Thursday, July 27, 2006

I know my kitty loves me

When, at about 1:30 am, when The Husband and I are finally settled for the night, and Ophelia has her blobby body nestled between our pillows, and she suddenly begins making that sound...

horf!
horf!
Hack-ack-ack-ack!
Splorsh!


...and she gets both pillows, causing us to leap up simultanously from the bed just in time for her to trundle down and land ANOTHER in the center of the bed.

Fresh sheets, and one blobby kitty is exiled to the floor for the night.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Homecoming

We are back from San Diego. I cannot describe to you how good it is to be home, how much I'll miss that city, how much I hate air travel, and how much my back hurts all in the same blog post.

On our last full day, Bel took us to Mexico. It was...an experience. The day was grey and a little rainy, the Marine Layer a heavy haze in the sky. We drive through Tijuana and were struck by the disparity -- the very elegant homes stacked next to places without doors and windows or paint on the cinder blocks, where people hung tarps or old sheets to separate bare space into rooms. Advertising signs are everywhere. There are beautiful gardens with garbage filled wasteland next to them. It was so far outside my experience that I just stared. Beauty and ugliness, side by side.

We drove to Puerto Nuevo, a place Bel remembered from many bus trips in younger years as being a party place, with food, fun, and laughter. The years have not been kind. It is now a sad place with desperation, poverty and garbage. Walking through the streets where vendors covered every available inch with tables covered with the same merchandise -- silver jewelry, wrestling masks, bong pipes of various shapes, t-shirts with the same crude sayings -- and the people all looking at you, trying to catch your eye, trying to talk to you because you mean money is like being the blood donor at a vampire convention. Only it wasn't funny. It was never funny. I didn't feel human. I know I looked like a rich American, my middle class income and possessions comparative wealth. I didn't try to look like that -- I didn't wear a lot of jewelry, or flashy clothes.

The real hit came when we walked toward the approach to the sea. Bel remembered a beautiful beach behind the shops and restaurants. The path he took was lined with garbage. The smell was terrible. The approach itself was choked with garbage -- two old boats, crushed plastic soda bottles, paper, food. Two small dogs -- I suspect they were puppies -- with most of their hair missing napped near us, ignoring us completely, looking very pathetic. There were some small houses back there, in that stench, and some very beaten children's toys. The Pacific itself looked sullen and resentful through the narrow opening down. There was no way to get near it without sliding through who-knows-what. We walked away. Everywhere we went, people hawked to us, tried to talk to us, get us to spend money with them. I studied the hexagonal paving stones intently. We bought a bottle of tequilla and some trinkets, spending most of our cash. Bel got some little things to take home for his family. We were all very quiet. The Husband and I felt as badly for Bel as for the people we saw -- he'd wanted to take us somewhere to have fun, and even he was depressed by the changes. The last few years have not been kind to Puerta Nuevo. I walked out feeling guilty for being who I was, having what I have, and yet knowing fully well that even if I sold everything and dumped my money on those people, it wouldn't likely help much.

So, Bel determined we'd drive back, but on the way he decided to stop at the Hotel Califia. We were thirsty and depressed, but the hotel was beautiful. We went to the balcony and suddenly the sea breeze pushed some of the haze away. We could see the Pacific breaking and foaming on the rocks below. Further out, I saw a seal just bobbing in the water. The waiter, Pedro (that's what his name tag said) brought us real flan and drinks and our mood lifted. People around us were smiling -- even the waiters -- and the heat of the day lifted in that breeze. On the level below us, a couple struggled with the bright market umbrella over their table, until a gust turned it inside out. Back inside the hotel, we wandered the shops in the hallways, which were all open and catching that breeze.

Then we had to drive back across the border. The lines were so long. All through the multi-lane highway leading to the inspection stations were more hawkers and vendows, standing in the road with their carts of cold drinks, snacks, toys and trinkets. Some carried items between the cars. Right near the border, there is a store with all the merchandise hanging up on walls so it can be seen from the cars. If you look at something, a man will run out and ask you if they can bring it to you. Some people are beggers -- men, women, children with cups and sad faces. The heat was incredible, because you are standing still and the a/c will cut off and you don't dare roll down the windows, and there are hundreds of cars all around you.

