Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Dark Secret From the Parent Handbook

Last night it happened again.

It happens every year; a night of darkness, of unholy cacophony. A ceremony of chaos, if you will, that chills the very soul. Participation in this dark rite is mandatory; escape, impossible. It is, and here I bring my voice down to a whisper, the School Band Concert.

I can think of no other event after childbirth that is a better reason not to have children in the first place. Because if you decide to have children, they may play an instrument, and it will be loud. Your son will want to play the drums, because they all do, but will come home with a trumpet. His disappointment will diminish when he realizes he can blast a note in his sister's ear in the middle of the night. Your daughter will conjure sounds on the clarinet that cause the dog mental and physical anguish. Coyote in the park, hearing the call, will be distracted from their slidy-sliding on the play equipment and howl to the moon.

And then every year, at just this time, the Dark Lord, (some call him Band Teacher), will announce the big finale. Not just one school band, oh no.


Observers will be assigned to metal folding chairs designed to cripple. The woman behind you will cough her Swine Flu Phlegm all over the back of your head. The woman in front of you will be wearing low-slung pants that expose too much. The tag from her underwear, tucked in the crack of her ass, will be clearly visible, and you will find it difficult to look away, especially as she begins to squirm in chair-induced pain. The tag will be released and reclaimed (clench and unclench) an infinite number of times before the night is over. Two rows back will be a furiously screaming two year old. Her parents will ignore her as she hurls gummed crackers into the aisle ("nooooooooooo!"), striking in the forehead any who attempt escape .

Only those in the first couple of rows will be able to actually see the band. All others will have to use their imaginations.

When the concert begins, the Band Teacher (a dead ringer for Edgar Allen Poe) will swagger slowly around the gym, stopping to drink from his Diet Coke can. The audience will feel itself aging as he saunters. Finally, he will make his way to the podium. Ascend. Raise his baton. And...the tuning will begin. B flat concert.

There will be a smell of bleak despair in the room.

The fifth grade band will open. They will play three "songs' all unrecognizable except for "Rio Bravo" which you will have heard every year for the last five years. There will be squeaking and popping, and squealing. It will sound much like a battleship breaking apart on the ocean.

When they finish, forty-two parents with leap to their feet with video cameras, to document their child trooping out, clutching a bassoon or sousaphone. The resulting home movies will never be watched by anyone.

5th grade band is replaced with another. 6th grade. Swagger, swill, age, tune. Ship breaking apart on the ocean. Applause and filming.

7th Grade band. Repeat. Ship is replaced with sound of wooden schooner breaking apart, a gentler noise as befits the band's greater age and tootling skill. The school mascot stares malevolently down on the observers. It is probably the Band Director in his true form.

8th Grade band - the last one! Swagger, swill, age, tune. Yes!
No. A pause to glorify the Dark Lord with gift baskets and roasting. Band Teacher will mug for the audience, pull at his tux collar like an old-school Catskills comedian.

You will make deals with God. Please, if you let it be over, I will do anything. Just make it stop.

8th grade will begin to play. But no! Baton will go back down. There will be anecdotes.
Baton back up.

Schooner is only scraping the sides of the dock now! Look how good they've gotten!

When the last "note' has sounded (it will always be a lone player, a red-faced accidental soloist),
you will attempt to rise and realize that the chair has claimed your lower half as victim. You will not be able to feel your legs for a full fifteen minutes. Captives will hobble out looking like an outtake from a zombie movie.

Afterward you will lose you child in the crush for a full twenty minutes, until they finally reappear by the PTA cookie table.

On the way home you will be required to admire, in a detailed fashion, each song played. The ship analogy will not be appropriate in this conversation, so you will be forced to make things up, for the mental health of your child.

It's a dark reality, I know. I may have caused some of you to remain childless. So be it.
I have attended the concert, and the truth must be told.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Unicorn Voodoo

Have you seen this? If so, why didn't you contact me immediately? It's amazing.

The Avenging Unicorn Play Set

Because who doesn't need a faithful unicorn sidekick to dispatch all those irritating people out there? Like, at the post office, for example--Take a number, you say? Well we'll just see about that! Avenge me, Stabby! Use the pearlescent horn!

The set comes with one unicorn, a grip of multi-purpose impaling horns, and three nervous victims who can be impaled an unlimited amount of times. My favorite is the mime, naturally, which is why his death is featured on the box, next to waterfalls.

The other two victims are described as "New Age Woman" and "Businessman". Except "Businessman" looks like he's wearing a big cross around his neck, so maybe he doubles as "Televangelist". (What Mr. Televangelist? You don't believe in unicorns? Behold! Sic him, Stabby! Classic spiral!)

After someone gets me this play set, I'm going to buy some sculpting clay and make new victims for my angry unicorn to impale, thus turning it into a rainbow-enriched voodoo kit.

Possible victim candidates:
  • My blind stalker- because it's hard to terrorize children when you're skewered on the business end of a unicorn.
  • Everybody on "Wife Swap". Which means I'm going to need a lot more clay.
  • Whoever it is that keeps trying to fax stuff to my home phone number, every day at 5 am.
And I'm drawing a blank. Turns out I'm not angry enough to keep my voodoo unicorn fully and gainfully employed. And that's bad, because a bored killer unicorn is a mischievous killer unicorn. And he's got a lot of extra horns to work with.

So. Who would you like Stabby to impale?

PS: For those of you with a burning grudge against cute animals, there is also the Avenging Narwal Play Set.

PPS: Every time I scroll past Carlos in the last post, I swear his head moves in the picture. It's starting to creep me out. That's it. Add Carlos to the Stabby list.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

At Least There Are No One-Eyed Babies In This One. Also a Newsflash!

It was right around the time that I was singing "You Are So Beautiful" to my sprouty dog that I realized maybe I needed to lie down for a few minutes. Not that he isn't beautiful, and there's nothing wrong with a little heartfelt music, especially when it's all fake-operatic, and the people in the back row of the opera house in your head are weeping behind their opera glasses,and the applause is thunderous, but it's not something you want others to witness, really.

I had a peculiar day yesterday, is all. Not necessarily a bad day, just one of those days where everyone in the world seems to be a little two-dimensional like the placeholder cutouts they put in the star's seats at the Oscars. Like you totally LOOK like Meryl Streep to me, but really you're just awkwardly propped in the seat, and the back of your head is corrugated. And I could get up and go to the bathroom and nobody would notice, or at least it would seem that way since you couldn't turn your head. And it's okay really, because, since you're cardboard, I don't have to make small talk. This is making perfect sense, right?

