Monday, April 30, 2007

*squeals of delight from the peanut gallery*

Goody - apparently some wicked weather is brewing up in the Panhandle and poised to serve us up a good dollop of something nasty on Monday - my favorite!!!

I hope my table in the junk store in Quanah will be ok - I'm going to fetch it sometime soon.
Made some beads this weekend. Took long walks with Miss Buns. Good time had by me and my doglet.
Wow. Can you believe a full third of this year is already gone? Enjoy the last of April.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I had to go visit a wholesaler in Rockwall on Saturday, and LouLou was full of gas and the day was beautiful, so the time was right to go pathfinding. I decided to head off to the north and drive long enough to see nothing man-made, other than the road.

I drove up through the old town part of Rockwall and then up to Nevada. In Nevada is an art-deco gymnasium (currently a church) with a marvelous bas-relief rendering of Mercury - lovely. Though he was in profile, he was plumb nekkid and I'm amazed he survived the last century intact, libertine as he was. I'll try to post a photo from my phone tomorrow.

I drove around on successively smaller roads until I found myself on a goatpath with newly mown hay stewn along the roadside (I suppose having fallen from trucks) and sprigs of grass growing up in the middle of the dirt road ahead. I went over a little rise, and here I had my little fit of utter isolation, and it was glorious. Fields stretched out on either side and I couldn't see anything beyond, so for a moment I pretended I'd gone much further afield than a mere 30 minute drive from town.

Of the several dirt roads I drove down, something seemed very off to me. And then it hit me: where my family is from (Northeast Ozarks in Arkansas), all the dirt roads are made of iron-rich red soil, and these in Rockwall and Hunt counties were a soft, low-dust black soil. I kept catching myself thinking "they must have hauled this dirt in for these dirt roads." Silly me.

Anyway, one little road north of Caddo Mills took me by a historical marker of the Clinton Cemetery in Hunt county. Here legend said a cowboy was buried about 160 years ago or so, and in 1859 a local settler gave that land for a town (Massayville) burial place. He also donated a huge tract of land to the railroad for a right-of-way. This was called Massay Cemetery, but along with the town was later renamed for a railroad official named Clinton. How's that for gratitude? I'll bet the Massay family were none too pleased.

Anyway, I looped back around to Nevada and then over to Lavon and down by the dam. I had the sunroof and windows open, and the natural basin where the north fork of the Trinity River is dammed to form Lake Lavon is a verdant, densely treed area. There was some tree or plant which I could smell that also grows around the springs at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. I'm going to wear more suitable shoes sometime soon and ferret out what that tree is - must have one of those, someday - it smells like home, smells like family times.

Maybe it'll be easier to go to the spring next month when I'm in Arkansas, though. I'm going to go to the farm of a friend whose grandfather was a famous Texas Ranger, and I'll muck about and get more cow photos. I also want to talk my mom into going over to the Strawberry River where we used to go and swim and picnic with her folks. It'll be sweet, and I'll tell you all about it.

I hope you enjoyed this beautiful weekend as much as I enjoyed mine. Cheers!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Remember when your library card had a little metal tab with numbers on it, and they'd put it on a little machine and insert the card from your book selection into a little muncher slot, and it would munch off the bottom side edge of the card a bit? I want one of those machines. I've been searching for years on ebay and in junk stores, and I can't even find out what they were called. Do you know what they are called & where I can find one? I don't know what I'll do with it. I just know I want one.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Cheers, and we're all sending warm thoughts and prayers your way. I'm proud to bursting of you and the men and women who serve alongside you-- you are the very best of what we stand for, and you give me hope for America, and you bring hope to all the other nations you touch. Bless you!

The inimitable Paolo Conte, Italian lawyer, composer, song stylist extraordinaire. Adorable.

He says "I whisper I love you." I'm so relieved, because for about 12 or 13 years, I thought he said "I whisper all of you."

It's embarrassing but I just have to share this with you, folks. This ranks right up there with "Olive, the other reindeer."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The night was mine: I owned it.

I meant to take the dog for walkies before dark, but I farted around listening to Amy Winehouse songs on youtube and just didn't make it out.

Just as I was raving two days ago about how much I adore nasty violent weather, nature served up a spring day on Wednesday that was so heart-breakingly lovely that for an instant I considered re-canting my prior curmudgeonly statements. Pulling into the alley late in the afternoon, I looked straight ahead but was dazzled by the come-hither aroma of honeysuckle nearby, wafting through the open windows.

I finally hooked the doglet up to the lead at about 9pm, and we set out down the street. The night was cool but not cold, and as quiet as I suppose it gets in a city. There was curiously little traffic as we walked and turned along the greenbelt that crosses our street. Doglet rubber-banded in and out the full length of her 16' retractable leash, sniffing the ground, marking a few spots and occasionally catching the trail of something fierce.

The bank of trees at the back of the greenbelt wends far from and near the footpath, and as it reached its nearest point, that scent was there again: the glorious heady sweetness of honeysuckle. I stopped and plucked a blossom, and tried to remember the mechanics of extracting the drop of nectar. How long has it been-- 30-some years? I made a hash of the first bloom, then tried another with no success. It was too dark for the delicate operation, so I grabbed a handful of blossoms and vowed to try them in better light.

