Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

From the Email bag

This came in my email today
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder
about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been
to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about
achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these
questions:

If:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then:

H-A-R-D-W-O-R- K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

and

K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E
11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But,

A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

And,

B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T
2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

A-S-S-K-I-S-S-I-N-G
1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that While Hard work
and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the
Bullshit and Ass kissing that will put you over the top
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This makes me wonder what other word-math truths are out there...

for example -- asscovering is 1+ 19 + 19 + 3 + 15 + 25 + 5 + 18 + 9 + 14 + 7 = 135%
lying
12 + 25 + 9 + 14 + 7 = 67%
honesty
8+15+14+5+19+20+25=106% (may it really is the best policy?)
stealing
19+20+5+1+12+9+14+7=87% (won't get the whole job done -- maybe if combined with lying?)

What do YOU come up with?

Monday, August 29, 2005

As a replacement

Ok, we leave for DragonCon on Thursday morning. Everyone do me a favor -- if anything stormlike or hurricanelike starts brewing and seems ready to plow into Central Florida over the Labor day weekend, would you all turn in that direction and, like, blow really, really hard? Garlic breath is a plus. I'm pretty sure hurricanes don't care for garlic breath anymore than we do. Or maybe you could turn on a fan or drop some icecubes into the ocean.

Today I sorted and semi-inventoried beads because, well, I've got a lot of beads, all different kinds and sizes, and after I label them and put them away, I freaking forget I have them! You see, I have a big fishing tackle box I use for carting tools around and a selection of components. While we have studio space in the house, it is currently still burdened with the last artistic endeavor and isn't really suited for jewelry work (and the birds and cats have made it an unpleasant space...must clean, alas.) I use different varieties of fishing tackle boxes to hold everything, too, because they are a lot cheaper than the special "bead organizers" despite being EXACTLY THE SAME THING....anyway, so that's what I did this afternoon. Oh, and made another necklace/earring set.

And I had a random happy thing today -- I've been sliding on the happy thing lately. Today, when I pulled out of the driveway and started down the street, I braked for a butterfly. It was large and black with a teardrop end to its wing and it flitted right in front of my car. I didn't even think about it, just hit the brakes and waited for it to appear on the side of the road (which it did -- there's nothing quite as icky as breaking for something and then NOT seeing it move safely away). I also braked for a squirrel, but I do that anyway. Squirrels have a Mafia, you see, and if you hit one with your car, you pay for it later (trust me on this one. I have experience and I wasn't even the one driving the car. If you REALLY wanna hear the story, you'll just have to ask.)

Ok, posting is likely to be either erratic or hyper, I'm not sure which. In the next two days I must

  1. make more stuff, including bracelets and some earrings
  2. price and enter all new stuff we've made,
  3. put all new stuff away
  4. Nag Husband to buy the wood for the lifts we need to make
  5. Help him (mostly by staying out of the way ) to make the lifts
  6. get the totes out of storage, empty them and repack them
  7. find the black satin cloth to drape my art show table
  8. do laundry
  9. pack actual clothes
  10. wash the dog (she's going to Grandma's)
  11. clean the damn kitchen, it just crossed into "too disgusting to ignore anymore"
  12. Remind Husband to make signage
  13. Panic
  14. Sit staring for a while, waiting for whatever it was I forgot to come back to mind
  15. clean the bird cages
  16. I'm sure there's something else but I can't think of it.
Oh -- anyone who's in Atlanta this weekend, consider stopping in at the 'con and taking a peek in the artshow.

And while you're doing that, send a kind thought to New Orleans and everyone else affected by Katrina. Looks like it was bad.

BLogger ate my post

and I'm too harried to do it again.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Working Weekend

Husband and I have been churning away at the jewelry while watching movies (our usual working habit). I also found a few items I'd made earlier and never put into inventory. Here's this weekend's production from me -- Husband has two show-stopper pieces I'll put up later. I'll be adding them into the jewelry slideshow shortly, too.

I may redo the blue one, at least the wrap at the top. Seeing it this magnified reveals what a sloppy job I did on it.









Saturday, August 27, 2005

Worst Case Scenario

Louisianans Told: Head for Higher Ground

I've heard the nightmare scenarios before. There have been shows on TV about hurricanes hitting New Orleans. It's not looking good for the Big Easy.

Here's wishing them the best.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Plug in, Turn on, Tune out

I've never wanted an i-Pod. I've got friends who love them. I've played with them. There were just too many i-Podlian things that made me Just Say No.

Until this. Introducing the i-Sphere, the very first thing with the unctuous lower case "i" toward which I've felt the slightest desire. I want the round speaker thingie. I like the mesh insect-alien eye look, with the glowing "power control" third eye set in the center. It's a head!

It reminds me so much of this. I had one of these (in turquoise blue) as a kid, and I miss it. And I can plug it into my laptop for computer speakers, too, which is even better.

OH, but I'd have to have THIS i-Pod. I mean, otherwise, why bother?

What's not for dinner

WARNING: This is long winded, highly confessional, perhaps a little whiney, and may in other ways not be exactly the average reader's cup of tea. It may contain things you don't want to know, don't really care about, or might irritate you. However, in the tradition of "It's my fucking weblog" and the spirit in which I started this thing, I wrote it and I'm posting it. Do as you will.


I've been following Xolo and Sara's dietary adventures and thinking about my own peculiar eating habits. Getting to where I am now has been a long and convoluted path.

I've talked the "food choice" thing over with many people, since at some time or another it seems everyone I know is playing food games. I know people who go with macrobiotics, vegan, vegetarian, Adkins, diabetic, and no wheat diets, and various modifications. There are blood type diets, 5 element diets -- you name it, someone thinks it affects what you should eat. One friend even mentioned that one's diet can depend on ethnicity, as some groups are able to digest certains foods better than others (people of northern european descent, for example, do better with dairy and meat).

Many people adapt diets from other cultures or even from historical periods. There are diets based on the Bible!

My biggest problems stem from my own nature, I think. First, food has become such a laden issue that I react in one of two ways -- either I get all "gods I can't eat ANYTHING -- I"m never eating again! " or "Fuck them (whoever "they" are) I'm eating a whole chocolate cake AND drinking all the milk." Not only does selecting what to eat take thought, but it is so burdened with emotion that I really don't enjoy eating all that much. Thus, I tend to end up with very simple to prepare (and often not that good for me) foods simply because I can make them and eat them fast enough that I don't have to think about them. I will eat while doing other things just to avoid the complex guilty feelings.

You see, I've had a lifelong struggle with weight. I was a rolypoly baby, which, in my mother's mind, meant healthy. As a toddler, I grew very tall very fast and tended toward being thin, which made my mother crazy -- a thin child was a sick child. It's important to point out my mother grew up in Appalachia, in a large family where infant death was not uncommon, in relative poverty, and before the end of WWII. She had prety good reasons for her attitudes, only they didn't work so well in a 1960's blue collar world. Then, three important events took place -- the build a McDonalds just down the road from our neighborhood, my mother took on a second job, and my parents' marriage shattered. I ate a lot of food very fast from McDonalds while Mom was taking me to or picking me up from babysitters or school. It was the same with my Dad. I liked the food, so it made me content, and my parents wanted me content during this particular time.

