Monday, January 30, 2006

More Universal Truth

Kev's Musings: Another sign you're working too hard

There IS wisdom to be found on the interwebinet. Sort of.

Weekend Redux

Mr. D has been a delightful houseguest. It's been a pleasant weekend.

After The Husband sought forgiveness for Friday by bringing me, not only pizza and ice cream (Ben & Jerry's), but some goodies from EpCot (they decided to do it instead of Animal Kingdom), we watched movies until the wee hours of the morning. Saturday, after some groggy morning time, we headed to Winter Park to visit the Morse Museum and wander the shops.

The Morse Museum has a large display of Tiffany glass and craftsman era artwork, which I really like. Mr. D also has a liking for it and Husband has no problem staring at beautiful stuff for an hour or so. The best part of the current exhibit is the Tiffany Chapel.

There was, as I mentioned, shopping. Winter Park is a very high priced boutique area, at least along Park Avenue. I made the mistake of wandering into a perfume/cosmetics shop, where we all began testing various expensive stinky stuff on each other and on little paper strips. Husband and I got each other particular stenches for Valentine's Day gifts. One of these expensive scents, sprayed on my arm, made my skin itch and turn red -- very unpleasant. I also spend $45 on an eye cream. I don't think I've ever spent quite so much on something so small and -- let's face it -- for such a minimal effect on my life overall. It's EYE CREAM.

I feel so, I dunno, frivolous.

Sunday was spent in a similar way, only in Mt. Dora, and my big expenditure was aquiring the long coveted Jane Austen Action Figure. I don't know if I will get the Deluxe Jesus Action Figure set, but I'm really looking at Anne Bonney. Sometimes a girl just wants to be a pirate.

So, today is being spent quietly at home until this afternoon, when the Husband and I are going to have hair cuts. While this is a fairly normal routine the Husband, for me it's a little unusual. My hair is currently just above my hips (I trimmed it myself a few weeks ago, from desperation.) . My hair has been very long for many years. I've had it cut off a few times, but I always let it grow back. Short hair doesn't become me very well. I won't go to the trouble of monthly cuts to maintain it (it grows very fast), and I can't be bothered with hot curlers, curling irons, hairspray, setting gel, mousse, or any other hair glop and tools of torture more than a couple times a year. My hair is long because all I have to do is comb it. I'll put it in a bun or ponytail, or get really fancy and braid it from time to time, but that's about it. And it stays out of my face, amazingly enough.

But I've thought recently that I've become too set in my ways and, being as I will be 41 soon, perhaps it's time for a change. Maybe. We'll see how much the hairdresser gets to chop off.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Have a little wallow in my self pity pool

Mr. D arrived last night. He's an online friend visiting us from the west coast, someone The Husband has known online for a while. Delightful man, all the more so because my merest remark, coupled with my patented Eyebrow Raise, makes him nervous. I love making men under 30 nervous. It gives me power.

Mua ha ha ha.

However, today he and The Husband are off to Animal Kingdom. I wanted to go, but we have the Dog who cannot be left in her crate for so long, and there's the expense of going. Tickets to anything Disney related are freaking expensive. I wasn't particularly thrilled with Husband's chirping up with the suggestion to go for that reason, but once he said it, there was no taking it back. Dropping the dog off at the vet for a day wasn't an option -- we already owe them money. So, I stay home and feel resentful about it. Oh, he makes sweet noise and pitiful faces about it, but he doesn't think things through before making promises. It is just not realistic. Some time next month he will have a spasm over all the money spent this month and want us to live on Raman noodles. Thus it goes.

I rather hope it rains. Really hard, staring in about 10 minutes, in a storm that covers all of Central Florida, and continues raining for a good solid hour, or more. But that's just me having evil thoughts, because I'm childish and resentful. Husband never once offered to stay home with the dog and send ME out to a theme park. I don't think it could even possibly cross his mind.

Eh, I'd better go find something to do before I work myself up into a really childish snit and do something awful, like delete all the music files from his new computer or something.

UPDATE: He is redeemed. He found two things that I loved when we visited England and could not find here, and we are getting pizza for dinner from my favorite place. So, he's mostly forgiven :>

UPDATE: Oh, no he isn't. After SPECIFICALLY requesting they come home early, they've decided to stay. No pizza. I am Not Happy all over again.

UPDATE: Despite my completely justifiable, if childish, unhappiness, I am allowing my righteous anger to be mollified by pizza AND ice cream. If it gets here soon, that is.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Stink Sweetly

A few months ago, The Husband and I succumbed to the lure of Target and each bought a set of those mini-cologne samplers. I did it mostly for the miniature bottles because I really like teeny things, but it did reintroduce me to "White Shoulders", one of those classic scents that makes me think of my mom and her sisters. It also had a fancy bottle of "White Diamonds", one of those Elizabeth Taylor scents that came out years back. Just now, I put some on -- just a little, because I was curious. I stink very sweetly and powerfully right now.

I have to shower now. I'm getting a headache. Apparently White Diamonds is one of those scents that uses whatever chemical it is that makes me instantly ill. I feel nauseous and a little dizzy. So many scents, like those used in Yankee Candles, act instantly and I'm ill.

Ugh, I can stand myself no longer. Soap, I need soap and water...

Ah, much improved. I now smell mostly of Yardly English Lavender soap (another oldie, a luxery item from my childhood that I now indulge whenever I have the chance) and the much less noxious White Shoulders.

No more White Diamonds. My sink drain now stinks very sweetly.

Return of the Husband

The Husband is home. He got an earlier flight and announced to me, once he got into the car, that he and his digestive system were having differences of opinion. At first he was going to soldier through while I was at choral rehearsal, but after a few minutes of listening to him AUDIBLY digest, I offered to just go home. We did this -- with a few stops at conveniently located bathrooms along the way. I took the longer way home because, while taking the expressway would have been faster, it has fewer bathroom opportunities. It doesn't even have decent bushes behind which one may crouch.

Once home, he was very happy to be there and I was happy to have him. It was idyllic and peaceful and the violins played the Happy Home music in the background.

Until bed.

Now, Husband is a cuddly type, which I don't mind at all, and having me to cuddle with was one of the things he missed most while traveling (our lovely 400 count bedsheets and foam mattress topper being the other two). However, he's also a spasmodic sleeper and occasionally a champion snorer. Both these came into effect last night as he would roll over the bed to put his arm lovingly around me -- and try to inhale my head.

This, however, was not what drove me from the bed. It was only what drove me to the edge of the bed, where bits of me dangled off the foam mattress pad as I clung to the 400 count sheets and thought about getting in on the other side. No, what drove me from the bed was Ophelia.

Ophelia is a big, fat, kitty.

Ophelia weighs in at 18 lbs but she can increase her mass to whatever amount is necessary to prevent herself from being dislodged from her sleeping/lounging surface of choice. She is also very soft, with silky fur, a deep, rumbly purr and big green eyes, and her blobby form is quite warm on chilly evenings.

Last night, her surface of choice was my pillow. Nothing I could do would disuade her from plopping her flab on my face. I would move, I would shove, I even tried to pull the pillow away, all for naught. As soon as unconsiousness claimed me, she was back, slowly urging me down the bed and away from the pillow and the entire upper quadrant of the bed usually reserved for my use.

So I was hanging off the LOWER edge of the foam mattress pad. That was when I decided the couch was a better option.

The couch is perfectly comfortable and I was managing to sleep there, despite curious incursions from other cats trying to determine why I wasn't where I was supposed to be and could they use this to their advantage either by lying on me or taking up the newly abandoned space in the bed. At some point, the Husband awoke, realized I was missing and went in search of me. He tried to cuddle with me on the couch, but it is not sufficiently wide, so he made some pitiful noises about missing me. Usually, pitiful noises from him will cause me to move mountains, but I was tired, I was annoyed at being awakend yet again, and I snarled something at him. He didn't really want to cuddle with anything that snarled at him, so he left me there.

I woke up this morning with Ophelia laying on top of me, like a blanket, her big paws kneading my hip, her long tail fluffing over my nose . Husband says it is Kitty Luv. I say she's just putting me in my place as Cat Furniture. And she couldn't get to my pillow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Important Stuff

There is a good deal of important stuff going on in the world this very day. Elections are being decided, people are fighting or trying to talk, judicial appointments are in the balance - all kinds of stuff.

I'm not paying any attention to it. Tonight The Husband returns home. In my teeny little world, that's the big news.

