production disaster to any show I enjoy). Yes, there will be a few years before this actually happens and it could be just another tease, but, hey, maybe if I wait until it's ooout on DVD before I watch, like I did with B5...

Yahoo! News - Paint Brush May Aid in Repair of Shuttle

Now this is what I call "good news".

Yahoo! News - Paint Brush May Aid in Repair of Shuttle

"We're going to buy it at Wal-Mart. We're not going to ask the Defense Department to requisition it out of stock."

A clerk at a Washington-area hardware store said a 1-inch foam brush sells for 49 cents and a 2-inch one cost 99 cents.


NOW we get to see fiscal responsibility in a government agency! Anyone want to run this Sean O'Keefe guy for President? Hmm, no, he's probably too smart to take the job.

A Superior Mint

I'm in the midst of a new and glorious relationship. I love Smints.

I first met Smints when they were left in our Netherlands hotel room. Just a little blue and white box, but, somehow, special. There was no lid. No, instead there was a sort of button that you pushed down, which causes a little white plastic "hand" to pop a tiny triangular mint out. It was like magic. The white sort-of-button thingie had a letter "S" contained inside an inverted, rounded triangle, like a mellow Superman symbol.

Supermint. I was in love.

They are super minty and sugar free, using Xylitol instead. I have no idea what Xylitol is, but it sounds space-agy and scientific. The box even says "Powerful Mints" on the front. Cool Mint Instant Freshness.

They come in other flavors/colors, too. We have some Lemon Smints at home. This makes perfect sense to me, because I've owned a Lemon Mint plant. There is an Orange Mint currently dying on my patio. Completely natural flavors, to my mind.

While flying back from England, we finally emptied one of the Smints boxes and, in a sense of naughty adventure, I peeled back the blue outer box to reveal the mystical one-mint-at-a-time-in-the-little-hand-thingie mechanism. I'm not telling, but it was clever.

I searched high and low (well, there aren't a lot of high or low places in this redneck farmland-turning-suburbia place I live, but still) and finally found a new Smint source. I have my little blue box with me, the mints kept securely and sanitarily in the little blue box and dispensed precisely one at a time.

Ahhh.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Post Apocalyptic Dyspepsia

1) California? Thanks. Is this a sequel or a remake?

2) Got to move my ass around some. At least change rooms. I'm starting down the whining road again. That's boring. Maybe if I could get irritated about something in a humorous way. Or use the word "fuck" more. That seems pretty funny when done in a weblog. The only thing that really gets me irritated on a regular, dependable basis is my husband, and that's just so passe as to not even be worth mentioning. Of course my husband irritates me regularly. How can you rub up against someone as much as we do and NOT occasionally chafe something?

3) Could talk about my cats. This is, after all, a brand new weblog. All my previous sins are forgiven, right? I am starting all fresh and new and clean and squeaky shiny. Never talked about my cats before, right? Or my dog, or my two birds, or the cat I used to have or the dogs I used to have or even the two other birds I used to have or any of that. My entire animal history is a blank slate. Hmm. I'll save it.

4) Did I do anything today?
*Went to work,
*sat at my desk trying to say something about our Quality Policy without actually saying anything so it can go into the Quality Manual without upsetting anybody.
*Played some Spider Solitaire.
*Surfed around the web news.
*Finally thought of a way to say it.
* Typed it up.
*Printed it out for review with the QA manager.
*Stared at the rest of the manual that still needs editing.
*Felt completely uninspired and unable to focus.
*Started on the paragraph about the Quality Plan, which had to sound really specific while being completely uncommitted, again so no one would get upset.
*Played more Solitaire.
*Came up with a good 6 paragraphs plus a bulleted list that seems to say something important but actually refers all the gritty details to another document that hasn't been written yet.
*Wondered why it wasn't lunch time yet.
*Reviewed what I'd written with my bullshit meter turned off and decided I had a 75% to 80% chance that my boss would love it completely because it sounded like a lot of work and no one else would hate me because they would actually have to do any work.
*Had a lengthy and completely nonsexual fantasy about meeting Sting in a train compartment.
*Surfed the news sites a little more, shaking my head.
*Went home for lunch.

I love my job.

5) I've downloaded several tracks of The Chemical Brothers from Pressplay (you know, the legal, non-RIAA going to sue you way), which is ironically about to become Napster! all over again, only in a non-copyright infringing sort of way. Also downloaded a Dirty Vegas CD. It's sort of an interesting system, perfect for a non-techbrain person like me. I can download whatever I want for my $10 a month fee, but I can't burn these tracks to any other device (don't know why, and am not really curious, since I listen to most music on my computer anyway). Don't have to be online to listen, either, and you can have two computers on one account, so the Husband and I are sharing this one.