So since I was gone in more ways than one yesterday, (and missed you all), let me catch you up on what I did besides sing to my dog:

  • made my students read 7000 pages (give or take) of The Odyssey, silently, so that I could sign a gigantic stack of attendance forms I've been putting off since September. Also because they're teenagers, and all "emo", I figure I'm giving them material.
  • retrieved my born-again computer from the computer repair guy, now pristine and barren, like a nice hotel room, and promptly loaded it back up with the equivalent of six curling irons, Steven Tyler scarves for draping over lampshades, a tie-dyed bedspread and a ridiculous amount of stuffed animals. And a little virus protection, even though a fat lot of good that did me before when I was merrily downloading everything on the internet that would stand still. It's still not quite the same as before. Maybe after I download Adobe Flash Player thirty or forty times it'll feel like home.
  • watched an elderly woman in an '80's Cadillac try desperately to get the attention of a policeman waiting at the red light next to her. She waved, she gyrated, she made a little beak-shaped hand motion and pantomimed tapping at his window, but to no avail. Apparently Officer Policeman was able to get his job despite his tragic lack of peripheral vision. Which was just as well, since right as the light turned green and the police car pulled into the intersection, the old lady flipped him off and spat out the window of her car. I mean through it, not like the window was in her mouth and she sp....never mind.
  • set the smoke alarm off in the house when I tried cooking frozen orange chicken in a skillet because I forget to turn the oven on, and besides, it's convection, which I STILL don't quite get, and then I wandered off for a minute, probably because I had another verse left in my dog serenade, and then the oil in the pan smoked. The chicken tasted okay, but my hair smells like burnt baby aspirin now.
  • received a text message from my husband, which said cryptically, "carlos ran out of gas." Former Bearded One had gone out to drive wildly in the dirt because he'd borrowed a friend's truck that feels exactly like you're driving a giant Lego. We don't know anyone named Carlos, and besides, he left alone, so ?????
  • received another text message from my husband. This time it was a picture. Of Carlos, presumably.

(Carlos's identity skillfully obscured by my crazy photo-altering skills)

One thing that living with the Former Bearded One has taught me is that you just never know. Turns out Carlos was just walking, walking in the middle of nowhere, and wanted a ride. FBO said okay, just let me send your picture to my wife in case you cut me up in little pieces and steal my giant Lego. Or something close to that anyway.

Carlos was not in psycho mode, probably exhausted from all the tall grass he had been wading through, and FBO made it home alive.

So, that's pretty much it. I lurked a tiny bit yesterday, but between Carlos, and the opera, and the emo teenagers, I didn't have much energy left. I'm coming around to read you all today, I promise.

Also, thanks to Steam Me Up, Kid, who took pity on me and nominated me for a blog award! You made my month, Steamy! :)

(Can you vote for yourself like a million times? Forget I asked....)

UPDATE: Look! I feel so loved!

My site was nominated for Best Humor Blog!

I'm still getting the hang of this award stuff, and I have some of my favorite people to vote for over there. You could vote for me, too, if you wanted to. I'm just saying.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Baby In The Road

So there was a baby in the road, and we nearly ran over it with our station wagon. There were Mexican ladies in starched house dresses smoking on the front steps of a house in sight of the baby, and after we swerved to avoid flattening it, I jumped out of the passenger seat, scooped up the baby in shaky arms, and ran over to them.
"Hey, this baby was in the road!" I said.
"We know. We saw it before," one of the women said placidly.
"Who's baby IS it?"
"It's not our baby. It was just...(slow wave with cigarette hand) there." The women looked bored with me.
Outraged, I stomped back across the street clutching the baby, who I have suddenly noticed has one slightly freaky eye. I thought to myself, I will rescue it anyway! I put it in a car seat that conveniently appeared in the car, and prepared to drive to the police station. I was trying to look through the window to write down the street address of the house, so that those ladies got In Big Trouble, but suddenly the car was rolling down the hill.

"Hey!" I yelled to my husband, "We're rolling!"
"We're drippin' oil!!" he yelled gaily back to me, and it is then I realized he is running behind the station wagon, and pushing it with a big catcher's mitt.

This is what I get for taking a ten minute nap yesterday afternoon. I think my brain is broken.

I wouldn't trouble you with a random dream report, (although it's pretty much a fact that mine are naturally more entertaining than anyone else's) unless I intended to interpret it for you, thus gleaning all the wisdom, or sucking the marrow from the dream-bone, if you will, (shut up) and making you all better people. Not me, just you, because I'm highly evolved already.

So, anyway, here's what I think it means:

The road is the road of life, of course (psych 101). The baby represents our vulnerable economy, and the freaky eye is our failure to foresee the consequences of our actions. The Mexican ladies are the international community of bankers who refuse to take respons.....


The road is the road of life. The baby represents our inner child, lost in the world, that only we can rescue, recognizing that we can't rely on....

Wait, wait.

The road is the road of life. The baby is that guy in the office who never stops talking and follows you around with his lazy eye talking about bee-farming and trying to borrow money. The Mexican ladies are all the other people in the office who leave you alone with the guy while they take twenty smoke breaks a day, and the oil is the tears ...

Okay, whatever! I don't know what the stupid dream means. It just a dream, right? It's not like EVERYTHING has to have a hidden meaning. It's too much pressure for me on a Friday.

I'm pretty sure the catcher's mitt is just gas.

* The picture is totally unrelated to this post, which is how I like it. Also, it seems like a dream you might have where a meatloaf has fallen into a vat of radioactive egg whites and is now really pissed about it and breaking up your hot date with a French sea captain.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Death in Suburbia, or "What We Did For Earth Day"

So I was in such a fever of excitement over the sudden beardlessness yesterday that I totally forgot it was Earth Day. We just lived our normal lives, which involves having, but not using cloth shopping bags, throwing out stuff, and accidentally killing house plants. We are not the greenest family in the world, but we were doing okay, until the dog shamed us on this most holy of nature-loving days.

