Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Almost Five Squared Blues

The Design School Homie and I met up tonight, partially because we both needed a night off from our normal pursuits, but mostly to go over my resume. Since she just interviewed approximately umpty-million people to fill a couple of positions at her design firm, she has a sharp eye for what employers don't want to see, and wanted to give me some cover letter advice. She, like everyone else, thinks it's time for the hold music phase of my life to end, because it is destroying my soul piece by piece, and making me even more bitter and cynical than I used to be. (How can I be a hippie when I hate almost all people?)

Predictably, because we're us, we spent more time eating chicken fingers at the Coop and laughing at the obnoxious guy outside Fido than we did actually working. We also "discussed" (read: were cattily bitchy about) pretty much everything and everyone in our lives, up to and including the guy with the bad ponytail and worse pocket-watch-themed shirt walking in front of the deck at the restaurant, and the fact that "Dead bears" have become so mainstream that you find them on official collegiate merchandise, and thus are no longer "counterculture" in any way, so will people please just get over them, and how while we like jam band music, a 45 minute rendition of Tube just goes a weeee bit over the top from "improvisational" into "please stop playing now".

The words of hers that stuck with me most, however, were part of the more serious conversations of the evening, and came in the context of a discussion about the fact that our ten-year highschool reunion is coming up (in three years, but we like to get the bitching started early):

"Trust me, dude. As soon as you turn 25, whether it's the day of or a week later, you are going to completely freak out."
"I already had that freakout. I started having it back in February or something."
"Well, you're going to have it again. Mark my words, dude."

And she is probably right. I haven't looked forward to turning 25, and have been trying to soften the eventual blow by starting to give that as my age since early spring. But it's not working, and I am totally freaking out.

It doesn't help that the ParceSis got married when she was 25 and just celebrated her 5-year wedding anniversary by leaving her two-year-old with the doting ParceRents and going on a cruise with my brother-in-law. Admittedly, said brother-in-law and my sister had dated since her senior year of high school and it was only a matter of time, but it honestly doesn't seem like five years since I came back to Nashville. More specifically, it doesn't seem like I have five years worth of "stuff" to show for it.

Most of my friends have spouses, houses, or both. Neither are on the horizon for me. Some of my friends have careers instead of jobs, and I suppose I'm working on that. But it's been four years since I published a poem, three years since I got my first degree, two years that I've been in this crappy-ass job, and a year and a bit since I last had a relationship, or even relations with anyone but my friends, Right and Left Hand. Like a geometrical progression of failure. Or at least it feels that way.

I don't see how I could freak out any more than I already have done/am doing, but we'll see.

That's why I was so happy to find (Re)Generation on the shelves at Cafe O2, a collection of art by twentysomethings, mostly prose and poetry but with some good photos, thematically about our "generation" (including our habit of feeling the need to put everything in quotation marks). Apparently, people with their shit slightly more together also have the same sense of aimlessness, of relativity, of a surfeit of options that send us into choice paralysis because if we can be anything, like they told us since elementary school, why aren't we exactly what we want to be?

I don't know, and I'd probably settle for a good night's sleep if the choice was between that or an answer. But "well-rested" doessn't really qualify as a life goal, unless you follow Lazarus Long's example of the man who was too lazy to fail, and I'm not that organized. For that matter, "getting the cat to stop sitting in front of the monitor" and "go back to college, probably" aren't lofty aims either. But the book comforted me; apparently, a lot of us are stuck in jobs we hate, a lot of us still don't know who we want to be when we grow up despite the evidence that we already have, a lot of us have made families out of our friends instead of getting married and having children. There's time enough for us to get what our kindergarten teachers promised.

We hope.

What I read heartened me a little, right when I needed it, and once I've given it another, more focused read-through, I'll review it. For now, though, I have to go to bed. Not to sleep, necessarily, but with the hope that one will follow the other.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Where's Your Head At? (Sleep Where You Fall Remix)

First of all, shouts out to the new readers I'm getting thanks to the courtesy of the ever-fab PsychoToddler, who has added me to his blogroll. Also to the folks who are coming here through JewLicious...this is not a kosher place, exactly, but we try to keep the monkey business to an absolute minimum.

But the Loyal Readership has only one question, burning with the force, if not the discomfort, of a urinary tract infection: How did CDHSarah's 21st birthday bash go?

The answer, in short, is "Better than expected."

1300 hours
The Artist walks in my apartment door as I am vainly struggling to get my ancient computer to cooperate with the task at hand (burning party CDs). We swap hellos and how-are-yous, watch Bubba Ho-Tep, and, much to my pleasure, the Artist took over the CD-making duty. Like many things, he excels at mixmaking, a skill in which I am mediocre at best.

1600 hours
I have to take off to an appointment before meeting the crew chez Sarah. I leave the Artist in nominal charge of the house while he completes the pre-DJing of the evening.

1800 hours
Necessary tasks completed, I head over to Sarah's. Some of the crew, including Don Shiftador, LadyA, and Andar, have already made their appearance. However, the shopping for the party is not entirely completed, so I book out of there fairly quickly, trying to get a decent parking space (i.e. a parking space for which I am not required to pay), a task that is hardly impossible on a Tuesday night, but gets harder the further you get from 6 pm, when the meters turn off.

1820 hours
Sweet success; a District parking spot, same street as where I'm headed, four blocks up on the non-hilly side. Thank lucky stars. Even though I am more than a half-hour early, head down to the Emporium to visit Jimmy at Patrick's place.

1845 hours
Go and settle into the seating area at Cafe O2. A few minutes later, Matt, my chess nemesis and bartender-for-the-night, comes down, also early. We settle in with the Weekly World News to wait.

1900 hours
The lovely Kara shows up and shows us how to open. We get things set up for the party. Then we wait.

Meanwhile, Sarah and the rest of the crew are eating dinner at the excellent Big River Grille. Due to the size of the party and the fact that the place doesn't take reservations, they end up waiting a while, which means Matt and I do also. Read Ben Stiller & Janeane Garafolo's "self-help" parody. Read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Light candles. Refresh the flowers around Ganesha.

