Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You Gonna Read All of That Now?!

I took my boy to the comic book store. We had to drive through downtown to get there. I didn't know Jacksonville had a hair-burning factory. Smelled horrible. OR, the smell COULD be the Baptist Factory. We've got the third largest Baptist factory in the south! It takes up 11 square blocks, churning out Baptists left and right. Heck! THAT would solve our trade deficit. Yo, China! Send us cheap, plastic, lead-painted toys, and we'll send you a big shipment of Baptists! Oh, wait. We've been sending them missionaries already. China keeps sending them back. We'll have to look into our Baptist quality control department.

ANYWAY-- we drove through downtown to get to the comic book store. I was behind a car with a flapping car flag. It was in Gator colors: Orange and Blue. The flag read, "Jesus." (I think Jesus did some post-grad work at University of Florida. He discovered how to turn water into Gatorade.)

ANYWAY-- We finally made it to the comic book store. I warned the boy about turning the pages of the comic books very carefully, so we wouldn't stress out the comic guy behind the register.

We walked in, and headed for a Spider-man comic. The boy picked one up, and turned the pages with only two fingers, like I taught him. I stood over him like an in-law with nothing to do. "Very good, boy. Doin' good. You like that one?"

Some lady asked Comic Guy if they bought any back issues of a certain title. He told her to try Chamblin Bookmine in the haughtiest tone he could muster while watching us.

The boy picked another Spider-man comic, and rested it on the shelf so he could focus on his page-turning method. Comic Guy pretended to put some comics away next to us. "Um," he said, "Could you tell him NOT to leave the comics on the shelf like that while he turns the pages? They can get caught on the shelf above."

I had my boy hand me the comic. "Oh, sorry," I told my son, "Comics are meant for people without hands."

While my boy was reading Sonic, I said loud enough, "Say, don't breathe on it. The comic will lose 20% of its value."

I gave it a rest when Comic Guy got a phone call. "No. The owner isn't in. What is this about? I don't care if it's personal. He's never in."

My boy handed me an X-Men book with Storm on the cover-- my fave! "Did you lick this one? Or, did you expect me to lick it first?"

Well, we DID pay for some comics with our sullen, crumpled bills. Comics for a KID, of all things!

When we got home, we told my wife about the trip. She picked up the phone and called the comic book store.

My wife asked the phone, "Is the owner there?"


"No, I'd like to speak to the owner. When will he be in?"


"I would NOT like to leave him a message. Will he be in tonight?"


"It's about poor customer service," she told the phone. Today."

Well. The owner is never in, I guess.

But, I promised the boy I would blog this:

The comic guy at the comic book store wasn't very nice. He isn't very nice in The Simpsons comic book, either. But, we didn't get to step all over that title. Yet.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brother, Can You Spare A , um, Like, Some Money, Dude?

I've been walking the dog some more.

Last night, just after the evening twilight, I walk the dog up to a corner, and two skateboarders scrape by.

"Excuse me, sir?" the black-haired one yelled at me from across the street.


"Can I have a dollar?"

This kid is a product of our poor public school system. Our state's kids are growing up without a clue how to properly beg. No panache. No wheedling. Not even a grovel to tug some guilt-and a couple bucks-out of me. They panhandle just like the state. Essentially: Here's a new skateboarder tax: Give me a dollar.

I'm glad there are some private schools to teach some more fortunate kids this valuable skill. Valuable especially in this economy! I mean, how many times have you been at the gas station, without your debit card, no cash, and you just need a couple bucks for gas to make it home? In fact, some kids learn to beg before they can walk! Some even learn to beg instead of walking!

So, for all you folks who've been through Florida Public Schools, and need an appreciation for the sport of scrounge, here are some lines that just may get the job done for you.


I'm from The Immaculate Perception. Around the corner. We see you drive by Sunday mornings. I'd like to explain to you why you need to give me a tenth of what's in your wallet, or burn for all eternity.

I'm collecting donations to buy supplies for my charity car wash to raise money for uniforms for my school's band to wear while they sell cookie dough to fund their trip to Washington, D.C. to play a benefit concert to help starving kids in South America sell popcorn to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

My dog needs an operation I can't afford, and it's her birthday today. Could you spare a couple bucks so I could get her something special for her last meal?