That stayed a method. On my weekends with my dad, we ate pizza and fried chicken. There was nowhere to go outside my dad's apartment to run around or do anything much. He tended to sleep through the weekend because he was working between 50-60 hours or more a week. I had TV, books, Barbies, and food. With my mom, I was retricted to staying in the house until she got home from work, as she couldn't afford after-school care for me. I had tv, books, Barbies and food. Yes, I'd go ouside the minute she got home to do the normal kid stuff. I enjoyed P.E. at school. Still, it began to show.

My parents divorced in 1972. By 1975, I was a fat kid. By 1978, I was considered obese. I was 5'1, 167 lbs, my mother had remarried and moved us to a new apartment and a new school. I was hitting puberty, Mom's new marriage had some really rough spots, and I was a mass of emotional conflict. I still had the "stay in until Mom got home" rule. I hated my new school because, well, I was a smart kid in a school that found smart kids difficult. The weight didn't help. I started exibiting a number of what I now know were psychosomatic problems, but in 1976, kids didn't HAVE psychology (at least not middle class white kids in Florida). So there were all kinds of medical tests and such. My pediactrician put me on "diet pills" -- amphetamines. I also began showing signs of hypoglycemia, which meant I passed out every day at PE (which was about an hour after lunch). So, my mornings were ok, but afternoons, as the pills wore off, I plummetted. Looking back, I'd say I was depressed. I hated school, I was considered a behavior problem, I was picked on by other kids, I had no real control over my own behavior, and I hated myself.

That's when I started scratched and picking at myself. It was an early manefestation of cutting.
Mom took me to a dermatologist (my mother had unshakeable faith in doctors, which I think lead to my own unshakeable mistrust of them) who more or less saw the reason for the skin problems but not the cause, and put me on tranquilizers.

I got one of each pill every morning before school. Sixth grade was a very weird year. Then, we moved to a new house. School was over for the year, and I had three months to fit myself into the neighborhood before starting junior high. I'd learned to hide the cutting behavior pretty well so the tranquilizers stopped. And I was losing weight. You see, I didn't sleep much. I'd read all night, and I'd ride my bike all day. I still had the "stay in the house" rule, but now I had a yard and a dog, so I was moving around more.

I should note that the foods we ate never changed during this time. My mother still cooked fried foods and sweet foods, the stuff she grew up on. My dad still ate a lot of fast food (he was gaining weight, too, and went through several bouts of yoyo dieting). I was also growing into my body -- by the time I was 15, I stood 5'7 and weighed 140. The weird thing was, I was NOT FAT then. I look at my pictures from then and that isn't a fat girl. I was big, no doubt -- broad shoulders, long arms and legs, broad hips. I had my mother's 1940's hour glass figure in the pre-boobies model. But by then I'd been fat long enough (and don't think kids don't pick up on these things. It might have been tatooed on my forehead) that I was permenently a fat kid. Oh, and when we had PE in the afternoon, I'd still pass out. I was hauled away in an ambulance a few times. (This is where the hypocondria thing started, even after a 3 day hospital stay and a long glucose tolerance test. What I know of the results is that I go through sugar REALLY FAST. I no longer drop to dangerously low levels, but I go from one level to another in record time).

Anyway, through all this weirdness, there was food. I grew to hate PE because I'd get sick and get all kinds of attention, much negative. I was (and am) essentially shy, a loner, few friends, unsure how to act around people, always thinking too much, trying to divine what other people thought, hypercritical of myself -- in other words, a very intense teenage girl. There was food. I ate for comfort. I ate for boredom. I ate because Mom had cooked it and I'd better clean my plate. I ate for every reason except being hungry. I did, however, stop taking the amphetamines and went through some adjustment there.

Then trauma really started with my mom's sudden death, living with my stepfather (who, in his own grieving, became a drunken, abusive asshole), then my senior year of highschool, and all the usual teenage stuff. By now, my relationship with food was set. No matter what I ate, there was someone to tell me I was bad to eat it or not eat it. For a while I was able to keep my weight reasonable, and no one really bothered me much. Then I started to show my weight, and everyone -- EVERYONE -- had advice. And the whole physical activity thing became a problem -- with fat comes shame, with shame comes hiding. There are also health problems -- for me, back and joint issues that create a nice cycle -- if I'd lose weight the joint problems would be less, but it agravates the joints to do the kinds of exercise available (I can't swim in pools because I'm sensitive to clorine and bromine, and lakes, rivers and the ocean tend to be under the burning sun...). I've succumbed to a definate victim mentality in this arena. I just put that into words this second, so I'll start working on it.

Anyway, I've had a lot of years to build up attitudes, to deal with assorted demons of the mind, and to analyse myself. I have most of my shit in order (no more cutting, for instance) but my relationship with food is as problematic as ever. I have a husband who loves me, but has as many issues with weight and appearance as I do (from a completely different direction, as he's beautiful, sexy, active and healthy. He struggles mostly with his idea of what he should IDEALLY be, things he's been deeply convinced he should be but isn't by ill-timed but well meant remarks of people important in his life and, to a great extent, media images. He's never really been what I would call "fat". He's managed "a little chubby"once, right after college.)

The relationship with food remains a problem. I get conflicts there -- eat only when I'm hungry, eat on schedule since my blood sugar problems don't always guide me properly, avoid sugars, avoid starteches, don't eat a lot of meat because I can't digest it, eat more protein, thnk about food constantly, analyze every food choice, eating from guilt. I'm a sugar addict, that's no lie. During the depths of my depression, when Husband was out of town for a week, I remember scouring the cabinets and eating old cake decorating frosting because it was sweet. I'd make myself SICK on sugar. Sometimes I'd hope I'd never want it again, but that would not last.

I envy people who just eat without worrying about it. Every time I eat, I wonder if my husband thinks badly of me, if my macrobiotic friends would disapprove, if I'm silently passing judgement on friends who have more significant eight problems than I do, if I'm tormenting friends who are diabetic or low salt or blah blah blah. I never eat alone -- I've got a whole retaurant full of food critics in my head. I know tons about proper eating, most of which I really can't manage myself. I get hungry suddenly, and get instantly angry, bitchy and impossible when I do. I don't get hungry for long periods, but gradually get headachy, sleepy, and inactive. I eat because it is time to eat, because someone hands me food, because I want to taste something. Picking something to eat becomes overwhelmingly complicated (Husband has this same problem for different reasons -- our daily joke/trial is making the other one pick something for lunch or dinner) and I don't want to do it. Yet I resent it when someone else takes overt control of my eating.

Anyway, so I look on other people's food battles/diet and health issues with some interest. One day I hope to banish this set of demons, too, although so far, no luck. Bet you never knew what it really meant to me when I say I am contemplating dinner...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

OW!

The male resistance to waxing is melting away

1) I do not wax. No way, no how. Not happening. I resent the fact that I was forced into the whole "hair is bad" mentallity at 16 and must continue maintenance or itch. (I've tried, believe me, I've tried to go back to nature, but nature is pissed off with me and makes me suffer).

