Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Superb marching band video. Military marching from the New Zealand Army Band at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Great choreography, the band still looks like a tight military-style unit with some more free-form stuff thrown in, including playing to the home crowd with a bit of a fling. Impressive volume from an ensemble of less than 40 players. Highlight moment - flirty kicks during the Austin Powers theme. Good stuff.

Oh, a little more digging on the net reveals that the passage in the middle when they put down their instruments is a traditional maori dance.
Today is a super-special day.

My doglet turns 15 today.

When she got out of the house that day in early June of '98, I thought she was gone forever. Pitifully, I just couldn't let it go - I went to the SPCA and looked at the inmates every day for 9 weeks. I left crying most days. I made it through the worst of my grief, but I still hoped I'd see her again, and more than anything I hoped she was with someone who was doting on her and being kind to her, and not dead in a ditch somewhere.

The ninth week, the 9th of August I went into the SPCA and saw her poster had been covered up on the bulletin board by the picture of someone else's lost pet. I said "Um, my dog's picture is covered up," at which point they scrambled to uncover it - got to keep the daily-visiting crazy lady happy, I suppose.

4 days later, on Friday 13 August, I came home from work and had a voice mail that started off:
"I hope I'm wrong but I think I have your dog. When we found her she just had a red rolled leather collar on that had a tag that said 'devil.'" Hallelujah, it WAS my dog. [In my defense, the tag was a pewter tag that said "angel" on one side and "devil" on the other, but the angel side hammered against her collar buckle and wore down completely. This may have been a sign.]

They'd found her after she'd been on her own for 5 weeks. She was dehydrated, sunburned, malnourished with skin allergies and partially bald, and probably happy as a clam to be free-ballin' around the world. She was about 20 miles from home.

They thought she had been abused and tied up and neglected, but they soon figured out she was someone's baby when at bedtime she jumped on the bed and demanded to be let under the covers, at which point she shot to the foot of the bed and curled up at the woman's feet.

They went to Florida on vacation 3 days later and they said that all the way there, she looked out the back window in the direction of Texas.

Fortunately for me, Doglet terrorized the cats and chickens on this little farm, and the other dogs and the horses weren't fond of her either. She proved useful for that family in fact-finding the wisdom of having a Jack Russell Terrier, which their kids had been asking for. After a month of having her, she demonstrated how ill-fitting she was for that environment.

Anyway, they had a stray pup come up to their farm on Friday 13, and they simply couldn't keep one more animal. They took the pup to the SPCA in McKinney Texas and walked through the door and saw my sign on the bulletin board.

She said "I think I have that dog."

The employee said, "oh, that lady really needs her dog back."

So, I got her back and we've been on bonus round ever since.

This was a profound moment in my life, because I realized then I would trade all my possessions to have my little dog back. Anyway, it's been a great run, and I'm grateful for her every single day. From Friday 13 onward, it's been bonus-round gravy days for me and my dog.

Then last year on November 1, the day after her 14th, she made yet another deft escape and got run over by a car right before my eyes. I saw her running into the street and saw the car coming and knew that I was witnessing the last instants of my beloved pet's life. It was overwhelming.

The hit was the best it could have been - the car was perfectly centered over her and a tire didn't get her, so she rolled like a weenie under it. She was in shock, and they gave her an i.v. at the vet to keep her hydrated, but nothing was broken. What a relief.

Anyway, here we are a year later, and I'm so happy I still have her, so we're in double-bonus gravy days on overtime. Long may she wag.

Monday, October 30, 2006

OK, here I am at Kinko's again. My cable internet is not going to be installed until NEXT Monday, so this may be the lay of the land until then.

I was reminded yesterday of my favorite joke. I'm really bad at telling jokes because I chase rabbits and prattle on, generally losing my thread, but this has been a favorite since childhood, so I actually can remember the details in the proper order.

A young country preacher is out visiting the shut-ins in his parish when he stops by the home of a little old lady who has gone blind and doesn't get out much. She invites him in and he takes a seat across a little side table from her chair, and she commences to chatter on, starved for company as she is.

Directly, he notices a bowl of plain unsalted peanuts on the table and he takes a few, finds they are delicious, and begins eating them continuously as he occasionally interjects the one-word acknowledgement to indicate he is listening.

After about an hour of this, he says that he's got to be going when he says "oh my goodness! I just realized I ate your whole bowl of peanuts! I'm so sorry!"

The little old lady smiles and sweetly says "well that's ok, honey, anymore since I lost my teeth, I just suck the chocolate off anyhow."

Yes, well, obviously I'm easily entertained. I suppose this is my favorite joke because it's high on the gross-out factor but not obscene. I think it's adorable, actually.

Trajectory into mental illness:
Yesterday I bought Amy Sedaris' new book I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence. I woke in the middle of the night and read some of it. She's on David Letterman rather often, and mom says she reminds her of me, which I'm off-kilter enough to take that as a compliment. I loved Strangers With Candy ( yes, I WILL be buying the DVD when it comes out November 14), but having read the book, I understand why people think she is mentally ill--something I've been accused of more than once. She has an whole other aesthetic sensibility than high-design ever intended. Or, maybe being high has contributed to her design sense. The great thing is she has all her favorite recipes, and it's all photographed in the orange-filtered method of Better Homes & Gardens early 1970s photography in its books on cooking and design - you know what I mean by that , right? (along that same vein is James Lileks' superb Interior Desecrations with pee-your pants text he's added - Priceless!).

So anyway, I went back to sleep and dreamt I was reading Amy's book, and I dreamt there were several references to me in it "phlegmfatale says..." with entertaining tips from moi. I ran out into a busy, crowded street with the book to show people, and then I took a bubble bath. What does it all mean?

Anyway, I've been working like a fiend on some jewelry, and I have a design I really like right now, and I can't wait to show you. Y'all have a great week. I may not make the blog rounds again until I get my cable 'net, so please don't think I've forgotten your blogs just because I'm not commenting for a bit. Cheers, people!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I realize this is horribly crass, but for some reason, it delights me to see the word "doodie" on a billboard. This one's for you, Dick! This billboard is right around Cedar Springs & Mckinney, heading toward the Crescent. Had to stop and snap it Wednesday night.