Anyway, I'm listening to music and trying to change my image of myself. I've got such a truckload of concepts about myself and other things in the world. It's like I'm discovering secrets about myself. Can I even explain this? It sprouts off of the whole "ugly cousin at the cottillion thing" yesterday.

Certain things are "cool", not that they are universally popular, but that they are popular with people who seem to have lots of "cool" going for them. I don't even know where my concept of "cool" comes from, and I know it isn't so easy to pin down as people who wear all black and bugeyed shades or anything like that. I wonder what sort of cultural exploration I'd have to do to winnow down the roots of my concept of "cool"? Anyway, The Chemical Brothers have appeared on soundtracks for movies that are just "cool", like The Matrix. It's a type of music that I sort of like, but never really explored because, well, it didn't associate well with me.

I keep thinking "confidence with angst". That makes no sense, but that is what comes out. What do all the characters in The Matrix have? Confidence with angst. Every damn one of them. Makes no sense, but there it is.

So, anyway, there's also my age to consider, which is becoming more of an issue with me than I ever pictured possible. I heard a saying today that I'll paraphrase. You are not only the age you are, but every age you've ever been. So while I'm sitting here at 38-almost-39, I'm still 25 and 19 and 12 and I can go back to those ages at any time while still carrying 38 with me. I had completely different fears and worries at those ages, which meant there were lots of things I could do without thought that now scare me to death (like climbing trees or starting new friendships or going out of the house to do things by myself). So that means there are parts of me completely able to accept the whole "cool" quotient of this music as perfectly compatible with me.

Have you ever known a person you classified as "old", "last generation", or whatever term you like, he or she was someone who you just knew had tastes and ideas and an entire life rooted in a time before the time in which your life is rooted? And this person, who you had pigeonholed so completely, turns out to be ,not only completely into something that's a part of your young, hip, cool, now life, but so much more into it and knowledgeable about it and accepted by others for that totally out-of-character thing that you are overcome with an urge to tell them to "act their age"? This scenario gets played for humor a lot in movies and TV. You are suspicious that the person is only putting it on, pretending about it to gain acceptance or some other relationship lever.

That's what I feel like, like the grandma who's majorly into rap, or the widowed aunt who designs fetishwear and can't keep up with the orders for the transvestite dominatrix market.

There are rules that control generations, right? They've existed more or less all along, but they really showed up post WWII with the whole "generation gap" idea. Each generation takes on particular cultural things -- clothing, hairstyles, music, literature, sexual mores, social ideas, etc. -- different from and often in contrast to (or in rebellion against) the things of the previous generations. Of course, there are only so many such things around so they sort of rotate and recycle (long hair/short hair is a good example. I can site examples of that change in the 18th century. I think you could make an argument of it for the Romans). Those who attempt to cross the gap either way are in for trouble from both sides.

Anyway, that's me. Or that's what I feel like listening to this music. That's what I feel like I'm doing LIKING this music. I'm a creature of the 80's, right? Ronald Reagan and leg warmers, big hair and blue eyeshadow. mullets and metal bands.

I don't always feel 38. I wonder if anyone ever does? What is 38 supposed to feel like? I knew when I was 19.

6) Which is funnier -- that California recalled their governor and elected a body builder/actor, or that they can recall the body builder/actor and try again any ol' time?

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

New Rags II

Ok, a couple of little tweaky things to mess with, but everything WORKS. Ahh.

Did I mention that B of Weirdsmobile did this? He's an amazing individual. And I'm going to talk about him, so he can be embarrassed and modest and all that, because that's what he's like. Or he'll stand on a chair, pound his chest with his fist and forget how to use pronouns for a little while, until the bruises on his chest start to hurt.

I've never met B. We've talked online and in email. He's my idea of "cool online person". He doesn't think of himself as "cool online person". I imagine he'd describe himself more as "socially inept, terribly insecure, geeky man -- with dogs." He's clever and funny as hell, and terribly hard on himself. He hides a lot of pain with humor, which is the usual source of humor anyway.

He's also the master of the quick-change weblog design. I swear, he must have had this one sitting in a desk drawer just waiting, he turned it back to me so fast. I'd have never, never, EVER had the guts to pick that jpg. Not me. Oh no. And, while I like it, at the same time it sticks in my head as being -- well, far too cool and confident for me.

Isn't it weird the impression we develop of people we barely know? That link list over there -- I've personally met three of the people linked. Every person there is someone I think is just too cool for wheels. I think of them as these confident, funny, intelligent, well spoken people. I wish I was more like them. I feel like they are all shiny, slender debutants in the pretty dresses, while I'm the fat cousin invited to the cotillion because auntie so-n-so made them, and my dress is actually puce and I don't know how to dance anyhow so I hang out near the punch bowl and eat the little cookies when I hope no one is looking.