Find out that the local about-town free paper is sending their photographer tonight to get shots to promote 02's upcoming art show and charity benefit (Aug. 5, proceeds to the Nashville Lost Boys of Sudan), and that the in-house photographer whose studio adjoins O2 will also be taking publicity shots. Start to get nervous.

2045 hours
The first partygoers begin to arrive. Kara and Kevin are generally delighted. All is going smoothly and Matt refuses to let me lift a finger where the register is concerned. The word spreads quickly among the partygoers that the photographers are coming. Makeup is retouched by those who wear it.

2130 hours
The photographer shows up from the paper and gets some great shots, although none of yours truly (which was fine, as I didn't look nearly as sophisticated as the rest of my more femme-y associates). Run hither and thither. Smoke a lot. Dance some.

After this the timeline breaks down entirely, but here are some of the evening's highlights:

*Kevin, the Artist, and Don Shiftador talking about hyperspace/n-dimensional geometry
*Matt's pre-interview for a slot in the Terrestrial Navy, and the great honor done by his regular interview being scheduled with me and not the Fleet Commodore
*the arrival of Patrick, so late we had almost given up on him, and his subsequent and genial presence
*the random arrival of a drunk 17-year old, also celebrating her birthday, and her six closest friends, all of them hot and attired in black formals. Sadly, we had to kick them out, as part of the conditions of a private party is that liquor = guests of legal age. Several of us, however, were quite sorry to see them go; however, Kara apparently arranged to throw that girl a late birthday bash on a normal, all-ages night.
*Kevin taking me aside to tell me, variously, how great a time he was having, how he loved all my friends, and how he loves my taste in music (with nods to Evan's mixmaking skills)
*repeated plays of Where's Your Head At (a me and Sarah favorite since we watched the episode of Kingdom Hospital that features it) and The Motorcycle Song
*loud singing of Waltzing Godzilla while dancing arm-in-arm with CDHSarah
*the mob scene in the boutique that was ten people singing along to The Cheat Is Not Dead at the top of their lungs, including an energetic Pentecostal-inspired "got-the-Spirit" dance led by the Artist during the closing thereof (and if the photos of that come out at all, y'all will see them)
*being told "Great party" by just about everyone there

At some unspecified hour of the morning, around 1:30, the party broke up and made a half-hearted move to Sarah and SFGod's house, but, mostly due to the necessity of the sober drivers running cars back in from downtown, that really never took off. It ended with Sarah in bed, while me, Dave Not O, and the Artist argued the finer points of Heinlein and Asimov with a vigor until 5 am, when DaveNO had to get home. (Before that, the Artist indulged in a little prophecy, but due to his wishes, I will not publicly share that. He never remembers after, and prefers not to be reminded...and while he doesn't read over here often, I respect his wishes absolutely in that vein.)

I passed out at CDHSarah's from sheer exhaustion, despite the fact that my own house and bed are literally around the corner, a decision I sort-of regretted when the day ended up starting at 11 am...even though the "day", such as it was, consisted of sitting around, them hung-over, me be-migrained -- the heat has given us a respite, but only because there's a rain-filled pressure system sitting over the Tennessee Valley -- none of us able to do much more than watch a movie, smoke too many cigarettes, and munch on subs. I passed out again on the floor before time for meeting, a not-particularly organized one where we discussed business (last meeting of the month is schedule/group project discussion time), death and dying in our particular paths, and then had a short remembrance of Alice.

After that I rolled out to the Burrow, to return various articles left at Sarah's during the afterparty to the Don, while the Artist played D&D with the birthday couple. I probably won't see him again until Monday, and after that probably not again until Yule.

I still feel kind of crappy, and probably will until sleep becomes more regular, but I have one thing to sustain me: after years of trying, I finally threw a party (with help, but this was essentially my baby in terms of facilitation) that went off. Now, if all those people plus a few more will just show up to MY fast-approaching birthday (with the exception of the Artist, who will have to be back in Pensacola -- he wouldn't have been here this week had he not had the responsibility of walking his sister down the aisle, as well) with the same party spirit. A place I love got the kind of positive word-of-mouth (the party won't be in the article, except maybe in the captions of the photos) that will do them lots of good, as some of the people there were older than us -- a friend who works for one of the Networks plans to start bringing her editors there for after-work drinks, and all the rest of the folks have said "We'll be back and bring our friends," not just to the owners, but to me privately. Ganesha sustained us, both our friends who stuck their necks out to host the first-ever private party, and myself and Sarah.

Still, I am exhausted. Throwing an awesome party may be an ego boost, but it takes it out of me.
The rest of this week until the weekend is pretty busy, but I should be around. If you don't see the birthday girl herself, it's because she took her vacation time to get the rest of the week off and won't have regular Internet access. I myself will talk to you once I've returned to town and have 2 seconds to rub together...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Not "Until Brooklyn" -- Just The "No Sleep" Bit

My name is Parce, and I'm an insomniac.

A lot of people use that term for what CDHSarah would call "Dark Time" people, people who simply prefer to stay up until dawn and sleep through the day. I must admit, I do enjoy a little of that; some of the best conversations I've ever had have occured in the dead time between two and five A.M., as well as some of the most creative time I've ever experienced.

But when that propensity to get work done after the sun goes down moves into true insomnia, it's no longer cool, or even what I consider to be "living".

We're not sure precisely what cog in the old brain has slipped, my medical professionals and I. Could be a medication side effect. Could be caused by the fact that we've been switching said medications around, especially those I take at night, in the past two months. Could be stress. Could even be some of the spiritual practices. All I know is that I went from being a person who would gladly spend eleven hours of an off-day sleeping (get in a good seven or eight, wake up, read for a while, drop off with my hand still marking the page, wake back up, go back to sleep, lather, rinse, repeat) to a person who is slobberingly grateful to get six or eight hours. Not at a stretch, either; these days, those hours inevitably have one or two interruptions caused by nothing that we've yet been able to determine.

You don't know what you have until you lose it, and that goes double for the primary needs. When the RenReb was talking about the fast day she just passed, I pointed out that my own experience with fasting is something I wish everyone had on a semiregular basis, so that they could understand what it is to be hungry. Not "I missed lunch" hungry, but "I have a headache and can't think about anything but the knot in my stomach" hungry. Would give people more compassion. But I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I know now why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture; it doesn't leave bruises or scars, but it makes life barely worth the effort it takes to keep breathing.

