Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gary Jules' version of Mad World by Tears for Fears
Loved this song in Donnie Darko. Curious little video.

Enlargen your world.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Francis Farmers of the world: unite and take over.

Two girl scouts have raised a stink by refusing to sell the Thin Mint cookies because they are made with palm oil and the palm oil industry is endangering orangutans. Why is it that the smugness of morally superior PC pre-teens is even more annoying to me than the grown-up version?

Maybe they could do a union field trip to "help" intinerant farmers and earn their Che badges, hmm?

Or, do some crappy public wall art and earn their Diego Rivera badges?

Let's think of more forward thinking badges Girl Scouts might earn in the perfect world of their imagining...

Later added:

Sorry, I was tired and not feeling well when I posted this last night, and I maybe didn't fully flesh out my thoughts here. What I want to know is did palm oil production only begin AFTER deforestation of rain forests? Is Indonesia the only place in the world which produces palm oil, and if not, have they verified that the palm oil in those particular cookies came from orangutan habitat?

I have nothing against orangutans. If not for their magnificent hair color alone, I have high regard for any creature like myself which can chew its own toenails. I hope they're around for many moons to come.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I'm trying to remember, because I think I mentioned "minimalism" with a straight face this week.

I've got too much stuff. If anyone's had a house fire or been hit by a hurricane lately, please call me and I'll hook you up with some stuff. It just ain't right. Oh, and all my stuff is fabulous.

Today's musical interlude fits the theme of folks who over-burden themselves. Myron turned me on to this fabulous Delbert McClinton song Too Much Stuff a couple months ago, and I've been thinking it about 48hours solid. You can hear Lyle Lovett in there, too. It could be a very depressing theme, but that walking bassline on the be-bop piano is the embodiment of jollity, letting us know it'll all be okay anyway.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

So the great simplification continues.
I've hauled impressive parcels of flotsam and jetsam to Goodwill today, and even managed to drop some more desireable junk at a consignment store. This is SO overdue. At least one piece of furniture will be kicked to an accomodating curb in about 8 hours.

I have this bad habit of making mish-mash bead pieces comprised of dozens of focal beads combined with a broad woven mixture of tiny seed beads. I call this bead-roux, and my bead gravy always makes for a really original project. If I use the same roux again, I'll add one more bead or two to the mix so it won't be identical. I get bored.

This means that in my jewelry studio, I literally have dozens of plastic tubs and containers half-full of beads and other bits and bobs, but there are no lids to be found. How did this happen? I can't figure our whence the lids have evaporated. I certainly wouldn't have discarded them. Perhaps they sulked off into the Sunset, bemoaning my neglect. I'm consolidating the tubs and finding there is way less of a mess than I thought, I was just very efficient at stringing the mess out over dozens of containers. Dozens of soup bowls have been repatriated to the kitchen, but I'm keeping the spoon rests, dammit. Shallow basins are great for picking up tiny beads... Now I have mere fileboxes with ziploc bags corresponding to particular projects and color groups. I've probably handled about a quarter million beads Friday night in little bins, vials and bags (if not more). I'm not kidding.

If the world monetary system ever totally breaks down and we revert to beads, well, I'm rich, beeyotch. If you can find your way to me at that wretched moment, I'll hook you up. Just ask for Empress Phlegmmy.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Industrial boulevard to be renamed to present a spiffier image for the billion dollar Trinity River Sinkhole--er Development Project.

What's the problem with keeping this street named for the purpose it's served for about a century? We all remember the recent news of last July when the Airgas plant on Industrial did a daylight firework display. What could be more industrial than thousands of exploding canisters of gas? I can't think of a thing.

Maybe we could re-name Industrial Silicone Alley for the gentlemen's clubs scattered along its length? Or the liquor stores? Or the rundown seedy dives? Or the massage parlours?

Then there's one of my favorite features of Industrial, the Lew Sterrett Correctional Facility and the adjacent Court building. You can always tell the hung over pups as they slink across the street in tow of a concerned/irate/broke parent. No discreet way to get to your car there, the gauntlet from the jail to the parking garages is always a walk of shame. Funny, the git-ups they got-up in the night before don't usually look so suave after a night in the slammer.

Bail bonds! When I think Bail Bonds, I definitely think of Industrial Blvd.

I say we all suggest and vote for FUEL CITY TACOS Esplanade. I had to go get me a couple fuel city tacos on Saturday. Them was real good, 'ceptin' LouLou the Baby Shoe was stinky for a few days thereafter, wot with the grilled onions, peppers and what not. Their tomatillo sauce is a marvel. I also got a cup of that Mexican cream corn from the little cart in front. I had my sunglasses on, so I may have been passing for La'in. Everyone standing in front of the taco stand and corn cart was Mexican, and I noticed a nervous little knot of whiteness standing inside the store behind the glass--two mighty white couples, and rather upscale for all that-- looking mooney-eyed at the corn. They finally mustered the courage and came out and ordered 4 cups of corn. I wondered if their food was still warm when they'd traversed a comfortable enough distance from which to enjoy their "slumming" nosh.

Anyway, the business owners who will have to change their addresses and business cards and everything will have the greatest say in the re-naming, but I'm betting nothing on earth will prevent the street from being re-named, no matter how silly the whole concept is. I'm betting the powers-that-be in Dallas will shoot for a gentrified, high-falutin' sobriquet in hopes of a self-fulfilling prophecy type outcome. After all, about a billion dollars in the form of 3 Calatrava bridges over the Trinity River will each find their terminus on Industrial/Whatever Boulevard. We need lofty names for the street, even if it comes with a handy sensual massage replete with happy ending.