New Rags

First, much thanks to the inimitable B-squared for his help. This is a Weirdsmobile design in case you couldn't tell. I'm still running down things that don't work (like the archives links) but I'll make it work, damn it all!

Monday, October 06, 2003

A Not So Fine Line

Yahoo! News - Worker blogs raise some company concerns

I find this interesting because it raises several questions for me. First question -- how much of your life is really yours, and therefore personal and private to you? Second -- should you talk about work in a weblog? If so, do you have a right to be specific or name names? If you do, does your company have the right to control what you say or to fire you for saying it? Third -- if your name is a part of your livlihood, as in the case of a newspaper columnist, to whom does your name recognition belong? To whom does your speech belong?

I do think that you have to be careful whenever you talk about ANYONE in a weblog, unless you have specific permission from the person, or the person is a public figure (and there are laws and such governing that). In the weblog/website/online journal community, I think by being a part and posting anything personal you are opening up the doors to be talked about by others, so while you are as protected as much as anyone against libel or slander (or theft of your copyrighted work), you aren't protected against any speech about you. In the end, tho, I think there are easily ways to conceal the identity of anyone you wish to speak about sufficiently that they are relatively anonymous.

Of course, I don't know that it's always in one's best interest to give very specific information about one's self online. Some people do, others don't. It might be argued that no one is really anonymous online if they have a website. If someone really wants to find out who you are, they may be able to run down the information. Still, my feeling is that anyone who wants to know should work really, really hard for it.

I know there are webloggers who have lost their jobs or gotten into trouble with employers, friends and family for what they said on their weblog. My own experience was with telling someone I had a weblog and then seeing them face to face. I don't discuss what I write here very much. I use this as an outlet for things I feel guarded about otherwise. But to have what I'd written bandied casually back to me created a false intimacy I found very distasteful. Of course, the particular person was someone I find distasteful, sadly, and may well have colored the experience. Still, it went against the grain -- from wanting to communicate openly with strangers, I began severely editing myself. I had to make an actual effort to speak freely.

This was yet another reason I ended my previous web journal. And I'm no where NEAR being famous. Not well known, not even really existing.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand. There are responsibities with every right and priveledge, free speech included. If you can say anything you want, you are responsible for what you say, and you have to face the consequences for saying it. Yes, those consequences can have a censorous effect, which is why there are laws protecting the speech.

Is it a matter of scale? If you complain about your job to a friend who doesn't work with you, does it have the same effect as writing your complaints in your webjournal to an unknown number of people who may or may not work with you? While you might swear your friend to secrecy, you can't guarantee his or her silence. With a weblog, you aren't even pretending you can control who knows what you say. It's just out there, to be seen by no one or everyone.

Does that make it dangerous? Is it so dangerous that it must be stopped?

Interesting questions.

Problems

A side effect of keeping a journal like this (as opposed to a private journal) is that I think about everything in terms of how I'd write it down here. This is a little weird. I use the pronoun "one" -- yes, it counts as a pronoun in this usage -- when doing so, so as not to personalize anything I say too much and to give it that "terribly educated" sound. "One tends to think of everything in terms of one's weblog." That sort of thing.

For example, last night as I lay waiting for sleep to sneak up on me, I began framing an entry for today reflecting upon the fact that nothing really happens in my life. I don't do much that's worth recording. I don't have great insights into politices or entertainment. I have few strong reactions to news, views, and the opinions of others. Even when I do get myself wound up about something, as I start to unwind I discover that the tension knob was loosened while I wasn't looking, and now the whole thing just sort of falls off.

I don't see many people. When I go to work, my office is rather secluded and I spend very little time with anyone else. I go home and spend the rest of the day with my cats. When my husband comes home, either he heads back out to do a massage or teach a class, or he dives into his computer and doesn't come back out until I announce it is time for bed. I spend the greater part of my life by myself. I talk to more people in email than I do face-to-face.

I'm not sure this is something that bothers me. When I think about it, I realize that my whole life has been this way to greater or lesser degrees. As a child and a teenager, once I was home from school -- where I spent most of my time rather isolated, interacting awkwardly with others if I managed to do so at all -- I was alone for the afternoon, reading or writing or playing with my dog or cat, and watching a lot of television. When my mom and stepdad came home, I stayed mostly in my room. When I spent weekends with my father, he slept much of the time and I read books or watched TV or played with toys. I wrote letters, then, to penpals. There were times when I spent hours on the phone (I hate the phone now.)

There have been portions of my life where I spent a lot of time with other people, short periods that rise like islands. I hardly recognize that person.