It hasn't been a particularly bad stretch recently, except the horrible 72 hours where I only got 6 hours of sleep cumulative. I seriously thought I was going to lose my mind. When I lose my ability to sleep, the rest of my body's systems go into shock. If I'm not sleeping, after a point, I'm not eating either, or at least not enough to sustain myself. (A funsize bag of Doritos and two big pieces of chicken cho cho does not count as a day's nourishment, especially when said "day" is 22 hours long.) Because the act of getting food requires too much effort, and because once I have the food it's kind of sickening, because my whole system wants nothing more than to lie down for the next two days and start working off the sleep debt, I end up only eating enough that my stomach doesn't cramp hard enough to hurt. My eyes dry out because my blink response slows down. It gets to the point where I don't feel safe to drive, because I can start having surface hallucinations, which at least make the staring-out-the-window-waiting-for-dawn times more interesting, but don't make the process of getting food any easier.

So I'm hungry and tired, and next I inevitably get sick. It's been a billion degrees outside since June, but I just spent 4 days with an upper respiratory infection that I'm sure I got because my immune system looked at the parts of my brain that were supposed to be making me sleep and eat at proper intervals (but were instead playing a high-stakes game of Texas Hold'Em), said, "Oh, fuck it," and bought in, leaving the keys in the door and the WELCOME mat out for those hardy germs that had withstood temperatures that should properly be measured in Kelvin to get across how high they were. Those types of germs are not quitters. Do you have any idea what a lame excuse it sounds like when the Red Cross calls you for a phaeresis and you tell them you have a URI? In July? They think you're just being a sissy, but the truth is, I needed every platelet I had last week, plus a few.

So then I'm sick AND hungry AND tired. And the "sick" part serves its purpose, in that it starts whipping Sleep Need and taking all its chips, so that eventually Sleep Need has to go back to work. So I get well, sort of, and I start sleeping again, sort of, until the least little thing happens and I don't go to bed concomitant with the first yawn of the evening, and then it's on again.

It's 4 A.M. in the Music City. I have a doctor's appointment in seven hours. The only choice I have at this point (since I have stuff to do tomorrow afternoon) is to go lie in bed, listening to my eyeballs clicking, and hoping that my getting down to sleep comes before the sun gets up. (Sri Leela gave me a breath mantra and taught me pranayama breathing that she said might help, so I suppose I'm off to give that a shot.)

Today is CDHSarah's birthday. As of four hours ago, she's legal to drink in the U.S., and a good thing too, since I was there when she got her first bottle of liquor and that was some time ago. Seriously, go wish her the best. Then pray for Gefilte and GetUpGrrl, and go read the new reviews. Before you're done with all that, I should (with luck) be asleep. I hope.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Best Place to Begin Is At the Beginning

Having now had time to pause and reflect, I have determined not to talk about my brief sojourn out of state except in the briefest terms: I went to a WV music festival with a friend from Virginia and her boyfriend and played with the hippies and thought Deep Thoughts. I had a Sars-knockoff post all ready where I told most of I-40, Michael Savage, and my bank to shut up, but it wasn't as funny as that which it imitated, so to hell with it. It was an OK weekend, not great, not horrible, and I ended up coming home earlier than planned.

I've been busy since I got back, though. And all in all, the past week has sucked ass. We lost Alice, I didn't get to do one of the major cleaning jobs I had to do, I got lost in Bordeaux and ended up somehow hitting all 4 points of Nashville before getting to my neighborhood, I had one of the 6-hours-of-sleep-in-72 bouts of insomnia, so badly that I was almost to the point of sleep-dep hallucination, someone stole the goddess that I had sold to the folks at Cafe O2 right off the altar, and to add just the proper elan to the entire thing, it has been about a million degrees plus the heat index ALL WEEK. Thank Deity for the sarong and the ubiquitousness of air conditioning in my city. (No help Saturday, when we went and cleaned an outdoor property and thought we'd all die of heatstroke despite drinking copious amounts of water. I actually skipped Sunday drum circle when I found out the heat index was at 115 degrees.)

But good things have happened this week too: we got a theme, SFGod turned 24, we got Sarah an awesome venue for her birthday bash, I met some awesome puppies, Sri Leela gave me initiation to a breath mantra, and I read the new Harry Potter. (And I don't want to talk about that at all, because I think I am still in shock, a little.)

Also, I've been reading the Principia all week, in possible preparation for Episkoposery, and have come to a few interesting conclusions, foremost among them that I want to be an Episkopos of some sort, possibly taking the newer ideas in q-phy that hold up the Discordian premises (the Principia talks about Heisenberg a bit) and using those to form the basis for my own Cabal. But for now, I'm just living Discordia, doing stuff like going to the gas station with a stuffed flower in my hair and a bindi mark on my forehead after Kali class, which doesn't confuse MulletMan (the gas station guy) at all but seems to make the other patrons develop a headache.

Sauce is in the land of the rednecks now (it's been the Time of Vacations for the Loyal Readership lately), and tomorrow is CDHSarah's 21st birthday, so go tell her happy birthday. Not because I like her or anything... ;)

I'm behind on just about everything at the moment, including reviews, and this week is full to the gills, but I should be around at least enough to keep up with everyone, if not to follow my usual prolific schedule. However, there is a new review up of Red Lobster, White Trash, & the Blue Lagoon : Joe Queenan's America for your delectation until I get more caught up.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Blog Updates, Not Trip Updates

I still haven't collected my thoughts with regards to my trip over the weekend...Tuesday was very busy, catching up on the Internets and emails and trying to get the cats to acknowledge my existence after my unforgivable four-day absence. The Middle Kitty has consented to come down off the top of the fridge, and even gave me a few minutes of lap-time until the sound of the keys started to get on his nerves.