Went to mom&pop's house for dinner Saturday night (yummy!) and niece and nephew were over and being their adorable selves. He's a live wire and has some serious moves that are somewhere between karate and gymnastics, and he likes to play "Heavy Weapon" on popcap games - not bad for being barely 4. She was quiet and sweet and played the piano for us. I was always the most musical in our immediate family, and I gave her my piano a few years back when I abandoned my ambitions as a classical singer, so it's incredibly gratifying to see her excelling at and enjoying music so immensely.

Life is sweet.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I'm exhausted from a killer week, so I'm going to unwind with this pitifully disjointed post.

I just did a mud mask (smells heavenly) from I Coloniali which is an Italian company. I was thinking what a grand age we live in when we can smear mud from an Italian pigsty on our pampered pusses. Ain't that special?

I'm reading "The Bohemian Manifesto" which has been most enlightening. I have learned that I'm not a slob - I'm a bohemian. When people come to my home, if I say something about sorry I've left things in such a mess, I've often been told what an interesting mess I have. I get obsessed with weird things for a bit and then I move on to the next weird thing that strikes my fancy. I know I mentioned my barf bag collection, and the Aeroflot barfbag is the crown jewel. I know: you envy me.

One of these days I'm going to weed my stockpiles out and sell a lot of 150 snow domes on ebay. Someday. Anyone here collect plastic mid-century Santa crap?

I'm working on a charm design I'm SO excited about. I'll put some on here once I've finished some. I love fabricating and soldering precious metals and making something, but it's also nerve-wracking business. I'm using chip solder which is 65% sterling silver and these little chips that are less than 1mm wide, so they are hard as the dickens to pick up and even harder to put precisely where you want them to go. I'm hopeful that the more I do this, the easier it will become.

Finally, I was showing someone an apartment this week, and one unit was a long space with just two windows at one end, thus it had a much lower price per square foot than our typical apartment. I asked the woman what she thought about it, and she said it made her feel confined and that she kept expecting the commissary to come by. I asked what that was, and she said when you're in jail the commissary comes by every day.

Oh, ok.

I mean, how do you respond to that? I can only imagine what a spectrum of thoughts washed through my countenance at that moment - my mom always said I couldn't hide what I was thinking. eek.

Have a good weekend. Stay off bike paths in cars. Remember to take time to love up on your housepets.

Oh - And one more thing - Over at This and That Frog Hair, lilfeathers pointed to a great blog called Iraq The Model with a terrific post on big-picture thinking from yesterday by an Iraqi living in Iraq. Very interesting reading.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The weather in Dallas was unusually foggy Wednesday and I found myself out and about with camera in tow. I took a photo of the enormous light at LBJ & Preston, and I got a space-shippy future-echo of the light due to its reflection somewhere in the camera mechanism. Coolness. Golly, I love my camera.

I eat sometimes at a diner where you may end up seated next to strangers, and invariably one overhears conversation whether they want to or not. Generally, it's very congenial and invites comment from strangers - a pretty friendly atmosphere. Today, however, I was sitting quietly trying to digest my magazine when a clucking trio of hens were seated next to me.

These ladies were of a certain age and talked about their hysterectomies ("I had mine in '99" one said) as though they were members of an elite club. THAT was bad enough - I had to choke down my lunch while hearing about people's female troubles. Ick.

But it got worse. So-and-so was violently ill and went to her doctor and he prescribed one antibiotic after another until one day, he wasn't even in the office and they referred her to a urologist, who miraculously cured her mystery illness with one little pill. With the same breathless reverence you would use to describe the town's most exclusive caterer or interior decorator, one woman said "urologists are so great!" and the other ladies twittered their hearty agreement.

She went on to say that her urologist had many famous patients, including a rock and roll superstar whom she named. Somehow, I doubt one of England's all-time superstar rockers stops between L.A., NYC and London in Dallas for a quick check of the old plumbing. I could be wrong: said urologist may be declaimed far & wide on graffiti in the hallowed pissing grounds of the rich and famous, but then again, who gives a rat's ass?

I think if I had the sad occasion to visit a urologist, I'd keep mum about the whole event and try to put it behind me, as it were. But that's just me. What do I know?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I went into a store this weekend for a quick look-round, and it was packed with men, women and children scrambling for bargains and filling up baskets. It was dazzling - it looked like the day after Thanksgiving.

Oh, and I paid $1.99 per gallon to fill my gas tank yesterday. Thank you, Karl Rove for lowering the price of gas and for turning off the hurricane generator this year.

And what's this bit of news about the Dow Jones venturing up above 12000 repeatedly recently?

Hmm. I'd say considering the crippling blow 9/11 dealt our economy--particularly the airline industry--it's a marvel to see things in such a boom a mere 5 years later.

Then it occurred to me today that along about 1992, election year and right after our first big foray into the Persian Gulf, I was seeing all these bumper stickers and headlines that said "it's the economy, stupid."

Funny, but the current critics of the executive branch seem almost mute about how well the economy is going. Now it may just be a fluke here - y'all all over the rest of the country may not be thriving and having loads of extra dough to splash out on new cars and new houses and luxury condos that we do here. Or maybe I'm just seeing the extra business locals are getting from the Katrina transplants.

I'm just saying...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

One more post about another potentially embarrassing situation on Saturday.

We had our dogs along, and in all the excitement of hundreds of dogs at the lake for a doggie event, my dog got a touch of the di-reer. I had baggies in my pocket, and I dutifully (heh!) did my best to congregate the bits of poop-slick into the plastic bag. I know what you're thinking: sexy.

We sat down to listen to the band for a minute, and about 5 feet from my chair was a callow youth sitting in an apron, obviously working at a concession stand or some such for that event. Having just arrived at that spot, the doglet copped a squat near him and a few pathetic drops of yuck dribbled out onto the grass. The kid sneered at the dog and then made eye-contact with me and I smiled my biggest grin and made the Lyndy England two thumbs up, like I was so proud of everything that came out of my baby.

