Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm going to kiss you. No, not really, just play along.

Certain lucky friends I annoy on Facebook were already early-morning recipients of Ben Bernanke by those mad geniuses at Rojhelio Studios, because when I wake up too early, only madness can save me. However I was not pleased with the (lack of) response, and realize that I may have either shown a rather disturbing side of myself or I'm just really late to the party. Well, excuse me if I was busy watching the horse-masked naked chef all summer. It took that strong toxic mushroom dish to pull me away from Torgo.

The thing is, Dooce had considered it an excellent test of a relationship. And I was like, "YES! I will add this to the bizzare things I show people!"

So here it is. It's timely, yo. Don't make me spank you. ^_~


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hanging Out With My Special Friends

Some new movies we'd been waiting for finally came along, like Deception, the Ewan McGregor movie we waited years and years for...and...I don't know why they make him talk like that. *sigh* We were guessing what was going to happen next, and there was something that happened in the end that we guessed better than what actually happened. Not that I advocate running off with millions of dollars with no questions asked, but movies, they're meant to be fantasy. I thought.

My faith in movies was restored the next night when, as we were poking around the Pay-Per-View listings, a little movie called Speed Racer turned up. You may recall me obsessing over the movie in the months leading up to its release. I loved every insane second of that movie, and my love affair with the Racer family remains alive and well.

Over the weekend the weather cooled off so I caught up on painting things I couldn't get near during the hotter summer days. Then summer ended. Ah well. I like autumn better anyway. Until baby raccoons try to set up house in our tree. I yelled at a lot of raccoons this week. Eventually I think it thought I wanted it to come over, and that is when I learned raccoons get used to humans after a few days. Not mutual, my freaky furry friend, not mutual.

Dancing With The Stars came back and I sat there and watched every minute of it like the strange characature of myself I've become. So far my favorites are Cloris Leachman, Warren Sapp, and the guy dancing with Julianne Hough.

One of Nan's finds on Sci-Fi was a little-known superhero flick called Lightspeed, featuring Jason Connery as a dude who runs really really fast while wearing what appears to be a speedskating bodysuit. Bottles of blue chemicals that may or may not be window cleaner also figure into the special powers. I love movies like this.

I got it into my head to create a record six strips in one week, because now that I'm a month ahead on my comic I want to be two months ahead. NaNoWriMo and the holidays are coming, you know. Of course I'll probably be all, "THREE MONTHS AHEAD!" next week. This will only be funny if I happen to die and my comic strip outlives me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Inconvenience of Favor

What follows is a rather longish tale of nature cramping my bliss.

When we first moved to this house, I was young and had never been outdoors alone up until the time I had my own backyard. For what was probably two nights and yet remembered as three years--until we adopted Pookie--I'd step into the backyard alone after dark I wouldn't go much further than the door. I'd lean on the house and stare into the darkness under the trees, where the deserted house behind us lurked with its shed full of cats. Even the cats couldn't entice me to stray. I had my own, after all.

Some twenty-seven years later, my Sunday treat of the Top 20 countdown on 101.1 CBS-FM featured the music of September 21, 1981. Songs I knew from when everything here was fresh and new, although not dry--and I'm looking at you, basement.

My grandfather once explained to one of our neighbors that I went outside at that hour to unwind and meditate. She told me this at his funeral, and until that point I'd never thought about it, really. I just went out there, because it was quiet, because I could think out there. He was right. I've told him so many times out there under the stars, even though I'm usually up past his bedtime these days.

So twenty years after we built a swing capable of suspending my larden, leaden ass, I'd slapped a fresh coat of stain on the frame earlier that day, and the weather was nice, and my two brave little man-cats escorted me out at 10PM, just as the station ID and 1981 into was playing. The fun time was promised.

Only this time of the year is when young raccoons strike out on their own, looking for a tree to call their own. It happens every summer, a wayward woodland creature stumbles upon the enchanted forest and surprises the hell out of me. Usually the cats know it's there before I do, and so if they both have their attention riveted to the same spot for more than one Moody Blues song, I can be sure it isn't a moth.

Since the last power outage I have this LED headlamp that I strap onto my wrist, because the idea of searching for two small black things in the dark during a power outage while outdoors at night just wasn't very appealing. I'm sure the neighbors are used to me, but they probably wonder why I was crouching on the ground, waving what appears to be Iron Man's heart around at random things. It's the only way I see the eyes, you see.

