Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Should Be Working

...but no one else is.

So, in between filling of kleenexes, I am doing a bit of web surfing.  A few weeks ago I bought a stack of wooden cabinet doors at the Habitat for Humanity thrift store.  They are great for painting signs.  I've been checking out my woefully incomplete collection of quotes on Pinterest in hopes of finding one to paint this week.

I found the one I want, but it is super long for fitting on a cabinet door.  And the source is one that's never been a particular favorite.  And yet...

"I am old now: gray, wrinkled, tired, and bloated, and my joints ache, too.  But I am ready to come into my full destiny - as my childhood dreams predicted - as a Neo-Amazonian Pirate Queen of my own vessel:  firing cannonballs at the worldwide culture of patriarchy in the name of all that does not suck."  - Roseanne Barr

So.  I think I will have to practice and find a way to make it fit.  And I will brandish my paint brush in a sword-like fashion while proclaiming various nonsense loudly "in the name of all that does not suck".  

And thankfully, no one else will be around to hear me, thus preventing an unplanned side trip to the loony bin. 

Therefore, in honor of piloting my own Neo-Amazonian pirate vessel, I think I will leave early for lunch.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

We Have Good Fences

We have neighbors.

On the one side is an elderly couple who are much better gardeners than I.  They eat out only on Thursdays, after the Mrs. has her appointment at the beauty shop and on Sundays after church, both times at the Dairy Queen.  They have a little dog who is yappy and whose name may or may not be Max.  Either the dog or the man is named Max, but I'm at a loss to recall which.  They are only seen during the spring, summer and early fall.  There is no sign of their existence in the winter months.  And that's all I know about that.

Oh, and they have a cat whose name is definitely Molly.

On the other side we have Tom and Sue.  They are very nice, as well.  They are quiet - no wild parties or raucous family gatherings.  They are just nice.   Very nice.

And we drive them nuts.

That's not entirely accurate. Specifically, I drive Tom nuts.  He's got ideas.  About stuff.  I seldom greet his ideas with the reverence they are due.

We'd only lived here for about 2 hours when we pretty much had Tom figured out.  He came over just as soon as we finished unloading the big furniture and said he was sorry he'd not been over sooner to help out.  He commandeered Randy for a long "get to know you" discussion while Katie and I continued to haul boxes into the house.  Katie and I kept walking right past them and sometimes right between them while Tom commiserated about how sorry he about not getting there sooner to help out.  Finally, I hollered for help from inside the moving van claiming to have a box that was far too heavy for poor little me to lift on my own.  Tom excused himself and went back home so Randy could help me.

Thanks, Tom.

A few months later, Randy and I were outside doing some Saturday afternoon yard work.  Sue, who is a very sweet lady, came over to say hi.  We were chatting neighborly while Tom continued to wash his car on the other side of their yard.  He looked up, saw us, and began gesturing wildly and calling Sue's name.  She looked over at him, slightly exasperated, and asked what he wanted.

"Sue!  Did you forget?  You haven't done your hair or put on makeup today!"

Stunned silence.  Stunned.

Finally, I yelled back, "Well, hell, Tom!  Randy hasn't even taken a shower yet!  And he doesn't even have any hair!"

Tom grumbles a lot when I'm around.

To his credit, Tom really likes the holidays. He likes to decorate for them, anyway.  Every year he adds to his wintery white-bread wonderland.  More lights, more trees, more grazing reindeer.  And music.  This year the whole thing blinks in sync with music.

We put up a wreath.  This year, there are lights on it.

Last night, I was walking home from the track, across the school parking lot.  Tom was out in the front yard tweaking his trees.  He looked up.  I waved.

"Hey!" he said.  "You wanna borrow some decorations?"  He does sort of a benevolent glower so that you are sure not to miss the oh-so-subtle hints he drops.

I made a big show of removing my ear buds.  "It looks great!" I said, giving him a goofy grin and a big thumbs up, pretending to totally misunderstand his meaning.  "You're doing a great job!"  As if he lived for my approval.

Tom grumbled and went back into the garage.

Good ol' Tom.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

BBQ. That's the title. Just BBQ.

Today has been a comedy of errors.  Bits and pieces of which include flat-ish tires, computer repairs that, after texting and calling two different techie types, were accomplished by merely unplugging the modem and plugging it back in, a schedule mix up that had me hauling ass across the country side, only to be brought up short eight miles from my destination by the news that the whole thing had been pushed back four hours, and, most recently, a soaked shirt and drenched pants because I removed the water bottle from my mouth without first disengaging my righteous squeeze grip thereby spraying water aallll over myself.