Seriously, after the drive of shame, nothing could have embarrassed me - I'd already pegged and had nothing left to give!

Thanks for all the comments - I feel much better about the whole thing now.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Some times I'm mired so deep in clusters that I wonder if I exist merely as a cautionary tale for others.

Much of my time here is spent deriding the boobery of others and pointing out idiocy that merits the venomous rancor I am so keenly equipped to dole out. Well, I'm nothing if not an equal-opportunity offender, and I'm not going to pull punches when I'm guilty of a phenomenal bit of boobery. My only hope is that you will learn from my errors, one of which I will tell you today and the other soon to follow. The one in today's post is much funnier (to me) although it was a lot more embarrassing to experience at the time. The other bit of boobery no doubt will come home to roost like ripples in a pond, but more on that later.

Now, usually when you screw up something, if you're lucky, no one will see it and you can correct it and make everything right. If you cut someone off in a car, hopefully you don't cause an accident and you can sheepishly mouth the word "sorry" (i.e., I'm an idiot) to other motorists, and hopefully you haven't stoked their ire hotly enough to provoke the can of road rage they are just dying to open up.

Rarely does one face a gauntlet of shame that lasts more than an instant, thankfully. When you feel particularly culpable, waves of humiliation can keep lapping at the banks of your conscience for days, weeks and even years down the road. Going forth and sinning no more(or at least not sinning in that way again) is a great remedy to keep the feelings of worthlessness and doubt at bay, and in extreme cases, we have been blessed with a plethora of pharmaceuticals to bludgeon such negative emotions into oblivion.

Saturday I experienced something so monumentally horrific, socially speaking, that I am still trying to process it. It was super-awkward. Here's what happened:

I was going to a local lake with a girlfriend and we were meeting other friends there at a named point in the park. About 15 years ago or so, I rode around the lake on my bicycle a couple times a week with friends, and I knew its paths and roads well. However, since that time, the layout of motorways has changed with regard to bike/pedestrian paths.

My friend was driving and we were going in the right direction, I knew, but I wasn't sure exactly where we should turn off. We were following a car and driving very slowly, mindful of pedestrians and cyclists while also looking for our friends. There must have been a sign that said "no vehicles beyond this point" somewhere along the way, but we certainly didn't see it, and sometime the car ahead turned, but again, we were looking ahead and not noticing where or why they turned off. (Also, other points in the park have poles in the path about 4 feet apart which would prevent a vehicle such as a car from entering a restricted pedestrian/cycle zone.) Next thing we know, the road is narrowing and narrowing and we suddenly find ourselves on the bicycle path at water's edge, a paved strip that is barely wider than the vehicle.

At this point, there is no doubt we are in the wrong place and we are looking desperately for a way to get off the path. Meanwhile every person we see either flips us off, yells, curses or very imaginatively deploys a combination of the three. My friend said "Phlegm, I just want to crawl into a hole and die!" We're laughing, but it's that nervous "what fresh hell is this?" awkward sort of laughter.

From the window, I asked a woman "we don't know how we got on this path and we don't know how to get out, can you help us?" She was surprisingly gracious (at this point we were fearful of being stoned to death, so a kind word went an awful long way) and told us that the path only got more narrow with no outlet whatever ahead, and that we needed to turn around and go back the way we came.

We pulled over onto the grass and turned around, and then some rocket surgeon yelled "get off the grass!" There's just no pleasing some people. Get off the path? Get off the grass? Make up your mind.

Mind you, we'd just come about a half mile in probably 10 minutes that seemed like 45, what with all the rancor, and now we were heading back to re-visit head-on the purple-faced rage of folks ranging from urban whole-grain earth-shoe latter-day hippies through to weekend-warrior extreme cyclist white collar guys - eek.

As one big doughy frat-boy vented his spleen in our direction, I thought "yeah, we're on the wrong thoroughfare, but I'm not the one with the wedding tackle on display in a swampy, petroleum-product pair of biker shorts." If I'd been clever, I would have just held the L-is-for-loser symbol up to my forehead to let people know "uh, yeah, we noticed we're, like, on the wrong damned road, already."

I got home and called me mum, and she chuckled and said "now those cyclists have had a taste of how it feels when one of them is in the road on the highway." Somehow, I don't think they were making that intellectual stretch at that moment, but it was a welcome fresh perspective.

Dad laughed and laughed--we both did-- and he said he would like to have been along for that ride, that it sounded funny. It was funny, but it was mortifying, and I honestly wish it hadn't happened. We weren't driving wildly or recklessly, and we certainly wouldn't have run over a person under any circumstance, but it was a major screw-up. Of course, it's preferable that we'd never ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it's not as though we maliciously set out to ruin someone's day - it was an honest mistake. It's incredible how from a benign sate you can suddenly blunder your way into something that turns into a huge mess.

Yeah. We're dummies.

Anyway, I hope your weekend was happily devoid of anything approaching the painful lessons of my weekend.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Uh oh. It's looking like I won't make it out to the State Fair this year after all, alas. No fried coke for me. Yup, they've figured out a way to imbue a little ball of dough with liquid coca-cola inside, and then the dough ball is deep-fried and a cola sauce and whip cream are drizzled over them, or so they say. You have to wonder how they come up with this stuff, and every year it's something new.

The deep-fried Oreos appeared last year, I think. So far, they haven't come up with the spaghetti taco, but odds are they will, evenutally. Actually, even though I haven't had one since I was probably under 10 years of age, I'd sort of like to have a candied apple now that my braces are off, if only for that nook-yoo-lar red coating that's probably bad for you.
Maybe next year.

Speaking of my teeth... Before braces, my molars were snug up against each other and the front and centers were a little more spaced out. Food never got caught between the molars because it was physically impossible to fit between there, and the front teeth didn't get food stuck up there because of their opposite-of-kung-fu-grip. NOW, however, they are pretty uniformly spaced, and I can floss 3 times a day and every single time I get swampy bits of salad greens and nefarious white blobs out from between the teefs, and all of it, well, decaying, is the best way I can put it.