Way to go, Dallas: keep it plastic!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sorry for laughing, but...

a construction worker has sued New York Presbyterian Hospital after he was administered a rectal exam against his will to check for spinal injuries. After suffering an on-the-job injury, the guy was taken to the hospital where he insisted on not being examined in the dirty way, as he was saving all his butt-luvvin' for the IRS. Hospital staff was hard-assed about the issue, and they administered a sedative after he put up a struggle. Come on, people: no means no. So, anyhoo, he came to later on with a greasy hiney and raised quite a stink. Staff insisted they had not, after all, performed the rectal exam. Cheeky, cheeky.


THIS is why I probably shouldn't have vast sums of wealth. I'm not saying I'd build a Neverland or anything but...

This ferris wheel is on ebay for $50,000. I don't like heights, but I lurves me some bright colors and spinny lights. *le sigh*

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I drove by Miss Badu's house over by White Rock Lake Sunday. It made me remember this song, and I looked up the video. Somehow, the fact that she's preggers and pissed-off makes this song so much better, don'tcha think?

From the demented genius that brought us Betty Butterfield comes Shirley Q Liquor. I loves me some SQL so much it just swellseses up my heart, honey.

I don't know who the guy in the headwrap is, lipsynching, but I don't know where else to find this audio, which makes the whole of Titanic worthwhile. Good stuff.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

There's an area of Dallas that has in recent decades transformed from a warehouse/rundown/slummish sort of zone into actual hep cat neighborhoods. I moved to that area and started living in lofts about 20 years ago. I would always tell people coming to see me to pass the dealer on the left and turn right just past the three hookers. Sometimes I'd sit on the roof with friends, wine and cheese and enjoy the downtown view and the bracing sight of street folk using the street as a toilet.

There's one building in the area that has a large open space that makes a perfect venue for large parties and art exhibitions and gatherings. The folks to whom this space belongs have swinger parties. I know these people (though not in the biblical sense) and they've been in that neighborhood for nearly 10 years, and they are actually quite nice. I tend to be pretty live-and-let-live, anyway. If they want to open a can of worms, well, that's their business.

Several years ago, the re-development into neighborhood began in earnest, and now there are condos and townhomes springing up all over the area like mushrooms after a rain. This is a nice development for everyone, I think, and the new has seemed to ease in amongst the old, and it's generally been a peaceable kingdom.

'Ceptin' for one Mrs. Kravitz who moved into a new home and was morally outraged about the swinger party crowd. She bitched and moaned and ranted and raved to all and sundry. Folks politely listened and went on not thinking about the swinger parties. After all, the area is still somewhat industrial, the events have been going on for-evah, and there's actually no disruption to the neighborhood.

Well, that wasn't good enough for Mrs. Kravitz who'd twisted herself into a macrame owl over the issue. She decided to take matters into her own hands. One night during an event, she snuck into the parking lot and wrote down make/model/license plate of every car in the lot. Using that information, she wrote letters of outrage to the owner of each of those cars and mailed them.

What really cracks me up is that this woman acts like sweetness and light, sugar-wouldn't-melt, when in fact she's actually rude and selfish. If this group had suddenly moved into HER happy families neighborhood and started having their wingdings, I could understand her and all the neighbors taking umbrage. However, SHE moved into THEIR crappy neighborhood. She is the newcomer, and I really don't think she has grounds for playing high-and-mighty. In fact, she KNEW they were there before she moved there. Everyone knows.

But here's the real kicker to me: she has an auto tagline on all her emails to the local neighborhood online group. It says:

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

I suppose she means for other people to be kinder than necessary. She's exempt, being as she is the hammer of justice.

Heaven preserve us from self-appointed Hall Monitors.

Monday, April 21, 2008

About 15 years ago I was living in an old industrial building that was converted to loft apartments. One of the neighbors was a sculptor guy who kept pestering me to pose for him without the benefit of apparel.

I may not have been the sharpest tool in the shed, but I knew what that was about, and politely declined the offer.

I couldn't decide what would be worse - posing nude and having a pass made at me, or posing nude and not having a pass made at me. Whatever. I decided to live with the mystery. Besides, he was about twice my age. Ancient! (though the age he was doesn't sound nearly as old these days)

Sunday I went to an arts market thing, and I commented to a woman about how great the "juicy butts" looked on the women in her paintings. She laughed and agreed, saying she would never bother to paint a rail-thin woman. I said "presumably you already know how to draw a skeleton". She said "exactly". Then she said "you would be my ideal model".

I don't think she was trying to get into my pants. Oh, well, I guess she was, literally, but not, you know, into my pants. This time, I'll take that as a compliment.

Was this an overshare?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cleaning today I listened to some cds I haven't heard in a while. One was by Ulali, a group of Native American women who sing in the most gorgeous harmonies. Here is a clip from one of my favorite films (get the soundtrack) Smoke Signals near the end. This is a 2:04 clip, and in the last 30 seconds or so, you can hear a bit of my favorite song by Ulali, which is one of my all-time favorite songs. Gorgeous stuff. Watch the movie, if you get a chance.
Temporary? Eternal? Who gives a rat's arse?
Everything must go.

Yes, in an unparalleled fit of domestic (?) zeal, I've been cleaning and throwing away and hauling crap to the local charity dropoff.

I'm even getting rid of my vhs tapes which are pesky and the players on the market these days are for crap, so what's the point? I have no sentiment about any of them except one small handful.

I have a Young Ones in NTSC (I think that's what it's called? - the North American VHS format) and 3 tapes of Bottom Live (the Britcom series starring Rik Mayall & Adrian Edmondson) and I'm not keeping them, but like sad little orphan puppies, I can't bear to turn them out into the cold, cruel world of a dispassionate charity shop with no hope of understanding. If you want them, email me your address and I'll mail them to you, mkay?

So, paper, paper everywhere, and not a match to strike.

Where does it all come from? Magazines, mail, adverts, mail, onion peel unravelings of an unquiet mind scrawled on receipts and post-its and some more mail, and all sitting awaiting discovery.

