Wednesday, August 31, 2005

It's good to see you're back - especially after seeing your face!

Never one to pass up a funny book, I recently acquired 1965's "2000 Insults for All Occasions". It is one in a long line of such books that I felt compelled to free from the prostitution of the garage sale lifestyle. Normally the most humorous thing about these books is how horribly out of date they are. Here are a few of bon mots from "2000 Insults":

"He had a pair of bloomers tattooed on his chest because he always wanted a chest with drawers."

"A fellow invited her into the woods to hear a nightingale and it turned out to be a lark."

"As a bathing beauty, she's hardly worth wading for."

"Girls return his letters marked 'Forth Class Male'".

You gotta admit - they do make you smile. Maybe just not for the reason's originally intended. I pulled this book off the shelf last night because I was reminded of it at lunch.

I eat lunch at work, most of the time. A few years ago I was adamantly opposed to staying in for lunch. I wanted to get away from the building and I certainly didn't want to go home for lunch - its too hard to drag yourself back to work - so I would eat out. That got old. And it got expensive. And making your lunch is way more healthy than carne guisada enchiladas. Now a whole crew of people spend lunch gathered around the conference tables in the grand ballroom. If I were anywhere else, with anyone else, I would absolutely hate it.

It is hellaciously loud. And uncouth. And unforgiving. There are always three or four conversations going on at once. Each person is expected to participate in all exchanges simultaneously. You must express your opinions in the most forceful manner available to your command. Extra points if your crossfire is loud and forceful enough to drown out one or more other conversations. It is not really conversation - more like verbal warfare. If you fire off a really fine insult or observation you are rewarded with a high-five - lofty praise indeed.

By unspoken agreement the conversation is generally rated PG-13. Especially heinous exchanges are always preceded by a warning to the lone male to plug his ears. He complies. (There is more than one man working in our office. The others just don't have the intestinal fortitude to handle lunch.)

Everyone and everything is fair game. The democracy of this arrangement helps ensure that no one gets their feelings hurt. New employees are usually astounded at first (they get a sort of free grace period while learning the unwritten rules of the game) but they soon learn to jump off in the deep end with everyone else.

Stop by sometime if you have a bag o' lunch and you don't mind being insulted. Let me know if you want to borrow my book before you come.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday Cemetery Blogging

This picture is from New Mexico.

The stone belongs to Reverend F. J. Tolby. It is in the Cemetery at Cimarron, New Mexico. His murder started the Colfax County War. He was a Methodist minister who spoke out against the foreign syndicate which bought out Lucien Maxwell, owner of the largest land grant in New Mexico history. The syndicate hired thugs to run communities of squatters off the land. These squatters had lived on the land for 30 years and considered it their own.

His original stone is at the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, where it was being used as a door stop. It was "re-discovered" by one of the local ladies who attended a syposium at the hotel and the local ladies guild raised funds to purchase a new marker for the grave. You can still see the original at the hotel, leaning against a wall by the back door. At least it is no longer doing duty as the ladies room door attendant.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Google Fodder

I probably shouldn't post this. I don't normally write about sex. But when I came across this link, I couldn't help it. This is one of those things that make you stop and say Oh. My. Gawd. (If you have yew a good drawl goin' on you can stetch that out into "Owe... Mah... Gaawwd!")

I don't enjoy hearing about sexual escapades. But I don't want to hear about your virginity, either. Its not that I believe consenting adults shouldn't talk about sex - on the contrary. I'm also a big beilever in talking to your kids about sex. I think you should use real live grown-up words and everything.

But this seems so, well, stupid.

Explore this website at your leisure. Its all about making virginity cool again! You need to celebrate your celibacy! Wear it on your sleeve! Or your chest, as it were. (Did you experience some trepidation about clicking on the "Fun Stuff" link?) (And what exactly is a born again virgin? Is that different from your regular garden variety virgin?) According to the site "it takes courage to express the truth and not be ashamed." It must take a special kind of courage to plaster "I'm Saving It" across your breasts and then face the world.

Who came up with these slogans? "No Trespassing on this Property. My Father is Watching." Well, damn - that's illegal in this state. And how about the unfortunate arrow placement on the "Virginity Lane, No Exit Until Married" T-Shirt? (As noted in the fun stuff photo gallery.)

As you explore this website, also please note they sell "intimate wear", desperately espousing virginity propoganda. It seems to me that panties with slogans on them are going to be too little, too late.

Maybe they should say "IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE TOO CLOSE."