And speaking of that, here's a question someone can maybe help me with. If there's someone you see on a casual or friendly basis, at what point is it advisable to tell them their breath needs a little work?

Believe it or not, I can seriously lack assertiveness when it comes to this kind of thing, and I simply clam up and don't mention it, all the while hoping my watering eyes don't give them the wrong idea. I take criticism so badly that it's hard for me to give it, because I don't want to hurt someone's feelings - is that silly of me?

Don't start thinking it's the softer side of Phlegm. I'm still the same embittered weirdo you've come to know and vex over.

Oh, and what's going on with Blogger & pictures lately? Frustrating!

Friday, October 20, 2006

OK, this may be a bit rushed, as I am knackered and dying to get to bed.

Things are going pretty well, and it seems I've finally found my stride in this over-committed/underslept schedule I've been keeping. Thursday was one of the best/worst at work, with funny things happening that I can't even talk about.

One amazing thing happened this week that left me feeling like the last of the gallopin' goobers. rightly so. SOrry, will have to finish this post later.

So, I had a much longer post that was quite entertaining, but I decided to abbreviate the whole mess to simply state that people don't just commit identity theft to access funds from your bank and credit cards - they can also have an entire criminal life listing your name birthdate and SSN as the responsible party, FYI. Something to think about...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thanks for indulging those two rants this week. Some people are slow to catch on, but I always knew the email of the species is more deadly than the mail. Anyone crafty enough to con people into paying them to navel-gaze in D.C. shouldn't need to be told that.

Yes, I washed my hair Wednesday I am happy to report. I know how relieved you must be.

OOOOH, little bit of heaven - when we were leaving the country fair after my dad's horseshoe triumph last weekend, I stopped by a vegetable stand and bought 8 luscious green tomatoes for $10 from Tennessee, which mom fried up proper on Wednesday night. OK, I know they don't translate well owing to the fact that grease in a photograph never conveys the true glory of the first-person experience, but they were so marvelousI had to include a photo the little deadlies on my blog. The thinly sliced green tomatoes are dipped in flour and corn meal then fried. My toes are curling just remembering it. Also, it only occurred to me to snap the photo near the end of the platter, but I knew you'd want to get a gander at them. Yummy.

Speaking of food, for any foodie/film afficionados out there, Tampopo is a superb Japanese film that sort of orbits around the theme of food. For anyone who has seen it, my favorite vignette is the guy with the toothache and the little boy with the carrot and sign - incredibly cute and sweet.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

SATURDAY 10/21/06

Perhaps this should be added to your busy agenda this weekend, Big Dick & Kelly. What's not to love about a Butt Scratchin' Fiesta? Good times.

If you have a weak stomach, you may want to skip this dirty girl post. .

My hair is curly and I like to wear it that way, but one does tire of the same old thing, day after day.

I reckon if we can put a man on the moon, science and nature should provide me with the wherewithal to sport stick-straight tresses on occasion. When I wear it curly, I never brush it or it will just fuzz up like a pissed-off kitty, so there's no telling how many lint-balls or threads or cinema tickets plastered in my Gordian locks I've walked around with, oblivious. Well, ignorance is bliss.

I wash it every couple of days, but drying it straight takes a lot of time, and that's pretty much how I wear it all the time these days.

Friday: the air was a bit cooler and drier, which makes drying my hair much easier. Yummy, silky, limp-as-a-rag hair. Yay.

Saturday: Storms at night have left a bit of moisture in the air, and it gets a bit wavy. Fair enough. Still silky and nice and I can run my fingers through it. Uh oh, caught out in the rain, though with an umbrella, well, I can feel it curling.

Sunday: Wow, VERY curly - the curliest I've worn it in a while, oh well, it's the one day off this week, why not?

Monday: Hey, it looks exactly like it did yesterday, and it looked really cute yesterday. I'll wash it tomorrow.

Tuesday: Crap - woke up late, MUST wash hair, going to be late to work, (looking in mirror) well waddayaknow? My hair looks fabulous! I think I won't wash it after all.

So, are you gagging? I'm grossing myself out - 5 days without washing my hair. It's camper hair. It's caught-in-the-wilderness-without-products hair. It's road-trip hair. Eek. Amazingly, it doesn't smell as bad as I would have imagined. Then again, the fall allergies - maybe my sniffer has gone off.

Well, that's the whole story - just that I've grossed myself out thoroughly.

But wait! There's more: my goal for the immediate future in my life is that someday soon on a Thursday night I'm going to go to the grocery store. Then when I come home from work on Friday, I'm going to put on pajamas and not leave the house and not wear anything but pajamas until Monday. I may clean, I may do productive things, I WILL shower and I will put on fresh pajamas, but I will not pass Go and I will not collect $200. My ass will be planted for one solid weekend. This I do solemnly swear.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

You know, I've thought about what I was blathering about last time, and I want to delve into it a little bit more.

One thing I was getting to earlier but didn't say clearly is the fact that the way our media cover sexual harrassment issues is situational sounds a foul note to my ear.

After the last 8 years of the 90s being hammered over the head by media shrieking "get out of people's bedrooms," you'd have to be blind deaf and unutterably dumb to not recognize the double-standard at play here. The thing is, if our judgment of right and wrong is nothing but gray area, we exasperate ourselves - there MUST be some point on the scale of experience where we draw a line and say "there! Cross this one, and you've erred." We seem unwilling or unable as a society to agree on this, and I think that's tragic.

But that's not even the most salient point, I think.

We are so entertainment-drunk (and I'm guilty of it, too) that we are fast losing a grip on who and what we are as a nation. I mean, is this what our ancestors struggled to make possible? Languorously idling about in a self-indulgent state and jaded to the point that we are discussing in which cases sexual harrassment or adultery are just ok and private business, and in which cases they are total public domain - do you think this was what your forbears had in mind when they risked life and limb to get here?

