27 November 2016

whenever we wanted, we'd stop by the side of the road and dance.

i'd buy a winnebago along with someone to drive us across the country in it. we'd see everything from maine to california, the shores of the atlantic to the shores of the pacific, from canada to mexico and all the plains, mountains, forests, lakes, canyons, and craters in between. from the decadence of times square to the innocence of the dakotas. we'd go when we wanted and stop when we wanted and whatever looked interesting, we'd investigate. we'd sleep in the winnebago or in a tent or in an old-school highway roadside motel. we'd eat eggs in the morning and steak in the afternoon and have coffee whenever we damn well pleased. we'd see the stars and the moon and the sun and the rain from the windows of our winnebago and from the windows of our eyeballs. we would read a dozen books and then read a dozen more, learn to play chess, to yo-yo, to grow sunflowers in the camper. we'd talk until communication no longer required talking. we would spend days on end just fishing or only hiking or in a casino until we couldn't tell day from night anymore. we would rent bicycles and canoes and tuxedos and picnic baskets, whatever we needed, we'd lease it and use it and give it back and move on. we'd wear our blue jeans every day, and whenever we wanted, we'd stop by the side of the road and dance.

23 November 2016

in the aftermath

i'm not going to talk about the campaign or the election or how i voted or how you voted.

well, not per se, anyway.

i would like to talk about where we go from here.

first, i recommend a wait & see attitude. whether you voted for trump and you're elated, or you voted for clinton and you're devastated, or you voted for someone else or feel some other way -- wait & see.

my spidey-senses tell me that the trump administration will be neither as terrible nor as fabulous (per your point of view) as expected. it's just not possible. even with the executive and legislative branches of government squarely in the GOP camp, it's not like that's enough power to change the world. if combined exec+leg control were all it took, the world would have already been changed by now - several times over and in myriad directions. we'd all have change-of-world whiplash. plus, if you think all the GOP legislators are on board with trump's platform, i'd say you've been living under a rock. there are many forces at play, so why not just wait & see.

if you watched his 60 minutes interview, you heard trump say some things that didn't seem to be in line with his campaign boasts. sure, he's still talking about building a wall, but now it's a combo wall-fence. sure, he's talking about deporting illegal aliens, but it's the hard-core criminal element he's after. who can argue with locking up or deporting thieves, rapists, murderers... hopefully not anyone! he said that he will work on getting the hard-core criminals out, let the dust settle, take stock of the situation, and make a plan to move forward. personally, i think rounding up the hard-core criminals could take the better part of 4 years anyway, so why not just wait & see.

trump has said he'll repeal obamacare and i say, GOOD ON YA. that thing is a hot mess and if you can't admit that, then... ugh.... okay, firstly, we need universal health CARE, not universal health COVERAGE. secondly, obamacare is much more geared to the interests of the insurance companies than those of the health care consumer. i'm not saying we don't need to all share in the burden of our collective health. truth is, we will do so either way - either we pony up on the preventive side or we're socked on the reactive side, when all costs go up because not all can pay. i'd prefer to pay on the preventive side. firstly because it makes more damn sense. secondly, it costs less. thirdly, healthy people are happy people and damn if the world could use more happy people right now. maybe you don't agree with me on any of this, but before you pre-mourn the passing of obamacare, consider that it's a HUGE thing to repeal, and maybe it won't happen at all or won't happen in the nightmare scenario where it affects people adversely. i'd like it changed. you'd like it unchanged. can we assume we both want to the best, and wait & see?

i don't want to go through the platform and plan item by item. i realize trump is supported by some hard right-wingers, but he's pulling a mixed bag of characters into his cabinet. he said he'd do something different -- maybe that something different will be to work for an end to the damnable polarization that is ripping our country apart like that thing that came out of sigourney weaver. i realize some people are afraid of his supporters, who are doing terrible things in his name, who are intolerant and full of repressed anger. but just because those people support trump, why do we believe trump supports them?

trump is at heart a builder. he loves to build things. he wants to build up the USA. unless we are going to dissolve our little experiment in democracy altogether and no longer have a country called USA, why not build it up?

sure, he's crass. he says witless things. but guess what? so do most people. if you literally believe that men do not actually "talk that way" when they are together - from the locker room to the board room - well, sheesh. c'mon. they do. they just do. i am not saying it's right, but jeez. we're not droids. ever heard of testosterone?

i don't think it's right to round up illegal aliens and deport them - nor do i believe it's feasible. and, i don't think it will happen. remember when obama said all items to be voted on would be posted for our (our = you, me, regular folk) to review on the internet before they were voted on? well, if you don't, i do. i was pretty excited about it. and... it never came to pass. probably not feasible. that's just how it is with campaign promises - whether you are on board with them or not, they don't all come to pass. you just have to wait & see.

i am in favor of a strong military because it's a dangerous world. i am a capitalist and believe that strong businesses of all sizes make for a strong economy with jobs for everyone. i am in favor of welfare-to-work ala bill clinton. i am in favor of letting people make the choices that seem right to them, to live their lives how they see fit, as long as they are not drawing on the state for support. conversely, i believe that if you are drawing on the state for support, the state can hold you to some standards of behaviour, with those standards being ones that focused only on minimizing your draw on the aforementioned state. i am in favor of affordable health care and although i don't know how to fix the health care crisis, i don't believe it's by regulating soda size or contributing to insurance megaliths. i am in favor of equal pay for equal work and marrying whoever you damn well please and coming to america to make a better life than you could have in whatever godforsaken war zone you were born in.

*sigh*

what are your thoughts? agree, disagree, leave a comment, let me know.


02 November 2016

a canyon and a wall

a thousand emails
cancel out to
nothing,
only noise -

a cacophonous monotony
that can't replace
your voice.

the distance now between us is
a canyon and a wall -
much too deep navigate and
way too high to crawl.

sweet dandelion wishes,
softly floating on the wind -
little seeds that fly away
and don't come back again.

i whisked a dandy floater
up into the sky,
saw it safely on its way
and didn't ask it why

cause you don't ask dandelions
where they're headed,
where they've been.
you kiss them once and let them go
a'floating on the wind.





(this came out all at once, like one poem, but reading it back again, it sounds like it should be two. what can you do? art.)

22 October 2016

live blogging from the bux

i had occasion to come to my neighborhood starbucks today, and here are my thoughts and observations.

1. for context: this is a relatively heavily-traveled suburban shop. it's not a fast paced city shop but generally has a line of one or two patrons with a line building to six or eight in a rush.

2. my preferred seats are the two-tops near the wall, followed by corner chairs, followed by the large table across the back windows. according to this study of coffee shop culture, my seating prefs are exceedingly typical. most patrons in most coffee shops prefer "sheltered" seats - near walls, windows, in corners, or near virtual walls (edge of balcony).

3. this store plays its music too loud. by "too loud" i mean that the music volume causes patrons to increase their talk volume and pretty soon the whole place is just a raucous cacophony. as evidence of my not being alone in this, i offer: this random blog -- i recommend the comments as well. as for loud as fuck music, other starbucks don't do this, so i know it's not company policy. i don't know for sure who decides how loud music should be in a starbucks, but i am fairly certain it's the baristas, and...

4. the baristas here are literally the least friendly of anywhere on earth. it's not like it's the same set of unfriendly baristas, either. it's like this bux is designated people-hating-barista zone where all the PHBs come to band together and play music at a volume that's specifically calibrated to drive patrons out of the store. not that i can't get on board with the people-hating. i am a sophisticated and prideful hater. however. i am not trying to earn a customer-facing living.

5. there is a way to wear athletic tights and with dressy sweater + boots is NOT IT. this town is athletic crazy and, as a result, athletic wear crazy. i've been to other towns, so i know people don't dress this way everywhere, but around here, it's like high fashion to look like you just stepped out of a gym. this is convenient for me because i have a lot of gym clothes, but painful for me because there's a prevalence of mixed use -- athletic tights with dress boots, etc. i get trying to multi-task your clothing - having a lot of clothing is a struggle - and there are some legit gym tights that can legit be sweater-n-boots tights as well. but, ladies. c'mon. the tights with mesh venting and reflective piping are classified fitness only. let's try to stop mucking this up.

6. one of the baristas just announced an unclaimed chocolate chip cookie was up for grabs, first come and whatnot, and the guy who grabbed it is wearing a jacket emblazoned with the logo of a local physical therapy outfit. i think this is somehow ironic but i can't really place how/why.

7. i hate slashes. just say how or why. are you too lazy to type the conjunction? there's this guy at my work who is excessively slash-happy. he even speaks slashily. like, "i can't really... actually... place how... why... how that's ironic." you know what i mean? always pausing to shuffle through some synonyms. it's like he's got to cover all the verbal bases, all the time. reading through a bunch of slashed up paragraphs is like having brain hiccups -- no flow.

8. the kid next to me is playing videos on his phone, and since the music in here is so freaking loud, his videos have to be more freakingly louder. sheeze.

9. netbooks were a grand invention. i know tablets are all the rage, but this little machine with its generously-sized keyboard is totes the bomb. the rigidity of the connection between the screen and the keyboard means the device is self-supporting at any angle and on any surface. as previously stated somewhere buried in this bloggish morass of words, i abandoned windows(TM) and installed a slim linux OS on the underpowered system, and it works spectacularly. the OS is called peppermint and it's just as "lightweight, stable, and super fast" as it's billed to be.