Nothing much has happened in the 2 1/2 days of his absence. I've eaten properly -- better, actually, than I have in the weeks up to now, because I've done the 5-6 small meals instead of the usual 1 large, 1 small and endless snacking things. No obsessive eating. Last night I got to sleep in relative good time and woke up reasonably on time this morning (left on my own schedule, I'll automatically move to a 1 pm - 10 am sleep cycle.) Boss is back on Friday, so I will go into the office tomorrow to see if anything needs doing. The house doesn't look bad -- I didn't go into a whirlwing of compulsive cleaning, as that would indicate a severe disorder, but things haven't fallen apart, either. I made the bed. I need to fold clothes and vacuum, and that will be most of what I need done.

Exciting, no?

Perhaps I should qualify. I've reached my latest writing goal -- 30,000 words for a novella I've been fiddling with for a couple of years now. Writing is taking up most of my time. We have a friend coming to visit so my office is the spare room, but after that I think I will be moving in there again to see if removing distractions increases my output.

All together, this hasn't been a bad week. Seriously, I've had only 1 Scary Noise event (I still say there is SOMETHING living in our attic). No, I haven't been flitting about the country side, but that also means I've not been spending money (since Retail Therapy on Sunday -- I spent enough then.)

I'm happy. That's important enough.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Scott asks the eternal Question

Scott, over at Volume 22 asks "But why would you want it to?" about a recent banner add he's seen online.

I'm thinking "poor marketing ploy" but I could be wrong. There might be some deeper meaning here. There might be deep symbolism. There might be an attempt at subliminal appeal.

But I'm thinking "messy eater."

"Are You A Girl?"

Is "American Idol Homophobic?"

At issue here are two remarks made

"... Cowell told one male contestant to "wear a dress" and Jackson asked another, "are you a girl?"

And GLAAD called them to task for it. (Check the Editor's Note on that page, if it's still up -- it cannot be linked.)

Now, I can see where there are grounds for a suspicion of homophobia or making insulting jokes about how someone expresses themselves or their sexuality. My take on it is that, once again, being female is considered an insult. For consideration

"throw like a girl"
"scream like a little girl"

Two common descriptives with negative implications -- even when applied to women. Despite the fact that many women can throw an object with suffucient accuracy and force to get it where they want it, "throw like a girl" still means to throw (usually a ball) weakly and innaccurately. And the whole "scream like a little girl" means not only to shout or cry out in a high voice, but to cry out with little provocation -- to be weak and hypersensitive, immature and ineffectual.

There's a long tradition of trying to increase a man's masculine traits by insulting him about "being a woman" -- because, of course, historically the worst thing that can appen to a person is to be a woman. I won't list the cruder words that mean "female" and are insulting when applied to men because it's morning and I haven't had breakfast yet. Still, being female, it's always a slam to my self esteem when I hear my gender being used to insult someone. I can remember, as a young teen, using it myself by saying things like "you can (whatever) as well as I can, and I'm a girl!" because, after all, being a girl was being the lowest thing around. And guys were always angered by it, too.

Interestingly enough, many gay males have adopted refering to each other as females or with female references. I discussed this with a gay male friend and he offered that the practice was a matter of defiance, like adopting the word "queer" as a simple descriptive rather than a perjorative term. Gay men refer to themselves as "girls", "ladies", and "bitches", among other things. I don't understand intellectually how it works -- that is, I can't offer an explanation of why a gay male, especially one who is not overtly feminine in behavior, does this. By the same token, I don't understand the addition of "man" to words typically used in relation to females (man-slut, man-whore, and a variety of euphemisms for the anus-as-erogenous zone).

Are the words being elevated by having "man" added to them? Is a man-whore one level above just a whore (typically but not restricted to application to females)? Or is the "man" lowered by the female association? If a sexually prominent gay male is a "man-slut", is that somehow different from just being a "slut" (which is, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a female only reference, although common useage isn't quite so specific). What I mean is, if I refer to a man as a "slut", doesn't it convey the image of promiscuous and indiscrimate sexual activity? Does "man-slut" make it automaticall gay, or is it really a backwards compliment in that way that a promiscuous male is both admirable and contemptable, while a promiscuous woman is just pitiful?

It has something to do with the "relative value" scale that divides people up by value, putting straight males (divided by other qualities like race, background, religion, etc. I'm sure - humans excel at few other things as much as in pigion holing each other) on top, followed by all the rest, with, as far as I can tell, gay women at the bottom. I sometimes thing straight women and gay men balance each other, which is why there is the cross identification. Anyway, it's far more complex than I have information on which to elucidate, so I won't.

There aren't so many terms that come easily to mind where a term meaning "male" is insulting when applied to female. Apparently masculine lesbian women are too far down the relative value scale for such insults. They have their own descriptives not related to men.

So I think that American Idol -- a show I despise, and for which I can't sufficiently express contempt -- is just generally insulting everyone it can manage because that's what people watch it for. If they can insult a wider group with a remark to a single person, that's just more power for the two men making the remarks. Insults and such are about power, after all -- who's better, who's worse, who's on top, and so forth. Who has more power in American Idol than the judges?

Neither of them are girls, are they?

Side note -- Jon Kusch, of the venerable and much missed Jon-Jon Diaries and "Letters from a Strip of Dirt", once suggested the words "Androcentric" and "Gynocentric" as descriptions of sexual orientation. They are much less divisive and more accurate, since they concentrate on the gender of the object of attraction rather than the gender of the attracted. I thought it was a great idea then, and I still do, but it removes so many stratifying and insulting possibilties it will never catch on.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cool evening

It actually has gotten humid enough that I closed the windows and turned on the A/C. It doesn't do to let the house get too moist. I've already had severe mildew in one closet, and it's just gross. I wait all year until we can open the windows and let air into the house, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Now the A/C is humming and the house feels strange and chilly. And expensive. I'm pondering what we can do to lower our power bill this summer. I'm thinking sealing, insulation, and those heavy UV blocking curtains.

Well, Day One has passed in relative quiet, and except for being at one time terribly groggy but not able to take a nap, not bad at all. Tonight, I hope, I will fall soundly asleep as soon as I lay down, not to stir again until morning. Not sure if I'll go in to work tomorrow, as there's maybe 10 minutes of actual work on my desk, none of which is particuarly important (data collection). It will depend entirely on when I wake up.

At the moment, there is a very fat cat pressed against my hip firmly while giving both her butt and my shorts a thorough, energetic and very damp cleaning. ARGH! And she makes these gasping noises, like an old woman clearing her throat. She will also do this while lying across the top of my pillow, paws using my head for balance, in the wee hours of the night, only then she adds slurping noises. This is not one of her more endearing qualities.

Good Day for Birthdays

Lots of good birthdays today

Humphrey Bogart, born in New York City (1899). I watched "The Big Sleep" for the umpty millionth time last night. I'm not a HUGE Bogart fan -- most of his westerns I can skip -- but some of them I can't resist.

Jjazz guitarist Django Reinhard, born Jean Baptiste Reinhardt, in Liberchies, Belgium (1910) was also born today. He formed the Quintet of the Hot Club of France with violinist Stephane Grappelli. If you don't know who they are, you can get a taste of them from the movie Chocolat soundtrack, which is where I first picked up on it. Well worth looking up -- I have a couple of CDs in my collection. Jazz guitar and violin are an amazingly energetic combination.

I woke up uncharisteristically early this morning, after finally falling asleep around 1:30 am. The alarm hadn't even gone off -- well, actually, it wasn't GOING to go off because, for reasons esoteric and strange and well beyond my comprehension, the radio alarm clock on my side of the bed cannot pick anything but country and Christian radio stations, while the radio alarm on the OTHER side of the bed picks up everything, including NPR, which is what I prefer in the mornings. Still, I was awake and in the shower by 7 am and on the road by 7:40. This is quite different from our usual pattern of dragging our asses from the sheets at 7:30, rushing around, and pulling into the parking lot at work at 8:05.

So I came into work this morning, only to find by 10:00 am that Bosszilla is out of town until Friday. There isn't much for me to do when he isn't here. I will probably head home in a little while. Lucky me. I might as well, as I'm about to fall forward on my keyboard and sleep.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ok, so The Husband is on his way north, and I, at last, am home. I didn't drive straight home. No, the dark wash of worry overcame me just as I got off the highway to the airport and onto the highway home. I had ten minutes of terribly self pity and utterly dismal despair. Then, as I went through the toll booth, I gave myself a mental slap (I gave up on physically slapping myself some while back -- people will talk) and decided a little Retail Therapy was in order. Having a Border's Gift Card burning in my wallet, that's where I went.