I guess in the end we can't help re-evolving into clusters of humanity guilty of the same oppressive and corrupt behaviors the Pilgrims left Europe to get away from, but I reserve the right to be disappointed.

Yeah, I know I'm a vulgar person with very low standards, but I do at least have SOME standards. It's not that I'm saying whatever the Foley person did was not an outrage, but I think very few of our D.C. officials could evade shame if held to that degree of scrutiny, and maybe THAT is what we should be discussing - the fact that we consistently elect pathological liars to represent us and we re-elect them even though they do a crap job, at best, and the diametric opposite of what they promised, at worst.

What most grieves me here is that we're wasting time focusing on a libidinous representative (and anyone who claims they are surprised by this event is a liar or delusional) when in fact, we have men and women fighting overseas and we can't be bothered to talk about what's going on over there - we're wallowing in vileness that utterly debases us. I say it's time we re-assess what we stand for, and I think we should throw every last rascal out of D.C. who acts in opposition to that end. I think we need to strip the chaff from the wheat in our media AND our government.

Thank God for the internet, which is the only true equalizer I know of in my lifetime, this side of death.

Is "pursuit of happiness" a synonym for amorality? I don't think so, or at least, it shouldn't be.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dateline: Kinko's at twenty cents a minute.
The DSL line crapped out last night so I didn't post because I thought I'd do so first thing this morning. To top it all off, the power went out at about 2:45 AM, and just came on about an hour ago, and the DSL is still not working. Meh.

On the upside, I went out for pancakes and got stuff for a new jewelry project I'm working on that involves pouring resin. OOOH, chemicals, and non-abrasive ones, for once. Still, I don't want to get any on me. Will show pictures of the finished project if it turns out as I envision it - right now this ideer is in the fact-finding stage.

Oh, couple more things: I haven't weighed in here on the scandal du semaine [that's scandal of the week, but couldn't resist the beastly pun]. I KNEW I remembered the horrid "congressmen like their pages bent over" joke from my days in high school in the early 80s. I will point out the 1983 scandal involved a 17-year-old boy, and this was pre-email/pre-internet era, so Al Gore's bridge to the 21st century didn't make an unholy alliance with Republicans to create a new form of child-exploitation - Foley was just re-hashing an old bit. Funny thing is, the media seem to view this as a badge of courage in the case of that Studds fellow. I don't get how the then-46-year-old Studds interfering sexually with a 17-year-old child is less morally repugnant than the current situation.

Oh, and what about that Kennedy guy who carried on an affair with the 16-year-old babysitter? He held a press conference and broke down weeping and went into the Betty Ford clinic or some such, resulting in a spate of resounding back-slapping and sympathetic forehead-wrinkling. I guess that was ok because it was a chick-- and of course - that's what we're here for.

Considering that I knew of the murky goings-on in D.C. involving young pages and interns when I was a mere lass in a suburban Texas town, I'm thinking it was ever thus that children sent to D.C. in such a capacity were pretty much there for the taking, and probably most parents who participated in such programs HAD to know their children would return much more worldly than they were when they flew the coop.

My point is that we can't give a pass to one politician or one political party, oh, say, a president, saying it's ok for him to treat the young interns on staff as a box of tissues but conversely declare it an outrage that lewd communications passed between an elected official and a barely- or not-quite-underaged page. This current bout of outrage seems obnoxiously disproportionate, unless it's going to come out that Foley inserted a cigar into the person of said intern and then smoked that cigar in the Rose Garden with Arafat. I'll be right here, not holding my breath waiting for that news bulletin.

"Oh, it's his private life." "It's between him and his wife." "It depends on what your definition of "is" is." "You conservatives love invading the privacy of other people's bedrooms because you are repressed." "Republicans' repression gives them a sick thrill out of keeping alive a scandal that's none of their business."

Wow, I suppose I'll never get rid of that ringing in my ears. Just sit back and enjoy the crashing waves of hypocrisy.

Y'all have a great week. Hopefully I'll be able to post as usual, but I want to maintain the habit of not blogging from work - slippery slope and all. Having the attention-span of a lit match, I already have enough of a challenge staying focused on business, so I simply avoid the blogging temptation.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

See my Dad.
See my Dad win at horseshoes.
Win, Dad, win!

Dad and Uncle (remember the guy who fried the dog testicles with the car cigarette lighter? Yeah, that uncle) have been competing at a local annual country fair horseshoe match on and off for the past 20 years or so. Today was the first time they've pitched horseshoes since the last time they won a few years ago. Most of the time they have taken top honors in the match.

Needless to say, Dad and Uncle kicked horseshoe butt on Saturday. I had fun capturing a few ringers in action, and here's one of them. Here's also one of many pairs of double-ringers my pop pitched, and a futile attempt of an opponent to stay in the game. This is the first time I've actually watched the match throughout in each game my Pop competed in. It was amazing to see my Dad making short work of the task. Considering what a hash they made of most other teams, I'd say it's a kindness that they don't practice before the matches. Well done, Dad!

Lovely niece was in the parade and nephew scarfed up a boatload of candy from the parade people, so a good time was had by the whole family, and I got a bit of R&R the likes of which I haven't had in weeks, it seems.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

To my darling baby sister:

The doctor reckoned you'd arrive October 5th, but in your ornery way, you had your own ideas. I prayed all day long on my birthday that you would come then, but again, you set your own agenda. Of course, when I saw you I fell in love instantly and forgave you for making me wait the additional 6 days. You have always been a living doll, and I'll always adore you as much as I did way back before you could exhibit demonstrably different opinions from my own.

Happy Birthday, Sister!

Friday, October 13, 2006

WOOHOO! I'm always happy when a Friday 13 rolls around. Once my doglet got out of the house during a storm and she was gone for 9 weeks. I'd given her up for lost forever, but I got her back on Friday 13th. Ever since then, me and my dog have been in bonus round together, gravy-train style. This was a phenomenal moment in my life - mourning her and realizing I would happily trade any material possession I owned just to have her back. Thinking that, I pictured me and the dog, cowering under an overpass naked, but happy to have each other. And then, Eureka! A minor miracle.