Give me a dollar, or I'll have a wardrobe malfunction.

I ran into Samuel L. Jackson, and he said you're not as cheap as everyone says you are.

I know this guy in this apartment building that can turn your ten dollars into fifty. He's really shy, so give me your ten, and I'll be right back.

Mommy! Mommy! --What? You're not my real mommy? Y'know, this deep, personal pain you've caused me could be smoothed over with just a few bucks.

I'm passing the hat here! C'mon, don't cheap out! I had to pawn my ventriloquist's dummy just to buy the hat!

Help! Help! My two-year-old baby wandered out of the house last night, and made it clear across town! I need to send her cab fare.

My job moved to India. Can you spare some dough so I can go chase after it?

Say, stop feeding Africa! I'm hungry and standing right in front of you.

I just gave my last fiver to a hungry skateboarder. Could you spare some change so I can make it home?


There's plenty more, you can bet. I'll be looking for you and your hook. I don't have any cash to give you, you understand. I'm a little light in the wallet this payday. Business has still not stimulated in my neck of the woods, and blogging about idiots don't pay squat, so, um, if you could shoot me a little something-something, you'd make my day. I take Paypal.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not the first time around the block

What have I been doing instead of blogging? Walking my dog.

A musty dawn broke on our second time around the block. We stopped a full suburban yard away from a white German shepherd nosing the grass. The owner of the grass pulled his extra-wide Buick out of his garage, missed the dog, and pulled into a different driveway in the cul-de-sac. He must have expected the German shepherd to close the garage door.

Chloe tugged me around the block some more, and the neighbor in the Buick pulled up. "Have you seen a white German shepherd?"

"Yes. He was standing in your yard."

"Really? I think he was headed this way. He's my neighbor's dog, and when he gets out, he just takes off. He just doesn't listen. Just a dumb dog."

The Buick pulled up to the German shepherd at the next corner. The driver didn't get out of the car. The dog sat and watched the car back up a little, turn a little, move forward, turn a little, back up a little, etc. until the Buick had made a U-turn. The dog walked away toward another smell.

"See," the driver said, "the dog is stupid."

What was he telling the dog? Get in the car, and drive? Anyone who watches the Dog Whisperer knows German shepherds can't drive. It is the Welsh Cabbies which are bred for their superior chauffeuring traits. Although, they're hard to train to use their turn signals.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who's That Twit?

So, I do the Facebook (FB) thing. Played a little FB backgammon, some Bejeweled Blitz, and Farm Town. I've learned I'd make an excellent Clone Trooper, and I'm more of a Rachel from Friends. I've told cyberspace my favorite supermodel is Trish Goff, and I love Marvel Comics' Storm. And, I can hardly get enough of the Dog Whisperer show. But, really, I just like to see what my FB friends are up to.

Then, there is Twitter. I've Twittered off and on. I found a celebrity I really like to follow. I loved Samantha Who? and her appearance in this video during the writers' strike was hilarious! I found Christina Applegate's Twitter ID through FB or her web site. It turns out, she loves the NYT crossword puzzle, and slow music, and Lee National Denim Day. It's just kinda nifty to follow her for awhile.

I've also followed Alicia Keys, and seen her new shoe purchases.

I've read about how Kelly Ripa is really tired, but on the plane home.

Then, I became addicted to finding celebrities. I'm following 19 Twits now, most of them celebrities. Alyssa Milano is on her honeymoon, and reposts news stories and tweets about favorite causes. Rose McGowan loves her dogs, and found a Dustbuster isn't the best way to clean up exploded overcooked eggs.
John Cleese is selling t-shirts, and Paula Abdul went to bed early. Kristen Bell did NOT fall asleep cooking eggs, but DID fall asleep in a car wash recliner.

Just a few people follow me on Twitter. I'm no Carrie Ann Inaba, but every now and then, I find my Twitter Followers number jumps to 6. It's usually some aspiring porn actress needing attention. You can usually tell because their Twitter name has vulgar words in it. Or, all her posts are about her tawdry movie links. Or, she doesn't have a tweet at all.

Last night, another complete stranger started following me. It was someone I've never heard of. Amandabeeson9 is her id. I've tried very hard to find a dirty word in her name. She has normal posts about taking her mom and sister to lunch. Her GlamourShot pic looks a little like Jamie Presley, but not overtly alluring.