The Haul

assorted things for Someone's Birthday
DVD - Secrets & Lies -- one of those mid 90's British films that I saw so long ago on a movie channel while thinking of something else. It grabbed me when I saw it, and I've never managed a second watch, but it haunted me from the one viewing, the images and the story and the little mysteries of it staying with me.
DVD - South Pacific -- Rogers & Hammerstein. It's how I keep my honorary pink card, ok? I have another version of the musical starring Glenn Close, and it's good, but this is the original one and it's just special.
DVD - How to Steal a Million -- I have this damn movie on Laser Disc and VHS, but they FINALLY released it on DVD with a few extra goodies, and who can resist Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole at their most beautiful? Anyone want a slightly used VHS?
DVD - Dark Passage - Bogart and Bacall. Now I only need "To Have and Have Not" to have 'em all! This isn't the greatest movie, but damn if it isn't Agnes Moorehead in there. And it has a Bugs Bunny "Merrie Melodies" short on the disc.

Book - Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzell. I've been looking at it for a while and just gave in.
Book - The Writer's Book of Matches: 1,001 Writing Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction. I have great luck with prompts, so I collect the damn things.
Book - The Best American Erotica 2003. It's for my collection and just shut up. RESEARCH. It's RESEARCH. The internet isn't the only thing for porn.

I listened to Rien's "Lefki Radio" cd in the car on the long drive home. It was perfect. I don't know how it worked out, but I skipped passed the first 15 tracks or so (I'd already listened to them a few times) and suddenly everything I heard fit me perfectly. Also on the ride home I saw a woman dressed in a Lady Liberty costume holding a sign for Liberty Taxes (I guess tax season is coming up) and I got behind an RV with a neon sign saying "Ogre Beer". When another car moved, I saw it was advertising .

I'm no beer drinker, but, hey, I liked the sign.

So I feel pretty good now. I've got movies to watch, story to write, food my loving husband put in the freezer (I'm not allowed to buy any Pop Tarts until AFTER he comes home) and stuff going on all week. Everything will be great.


My blog is worth $17,500.74.
How much is your blog worth?

There's no way to cash out that equity, is there?

Leaving, Jet Plane, Trauma, Yeah

Gearing up to take The Husband to the airport. Long drive there, long drive back, and...then what?

Depression often feels like a monster lurking over my shoulder, just out of sight. I've got my magic talismans to protect myself, but what if they fail? what if I drop one? I'm not sure which one is actually working, and I'm not sure how long they will work. Talismans are like that. So, the monster lurks behind me somewhere waiting to leap out and throw that black bag over my head and drag me into a cave of apathy or toss me into the pit of dispair (hack, gasp, coughcoughcough).

Ok, the language is picturesque, but the reality ain't so pretty.

He will be back Wednesday, so I don't really have enough time to work myself up into a full fledged frenzy. Plus, I'm a long way from where I was 10 years ago, and a bit further along from even last April. I know what can happen. Maybe I can get around it. Not succumb.

I used to travel a bit, in my teens and twenties. I'd go places on my own, without any fear -- get on a plane, a bus, in my car, and just go. I'd take care of myself, meet strangers, talk to people. I really miss that person I used to be sometimes. I wonder if everything about me that's changed can be traced back to the depression, or if some of it is just a happenstance of aging and learning more about the world, suffering loss and knowing dangers. Am I wiser or just more of a coward? I remember everything, but the doing of it now, while so simple in my head, is a lot harder in application.

Feh. I can write a novel in two months. I can manage three and a half days on my own. I'm almost 41 years old. I can take out the trash, wash the dishes, put away the laundry, feed the cats, walk the dog, go to work, come home...I can do any number of things. I can. I say so.

We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Big Ol' Lecture about Writing Critique

Those brave and generous people who offered to be my First Readers are starting to turn back comments to me. I've glanced through some of them, but I'm saving them until February so I can dig in.

Hah. I've always been lousy about reading comments. It is very hard. That's yet another thing I'm going to conquer with this writing project of mine.

It's hard to read critique for a lot of reasons, especially very long critiques on a large work. First, there's just the general sensations of embarrassment and inadequacy over seeing things you feel you should have done right the first time. It's hard to forgive yourself for putting out a flawed piece of writing. Initial reactions can range from defiant lazing anger to crawling under the bed. I tend toward the "under the bed" crowd. Even when you know, without a doubt, the reader picked up on problems you knew were there, it is still difficult.

Then there's the overwhelming urge to drop everything and Fix That Problem. This is also usually a bad idea. I was taught, and I agree with, the idea that one reads ALL the feedback and looks for the thing that shows up the most. Even if you don't agree with it, if several readers are picking up on the same thing, chances are it's a real problem and needs attention. If you rush to fix every problem pointed out, chances are you will write and rewrite sections, or you will tear the manuscript apart so badly you can't reassemble it.

Last, and most dangerous, is that you can get so overwhelmed with the information that you lose your authorial control. Not everything a reader points out nesessarily is a problem in the story. I remember a long running debate in some of my writing classes about the reader's "control" over the story -- that the reader interprets the writing based on their own experience and expectations and the author has little or no control over this interpretation. Some feel the author completely controls the reader's experience, some feel the reader controls it, and of course there is a range of opinions between the two extremes. I tend to lean more toward the "reader control" side, just from my own observations of readers critiquing writers -- intelligent, earnest readers can get some seriously whacked out (to the author) ideas about a piece, stuff the author never intended and possibly didn't even consider or know about. So, everything a reader says in feedback must be held up for examination. How much of it comes from the reader's style of reading? How much is based on their own knowledge, or lack thereof? Does it indicate the author's need to 'teach' the reader something to understand the story?

Of course, as the author, you must ultimately write for your own goal, which is -- as far as I have ever been able to tell -- to communicate something to another person. The author may take advice on how to refine and perfect that communication, but there's a line where the author has to consider if the feedback is about the communication method or the communication content.

I should actually put the lecture part of this on my writing journal, and I might just do that later. For now, I'll just say that I'm happy with the feedback, and I'm scared and nervous about it, and I know most of all, I've got a lot of work ahead of me.

Alone Again, Naturally

Tomorrow night, The Husband will be winging his way to New Jersey. He's been tapped for work-related training, something that hasn't happened in about 10 years. On the one hand, it's an indicator of job security. On the other, he gets back into town the day before the first out-of-state guest to visit us this winter will arrive. I will be at the airport a lot this week.

Husband being out of town is always problematic for me. Now, back before my brain was replaced with the brain of a married woman, I was relatively independent. I didn't live alone, but my dad and I lived like room mates -- I paid my bills and lived in my part of the house, he lived in his part of the house, and we occasionally met up in the kitchen. I spent most of my time handling my own stuff -- garbage, laundry, dishes, pets, getting up, going to work, etc. You know, like a real person.

However, since becoming symbiotically attached to The Husband, I've lost my ability to function when he's gone for extended periods. I don't quite know why this is, but it's been true every time he's gone. It's as if I spiral straight down into instant deep depression. I crave sugar, I can't sleep, it's hard to do ANYTHING. I have a particular memory of one week where Husband was invited to accompany MIL on a ski trip, and since I don't ski, I stayed home to care for the pets and continue my life. At one point I was combing the cupboards for sweets and found an old tube of cake frosting. Thinking back on it now, it's frightening. I don't want to go back there.

Last April, when I attended the writing workshop, I had similar trouble. I was alone in a town I didn't know, around people I didn't know, in a sterile dorm room. I lived on Poptarts for most of the week because I could not make myself search for real food. I don't know why, and even now, when I think about it, I am both puzzled, and I remember the paralysing senaation. It might have been fear, but it felt just like major apathy -- I didn't care. I didn't want to face anything. It was too hard, too complicated, required too much..I dunno, too much something I couldn't find or didn't have.

So what do I plan to do? I don't know, yet. Whatever I plan now has nothing to do with what ever it is takes over after I say goodbye to him. I'll fight it as I can. I'd like to be normal, just miss him and still manage to live from moment to moment, getting things done and acting like an independant person. I USED to be able to do that stuff. Some change is just no good.

Friday, January 20, 2006

For consideration

Would it be deceptive or just insanely anal if I were to go through the posts for my original website and make them into Blogger posts, under the appropriate original dates? I'm working on getting catagories for this weblog (thank you Sol!), mostly so I can stop repeating myself or find things I'ved already said to expand or reference. There is about 3 years worth of writing tucked into my old archives.

Not that I necessarily think anyone else will find something to reference in anything I've said in the past. Any benefit others get is purely incidental. It's all about me. In my own little world, I'm very popular.

