Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Alone With a Bowl of Candy

me halloween 06
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
So here I am, in my default Halloween blue wig, just me and a bowl of candy. Fortunately, I am currently immune to candy, since I gave in to temptation at work and now my teeth hurt and I feel a little ill. I keep watching the clock and wondering if I should go out and then listening to the little voice of sanity in my head, squeaking from under the sugar high. The little voice says, "You have barely recovered from the hangovers of the weekend! You do not need to go out drinking on a Tuesday night even if it is Halloween! Besides, you don't have any money!"

I must listen to this voice. Hell, I should have it recorded on a loudspeaker (maybe like M has done on his cel phone - whenever he gets a text message his own voice says, really loud and dripping with teen irony, "WOW! Hey, I got a text message! Gee!") and make it play a small recording of sober goodness to me all day long, every day. God knows that should certainly make me even more interested in beer than I usually am -

In other news, I finished the painting I was doing for the New French bar and I will attempt to photograph it tomorrow before work. It's very shiny & thus hard as hell to capture. I had not one, not two, but THREE hangovers last weekend, which is some kind of crazed record, but I'm better now. The party turned out to be a huge success with tons of people showing up. In fact, it was such a success that the puppy got sick on Monday from all the goodies he ate late Saturday and then all day Sunday while I lay there and watched episode after episode of Lost while resolutely ignoring the dishes, the mess and the dogs. A good time was, I think, had by all, or almost all. I haven't finished cleaning up yet anyway and a three or more day cleanup usually means a good party.

And now it's Halloween and I'm all partied out. Ah well, I think I've done enough Halloween over the years - it's somebody else's turn this year. Although. . .

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Quick Note

This is just a quick note to say that I am having a bunch of people over for dinner tomorrow night, so if you're in the area and hungry, come over around 6:30. Or later, because I usually ask people to come over about an hour or two before I actually feed them, since hunger is the best spice and tends to disguise any heinous cooking mistakes the chef de nuit (that's french for me) might have made.

This was a good idea about 5 days ago when I first conceived it and it's still a good idea but going out to Broadways tonight and getting all drunk up and taking pictures of J playing pool (really well) was probably not such a good one, preparation wise. But oh well, what the hell, so forth and so on. Come on over tomorrow night. I'm making pasta.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

On Being A Celebrity

So I go into work on Wednesday morning (just for the record, for once it is not my own lameness that causes this blogging lag. No, just this one time, it is the fault of blogspot/blogger. I could at this point insert some undeserved vitriol towards them since they were down much of yesterday or I could say, which I will, thank the gods they exist, and honey, this is FREE, and so anyway. . . back to our regularly scheduled programming.) and I'm a celebrity. My bosses watched CNN, my friends watched CNN, friends I haven't even spoken with for three years watched CNN and a coworker who didn't even know I was going to be on grabbed me to tell me she saw me on CNN. Yes. I am famous now and apparently people on DailyKos were slamming us all for not having team spirit and supporting Heath Shuler unconditionally, for which I say to them, fuck off. Heath Shuler is anti-choice and anti gay marriage and for those two things alone I will be GOD FOREVER DAMNED if I support him unconditionally. I'm supporting him because he is, a) the lesser of two evils and b) because he is not Charles "Darth Vader" Taylor and c) because he is pro universal health care and pro union and d) because he is earnest and honest and trying very hard and e) because his campaign staff is doing this for love and not for money and f) because he named his kids cute names and f) because he is, yes, extremely cute. And also because I am a dead yellow dog Democrat, for better or for worse, or until we finally get a third and fourth and fifth party in this country who will actually represent my own personal political wishes, which are not aligned with the Demopublicans at all but instead favor accountability and the crushing of the corporatocracy and the question, what can governments do for their citizens, to wit, health care and time off and limits on the credit card companies and food for the children and the artists. God damn it.

I watched Iraq for Sale tonight and while I can't really recommend it wholeheartedly in the spirit, say, in which I would wholeheartedly recommend Mars Attacks , still, if you want to see something utterly depressing and sobering, I recommend it. The gist of it all is that there are far too many private contractors in Iraq, making horrifying bazillions of tax dollars doing things that we shouldn't be allowing them to do. This is not really a huge surprise to anyone who is even slightly politidcally aware, but it does bring it all together in a chillingly thorough way, plus a lot of very sad and depressing interviews with families of people who went over to Iraq apparently naively expecting that these companies wouldn't send them into the line of fire which is, of course, exactly what happened and then these people died. I will say that if you take a job with Halliburton and they send you to Iraq you are really kind of staggeringly innocent if you think you're not going to get shot at, but still, in the larger sense, the growth of "private contractors" in this country from the truly horrifying like the interrogators at Abu Ghraib to the small and sad like any given clerical employee at your favorite telecom is a large and terrible evil worthy of record and eradication.