So, now I'm following this COMPLETE stranger. I don't know why this should feel weird to me. I mean, all these celebrities I'm following are strangers to me. So far, all I've learned about Amandabeeson9 is she has a mom, and by googling her tweet "Upscale Waffle: Aloe," I've discovered she probably lives with her roommate in New York City. But, at the first sign of "buy my new sexy DVD," I am soooo blocking her.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sit on it

If this is just too long for one sitting:

Day 2
Comfort Zone

A few weeks ago, I got this ache just to the right of my lower spine, and it only happened while sitting. Bad for a knitter. Standing is fine. Walking is fine. Getting up off the floor after cleaning up dog mess, not so fine.

My wife had a different back ache, and suggested we try a chiropractor. I've never been.

I don't know why she chose the one she did-- maybe they had a late opening. It used to be a hair and nail salon, but there wasn't a trace of acetone in the air when I walked in.

I filled out documents, chose not to put a lien on my house (really!?!), pointed out on the computer where it hurt, with a 4 on the Pain-in-the-Sphincter scale.

I sat in the little x-ray room (facials used to be in this room, I think), and looked at the anatomy charts. I love anatomical charts, and drawings. I read Gray's Anatomy, but only got through the the first section: the spine! before stopping to look at all the pictures. By reading the chiropractic charts, I figured out one of my lower lumbar vertebrae might be pinching my sciatic nerve.

Dr. P entered, and had me sit and lift each leg while his hand was on my back. My left leg caused a normal back movement, but the right leg lift caused none whatsoever. He said, "One of your lower vertebra may be pinching your sciatic nerve."

I emptied my pockets, and got a front and side x-ray of my pelvis. Then, after laying face-down while electrodes thumped my lower back under a hot pad, and laying face-up on a bread kneading machine, I was asked to come back for the x-ray results.

*** DAY 2 ***

The next day, Dr. P wasn't in, so Dr. D saw me in the ex-foot massage room. He decided to introduce me to the magic of chiropractic.

Dr D asked, "What is the most important part of the body?"

"The heart," I said.

"The brain. Everyone knows that."

"Well, without the heart pumping oxygen to the brain, it would starve and die."

"Yes, but without the brain, the heart wouldn't know to beat."

"Ah, but cells of the heart can actually beat by themselves! I saw it on Discovery, I think. But, this is a cyclical tangent. Let's just suppose the brain is most important," I said.

Dr. D went on. "Well, the brain is connected to nerves spreading out everywhere in your body. So, when an organ has a problem, it sends a signal to the brain it's in trouble, and your innate intelligence sets about to heal it."

"Through a different system, like the lymph nodes?"

"Well, suppose we take an organ?"

"Like the heart?"

"A different one."

"The lung?"

"Sure," he said, "If the lung gets sick, it sends a signal to the brain, through the spinal cord, and the brain sends help. But, if the lung keeps sending the sick signal too much, this causes a vertebra to twist, and pinch off the nerve, and cause greater illness!"

I thought about my back pain, and where it was located-- near my most favoritest, and funnest male organ. Maybe it was having too much fun and it wasn't getting the brain's message to knock it off.

"So, if I breathe in an irritant, it disturbs a lung-nerve. The nerve twists a back bone out of joint?"

"Yep. I can show you where all smokers have an arch in their back."

"A nerve is not a muscle, right? So, you're saying an electrical or chemical impulse traveling down a healthy nerve makes the nerve bulge out of shape, and knock a backbone out of joint? A bone that is held in place like a puzzle piece by many different muscles attached to it."

"Um, no. Not like that," Dr. D said.

"What causes the nerve to twist the vertebrae," I asked.

"Um, I should know that. I know that it does, but I haven't had to explain it for awhile."

"I get that way explaining additive and subtractive color, and color gamuts."

Dr. D showed me my x-rays. "See, here's your back from the back side. See how the pelvis is shifted at an angle? This hip joint is higher than the other, and could indicate a misalignment."

"Or, it could mean I had most my weight on my left leg," I suggested, falling back on my study of artistic anatomy.

Dr. D figured that could very well be, and said I should have stood with even weight distribution. Then, he showed me the side-view x-ray. "See, this bottom end curve of your spine is too shallow. Now that you're older, there are no arteries going into this part of the spine any more. The back, like a spring, flexes when you walk, expelling waste. But, your spine doesn't curve enough down here."