It's been a day.  

However, in the midst of all of that - and more - I received a really great text message.  It said: 

"In order to get back in your good graces, the judge, on behalf of this office, would like to extend a warm invitation to lunch at the beer store in Dickens."

It was good.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mixed Metaphors, Maybe.

I just got off the phone with my predecessor.He just casually mentioned that the office is closed on Fridays.  Just like that.

Closed.  Fridays. 

1.  Windows
2.  Jeans
3.  4 day work week

I am seriously unnerved.  There must be another shoe of Damocles hanging over my head, suspended by a single shoestring, waiting to drop.  It's enough to make me feel guilty about convincing them I needed three weeks vacation instead of just two.  Almost. 

 ~whispers: "closed Fridays"~ 

So, Saturday I took a little road trip and went to check out my new 'satellite office' in Dickens County.  Dickens is one of four counties that I'll be working for. 

Dickens County is a rustic, old-west type of a place, just off the Caprock.  In fact, all four of the counties in my new judicial district border the edge of the escarpment, which gives them a beauty sorely lacking from the counties that make up the land on top of the raised plains.  These are ranch lands, sparsley populated and thinly patroled. 

My parents lived in the town of Dickens when I was born.  It was my dad's first preaching gig and he was still finishing up college.  I've never spent much time there since becoming fully sentient, so I went for a drive to see what I could see.

Just after I came down off the Cap, I passed this:

You probably can't read the small print on that official looking Cattlemen's Association No Trespassing sign. Basically it says "We Will Shoot You For Being Out Past This Gate.  No One Will Ask Any Questions and The Coyotes Will Eat Your Remains".  More or less. 

 Don't trespass there.  They's serious.

A little further down the road, I looked off to the side and saw this:

I  moved in for a closer look:

  And finally:

It's a catfish.  In a chef's uniform.  Holding a rolling pin.  Pointing south-ish.  With American flags skewering its nostrils.

Any ideas?  Anyone? 

I asked one of the locals, but she wasn't talkin'.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

She Might Be A Princess, But Why Make Her Disney'd?

So, you know I'm a fan of Wonder Woman.  And, like any self-respecting geek, I loves me some Wonder Woman stuff - t-shirts, mugs, jewelry, stationary, etc.  But I have a question. 

Why is it all WW merchandise uses the older versions of the Amazon?  You know, the one that looks like Betty Crocker in a swimsuit and tiara?

Why isn't there stuff with the more current version?  You know, the bad-ass warrior woman?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

There really was an altar. And what else would you use it for?

Internet dating gets such a bad rap, but every time I've tried it, it's been fantastic!   I've met, like, eleventeen friends from teh internets and I've thoroughly enjoyed it each time. 

Granted, it wasn't THAT kind of a date.  Mine are exclusively the "you're a friend I've known for years, just haven't met you yet" variety.  It gets said a lot, but the people I've gotten to know, both personally and virtually, through this internet writin' bidness have made my life way more interesting. 

A couple of weeks ago I was in Galveston for a family vacation.  My profile pic was taken years ago at a cemetery there and I was dying to go back and retake it.  (You can see the new, improved shot on the right.)  annie lives somewhere in the not too distant vicinity and I was determined to meet up with her and a real life friend of her's that I'd connected with as well. annie and, uh, "Amy" met me at the cemetery and we had a great time exploring and taking photos. 

It took maybe 30 seconds to get past the intrinsic awkwardness that is to be expected when you put a pack of introverts into a social situation.  Almost immediately we fell into the same banter and commentary that we've traded for years online.  It was so much fun.  Even their voices seemed familiar, although we'd never spoken to each other before.  I'd give up introversion if I could connect that quickly and completely with everyone I meet.

We snarked about the mafia burials, the headless angels, the altar where the virgins were sacrificed, fence climbing, and mildly freaked out strangers who were reassured by our congenital cuddliness, among other things.  The only thing I'd do differently is to bring water next time!  However, had I passed out from heat stroke, I feel pretty sure annie and Amy would have dragged my senseless body into the shade of a gravestone to fester unmolested while they continued their photographic survey of the surrounding stones. 

We made some fun memories and I was thinking about it a few days after we returned home. While shopping and running errands, Jackson had to go finagle something with his cell phone account at the Verison store.  As we walked in the door, I was hit with the perfect thought to sum up the whole experience.  It was a sparkling piece of literary concision.

