Friday, August 30, 2002

Squiggles, squiggles everywhere that somehow look like ink. Old format triumphs over new format - stick with the classics, eh?



I’m going to go back to my squiggly-line template - this whole flirtation with order and logic in a blog layout has left me rather disappointed. Trouble is, my saved info is in a text file on the computer downstairs, a computer which at present has two young girls sleeping in front of it. Samantha is having her friend spend the night and they’ve decided to sleep in the family room downstairs and I can’t exactly go barging in on them just to edit this. When I get a couple of minutes tomorrow I’ll change it back, until then just bear with me.

I should really be asleep - I’m tired enough but it’s just too damn muggy. There’s so much condensation in the air that my central air unit is bleeding water. In my bed at the moment is Andy, a mad squirming thing that I assume to be Zoe, though it seems to have more arms and legs than a normal child should, and about ten thousand fleas. We’ve been infested and I thought my first strike against the little bastards was more effective than was actually the case. Or perhaps it’s just because tonight is the first night that I know for certain that we have fleas - even typing the word is making me itch. I gave all three dogs a bath today and treated them with a flea medication, then followed it up by spiking their food with garlic and vinegar. This is great for them, as the fleas are jumping ship (using the dogs noses as a spring-board) but the fleas are then coming to us humans. Maybe it’s just my imagination, I don’t know, as Zoe and Andy seem to be sleeping through it quite well, and they’re both wusses when it comes to matters of the itch.

Add to all of this some screaming heartburn and you have yourself one cranky person. What I wouldn’t give for a plate of refried beans! Instead, I have to settle for a frozen Snickers bar from my private stash I keep behind the green beans - Zoe saw me sneaking one the other day and I actually convinced her that I was eating frozen veggies...well, not like it’s a hard thing to fool a two year old (yeah, well done, me) but if she knew there was candy up there it would be gone within hours.

Sigh - back to the den of the itch! I really must get a good night’s sleep tonight, as Andy’s off work tomorrow - which means we’ll be busy cleaning the house. Envy me, I dare you.

Sleep deprived-ly,


Thursday, August 29, 2002

There's been a change...

New look - just testing it out for the moment, tweaking and the like.



Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Am I cracking up or just getting older...

You may have noticed that I have been posting my blogs at normal times (read: during daylight wakey-wakey hours) rather than at all hours of the a.m. This is because of a new sleeping technique I’ve discovered – I won’t go into too many details, let’s just say it involves taking a little blue pill about an hour before I want to go to sleep. Okay, so it’s not totally revolutionary, but it seems to be working.

Though, last Saturday I failed to take the little blue wonder and found myself eating cereal and watching Saturday Night Live – two activities I haven’t done in years. I briefly had a flash back from a few years ago of myself and my boyfriend eating Trix cereal while watching SNL and working out exactly how we were going to mass-manufacture our latest invention, the disposable bong. We were big dreamers, indeed. We passed many a stoned night thinking of the “next big thing” – I have the vaguest recollection that we actually came up with a few good ideas; unfortunately, we were easily distracted while in our pot-induced “thinking mode”. One such brain-storming session was interrupted by news of the death of Princess Diana, remember that? It took us about an hour to realize that we weren’t watching an SNL sketch – I remember turning to him and saying, “Wow, this show has really gone downhill, hasn’t it? This is in such bad taste and it’s not even funny.” Eventually I called a friend and asked, “Um, dude, is like, the princess or whatever on your TV, too? Huh. So, like, do you think SNL will come back on soon? That sucks – hey, do you wanna come over and watch Wizard of Oz with us? We’ve been playing Dark Side of the Moon as the soundtrack, it’s really trippy…”

I was so cutting-edge I was bleeding…I can’t believe I thought I was so cool. It’s funny how a few years (and a mature partner) can change your perspective. It just goes to show how un-hip I’ve become, but I look at it in the same way as Marge Simpson, “I don’t care if I’m cool or not – and that makes me cool, right?”

I still feel young – and at 25 years old that’s certainly to be expected – but I feel young in the “I can’t go into that store without teenagers making fun of me so I’ll go shop at Crate & Barrel instead…but, like, in an ironic way, you know?” The moment you tell yourself, “I should really pick up a cheese board” is the moment you just need to hang it up and buy a minivan. It’s a sad state to find yourself in, but that’s where I am in life.

And on that depressing note, I think I’ll go finish up the ironing and decide on a new template for my blog – I think I need more order, cleaner lines, nothing as damn chaotic as what I have now.



Saturday, August 24, 2002

And this cool I've been playing I have been playing too long now my capacities are dwindling 'til they're
Gone Gone Gone...

It just figures - I've been widowed by a new hard drive and some Red Hat Linux-y type gubbins...which ordinarily would be my cup of tea, since that means I'd get the new computer downstairs (and the really comfy chair). But here I am and I cannot think of a single thing to write about, or look at, or play - this just isn't right.

My only consolation is that I've bought "Irresistible Bliss" for probably the tenth time in my life (I don't know where they keep disappearing to!) so I'll just groove out listening to Soul Coughing for the rest of the night.



Friday, August 23, 2002

Dust my lemon lies with powder pink and sweet...

Our cable is now back on, whoo-hoo! Of course, I thought that meant that Zoë would decide that she’d rather have Nick Jr. blasting all day long considering her long-standing addiction to Dora the Explorer, but no…she still wants Harry Potter. I tell you, I am this close from totally freaking and pulling a Joan Crawford on Zoë, slamming her across the back with the DVD and screaming, “No more Harry Potter ever!!!” I mean, I love that movie as much as any red-blooded American with a tendency toward fixating on escapism and fantasy, but five times a day is too much even for me. The nice thing about Zoë being distracted for so long is that I take care of the really important things I need to do, like catching up on my eyebrow maintenance.

I’m descended from Eastern European Jews, which means that along with the pasty complexion and honking schnoz I am further blessed with eyebrows from Hell. If I fail to routinely harvest the wayward strands I could very quickly find myself with eyebrows down to the folds in my eyelids. That’s not actually true – I’d find myself with AN eyebrow – as in singular brow – that not only meets in the middle but thickens so dramatically that I could easily be mistaken for the daughter of Bill Berry. Lift and separate, Natalie, there should be two!

Now, this phenomenon should not be mistaken for the brow affliction that Andy suffers from, which is Rogue Brow. A Rogue Brow is a single strand of eyebrow that apparently has a lot more drive and conviction than the rest of the strands so it becomes very thick and long. It certainly isn’t as noticeable as my Caveman Brow but it’s infinitely more annoying. The Rogue Brow is a mocking brow, winking and creeping along as if to say, “I dare you to do something about me – Andy won’t let you near him with your Tweezers of Destruction so your mission is doomed to failure. You must learn to live with me.” But oh, am I a patient woman! I sit and wait with the Tweezers of Death either on my person or within easy reach for when the chance to liberate Andy of the Rogue Brow presents itself. The execution of my mission leaves a lot to be desired, as it usually involves Andy being grabbed in a headlock while my other arm swoops down and deftly plucks the offending strand from its’ patch. Sometimes I miss and pull out a few innocent bystanders but, alas, that is the cost of war.

Today was my initial wax-strike against the Brow – tomorrow is going to involve going back with the tweezers and shaping everything up…yes, it is a two-day job, as anyone who knew me in my youth (read “pre-plucking days”) can tell you.

When I was in my teens I dated a boy who was constantly trying to grow a mustache, but that’s a notoriously difficult task to undertake if you’re Hispanic, usually. I called him “Flicker” because his ‘stache looked like a caterpillar sitting on his lip, though he didn’t know the reasoning behind it. (He wasn’t a big fan of The Cure so I thought the reference was obscure enough to shield him from the truth of my mockery.) He picked up on it and started calling me “Flicker” back, which just made me laugh even more. I’d tell my friends, “Yeah, he must think it’s just a nickname, like ‘sweetie’ or something!” It was only after I broke up with him that I was informed he knew exactly why I called him “Flicker” and he called me “Flicker” back because of my brows. I was so pissed off at being one-upped by him that I thought, “I know what I’ll do – I’ll just shave between my eyebrows, that will be perfect!” (I still don’t know why I instantly thought of a razor rather than tweezers.) Sigh – I really don’t want to relive the memories of that fateful decision; even now, in my dual-brow existence, it still makes me so sad.