"Expelling waste, how?" Never mind what kind of waste, nor to where.

"By... by... It's called... When something floats through to fill an empty space, kind of."


"That's it." Dr. D stopped. "At work, do you sit leaning forward? Don't, because your brain stem can slip gradually into your C1."

"The axis, right?"

"Hey, that's right! And, this will shorten your life." After an inspiring story of an anonymous spinal adjustment relieving some diabetic symptoms, he said, "Anyway, we'll need to adjust your spine over quite a few visits, so your back can operate properly. Let's get started."

*** Adjustment ***

So, he led me out of the ex-foot massage room, into a room that had never been used by the salon, I reckon. It was designed for torture. The walls were gray and had a bare cement floor so the blood and tears could be hosed off. Sanitary is a very high priority in any medical field. There was a small green half-bench. It looked like a weight bench for an eight-year-old. There was a hole in the main horizontal pad through which I could scream through. Well, at least I didn't have to get undressed.

I laid on my belly. Dr. D pushed on my lumbar a good three times, then went to my upper back.


I snapped up off that bench. "YeOW, man!"

"That was gas escap--"

"That was hurt!"

"It hurt?" Dr. D asked?

"You didn't break it, but it hurt. I guess I'm just not used to this whole chiropractic thing."

He sent me on to the electrodes and kneading machines.

That night, I talked to a lady who had a different chiropractor. He was a chiropractor to the stars-- sports stars. He made her do exercises. Now, that made sense. stretch the muscles. Make them more flexible and stronger. Hmm. I bet with a good muscle relaxant...

So, I Googled, and I Wikied, and learned a load of chiropractic tidbits. It turns out, I'm not the only one who questions whether seemingly unrelated diseases can shift vertebrae. I searched the web, sitting straight up, mind you. At Wikipedia, B J Palmer said about the same thing as Dr. D said about lung disease. B J Palmer, son of the guy who invented Chiropractic in c. 1890, and the guy who gave Ronald Reagan his first broadcasting job, said he could show the same vertebra out of place in small pox patients, realign the spine, and then: no more small pox. Like the whole germ-thing causing illness is a sham. And, though many physicians believe the body has an ability to help heal itself, using the phrase, "innate intelligence" is a uniquely, and now quirky, chiropractic term.

*** Comfort Zone ***

I eventually went to my family MD. She said, yes, yoga would be good for my back, and she prescribed a muscle relaxant. She also discovered a little pebble-hardness at my pain site. I had forgot to mention it to anyone before. No idea what it is. And, she says my pain has more to do with my sacrum area, than with the vertebrae above it.

I'll get to my yoga soon. Really. I've a new goal. I want to do a seated spinal twist. I think it is the most beautiful of all yoga positions. Maybe I should draw it first. That's safer.

Downside, I can't have my Guinness since I'm taking muscle relaxants. I wonder how much Guinness I have to drink to have the same effect?

Well, thanks for reading. If you made it through this post in one sitting, I'm betting your sacrum is pretty sore by now, too.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Nightstand Strata

I could not find my newest pair of glasses. They were not on my side of the dresser, nor in my catch-all dresser drawer. They were not in my bag. They were not on my face, either. Though, I have found them there before.

So, I needed to excavate my nightstand to see if they slipped in there some how.

I do this every now and then.

On my nightstand:
Phone, lamp, clock-radio, a box of Kleenex, a Tinker Bell mug of water on a coaster.

My aunt Carol's address.

Receipts for: a Lily Allen CD, a coffee, two for art supplies, and one for a surgical procedure.

A dime, a little bit of rubbery plastic.

A Tinker Bell pin, a stuffed fairy named Snow, two pairs of hand-knit socks--one pair has never been worn.

Two pens, my blue-framed glasses (not the ones I was looking for), my half-rimmed glasses (the ones I WAS looking for!)

Scraps of yarn, a Tinker Bell bucket of yarn including three skeins of Politically Incorrect yarn.

A framed wallet-sized picture of my goddaughter from about 5 years ago.

