Friday, August 31, 2007


I went out tonight for a little while. I went to my friend S' house and met my friend J there and we all went down to the sculpture opening at the park where we met our friend Z, among others, and then we went to the Lucky Otter and had dinner and it was all very nice and I came along home, mellow and ready to sleep, about 9ish. Home, yes. Where the heart is. Where, when I got there, I had one dog, who looked a bit nervous, at the door to greet me and no sign of dog number two. And I use number two in all it's meanings, because dog number two, Shi'thead is I believe his name in Arabic, was hiding under M's bed since, in the hour or so since I last talked to M and M had gone off to a friend's house, he had wiggled his nemesis way under the other computer and pulled out a CD folder and destroyed it, complete with most every CD inside, across the den. Also, one of my bras, but okay, that's not a huge loss, given that my bras are all like 10 years old and decrepit.

In the CD folder, however, were a lot of irreplaceable photo CDs. And - and this is where I lost it - James McMurtry, St. Mary in the Wood and David Bowie, Hunky Dory. And the Dead and Rage Against the Machine and oh fuck, I DON'T EVEN KNOW AT THIS POINT. That's what I could identify as destroyed beyond redemption. So I dragged the evil little bastard out from under M's bed and I shoved a bunch of broken CDs under his nose and walloped his ass and screamed and so on. Useless. Do you know, I've had a copy, in one form or another, of Hunky Dory since I was 15 fucking years old? Fifteen. And now it's sitting on my dining room table with a spaniel jaw sized fucking chunk out of it. And St. Mary of the Woods is my favorite, ever, James McMurtry album and now it is gone as well. Not to mention any number of never to be seen again, never to be duplicated, family photos.

So I am angry, and tired, and I couldn't even call anyone since M has my phone, because, in a perfect case of motherhood gone terribly, terribly wrong, I have been refusing to replace his phone that he swears was stolen because he loses too many phones. I thought that him not having a phone would teach him, ha! Yeah. It's taught me quite nicely, because, when I am confronted with the thought of M out there in the terrible world, unable to make a cel phone call, I am undone, and he knows this, and that is how, somehow, M has a phone (mine) and I have nothing: no phone to call my friends and describe for them in heated terms once again the perfidy of this goddamn useless dog. All I could do was go outside and smoke two cigarettes angrily and fast. Another useful plan.

This pains me deeply. When you think about it logically, M is never anywhere where there isn't a phone, because all his friends' parents, like me, are terrified at the idea of these teenagers being even briefly phoneless, but here I am at home, utterly without phone. What if a burglar comes in? I'll have to email the cops. Pity the burglar who comes in this house tonight, though. He will not survive. At the very least I'll duct tape him to a chair and then spend a couple of hours explaining exactly what my dog and my child have done to me.

project 365 #242: waterdrops on red lily

Yesterday's picture, taken during the approximate 2.5 hours that I spent out of bed. And that's not in bed in a good way, if you know what I mean. Sigh. I went back to work today anyway, armed with not only a can of coke but also a can of organic ginger ale and some saltines. It's been okay. Still, this pretty much sucks. I kind of wanted to go camping this weekend; in fact, I had a vague and hilariously awful plan of doing some kind of horrible new age ritual in which I would ritually get rid of all my old problem behaviors and emerge, newly fledged, from the woods like the butterfly from the chrysalis, O. (That's O as in there go the raggle taggle gypsies, O, you know, the obligatory folk music string band new age O. Just in case you were wondering.) Yeah, I know. This is what happens when you have a hippie guru shrink like mine: it starts to actually make sense. And I was kind of enjoying the thought of going camping by myself (well, with the dogs, in case there are any stray shoes that need to be eaten out in the woods) and making a fire and ritualistically burning bad crayon drawings representing, O, bad decisions and bad news boyfriends and so on. O.