10. the word "morass" always makes me think of molasses and mules.





19 October 2016

you can tell everybody that this is your song

it was thirty years ago today -
a little late because you chose your way.
always doing things in your own style -
always guaranteed to raise a smile.
you introduced the whole world to you -
there's no doubt that you would always be -
pookie tater's lovely hearts club band!

you're pookie tater's lovely hearts club band,
and we do so enjoy the show!
you're pookie tater's lovely hearts club band,
sit back and let ten-thousand evenings go!

pookie tater's lovely, pookie tater's lovely -
pookie tater's lovely hearts club band!
it's wonderful you got here -
it's certainly a thrill!
we love to be your audience -
of course we took you home with us -
of course we took you home!

we don't ever want to stop the show
but we thought that you might like to know
that our hearts are going to sing a song
because you make us sing along
since we were introduced to you
the one and only D - M - B --
and pookie tater's lovely hearts club band!


14 October 2016

reverse rumspringa

the last audiobook i listened to was about this amish girl and her rumspringa. it was pretty good and whatnot but the point is, what about reverse rumspringa? what about non-amish, or fancy, or english, or one of all those things the amish call us, what about our girls going to be one of them for a year? they do that with us, why can't we do that with them?

you can find "amish vacations" or rustic getaways, but those aren't real rumspringas. what i mean is, move in and be part of the family. not like special occasion or visit, and not like any age. amish kids do rumspringa when they are mid-teens, so why can't our kids do reverse rumspringa then?

i guess i know why: our kids are little shits. amish kids, even the ones out rumspringa'ing around, are not little shits. they are mannerly and naive. our kids are chaotic and jaded. it's one thing to take in a mannerly stranger, but to take in a chaotic stranger, that's quite a burden.

so you can't have parents just dumping their juvenile delinquent kids on the amish like it's a reform school or something. it would have to be kids that are seriously considering being amish, who need to try it out and find out what it's really like so that they can make an informed decision about how to live their lives. you know, basically, the same reason the amish kids do it.

maybe this is a thing. is this a thing?

07 October 2016

an open letter to millennials

dear millennials,

you're not unique.

the generation before you also wanted to be accepted for who they are, and didn't want to grow up, and thought the generation before THEM was idiots. same for the generation before that. and, before that. and, here's where you should hold on to your beanies: the generation that FOLLOWS you will think the same of you!

so, you're not unique. what you are is rude.

i'm not saying your wanting to be treated differently is rude. the young folk always want special treatment. and, not only is there nothing wrong with that -- there's a lot that GOOD with that. it's how customs change, how society moves forward. it's good that you're pushing the envelope or we'd all turn back into monkeys.

thing is, though, you practice a complete and utter disregard for how others want to be treated. expecting special treatment and extending disdain in return -- that's just rude.

i have faith in your capacity to do better. here are some places to start:

-- use your lingo. fine. but limit the use to when you're chatting amongst yourselves. when you're in the workplace - especially customer-facing jobs - use real words. i.e., "minute" means 60 seconds, not an indeterminate length of time.

-- stop expecting the workplace to cater to you. that's not how work works. work is called work because YOU cater to IT. if you want the workplace to treat you differently, create your own workplace. otherwise, buckle down.

-- beanies in july are ridiculous. beanies at work in july are, just, "no".

-- stop claiming to be misunderstood. you are not misunderstood. you are so thoroughly understood as to be virtually transparent. we alllll get you. the reason we don't cater to you isn't that we don't understand you. we don't cater to you because we don't want to.

-- be more judicious in your declarations of tech savvyness. knowing how to work an iphone doesn't make you tech savvy. knowing how to CREATE an iphone - now THAT's tech savvy. once you get past "how to work it" and understand how it works, maybe then you can be tech savvy.

-- stop taking selfies. just... stop.

-- last but not least - walk a mile in a gen-x'ers shoes. you think YOU'RE misunderstood?? ppfth!

i'm not advising that you do these things "because we all had to do these things and if we had to knuckle under, so should you". no. i am advising you that a good way to get others to respect you is for you to respect others, first.

now get back out there and try again... try a little harder this time, and you'll be fine.

sinceres,
ace


02 October 2016

let's question the newsworthiness of this

the other night on the local news, they showed a grainy picture of a girl in a fancy dress, on the arm of a boy in a football uniform, standing on a football field, and they captioned the picture with the dual fact that this girl had been elected to homecoming court and she has down syndrome.

why was this news? i mean, she's a courtesan, not the queen. that's not news. besideslywise, it's not like homecoming queens make the news BECAUSE they are homecoming queens. the local newspaper nor the local newscasts provide any type of listing of homecoming royalty at any of the myriad local high schools.

one concludes the news folk deemed it newsworthy because the young lady has down syndrome.

which begs the questions... why was this news?

is it news that a child with down syndrome is attending public high school? that such a child has friends who like her well enough to elect her to a homecoming court?

the blurb was something along the lines of how sweet it was for these high schoolers to have elected this particular young lady to the court.

again, why? one concludes from the available evidence that the high schoolers' actions were deemed both sweet and newsworthy precisely because the young lady has down syndrome.

given:
- homecoming courts are not generally deemed newsworthy.
- this specific courtesan was deemed newsworthy.
- the only characteristic of this young lady that was mentioned in the blurb - besides her courtesan status - was that she has down syndrome.

therefore: children with down syndrome who do something endemic to typical children their age are deemed newsworthy simply for the fact that they are doing something typical. children who are typical and who facilitate typicality for a child with down syndrome are deemed sweet simply for the fact of their facilitation.

hmm.

really?

i mean, what is out of the ordinary here? that a high schooler is elected to homecoming court? that a high schooler has down syndrome? that a child with down syndrome is popular?

c'mon. we all see the obvious assumption: she was elected solely because she has down syndrome. and, hey, THAT'S FINE. it's really okay to give a child who's not typical an opportunity to do something that is typical.

however.

what NOT FINE is calling this particular election out on the local news, which in essence reverses this young lady from a child with down syndrome to a down syndrome child.

and in the end, i think we can all agree: the truly newsworthy story here is that homecoming courts aren't really typical at all; they're dens of misogyny and as such should be eradicated.

28 September 2016

life after r&i

one of my favorite shows - rizzoli & isles - has its final season this summer, so i'm shopping for something new. i mean, i can watch r&i in reruns or dvd or whatnot, but one of the best things about the show was how current it was, so that currency would go away and it won't be as good. tonight i watched the premier of "bull" and i also have "notorious" scheduled for recording. bull was good, i liked it. it's about a jury consultant, which is fresh, and the pilot had some hints towards well-rounded characters, and the plot was twisty. overall, quite promising.

27 September 2016

thoughts while watching The Voice

consider:

- vcr - an exciting way to watch movies - at home!
- pagers - never be out of reach!
- cassette tape - listen to music - in your car! without those wacked out 8-tracks!
- fax - send paper notes! immediately! without sending paper!
- saturn cars - really more of a different business model than actual different technology...

so here we are in 2016. all these things have come and lived and gone away again in like the past 40 years - or even less.

how many people living in 1916 or 1816 or 1716 or 1616 or you know, any other '16, would have seen five full-fledged inventions come and go? these things weren't just minor or poorly accepted or underfunded. these were part of the culture. part of the culture!

and really, this is my measly little list. the things i thought of off the top of my head. i am sure there are other examples, although probably not as good as these examples.

think about it:

1. invented

2. spread beyond early adopters to full immersion in the culture

3. whoosh. tumbleweeds. gone.

back in like 1616 people were certainly thinking of stuff. you know they were inventing stuff in 1916. and at any time, sure, things are passing out of common use. but, passing COMPLETELY out of use? and, within 40 or fewer years of coming to prominence? and, so MANY things?

i am saying the life cycle is quicker. that is what i am saying.




26 September 2016

proximo sum

remember this? proximo arcanum

well, guess what i found... :)

i went back to that same place to run, and this time i paid a bit more attention to my surroundings. i saw this:



hm. looks foreboding, right? but i decided to go ahead and peek around the corner...



it's the lake!



okay. it's muuuuuch more of a pond than a lake, but still. a body of water, right there. basically just behind where i was parked, this time AND the last time. way to turn around while keeping your eyes open, ace. it's like, right there and sort of the opposite of a mystery. i didn't even have to go into any woods or even take more than like 50 steps from the parking area.

observations r us!!







24 September 2016

in short...

i found something today that i was pretty excited to tell you about, but my computer is being weird so it'll have to wait until tomorrow.

23 September 2016

block wall

i've been sitting here for 20 minutes with an open computer on my lap trying to get inspiration to come to me. it's like calling for a kid who's outside playing.

inspira-a-ation! inspira-a-a-a-a-ation! time to come in!

inspiration does not want to come in. what's a girl to do?

i know, 20 minutes isn't a log time. i don't guess you can call it writer's block after just 20 minutes, but i am pretty sure you can call it blogger's block.

either way the result is the same: i can't think of anything to say.