In the yellow cone cast by the streetlamp at the corner, I pulled the bottom off a bloom, tugging the slender stamen back through the tube of the flower, a single teeny drop of nectar hastening along its shaft. One taste and my mouth filled with sweetness, reminding me of the flavor of summers of yore. I remember running through clover and how my bare feet always seemed to find the bee in the path, and oh, how I'd cry as a little caldera arose around the sting.

I turned for home along the sidewalk littered with the lacy black cutouts of tree shadows in the moonlight. I didn't sing at the Met. I didn't win the lottery. I had something better: this night was mine.

The wine which through the eyes is drunk
At night the moon pours down in floods.

Moon-drunk from Pierrot Lunaire

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gloriously brooding skies all day gave way in the late afternoon to an outbreak of violent storms: my favorite weather. Nice. Great reading weather. I always sleep well when it's like this. I hope there's more of this good stuff on the way.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? ... Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. ...As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

-- Marianne Williamson

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

If you're like me, you adored Lisa Gerrard's soundtracks for The Insider, Gladiator and other films. She's an Aussie who grew up in a Turkish/Irish community which heavily influenced her compositions and her style of singing. Many of her songs feature made-up words, because she speaks of the "prisons of language," and the idea she advances there is the way our communications separate rather than unite us. Her music is innovative and strikes some impeccable balance between the modern and ancient. The stringed instrument she plays with the long hammers is a Chinese dulcimer.

Lisa's very able partner as writer/performer is Brendan Perry, and their group was called Dead Can Dance. I fell in love with the grandiose orchestration and sweeping lyricism of their music in the mid-80s, and I was utterly besotted with Perry's rich baritone voice. He remains one of my favorite voices ever, and I wish they would record some more music together.

The video below was recorded during their 1996 tour. A few weeks after this recording was made in San Francisco, I saw them at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, and this endures as one of the finest musical performances I've been privileged to see. This song, Rakim, is a particular favorite of mine. I hope you like it.

And yes, that bouncy guy playing the drums bounced through the entire show. This performance is available on a DVD called Toward The Within. SO worth it.

Favored son
Turn in the garden
Shades of one
Sins forgotten
Favored signs
to find hope
In the rounds of life
Favored rhymes to find hope
In the sands of life
Favored son
Fence in your heart
Savored son
Sins forgotten
Something FatHairyBastard said reminded me of one of my favorite things from the post office. I may have mentioned this here some years back, so pardon if this is a repeat.

At the post office, the facilities that process bulk mail and 3rd class parcels are full of huge machinery, and to be sorted, packages travel along series of conveyor belts and are fed onto large slides which funnel them to sorting stations. Invariably, things will break open due to the weight of all the packages above them, or insufficient glue or tape on the box.

Once a box of big floppy books made of brown paper( like grocery store bag paper) broke open, and I had to gather them up, pack them back into the box and then re-tape the lid. Turns out these were magazines in braille, and on the cover of each was printed in black letters the magazine name and the date, issue & volume numbers. What blew my mind was that some of the magazines were Playboys, and one of the cliches of the day was that some guys really did read Playboy for the articles. I decided that was true, but mostly, the guys who read it for the articles were blind.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Christian Lacroix has done it again: I feel tingly all over.


I finished reading Dead Man's Walk, and now I'm on to Comanche Moon, the final volume of the Lonesome Dove series. I'm going to be sad when I finish this book. LD was a bit of a slow-starter for me, but then it sort of clicked after about 400 pages and I couldn't get enough of it. I sorta boo-hooed my way through the last two chapters, not wanting it to be over. Yeah, it's THAT good.

I've gone through some drawers and I've filled the garbage trolley more than half-full of old magazines and other crap that should never have tarried on its way to the dustbin. I've decided to be more ruthless about throwing things out. I re-discovered part of my barf-bag collection (Polish Airlines and defunct Sabena, thrills!). I'm proud of myself for actually culling 3 shoe pairs from the herd that has the run of the house, and they will be on their way to Goodwill as of tomorrow. Culling clothes is much easier. I'm also sending lots of books to Goodwill. However, a couple books went straight into the trash--most notably: The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth which no one should read, ever. What a load of crap. Meh. Where was that book when I needed kindling a couple weeks ago?

Did you know the first Hilton hotel happened when Conrad Hilton was traveling in the panhandle and purchased what is the Mobley Hotel in Cisco, 46 miles E of Abilene? Me neither, but what a surprise. Hilton decided he could make a sweet buck letting rooms out to oil field workers, and this was the first in his chain. It's apparently been restored and is now used as a community center for the town. No mention of whether Paris has ever brought her parasite collection to that locale.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wow - did you know there are 412 Ghost Towns in Texas?

I didn't. Neat stuff!

This is a great site in general with lots of adventure stuff to discover in our own back yards -- for those of us who live here.

I don't know about you, but Bug Tussle is on my short list of day-trip places to check out in North Texas.

