Sunday, August 31, 2008

a doll named chernobyl

Proof, once again, that while little is new under the sun, there are still brilliant, fresh ways of communicating creatively:

Jaime Pitarch. Chernobyl (2007). Lime tree wood, aniline, oil, varnish

This is stunning.

sticky fly paper tomfoolery

The weather is beautiful–if you like hot sunny days and blue skies–belying the danger of Hurricane Gustav, bearing down on New Orleans like an arrogant burglar returning for the stuff he left behind.

We just got back from grocery shopping and paying for the Honda registration sticker. I imagined putting the sticker on in the storm and decided to just get it done now. Sitting in the front seat I scrape off the old sticker and begin removing the adhesive. I wonder if I'm getting high from the
Goo Gone (one of the greatest solvents ever concocted) and if the combination of citrusy petrochemicals and Windex are destroying brain cells?

Meanwhile, there are love bugs
(plecia neartica) everywhere:
For those of you unfamiliar with them, look here.

I am, as always, impressed by their aerial copulation and convinced that the name Love Bug is nothing but a silly Victorian throwback. These are Fuck Bugs, my modern friends. There is no tiny bouquet of flowers clutched in her foreleg or hint of wine on his coy fly mouth. They are simply following their biological mandate with a mid-flight twist. Makes you wonder, in a Darwinian sense, if being a member of the
Mile High Club isn't the natural response to a primitive, vestigial urge? Perhaps certain members of our species find themselves strapped in and enjoying a complimentary packet of peanuts when overcome by inexplicable horniness...

Anyway, I finish the clean up and head back in to get the sticker. You used to have to mail away for the registration but now Kroger (among others) has a neat little machine and special paper that spits out the self-adhesive sticker. The only difference is that the old stickers were transparent–you could see through them and be reminded of the expiration date. I'm not sure why they discontinued seems like transparent adhesive paper is certainly within our current technological grasp, eh?

Holyshitonmelbatoast, I fucked up. Shit, shit, shit. I removed the inspection sticker. REMOVED, as in shredded beyond recognition. Jesuschrist. The car was inspected exactly six months ago and I've cut the proof down half-way through its bureacratic little life. I go back in, confess to the kindest woman ever (it's the car she drives and the inspection errand she'll have to rerun), who gives me absolution for my boneheadery before I've gotten through the preamble. Damn, she is sweet to me.

I load up the solvent and cleaner and return to the car to remove the sticker that had actually expired. Then, I fish the mangled inspection sticker out of the trash, assemble its bits like an anthropologist and hope that the reconstruction will suffice for the inspection guy not to charge us full price for a replacement.

And I thought I was being so efficient.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

oiht (overheard in houston tunnels)

My favorite statement heard (again) in the tunnels today:

I'll have to call you later, I can't get a decent signal below ground.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

therapeutic recycling

Stop making that face. This is not a lecture on recycling.

Okay, I'm a liar. This IS absolutely a lecture on recycling.

First, forget all the small print: yes, it is better to reduce and reuse and yes, energy is used to recycle and yes, it's inconvenient and yes, we don't know exactly how much really ends up being used, blah-bah-blah...because
we're throwing away tons of shit that we don't need to throw away. It is wrong on every level. It fucks up our planet, it leaves poison for our children to deal with, hurts our economy and I'm even considering that it destroys our collective soul in an atheistic sort of way. Hell, MacGyver would take all this crap and build another planet with it–all I'm suggesting is that we crunch it up and make something else from it. Like welcome mats or tote bags or something.

Houston is not what you might call an environmentally conscious kind of city. What with the redness of it all and that frontier logic: if god didn't want me to fill up dumpsites, he wouldn't have put 'em there and given me this big honkin' sweet pickup truck.

However, even in Houston recycling is not hard. There are places to take this stuff. There are lots of neighborhoods (like mine, ptl) that have curbside pickup. CURBSIDE PICKUP, for christsake. It gives you no excuse and would only be easier if Mayor White actually walked into your house and carried out your green recycle bin for you. And yet, there are tons of cretins who don't recycle. Jesus Christ on a flapjack, that ticks me off.