I found a bench in a corner and whipped out my Moleskine and commenced to feel horribly smug because I was actually writing, in an actual notebook, with an actual pen in the cell phone/computer store.  I started filling in some background drivel before recording my actual point.  And suddenly Jackson was done and ready to go.  What?  Who spends mere moments arguing with customer service before more or less getting their way?  And, of course, the gods of karma wiped that perfect thought completely out of my mind before I'd managed to record it.  I've spent a week trying to remember it.  No luck.

So.  Come up with something on your own. 

I had fun.  I think they did too.  It rocked.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Ennis Menace

Pardon me for a moment while I indulge in a bit of wanton geekery.

Garth Ennis is writing the new Shadow comic

~does the dance of joy~ 

This is epicly thrilling. It is beyond cool.  Garth Ennis is the writer/creator of one of my favorite comic characters - The Preacher.  I sorta recommend him with trepadation.  If you are not into blood, guts, vampires, the ghost of John Wayne, fallen dieties, drunken clergy, congregations oblitereated by fireballs from the heavens, renegade angels, prolific profanity, in-bred cycloptic children, pistol-packin' hit-woman girlfriends and cats in toilets, don't read his stuff. 

I freakin' love it. 

And now he's writing The Shadow.  Damn, I loves me some Shadow.  From the pulp novels of Maxwell Grant to the radio program, to the movie versions and the various comic book incarnations, I can't get enough of it.  My senior ring when I was in high school?  I picked one that looked similar to the ring the shadow's agents wore.  (Next time I come across it in some forgotten drawer, I'm having the school insignia ground off of it so I can start wearing it again.  Because I, by God, know what evil lurks in the hearts of men.  More or less.)  I have sketched books full of that character.  I had Shadow action figures in my bathroom of my former house.  (I don't know why the bathroom - there was just a shelf there that needed something on it.) I think I need me a couple of nickle-plated .45s.  Just because.

Garth Ennis.  And The Shadow.  It's a match made in an incredibly entertaining level of hell that we like to visit as long as we don't have to live there.  ~more happy dancing and a possible squee~

Yep.  Garth Ennis. 

And tomorrow I'm going to Ennis, Texas to look at some bad-ass bluebonnets.   It's like the whole universe is doing some sort of karma-applause thing.  Oh, hell yeah.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Prattle and Prognistications

There is an emergency room doctor who comes across the street to the fitness center sometimes at o'dark-thirty when things are slow.  There are only about 2,000 people in the whole town, so early mornings at the emergency room are slow more often than not. 

This morning was the first time he'd come since my unfortunate 'booting', and he asked what was wrong with my foot.  I told him I have a stress fracture.  He shook his head, motioned towards the treadmills and excercise bikes and said "I'm not surprised." 

Which made me feel like a total bad-ass. 

However, given his slightly misogynistic leanings and somewhat caustic personality, he probably didn't mean it as a compliment.  He's one of those vaguely grouchy people that you can't help but like, whether they want you to or not. 

One morning he was attacking the exercise bike and riding like he was trying to outrun the devi.  We asked what he wanted us to do if he passed out or had a heart attack.  We volunteered to go get a gurney and wheel him across the street, cause we're helpful like that.  He just glared and said "Don't do anything.  Just call 911!"

We told him we'd call, but we're still threatening him with CPR. 

And speaking of misogyney...

I've often observed that the snidly racist remarks and dirty little racist jokes that used to be relegated to talk out behind the barn have made there way to the forefront even in so-called polite company since President Obama's election.  It's disheartening.  Especially when I'd always thought better than that of a lot of these people who are snickering and waggling their eyebrows, pretending it's all in good fun. 

Now the sexist attitudes and speech that I thought we had all agreed to at least not speak aloud are resurfacing as well.  You can hear it can hear it and it's getting louder. 

My prediction?  If our next election goes red, the handicapped are next on the chopping block.  Mark my words - unless the current War on The Majority of The Constituency doesn't result in a pretty hard slap in the face, you'll start to hear rumblings about the Americans With Disabilities Act and how it is not really helping the less fortunate among us, but is just another series of unfunded mandates engineered to increase the size and scope of our federal government. 

I'd bet money on it. 

Remember that Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote? 

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

First they came for the "abortionists" and the homosexuals...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I just flew in from Detroit...

One down, seven to go.  