If the magic elf can get it working, I'll letcha know.

Somebody Kicked My Immune System

It's an achy morning. Sort of damp, sort of chilly (in Florida terms), very grey. I woke up to a whole collection of aches -- shoulder, right arm, neck, hip, you name it, it probably is sending electronic signals to my brain screaming "Would You Please Stop Moving THAT WAY?" Add to that a suspicious swelling of the glands in my throat and an accompanying vague soreness, and I suspect there's a germ somewhere in my body. Call up the white blood cells! I didn't go in to the office. They have germs in that office. Germs are what I get when I hang around people.

So, of course, the dog wants her typical exercise -- outside for 5 minutes, back inside, back outside, on the couch, on me, on the dogbed, on the couch, outside for 30 seconds, back inside. I'm not really feeling up to it.

And I'm watching "World's Wildest Police Videos" on Spike TV, in part because 'tain't nuthin' else on, in part because I feel too tired to put in a video, and in part because I always feel like a fuckin' genius after I watch these people. Whenever my self esteem is low, I can depend on some form of reality TV to make me feel like "wow, maybe I'm not such a pathetic loser. I have some dignity, and there are some things I won't do for money." Watching criminal activity just makes me feel all that much better. No, it would never occur to me to walk into a convenience store with my hand in my jacket pocket to fake having a gun, and smile in into the video camera. And under most circumstances, I will not attempt to excape from police in a car, unless the policemen have been infected with a zombifying virus and want to eat my face. At that point, I think I am justified in slamming down my gas pedal and rocketing through redlights. Besides, zombie police officers can't use radios to call in back up or alert the next county. Germs aren't that smart.

Neither are the people catching camera time on this show.

Those Whiskers Tickle

9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney

Sometimes I feel just exactly this way. Havent you?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lookin for Sheet Music

I'm looking for sheet music, preferably piano and vocal, for a 1944 song called "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine". The song was, as far as I can tell, written by Stan Kenton and first performed by Anita O'Day and later performed by Ella Fitzgerald. The song was also featured in the classic Bogart/Bacall movie "The Big Sleep" (Lauren Bacall sings it).

If you have sheet music for this song or know where it can be obtained, please let me know. Email me at Sylkenvelvet (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Why I Need to Sleep More

I'm not getting enough sleep. I need more naps. While scanning the news headlines this morning, I swear I saw this:

Purported Bin Laden Tape Worm Attacks.

Turned out it was only

Purported Bin Laden Tape Warns of Attacks

Not nearly as interesting, don't you agree?

More Real Live Conversation

While walking passed the receptionist this morning:

"Good morning. How's it going?"

"I'm quitting this job."


"I'm tired of being under a microscope! Everybody else can do whatever they want!"

"What happened?"

"I'm not allowed to talk on the cell phone -- everyone else can talk on their cell phones! I'm not allowed to take personal calls or go on the internet! [Boyfriend who works in back] can't hang around up here anymore. All I'm supposed to do is work all day!"

At which point I turn around and go back to my office.


In other work-related news:

I am typing addresses for a mailing. There is actually someone named Bo Hazard living in Texas ( I won't name the city, I have SOME ethics.) I wonder if he was born before or after this little moment in time.

From a distance

A reflection inspired by the morning's weblog reading.

The closer you get to something, the more details you see. The greater the distance at which one stands to look at anything, especially a group of things or people, the more homogenous they appear.

From a distance, all US citizens are stupid. All Iranians are violent religious extremists. All Japanese are consumer robots. Blah blah blah. You can go on and on with this. From a distance, it is easy to pick a trait (usually negative) and apply it to any group of people. It's easy, it requires no thinking, and it sucks up emotional energy easily. Distance turns any group of individual items into one bland mass.

Step closer. Some US citizens aren't necessarily stupid, or unaware. You can find French people who are generous and humble. Some Iranians practice the peace that is part of their religion. Many Japanese are thoughtful and unconcerned with their possessions.

I know more about the US than other countries because that's where I live, and for those who stand outside, let me assure you, there are certainly people who fill all those stereotypes. I see them. I see them in shades and grades and levels of detail not available to you at your distance. I see people, men and women, who will never travel more than 500 miles from home, who are curious only about where they will drink this weekend and who wins whatever contest of physical prowess that interests them. Anyone who speaks with an accent different from theirs, who dresses in a manner that varies from their uniform, who has knowledge and aspirations, experiences and dreams that arc outside the familiar – anyone unlike themselves -- is suspect.

Do you see people like that from where you stand?

I see people who are angry. I see people who feel the way to get what they want in the world is to kill off all those who disagree with them, or who do not agree enough. I see people, far too many people, who are certain their particular set of rules for living should be the rules for everyone everywhere. I see people so terrified of all they don't know that they are vicious; feeling the only way to alleviate their fear is to make as many others as possible say "I agree with you. I will do it your way!"

Does anyone else see people like that?

Stepping closer still, the fears show in multicolored detail. People fear pain and death, they fear starving, they fear having no shelter, having no choice and having no voice. They fear for their souls, they fear for their children, they fear for their family and friends. They fear they will lose what they have. They fear they will never have what they want or need. Anyone who is different in whatever way "different" is defined could stand in the way of them reaching what they want, or take away what they have. You can see it as tribal, as primitive, as dictated by divine providence, as first and second charka or as Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

There is still fear. Fear creates distance. It's scary, it's difficult, to step passed that fear and get up close. It's dangerous and terribly risky.

But, it is hard to see people as they really are from a distance.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today is Cary Grant's Birthday

Holiday, The Philadephia Story, An Affair to Remember, Charade, Father Goose, His Girl Friday, North by Northwest, Operation Petticoat, That Touch of Mink, To Catch a Thief, Penny Serenade.

Those are the ones I own. Love 'em. Who could resist?

To what are you referring?

Few things give me as much guilt-free enjoyment as my referal lists. They hardly require commenting.

kill me hate me taste me use me

"crotch photos" shorts

how can I change my entire life

selling myself to marry you daughter

hysterical + yakking + blogspot

i want to be a male exhibitionist in florida

From such varied sources, all these poor souls wandered into my little corner of the internets. It just never gets old.

Of course, it also bring all my old typos back to haunt me...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Blame the Gnomes

Any morning that starts with a headache and ends with a visit from my mother in law has "failure" written all over it. Yet, somehow, I have persevered and nothing serious has taken place -- so far.

Bosszilla was back at the office today. He roams around, his mood variable. He has me write a friendly letter to one of the country clubs to which be belongs, to give them business advice about not closing the swimming pool. Next, he's behind his closed office door, yelling on the phone to someone. Five minutes later he's talking nicely to the salesperson who is leaving soon, yet came back to train her replacement. Ten more minutes go by and he's yelling at the rest of the sales people, which is why someone is leaving.

"When you call that sonovabitch whoozzit, I want to talk to him.

"I wasn't going to call whoozzit today. I talked to him yesterday. Why do you want to talk to him? Is there a problem?"

"I just want to fuckin' talk to him."

"Ok. I already talked to him about thisinthat and he's ok with it."

"Just let me talk to him when you call him, ok?"

"Do you want me to call him now?"

"No, just when you call him, I want to talk to him."

"Can I tell him why you want to talk to him?"

"I don't care why I want to talk to him, I just wanna goddamn talk to him!"

One wonders why he doesn't make the phonecall himself, but I guess there are reasons. Big Picture reasons, reasons we, the little people, just won't understand. Bosszilla is all about the big picture.

I'm talking with M, who has my old job and with whom I share a good deal of managerial philosophizing. We have observed over the years the many things Bosszilla will find to yell about. He occasionally requires something about which to yell. How poorly or how well things are going has no bearing. So M tells me, "Bosszilla walked passed my door and started yelling and pointing at the floor. There was this little dustbunny against the wall. He's yelling 'That dust has been there for three days and nobody in this goddamn company will clean it up! Look at that dust.' He made me get up from my desk to look at the dust."

I shake my head. "Of course he knew it was the exact same dustbunny, right? Did he get someone to clean it up?"

M laughs. "No. He tagged and released it to see if it's still there next week."

After that, Bosszilla is questioning me about his Netflix account.

"Why are they sending me these weird movies? Why aren't they sending me new releases?"

I have no answer for this. Luckily, he's not really interested in an answer and I go away. He has yet to fully grasp that while I pick out the new releases for him each week, his wife likes the "weird" movies -- art films, classics, etc. and she ALSO has access to the Netflix queue. As far as he's concerned, there are magic movie gnomes who telepathically pick up what movies he wants to see before he even knows he wants to see them, and then mails them out.