Also, there is another major distraction....the new Harry Potter book. I like to "read" them first by listening to the audiobooks, as the reader is truly amazing, and have continued my tradition with The Half-Blood Prince. Unfortunately, I have great difficulty in doing anything other than the most mundane of tasks while doing the first listen-through, so instead of working on my trip post, I finally took the excellent userguide provided to me by ET via MWN in order to get the list of links you now see to the right up and running.

I am half-dead with excitement to find out what's going to happen in Book 6, so if I'm a bit distracted for the next day or so, don't take it personally. When I return, I will tell you both of my voyage and of my impressions of the next-to-last installment. (Apparently the Artist gave me the wrong spoiler info, so other than "death of a major character", which I've known since last year, I'm as much in the dark as anyone else.)

If you miss me that badly, you can always check out my new reviews of Odd Girl Out and From a Buick 8...

See you when the book's over. In the meantime, also keep Special Sauce and her opportunity to work with Chillin & Yoot in your positive thoughts, prayers, or closest analog. She rocked her interview, of course, but every little bit counts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Away From The Roll Of The Sea

Just a quick update, to let the Loyal Readership of Five know that I made it back into town safely and without major incident. I'm not going to try and do justice to my trip at this hour after eight hours on the road and a celebratory dinner of boiled shrimp, especially since I am being roundly ignored by three very angry cats for the crime of going out of town.

Also, to welcome Tony, who of all the bloggers in the last post came over to say hey, and to thank him for not busting my blatant misspelling of his blog name in the last post, which I will correct shortly.

And to note the two additional weird searches since last night: cattle desanguination, and fuck photo, which is odd only because the user was in Saudi Arabia, where (I think) a-lookin' for such things on the Internets is illegal. Again, intrepid searchers, hope you found that which it was you were seeking, especially the latter.

I would also like to note, for the record, that the phrases "I have to go/am going to bed" have officially become semantically null when spoken by me, because I don't remember the last time I said or typed that and didn't do at least three other things before actually beginning the "going to bed" process.

In parting (because this time I'm really going to bed, I'm knackered), my one and only ET has an opportunity to work with Chillun & Yoot, and the RLoF all know she'd be faboo at that with all her Codger Corral experience. Her interview is today, so be sending all the vibes you can muster her way. (I did a Ganesha mantra between Crossville and Cookeville with some Om shakti thrown in for good measure, and will probably do the same in the morning...and for those who are even bothering to try and guess to whence I voyaged, there are your second and third clues.)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Super Secret Squirrel Sitemeter Stuff

Still in Super Secret Squirrel mode, probably back to home port tomorrow. Winds fairish with much rain. The men are full of scurvy, and mutter mutinously. Tomorrow I will have them flogged...

No, wait. I'm not really on a pirate mission. Promise.

What I am doing is ignoring cable in order to (of course), obsessively play with Sitemeter, and being mad at the Artist for calling my voicemail and telling me which major character dies in the new Harry Potter. (Not super-duper really mad, but mad enough that I'm going to have to do something similarly underhanded in order to retain my face.)

So, first of all...welcome to those who came here from Blogger (and there were a bunch of y'all...did I get featured or something? (those blogs which go to advertising are not listed. Fuck y'all.)
Godfamilyrepublic, who not surprisingly didn't stay. Sigh.
Rojaks (Kuala Lumpur! That reminds me of an ancient Lore comic from the bygone days of the Brunching Shuttlecocks!)
The Wine Kone
Gato Federento
Paradise City
El Paripatetico
No Guru
Ja tenho um blog
Contemplative Scholar
Pinned & Wriggling
Primate Journal

I will give you all the hits you deserve once I am back to home port.

Second of all, hope the people that were searching for using self hardening clay to make Parthenon (I was in JCL in high school too! Hi!), ya devi sarva bhuteshu (Namas'te!), isis goddess speaking in tongues, you get a line, and rainbow gathering, hope you found what you were looking for.

To whoever searched stinky women, you're a weirdo. Of course, I'm probably a weirdo for putting it into a title, but...shut up.

Plus, of course, all my homies previously mentioned.

In other news, new reviews will go up super soon for Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, Jesus & The Essenes, The Jewish Book of Why, and probably From a Buick 8 and Needful Things. (Hi LouiSe!) So I'll be busy, and then I'll be back. And CDHSarah totally misses me, and what she DOESN'T know is that I have a TOTALLY AWESOME theme idea (that is not Tiki Bar) that is going to shock and surprise her so much when she beholds its sheer awesomeness that she will drop Alice into an interdimensional crack, and Alice will be gone. Forever. (Even on vacation, MWN, I always have a nomorealiceever story.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Checking Out

Hi y'all! Sorry I haven't posted in a day or two, but doing the marvelous photoessays for a certain someone ought to count. *grin*

And now when I do check in, it's to tell y'all I'm checking out...headed off to my Super Secret Out Of State Squirrel Location for a few days. The certain someone referenced above will be pleased to note that I heeded her wise counsel and stayed an extra night in town instead of making the banzai, middle-of-the-night, I'm-only-awake-because-my-eyes-are-too-tired-to-blink, run (for you puzzlers out there, I'm going about 6 hours from home in a direction unspecified), because she was right; when she last saw me I was too worn down to make it. I realized that when I got ready to carry something else up to the van and simply couldn't make myself get up the steps. (Gloating in my comments by aforesaid comrades will result in deletion, bannination, and no more Alice, ever.)

I just have to pack up my wraps and my sneakers and I'm ready to go...the cats have a sitter, everything is pretty much set up and ready to go. The cats smell that something's up, but they'll deal with it.

Except for the fact that this will be my longest solo road trip of record, I think I'm finally actually happy to go. I always have a good time in my SSOoSSL, but leaving for anywhere, even PUF (perhaps an hour from home) usually involves forgetting many useful things and remembering ones with no practical application. If I need a yoga mat or a Stephen King novel or a clean t-shirt while I'm out of town, I'm OK. Anything else is negligible to iffy. Except spare headlight bulbs and fuses. Those I have. Also an eyeglass screwdriver. Map? Not so much.