Seven weeks of wearing a gargantuan medical walking boot because I have and teensy-eensy tiny li'l stress fracture on the top of my foot.  Prior to seeking medical help, my foot hurt only when I exercised.  And for a little while after I exercised.  Other than that, no problems. 

I'm trying to lower my cholesterol and live slightly healthier.  Towards that end, the only lifestyle change I've managed to embrace is exercise.  I actually like it.  Even looked forward to it, vaguely. (Actually, what I enjoy is listening to audio books while I'm walking.  Before the boot I was in the middle of the first Dexter novel.  Luckily I have a long drive coming up in April and I'll be able to finish it off.  So to speak.) 

Every morning for years I have worked out for at least half an hour.  Lately I added a three mile walk in the evenings.  That was all well and good until I added in a bit of jogging.  Quite honestly, Baptists should have foregone the anti-dance crusade and gone with an anti-jog crusade.  Jogging has to be a more devilish form of movement than dancing.  I, for one, feel certain that people are closer to hellfire and damnation when jogging than when dancing. Joggers are Satan's bobble-heads.

So, anyway, I wanted to keep exercising, so I figured I should get my injury treated. 

And now I'm stuck in this boot for two months.  The boot makes my foot hurt worse.  I've finally figured out the reasoning behind the treatment.  It's not that the boot is beneficial per se, it's that it is so cumbersome and uncomfortable that you'd just as soon sit as walk, so you stay off your foot and that gives it time to heal. 

I hope. 

As you can imagine, this has played hell with my cardio plan.  I still go to the "gym" in the mornings.  It's actually the physical therapy department at the surprisingly vibrant little local hospital.  Since I can't walk, run, flail about on the elliptical machine or wedgie myself with the stationary bike, I have been lifting weights - mostly dumbbells. 

This morning I graduated from the sissy weights (color coordinated, rubber coated rods which only went up to 9 pounds) to the bad-ass weights (grimy iron dumbbells on a steel rack that make your palms smell funny and have a minimum heft of 15 pounds).  I managed to do all the same exercises with the heavier free weights. 

And now I think I am going to die. 

However, despite the moans and groans, my morning workout compadres all agreed that they would not want to take me on in a fist fight.  They were also nice enough not to point out that all they'd have to do to win the fight is step out of arm's reach.  Regardless, that was the encouragement I needed to get me back there tomorrow.

Even if I can't lift my arms and have to just sit there and stare at the barbells.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Billy Idol Makes My Head Feel Funny

It's a gorgeous day, even though the sun is shining and there are no clouds.  One can't always have a day of dreary perfection, so I've learned to look for the beauty in even the sunny places and spaces.  The park was calling my name, so that's where I spent most of the lunch hour.  I sat in the car with the radio tuned to the 1st Wave station on Sirius.  I kept it quiet so I could hear the birds squawk. 

It rained some this week, so there was actual water in the faux creek with the ugly little bridge that was built by a strictly utilitarian crew of city workers.  The bridge is very uniform.  I like uniformity in design, but it doesn't work for me if the design is all squarish and straight.  Art Deco is my favorite design style and it is all about uniformity.  But it also flows and curves and sweeps and spreads out in gracefully controlled falls.  Lines are good when curved.  Curves are almost always more interesting. 

I love it here after a rain.  You can pretend that the water in the ditch is actually a charmingly natural little brook and that the scraggly, barely mower-high, dandelions are West Texas' answer to the bluebonnet fields. 

The ravens like it too.  They dance around on the edge of the tiny stream.  They aren't actually ravens, just common grackles, but they are still pretty cool.  And they do an awesome Hitchcock tribute on houses and yards all over town. 

I get a kick out of all the solitary people who come to park their trucks along the edges of the park and eat their lunch in the shade of the elm trees that manage to over-hang the pavement a bit.  The draw - an organically occurring ditch - that runs through here allows to the trees to get enough water to gain some decent height. 

The cemetery has some good trees too, and you can find some of these same people and more eating lunch out there every day.  Whichever place they choose, they stay in their car, keep the radios quiet and don't feel the need to engage in cell phone conversations.  I love it.  It's like we're all attending an introvert's convention together. 

Collected introverts, dancing blackbirds and faux-creeks. 

It's what's for lunch. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I just like to say "Casper Weinberger".

Words are powerful.  Names are important. 

Remember the old Bloom County cartoon where Opus muses that he and Caspar Weinberger have had to work hard to overcome the hardship of their less than stellar nomenclature?