Because he kind of engaged in a killing spree. In the backyard. Rather than the "no killing animals/meat is murder" belief commonly favored by Earth-Day fans, Jiffy Pop Dog had a sudden taste for free-range faux-dent. Otherwise known as 'possum. (Cue the banjo music)

There had been a lot of indignant barking earlier, which is unusual because he normally just stands silently at the door, haunches quivering or maybe leaping vertically, until someone releases him. Then he shoots out in a rocket-fueled frenzy, searching the perimeter for intruders. The added barking feature meant someone had taken up permanent, insulting residence in his yard.

We were clued in to the carnage when the dog returned triumphantly through the door sporting a bloody muzzle. I was saved from a gore-covered kiss by the Former Bearded One (!) who intercepted JPDog and wiped him down with a wet towel.

Investigations in the killing field backyard revealed the deceased.

"What did he get??"
" A possum."
"A possum?!"

The dog weighs fourteen pounds, is missing at least one tooth, and is still favoring his left paw. He's a limper. I try to picture the showdown in my head. A giant, angry marsupial balancing upright on two pointy back feet, razor sharp teeth revealed in a hissing grimace, the eyes glowing red, versus my wiry little dog, all delicate leg bones and hairless underbelly, with only his raging adrenalin to see him through.

(Although I didn't witness the face-off, I consider myself competent to describe an angry possum, as I was once menaced by one in college. It is something that I don't like to dwell on.)

"He KILLED a 'POSSUM?" It still didn't compute.
"Well, not exactly. It was a baby possum. I think he bit its head and shook it."

Oh. Even better. We kill baby animals for Earth Day at our house. It's just how we roll, apparently.

The dog has been insufferably self-satisfied ever since. He just lies around the house licking his paws and smirking. It's hard to watch.

At least 'possum aren't endangered. I think.

Either way, we're having Earth Day Possum Tarts for dinner tonight if you want to come over. Bring a salad.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Feared This Day Would Never Come

Psst. Hey, you. Yes, you, come over here.....ssshhhhhh. I've got something to tell you. Act casual.

You know The Beard, aka "The Face Blanket"? The one that morphed into The Hellish Goatee a couple of days ago? No, don't look over there, look down, pretend we're not talking about it. Laugh a little like I just told you a funny joke totally unconnected to beards. don't touch your chin like that, it's so obvious! .Don't you know how high the stakes are here??...*sigh* You are SO never going to be a spy, I can tell you that.

Anyway. It's gone! The Face Blanket is gone! Whoop, whoop! Uptop! Downlow!
SSSHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! He's going to hear you,dammit, and then it's right back to the pelt. I'm just not strong enough to go there again.

It's amazing, I know, I can hardly believe it myself! I don't know why he decided to get rid of it, except that salespeople wouldn't wait on him, and no one recognizes him anymore. Or maybe it was when a friend told him it looked like pubic hair. It's hard to say. All I know is suddenly he was bent over the sink shaving and talking about taping a wad of whiskers to the dog for a funny photo op, like the dog hasn't been through enough already.

He's in mourning right now. He keeps stroking his naked chin and heavy-sighing, so don't bring it up, okay? We don't want this to be beard-remission; we want a total cure.
We'll party later.

other wive's nightmares

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

At Least They're Easy to Trip.

Damn, those blind people are good.

Today my computer repair guy called.  I could hear the awe in his voice when he reported that my computer has 270 viruses! Apparently that's a lot.  

This is either a computer virus, or ebola, I'm not sure.  Both are bad.

So I don't know how they did it, but hats off to Stevie Wonder and the crew. I think they must have had shifty/funky operatives working around the clock, sort of a Russian fraud-ring sweat shop with rhythm. Like I need blind Russian computer hacker- musicians on my case on top of everything else .

Or maybe it's just all those gambling sites I visited, but probably not because I don't have any clue how to gamble online. I think you're supposed to get some kind of fruit to roll up, but which ones I don't know, and probably you have to win to get a virus. (What? Only losers get viruses? I don't underst.....Oh, right.  Good one.)

And it's not just my computer they're targeting. Yesterday I got a vague email from my bank saying someone had been doing unauthorized jiggery-pokery* with my account.  The email directed me to another web page where I was supposed to put in my account number and password to let them know everything was okay, because they care about me.  A lot. I thought about it for a second.

There was a blurry "picture" of my card on the email too, and this is where the blindness totally tripped them up, because it wasn't my name on the card.

And I thought, Hey! Blind people are trying to drain my bank account, the little bastards!

Okay, what I really thought was, Whaaaaa??? And then I called the bank who told me it was a phisher email. Same thing.  Only I know who's behind it.

So currently the score stands at 1/1.  I keep my tiny pile of money. They score with the computer, which is still possessed, at least until the repair guy wipes my system clean, including my I-tunes library. No more Katrina and the Waves for me.  It's getting less and less Up With People around here all the time.

I'm thinking seriously about moving to a remote and distant realm, like Fresno, and living off the land before this vendetta heats up any more. You know, off the grid, incognito, survivalist city. Somewhere the blind would never think to look.

I'm going to make my own shoes out of old bicycle tires, and pick weeds off the sides of freeway embankments for dinner. I'll write my posts on eucalyptus bark and tie them to my dog's neck. He can run to the nearest Starbucks where I'm sure a barista will upload them for me. What else do they have to do?

You can come with me into the wild if you want to. We could call it the Chix n' Dix Wilderness Experience.  Outward Bound the Chix n' Dix Way?  Whatever.  We can work on the name.

Hey, but could you stop by Taco Bell on the way? Those weeds go right through you.

*extra fancy fakery-trickery.  Shut up. I'm courting my friends across the water.  Cor blimey.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thank God, It's Monday.

In the third grade, my daughter had a classmate who threw a birthday party. His mother reserved the public swimming pool. The whole pool. Festive invitations went out to all the kids in the class. My daughter wanted to go to his party, but I said 'no' because I couldn't go with her, and she couldn't swim.

The day after the boy's birthday he came to school quiet and sad. No one had come to his party. Not one person. It was just him and his mom at the pool. With party favors and a cake. I still cringe when I think about it, and I didn't even know the boy.

Which is why I dread this weekend EVERY YEAR. Because, in addition to it being Season of Doom (Oklahoma City, Waco, Columbine, Hitler's B-day, AND 4-20 stoner day), it is also my son's birthday. A joyous celebration, yes? No.