Then, the stack of books:
There's Nothing Funny About Design, by David Barringer
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Century 1910
Complete Dracula, issue 1
Grimm Fairy Tales, issues 36-8 (unread)
Strangers in Paradise comics, Vol 1 Is. 3; Vol 3, Is. 2, 3, 51-3, 61, 76.

Two birthday cards.

Marvel Adventures: Spider-man #27 (my boy's)
Echo, # 1-12, plus a second copy of #2. (All mine.)
Astonishing X-Men #29

Interweave Knits Summer 2009
Tao, The Watercourse Way, Alan Watts
Parabola, sp 2009
Pad of translucent vellum
Naked, by David Sedaris (Not as amusing as I had thought)
Small book of grid paper
How to Draw Celtic Knotwork
Celtic Knotwork Designs
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Is. 2009
Interweave Knits Sp 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Prey Elsewhere

"[A vampire] may not enter anywhere on the first, unless there be some one of the household who bid him to come."
--Dracula, Bram Stoker

So, there's this knock on my door yesterday morning. I tore myself from the latest Facebook app, and with a kid at my elbow, and a puppy at his feet, I opened the door.

Two gray ladies, one two steps behind the other, looked at the puppy, then the boy in his jammie shorts, then my head poked around the door.

"Hello," the first septuagenarian said, "I wondered if we might share a piece of scripture with you today."

"No. Thank you." I brushed my boy back, and closed the door.

As my door shut in her face, she said, "I noticed your sign--" She was pointing to the homey "Peace To All Who Enter" tile hanging in the window. Yeah, well, the old demon hadn't gotten even a toe across my threshold. No peace for her.

"Who was that," my boy asked.

"Just someone selling something we didn't need."

Yeah, I used to tell the godsellers I worshiped a goat, or their god didn't exist as much as mine. But, that takes too much time, and I would have to pretend to care. Now days, I have a kid to protect from their holier-than-thou grasp.

I'm tired of playing their psyche-sucking game. They knock on your door. All they need you to do is answer. Cause, if you greet them amiably, they take encouragement from you they are doing their imaginary master's bidding, then bug your neighbors. Maybe even use your name. But, if you say they are wasting their time, they may steel themselves to stand in your yard and chant a few words to their imaginary master about you, then may even come back for a second helping next month. Woe is you if they bite you. You'll become one of their pack, enter their den of lies, of guilt and ignorance, with pious backbiting. Woe, woe, woe.

So, to all avid proselytizing succubi: Behold, you stand at the door and knock. At my No Soliciting sign.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Before Tink: The Best Super Hero in the World

I needed forget Jacksonville is sometimes just like Hazzard County, GA complete with Boss Hogg and Roscoe P. Coltrane.

I'm glad we still have comic book stores for that. My boy, M, saw my two boxes of old comics, and decided he wanted a couple boxes of comics, too. I thought he should start with one-- to add to his Sonic comic. His mom gave him $5 dollars, and off we went.

It'd been awhile since I've been in a comics store. M would pick up a book, and start to GENTLY flip through it, like I showed him. I hadn't seen the T+, and the A on the covers before! It's probably been on there a couple years. It could be a way to keep the comics industry from being totally stamped out by other people trying to protect my son's soul. BUT, I used it to find a story arc that M could sit through without becoming bored, or ask a gazillion questions I can't answer. ("Daddy, where do super heroes go when they die? If there is a zombie swamp monster under my bed, do you have a super power to get it back into the swamp? Or, at least into the neighbor's backyard? Why not?")

ANYWAY, M's new favorite character is Wolverine. Weapon X is T+ (Teens and over). But, he did find X-Men First Class, rated A for Anyone. He likes all the X-men. He knows their names and powers, thanks to an old video game he found, and a couple cartoons he saw. He managed to sit through 1/2 the first movie, too. I'm sure all his friends swap X-Men stories and make up new ones. I wonder if Socrates and Plato did the same thing regarding the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus?

My favorite super hero of all time is Storm. (See pic by Aaron Lopresti which I found here.) She's the BEST X-Man. The greatest super hero EVER. She even beat Scott Summers-- WITHOUT her weather-controlling super powers. I had collected a lot of Storm stuff. I still have an empty can of Dr. Pepper with her picture on it. I wonder if my boy will become just as nuts for the X-Men.