2) Hair on a man is just manly. Lack of hair, if that's how it is, can be very sexy, too. It isn't the HAIR that makes "sexy" happen. Straggly, stray, one-or-two hairs is kinda yech but can be dealth with tweezer wise or just ignored. Yeah, it's nice to have two eyebrows, but, again, it's what -- 8, 10 hairs? I come from an Irish/German family background. Men to whom I am related have PELTS. Body hair doesn't really scare me, unless things are living in it.

3) The whole 'scaping thing ... I have to smack the back of my own head to dislodge my sky-high rolled eyes. I mean, what the hell is wrong with a person who translates a disinterest in trimming, cutting, styling, dying or otherwise messing with pubic hair as a serious hygiene/self esteem/social skill problem? Unless your pubic hair sticks out at the knees of your walking shorts, just leave it the hell alone. If I'm in a position, so to speak, to be staring with interest at your pubic hair, I will not be staring with interest at your PUBIC HAIR. Soap and water, my friends, soap and water, once a day. Give that excess cash to a charity.

4) The things that make a person attractive are basic and CHEAP -- clean is a good start. No poisonous stenches, either from lack of hygiene or from chemical attempts to attract attention. Simple health care is positive -- for example, you don't need whitened, brightened, capped and veneered teeth but preventing rot is positive. Low fuss hair (clean and combed at least once in a while, not obstructing the vision of the wearer or anyone behind them). The whole plastic hair gel thing just reminds me of my Ken Dolls, and, really, guys, you don't want to remind anyone of a KEN DOLL. Clothes that fit, harbor no extraneous life forms, and are mostly stitched together, preferably in colors and fabrics that are comfortable for the wearer and don't cause eye damage to others.

The rest tends to come from inside -- confident but not arrogant, friendly but not synchophantic, interest that isn't obsession, the ability to be nice and kind but not obsequious, and a small but varied set of interests to provide conversation.

As for waxing? Feh. There's a problem when you want your partner to resemble a living, breathing sex doll, especially when you can't fold them up and put them back in the toybox.

When the wind blows

Yes, something's always stirring around Florida. It's the end of August and we are about to meet Katrina.

They are expecting her to become a Cat 1 by landfall. South Florida was spared last year, so I guess this year it's their turn. With luck, this will be just rain and not much else. The forcasted path takes her swinging right around my location, so we will catch some side effects and not much else. Of course, hurricanes are famous for their drunken, wobbly wanders, so we shall see.

I have a confession to make. I rather like hurricanes. Oh, not the death and destruction part. I don't want to be caught on the beach when the surge comes in and the tornado spawn is ugly. But there is a weird kind of excitement and expectation when the weather turns. You see people as they are -- sometimes ugly and mean, usually stronger and better than usual. Since hurricanes don't really sneak up on people, it's possible to avoid at least some of the awfulness (not like tornadoes or snowstorms or earthquakes). And to stand in that wind, for even a few seconds -- it wakes you up, I'll say that much.

And, of course, getting a day off of work is a nice bonus. Won't happen this time, I suspect.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Productive

Ah, I'm happy now. I've got six beaded barrettes to put on display next week, new containers for beads that (I hope) won't leak the little buggers, and a whole batch of new colors. Typically, the photo is overlit -- those red hearts have pink hearts in between.

It's all in your mind, you know

Study: Placebos Make People Feel Better

I'm so completely not surprised by this.

You see, I've got a complicated relationship with medical authorities and all the pseudo-medico people (pronounce all the "p"s with emphasis) who circulate this planet telling other people what is and isn't a "real problem" based on their extensive reading of tabloid papers and Reader's Digest. I've been told since I was a very small child that various things I thought were wrong with me -- pains, aches, icky feelings -- were "all in my head"aka Not Real and therefore not worthy of notice, with codicils about judging me and blah blah blah. There's a lot of various history in there, including some quite documentable but pretty much ignored psychosomatic stuff. Doctors were not my friends, they were people I paid to ignore what I said or who'd tell me scary stuff about which I couldn't do a damn thing. Since it was all in my head anyway, I didn't need to pay a doctor to tell me that. Well, about 10 years ago my attitude came close to killing me (honest, don't mess with pancreatitis) and I've been working on it ever since.

So, I've set out to make the placebo effect my friend. That's why I've checked out Chinese herbs, chiropracty, Bach Flower, homeopathy, Reiki, accupunture, shiatsu, massage, fasting, sound therapy, and a small assortment of other "alternative" health ideas. I figure if I can get my brain on my side, I'm good to go.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Still Nostalgic

Melacholy has turned to outright nostalgia and I was seized by desire to find pictures of myself with my mother. There aren't many, because usually she was the one taking pictures. I inherited my photographic ablities from her directly -- she could cut off heads and photograph her finger with the best of them. I specialize in finger shots, blurry images and always the wrong lighting.

So, I dug up these.

I started walking (well, challenging gravity) fairly young, so this picture was probably early 1966 or very possibly late 1965. In my memory, Christmas in Florida was a warm and sunny thing. Snow was something on the TV when the rabbit ears weren't lined up right.

I suspect this stunning outfit was a gift. I was, at this age, something of a nudist. Dad used to make jokes that I would slide off my diaper and escape from the playpen on the carport as soon as Mom walked around the corner, and be down the street to visit somebody. I was on first name basis with most everyone within a two block radius by the time I was three, most particularly with Queenie, the blond Great Dane that lived with the Svensons next door.


I don't know what I'm so interested in. Probably Queenie, that direction would have been toward where she lived. We were on a corner lot in a very new subdivision in Orlando. The streets were not paved then, and cows ran on acreage between our street (the first of the subdivision) and Oak Ridge Road. There are innumberable apartment buildings there now, and the carport here has been enclosed by subsequent owners of the house.







Yeah, this was pretty much the result whenever Mom tried to dress me up and take me anywhere.

I have particular memories of that bush featured in the picture. When I was a little older, that became the "switch tree". It was as tall as the house, and my Mom could cut the world's most lethal switches from it. She didn't usually have to hit me with them. Just having one handy was enough.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Nothing stays the same

There are days that, even though everything goes well and I feel fine, I still get little washes of...I like the word "melancholy" because it's so Victorian yet precise. So, I have these melancholy moments that wash in and out like waves at the beach.

Which brings me to this.

This is the only photo I've ever found that has my mom, my dad, and me in it. I think my mother destroyed all the pictures of her with my dad after the divorce -- I have this memory of her angrily trying to remove pictures from some sort of frame where she's put them in with black tape. I doubt she realized how fragmented my sense of family would be and how critical photographs are. I have photographs of people I don' t know just because they belonged to her or to my dad, and they represent what families look like.

Judging from the car in the photo (it was a Ford that I remember only for having vinyl covered seats that were pealing, a backdash large enough for me to lay on, and space enough on the floor between the back and front seats for a small girl to curl up. I'm speculating, but I'd say that picture was taking in 1968, and was probably on Cocoa Beach. My parents loved the beach and I was a regular beach baby, even though then as now I sunburned quickly. I loved the beach, too, and I do miss it, but the beaches aren't the same now as they were then.