Because the elementary school is rife with cliquey baseball stars, and my son is coordinated, but not a team sport kind of guy. Also, he's in the gifted class, which doesn't exactly boost your social standing when you're eleven. Or any age.

Every year he says he wants a party, and every year I worry we will have to live through the "no one showed up" scenario. It's never happened, but this year could be the year, right? (Here's where the light dawns for you, my loyal readers, because yes, I AM that neurotic, apparently.)

So he wanted a bowling party this year. He invited nine kids. Four came. Too many conflicting baseball games, as usual. The guests included: a Harry Potter look-a-like from the gifted group, a new, painfully quiet Korean boy, another new boy with a mohawk and perpetually clenched fists, and our infamous neighbor boy. ( I wrote about the neighbor boy back in December when I was still writing for imaginary people. It's about the time he flooded a movie theater in butter.)

It was a volatile mix of irritating and irritable, and all I could do was pass out glow stick bracelets and pizza and arcade tokens, and pray for five o'clock. The colored lights flashed. The Jonas Brothers wailed over the loudspeakers. Occasionally I was called to step in when Mohawk Boy threatened to pound Neighbor Boy, or when Korean Boy wandered over to someone else's lane, or when the Harry Potter boy had a temper tantrum because his demands for a corner piece of cake were not being met. One boy refused to wear his bowling shoes. Another one tried to wheedle me in to buying him his own bowling ball at the pro shop. Neighbor Boy ate everyone's pizza.

When it was all over, and the guests had all wandered off clutching their party favors, I asked my son how he thought it went.

He hesitated for a moment. "They were kind of annoying," he said, which I felt summed it all up pretty well. And yet I was grateful for them.

So. I'm safe for another year. Am I the only one who stresses about this?

Also, the Bearded One announced that he was shaving this weekend. A giddiness swept through the ranks as we anticipated the treat in store for us. No more crazy Unibomber! We gathered around the bathroom counter in expectation. Hair began falling into the sink! Happy buzzing shaver! More hair in the sink! Cheers rose to our lips. And then. Oh, and then.

He stopped. On his face now reposed a disturbingly long goatee, inches and inches of frazzly brown hair just dangling from the center of his chin. Goodbye, Unibomber. Hello, Hell's Angel.

"But, you're not done!" my daughter pointed out desperately.
"Yes I am," the Goateed One replied. "Wanna help me brush it?"

We were so close.

Note: A huge thank you to Steam Me Up, Kid, and Fragrant Liar for the wonderful awards! I love them both, and am honored they thought of me. Now. Who's next??

Note on the Note: "Who's next?" meant "who will I give it to?", not "Who's going to give me another one." Just to clarify.

Friday, April 17, 2009

How YOU Doin'?

Well, we've established that I am the kind of person that can wander around unattended, wearing broken sunglasses and muttering to herself.

I am also the kind of person who is small-talk impaired. I have a painfully limited repertoire of handy phrases to trot out and am basically programmed like a Furby doll to say the same lame things over and over whenever I am passing by coworkers.

For instance, here is what I say Monday -Thursday:
Coworker, traveling in opposite direction: "How you doin'?"
Me: Head tilt. Pretend to scroll through inner list of important and overwhelming daily activities. Sigh. "Hangin' in there!!" (Brave smile)

Here is what I'm implying:

Friday is a little different. On Friday, it goes like this:
Coworker: "How you doin'?"
Me: "Hey, it's Friday!!!"
I am pretending I have something different going on during the weekend than during the week, such as a social life. Also there is an unspoken finger-gun gesture here, in the tradition of guys with plaid sport jackets and gold chains.
Sometimes I stir things up a little, just to keep it fresh. Then I say, "Hey, you know. You do what you have to do."

I don't really know what this means.

Fortunately no one is ever actually listening to me as they travel by. I think some kind of a memo went out.

Anyway..............Hey, it's Friday!! (imaginary finger-gun)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm Just Here to Help

Because I Care:
Life Lessons From Me to You

1. Fact: Your eyes will assimilate the information received from each eye into a single visual impression. This is a great eye-feature, most of the time.


Always check that both lenses are still in your sunglasses before you wear them in public. See, if you have, oh, say, a dark lens in one side, and NO LENS on the other, it is entirely possible that you may not notice, despite the telltale breezes blowing in one side, because you are distracted by your own hamster-on-a-wheel thought processes. Others, however, will notice. They will not say anything, but they will notice. You will walk confidently past many, many people on the way to your car, basking in your sudden popularity. There will be smiles everywhere. It's a wonderful world until you get in the car and flip the visor down.

This is what I've heard, anyway.

2. Fact: Pork and Beans are an American classic. Also, they don't really have much pork in them.

Because they are so in- demand, particularly at family picnics where the drinking has likely been going on since breakfast, it is important never to get between a man and his can of pork and beans. Because that man, mostly likely your brother, may stab you in a drunken attempt to reunite with them. He will then be all worn out from stabbing you and not up to a wild truck ride to the ER, which I guess doesn't really matter, as most insurance plans these days do not cover bean-induced injuries anyway, and the personnel may just let you bleed out in the waiting room in full view of the surveillance cameras.

Pork and beans, no matter how viscously delicious, are not worth your life.

3. Fact: Blind people can make you pay for exposing their hidden agendas.
Okay, maybe that's not a fact, officially, but I think we've learned to trust our intuition on this one, haven't we?

Blind people somewhere are punishing me right now. I think they have remotely sabotaged my home computer in retribution for my whistle blowing activities.

My computer is currently doing its best impression of Linda Blair in the Exorcist scene where the priest can't do anything, there's just all kinds of hell breaking loose, and Linda's head starts spinning around, only because it doesn't have an actual neck, the computer just spins internally. I mean, it won't shut off, but it won't start either. It just hovers tantalizing on the log-in page long enough to make me think I can type something, and then the screen goes dark and we start again!! I definitely heard voices (we are legion, I think they said) and I felt a cold spot ( which might just be because I was sitting next to a window, but it might also be what they WANT me to think.)

Never let blind people know you fear them. They can pick up on this with their special fear sense (nature's compensation) and then they own your soul. And your computer.

Next time: Maybe some household tips!

Here's a sample:
Faux cheese can be more easily picked out of a carpet when it is a day old. The pieces harden into aeronautics- grade plastic pellets, making it a breeze to sweep up!

