Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Keith Carradine, currently playing Wild Bill Hickok on HBO's new drama "Deadwood," has been tapped to star in "Savages," an ABC comedy pilot loosely based on Mel Gibson's family life.
I can't quite explain why I find this so hilarious -- do you see the same thing I do, or do I need more sleep?
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Now someone else is joining the battle.
Boys and girls, punctuation isn't incidental, outmoded or superfluous. It is the code that gives shape to our words and represents the inflections, breaks and pauses of our spoken language. It isn't even all that complicated -- I maintain that if you can program the clock on your VCR, you can learn to use the most complicated forms of punctuation available.
Spelling, however, is completely arbitrary.
Now, this is obviously a practical joke (WHY are they called "practical"?). Just like most practical jokes, someone got hurt, and it was a stupid thing in the first place.
It's also a case of power struggling as one person tries to exert his will over another's. If I tell you that I don't want a particular thing in my house and you bring it into my house anyway, you are telling me that I am not in control of what goes on in my house where it concerns you, because I do not control you. Moreover, in asserting that you are not going to be controlled when in my house, you will impress upon me that, in fact, you are in control of me because you can bring whatever you like into my house. You can blow it upscale and talk about it in terms of territory, laws and contraband.
That's a power struggle.
Does it make him an anarchist? A revolutionary? How about a terrorist? (loaded question) Does the woman here have a right to control her friend's behavior within her house? Is she usurping his autonomy? Can we use this to illustrate the ideas of civilization where one accepts and respects certain boundaries, thus making Mr. Hide-a-gun a barbarian because he flouts these bounndaries?
I really should take some classes in this stuff.
Monday, March 29, 2004
The first layer -- that peel off strip -- was easy. It took me a couple of seconds to realize there was a zipper seal. But the third layer was a heat seal and I almost gave up, tossed it back into the fridge, and made myself some cereal. But my need for protein was great as demonstrated by the complete lack of brainpower I had available to solve this particular conundrum.
Oh, and the stinky cheese was goodness.
Sumeria A. Aspens
Retooled A. Guaranties
Zambezi V. Payday
Stepmothers E. Disinfectant
Sumeria is obviously an educated woman, having earned her certificate as a Beauty Technician at the prestigeous Lola Palula's School of Good Looks. I'm sure she has forged new ground in the wearing of blue eyeshadow and root bleaching.
Retooled (pronounced "re-tool-ed") or Ed to his friends, has a more murky history. I suspect he's been involved in more than one lawn care scam and has a tendency to spend all his money on hotwings and beer.
I don't have a clue about Zambezi, but I would guess he's got two girlfriends and a wife.
I'll add names to the list as they show up.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
Actually, I took only one of my characters out, and I did so only to have an unintentional hysterical fit and turn right around and bring her back in. It was weird. She got entirely wound about something -- which she would have -- and just went right on over the edge with it. It was bizarre. Now the character has left the game, more or less. I don' t know exactly what will happen with it. I don't feel exactly regretful about it, just sort of "oops, oh well."
It's a little like letting the voices in my head put on costumes and come outside. Once I slide into the role, I'm just watching. Sometimes I think it is too bad I never really trained for theatre. On the other hand, I don't know that I really have that talent.
Anyway, I spent the majority of the day in Monster Town, keeping the make up and costumes in order, helping the GM manage paperwork, organize the modules to go out, running down NPCs and suiting them up -- basically the things an admin assistant would do. I'm just good at that sort of thing. I found that I really had no desire to be a part of "the game" -- no real eagerness for stage time, as it were. More mood, I'm sure.
I got a lot of comments to yesterday's whining, all of which require a response and, of course, some theorizing on my own.
Yes, Baki, we DO have seasons in Florida. They aren't like seasons further north. For example, we know when fall is coming because the snowbirds start flocking -- there are lots of RVs and cars with out of state tags around, you can't get into any restaurant between 4 and 8 pm, there are suddenly longer lines at the grocery store and Wal-Mart, and you see more people driving the wrong way up the divided highway. When the snowbirds leave, it's spring and summer is coming.
The isolation of the weblogger -- now THAT's something interesting. The idea of a weblog is community, isn't it? But it's an odd community, not based on other models we have.
You can stand on your particular soap box and expound on whatever you like. You can tell the world anything. However, you are a soloist, and you are standing alone in the auditorium -- or you are really wearing a blindfold and earplugs. There's no feedback. You are talking, but as far as you can tell, no one is listening. At best, you find yourself checking numbers.
Then, you want to attract people. We all want to be heard. Being listened to is like having air to breath -- most of us spend far more time talking than listening (at least statisticaly -- I took a class in this). So maybe we start crafting our message to attract other people. We give up the freedom to say whatever we want at a given moment, and start thinking "mmm, would this sound good on my blog?" or "Is this funny enough/inflamatory enough/angry enough/sexy enough to make people read me?"
Then we really want more -- we want to know without doubt that people hear us and think about us. So we install comments and maybe a forum. And we move from a monologue to a dialog. Suddenly, rather than pontificating on our soapbox, we are sitting at a table and talking to others. We start RESPONDING to what other people say (rather like this entry). Other people are listening to us, talking to us, acknowledging our existence. It's like getting all that oxygen.
So, when the feedback has a lull, or the relatively tiny audience any blogger can realistically read, reach, and respond to is distracted by their various lives, suddenly the air can feel very thin and stale. All that virtual companionship is gone. What's worse, unlike friends you deal with offline, about whom you know more and see more and receive more information so that you know more or less what they are doing when they aren't around -- you still have some connection.
Online, through a weblog, when other people stop talking to you, they almost cease to exist. Even if they have their own weblogs and you can go comment to them, you might feel like you are diliberarely trolling for recognition and reconnection.