And now I must go and do the dishes because I seem to have been talked into a written private type contract with my son whose dish night it is supposed to be, in which I will do his dishes tonight and then I get to take actual pictures of him for 10 days, except I'm not allowed, of course, to blog them. Hmmmmmm. Perhaps it is unwise to sign contracts when you get home from Drinking Liberally.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Malevolent Deities and TV

You know that last post? The one where I’m all happy and shit and say I’ve been replaced by a joyous pod person of loving grace? That’s just the sort of drooling idiocy that you’d expect from someone who momentarily forgot that this earth is a vale of struggle and thorns and the gods are armed malevolent beings with macabre senses of humor. In other words, my car broke down and the Saturn people have no shame at all about charging a hundred bucks for a radiator cap. Such is life: we’re all doomed and the best you can get is a gallows laugh on the way down. Or not. Actually I’m still pretty cheerful – significantly poorer, with no prospects for being able to heat the house this winter, but cheerful. Relatively, anyway.

REMINDER! I am going to be on NATIONAL TELEVISION TONIGHT, as part of a documentary on CNN this very evening at 8:00 pm. Sources say my part is towards the end, so if you don’t tune in until 8:30 you might still see me. Or you might not. If not, can you live with the guilt? Hee hee. My brother said, “Aren’t you going to tape it?” and I said, “Of course not, I don’t even have a TV, remember?” Which is true – all I have is a DVD player with a screen. I mean, I could turn it into a TV with the application of $15 or so a month but I have these moral qualms about paying actual cash money to invite the media demons into your house to corrupt your children’s brains. Also, TV makes me jittery and I don’t have enough of an attention span to actually watch it. So my brother said, “Oh, I see. There are two kinds of people – those who are ON TV and those who WATCH it and you’re going to be the first kind, huh?” These words, believe it or not, were just slightly tinged with sarcasm and irony but I chose to take them literally and actually they made me feel like a photographer from People Magazine might appear behind the butterfly bush in my backyard at any moment, which is a really good feeling unless, of course, you happen to be wearing your red plaid fleece baggy pants.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Perfect Fall Day

It was an uncannily perfectly beautiful day and so I went hiking with A & J and both the dogs. It was great and I hereby command that you, whoever you are, must go hiking out at Bent Creek immediately, because you just will not believe how totally beautiful it is. Actually, it's been a pretty awesome weekend here at Hangover Headquarters - yesterday I actually worked on a painting and while it's not done, just having worked on it feels pretty damn great. There are omens and portents abounding, and they're all good - yesterday I walked outside and looked up only to see a red tailed hawk about 6 feet above my head. I could see his whole belly as he swooped by me, chased by 3 angry crows. My friend J says this is a good omen, and since he was utterly dismissive of the jabbering crows, I tend to agree with her. Then today I got a ladybug on my hand just as I reached the highest point of the trail. These are all good omens, happy portents, and so I think the words ominous and portentous must be reclaimed for luck.

Things are actually wonderful lately and it's beginning to unnerve me a little. I'm happy; I like my job; my kids are fine;(sure, M is fucking up at school wildly, but for whatever reason I am not stressing about it. Probably I should be, but I'm not.) the puppy is almost housetrained; my mom's health is only at about low yellow alert & anyway my brother is sort of living there, which takes a lot of the weight off my shoulders and all in all, y'all? I am genuinely cheerful every day. I am feeling alert and creative and beautiful and all kind of good things and to top it off, I'm managing to lose weight and save money. In other words, I seem to have been replaced by a pod person.

I can't thank the aliens enough. This pod person is fabulous. I think I like her and I definitely intend to keep her.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Collies, Springers and Shepherds

the wily stalk
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
I've just been out watching Django & Theo play in the sock strewn backyard. I found my sneaker out there yesterday morning, which prompted me to give a lecture on logic to the dogs. "You want me to take you for a walk," I said furiously, "so much that you get excited whenever I put my sneakers on, but then you steal one of my sneakers and take it out to the yard to chew on. Is that logical? Does that make any sense? See, now we can't go for a walk and it's all your fault." They looked suitably chastened but I'm not sure the message got through, somehow.

Theo, as you know, is a mostly Collie dog from Madison County. He was raised by a mostly German Shepherd from Baltimore. I have a theory that in parts of the country which were settled mostly by German/Eastern European immigrants, like Baltimore, most of the mutts are Germanic as well, whereas in areas like Appalachia the dogs are mostly Scots Irish collie types like Theo. It's a good theory. Someday someone will get a masters thesis out of it. Not me. Theo, however, never picked up any Shepherd traits like guarding the house and children. Theo thinks the house and children can take care of themselves, although it makes him very happy to herd children into small groups in the center of a field. He also does this weird, purely Collie thing where he lies down if he sees another dog or something to herd approaching. Toby never did that in his life and he was as puzzled by it as I was at first, until I met another Collie owner who told me that it was a total Collie thing. Therefore I postulate the Collie genes are tougher than Shepherd traits.