You're welcome.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Still Think a Tiny Saddle Would Be Fun.

From yesterday:

I'm sitting right now in a pile of cheese.

A minute ago I was talking to my daughter on the phone while simultaneously sitting in a pile of cheese. She called to tell me she has injured herself in an archery-related incident, largely because she forgot the key to archery success, which is to have a "loose release"(insert diarrhea joke here). She's never going to make the synchronized archery team at this rate. Last month it was a badminton injury. God knows what will happen when they start ballroom dancing.

The cheese came from my Lean Cuisine pizza. It was once damply attached to the pizza, together with some suspiciously black mushrooms, but when I tried to pry the plastic wrapper off by stabbing it with a mechanical pencil and then tearing the hole bigger with my teeth, cheese confetti filled the air festively before settling down around my desk chair in little drifts.

The cheese has adhered nicely to the carpet under my desk.

I should probably explain that I have a microwave next to my desk, and this allows me to never leave my classroom, except for bathroom breaks and fire drills, and sometimes I'm tempted to skip those. I see it as my tribute to all the falsely imprisoned across the land. Also agoraphobics.

The custodian is going to be pissed. I've been trying to pick the cheese bits out of the carpet with my fingers, but it's slow going, and I'm losing my motivation. As long as I don't have to be here after dark, I'm good, because that's when most of the black widows come out of the closet, and I'm pretty sure mozzarella is one of the foods they eat in the wild.

I have a whole community of them living conveniently in a web over my extra supplies. I asked the maintenance guys to get rid of them, but they said pesticides in the classroom are illegal, and when they try to suck them up with the vacuum cleaner the little suckers run away.

Then they tried spraying them with soap and water. As far as I can tell, this made the black widows squeaky clean and shiny, but that's about it. So we've learned to coexist, my little arachnid friends and I, and mostly it's been fine, except for the time I found one in my purse.

That was a bad day.

Oh, and one of them waved to me during class once. I was droning on about something, as usual, and one of my seniors was leaning back in his chair with his head resting on the chalk tray and his mouth hanging open. Dangling just below his ear, from the underside of the chalk tray, was the biggest black widow I have ever seen. You could put a saddle on this spider and ride, is what I'm saying. Just hanging there, one slinky black leg waving at me. I waved back a little.

I didn't say anything to the student, because he was sleeping, and I didn't want to disturb him. I'm pretty considerate that way.

So basically I'm thinking now about Prosy's tagging me yesterday, and picking up shredded cheese bits. It's the "10 Things To Know About ME" meme, and... I heard that. Yes, you, in the back of the room. Don't make me call the spiders.

I'm going to do a meme-lite. I'm calling it "Things I Have Broken", in honor of my daughter, because she has inherited my motor skills.


1. My sister's skull, after pushing her off the bunk bed ladder.
2. My parent's coffee table, doing a wicked awesome cartwheel in the living room.
3. My arm, falling out the door of a trailer.
4. A band of muscle in my leg, after skiing directly into the chairlift control tower.
5. Every watch I've ever owned, with my freakish magnetic arm skin.
6. An incredibly ugly, well-used mixing bowl my mother's strange neighbor gave us as a wedding present. Possibly on purpose.
7. An elevator. By pushing too many buttons at once, and jamming the doors open.
8. Wind. (That's for you, all my earthy blogger friends.) It always smells like strawberries.
9. My promise.
10. The hearts of legions of men. Okay, I made this one up. Most of them will heal, with time.

There. That wasn't so bad, was it?

I'm going to try just mashing this cheese down into the carpet with my foot so it doesn't show. I think it could work.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why I'm Pretty Sure Stevie Wonder is a Serial Killer

I don't trust blind people.

If you're a blind follower of this blog I totally don't mean you. ( And I am really curious to know if you have one of those creepy voice readers, or if your computer monitor does Braille, because that would be amazing.) But other blind people, including the guy on American Idol, are probably evil.

I started thinking about blind people again yesterday because Kurt wrote about how you could vet blind people in order to sell them a car by bouncing oranges off their head to test their reflexes, and I thought YES, you never know! Is everyone suspicious of blind people?

See, I don't trust blind people because I think they are tricking me. Because it happened to me once.

A blind stalker, I mean. (Cue swirly flashback fog and music)

I am twelve, and my mother has sent me across town to my guitar lesson on the city bus. The trip involves a transfer at the downtown bus stop hub, so four buses round trip, and a "layover" wait both ways that leaves me hanging out with homeless hippie types with the Birkenstock shoes that are apparently required by law, and dreads, and tattery backpacks.

At first I 'm just hanging out with the hippies on the way back from my lesson, and praying no one tries to force tofu or a special brownie on me, and suddenly a middle-aged man wearing dark glasses and carrying a red-tipped cane walks slowly up to me, and stands on my foot. I think he will move away when he realizes I am a person, but he taps my leg with his cane and just stays on my foot.

"What bus are you taking?" he asks me in a low voice.
"The 22," I answer, because I am twelve, and stupid.
"That's my bus too. Help me get on when it comes."

This will be the last time I hear him speak.

We stand in silence for the next ten minutes. I have become a virtual hostage somehow. We appear to the hippies as if we are traveling together. I can smell his sweat.

Finally, the bus comes. Because I have been told to, I help him up the stairs and then go to sit down. Relief. I have been helpful, a good girl, but now my job is over.

Then the blind man sits down. Directly across from me. For several stops I feel the blind man's eyes staring at me from behind the glasses. I convince myself I'm imagining it. How could he be staring at me? He's blind.

At one stop several other passengers get off through the back exit; I see a chance to get up as if I'm exiting, and move to a seat in the back half of the bus, far away from the blind man. This is better. Safer, somehow.

But, just before the bus starts moving again, the blind man gets up, walks down the aisle toward me, and sits down, again, directly across from me. And then he grins, slow and menacing. I examine the handle of my guitar case closely, and try not to cry.

We sit in silence as the bus lurches from city street to city street, then on to unlit highway roads at the edge of town. It has gotten dark, and the lights have come on in the bus. It is a lurching fluorescent island in the anonymous dark, an island with only three inhabitants: the bus driver, the blind man, and me.