M proudly paid the $5 for the comic, and "Dad! I got some cents back!" He took my money, and paid for my comic, too. He's getting so big. I picked up the current issue of Echo, by Terry Moore, who wrote/drew Strangers in Paradise. I opened up Echo, and the love of his art gripped me again. It was like looking at an old friend again. Now I need to get all the other issues of Echo. Dang. Back into the comic obsession...

It did made me smile to take my boy on a comic book trip, though. Dad and boy time.

Say, they just started drawing Pride and Prejudice, for all those Jane Austin fans out there.

Tink on Ice

So, we went to Disney on Ice. Other than Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald, it was okay.

Some random thoughts about the Disney on Ice Show:

When Ariel gets her legs, it got a lot less hotter under the water.

During the Lion King, I still couldn't tell the difference between The Circle of Life and the Food Chain.

The litte girl behind me had no idea what a hyena was, and asked her mom a dozen questions about them, but at the intermission, she pointed at the skating rink and told her mom that was a Zamboni.

During the Pixar's Cars skidding this and that way on the ice, all I could think of was driving in Minnesota winters. I wanted to throw down some sand for them.

Then the Pixie Hollow fairies came out after the intermission. My wife had the good camera, but I thought, what the heck, try the cell phone camera. But every time I try to get a shot of Tinker Bell, she was all white light.

FINALLY, after a dozen photos of Tink and her atomic aura, and at the end of the show, I get a shot.

So, the show wraps up with melding the Pixie Hollow music with the M-I-C-K-E-Y theme... Just to drum it into your head that Mickey is always watching, and owns everything you just saw.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Nothing to blog

So, Somali pirates hijack the Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean. The crew stabs a pirate and the pirates leave in a lifeboat with the Maersk captain. The U.S. Navy shows up, and the pirates radio a German ship, the Hansa Stavanger that was under pirate control since this Saturday. But, the Navy wouldn't let them through.

The Hansa Stavanger had a crew of 24 sailors. 12 of them are from Tuvalu.

Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world. They make money by leasing their domain name .tv (it's like the United Kindoms .uk, or Canada's .ca) to folks like, or I mean, a country without mineral resources, nor rivers, groundwater. Or, food.

Speaking of food, the Maersk Alabama that was hijacked: It finally made it to it's destination: Mombasa, Kenya with food aid.

Oh, and the captain? He's from Vermont. They just legalized gay marriage.

Ok. Nothing to blog today.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

When Is It Too Much Information?

When I type a capital P, I hold the shift key down with my right pinkie finger, then strike the P with the middle finger of the same hand.

Now, did I really need to blog that?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pieces from my week

Nothing feels quite like finishing a snazzy pair of socks! And, nothing feels quite like realizing I Kirchner stitched the second sock shut two rows too early. Sigh. Nothing feels like unraveling a toe, and joining in new yarn to get the toe right.


My boy introduced me to a new little girl in his class (he's 5.5). He said they were in love, and it was real. Well, I guess I won't have to explain eHarmony to him.


I tried Twitter. I found myself almost caring if Kelly Ripa made her flight back to the U.S. Apparently, she needs sleep just as much as I do.


The room freshener makes my office smell like a Smurf bordello.


My boy would not keep his hands out of the ice bin at the movie theater concession stand. So, I used some of Cesar Millan's Dog Whispering tricks on him. They really work! Now my boy knows I'm the alpha dog. He's thinks his mom should get me a better leash.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Unfaded Memories

I remember the first time I saw The Thin Man. I had just got my job back that morning. To celebrate, I spent the afternoon pitching pennies. I won enough to buy a ticket to the theater near my brother-in-law's house where I rented a room. I sprawled out in the middle of a row, even winked at a girl a row behind me. First, the news reel about John Dillinger still being at large, the drought and dust storms, and Hitler's rise. A Betty Boop cartoon, and FINALLY the film. I laughed all the year's troubles away. Heck, we all did. I left the theater convinced all I needed was a snappy wit and a small dog to meet me a swell dame like Myrna Loy.

Well, okay. That's not exactly how it went. I love old movies: Bogart film noir, Fred Astaire musicals, or screwball Cary Grant comedies. My mind makes up a little fake me-history to go along with what I'm watching. I don't know why my brain does it, either. I'd understand it if they were memories of my OWN life, but "memories" of my grandparents' era? Is it to enjoy the movie even more, as if I could be in the original time at a theater when it was first released. Or, is it just a game to cull as much sickly-sweet nostalgia as I can from the movie?