Well, it's still possible. It just might have to happen in the den instead of Pisgah National Forest, that's all.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

project 365 #241: back seat still life

I'm home sick from work today. I have no idea what's wrong with me - something involving a sore throat and sore ears and an upset stomach and fatigue - and when I woke up this morning I felt totally horrible and decided to stay home. This is approximately the same list of symptoms that had young M staying home on Monday and, as he pointed out, I yelled at him about it. "Do you want to yell at me?" I said from bed without opening my eyes. "Because go for it." He didn't. Django ate my fucking rubber clogs though, at some point this morning while I was asleep.

I just feel weird - it's hard to pin down, but I'm definitely way, way off. Bah. I hate this kind of indeterminate virusy misery because I keep thinking that maybe, unbeknownst to myself, I'm faking it. "Get over it!" I say to myself, "Get dressed! Go to the store! Walk the dogs!" and I would, honestly, but getting dressed seems impossible and I have to keep going back to sleep.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

project 365 #240: fog dogs

project 365 #240: fog dogs
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
My home internet is back on - for now. Charter is supposed to be faxing me a statement today that states the following: 1) I don't owe them any money at all, 2) I get the introductory rate for another three months, 3) they're not going to turn my internet off again and 4) they're sorry and they suck. Well, I'm not counting on the last part. But I better get that goddamn fax and it better be on letterhead.

In other news, M has already missed one day of school, sigh. He's got some sort of cold/stomach thing that isn't much fun (why do people always say that? It's not much fun. Aw, too bad - I remember this one stomach virus I had, wowee man, that was big fun!) so he stayed home on Monday. This does not bode well for the year, although he says that the principal says that if he feels crazy, he can go put himself into ISS (in school suspension) at any time. M loves ISS - it seems to function as that quaint old fashioned thing, study hall. It's quiet and you can actually concentrate. Of course, there is no study hall anymore and hasn't been for years. Bah - another thing for the When I Am The Evil Overlord list. M was also told he had to have a book to read, so he went out and bought one. I was excited. M hasn't voluntarily gone after a book to read since he outgrew the Magic Treehouse series. Unfortunately, this is my son, who has inherited my warped sense of humor: he got the US Army Sniper Manual. I have a feeling this is not going to go over well as light reading during 10th grade English. Oh lord, back to the school shrink's office we go.

Monday, August 27, 2007

project 365 #236: party in leicester

So, yeah, still no internet at home. I can't seem to find the sticky note with the magical phone number of the actual human being who I talked with a couple of weeks ago and I'm just so. fucking. tired. of dealing with this that I'm taking a brief outrage hiatus. Tomorrow, perhaps my fury will be back up enough where I go over to the Charter office and stage a sit in until they give me 6 months of free cable or something. Because this is way beyond "ridiculous, horrible and insane" and deeply into "if I was a lawyer I'd be filing suit right around now" territory.

Big fun weekend with S and others. On Friday night S & J & I ended up going to a fairly odd party somewhere in the wilds where Emma meets Leicester. That was a strange hour or two as parties where you really only know one person (and that person is our, uh, deeply eccentric friend A) so often are. The hostess was the seed lady: the person who makes up those odd little plastic bags of seeds one finds around Asheville in places like the laundromat and Earthfare bulletin board with small rope handles and stamped labels that include suicide prevention information on them as well as inviting one to visit what she calls her "Hippie Ranch," which is, I think, where we were on Friday night. Hard to tell, sometimes. She did have chickens. We know she was the seed lady although first she told us she wasn't; but we figured that out due to the seed packets that were scattered about - also, A had told us she was. Later, after our friend J had agreed to wear an apron - a frilly apron - she thawed a bit and allowed as to how she was, in fact, the seed lady. She also called us three random chicks, as in, when we got there she said in tones of vague scorn, "Oh look. Three random chicks." Mmmm hmmm. My horoscope on Friday, as we recall, said that my friends would talk me into something weird - I wasn't the one who wanted to go to this party.

Saturday I tried to take S & C to an art opening at the park. That would have been really fun if it had in fact been happening but unfortunately I was a week early. So we had hamburgers instead and hung out at S' picnic table for a while.