22 September 2016

pottermore update

do you use pottermore? in case you do not, a quick explanation: you are a loser. haha. srsly, you're a loser, but an explanation of pottermore is that it's a place to find additional background info on the WIZARDING WORLD of harry potter. (i am careful to say WIZARDING WORLD and not like "world of hogwarts" because those denizens of pottermore can be real sticklers for correctness and cruciatus hurts.) if you don't know about harry potter then just stop reading now and go pick your nose.

today they announced a new feature - discover your patronus. sweet! first i had to remember (i.e., reset) my password, then i did the patronus test. they flash up sets of words like shine/glitter/glow, rough/smooth, play/prowl/[something i can't remember], black/white/grey, who/why, and i don't remember the rest (which is pretty aggravating), but for each set you just pick whichever strikes your fancy. after the series of questions, the system assigns you a patronus.

i got eagle and i'm pretty happy with that. i mean, my first choice would have been fox because... fox. but eagle is cool. it's a patronus i can be proud of.

there's another new feature at pottermore - get sorted at ilvermorny. i read some of the writings there but not sure i am ready to get sorted. too many distractions around here. you have to be careful with these things or you could wind up in hufflepuff, or, you know.... pukwudgie. (omg, am i right??)

i used to hang out in pottermore a lot. there were all these "moments" lifted from the books, and you could visit the scenes and collect virtual trinkets and whatnot. it was a wonderful combination of the books and interactivity.

then the creators decided to trash all that fun and replace it with loads of content. it's okay. i mean, i like to read some of the stuff, but it's all one-sided now -- all reading, no games. there's no way to just dip in and interact - you have to commit too much time at any given time, so i end up committing none.

until today when the patronus discovery showed up. it was short and fun. why can't they have more of that?


















21 September 2016

of troll tongues and sermon chairs

just learned about a situation i need to bring to your attention: these dramatic cliffs in norway are visited by many insane people.

the two most popular cliffs are trolltunga, which is norwegian for troll tongue, and preikestolen, which they say means preacher rock, but if you put it through google translate it'll tell you "sermon chair". whatevs. let's not lose focus on the real issue: crazy people on dramatic cliffs.

here. let me show you.


who jumps for joy on a freaking cliff?? batshit, am i right?

oh, what? you need more evidence?

here's more.



and some more.



oh, and this one - kids on a cliff?? freaking child abuse!



here's one more. this, my friends, is the road to troll's tongue.


that's one seussian road right there. just the exact type of nutty road that crazy people drive on in order to leap in the air on the edge of a dramatic cliff.

that's all the evidence i can scrounge up on short notice. if you're not with me here on the conclusion that these people are batshit, then we'll just have to agree to agree that i'm right.

because you know i am.





20 September 2016

back you go

a blue world
in a black sky
and a little bird
who flew so high
so high

a wind blew
and a rain came
and the little bird
went home again
again

mama bird said
oh little one
you can't come home
when there's no sun
no son

back you go
get out there
go fly high
in stormy air
stormy air

a blue world
in a black sky
and a little bird
who flew so high
so high

a wind blew
and a rain came
and the little bird
went out again
again











19 September 2016

pursepous




a few weeks ago, i decided to pare down my everyday carryall from a large backpack to a purse. "grow up" i said to myself. so i took my backpack stuff and stuffed it in my purse. uh. oh em gee? how much freaking stuff do i freaking carry around??

obvs i need to go back to the backpack.

just kidding.

obvs i need to get rid of some of this shit.

right? i mean, that's the right choice, right? right. of course, right. right.

so, okay, i need to get rid of some stuff. how hard could that be? just take some stuff out and don't put it back in. easy.... easy. hm. this? nope. that? nope. i 100% absolutely need every single thing i am carry around. i mean, not like "every day" per se, but like in case.

.....i need three pens in case the first two don't work.
.....i need multiple packs of kleenex in case of a nose-running emergency.
.....i need a tape measure in case something in the world is unmeasured.
.....i need a watch in case the unmeasured quantity is time.
.....i need a plastic fork, knife, and spoon in case i have food but no way to eat it.
.....i need barrettes and wet wipes and a groceries bag and cough drops and... and... and...

i need it all!!

what to do. what to do. i considered again returning to big ol' backpack. sweet big ol' backpack. backpack didn't ask me to make choices. backpack held all my stuff in all its many interior pockets. backpack didn't judge. backpack just loved -- loved all my stuff. backpack was inclusive.

being still unsure, i talked it over with a trusted advisor, and she in all her wisdom said, "just take out one thing each week." oh, hey now. even i can do that! the first week, i took out the extra pad of paper and a couple of pens. then i took out the watch. then the extra kleenex. and, so on, but pretty soon it got down to the difficult stuff. i mean, who does NOT need a plastic fork, knife, and spoon?? you know you do, so shut up.

sigh.

i needed my wallet more. i needed my burts bees more. i needed my actual journal of paper more. i needed some things more than others and so i made lots of choices and this picture shows what didn't make the cut.

so, i did it!

well, sort of.

thing is....

honestly? i still feel like i have too much stuff. that said, i also feel like i need all the stuff. i can't figure out anything else to take out. the iron pills? my phone charger? sure, some people don't carry around a journal, but damn, what the hell is the purse's purpose if not to carry a journal? and reading glasses? and hand sanitizer? and a tiny screwdriver?

i mean, what? what else could be the pursepose?


18 September 2016

bookish

i was holding my book list to the end of the year, but i went ahead and published it to share with someone who is looking for audiobook recommendations. that's just the kind of caring and sweet person i am. it has nothing to do with being too lazy to copy the list into an email or somesuch. my nice totally outweighs my lazy.

as you can see in the book list post, audiobooks have so far by far won the content consumption race. unless i completely stop listening and read like a million1 books, audiobooks will come out on top, and i'll let you in on a little secret: that's not going to happen.

audiobooks have revolutionized my daily commute in such a dramatic way that i actually look forward to getting in the car. although, not in such a dramatic way that i want to be in the car for an hour (which is what it often seems to require these days), when i do end up in the car for an hour, the experience is closer to enjoyable on the scale of hellish to enjoyable.

i was reading on my lunch hour, but every day now i seem to be working on my lunch hour. a year ago, i would exercise on my lunch hour, but for the past year, i haven't had access to shower facilities for post-exercise return to work. at first, i switched from exercising to reading & eating. now, i have successfully made the shift away from doing anything self-related during the workday2. i realize this is not an incredibly healthy practice, so feel free not to lecture me.

this has made me a bit nostalgic for reading. maybe i'll go do that3 now.














1where "a million" means 23.
2restroom visits excluded.
3where "that" is watch tv.

16 September 2016

creepy peepers

targeted ads are like stalkers, peeping in through my microsoft windows, watching me take a virtual bubble bath. word on the street is the millennials like the creepy buggers. is that true? those weird children like all sorts of weird shit. as for me, today i got an ad for tickets to the wiggles in baltimore, and as i am in neither the baltimore demographic nor the wiggles demographic, i feel this is pretty much a win for stealthdom.

that said, there IS a bit of peeping that would add value at online retailers - look in my cart and tell me if i am freaking ordering two of the same bloody thing! see, i have all these pretend dollars to spend at banana republic (the parent company of gap and old navy), so i loaded up a virtual cart of old navy cardigans and one dress. when i got the shipment notification with a list of my shipment (i.e., the former occupants of my shopping cart), what to my wondering eyes should appear but two (2!!) of the dress.

what the hell, old navy?? in what universe do people want two of the exact same piece of clothing that isn't a standard tee shirt or somesuch? in what universe?? not this one, that's for damn sure.

how hard would it have been for old navy to have stopped and asked me to confirm that i want 2 of x? yeah, i am thinking not that hard. "you have ordered two of the exact same thing. confirm?" i mean, they are churning up a custom email based on the contents of my cart as soon as i put anydamnthing in it. maybe "two of the exact same thing" could trigger a wee alert? seriously, as long as you are looking, make yourself useful!

i cherish your thoughts on this grave matter.

15 September 2016

caught blogging

yesterday fbi director james comey advised us all to put a piece of tape over our webcams when we're not using them. i can't decide if that's bizarrely paranoid or immensely practical. i mean, it seems pretty bourne-identity to me. i assume my home wireless security protects my email and bookkeeping - why shouldn't i assume it's protecting my camera? along those lines, who is going to mess with accessing my webcam? all that they would see is me nodding off while attempting to compose a wee blog.

14 September 2016

12 v's to the printer

my computer wanted to update tonight. i was all like, fine, let's update, but then it told me it would take SEVERAL HOURS. omg. what the hell, ubuntu. who has several hours to update their computer? not i, said the fly.

admittedly, it's from v4 to v16. that's 12 v's, so i guess it's reasonable to assume that would take some time. probably 1 or 2 v's would be quicker. why did i wait until the v's were up to 12? hmmm, well, i really have no idea how that happened. oh, wait, this is how it happened - ubuntu never asked to be updated before. jeez, ubuntu. it's been years. YEARS. and you're just now asking to be updated? and, not like 1 or 2 v's... T.W.E.L.V.E. V's!!

you might wonder if i wondered: why, for all these years, wasn't it asking to be updated? i mean, computers ask to be updated all the time. didn't it strike me as strange that this one wasn't asking? well, i certainly would have wondered that, except for the fact that it HAS been asking to get updated. it's been asking like all the time -- and i've been giving it permission! if it's been asking all this time and i've been saying okay all this time, how did it get 12 v's behind??