I'm not superstitious, anyway, and I know there's no significance to the number of the day - it was just a neat idea to hang my hat on, the fact that I got a phone call from a woman who'd been harboring my long lost doggie for 5 weeks and had even taken her on family vacation with them to Florida. That's a wild story I'll tell you some time.

In my digging about in vintage jewelry, I've noticed there are quite a lot of gold charms and pendants from the late Victorian era that are simply the number 13, so I'm guessing it must have been associated with good fortune back then.

What I wonder is what is up with no 13th floor on high-rise buildings? Are people really so silly that they won't live or office on the 13th floor? Is this merely a Western thing, or do they not put a 13th floor in skyscrapers in Indonesia or Bahrain or Tokyo, too?

If I had such a galloping neurosis, I'd be embarrassed for other people to know about it, frankly. I wouldn't advertise my idiocy by not having a 13th floor in a huge building I was erecting. Duh.

Then again, I suppose you can't afford to have an entire level of a structure that people are too intellectually stunted to set foot upon. So, I suppose there are boatloads of numbnuts out there who live/work on the 14th floor relieved not to be living/working on the 13th floor, when in fact, they live/work on the 13th floor, dagnabbit.

Who understands?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Yay - I took the lampshade off the doglet tonight and she's not chewing her paws. Hallelujah. I hate having her wagging that thing around hang-dog style - it makes her seem so downtrodden and sad.

Project Runway - ok - I've been peeking at images online - I think the best collection (though it's not totally unified, in my eyes) is Jeffrey's. I felt bad for him today when he was talking about his violent father and how he wants to be a good father to his son, I felt sad for him, and happy that he'd come through so much.

After the earlier incident of cheating this season, I hated hearing him accused of having help on his sewing, and I hope they were wrong about that. It seems like maybe this is a tempest in a teapot that producers are inflating a bit to create buzz - like maybe they were all getting along too well. I also thought it was sad to see that beer bottle on his bedside table - as though the stress of it all had tumbled him off the wagon - I hope that was just some exotic water bottle, but I doubt it. You may say I'm a dreamer.

Laura's husband was not at all the button-down type I expected to see rather than the Graydon Carterish-type. Overall I liked the pieces in Laura's collection best, but I think she has two major mis-fires that are going to trip her up totally. There's a jacket & shorts set that I find beastly, and the black dress with the feathers at the shoulders looks like a costume piece from maybe the 60s or something.

Uli's collection is passable but sadly bereft of enough of the flowy wild prints we associate with her. So that one's a wild card.

Michael's collection is beautiful, but I think some of the skirts are too short&tight, too mid-80s. Eek.

I suppose we'll see. After this show is over, I'm FREE! At least unitl PR begins again. I'm not falling for the American Idol B/S this time, nor any of several other programs.
OK, I will keep DVRing House. But that's it!
I'm not addicted to television, I can quit any time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I like Kurt Vonnegut, but I don't agree with his politics. Still, he's a tremendously talented and entertaining writer whose work I've always enjoyed.

I've been a life-time film-buff, so it's a bit surprising that I've just gotten around to it, but I watched the film realization of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five tonight, published in 1969. There's plenty of objectionable content in this film, but it contains one of the most side-splitting mind-blowing car vignettes ever caught on celluloid, and you owe it to yourself to see it if only for that. Hell, DVR it and forward through to the car thing - you'll thank me.

There's something about car chases involving practically air-borne multi-ton hunks of American steel - we'll never again see their equal in mastery of the universe around them. A pity, really. Then again, if we're feeling sentimental, we can pop in this film, sit back and watch an unhinged hausfrau laying waste to all in her path with a circa '69-ish city-block sized Caddy. That's entertainment.

Regarding the bit I disagree with - the crux of this film takes place in Dresden, a quiet burgh chock-full of peace-loving Germans whom the Allies senselessly bombed the water out of in WW II. I understand the climate in which this novel was written, but I don't understand the point of revisionist history regarding WW II in order to justify saying "get us out of VietNam."

Every war sucks in obvious and tragic ways, but this doesn't mean war is never justified or necessary. Likewise, major military actions aren't always the wisest or most humanitarian options. However, one cannot definitively state that because Vietnam was a big ole effed up gray area, it follows that all wars are big effed up gray areas. Sometimes war is the only possible option.

For example, Hitler invading Poland was not a gray area.

I wish we lived in a world where lunatics weren't trying to kill big bunches of the rest of us at a time, but we don't get our druthers.

Perhaps Kenny Rogers said it best in Coward of the County when he said:
I promised you, Dad, not to do the things you've done
I walk away from trouble when I can
Now please don't think I'm weak, I didn't turn the other cheek
And papa, I should hope you understand
Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I know you've missed my artwork. I can feel your longing. You want me to cruelly alter an image of someone, something, ANYthing. Well, here's my baby, communicating with the mothership. I didn't expect her to prove her devotion by getting a tattoo, but her selfless adoration does not go unnoticed, oh no, my darling! And secretly, I'm her bitch, too. Love ya, babe.

Monday, October 09, 2006

It's great having my braces off. The orthodontist told me about a month ago that I can just wear the retainers at night now. Problem with that is if you forget to wear them for just a night, they are a little painful the next night when you pop them back in. Also, I have to leave them soaking in fizzy denture cleaner in the day.

I have never had a cavity or a tooth problem other than unfortunate arrangement, so it's kind of a weird thrill to buy a denture product and have a kid at the register look at me and wonder which tooth is prosthetic. Tee hee.

I know you care deeply and were dying to see it, so here's my bottom retainer in peach sparkle acrylic with an embedded bunny-rabbit sticker. Cute, eh?