Sunday S & C & K & I went tubing. Yes, again. We wanted to try it in the rain this time, go figure. And it was fun again, although we didn't go for as long, due partly to the weather and partly to the counterintuitive fact that the water level was way lower than it had been the week before despite the rain. My advice for you intrepid tuber wannabes, by the way, is that if you are driving to the Green River and it's storming and there's lightning and thunder and so on yet you persevere anyway, don't spend an hour huddled under the bridge debating whether or not it's going to rain more. It is. You might as well get into the water straight off instead of waiting for it to get itself together to really rain on you. Who cares, anyway? So you get wet - hello. That's why you're there. It was great fun anyway and we all came back to my house and made a huge yummy feast and big fun was had by all.

So, other than the damn internet, good weekend. Damn Charter. Fuck Charter. Charter sucks. And so on, ad infinitum nauseam.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hey, Guess What?

Charter turned off my internet AGAIN! Wowee, boys and girls, this is just so much fun! So on Monday I guess I start the whole long miserable insanity AGAIN. I just can't face it this weekend.

Friday, August 24, 2007

project 365 #235: smoke rings

I stopped by Broadways last night for a couple of beers after work with my friend J and brought the smoke ring gun, which, joy of joys, now belongs to me. Yay. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be working, unless, as the stalwart Broadways guy pictured here discovered, you give it a cigarette shotgun and then squeeze the trigger. Great art requires great sacrifice, after all.

In other news, I'm really glad it's Friday. It's seemed like a particularly long week; I don't know why, unless it's the heat. It feels like all I do lately is explain to people that this kind of endless heat is unusual for Asheville. I should tell them it's like this all summer, every summer, which, hey, given global climate change, it may be from now on and then perhaps they would move away and the housing market would crash and burn and lo, I might be able to afford to stay here. Like that's going to happen; of course, if it is going to be this hot all the time, fuck it, I don't want to live here anymore. This is ghastly. It's gruesome. It's horrible. And I'm tired of pouring sweat from every appropriately homophonic pore.

My horoscope this morning is scary: It's crucial that you keep your feet firmly planted on the ground today, for if you stop listening to your own practical advice, you find yourself in deep trouble. It might take a few days for this scenario to play out, as others may encourage you to do something that isn't in your best interest. Trust your common sense over anything anyone says. Deep trouble, huh? Not so good. My own practical advice? I might as well start gearing up for the trouble - I can hear myself now, fully into doomed last thoughts mode: "Maybe you don't need another beer. . . " "Perhaps it would be a bad idea to kiss this boy. . . " "You don't really need an $85 dress. . . " "You know that tequila shots are pretty much always really bad news. . . " "Leave that Amazon wishlist right there on the computer, don't buy anything. . . " "Don't blow your diet - big macs are evil . . ." Yeah. Send lawyers, guns and money now, okay? Beat the rush.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

project 365 #234: wednesday

We actually did it: we got up in time and M got on the bus and I got to work on time - okay, I didn't take a shower and I forgot my lunch and my moisturizer, but still. I got my old alarm clock working; it turns out that only the B alarm works - the A alarm, which presumably was intended for type A personalities, has given up the ghost, crumbled under the stress, had a heart attack and decided to go live in an ashram in Goa. But the B alarm works just fine and woke me up to "rock" radio which was playing something that to my sleep hazed mind sounded like a more modern and faux indie squeaky clean sort of 90s Archies clone band. In other words, Matchbox 20.

I have decided to do something new on this blog: horoscopes! No, I'm not going to cast yours; you'll have to get your own blog for that. I am going to prove, once and for all, that the daily horoscopes as provided on my iGoogle page are totally accurate and right every single time. For example, yesterday's horoscope said "You will receive an offer you cannot refuse." And it was SO right. When I got home from work, young M met me at the door and said, "Turn around, Mom, we have to go to K-Mart and get gym shorts." I couldn't refuse! I had to go! See, oh you doubting sceptics? It is magic.