The attention we give each other is a commodity. This is the currency of the weblog community -- recognition, attention, communication and reference. And like almost anything else online, it takes place at high speed, so that in a matter of a day or so (or even a few hours if you have a popular weblog) you can go from being the center of a lively group to being completely isolated, and you may have no idea what you did to cause it, or even if it had anything to do with what you did or did not do.
Complicated, isn't it? Almost everything involving people is.
Saturday, March 27, 2004
It's the good time part that keeps me coming back, I swear.
In other news, I've been feeling strangely lonely lately. Oh, I've got local friends I've spent some time with, but -- and here is where Sherri gets into that weird place in her head that can be scary for those without a life support suit -- I'm lonely for the people I know online. Ok, that's obscure, so let me take another run at it. Somewhere in my head, in the murky dark part, there's this image of all the people I know online and my particular relationship to them. Of late, most of these people have been quiet, or, in my estimation, distant. So, I feel a little lonely.
My brain chemistry being what it is, that could just be a mood interpretation. After all, I'm just now at the end of a long, stressful period, and for whatever reason, while the stress has ended, I haven't yet made the adjustment to doing things differently, and there's some manner of depression taking over. Oh yes, there's happiness, but any change can bring on feelings of isolation, of the world being unsteady, of being unsure and lost and...
So it's just sort of weird in my head and I'm sure as soon as I make the move to retake the house, it will go away. I'm Post MIL now and there are always a few weeks of adjusting and redefining territory. There's cleaning I must do, sewing and rearranging and repairing.
But right this minute, I feel inexplicably isolated and unconnected with everyone and almost everything. Maybe I should eat some breakfast. See ya later.
Friday, March 26, 2004
No food, no drink, no anything. I didn't even have the horrible experience that sometimes occurs when speaking where you inhale your own saliva and choke for no good reason. No, not even that.
I'm speculating that it was interdimensional interference. Somewhere, on another plane of reality, another closely related version of me (hopefuly a thinner one) was eating something and WOULD have choked, only some manner of interdimentional rifting event took place at that very moment and the choking was transfered to me. Possibly there is a interdimensional reality Lord that decided she was the more important of the two of us, and that having her choke while reclining in her bed would be a disaster for her world, wheras I was far more expendible and/or better able to handle the situation. So, however unwilling and unwitting I might be, I could have just been essential in saving the hope of a universe from an ignonimous death.
Or it was a cat hair.
I need more Diet Pepsi.
The next day I skipped, since I had nothing to do yet, which worked out because I became uncomfortably unwell that day.
I skilled yesterday for much the same reason, although I was feelng better. I just wasn't feeling...trusthworthy.
Today I skipped out because...well...I felt like it.
I'll be there Monday because there should be stuff for me to do.
That's my life. I'm not going to make much money this month, but at least I'm not cheating anyone. However, I must make some arrangement to leave the house tonight.
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Well, in part, pure laziness. In part, because it WORKED. I'm writing.
I'll get back to it, just in case it was something you'd noticed.
In other news...well, you don't want to know my other news. Suffice to say, I think I'm better now, but I'm still reluctant to leave the house.
Back to editing.
I mean the MIL. Returned to her home in the northlands, and not in my house anymore
Still haven't quite adapted, although I did pull out the Pagan Ritual Book of Ways to Get Your Attitude On Straight Again, burn myself some sage an incense, make sure she'd cleaned out the dresser and the closet (I'm pretty sure she left stuff in the bathroom, but I'll get that later) and dance around the house a little. Husband celebrated by making uber-brownies, so there's chocolate all over the kitchen. Mmm-mmm.
Now I have to find something else about which to complain. Ah, thus it goes.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
The whole idea of being The Other Reading Group is that there is a reading group already existing (which, ironically, I started many years ago but due to circumstances never got to be part of). It's all women, and tends to do the books that every other reading group does, most of which don't interest me in the slightest. I attend it occasionally when they read something I like. It's a very female group, with books that interest women -- no, scratch that, rerun -- with books that interest middle and upper-middle class white women ages 40 and above, most of whom are from the Northeast US. I don't read in that demographic very often.
This other group includes a lot more, shall we say, unusual choices. Oh yeah, there's still some of the big mainstream books showing up, but I try very hard to stay away from books that show up on the New York Times Bestseller lists, or any other reading group's lists. I like Science Fiction. I like Fantasy. I like Alternative History. I like non-fiction, and graphic novels and .... well, go look at the list.
Just as a note -- if you want to participate in the group via the Internet, I'd be more than happy to hear your thoughts about the book, and to take them to the group. Hell, I can even take my laptop to the bookstore and let you "talk" to the others via AIM or YAHOO, although you'll have to depend on my typing to know what anyone else says. This isn't all that hard, as the group is QUITE small right now :>
Now, assuming Ju was just behaving (as I suspect) in a normal, walking-down-the-street manner, what was this fellow's motivation? How many points is 'fat cow' worth in the macho-meter? Does he win a valuable prize? Will some low-self-esteem, low IQ girl now sleep with him (how many points does SHE cost?) Will his friend in the car stop cracking beer cans on his head at parties? Will his penis get bigger?
Now there's a thought. Is there an urban myth circulating that being an asshole, especially in public. earns one points toward penis enlargement? No, that can't be true...there'd be too many rednecks having to haul themselves around in carts in this county.
Or maybe it just takes a few million points per centimeter. "Fat cow" is worth maybe three points, and I'd detract one for using the coward approach in delivering the insult from a moving car and driving off. Let's assume that giving the same insult to the same person in a 24 hour period reduces the value of the subsequent insults by another point, so there's not much point in driving back by for a second "fat cow" on the same person. At two points an incident, it's going to be a very, very long time for that fellow.
