Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Death Turns Off The Television

This past Sunday Billy Mays died. Anyone who has read this blog since the beginning knows I was pretty harsh to that dude, and I needed to acknowledge that and maybe, you know, apologize. All the times that I'd tell the TV to shut up, I didn't actually mean he should die. I feel quite guilty about that now. Seriously.

It could be a sign that I'm getting way too old for my own good when I recognize every celebrity who dies, but last week would've blown the mind of even teeny little ten-year-old me, and that is probably why this post exists.

Last year on my birthday, the first thing I heard was the terrible news that George Carlin had died. That was sad, I likened it to someone jumping out of my cake and socking me in the gut.

So this year when the news came that Ed McMahon had died, I...you know how my Poppy used to get me to watch Star Search, right? He and my mum watched that show all the frikkin' time, and back then I had no idea I'd end up knowing what day it was if dancing was on, so I'd trudge in and watch the girls sing or the kids dance and then I'd store it in the part of my mind that went back and thought about all the times we watched Star Search and how it led to me making 8mm music videos with puppets and how my Poppy used to watch The Tonight Show all the time, and I of course came to the conclusion that anything that made me remember my Poppy was okay. Sad, but okay.

Then Farrah Fawcett died. This was sadder because I don't like to see anyone who totally fought a lousy disease lose, and growing up I don't think I ever missed an episode of Charlie's Angels. In fact...I used to play Charlie's Angels in my head. I can't explain what that entailed, a lot of jumping around, basically. But it's difficult to be an only child and play Charlie's Angels alone. They were a team, you know. I kept up with her movies, too...if you've never seen a movie called Saturn 3, now would be a good time to catch up. It was a space thriller with Farrah Fawcett in the middle of a sort of love triangle between Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel, and a super battle droid named Hector that could pluck eyelashes out of eyes and...well, I don't want to spoil the rest. Then watch The Burning Bed because that was awesome.

As my mother was telling me of Farrah Fawcett's passing, I got the weird Irish, "I wonder who'll be next," everyone-goes-in-threes thought. I seriously did not expect who was next. I mean, it wasn't a complete shock...but....

I had The Puppy out for walkies when Mum told me Michael Jackson died.

The sticker pictured somewhere to your right was stuck on my cabinet door in 1984 by my Mum, who I think wanted me to be interested in what all the kids were into. She also talked me into getting a shirt that had the word THRILLER across it with a glittery glove right over the er...chest area. I left that sticker on the cabinet and it's been there for a quarter of a century. Sure, the edges dried out and it got snagged on things, but it's still there.

I love Michael Jackson's music. As soon as I heard he was gone every song piled up and moonwalked my brain into a somewhat surprising blubbering mess. Beat It was the first song I heard on Z-100. Billie Jean was the second video I taped off TV. I watched Thriller a hundred times even though I freaked out over Weird Al's cat eyes at the end of Eat It. Man In The Mirror was playing in a store I desperately wanted to leave but couldn't on account of being 13, so I stood there, listening to the words while my family bought the tiles I would eventually help install and that sappy song about being the change you want to see in the world helped me realize I needed to stop being such a self-centered bitch.

Over the weekend all the radio stations in the area played songs they hadn't played in years. Songs everyone knows. The songs that are now all he'll ever record. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' was on a few times, and that, of all of them, may be my most favorite. Back when I was teaching myself BASIC on the Atari I listened to Thriller a lot, and so all those songs are pretty much burned into my mind forever, but that one...it has ties to a lot of things, a lot of people, and unlike my weekend series of, "I moped a lot during this song," Jackson's music got me moving. Got me to do something. Got me to give a shit about the world, even. YES, I'm saying I care what's going on in Iran and Honduras because Michael Jackson sang songs about healing the world and everyone having the same blood and that if we want to make the world better, we could. That's what I'll remember, that's what I'll keep with me, that's what I'll hand down. That, the sparkly glove, and the moonwalk.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Head Over Heels by The Go-Gos

My all-time most favorite song 25 years ago was Head Over Heels by The Go-Gos, as opposed to the Tears For Fears song which you know is coming in November. You know that right? Sure you do.

Watching the video now I...well, almost couldn't. Holy migraine triggers, Batman! But back when I was ten, I got a charge out of flickering lights in my eyes and exposing myself to things that very nearly sent me insane all the time. Recall, if you will, my heart-warming memory of puking after playing Jedi Arena for hours.