The top retainer is fuscia/teal sparkle acrylic with a weenie dog and penguin stickers. They thought I was retarded because I wanted the fun perks they give the little kids. I figured I'm paying a shitload for these appliances, damned if I want them blending in! This is my version of conspicuous consumption. My philosophy is any thing a Japanese 5-year-old would find appealing must be stylish, right?

Husband told a story of when he was in 6th grade and threw his retainer away on the lunch tray, and his mom took him to school that night and they climbed into the dumpster and dug through it to keep from having to pay the extra $200 for a new retainer. Sure enough, they found it, cleaned it off and continued apace.

Well, I've got news: my retainers are $595 for the pair (stickers and glitter ain't cheap, baby!), and if they ever end up in a dumpster, either HE is digging for them alone, or mama buying new ones.
Word verification has been removed from the comments section of this blog. I can't stand it no mo.
Sister went to the State Fair Sunday, and I'm looking forward to going myself, this year. These are the moments when we as a state come together and compare basketry, quilting, butter-sculpture-carving and loads of sedentary arts as we all gasp over how many yards of denim it took to yet again rope in 52-foot-tall Big Tex' fat animatronic ass.

Local German-style sausage meister Hans Mueller (Our Wurst is the Best) apparently has gone WAAAAY downhill, alas. They used to have a restaurant in Dallas, but they closed some 15 years ago, or so. Anyway, I always looked forward to getting HM's German vittles at their big tent at the State Fair, but apparently it's not so good any more. My advice is to seek out some other purveyor of meats-on-sticks to be found at such events. I heard there was spaghetti-n-meatballs-on-a-stick at the Minnesota State Fair this year - must have been an engineering feat. Thomas Edison would be so proud.

[For the best German (in my opinion) go to Bavarian Grill at Park & 75 in Plano, or if you have time to go there, the superb (WORTH THE DRIVE) Rhineland Haus in McKinney is one of the things I miss most about living in that town.]

4 year old nephew who takes drum lessons was quite captivated by the drummers in the Marine Band. Nifty. Niece got the henna tattoo-thingie on her hands, and I hope I get to see that before they fade away.

My buff 6'4" Marine brother-in-law apparently got quite a bit of attention from unexpected quarters. Sister commented to him that groups of gay men kept seeming to notice him appreciatively. She told me he laughed when she said that and he said he felt violated. I said "that is SO going in the blog." Blog fodder: is nothing sacred?

Meanwhile, I went for a splendid birthday lunch with Mom and Dad and husband. I was telling them a story about someone I met recently and saying she was a couple years older than me, about 41, and OH crap, everyone was laughing at me because now I am 41. Wow. Didn't see that coming.

All that being said, 41 doesn't feel significantly different than 21, except that I have better clothes, shoes, furniture and at least one more clue than I had back then. I'll happily say that despite all my remaining quirky collections and decorative flourishes, I no longer have a bookshelf involving cinderblocks and top ramen is not the primary staple of the house, and that will have to do.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

This is my Oct 7 post from Dallas Diorama, but it's such a personal interest story I had to post it over here too, though I've punched it up a bit for you sexy, sexy people. Enjoy!

This is a bank tower I worked in for a while downtown, something like the 33rd floor. I always wanted to work downtown in an office of some sort. I fancied I'd wear hot little 40s-influenced suits on the cusp of decent/too tight, with funky shoes, and flounce around pretending to be oblivious to how cute I actually was. You might notice there was no concept of actually working or performing some odious sort of task in this vision - that's why it was a fantasy - it was all about the outfits! Naturally, someone should pay me to exist as an ornament. But I digress.

So when I got this job at a bank, it involved afternoon-evening hours doing paperwork, not in-contact-with-the-public, i.e., free parking in the parking garage under the building, no reason to overdo the garb for mere mortal co-workers and staying within the building. Oh yeah, there WAS a bomb threat one day, but then we all had to tramp downstairs and stand on the street for a half hour, and for that we had the privilege of working late. Not exactly the glam downtown "That Girl" kind of existence I'd envisioned. Oh well. You can't win them all, and I should have taken it as a sign when I arrived early the first day of orientation and dashed to the loo for a quick pee. As I gathered my notebook and purse and coat, I heard the sickening "sploink!" of my circa 1994 two pound cell phone breaking the waves, as it were. At least I'd already flushed.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Seeing as it's been at least 5 minutes since I said so, this Neko Case cd [Fox Confessor Brings the Flood] is so fan-flipping-tastic I have to rave some more. (On sale right now for $10 at Amazon - click over here to give it a listen)

The album laments hit song truism royale:

"That echo chorus lied to me with its
'hold on, hold on, hold on hold on'"

No illusions to hold on to here, just a rawly hypnotic spoonful of heavenly sweet medicine.

Neko Case: coming soon to a town near you. Don't miss her!

Friday, October 06, 2006

...so here's the story about my Dad I promised.

I was talking on the phone to Dad Wednesday night and he said "did you hear about me finding the baby?"

I was incredulous, sorta waiting for the punchline, but it turns out, he really did find a baby. Here's what happened:

Sunday night, Dad went to bed but couldn't sleep, so he got up and did the bills and paperwork for a while, getting everything in order and stamped and addressed and ready to mail in the morning. At that point, he was still wired and didn't feel like sleeping, restless.

So sometime after midnight, he gathered up the outgoing mail and drove to town to the post office. He was about to pull out of the Fina station in his pickup truck when he saw the flash of something white low to the ground heading for the front of his truck and the roadway beyond. He thought this might be a little dog or a piece of paper blowing about. He craned his neck down and took a closer look, and the white was a diaper on a little black baby boy, maybe about 2 years old.

Dad put the car in park and opened up the door and said "hey buddy, where're you going?" and the little kid came right to him jabbering baby talk, arms outstretched, happy to see him. Apparently he had gone out for an adventure on his own for the night. Dad asked him where he lived and he pointed off to a neighborhood nearby.

Dad said "let's go find your mama" and he said "ok." Dad picked him up and put him on the seat of the truck and called the police. He said the kid had a little stuffed bear in one hand and a blue bottle of Elmer's glue in the other, sucking on it like it was a baby bottle. He was clean as a whistle and well-fed, just wearing the diaper and a smile (like I like my men!) and delighted to hang out with my dad.