Well, I couldn't be bothered to read them, and I simply don't trust them in the world. I swept my hair up into a French twist and went about the business of sorting papers into recycle/throw away/shred or burn.

Ah, burn! Burning is fun. I had a shopping bag of burnables (anything with name and address), so out I went to the chimenea. I lit a tealight in the chimenea and threw in wads of paper to get the fire rolling. Soon a furnace-like blast was emanating from its gaping piehole. Unfortunately , it was a bit of a gusty day, and I leaned too close.

Heigh Ho! Something smells funny. I didn't put any hair in that fir----SHHHIIIT!

My hair somehow got singed.

Fortunately, it was out almost immediately. I whined to Hols on the phone shortly thereafter and she said "relax, honey, like me, you're one of those people who could lose half your hair and no one would ever notice, because there's so much of it left." I suppose that was oddly comforting, but I'm still mulling it over in my pea brain. I spose we'll see how wonky it looks when I warsh it next time. Oh well: I'm making more.

As I sorted and said my goodbyes to things, I kept thinking of that line from The Devil by PJ Harvey which said
what formerly had cheered me
now seems insignificant, insignificant

which always leads me to think of Hamlet's soliloquy which concludes
Man delights not me, no,
nor women neither, nor women neither...



Clear the Area by Imogen Heap:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A revolting trend sweeping Japan has leapt the Atlantic. Hakata Tonton is a restaurant which specializes in "pied de cochon." (I love that they're putting lipstick on the pig foot by deploying the French sobriquet) for New Yorkers who are emulating the Japanese trend for these fountain-of-youth foods.

I'm pretty open-minded about trying different foods, and even some which many Westerners would call revolting, but eating something like pig feet or soft shell turtle as part of a beauty regimen is simply beyond the pale to me. Yuck. Even if you stay looking as fresh as a baby's butt, sitting around eating trotters is not a type of aging I'd call graceful.

I may get really wrinkly before this is all over with, but I'm going to be cute-wrinkly, dammit.



Actually, why eat something oogy when you could just slather something nice-smelling on your skin?

I don't use a lot of makeup because I've always been pretty lucky with my skin. However, I do need moisturizer sometimes, and I've found the PERFECT one, and it's really natural with no preservatives or other harsh stuff. It made in Greece and it's called Korres Wild Rose 24 Hour Moisturizer. It does smell faintly of roses, but in a very nice, not-cloying way- it doesn't smell like fake-rose scent. They also have one that sounds wonderful called Thyme Honey Cream. Sweet!

This is the only moisturizer I've ever used that seemed to work without feeling like I was smearing petroleum product on my face. It's a little bit pricey, but also worth it for the additional sun block.

That is all.

If you have $22 million rattling around, burning a hole in your very deep pockets[call me!], you may want to consider a very high-profile real estate purchase. The 138 acres of hillside scrub next to the Hollywood sign is up for grabs. That's just a smidge under $160,000 per acre. A mere pittance. Apparently a bunch of the locals are about to pinch a loaf over the prospect of a mansion-scape next to their "Eiffel Tower." *snicker* Still others see a toothsome symmetry in the prospect of development of this parcel of land which was once owned by Howard Hughes: the original Hollywoodland sign with its 45' steel/concrete letters was erected as a promotion for a real estate development.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I seem never to have gotten back on track with my Dallas Diorama posts since pneumonia last year, but one of these days...

Late in the day Thursday, a storm started brewing and there were great cottony furrows of clouds overhead for miles and miles. Along some edges of these furrows were little nubbiny downdrafts which I thought might turn into mammatus formations, but they didn't. The upside to not seeing mammatus clouds is that they are often present in tornado-spawning storm systems, so I'm okay with them staying the hell away. Still, the clouds were beautiful. I love nasty weather.
Yay, Stars! The Stars whupped up on the Anaheim Ducks again Thursday, bringing their total to 3 games won in this series. Wow. Can it be I actually care about a sports team? Well, let's not push it. Still, I'm happy for my shiny smiley residents who are big fans.
Note to pregnant ladies -- please cover up your bellies. I know the weather is nice and you're uncomfortable and hot, but your trophy will be running around soon enough and annoying everyone with its out-of-control behaviour. Don't remind us.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday already?
Went to the Feist show at the Palladium Ballroom Wednesday night.
Let's review, shall we?
I paid $20 to park in their parking lot. Not valet. I did all the hard work of parking for $20. Sheesh. I could have parked in the back (dark) part of their lot for $10, but knowing I would likely leave early, I didn't want to walk out there alone in the dark-dark, so I ponied up the 20 spot. The bathroom had an attendant. The soap dispensers were disabled so you had to have the attendant squirt soap from a bottle into your paw, for which I'm guessing they expect you to tip her? Uh, sorry, no. The venue was hot. In April, darling! The 16oz glass of cranberry juice and ice was $3. I thought this was a bargain and the best aspect of the venue. If I ever go to a show there again, it will likely only be with a group where the point of the show is to be with friends. It's not a viewer-friendly venue like House of Blues or the Granada. I'm short, and not getting there early enough to snag a place by the stage, I couldn't see the performers well at all.

All that said, Feist put on a great show, from what I saw. She's very chatty and personable, making the event feel much more intimate. Between seeing hockey Tuesday night and going to see a Canadian performer Wednesday, I'm thinking I now qualify for dual citizenship, eh? She also had two people at the back doing cute little cut-out light shows on a big screen with an over-head projector. It was very arty and fit the hand-crafted quality of her music.

Feist had one of the most superlative promotional items I've ever seen on her merchandise table. For $10 I got a little turn-crank music box which plays the main melody of her song "Mushaboom" which you can click here to hear/see on YouTube. What an adorable memento! I got one for my niece, because I think it will delight her, and because Feist's 1234 reminds me of her. Adorable, guilelessly sweet music.