Now Django, as we also know, is an aristocratic full bred Springer Spaniel. I had Springers before, as a child, and knew them to be just as dumb as posts. They like swimming and eating and, well, I never noticed much in the way of instinctive Springer behavior, which apparently consists of flushing game anyway. That's probably why intellect is not high on the list of Springer traits: hell, even I can flush game - all you have to do is run through the bushes with a complete disregard for the fact that there are men with guns getting ready to shoot past you. Yes, idiocy would seem to be helpful. Django, so far, appears to be rather brighter than the average Springer, which may explain why he is turning himself into a Collie.

He's started doing all kinds of Collie things, from nipping at everyones heels to get them in order to lying down whenever he sees or hears the cat approaching. Since he's still a baby, and he looks nothing like a Collie anyway, the effect is both strange and hilarious. It's very cool though, and gives one hope for the future. If he can stop being a Springer and become a Collie, perhaps even my son can graduate from high school before he's 30 and maybe someday I will earn a living wage despite my unconscious vow of poverty. Miracles can happen after all.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone

I went and volunteered at MoveOn this evening; they have an office in Asheville since our congressional race is so important - we're trying to replace an old, evil, corrupt Republican with a young, fresh, soon-to-be-corrupted Democrat. I was reluctant to go volunteer - I'm terrified of things like that and I was afraid they would ask me to make phone calls, which I loathe. Naturally, that's exactly what I had to do. I had to call and try to convince people to volunteer to make calls themselves - GOTV calls, which I learned tonight stands for Get Out the Vote - that's a good thing, because everyone at Drinking Liberally (DL) was talking about doing GoTV this weekend and I thought it was yet another TV station that I would never encounter. Anyhow, our upbeat MoveOn staffer told us we would be calling only other Move On members and it would all be fun. Naturally, though, the third person on my list listened to me say, "Hi! I'm Felicity, calling for MoveOn about our Call for Change campaign to get the Republicans out of Congress" and then snarled, "I'm a Republican! Goodbye!" This sort of thing takes the heart out of one, particularly when one doesn't have much heart to begin with and besides one has never been very good at recruiting volunteers even when it is one's actual by god job which it in fact is.

Still, it is a good thing to do and I felt virtuous - and I even told them I would call people to GOTV myself. I snuck out a bit early, because I felt duty bound to stop in at DL (Drinking Liberally) and knock back a pint or two and a couple of slices of pizza. Then I took the 8:30 bus home (another virtuous choice. I am just steeped in goodness at the moment.) so that I could reach a new low in the homework wars. We have this homework plan now, see, where I sit at the computer and type M's papers while he lies on the kitchen floor behind me, moaning occasionally. It's very productive: I ask him questions about important choices he's made in his life (god love the 9th grade teachers. Can you imagine anything worse than 90 papers on important choices written by 14 year olds?) and he grunts in agony.

For more of me on politics, by the way, check out CNN next Tuesday, October 24, from 8 - 9 pm, because sometime after 8:30 is my national TV debut. I was interviewed about the Taylor/Shuler race and that's when my little segment is going to air, I hope, and if the October surprise doesn't preempt me. I'm psyched: I'm going over to my Mom's to watch it with the whole family so we can all be impressed with my television star self. You must watch it too, so that I can soak up the adoration, or, failing that, the laughter.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Oooooh, Shiny!

I went on a field trip today at work - a very dangerous field trip, as it turned out, a field trip into the dark valley of temptation: a field trip to the wholesale gem and jewelry show at the Civic Center. Yes. Wholesale gems and jewelry, scattered across a bazillion tables in a huge room full of bright lights that made all the multitude of strings of beads extra, extra shiny. They were so shiny. And all of them were so incredibly cheap that my self control just snapped and my magpie instincts took over. The good news is that approximately 1/6 of my Christmas shopping is now done. The bad news is that I spent 1/3 of my saved Christmas money for a ratio that is really, in the cold light of home, rather distressing.

I spent money on ridiculous things. I bought a jade alligator. And three Halloween charm bracelets, and two hair clips with skull & crossbones on them - the skulls have rhinestone eyes! Is that too cute or what? - and, uh, a couple of pairs of earrings and some pendants and a bracelet and, um, another stone creature that looks kind of like a cross between an alligator and an aardvark and possibly some other stuff that I don't remember too clearly, like a boar tusk and a couple of aliens carved out of bone. It was the shininess of it all, and all the signs saying 50% off marked price and. . . and. . . there's no excuse. I've just been spending like a drunken sailor on shore leave lately and it is true that I have the instincts of a drunken, sailing magpie at the best of times, eccentric taste and no self control.

I even bought some beads in a sort of hopeless, doomed, last ditch attempt to redeem myself by pretending that I would make jewelry with them and sell it, thus recouping my losses! Yes! And pigs will sprout those proverbial wings, etc. I came home and made two bracelets while I was having my brain sucked dry by M's science and math homework. "No offense, Mom," said M, peering over my shoulder, "But your crafts suck." Alas, he is right. They are shiny, my bracelets. . shiny. And if I was five, they would be excellent but somehow, they are, uh, lacking that subtle je ne sais quoi, that certain something that marks objects as having been created by a mentally competent artistic adult. Which is partly because they keep falling apart, since I'm not very good at tiny knots, and partly because, well, stringing shiny beads on a piece of elastic string, while brilliantly good for recovering brain tumor patients and the criminally insane, just is not a technique that really cuts it in the world of serious jewelry.