He'd be better off answering spam.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Candy, but tasty candy. Cotton candy -- mostly air.
On to the next book!
The slogan in question is "It's All Relative in West Virginia".
Now, yes, I can see where one interpretation of this is that West Viriginia is the Hillbilly Capital of the world, with everyone marrying their own siblings, cousins, and assorted other close relatives until everyone is their own grandpaw. I can see another interpretation that indicates that nothing is hard and fast in W.Va., or that the nature of reality itself is fluid once you cross the state line. I'm sure there are some physicists in the audience who could go further, getting into, perhaps, the effect of the observer upon the observed and so forth.
I've no big love for A&F, but this is the US and we are mostly allowed to say what we want on our t-shirts. I'm pretty sure the governer came up with the first one interpretation and that's the idea that offended him. He doesn't like anyone speaking ill about the state he serves and, perhaps, loves. He's trying to bring industry and commerce to his constituants and he'll sue anyone who gets in the way by filling the innocent businessman's heads with bad impressions and scary ideas about West-By-God-Virginia.
I think the good Governor Wise should calm down, eat some Cheerios, and consider things more calmly.Even without A&F's sly remark, there's a general impression of West Virginia filled with stereotypes. They've been around for a very long time, and like most stereotypes, they are embellishing a tiny grain of truth. It started a very long time ago, in the 1920's I believe, with the Life story of the Hatfields and McCoys and a glimpse into life in Appalachia. The stereotype looks like this. Imagine, if you will...
A man, anywhere from 25 to 45, with dark, shaggy hair and probably a ratty beard, wearing nothing but bib overalls (in the one shoulder strap design), showing a four tooth grin under a straw hat, shotgun in hand, bare feet twiddling toes in the dust, standing next to a dirty blonde, 14 year old girl, 8 months pregnant, wearing a faded flowerprint dress so short that you fear what a breeze would show you.
Got that picture? I bet your picture has a couple of sad hound dogs, at least one broken down 1940's pickup truck, and a tumbledown shack with a corrugated tin roof and a slanted front porch. Maybe your picture also has a few little kids in just enough clothing crawling around with the hound dogs and under the front porch, and that front porch has an old, old woman in a rocker, a corncob pipe sticking out from under a poke bonnet, another shotgun in her lap along with her knitting, and a suspicious looking brown jug by her feet. If you're really imaginative, you might see steam rising from behind a half-fallen barn from which gazes at you one boney hipped cow chewing her cud, and a horse with an evil glint in it's eye. That steam comes from one of the wildest combinations of radiators, hose, copper tubing, and rubber bands you've ever seen, with huge black kettles sitting on a fire and another group of overall wearing mean unloading corn next to it.
And I didn't get all that from a T-shirt.
I finished Laurie R King's latest "Mary Russell" book, The Game, which was another entertaining book in the series (Premise -- Sherlock Holmes meets a much younger and troubled girl who is as smart as he is, takes her on as apprentice, and after she gets decently old enough and has many adventures, marries her, only we are still very Victorian here and it's not terribly romantic or anything). This one was set in India, post WWI, and included a lot of historical information I'd never run across about an earlier "Cold War" between Britain and the USSR over India. This was a more action filled book, which a good mystery should manage when it can.
From there I've moved on to Laurel K. Hamilton's latest Merry Gentry book, Seduced by Moonlight. Now, I both love and hate her Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, which is in my opinion, a very good series that has gone on far too long and traveled far too wide of its origin. However, it makes an excellent object lesson about writing a series. If I ever write a series, I know everything NOT to do. I'm still angry about that series, though. I feel severely cheated.
The Merry Gentry books, however, make no pretense about what they are. They are nominally detective stories, but being fantasy/horror novels at their core, all the characters are Fae, or related critters. And we get into deep political intrigue in the courts of the Fae. And we have sex. Lots and lots and lots of sex. Hell, I'm now halfway through the book, the story has covered perhaps 18 hours of time, and there have been 5 sex scenes (possibly 6, after a while you lose count) interspersed with various events and bits of plot. Oh yes, there is actually plot, and the sex is PART of the plot, but poor Merry can't get three feet walking without someone jumping her or her overcome with uncontrollable desire to jump someone. Given the number of indescribably beautiful and highly jumpable people surrounding her -- and her own very jumpable self, despite a constant harping on how "ugly" she is by Fae standards (She's short, big breasted, curvey, tough....in fact, she's Anita Blake with red hair, a problem family, and fewer sexual hangups at the start). Anyway, this is NOT high minded reading.
In fact, if some more stuff NOT sex doesn't start happening soon, I will get bored. One of Hamilton's big ol' habits is to grab a metaphor and sling it into every possible situation (Merry, when erotically excited, glows like she "swallowed the moon". I know this not because the image was strrong, but because it's been pointed out to me almost every sex scene, which, considering the average number of scenes per book....you get the idea). Along with metaphor abuse comes a repetitiousness that appears like speedbumps during the highspeed ride that her books are. Hamilton is good -- she keeps things moving and interesting most of the time. However, I suspect she has gotten popular enough that no one will point out critical flaws in the writing. Or, her audience is happy with whatever she spits out. Or the publishers have a low opinion of her audience. Anyway, the political stuff and the mysteries are good, and they better start HAPPENING rather than being talked about...hell, I'm hooked on the story, and the rest of this stuff is just getting in my way.
*sigh*. I wonder if MIL has left for her golf game yet, so I can go home? I'm bored sitting here. I can pontificate on my reading at home, where it's more comfortable and my hands aren't freezing.
Monday, March 22, 2004
Suicide Caution Sought for Antidepressants
I'll state flatly that antidepressants gave me back my life. They also flattened it down hard and made it empty and dull after a point. When I first started them, I thought they were the wonder drug. After about 2 years, I was just not thinking anything, except those hours when I wanted to die. I'm glad I live without them now, and I'm glad they were available when I needed them, but they still scare me.