Click here to check it out!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Odd little video to a fantastic song. Dice by Finley Quaye, who is on permanent rotation in my fair weather music files.

Housekeeping post, chock-full of odds and ends

A Crocodile in Taiwan bit a guy's hand off - click here for proof positive that a croc who has obviously never missed a meal can still take your arm off. GRISLY PHOTO ALERT!


Isn't it ironic that a spoiled, whining, un-clever immature person with the social graces of the Star Wars Kid is at the fore of the news? Our local news' lead story Wednesday night was the broadcast of misfit's juvenile home-movie revenge fantasy-- WHY ON EARTH are they giving that air time??? Call it what you will, but I call it justifying the vanity of a deluded person, and something which will speak volumes to other unbalanced people who navel-gaze and [NEWSFLASH!:] feel the world just isn't fair. I had to turn it off after about 15 seconds - POINTLESS.


"A gun-free zone is a murderer's paradise."
The Motor City Madman on a Dallas radio show on 4/18/2007


Some people scoff at the bottled water thingie. I don't - I drink S. Pellegrino sparkling water from Italy all the time - ideally at least 2 25.3 oz bottles a day. It tastes wonderful, and I love the bubbles.


Vaya con queso, Sanjaya.


I'm meeting a realtor on Tuesday to discuss my brilliant career.


Speaking of... My Brilliant Career endures as one of my favorite films. Well, anything with Judy Davis, pretty much. She is amazing. Loved Impromptu, though she and the other artists in the film are such essentially vile and mean people.

Have a great Friday!
Between that photo from yesterday and Hammer's recent hilarious post on lawyer inanities, I thought of my own Grandpa.

My grandfather was in a pretty severe car accident about a dozen years ago, or so.

He was turning onto a 2 lane highway. Under normal circumstances, Grandpa would have had plenty of time to get across the road, but just about that time a teenager came flying up the hilly road in his truck doing about 100 miles per hour and t-boned Grandpa's pickup.

Now this didn't do Grandpa any good, but the teenager was in far worse shape behind the whole event, and I suppose that based on Grandpa's admittedly advanced years, the kid would take the opportunity to sue.

Grandpa's truck was totaled, but the engine was not completely trashed, so he sold it to someone else in town. In court, one particular exchange struck us all as quite funny when an asshat lawyer was unleashed upon Grandpa:

Asshat Lawyer: Now, I understand you sold the engine. What did you sell it for? [Asshat L. wanted to know the amount of the transaction]
Grandpa: Well, someone wanted to buy it, and so I sold it to him.

Yay, Grandpa.

Anyway, justice prevailed and I think Grandpa was found to be no more at fault than was the rocketing cub.

A few years before, Grandpa was puttering around on the farm on the tractor, when the tractor stalled (same tractor from the ape-shit/bush hog event from a couple weeks ago) and died completely. He climbed off the tractor and got into its innards and directly the thing started back up, but he'd left it in gear when it stalled and it lurched forward, knocked him down and ran squarely over his pelvis. Naturally, the tractor was heading straight for the pond, and the much-abused man climbed to his feet, ran and stopped the tractor in time.

Grandpa was in the hospital after this event, but remarkably, no bones were broken. He was severely bruised and very sore. I'd say he was about 78 at the time.

So a female nurse came into the room to see how he was doing, and she started to pull back the covers while saying "let's see how you're doing here" and he said "but we hardly know each other."

He got so tickled telling that story, that it makes me laugh to remember it. Grandpa is one of those people who has this nasal sort of snort-wheeze thing going on when he laughs, and if the cornball joke he just told you doesn't get you, that laugh surely will.

One amazing moment to me was recently I was half-heartedly watching the 1956 John Wayne film The Searchers when a very familiar voice just jumped out at me. A minor character in that film - Charlie - is played by Ken Curtis, whose accent and phonation sound identical to the diction and sound of my grandfather's voice. The funny thing is that I saw that film a long time ago and I never noticed the similarity. But the point of departure is that Charlie in the film sounds like a slow-witted hick, and Grandpa speaks deliberately with impeccable grammar.

Grandpa didn't go to school past elementary grades, but his is an incredibly keen mind, and he's one of those rare people who can add or subtract huge sums in rows of numbers in his head faster than you can punch the numbers into a calculator.

Grandpa is salty, a bit ornery, and incredibly stubborn. Most everyone in my clan is mule-headed, and I sometimes wonder how we stand each other. Then again, we all have our little quirks that keep the rest laughing, so I guess we'll just go on loving each other and thinking that for all its flaws, our family was a pretty nice one in which to land. We're not fancy or rich in the worldly sense, but we have a good time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


After 6 months, I finally installed my treo software onto the desktop and now I can download the photos I've been taking these months and share them here.

On December 3 at Mama's Daughters' Diner on Industrial/Irving, I sat through lunch with a friend, captivated by the adorable sight of this grandfather and his grand girl. She prattled merrily away, and he sat listening respectfully, bemused and adoring. The grandparent/grandchild relationship is one of the finest things in life, and this sight just warmed my heart and made me a little misty, to be honest.