My boss. He's an interesting guy. This is why I don't write about work. Who's going to believe me?

Almost makes me wish for snow

Dave's Pics

Go take a look at what people have to do to entertain themselves in Alaska.

Monday, January 16, 2006

More Gratutitous TV commentary

TV in the bedroom halves your sex life - study -

Well, OBVIOUSLY they aren't using their bedroom TV to watch porn!

Gratuitous TV commentary

Remember Tech TV? It was bought a while back by G4 TV, gutted and remade. I used to watch Tech TV frequenly, and I was less than impressed with the changes. All kinds of dreadful predictions about G4 were made, and much mourning for Tech TV was done.

I'm noticing that G4 is showing lots of "Star Trek:The Next Generation" and "The Man Show" and "Attack of the Show" reruns. There's very little of the stuff G4 started running, and no evidence of the fine TechTV programming (except for X-play, which I once loved and now catch occasionally for nostalgia -- it has carried the odor of desperation for too long and makes me sad).

I can't find much hard information in searches, but could it be that G4 has killed itself?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

T'aint so cause I say so

Perfectly acceptable -- someone not liking a movie, a book, a song, whatever, because it doesn't correspond with their point of view, their experience, or their perspective. Fine, dandy, we are all there. This is saying "I don't like this because I can't see the author's point of view, or I can't relate to what is depicted."

Highly irritating -- someone not liking a movie, a book, a song, whatever, because it doesn't correspond with their point of view, their experience, or their perspective, and their PoV, experience or perspective is the Ultimate and Only one available. In a nut shell "It just doesn't happen that way and I know because I'm from there and it didn't happen for me." This isn't saying "I don't like it." This is saying "I don't like it because it's wrong and I'm right."

I'm highly skeptical of any opinion that reduces down to that equation. No one has the entirity of human experience sown up for handy reference. Saying "no one would do that" when you mean "no one I know would do that" or "I would never do that" is, shall we say, not the most intelligent way to present one's opinion. There isn't much that someone, somewhere, in some situation, hasn't done.

Security is knowing one's role in life.

This morning I awoke and the Husband had taken the van and gone somewhere. I don' t know where but I suspect the storage unit. This means potentially he will bring back breakfast. So, I'm sitting in the back room with my bird.

I have a third hand bird. She's a ring neck parakeet of irrascible temperatment. After some years and much blood sacrificing, she adores me. She belonged to my father for years, although he could never handle her, and before that she belonged to a friend of his, so I know she's at least 12 years old or so. I know she's female because she's laid eggs before. I know she's a ring neck because I looked her up in a book. If you check articles on ring neck paraketts, you'll see they like to chew and tear things. Currently she is chewing and tearing a drop card from Glamor Magazine. She's also got a major love for the cardboard roll from toilet paper and will go into ectasies over a paper towel or tissue. She likes to crawl around on me and often wants to be "kissed" -- that is, she's checking my mouth for food. It's some kind of creepy bird behavior and I don't really like it.

Her name is Sweetie, but we also call her BloodSucking Beast and Dragonbird. She likes nothing more than to bite a hunk out of Husband or any fool who ignores my warnings and takes her half-lidded eyes and clucky behavior as more than a lure. She survives in a housefull of cats because they are all scared of her. She bites, she flies, she emits ear splitting, soul rending squawks of anger and indignation that send the bravest feline scurrying for a spot under the bed. The dog hates being in the same room with her unless she's dropping peanuts. Calico eats peanut shells (don't ask me, she also eats cat poop. She's a DOG.) and Sweetie is an endless source of peanut shells.

In other pet news, Ophelia -- big fat blob cat -- is sitting on the couch waving one rear leg in the air as if she's attempting to scratch her ear, only she can't reach her ear. Now, actually she CAN reach her ear and most other portions of her body -- for a cat her size, her yogini talents are amazing -- so what the leg waving actually means, I don't know. I just watch for a while and see, regular as a heartbeat, the wave-wave-wave-pause, wave-wave-wave-pause of that back leg. She stares at it some of the time as if it doesn't belong to her. Other times she's watching TV, or staring at the bird.

Ah, Sweetie has wandered down the couch to make threatening faces at the dog. It's a balance of power thing, you know.

Me? I am cat furniture, bird climbing tree, opener of closed doors for dogs, and a source of body heat. I scratch itchy spots, dispense treats, refill water dishes, and stroke fur and feathers. However, for Sweetie, I am irreplaceable. She loves no one else. She occasionally takes a hunk out of me to remind me of this.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


The Husband already owned the house where we live before we ever met. His (mother's) original plan had been to buy a house, live in it for 4-6 years, find a new job, move away and sell house. Mom would use the house as a winter Florida home, since her single 20 something son could certainly have nothing going on in his life that his mother couldn't be part of, yes? The house was built with the idea that it would be sold relatively soon, so everything was neutral. Grey carpet, white/offwhite floors, grey or white countertops, contractor white walls, etc. All the furniture and decorations were pretty much old stuff from one of Mom's properties (a condo she had owned and had sold) and stuff Husband had in college.

Then, a year into "the plan", Husband meets me and marries me. I had a dad nearby I wasn't willign to move away from (which was good, as it turned out, because I didn't have much more time with him left). So the whole "changing jobs/moving away/selling house" part of the plan was scrapped.

Being "at home" in the house I lived in is important to me. We moved several times when I was growing up due to my parents' divorce and my mother's remarriage. After my mother died when I was 16, my stepfather made rather plain that the house I lived in was not my home and at the same time locking down on me so tight because he'd lost my mom so suddenly. My dad couldn't make up his mind to leave his single-guy life and 2 room apartment so I could live with him (my mother had sole custody after the divorce. I had to explain to my father that he had to obtain custody of me, since I was a minor. For a while I was "legally" a ward of the state.) My dad was a wonderful man, but he was not a fighter and he was not a man of action. He didn't like change and it took him a long while to make changes, like finally getting a house and having me move in with him and away from my troubled existance with my stepfather.

It's all very strange now, looking back over 20 years at it. I was not ready or prepared for independance and neither my dad nor my stepdad wanted me to BE independent, but neither quite wanted me around either.... Anyway, this has made having a home I could call my own terribly important. Hugely important. Ginormously, egantically, vitaly important.

After we married, there was a long struggle to make a "bachelor house" into a house we could share, lots of difficulty, lots of territorial spitting and hissing. I left most of what I owned behind with my dad. It was several years before Husband and I bought any REAL furniture together. I felt for many years that I was just above "housemate", with none of my taste, none of my pictures - very little, infact, of ME in the house. This was reinforced by the yearly Mother In Law 3 month visits (the first started 3 days BEFORE our wedding) in which, after a few false starts, I realised the house was more hers than mine and my opinion wasn't terribly important as far as the house went. As you might imagine, it was several years and a lot of compromising all around before I impressed upon The Husband how important having a home of my own was and how Not-My-Home our house was (even when we refinanced and my name went onto the mortgage paperwork).

So over the last 6-7 years of our marriage, I've been slowly "redoing" the house. We started with a spare room becoming a meditation room, then redoing another room into a library, then when we remodeled our rear porch into a huge all purpose room...lots of painting, furniture buying to replace the hand-me-downs, redecorating, etc. While Husband has had veto power all along, I've been making this place Mine. With the change to the wood floor at the end of last year, I am finally and officially Very Happy with my house. Husband has accepted that I simply don't function if my environment isn't comfortable to me, and as long as he doesn't hate anything, he can live with it.

So what's this whole long, drawn out story about? Today Husband and I went shopping for tablecloths. Not just ANY tablecloths, mind you. They have to work in the house, and be the right colors and fabrics and la la la la. This is dreadfully important because this is OUR house and we must both at least LIKE what's in it. It's all "ours" now. The right table cloth means we don't have to replace the table and chairs in the kitchen quite yet because, with the new floors, it really looks ODD but the table cloth covers that up. Oh, and we needed a harp for the new lamp we bought, because, for reasons unknown, the harp the lamp came with was too short to actually have a light bulb in the fixture.

This is nesting, friends. This is finding the right twig or scrap or tuft of shed dog hair to fit into the whole collection and make everything right. And being married to a man who not only realizes that having the right table cloth, while not earthshatteringly important, will in the long run reward him with the deepening love and admiration of his wife, is a fantastic thing. That he will go to THREE STORES in a single day to find that table cloth is just another gold star next to his name. Bow down, ye lesser men. Be jealous, women of the world.