Instead, I dreamed I caught a rat. In a towel. The cats were chasing it around a room and it ran straight into me, hit me in the chest, and got caught in the towel. I wasn't sure what exactly to do with it. It wasn't very big, but I didn't want to just kill it in my hands. I wanted to take it outside, but I was scared to move because it was wiggling fiercely and I didn't want to drop it.
Gotta find something else to dream about. Just gotta.
Sunday, March 21, 2004
She gave me a mullet. Not only did she give me a rotten haircut, but she cut my waist length hair to just below my shoulders. I got pretty attitudinal on her, ripped into her freezer and smushed up all her HotPockets into a mess on the concrete floor. She was very upset.
It was such a stupid dream that I remember thinking "I am not staying asleep for THIS" and immediately woke up. No, I didn't want aHotpocket, and no, I didn't check my hair for sudden style-less shortening. Ok, I sort of confirmed the hair thing, but it wasn't an OBVIOUS hair-length-check. You sleep with this much hair and you know where it is.
EitherI have to develop some more interesting issues or find something better to put into my subconsious. A bad haircut is lousy nightmare fodder.
Here's what's growing so far...
My front garden, complete with dog at the door. I lost two of the rosemary plants in that low hedge over the winter, and the laurels look rattier than ever, but the crepe myrtle and the roses look fine.
The Whiskey Rose that grows near the front door. Smells just like every rose scented air freshener you've ever sniffed.
Our back patio, which is due for renovation and rearrangement in about 1 week.
The last of the grapefruit blossoms hanging over the fence.
The Don Juan rose...my favorite.
It is in the 80's here, clear and breezy and perfect -- and already the fireants are setting up camp in a 1 by 1 square foot area in the backyard. The flea spraying we had last week worked -- the fleas have arrived. I've gotten three mosquito bites already and there are signs of cockroach gangs hanging out by the composter, smoking dope and spraying tags. Ah, spring!
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Why is it, I wonder, that I feel a slight twinge whenever I'm not reading some book of "stature", of "literary importance", of "weight and value" -- refering to something besides the size of the hardcover copy, of course -- some book that's "real"? I actually think of it that way. I'm not reading "real" books (like, what are they, holograms? Imaginary books? oh, now, there's an oxymoron.) Yes, I read a lot of genre fiction, even though I resent the whole IDEA that if a book contains particular elements (among all the other elements it contains) it must be shelved in a special location and thus shunned from the realm of "literary fiction" -- the "real" books.
Where did I get this set of criteria?
Oh, the latest thing for "Chick Lit" (does that sound like gum to anyone else?) really irritates me. It's all marketing, you know. It's all created by the book buyers for Barnes and Noble so they can set up appropriate departmental fiefdoms. (I'm not kidding. I know someone who used to BE the bookbuyer for Barnes and Noble. He told me the whole dirty story.)
So anyway, I am reading a series mystery, I'm about to read a series erotic fantasy/horror, and after that I'll chew through another Regency Romance. My stack has gotten so tall now that there's no telling where I'll go next.
And I never even got the book I was supposed to read for my book group next week. Sheesh.
Still, I'm up to 4 books now, soon to be five, and I might be at 6 before April. Whoo hoo!
Friday, March 19, 2004
It sounds so very cool to hand a work of fiction over to a bunch of talented hams. One story "The King Of Jazz" by Donald Barthelme, (from Sudden Fiction, American Short-Short Stories), is supposedly the tale of Misssissippi black men challenged by a jazz trombonist from Japan. It became a Samuri Epic with a hick southern audience -- you'd have to read the story to understand. Depending on how much danger I feel like courting, I may put it in the file list I have elsewhere (there's a link along the sidebar for Reader's Theatre Scripts).
I'm going to get in trouble, I know it. Dan told me about it, and even researched what I should do to NOT get my ass landed with a lawsuit or at least a cease-and-desist. I'm going to get in trouble, the bookstore is going to get into trouble, everybody is going to get into trouble. Publishing houses are owned by big conglomerates and they get really touchy. Authors get touchy. I can't really blame them, although, deep in my heart, I'm not doing anything MORALLY wrong. It's not unethical -- I'm not passing these works off as my own in the slightest. I'm really picky about how much editing I'll do, I fight to protect words and phrases, and damn it all, the authors will be proclaimed and the books made available where possible. I'm trying to bring these works to people who otherwise would never, ever hear about them. I think it's important.
And it's fun. Oh, gods and goddesses, you should have heard our dueling hams being Japanese jazz samuri.
Thursday, March 18, 2004
This particular story makes me boil for a number of reasons.
First, while the idea of an escort for children and elderly people traveling by air is good, provided that it is understood an airline has limited ability to be responsible for individual people, it does not replace the responsibility of the primary caregiver to watch out for that child or elderly person. If a person isn't competent to manage at least a little in the confusing and frightening environment of an airport, they should never be left alone there -- even if the airline provides an escort.
Second, someone with a serious medical condition that they cannot handle on their own should never travel alone. That's just stupid.
Third, WHAT WERE THE CHILDREN OF THIS MAN THINKING???? Do they also let their infants play in the street, or drop their 5 year old off at the mall?