Today's horoscope - shortened, because otherwise you won't read it and who could blame you - says this: This month can bring you profound realizations about your relationships, especially those with a playful or romantic orientation. You are less concerned now about success or failure. And already I feel a distinct lack of concern about success or failure. Which I know is a shock, given my driven Type Z persona. Yeah.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I give up. Mornings just have to be abolished. As soon as I become Evil Queen of the Galaxy, I'm going to make it happen. Somehow. In some way that things will happen without me actually waking up because clearly, that's impossible. I set two alarm clocks last night. (I also mopped the kitchen floor and scrubbed every inch of the bathroom, but my bruised, chipped and battered heart got another setback, so that's par for the course.) Yes, two alarm clocks, one of which was freshly obtained from my mother so you know it worked and one of which was obtained from my mother umpteen years ago and you know it used to work before we moved but maybe it was highly location specific. It certainly doesn't get WNCW anymore but then that's no great loss since I've lost my taste for waking up to 1940s cowboy warbling, go figure. Anyway, to noone's great surprise, I must report that neither alarm clock went off. Both failed to alarm. Unalarming was the order of the morning. And the canine alarm clock slept late which meant that I woke up at 7:40 which is absolutely completely very bad no good and horrible when M has to leave the house at 7:45 if he wants to catch the bus. So we had another fun ass morning of shout, shout, unwashed M into car, traffic hell (we are SO much further away from Asheville High School in the new house and it is just no good at all) etc, etc, dogs unwalked and me 40 minutes late to work. I am consequently bitter and disinclined to effort. Also, my throat hurts.

My throat hurts because my extremely local economy, to wit, my household, is suffering a financial slump and so I've switched from American Spirit Ultra Lights to Camel Lights, which are a dollar less a pack and which I used to smoke back in the bad old days before hippies had their own special brand. I have noticed that they make far better smoke rings than Spirits do, but for whatever reason they don't taste real or right and I end up smoking lots more of them. Bah.

In other news, Django went on another rampage yesterday and I'm terribly afraid that he'll do it again today since he wasn't walked this morning. Although I did beat the tar out of him this morning in a horrific display of misdirected temper at the general morning and also because he had my goddamn black Bic lighter in his mouth, which is a bit much to take when said mouth is located on a dog who is standing in the den which is completely covered in bits of fluff, foam and upholstery from one of my couch cushions which he essentially destroyed yesterday. And his collar. This is the third damn collar he's gone through in a month and if he hadn't eaten it he'd be tied up way out in the yard today because mama has HAD it. Again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

project 365 #232: another lame parking lot shot

I have to work out this morning thing or, well, I don't know exactly what's going to happen - besides M getting kicked out of school for too many tardies and me getting fired for being late too often, which will of course inevitably lead to both of us living under a bridge in a cardboard box and training the dogs to go out and steal for us, which they won't do very well, naturally, so we'll probably starve - but it's going to be ugly. The best system I can come up with involves a whole bunch of alarm clocks strategically located around the house, set to go off at 15 minute intervals. Since we currently don't seem to own even one working alarm clock and we're broke as all get out, this solution is unlikely for at least another couple of weeks. It's a bitch and it's terrible to realize that you can wake up at 6:45 am and still manage to be an hour late to work - that was yesterday. Or you can be half an hour early, unshowered, hair unbrushed and clothes a bit dubious - today. Damn start of the school year.

Monday, August 20, 2007

project 365 #229: the perfect asheville tshirt

Here's Friday's picture, taken at the way too hot Downtown After Five that I left before getting to really hear any of the bands because, as I just mentioned, it was too hot. Also, too crowded later on.

Yesterday's picture was so lame that I won't even put it up on this blog (it's an exciting view of the cars in the movie theatre parking lot, woo hoo) but I did want to report that I went with my friend J to see Stardust and it was AMAZING. I think it might just be the perfect movie. I was totally enthralled. I loved it. I want to see it again. I kind of want to see it every day for the rest of my life. And I want to go live in that world instead of this one, which I realize is an ongoing theme in my life.