Anyhow. We had a party for our dear friend and playwright, Eric, some weeks ago. I may have mentioned it. It was a great fun affair. Much wine and beer was consumed. Now, while my neighborhood does have curbside pickup, they no longer pick up glass. So, we stacked up all the bottles and toted them to the recycling drop-off this past weekend. Here is an aspect of recycling that should appeal to most people (even you earth abusers): we had to throw each kind of glass (clear, green, amber) into separate, enormous containers. They look like industrial barges or rail cars or something.


Go ahead, throw the first one. It has to go pretty far. It crashes and breaks with THE MOST SATISFYING SOUND. I mean, this was (no offense, dear Dr. Ding) better than therapy. Throw, crash, repeat. I was thoroughly exorcised by the time we reached the end of my pile. I only wish I had more bottles in my bin.

Whack-a-mole, step aside. I've discovered breaking glass.

To recap: RECYCLE.

PS. I know there's a Democratic convention going on, by the way. I'm just pacing myself. Besides you can just go here for great convention coverage.

Monday, August 25, 2008

coming out of the crafts closet

I don't know why I feel sheepish about this stuff. Perhaps because it's not, you know, fine art. Whatever. I'm working on it. As I've said before, knitting is to carpentry joints as sewing is to welding. I am enamored of all things beautifully made by hand.

Apple hat with leaf mitts (3-6 months)

This is a gift for a friend. He and his wife are expecting their first in November. Infant stuff is unavoidably, deafeningly cute. Cute is my least favorite adjective but I make an exception for all things baby. Goddammit, this is ADORABLE.

I learned to knit when I was 10 years old. Save for a scarf for each of my children, I've never really finished any knitting project. Knitting is all about soothing process for me. My friends shake their collective heads. It IS. Anyway, my Puerto Rican aunt taught my Japanese aunt who taught me. I'm relatively sure my technique is a little off.

There you have it. This has been my free time activity for a couple of weeks. Granted, I had to redo quite a bit because I purchased my needles and yarn in Spain years ago and I had no idea of gauge or weight. I got my original inspiration here, but cobbled together three or four recipes to make it the way I wanted it.

You know that old adage, "if you haven't used it in three years, throw it out"? That would never, ever work with me. I have ideas simmering over shit I picked up a decade ago. It's a treasure hunt to rummage through my materials and find just the thing I need...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

wrapping up summer

It's been a busy summer. Lots of company and socializing. Which, while a bit tiring, has been very satisfying. But blog-sucking. I find myself full of ideas and sans time and energy.

I'm working on a few little projects that I'm going to post soon. I'm also beginning my things to see and do in France research. I love researching once-in-a-lifetime trip activities. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to make this trip. Dad says that this is the worst time to go to Europe because the dollar is getting the shit beaten out of it by the euro (okay, that's not exactly how he put it). I told him, yes, turning fifty is not an event that fits conveniently into one's schedule.

That silly nod to tired humor about aging aside...people, I am not unhappy about turning 50. Swear to god, I'm just getting started. I've never been so excited about what's ahead. So many things to do, mountains to climb (she said figuratively) and adventures to have.

Monday, August 04, 2008

public transportation calls me grasshopper

I'm back to riding the bus. I won't test your patience with mathematical computations (fun as they were). Suffice it to say, public transportation is now an economically significant savings over driving, for a cheapskate money-wise woman like myself. (Damn you W, for forcing out my reluctant hippie.*)

*stolen shamelessly, but with warning, from my son.

Aside from the savings are the health aspects of walking an extra 15-20 minutes a day. I walk most of that via the downtown tunnel system as the sun has been cuddling right up to Houston of late. And if all that weren't enough, I'm surrounded daily by rich anecdotal material. Which coordinates nicely with the rich aroma. Ramped up by the cuddly sun.

I have long loved a rant. The world is never at a loss for providing crazy-ass things on which to comment. For laughing and catharsis. I have also learned to treasure the ability to rage. Stay with me, you peace-loving, non-confrontational readers (both of you). There's a good ending.

Rage, if you haven't enjoyed it, is powerful. It is especially powerful for women, who while maligned as shrews have also suffered as doormats. I'm not trying to be reductionist here, there are certainly examples all over the spectrum but I think it's fair to say that traditional women have been taught to curb expressions of anger to their detriment. They haven't, to be fair, been taught not to compress that suppression into flinty shards of passive-aggression (so poetical I am today) which is dangerous, to say the least.