Apparently a bunch of police arrived at the gas station and a female officer took over doting on the baby, and Dad answered a battery of questions, hopeful to help the little guy find his way home.

Dad called the police station the next day to see if the little man made it home alright, and the lady at the station looked up the file. She said it was one of the strangest police reports she'd ever seen, and that it was miraculous that he'd found that baby, because he could have been picked up by ne'er-do-wells or attacked by dogs (oh yeah, we do have coyotes around that part of Dallas County, too). I suppose they wrote in the report what Dad was doing out that time of night, and she told him "well, you were meant to be awake and go out and find him. you probably saved his life."


Dad said that saving that little fellow from possible harm was the highlight of his week. One neat thing about Dad is that he'd never do something like that with the hope of recognition or praise or glory.

That little boy will grow up and maybe be a linebacker or a dentist or an engineer, and he'll probably never remember or even hear about the time some complete stranger took the time to make sure he was out of harm's way in the middle of the night. But Dad will know and will treasure that thought always, and that's all the satisfaction he requires.

That's my Pop!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I'm so exhausted that I'll be brief for today's post, but check here tomorrow for a really wonderful story about something that happened to my dad this week.

I was in Target the other day and on the dorm-room-type aisles, there was a gaggle of adolescent girls giggling over dancing animated little goofy animal things that played snippets of songs when you pushed a button.

Now, I normally don't home in on a group of anyone in public, but they were giggly and silly, and I was looking at something nearby.

One of the girls pushed a button and a Spice Girls song came on. A girl--maybe 12 or 13 said "Gaw! Spice girls are so, like" *gasp* "middle aged!"

This cracked me up. I'm guessing the Spice girls are 30-ish? That's so, like, ancient!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Remember the little toy surprises you used to get in boxes of Cracker Jack? Well, apparently they don't bother with the surprises any more, which is a pity, considering I always thought the cheap, crappy little prize was better than the caramel corn, anyway.

Sometimes you'd get a little mini-pinball game, sometimes a charm or a gaudy fake ring - but it was great stuff. Oh, and the lick-n-stick tattoos - ya gotta love that!

Then there were the little joke books. I still remember the most shocking joke I ever got out of Cracker Jacks:

What does a man do standing up, a woman sitting down, and a dog on three legs?
If you're like me, the first thing you think of is urinate. Of course.

Well, that was too easy. The correct answer was shake hands.

I will always believe, though, that they wanted you to think the first one rather than the latter, don't you agree? That couldn't have been an accident.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I've decided I'm obsessed with the accordion.

Nothing more to add to that, I just wanted you to know.

My doglet is having to wear one of those awful lampshade collars to keep her from licking her feet - she's obsessed with them right now and will lick them until they are sore, for some reason.

There's a new collar on the market that inflates and you attach it to their collar - it looks hilarious - like a hemorrhoid donut and it's so funny to look at.

I bought one of those and was having a blast laughing at the life-preserver effect, but her legs are so long she could still reach to lick her paws, so we had to revert to the lampshade. Poor lass.

I used to live in a loft with her and in the parking lot the fence didn't fully reach the ground, and she could run at the fence full-tilt with the lampshade on and whip right under it - it was an engineering marvel. Needless to say, shortly thereafter little miss doglet could only go out on leash, poor girl.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The remains of the sign of the Texas Theater over on Jefferson in Oak Cliff. This is where the Dallas Police apprehended Lee Harvey Oswald after the whole JFK thingy. Check over on Dallas Diorama for a couple more pictures of this theater this week.

I had a better day Sunday, having actually had more than 5 minutes to myself and I got my feathers smoothed out a bit. Still, I'm looking at a few working-Saturday-too weeks ahead, I suspect, so I guess I'd better just get used to the over-committed thing.

I decompressed by going to a book store and buying some creatively inspirational reading material, and new cds from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Muse and Thom Yorke, fellow hypomaniac. Great stuff. Listened to Muse all morning and afternoon as I drove around and snapped photos of Dallas.

At least I don't feel so exhausted, and although the drives with mom have been nice, it'll be good to have a weekend soon when I don't drive 500+ miles, or double that. whew!

Well, you can see that the sign in its current form is not the original sign. In fact, very little detail of the original facade remains. This 1932 photo shows the original condition of the theater. Over at Dallas Diorama you can see the entire front of the structure where the arabesque-topped windows remain but are painted blue, and the upper level of the facade is utterly gone. There's no neon left, either. Pity.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Yay! My birth month has commenced! I'm registered at Crate & Barrel, people, but I also accept PayPal.

The trip to Oklahoma was (thankfully) uneventful. The funeral was beautiful and filled with lots of laughing and good memories. Oh yeah, I cried, but I laughed more than I cried, so I'll take that ratio. I feel good about him and about his well-lived and joyous life. At the end of the day, that's what really matters. Oh, and his funeral included another of the songs I sang at my grandmother's funeral in April - they keep sneaking up on me! Anyway, it was lovely, and that area of Oklahoma is always splendid to see. Even though it was 100 degrees today.

Did you know that with good traffic, you can drive from Dallas to Oklahoma City in about 3 hours? Yep, we're that close.

A new development is the casino just over the border in Oklahoma - woefully tacky. I was sad to see that. It was like a shrine to bad taste - it's sad when something actually makes Las Vegas look tasteful by comparison. This was a huge framework with some ginormous sort of tenting material stretched taut over the bones. Super- ugly. And the parking lot looked like a mall the day after Thanksgiving. Crazyness.

Anyway, good to be home.

My goal next weekend will be to drive less than 100 miles. It may not work out, but it's nice to have goals.

Tonight mom showed me a Barbie with a pet dog named Tanner that she got for niece for Christmas. Tanner eats these brown blobs of food from his bowl, and you pump his tail and he poops them out. Remember Baby Alive? eek. At least the food in this one is plastic pellets.