Of course, you can say that about everything, can't you? I don't stand a chance of fitting into that swim suit, for instance.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Dinner

Spent yesterday in rieki training -- yeah yeah, I know, esoterica, new age crystal crunching, non-scientific blah blah blah. My take? It's interesting, and if I can learn to manipulate the placebo effect for my own benefit (I'm not planning to go into business as a healer) then yay for me. No, I'm not in a cult, my instructor is not my guru, and I don't think I can cure cancer by laying on of hands. But I've been around it for long enough to be curious. If accupuncture can work (and for how long has that been considered just more hoodoo?) then this might. If nothing else, it was a fun day for discussing metaphysics.

Today was spent quietly watching old movies and beading, petting cats and pondering what I want for dinner.

Friday night, singing at the open mic at the local bookstore/bistro, was pretty good. There was an ACTUAL AUDIENCE, and since it was a light night -- only about 8 people performing -- we were called back a second time. The next open mic night will be September 16th (Sol, write that down!) at Dickens-Reed. Miss P and I are planning to show up once more. We didn't do too badly -- as always happens when performing, it seems like we don't have enough "appropriate" songs, all the songs are too something (too slow, too sad, too old) or we discover we haven't rehearsed it as much as we should when a weird chord appears or I can't find a harmony. Couple of bad seconds, but who cares? It was fun.

Now for those dinner thoughts...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Between the world and the word

I was picking up and putting away the books aquired in the last few weeks, sorting through piles and finding room on shelves when I picked one up and opened it. A children's book, one I hadn't known existed but by an author I liked. I'd read the first chapter in the New Orleans bookstore before adding it to my pile. Now I found my place (I can almost always do that, even if I put the book down weeks or years before) and fell into it.

Three hours and one shift from floor to couch later I finished it. First book I've managed to read in weeks. That's the one thing I feel like lingers from the depression -- I don't or can't read like I once did. That may be a matter of perception. I do read, every day. I read weblogs and journals and news articles. I process thousands of written words each day. I also spend long hours in concentration on beading, jewelry making, or music, and in writing for this space. But I still feel like I'm missing something.

Reading wasn't something I did just casually. No, I was always -- ALWAYS -- a serious reader. From about the time I mastered the skill, which was well before preschool, I traveled with a book. I took books with me to daycare. I remember getting a set of Childcraft books when I was 6 and taking the volumes to occupy me during naptime because I didn't nap. I could endure a lot of waiting, sitting, being quiet, being alone, and not knowing if I could read. If I was reading, I would fall into the book, shutting out my own thoughts and anything happening around me. There are books for which I remember seeing no words, only images. I heard the voices and the sounds, smelled the smells, felt the textures. I tend to judge the "goodness" of a book by how much actual text I remember seeing while I read. I was a serious reader.

It was easy, too. I remember hauling home books from the school library -- it was a longish walk with the road switching from pavement to dirt halfway through, a good half hourI usually did alone -- other kids in my neighborhood were dropped off and picked up at school but my mom left for work at 6:00 am and sometimes didn't get home until 5:00 pm -- with the 3 books I was allowed to check out at a time under my arm. We had the ugliest orange armchair in the living room, upholstered in a scratchy synthetic brocade which I guess looked trendy and fashionable in 1962, but in 1972 it was just itchy and I hated my bare skin to touch it. But it had a wide seat and wide blocky arms I could sprawl across, and a lamp next to it, so that was my reading spot. I'd prop myself there and crack open my latest haul -- a whole series of books with titles like "Little Nurse" at first, then, as I moved through the shelves and lost interest in books with color pictures and rhymes, books about the American Revolution, Abraham Lincoln, American Tall Tales, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. I can remember clearly one rainy afternoon sitting in my chair, eating a very exotic treat of candied dates and reading about Babe the Big Blue Ox.

I always had a book with me, it seemed. Discovering pocket paperbacks made that easier, and moving from the library to the used book store increased my personal library. I didn't have to read everything in the 2 or 3 week time limit. I didn't have to take back unread books, feeling a shame and a sense of failure because I knew I hadn't opened some of those covers. I could put them on the shelfe and read them when I wanted.

Now my shelves are filled with books I have no read but want to read. But I find it harder and harder to open a book and just read like I once did. My mind wanders. I wonder what else is going on that I'm missing, or I feel dark thoughts moving in and I have to move to outrun them. I want to do something with my hands, be it typing or beading or twisting wire or folding clothes. It's hard to crack open that door between the world and the word and slip inside. Too many times when I read a book, all I see is print.

Which is why this morning was so special.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Adventures in Gustatory Terrorism

I very much enjoy wasabi salad dressing. It helps lettuce ever so much.

Tonight Husband brought home salads for dinner and without much thought I poured my usual Wasabi dressing on it.

The salad was topped with slices of apple, walnut halves, black and golden raisens, and blueberries. My first thought was "Oops."

Raisins and wasabi work. Apples and wasabi are pretty good. Walnuts and wasabi ROCK.

Wasabi terrifies blueberries.

Bead of the first happiness

Here's the project I've been working on this week. In technical terms, this is an even count single drop peyote stitch -- probably my least favorite stitch because following a pattern is an exercise in abstract thinking. It's a stitch derived from various Indian tribes of both North and South America, sometimes called "gourd stitch"..




Here is my color pallet of Mill Hill glass seed beads. Everybody's got a favorite bead and these are mine -- they strike the right balance between quality and cheapness!










Here's the starting end. The pattern on this one was worked left to right, but the beads are stitched in, one at a time, from the bottom up and then from the top down -- this piece is about 1 1/2 inches tall and has 26 beads per row.

I took this apart and started over 3 times.















Here we are an hour or so later. You can begin to see the design emerging. My camera phone doesn't take the best pictures, but it's handy.








Here's the finished pattern. It's about 2 inches wide. You can see the "fishscale" or zigzag pattern of the beads. According to the pattern, there are 650 beads here.










The pattern piece became the front for a tiny amulet bag. I have to add fringe (ugh, that's time consuming) and the necklace pieces.









Here's the back of the bag. I just sort of worked my way in stripes. It goes much faster than following the pattern.









I figure this took me about 8 hours -- three old movies and a couple of shows on TV. When it's complete, I'll price it at about $100. That seems like a lot, I know, but here's the breakdown.
The materials aren't much -- I figure there's about $1.20 in beads and thread here outside estimate and I don't use the usual 3 times material formula here (1 to cover material, 1 to replace material & overhead, 1 for profit) and I price my time at $15 per hour for beadwork (I make $20 at my regular job, from which I have to take healthcare insurance, taxes and social security because I'm self employed under contract).

Then I have to consider the cost to enter a show (space in a show can run from $40 to $500 ), transportation, travel time, time setting up and breaking down, what I have to bring with me (do I need a tent? Tables? Chairs? Power? Can I light my displays? Am I inside or outside?) and, if the show is out of town, hotel room and food. Oh, and my costs for letting customers use credit cards, and for the occasional bad charge or bad check (it isn't always possible to check at the time of sale). What am I leaving out? Oh yeah, boxes and bags and tags and sales slips I must buy; building/making, buying and maintaining displays (I've got two large glass cases that ran about $200 a piece and four small glass topped cases that cost $50 each I transport very carefully around, and that people just LOVE to lean on. I'm waiting for someone to put a hand through my glass and then hold me responsible for it.) How much money I actually make in profit depends on all of that. On average I need to sell 6-8 pieces at that hundred dollar range to cover costs, and that's just the beadwork. The wire and precious stone stuff is much more costly to make and is priced accordingly.