For the most part, I contend that courtesy titles are a form of self-perpetuating discrimination.  I ain't sayin' it's right, I'm just sayin' it is.  I like titles that tell what you've done (Doctor, President) as opposed to those that give your marital status.  I am 41 years old and I cannot remember a single incident in my entire life in which it was ever necessary to use the title Miss or Mrs. 

Words like chairwoman or policewoman discriminate because the very sound of the word tells you this person is somehow different from the norm.  Why not just be the chairman?  Or the officer?  Why do you need a different title to do the same job? 

Why do we need separate Oscar categories for male and female actors?  Why can't all actors compete against one another?  I do understand, given our currently regressing caveman culture, that this might result in a dearth of female recipients, but it just chaps that women compete only against women and vice-versa.  As if women need some sort of separate arena?  We don't. 

We do need separate bathrooms, but that's about it.

I worked with a court administrator once who preferred the term administratrix.  Thankfully, no one would actually call her that.  The called her some other things, though.  Administratrix - what century is that from?  It sounds like what you'd call the receptionist at a S&M club. 

And then there are the sports teams.  I realize that there probably ought to be some way of differentiating men's and women's sports teams.  And honestly, I've got no idea of how to do it, really.  I just know the current system sucks.  (Isn't this how these things normally go?  Someone gets all smart ass and bashes the situation without having thought through any sort of a way of improving things.)  I don't have the answer, I'm just complaining. 

Bulldogs are always a popular mascot around here.  And every school that uses it calls their girls teams the Lady Dogs.  Yet "Go Bitches!" is frowned upon when shouted from the cheap seats.

The little town just north of here uses the admirably unusual mascot of the Kangaroo.  The women's teams?  Lady Roos.  Lady Roo sounds like a ripoff of Lady Gaga. 

While writing this I am wearing a t-shirt that has "Lady Horn Softball" emblazoned across my chest.  Granted, the boys don't play softball, so they could have used Longhorn Softball.  But, no. 

The Lady Horn might well be an implement of male destruction hidden away from sight and perhaps the culprit behind all the anti-feminism pervading our legislative bodies these days. 

Lady Horn.  Watch for it.

It was all fun and games until someone put an eye out.  With the Lady Horn. 

You gotta say it like Peter Griffin says "Roadhouse":    Lady Horn.

Worse yet?  The reason I'm wearing the shirt is because my kid's team was playing the Sundown Roughnecks.  (A roughneck is a type of oil field worker/job.)  Of course they don't call their team the Lady Roughnecks.  Nah. 

The Roughettes!

Kid. you. not. 

The Roughettes.  Appearing nightly at the Emasculation Lounge with Lady Roo!  They'll be here all week. 

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Comic Books–Tool of the Devil

Someone in my household started wearing reading glasses.  It wasn’t me. 

But one day when I was straining through an evidently tiny copy of The Watchmen, I saw them lying on the end table.  I picked them up.  No one was home, no one would see me…  I slipped them on and tried squinting.

It didn’t help.

The squinting, that is.  The reading glasses eliminated all need for it!  Amazing!  I finished the book in record time. 

Thanks to the Kindle and it’s easily adjusted text size, I contend that I shall never need reading glasses.  Provided I give up reading comic books. 

But I don’t want to do that.  In fact, I ordered a new one that came in the mail today.  It’s the first volume of The Preacher series.  I’ve read some later volumes and I just love it.  It’s about a minister from west Texas.  It is chock full of bloody, gory violence, explicit and sometimes extraneous sex, and more vulgarity than you can shake a collection plate at. 

I love it!

 The Preacher

So, I ordered the first volume from some anonymous internet seller on Amazon.  It came in the mail today and I have either had a brush with fundamentalist sickos who had no idea what they had on their hands, or I have just met my new best friends.

For reals.

They sent along a free gift.  The free gift included a kitty-rap decal (I guess that’s what it is), a cross-shaped sucker (which is just horribly, horribly wrong in my twisted mind) and a choose-your-own-adventure book entitled “You Are The Messiah”.  I can’t wait to read it. (I wonder how it works if you’re female? Does that take you down some alternately subservient path?)  And then there is a post-card for “The House That Drips Blood on Alex” playing at Megaphone Comedy club. 

Isn’t that insane?!!  It’s like Christmas in the asylum, all over again!


The Preacher Free Gift

Monday, January 16, 2012