*sigh*

aaaaaanyway....

now i am sort of at a loss. do i update? i probably should. the system would probably work better. but... hours? HOURS?? and - AND - what exactly would be better about it? what would this update improve? better be something worth hours of my life because the same message that said it would take hours also said it was irreversible. what if i take this hours-long irreversible path, and when i get to the other end, i can't print? what then??












13 September 2016

spooning

light. dark. light. dark. light. dark.

most of the time it's dark, of course. they reach in here maybe 6, 8 times per day. i mean, how many times do you need a spoon? not very often. maybe 6, 8 times per day.

but that's fine with me because what happens when they take me out. they stick my head in a hot cup of coffee or a cold bowl of cereal. and then? then? haha. ha. 9 times out of 10 they poke me in their mouth!

uurrrrgh. *shiver*

give me the good old cutlery drawer anytime.






-----------------

the book which i'm currently listening to describes a writing exercise where you take the point of view of an inanimate object. i am not sure i am on the right track here.

12 September 2016

bourne popularity

flipping through the channels last night, we caught "bourne ultimatum". watching it, i realised why those bourne movies are so popular. i mean, duh, they are well-written, but it's basically the same story over and over again. what's so special about it? here's my theory: it's got something for the guys and something for the girls.

like this:

something for the guys - things blow up
something for the girls - matt damon

something for the guys - fancy cars
something for the girls - office supplies

something for the guys - julia stiles
something for the girls - julia stiles

something for the guys - fist fights
something for the girls - fashion

something for the guys - guy expertly assembles firearm
something for the girls - girl expertly cuts & dyes own hair

something for the guys - motorcycle chases
something for the girls - exotic locations


guys like fast cars, explosions, and blood. girls like self-chopped hair and manila folders filled with crispy redacted pages. everyone loves julia stiles.

11 September 2016

eleanor & park with blogging and baristas

i am listening to the audiobook "eleanor & park". i mean, like i am listening to it literally right now. which is weird because i am also trying to blog. it's two things i really really really want to do, but i am not certain it's two things that can be done simultaneously. this book is so, so good that i want listen to it all the time, but listening to one thing and thinking about writing something else is just about as challenging as it sounds.

oh, wait. hey. the barista, like, just found the music and turned it way the fuck up up up. i can't even hear my audiobook and the freaking earbuds are jammed in my literal ears. damn.

going outside....

wow. that was completely ridiculous. the barista cranks up the music and people crank up their conversations. it was so pleasant, just sitting in sweet quiet communion with other coffee drinkers. i am pretty sure the baristas crank up the music to drive people away. the sooner everyone leaves, the sooner they can clean up and close the store.

my starbucks has the worst baristas. it doesn't matter how long they've worked there - if they are new, if they've been there a million years, it's all the same. they are the most selfish baristas. all they care about is talking to each other through their drive-thru headsets and running the customers out so they can close up early due to "lack of business". they closed up one time when it was snowy, so there was no sitting outside that day, and i had to walk down to the publix and sit at the tables where the staff eats their lunch. thanks for nothing, baristas.

is this working? is this making any sense? the book is getting pretty good. i think it's going to get my full attention now.

10 September 2016

proximo arcanum

i haven't been running enough lately and i am really trying to do it more often, so today i drove a couple miles to run on a fresh stretch of sidewalk near some new houses. it was okay and all, but that's not the point. the point is that while i was mapping my run to log it, i saw on the map that there's a lake behind the trees across the road from the sidewalk. a lake?? i had no idea.

apparently it's a reservoir and it even has a name. i'm intrigued now and want to go back over there and find out if i can get through the trees to the lake. i mean, not right this minute since it's like a quarter to 2100 hours, but you know, when it's daylight.

i want to get back in there and find the lake and see it for myself. it's not that i don't believe it's there or that i can't look at a picture to see what it looks like. it's that i want to experience the seeing of the thing by allowing my eyeballs to direct light rays to my optic nerve which will send impressions to my brain for interpretation and storage. i want to see it for myself.

it's not doubt - it's curiosity. and not the kind of curiosity that can be sated with second-hand reports. it's the kind of curiosity that requires my going TO and seeing OF. having given it some thought, i believe it's this way because of proximity and mystery.

firstly, the damn lake was right there! and, it's still right there - like two miles from my house. i'm curious about the eiffel tower, too, but the logistics of putting my optic nerves in striking distance of mr eiffel's wonder are a bit more complex. secondly, the lake shows up on maps but can't be seen from the road. not everyone who goes by it every single day has ever seen it, and probably most of them don't even know it's there at all. the damn lake crouches behind those trees like a kid hide-and-seeking under the bed. i want to go to the lake and share in its mystery.

when i get a chance to accomplish this, i'll let you know what i discover.

25 August 2016

the rain would fall

rain would fall in leningrad that day.
birds who sang in summertime would all have sailed away.
she would put the kettle on to boil a steaming kettle song.

he would find in leningrad that day,
the letter that she left though there was nothing left to say.
hope so terrible would start to bud like roses in his heart.

she would fly from leningrad that day.
like a bird of summertime, she would sail away.
trust so delicate would start to dry and crumble in her heart.

the life between a woman and a man
is built on little secrets no one else would understand.
even if you're right there in the middle of the weave,
you still would not expect the threads to leave.

rain would fall in leningrad that day.
birds who sang in summertime would all have sailed away.
she would put the kettle on to boil a steaming kettle song.

11 August 2016

clean genius

okay, i'll come clean. i'm a genius. i mean literally, i have a genius IQ. but what you find as you move through life is that there are many kinds of intelligence, and not all of them can be measured with an aptitude for analogies... like... street smarts, emotional intelligence, business acumen.

but, we were talking about me, right?

my gift is solving puzzles. i can quickly  click through options, find solutions, weigh those solutions, and choose one that seems the best fit. i don't like being wrong but at the same time, it doesn't kill me. i'll just reevaluate and try again.

i have a good memory, too, but not spectacular. the way i remember things is by likening them to other things, tying stuff together and tethering it with something heavy. but stuff comes untied all the time and that's a problem. so, being the solver i am, i solve that problem. in school i would use memory tricks like mnemonics but generally what i do now is find a heavier tether, i.e. write that shit down. i am quite the master note taker, and since life is an open book test, i am all set. (at least for the puzzle solving and light memory skills.)

20 July 2016

obviously full of something

so, you don't want to talk current events? okay.

last night we had what looked to be a full moon. tonight, it looked big and full again, so i googled it up to be sure. turns out, it was full last night and according to full moon calendar, it was the "buck moon". what the hell is the buck moon, you ask? well, i will tell you. it's when the everyone runs around buck naked. HA. i kid.

the july full moon is known as: hot sun, hay, thunder, buffalo, and buck.

-- hot sun. well, that's obvious - it's july, the sun is hot. that said, seems sad to name the moon for the sun. i mean, the moon spends its entire existence reflecting the sun, seems like the least we could do is give it its own name.

-- hay. again, obvious. hay ripens in the summer.

-- thunder. lots of thunderstorms in the summer.

-- buck. i had to research this one. turns out that young male deer (a.k.a. bucks) begin to grow antlers in mid-summer.

-- buffalo. i didn't find anything specific on this one but did find that august's sturgeon moon was so named by native americans because august is a good month to catch sturgeon in the great lakes area. frankly, i don't believe that the natives called them "sturgeon" but whatever. now, based on this, i assume "buffalo moon" has to do with july being a good time to hunt buffalo.

so, that's july, and i am not going into that amount of detail for the remaining months. you can research those yourself. for some months, i found multiple names


january - wolf, black snake
february - snow, raccoon, hunger, bare spots on the ground (WTF??)
march - worm, crow, little grass
april - pink, duck, goose egg (duck-duck-goose moon!)
may - flower, milk
june - strawberry, mead, rose
july - (SEE ABOVE!)
august - sturgeon, green corn, grain
september - harvest, wild rice, full corn, red plum
october - hunter, nut, blood
november - beaver, frost
december - oak, cold, long night

note that there is no "blue corn moon" as per disney's pocahontas. most likely, the "green corn moon" just didn't sound right.

note that march, the month of my birth, is the WORM MOON. i am currently ambivalent about this.




thoughts?

17 July 2016

bigger than a tweet

just now, multiple police officers were shot in baton rouge and at least two were killed. i am watching the news unfold and getting a small taste of what it feels like to live in the wild west, or modern-day mexico.

we have enough external enemies without fighting so violently amongst ourselves.

but, what can *I* do? what can any one person do to alleviate the extreme tension between law enforcement and communities?

i can choose carefully and thoughtfully whom i vote for.

i can be kind and pay kindness forward.

i can make my bed.

i can be vigilantly alert and aware of my surroundings, defusing tensions if possible and protecting myself when necessary.

but it's frustrating - to put it mildly - that none of what i can do really makes any difference.

i'm open to suggestions. what else can i - can any one person - do? leave your thoughts in the comments. maybe together we can come up with some concrete actions we can each take.