I am supposed to meet my mother at an office where she is at an evening meeting. The office is on a highway. There are very few street lights, no sidewalks, just gravel shoulder and darkness,
but at least there will be no blind man, who I am now sure is watching me from behind the glasses. I know this because he is mirroring my body language, the grin still on his face. Every time I switch position or cross my legs, the blind man does the same. He never turns his head away from me.

Then it is my stop.

The spot is lit by a single weak pool of lamp light, but I am desperate to get off the bus, away from my stalker. I nearly run up the aisle to the front door, past the bus driver, and climb down the steps. I am flooded with relief as the bus pulls away.

Except. Yes, you're right. The blind man is standing twenty feet away on the gravel shoulder of the road. He has gotten off through the back door.

This is the part of the story where I finally lose my mind and run, guitar case swinging, feet crunching on the shifting gravel as trucks rattle by, streetlight by streetlight. I run without looking back, in the dark, a quarter of a mile down the road to the office. I am sure I hear the cane tapping on the asphalt.

At the door of the office, I risk a look behind me. No blind man. He's gone. The road is empty, as far as I can see.

Inside, when I try to explain that I am hysterical because a blind man was looking at me, I am met with adult amusement and dismissed.

To this day I don't know who the man was, or what he planned to do. I do know that it really happened.

So you see how blind people can totally mess with your mind, and it is probably a good idea that I not have any oranges on me when I run into them. Because I might have to check for flinching, just to make sure.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Ate a Lot of Candy Out of My Kids' Easter Baskets. So What?

The holiday weekend is over, and I'm writing this post on the last burst of jelly-bean mania before I crash. Here's all that I can remember to tell you:

Our family observed the Easter traditions with a minimal amount of energy, but no injuries, other than the dog, who not only has continued in his bizarre face-sprouting, but is also now limping, because something tore one of his toenails in the middle of an acrobatic fetching maneuver.

For the last twenty four hours we have been giving him pep talks and carrying him around the house, because that is exactly what I would want if I had an injury. I would especially enjoy being carried up and down the stairs and having my forehead stroked aggressively. He hasn't complained, so it must be the right thing to do.

In addition to my veterinary skills, I am an excellent mother, because other than a pot full of hard-boiled eggs, I did not cook a single thing this weekend. Nothing. No glazed ham. No eight-grain wheat rolls. No delicate souffle. Easter dinner was take-out pizza.

So naturally I hate this man:

I found him in the antique frame behind the tranny dress up photo from a few posts ago. Everything about him is irritating, which, frankly, I find satisfying in my current state of chocolate-bunny -induced anger.

What I get from this picture is that the chef has apparently has been cooking in a very dark basement, because all of the light is coming from above, as if the basement door has been thrown open for a progress check on dinner.

Maybe he is Hell's chef. Like Gordon Ramsey.

I think he hopes the Prince of Darkness is going to be so pleased that the brown stuff in the spoon has turned out perfect! The chef gives the A-OK sign, because probably it's not safe to speak to the boss directly. Or Hell Chef is demonstrating how he pinched the head off a tick and he enjoyed it a lot, and that's the special ingredient in the brown stuff. It's Tick Broth.

I am disturbed by the caterpillar eyebrows and the stick-on pedophile mustache. Also, judging from the pupils, and the way the eyes are rolling back in the head, I think Hell Chef is high, and who can blame him with these working conditions?

Other irritating things:

Someone has thrown Butter Buds, or pollen, all over his chef whites. Why would someone do this, and wouldn't you change before the Prince of Darkness showed up? I would expect he would show some pride in his appearance, especially seeing as he has had extra-shiny cheek implants put in, which just don't look natural, I don't care what anybody says.

Also, his right hand is alarmingly puffy, and missing several key hand bones. It may not even be his hand, it's hard to say, but if it is, someone has stomped the crap out of it over a bad batch of Tick broth.

Now I feel bad for him.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Clearly I Have Too Much Time on My Hands

Why I Am Turning the Channel
A found poem, using search terms people have used to find this site

What were you thinking, talk show host?
I have had heartburn for hours, from all the
Burrito licking, and your terrible tamale jokes.

Who does your wardrobe? Hair styling sadists?
Oh, those pilgrim shoes and David Cassidy pukka shell necklaces,
and the tranny clothes. The tranny clothes, the tranny clothes.

The motown man is a liar, and a bad guest.
That 800 pound man-tic,
with his sonnet about nascar drivers
and their shoes that fly off in an accident.
Bring back the identical twins boyfriends.

I would rather watch children's chat shows, Tranny Man,
Or a nature show about guinea fowl silencing.
(You know the theme song..."I'm a wildebeest, you just a wildebeest..")
Or even hamster porno animas,
(It tickled till you wet your pants; it wasn't a caterpillar, it was an eyebrow.)

Maybe I'd rather be watching silence of the lambs with kids.
Freestyle canoeing. Sitting in the chair of Marquis de Sade.

Oh. Hold that thought. I hear my neibors again.
(spying on my neighbors, spying on my teenage neighbor, spying on neighbors naked, spying on neighbors jerking off)

I'm back. And I have some questions for you:
Does lemur poop stink? What hormones go off when one flamingo is attracted to another? How to make an igloo out of chocolate? How to make a sombrero out of duct tape?
Do old people's eyebrows fall off?

I think you know.
Play the Sweeny Todd game, funky white boy.
Ha. ha. you. you. It's all just heartburn thinking.
*faux flip-off*

This is how Rome fell.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Milestones and Asshats

Peggy is my favorite person this week, because she was my... SSshhhhh....., 100th follower!!!

I say that very quietly, because Mandy pointed out the dangers of announcing this milestone on Kurt's blog, and some of the Vic's Chix and Dix might be easily startled, and run away. You're like a herd of gentle spotted fawns, is what I'm saying.

Especially Dr. Z, who is not even a fawn, he is more like a boy in a made- for- TV movie, who is too sensitive for the world and so he has to live in a bubble, and we come and visit him and play games of checkers with him by sliding our arms into big condoms attached to the bubble. And it's a little weird, but our moms made us visit and besides, he knows a lot of dirty jokes. So I guess he's John Travolta, or maybe Robby Benson.

Where was I? Oh, right. So, as a reward, I'm going to make Peggy a special version of the Vic's C & D Membership Hat, as soon as I get around to designing them. They should be pretty spectacular. If you have any ideas for them, let me know, although I think an anti-alien Velostat lining is a given, and maybe some kind of a beak in honor of the flamingos.