I spoke sternly with myself on leaving the movie theatre. I spoke very sternly about growing up and getting rid of the fantasy novels and not getting sniffly eyed about silly romances set in fictional universes and I reminded myself what a waste of time and energy all this fantasy stuff is. "Self," I said, "You must give all this stuff up and endeavour to live in the real world. You must read non fiction and get more up to date on world affairs. You must give up this hopeless, doomed quest for romance and focus on your career. Get to work, self," I said, "And stop sniffling. It's unbecoming. You need wrinkle cream. Also, you're fat." Fortunately though, after a brief wrestling bout sparked by the word fat, I managed to throw the voice in my head right out the window and now I'm happily back in my own weird magical universe, where I'm much more at home.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


We tubed down the Green River today, me and C and J and K. It was awesome. I've never actually done it before - once, a few years ago, C and I and J (a different J) went down there to go tubing but by the time we'd driven the switchback road to the bottom of the mountain to the place where you get tubes, the sky had opened up and thunder was pealing through the gorge. So we stood for a long time under the bridge and read the graffiti and watched the soaked, shivering tubers come down the river. I thought at least someone would get electrified, but it didn't happen while I was watching.

Today, of course, since it hasn't rained in 7 weeks or so, there was no fear of a storm. So we drove the long road down, hairpin turn after hairpin turn, got our tubes and onto the schoolbus and up to the put in, where there were cops watching to make sure nobody had any beer. That kind of sucks, although I can understand why they made alcohol illegal on the river last summer, but there were points in that four hour trip today where I really, really missed the cooler full of beer languishing in the trunk of K's car. (I had been hoping that that law was just some kind of not real thing. Alas, they're serious.) But we had filled C's backpack with vitamin water and grapes and melon and a bag of cheese cubes that stayed edible surprisingly long.

It was crowded and insane. There's a wide, wide mix of people who tube down the Green River on a hot as hell Saturday in August when the heat hasn't broken for weeks. You get to know them as you bang into them and they kick you in the head and so on - actually, mostly everybody was really nice. We made friends on the first leg down - a cool guy named Bear and his friends. Bear had a paddle with his tube and was an expert; he also had a lengthy conversation about tax law with some other guy as we floated. That's impressive, really. Tax law. We hung out with them for a while. There are kids. There are older people. There are people with impressive ink and people with, uh, less impressive ink and then there are people in blue jeans, long sleeved shirts and black shoes. They look a bit odd next to the girls in bikinis. Some people are serious and manage to bring their cigarettes and lighters and keep them dry. On the first leg I blew this entirely - on the second I managed to keep two dry, although I gave one away. I'd bummed half a Newport and been glad of it myself earlier - cigarettes are gold on the river.

When you go to tube down the Green, if you're coming from Asheville and points west, the first tubing place you run into is called Wild Creek. Or Wilderness Camp. Or something else entirely; all I know for sure is the tubes all say WC on them, which is amusing: less amusing while you're floating, much more when you're out of it. If you're coming from the other direction, which I guess is South Carolina, you get to Silver Creek first and your tubes say SC on them. They're also a different color, and I got this mental picture of the two campground/tubing places getting together every year and deciding on who had what color tubes this year. You get your tubes where ever, anyway, and leave your car and decide what you should bring with you (I went to Ingles this morning and got a waterproof disposable camera and I can hardly wait to get it developed) and what you should leave and then you climb into the school bus. You choose whether you want the one hour ride, which is down to where your car is, or the three hour ride, which is to the second bridge and the one we did, which took in actual fact about four hours, or the four hour ride, which I'm glad we didn't do, since ours was really enough.