But back in 1984 here was this song that Belinda Carlisle wrote about her struggle with addiction, and this kid watching it was all, "I TOTALLY IDENTIFY WITH THIS SONG," but never saying it out loud because how could I possibly ever let on that I felt my life was totally out of my control? At ten? So I went for the easy route of, "OMG, this is such a fun song and Jane Weidlin is adorable."


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hasta La Vista, Teddy.

This 100 Word Stories' weekly challenge story IS this week's Weekly Challenge. Like, there are no others that I've written that you haven't seen. Well, except for next week's, and there's a possibility even I haven't seen that yet.

The topic is Cyborgs Combined With..., and what does a child of the '80s go straight for? No, not The Terminator. The RUXPINATOR.

Yes, I was drunk when I volunteered for this trip back in time, but come on, the target is part cyborg...part teddy bear?

The designer told me the thing started to kill people after it was exposed to a rancid quart of bear lube. He was too chicken to come back here and face his creation, this tiny little toy.

It spoke. "Hi, there! Can you and I be friends?"

Perky fables and sickly sweet songs echoed through the steel refinery as I smiled down at the molten metal. I extended one finger to the bear as I sank.

This story and eight other mechanical wonders can be heard here, and you have to go listen because I randomly point out that I'm all caught up, and then fail to point out that I'm caught up posting the backlog of challenge entries to my blog. Because that's all I'm caught up on. Those unanswered e-mails going back to 1997? Still on the back burner.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


While trying on shoes to wear for my tenth birthday, I was struck by the thought that I might not make it to 13. Getting old was difficult. Finding shoes that fit, impossible.

Two years earlier, I was standing in the pool, looking up at the gum tree leaves lit by the setting sun, trying to figure out how old I'd be in 2010. Not that I ever thought I'd see 2010. I was eight, all those years didn't compute. That and I was a seriously dark-minded kid.

I can't blame the music I listened to, I listened to disco and Britpop. Not even the dark wave stuff at that point. Men At Work and Hall & Oates, too. The distance between music released in 1949 and music that came out the year I was born is now equal. I cannot comprehend what music--much less life--will be like in the year 2049. I will venture a guess that I'll be bitching about the last '80s station being sold, if things are still being bought and sold. If there are still public airwaves. If music is still allowed to be played without paying a fee to the minister of recorded things.

25 years ago I went bowling. Had to change out of the pink heels. Just as well, I turned my ankle in those shoes.

20 years ago mum and I made a cake with olive oil because we ran out of vegetable oil. it tasted pretty good.

15 years ago I was taking driving lessons. Still haven't died in a car crash, much to my surprise.

10 years ago I cut my hair and left enough hair to start a padawan braid on the right side. I cut it in 2003 but started growing it again. I split it into two braids in 2006. In December of 2007 I joined the two braids at the halfway point. It all means something to me, and someday if you're good I'll tell you all about it.

5 years ago...I can't remember. Oh yeah, I started a comic strip. Finally started thinking forward.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I Didn't Mean Flossing That Way, But...Whatever Works!

I am so addicted to these 100 Word Stories' weekly challenges, I write my entries even when completely and utterly insane. Could be old age, could be overload, but when it gets to the point where I had to cut and paste my recording together so the intro words came out sounding less like crackhead Yoda and more like some harmless dizzy broad and then the story itself leaves Laurence Simon speechless, I know it's time to cut back on something. Still haven't figured out what I want to cut back on. Maybe crazy is good, and I just have to keep doing EVERYTHING until Elvis drives a bus through my computer and accumulates me.

The theme was Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, and of course I went soap opera. Or...needing soap. Something.

"Doc, you gotta help me! I’ve got this rash, and it’s just like one my mother has on her… well, never mind. The other night I found a strange thong under my husband's pillow and I threatened to throw the toaster into the hot tub with him if he didn't tell me the truth.

"I said, 'I know you only married me because I was a younger version of my mother, did you give me her rash?!'

"He says, 'No, I got it from your father's girlfriend.' What am I gonna do?"

"Hmmmmmmmmmmm.… First things first. Have you been flossing?"

Listen to the challenge and you'll hear 10 things that'll make you go, "Hmmmmmmmmmmm," and me playing both the crazy woman and the befuddled dentist! I'm becoming nearly as fractured as I am in real life!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summertime...and the Vloggin' ain't easy....

At some point this afternoon I remembered I had planned to make a vlog for summer. I've given up the idea of talking at the camera about crap I've done because if you follow this blog YOU KNOW WHAT I'VE DONE. At least what I'mgoing to tell you about, anyway.