But that’s the past, and I’m looking toward the future – “the future” being tomorrow, when my eyebrows have calmed down enough that they can be properly shaped. Sadly, that’s the most exciting thing I have to look forward to at the moment.



Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Serious, are you seriously...

I live in the suburbs of Minneapolis so I’m very accustomed to seeing vehicles like minivans and SUVs parked in driveways – even in my own. Today I drove past a house that had a baby blue minivan with two soccer ball stickers on the bumper, a Volvo with a “baby on board” decal in the window and an SUV with an American flag affixed to the antenna. Nothing shocking there but what surprised me was the mock street sign above the garage that read, “Harley Davidson Avenue”. When I see stuff like that I have to shake my head and ask myself, “Am I really awake?”

I was on my way to McDonalds for the first time since the Big Lawsuit was filed and was nearly overcome by the urge to don a sandwich board proclaiming how unhealthy fast-food is and chant “Big Macs make you fat!” Not in protest, just to spread the awareness. In case you haven’t heard, the gentleman who filed the lawsuit against “Big Fast Food” is claiming that he didn’t know that fast food isn’t healthy. Read that sentence again, let it fully sink it – he claims he didn’t know fast food isn’t healthy.

During the course of my sub-par grade- and high-school education I was subjected to four non-consecutive years of health class, and each year the topics included sex and the food pyramid. That’s it. Most days it was pretty easy to figure out which topic we were discussing, though judging by some arrests of former classmates I’ve read about I think that the sons of farmers had a bit tougher time understanding which was which.

If you don’t know (and honestly, how could you not?), the food pyramid is a nifty little chart that gives you guidelines of what a well-balanced diet should include on a daily basis. I’ve seen this chart posted at every single doctor’s office and hospital I’ve ever visited in my life. The daily dietary recommendation for the “meat, fish, poultry, dry beans, eggs and nuts” category is 2-3 servings of 2-3 ounces per day. Assuming you use your entire “meat group” allocation in one sitting we’re only talking about a half-pound of meat, maximum. One double 1/4 pounder with cheese will take care of that straight off, wouldn’t it? That doesn’t even mention the fat factor – I can’t believe that this guy can honestly claim that he had no idea that eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at fast food restaurants wasn’t good for you – it just defies reason. This guy must have walked through life with his eyes closed, his ears plugged, and humming, “la la la – I can’t hear you!”

It makes me mad when I think that this guy’s stupidity and lack of will-power is going to net him a small fortune – because face it, you know he’s going to win. Look at what happened with the tobacco lawsuits! We heard the same, “I didn’t know” defense from smokers – listen up, remember the first drag you ever took off a cigarette? Pretty nasty, wasn’t it? It’s almost as if the cigarette was trying to warn you that it was dangerous by the disgusting taste and harsh physical reaction it evoked. Yet, you went back over and over again forcing yourself to become hooked, and you’re blaming the people who made the cigarettes. Now, my happy ass is having to fork over higher prices per pack to help pay for your iron lung. I’m an idiot smoker, I know, but I own it as being my own fault…can I sue myself? That option probably isn’t too far into the future – Self vs. Self in a court of law. “Your Honor, because of my own stupidity I’m addicted to cigarettes, which is why I’m filing a lawsuit against myself for damages.” Before too long we’ll be able to sue ourselves for sexual harassment…”I just couldn’t keep my hands off myself – I knew it was wrong, and I told myself to stop, but I just wouldn’t listen. I feel so dirty.” Laugh now, but I’m probably way ahead of my time with this train of thought.

I’m tired of having to protect people from their own stupidity – the phrase “natural selection” springs to mind…case in point, I own a hairdryer like most of you. Typical hairdryer – on/off switch, high/low button, no great shakes, right? Until you turn it upside-down and read the warning: Do not use while bathing or showering. Honestly, I wish I was kidding about that, but I’m not. Why is this warning necessary? Because some dumb ass probably decided to play around with his hairdryer in the shower and killed himself. I can picture it so clearly, some comic book geek is hanging out in the shower, taking his time and enjoying the highlight of his day, when he gets an idea for a new comic book – wind versus water! Brilliant! “Senor Santa Ana, the drying power of your fierce, hot wind is frightful, but it is no match for the saturating power of Hydra’s Rain of Terror…let the battle begin!” Buzz, zap, crispy dead guy on the shower floor. And that’s a good thing, because he was too stupid to figure out that you don’t take hair dryers into the shower. “But no one told me!” Yeah, well no one should have to tell you.

Once upon a time we needed the deaths of idiots to serve as a warning to those who couldn’t possibly know of danger without someone setting an example. What of our Neanderthal ancestors who weren’t careful about what they ate? Famous last words, “Ugh, nuk took” – which roughly translates into, “Why didn’t anyone tell me the green berries were poison?” Boom, dead Neanderthal in the bushes. Again, that was a good thing because then the other Neanderthals would go, “Hey, there’s a dead guy in the bushes, let’s not eat those berries.” And if, perhaps, one of them simply stepped over the body to eat some of the berries himself…well, again, natural selection.

Haven’t we progressed as a society further than this? Do we really need the dead guy in the bushes or a warning on a Big Mac? If you’re too dumb to figure out what’s healthy and what’s not, I don’t think I should have to help save you from yourself.



Monday, August 19, 2002

MARRIAGE by Gregory Corso

Should I get married? Should I be good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood?
Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky-

When she introduces me to her parents
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,
should I sit with my knees together on their 3rd degree sofa
and not ask Where's the bathroom?
How else to feel other than I am,
often thinking Flash Gordon soap-
O how terrible it must be for a young man
seated before a family and the family thinking
We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou!
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living?

Should I tell them? Would they like me then?
Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter
but we're gaining a son-
And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?

O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just wait to get at the drinks and food-
And the priest! he looking at me as if I masturbated
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife?
And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue!
I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back
She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha!
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on-
Then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes
Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates!
All streaming into cozy hotels
All going to do the same thing tonight
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen
The lobby zombies they knowing what
The whistling elevator man he knowing
Everybody knowing! I'd almost be inclined not to do anything!
Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye!
Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon!
running rampant into those almost climactic suites
yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel!
O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls
I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner
devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of bigamy
a saint of divorce-

But I should get married I should be good
How nice it'd be to come home to her
and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen
aproned young and lovely wanting my baby
and so happy about me she burns the roast beef
and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair
saying Christmas teeth! Radiant brains! Apple deaf!
God what a husband I'd make! Yes, I should get married!
So much to do! Like sneaking into Mr Jones' house late at night
and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books
Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower
like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence
like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest
grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky!
And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him
When are you going to stop people killing whales!
And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle
Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust-

Yes if I should get married and it's Connecticut and snow
and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn,
up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me,
finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man
knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear nor Roman coin soup-
O what would that be like!
Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus
For a rattle a bag of broken Bach records
Tack Della Francesca all over its crib
Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib
And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon

No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father
Not rural not snow no quiet window
but hot smelly tight New York City
seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls
a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job!
And five nose running brats in love with Batman
And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired
like those hag masses of the 18th century
all wanting to come in and watch TV
The landlord wants his rent
Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus
impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking-
No! I should not get married! I should never get married!
But-imagine if I were married to a beautiful sophisticated woman
tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves
holding a cigarette holder in one hand and a highball in the other
and we lived high up in a penthouse with a huge window
from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days
No, can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream-

O but what about love? I forget love
not that I am incapable of love
It's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes-
I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother
And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible
And there's maybe a girl now but she's already married
And I don't like men and-
But there's got to be somebody!
Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married,
all alone in a furnished room with pee stains on my underwear
and everybody else is married! All the universe married but me!

Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible-
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so i wait-bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.

I can see I'll never win...