There are rapids and some of them are super rapid. The trick is to pull your whole body up over the top of the tube and hope to god you don't turn over. If your butt is still down inside the tube your butt will get whacked, and severely. We sang, "Keep your ass up. . . Keep your ass up. . . Hold your ass high!" to remind us of this simple fact. There are bamboo forests that make you think Ling Ling is going to wander by any minute. There are vines. There are small islands with black eyed susans and nothing else growing on them. There are big islands with huge old pine trees growing on them. There are deep lovely parts where you can swim. There are parts where there are teenagers jumping off the top of trees, which is terrifying. There are kayakers acting all serious in serious kayaks with serious helmets and serious life jackets, which you would think they would feel a bit dumb when they're being passed every five minutes by hooting tubers in drenched shorts with coolers full of "iced tea." There are houses and trailers and campgrounds with tents by the banks and often the people who live in them are playing music and standing outside drinking beer and cheering the tubers on. That was pretty cool, actually - as you move deeper into the country and deeper towards SC you go from hippie folk guitar to AC/DC.

There were two herons, one kingfisher, one snake and multitudes of crawfish. We fed cheese to some minnows, who were deeply appreciative. There was an idiot woman with a small, terrified dog, who I think got out and that was good; there was a happy Lab who swam half the river with his owner in a kayak.

It was just starting to get a little cold when we got out at the second bridge and waited and eventually got on the Bus of Terror back to the campground with our tubes. That was very third world - inasmuch as flying way too fast down a twisting mountain road in a packed, elderly short school bus that shrieks and heels on every curve is third world (I had visions of the headlines: Polk County Tube Bus Plunge Kills Many) and we passed the place that we thought was a church. From the river all you can see is this huge white cross with writing all over it and a white building that you assume must be a church. Instead, as far as we could tell from the road, it's a Christian tube rental place. Like, perhaps you could rent a giant inflatable cross, and the whole family could cling to that as they washed down the river. Wet with parable action! Or maybe it's the church of Christ Watersports, in which Jesus walks on the water just for the hell of it - wheeee! Aren't there any stories of Jesus running on the water? Sliding? Jesus, in his tube, floating serenely down the Green.

It was a brilliant day. I was cranky and didn't want to leave my house because I had every intention of spending the day napping and reading bad detective novels and pretending to clean up and I'm so glad that I went out to the river instead. We all ended up at my house where I made pizza and salad and we drank the beer from the cooler in that perfect, summer tired from sun and swimming, pulling cans of beer out of icy water way.

Friday, August 17, 2007

project 365 #228: blurry thursday

I got home last night after work only to discover that, quite unbelievably, Charter had turned off my internet AGAIN. I still can't quite believe it. To add insult to injury, I tried to call them but their 1-800 number was busy. For half an hour.

I'm going to reiterate everything that's happened with me and Charter in this post so I have it all neatly in writing somewhere. That way, if I do blow them up, no jury will convict me. I'm also going to ask all of you who read this to link to it. You know I never ask for links, but I'm asking now. I want this to get around. I want this article to be on the front page of a google search for Charter Communications. I am beyond anger and into a sort of deep, shaking, silent rage.

At some point during the first week of August, Charter turned my internet off. I called them the morning of August 3 to straighten this out. They claimed that my internet had been turned off because I had not paid my bill since May, when I moved. In actual fact, they had been siphoning $55 out of my bank account each month. When I pointed this out, they at first accused me of getting internet at two houses and then said, well, alright, we screwed up and we'll credit your account at the new house with all the money that we have removed. So that was an hour on the phone and some screaming and one would have thought, well, perils of modern life and all that, right, but it's over.

Wrong. It was not over. Charter would proceed to turn my internet off again for the same reason on Sunday, August 5: another hour long phone call, same resolution.

And again on Friday, August 10: another hour long phone call with bonus screaming which took place on Sunday, August 12 and ended up with them -

Turning it off again an hour later. On Monday, August 13 I called again and spoke for, yeah, about an hour, with a supervisor named Monica who assured me over and over that it was all taken care of now.