Here's part of one of my favorite of her songs, The Water. Moody and rich with a sort of Modern Jazz Quartet vibe. I like the atmosphere it conjures.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Went to see the Stars play the Anaheim Ducks at American Airlines Center Tuesday night. That was a lot of fun, actually. The Ducks have a guy on the team who's about 6" taller than most of the other players, and he's got a big bushy moustache. I kept thinking Will Ferrell was on the ice, but he seemed like sort of a badass, so I quickly forgot the goofy factor. As they were all out on the ice warming up, I asked my friend if I'd be safe in assuming there's about a million bucks' worth of dentistry on the ice at this very moment. We giggled.

So, um, Hockey. They play on an ice floor with sticks and a round biscuit they whack all over the place. They get in fights and slam into each other with great force, but the fun is sort of dampened by the fact that they are prepared for all that violence by generous layers of padding. They do a lot of spinny-twirly things in their skates, which is kind of cool. The audience grunts and groans in perfect unison. I joined the chorus by the end. It's hilarious when you find yourself participating in group reactions. The whole arena is really cool because of the ice, and this feels wonderful. Yes, finally! Decent air-conditioning.

The first 15,000 attendees each got a t-shirt and a spinny-towel thingie. I helio-cloptered my towel at the appropriate moments, but I kind of suck at it. The whole thing was pretty hilarious.

SPeaking of hockey - when I started working in apartment management and I kept seeing an old pickup in the parking lot with a bumper sticker that read "my other car is a zamboni." I thought "yeah, right." I imagined some wiener sports fanatic wannabe Zamboni-driver drove that truck around town. Turned out the truck belonged to Charlena Reyna who worked in ice management for the Stars at the AAC and really DID drive the Zamboni. Actually, she was one of 3 females in all the NHL who did that work. I think she left Dallas to be ice manager for another arena. She's about 4'11" and is a super-cool chick. That's what I get for thinking I know anything about anything.

Anyway, I liked the game, and while I'm not going to turn into a hockey fanatic, I'd like to go see more games sometime.

OH, the Ducks quickly scored 4 goals in the beginning, and the crowd seemed to lose heart completely. Then with about 15 minutes to go in the 3rd period, the Stars scored a goal, and then the crowd was on their feet, wild and jubiliant, standing and cheering most of the rest of the game. The energy was great at that point. The Stars scored another goal within about a minute, but then they seemed to be making a lot of careless errors again, and they never recovered. The whole thing ended with a sort of "Meh".

Check back here in about 7 or 8 years or so, and maybe I'll have another report on a sporting event. Unless you're counting bowling or roller-derby.
Happy Wednesday.

What was I thinking? Of course Terry Pratchett does filth. After all, he wrote Greebo, didn't he?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dear Celine Dion: I believe that the ugliness of this dress will go on.

I'm trying to imagine what design influences could have addled the dressmaker into concocting such a beastly frock. Here is what I've found in my research. Let me know if you agree.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Um, y'all: I shoot like a girl.

Sunday I got to go practice shooting at a local range, courtesy of a kindly member of the club, and accompanied by the lovely and gracious Holly & JPG. I took my Papa's High Standard Sentinel R-107 .22 from the mid-60s to practice shooting and get more comfortable with the whole process.
This gun has been used to dispatch a staggering number of Ozark squirrels, and it's really smooth and fun to shoot. I'm going to borrow it from Dad as long as he'll let me, or until another .22 catches my fancy and happens to be affordable.
The first 9 shots went in the very center in a sort of a bunch over what was the X in the center of the target. You can see there's really only one biggish hole. I thought that was kind of neat - all 9 shots staying together like a happy little family.
When I moved up the to the head for the second group, it got a little more loosey-goosey. I think I count 6 holes for the 9 shots I fired. Still, I'm not complaining.
I am surprised to find how tender my hands are. I do a lot of fine work with my bead stuff, and I tend to think of my hands as rather rough-around-the-edges, but Sunday I found that my right index finger was getting sore and would have soon blistered by the time I stopped shooting. [Then again, the grooved trigger on this .22 is probably just a bad surface for my finger, contrasting with the smooth surface of the trigger on my .38?) I suppose if I keep working on this as I should, then I'll build up a little callous there. Whatever works. Having discovered the heady scent of freshly fired cartridges (perfume!), I'll never be giving up shooting now, so my little digit will simply have to toughen up, won't it?
Let's just say I'm going to be using the tax money to join a local range so I can get some regular practice.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Yes, yes, I know: Pratchett doesn't do filth. Still.

Turk Turon's mention in comments of Evelyn Waugh (pronounced ee-vlin, and yeah, he was a dude) brought to mind EW's son, Auberon Waugh. I remember him as a great wit and a scathing critic in the few journalistic bits I've read of his. Check out his writings on travel and wine review, if you get a chance.

To my delight, Auberon's Wikipedia entry details one of his (in my opinion) great accomplishments in the form of an award for the worst description of a sexual act in a novel. Although I'm a great proponent of sex in real life--bad and otherwise-- icky descriptions of same in novels can be oogy and can utterly dowse a good read, in my humble opinion. Called the Bad Sex in Fiction award, the objective was "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it". Fecking finally.

Well done, indeed! In fact, to my delight, the 2007 award was given to Norman Mailer, whose stench-conjuring descriptions of coital interludes in Ancient Evenings sent me into paroxysms in my early 20s, thus rendering me unable to ever crack another Norman Mailer novel again. Call me closed-minded. I can live with that. Anyway, it seemed appropriate that NM's swan song should be met with a proper dressing-down for what surely was a wildly unsexy description of what should have been a sexy act, literally. Dirty old goat.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Okay - I couldn't copy an image of the doodle I did, and it was a hot mess anyhoo, but it's kind of fun to play with the virtual Spirograph over here.