And he's cute, too. Now, how do I bring up painting the bedroom?

Friday, January 13, 2006

The cat at my elbow

i can only leave my whining up for just so long before I am disgusted.

Not that I have anything else to say. I don't. That won't necessarily stop me.

Mostly I'm wondering how those brave souls who are reading my manuscript get along. I've heard a word here and there -- at least three survive the attempt so far. I wish I could well explain my worries, but they are surprisingly resistant to explanation. Almost two weeks now -- seems forever and seems like no time at all. I'm still not writing anything, and I made some goals I should reach for. Dunno why I feel uninspired. I'm not finding inspiration either. Must be time for porn. It's always good for a laugh.

My elbow is under attack from a very rubby cat right now, which is making typing a little difficult.

Toothy goodness, doggy badness

As of this visit to the orthodontist, on my next visit, I will be "debanded".

That means NO MORE BRACES. Hoo ha! I shall have real teeth again before I turn 41. I'm all about this.

In other news, the dog persists in her latest attempt to drive me completely out of my mind. This has gone on all week, and is a continuation of her behavior for the last 2-3 years, just escalated. She reminds me of an elderly Alzhiemer's patient I used to do respite work for (basically babysitting so her family members could take some time to themselves and, oh, go to church or out to dinner.)

"Anne" was a heavy woman and very agitated. She wandered from room to room, crying for her husband and screaming "Help! Help! The devil's got me! The Devil!". Then she would try to sit down -- reaching behind herself to grip the seat of a wooden chair, only to slide down in front or to the side of it. She lacked the coordination to actually manage sitting in a chair -- she'd hit the floor. That she hadn't already broken a hip was an indication of just what a tough old farmer's wife she was, but that wasn't a guarantee, either to her son or to a 22 year old me.

Anne was too heavy for anyone but her son to catch or to haul easily up from the floor. He was a tall, biig man, another in a long line of farmers and grove owners , but he suffered from severe back pain as well, so anytime she managed her chair missing trick (at least when I was there) getting Anne on her feet took three of us. And even if she did make it to the chair, she would be up and wandering again within a minute, and the whole thing repeated. Imagine dealing with this 24 hours a day, every day (I only had to handle it for 4-5 hours at a time), along with giving her insulin injections (she was diabetic) washing her, changing her (she was incontinent) and being racked with guilt because you could not in good consience place her in a care facility because, damnit, family took care of family.

Neither could she manage stairs on her own, and the house had stairs, a second and third floor, and from the yard to the front porch. Any time Anne had to be taken in or out of the house was a trial. She wasn't much better with a ramp, as she would try to go down it like it was stairs.

Her son and daughter-in-law resorted to putting Anne in a big recliner and tying a bedsheet around her and the chair. This was effective to keep her still for an hour or so. Sometimes she would watch TV, sometimes she would just cry and scream, sometimes she would sleep. There was no peace or happiness in the situation, but she was at least protected from breaking her hip, falling down the stairs, or any number of other dangerous situations. Caring for an impaired adult is not the same as caring for a child.

This is me and my dog. Nothing makes her happy or content, really. No toy, no treat, no food will distract her. No amount of petting is enough petting or the petting she wants. Instead of hurting herself she bangs into, trips up, or scratches me (I've caught that cement block head of hers in the jaw more than once and she LIVES to be a speed bump.) So, at the moment, I have a bungie cord around her legs so she has to lie down for 10 minutes. I check it so she's not losing circulation, but she's QUIET. Occasionally she even goes to sleep. She's been outside twice this morning and she will go out again in about 20 minutes, but she is not tearing up furniture, her crate, or me right now.

Am I cruel? So be it. She's alive, she's healthy, she's offered most everything other dogs think makes life good, but I really believe her little brain is losing whatever doggie grip it ever had. Having her put down is just not acceptable to me (killing something because it is not convenient isn't acceptible. If she was ill or injured beyond my ability to have her cured, if I could not care for her and could find no home for her, then I might be forced to it, because neither do I believe in turning a pet loose in the world to make its own way or die a more painful death.)

How cruel is cruel?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

There ain't no stinkin' title

Today has been one of THOSE days -- the outside world is ok as far as I can tell, but the inside world sucks. Not over anything, just 'cause.

I don't like it, but I can't slip, slide or slither from under this 3000 pound grey mass of blah.

I worry that the depression is coming back to pull the black bag over my head and take away everything, but I don't care. The worry is abstract. The only emotion I've worked up today is annoyance at my dog and her constant neediness and inability to be satisfied with anything. Oh, and her constant indecision about whether she has peed enough on any given trip outside (there have been a LOT of those today).

There's also this itchy scratchy feeling in my throat. I was around people last night -- first night of chorus rehearsal -- and there were without doubt germs in my vicinity. Where there are people, there are germs. Ick. No avoiding it. The itchy scratchy throat bodes ill. (I do love that phrase "bodes ill". It should never go out of style.)

Whine whine whine. Nothing interests me, everyone seems silent, I cannot concentrate nor can I make myself move around.

Hate days like today. Tomorrow is a Friday 13th. Must be better than today. And Sunday. Sunday will mark 24 years since my mother's death. I'm wondering about that, because after so long, all those feelings are kind of worn out. I gave up pumping energy into that loss a while ago, so now I just have this vague sensation that I SHOULD feel sad and incapable of functioning because, well, my mother died and all that. But I don't REALLY feel that way, and I wonder who it is watching me to make sure I display all the proper signs of dutiful, loving daughterhood, and if there's a gold star or something involved.

Mostly I just feel the echo of self pity that I am no one's daughter any more. That must mean I'm an adult or something. And with that pathetic note, I'm going to go swat imaginary villians with my imaginary super hero.
The Husband and Chris have set up a weblog for their comic. Go forth, worship.

Because I am

having a blah morning, I thought I'd give you a taste of today's postings from my blogroll.

A Short Letter Home: I Feel the earth...

Buzzstuff: I'll just keep the cough, thankyouverymuch!

Killin' Time Being Lazy: Think it's easy being me?

Letting Loose with the Leptard: Annuver fahcking meme then...

Manchester Life Online:Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pesky'apostrophe: Your activist judiciary at work

|bright(blightcafe|:[trav} World's End Close

Someone is bound to say something more interesting than I'll manage. Right now I have to rescue my cat, Pooty. He's lost in the kitchen again.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Last night, lying in bed with The Husband.

He: Oh, now all I have to do is check airfare for San Diego.

Me: *blink*...San Diego?

He: Yeah, San Diego. We need two air fares.

Me: ...why...?

He: (In the 'don't be a dummy' voice) For Comicon? In July?

Me: (long stunned pause). Uh....

He: For the book?

Me: (finally catching on to what's REALLY going on). Um, when did you decide this?

He: (shocked tone) About three weeks ago. It's the biggest comics convention around. Chris and I want to market the book. I've been talking about it to everybody.

Me: And when were you going to tell me?

He: (long pause)...I didn't tell you?

Me: Nooooooooo.....

He: (another long pause) wanna go to San Diego in July? (very quickly, in true backpedaling style) I wasn't sure you'd want to hang around a boring comics convention for a whole weekend with nothing to do....(silence). I didn't tell you, did I? We can go, can't we?

Me: (staring)

He: ...I was GOING to look for TWO air fares...

Me: I never should have let you get away with not actually asking me to marry you.

He: Well, at least I asked your Dad.

Cushy Spot in the Center

I have a cushy job. There's no doubt about it. I don't make much money at it, but then, I don't have to work much. I am a contractor. I work when there is a project at hand, or when Bosszilla has angry rants requiring translation into memos for the employees to ignore. I am quite good at translating a line of spit-inflected, hand-waving invective into a soothing memo that can be ignored. Handy hint - "Fucking Morons" translates to "Uninformed Employees". See?

I've worked at this particular company for eleven years now. The Husband works here as well, for fourteen years. He is the Company Miracle Worker. I am The Person Who Can Write Anything. I handle tasks exciting and incredibly mundane. My current project is creating an address list of customers for a customer satisfaction survey, which must be sorted by sales value and also put into a spread sheet for mailing lables. Good times, good times, because I also designed the survey and I will tabulate and analyse the results (and very likely create lovely color charts for Bosszilla, because he likes pictures). It still means I am typing addresses, one after another.