Geeze! I really hate Blogger sometimes. If this publishes, this is one of those times. If not, it is still one of those times. (Did I spell crimony right? Everytime I hit the spell checker it takes me to yahoo mail.)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Time Flies

Its Friday afternoon. I didn't have many people to on my schedule. Now my last remaining appointment has cancelled. I tried to sound sternly diapproving when he called. Probably didn't quite pull it off.

Got some paperwork done that has been niggling at the bottom of my to-do-pile. In the process I discovered someone else's shortcut from two years ago has unexpectedly caused my work to increase to Pandoran proportions. Since it is nearly 4:00 p.m. on Friday, the chances of my finding an attorney in the D.A.'s office who would be willing to research my problem are nil. I will have to postpone this until Monday at least. I'm trying to sound sternly disapproving of this as well. Is it working?

The community service supervisor just brought me the paperwork on a conference he wants to attend. I will forward it to the bookkeeper to be paid. However, since she doesn't work on Friday afternoons there is no chance it will be done today. I may as well wait to make the reservations until next week when she is here to cut me a check. Much sterness. Vast disapproval. Trying desperately to crease my brow and wipe goofy grin off face.

I was supposed to meet with the other supervisor this afternoon to discuss caseload distribution in the wake of departmental changes for the next fiscal year. My afternoon was fairly flexible, so I told her to come get me whenever she is ready to meet. Time is short. She has been past my office door several times without mentioning the meeting. It appears she forgot. I am stern. I disapprove. I am not making eye contact in case it jogs her memory.

Forty-nine minutes until quitting time.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Once again I am unable to narrow things down to a single photo. These gravestones are in a cemetery in Huntsville, Texas.

These stones belong to a husband and wife. She on the right, he on the left. They look like giant chess pieces.

I love the texture the marble takes in this environment. It doesn't come through very well in this low-voltage scan, but the brilliant white, the velvety black and all the mossy shades in between are really beautiful.

When I grow up I want to be a weird old lady living in a weird old house surrounded by this fence.

Although Huntsville is definitely part of Texas, its East Texas. I live in West Texas. We are woefully bereft of marble, moss and little green vines. This is a shot of the north east corner of a local graveyard. Posted by Picasa

Google meme

Saw this on Reverend Mommy. It is hysterical! Go to google. Type "(your name) is" and paste your favorite 10 responses.

Rachel is: A gun-totin' capitalist oppressor college student with two jobs, two dogs, and no kids

Rachel is: A Bellydance troupe in San Francisco

Rachel is: A free weekly email newsletter published by the Environmental Research Foundation.

Rachel is: always always always right.

Rachel is: one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Rachel is: an open-source resource loading toolkit that makes resource loading for Java Web Start/JNLP easy.

Rachel is: a means of receiving the healing grace of God.

Rachel is: an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia

Rachel is: inspirachel.

Rachel is: the closest city to Area 51

Maybe I should change the name of my blog to "Inspirachel". Then I could start selling prayer cloths, sneezed on by yours truly. Then when things began to lag, I post my vision that if I didn't have 10,000 hits by the end of the year, the lord is gonna call me home. And that would be followed closely by an email sales blitz for the healing holy water of the heartland - dipped out of the batistry by me personally (and clandestinely) following the Sunday service at the local church of my choice. There seem to be a lot of possibilities...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday Cemetery Blogging.

Annie at New Life Rising made a suggestion earlier this week and I am taking her up on it -Friday Cemetery Blogging. It was going to be just tombstone blogging, but there are some really cool things in cemeteries that aren't tombstones.

So here is my first entry:

This stone is in the Lakeside Cemetery in Canyon City, Colorado. It is not far from an area that is mostly graves of nuns and priests. The same image is on all four sides of the stone. Here is a closeup of the face:

Posted by Picasa

There is no writing on the stone and an urn is nearby which appears to have broken off the top. I have no idea what the explanation is. My first guess was that each side represented a season and the marker was a statement about the passage of time. However, each of the four faces was the same. The fact that it is in the middle of the nuns' and priests' graves makes it especially provocative. Any ideas, anyone?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Take the pebble from my hand...

Somewhere I have a purple belt. Its not really a good shade. More of a turdmuckledydone purple. I wouldn't wear it, even if I found it, because its been so long that I forgot how to tie it.

The whole knot-structure-thing of your Karate belt is sort of important and means something. I used to be real good at the belt-tying. But its been a long time and I don't remember.

I was good at the kicks, too. And flexible. The best thing about Karate, aside from the whole wailing on people for fun and profit aspect, is the stretching. I used to be able to stand with my back against the wall and lift my leg straight up (with help) to touch my toe to the wall behind my ears. That was a long time ago, too.