My Spirograph drawings when I was a kid were always pretty terrible, actually. I'd be grooving along, rolling the little gears along their paths, and I'd get so intense and spazzy that force of my pen would flip the gear out of the framework and scuff up my tender little paws with its hard plastic teeth. This resulted in the line of ink breaking from its regimented path and cutting out across all the other carefully furrowed lines to head for the barn or greener pastures, or some such, generally mucking up the whole drawing. Crud.

It was kind of a love-hate thing, me and Spirograph, really. This way is more fun. Less painful.
funny how circular things can be.

After work Friday and went to my hairdresser's house for a haircut. I told her how her support had always been so meaningful to me, and that her unflagging encouragement had helped me find hope in some difficult moments.

Then I went to Fort Worth to a party for a couple I know who are getting married in 2 weeks. The friend who hosted the party, A, pulled me aside and said that 5 years ago when we met, she felt unworthy to pursue a career in the arts, but that my encouragement was what inspired her to go back to school to pursue her degree so she might one day become an art teacher.

That was really nice, the feeling that a spirit of positive support can be something that regulates a social circulatory system. Nice to be a small part of such a thing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Re: Men at Arms [by Pratchett *ahem* not Evelyn Waugh, Turk!]

I'm just going to put this out there: I'm going to be quite frustrated if this book concludes without Angua doing something beyond filthy to Carrot Ironfoundersson. He needs a proper seeing-to.

Here's a song dedicated to men lucky enough to be interfered with by werewolf women:

My Moon My Man by Feist (who I'm seeing in Dallas next week. YAYS!)
That is all.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Call me crass, but...

I do deeply question Monica Lewisnky's choice of a pearl necklace. I think she should just wear turtlenecks from now on, don't you? How horrid for one's foolish mistakes of early adulthood to cement their place in the world permanently as an embarrassing footnote for an historical figure. I mean, really, darling. Someone buy this girl a Best of ZZ Top cd already. Or maybe she's being ironic?

[this next bit added 14 April 2008]

Okay, I'll call myself crass. I'm going to leave this post up, but I sort of feel bad for piling on Monica Lewinsky. While she was legally of age when the events that made her famous occurred, she was very young. I know it's unlikely, but I hope she finds a way to turn it all around.

Link meme rules:

1. Must be clean, no R rated material.
2. Tell 5 people.
3. Only 5 links allowed.
4. Link back to person who tagged you.

You can link to business, favorite, affiliate sites, etc.
1. Aw, mom!
2. Mkay. Uh, Christina, Holly, KVegas911, Myron and Roberta X
3. Where's George Currency Tracking project - my nerdy little secret
Angry Alien Productions - 30 second bunny cartoon versions of major motion pictures
Rather Good - fun stuff
Archie McPhee - Good stuff to buy - toys and crap
Soldiers' Angels - one of the best .orgs out there, and a great and worthy place to send a donation

4. leazwell at Off Task tagged me with this link meme

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

PJ Harvey
I was awakened by a huge flash of light followed almost instantly by a massive crash of thunder in the night. I looked at the clock (across the room, because if it's not, I'll hit the snooze button for hours) and it said 3:00. Wow.

I put my head back on the pillow and settled back in for the best night of sleep I've gotten in yonks. Stormy weather is the best weather for sleeping. I love it.

Other than the annoyance of Dallas drivers who can't drive in weather, the only downside I can think of wet, soggy days is that I can't wear my favorite shoes. Oh, but now I have cowgirl boots. Never mind.
Oh, what a pile of yummy stuff I have for the charity shop. Seems like I'm getting rid of more than I'm keeping. Probably a good thing.

For the record, Gogol Bordello is the best housecleaning music. At their show in Dallas two weeks ago, I actually got quite close to the stage with friends, but, alas, by that time, they'd already done this screamy song, so I didn't get a crack at it. Maybe next time. One of the backup singers is the girlfriend of Elijah Wood, and from the left side of the audience you could see him standing backstage. I know- Dallas' brush with fame, eh? Anyway, it was a great show.

The relentless energy of this music sets a good clip for cleaning. I should listen to it more often, clearly...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Object lesson

Eager as I am to remove all doubt, you may have noticed on occasion that I mention my Ozark roots. I look at this admission as a bit of truth in advertising which may go a goodly distance toward a get-out-of-jail free pass with regard to my eccentricities and fetish for the outrageous.

One thing which is a hallmark of (not just hillbillies but of all) folk who live somewhat at remove from the mainstream of the social hubs, ordinary items tend to be transformed for uses quite disparate from their original intended purposes. As a child, I remember sitting in the back seat as we drove from Memphis to the hills to visit family. At one particular stretch along Highway 63 was a long bayou on the east side of the road, and miles of flat stretches of farmland on the west. Near the road here was a house where the owners had cleverly adapted up-ended old refrigerators into little chicken houses, with a porthole cut into each one to let the birds in and out. I wondered if the fridges kept the chickens cool during those sultry, oppressive mid-south summers.

Up closer to the hills, one would see with increasing frequency a dazzling array of yard art. Tractor- and car- tires turned inside out with a zig-zag cut along the top made festive yard planters when painted in Easter-egg colors. Here's a photo I found on the intarw3bz of a gentleman holding a tire planter he looks very proud of. We're probably related. [How's this for shocking: Someday when I move out of town, I'm going to have a tire planter in the yard, but I'll bet my sister will beat me to it.]

Before the new highway by-passed the business district of Jonesboro, we'd stop at a little donut shop there and buy "crippled donuts." Yes, that's what they called them because it was the 70s and they was ingnernt. We were smart and bought the wonky donuts, because they tasted just the same. We were equal-opportunity diners.

So, anyway proceed farther into the hills, and my favorite places were the houses where they'd cut gills around the cylinders of old bleach bottles, fanned them out into blades and put them on sticks, where they'd gaily spin in rows along the fence line. Yard art! Trust me, if it's plastic and disposable, someone in the Ozarks has found a decorative way to use it. One of these days I'll show you the fork fans. (don't ask.)