The raccoon was just as surprised to see me when he came prancing along the fence. I yelled politely as possible to scare him away long enough to carry the cats in, but this raccoon, he's getting used to us, and for one second looked as if he were thinking, "Oh, you want to talk to me? Shall I come over--no? Oh, okay," just before slipping down into the darkness of the other yards.

Once the cats were safely indoors, I came back out. ELO was on, after all. When you see the shadows falling, when you hear that cold wind calling, Jeff Lynne said to hold on to my dreams. It's where I think, after all. I've gotten heat in the past for going back outside when there are potentially rabid things around, but my reasoning for not thinking about that is that I'm perfectly capable of inflicting deadly unfortunateness on myself merely my vacuuming. It's where I meditate.

People with small kids, ADD, small kids with ADD, or even adults our pets who have the power to wait exactly just long enough for you to begin to form a thought before interrupting will probably know how I felt when the raccoon popped by again to see if I was quite sure I didn't want to talk to it. I told it I was and once again requested it leave. "But, but, you've got nice trees," it seemed to be saying. "Couldn’t I just...?"

The cats wanted to come back out. They let me know, you see. The Fluffy One is a mountaineer and he long ago discovered that batting the chain that keeps the back door from opening too wide against the glass makes a loud enough sound to carry over, say, Private Eyes by Hall & Oates. This routine of going in and out for the hour usually kicks in with the cooler weather, and this night could have been so cool. They went back in after I annoyed them sufficiently, scanning the area with the Phial of Galadriel at least a dozen times and finding nothing but leaves and a few amorous slugs.

Before we moved here, some time in September of 1981, we were packing up books while HBO played music videos. They did that back then, you know. One of them was Queen of Hearts by Juice Newton, and Sunday it was the #4 song from that date in history. I was amused.

The top three songs were spent hovering near my cats as they ate some grass. I edged closer and closer to the house with them, looking into the darkness under the trees, barely able to see the light of the house behind us through the dense leaves of all the hedges I've grown.

We made it home alive, and the raccoon hasn't been seen since, but the fear that once told me something was out there now knows one possible fate that awaits me if I'm not sharp, if I'm too busy living in my head.

I was grateful it rained after that. I'm considering pruning the trees a bit more severely so I can see better, even my grandfather's cherry tree. I'm getting old for lack of my Zen moments.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reasons For Keeping My Conversations With Myself To Myself

Last weekend's movies were on two ends of the ratings spectrum, but had the similar theme of alter egos who walk around and get the person imagining them to do things.

Say what you want about Kevin Costner, but I seem to end up liking his movies. Even Waterworld. Throw in William Hurt as the wacky "imaginary friend" who likes killin' and Mr. Brooks was actually a good movie. I don't why but I remember it as not going over with critics. I guess because humanity isn't supposed to go around...well, I don't want to give it away.

I'm not sure how we ended up seeing Nim's Island, because it's obviously a kid's movie, but Gerard Butler probably had something to do with it. When it was over, I liked it. Even though it was like Willie Scott goes looking for Castaways for Six Days and Seven Nights. I watch too many movies. Also, as in Monk, dickering over touching a doorknob is how you convey that you apparently need help. Never mind that it's everyone else who touches the doorknobs after not washing their hands that makes the doorknob a germ-ridden filthpool in the first place.


No, seriously, Nim's Island gives kids the wrong idea. I'm guessing that not everyone who receives an e-mail from a stranger saying, "Help, there's pus coming out of my leg," is going to end up with their dream life of isolation with a ready-made family featuring Gerard Butler. That's one rare success story. My luck I'd end up with something out of The Net. And I don't mean Jeremy Northam, either, because you know I'd probably just spend the last few minutes of my stolen life giggling maniacally at who was about to kill me if he was involved.

I'm pissed that hurricanes are still allowed to toss around entire cities, and even more pissed that what is meant to be the greatest freakin' country is having nineteen types of breakdowns. Maybe because that makes me feel lame when I note that my sink drain has been leaking for a while and the floor still feels strange and guilty that for us the weather merely turned grey and cool. That weather brings out a sort of non-zombie version of me who is able to do things, so I caulked my porch steps for the winter. There aren't that many steps, but it took two tubes of caulk. I expect the bugs living under the stairs were surprised that globs of some gooey crap were dripping from the sky. There's an image that will mess with my mind for a few minutes. I'll focus on the funny part, when I was testing one strip of old caulk and at first said it was fine, then pulled on a loose bit and the entire three-foot section came off in my hand. Hey, if I don't laugh at it I'd puke. And it's nearly impossible for me to puke the way my insides are positioned. I also scraped down the porch paint in the hopes that I'd be refreshing that soon, and fixed the lamp post timer after some dude wandered into the side yard and chatted on his phone for like, fifteen minutes, left a bottle of pee in front of the neighbor's house, and then slammed the gate and terrified my cats. Thanks, guy. I wish I could have scared the living hell out of you, too. Only I don't actually have any nifty imaginary friends who are capable of coming up with better idea than shining a light at you and poking you with a pointed stick. I mean, I could bash your head in with a kettle, but denting the kettle would make coffee time difficult, and I do not like my coffee time difficult.