This time I thought the Ninja Twins had far more important things to say on the topic of summery goodness and let them go for it. The Puppy chimes in with an agreement on the humidity. Because this is my fairytale, there are no raccoons visible. Only happy things. Wheeeeeeee!

Behold, the vlog of summer.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: ? (Modern Industry)

I think I've mentioned that my primary source of music videos was U68, a UHF station mum found one afternoon. They played a lot of things no one I knew had ever heard of, and so it was the greatest television station that ever existed. Until it was sold a year later, but that's another story. A grumpy story that has no place in this week's fabulousness.

When everyone got together for my 11th birthday, I made everyone and their Transformers watch my new favorite song by my new favorite band. Over and over. When it was time for dinner, I ran the whole thing through my head--which I could do back then being there was no Internet. I'd never heard anything like ? (Modern Industry) by Fishbone before and the song never lost its place as one of my all-time favorites ever, and not only because picking out call letters of stations you know never gets old.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Do Not Confuse Tamure With Hula

I used to be really good at revenge--in my head. So when the 100 Word Stories' weekly challenge involved revenge, AND pineapples, I was totally there. Like I wouldn't be if it was about Parcheesi or something.

The topic was Death by Pineapple, Revenge Shall be Mine, and Failed Wolfram Alpha Queries. What the hell is Wolfram Alpha, you may ask, as I did back in the day when the topic was announced? I can't explain it, because I currently have scrambled brains, and if you listen to the recording you'll hear I can't even say it too many times, but it's fabulous and I found out I've been around a really really long time. Not as long as kebabs. That segue'll make sense in a second.

The term kebabs originated in 1813. I have a thing for dates. So did my boyfriend...1980 to 2008. We did something wild to celebrate our collective 49 years of life and went to Hawaii for their 49th anniversary of statehood.

Clayton jumped up to dance the tamure with some hula dancers and they became so enraged at his geographical error one impaled him on a flaming pineapple kebab. I don’t know what came over me but I set fire to the hotel and ran away.

I can’t figure out how long I can hide in this tree with Wolfram Alpha.

Okay, maybe it won't make sense, maybe I'm still writing everything in Greek like I used to as a kid. The other 14 stories appear to be in the same language, though, and they're all here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


So very close to being caught up on my past 100 Word Stories' weekly challenge entries, but as long as I keep taking part in new ones, I continue to be behind in the old ones. Just like clean socks. I think. See, I have these saggy socks, but because they went in the drawer on top, they're always the first socks I pull out. With that exciting insight into the life of yours truly, I give you a tale most weird.

Mosquitoes and Prosthetics, which sounds like a Sam Phillips album, was the product of the week I co-won with Daphne Abernathy. I didn't suggest mosquitoes. HOW CRAZY IS THAT?! I think at the time the little bastards hadn't hatched here. Now of course I'm quite drained, quite puffy, quite itchy, and I can't bend my chin to my chest.

In high school all the cool kids wanted to be vampires, but I had smaller plans. I was fascinated by the real bloodsuckers that could fly wherever they pleased--even sacred ground in broad daylight. Mosquitoes.

I studied night and day, starving myself until I weighed only a few pounds, and when I was sure it could be done, just before chopping my arms and legs off, I went online.

I paid every penny I'd saved by not eating on a brand new prosthetic proboscis, and I swear that thing is just a bendy straw that reeks of tomato juice.

Hear me slap myself to death alongside 10 other fantastic tales here.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Any Single Song Off The Soul Cages

1991 was a strange year. It was the first year of my life I had to live without my Poppy. Around the time we lost him Sting had completed his album The Soul Cages, which was inspired by the loss of his father. That in itself should be enough to explain what drew me to the album, but I didn't know what the album was about the horrendously hot day I got into the car and discovered I could pull in WDRE, and they were playing Mad About You, I just thought it was a cool sounding song. Then the bridge hit me. "I have never in my life felt more alone than I do now." When you're a teenager and you've lost one of the bright lights in your life, songs like that get you through things like making everyone around you think you're fine despite feeling like you're dying with each step you take away from everything you ever knew.

All This Time, the peppy one about the last rites and burial at sea, with its message that time just keeps flowing got so deep into my head that I edited a quick bit of the video into footage from our trip. Sting totally was on our train, getting bounced around the dining car. Never mind that he was on a boat in his video. The video I edited for our trip was insane and I'll never know what anyone thought of the scenes where the train operator got off for coffee, or Shaolin monks battled on top on the train in Denver, but it amused me and if there's one thing you guys all obviously get about me it's that I need to be amused.