Alright, this is the new format for my blog but the damn thing's turning into a train wreck. I put it up now, well before I've finished the mad tweak-fest I've been subjecting myself to, only because I want to edit it in real-time and the way I was doing it before just wasn't happening. You should have seen it a few days ago - I had all these big ideas of how to make it ultra-groovy but abandoned them because of the on-going maintenance that would be involved. I am, in a word, fickle. I am also, in two words, very lazy, especially when it comes to matters such as this. I can't get as excited as Andy about it all.

When Andy's working on what I lovingly refer to as "internet crap" it puts me in mind of this program I saw recently on card tricks and gambling scams and the like, most of which involved some sleight of hand work that could get you killed at the wrong card table - such as my father's. One guy in particular really amazed me - now, I've seen card-counting before (ahem, please see above reference to dad) but this guy was incredible. He'd give the presenter the deck of cards to shuffle up while he, the shark, closed his eyes. He then asked for the number of players at the table, the game to be played, and which player should win. The presenter gave him the scenario of an eight-handed seven-card-stud game and said that the fourth player should win. Flip, flip, flip, cards are being dealt; the shark is chattering and very casually dealing the fourth player a four of a kind. But more amazing that that, even, is that he says, "I think I'll give him aces; first the diamond, then the heart, then the club, then the's bad luck to deal the ace of spades first, it will put an old gambler off his bet." Everyone in the audience is oohing and aahing over this feat when the shark, with an almost remorseful look on his face, says, "I've practiced that for twenty years but I don't use that trick anymore. I stopped the day I realized that I was practicing something to make it invisible - the only way for this talent to work is if no one knows that it was done, and I just couldn't handle it." That's how it is with Andy - he spends so much time working on web development stuff and the outcome he wishes to achieve is that no one notices what he's accomplished. He's most satisfied when everything is running sweetly in the background, not interfering with any of the "meat". It takes a different kind of person to be satisfied in that respect, I think, especially judging by all of the stupid watermarks and credit links you find in any given code that seems even vaguely interesting. Glory hounds, all of them - they can't find satisfaction in just doing something, they have to graffiti it with their names like spray paint on a wall, proclaiming to the world that doesn't really care, "See how clever I am!"

Ugh - I'm all over the place with this entry, because I am very tired now and worn out from fighting with Blog*Spot's archives. I really wish that I'd have bitten the bullet and hosted my blog myself but it's too late now, as I've already paid to make it ad-free and I am far too cheap to turn my back on that level of commitment. Tomorrow will be another day of tweaking, and maybe a blog about how much fun I had lying to strangers at the airport today.



Saturday, August 17, 2002

(Note: I've currently been away from my blog in order to fully tweak out all of the imperfections in my new blog, pickle juice, which is why there have been no new posts as of late. Here, instead of a proper entry, is a diatribe I wrote a few days ago when I was feeling particularly nasty towards the world in general...unfortunately, Moby stepped in the way of my wrath. I apologize for subjecting you to the same asinine drivel that Moby does but I feel I should post something. Watch this space for the new, improved blog in the near future. ~Natalie)

You don't know me, you're too old, let go - its over, nobody listens to techno...

Moby is easily the most painful person I’ve subjected myself to in a long, long time. I could just say, “Isn’t Moby a dick?” but I don’t want people to think I’m being punny – although that’s probably the most fitting word for the guy.

My annoyance is my own fault; I’ll own it. See, I’ve developed a certain loathsome fascination with celebrity web logs (I’ll never use the word “celeblogs” – the first time I saw that word in print I wanted to burn my eyes with some caustic chemical) and, unfortunately for me, my meanderings brought me to He’s had his blog going for two years now or so and admits that he’s in love with the sound of his own voice and political musings, which is evident by his entries. They transcend even the most banal “regular folk” web logs out there, though he spends a lot of time with a thesaurus trying to smarten them up. I guess the great-great-grand nephew of Herman Melville feels that he should sound more pompous and literate than his fellow human beings, I don’t know. (For the record, I find Melville himself to be just as painful to read, so perhaps it runs in the family.)

Case in point, when commenting on his prom Moby says, “I enjoyed it in an ennui-laden, postmodern sort of way.” All I read into this is that Moby’s date wasn’t as, erm, responsive as she probably could have been. Maybe I’m way off-base; perhaps the band just didn’t have enough synth in their sound so Moby was bummed out about that – he would have attended his prom somewhere around 1982 or so and I have to say that if I were subjected to early ‘80’s music at my own prom I would probably view it as “ennui-laden” as well.

Moby is, apparently, a Christian who spends quite a lot of time quoting the Bible when it reflects his beliefs – and wholly ignoring it when it contradicts them, but isn’t that the very nature of religion? Heck, the Bible contradicts itself enough on its own without good Christians like Moby trying to make it all fit together. He uses scripture to explain why he’s vegan, as God dictated to Adam and Eve before they were banished from the Garden of Eden that all the plants that come from seeds shall be theirs to consume (apart from the apples, of course). The Bible also says that man shall have dominion over animals, which Moby interprets as man is meant to treat animals as if we are like gods to them, “in other words, with kindness and compassion and great reverence.” I really have to disagree with him on that score – if we treated animals like God treats man we’d constantly jack with them: punishing them to see if they’d turn on us, casting them aside if they “worship” others besides their owners, damn them to Hell for not obeying us…and don’t even get me started on what we, as Dog-Gods, would do to them if we paid any attention to their sexual practices. Humping a pillow, indeed! Thou shalt not lie with pillows as thy do with other dogs...and isn’t crotch-sniffing some form of lust or coveting or something? I’m not trying to bash Moby’s beliefs; I just find humor in looking at the other end of the spectrum and comparing the two.

Some of my favorite entries are ones where Moby gets all sciency and introspective – or, as he says, when he’s “on the verge of a bunch of epiphanies”. Now, I have some (what I feel are) interesting theories on quantum physics and the limitations of cosmic “bandwidth”, as it were, but if I posted about them here I’d feel, look, and fully expect to be treated like an ass. Then again, I don’t have an adoring fan-base that believe everything that comes from my mind is gospel and who fall all over themselves telling me what a “beautiful soul” I have. I’m what Moby and Moby fans would describe as “hateful”. (That’s the “word of the day” every day over at – I suggest you start using it in your vernacular. Here’s an assignment…daily, seek out one person that you don’t agree with, even if it’s on a slight point like where to eat lunch, and accuse them of being hateful. Oh, and intolerant and ignorant, those are some good buzz words as well. And remember, Moby loves everyone; unless you’re ignorant, hateful or intolerant…then he ignorantly dismisses you in a hateful and intolerant way. It’s quite an enjoyable process to watch.)

I have to say that my absolute favorite entry is when Moby discusses popular music, i.e. “Top 40” or “Billboard 200” stuff. His theory – and oh, this is a fun one – is that the music that tops the charts is music that isn’t very smart, so the people who enjoy it aren’t very smart. He brings up some example of how “smart music fans” are computer-savvy enough to burn copies of cds or download the music from the internet…I forgot, it takes a genius to type in “.mp3” on a search engine. Anyway, let’s run with this premise for a minute…if you’re “smart” and into “smart music” you download it for free – because surely, buying an album is the epitome of stupidity. Therefore, the “smart” demographic isn’t being fairly represented in the music charts, which is why people like the Baha Men have Grammy awards. (Oh, and weren’t they the ones who beat Moby? Ouch, that’s a harsh example to use…oh well.) This is an easy enough theory to swallow unless you consider the source – Mr. Moby’s album, Play, went double platinum, and his latest release, 18, has already gone gold. Easy to swallow, hard to digest, wouldn’t you say? Is this an insult to his fans, himself, or just the fans that actually fork over the $17.99 for his albums? Keep in mind that this is the same guy who felt the need to explain that his video for “South Side” was a parody…how smart are we now, Moby?



Monday, August 12, 2002

Way to go, Mr. Microphone...