It also means that, on average, there is nothing to say about my job. I'll never have a work blog over which I am constantly threatened with discovery and job termination, because there simply isn't much to say. Many years ago I wrote about my job (and almost everything else that I still write about today - years go by, not much changes). At that time I worked here as a regular administrative employee (one of the few) and was just solidifying my reputation as Grand Rant Translator Extraordinaire. Today, Bosszilla is out of town. Monday, he was threatening to castrate various male employees in one department. Next week, I will write a poison pen letter for him and he will dance around the plant chortling about it and showing it to everyone (he has done this, more than once. Honest.)

Also, given the location where I live and the people who work here, the chances of anyone reading this and associating me (real life) with me (weblog author) are pretty slim. I checked Technorati. There are 84,826 weblogs better linkd than this one (thus more widely read, more widely known, and more likely to be found -- you know, the popular kids.) Anonymity and mediocrity have their upside, yes?

Speaking of popularity, but -- check my math here.

Technorati claims to track 24.9 million weblogs. Now, there are non-weblog sites all over the place where people post the same stuff, so let's be generous and say that weblogs make up about two-thirds of sites that post in a similar manner on similar subjects. (let's call Live Journal, Diaryland, and all that weblogs. I've seen them show up on Technorati.)

Ok, so we have 24,900,000 weblogs out there. Technorati (among other sites) posts a Top 100 weblogs list. That means only .0004% of all weblogs tracked on Technorati are in the top 100. (100/24,90o,000 = .00000401). So my ranking of 84,826 puts me in the top .34% of weblogs overall. (84,826/24,900,000 = .0034066).

Waitaminute....I'm scared. I regularly make math mistakes, so someone tell me - isn't .34% SMALLER than 1%??? I've checked that calculation, even ran it past an engineer here (who CAN add and subtract without taking off his shoes.) Did I make a mistake in the calculation? How in hell.....

Let's try it with my assumptions that Technorati tracks 2/3rds of potential similar sites. That would mean .... I have to do algebra. O powers of the universe, help me.

OK, check my math here.
3x= total blogs minus
x= 1/3 total blogs would equal
2x= 24,900,000 (2/3rd tracked by Technorati)

2x/2 = 24,900,000/2 = 12,450,000

So the total number of blogs, Technorati tracked and not tracked would be 37,350,000.


That would mean the top 100 represent .00026% of all weblogs. That's TEENY.

My math skills are much too rusty to calculate if you are more likely to win the lottery or be struck by lightening (I live in Florida, my lightening strike chances are higher than my lottery chances).


Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Today I rewrote an obituary. I didn't know the person. I did it to help someone at work, because I am "the writer" in this office and they had a word count problem.

I shortened someone's life and a whole family's grief to 150 words.

Monday, January 09, 2006

In a word

The Bloggy Truth is Out There

It's hard to be successful in the blog world, if success means being popular. You just can't get there from here, unless you are writing about your job and people are laying odds on when you will be fired.

Organic Foo

The Husband has occasional overwhelming urges to become all healthy and natural. Because he loves me (at least, that's what he says) he wants to drag me into healthy and natural with him. He doesn't understand that neither of these adjectives apply to me.

We have a little healthfood store not far from the house, and it sells all the expected overpriced Very Healthy, Organic, Wholesome, Natural food type things. Now, I'm fond of a few such items, less so of others. Which reaction I will have usually depends on how hard the manufacturer of said Very Healthy, Organic, Wholesome Natural food type thing is trying to imitate something Horribly Unhealthy. For example, there is nothing natural about soy milk. Soy beans don't have nipples, and therefor are completely incompatible with the milk idea. I tried for six months to like Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk and whatever else is offered in the line. Nope. Not happening. Same goes for meat substitute. I can deal with Boca Burger mixed with something else and carefully disguised with onions. Don't put it on a grill and expect me to believe it is anything but Tofu.

I hate Tofu.

Anyway, every once in a while the Husband gives in to the promptings of his inner vegetarian and brings home a bag of this Very Healthy etc. food. Usually said bags go into the pantry and sit while we circle them, daring each other to be the one who cooks it first. Then he'll be out running between appointments and stop at McDonalds while I'm at home, staring at the bag that is staring back at me. Guess who succumbs first?

Last night it was an Organic Wild Rice mix. I cooked it and seasoned it and all the important stuff. I even ate some of it. I have no idea what it tasted like, but the dog got the other half of my bowl. I heated it up again today, hoping that it was one of those foods that improves with age (like good chili). It was a little bit more palatable, but the dog still got it.

Why is this? I mean, I like rice. I like wild rice, white rice, brown rise, jasmine rice, basami rice. I've made and eaten a variety of rice mixes. I mix rice with vegies as a meal. I've even gone into Whole Foods and bought the fancy schmancy rices with names other than "Mahatma", that don't have "-a-roni" in them. All that stuff tasted pretty good. This stuff? This stuff, tasted Without the spice. Boiled grain, emphasis on the boiled. This particular wild rice had no wild in it, unless wild also means "flavorless because nature is like that."

There's another bag of that stuff in the pantry, too. This time, I'm holding out.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


The foot is much recovered. Swelling is almost gone, it's only sore when I bump it (which, of course, is ALL THE FREAKING TIME) and, worse, there's no really dramatic bruising to stand in evidence of my immense suffering. That's just not fair. I should really have a highly colored, multi-hued bruise at this point.

My sole consolation is the cut I have. Oddly, the skin on the top of my foot is thin enough that the cut, while rather icky looking, didn't actually bleed much. It's a nice slice, too, with peeled back skin and everything. There's a pale red area all around it, but pale red really isn't the effect I was hoping for. No, I was thinking black, dark blue, purple, maybe a little green. You don't get a lot of pity mileage out of pale red.

Feh. Tomorrow a feather will brush the back of my arm and leave a greenish-brown mark that will have everyone asking me "What happened?!" in concerned voices, and I won't even have a good story because I won't know it's there.

International Sounds

I just got a new installment of Lefki Radio. Can't wait!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

We require a special word for this?

Linguists Vote 'Truthiness' Word of 2005 - Yahoo! News

"truthiness," defined as the quality of stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than the facts.

Ok, maybe I'm woefully undereducated, my vocabulary is lacking, and I am otherwise simply not qualified to grasp this language that I have spent years speaking, reading, writing and studying. I am not a linguist. But, I swear, I always thought this whole idea of "stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true" was commonly known as "wishful thinking", or, occasionally, "outright lying". It's also known as "being uninformed", "ignorance", or *gasp*, "being wrong."

When you have one idea that you tell everyone is the "truth" and facts indicate another idea is actually more accurate, then your idea tends to fall in the "wrong idea" column, doesn't it? And if you knew about it before you made your declaration, that's usually "lying", right?

Ok, lemme check again...


Pronunciation: (trOOth), [key]
pl. truthsPronunciation: (trOO&thslash;z, trOOths). [key]

1. the true or actual state of a matter: He tried to find out the truth.
2. conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement.
3. a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like: mathematical truths.
4. the state or character of being true.
5. actuality or actual existence.
6. an obvious or accepted fact; truism; platitude.
7. honesty; integrity; truthfulness.
8. (often cap.) ideal or fundamental reality apart from and transcending perceived experience: the basic truths of life.
9. agreement with a standard or original.
10. accuracy, as of position or adjustment.
11. or constancy.

I added the emphasis on the use of "fact" in the definitions of "truth".


Pronunciation: (fakt), [key]
1. something that actually exists; reality; truth: Your fears have no basis in fact.
2. something known to exist or to have happened: Space travel is now a fact.
3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true: Scientists gather facts about plant growth.
4. something said to be true or supposed to have happened: The facts given by the witness are highly questionable.
5. Law.Often, facts. an actual or alleged event or circumstance, as distinguished from its legal effect or consequence. Cf. question of fact, question of law.
6. after the fact, Law.after the commission of a crime: an accessory after the fact.
7. before the fact, Law.prior to the commission of a crime: an accessory before the fact.
8. in fact, actually; really; indeed: In fact, it was a wonder that anyone survived.

Again, I've added the bold sections. Is anyone else catching on to the idea that, at least in some nuances of interpretation, "fact" and "truth" are synonyms? I will admit freely that cases exist where known facts to not necessarily equal known truths, but often that has to do with a lack of information or an inability or unwillingness to access or accept perceptive levels. That gets into ideas about reality and the ability of a human to perceive, understand, interpret and apply perceptions, and a whole long list of philisophical thought.

One more word to check


Pronunciation: (lī), [key]
n., v., lied, ly•ing.

1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.
3. an inaccurate or false statement.
4. the charge or accusation of lying: He flung the lie back at his accusers.
5. give the lie to,
a. to accuse of lying; contradict.
b. to prove or imply the falsity of; belie: His poor work gives the lie to his claims of experience.