12 June 2016

of vigilance and bed-making

i'm sure you've heard by now what happened in orlando this morning -- in the wee hours, a terrorist attacked a nightclub, killing 50 and injuring another 50 or more people. what the hell, am i right??

we were watching the news coverage today and at one point, i got up to use the toilet. walking through the bedroom to the lavatory, i saw the bed was unmade. i thought i should make it and then the next immediate thought was who the fuck cares about the damn bed. people have been killed. damn. THEN i thought it would be great to just get back in bed and pull up the covers and not think about shit like people getting shot.

and that's when i realized i had to make the bed.

partially, i had to keep myself from crawling back in, and a made bed is a definite disinvitation to crawl back in. the simple act of putting effort into making something neat contributes to the disinclination to mess it up.

partially, i had to do something normal. the way news coverage today is comprised of reports which purport to be updates but are not substantively different one to the next -- this microscopic examination is not normal. making the bed is normal and doing something normal puts life back into perspective.

not that it's not normal to care about the world or be concerned about horrific violence. of course that's normal. you just can't let it consume you.

you just can't. vigilance against getting consumed by events is the linchpin of sanity.

after planes hit the twin towers on 9/11, i was sitting in my office glued to (then nascent) internet news, mainlining twizzlers. you know, as one does. into the afternoon as normalcy began to peek out around the corners, a coworker sent an email about sign-ups for an upcoming 5k. at first, i was like, what the hell - the world is ending and we're talking about 5k's?!

but that email did perform the valuable service of pulling my brain back from the brink. "you don't want to go there," it said. "and what's more, you don't have to. look, we're all over here, being normal. come be normal with us."

of course, it wasn't that easy. there was a cavernous gap between the morning of 9/11 and normalcy. but just like making the bed, reading and mentally processing that email reset my perspective.

these actions are a mental respite. they could be no more than momentary, like a water station in a marathon. the race isn't over, but it's a wee break, a chance to take stock, and hey look, i'm not ready to quit yet.

i made the bed, and went on from there to do some laundry and wash the cars.

because i'm not ready to quit yet.

09 June 2016

i think you get the point.

i promised myself i'd write today, but i really have nothing at all to say, so i'll tell you a game we used to play, when i was but a child. it would always make us laugh, to see which one would be the last, spontaneously a rhyme to cast, when i was but a child.

it went thuslywise: starting from a normal everyday conversation, someone would note the organically arising rhyme and they'd call it out, and it would go from there. is this a 'real' game? maybe it's a party game? i don't know. we never played it on purpose as a game. it was always organic and spontaneous.

as in...


alfa: they're building an arena at the boat dock.

beeda: a marina arena?

alfa: yes.

(pause)

beeda: what do you call a venue at the toe dancers' boat dock?

alfa: ballerina marina arena.

alfa: what do you call a venue at the toe dancers' boat dock on an island off the coast of california?

beeda: catalina ballerina marina arena

beeda: what do you call an eatery at a venue at the toe dancers' boat dock on an island off the coast of california?

alfa: catalina ballerina marina arena cantina

alfa: what do you call a legal notice served at an eatery at a venue at the toe dancers' boat dock on an island off the coast of california?

beeda: catalina ballerina marina arena cantina subpoena

beeda: what do you call a legal notice served to a dish of pasta at an eatery at a venue at the toe dancers' boat dock on an island off the coast of california?

alfa: catalina ballerina marina arena cantina semolina subpoena



... i think you get the point.




17 May 2016

my sweet disbelieving heart

i could live here. i mean, if i needed a place to land, to reestablish, this could be that place. thing is, despite your disbelief, you are my heart. if an occurrence were to pull, pluck, or rip my heart from me, the last place i'd want to be is the place where i'd been with my heart. every traffic signal, every blade of grass, every child on a bicycle, every cup of coffee, library book, trip to target... everything would evoke nothing but you. like someone suffering a traumatic head injury, i'd have no taste, no smell, no feel for anything in a world gone grey and flat without you.

i could not be
only me
in the place
we were we.

so, anyways, i could live here.

the streets are laid out in nice even blocks, perfect for navigating by car or by foot. the houses are a bit down at the heels but the yards are kept and each contains its own flowering bush, a rose or gardenia or somesuch. there is a starbucks on every fucking block - and sometimes two! in chipotle and in walgreens and in the funny little organic market where the selection is so narrow, they are always playing a song i like. literally, always. keane. postal service. death cab. bastille. phoenix. miike snow. some band called american tomahawk. some guy called jamie scott. the mall has a barnes & noble and a dollar store. public transportation is omnipresent and inexpensive. being outside is an actual thing that people actually choose to do on a regular basis - bicycling, hiking, jogging. and here, grey skies are normal.

the people are friendly, but not in a way that gets in your way. not invasive, i mean. they make eye contact. they smile. they aren't belligerent when you place your order or ask where the cheez-its are. they aren't standoffish. they're just nice, on a normal scale. they recycle and accommodate vegetarians, but they aren't combative - if you forget to drop your water bottle in the correct bin, they don't castigate you. on the whole, people here are easy going. could be because pot is legal here... or could be why it's legal.

yeah, this place has good outlets - i could plug right in. so, i'll remember it's here if i ever need it, but i hope i'll never need it. i hope i'll always have the only thing i ever really wanted... you - my sweet disbelieving heart.

29 April 2016

of normalcy

the man who often stands at the corner where the off-ramp meets the city street is talking to himself this morning. his attention is directed into the weedy roadside, and he's only half-facing the road, but i can see his mouth moving in that distinctive rhythmic way that denotes talking. i can't tell if he is making sound, if he is actually talking out loud, but there's an attitude of sincerity about him.

normally, he stares at the exiting cars. well, normal in this case being what is normal for him, what is usual for him. i wouldn't say it is precisely normal to stand beside the off-ramp and stare into cars. his stare is simultaneously intense and unfocused, as if he is looking completely through car, driver, passengers, detritus of the commute, and studying the road itself.

but, today his attention is elsewhere and this somehow causes in me a stab of homesickness as palpable as the mingled taste of toothpaste and coffee on my tongue.

the signal changes and i am reminded of my place in the river of traffic. i am reminded of my normal. away i float on the current of purpose that propels the fully employed.

18 April 2016

you say manic, i say potato.

at work we have a benefit called humana vitality. it's basically the gamification of fitness.

you find the website, join up, make a profile, and start earning points. you get points for having the (at my place of work, required) basic health screening, and then if your numbers are (as are mine) in the above-average range, you get more points. you get points for visiting the doctor, the dentist, for giving blood, for exercise.

all these points add up and you can spend them at the vitality mall to purchase fitness equipment, fitness gear, and (paradoxically) movie tickets. i made quite a splash during the entry and quickly had enough points to get something, but didn't have the interest to shop. i even had enough points for a device, but didn't really want one. who needs it? meh.

then came STEPPING INTO SPRING!

another aspect of the program is challenges. you can start a challenge, invite other people to the challenge, join other peoples' challenges. the HR department started a challenge called "stepping into spring" where teams compete to see who can get the most steps. the only way to get your steps counted is to link a device or app to the system. i wanted to join the challenge but didn't like the apps. what i really needed was a device. where to get one... where to get one...

heh.

i hopped on the humana vitality mall and found a nice little garmin device. i had it linked and counting right away. devices are so easy these days. the device syncs to an app and the app syncs to humana vitality.

so now i am counting steps every day, all day long. at first, it was a thing to get 10,000 but then i saw that 10,000 is relatively simple. now i am all about the 15, 17, 20,000.

it takes less than a minute to walk 100 steps and you only have to do that 10 times to get a thousand and you only have to do THAT 20 times to get 20,000. it's just not that hard.

so, now i am all about the walking and walking. take the long way to the restroom. take the long way to the meeting. walk around the block before work. walk around the block at lunch. i also spend a lot of time walking in place at my stand-up desk.

i was less than uninterested... really, i resisted getting a device. i didn't want another thing, another bond, tie, link. i didn't want to have a "here i am" broadcaster strapped to my wrist. didn't want any of that... until the competition. i am really a bit of a whore for competition. i couldn't resist anymore.

i started STEPPING INTO SPRING about 4 days after it started and now i am leading my team and in the top 10 overall.

walking walking walking counting counting counting.

still, i am ambivalent about the device. i truly don't like the tethered feeling it gives me and i really don't like having one of what everyone else in the world has. as ruthlessly normcore as i am, it's just a byproduct of being me. i am not choosing normcore, i simply am normcore because of my choices. these fitness bands are the epitome of normcore and simultaneously, not really me. if it were me, i'd have it no matter what status it has vis-a-vis normcore, but since it's not really me, and it is normcore, it's like i have chosen the fitness band BECAUSE it's normcore. see? i haven't chosen it because it's "me" so i must have chosen it because it's normcore. see? see?? are you getting any of this???

bottom line, i am a mad counting beast right now, but after the competition is over, the tether will be broken.

07 April 2016

of whisky and trig points

today i saw a headline about how jon savage won the 2016 penderyn music book prize. i was like, what the hell kind of prize is that?

so i click the link and learn that this is the second year of existence for the penderyn music book prize, which is as it sounds - a prize specifically for books about pop music. there's a panel, nominees, an announced short list, and then an announced winner. the chosen one is given "a cheque for £1,000 and a bottle of Penderyn whisky". i'm like, what the hell kind of whisky is that?

so i google it and learn that penderyn is a tiny town in wales and home of the only whisky distillery in wales.