You really do feel the freedom as you cross the border. It feels cool and fast, because you can drive away.

The whole experience is still confusing to me. I'll let you know if I figure anything out.

Anyway, the day ended with a good dinner of Tapas (which, I learned, is Spanish, not Mexican -- the flan was the only "Mexican" food I ate the whole time I was there) and dessert and a last walk around San Diego. The trip home was a very long flight through Salt Lake City with a spasm in my back and those seats in which only 30% of the people flying were comfortable, including those in first class and all the kids.

And I'm home. Ah, home.

Monday, July 24, 2006

San Diego, Day 6

Bel took me to Mysterious Galazies Books. I did NOT buy everything. I was tempted. A whole store devoted to SF, Fantasy, mystery and horror. They had a signed copy of China Mieville's Iron Council -- behind glass, of course.

The Husband made a last, short, trip through the con, and then it was over. To celebrate, Bel took us to his house for a cookout. The Husband earned bonus points by repairing a pitching net for Son of Bel and drawing a henna butterfly on DivaDaughter of Bel.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

San Diego, Day 5

Ah yes, more incredible adventures. Actually, we are having a quiet vacation, which is fine. Yesterday we walked out to a local restaurant for breakfast with Bel and ended up at a French place (the diner we'd aimed for was mobbed) for crepes. Yeah, even when we don't get what we start out to get, we get something worthwhile. Black cherry crepes, hmmm. The Husband hit the con for autographs that he couldn't get, then hung around for a while. Bel came back in the evening and we went to Sunset Cliffs to watch -- tada! -- the sun set over the Pacific.

The Pacific ocean even smells different.

Oh, and I've eaten at In-n-Out Burger, that Southern California institution with secret menu items because, well, they only have 5 items on the menu -- Double Hamburger, Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Fries, Drink (shake or soda). Everything else is in secret codes. The hamburger was remarkably good, truth be told. Fries were sorta "eh", mostly because they serve a sweet ketchup (I'll bet it's Hunts) and I hate sweet ketchup. Ruined the potato experience.

Then we went on a Sake hunt. I didn't find what I wanted, but we found other goodies at "BevMo". Of course, it was nearly 10 when we got back, so The Husband and I were too sleepy to get drunk.

Which is kinda sad, if you think about it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

San Diego, Day 4

Not a peep from Lil' E. I guess he chickened out :(

Spent hours at the con getting those signatures and running around meeting people we knew. HUGE does not begin to accurately describe this con. VAST comes up pretty close. SEEMINGLY ENDLESS also gives a good idea. Got the first of the 4 sets of autographs we are to acquire. Another today and another tomorrow and that's done.

Spent the evening with Bel and his wife, and another friend and her husband, at Extraordinary Desserts, a place about which we heard much. Everything looked delicious. I did not have dessert, amazingly enough. I was too full.

I could so much get used to San Diego, even if this morning it was actually HOT.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

San Diego, Day 3

Little Kenny is a lot cuter in person. You hardly notice the bald spot.

Don't tell him I said that.

San Diego, Day 2

The San Diego Zoo is a fabulous place. We got there at opening and wandered about half the park, looking at the plants and animals. I really loved the ferns display, which we go to first when it was still cool and misty in the morning. The Husband has all the photos. He has a new digital camera that I'm not QUITE allowed to touch yet, at least not much :) I don't mind, because I take rotten pictures most of the time. Expecially outdoors. This one has a huge LED screen so it's easier to aim with that than use the viewfinder -- unless it is a bright sunny day and you are wearing polarized sunglasses which, without, you are still not able to see an LED screen.

I am now the proud owner of a lovely pink, plushy sea horse. The Husband has a plushy peacock.

Registered at the con -- huge does not begin to describe this thing. Ginormous. Egantic. Fucking big. After staying just long enough to meet up with some folkses and get our badges, we left to walk around some more and find dinner. San Diego just impresses the hell out of me. If the Husband and I could get jobs and housing here without going broke, I'd consider moving. I'd consider it VERY seriously. That's how beautiful it is. That's how great this area is.