Ah well. I'm way broker now than I was this morning, and I was not flush this morning. But I am bedecked. I have jewelry all over me. And a jade alligator to admire (he is a handsome fellow indeed) and a whole bunch of shiny beads all over the dining room table, safely dragged back to my nest where I can stare at the shiny for a nice long time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

One of Those Days: Self Pity Redux

craggy gardens view five
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
I got out to Craggy Gardens on Sunday; a perfectly beautiful perfect fall day with the leaves changing and the blue sky and the crisp wind and so on. Good thing too, because I need to look at those pictures right now, when it's pouring, as it has been since yesterday night, and gray and damp and cold and miserable and fuck it, I'm wearing leggings. I have a sore throat; M is home in bed with a cold; A is home in bed with ennui; the plants I dragged in so they wouldn't get frostbitten are drooping all over the living room and the puppy ate my umbrella. I got stuck in traffic and was late; I got locked out of the building in the rain and I can't find my PSP disc. Also, I have to pee and I'm the only one in the museum except for three visitors, so I am sitting here with my legs crossed. I don't usually blog from work but when you have to pee and you cannot leave your desk all bets are off.

Also, I wrote a haiku. Here it is:

Return of Winter
Still No Heated Toilet Seat
Cold Butt Memory

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Halloween is Up

I decorated my house for Halloween today. If you live here, you should most thoroughly drive by. Hell, you should drive by, park, gawp, and then knock - chances are very good that I'll give you a beer, particularly if you say nice things about my fucking AMAZING Halloween decorations. I swear, it always give me such a total kick to put them all up. I impress myself, and then I go around doing a loud mad evil scientist laugh and pointing and occasionally, god help us, even cavorting about the front lawn, while, naturally, rubbing my hands in that special evil way. My children are mortified. My mother will not even drive by my house. It's awesome.There's just something about Halloween, even if it's true that all the women dress up sexy and all the men dress up as women: okay, gender anxiety aside, it's a fabulous holiday. It makes no real sense; it isn't officially sanctioned (when I become the Evil Overlord, etc, etc, the day after Halloween will SO be a national holiday) and yet it chugs along, year after year, the closest thing our puritan nation has to Carnival. I love it. And I love the utterly awful tackiness of it all; the unfettered dreck that we bring out to teach our children not to fear Death. It's great. The macabre become banal, on a large Dollar Store scale.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
A long lost friend just emailed me this photo - holy opium den, batman, that's me on the side there, long hair, fabulous jacket clashing with striped skirt, reflected in the mirror. Me at age 17, when I think I looked quite different, but people keep walking into my office and telling me I look exactly the same. That's absolutely wonderful in one way - do they not see the 50 extra pounds? The wrinkles? The gray hairs? Dude, awesome! - but kind of weirdly disheartening in another. I mean, it's been, uh, more than 20 years. Perhaps I should have changed my hairstyle by now? Although it's good to see my natural haircolor again and to realize that damn, I've just been dying it back to the real thing all this time - before it got darkened by kids and age. It's such a strange feeling to see this, so amazing, so weird - a photo of me I had never seen, floating around all these years. Thanks J! I promise I will send an email soon! And a picture of YOU that I happen to have, bwah ha ha.

Anyway, though, what do you think? Do I look the same? Different? Is that skirt awful or what? Well, it was 1981. Fashion was different then. For comparison purposes, here is a recent (and good, thanks S!) picture of me - same, or different?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Day In Jeopardy

Today I drove 8 hours so that I could subject myself to 2 hours of abject terror. Also, buy a shirt I don't need at Macy's, but that's all part of the story. I went & tried out for Jeopardy today. Did I make it? I don't know, although I seriously, seriously doubt it. I blew it, actually. I completely blew it, but oh well, what the hell?

I went and got a rental car this morning, which was a big enormous PITA as always: apparently by law, renting a car cannot be a simple, straightforward procedure. This morning's particular and unique problem was that they did not, in fact, have a car for me although I had reserved one. After we had discussed that for a while, they drove me to the airport to get a car, which put me about an hour behind schedule and screwed up my plans to take the back route to Atlanta whilst taking photographs on the way. I took the highway. The drive there was uneventful and I'm happy to report that the CD player worked like a charm (in order, there & back again: XTC, Neutral Milk Hotel, Counting Crows, John Hiatt, different XTC, Amadou & Merriam, the Ramones, lots and lots and lots of Ramones.) and the small gold rental car moved smoothly. Road trips always make me feel like my head is floating about three feet over my body. Which I'm still feeling now, just in case you're noticing a certain disconnected factor to tonights installment of deathless prose.