Anyhow. I absolutely have to go to bed if I'm going to get up and on the road at the time the Ambitious Me (and the Very Ambitious Out of State Secret Squirrel) has decided will be best. I'm not sure of the connectivity there, but if I can give you a SSU while I'm there, I will. If not, see y'all by this time next week at the absolute latest.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Wherever You Go, You End Up Here

Not quite. But after I gave the brief life overview of what's been going on since Wodinsday, I decided to check the stats on the Sitemeter I finally broke down and installed on the site.

Here's what strings hapless search-engine users are typing in to end up here....most of them aren't staying, sadly. Still funny stuff. Check it out.

AskJeeves search for Steve Hawking's Black Hole theory
(Steve? Are you on first name terms with the guy?)

Technorati search for case worker and shaman AND quail
(the supreme irony of both those search matches has not been lost on me)

Yahoo search for tattoo thor's hammer (and an Alltheweb search for "tattoo mjollnir" that turned up the same page). Hope those dudes aren't copying the Artist's piece, because he might cut someone for that.
(It's creepy how many neo-Nazi and white supremacy links come up when you use that search string. For the record, the Artist isn't too fond of skinheads, he's just a big fan of the Norse Gods.)

Yahoo search for music of Godzilla
(there you go, CDHSarah)

Yahoo search for inspirational thoughts to live by & points to ponder

Plus a few people from Irina's blogroll, none of whom apparently stayed, a couple people from comments on, Chez Miscarriage, and Jewlicious, and some myspace folks of unknown origin, as it only lets me track back that they came from either the book blog or my profile. It also appears that our Aussie friends came to visit for a few minutes when they got to Chicago. Hi guys!

But the lovely Louise and the excellent ClooJew (whose blog name I cannot believe I spelled correctly on the first try) are the only ones leaving comments and letting us know of their illustrious presence! You can hang out, guys. Pacifists usually only bite in the heat of passion, and there hasn't been any of that for a looooonnnng time, promise, so I think I've learned to control myself. Pull up a chair. Sit a spell. Kick back and whittle some.

This has got me tempted to seed the blog with weird search phrases (like the RenReb, who gets all kinds of weird hits for "sexy babysitter" and "hot frum girls" (and, thanks to CJ, "lulei demistafina"). Maybe now I can be cool like she is.

Blah Blah, Jai Ma, & Some Stuff That Doesn't Rhyme

On up to Tennessee, a lot of the real niggas be showin' love and you know I really appreciate that -- all the dope boys be coming out, all the homegirls be showin love, but a lot of folks, man, they still be lookin at me like they don't know who I is.

Rapper T.I., in his seminal work, Rubber Band Man.

Why the rubber bands? They representin' the struggle, man.

The WinAmp popped up this song, which I actually really like now that it's no longer in heavy rotation. Like everything in this post, it's pretty much random.

I haven't posted in a few days because I've been -- off. Not bad, not ill, just off. Of course, there was the tragedy in London, which I heard about only a few hours after my last post, and since I had nothing to add to the outpouring of sympathy and grief -- I've never written about my "dealing with 9/11" experiences either that I recall, other than anecdotally, even though I remember everything about the day and the days that followed, including the chocolate doughnuts I bought and distributed in the student lounge at school to everyone glued to CNN, like Disaster Relief Homer Simpson -- I have been dealing with that happening in my own, nonliterary way. I felt kind of heartless when I got home on Thursday late and didn't have anything to say about it, but I think I've said to God all that I can muster on the subject, even now. My period is late (I think the Readership of Five jinxed me a few days ago), so I just keep having weird cramps that don't actually presage the event. I managed to get my sleep schedule all screwed up again when the Artist came into town for the night on his way to Pensacola. He appears to be very well, if broke, and while I was thrilled to see him, the staying-up-all-night-to-see-him-for-the-one-night when I had stuff to do the next day indirectly led to me accidentally ditching Sarah on Saturday night (see earlier comment about sleep schedule being entirely screwed). I have ended up agreeing to drive to Virginia instead of taking the bus as planned, and I can't find my saints. At the same time, though, good things have been happening and I've been mostly happy -- a lot of chess and Scrabble getting played, a lot of Kingdom Hospital with CDHSarah, a rare foray into watching TV to see the Live 8 highlights, a lot of book reviews -- the two newest are The Serpent & The Rainbow and Chuck Pahlaniuk's Survivor. Plus, an evening or two with my new friends at Cafe O2, who are very spiritual and fun folks (even if Matt does totally own me on the chessboard, which I am blaming on the ever-changing medication that is robbing me of my ability to concentrate long enough to see a good game through endgame), and Daughters of Kali tonight, and many, many good-but-small things that just haven't, individually, been what I judge to be "blog-worthy". Probably they're not blogworthy in aggregate, either, but I'm about to get busy on the going out of town preparations and didn't want to go from "long weekend" to "unscheduled hiatus", for my own reasons mostly.

And CDHSarah and I have started a book. It hasn't even reached the blastocyst stage yet, so I can't tell you much about it -- it's a book of our observations & "lessons learned" on spirituality, mostly in the pagan community. We're still trying to decide how to structure the ideas we want to cover into more than a series of disjointed essays, but haven't quite gotten there yet. The odd thing is, I think we might actually do it...if we don't kill each other before it's over.

In ET Synchronicity, Sauce is having an annoying time of it right now, so y'all go give her the love. Plus, according to blogger, I've broken the hundred-post mark a while ago, which makes me oddly happy. This is number 121, I believe. Word.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Meeting Papa

That sounds like a harrowing WWII movie, but really, it's what I did on Wodinsday.

I've been a whole week and a half without real spiritual stimulation, which is probably why I've been so blah. In this down time, I need my medical and spiritual frameworks to give me a reason not just to sit in the house, all the time. They get me out, they get me moving, they get me thinking. But meeting was cancelled last week due to emergency on the parts of both the intended guest speaker and the leader for the evening, so we just gave it a miss...and, of course, Daughters of Kali was on a weeklong hiatus because Leela was visiting out of state for the Fourth. So, on Tuesday, I was totally hyped for the meeting, eager and excited.