Anyway, mom's got a cousin, a really sweet man, who is a bit of a wheeler-dealer. He goes to auctions all over the country and buys huge lots of bits and bobs. Once he got a massive cache of silver-plated flatware and serving pieces. Well, he had the idea to fashion these pieces into pendants, brooches, and that sort of thing. Very sweetly, he handed these mementos out to all the ladies at the family reunion.

This piece is a pendant he gave me. The big metal thing began life as a pie/cake serving utensil, and has become a rather large pendant with a dazzling array of festoonery. Yes, that's a poker chip you see with the cameo and glitter. I thanked him kindly, and slipped it into the pocket of my purse.

When I got home from the trip, I decided to carry a different handbag for a while, so I switched my things out of the bag, but I neglected to empty that one pocket.

About 2 months later, I had to go to court for a matter related to my job. I decided to carry the red handbag. [you see what's coming, don't you?]

I made sure to take my Leatherman out of my handbag, and I sashayed on into the courthouse. Incidentally, this is the building at Commerce/Main/Harwood where Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey, fyi. So I climb the steps with my handbag and files, and I go up to the severe-looking woman at the post of the metal detector. I placed my handbag on the roller-table to go through the xray, and I walked through. I waited for my bag to come through, and another woman walked up and looked rather crossly at me, surveying, as she picked up the bag and brought it back to the entrance of the machine.

Hmm. That's odd.

Suddenly, where there originally was one police officer, there now are four, conferring below hearing range. Um, okay.

Now, I have to say for the record that I'm a cream puff and obviously never up to mischief. Usually. Even if I am, I have a way of not looking suspicious, I think. But here these folks were, a veneer of growing levels of concern clouding their faces. I vexed.

One of the women called me over and said "Ma'am, do you have a knife in your bag?" I said "no, absolutely not. I do not." She said "I need you to open your bag, please." The 4 officers hovered, watching expectantly as I opened the bag. I showed her the contents and said "see, just paper and my wallet." She said "What's in that zipper pocket?" I said "nothing." I opened it up to show her and there, twinkling like a turd in the punchbowl was this little gem.

Immediately flustered, I began sputtering an explanation "oh, I carried this purse to my family reunion in May and my cousin makes these things and this was a pie-server but now it's a necklace and-- and-- and--." They looked at me as though I were stark-raving mad. I said "we're from the Ozarks." Suddenly, they understood and nodded, their faces suffused with relief. I suspect they've met a hillbilly before. I think they were trying to suppress laughter. I didn't bother trying to contain it and just giggled nervously like a ninny.

They waved me on through. The funny thing was that after all that hullaballou, I was not even nervous when I finally spoke to hizzonner. The lovely judge reduced my $800-ish fine to $35, and I told him I loved his train set as I was leaving the court. (He had an N-scale train set-up on a big table by the bench).

So, the moral of the story is to tuck away embarrassing gifts as quickly as possible, and to always compliment the judge on his marvelous choo-choo.

Anyway, that concludes my presentation.
Remember the theme song to Daniel Boone, in all its splendid variations?

we had a corny one in my local berg which I'll not repeat. I'm sure you have memories of your own.

Anyhoo, Ed Ames was one of the actors on that show.

Here's Ed in a famous bit with Johnny Carson with a tomahawk gone wrong:

I think he needed to work on the follow-through.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sunday morning was unbelievably beautiful and I decided to take the little old lady dog for an extra-long walk, only this time, I let her have her lead and determine where we went. I try to let her go off on some little sniffy-adventures when we walk, but usually it seems I am pressd for time and need to keep up a good clip. I hate how limited she has to be, but she's a city dog, and she's a wild girl, so off-leash is not even a remote possibility. Her not-so-inner intrepid self balks at such limitation, and I am sympathetic to her frustration - in her diminutive chest beats the fierce heart of a lioness. We walked down to the nearby greenbelt through which a creek runs, and she made free to explore the wooded area. She sniffed around the edges, almost timid at first, and then she looked down a path into the trees, looked back at me, and then plunged forward, nose to the ground and occasionally snagging on thorny stems of wild roses vining up from the ground. I think she was blissed out and feeling fine, as all the way home her gait was that classic jaunty, bouncing step so distinctive of a Jack Russell Terrier. Not bad for 16.5 years, my baby.

Impossibly tiny blossoms dotted the grass like an easter dress, and just when I focused on all the teeny lilac-colored blooms, my eye was drawn to an even smaller yellow occasional flower. I noticed the dried fruit on some sort of berry tree through which the light passed like amber. I could see the core of the seed, more dense inside. Maybe later this year, some obliging bird will deposit those seeds somewhere miles away where they'll yield more fruit trees to please the eyes of walkers on April days decades from now.

I also noticed my favorite harbinger of seasonal change, the Monarch butterfly. My favorite time for Monarchs is in the Fall when they migrate through North Texas in staggering numbers on their way to the forests of Brazil where the trees will hang heavy with great pulsing swags of Monarch colonies. Near summer, they head back north as far as Canada. On our walk I saw a few lone Monarchs flying about, but then a flirtatious, love-drunk pair flitted dangerously close by, intent on their task and oblivious to the mammalian monsters in the vicinity. Doglet carried on with her olfactory investigations, but I was captivated by the moment and stood stock-still until they passed from view in the canopy of new leaves.

One day soon the relentless spate of sunny, blistering days will make me long for a life in Alaska or some such cooler clime. For now, though, it was an amazingly pretty day, and I was glad of the sunshine.

Have a great week!

I'm so glad Charlton Heston came to the party. He made it so much more interesting.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Take a chance on Meme

Christina of Lucrative Pain tagged me with this meme, and so did Ambulance Driver and so did Roberta X, and this one seems tougher than usual, but it seems I'm destined to answer anyhoo because soon the whole planet will have tagged me and the guilt will be unbearable. Let's see...