Yesterday, Andy and Zoe went shopping, which was nice because I got to sleep in without Zoe climbing all over me asking, “Mommy, you sleeping?” in her too-loud stage whisper. I was still vaguely asleep when they returned - I heard them come through the door, heard the dogs barking, and heard the voice of a very mature-sounding little girl, who I put at being about six years old or so. This worried me, as Zoe’s only two and a half-years old, and my nine-year old won’t be home for the summer until Sunday. Who was this little girl? I assumed the see, Andy is like many men in that he sometimes forgets what he’s doing or where he’s meant to be going if he’s not under the vigilant supervision of a woman. He’s the type of guy who I can send to the store for some eggs, milk and bread, and he’ll come home with a soccer ball, a VCR and an Asian child named Chan. Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration, but once I did send him to the store for a birthday card and he came back with dog food. It wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that he somehow forgot that we didn’t have a six-year old daughter and just picked one up when he was out. I was more than a touch afraid that the authorities would soon bang down my door and demand the girl back, while I would have to explain, “No, he’s not a kidnapper, he just didn’t realize that this wasn’t our child. Yes, I know that sounds far-fetched...well, it was her fault for being chatty with him at the store, acting like she knew him - what was he supposed to think?”

Thankfully, it was only a talking toy. A talking cash register, to be exact, to go along with Zoe's myriad other toys that tell jokes, giggle, demand to have their shoes tied and bark out, “Play with me, I love you!” (I tried to use that line once on Andy when he was particularly engrossed in some form of computer issue he was dealing with and I was feeling neglected - a word of advice, don’t ever use this line on your husband. It freaked him out just enough that he didn’t want to play with me for a long time afterwards.)

This toy cash register came with the most realistic-looking play money I’ve ever seen, a credit card (with a card swiper that always says, “credit approved”...if only!) a ten-key calculator, microphone (so the child playing with the register can price-check all of those embarrassing purchases that you try your hardest to make as covertly and as casually as possible but it never works out that way. There’s always some teenager running the register that says, “Oh, did you know this [insert embarrassing product here] had a 20-cent off coupon by the display? Let me page someone to grab one for you.”) and coolest of all, it has an infrared scanner gun that supposedly scans real UPC codes...or as I like to call them, “Marks of the Beast.” It works, in a way, as it consistently scanned a book I was reading at $4.50 and a can of peas at $1.25. Though it also scanned the back of Zoe’s head for seventy cents and the freckle on my arm for $3.15. Okay, so it’s not infallible.

I have two complaints about this item, however, one of which is that every time it gets turned on the little-girl voice goes through this whole sales schpiel about how you should buy the register because it will provide you and your friends with hours of fun. Yes, we certainly hope so, that’s why we bought you - now shut up! The second complaint is two-fold, the first being that the speaker is too close to the microphone which results in some nasty feedback, the second being that my dogs have figured out how to paw the button to make this feedback occur. For some reason, this amuses them to no end, and they sit there as long as I let them with a paw on the button, tilting their heads back and forth with their ears cocked up, as if trying to decipher the hidden message. Maybe there is a hidden message - maybe this time it’s a person telling a dog to go on a killing spree, I don’t know. All I know is that, at the risk of breaking Zoe’s heart, I think that Mr. Microphone may have to have a little meeting with Mr. Wire Cutters. We could make a new game of it, with mommy pretending like she’s trying to deactivate a bomb while sweating profusely with Zoe saying, “Mommy, cutta boo un.” Of course, my training as a top bomb-squad guy will have taught me that she, of course, means, “Cut the blue wire.” I will, the mic will let out one last, sad, blissfully low-toned squeal and retire. Sure, my dogs may be upset that I’ve taken this pleasure away from them but they’ll most likely go right back to playing their second favorite game, “Catch the moth that’s actually on the outside of the window but we don’t know that because we’re stupid dogs.”



Sunday, August 11, 2002

Where the blogs have no name...

I got some unfortunate news today...apparently, there's already a blog out there called "Dreams of an Insomniac". It shouldn't surprise me, really, since I stole the title from a book by Irena Klepfisz called, "Dreams of an Insomniac: Jewish Feminist Essay, Speeches and Diatribes". (That's not a joke, by the way.) Now I'm on the hunt for a new title, sigh.

I'm really stuck, because my second choice of title was "The Adventures of a Scottish Software Developer Living in Yorkshire" but that one's taken, too.

I only chose the url "Demonthighs" because it was short, easy to remember, not taken, and it was my nickname back in the day when I...well, nevermind all of that. Point is, I'm missing one title and it's throwing me completely off-kilter here. Over the next few days I may be trying out various titles to get a feel for them, see if they fit this whole "Natalie" thing I've got going on. If you have any suggestions feel free to let me know.



Saturday, August 10, 2002

He is an Englishman, behold him!...

Since my very first web page of the ever-ever back in '97 (I think) I've made a habit of including at least something about my ultimate favorite person on the planet, Stephen Fry. Sadly, I'm tapped out on creative and clever ways to present him for this blog so I've plagarised myself and have decided to reprint something I'd written about him a few years ago for a different page. (Pathetic, I know, but it's the only thing I feel like posting at the moment.)



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I began my love affair with Stephen a few years ago when I was given a copy of The Liar by Andy. Since then, I've gotten to know Mr. Fry inside and out - more the oustide part than the inside part, admittedly, but you take the point. He's written a few books and has starred in a few movies (most notably as Oscar Wilde with the yummy Jude Law) and the BBC program, "Blackadder" with Rowan Atkinson, among others. You should pick up a copy of The Liar at the very least - at the very most, go buy all of his books - Stephen has to eat, you know.

Okay, so now down to the real grit of it you well know since you've just purchased it, Stephen Fry wrote his autobiography a few years ago under the unlikely title of Moab is My Washpot. But in actual fact, instead of writing his own autobiography he ended up writing the biography of John Majors! He said, "How the fuck did that happen?" and chucked the whole idea. So I've decided to pick up the task and proudly bring you -

The Unauthorized Biography of Stephen J. Fry,
Or Non sempre ea sunt quae videntur

Stephen Fry is a homosexual, which means he is from Prague. He was born Venus with Taurus rising, which makes him 44 years old, unless you use the Julian calendar which makes him 37. He attended public school, which really means private school, and flaunted his privates in public - a habit that earned him many a sharp rap on his bottom, believe you me! He began hanging around all sorts of unsavory characters who did things like sing, "Clang, clang, clang went the trolley" in a politically volatile time where such behavior was taboo. Alas, our hero was shunned by polite society and eventually was kicked out of his public you would think that he then went to a private school, but he didn't. I don't know what the regular schools are called in England, I really should look into that.

I digress. Stephen was at regular school where he met many regular people who drank regular drinks and thought regular things. There he learned many dirty words that I've heard he quite enjoys using. He impregnated two girls, which was school policy in those days, and those children grew up to be Sylvester and Frank Stallone.

At some point, he met Hugh Laurie, also known as Big Blue the Supercomputer. Because they both shared a penchant for wearing make up they became actors. Then they both did a lot of really boring stuff that isn't even worth mentioning.
Sadly, Stephen Fry passed away last Saturday at the age of 97 (or 89 Julian) alone at his home in the foothills of the Black Hills. He is survived by his sons Sly and Frank, two cats called Clitoris and Spasm, and Jeremy, his beloved coat rack. He will be sorely missed.

To Stephen, wherever you are (I think he's in London, actually): haec jocatus sum, per jocum dixi.

Were Stephen to read this, he'd respond along the lines of "Bosh and tiddle, Natalie, must you be quite so very absolutely very?" He would say this because he went to Queens College, Cambridge, an elite learning institution devoted entirely to teaching its’ students the fine art of sounding utterly incomprehensible. He may, in fact, read this, as he spends hour upon hour combing the internet for even the vaguest mention of himself. He experienced a lost weekend once on the homepage of Stephen Fry, Esquire, who is an American lawyer. Our Stephen couldn't understand how a website that seemed to be devoted to him made absolutely no sense with regard to his own life. He can be quite a sad man at times.

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Then I'll borg di borg do borg ya like the Swedish Chef...

It's just too fantastically perfect for words, isn't it?

Yuoo ere-a zee Svedeesh Cheff!
Yuoo ere-a a guud cuuk, thuoogh yuoo cun't speek Ingleesh fery vell. Bork Bork Bork!

Friday, August 09, 2002

Wage packets used blogroll...

(Andy's going to kick my ass for jacking with those lyrics, I'm sure.)