Depending on how many times I stabbed myself with the needle, dropped beads and had to hunt them, or had some other disaster that caused me to curse, I might tack a buck on to the price.

When I started doing this stuff, I found it completely changed how I view art and art/craft shows (or as I sometimes call them, "farts and crap shows"). I'm a skilled person, and I've done alot of artsy/craftsy stuff. When I see things at a show, I often consider my own work in comparison to it. When I consider buying somethingI see at a show now, aside from the "do I love it/can I afford it" stuff, I go through a few additional questions.

1) can I make that?
2) will I ever find time to learn the skills, get the materials, and actually do it?
3) based on what I know, is the price unreasonable?
4) is this person doing either a hard sell or a "fuck you" attitude?

The more "no's" I get, the more chance there is I'll buy something. I hear many people say "Oh, I can make that myself" or "That's just (whatever inexpensive materials like beads), how can she charge so much?" but they just don't know.

I bead because I like it. Beads are happiness. Yay me :>

Justice goes BAM

Va. Laptop Sale Turns Into a Stampede

Memorable Quote:

"I took my [folding] chair here and I threw it over my shoulder and I went, 'Bam'. They were getting in front of me and I was there a lot earlier than them, so I thought that it was just," Jesse Sandler, 20 yr old used laptop owner and successful combatant.


By World Wrestling Association standards, I guess that's about right.

Waiting

I'm waiting for a few things.

I'm waiting for Friday, which is open mike night at the local bistro, where Miss P and I are going to sing.

I'm waiting for DragonCon.

I'm waiting for the next hurricane, whenever it shows up.

I'm waiting for November, when suddenly this soggy, heat steamed hell will become Paradise.

And I'm waiting to send photos of the roses blooming in my backyard for Thanksgiving to certain people in Boston ;>

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Truth

There are three kinds of people in Florida -- those who must be outside, those who want to be outside, and those who stare at the other two kinds of people through the windows of our air conditioned rooms and think "What an idiot. Should I call an ambulance?" It's 9:30 am here, the current temperature is 87 degrees, but it feels like 97. Heat index, it's called. A heat index is an indicator of just how fucking crazy you must be to go outside in August in Florida.

Those who must be outside are usually riding on highspeed, wide-bodied standing lawnmowers moving at 45 mph over wide swaths of knee high grass and weeds for $20 an hour. Sometimes they are walking quickly, swinging a leaf blower to toss all those grass clippings littering the sidewalk onto your car. You might possibly see these people riding large, earthmoving machinery, although roadwork usually takes place at night. More rarely, you will hear them in the pre-dawn hours using power tools on a construction site. Most of these people would rather be inside somewhere with air conditioning. The whole reason they are outside right now is to pay for air conditioning.

Those who want to be outside are more puzzling. These people collect skin cancer. You recognize them for the little bandaids on their necks or shoulders or, occasionally, faces, because -- as they will cheerfully tell you -- they just had another tiny cancer clipped off. I am not capable of understanding the series of choices leading to this. These people willingly and by choice head outside during the brightest, hottest part of the day and either lay in the sunniest spot available, or walk briskly around to spend time in every possible blisteringly hot location they can find, all to collect those little bandaids. It's as if they feel radiation is a good thing. They think UV is healthy.

I personally do not find tans or tanlines attractive. All I can think when I see a tanned body is "That mole looks suspicious."

Then there are those of us who leave our air conditioned rooms long enough to get into our air conditioned cars to drive to the air conditioned mall or office. We use sunscreen. Hell, we have sunscreen collections because, well, we BURN. Ten minutes in the superhot radiation field and I'm changing color. Fifteen minutes and I start excuding smoke. Twenty, and I'm just so much crispy, dark, indistinguishable matter. Except for the blood drinking part and the gothy wardrobe, I could be mistaken for a vampire. There are a lot of us.

We all keep better when refrigerated.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Happy to know

I know I've come out of the depression that ruled my life for, oh, far too long -- from late 1995 through to about 2002. Yes, I can track it down pretty precisely. It's taken three years for the fog to fully lift. Even now I'm sometimes surprised when I look around and my world has taken on greater brightness. I've idealized the person I was before it -- that person who was an E ticket emotional ride, who was so cretive that she could not stop writing, could not stop singing, who felt everything intensely, who was, really, brilliant. Yes, I was a lot smarter, a lot sharper, back then.

Now I'm older and more worn, no longer that bright, sharp blade I was. I remember being always angry then. My life was like an island sitting on a lake, an ocean of magma. Everything was hot, and occasionally explosive, but it was energized. I'm not like that anymore. my long trip through the dark, cold underground took a lot of the fire out of me.

On the other hand, I can find happiness most anywhere I look. I get perfectly delighted over little things, like a 5 year old. Something one of my cats does, a particular shade to the sky, starting and finishing a project, words from my husband, his smile, learning to wrestle my way through three consecutive guitar chords, chatting with someone I like online -- all these things can be a piece of happiness to me, as good as icewater on a hot day, as sweet as a single piece of perfect chocolate, soothing as clean sheets.

I know that I'm out of my black paper bag -- that's how I always thought of depression, as a dark paperbag over my head, something that seemed so inconsequential to everyone around me, yet which blinded me even to a way of removing it. With the world black and muffled, no smell or taste but that black bag, I forgot I had hands. I forgot my feet. I just stayed whereever I was put, waiting.

So, today, I'm happy that I can find things to be happy about. I'm happy I got more badges for my City of Heroes character. I'm happy my grey tabby cat Pooty wanted to sit on my shoulders during a thunderstorm. I'm happy I figured out a stupid even-counte peyote stitch bead pattern after 3 tries. I'm happy Husband is doing things that give him satisfaction.

I'm happy to know how to be happy.

Jason Bateman got me again

With another Quiz

Very Well-Rounded


You have:
70% SCIENTIFIC INTUITION and
70% EMOTIONAL INTUITION
The graph on the right represents your place in Intuition 2-Space. As you can see, you scored above average on emotional intuition and above average on scientific intuition. (Weirdly, your emotional and scientific intuitions are equally strong.)



Your Emotional Intuition
score is a measure of how well you understand people, especially their
unspoken needs and sympathies. A high score score usually indicates
social grace and persuasiveness. A low score usually means you're good
at Quake.

Your Scientific Intuition
score tells you how in tune you are with the world around you; how well
you understand your physical and intellectual environment. People with
high scores here are apt to succeed in business and, of course, the
sciences.
My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Scientific
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Interpersonal
Link: The 2-Variable Intuition Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid Free Online Dating

I took this little quiz at 7:40 am, about 20 minutes after waking up (I don't know why, it just happened that way) which may possibly be why I am just escaping "stupid". Maybe not.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Daily Happy Thing - August 14

It makes me happy when I can turn stuff like this
Into stuff like this


that I can (occasionally) sell for almost what it's worth...

Some things you should just NEVER admit

And here I'd always heard a farmboy's first love was a watermelon...