Then I got a cold and all the nice weather to do outdoor things sort of passed me by. I was not so ill that I couldn't smack a mosquito, however, and the one I just killed has left legs all over my hand. Um. Excuse me, I need to have various horrified reactions.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What The World Needs Now.

Affleck-Damon 2008

Think about it...

They've served in World War II, fought the legal system, rained down sulphur in Sodom and Gomorrah, and worked for the CIA.

They'll reform childcare, and make sure everyone gets a hundred-and-fifty grand education for a dollar-fifty in late charges at the public library.

They're for the working people, but if you don't live up to your potential, they'll f'ing kill you.

If that's not enough to convince you, even the first lady would have a load of foreign policy.

The first lady of ass kicking!

Need I say more?

Okay, I will. Kevin Smith for Secretary of Defense.

Eh? Eh? You know it could work.

Hi, my name is Lynda, I'm a silly person and I approve this message.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

JAFT for the cut tags.

I'm testing something here...nothing to see.... If it works I may use it for something I'm planning.

[edit]: it appears the cut tag is rendered useless when viewed in an RSS reader. Therefore my next post will have the word I wanted to use censored instead of behind a cut tag, because I regularly have flashbacks to my grandfather looking at me that certain way when I'd say those words.

Here be the rest of the post. Told you there was nothing to see.

Here's how I did it, btw.

[edit 2]: the code was not up to my refined tastes. No, really, it kept putting "Read more!" on posts that had no more to read.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Whatever Happened To Taking Yourself Out For a Couple of Drinks?

I had started to write this post with a disclaimer that I probably shouldn't be writing it, and then I very nearly incurred the escan virus downloader researching the Duchess of Windsor's ring with the panther and the heart and had to disable the Internet and kill Firefox to prevent the script from looping, but I cannot take a hint, no.

Purity rings. Are they just like buying jewelry for the person you love the mostest?

And if so, should I be concerned that my huge-ass art deco panther-with-a-heart ring might have made people think I was spending long nights during my teenage years alone with myself, with the lights down low and the stereo playing smooth jazz?

Oh dear.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Almost the Definition of Irony

Did you know it was National Invisible Chronic Illness week? Neither did I! I didn't even know there was such a thing.

It's too late in the week to get into my history of burning innards and disco brains, or how I eventually became grateful for the nosebleeds because it was like big messy proof that something weren't right in this girl. Wasn't always pleased to wake up with one, though.

So instead I'll make fun of the latest NY Deptartment of Health and Mental Hygiene bulletin about sleep, called Sleep: Are You Getting Enough?. This is on the same page as the 9/11 memorial. Um. Sleep well! Hope you wake up.

According to the bulletin, many people don't get enough sleep, but some people don't need so much, and newborns need to sleep away their youth. Tsk. So if you happen to be a newborn and you are not getting 18 hours of sleep, ask your parents for Benadryl. They'll be giving it to you soon enough. (I should note nobody ever drugged me to sleep as a kid--no, Nan was happy to have the company watching Britcoms and the Late Night Double Feature and I learned a lot from late-night HBO. You can search YouTube for Dressed To Kill on your own.)

Some reasons for not sleeping include having a fast-paced lifestyle or children in the bed. No explanation for what a newborn is to do if he happens to be in bed with himself. One offered solution is to go to bed only when sleepy. I predict all of New York is going to be really quiet tomorrow afternoon.

Then they go into how you may not be sleeping because you might not be breathing, or have a disease keeping you awake. Well...I hadn't thought of that...gosh....

The last page goes into the usual accusations of being a lazy sod, or a drug addict, or using the bed for unbedly activities, and promotes use of the medical industry. It took four people to create that brochure and waste an hour of my night. Well, the whole hour wasn't a waste as I found the original CBS Late Late Show intro and the WPIX Film Festival. I used to wait for those things, man. Never used to be able to explain how great they were, either, because all the other kids I knew went to bed way before Hart To Hart even came on. I used to feel like a freak because I couldn't sleep on command, and it's cost me jobs and friendships, but those late hours of the night were made for something, and someday, maybe, I'll figure it out.