Anyway - blogroll. I'm using Blogrolling now, as you may notice. It's not like it's a difficult thing to update the blogs I'm reading but it's yet another cute little free script that's out there. Nothing like complicating your life through unnecessary technology, eh?



If there's something you'd like to try...

Hey, hey - I've done the little comment field thing, just for the fun of it. It will annoy Andy terribly that I got the code from somewhere else...he's a purist when it comes to things like scripts and code and the like. He shows me this great piece of code that he's been working on to do whatever, and I stand there and say, "Yeah, I could get that same code online for nothing." It really irritates him - though once he understands the code he has no problem roguing it from elsewhere. I suppose that the thrill is in the discovery rather than the implementation? I don't understand how his mind works.

On another note, I was sent a link to a Death Test today (I'll post it when I find it again) that asks you a few lifestyle and history questions then predicts what you will most likely die from and when. I don't know why I subject myself to things like this, as I have a morbid preoccupation with death as it is, but I couldn't resist. The results were a bit of a shock, though I know this type of stuff is totally bogus:

You will die on:
June 4, 2008
at the age of 31 years old

On that date you will most likely die from:

Suicide (38%)
Homicide (10%)
Loneliness (8%)
Heart Attack (7%)
Alcoholism (7%)
Cancer (5%)
Alien Abduction (2%)

Talk about whoa! I can't imagine what it was in my responses that made them so sure I was going to off myself, and so soon. What did I say to make the test think that someone might kill me? And who dies from an alien abduction, anyway? If I were abducted, I figure I'd get my anal probe like a good little girl and be set back down in a cornfield in Iowa or something - I actually used to fear alien abduction until I realized that I've never once ridden in a pick-up truck with a gun rack attached, so I think I'm in the clear on that score.



Thursday, August 08, 2002

Just drop off the key, Lee...

I’m thinking of leaving Andy. Not for any particular reason, just because having his heart broken would do wonders for his artistic side. I was in one of those moods last night, you know the kind of mood where you look at your partner and ask such thought-provoking questions as, “If I became paralyzed from the neck down, would you still love me?” That question is about as useful as, “Do I look fat in this?” I asked him what he would do if I walked out on him.

Me: Baby, what would happen if I left you?
Andy: Depends on the circumstances.
Me: What if I ran away with Steve?
Andy: [glares]

(Steve is this really posh Cambridge guy that Andy works with who I have a little crush on - not even a crush, really, I just think he’s a cutie. I know that mentioning him riles Andy up something fierce, though, so I bring Steve up whenever I’m looking to get a rise out of him.)

Me: What if I just got sick of your crap and left?
Andy: I’d get really drunk.
Me: You wouldn’t come after me, try to get me back?
Andy: I’d be too drunk.


It’s a strange thing, being married. Sometimes I think about what would happen if Andy and I split up…I start thinking about how we’d have to sell the house, how we’d fight over who gets this or that, where I’d live, where he’d live, how I could trick him into keeping the dogs…there’s a lot of crap involved! The last boyfriend I had before I met Andy was a fairly easy break-up – I took most of my cds and the stuff that hadn’t been broken in the process of the break-up and just left. Think you’re getting your damage deposit back? Ha, here’s my size ten boot through your wall! Oh, you want me to make sure my mail doesn’t keep getting delivered to your place? Whoops, I just accidentally knocked over the mailbox. What do you mean, this cd is yours? Here, fetch the Frisbee, you ass.

Breaking up with a boyfriend can be pretty fun when you think about it. But breaking up with a husband…that sounds like an awful lot of work to me. It looks like running away with Steve isn’t going to be an option anytime soon – it’s just easier to keep the Englishman I have, even if he has heard all of my jokes already.



Side note – I’ve been informed that “311 ain’t even cool.” I can only assume this means I’m completely out-of-touch with my own generation…I don’t spell “corn” with a “k” and I know that “biscuit” doesn’t contain a “z” and I don’t know if 311 is cool or “whack”. I find myself parroting my parents with lines like, “Yeah, you like them now but let’s see where they are in 20 years! Pass me my Paul Simon, please” and “Didn’t I used to have a Joni Mitchell cd?” By the time I’m thirty I’ll be saying things like, “Why can’t more singers just calm down and cut their hair? It was those damn Beatles that set this all in motion, and Elvis with the pelvis…kids today!” Groan…is it too early for a mid-life crisis?

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Rambling brothers say it's bullshit...

Before Andy pops in with something about how I can sleep to beat the band, let me clarify that I can sleep - I can sleep all day, and would if I could. I'm talking about night sleeping.

I got my first taste of criticism about my blog today, in the form of a young man who states, "You whack, all that music you quotin' be old men music." (I corrected the spelling as best I could, but this is how it was written.) So to get away from all my "old men music" I thought I'd throw in a quote from 311. I hope it makes "Hangdog" happy. (sic)



Now I lay me down not to sleep...

Just before three and I’m actually feeling tired for a change, wow. I put it down to the carpet shampooing I’ve been doing this evening – gotta get the dog-ness out of the rugs along with the little red splotches of wine. Andy’s suggested we just install some red carpeting…I told him I would, as long as I could start charging for sex. So beige it remains!

I was watching that show “Insomniac” on Comedy Central tonight and it’s reinforced an idea that I’ve had for some time. You know, I don’t think we’re all meant to be awake during the day, I think that’s an unnatural requirement that we’re forcing our own personal biology to comply with. Yet, insomniacs are basically ostracized by our sleeping arrangements – the only way to allow insomniacs to live a “normal” life is to shift our focus from the “9-5” world and begin a true 24-hour day. Instead of having only the occasional grocery store or fast-food restaurant open past midnight, how about 24-hour libraries or post offices? What happens when I’m awake at three a.m. and am suddenly struck by a brilliant tax law loophole that I want to discuss with a professional advisor before I lose the idea? I’ll tell you what happens, I have to make myself a brief note regarding my thought and wait until daylight to call someone. By that time I’m looking at my note, scratching my head and thinking, “That can’t possibly say ‘wine = tax allowance’ could it?” But you know, it probably does, and I most likely had the perfect way to pull it off, only that particular train of thought was lost in the hours I spent waiting to call an accountant.

I feel my best at night; I feel sharp, focused, energetic…most of my home projects have been done at night (such as shampooing the carpet this evening) because that’s when I have control of my mind and body. Yet if I want to conform to the standard, I have to trudge through the day like a zombie because I can’t sleep at night and if you sleep during the day you’re considered some lazy freak. But how about this – most nights I get two or three hours of sleep (unless I’m allowed to sleep in, which Andy lets me to do during the weekends, and at no small expense to his own rest) and get up with Zoe. La la la, here’s my day, we watch Teletubbies, we play games, read books, write, all of the normal activities that a stay-at-home-mom does. At naptime (when Zoe actually wants to sleep) I lay down with her for an hour or so. We’re talking, on average here, around four hours’ worth of sleep per day – which seems to be “enough” (though I do love my day sleeps) to see me through. Last night I went to bed around six and woke up at eight – two hours of sleep, and here I am at two-thirty in the morning writing this.

Here’s the point to all of this – when I go back to work after Nicholas is born, what am I going to do? I’m going to have to again force myself into a sleeping pattern that doesn’t conform to what my biology dictates so that I can do the 9-5 thing. Nothing, I mean nothing at all, is worse to my “health and well-being” (whatever that really means) than this arrangement. What about a third-shift job? Well, there’s nothing that you can do during third shift that I would want to do…let’s see, the options are donut-maker, gas station attendant, or waitress at Denny’s - and I just don’t look good enough in green eyeshadow to pull that one off.

I’m rambling now because, as I said, I’m actually tired at night for a change and that’s making me whiney so I should just shut up. I’ll go to sleep and dream about dropping my laundry off at a one-hour drycleaners in the middle of the night, and getting my oil changed before the sun comes up.

In re-reading this I realize that, unbeknownst to me, I’ve developed a persecution complex about this whole insomnia thing. Now I have paranoia and a persecution complex…all I need now are delusions of grandeur and I’ll be a triple threat, yeah!