I didn't feel that way for most of Wednesday...other than the fun with CDHSarah on instant messenger, the whole first portion of the day was one piece of suckage after another, from the missed phone call to the callback without benefit of a cigarette to keep me calm while on the phone with DisabilityLady, the subsequent and sneaky disconnection of the phone from its power source by a feline yet to be determined, which meant that not one of my phone calls got through for 2 hours. I realized this about the time I needed to be getting ready for meeting, and by then I was so over the entire thing that I could barely make myself get up and get ready.

Good thing I did.

Tish has been channeling Odin for ten years or so, and while I have heard about the sessions, I have never attended one. In fact, I had never attended a channeling, period. I've seen spontaneous trance, but never with someone else "coming through".

I can't describe it. I want to, because his words for me were all about my writing, how it's what I'm supposed to be doing right now, but I just can't.

I've known Tish for what seems like forever. I've known her husband for almost ten years, but I don't remember when I first met, eight years maybe. I know her. To see her go away -- to see the arrangement of the muscles in her face contract and contort subtly until I might not have recognized her at first glance, to see the change in the way she moves and speaks and even was disconcerting, but not frightening, because Odin was there. He was looking out of her eyes, and they weren't her eyes any more. It reminded me almost exactly of the reading I've done on Santeria, etc, in the description of what it looks like when God mounts the head of a human.

Yes, yes, could have been faked, could have been cleverly practiced playacting with a decade of experience in playing the role. Except that it wasn't. One of those faith things, because you couldn't take this one to the lab. But Tish isn't like the Shirley Maclaine-style channelers, she doesn't accept money or even "love donations" for it; why would a woman bother to put on an elaborate fiction with no conceivable reward? It doesn't matter. Odin was there, and that's how it is.

Odin is mostly jolly when he manifests through Tish -- he rarely shows his anger inside her vessel, I've been told -- twice that she can recall, but as is usual she doesn't remember much when she comes back out. He joked about the spindly diner chair being too small for him, about Tish's worry that she wouldn't make it back out in time to pick up her husband from work, about CDHSarah's bunnylike tendencies. After the first few minutes there were giggles, then full-out laughter. We laughed with the All-Father quite a lot.

He told us a tale of the Norsemen, of their life, of how they came to seek gods as ruthless and crafty and powerful as themselves. He answered our questions. He assured us that our brother the Artist will be protected on his journey. And he told us all what we needed to know. More than that, and words fail.

The hour was too short, and we all can't wait to invite Tish and Papa back again.

We misspent the rest of our free night in eating Chinese food and rewatching the first four episodes of Kingdom Hospital. And when I called to check my voice mail? Every call for which I had waited patiently was accounted for. I've got things mostly under control over here, feel better than I have in days, and will have some progress for the Nigerian doctor to chart when I get in tomorrow. In the meantime, as I don't know how to give him my thanks in his own language, Ya Devi Sarva Buteshu Odinrupena Samsthita, and Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah, for the ever-appearing $5 bill and the promise of the money to pay the cable bill by Friday.

New reviews up tomorrow with luck, but probably later in the evening as I expect to finish both books I'm reading while getting worked in at the doctor's tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Why I Love My Sister In Law...Most of the Time

My sister in law is known to most of you as the gorgeous and talented CDHSarah.

She's not actually my various reckoning she is "my old roommate who lived with me in the house out East"', "my former landlord who let me rent her guest house last summer", "my brother", or "my ex-boyfriend's blood-brothers' wife". For purposes of not getting sent to the psych ward, I tend to call her my "sister-in-law", which only confuses people if they know my parents adopted 2 girls. "Water brother" confuses just about everyone, so we stick wth SIL.

Margaret Mead and slight intoxication made me think about our weird relationship last night. She went over one culture that was very Martian, in that your mother's sister was "mother" -- everyone from your mother's generation was your mother, everyone from your own "brother" or "sister", somehow, because of the way the marriage system is set up.

In my own artificially created family, the first one, I grew up knowing that you adopted people because you love them and want them to be in your family. I don't think my parents expected that I would end up with quite so many mothers and brothers -- and one sister-in-law.

"In-law" has become a dirty word, a way of separating the family-members-of-choice from the family-members-born-to-the-same-bloodline. But my first family didn't have that. The CDH is my sis-in-law because we don't quite have the relationship my raised-sister and I have. But I see CDHSarah more, have more fun with her, think she probably knows more about my adult life, than my raised-sister.

Which in turn reminds me of another Margaret Mead explanation, this time about the tribe of headhunters she visited in which aggression was considered the norm for both sexes, but usually took the form of highly stylized insults, especially where women were concerned.

People who don't know us sometimes think CDHSarah and I are always in a fight, but in reality we're usually just in the middle of a vast and invisible game of one-upwomanship, the rules of which are so arcane I'm not sure we even know the finer points. I correct her on some point of usage and somehow later in the day she gets a "you can't correct me any more today" concession and proceeds to use it to her advantage. But I love Sarah, to death, would never hurt her, would cheerfuly trade my life for hers -- and yet threaten to either stab her in the eyeball with a pen, choke her to death, or beat her until she cries, at least once a day. If they ever subpoenaed my IM records in the suspicious death of CDHSarah, I would be totally convicted on circumstantial evidence...and I'm a pacifist. It's like a cat fight (between two Leos) all the time...and when one of us gets clawed for real, usually through misconstruance, there's usually half an hour of soothing and the human equivalent of cleaning necks. I can't remember the last time I went to bed mad at Sarah. When I go to bed mad, it's really bad. Otherwise it's just the game.

While I've been off work, I've been leaving my Yahoo! messenger open at night so that when CDHSarah gets to her job she can IM me. (I forget to sign things back on, but my computer is so ancient I can't really launch five things at startup without hurting the poor thing.) This often means that I either wake up to the dulcet sounds of the Yahoo messenger alert, or stumble in to the computer and phone area of the apartment to find a series of morning messages from the lady herself.

We watched Mean Girls last night, and then Saved, again, because we're dorks. But the movie does get one thing right; all people are mean. All people have meanness inside of them. Instead of being evil Cruellas de Vil, CDHSarah and I have just turned it into a no-keepsies game of mean, instead of a soul-destroying game of mean.