1. to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive.
2. to express what is false; convey a false impression.

1. to bring about or affect by lying (often used reflexively): to lie oneself out of a difficulty; accustomed to lying his way out of difficulties.
2. lie in one's throat or teeth, to lie grossly or maliciously: If she told you exactly the opposite of what she told me, she must be lying in her teeth. Also,lie through one's teeth.

Truthiness is a word coined by politicians, isn't it? Which means there isn't much connecting it to reality, right? Personally, I'm thinking this whole "truthiness" really means "bullshit" -- which is a perfectly good word


Pronunciation: (bool'shit"), [key]
n., v., -shit•tedor -shit, -shit•ting,
Slang (vulgar).

nonsense, lies, or exaggeration.

to lie or exaggerate to.

to speak lies or nonsense.

(used esp. to express disagreement.).

Long Afternoon

Ok, it's been a couple of hours and the foot is no longer throbbing in a regular painful rhythm of "Stooo-pid, Stooo-pid". I've hobbled around a little -- it still works. I just don't LIKE it. So I'm back on the couch.

I'm expecting a hell of a bruise. However, I have a strange bruising process. I will go technicolor on bruises where I don't even know I've bumped myself. When I think I've broken something and it should just fall off, I get nothing. Nada. Chances are this has something to do with the amount of damaged bloodvessels and tissue and scientific stuff like that, but all I know is that anything which hurts this much should damn well show up as a good, pity invoking, "oh honey let me get you something to drink" bruise.

Anyway, with little useful to do, I'm reflecting upon my blogrolls and why I pick what I do. I've reflected upon this before. I'll reflect upon it again. There's nothing in my contract that says I have to come with original thoughts here. Besides, it's recycling.

I pick what I do because, for whatever reason, when I crawl through a blog, it pleases me right then. It might not please me later. It might not have pleased me before.

That's about it. I've tried to pick out common threads, themes, motifs, or other qualities. There might be some, but they aren't consistant. It's all about me.

Anyway, this is mostly directed at anyone who might wander back here from spotting me in their stats and feel offended that they were/were not tossed into the roll.

I want my sushi.

Update: I got my sushi and it was gooooOOooood! Now I want ice cream. I wonder what my chances are?

Stupid Things I Have Done

I am sitting on the couch with the laptop, my left foot on the coffee table, cushioned by a pillow, two cats tucked tight against my leg, thinking the following:

"Man, that ice is COLD."
"Ok, did I kick the couch or the corner of the bookcase?"
"My dog is a psycho. Total psycho."
"I wonder what color my foot will turn."
"There's no way I'm getting a shoe on this today, much less those kicky new heels I like so much."
"I don't like my dog right now."
"I shouldn't let the psycho dog get to me. She's a dog."
"That ice is freaking COLD."
"No sushi. Man, we were going for sushi today! Now I get Lean Cuisine."

Among other things. The foot is not broken, but it is highly, HIGHLY pissed off with me and in no mood to cooperate with such activities as standing or walking. WHY, exactly, I thought it was a good idea to kick whatever piece of heavy, solid wood-with-with-a-sharp-edge furniture while in pursuit of my psycho dog, I can't explain right now. Chalk it up to another moment of stupidity.

Gotta take that ice off.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Don't ask me what it is, I just found it out there, hitting the Magic Next Button. I won't link the site (it's covered in porn ads and had a porn pop-up movie that made me fight my way free).

Nevertheless, I had to prove I'd seen this.

Aside from "nearly naked woman in tin-foil", anyone got a guess on this?

New Year, Same Magic Next Button

I can't stay away from the "Next Blog" button. Part of it is endless optimism -- I just know I'm gonna find something wonderful if I keep looking. Check out my Experiments list for the latest crop of blogs I'm looking at.

Part of it is endless wonder at how much stuff I find to roll my eyes at. I mean, I've got my pet peeves and automatic turn-offs vis-a-vis a weblog. I just keep finding new ones to add. I just skip past sites that commit any of these anti-Sherri crimes.

Blogs that have "original" poetry/lyrics as most or all of the entries.
You see, I love poetry. I try to read a poem or hear one read every day (Writer's Almanac is good for that.) Thus, I've developed strong feelings about poetry and strong opinions about what I like and what I don't like. Also thus, I rarely WRITE poetry anymore, because I feel very strongly that poetry is an art, like ballet or oil painting, that requires dedication and study before being inflicted on the populate at large -- talent helps, too.

Impromptu poetic efforts are like kindergarten dance recitals -- they should be exhibited only to those people who already love the person doing it. The scary thing is that a lot of this poetry is intensely felt, earnest and important but is written by someone who has not willingly read a poem since junior English Lit.

It's just torture. Stop it.

(note -- I ran across a blog that included new song lyrics. The guy wrote other stuff about his life, including about how his song writing is going, that I found to be well done and interesting. Personally, I don't care for the lyrics. He always WARNS when a lyric is coming up. I respect him for that. So I'm reading his blog anyway.)

Meaningless picture blogs.
There are innumberable blogs that have snapshot after snapshot of people grouped together with captions like "Joe, Billy, Megan and Me" and "Me, Megan and Joe" and "Billy, Joe, and Megan". Some of these are self portraits taken at arm's length, with heads held at "arty" angles. Sometimes they are babies or pets, usually in "cute" outfits or spitting out food. There is little or no other text. Obviously these are for friends and family, not random people. Clicky the "private blog" choice and spare the rest of us randomly running over these things. It's a little like accidentally opening someone else's family album, only the album is on a billboard.

Any blog that starts out with close up webcam/phonecam photos of genitalia (male or female, impressive or pathetic) is an auto no-no. If I wanna see that stuff, I'll pay for it with my credit card, like everyone else. (I've seen some sad, sad penis pictures on Blogger sites, my friends, and no, I did NOT save the URLs. You can just Magic Next Button them for yourself, you preverts.)

Music files that start up as soon as the window opens.
I don't even care if I like the song. I feel attacked. Same goes for animations.

Any site that wants me to download something is an auto-no. Why bother?

In the words of George Carlin, these are my rules. I make 'em up.

There's a German spammer who has attached to certain blogs. This makes my eyes roll. The full window sticks like a sandspur.

Then there are general peeves -- sites written (I use that term loosely) by those who don't really care what language they are using. Now, I'm not talking about people who speak English as a second language. I'm not even talking typos. I'm refering here to those folks for whom the finer points of writing -- things like periods, sentences with both nouns AND verbs, subject/object construction -- are simply unimportant or unknown. These bother me because, as far as I have been able to determine, the ONLY reason for keeping a weblog is to communicate with other people. A weblog is PUBLIC. If you are keeping it for yourself alone, then it's intended to be PRIVATE. Conflict is inherent. Things you do in public will get some kind of attention from someone. If you don't want attention, don't do it in public. If you do it in public and you don't get the kind of attention you want, you are dancing in the wrong tutu.

There's a whole 'nuther rant in that idea, that people blog to get attention and those who say they don't are not paying attention, but it's 1 am and I'm not gonna. This was just a rant on the number of "Sherri-unsuitable" weblogs the Magic Next Button produces.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Relative: Miners Left Notes for Family

Just reading through this news story made me choke up and tears are stinging my eyes. I can imagine the men writing those notes. I can imagine a son or daughter, father or mother, wife, girlfriend, best friend, lover...reading that note. It does and it doesn't comfort.

"I didn't suffer. I'm just going to sleep."

May they wake somewhere else tomorrow.

The Beekeeper

Tori Amos
Flaxen hair blowing in the breeze
It is time for the geese to head south
I have come with my mustard seed
I cannot accept that she will be taken from me

"Do you know who I am" she said
"I'm the one who taps you on the shoulder when it's your time
Don't be afraid I promise that she will awake
Tomorrow somewhere
Tomorrow somewhere"

Wrap yourself around
The tree of life and the dance of the infinity
Of the hive
Take this message to Michael

I will comb myself into chains
In between the tap dance clan
And your ballerina gang
I have come for the beekeeper
I know you want my
You want my queen
Anything but this
Can you use me instead?

In your gown with your breathing mask
Plugged into a heart machien
As if you ever needed one
I must see the beekeeper I must see if she'll keep her alive
Call Engine 49 I have come with my mustard seed

Maybe I'm passing you by
Just passing you by girl
I'm passing you by
On my way
On my way
I'm just passing you by
But don't be confused
One day I'll be coming for you...
I must see the beekeeper
I must see the beekeeper