Penderyn is a rural village in Cynon Valley, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. It is located near Hirwaun, and for postal purposes it comes under the town of Aberdare in the Cynon Valley in the county of Rhondda Cynon Taf in Wales.

It lies on the A4059 road between Hirwaun and Brecon and is the last settlement on that road in the county of Rhondda Cynon Taf before the border with Powys to the north. The village sits just within the southern boundary of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The River Cynon passes through the area.

It is the home of Penderyn Whisky, produced by the Penderyn Distillery (formerly the Welsh Whisky Company (Y Cwmni Wisgi Cymreig)). The award winning single malt whisky is the only whisky distilled in Wales, launched in 2004 after an absence of whisky distilling in Wales for more than 100 years.

Within the village, there are two chapels (Siloam Chapel and Soar Chapel) and one church (St Cynog's Church).

reading this gives me that homesick-esque feeling, that wistfulness of knowing that there is a beautiful little town i will never see and a world full of languages i'll never understand.

BUCK UP THERE, LASSIE!

so i'm perusing the wikipedia entry on penderyn, looking at the picture of siloam chapel, which looks about a million years old, and observing the map on which penderyn is a wee dot. i learn pen means "head of" and deryn comes from aderyn, bird, so the town is called bird head. i find this amusing.

under the see also section is this: "Moel Penderyn - prominent local landmark". well, THAT looks intriguing. so i click.

turns out, moel penderyn is a hill on the edge of penderyn village. i assume moel means hill...? this particular moel has at its summit a "trig point".

okay, a WHAT?

now i am really intrigued. this sounds absolutely fascinating.

so i google it.

turns out a trig point - also known as a triangulation station, triangulation pillar, trigonometrical station, trigonometrical point, trig station, trig beacon, or trig - is a fixed surveying station. it's like, a completely known point from which other points are triangulated.

oh my.

i don't know what i thought surveyors were doing, but i am starting to realise they were probably doing something completely different than i thought they were doing because - wait for it - their are KNOWN POINTS. who knew??

now i am wondering about trig points near me and turns out we can look them up! (check out http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/datasheets/.) i choose "search by county", pick my state then county, and then choose all the options to see the datasheets.

okay, stop my train. have you ever seen one of these things? you could literally find the actual trig point from the datasheet! yeah, i know. that's what they're for.

FD0655 STATION DESCRIPTION
FD0655
FD0655'DESCRIBED BY TN HIGHWAY DEPT 1963
FD0655'6.6 MI N FROM SPRING HILL.
FD0655'FROM THE POST OFFICE IN SPRING HILL GO NORTH ON U.S. HIGHWAY 31
FD0655'FOR 6.6 MILES TO THE MARK ON THE RIGHT. THE MARK IS LOCATED
FD0655'53.5 FEET NORTHEAST OF THE CENTERLINE OF U.S. HIGHWAY 31, 36
FD0655'FEET SOUTHEAST OF A POWER POLE. THE MARK IS A STANDARD TENNESSEE
FD0655'HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT DISK CEMENTED IN A DRILLED HOLE IN THE NORTH
FD0655'WEST END OF A 19 FOOT CONCRETE CULVERT.
FD0655
FD0655 STATION RECOVERY (1984)
FD0655
FD0655'RECOVERY NOTE BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1984
FD0655'RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION. NOTE, LOCATED 25.9 METERS (85.0 FT) WEST
FD0655'OF THE NORTH END AND ACROSS THE SOUTHBOUND LANE OF HIGHWAY 31 FROM A
FD0655'LARGE BILLBOARD SIGN.
FD0655'THE MARK IS ABOVE LEVEL WITH HIGHWAY.

fascinating, fascinating, fascinating. the information is fascinating and i plan to look into it even more and in fact, scout out some of these places.

also fascinating is that in about 15 minutes, i have gone from wistful pining for the world i'll never see, to realising i am not even looking at the world i have right here.
































04 April 2016

tangential humour spectra

it was april fools the other day and it got me thinking how i frequently cannot discern between what's funny and what's mean. (because, you know, i think about myself, like, all the time.) anyway, i only know this tidbit about myself because i'll often say something i believe to be funny, and someone else will be all, oh that's mean. huh - i'll think - really?

the family in which i grew up was diagnosably dysfunctional, but hell, whose wasn't? i mean, we had our shit and all, but it wasn't any better or worse than anyone else's shit. it was just shitty shit. that's all.

one of our "things" was that we'd express love through insults. classic irish, not that unusual, but when you grow up that way, you're just going to have trouble telling funny from mean. or, come to think of it, love from mean. or, love from funny? anyway, you going to come out a bit mixed up.

thing is, when you are the mixed up one, you don't know it. it's not like i go around all the time in consternation over my mean humour - because, to me, it's just humour. it's y'all who think its mean.

plus, it's not like y'all are consistent or anything. sometimes i say something funny and you think it's funny and sometimes you think it's mean. how'm i supposed to learn anything about the funny-mean spectrum if you are totally not consistent about what's what?

PLUS, add in all the times that you don't think it's funny and also don't particularly think it's mean. all those times when it's just a dud. i am fairly certain most people are dealing with this -- the funny-unfunny spectrum -- without any tangential humour spectra.

i'm dealing with both the funny-unfunny and also the funny-mean, but i don't actually see the funny-mean, so for me, it's all funny-unfunny. and, for me, funny is primary, so i'll take mean if i have to, but unfunny is not acceptable.

and that, my friends, is why i say mean shit.

get used to it.


30 March 2016

neither can live while the other survives

i am a harry potter fan. not a fanATIC. just a fan. i've read the books maybe a half dozen times, seen all the movies (except the last one) in theatres, own all the DVDs, can recite a good bit of the dialog. so, i am a fan.

i don't own any HP-themed clothing. i don't have a hallows sticker on my car's rear window. i don't go around calling people "muggles"... i mean, not that you can hear, anyway. point is, i enjoy the stories immmmmmmensely, but i get that they are fiction.

i like each volume, but some more than others. volume 1 for its sheer innocence. volume 6 for its camaraderie in the face of a mystery and all we learn about harry's parents. but 5 is my favorite of all. the order of the phoenix.

i am not sure why, exactly. i mean, it's certainly not the annoying delores umbridge. it's not sirius taking stupid risks. it is most assuredly NOT grawp. i kind of hate that guy.

i started a list to help me explain.

-- even with all the danger in the world, school is school, with uniforms and rules and structure. in the movie this is exhibited by their wearing of school robes and house ties. i am a bit of a structure-craver myself, so the whole school thing is quite appealing.

-- that said, it's boarding school. there's lots of kids-wandering-around-on-their-own going on. as lovely as structure is, wandering around on one's own has an undeniable loveliness all its own.

-- the order of the phoenix is a really cool club for the grownups. better than book club. almost like being a shriner or something, only without the dipshit hats.

(speaking of hats, why did they stop wearing the pointy hats?)

-- there are so many new things introduced. room of requirement. thestrals. those misty fortune globes. luna. occlumency. number 12 grimmauld place. it's nearly as good as book 1 for new stuff.

-- harry's nightmares are so fascinating. is he voldemort? or is he just connected to voldemort? or is he connected because he is voldemort? and, where is he and what is he striving so hard for?

-- ron makes the gryffindor quidditch team which should make ron and harry better buds but nearly drives them permanently apart. no idea why i find this appealing.

-- mrs figg is outed. prof trelawny is vindicated.

-- the kids are taking OWLs and thinking about their futures. the wizarding world is on the verge of destruction and these kids are thinking about their OWLs. it's sweet in its naive hopefulness for future normalcy.

-- harry's steadfastness in the face of umbridge's persecution is at once both an exhibition of his burgeoning adult heroism and a clear sign of his awkward adolescent obstinance. and after all, we all know deep down we deserve to be punished.

-- who doesn't love angst?


23 March 2016

ain't getting older fun

so darn tired most all the time,
vision and hearing both past their prime,
walking up stairs is a long slow climb,
ain't getting older fun.

have to ask the name and ask it again,
waist too thick and hair too thin,
spotty and wrinkly and saggy skin,
ain't getting older fun.

stamina's shot and balance no good,
knees hurt more than it seems they should,
teeth breaking down, that's understood,
ain't getting older fun.

walk in a room, don't remember why,
also can't remember ever feeling spry,
obsessing with death, not wanting to die,
ain't getting older fun.