Until then, turn off the TV and go to bed.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Week I Got Verbose Late At Night

Much of this week was taken up with repairing technology. I think it all went rather well, now I just need to find the cure for the kind of injuries incurred crawling around behind furniture with a FANTASTIC-SMELLING coaxial cable (I like the smell of new cables, lumber, eggcrate mattress pads and cat armpits) and playing with IDE ribbon cables (yes, I inhaled).

We saw The Forbidden Kingdom, the new Jackie Chan/Jet Li movie. I mean, come on, it's got Jackie Chan! And Jet Li! And...a white boy as the main character. He turns out okay, though. It was sort of like The Wizard of Oz meets The Katate Kid with some Lord of the Rings thrown in for good measure. And the ending was nearly better than Xanadu, but if I say more than that I'll spoil it.

Somehow I managed to not know anything about the Large Hadron Collider until the logo changed on Google on the day the potential black hole maker was turned on. Of course, once I knew about it I started to wonder if I should attribute the way my dog walks around looking spooked to some special canine knowledge that the planet is being sucked in on itself. Then she saw the neighbors and all was right with her world again. Hussy.

I had decided not to write anything about 9/11 this year, because I've told my story of that day so many times and all I wish now for everyone who died as a result of that day needs is peace. So I was out in the yard, taking pictures of the wildlife and cloud formations, and this bird, perfect little flying bird-shaped bird, got into one of the pictures. The angle reminded me of one of the last pictures I'd taken before that Tuesday in 2001, one that everyone went crazy over because wow, the colors! And a plane, not blurry at all, just PBBBT in the middle of the shot. It was the last time I deliberately took a picture of an airplane. I don't like airplanes, never did, much like I wouldn't like living in the path of oncoming trains or buses, so the picture caught "Ew," and I rarely thought about it over the years. It's sleep deprivation that makes me think a bird reclaiming the sky in my photographs is worthy of an entire post and 189 words the next day, but there it is.

If there's anything that stays consistent about 9/11, it's that we watch a lot of movies that day. No, really, that may seem harsh but there comes an hour when I need to stop experiencing things I can't fix. Generally this is about ten minutes after I wake up, but the women I live with are hardcore. TCM was playing a bunch of Kay Francis movies so I got to see Gloria Stuart (I make no apology for how many times I've seen Titanic) play pool and crash a car in Street Of Women and then we all started cracking up during Give Me Your Heart because Robert Osbourne had to tell the story about Kay Francis' problem with the letter R. I realize I've just made people who can't form Rs very angry, but remember, I can't walk around in sunlight without looking like a drunken maniac, so feel free to giggle at that and we'll be even.

I had the unfortunate experience of not only finding aphids checking out my forsythia, but a chunk of rot in one of the side supports of my swing--now entering its twentieth year of standing outside in sun, rain, snow...hell, I wouldn't have made it past that first summer. I busted out the horticultural oil for the aphids, but found that the tub of wood filler downstairs shares my tendency to crack and dry out over time. So I used Phenoseal. I caulked wood. The end is nigh but I'm holding on. I'll be damned if I don't go out swinging. As high as possible. By moonlight. Listening to '80s new wave. Surrounded by cats. You know, that swing has tried to kill me three other times, but I keep coming back for more. Sometimes I wonder if my love of swingsets is connected with my loathing of things like tags in clothing and being touched or my ability to blather on at length about the songs that were playing when I had a thought twenty-four years ago. Most of the time I don't wonder about it at all.

This week Mum made pancakes, and when Mum makes pancakes, I eat pancakes for days. Those pancakes frikkin' rule. Refrigeration and microwaves are also pretty neat.

Hurricanes aren't neat, though. Way to make me feel like a whiner about my rot, Ike. Stay safe, kids.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Before and After

Before - September 8, 2001
2001, this picture wasn't as creepy until three days later.

After - September 11, 2008
Seven years later, this wasn't as remarkable until that bird flew across the sky.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Six Months In A Leaky Boat

Last week we finally caught Harry Potter and the Order, based on the book I still haven't finished. I will reserve my opinion about whether the director did the same. I realize it couldn't be an eight-hour movie, but I would watch Gary Oldman stand around in doorways being underused for at least three hours, then they'd better give him something to do for the next five. It was a good advert for the book, though.