In fact, my nose is tingling now. Bless them all.
Yet another reason not to miss the business of property management...

My dog hasn't had fleas in years and years. She's short-haired and white, and it's impossible to miss the little devils when they set up housekeeping on her glorious little self.

Friday, I went into an abandoned apartment with a maintenance staff member to assess the damage. Back in my office 20 minutes later, the staffer called and asked me if I had fleas on my clothes, because she did. EEK!

Yes, I pulled off two fleas, went out into the parking lot and had a mini-freak-out. Apparently I've learned nothing from dogs - most particularly the fact that shaking and scratching doesn't make fleas go elsewhere. I hoped, rather than believed, that the bastards had hopped off me to look for greener pastures. Monday night I caught 2 fleas as they leapt out of doglet's fur like gamboling dolphins celebrating life. I'm in ecstasies of disgust, and there can be no doubt as to the origin of these intercoursing fleas. Suffice to say that not only are the former residents NOT getting their deposit back, they will be assessed heavy fines and this will go to a collection agency immediately. Unconscionable.

This doesn't happen often - maybe once a year if she gets into something gross, but bitch got a bath. And she'll probably be getting baths every night for a week or two. I hate to put her through it, but the flea thing - I just can't deal with that.

Anyone have any tips for me for preventing a major infestation? Having been 4 days already, I fear it's too late.

I love the rain, and I love my camera. Good curling-up-with-a-book weather, which I intend to do as soon as I get out of the office. Enjoy.
If you're someone who can handle the truth, you really need to pop over here and read this important post over at Law Dog's place. What I learned in this blog took what was already a tragic event and made it beyond shocking -- earlier this year, the State legislature of Virginia shot down a bill that would have allowed licensed carriers to bring handguns onto the campus of Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech Spokesman Larry Hincker said the tabling of this bill would make "parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus." Seriously. I'll bet they all feel very safe, now that they are prevented from carrying the means to stop a murderous asshole in their midst.

LawDog so cogently states:
...I am speaking of the putrescent evil which convinces good men not to fight back; the sordid filth of the soul which allows one bad man to prevail against fifty -- or 25,000 -- good men because good men have been systematically denied the mindset required to meet with, engage and defeat evil -- even if all you have is fingernails and rage.

I wish I'd written it, but he says some things I thought, too, though more eloquently than I could have mustered.

I also must quote the immaculate Tam from her blog of last September 16 in which she so impeccably said:
I ain't goin' out like that. Whether it's some Columbine wannabe who's heard the backward-masked messages on his Marilyn Manson discs, distressed daytrader off his Prozac, homegrown Hadji sympathetic with his oppressed brothers in Baghdad, or a bugnuts whackjob picking up Robert Frost quotes transmitted from Langley on the fillings in his molars, I am going to do my level best to smoke that goblin before my carcass goes on the pile. I am not going to go out curled into a fetal ball and praying for help that won't arrive in time.

Now THAT is the spirit.

Passivity has its place in life, but when life and death are on the line, people need to not stand idly by and let themselves be executed, and they need to be teaching this vital lesson to their children. Yesterday's massacre is heartbreaking in too many ways to count, not the least of which is our having become a society in which people lack the mettle or the resourcefulness to defend themselves.

The wholesale slaughter of innocents is the price we pay for emasculated men, and for a culture which seeks to make excuses and strives for empathy for sociopaths rather than holding them accountable. Our culture has been held hostage for long enough by the tyranny of amoral neer-do-wells.

Victim culture tells us not to resist the bad people -- that if we keep our heads down and give them what they want, then they won't hurt us. Sometimes, the right thing to do is to boldly risk your own life in attempt to save those of others. How dare such brazen wickedness not be met with resistance? Sometimes you have to fight when you're a man (OR a woman), and the man who loves his life will lose it.

Don't let someone fly your plane into a building. Don't let someone take your life without a fight. Don't let a government take away your right to defend yourself.

Monday, April 16, 2007

My sister got a questionnaire last week in the mail from the John McCain campaign.

She said one of the questions it asked was "do you think we should be sending more troops to the Middle East?"

She crossed out "troops" and wrote in "bombs."

Clever girl. That had me salivating, anticipating receiving one of those mailings, and all the glorious ways she had inspired me to modify the document to more accurately reflect my own opinions. Alas, they have yet to send me one. Pity.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

This pop confection is I Hate Camera by The Bird and The Bee. The sound is not the best, but this song is adorable, and probably too wry and clever to ever make the big time. The band is actually the chick with the guitar and the keyboard guy. I love the Ray-Conniff-Singers-style backing vocals ostinato - incredibly cute and fluffy and evocative of something brilliant from a different time. I think the song is about courting fame but then acting like you don't want to be photographed. But I could be wrong.

You might see a lollipop, and I might see a banjo.

I had a glassmaking brainwave on Wednesday, but didn't have time to investigate until Saturday. You know how old Roman glass tends to look a milky blue with a pitted, abraded surface and sometimes with some iridescence? I read somewhere that someone achieved a stone-texture on opaque beads with baking soda, so I thought why not try that with pale transparent blues and see what happens? Boy howdy if that didn't work like a charm. All my neo-ancient beads are cooling their jets in the kiln right now, but I'll try to post an image tonight or tomorrow morning.