Part of the game centers around IM. At least once throughout the day, Sarah IMs me about wanting to be at home with her Alice, the half Netherland-dwarf, half English-spot bunny that possesses the power of cuteness to unending degree. That is my cue to begin today's Tale of No More Alice Ever, which is always different, always wildly unlikely (so that there is never a chance of it being taken seriously), and always culminates in a triumphal IM of "No more Alice...ever", followed by a hearty NOOOOOOOO!

Here's the slighly edited version of part of today's IMs with CDHSarah. (To understand this fully, you need to know that I slipped a note into her pack of cigarettes yesterday that said REMIND PARCE ABOUT REBATE, and I should have known better. Bobby is the creepy stranger who knocked on the door last night who we think was completely flying on uppers and whom we did not allow in. E Moet is the name in which my fake doctorate was issued.)

cdh sarah: SEND IN YOUR GODDAMN REBATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
cdh sarah: there.
cdh sarah: get up you lazy liberal you. cooooome on. geeeeeeet up.
cdh sarah: you gots ta MAIL IN YOUR DAMN REBATE, REMEMBER?
cdh sarah: NOW
cdh sarah: RIGHT NOW.
cdh sarah: NOW!
This is the point at which I got up and realized I had missed a phone call from my case worker.
mine: haate
cdh sarah: it's your fault for making me remind you.
cdh sarah: now love, for meeting tonight shall be fine
cdh sarah: Do I get a doggie biscuit?
mine: no and i'n busy
cdh sarah: oh, tw, I meant to tell you this. It's rather important for meeting tonight
cdh sarah: I'll leave you be for now
mine: please die, and then remember that pagan coffeehouse is saturday
cdh sarah: i will do the latter, not the former. sorry.
cdh sarah: maybe next time you'll think twice before telling me to remind you about something
cdh sarah:
mine: dude, I am not in the mood to deal with you
mine: and anyway YOU OWE ME $10
cdh sarah: yeah
cdh sarah: and your point?
cdh sarah: ok, well if you arent in the mood to deal with me I'll ttyl
mine: I was kidding, but am on phone with disability lady
cdh sarah: ok
cdh sarah: lemme know when ur done
mine: so u can remind me about my rebate? no thanx
cdh sarah: (obnoxious smiley with lots of teeth)
mine: ok, i'm off the phone
mine: the disability counsellor called ALICE too
mine: we were on 3 way calling
cdh sarah: what did ALICE say?
mine: that she couldn't take it anymore
cdh sarah: did she tell you how she collapsed on my boobie this morning and refused to get up?
mine: she was overeating, binging and purging, and on crystal meth
cdh sarah: what?
cdh sarah: ALICE!
mine: she's done up on about 5 grams of crystal
cdh sarah: poor poor alice
cdh sarah: she must've run out and collapsed in exaustion this morning when she REFUSED to let me get up and go to work!
mine: she says she hates it when you go because she can't help but invite bobby over and smoke, smoke, smoke
mine: she was pretty sketched
cdh sarah: oh shit, i forgot about bobby.
cdh sarah: I'm still freaked out about that.
cdh sarah: poor poor alice. I must go home and help her through detox
mine: sorry
mine: she's been taken inpatient
mine: no more alice ever
cdh sarah: NO!

That's how it goes, with me and my sister-in-law. This is what we do for fun. At least, it's fun until we have to explain to the waiter that the chorus of "Fuck you" that he walked up into isn't really the hint that we're about to dive across the tables and start clawing at one another's faces and jewelry. (What's better is when people think we're dykes having a public breakup. That one scores points for both of us.)

If people have to fight, and I think they do, I think our way is best. And Alice has been taken away by the Homeland Security Agency and the Secret Service. Just so you know.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

After the Fourth

Today is suuuuch a lazy day.

I've found I get less done when I get up in the early morning than if I give myself a couple more hours of sleep. (This is assuming all goes well and I actually get to sleep before the sun comes up.) I don't see much reason to be up before 10 am when I don't have to go to work, since I inevitably spend that time in a sort of somnolent daze, halfway reading about Margaret Mead in New Guinea (a review of which is probably next up or second up here. There will be a new review before the end of the day, but it'll probably be Danse Macabre), halfway petting the cat and drowsing and being pissed at the phone for ringing and making me get up before I'm ready.

That laziness tends to continue, and I haven't done much all day -- small organizational tasks, a brief foray to the store for chips and money orders to pay the rent, catching up on email. Which leads me ever on to my point.

Yesterday I posted about my Fourth of July experience to a small degree. I didn't talk about it at the time, but last week, the same night I got the job, I met John and Alex, two incredibly awesome young Australians on a backpack tour of the U.S..

It was already fairly late when the poker game ended and I joined their conversation at Cafe O2...we talked about, among other things, Tommy Emmanuel (my knowledge of whom was described as "obscure"), slang across the globe, the Mississippi River, and holidays, specifically the Fourth of July. They have Anzac Day in New Zealand and Australia, and other patriotic-type "remember the war dead and veterans" days just like we do, but on description couldn't think of any "patriotic" holidays that would cause, for instance, a particularly cute barista to put red, white and blue extensions in her hair for the week leading up to the holiday (they were very cute, I'd just have to know her). I told them they'd have to give me their impressions after they'd seen a celebration for themselves.

The boys emailed me today from St. Louis, which is where they headed the day after I met them. Here, excerpted from their emails, is what the Glorious Fourth looks like to two dudes from the Southern Hemisphere:

Forgot about fourth of july so when we got into town and the streets were deserted it was strange, then cheerleaders and marching bands on every street all day,very american. the fireworks were awesome and there were sooooo many people.but the second the fireworks finnished everyone just up and left! so noreal party scene or anything which was a shame. (John)

4th of july was pretty extreme. the fireworks...oh man, wow!!! mega fireworks, bigger than anything i've ever seen. we don't really have such an organised celebrations back home, just more general drinking etc. (Alex)

From this dazzlingly scientific sociological study, I conclude that Australians know more about what makes a good party than we do. But then, I already suspected that. Which would you rather get drunk and try to sing: The Star-Spangled Banner, or Waltzing Matilda? (CDHSarah does not get to answer this question, because it will involve her stomping through the flattened streets of Tokyo.) Then again, I've never been a huge fan of fireworks and a large fan of parties, so perhaps I am prejudiced and/or UnAmerican. I dunno.