Okay, to get personal: I was a cowering, frightened girl-child. I was obedient and self-sacrificing for god and survival. I was afraid of my anger. Of anyone's anger. This hamstrung me on more than one occasion. So, when I found my ovaries, I expressed my rage. It was good. Really good. I wanted to beat the shit out of anyone who threatened me or mine. Empowering.

But you can't stay there. You simply can't. It eats you alive and exhausts you and sends your loved ones running.

No surprise then, my social tolerance has not been...zen-like. I find inane phone, loud restaurant and boring office conversations Mad-Den-Ing. I'm actually not proud of this because I haven't been very successful at filtering that shit out.

Enter my yogi: Metro. Since I have grown quite fond of the remaining, unscarred sections of my stomach lining and am loathe unwilling to donate these to the idiocy surrounding me, I have decided to calm the fuck down. It's ridiculous to go apeshit about behaviors over which I have zero control.

Case in point. Riding home today involved the conscious defusing of my reaction to Rash-Inducing-Cell-Phone-Lady. She spent 15 interminable minutes talking loudly to some other presumably straw-hatted crony about the bus system. The bus she missed. The bus that passed her without stopping. She was going to call Metro. Maybe. She was on the bus that didn't travel via the HOV lane against her wishes. The connection kept petering out, Janey, are you still there? Janey, you're cutting out. Then, we talked about bus stops and schedules. All this at a difficult-to-tune-out volume.

I only glared once. Then, I thought, look at the bright side: she didn't plop down next to you and drill that tedious noise into your tired head! I retracted my fangs and redirected focus towards a happy project or a could almost hear the stomach acid spigot slow to a drip.

When we hit one more cellphone dead zone, Sister Gabby finally gave up and scolded Janey (like she purposely picked a phone service that sucked on bus route 50), Look you keep cutting out and it's driving me nuts. I'll just call you later. Click.

And someone in the next row, in that under your breath/loud enough for everyone to hear
says "Thank you Lord, thank you Jesus!"

And it wasn't me. Ooommm.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

crabby movie review

I'm not much of a current movie kind of gal. Actually I'm not much of a gal, truth be told. But recently I saw two movies that deserve a crabby-ass review.

This should have been solid. Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Joan Allen. All three stand-up-and-applaud kind of actors. But, no. It was such a retread. Uninspired road trip search for self with your best friends and hack chance meetings of predictable strangers. I don't know. I am pretty tired of the sisterhood bonding schtick as substitute for story.

You all know my affection for, fascination with and general squealing delight over all things Vagina Dentata. So, when friends lent us this movie for us to watch, I couldn't resist. They warned us that it wasn't very good but felt the concept was worth the perusal. They were right. Stupid movie but funny idea. It got me to thinking about related specialties. Vaginal Orthodontist (there are gynecological products called Ortho, too. I kid you not). Vaginal Periodontist (yes, Virginia, there's a period in your periodontist). Can you imagine having a cavity or overbite? Or showing off your new caps? Perhaps removable bridges for the wary guest?

I've seen some good movies too. But there are scads of reviews about them out there. Besides this is my blog, dear reader, not some fucking exercise in balanced critiquing.

are those tea stains on your form?

A dear friend of mine was applying for a job and needed to go pee in a cup. (You know, to make sure he wasn't computer programming under the influence.) He was faxing lab paperwork to the potential drug-free employer and I requested a copy because: a) he showed it to me and b) I have no shame.

The form was entitled URINE CHAIN OF CUSTODY FORM (caps are theirs and I swear I heard an industrial door slam shut at the end of it). So serious we are about our urine! The document was certified by, you guessed it, the Signature of Collector. Complete with Collector's Name. (What does your Daddy do for a living? He's a Collector. Of Urine. We beam with pride.)

Finally, at the top of Acme* Lab's officious trip-/quintup-/sextup-licate form was this:


Please tell me there's someone snickering in the design department at Forms 'R Us.

This is as good as the brown colon cancer wristbands that so delighted me in Aught Six.
Note: Oddly enough, Anti-Tobacco is also represented by brown wristbands. And Colon Cancer/Colorectal Cancer now have an alternate color (blue) for the shit-brown-squeamish among us.

*Name changed to protect the pee-stained reputation of the real lab.