Superhero Movie, the latest (I guess?) of that spoof series...that spoofs...movies. I enjoyed it, I actually laughed a few times even, which is generally unheard of.

Then I watched a lot of tennis. Oodles of tennis. Tons of tennis. And Jon Stewart. Then I found myself outdoors one night staring at my feet, and that never ends well. I'm still waiting for it to pass, actually. Now it's raining and no one can play tennis, so I have to watch other things. Like Frontline. Hmm.

You know how the sun has that warning label about not staring directly into it? I haven't quite figured out how to pull that off while driving. Everyone gets annoyed when I close my eyes, so that's out. The great thing is that even on these rainy days I still have the image of the sun burned into my retina. It's super!

I also dodged a bat and chased a raccoon this week. I wouldn't have noticed either, except the cats tend to pay attention to great big creatures infiltrating their space and they've not got the afterimage of the sun burned into their eye, so that also gives them an advantage. I had to walk up to the raccoon with a flashlight before we saw each other, and the raccoon was like, "HOLY CRAP!" and slowly scaled the fence. The bat just flapped about, avoiding us. Luckily these two incidents didn't take place on the same night, or I'd be checking for snakes and Indiana Jones in my hedges.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Chrome is a Shiny Thing!

I'm on this kick of micro-managing my seconds to give myself time to write, live, appear amongst my family, and keep myself from appearing unkempt. It's not entirely working, so when I heard Google Chrome, the newest browser to hit PCs (you'll get it soon enough, Linux and Mac), was fast, I got all starry-eyed that maybe I could check my RSS feeds during the week again and I jumped on the bandwagon.

It's fast, but that's because it has no features. Not entirely a bad thing, but while there's a pop-up blocker there's no ad blocker, and the lack of all the other Firefox extensions I'm rather fond of made me a little twitchy. Then again, I still pine for Netscape Navigator 3, and I bet that would die of fright if I tried to run an RSS feed past it.

I was able to get through Newsgator a little faster using Chrome, even on my older (400mhz) computer. One of the websites that slows me down the most is yes.com, and the reason why I must remind myself what songs were playing during the hour I was sitting around thinking of crap to write about is bizarre, but with Chrome I was able to read the news and check all nine local radio stations in about fifteen minutes. It could have been less, I kept getting distracted by late-night tennis and Jon Stewart.

Of course, because the original terms of use stated that anything posted using the browser became the property of Google (it's been fixed), I probably won't ever use it for anything more than reading, because all this junk I write here? MINE. My stories, my life, and although most conversations I have would end pretty fast without being able to check Google to find out what's going on with anything, I don't go around saying what I found on Google is mine, so I'll leave their search capabilities to them, and hold on to the last shred of personal identity I have.

I guess what I'm trying to say is for browsing, Chrome is pretty good. Baa!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Oil and Water.

This is a post in honor of the whopping $4 drop in barrels of black blood of the earth. For the record, I'm against any and all milkshake-drinking schemes.

I think I've said I love my house. It is the only house I have, after all, and i'll never have another. Part of the reason I know I'll never be able to actually take care of another human is because I can't even do what's right for this house, and the house only needs to be kept spiffy, it's not like I gotta educate my house--god help us all if the house ever realizes it could be so much more. It'd be worse than listening to me locked in a room with raw meat. Many sleepless mornings coupled with the episode of Cold Case involving that kid who just wanted to see Jurassic Park with his stuffed bunny have given me something other than myself to blame, however. That's right, all that makes me sad about my house is not my fault, it's the damn dinosaurs. Never liked those vicious bastards. I never did like Land of the Lost, either. What were those Sleestaks about? Hmph.

Here is a rather dismal list of things I've realized over the years:

Because of the oil bill we can't change to gas.

Because of the oil bill the oil company puts off cleaning the furnace.

Because of the oil bill our driveway gate still tilts and won't close.

Because of the oil bill we can't have the cherry tree looked at.

Because of the oil bill we haven't gotten new windows to keep the heat in.

Because of the oil bill the roofer won't come to see why it rains in the kitchen.

Because of the oil bill I can't look forward to the colder seasons I love.

Here's to a mild winter. I'd have wished for a mild hurricane season too, but it doesn't look like that'll be happening, so now all I can hope is that everyone down south stays safe and dry.

--I'm not saying putting one's head through a window is any way to greet visitors, but my dog Pookie totally had the right idea barking at the oil truck.