Maybe if the Bush administration pisses me off any more I'll take a trip to see if, like Friday in the Heinlein novel, I prefer life with the Aussies and Enzedds.

Good journey, John and Alex! Thanks for being cool passers-through.

ETA: We're going to try this again. Book reviews are up for Danse Macabre and We Have Always Lived In the Castle. The links to the stories SHOULD take you to the individual reviews now, but I can't be sure because something in my Myspace settings tries to keep me logged in while I try to look at things without a username...will someone check, and comment? (And then will you all join MySpace and comment on my book reviews? Purleeeaze?)(Kidding.) (No, really.) (No, really.)

Today We Are Free

Today we are free. Today, we declared ourselves free (well, not all of us then, but we've been working on the issue for a while, so today, let's cut ourselves some slack, like the SubGenius types do.)

Today we are free, but we cannot get our gasoline free. I ended up being thankful to pay $1.99 plus that stupid 9/10 of a cent per gallon, driving up to Ft. Campbell to hang out with the high school homies and the soon-to-be-deployed-to-Iraq Ethical Atheist, about whose future I am terribly concerned.

Today we are free, but we cannot park for free. It's $10 and a whole lot of hassle to park downtown, because everyone, their mother, and their 2.5 kids had to be on the riverfront to watch the fireworks. It somehow...OK, always...seems unsporting, the way they increase the fee on the nights of national holidays like that, but I don't have a monopoly on parking between Second and Tenth Avenues, so what do I know about the price of eggs in China? I guess milking that extra $3 out of everyone who wishes to peaceably assemble to watch the city's fireworks (because they frown pretty hard on you setting off your own inside Metro) is the American Way.

Today we are free to wander downtown, more so than on other days because Second is reserved for pedestrian traffic, and people jaywalk even more than they usually do in this strange little city. Today, I realized that I am getting old fast, because the sounds of merriment made by people my own age have begun to ring sour to me. I am not yet, however, too old to enjoy watching Patrick ban drunk, obstinate, and incredibly rude Betties from his store, because I will never be too old for that if I live to be a billion -- it's a joy to behold, the drunken Betties realizing they have crossed the line and the sober and indomitable Will of Patrick forcing them out of the store with his sheer disapproval and distaste. Which he is free to do, because this is America, and it's Independence Day.

I could talk about the things that went wrong tonight, but the night didn't, overall, and as I have what might be the positive pregnancy test of a short story percolating, I don't wish to discuss those petty slights which will be corrected later in the week.

I didn't see any fireworks and I didn't salute the flag today, but hell, happy Fourth of July. Here's to America and Americans, who despite their many faults are a charming and childlike people, who will sit on a bridge for five hours over a smelly river to watch fireworks and remember that once upon a time someone founded a country by saying they were sick and tired of the bullshit and weren't, by God, going to take it any more.

One can only hope a little of that spirit is still with us, that the distractions of bread and circuses have not bred it out of us entirely, but all evidence in that direction is hopeful. Happy Independence Day, y'all.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Likes: Books, Judaica & Disposable Income (With Which To Buy The Former About The Latter)

H'lo all....just a quick update to let you know that the new review of Davita's Harp, my second review on my new Myspace blog of book reviews is up. It is being a diseased whore about letting me link directly to posts, and fairly enough I don't expect an answer from customer service until after the Fourth, but there aren't so many posts over there as yet to confuse folks as smart as y'all.

Because I am the kind of person that, much to my shame, requires external validation, may I humbly ask y'all to rate my ratings over there, in the comments? Pleeeeease? (Myspace is pretty neat, although I'm not as all about it as some people are, and it has helped me find people I like who have dropped off my radar for one reason or another)..

Right now I'm listening to the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin playing Lovelight, and getting ready to lay in bed and pick back up Danse Macabre, which is causing my booklist to grow tumescent with things I haven't read, or haven't read in years and aren't in my personal library, or things I haven't seen since two moves ago and am skeptical about my current ownership of. Damn you, "Uncle Steve". I mentally contradict Sars and Wing about you, and what do I get? More books I need to read (fairly, none of them yours -- not accusing you of being a self-plugger) because you told me they exist, and now, like my handle, I must. Arrgh.

Well, g'night, all.

eta: Originally I was going to ask y'all if y'all knew how I could get my cute profile pic of the MK to show, but as you can see, it's in the upper right hand corner now. Ain't I just the smartest little girl in the county-o?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Oh Happy Day

Yes. I have two copies of that hymn on my computer, and I'm listening to the one from Sister Act II.

I have a new gig, which was given to me through pure chance.

Thursday night, I went to Patrick's, as I do...but the game got done quite early,y, and the new oxygen bar downstairs had gotten really swamped, so Kara (one of the owners) invited me to come down, whereupon I met Jon (pronounced with a Yod sound).

Jon runs a very upscale salon downtown and owns two floors in the building. Half the second floor is his (incredibly gorgeous) apartment.

I am now the hired help. We ended up going to the Chute (gay bar, if you couldn't guess) after Cafe O2 closed, and back to his place after. When I mentioned that I clean for the boss and am at loose ends right now, he offered me the same amount I get to do an entire house every other week to come once a week and clean the apartment, which compared to the boss' place is a total cakewalk. Hello, over $200 extra each month! You will easily cover the cable and electric bills! He's also talking about hiring me for 2 extra days each week as a PA, to do things like take his precious puppy to the groomers and go pay the bills he can't pay online. He's even payin my parking downtown. I am thrilled.

In other news, Ganesh came through for me, and I have enough money to pay every bill this month, get the rent in on time, and still have money for things like groceries, and new books.

I got new books yesterday with the unexpected cleaning money, after I paid the electric bill. Which means you can expect new reviews at the book blog soon, probably tonight after I get home from watching Kingdom Hospital with CDHSarah.

But first I'm going to Tish's, and buying a new sarong to wear to the TWO parties I've been invited to on the Fourth. Quelle bonne chance! I feel so popular these days.