I worked 2 years as a caregiver for Alzheimer victims, doing the equivalent of babysitting. It is very difficult for an Alzheimer victim to deal with strangers, even when they are high functioning. They can become easily confused, uncooperative, obstinant, and even violent. I had some training and experience, and I rarely if ever took one of my clients out of their home. It was incredibly difficult. This is an adult. They are NOT childlike -- they are impaired. They look and sometimes act perfectly normal. They remember things like how to unlock doors and open gates. You cannot physically handle them as you can a child. They can be alternately combative and fearful, then trusting and complient. It's terrifying to watch, and I cannot imagine what it is to experience. They don't always want to hold your hand, take your arm, or otherwise be "connected" to you. They don't want you in the bathroom with them and will let you know. They are trying with all they've got to hold on to their dignity and their adult rights, even as the ability to maintain that dignity and exercise that independence is being destroyed bit by bit. They aren't "crazy", and they are never getting better (at least at this point in medical science). But they are very, very vulnerable.
My own grandmother had Alzhiemer's, although at the time we just said she was "getting old" and she was "a little senile" (as well as hard of hearing and getting blind). While in the hospital from a minor stroke, she kept trying to leave to "walk home". We took her shoes, her purse, and finally her clothes in an effort to keep her in her room. The last straw came when this 80 year old woman wrapped herself in her bedsheet, climbed out her first floor window, and was caught walking down the busy road to the hospital by my aunt, who happened to be coming to visit her that hour. We brought her back, gave the hospital all kinds of crap, and they restrained her. (Some of my relatives weren't thrilled with this either, but since no one would or could afford a private nurse to guard her 24/7, it was let go). While we expected the hospital to protect our grandmother, the hospital expected that she'd want to stay. Honestly, it's not that hard to walk out of a hospital if you are determined to do it. Grandma was a very determined woman. It wasn't until she came to live with my father and me that I realized just how hard it was to keep her safe. This 80 year old woman could get past a 20 year old me three times out of five. She was my GRANDMOTHER. I couldn't just grab her and haul her back into the house when she hit the streets to "go home", crying and wailing.
I drove her around a lot in my car, though. That worked up to a point.
So, Mr. Ayala's children are in the direct line of my disgust. To them, I say -- He's your father -- if you are going to put him on a plane, make sure he has a companion who can keep him safe. He's ill and not able to care for himself. You CANNOT shove off responsibility to a corporation who's purpose is to move thousands of people and things from place to place quickly and efficiently. Airlines are not responsible for helping you make your flights or your connections, nor for making sure your elderly and impaired parent doesn't wander off in the airport. That they offer to help is nice, but this isn't what they do, and it isn't what their personnel are trained to do, and they may simply not know WHAT to do. Your father could have easily wandered away from you, much less from someone who didn't really know who he was, what his impairment was like, or even what he LOOKED like.
You shouldn't have put him on the flight alone to begin with. He isn't baggage and the airline didn't lose him -- YOU let him go off unsupervised. Yes, it was perhaps inconvenient and expensive and very probably it almost impossible for any of you to find time and money to accompany him. Nevertheless, that's what you should have done, or not done this thing at all.
The second example in this story also sets me off. A man loses his impaired wife in the airport -- The HUSBAND lost track of her, NOT the airline. Quite honestly, it's tragic and horrible and very, very sad, but there is a lot of responsibility going around here and a good hunk of it lays on the back of the husband. Unless he hung a sign around her neck that said "Help me, I have Alzheimer's", she looks reasonably normal and there's not much chance of anyone noticing if she walked out of the airport, much less a reason to stop her.
Grrrr. I dealt with many clients, and was paid to do so. I shouldered that responsibility for $5.00 an hour, and I endured what a lot of family members endure -- the anger, the inability to communicate with your relative, having to tie them to chairs or hold them down while they scream and fight so you can give them lifesaving insulin injections or other medications, so you can prevent them from walking into traffic or getting into the car with strangers, ,or even falling out of a chair because they can't stand unsupported, but will keep trying. I don't know how to describe how hard, how draining and debilitating it is for family members to care for an Alzhiemer victim, and how little support they get from their communities. Yet, as much sympathy as I have for these families, I maintain that once you've taken on that responsibility, you cannot shove it off elsewhere. Even if you put the person in a facility, you are responsible for checking the facility regularly, for making sure your relative is in good shape, is protected and provided for, that the agreements you made with the facility are being upheld and understood. If you don't do that, then, in my mind at least, you can't make anyone else responsible.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Now I've found Lyrics Crawler and I'm saved. I can now sing confusing, abstract and obscure lyrics with confidence.
Only because I didn't enter. I'm quite the stinky toe -- it's a family tradition.
Ok, is there anyone in Vermont who can explain why Montpelier WANTS to be the "Rotten Sneaker Capital of the World"? You'd think the city fathers would be passing out the Odor Eaters and squirting the Fabreeze.
The house was sprayed for bugs yesterday as well. Being that this is Florida and fleas are a part of life here, that means the floors and carpets get sprayed -- fleas will hide anywhere. As John, our "bug-guy", was leaving, he warned,
"Watch out now. The floor's gonna be slick."
Yeah, right, I can walk on bugspray! Well, with shoes on.
Slick bottom wedgie mules, that is. Hey, they look like shoes to me!
The first time, I just did the "whoa oa!" and caught myself before my right leg ventured into left leg territory. i sat down for a bit, to wait, and then got up to continue doing what ever it was I was doing. Our dining room floor is beautiful tile and as I walked across it, I was given a gravity amplified close up of it. I actually landed on my right hand and twisted around, trying to get my well padded ass on the floor and keep my less padded face away from the corner of the doorway that was zooming in at alarming speed. I lay there a moment, cursing and soaking insecticide into my clothes, until I had accertained nothing was broken. Oh, I'd be fine.
Yeah. Well, after realizing that I was soaked to the skin on my butt and back (yech!) and I changed clothes and got some ice for my wrist (precautionary), I began to notice that my hips hurt. Not unusual, really, but if you've read my yammering for a while, you know that I'm...fragile...delicate...a grapelike example of otherwise robust womanhood.