Why Should I Cry For You? was another one WDRE played, becoming a Shreeek of the Week in May of that year and that instantly qualifies it as ten kinds of awesome. Even before I knew the guy who'll be married six years tomorrow loved it, or that the ADD goth pirate who turns not quite Hobbit-old on Monday also thought the song was the greatest thing ever, it was another one of those songs that sat with me and stared out the window at the rain whenever I'd wake up and remember that only the year before, we did this, or we did that...together. Down the years it became the song for other things, stories and characters who are still waiting to live (or die, as their writers see fit), and it always has a tale to tell when we meet up again.

Some magazine recently thought it was clever to call Sting the worst songwriter of all time, and I disagree with that, and The Soul Cages is why. The soundtrack to the IMAX movie The Living Sea contains different versions of some of the songs, and indeed the extended intro Mad About You has a horn solo that could cause me to veer off the road it is so fantastic. Branford Marsalis is to blame for that, he's also the sax player who made the soundtrack to The Russia House what it is. My Nan and I, we hear that horn, and it could be that it was the first new thing we enjoyed after 1990, but we dig that horn, man.

Mad About You

All This Time

Why Should I Cry For You

Finally, I never did get as far as this guy with St. Agnes and the Burning Train, but it was one I picked out on the piano a few years after 1991, on the weekends I'd spend trying to calm the baby border collie with separation anxiety. It totally worked. For me, anyway. And no, there's no recording of me playing it so I've spared you that much.


Thursday, June 11, 2009


I'm breaking into my reruns to let you know I've been running late with everything lately, keeping myself so busy I don't have time to be crazy, and unfortunately when I stretch myself that thin, I snap faster and easier than those old rubber bands I have in the tin over my desk.

Because I was raised to be polite and encouraged to understand that everyone is different, I tend to shy away from really letting it fly when I have an opinion about current events, because after all I am merely a pasty little woman from The Bronx and haven't got a clue what it's like to be, say, Tom Golisano, who totally flipped the NY Senate this week because he doesn't want to pay higher taxes for his billions. Hey Tom! I have several people you can send your overabundance of money to, that way you get into a lower tax bracket and I get to maybe stop the rain from falling into my house.

I'm pretty open minded, though. You know, I'm all for whatever makes you happy. Unless of course nothing makes you happy because you're a hollow shell of a human bent on ridding the world of what you find intolerable. Then you're just being ridiculous and need to go shoot yourself before taking that gun to a museum or church. Although I rarely get a chance to go to either, I'm pretty sure museums and churches are places where you're meant to reflect and...you know...NOT KILL PEOPLE.

It's easy to hate, I know. Quick and easy, no thought involved, just react to everything with hate and fear and intolerance until all that's left is...nothing.

I hate haters. Can't tolerate the intolerant. Fear people who feed fear with their catchphrases and empty words. The world isn't as bad as the sick see it. Look outside. Wait. Something good is still there. Has to be.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I Was Once Within Arm's Length Of An Elvis Impersonator

I am still taking part in the 100 Word Stories' weekly challenges, you know. Now it's like if I stop, I'll die. I am also still not exactly up-to-date here with what I've written in the past, so you're getting two stories this week because I am having another one of those weeks where I seem to be using a different keyboard layout in my head. One day I'll blog about it in great detail, but I want to make sure I'm caught up on the fun stuff before I drive the Internet mad.

Turns out I so desperately wanted to do an Elvis impression that even though I had no time to record my offering for Elvis Drives A Bus and The Chance Meeting Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella On An Operating Table, I MADE TIME. As a result of messing with time, I can't really remember anything else from the week the story took place, but I do know a Scotsman did a way better Elvis impression than me. But I digress. Here's a little weird noir I wrote:

Rain. This city is full of it.

I sell things. Last year? Pillows. Now? I was schlepping Singer iSew green technology sewing machines. Big difference.

The 33 pulled into the stop right on time. A bad sign overlooked. I lugged my sample up the steps and swiped my MetroCard.

"Uh, thankyouverymuch," the driver drawled. He wore a rhinestone jumpsuit and twitched like his pelvis was dislocated.

Didn't take him long to swerve the bus into some stranger in the crowd. Took longer to dislodge the iSew from my chest and the umbrella from my skull.

Wish I had a pillow.