I filled a glass jar to brimming with baking soda, and then when I'd plunge the hot bead into the powder, a teeny geyser of soda dust would shoot up - COOLNESS!!! I found the bead looked more weathered with repeated plunges and heatings. Then near the very end, I rolled part of a couple beads on a teeny pile of iridescent mica powder, and the buried-for-centuries sheen was complete.

I'm pretty much go-with-the-flow when it comes to my "plans" for beadmaking-- sometimes the glass doesn't react the way you expect it to and very often this turns out to be a happy accident that takes me in a whole new direction. However, I'm beyond delighted with something that turned out exactly the way I expected, for a change.

Have a great Sunday, y'all!

Saturday, April 14, 2007 which I - 5'2" of hausfrau rage - nurture my inner Charles Bronson.

There's some colossal poopy-stain-of-a-man in the Dallas area who has been invading apartments at night and raping/stabbing/killing the occupants. Apparently he's done this at least a couple dozen times over the last couple years. Last week he ran through a sliding glass door and attacked a woman, leaving her for dead. She's in the hospital now and fighting for her life.

Anyway, I was thinking it's too bad he didn't come into the open garage door of a bead-maker I know. He'd get a molten rod of glass to the eyeball toute-de-suite. And if that didn't do the trick, well, he's got another eye and I (I mean she) would have several more rods of 1500 or so degree glass with which to pick that olive.

Then she'd get mean.
Wow. Nasty weather in Texas last night - I love it. I've always preferred stormy weather, actually.

A year ago in May when I went to Hereford with mom, we got caught in a violent storm on the plains east of Amarillo, hammered by quarter-sized hail. It was pretty wild, and I loved it. So long as I never find myself at the business-end of a tornado, I'm pretty much ok with whatever Mother Nature deems handy to throw my way. Except long, hot, bright summers. I don't like 'em. Having a pool makes the summer vastly more tolerable, because there's nothing like floating with a book and a tall glass of earl gray iced tea. Still, if I'm getting my 'druthers, I'll take a toad-stranglinger thunder-boomer any day.

Signing off happy as a clam and hoping for more so-called "bad" weather. Cheers!

Friday, April 13, 2007

You know what's funny? You know how our bones grow with us? Isn't it funny that our teeth arrive in our mouths fully-formed to their ultimate size? I mean, I know they must grow from mere budlings down in the jaw, but, isn't it interesting that these bones are different from other bones which grow with us as we age? Lots of rodents have teeth that grow and grow, and I suppose horses do, too. Anyway, at least we don't have to run out and chew down trees and build dams to keep the dental growth under control.

I have messed myself up royally. I thought I'd have until mid-week next week to produce stuff for the upcoming art show thing, but it seems like the jewelry I take to them tomorrow will be the last of what will be on display of mine. Anything else I deliver to them will be held in reserve until after the show. So I guess, why rush around? I'm kind of disappointed, because I have had a major brainwave ideer for some glass & jewelry, and I was excited to get it out there. I suppose I'll have to make a bunch of it, deliver it late next week, and wear some myself for the show. Then if people ask about it, well, I can say they have some for sale... That's not devious, is it? No, really, I don't want to cause problems - they've been very kind to me and generous in promoting my work. I appreciate that.

Here's a couple pair of earrings I made Thursday night, one with a pair of beads that were in the photo earlier in the week. Holly was going on about purple and green, and believe it or not, I've done some alternating green/purple before, to nice effect. I wanted an irregular look to these beads so they'd look not so symmetrical, more blobby. Then when they were nice squovals, inspiration struck and I rolled the hot bead along the grooved handle of the long tweezers I use for pulling out strands of molten glass. The ones on the right look sort of white, but they are a pale blue Alabastro glass, which is not fully opaque, but not clear - more a milky, luminous glass. You'd be amazed how tiny these earrings are, actually. The tiny blue turquoise bead at the bottom of each earring is between 1 & 2mm. Cute!!!
Happy Friday 13th, Y'all - it's going to be a great day!!!

A dog named Boo.