I think I'm just over living in Florida. I want to live somewhere else. I missed or didn't get a lot of chances to ever live anywhere else, but now I really feel like I'd want to. I just need my cats :). Yeah, I miss my cats.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

San Diego Day 1

Up at 4:30 am. Ugh. Flight was at 7:25. Ugh. Hour drive to airport. At least we didn't have to wait long to board.

LONG airplane ride. Not unbearable. Rather smooth, in fact. But still, LONG. Long time in a too narrow seat is nerve trying. I can't sleep in an airplane. Of course, when we finally get to San Diego, it's 1 pm. Then meeting up with our first California Friend, then settling into a hotel room, and then dinner and talking with said Friend. And at 10 pm PST (which, for the math impaired is 1 am EST) we go to bed. Not quite 24 hours awake, but considered that I did not sleep until about 1 am the PREVIOUS night (after which I had to haul my cookies out at 4:30 am) it felt like it. I grabbed an hour's nap in the hotel, but STILL.

Anyway, we are here, we are established in the hotel room, and all is well. More updates as news occurs.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The New Toy

I have never once wanted to be a Pod Person. I remember Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Nothing with "pod" as a descriptor is going to be attached by wires to my head. I don't feel safe.

Yet there's that whole teeny tiny portable music thing. It's been creeping up on me for a while. Yeah, sure, most of my life is all about the MP3 player and discs -- car, office stereo, portable cd player, boom box -- they are play MP3 disks and those are fine and happy for me.

But the exercise bike at the gym. Where they play the annoying hip pop kid radio station. Loudly. Soooo....

I got this

Zen MicroPhoto

Somehow, the idea of having something Zen attached to my head (with my Sony Noise Cancelling headphones -- earbuds are evil) seems peaceful and healthy. I don't need the car kit, I'm not giving up a cup holder when I have the player already, and I need a nice case for it...

Shut up.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Final Countdown

5 days until Big Ol' Jet Airliner time. The Ironing starts today. I've nothing against wrinkles, really, but in general I find if I put on clothes already wrinkled, they bunch up funny. Better to start with what's ironed and wrinkle them to fit.

In other news, I know there are some people I need to contact in order to make contact.

Oh, and there is a strong possibility Evil Book Lady and her husband Mr. Man may be joining us for the con! Whoo hoo! We took them to dinner for EB's birthday last night. We'd been trying to talk EB into going for a while now, but she's traveling so much and Mr. Man travels so much for work that she just didn't see fitting in another trip. Well, last night after we got home from dinner, apparently they found a shoe horn and are trying to make it fit. Still a little up in the air, but we already have the hotel suite booked. They'd only be there for the con itself, but, hey, the more the merrier! I'm one of those kind who like all the people I know to know each other, because it saves me time explaining when I have gossip to pass around. Besides, isn't that sort of like networking, only without the working part?

Must...send emails!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Swashbuckling Tales of Eye Adventure

I am allergic to cats. This is why I have 6 of the creatures in my house. I refuse to be ruled by reality.

Actually, it's a minor allergy that only bothers me on very rare occasions. Today was one. I'd just gotten out of the shower and dressed and sat at the computer when I felt something in my right eye. I rubbed at it and then thought "No no, do not rub at the eye, that's bad. Look in the mirror." So I did, and found an eyelash, which I got out. But my eye, it was not happy. The cornea had developed a little bulge, like a blister, and it was turning an angry red.

Not good. At all.

"Honey? Will you look at this?"

"Did you get soap in your eye? That looks like an allergic reaction."

"It doesn't hurt. Just feels...uncomfortable."

"I'll call the eye doctor. You should take a Benadryl."

"I hate Benadryl. Gimme a piece of ice in a papertowel."

I sat with ice on my eye for a few minutes. It still didn't hurt, but it looked awful.

"OK, the doctor can see you at 1. We've got 20 minutes. Let's go."

My eye doctor has Saturday hours twice a month. Lucky me, this was an "on" day. He looked at my eye with a microscope, remarked on the swelling of some kind of gland under my eyelid I never heard of, and then found it -- a superfine, superlight cat hair irritating the shit out of my eye. One magic Q-tip in my eye later, it was out and all was mostly well.

"I can give you this $125 prescription which you don't really need unless the swelling doesn't go down, but you just need some Benadryl. The liquid is better."

Lovely. I hate Benadryl.