I've got bad hips and a problem spine that will act out with the slightest provocation. Apparently, sliding, falling and hitting a tile floor was considered provocation. I got the Aleve, I got the heating pad, I got the latest Mary Russell mystery, and I went to bed. I didn't sleep well because I was achy, but I am at work this morning. I'm complaining about it, but since no one shares my office, I'm not really bothering anyone. Once again, I ponder the fact that, unlike Bumbles, I don't bounce.
Monday, March 15, 2004
I have two older brothers. Half-brothers, really, from my dad's first marriage. They have assorted step-sisters and -brothers from their mom's second marriage to a man on HIS second marriage. I also have (had) two step-brothers and a step-sister from my mom's 4th marriage (my dad was her 3rd) to a man also on HIS second marriage. When my mom died, my stepdad married my aunt (my mother's brother's widow). Marriage has always been popular in my family, so I've gotten good at keeping track of things like this.
I do, occasionally, resort to a score card.
My brother -- the middle child in the scheme of things, the younger brother in his set of family, since he was raised away from me -- resembles my dad greatly, right down to his tendency to sit up late and spin stories for hours on end. We always spend a lot of time talking. He tells me stuff that happened recently, and long before I was born, since he's 10 years older.
My brother told me that he found out recently that there is yet another of us. We all have an older sister.
Apparently my dad was quite the Romeo in his youth, and among other things, he got a highschool girlfriend pregnant. She married someone else and chose to never tell her daughter who her real father was. Dad never spoke of her to us. This makes her my half-sister, of course, and would also make her between 14-18 years older than me.
I don't feel anything in particular about it. From what I can tell, she doesn't know and there's certainly no point in attempting to find out more and pop into this woman's life. If she should come hunting for us, that would be different, but so far, nope.
Still, it does make me think there's a potential novel in all this.
Friday, March 12, 2004
'Wardrobe Malfunction' Is Top Phrase
I fear for us. Also, I refuse to use any of the phrases listed. I will not be swayed by trends. I will remain steadfasty untrendy, uncool, and un-Hollywood.
But this is still sorta interesting. The estimated number of words in the English Language alone is enough to keep me busy.
I made up a new word myself today. Upon announcing to The Husband that Jonny Quest is finally on DVD, an event I have long awaited, and begging release of the $45 needed to purchase said mystical item, I then bounced in my chair and said:
"I'm soooo geeked about this."
I dance, I sing, I act like an idiot...and I push the preorder button! Whoo HOOOO!
I'm consoling myself with Mother-In-Law Stories and Mother-In-Law Jokes.
Last night was an interesting case in point. We went out to dinner with MIL, and Miss S (In Man Drag) went along. As is typical of every conversation we have with MIL these days, there wasn't a lot to say that involved her, interested her, or had anything to do with her. The three of US chatted happily about things (she and I had gone to Toys'r'us for a looksee), ,and we regaled Husband with the strange new action figures we'd observed, which led to conversation about comic books and quotes from Mystery Men and other such stuff. She spent a lot of time going "huh?" and shaking her head and chewing her food. (Miss S doesn't much care for MIL because MIL's presence means Miss S can't be Miss S...but she's amazingly polite and considerate, which is remarkable. When they interact, I must work hard not to laugh)
Mom hasn't got a clue on these. She hasn't seen the Harry Potter movies and she doesn't read books. We have limited access into her world -- Husband is trying to learn to play golf, (not me, I'm dangerous with clubs) and gives her almost nightly massages since she paid for his massage schooling...*I* don't get nightly massages!. I don't really find stocks interesting, although I make passing glances at financial news just to have conversation fodder. I hunt through the regular stock of catalogs I receive for ones that might interest her so we can talk about furniture and home decor (surprisingly enough, although our tastes differ in intensity, we like much of the same stuff.)
In other words, I feel like I've made an effort. The gap is just too wide to maintain the spanning exercise for 101 days (that's 14 weeks, 3 days, or 3 months, two weeks, 3 days -- I'd calculate the hours, minutes and seconds but I might become suicidal).
Two more weeks. Two more weeks. I'm praying the weather predicts bad for the last week of March so she leaves early. Two more week. Two more weeks.
Actually the run of bad luck this man has had is more extensive than that. Yet I cannot but think that if he DIDN'T carry around briefcases full of money (what's wrong with a cashier's check?) and he DIDN'T go alone to bars and clubs where everyone knew him (He can't afford to hire a guard, if he doesn't have friends?) and he moved to a house with a garage and a simple alarm system, he might not be so bad off. I mean, man won $300M dollars. He was carrying $100,000 in his car (which he left there while he went in to drink). I think he can afford a $300,000 house and a $2000 alarm system.
Is he just stupid? Does fate have it in for him? Ya know, there are other lottery winners about whom you never hear anything like this.
Let *me* win a lottery. I wouldn't do anything stupid, I'd be a good person, and I'd throw a big party once a year for all of you -- including air fare to Florida. In January. Promise.
The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld, Set to Music
My favorite is "The Unknown", but mostly because it sounds like "The Gnomes! The Gnomes!" as if the perfomer/lyrcist is being overrun by Travelocity.
I think this is important because I think words are important, and I really feel that "marriage" is a religious act and the word representing it has been illegally co-opted by government agencies, and that all non-religious unions are civil unions -- a government recognized state of existance. We inherited our notions of marriage from governments and cultures which combined religion with government, a situation supposedly not congruent with our own constitution.
And what about common law marriage? Many states still are common law states.
For myself, being as my "marriage" was a spiritual union recognized by my religion and doesn't require government recognition to exist, I'd have to go back and change the license to a civil union.
Which sort of makes the whole thing look sort of silly, in a way. I mean, if they do put the definitions together so that only gay people can have civil union and only straight people can have marriage, then I'd hope that a lot of straight people would protest the deescrimination against THEM by not allowing them civil union.