I made some interesting beads Wednesday night. I made more oddities which is always fun. When I'm making pairs, I start feeling in a rut with the glass, like I've never actually done anything interesting with glass and never will again. Sometimes I blow the cobwebs out by putting glass colors together which I expect to be ugly and unappealing, but usually those colors are a happy surprise together, a nicely unexpected dividend.
I keep thinking of that woman in the Duke case. I'm not making excuses for her, and I'm not saying she shouldn't be held accountable. (this brings to mind Al Sharpton and the Tawanna Brawley debacle - which begs the question why Sharpton didn't lose all credibility after that was proven an elaborate fabrication?) What I wonder is what leads a person to the point at which they will let mis-information (ok, LIES) be bandied about to the degree of ruining the lives of other people? I wonder if she felt demeaned by these rich boys who solicited her services as an exotic entertainer? I wonder if as she danced partially clothed and felt dehumanized, felt she had her nose pressed to the glass whilst on the other side rarified air was plentiful and there for the taking for these people born in (seemingly) more privileged circumstances? To the material ease of these young men, perhaps she felt like a cheap, undervalued commodity.
In a strange way, I don't have a problem with the idea of people making a living as exotic dancers, but I've never known an exotic dancer or person who worked in that industry who I felt was having a healthy, well-adjusted experience in life. I do think the tacit promise of a beautiful undressed woman in a room full of dirtbags (whom she would not otherwise give the time of day) makes for an odd sort of tension in which said dirtbags feel entitled to demean the dancer. Of course, not all such patrons are so crass, but I'm saying it creates more an opportunity TO be degraded.
The truth is, just about any woman you ever meet could tell you a story of a man leering lasciviously at her at one time or another, or even making vile comments, even though she was modestly dressed. I'm not saying a stripper is asking for abuse, but I am saying that I believe working in that field makes one less able to defend herself against charges of being a slattern.
What do you think? Am I looking at this in the wrong way? There's also the question of the vengeful D.A. who seemed to have an axe to grind - was she led down a primrose path? It seems she had to be involved in at least getting the ball rolling to begin with, else this whole thing would never have come to light. I think she thought this would be an opportunity to make a fast buck. She should have just gone to McDonald's and spilled some coffee on her crotch. It would have been less embarrassing, at the end of the day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I've been so preoccupied with other things that I've hardly touched my torch all year.

Monday night I made these seven duos of beads which I hoped would be good pairs for earrings. Now on closer inspection, I'm not so sure they are balanced enough to be called pairs. Of course, the difference is a question of millimeters, but you'd be amazed how the disparities can jump out from finished jewelry. These beads are somewhere size-wise from pea size to soy bean size - not very big.
This glass is Moretti, Effetre and Lauscha, and they all melt somewhere in the neighborhood of 1700 degrees F. These glasses are soda glass, and the addition of sodium carbonate lowers the melting point of glass, thus making it easier to heat and work with.
One of the prettiest types of glass is borosilicate, which is basically pyrex (a teeny bit of boron in the mix makes the glass more resistant to thermal shock), but you need a bench burner that goes well up into the 2400 degree range, which mine does not. I'm using the fat baby-pencil of torches, by the way. I'm embarrassed to say I've never stepped up my game, there, but what I'm making is not that complex, either. The plain old soda glass with the colors I like melts incredibly quickly in a very hot torch, and can be a different kind of challenge to work with on the super-hot bench burners.

The stainless steel rod is called a mandrel, and before making beads, it must be dipped in a liquid ceramic medium to keep the molten glass from permanently adhering to the rod (called bead-release). I prefer to do one pair on a mandrel together rather than separately, best to judge the size and shape of the beads are as similar as possible.
The 24K gold leaf I use is backed by a sheet of vellum and is used for gold-leafing domes in a windy environment, and with very clean scissors I cut the sheet up before turning on the torch. When the hot bead is the size and shape I want it to be, I roll it onto a little slip of the gold leaf paper, with the gold next to the glass. The bead is so hot that the paper burns off instantly. I prefer these papered leaves of gold because they don't wad up and go flying on a thermal if you breathe in their direction from the other side of the room.
I dunno, the more I look at the photo of these beads, the more I think they are useless as pairs. It's funny the flaws you notice in a frozen photo that you don't see with the article right in front of you. There's a metaphor in there somewhere, but it's too late for me to sort it all out.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Every spring, the bluebonnet - state flower of Texas - carpets meadows throughout the state. Along country lanes, parkways and even busy expressways you will see families pull their cars over to get photos of the kids with the bluebonnets. I've heard tell that in other states people mark door jambs with kids' heights, but here we just do a progress report by gauging their growth since the last time they were photographed with the bluebonnets.

Here's a particularly lovely grouping of humanity including a big, buff Marine, a pretty lady with a goddess for a sister, a sylph-like ethereal beauty of a girl, and one particular pocket Atlas who recently added coyotes to the list of things he wants to kill.

I hope your Easter was lovely.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Here's the same photo I took Friday and posted today over at the Diorama. It's not often I get a picture which includes buildings from 6 different decades of the 20th century in one relatively narrow snap. Perhaps I'm using the sepia setting too much, but I really love the depth I'm getting with it. I was heading north on Harwood and snapped this quickly out of the window before the light turned to green, so I didn't really have time to think of lining anything up or worrying about composition. The bottom building on the right with the glass block cubes is where the nightclub Blue is located, and--at least the last time I heard-- this is a pretty swank watering hole.
My computer is in the game room, and there's a daybed nearby which the doglet naps on as I tap the plastic. Nearly every word I've written on this blog has been accompanied by the rasping intakes of her slumbering breath. (OK, you can call it snoring when we're talking about your dog, but I'll choose to perceive hers as a trifle more refined!)
I just went to the kitchen to put water on for a cup of tea, and she leapt up and accompanied me as she's done countless thousands of times in the last 15 years. Even as her old joints get creaky, she still wants to be there with me, no matter what mundane task I'm about. There's no argument, no reproach, no defiance or battle of wills. Just an abiding little presence that tells me she's there for me and I want to do. If I'm sick, she'll stay in bed with me for days. If I cry, she stays near and frets over me. If I want to walk for miles (ok, she'd rather run), she's up for it.
Funny thing is, I can understand why cat people sniff at the cloying devotion of dogs--cats have an independent streak which is admirable. There's also something to be said for a pet you can leave for a few days and know it won't really notice you were gone. Still, I prefer the sweet will of a dog that bends to its benevolent dictator. Here's to a girl's best friend.
Happy Easter, folks!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I'll be in the hospital for a bit, because I just over-dosed on cuteness:

Friday, April 06, 2007

What's funny is when I saw this photo of a guy caught in public in a mankini, it was on a news page, and as I scrolled down to read the page, I saw the top of the hairdo. I thought "aw, shit, another article about Paris Hilton." Quite.
Here's what I think went down with Anna Nicole Smith: She was desperate, out-of-control, strung-out and had to be silenced. She'd been sleeping with Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and when she sang "Happy Birthday Mr. President" at the opening of the presidential library in Little Rock, well, Hillary got her dander up and something had to be done about the bimbo eruption, before she blew Hil's chances for a successful presidential bid in '08. Like Jack Ruby, someone will bite off Howard K. Stern's finger just before he wires money to a desperate stripper in Oklahoma City who will die under mysterious circumstances relatively soon. Howard will die in prison due to an illness unrelated to the severed digit. He will never break his silence about how if he was such a devoted partner to Smith, then hows' the hell he let her boink all those other guys including the impotent spouse of Zsa Zsa Gabor. Ew. The Hard Rock Casino in Florida will open a "Sick Floor" museum which will one day be their chief source of income. Conspiracy theories will abound, but you'll know the truth, and you'll know you read it here first.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In which our heroine takes wonky photos, bitches about inferior dogs, and channels her inner pimp...

Construction around Victory Station continues apace. Between downtown Dallas and the Coors waterfall sign on the bluff that used to be Baby Doe's is a vast swath of skyscrapers which appear to have sprung up like toadstools after a shower. For one who had been away 10 years, this area of town would be unrecognizable. This is Cirque luxury residences with W hotel in the distance. I think I prefer the sepia setting, but the blue sky reflected on the W is pretty, too. I took these sitting in traffic, and that's why they went wobbly.

Work has been strange lately. I have two residents gossiping to me about each other. They each come and sit in my office and bitch, and I can't say anything. Of course, I think they are lunatics and I don't know why they don't see they are two of a pair and should probably go right out and buy rings. What can you do? One day I'll write a book. Oh wait - that would be Melrose Place, right?

My sister has a golden lab named Barley. Barley is about 150 pounds of pure dog. She was walking Barley yesterday and along came a woman with a pomeranian. Pomeranian lady freaked out, started squealing and let go of her leash, and the insane pomeranian charged Barley. That would be like you or me charging a rhino. Anyway, Barley deftly scooped the pom up on his nose and tossed it up several feet into the air. I'm imagining a killer whale flipping a seal: no contest. Pom landed unharmed and yipped off into the sunset with its shrill owner giving chase. Doesn't that suck, though, when people don't get that having the leash on the dog is not enough? Should people with rabid little dogs have to be told that they are supposed to have a human on the other end of the lead, lest the small dog start doing its light-snack-impersonation in the company of a larger dog?
Label whore alert: I got me new dragon-lady specs today. Yes, Prada, darling. Ever so smart and select. Muy fabulosa! Read 'em and peep. Now if I can figure out how Endora did her makeup on Bewitched, I'll be all set.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

You know what? On 24, I guessed in advance that Gredenko was going to cut his own arm off. Saw that one coming.

I had a great conversation with my pop on Monday night. He's a good-natured person, but he grew up with a brother several years older who liked to fight, so dad learned early how to fight. Anyway, along the way, I suppose people would hear dad was tough and would set out to try to best him-- always a very foolish inclination.

This isn't a story about a fight, but it's just as good as. Dad was working on cars in the service department at Schilling Motors on Union Avenue in Memphis, and this was probably late 60s/early 70s. Dad and some other service guys would routinely take a customer car and test drive it when they were going out to get lunch.

One day, this guy showed up at the service counter and was infuriated that his car was out being driven on a joy ride. In a purple-faced rage, the customer told the guy behind the service desk that when they came back with his car, he was going to kick the ass of the person driving the car. The service guy told the customer that he had a pretty good idea of who was driving the car, and he advised the customer to go down to the zoo and find the biggest gorilla they had and then bite a chunk out of its ass, and he'd have a better chance of coming out on top with the gorilla than he would with the guy who was driving his car.

Dad pulled up driving the car, and the customer scowled and fumed, but wisely kept his trap shut.

Dad's got a million of 'em. We laughed and laughed.