1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want.
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.
4. Tag at least five more blogs with links.
5. Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play....

Delusions of adequacy, often falling short.

How's that?
Dont' be mad, Holly. I'll try again:
1. Right, wrong, eventually found my way.
2. As you see
3. Done
4 & 5 - I'm going to crap out here. If you want to do this meme and haven't been tagged yet, consider this an open invitation. I figure I'm sposta tag 15 people at this point, and I don't think I'm up to it! Maybe later...
That's hopeful-sounding, right? Okay. That's the one.

The name IKEA comes from the Latin and is discussed at length in some book by Dante, right?

I went to IKEA Saturday, and I must make a less-frequent event of same in future. Yes, they have some great values and some neat little items for the home, but they also have some cheap crap you'll wonder why you bought in about 14 months. I'm not slamming it totally-- I've gotten a lot of great things there, and I will go back. Most likely soon. It's just that I'd question the wisdom of buying some of their products.

Not so these delightful little wall hooks they call "Bastis" but I call Mutt-butts. They are $1.99 each. (I picked you up a few, Holly!) Anyway, They make the cutest hat/coat/leash hooks, and come in an array of fashion colors.

If you haven't been to Ikea, be prepared for a massive place where you'll come to know the angst experienced by manifold millions of cattle in Amarillo feedlots. You and fellow travelers are sluiced around a staggering array of model rooms on a little tile lane wending its labyrinthine path through the bowels of he-- er, Ikea. There are are false walls which divvy up the showroom floor, with occasional shortcuts through, but they change the shortcuts periodically to reduce the likelihood of you getting in to pick up the one item you want and getting out with any degree of efficiency. Yes, I'm the little rat that memorized the maze shortcuts on the first visit. I usually spend longer in line waiting to pay for my stuff than I did making my selections.

My biggest complaint about Ikea, though, is the customers -- you've never seen such a slow-arsed, directionlessly shambling lot of people. They obviously are experiencing some sort of sensory overload, and they just can't quite take it all in. I've seen people less awe-struck at the Grand Canyon.

Oh, and a big, cheaply constructed warehousey people-magnet thing in the middle of tornado alley??? -- hands-up, everyone who agrees with me that this is really tempting fate. The only way they could be MORE asking-for-it would be if they festooned the roof with disused tractor tires. Once recently I sat on a sofa to see if it seemed like $XXX of posterior delight. To my horror, I could feel the floor vibrating in percussive little waves. Creepy. That made me remember that my sister told me about working retail on the upper floor of a mall. She said she could feel the floor tremble constantly, and that she'd look at the bottles of liquid product and see tremors in the fluid. The thought of these buildings (I'm sure they're sturdy enough, and all, but jeez!) being rather flimsy to that degree does not inspire confidence, does it?

I still detest shopping centers. They don't call them "mauls" for nothing. I hate having to walk past 20 stores that annoy me to get to the one store I actually came to visit. Anyway, Ikea is big enough, it feels like you've been to a mall. I'll bet their employees have nightmares the rest of their lives about the smell of cinnamon rolls and Swedish meatballs. Serves them right for acting in league with Lucifer.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

I don't care who you are, that's cute, right there:

Leva's Polka from Finland -

The sound of a polka drifted from my neighbor's
and set my feet a-tapping oh!
Ieva's mother had her eye on her daughter but
Ieva she managed to fool her, you know.
'Cause who's going to listen to mother saying no
when we're all busy dancing to and fro!

Ieva was smiling, the fiddle it was wailing
as people crowded round to wish her luck.
Everyone was hot but it didn't seem to bother
the handsome young man, the dashing buck.
'Cause who's going to mind a drop of sweat
when he's all busy dancing to and fro!

Ieva's mother she shut herself away
in her own quiet room to hum a hymn.
Leaving our hero to have a spot of fun
in a neighbor's house when the lights are dim.
'Cause what does it matter what the old folks say
when you're all busy dancing to and fro!

When the music stopped then the real fun began
and that's when the laddie fooled around.
When he took her home, when the dancing was over
her mother angrily waiting they found.
But I said to her, Ieva, now don't you weep
and we'll soon be dancing to and fro!

I said to her mother now stop that noise
or I won't be responsible for what I do.
If you go quietly and stay in your room
you won't get hurt while your daughter I woo.
'Cause this fine laddie is a wild sort of guy
when he's all busy dancing to and fro!

One thing I tell you is you won't trap me,
no, you won't find me an easy catch.
Travel to the east and travel to the west but
Ieva and I are going to make a match.
'Cause this fine laddie ain't the bashful sort
when he's all busy dancing to and fro.

Friday, April 04, 2008

I'm sure someone will be relieved to hear that charges have been dropped against a Bellevue Ohio man who was caught on film having unnatural relations with a picnic table in his back yard. Apparently a neighbor filmed him on four separate occasions.

I'll let that marinate a while. I may be back later to make more crap comments, but for now, I'm kind of dazzled. What I wonder is why did the neighbor film that 4 times before going to the authorities? I can see documenting the event you are complaining about, and possibly getting two separate events on film to buttress your complaint of lewd public behavior, but 4 times?

Anyway, they still may bring some form of charge against him, but for now, the felony charges have been tabled.