Listen to the challenge and you'll hear my kittens scare the bejeebers out of me as I'm reading, and 13 other tales that will make you not want to leave the building.

(The Singer iSew is solar powered and is also a 40GB MP3 player. No, it doesn't exist, but when it does I want my royalties or a sample unit for thinking it up.)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

And another thing.

65 years ago today, a 25-year-old army medic took part in something I don't think anyone who wasn't there can comprehend. The medic went on to give his granddaughter an appreciation of music and the will to keep going no matter how mad the world gets.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Dancing In The Dark

1984 was pretty much when I started to listen to my own radio and watch music videos in my room. A lot. There wasn't much else on TV, really. Mr. Rogers, Inspector Gadget, Remington Steele, and then videos! Usually on Friday. At least I said it was Friday, it was after midnight so technically it was Saturday. So I guess it was some Saturday 25 years ago when I first saw Dancing In The Dark by Bruce Springsteen.

The video is one of those YouTube wants you to watch on YouTube, but really, who doesn't know the video? Man sings song, girl watches man sing, man stops singing and pulls girl out of the crowd to dance with, sax player plays sax.

I didn't get it. At the time it was okay, but it was on ALL THE TIME and I liked Rick Springfield and who was this Bruce guy and why was everyone making such a big deal out of him? I figured it out eventually, after I heard some of his other stuff. Only just before writing this, however, did I learn that Dancing In The Dark was the last song written and recorded for Born In The U.S.A. because the producer wanted a radio-friendly mega hit. Got one, yeah?

But those lyrics that Springsteen threw together at the last minute suddenly made perfect sense to me one day seven years ago, as the responsibility for trying to figure out a way to support my family and keep my house in its original piece hit me upside the crazy aching head. I was in between jobs. I was sitting in my car with the radio on. It was raining. I made the mistake of making eye contact with myself in the mirror. I decided to try putting more effort into the writing thing.

Still haven't been pulled out of the crowd. I'm enjoying the dance anyway.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Week I Won. Well, Co-Won.

I never got involved with the 100 Word Stories' weekly challenges to win, because I'm not like that. Hearing the midget read my mothball story was a high I still don't think I've come down from, unless it's just the allergy medication. But then I was having a couple of bad weeks where I couldn't form a coherent thought, you know, springtime.

The theme was Bacon, and how could a loyal Porkinite pass up the chance to write about bacon in any form?

When the flu hit, I figured everyone was cannibalizing each other for laughs. Then I caught it and started to change.

Clinics were turning people in, so I went to my ol’ buddy Chivito, he always fixes me up. He gave me something he swore would cure me if I rubbed it all over and wrapped myself in plastic. I joked with him I'd be ready to eat if it didn’t work. I should've noticed he was laughing a little too loud, licking his lips, even.

It's been a week. I smell like bacon.

I hear someone at the door.

I didn't really think my story was that great...but nine people disagreed with me. If you listen to the challenge, there were 13 other stories and the only real stand out in mine was that I finally figured out how to work my mic (I have no one to call) and, being incoherent, rambled on about how much fun I'd had in case I died. Daphne, who also won with her account of the bacon riots, had just returned from the dead. Writers really do get more popular when death is near! Awesome!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Fee-Fie-Foe Fail--uh...Della

Last month, while I was at my most burnt out bitchiness in five years, Dell created a site called Della, a nightmarish world where women buy petite computers in the shade of their wardrobe and then learn where to find recipes.

The site as it was is long gone, and I never got to see more than a few screenshots and second-hand accounts of the horror, but that's not why I brought it up.

I have a Dell computer. It was a gift, because apparently I come from a long line of awesome people. It's for work, it's lovely and fast and I feel very guilty for living with the knowledge that here is this great piece of technology and yet when it rains it still rains in my kitchen.

I named my computer's primary partition Della. This was two years ago, License To Kill was on quite a lot and between the Della in that and Perry Mason's Della I was sort of relieved I could rechristen the drive from the name I first thought up: Delhi. If you've called for tech support, YOU KNOW WHY. I meant it with love, but still, Della made me feel less like someone who throws words around with the intent to be all, "My job got outsourced."

...all old news, this. But there it is. Dell calling their girlie web site Della totally ripped me off. LOL

Also, Dell, I've been using computer for over 25 years and like 'em so big that I get multiple hernias just plugging all 20 non-color-coded wires into them and if and when I need to ask anyone outside of my family how to cook something I can find recipes very nicely on my own, thank you. Sexist jackasses.