I took Tae-Kwon-Do for a semester in college. The little bantam rooster who taught the class was really interesting. He used to strut around with his chest stuck out so far I was afraid he was going to crack a rib. And the hair helmet - ooohh golly. It was bad.

We spent the semester striding purposefully up and down the gym floor. Step. Punch. Step. Punch. Step. Punch. I didn't learn a lot, but the things I did learn will no doubt come in handy if I am ever attacked by the cast of West Side Story.

After that, I started taking Kenpo Karate at the YMCA. Sharkey was the instructor. He was an odd little man. (That seems to be a running theme for Karate instructors.) He was good though, and I paid this man to beat me up on a semi-weekly basis. You know all those blocks that you spend hours working on - blocking kicks, blocking punches, blocking anonymous phone numbers? Well. Yeah. They work, but you're still getting hit. Just not in the spot the attacker was originally aiming for. My shins and forearms were continually decorated with incredibly deep and colorful bruises. I appeared to have tie-dyed appendages.

Karate was great exercise with Sharkey. He made ya work for it. Image doing aerobics while somebody punches you in the gut.

I can't remember why I stopped going.

A couple of years later, E. and I (remember E.?) decided to take Karate classes together. We could only find one guy in town who was teaching at the time. His name was Jessie. He taught at the oh-so-appropriately-named Barnyard Academy. E. and I and her 17 year old son signed up for lessons. We thought we were signing up for a class. We weren't.

Jesse would meet us at the Academy/Barn and worked with the three of us. He taught Brazilian Ju-Jit-Zu. Have you seen the Ultimate Fighting Championship? That's the stuff. Jesse would wax eloquent, sort of, about "shoot fighting" and "UFC" and his big plans for bringing the competitions to our fair city. We would smile wanly and nod.

He taught us some pretty neat stuff. We stuck with it for a while, then E.'s son was the first to go. I don't think he was ever very comfortable grappling with his mother and her weirdo friend. Then E. lost interest and stopped coming. I came for a couple more lessons after she left. I was younger then. And single. And thin. Each lesson started with Jesse saying "Ok. Let's work on our ground moves. You get on the ground. I will get on top. You try to get up." I was not too bright, but I finally caught on. No more Jesse.

The best instructor I ever had was a med school student from the Caribbean. He was tall and lean and had a really cool accent. His med school was temporarily housed at the local university after hurricane Hugo wiped out their campus in the Caribbean. He worked out with Sharkey and often taught our class. He approached Karate like dancing and always had us
fight with music. I loved it.

One day he had us working on our kicks. He held a big pad out in front of him and we kicked the crap outta him as best we could. After the workout, he sat the pad aside, bowed, and said "Ahh, Miss Rachel - you kick like a MAN!" *sniff, sniff* That's one of the nicest things anyone's ever said to me.

The most valuable thing I learned from all this was that to defend yourself, you have to be willing to touch the other person. And it is going to hurt. The hardest thing for me to get past was my extreme dislike of being that close to someone I don't know. Perhaps this doesn't make sense, but to be effective, you have to step in close to your opponent . You have to risk getting close enough to make an impact. You cannot protect yourself from afar. That gives your opponent too much room to prepare and to plan and to build up strength. You have to be willing to get dirty. To touch somebody.

There's probably an object lesson in that. Figure it out for yourself.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


I have had to do a ton of proof-reading this week. I hate proof-raeding, don't yuo? The only time it was ever anything close to tolerable was my senior year in high school. Mr. Coats was the English teacher. Remember him, Kinkaid? He had just retired from the army and been recruited by the CIA as a researcher and his wife was a comic book appraiser and he could read and he wasn't a coach. Remember that?

Mr. Coats had this system of ratiocination for writing. I don't know if he devised it himself or it came out of the Associated Press Stylebook or what. But it was sort of vaugely fun and really improved my writing. I wish I still had the instructions for it...

Anyway, during my bouts of prolonged proof-reading this week I have rewarded myself with a few minutes of play time when I completed the tasks. Here are a few of my favorite toys:

Patently Silly: Bringing you the best of the worst of U.S. Patent Applications. No, seriously, its really funny! My current favorite is "Method And Apparatus For Identifying A Winner In A Bingo Game".

McSweeny's: Admittedly, I don't always get it. (I'm living in the boonies here. Cut me some slack!) But I like it!

Bloody Finger Mail: My second-most preferred form of communication.

Found: Ever since J. sent me this link, I find myself addicted to the find of the week. I keep picking up trash in the street hoping for something good that I can contribute. So far, no luck.

Now, back to work!