It's a marvel he got off so easily. I would have expected him to have been sentenced to hard time in the pokey.
I got out Depeche Mode's Black Celebration recently, and it holds up, still wonderfully evocative. I haven't liked Dave Gahan's solo work until this. Hope you like it too:

I saw something...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A couple years ago and about 4 years after I started this blog, I installed a visitor counter. If you're visitor number 88,888 today, holler at me and I'll send you something purty for yourself or your woman, and you should probably buy a lottery ticket, too. That is if I'll stop hitting refresh and let someone else be the 88,888. I'm not superstitious, but I was born on Oct 8, and 8's always been a good number for me.
Slept 5 hours last night, and that extra 2 hours made all the difference.
Universal truth: Never get dressed in a dark closet. I stopped by the gallery to drop off some jewelry I'd made, and I noticed the owner looking with interest at my garment, a brown stretchy knit dress. I didn't look down. Walking to my car, I chanced a peek downward. Yup: covered in dog hair of one Jack Russell Terrier, white. The dress is absolutely clean, but something in this synthetic must be magnetically charged for dog hair.
Perhaps I should shellac my lips with a few more layers of harlot red to act as dazzle camouflage, ya think?

I've been making a lot of beads recently for specific projects and orders, and that is anathema to the way I most prefer to create. When I fire up the torch and just make something completely spontaneously, I usually am pleased and surprised with new (to me) ways of manipulating molten glass.
I decided to goof off Wednesday night and just make a few bubble beads (it's been years, actually) and play with colors.
The first pink one (click on the top photo for detail - sorry the light was so crap) was turning out so badly that I decided to leave it unfinished so I could show more of the process. I did a core of cranberry transparent glass, then encased it in a layer of clear glass, and then laid pale pink dots on, which I melted in flush with the surface of the bead. When the bead cools sufficiently that it is stable and fairly hard, I spot-heat a dot and then plunge a filament of glass (the dark red in the middle of the dimple) into the center of the dot. What's cool here is that you have to hold the filament still for a few seconds until the bead hardens around the tip, and then you snap it off like a teeny tiny twig. Finally I laid a blob of clear glass over the big pink dot, and the glass acts as a lens and magnifies the appearance of the bubbles, which are just trapped air in the glass. Nifty, eh?
Have you ever seen a glass paperweight or a vase with a field of symmetrically placed bubbles? Well, that is done the exact same way, only on a larger scale. They'll roll the molten glass over a pinboard, pocking a field of dimples onto the hot glass. Then they'll wrap on another layer of glass, trapping the bubbles in situ. Then they blow and shape the glass as they desire. Incidentally, if you work with bubbly glass long enough, the bubbles will work their way to the outer surface, pop and leave either a smooth or a slightly depressed surface on the glass.

Anyway, these beads are quite crap, but this is precision work which I'd need to spend hours reacquainting my hands with the process in order to achieve a finer finished product. It's funny how much a role muscle memory plays in processes like these. It's also amazing how shaky your hands can be when you're performing intricate movements. It's fine so long as you don't think about it, but then when you involve your conscious brain in the loop, it sort of plays havoc with your balance and precision. I wonder how surgeons do it?
Anyhoo, let me know if you get sick of bead posts. It's just that I find them endlessly fascinating...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Sometimes when I'm glazing over at work and it's all too intense, I'll pop up a webcam window and let my mind decompress with a mini-break looking at Old Faithful or Mount St Helens venting spleen. I love seeing the ships rising and lowering in the locks at the Panama canal, and every once in a while you'll see deer in Awanhee meadow at Yosemite. It's also interesting to see how the weather is differing in those other parts of the country.

My favorite webcams:


Panama Canal

Mount St Helens

Grand Canyon

Yellowstone's Old Faithful cam

Trafalgar Square

If you google "webcam dashboard," you'll be amazed at the webcams you'll come up with, most likely including some of your favorite getaway spots. Have a nice trip!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Breathtaking tornado images from storm chasers. Click here for article and more astonishing pics.

I went to my favorite Cantonese eatery on Sunday intent on reading my latest Discworld selection. I've never thought much about it, but I just realized that when I go there on weekends, I'm often the only non-Asian in the place. Whatever.

Well, Sunday I was sitting there minding my own, reading and fiddling with my chopsticks when two white couples were seated at the table directly next to mine. Why is it the most obnoxious people in the room with the most insipid conversation are the most intent on telegraphing that conversation to all and sundry? I tried not to listen, but they were so loud they were impossible to ignore. The ultimate eyerolling-inducement came when one of the women was talking about filing her taxes, and she said "I mean, C-R-A-P!" Yes. A grown woman at a table of adults spelled out the word "crap." I was sorely tempted to audibly register my annoyance by saying "aw, shit!" or worse, but I controlled myself.

Are you proud of me? Anyway, I never realized what a wonderful thing it is to be oblivious to what the folks around you are saying, and as I don't speak Cantonese, Szechuan or any furrin' dialect, I can be blissfully unaware. I suppose I'll have to try to engineer my seating next time so I'm plopped in the middle of folk with whom there is zero chance of familiar tongues commanding the attention of my ears. Here's to indecipherable background murmurs!
You know what I wonder? I wonder why after all those years of dying in barrels and crates and other means of conveyance did no one ever try one of those rafts over Niagara Falls that Marshall Will and Holly plunged a thousand feet below in during the greatest earthquake ever known? I don't think they got so much as a hangnail from that experience. Niagara Falls would be total chump change by comparison, yeah?

I don't know about you, but nothing evokes the atmosphere of prehistoric times for me like the sound of born-to-be-mild vocals against the plucky ostinato of a choir of banjos.

What's hilarious is that the production quality here is Flintstonian. It was really nice of that dinosaur to give them a head start - maybe he just hadn't had his morning cup of coffee yet. Yeah, I totally watched that show.

How yur durin?

Okay, forever ago jpg told me I need to dry-fire my j frame 2000 times and that sticky trigger thing would hopefully smooth out. Well, I've done 1000 today and no sign of improvement, and I'll keep on working on it, but in the meantime, I notice this little abrasion pattern(the bit that looks gold/brassy) on the trigger. Does this indicate a burr in the works wot will only be addressed by the attentions of a gunsmith, or is this indicative of typical wear? Your opinion is greatly appreciated. Of course, the important thing is that the gun works, but working a teeny bit more smoothly is definitely desireable at this point.