The hotel where the Jeopardy tryouts were held was a large and fancy one smack dab inside the Lenox Square Mall, which is an extremely ultra super fancy mall: it's the mall I was looking for the last time I was in Atlanta 2 1/2 years ago, actually. Not because I can afford anything in it, but because it makes me feel sophisticated and glamourous to walk around ogling incredibly high end merchandise - they have Betsey Johnson and Neiman Marcus and stuff like that. Not an Old Navy in sight. By the way, if you ever want to spend huge sums of money on something utterly impractical for me (and god, I hope you do, whoever you are) you could do worse than this. I was early to my Jeopardy appointment, which was unfortunate, because it gave me time to decide that the sweater I was wearing Would. Not. Do. and then buy a blouse (and put it on) at Macy's that only seemed cheap by comparison to Bloomingdales and the fact that I then had 15 minutes to make it back to the hotel and I was starting to panic.

Panic would be the keynote of the next two hours. Of course I was the last person to arrive and I had to fill out paperwork and have my picture taken - a truly attractive polaroid that showed each of my chins to its fullest advantage - and then we all traipsed into the room to sit facing a screen and meet our cheerful and perky hosts, who apparently do this for a living. They told us what was going to happen and asked us some general trivia questions and asked us where we watched Jeopardy, which was difficult for me to fudge, since I haven't watched it in many years, gulp, and then Alex Trebek came on in the form of a DVD and told us all how incredibly great we were to even have passed the online test and yay, us. Meanwhile, I edged into full blown panic, and looked around to see a room full of people so normal I suspect they were grown in vats. Nice people. People dressed like they had a job interview. For an accounts receivable position at Boring Corp.

Then we took a written test and I'm sorry to report that I bombed this utterly. And I still don't know, and may never know, which state flag has a badger on it and why this would be considered self evident enough that the question was phrased "Naturally, this state has a badger on its flag!" Nor do I know which flower vanilla comes from, who the 2003 winner of American Idol was, or, shamefully, the last name of Helen Keller's teacher. So I blew that test, and I was kind of happy (except I felt small, and dumb, and utterly outclassed by the nicely dressed grownup vat people,) because I thought, "Aha! Now they will flunk me and I can slink out of here and go back to the mall and get up to the mountains in time to take the back road and get some pictures of the sunset!" Alas, no. They don't do it like that anymore. Now they make everyone go through everything, which is why, I guess, that I still might have a shot of actually appearing on the show, although I think possibly hell might have to freeze over first, along with the appearance of the winged pigs.

The next step was the mock game. We were called up in groups of three to stand in front of everyone and play a mock game, complete with buzzers. My buzzer technique was not perfect, but they asked me a lot of questions. Those questions, I mostly got right, except for the Susquehanna, which does not in fact have four letters. All would have been well, except then everyone had to make a perky little speech about themselves.

Well. I was not prepared. Everyone else had this perfect Jeopardy speech prepared, but as I said, I haven't watched the damn show in ages, and when they said "interview," I foolishly thought they meant, you know, an interview. I was the 4th person up, too. And, I made the classic mistake: I forgot that the internet is not cool. I said I was a blogger and spent a lot of time on the internet, and they all moved away from me on the bench, and then I tried to redeem myself by mentioning political involvement (don't ask. Along with Drinking Liberally I've been roped into doing a volunteer stint for Move On) only to realize halfway through my sentence that politics was a No No. I should so totally have skipped the mall visit before the Spanish Inquisition and gone to the hotel bar for a bloody mary instead; I know, that would have been Wrong, but oh my lord, I bet if I had I would be feeling a lot more confident about my chances now.

Then they let me sit down again to watch everyone else and that was that, except for a long speech about how they only pick 400 contestants a year out of about 6000 qualified candidates and if we get picked they'll call us and if not don't be all bummed out, just reapply next year, because they only keep candidate files for one year. They also said we could keep the pens, and there at the top, as you see, is my Jeopardy pen to prove that actually did go and try out for Jeopardy. Yes. Yes I did. The drive back was utterly hairy and horrible and full of weird lightning storms and fog and shit and took five frickin' hours but I think it was worth it, if only for the fact that next year, I will so have a suit on and a little speech prepared.

And you never know. Pigs may grow wings yet and I may yet be called to California to panic on national television.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Neuroticon 6

Tomorrow, gentle readers, tomorrow I'm going to drive for 8 hours to make a goddamn fool of myself. At least that's how it seems right now. I have been going through all sorts of interesting stress symptoms since this morning, ranging from a hot red face that will not fade to going to Belks. My friend S called this evening and said, "How are you doing?" "Fine!" I babbled, "I've just been to Belks and bought some shoes! They're super cute!" "I'll come over," she said, because random Belkian shoe buying is, as we all know, a major distress signal.

Everyone at my work wished me luck and told me if I won any money I would have to give it to the museum. This made my craven plan of just staying home tomorrow under the bed and then lying and saying I had been to Atlanta and failed the test look bad, so I had to give that one up. Okay, I'm not THAT neurotic and I wasn't really going to do that, no matter how comforting it seems right now. I'm going to do this, and I'm going to be wearing new shoes, so how bad could it be? Pretty goddamn bad, I know.