WeeklyDig : > Get behind the mule

Favorite quote; "That's right, ladies and gents, Neal Horsley didn't rape the mule, he had a relationship with her. Her consent was, he explained, derived from the fact that she was clearly a whore for accepting an ear of corn in exchange for sex."

A damn cheap whore. I know *I* would ask for more than an ear of corn. Then again, how does a mule indicate "That's $100 an half-hour, honey, $150 if I make any noise..."

(Stolen from Boring Sara, who, I think, isn't nearly as bored as she lets on.)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I am not partying

Tonight I've send The Husband off with Miss S to see a mutual friend from the chorus perform her drag act at a club in Sanford. Why am I not going? Club = everything Sherri finds ruinous to an evening. Smoking. Drinking. Crowding. Loudness. Husband does not mind these things on occasion, and Miss S thrives in that atmosphere. I tend to fold up into a small, resentful, square shape and glower a lot. So, I stay home.

Aside that, yesterday's teeth tightening has resulted in today's sore mouth. Well boiled pasta was painful to chew. I'm eating protein shakes and Cream of Wheat/Rice/Oat/Something grainish with no substance. Sore teeth + mushy foods = staying home in nothing but a sarong.

Today's happiness is that I do own the first season of Jonny Quest on DVD and I can watch "The Invisible Monster" whenever I want.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday the 12th...

Not nearly as scary, ya know?

OK, I've just come back from having my teeth tightened at the orthodontist (every time I write that or SAY that, I feel ridiculous. I'm too OLD for braces, I tell you!) so my food life is going to be boring until the aching stops. I'm hoping this time the stupid lower archwire won't bend out of place and have to be wrenched around with my tiny pocket pliers so it won't piece my cheek.

In the mean time...

What are the chances that both Mac and Carson would post about the same thing on the same day? Particularily when it's an exotic food item.

The weekend is PLANNED for making product for DragonCon. Yes, once more we are trekking north for the biggest damn SF/F/H/PISC* convention in the southeast, and possibly the entire east. It's a pretty big con, folks. Anyone else going? Aw, come on! SOMEONE around here has to be bored on Labor Day Weekend -- or have the strong desire for air conditioning I do. The art show, she be air conditioned. I take a sweater.

I"m working on some beaded pattern pieces to be made into hair barrettes, bracelets, etc. When I actually have more than an inch of the pattern done, I'll post pictures.

Has anyone come up with a translation for the script on my painting? So far, I've had two people offer an attempt, but maybe the picture is too crappy to read. Come on, I know someone in Japan or China or California or...hell...possibly in Orlando can read this. I'll send you a cookie. Really, I will.

Today's Happy Thing -- I have over 6 million points of Influence for one of my City of Heroes characters AND that character finally showed up on the daily victors list. Totally geekhead thing, I know, but it's MY happy thing, so nyah.

Last, a thought to ponder. Why is it you never discover the toilet is stopped up when you are just flushing away a random piece of tissue?


*Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror/People In Strange Costumes

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Daily Happy Thing - August 11

I'm happy my husband will unclog the toilet and not make me do it. He also cleans up hairballs. I love him so. He makes the icky things in my life go away.

Falling...everyone!

Remember the slightly creepy but still fascinating "Falling Woman" I linked the other day? Well, a little searching around produced

Falling George W. Bush

Falling Paris Hilton

Falling Bono

Falling Tony Blair

I found I'm not the only one slightly disturbed by the original image. Someone said (I can't find the link now) Anne Heche was used as the puppet body image. There's even someone to tell you how they did it.

Of course, for every slightly disturbing thing there must be a counterbalance. Unfortunately the page no longer exists.

Because I'm always thinking of you, I do this kind of intensive research.

Who Am I?

How does one prove one's identity? What is identity anyway?

I've been thinking about it today and pondering how, exactly, with the level of today's technology, one can actually prove who one is. It seems that one's identity lies not with one's self, but with the perceptions of others. We are who others say we are.

Isn't that a disturbing thought? It's not a new one, though. It's been science fiction and horror fodder for years. It isn't a part of a person -- it can be stolen and used. "Identity Theft" -- not only an expensive and life ruining crime, but an assault on the very center of a person's being.

Impersonating someone else can be done for entertainment, for fraud, for protection, or, occasionally, just because it can be done. It is possible, I think, for someone to start it quite innocently and even with positive intentions, only to have it snowball into a very negative thing. Remember, identity is in the perceptions of others. If you impersonate someone else, no matter how innocuous your intentions, you are manipulating those perceptions. Most of us don't spend our time prying under the personae presented to us -- you are who you say you are.

Interesting. To establish an indentity means to convince others of that identity, and then those perceptions fasten us into the identity or, if we are not persuasive enough, deny us the identity.

How do I prove who I am? I guess this will have to do.

How did I miss THIS classic?

Matthew in Beirut: If you though "Old Yeller" was bad...

I may have to put it on my Netflix list just so I can hate it, too.

Thursday Morning

Yesterday was a little weird, or I was a little obsessive, so I didn't give my happy thing. Yesterday's happy thing was giving Miss P and her wife the gifts we picked up in New Orleans. For Mrs. P there were earrings from that funky artist. For Miss P, the most fantastic purple felt hat with bats dangling from the sequin trimmed brim and a felt spider with a light-up nose on top of a spiral on top.

Hard to beat that hat.

Did you know that "Mrs" technically means "Wife of"? "Mr" doesn't mean anything equivalent. I suppose that, in the Victorian era when women were still mostly property, the marital/ownership status was important. Men, being sentient entities entitled to hold that ownership, didn't need their marital status coded into their name like that. Just an observation. Technically Miss P should really be Mrs. J, but the whole hidden name thing gets confusing enough. Maybe Mz. P...I spend long nights puzzling these things out.

Husband let me wander in a huge room with books again last night, that, while I was quite restrained, still resulted in spending. Only one novel, though. The rest were references. One was a book with beading patterns, and aren't you just thrilled to know that? In any case, the bookpile now totals over 2000 titles, and I still have some shelves to finish. All I must do now is actually READ something. Maybe I'll put that on the agenda for today.

Lots of people have hit my site -- mostly an archived post -- because of this domain stuff. It makes me feel peculiar. I didn't actively try to divert people here this way, but there's no doubt my actions started it all. I just feel...peculiar. Responsible, somehow, that I should have looked forward, done my usual worst-case-scenario analysis, and issued warnings all around. Cassandra, that's me. I'd have probably had her luck, too. I don't take much on myself, do I?

Ah well, the day is young, I haven't had breakfast yet, and there are so many things I can do that do not involve sitting here in front of the computer and staring. I've made progress on the Fmajor chord, picked up the Amajor 7 and a D minor, and learned an alternate fingering for G major. Life is good.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Irritated

Remember a few months ago when I gave away the AdamSessler.com domain I owned? I've been keeping up with the site as it has gone through various trauma of being hacked, moved, hacked, moved, etc. I was rather hoping the actual Adam Sessler was running the site. I get the occasional referral backtrack. Today I followed the track and itoriginated in some town in New York. The tag went back to a referral list for the site itself. Strange.