When I hear old Benny Goodman tunes, I'll get sucked back to the days before going to war, the smokey dance hall with the tables shoved close together, yellow bulbs with tin shades hanging from the ceiling to light us, swirling-drunk dances, wringing one more happy memory to warm me through the winters Over There.

It's other people's schmaltz, but I loll in it all the same.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I speak Cat. Don't believe me? Say this to your cat, "Mrrrah meh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh." Cracks 'em up every time.

As a kid, our family had up to 7 house cats at a time. I knew all their personalities and senses of humor. We always had cats. And, oddly, I always had a cold.

Turns out, I'm allergic to cats. And dogs. And trees, and things that bloom. I took the allergist's prick test. I'm allergic to pricks, too. When my allergies hit, my eyes water, nose runs, and asthma kicks in. Many times I've run from a friend's house as if it were on fire so I can get some "fresh" air.

Anyway, my family is getting a puppy. She is a rat terrier my kid has named Chloe. I don't think he named her for the Paris fashion house. Nor for Chloe Sevigny. He got it from a dog movie I refuse to see. I wanted to name it Guinness, but I was told that wasn't a girl's name.

As I was saying, I'm allergic to dogs. We went out to meet Chloe's daddy in a parking lot, midway between Chloe's home and our house. I pet the dog, then wiped my face to test my allergy to his breed. I thought of wiping the dog all over my face, but that seemed rude. Maybe I should have greeted the dog in dog-language: sniff it's butt.

My allergies didn't kick off. True, a parking lot is well ventilated, but I thought I did pretty well! And, now my boy gets his dog. Chloe will show up sometime in May. My family has promised to bathe it weekly, and deal with any excretion mishaps to lessen the chance of asthma attacks.

But, I'm most afraid of the language barrier. I've tried to speak French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, American Sign Language, Tagalog-- shoot, I can barely understand Pig Latin. With foreign languages, I'm tongue-tied. Soon, I'll be living with something that only speaks Dog. Chloe will show up, and I'll just stand there like the cat's got my tongue. I'm sure there are certain growls, yips, snorts, and wags I should know. Does anyone have some colloquial dog expressions you can share? Do I greet Chloe with some hip hand gesture, and say, "Yo, dawg, who let you out?"

Geez. I hope she likes me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Got My Knit On

Ooooooooh. It has been a long time since I've been excited by yarn. I had just cast off a pair of undulating rib socks that took two, maybe three months to finish. I just wanted them done. I almost bound off the second sock way too early and called it a Soda Can Cozie.

Then a few weeks ago, (been too busy to blog) I saw the yarn pictured here. The one on the far left is Last Call, and the nearest colorway is I Shaved My Legs For This. They are Politically Incorrect yarns from Sugarbee Studios. They are now waiting for me in my bucket o' yarn on my nightstand.

And, I'm FINALLY onto the Deaton sock pattern from PicnicKnits. I've been wanting to start this sock since September of last year.

AND, I had just spent a few hours with other knitters! Some knitters I knew, some I didn't, and some I hadn't seen in what seemed like forever. And, they were all engaging, and delightful and they all glowed with knitting essence-- or, maybe the room was well lit.

Anyway, I've been energized. I feel like a heathen with renewed faith in the Needles and Fiber.

Oh. If you're planning an engagement party, and need to hire a quartet, I know just the folks for you. They're spinners. Watching these folks spin wool can make even a room full of bellicose warmongers stop their foulmouthed diatribes and drift into a meditative swoon of elevated homespun consciousness. ... ... ...

Whoa. I slipped off myself just thinking of them. I wonder if they need a groupie.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wisenheimer, Offend Thyself

So, I snapped out a crappy pun which played upon the obvious religious heresy of the stranger in the story being told. However, the pun was received as a hint toward sexual deviancy.

My head emptied. My mouth hung open, flapping gently on one hinge. There was a dry, gurgle in my throat. I could hear blood rushing past my ears to flush my face. My blinking was slow, and deliberate. Fog swirled around empty skull. Lightning was sure to strike me any second. As the topic was expounded a little, my gut twisted, and I began to sweat under my too-too jaunty cap. The pun's connection to sex was SO obvious! How come I didn't catch it before I said anything!?!