While at one time I crave the interaction with others, I find actually connecting with them exhausting. It is as if all my energy simply drains out of me when I'm around others. So, I have this low level dread of spending time with anyone else, yet I feel bored and restless when I'm alone. I don't read as much -- because of the computer and the Internet and the illusion of communication -- and I don't write nearly as much. I don't DO much. I sit and flicker through my particular path of websites.

And I write here, now. Again. Still trying to talk to people without any idea of why.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Word Analysis

Have you head the phrase "sound sensation" before? I suspect it was created by some adman trying to boost hi-fi stereo sales. I was considering it today. There are words that indeed combine the sense of sound with a physical sensation. Of course, these words almost all relate to some physical function.

A word that replicates or imitates a sound is called an onomotepia. I don't know what sort of designation a sound that is described with a word has. But a sound that accompanies a physical event that has a "feel", I think, is appropriately described as a "sound sensation". "Buzz" might be such a word, as saying it both creates the sound and the tickly sort of vibration that makes the sound.

"Blorp" is a sound sensation. So is "splorch", a word my husband used to describe the other sort of blood related experience I had during my miscarriage (Remember I warned you about this a few days back. What made you think the rules had changed?)

You see, aside from the gelatinous blood that will occasionally be emitted during a miscarriage, there is also just a general heavy flood sort of discharge. It can occur without any warning, and sometimes follows up a Blorp. If a blorp is messy, a splorch is a terrifying disaster. Those adult diapers become a really wonderful idea when dealing with splorch. Also, splorch can cause severe dizziness and even a loss of consiousness. It will definatly ruin clothing, bedding, carpeting, car seats, pourous flooring, walls, tile grout -- you name it.

I only experienced actual full fledged splorching a few times during the whole Month of Blood, and only once at it's most severe -- when I was sitting on an examination table in the ER assdeep in a puddle of my own blood, but not causing any particular stir among the ER staff. My (admittedly limited) experience with ER professionals has indicated to me that anyone sitting in a measurable amount of blood usually attracts a lot of attention, often requiring electricial equipment and lots of shouting. I guess I'm just special.

There is a sensation accompanying the noise, of course, which is what makes splorch a candidate for sound sensation designation. The blood doesn't well or trickle or drip like it would from any normal wound short of a perforated major artery. Rather, it rolls out like a wave released from behind a dam -- sudden, powerful, sweeping all before it, leaving fear and chaos in its wake. It is accompanied by a cold sweat, a slightly metalic flavor, some shivering, and a strong "oh shit".

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Sufficient Warning

Wendy hates Jemima J . I don't blame her. I haven't read it. I will never read it. I read the reviews. I can hate this book without even needing to see this book. In fact, I can help spread the hatred of this book as best I can because, well, this book needs to be hated.

It was published by Broadway Books. I shall be on the look out for them forever now, as publisher's of offal. It was written by Jane Green, who will likewise be viewed forever with suspicion.

To be fair, I have read the "look inside" portion available on Amazon. The book starts with the words "God, I wish I were thin." I could throw up. Everything you need to know is on that first page. And to think there's more?

Yes, there is. There is a page 2. I'm really really thinking this book would make a great door stop. Or compost. Yes, this could be recycled into something useful.

We all know, KNOW, don't we, that the only reason fat people are fat is that they eat unceasingly and indescriminately. And we all know that fat people have no lives worth living. They are all sitting in their drab little worlds, wishing for all the things only thin people have, weak and worthless and IT'S ALL THEIR OWN FAULT. Oh, the gods all KNOW that if that fat person would just eat LETTUCE for a few weeks, everything would be perfect!

What makes it even worse is a simple, personal fact. I am 1 inch taller and about 30 pounds heavier than the main character. This main character is depicted as so fat she cannot sit in a normal chair, wear normal clothing, or have a normal life. While I might bemoan my weight, I have, in fact, a fairly normal and good life. I'm happily married, complete with sex (yes, sex sex sex SEX and my husband is a damned HUNK), and I fit into normal chairs, normal clothes, and a normal bed. Sheesh, I even survived flying to and from the UK in Economy Class. I don't need the little extension for the safety belt either. It fits just fine. Yet I'm not entitled to any of this because of my WEIGHT? I'm an anomaly, a statistical blip, an abberation in the data?

So, shall I say on the outset that presenting this main character as some sort of monsterous result of too much food just makes me want to rub the author in cheap chocolate cake? In her designer clothes. No, not chocolate, that's too good for her. Dry plain cake from the grocery store bakery, four days old, covered in the sugar and Crisco frosting and food coloring. Yes, that would about assuage my anger and disgust.

Argh, I have to get this Amazon page off my screen.