I don't really care -- I gained nothing and lost nothing -- but I noticed my name is showing up when people research the site, along with a badly mished up version of my address. Now, I'm wondering if the person to whom I gave the domain is maintaining my name on it to misdirect people because he/she is involved in some campaign to create havoc and feel powerful, or if the Whois/ data is just old and screwed up. That my identity is getting tangled up in this mess bothers me.

It shouldn't. At this point in my life I shoud be far beyond caring about this adolescent pissing contest nonsense. However, in this modern world of computer identity theft and exiting only on paper/magentic media in a government office, I find I take it a little seriously.

I'm kicking myself for my attitude when I transfered the site. I figured it didn't matter who owned it because, hell, if I could buy the domain, anyone could have (or gotten the .net version or whatever). I could not foresee any downside to this. Now I'm not so sure. I should have been more of an asshole about it, I guess, just to protect myself -- insisted on some proof of identity or something.

Feh, what could I have really done aside from saying "no"? What can I do now? Not a damn thing, except pull down the link and maybe my old site. I feel bad for the actual Adam Sessler -- bad that it might be him trying to have a website and catching shit, bad that it might be some nutjob/kid without moral compass impersonating him and causing trouble. Nothing I can do. And that irritates me.

Update: Just got a very polite apologetic letter from the person to whom I transfered the Adamsessler.com domain offering to give it back to me (which I declined). Whether it is the actual Adam Sessler or not, I still do not know, nor is there any way outside of a phone call or a face to face meeting to definitately prove it. But he's not an asswipe (I'd even say he's a decent guy), at least not to me, and I can be happy with that.

I'm also getting my name removed from the whois/ information, which is all I really want. Gadzooks but it's hard to have an innocent fangirl crush on a celebrity guy these days!

Update 2: Since the contents of this post were copied and posted elsewhere with a link there's no point in taking it down. Let's just say a lot of dissapointed people are hitting my site now only to find there just isn't anything they are gonna like here. Ah well, my 15 seconds of semi-fame. At least it's not a link to a porn site...

Also it's pretty definative that the owner of the site in question is not Adam Sessler, but someone using the name as an email contact while saying "If you'd asked me I'd have said I wasn't"...which, while valid, isn't exactly logical. But that's neither here nor there. From now on, anyone I talk to online has to have 3 forms of photo ID, a blood test, full finger, foot and ass prints, and a genetic screening. Line forms to the left.

And the winners are...

This might be the best thing I've read today.

The Subway Code

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

If you need a metaphor

for how you feel about ... oh, I dunno, most anything, , this might be it.

If it had a soundtrack, it would be "Ouch", "Oh!" "Ow!!" Dead body/crash test dummy physics sort of ook me out, making it at once very disturbing and fascinating to watch. You can grab her at various points to halt her progress, get her unstuck, or just arrange her in a more comfortable looking position. I might hav e felt better about it if the falling body had been a puppet or something less human looking.

Oh, and I swiped it from Groovebunny, and I bet she wasted some work time staring at it.

Daily Happy Thing Roundup

I'm behind on my Daily Happy Things, so here's to catch up.

Thursday -- having friends and family who can make each other laugh so hard we almost wreck while driving on a long, long trip.

Friday -- finding a neat jewelry artist who gives a great discount because you said nice things and shared the "fellow artist" vibe. We actually found two such artists in the French Market -- the other made beautiful hand shaped wooden hair barrettes.


Saturday -- Finding books on my list at the used bookstore.


Sunday -- happiness was sleeping in my very own bed, with my very own cats stomping all over me.


Monday -- spending a day at home with my husband and getting the trim finished in the bathroom.

And that leaves today. So far, today's happiness was a dream I had very early this morning, after the radio alarm came on. I dreamed that I was on board the space shuttle -- no idea how I got there -- and we were zooming around the solar system before making a landing on an anonymous two lane road near a vegetable stand somewhere in California, where we all got out and started looking for a phone to call NASA. The solar system looked pretty damned neat in my dream -- especially when we flew over Saturn -- but no one having a cell phone was funny.

But something happier could happen any time now.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Photo Travelog

Eventually I'll make Flickr do the work for me, but for the moment, this will do.




This hot, pimpin' orange faux suede coat is the same one I saw last year. This year they replaced the baseball cap with a matching bling-bling hat. I think it's just the sort of thing every funeral should have, don't you?














We saw this and of course we investigated. There are chocolate thongs for both men and women -- the men's version has a strategically located "lack" of chocolate. We did not, however, purchase any. They were all milk chocolate and thus inferior.












A few scenes of New Orleans, just to prove we actually were there.
























Now, can you guess what Club Toxic and the Fat City Church have in common?







Why, they share the same building! I suppose it's just a wonderful example of tolerance and the celebration of diversity. Maybe the preacher gets all well drinks at half price. I'll bet all clubbers who wake up in the pews get an extra blessing.









This sign just made us laugh for, oh, ten minutes or so. Say it as all one word and you'll see why. You'll also be channeling Catherine Zeta Jones via Elmer Fudd.









The incomparable view from our hotel window, from which you can see the rear of the Whole Foods Market. This is actually, no kidding, one of the NICER views from the hotel. Everything looks better from the 8th floor.









Sunday, August 07, 2005

New Orleans is Wasted

...on someone like me.
We are back a day early. The trip went fine, with no disasters. It was, in fact, a very bland trip. How is this possible? I mean, weren't we in the heart of hedonism and heedless excess?

The story goes like this. After a 10-11 hour drive over what is, honestly, some of the least interesting scenery in the South, we arrived at the convention hotel. The Best Western Landmark hotel is not, shall we say, a prime example of the exalted hotel experience. At least this time we didn't find anything green and floaty in the coffee pot, there were lightbulbs in the lamps and the beds had all the appropriate sheets. It was slightly inconvenient that the hotel had newly installed WiFi that reached to the 6th floor. The hotel has 14 floors. We were on the 8th. I decided against sitting in the lobby to do anything on the computer.

We had not even gotten into our room when we learned that the particular author we had all ventured this distance to see had canceled due to illness. That Sucked. The hotel was also overrun with adolescents who were attending some kind of summer track and field event. They were everywhere, all hormonal and obnoxious in that way teenagers are when they outnumber you. (This is why I chose not to sit in the lobby, or any other area of the hotel that didn't have a lockable door). Add to that my complete disinterest in anything the convention had listed going on, and the con was a complete bust. Husband was signed on to do some panels (in his guise as a writer -- well, technically he is, but we won't talk about it here.) so he was stuck, but I didn't bother purchasing a con badge. Mz G (herebefore refered to as the Evil Book Seller Lady) got hers as well, for business reasons.

As for food -- well, we looked around. New Orleans is known for food, right? A veritable paradise for Foodies, a place where every calorie is glorified and there is no such thing as excess. A brand new Whole Foods Market had opened up within walking distance of the hotel. It has a mindboggling array of freshly made foods you can pick up, hot and ready, to eat. Guess where we had EVERY MEAL? You got it.

Well, except for one meal. Everyone knows about Cafe du Monde, right? Right there in the quarter you get chicory coffee and beignets, those squares of deepfried dough covered in a mountain of powdered sugar. People line up around the block for this treat, and sit at tiny tables under the green striped awning in the heat, fighting off ants and each other to consume them. It's a tradition.