Which leads me to the title of this post. Neuroticon 6 is a planet I occasionally visit, an unpleasant planet, but a familiar one. It's a planet where all kind of bad things happen, like you show up to try out for a quiz show and they laugh and jeer at you and then save your audition tape to put up on Youtube with the title Moron! At one point I thought I would write a cogent and funny book of essays entitled Neurotica, and I may yet. If I do it will probably be on Lulu.com and you, given sufficient masochism, might even be one of the four people who buys it. It will have an essay about waiting to drive to Atlanta to fail a quiz show test - possibly this essay, even. Only a bit more obsessively proofed.

So I am hanging tonight on Neuroticon 6, where the bars are glossy and elegant and full of mean strangers and perfectly turned out smart blonde women who look far, far better than I ever will; the beers cost $11 and, worst of all, noone will listen to me babble. My friend S gave me some beers and told me how smart I was, and how it was all going to be okay, which should have made me feel better, and it did for a bit, but now I'm back on Neuroticon 6, revisiting all the various ports of call, continents and capital cities and, hey, major waterfalls. At least I have cute shoes.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Winging It

The day after tomorrow. . portentous music here, please. . I'm getting into a rental car and driving 3ish hours to Hotlanta, where I will try out for Jeopardy. I have not studied. I have not dieted. I have not, god help me, even had my eyebrows waxed, which was like the total minimum thing I was going to do before I tried out for Jeopardy, as everyone knows that excess eyebrow hair pull your IQ down. They extrude it. Or something.

My daughter made me play the online version of Jeopardy for a while tonight and I'm here to tell you that it kind of reeks, although I found that if I used the bald guy with glasses as my avatar I got smarter. Maybe I should shave my head tonight. Or not. My daughter is disgusted with my lack of doing anything about jeopardy but honestly, I find that I don't care. The whole thing kind of fell out of the sky in the first place: I wasn't really looking for it and being on Jeopardy, while it's always been something that I thought would be sort of fun, hasn't ever really been a life's ambition or anything. In fact, I haven't even watched the show for like 10 years, unless you count the couple of times I've been in a bar at the right time. In those bars, and alas, there are far too few of them, I rock and people are impressed with me, except of course for those people who find me intimidating, or, like the guy at the Brew N' View (which isn't Jeopardy but that weird trivia online bar game thing that people play at the Applebys in Timonium as well as other assorted creepy bars all over the interior of the US) get all offended and obnoxious because I'm beating their high scores. Actually that guy was the only one and I think he was just your common garden variety asshole. Too bad for him: I beat the pants off him - not, thank god, literally.

So wish me luck. Off I go. Unprepared, unwaxed and unthin, but with a devil may care attitude that's okay, not hard to beat, but well, more interesting to beat anyway.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bat Cave Garlic

fog countryside
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
I went up to Bat Cave today to visit my friends D & A, and their kids, N the prodigal son & R. It was a gray, misty, rainy day and cold up there on the mountain, where the leaves are just starting to turn. I took my brother, because ever since my brother read this article, he's been obsessed with the idea of becoming an organic gourmet garlic farmer himself, and this idea involved using my backyard as the starter farm. He came over on Friday and looked at my sad excuse for a vegetable garden, which I abandoned to weeds a while back and listened to me explain my vision for the backyard, which involves raised beds which in turn involve a lot of money and an obscene amount of work. "Lot of work," he said dubiously, and I agreed. I don't have that kind of energy for gardening this time of year: I get gardening energy in about March and it begins dwindling in June, only to peter out altogether by August when the weeds get fierce and I never want to see another goddamned green bean again anyway. Garlic, though, must be planted in the fall, thus keeping vampires at bay throughout the wintry months and a good thing too.

Then I bethought myself of my Bat Cave friends, and their large well established garden, so we went on up the mountain today to check it out. Worked like a charm: I am patting myself on the back with the simple joy of the successful matchmaker. Now D & A will have a frequent visitor; my brother B will have somewhere else to go on his motorcycle, and in a few months, we'll all have enough garlic for, well, pretty much anything that requires gigantic amounts of garlic. I knew they would all get along, with visions of garlic millions dancing in their heads, and soon, Bat Cave Garlic will be a reality. A reality with a really great name; I've already got the logo designed in my head.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sure, He's Cute

django run
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
Yeah, he's adorable, but arrrrggggggghhhhhh! Yesterday he peed on my bed and then, in case that wasn't enough, he got into my closet and took out all my shoes, which he redistributed around the house and yard before settling in to eat one of my favorite, favorite clogs. Grrrrrrr. That is why he and Theo are now locked in the kitchen when there's noone home, which isn't fair to Theo, but oh well, them's the breaks. I've never been one of the crate people, because Toby was claustrophobic and hated them totally, and Phineas, the awful Shih Tzu (Shih Tz'livingroom) just shat all over his and spread it everywhere and after that experience, I decided I never wanted another shih tzu or another crate. So no crate for young Django, but oh. my. god. I had forgotten the true scale of the destruction a puppy can create in a very short amount of time.