16 March 2016

google-stalking the rurality drummer

the family across the street moved away.

we didn't really know them. who knows the neighbors?

a few years ago on the day they were moving in, i happened to be out jogging, so i went on over there and introduced myself and whatnot. not that it was that easy. i mean, i am not an introduce-myself kind of girl, but i thought it might look like i was specifically dissing them if i went right on by, so i was like what the hell - i am out on the street, i will just go on over there and stick out my hand and say hello. so i did.

that was literally the last time i spoke to any of them.

not that they weren't a friendly family - mom, dad, two boys, two dogs, a basketball hoop in the driveway, and a horse in the extra big backyard. i mean, we waved and all, across the street or from our respective cars. we helped get their dogs back in the fence when they were out. you know, come to think of it, maybe my old man talked to them a bit, about the dogs and all, but as for me and them, somehow, we just never spoke again.

not that that is unusual. no one talks to their neighbors anymore, right? okay, not NO ONE, but seriously -- no one.

it happened like this: first there was a moving truck in the driveway and we were all, whaaat? and then there was a giant dumpster in the side yard and obvious remodeling going on and we were like, ooooh. we thought they'd moved out for the remodel, but after the dumpster was cleared away, a for-sale sign went up in the front yard.

well, there you have it.

makes me wished i'd paid a wee bit more attention in the last few weeks. were mom and dad both there? were the boys there? thinking back, the only thing i can recall is that the horse was missing.

the dad is a drummer. like, a serious drummer. he set up a kit in the detached garage and practiced several hours a day, providing a steady beat in the background of our lives. the mom, i really don't know what she did. the boys were enrolled at the middle school down the road.

maybe the dad's career took off and they moved somewhere closer to where he's drumming? that one time i talked to them, they said they wanted to live the rural lifestyle... maybe they moved farther into the rurality? maybe the parents divorced and neither wanted to live there alone? maybe one of the sons has some sort of talent, a chess champion or a lacrosse star, and the family hitched their wagon to that star? maybe someone died?

here's one thing i do know. i know their names. i will be doing a bit of internet research to see what i can find out about their moving away, an action that has more solidly hooked my attention than did any action they took while living right there across the street.

13 March 2016

the enlightening eleven

i do not like daylight saving time. i realise this is not a popular position, but i am not merely being contrary. i have a well-supported case, in eleven fully-enumerated points which are as enlightening as an extra hour of daylight which isn't really extra at all but merely moved from one end of the day to another.

without further ado, i bring you...

THE ENLIGHTENING ELEVEN


11. this point is just here for the alliteration. c'mon, you knew that - right?

10. i am being contrary. c'mon. i said i wasn't MERELY being contrary, but of course i am somewhat being contrary.

9. the thing should be called daylight savings. with an S. c'mon. that's what everyone calls it. if it were called daylight savings, i am not saying i would be in love with it or anything, but, you know, this one objection would be addressed.

8. the mornings are too dark and c'mon, who likes to get up when it's dark? let me think... oh, that's right, NOBODY.

7. the evenings are too light. evenings are for relaxing. c'mon. who can relax in the broad daylight? brings back all those lonely childhood memories of having to go to bed in the broad daylight. ugh.

6. broad-daylight evenings are nothing but pressure to get something the hell done. it's after work and two more hours of daylight for someone to be on my back about getting out in the yard all with the digging and whatnot?? c'mon.

5. spring forward sounds all fun, like a trampoline, but c'mon - one minute you're all TRAMPOLINE! and the next minute you realize they changed all the clocks when you weren't looking. it's a bait & switch is what that is, and i'm pretty sure bait & switch is a felony in 36 states and the territory of guam.

4. i know i just said "all clocks" - but not all the clocks get changed. there's always that one guy who spends the next week or two being late to every meeting. c'mon, Guy Who Can't Change A Clock - change your damn clock!

3. not all clocks get changed, part two. you know how you'll change the clock in the kitchen and the bedroom but neglect the car because, c'mon, it's sunday, who gets in the car on sunday? then, you get in the car on monday morning and suddenly you're all OH MY GOD I AM AN HOUR LATE AND THE TRAFFIC AND THE MEETING AND... AND... and you remember that it's daylight saving time and you just want to hit someone! or, take a nap.

2. with daylight saving time at bat, summer is on deck. summer gets all the love because people don't recognise summer is a problem because people's brains get all shrunk up like sun-dried tomatoes, but here's the thing: summer is a problem. i mean, c'mon - summer is all about showing skin and we don't all look great showing skin. some of us look great showing our favourite grey sweater and tights and boots.

1. "lose an hour". who can afford to lose an hour?? c'mon. life is short enough as it is. lose an hour. be serious.













(do you think it's awkward without a conclusion? i mean, the list just ends, which lacks closure, but that said, i wrote and erased several conclusions because they seemed forced.)

03 March 2016

is reverse psychology the trump card?

okay, this isn't a political blog or anything, and i know i was just all over SUPERTUESDAY and whatnot, but i have this to say: if the GOP establishment had endorsed trump from the beginning, they'd have undone his outsider status and deflated his popularity before it flated enough to even lift its pitiful self off the sidewalk. i mean, as it is, they're just inflaming his supporters with every denouncement. can't they understand these people love him BECAUSE he is an outsider? the more you remind them he's an outsider, the more they love him. pile on a little contempt, and now they love him even more.

unless, you know, that's your plan.

maybe the establishment is denouncing him because they know that's just what the people want to hear. maybe they are tearing him down as a way of building him up. maybe the establishment WANTS him to be president and they have figured out how to make that happen.

what do you think? could they be that together, that organized, that... smart?

???

nah! no way.

am i right?

01 March 2016

#SUPERTUESDAY!!

not unlike the super bowl, super tuesday involves a great deal of blather and a small amount of action. the intense focus on bling over substance would tell an extra-terrestrial everything they need to know about politics in the age of television, all within the first hour E.T. is on earth.

i mean, if that makes sense.

it's like this: they're running actual commercials hyping the anchor team covering the results. that's right, the anchor team, who, in these commercials, are so perky they're like... they're a packet of shiny new hair clips away from being an olympic gymnastics team.

there's music. there's glitter. there's touchscreen-based graphic analysis of 5% returns, 6%, 7%, 7.5%...

"This just in! Two more people have VOTED!!"


okay, don't get me wrong. i voted. i was in line when the polls opened this morning. i did my civic duty and -- much like katy perry and all that kissing -- i liked it. i enjoy waiting in the line, participating in political babble with my fellow citizens, signing the forms, schmoozing with the volunteers, putting the voting machine through its paces. i like it all, right down to the dorky little "i voted" sticker they give you on the way out.

i like the voting process because it's real. my neighbors and i discussing issues, giving and taking opinions, verifying our identities, making our choices. everyone gets a turn and when it's over, everyone gets a sticker.

real.

compare the reality of voting to the surreality of the media circus around voting and riddle me this: is it any wonder that we're as a whole overwhelmingly disillusioned with politics and politicians?


#ivoted
#supertuesday

20 February 2016

see jane run

from betsy smith's "a tree grows in brooklyn":

For quite a while, Francie had been spelling out letters, sounding them and then putting the sounds together to mean a word. But, one day, she looked at a page and the word "mouse" had instantaneous meaning. She looked at the word, and a picture of a gray mouse scampered through her mind. She looked further and when she saw "horse," she heard him pawing the ground and saw the sun glint on his glossy coat. The word "running" hit her suddenly and she breathed hard as though running herself. The barrier between he individual sound of each letter and the whole meaning of the word was removed and the printed word meant a thing at one quick glance. She read a few pages rapidly and almost became ill with excitement. She wanted to shout it out. She could read! She could read!

i'm guessing you can read, now, since this blog isn't braille. do you remember not being able to read? i do not. i know there must have been a time when i could not read and could only follow along dumbly whilst being read to, but... i do not recall how that felt.

that said, i am amazed by language. i mean, think about it. here we have a group of 26 symbols that are put together in varying combinations to stand for nouns and verbs and adjectives and adverbs, and then these words are combined into strings which follow a set of grammar rules we've all consciously or subconsciously agreed to resulting in descriptions of people and places and things and feelings and actions, all with their varying degrees and conditions. and, not only are we building these -- we are sharing them. and not only are we building and sharing them -- we are gleaning meaning from them.

MEANING!

i mean, sure, fire was a great invention, but c'mon. communication is the bomb.

see jane run.

reading that, did you get a picture in your mind? if not, try again.

see jane run.

did you get a picture that time? wild, isn't it. some lines and dots on the screen caused a picture to form in your mind!

imaginotransference. that's jasper fforde's word for what happens when you read. from his book "well of lost plots":

Books may look like nothing more than words on a page from the Outland, but they are actually an infinitely complex Imaginotransference technology that interfaces the writer's imagination with the characters and plots so that it will make sense in the reader's mind - odd inky squiggles into pictures and emotions.

he's nailed it, hasn't he.


see jane run. jane's six years old, and she favors pink tee shirts paired with purple shorts. she dressed in just such a pairing today, and since it's over 80°, she's barefoot. the dandelions are thick in her backyard, but that doesn't slow her down. her stringy brown shoulder-length hair is pasted to her temples by the same sweat that's turning the red north georgia clay-dust to grime in the creases of her neck. she dashes to the treeline, strikes a pine trunk, and dashes back to the cracked aggregate porch over and over and over again. when she is running, she feels happy, and she imagines that if she could, she would run all the time.

as poorly as i may have depicted it, did you see jane run?

for your sake, i hope that you did.