Gay people don't scare me. They aren't taking anything from me, doing anything to me, ruining anything for me, or really bother me on an indivudual level any more than strraight people. (Hell, at any given moment in the day there's a 50/50 change SOMEONE is bothering me somehow.)
I'm not very good at the whole conspiracy thing -- being an optimist and therefore willfully blind to much makes it hard to think with that much paranoia -- but I suspect that insurance companies may have a finger in this. They, as much as anyone, stand to be affected by providing coverage for married people as opposed to all the single people coverage.
Thursday, March 11, 2004
What I'm waiting for are the urban myths, tabloid headlines, and panicky mass-emails that will come out of this. The whole "large quantities" and "repeated exposure" part, along with the "rare" in "rare lung disease" will be completely missed as a new terror attacks the public and Orville Reddenbacher is burned in effigy.
I'm more of an air pop girl myself. I don't like a lot of butter or salt (herbs and parmesan cheese, however, are a different story). The Husband is the guy standing at the butter pump at the movie multiplex snack counter, soaking everything in sight in goeey yellow liquid fat.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
"Man, I really need those almost-as-good-as-silk-flowers, much less the pink stretch pants, but I don't have any money. I'll die without this stuff -- there's no place like Wal-Mart for quality electronics and that VCR alone will keep me company at night. And the at-home, no-work dilpilatory kit? Vital. I can't put any of it back. Ok, I've got this planned out, so just keep cool. Who could turn down a million dollar bill? I mean, I won't even ask for change! This will work, this will work...all Wal-mart clerks are idiots anyway. Can't wait to try on that underwear."
I feel safe assuming this woman doesn't remember her 9th grade civics class. She might not remember a lot of things, actually.
I'm not sure what the conditions would have to be to make anyone think trying to pass a $1m dollar bill was even momentarily a good idea. I can't make fun of this enough. I can't think of enough scathing remarks. So why don't you guys see what you can do?
Addendum: I checked out the picture Pete linked in the comments. EEEEEEEK!
While I like to pretend I am above making fun of other human beings, this woman cries out for mocking. Serious mocking. She soo lives in a rusty singlewide with tire-planters full of weeds in front and a collection of old upholstry-converted-to-squishy-lawn furniture under the corrugated fiberglass front porch roofing. First, she's smiling into the picture like she's having it done for Christmas. Second, there's something seriously wrong going on with her eyes. She's thinking this is all a joke, and she is waiting for the hidden camera crew to come out.
We won't even go near the hair. Just don't.
Monday, March 08, 2004
I loved "Swimming to Cambodia". I actually own it on LASER DISC. I saw it in the theatre, which, in Orlando in the 80's, was a challenge.
There are few things as vicious and inescapable as a brain that has turned against you. I will miss you, Mr. Gray.
What made me think about this was realizing that there's this universal assumption that an artist needs to create many different works over the course of a career. We are always looking for the "new" book by a celebrated author. But that's not actually the only way to create or enjoy art. It's like you said, some books you read over and over again. There are films that we watch many times, even though we're so familiar with them that we can recite the dialogue line for line. We also tend to downgrade artists who only manage one memorable work -- dismissing them as "one-hit wonders." But why?
Centuries ago, the idea of revising a work was much more daunting than it is now, where you can make revisions and republish a work within minutes. Even in cinema, look how easy it is for someone like George Lucas to endlessly tinker with his Star Wars films, something that would have been prohibitively expensive only twenty years ago. I think we're entering a new age of revision where art is steadily losing its permanence and becoming more of a fluid, constantly evolving thing. When Spielberg put out his E.T. DVD, it included his new revised version of the film along with the original version. That to me is the epitome of what I'm talking about. There are now two E.T.s, two different version of Star Wars. I've always felt that Lucas should just remake the original Star Wars trilogy instead of trying to retrofit the existing films. Maybe Star Wars should be remade every 20 years, using the cutting edge technology of the time. Why not? It's a good story. And look at Shakespeare -- the same plays, endlessly reimagined over the centuries. Now that we're in this postmodern era where nothing is new anymore, maybe this is the future of art?
I love one-hit-wonders. It's so amazing when anyone can create something that suddenly takes hold of a large amount of attention that I'm always impressed. Those who do it repeatedly are just even more impressive -- unless it's the sad case of a one hit wonder who won't go away (and that's another discussion -- sometimes it only happens once).
What about it? Is this the state of art for the 21st century? It does seem that the remake is "the thing" right now -- look how much old television is now hitting the silver screen? How many classic movies are being redone? Ok, so maybe it isn't the "original" artist -- is there an original artist with movies? I know the director gets a lot of the credit, but isn't it really an ensemble production? Anyway -- what's your thought, oh all you smart people?
"Don't you hate it when the space-time-dimensional continuum becomes corrupted and you have to fix it? And doesn't it always seem to happen when you're on vacation? "
There's a science fiction noir mystery in that line. By David Brin.
First, I do not follow fashion trends. I look at them, like one looks at art that's supposed to be important but doesn't convince you.
Second, never in my life have I been able to wear anything that walked down a Paris runway. I have hips, for goodness sakes.
Third, while I like clothes fine, I'm a t-shirt and jeans sort of girl. Or just the T-shirt, if it's big enough (I mean knee length.)
Nevertheless, I think this wear a suitcase on your head trend looks rather interesting. Don't you?
Sunday, March 07, 2004
These are the only fruit trees I've ever known. I've never smelled apple blossoms, cherry blossoms, peaches, pears, or anything else, really. Just oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons and limes when they bloom in March. There are four such trees outside my bedroom window and the scent comes in on every breath. In a few days, the few remaining groves around here will put out such a powerful sweet smell that you cannot walk along a line of trees. It is dizzying, dazzling, overwhelming.