I was inspired about hat-making last night after watching the Bearded One make donkey ears for my daughter. She's in drama this year, and has to be a character from Midsummer Night's Dream--specifically "Bottom". Who turns into an ass, as you may know. Shakespeare had some issues.

(I was going to give you a picture to help you visualize the character, but when I typed "bottom ass character" into Google I got the Pornography! warning from my firewall, and now the IT guy is either going to get me fired or ask me out, I'm not sure which. Once I googled "Mack the Knife" for a lesson I was doing, and it came up Weapons/Hate! and the IT guy asked me extra-casually if I considered myself a violent person.)

Anyway, another girl, who deserves a brisk slap, made my daughter's "costume", which consisted of a head-sized cardboard box with eye holes hacked out of it and the word ASS written on the back. When she put it on she looked like this:

Only not even as good, because these branches at least look like yak ears and the box was just plain, except for the ASS part and some printing on the flaps.

I could tell the ASS box especially bothered the Bearded One, so he set to work making donkey magic. That man can use a glue gun like a pro, and he didn't even hot glue much of his beard to the table. It wasn't long until a set of Easter bunny ears from Party City had been transformed with brown felt into a magnificent set of donkey ears. Our family honor has been restored.

Now that I think about it, this whole post could be a heartwarming After School Special, only no one has gotten pregnant or fallen out a window because of anorexia. I appreciate you all holding off on that until you are somewhere else.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Letter to the Orange Freeway

If you were on the 57 south, yesterday, at approximately 7:45 am, I pretty much think you're an idiot. I feel comfortable lumping you all in together, all six clogged lanes of traffic, because it was like I got a front row seat at the freak show, and if you weren't starring in the show, you were definitely an extra.

It wasn't so bad at first, just your run -of- the -mill texting while driving, and guys in primered-out El Dorados zigzagging through traffic. Also, some gold digging in various vehicles.

However, Mr. Nosepicker in the Blue Windstar, you win first prize today for creative booger relocation. I never thought about scraping it off in the vent before. It's so obvious! It's exciting to think about what will happen when the booger dries out enough to harden and become a projectile when you turn the air conditioning on. Maybe it will put your eye out while you are driving home, and you'll have a funny story to tell the guys at the next Star Trek convention.

I totally admire you, Hammer Pants Girl, for getting out there and working up a sweat, because I could use a little exercise myself, it's true. Just not on the side of the freeway, because people die there. You may have noticed how they didn't put any sidewalks in. Also, balloon pants actually accentuate certain less-popular body shapes. You know, you have your hourglass, your pearshape, your apple. Let's classify yours as parade float. Maybe something that tucks less decisively into your sweat socks at the ankle would be nice. Also, where did you get that breakfast burrito?

Leering Trucker Man, I have frankly had enough of you and all your CB brethren. No matter how many times you mouth "show me your tits" at me, it isn't going to happen. And don't go getting on the radio to announce my progress down the freeway, because I'm not going to change my mind. Also, you look a lot like that delivery truck driver who pulled up next to me a couple of years ago. Who pulled out a can of Redi Whip, emptied the contents into his pants, and then watched for my reaction as he did a little whipping. Remember, both hands on the wheel is the rule, or I'm calling that number on the back.

And finally, Pants Down Motorcycle Man.
I know you are probably chilled, maybe even numb, from the morning air at that speed. And I get that you are rocking the oversized pants thing. Usually, though, guys wear boxers or something underneath. Did you know this? Also, did you know that as you ride alongside me today in the fast lane that the wind has peeled your pants all the way down? Most of your pimply ass is out, is what I'm trying to say. It's jiggling all crazy back there. Also, flip flops + crotch rocket = no feet.

I think next time I will take a different freeway, just until you guys get it together. How do you expect me to eat my cereal and drive when there are so many distractions?


Monday, April 06, 2009

In case I wasn't clear, the butler was not named Prudence.

It felt good this weekend to finish something I started. Something I started twenty years ago, yes, but still. Finished.

It made me reflect on the things I used to believe about my future when I was growing up. I had a whole life plan worked out that shifted over the years, but maintained a glittery awesomeness nonetheless. And I realized that there isn't much I managed to follow through on from those days, and this is good. Because I was a weird kid.

Here's what I mean.

From the "Life Plan of Vic , the Early Years":
  • Age 5 : Reveal myself as a magical princess, like Glinda mixed with Cinderella. Wear glass shoes and a pink bell-shaped gown everywhere. Carry a very long wand. Make mean kindergarten teacher disappear with wand. Eat all the canned olives I want, even if it isn't Thanksgiving. No one can make me share.
  • Age 7: Become a famous singer named Tina. No last name. Be on American Bandstand with Dick Clark. Have white patent-leather go-go boots with fringe. Have hair with fringe. Have vest with fringe. Sing rockin' songs into bulbous microphone with lots of camera close-ups.
  • Age 8: Meet and fall in love with Davy Jones from the Monkees. He is old enough to be my dad, but we can make it work. Once he sees my radiant beauty. We will laugh and chase guys in gorilla suits through a warehouse. The other Monkees will be our friends.
  • Age 9: Marry Mike S. from 5th grade class. He doesn't like me yet, but he will, once I get my hair to behave and I wear my crocheted poncho to school. The patches on his Sears Toughskins jeans are alluring. He broods on the playground, but I will cheer him up. Oh, bad boys!
  • Age 10: Be a famous writer of books about sadly misunderstood children. Sell a badillion copies because I am suddenly discovered by a publisher who has wandered into my school. Live in a castle with hidden staircases and a butler. And a sheepdog. Named Prudence. Have a lot of cheese in the kitchen at all times.
  • Age 12: Marry Mike S. (same one). Spend our time singing songs from the Grease soundtrack to each other in adoring fashion. Learn the dance steps. Become famous for something vague and undefined, but amazing. Live in house with many bay windows. Have smooth hair.
  • Age 16: Become a famous singer. Not named Tina. Live in huge, airy loft in New York. Have magazine articles about me that are seen by an anguished Mike S. Who has fallen in love with me and now begs me to marry him. I reject him. My hair is still smooth.