13 February 2016

time travel: a couple of Qs

currently reading "outlander" by diana gabaldon. i'm a bit late to the party, the book having published 25 years ago, but hell, better late than never, am i right?

outlander is a story about a woman who steps through a stone circle and is transported from 1945 scotland to 1743 scotland. it's exciting enough and all, but i'm not here to talk about outlander. i'm here to talk about time travel.

whenever someone goes back in time -- e.g., every freaking story ever written about going back in time -- the time travelers are explicitly warned by whatever expert gave them the spell, charm, potion, hex, talisman, ring, powder, amulet, or incantation to NOT CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE PAST. they are so terrifically, frighteningly, precisely, plainly, unequivocally warned that the fact that we are to NOT CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE PAST whenever we visit the past is common knowledge. i mean, it's knowledge so common that babies are born knowing it.

so.

DO NOT CHANGE THE PAST.

except, in outlander. apparently, no one told li'l claire beauchamp not to change the past, because she never considers this as she merrily tromps through the mid-eighteenth century. i mean, at the rate she is going, there's an excellent chance that she is going to do something that will result in her never having been born.

and what then? if she does something in the 200-year past that precludes her birth, does she spontaneously disappear from the past? or, is her extant self somehow retained, in its past incarnation?

while we're at it, if she changes something in the past, wouldn't the residual ripples of change result in a changed 1945 that is not experienced as "changed" at all by anyone in 1945 because the change occurred 200 years previously?


08 February 2016

of photographs and memories

02.04.2016 - facebook turned 12 years old, and like any little jr high schooler, it got all dramatic. on it's birthday, facebook introduced a video stitch feature you can use to turn your photo album into an automated slide show. who doesn't like a slide show?? nothing like a trip down everyfreakingbody's memory lane.

thing about pictures is that they are flat and soulless. the only life that pictures have is the life our memories imbue them with.

like, i have on my phone a snapshot of the view from a seat in a football stadium. it's not much to look at -- crowds milling around, some people in their seats, orange-clad marching band on a green field, bright sun in the big blue sky. it's marked by nothing moreso than its normalcy - it couldn't be more like another 50,000 such pics. but to ME, it's special. i look at that shot and remember... the adrenalin-juiced giddiness of having just jumped off the money cliff and spent more on a pair of scalped tickets than we'd normally pay for a pair of shoes... the thrill of hunting just the right souvenir, trekking from merch stand to merch stand tracking the dwindling supply of logo caps, constantly one step behind until (joy and relief!) we obtain what could be the very last one... being surrounded by our team's fans, boisterous and confident as the overdogs, certain of impending victory before the game'd even begun... the pressing heat of the too-close florida sun, rendering me dazed and bleary, so hot and with my bronchitis so recent that i could close my eyes and drift into sleep, right there in the midst of the madding crowd...

to you, it's just another picture of just another pre-game stadium, but to me, it evokes specific layers of emotion and experience that combine to form a unique memory. when i look at that picture, i can still feel the echo of that good, good day.

that's why we like so much to look at our own pictures and couldn't care less about each other's. that's why being subjected to vacation slides is such a well-known metaphor for dazzling boredom. i mean, i might look at your pics and be all, great, great, looks wonderful, but all i can think is how boring you are and how lucky i am not to be you.

what?

you know you are thinking the same thing about me.

02 February 2016

caucyou caucme caucus

do you want to talk about politics? i mean, the iowa caucuses were last night, so it's hot on everyone's mind.

on the democratic side, hillary clinton and bernie sanders finished in a dead heat. they're both claiming victory, because of course they are, but it was a tie. there was some other guy in it as well, but he got like three votes, so he's done. it's down to those two and it'll be interesting to see who ends up as the nominee. bernie's offering free everything - free college, free health care, free puppies. problem is, there is no such thing as "free" - someone has to pay for it. if he becomes president, he will have his work cut out for him finding people to pay for all the shit he's promising. and, he's got to know that, you know? he's got to know that he's promising the moon with no way to get there. interesting. we'll see.

on the republican side, there are myriad candidates and the finish was dispersed a bit, but three tentative leaders emerged: ted cruz, marco rubio, and donald trump. (if you are time travelling from 2004, yes: donald trump, the goofball with the wonky rug and that new "apprentice" television show. i know, right??) none of them are promising free stuff, but that's republicans for you. stingy bastards.

here's something i want to know: what's the difference in a caucus and a primary? according to diffen.com (tagline: "compare anything") --

"Unlike a primary, where residents simply cast their ballots, a caucus is a local gathering where voters openly decide which candidate to support. The caucus format favors candidates who have a dedicated and organized following because a small band of devoted volunteers can exert an outsized influence in the open setting of a caucus."

well, now. "outsized influence" implies it's bigger than it should be. just because the band of devoted followers is small doesn't mean the influence should not be big, if you see what i mean. if the message is clear and applicable to the larger group, then the influence is more rightsized that outsized. the influence might seem bigger than the group exerting it because the group's number is small, but since the influence is pushing a message that already matches the needs of the larger group, this lessens the influence-requirement of the smaller group. i mean, if the message already matches, then they have to push less to get their way. it's not a greater influence they are exerting, it's a small influence that is just enough to push the larger group into their way of thinking precisely because the larger group is already almost there.

see what i mean?






i wish we had caucuses where i live.

01 February 2016

picture pages, picture pages, time to get our picture pages!



SNOW! they say that patches of snow like this are waiting around for more snow, but i am pretty sure this patch was just waiting around to die.




this doesn't look like much in the picture, and admittedly, it's just a storm drain, but it was making a really delightful water-flowing-over-rocks sound. use your imagination!




i don't know about the place where you live, but around here, there are these little cemetaries like everywhere. you'll run up on them in the woods and by the side of the road and like, literally, everywhere. this particular historic cemetary holds none other than a revolutionary war general. you'd think he'd get more respect than a broken down sign behind the galleria.




more delightful storm drainage - you can almost HEAR the waterfall!




random piece of fence. there is no other fence along the sidewalk anywhere. why is there a piece of fence here? is it holding something in or keeping something out?




this is a retaining wall, but it's generally hidden by trees and completely overlooked so i thought i'd give it some props. nice job, wall!




okay, it is really, really hard to see, but there is a man made structure back in the woods! what could it be?? it looks sort of like a viaduct.




again, hard to see, but this is another structure. it's a small spring-house that pre-dates the galleria. talk about not getting any respect, jeez, not even a sign!




now, THERE's a sign! ....*snerk*

28 January 2016

of cars and screaming

the building where i work is across the street from a car dealership. through the windows on the second floor hallway, said dealership is clearly visible. there are cars and cars and cars, rows upon rows of cars. so many shiny variations on the theme, automobile. red and blue and even a green, but mostly grey and white. cars.

generally, when i view the lot from the window while traversing the hallway, it's filled with only the cars... a veritable post-apocalyptic spread of rapture-abandoned machinery.

today, i saw people in the lot. they were doing the "car shopper stoop" -- that bend-crouch-lean thing people do when they are reading the sticker or looking in the window trying to see if there is a GPS in the dash or if it's a manual transmission. they were car shopping! on a thursday!

who car shops on a thursday? are they on their lunch hour? on vacation? on disability? maybe they don't have jobs at all. maybe they work nights. maybe they work weekends. maybe they are EMTs and they work like 72 hours straight then 72 hours off.

WHO KNOWS?? WHO THE HELL KNOWS??

this concludes "another frightening example of how people are all out there living their lives and whatnot in ways the rest of us will never begin to understand or in most cases, even be aware of at all.

kind of makes you want to scream, doesn't it?

21 January 2016

riffing on reality

do you ever feel like you're watching yourself? like, your life is a movie and you are just watching yourself act it out? like, not that it's not real, per se, but at the same time, it's not exactly real.

you can read up on disassociative disorder and get back with me when you're satisfied that is not what i am talking about here. i am talking about simple disassociation, not disorder level.

according to the authoritative science tome known as wikipedia, disassociation is commonly displayed on a continuum. at the nonpathological end are such merry adventures as daydreaming while driving a car and at way down in pathological-land are multiple personality disorder and PTSD.

a sense that self is unreal is called depersonalization and a sense that the world is unreal is derealization. technically, wikipedia lists these in the "pathological" section, but they're not talking about me and anyway, it's not real.

HAHA.

ahem.

sometimes i'll partake of a little derealization. not a big deal. i can quit anytime.

sometimes after watching a movie, especially if in a theatre, i'll experience an involuntary mind-quake and suddenly be watching myself hang up my jacket or whatever. clearly, that's an effect of having been immersed in the movie.

sometimes sitting in a meeting, my mind will spontaneously go all talking heads, "this is not my life", and i'll take a few minutes to explore the possibility that i am the only one who knows about the matrix.

pretty sure a side effect of derealization is mixed media metaphors.

anyway.

clearly that second one is a coping mechanism for the boredom of the meeting. it's the same sort of thing as daydreaming while driving, except it's closer than daydreaming because it's a riff on reality, not an alternate reality. i mean, if you're daydreaming, you'll miss your exit, but if you are derealizing, you can keep right on participating. you might even be a better participant because you're still there, watching yourself.

so.

sometimes it'll happen involuntarily due to having been steeped in the world of film or as a result of boredom.

sometimes, though, i will make it happen.


In mild cases, dissociation can be regarded as a coping mechanism or defense mechanism in seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress – including boredom or conflict.


defense mechanism, sure, sure. that's totally plausible.

sometimes, though, it's simply fun.