I remember when I was a kid that various tourist traps would have little bottles of "orange blossom scent". It never smelled quite like the real thing. It smells different from the fruit, of course, but I can not describe it precisely.
It's one of the oddities of living in and around this area that was once solid citrus groves from end to end, slowly vanishing under bulldozers and cinder blocks, that occasionally you'll find a little copse of citrus trees in the middle of suburbia, or even in the more populated urban areas. When I was 10, my mom and stepdad and I lived in some apartments in the midst of Orlando, just off the South Orange Blossom trail. There were houses, businesses, the highway itself -- all kinds of concrete and neon -- everywhere. But the apartments were set far off the highway and walled in. We were in the very last set of buildings. Over the wall, on three sides of the whole complex, were still groves. Every March, the smell of the blooming citrus was enough to give you a headache, it was so beautifully sweet.
That's what March is. That and tornados.
Friday, March 05, 2004
Nope, I'm not jealous or drooling, sir, despite your blatant attempt. First off, it has a little cross on it, and that sort of weirds me out. Second, I'm getting a LED Light Up Mug
Thursday, March 04, 2004
I haven't read the latest book. Just haven't. Ripped through the first four, but we bought book five in hardback and it's just too heavy.
And now she says she's going to revise the previous books. Well, damn. That's more guts than I have. Or more lever marketing. Revised books with little tweaks (perhaps) and corrections (perhaps) would definately sell to all the same people who bought the original printings. In lovely boxed sets, no doubt. Damn.
Anyone else ever thought of that? Why write a new book when you can revise the old ones?
Maybe that's unfair -- the series has obviously developed in directions she didn't expect and that might make more sense if loose ends were tucked and seeds planted and all that. But it is interesting to note that at the convention I attended last weekend, her name was invoked at least twice -- once with a discussion panel on "Does J.K. Rawling deserve her success?" and again on a panel about writing (and marketing) a series where she was pointed out as an incredibly good marketer of her material.
I still say, Damn!
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
There are just some things that you didn't know you needed until you see it.
Mystical and rain-soaked, you remain mysterious to many people, and this
makes you intriguing. You also like a good night at the pub, though many are just as
worried that you will blow up the pub as drink your beverage of choice. You're good
with words, remarkably lucky, and know and enjoy at least fifteen ways of eating a potato.
You really don't like snakes.
Take the Country Quiz at
the Blue Pyramid
Which makes complete sense to me, because my forebears -- well, at least a rough two-thirds of them, as best I can tell -- all hail from Eire. I've been told I'm all wet before. And it goes along with having Murphy as my name. Except that I don't really mind snakes, but that could be the 1/3 German.
I still don't see the whole rabbits thing, though.
You're Watership Down!
by Richard Adams
Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd
be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Well, at least I've read the book...twice. It isn't my favorite book, or even a book I recommend to people.
And I do NOT talk about rabbits. All Kitty, All the Time.
No, I take that back. I "travel" ok, but it takes everything I have to manage it. In the last hour or so until my ass is in my house, I get increasingly difficult to deal with.
And now, it's the day after and my ability to focus on anything is ... well, it isn't. I am not quite ready to take a nap, I'm not ready to read a book, I don't want to watch a movie, pet a cat, read my weblog list, or leave the house to get catfood (get in a car again? NOooooooo!). Sitting here and typing is taking up all the brain cells I can get to fire in the same direction.
An observation from my weekend. Particular writers can "hold court" -- sitting comfortably ensconced somewhere, drink at hand, and slavering minions (also known as leghumpers) gathered in a semi-circle before them. The writer will hold forth on subjects both obscure and hackneyed, a veritable font of wisdom, able to answer all questions, a story for every occasion, with gestures. There will be laughter at the scripted moments and the occasional squabbling for the writer's attention. Such scenes will last for hours and can pop up in any odd corner or space.
The only other people I've ever seen manage this trick are drag queens.
Monday, March 01, 2004
I am not smug about living in Florida, enjoying warmth and sunshine through the cold and miserable winter. Oh no, I am grateful for Florida.
You see, on our way to Virginia, we passed through a rather unusual snowstorm hitting the Carolinas. I've never driven on wet ice or in actual wind-blown snow, but of course I was driving. I was limping along with hundreds of 18-wheelers behind a snow plow, doing 20 and being grateful I'd put Rain-X on the windows. I watched the ice form on my windshield wipers. I winced when lumps of ice fell from passing semis and crassed on my car. And I slid neatly into the deep snow along the median when an RV spewed up a sheet of ice just as I hit the same ice patch, sending me skidding and sliding in all directions.
Now, driving in snow is like driving in sugar sand. I've done that. We got a little excited and I wondered for a while if I'd hit the division fence or the cars next to me, and which way I'd be facing when we stopped, but it all came out ok. After we determined that 1) we were alive 2) we were facing the right way 3) the engine was still running and 4) we had neither of us wet ourselves, we pulled back onto the highway and continued onward.
So I'm happy to live in Florida. You understand?
The convention was a lot of fun. I got to meet some people I hadn't seen in a while, and a few I'd looked forward to meeting. Let's see here...saw Stephen Pagel of Meisha Merlin books, John Ringo, Jim Butcher and his wife Shannon, David Coe, and Tee Morris, among other people (those are the dropable names). I feel so....celebritized. Hehhehhehh... most of them don't really see themselves as "famous" so much as "damned grateful people don't throw things". And in general they are nice people. What's left to say? Oh, I could go on and on (I am TOTALLY a Jim Butcher fangirl) but I won't. Suffice it to say nothing of great significance happened over the weekened to make it either thrillingly wonderful or disgusting and awful. It was a good weekend.
And I'm sooooo very happy not to be in a car right now.