I’m sure if I weren’t so out-of-it I could write something to the effect of how writing a blog, in and of itself, smacks of a delusion of grandeur but I don’t have the energy tonight. Tomorrow, someone remind me what my note, “blog = grandeur” means, okay? Because I’ll have forgotten by then.



Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Don't say the electric chair's not good enough for king lazy bones like myself...

Rather than editing the other post with the links (it's not that I can't, it's that I don't wanna...I need some more tea) I'll just say that if you scootch on over to our homepage at you can see the pics of my dogs.



Ya got mud on your face, ya big disgrace...

Okay, the links didn't work. I'll fix them tomorrow.



The hounds of winter, they follow me down…

Do you remember in Austin Powers 2 when Dr. Evil’s playing with the big inflatable globe? (The scene is where Dr. Evil’s throwing the ball at the young Number 2’s face, taunting him to cry...”You gonna squirt some for daddy?”...class scene.) Well, after he makes Number 2 cry he does his little, “He shoots, he scores” dance - anyway, that’s what Nicholas has been doing to me all night, which is what I blame for my heart burn and inability to sleep. (Surely it couldn’t have been the horseradish and ketchup hotdog I ate just after Andy went to bed...)

I was vegging on the cool computer downstairs waiting for my whiskered friend to appear (he didn’t) thinking, “Didn’t the internet used to be a lot cooler?” and decided that, like it or not, I was going to retire for the evening and lie in bed, even if I didn’t get to sleep until six a.m. But on my way upstairs, my dogs went absolutely ape shit on me...well, not dogs, just Stella, but at 90 pounds she’s formidable enough to seem like multiple dogs at times. It was totally bizarre, she would run like a locomotive, stop on a dime and turn, blasting straight back at me and toward Bowie and Sasha, who sat there with little cartoon dialogue bubbles above their heads that said, “Yawn.”

There was no rhyme or reason to Stella’s antics; it was just some weird dog version of hyperactivity disorder or something. She kept on, not really caring whether or not the other two beasts joined in and it soon became this surreal experience where I was standing stock-still while this orange flash darted around me so I started to laugh. Apparently, Stella thought that what she was doing was highly important and took offense to my laughter and decided then that a fitting punishment for my lack of appreciation would to be to jump into the air and bite me in the face. I shit you not, one second she’s flying around like she’s on fire, the next thing she’s all teeth and slobber, flying through the air right at my head - that‘ll put the fear of God in you, quick-like. My hands were busy, patting Sasha and Bowie on the head as if to say, “See, Stella, see how the good dogs get love?” as if Stella could pick up on something so subtle - she was probably thinking, “Hey, I’m running! I’m running in the house and they’re just sitting there - look, ma, I’m running!” Since my hands were busy (and my reflexes suck) I couldn’t shield my face from the bite. Crunch! Stella missed my flesh but ended up with a mouthful of eyeglasses. You could practically see the words, “Oh shit” written in her eyes so she dropped my specs and flipped over to show me her tummy. I didn’t know what to do so I went to the fridge to eat some cantaloupe. I can’t react to dog behavior if I don’t understand it, that’s not fair - I try to be a judicious dog-owner whenever possible.

The only other thing I’ve really been doing is hunting for a “cute enough” picture of myself to put up on my blog. I’ve decided that I’m easily the least photogenic person in the world. Andy’s a great photographer and I’d considered asking him to take some pictures of me tonight but for some reason he got all pissy with me about Wil Wheaton. Honestly, he asked me what I was doing and I said I was reading about how Wil Wheaton’s raised over $10,000 for a breast cancer event (my mother recently celebrated the fourth anniversary of a seemingly successful mastectomy) and Andy just went off. I knew he disliked Wil Wheaton from our Star Trek days but I had no idea how deeply he resented Dr. Crusher’s son. (Side note - can someone please validate my belief that Wesley was the love child of Picard and Crusher? Andy’s in absolute denial.) I’m not bitching about Andy, I know he had a rotten day today (and besides, I know he reads you and forgive you, baby!) I just thought it was funny how he reacted. If we were cavemen I’m sure he would have clubbed me over the head and dragged me away from the computer by my hair...cavemen with computers - nevermind, I’m making no sense.

On another note, I registered at Blogtree. Very cute.

Acid reflux-ly,

Monday, August 05, 2002

Twitch your whiskers; feel that you're really real...

As per my earlier prediction, I'm here at two a.m. in the basement, only I called it wrong - I'm not up because I couldn't sleep, I'm up because I got hungry. There I was in blissful slumber when I suddenly began shivering, a sign that I needed to eat something to get my blood-sugar back in line. In times like these I could happily eat straight lard from a spoon if that's what it takes...I can usually get away with a handful of chocolate chips (which I keep a five pound bag of in the fridge for just such an occasion) but tonight I opted for a piece of pizza instead. It was Papa John's, which sadly is probably the only pizza that can claim the dubious distinction of tasting worse when cold, so I had to nuke it for a minute. Then I thought, "Hell, that's practically cooking; I'm totally awake now" so I slathered the slice in Tabasco sauce and parmesan cheese and came trucking downstairs.

A word of caution - if you have a black keyboard, never - and I repeat never - eat a slice of pie covered in parmesan cheese anywhere near the thing. And if, for whatever reason, you find yourself in the position where you absolutely must, I implore you avoid reading anything even remotely funny while trying to take a bite. The slightest chuckle will spray cheese all over your keyboard like so many snowflakes, and you just can't blow it away - even if it falls into the cracks around the keys it's still noticeable.

Anyway, here I am, giving it, "Ahhh, isn't this chair comfy, isn't this computer sexy, isn't it nice to be able to keep a connection for more than two minutes..." when I hear a skrit, skrit, skrit, coming from over my right shoulder. I didn't freak out or anything - I figured I should turn around slowly to get a good look at whatever monster was surely lurking know, for the police sketch...but I didn't see anything. Not trusting my ears I got up to investigate and I heard it more clearly this time, coming from behind an inlaid bookshelf in my wall. Skrit, skrit, skkrrrrrrrrit, like the sound of claws on wood. It's a damn mouse. At least, I'm hoping it's a mouse - a friend of mine used to live in a house that was regularly flooded and he had to deal with these huge, nasty, feral river rat things, big as your forearm. (Okay, so I have to exaggerate the danger to justify my freak-out - it's just a little mouse, I know this.)

The strangest thing is that I can't figure out what's behind that wall. Our house has some weird features to it - features that are attractive to the eye, no doubt, but weird - so we can't exactly suss out what's behind this wall or that wall, or if there's a crawl space above this closet or that hallway...the lines of the walls throw off your perspective a bit. I assume that the mouse got into the house in the same fashion as all this damn water but how can I reach him so I can poison the little s.o.b.? (Now, I'm all for animal's rights or whatever, but only so far as that I believe animals have the right to life so long as they're not infringing on me...or, if they're especially tasty like chickens or cows.) Rats, mice, squirrels, whatever are cool with me but not when they're scratching up my walls - and surely poisoning it is far more humane than what my dogs would do to him if his little mouse-ass made it into the house proper. I've seen how bad those three are when they catch a squirrel and I, for one, am not looking forward to cleaning up the mess if Mr. Mousey decides to come waltzing into my living room.

For the moment it seems like my little companion has left the immediate vicinity...which probably has something to do with me punching the wall a few times to freak him out (turnabout's fair play, they say) but I don't know for how long. If Andy knew there was a mouse down here he'd never come into the basement again.

Then again, maybe I'll let the mouse stay for a while - this chair sure is comfortable.

Mercenarily yours,


Sunday, August 04, 2002

We're all stars now in the Dope Wars...

I was up until five this morning - my intention was to post to the blog but I got sidetracked with the Dope Wars game on my sexy little Palm’s amazing how engrossed I can get into a stupid little text game like that, but I was damn near kicking myself when I decided to hold onto my stores of acid just before the market was flooded with cheap, homemade stuff. Then again, I giggled like a maniac when the value of my PCP stash went through the roof due to a drug bust - if only I could predict the stock market like I can the drug world. Sigh.