People will always say they have a sense of humor, and listen to a variety of music, and are not easily offended. People think a lot of themselves. Me, too. It has been awhile since I've been offended. I mean, I listen to Lily Allen: See! Sense of humor, musical variety, and not offended all in one!

It has been a long time since I remember being offended. But, in this case, had I REALLY been offended? What is being offended? What happens? I mean, I got over it. I don't think anybody in the room was out to get me, or any such nonsense. Everyone was very nice. I just felt very uncomfortable.

So, I got to thinking (I really ought to stick to knitting, though). Maybe feeling comfortable all the time is a bad thing. And, that's a wild thing for a meat sack of neuroses like me to be thinking. What is soooooo bad about being uncomfortable? Maybe I could pay very close attention to the uncomfort, and try to pin down just what it IS. Kind of an inner adventure. Or, just plain get over it and move on. Why dwell? If I get too uncomfortable, I can always grab a Guinness, my knitting, and an old movie.

And, to anyone who was in that room for my REALLY bad pun: Yeah, I thought it was a stupid pun, too.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Laugh and Let Laugh

So, I said, "Sure, I've seen The Holy Land theme park. I've gotta warn you. You WILL get wet on the Jonah in the Whale Ride."

Then, someone said, "Are you joking? I can't tell when you're joking."

Yeah. I get that a lot. Especially when I'm not very funny.

So, in case you're wondering, at left is my face after I just told the computer what I had for lunch. Note the half-closed eyes staring off into space, a little nervous, with a self-deprecating air. I could use a trim about the goatee.

Now, at right is my face just after telling the computer a joke. Notice the snarky smirk, the twinkle in the eye, the cocky tilt to the head. Oh, yeah. I'm joking all right. You should be falling off your laptop, because the joke I told the computer was so funny.

Here's the deal. I've been thinking. (In case you're wondering, when I think, I look very angry, but I'm NOT angry!) Why would someone bother asking me if THEY think my joke is funny? Do I have to carry a laugh track around with me? (Everyone, say it with me: "Is that a laugh track in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?") Why not let yourself decide whether to laugh or not? Don't laugh if the joke is stupid. Laugh if the joke is funny. OH! And, laugh in the middle of a sentence-- for no reason. That is loads of fun. Gets people real nervous real quick.

Anyway, if you're still not sure when to laugh or not, let me revise my little joke. It's like a pop quiz:

Hey, great crowd here tonight. Great to be here.

Anyone been to the Holy Land theme park? I freaked out on the Tower of Babel. They make you walk 16 flights of stairs, and when you're pushed off, you scream in 12 different languages. And all the concession stands have all-you-can-eat loaves and fishes. They're practically giving the stuff away. Oh, and my little boy likes the petting zoo, He rides those Four Ponies of the Apocalypse like there was no tomorrow.

Hey, thanks for being here. Remember to tip your bartender and waitstaff. Good night.

Soooo, how'd you do? Did you manage to roll your eyes in mock disgust a couple times? That's all I'm asking for. A genuine response from the core of your being. Is that so hard?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Please blink and drive.

On my way to work, I was sitting in the left turn lane (in a car) waiting for the light to change (again). I was listening to some song, grooving to it a little, and I noticed some off-beat percussion. It sounded like sticks clacking together, but they were way off beat. I tried tapping out the rhythm on my steering wheel. I couldn't imagine an audio engineer letting that beat through.

It, er, turns out, the odd beat was my turn signal. So, when I turned my music up louder so I didn't have to hear the turn signal, a small beacon of light blinked on in my head. The reason people don't use their turn signals is because they don't want the clicking sound to ruin their music!

PEOPLE! Turn up your car radios! Turn 'em up LOUD! Then feel free to use your turn signals!

It's probably why all the cool, hip young'uns drive with music that make ears bleed two blocks away! Because they want to use their signals, and be the safe, conscientious drivers we know they are!

In fact, I now understand why the guy I'm following drives with his blinker on ALL the time! He's listening to a great groove, and can't hear that his turn signal is still on! Now, I don't mind at all!

SO, rock on, America! Blast those tunes! As long as you use your blinkin' turn signals!