What most people don't know is that Cafe du Monde is a chain now, and they have a location in the Lakeside mall, right across from the hotel. You can eat your damn French donuts in uncrowded and airconditioned comfort. Guess what we did?



So, Friday was spent roaming the quarter, hitting the one good used bookstore we knew about from last year, wandering the French Market (I'll tell you more about that next story), and trying to stay on the shady side of the street. At some point, I began to have this strange chill feeling down the back of my right leg. Now, I have some problems with the nerves in my hips and lower back, so odd sensations aren't new to me. However, this one was quite strange. We slogged along toward whatever place it was we were heading toward as I puzzled over this. Had I pinched a nerve? Had the tricky vertebra in my lumbar region slid and started pressing on my spinal cord?

No. One of the bottles of icy water I was toting for Husband and myself was not sealed, and my plastic lined tote bag was floating, with droplets finally escaping into my shorts, through my underwear and down to my sock. Need I say I was at that moment ready to head back?

Ok, so what about the exciting New Orleans nightlife? There are bars and casinos and nightclubs...and Husband's panels were pretty much evening only things. Mz G and I had piles of books to paw at. Aside that, we had purchased alcoholic goodies at Whole Foods. Last, there is absolutely no point in taking me anywhere near a bar. I can't tolerate cigarette smoke (allergy-like reaction, very embarrassing, I just don't go), loud music gives me an instant headache, crowds of people creep me out (mostly because I don't like wondering who's touching me), and after 2 drinks I'm almost asleep. After 3 drinks I AM asleep. I've never managed to get drunk because I freaking GO TO SLEEP. What's the point?

I am the least fun person ever. It's absolutely true. I'm Wonderbread and mayo, I'm flat white paint, I'm Solitaire with an Ace missing.

So, second day was much like the first, only we didn't go back to the Quarter for bookstores. We wandered around to some others, had a good time, made some finds, and went back to the hotel. Mz G hunted down those few people who did show for what she needed to discuss, Husband did his last panels, and I sat in the hotel room, flipping through channels and working on some beaded jewelry. We decided that enough of this exciting, high energy lifestyle was enough, and left this morning.

Ah well. The Big Easy may never recover.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Leaving for New Orleans


Getting up at oh-shit-no-thirty am tomorrow for the drive. Most everything is packed or nearly packed. I don't know what connectivity will be like in the hotel (the world is not yet WIFI, damnitall), so I shall update as I may. I'm sure you will all do splendidly without me.

I'm sure...

...everyone who's cool knew about this , like, 15 seconds after it was posted, but if I didn't have Gene at Something out of Nothing to steal links from, I'd still be in the dark, mumbling, with peanutbutter on my hands.

Matthew in Beirut: Backstroke of the West

Now I really never need to see Revenge of the Sith in any way, shape or form. This was the ultimate. There can be no more. (please, powers of the universe, let there be no more)

Cross Pollination

There's a meme posted on Lists of Books.

Cruelly, I tagged three people for it. Three people, two of whom I know where they live, one of whom I have a pretty good idea, all of whom can think about that when they debate blowing this meme off...

Daily Happy Thing - August 3, 2005

Poetry makes me happy. I subscribe to The Writer's Almanac just so I can read a poem every day.

Poem: "Old Men" by Norah Pollard, from Report From the Banana Hospital. © Antrim House.

Old Men

Old men
move me.
The way courage is asked of them
to walk.
The way they still wear hats
and tip them for a lady.
How their collars stand out from their thin necks.
How they are careful to balance their heads.
How they do not complain
but, if you ask, might say,
"Most horrible!" and grin.
How they wear Hush Puppies, walk silently,
practicing to be ghosts.
How their hair grows so white and thin
it lies on their frail skulls like light.
How when they are alone, their spindle fingers
make gestures, speak in silence.
How their mouths work, remembering.
How their eyes, their eyes look far, far off,
seeing something I do not yet know what.

I didn't know

How can this be?

Reporter's Notebook: The Forgotten Soldier

How dare this man go missing! How embarrassing it must be for the administration.

How sad that so few know about him.

Wednesday

I'm at work and I am bored. The beauty and intricacy of calculating the price per square inch of all the plastics, adhesives and assorted components required to make the "on" switch to some mysterious piece of electrical equipment -- as fascinating a topic as that sounds -- is lost on me today.

You, over there. Yeah, you. Entertain me.

NOW!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Daily Happy Thing- August 2, 2005

Guy: Hey!
Me: Hi handsome -- how did it go?
Guy: two novacaines...one expanded filling....gentle ache most of the evening...
Guy: which helped my diet immensely....

Me: LOL
Guy: train wreck of a day here...
Me: Oh lovely
Me: with lots of flames and explosions and people screaming?
Guy: yep.
Guy: ::sigh:: if I had more teeth removed...it would slow my ability to chew...perhaps...
Me: feh, soft things are more fattening
Me: if you had MORE teeth you'd eat only raw veggies
Me: Just had to extricate one stubborn cat from the bag of clothes going to Goodwill
Me: I wish I'd had the camera with me, but I was too helpess with laughter
Me: something about both a cat's face and a cat's tail sticking through the straps of an "athletic supporter" that makes me laugh
Guy: oh...that's priceless....
Me: he's a weird kitty
Me: I am resisting also a compulsion to explain the whole jock strap in the Goodwill bag thing.
Guy: er...okay.....I'm sure those less fortunate need a jockstrap, too....I'm just saying...
Me: Hehheh, no, they were "temporary" things -- Husband picked them up at Walgreens when he had his vasectomy and wore them for about a week
Me: Then we washed them and they were officially useless
Guy: Not even as 'stocking stuffers'....?
Guy: HAR

Me: He has nicer stuff for that ;> these are the cheapie ones
Me: erk
Me: you can find some scary damn photos at undergear
Me: the bright pink bikini with "guard" in silver across the butt....it is just WRONG
Guy: er...not in Ibiza at 5am at the after-party....
Me: sorry, in my world, you have to be under 12 and be looking forward to a training bra to wear that shade of pink
Me: its not even flattering to the Barbie who ususally wears it
Me: I wonder if I can find the photo.... of COURSE I can
Me: he's pretty nice, the pink is not
Me: that pink should have ruffles on it
Guy: nice...I'd wear it if I had HIS body...what's not to like?
Me: I don't even wanna look
Me: I also think the color coded area underwear is dumb -- if you can't figure out where the crotch is, you should not be near anyone in only his underwear in the first place
Guy: just for decorative affect.... surely...
Guy: though I've met some twinks who could use color codes...
Me: sorry, I'm picky that way. It makes me think of insurance files, and I don't want to think of insurance files when I'm looking at a hunk in his underwear. It is distracting.
Me: I'm trying to find my fave model
Me: Him, in the blue, but maybe not in that shirt
Guy: feh! if you like tall/dark and handsome...
Guy: HAR
Me: well, D'UH
Me: I mean, what's not to like?
Guy: okay. you win. GAWD!
Me: LOL ;>
Me: however I do require you to explain this to me...in pink?
Me: I suspect only you can.
Guy: er...let's just say certain segments of culture have a colorful way of expressing fashion....
Me: Oh is THAT what that is....
Guy: yep.