So my life is not quite the way I envisioned it then. I'm fresh out of magical wands and butlers, for instance. I did have white patent leather go-go boots once as a kid, but the zippers broke and they pinched my calves. Castles are drafty, and I'm totally over the Grease soundtrack and the Monkees (plus, Davy Jones is practically a midget).

Mike S. was my constant on- and- off crush until high school, until he started dating someone else, and then they were both arrested for grand-theft auto. Oh, bad boys!

I honestly don't want to be famous.

I still have a fair supply of cheese and olives, and a degree in music, but that's about it from those days. I'm glad about that.

I wonder if I'll look back when I'm 80 on the things I think I want today? Will they seem silly? Will I be relieved about the things I never followed through on?

Will my name be Tina? I just don't know.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Can You Hear the Angels Singing?

I'm afraid to mention this, because of the jinx factor, but....

I may, just now, have completed my master's degree.


I am filled with a sense of relief, and also confusion, because I haven't looked up for hours, and look! where did the world come from? I've been doing last minute panic cramming for the multi-hour comprehensive exam they throw up at you at the end, ( hence my absence here the last day or so), and then writing a non-stop stream of mumbo-jumbo all day today.

I was surly with the dog. I owe him a jerky treat.

So, assuming I passed the thing (and I HAVE to assume that, otherwise I am going to lie down here under the computer and quit breathing), I am done.

I am going to go eat celebratory junk food, and then maybe I will write you something interesting. Or maybe just the same old stuff, who knows?

(Hey! I was gone a day or so, and I lost a follower?? Where did you go little follower? Were you offended by my frank cow discussion?)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

In Which I Go On An Expedition, Wearing a Misspelled Name Tag.

Nowhere on the campus map they gave me was there a pasture with cows in it.

And yet, there they were, my new cow companions, placidly considering me over the fence as I trudged by, my big-girl shoes sinking in the dirt. Every few steps one of my feet would stumble over a rock or a road apple, creating a spastic little dance step that set their Bessie ears twitching in surprise. I felt some guilt as I went by, my mind recalling a certain politically incorrect bottle in my possession at home, but I pressed on until signs of civilization appeared on the horizon, in the form of a busy four-lane highway with no crosswalk.

The university campus was way over on the other side. So was the parking lot, with my car hidden somewhere inside, like Where's Waldo?, only in this scenario 'Waldo' is a Toyota.

Let's rewind a little, shall we? How exactly did I get on the cow side of the highway in the first place? Well, I was relying on my innate sense of direction to guide me, of course. Because in the morning, on the way in to the conference, I had used the map. It showed many, many little boxes meant to represent buildings, but the buildings had no names, and the big arrow seemed to be pointing to several buildings all at once. I wandered aimlessly until an amused student showed me the correct building, and as I was going in I pep-talked myself. I said, "Look around, Vic. See where you went wrong? This afternoon go the opposite way, and you'll get to the parking lot, no problem!"

After a fascinating eight- hour conference in which I:
  • learned that fish lips have pain sensors, and so fishing is cruel and also feeding them Flamin' Hot Cheetos©
  • daydreamed about french-braiding the presenter man's flowing grey locks
  • ate four cookies whose primary flavor was 'cardboard box with a hint of coconut oil'
  • met and shook the damp hands of two co-attendees with awe-inspiring halitosis
  • was heard by several tables to say, and I quote myself here, "Koko the Gorilla was a big, fat liar",
it was finally time to leave the grey conference room cocoon and begin my journey. I remembered my own advice from the morning, and set off, alone and with confidence, in the opposite direction. A path that led down around two buildings, good so far!, through a smallish courtyard, Hey, you even found the faculty shortcut, clever you!, into a chainlink fence, Whoops! Just a little set-back, and then spit me out on a jogging trail. As I walked with my binders and bags and nametag, joggers were passing me on both sides. This is a little awkward...Hey, maybe cut through this little flowerbeddy thing here, like that jogger did! I bet you'll pop right up in the student parking area!

Here is where the ominous deserted overpass appeared in front of me, and the only way past it was to go under it, alone, because the joggers had all vanished as suddenly as they had appeared.

It was dark under there. I looked for hobo(e)s and trolls, and probably there were some, I felt the eyes watching, but I hauled ass out the other side before they could introduce themselves.

And there, in the blessed light of day, were the cows.

After that it was a simple matter of darting through on-coming traffic, darting through more on-coming traffic, returning a driver's friendly gesture, climbing over a line of traffic cones, combing through ten rows of parking spaces for my car, crying a little, FINDING MY CAR, losing and then finding my keys in the bottom of my purse, picking bark slivers from the flower bed out of my feet, and then just resting my head on the steering wheel for a minute.

Totally smooth sailing after that.

I have another installment of this conference series on Monday. Also maybe jury duty, which would be better except for the possibility of being strip-searched at the door.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I WAS going to stick a 'Kick Me' sign to your back, because that's always fresh, but I couldn't find any tape.

So, since we're showing pictures of ourselves just willy-nilly around the blog neighborhood these days, (and yes, that was a weak excuse to use the ultra-hip expression "willy-nilly") I thought I'd break out another treasured family photo of me, and here it is:


It's not really me! How old do you think I am, anyway? Also, I never went swimming in a wheelbarrow. Our neighbors did have that bathtub in the yard but we never got to use it because they were not good sharers.

(What? Like being a bad April Fool's joker is a capital offense? I did my best; the least you could do is pretend to be fooled. No, nevermind, it's too late now. Let's just move on.)

Personally, I think you'd get bored with this wheelbarrow swimming thing way before you had a chance to prune up, but she looks pretty happy. Probably it was the Depression, and that was her one bath for the year, in a rusty wheelbarrow parked in the dirt. Times were hard.


Today you are getting the Now! with 75 % less content! post because I am being held captive in a conference all day. I plan to spend the day nodding fake-sagely on the outside, and secretly undressing the speaker with my eyes. Or, if he/she is really unattractive, squinting first, or if he/she is really, really ugly and covered with unsightly moles I'll probably just avert my eyes and doodle ninjas and hobo(e)s on my handouts.

Also I will be crafting imaginary replies and comments for all your blogs in my mind, and then sending them to you telepathically, because it's the safest way tomorrow, what with the big virus thing set to eat everyone's computer.

What if I come back and you're all virusy? Be careful out there, my little fools. I'll be back tonight.