So I’m there on the couch, practically breaking my arm patting myself on the back for being such a sly drug pusher, when the thing suddenly stopped. The game screen was replaced by a message suggesting I make a “donation” to the makers of Dope Wars for use of their game...let me tell you something, I was sitting on some fat bank in that round and when I lost it because of this donation solicitation I about flipped. “Just for that,” I thought, disgusted, “you’ll get no money for me, Dope Wars guys!” Maybe if I could have retained the cash for a later game...but nevermind.

With that distraction gone I went downstairs to work on my blog but thought, “Wow, I really hate this color scheme” and for the next few hours I trawled the web looking for a decent template. Here’s a word of caution...if you see the word “elegant” in the description of a template, you can guarantee it’s going to be something involving a close-up shot of a daisy. I kid you not.

What is it with flowers and butterflies, anyway? I came across about a million really killer templates but at the last minute some stupid graphic would load, like a monarch butterfly or a close-up shot of some woman’s eyes. Yech, is this what passes for style these days? Not my cup of tea, personally,
which is why I’ve decided on this particular color scheme for my blog - it’s the absolute antithesis of good taste. I could just create my own but I’m lazy and I really don’t want to bother Andy every five minutes when I invariably get stuck on some stupid line of code - at any rate, he’s working on his own stuff.

Last night we were discussing our respective blogs - he mentioned in one of his entries that this is our latest obsession, which usually means we’ll do it for a week or so before we tire of it. While that’s usually the case I don’t think it will be so with the blogs - at least, I hope not, because if he gets sick of his I’ll most likely not carry on doing mine...then again, he’s been at his since November last year while mine is only a few days old. Anyway, he was saying that he feels a bit weird creating a weblog because it seems so self-indulgent. That was my take on it as well, self-indulgent, egocentric, waste of bandwidth [cough]...but really, all of those same arguments could be put forth regarding a web page of any nature, couldn’t it? Ambrose Bierce defines an egotist as “someone more interested in himself than in me” - very true. That’s really the nature of the blog, isn’t it, just to please yourself with the sound of your own voice? There’s an element of that, surely, as is obviously evident by my own lengthy posts. Though, I think it’s a healthy outlet, a way to keep yourself aware of your surroundings by constantly observing and commenting on them.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this, I’m just babbling because I’m so tired. The thing that really sucks is that no matter how tired I am now, come one a.m. I’ll be lying in bed awake thinking of getting up and back on this stupid computer. That’s not entirely accurate - I’ll be thinking of going on the new computer downstairs, the one with the big comfy chair that Andy’s been bogarting all day while I suffer at the computer I’ve rogued from my nine-year-old. It’s in the kitchen, which means I’ve been sitting on the oh-so ergonomic dinette chair that is slowly curving my spine. The only consolation I take is in the fact that the basement flooded yesterday so every time Andy gets up from the computer he has to slush through enough water to support a rice paddy. (And I call him passive-aggressive? Sheesh!)

Scoliosis-ly yours,


Saturday, August 03, 2002

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle...

(The actual Gloria Steinem quote is, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" but, hey, it's Bono, so who cares?)

Andy’s back now and I admit I feel relieved. He stumbled into the house, frayed by the last few days of work away and especially of the travel - you know, there is nothing so disgusting as smelling “plane” on another person. It’s like working in a non-smoking office and having a smoker walk in...even if you’re a two-pack-a-day’er, the smell will still turn your stomach. The poor stinky guy crashed the moment he walked in, practically, and I’ve left him to it.

I wonder why I feel so much safer when he’s’s a strange thing, but when I’m alone - and I mean truly alone with no kids - I don’t feel as vulnerable as when I know I have a child in my charge. I know that if anything were to happen while I’m alone it would just be me that would face it and I would either fight or wither but the consequences would be mine. When I have Zoe and Samantha, my daughters, with me I feel wholly exposed because if I fail to protect myself then I fail them. That’s not to say I’d fold in the face of an adversary, I just mean that there’s a whole lot more riding on my shoulders when the children are around. I think that when Andy’s around I have it in my mind that there will be the both of us fighting for the children so I don’t feel as singularly responsible. I don’t look to him to protect me from anything but only for him to be another line of defense at protecting our kids; I’ll admit that at times I wonder if I’m enough.

Which leads me to my issue of the evening - you know, I’ve always thought of myself as a feminist but at times like these I know that my claim to that category would turn many a woman’s stomach. I am, for lack of a better term, a housewife. (I refuse to bow to the shortsighted labeling that the PC crowd has thrust upon us, such as “homemaker”.) But that’s not who I am...once upon a time I was being educated at one of the finest public schools in America but quit because I was missing out on too much of my daughter’s life, working too hard to sustain myself while paying my way through school and just generally being unhappy. A True Feminist would tell you that I sacrificed myself for the mistaken belief that I was doing my daughter good - surely a well-educated, “glass ceiling be damned” type mother would be a much better role model for my girls in the long run than a woman who quit school so she could be at home when daycare let out...the Truly Successful Women tell tales of their mothers fighting in jobs and in colleges, not stories of milk and cookies at four in the afternoon. So I took a different road; I decided I didn’t want to be whatever woman that college was shaping me into, rather, I would be a mother who always put her children first even if my income or prestige (whatever that means) would suffer.

I’ll admit there are times that I think back with longing about my unfinished schooling, of majors I’d committed to simply because I could do them and there was a need for females in the field, that I’d abandoned, of what I Could Have Been. I know these are shallow, passing feelings that creep into my mind when I consider that the best job I can possibly get now is as someone else’s secretary (again, not an “administrative assistant” or any other PC crap) or some other pink-collar work, but deep down I don’t care.

In short, I don’t think I’m doing womankind a disservice by making sure that my house is tidy and my family is fed rather than working late feeding the Corporate Machine. I can’t stomach myself as a cog in the bloodletting and I think - I hope - that I’m doing my daughters a greater service by showing them that there are options, options, options available to them, even if they fly in the face of Feminist Reason. Do what makes you happy, damn it, and realize that sometimes, raising children that understand that whatever they dream can be realized, whatever makes them happy is a legitimate pursuit is a much more globally worth-while calling than fighting the stereotypical “dick wagging” fight of the corporate world. A child that grows in joy spreads joy - and I’m just the mother to raise them in that environment, Gloria Steinem be damned.

Friday, August 02, 2002

Fish heads, fish heads, rolie polie fish heads...

In reading my last post I realized that I could easily come across as an aggressive bitch - so to counter that I thought I'd share some of my ruminations that are regularly published under the [cough] unlikely moniker of Miss Ann Thropy...they're meant to be in the style of Jack Handey, a comedic genius who you'll either love or hate. And to any hard-core Jack Handey fans who may read this, please don't think I'm thumbing my nose at the Master...think of it more as a pathetic homage.

From the archives of Miss Ann Thropy:

My husband thinks I'm immature, but he's just a big dumb poopy head.

'Y'all know I'm straight jiggified' is never a suitable answer when the judge asks you to enter your plea. Just say 'guilty' - it will save you a lot of hassle, believe me.

I hope that Best Buy starts selling toilets soon because I’d really like to test them on their, ‘Try before you buy’ policy.

Even though the slang is outdated I still laugh every time I hear the word Idaho, and I don't think I'll ever get tired of that.

It's true that you learn something new everyday. Today I learned that if I rub my wet ass on the shower tiles I can make it sound like an oboe. Right after that, I learned that I probably shouldn’t work out at this gym anymore.

Sure, you might call me 'sick' for faking my own suicide, but you've obviously never experienced 'Thank god you're not dead' sex.

I was making brownies with my mom the other day when I learned a valuable lesson: The instruction 'Beat two minutes by hand' really isn't as open to interpretation as I thought.

As I get older I've discovered that I still greatly enjoy the games I played as a young girl - skipping rope, jumping hopscotch, and fishing crumbs out of my mind-numbingly deep cleavage.

Gran used to tell me WWII stories about how women would do just about anything for a little chocolate or some panty hose. I only hope that this current war produces such reasonably-priced whores.

Whenever I see a pie eating contest at the county fair it really makes me jealous of all of those starving people in third-world countries who never have to suffer through such an indignity.