While walking down the street, said by a very drunk guy outside the College St. Pub: "If you're being chased by a bear, what you want to do, see, is run downhill."
"Naaaaaah. No way."
"Yeah, I swear. Run downhill."
At work, one geologist referring to another geologist:

"Well, he's a sedimentary guy."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Dude, New Phone!

Occasionally that which starts out rotten can end happily. This morning, I walked both the dogs: Theo, the old responsible one and Django, the tiny bouncing one. This was not as easy as it sounds, because by walk I mean get wrapped up in leashes and fall over not once but several times and by dogs I mean furry agents of Satan and by responsible I mean used to be good on the leash but now is pulling my arm off again and by bouncing I mean, in fact, bouncing like a motherfucker. If a motherfucker usually bounces, with which fact I am not acquainted, but I can totally assure you that a 9 week old Springer Spaniel indeed bounces, vertically, several feet in the air at a time. Which is why I needed a new phone.

You see, I took the dogs out on a walk through scenic foggy West Asheville (see photo) around 7:25 this morning, leaving M with instructions to get his ass out of the shower and onto the school bus in a timely manner. Which, you would think, a 14 year old could manage. Then around 7:40, when I was not particularly far along in the walk (see above, particularly referencing bouncing and getting wrapped in leashes, A called to complain bitterly that her brother had called her to demand a ride to school and it was unfair. I fielded that call okay and was thus not surprised when my phone rang again 5 minutes later, since I knew it was M calling to complain bitterly about how unfair his sister was to refuse to give him a ride to school. I had just gotten past the "You still have time to catch the school bus for chrissakes" part of this conversation when 1) puppy bounced and 2) Theo lunged and 3) phone went about 5 feet up in the air and 4 feet laterally before plunging to the pavement with an unhealthy crunch. Then I shouted JESUS FUCK! and so on, and made my unhappy broken phone way through the rest of the walk (including past that spooky playground - I did have my real camera and I hung it around my neck and hung on like grim death, so it didn't get puppy-ed) and got home where I found that M had indeed amazingly taken the school bus.

I spent the rest of the day metaphorically girding my loins to do battle with Sprint, convinced that I would walk into the Sprint store and if they didn't actually rush me with spears, well, they would certainly do so metaphorically. I told everyone how tough I was going to be and I walked in there with a fierce look on my face, ready to stand up for myself! To listen to them say tough shit and actually get mad back instead of caving meekly, apologizing for my temerity and slinking out. Which is how those encounters usually end. For once, though, I was happily surprised. "Oh yeah," said the guy, "You're way overdue for an upgrade. Here, you can have $150 credit towards any phone we have." Which is why I now am sporting a seriously slick shiny black phone WITH A CAMERA, DUDE, WITH A CAMERA and I am so, so cool now and both my children are overcome with jealousy, which is always just a sweet, sweet feeling.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


There's been lovely fog in the mornings lately, as there often is in Asheville in October, and here's a charming little foggy slide show of fog images for you to mistily enjoy. You will probably notice, as I have noticed, that I actually used to take better pictures with my old point & shoot 3.2 megapixel camera than I do with my large, impressive, bells & whistles & manual stuff 5 megapixel newish camera. This has been kind of depressing me, as I have also noticed that I seem incapable of holding a camera straight. There's always a list to port on my horizon, and yes, I know, that lends itself to commentary right there, except I don't like port. I had port once, by mistake, when I was so young that we couldn't tell the difference between it and the sophisticated beverage we actually desired, wine that was not Strawberry Hill, and it was quite gruesome.

A week from tomorrow I'm driving to Atlanta to try out for Jeopardy, yikes, and alas, somehow time has gotten away from me and I'm not smart or thin yet, the two things I blithely assumed I would be by now. Damn. Oh well. I'm just going to go and wing it and if I blow it, I blow it: such is life. My family, particularly my mother, disapproves of this attitude. My mother told me sniffily not to let my children hear me talk like that, in case they started acting that way. I didn't have the heart to tell her that it was far, far, far too late for that.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Comments That Make Me Oddly Happy

Yesterday, M called from his sister's car (my car, actually. Argh. Argh argh argh.) on their way home and all he had to say was "Uh, Mom?" and I said, "FINE! Just fine! It's okay with me, but then I'm not making the garlic bread!" and he started laughing and said "Okay." That left me home alone with a big pot of spaghetti while my children went out and ate burgers without me but hell, you know you grab your solitude where you can, and it was, actually, in more than even a passive aggressive way, okay with me. It's a little tight around here since A's boyfriend formally moved in. Argh. Argh argh argh argh.

Then this evening he called me at work and said, "Do you know where I can get a stuffed penguin?" "There's one in the back yard," I said practically, knowing that this was true. Not everyone can say that and it's the little things that mean so much, eventually, in one's childrens' memories. Ah yes, they will say eventually, Mom always had a stuffed penguin or two lying around in the back yard. Possibly they will use this sort of thing to make their future spouses feel inadequate which would actually, in an evil sort of way, be just fine with me.