So we get Children's Cherry Benadryl liquid. Gah! The Husband said it tasted like used up Bazooka Bubble gum. I thought it tasted like my lower lip did the time Pooty decided my lower lip was THE place to situate his butt (this did not meet with popular approval, especially from me. Why can't cats understand that their fastidious fascination with their assholes is not universally shared?)

And I took an unplanned 3 hour nap. Swelling and redness of the eye are gone, but, man-o-man, I hate Benadryl!

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Pause for Poetry

From the always wonderful Writer's Almanac

Poem:
"Female Comic Book Superheroes" by Jeannine Hall Gailey from Becoming the Villainess. © Steel Toe Books.


Female Comic Book Superheroes

are always fighting evil in a thong,
pulsing techno soundtrack in the background
as their tiny ankles thwack

against the bulk of male thugs,
They have names like Buffy, Elektra, or Storm
but excel in code decryption, Egyptology, and pyrotechnics.

They pout when tortured, but always escape just in time,
still impeccable in lip gloss and pointy-toed boots,
to rescue male partners, love interests, or fathers.

Impossible chests burst out of tight leather jackets,
from which they extract the hidden scroll, antidote, or dagger,
tousled hair covering one eye.

They return to their day jobs as forensic pathologists,
wearing their hair up and donning dainty glasses.
Of all the goddesses, these pneumatic heroines most

resemble Artemis, with her miniskirts and crossbow,
or Freya, with her giant gray cats.
Each has seen this apocalypse before.

See her perfect three-point landing on top of that chariot,
riding the silver moon into the horizon,
city crumbling around her heels.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My Life in a Bulletted List

  • I am transfering teeny beads from one kind of container to a slightly more compact kind of container
  • I'm spending too much time at the computer not writing
  • I'm playing Civilization and I don't know why
  • I am having severe Summer Brain Damage -- no thinking possible
  • I am looking forward to going to San Diego, but you really can't tell by looking at me
  • The high point of my weekend so far has been buying overpriced designer sunglasses with FREAKING SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL RHINESTONES ON THEM.
  • The expense of said sunglasses seems minimal compared to all the blogfodder they potentially have
  • Even Light Summer Reading seems too intellectually challenging.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Damn FUCKING Non-trademark Spam

I hate Spam. I spend time some days imagining horrible punishments for people who create little spam robots.

I got hit by one yesterday. Damn it all. It LOOKED legit, and I halfway filled it out before deciding it kinda smelled fishy...not soon enough did I delete, though. It co-opted all my email addresses and sent everyone I know the same spam. I realized it this morning and sent out a warning, and the inimitable MKH at Hidden City sent me this.

I started to fill it out last night, and then cancelled it figuring I'd look at it today. It seemed odd that it wanted me to use to yahoo.com or hotmail.com address.

I made a quick Google search and found this:

i hate spam. (not the luncheon meat, but this.) if you know me, i have two (three?) e-mail addresses because of this fact. but after what happened to me yesterday, i may switch to my g-mail address (the third) for good.

basically what happened was i got an e-mail from marisela's friend, carrie... she listed stuff to sell on this free web classified "organization" called kaboo (i'm not even going to make it a link because they don't deserve one!) and it sent messages to ALL of her e-mail addresses. i don't know how, but it did.

so then, being on her e-mail contact list, i got a message, saying "get first pick of my stuff." thinking it was really written by her, i listed some stuff too. it then linked to ALL of MY e-mail addresses (i even got a message on my cell phone, because i have it as one of my contacts in my address book). thus perpetuating a slightly nightmarish chain of messages and events leading me to send a mass e-mail to EVERYONE in my hotmail address book. (including some people i haven't spoken to in ages!)

so whatever you do... stay away from kaboo.org. it will save you a lot of time and energy. and if you're on my hotmail contact list, my apologies again.

sneaky bastards.

Thanks for getting the word out quickly!

Thanks for the research, and please, if you get anything even REMOTELY spelled like this KABOO crap, DELETE IT. Delete it and anything that looks like it and then scrub with Lysol and Clorox.

Damnable sneaky bastards!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Count Down To San Diego

Ok, we are leaving for San Diego (stalkers take note) on the 18th of this month, for 7 days of con geekery and people-we-know-online-meeting.

Who's with me?