Give a man a fish and he’ll think, ‘Wow, this is a crappy gift.’ Teach a man to fish and he’ll think, ‘What kind of moron do you take me for? I already know how to go fishing!’ If you really push the issue, before too long people will begin to think you have some sort of weird fish’s best to just leave well enough alone.

Groaningly yours,


I go "waken" after midnight...

Alright, bit of a rant here.

Just now, I was taking out my garbage when I noticed a piece of yellow paper sticking inside my outer door. It was an anonymous note from one of my neighbors saying, “Last night we were waken [sic] at 11.30 by your dog barking so be respectful of those who live near you.” Now, ordinarily I wouldn’t mind having someone complain about my dogs - as I even said in my entry from last night, all three dogs barked when I let them out last night. I’m more annoyed than anyone is when my dogs bark so you can guarantee that I was trying to shut them up and hurry them along with their evening business. The thing about this that bothered me the most was that the neighbor didn’t sign it. I know which neighbor it is, and she probably knows that I know, but that anonymous crap really bugs me. It puts me in mind of our old neighborhood in Edina - this is an area (suburb of Minneapolis) where we would get a letter each Christmas reminding us that any holiday lights that are visible from the road must be clear. They would also send out instructions on the “acceptable” placement of an American flag on the front of our homes around the fourth of July, stating something along the lines of, “If you absolutely must feel the need to display an American flag this year, please respect these guidelines.”

Our next-door neighbor in Edina had a basketball hoop above his garage door - nothing fancy, just a hoop and backboard, and the net was looking a bit aged. He received in the mail, anonymously, a new net with a letter asking him to please replace the unsightly old net. I found out about the letter and the net from another neighbor who may, in fact, have been the person who sent the net in the first place. I hated it there, from the “household appearance guidelines” to the lawn-snobbery to the fact that our white bread neighbors would speak of “the black family” who lived a few blocks over...I’m disgusted thinking about it now, even a year later. This history is what got my back up about that letter about my dogs.

I respect anyone’s right to sleep - as you already know, sleeping is something I rarely do at night. I envy those who can comfortably sleep at night and would never willingly do anything to disturb that. But I wonder what this “anonymous” neighbor would have me do when my dogs are whimpering and running around the house like crazy because they need to go out? I’d put them out around nine and didn’t figure they would need to go out again - see, I was being respectful! There is every possibility that they were sketching out about said neighbor’s cat, who makes a point of harassing the dogs every chance it gets - even going so far as to climb onto my back porch and peer through the sliding glass door at my dogs. This makes my pooches go crazy and usually results in a vicious fight among the three of them. Did I ever send the cat’s owner a letter telling her how disruptive her cats’ behavior can be? Of course not! And why is that? Because that’s what cats do, that’s what animals do, any pet owner should know this.

Okay, she was “waken” in the middle of the night by my dogs and she’s pissed, fair enough. But for the love of all things decent, she could have signed her name. I’m not a pissy person, I wouldn’t have gotten into her face and started an argument or anything - I’ll gladly put my hands up and say, “Yeah, my dogs were idiots last night - I tried to control it and I failed, but history shows that I make every effort to put them out at a reasonable hour and they‘re generally well-behaved.” It’s the whole anonymous reminds me of the people who write to Dear Abby saying things like, “My sisters kids are monsters and every time they visit they trash my house, what can I do?” The great majority of Dear Abby’s columns result in the advice being, “Say something.” I agree with this, but come on, say something with your own voice and don’t hide behind a hastily scrawled letter shoved into a door. Now it’s on me to say something to her about this to clear the air...some people are happy enough to be passive-aggressive Suburbanites and let things fester but I’m not going to have any part of that. (Okay, so this rant could be considered passive-aggressive, but I am going to confront this issue head-on as well.) I just needed to write this to get it off of my chest - before I sat down to write this I’d been mentally cataloguing all of the ways that this person has been a bad neighbor, from dumping her garbage into my bin to dragging fallen tree limbs to the area behind my shed...I never confronted her about this because it just really didn’t make a huge difference to me; I figured there must have been a good reason for her to do so. But I didn’t want to sit here and think about all of that because my level of understanding and patience over this past year that we’ve lived here, in light of her anonymous letter, has left me feeling like a chump. Just for that, I’m not going to tell her about how my dogs scared Killer away last night - that’ll teach her!

Don't touch me I'm a real live wire...

Once again, I’m awake far too late. I suffer from this damned insomnia on a regular basis but it gets worse when Andy’s away due to my crushing paranoia. My trouble is that I have a too well-developed imagination coupled with my love of murder mysteries and true crime stories...never a good combo. I should logically say that my three pooches would protect me but then my mind gets carried away and I imagine a scenario where the Killer manages to do away with them before making his way to me. Tonight I imagined him throwing the dogs some spiked meat when I let them out for their evenings’ constitutional - this fantasy was only validated by the dogs barking at some point in the distance beyond the reach of the security lamps. The dogs all went out independently of one another on their leashes and all barked at the same place in the darkness...of course, it was Killer lurking in the shadows beyond the evergreen trees. (It couldn’t, in fact, have been the dogs barking at the neighbor’s taunting cat - that would be far too simple of an explanation.)

So there’s Killer, watching the house until I ducked back inside, out of the rain. Once I was out of his vision he felt safe enough to throw my dogs a bit of..what, hamburger? chocolate?...maybe a bit of soft bread that had been soaked in some type of sleeping aide or, worse yet, a fast-acting poison. The dogs would wolf down this treat and return to the house, only to slump over in what I would assume to be their normal, “I’ve peed, now I sleep” postures. That’s when he’d make his move, knowing I was helpless to defend myself with my dogs out of commission.

Then again, perhaps Killer knows the dogs...maybe Killer is a neighbor who’s befriended the dogs on many occasions so he has nothing to fear from them. Boldly, he slips through a basement window, alerting the pups that something’s Not Right (that’s one of only two mentalities that my dogs operate under - the “Not Right” and “Everything’s Fine” categories). They give a bit of a woof and head down to investigate, only to see the smiling face of the neighbor that always pats their heads when he sees them. No worries there, come on in, buddy, Everything’s Fine. Dogs return to me upstairs to let Killer get on with his business - which surely involves creeping up behind and garroting me. My neck aches at this moment from all the times I’ve whipped my head around this evening to catch Killer in the act before he can get the wire around my throat.

Logically, I know that none of these scenarios is very likely. I’ll scoff at myself and say, “There’s no way Killer is out there in the shadows, waiting to slay me - it’s pouring rain out there, you’d have to be crazy to be out in weather like this.” But that thought quickly turns into, “Of course he’s crazy...he’s Killer! Rain means nothing to him!” Something as innocuous as a burned-out light bulb becomes sinister in my mind if I’m left alone to contemplate it.

Surely it doesn’t help that my dogs act sketchy when I roam the house all night. Again, logic says, “Of course they’re sketchy, they want you in bed - they don’t want to have to follow you through the house all night...get them into your room where they can commence with their nocturnal exercise of chewing valuable things.” And I want to, I really do want to, but I’m too scared. Granted, I feel secure when I have Zoe in bed with me at night but I dislike having the dogs locked in the same room as me - I feel as if my first line of defense is too close to me, and in this close proximity they easily become my last line of defense as well. There’s not a whole lot of warning if Killer just barges into your bedroom, catching the dogs unaware.

So I sit and I wait until I’m sure Killer has either given up on me and left or has fallen asleep while waiting for my vigilance to fail - which it never does. I know I’m being paranoid and stupid but I hate the dark and I hate being alone in this house, and I hate the weird noises that suddenly creak, hiss and pop, making even my dogs jump in their sleep. Speaking of, they all seem to be sleeping rather heavily...I hope the drugs wear off soon and they wake up, because I’m tired now and need for them to be my eyes and ears while I get some sleep.

Paranoid android-ly,


(Note: The timestamp on this won’t match when it was really written, as I keep losing my internet connection so cannot post it right now. Some people would say that I just have a bad connection, but I think it’s more likely that Killer is trying to call my computer line from the main line to harass me before he kills me, like in that old Urban Legend...”The calls are coming from inside the house!” Thank goodness Andy is home tomorrow - and I swear, I’ll never read scary stories alone again.)