Unfortunately, though, that wasn't the sort of stuffed penguin he had in mind, since our back yard penguin is a little the worse for wear. He wanted a clean fresh one to, hold on to your hats, give to a Girl. Being the good parent that I am, I said I would go and find one. Well. Hell. You know things have come to a terrible, gentrified pretty pass when a citizen of Asheville, a tax paying citizen and downtown worker such as myself, cannot buy a stuffed penguin in downtown! But alas, it is true. The stupid toy store was closed; TJ Morrison's has gone the way of the dodo, and there was not another stuffed penguin to be found, lo, not even in the whole of the terrifying upscale ghost mall that is the Grove Arcade. "I'll make you one!" I said feverishly on the cel phone and he shrieked, "Noooo!"

He's right. Going up to a Girl and saying creepily, "Here's a penguin. My Mom made it for you." is definitely the short road to social suicide. Even I can see the problems with that one. Pity, because I had some truly awful penguin crafts in mind.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Puppy Love

A week ago, things changed around my house. A week ago, my daughter found a puppy. And now, it's all over: we are all madly, but madly, in puppy love. Puppy has chewed everything he can get his teeth into, widdled neat little puddles in most corners of the house and done other dreadful things: isn't he pwecious! Mama's own baby angel OW STOP THAT sweetest wuzzle AAGH PEE OUTSIDE fuzzy wuzzer beans! Mama didn't need those ugly old shoes anyway. Izzum sweetie pie.

A found this puppy near a park by the Nature Center, early early on Tuesday morning when she was dropping her boyfriend off at work. The puppy was soaked and bedraggled and completely happily wandering along the side of a very busy street, so A stopped her car (my car, actually, but that's another long sad tale) and the puppy nonchalantly hopped right in. So A, having a kind heart, brought the collarless, tagless, microchip-less (we took him to a vet & checked) puppy home.

This is a purebred puppy, about 8 weeks old, fuzzy & sweet & with a badly docked tail that's already healed. A did the responsible thing: she called the Humane Society (aka the animal shelter; there's only one for Buncombe County) - about 8 times over the next 3 days. No one ever reported the puppy missing. A papered East Asheville with Found Puppy flyers. No one called her cel phone. A checked all the newspapers and the websites and everywhere someone might post a missing puppy flyer: nothing. Noone, apparently, is looking for this beautiful baby dog. And of course, by now, the worst has happened: the entire family is madly in love with Django, as he has been finally named after considerable wrangling, since I favored the name Chauncey and A was holding out for Ringo and M, disgusted by the whole thing, thought Killer or Spike were suitable.

Note that I am not posting any pictures of said adorable (OH. MY. GOD. HE. IS. ADORABLE.) puppy even though I promise you I have taken many, because the only way someone is claiming this dog is if they can describe him with no hints. At this point I kind of think they may not get him back anyway, partly because I feel that anyone who doesn't call the Humane Society about 20 minutes after they've misplaced a puppy that young doesn't deserve to own one and partly because, as I may have mentioned, we have all fallen in love with him.

It all goes to show you that you must be careful what you whisper into the ear of the universe. About two weeks ago I was saying that Theo was lonely and perhaps I should get another dog. I was thinking about a young dog, you know, not a puppy. A young shephard mix, to be specific, or possibly a lab, and not this kind of puppy at all, and certainly not an 8 week old baby with his milk teeth barely in. But there you have it: the universe, while it hears news of a vacancy appearing, is not good at specifics.

Meanwhile, Theo just remarked bitterly that noone asked HIM if he wanted a puppy, and Jesus H. Christ on a proverbial crutch, anyway. Theo is now desperate for his missing loneliness and somehow not at all as enthusiastic about the puppy as the rest of us, not to mention prone to heaving long accusing sighs in our direction as the puppy merrily chews on his cheeks. Still, he is patient, and the puppy does everything he does, which is just so cute! Stuff like taking all our socks outside, which is an old trick of Theo's, had long since ceased to be considered cute around here, but now, it's adorable again! The puppy does it so much more cutely! Mr. Bill is also not enthralled; in fact, Mr. Bill has reacted as if we had taken in a giant squid with a particular fondness for gray cats as hors d'oeuvres, not a fuzzy puppy. Every time he comes in the kitchen and spots the puppy, he reacts exactly the way I would if I came into my kitchen to find a giant squid wrapped around the refrigerator, reaching out for me with one huge and suckered tentacle, which is to say he screams and vanishes. I don't think he's really eaten in a week.

Poor Theo. Poor Mr. Bill. Poor us. But happy, lucky puppy, who is getting lavished with gigantic truckloads of love, gourmet puppy food courtesy of my mother, who is also gaga over him, a fancy collar and special new leash. Not to mention the chew toys, the gentle puppy centric flea medication and, of course, the hugging. Ah, puppy love.