We also talked about people (ok, MEN) who clamp down on your hand with a death-like kung-fu grip when you shake hands -- what's up with that? I mean, I'm a 5'2" female and I've had men do that to me. I just don't get it - it's not like it's some big news-flash that a grown man can out-grip me, so why hurt my hand? There was a big, older guy at church who seemed eternally in bad health, but he would squeeze the shit out of your hand when he shook it. One person had just had surgery on his hand, and the clamper grabbed onto his paw and re-injured it. Then he reached over to put the clutch on dad's hand, but got a rude awakening. I'll bet a little pee ran down his leg. I'm just guessing. The following week dad reached out to shake his hand, and the clamper pulled his hand back, lesson learned.

It's been a wild week for my kinfolks in Arkansas recently. My grandpa's youngest brother had a catastrophic injury in a car wreck last week, and though he seems to be pulling through, he's lost the use of his legs. He isn't that old - 76 - and he's always been an incredibly vigorous and active person. I'm glad he and his wife survived the wreck, but I feel badly for what he'll have to go through to recuperate.

My grandpa is not coping well with the limitations of life in 90-something lane. My uncle was up there this weekend and grandpa was festering to get out and do some bush hogging, but the bush hog needed repair. Grandpa wasn't satisfied with how Uncle was performing tasks, so grandpa got all steamed and climbed into his pickup truck and drove off into the woods, hitting trees head-on and knocking off both side-mirrors. His doo-doo-hissy resulted in wrathful tearing around the woods on the tractor, 4-wheeler and the truck. Finally, he ran the tractor into the truck, further damaging this barely-held-together old jalopy. The end of the wild escapade came when grandpa got the truck running again and ensconced it snugly into a lake of mud. Uncle had to wade shin-deep into the mud pit and carry Grandpa out. It's a wonder he didn't shuffle off this mortal coil during one of his head-ons with a the trees on property.

All the vehicles were pulled from mud and peril by the huge tractor from a neighboring farm. Though I feel for him, I'm of the mind that all grandpa's vehicles should probably be disabled. I can imagine what impotent rage one must feel when independence is a thing of the past. I mean, will Niece and Nephew have the patience to be kind to old Aunt Phlegm when I'm trying to sneak the car out like a teenager? It's a tough issue, and folks in my family are known for stubbornness. Heck, maybe grandpa should just have a last big hoo-rah out bush hogging and just do himself in. Still, you hate to let a loved one hurt himself. All I know is, if at 91 I want to go out and find a karaoke place to sing The Stroke by Billy Squier, get ripped on tequila and dance on tables with my spurs on, well, they'd better let me, because I'll just be impossible to live with, otherwise. You have been warned.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hey kids!

Ok, I'm back. Sunday, April 1 was an odd day, but a good one.

I woke up in the morning, ate a bowl of cereal as I farted about the 'net, and then went back to bed and slept for about 4 more hours. To put it mildly, I'm loving the crap out of not getting up at 6am on Sunday to go to class. Yippee.

So I got up and went to Target that afternoon. I'm trying to remember when I crossed over from always spending at least $100 when I went in there to always spending over $200. Of course, we're not counting my returns. My shopping philosophy is that it's better to regret something you have bought than to regret something you didn't buy. That's why the shopping goddesses provide us with a 30 day exchange/refund policy. HollyB tells me somewhere in Texas there's a Ferragamo outlet, and threatens to take me there: be still my heart! The upside of the Ferragamo outlet is it will be much too far away for a return/exchange trip to be practical. NOT that I'm often accused of being practical.

By the way, Speak For Yourself, the superb cd from Imogen Heap, is only $9.99 at Target. Grab yer bonnet and run out and get one. You'll love it.

I came home and got to work cleaning the dining table off. Right by the back door, it's become the repository for schoolbooks, receipts, junk mail and the flotsam and jetsam that seems ever wafting in my wake. Things like the finger-shaped pen you can pull and it makes 5 different farting noises - I can never resist buying crap like that.

I popped in the Lily Allen cd I bought today and listened to her hard-edged effervescent reggae-tinged pop whilst cleaning. I always find new music is the best inspiration for me to clean. I like listening to stuff I know and love while I'm goofing off, but I'm a kinesthetic learner and need to be doing two things at once to focus my mind. I know, that makes no sense, but it explains a lot, trust me. Anyway, I feel almost warm and fuzzy to think back to last fall when I was cleaning and listening to Imogen Heap for the first time.

Part of the crap on the table is jewelry-making detritus: odd beads, charms, a little anvil and dapping blocks and dies. I put all these in a laundry basket to cart to my studio. I made a box for garbage, and a separate box for address labels and junk mail that needed to be shredded. Before I began cleaning, I clipped a pedometer onto my jeans. 2585 steps later, I've accomplished my mission. Yay!

I took the box of labels outside and stuck a little log in the chimenea with a firestarter. Once the flames were going, I started putting in the little slips of paper, and watched them burn. I find this task endlessly hypnotic. I love when several pages have burned together and their leavings lift gently in the waves of heat, looking like wrinkled hankies of fine black linen, little firery worms devouring their edges. I could watch that all night.

My April first was worry-free. Then again, I've never been the prankster sort, and I take a dim view of most practical jokes. I suppose that's one way it's best not to be thought of as practical.

Have a great week.