And it was until last night, when they turned it off again and I am even now summoning up my courage to call the assholes again. Even though what I need to do, clearly, is go down to their offices with a lawyer and sue the fuck out of them. We're going into 5 hours of phone and you know what? I charge. I charge $50 an hour (yeah, shut up. If I was a serious graphic designer I totally would.) and I figure at this point that Charter owes me $250 in lost time and an additional $250 pain and suffering. Or possibly more. And I am angry. Did I mention I was angry?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Project 365 #227: Half a Cucumber Yeah

The daily photo is a pain again. It's fine and fun on the weekends mostly but during the week I just don't seem to be interested in photography. I'm much more interested in making dinner, cleaning it up and getting the hell to bed at a reasonable hour for a goddamn change do you hear me young man? So I end up taking pictures of my whimsically labeled produce.

I'm busy at work trying to teach myself, with limited success so far, Indesign. It's cool and I like learning new things but I feel a bit swamped. Ah well. What the hell. The world is just moving right along, day by day, and young M seemed to have a fairly good first day of school although he reported that cafeteria prices have skyrocketed over the summer. This does not surprise me given that I have noticed our grocery bill skyrocketing as well. I think it was a bad year to give up vegetable gardening.

Issues: An Email I Just Sent Out

I have no phone - yesterday, I had no phone, today, I have no phone and tomorrow, I will have no phone. Perhaps I will have a phone this weekend. Next week, probably no phone again. So if you are trying to call me (wishful thinking on my part) and can't get me, that would be why.

This is because M has my phone since he lost his phone and I can't replace his phone until the bank replaces my debit card which I lost (although I didn't really, but I thought I did and that was enough.) I feel that he needs a phone more than I do, although I grant you this is debatable. So. What a tangled web we weave, indeed. Sheesh. Therefore, if you would like to get in touch with me, you have three options: email, call me at work 9 - 5 M-F - or just come over to my house. Sorry for the inconvenience, y'all - just a little 21st century glitch. Technology makes our lives easier every day in every way.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

project 365 #226: back to school shopping sunset

A Few Couple of Sorta Lame Observations:

1. This morning, I had a choice between maybe being on time to work for the first time in, oh, a few weeks or watering my plants. This is one of the great moral dilemmas of our time.

You know what? Everyone else is late to work too.

2. I have finally gotten to the point where my most recent most favorite CD of all time no longer reminds me of a vanished lover.

Now it reminds me of missing his unworthy ass. Damn, but I guess that's progress.

3. Surely, I thought to myself on looking at a photo of Catherine Deneuve in an advertisement in the New Yorker, I will age like her.

Fat chance, Fliss.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

project 365 #225: self portrait in reflecting ball

God help me, I'm just back from back to school shopping. As if the sticker shock wasn't bad enough, we had to eat at McDonalds (this is called bribery) and listen to Project Pat full blast in the car (this is called I love my son.) My head hurts and I spent waaaaaaaaay too much money on:

1 backpack, the cheapest one, since he'll lose it. Black. All black. With a million unnecessary pockets that will never be used.
3 pairs of jeans "They fit fine, Mom, can we leave now?" "Can I see you in them?" "No."
5 T-shirts with absolutely nothing on them - "No pockets, no writing, nothing. Black and white only."
A bag of socks that the dog will soon eat.
Underwear about which I shall not blog lest my son ever, ever find out.
A $10 binder that will fall apart by October.
Filler paper, that I practically had to mug some other parents to get to, since it was almost gone.
2 spiral notebooks.
A thing of pens and a thing of pencils.
A belt.

Mom got herself some camisoles since she always needs them and a plain black button down shirt. And a 97 cent purple plastic compass about which, actually, she is chuffed. I seem to always need a compass. Mom's head hurts and she's drinking a much needed beer. The whole shopping interlude was interspersed with a visit to Gramma's, cheerful as always, in which she contemplated how much money we'd all have now if only my father had invested $1000 with Warren Buffet in 1950, how the world is ending by drought, plague and sorrow and how evil corporations are destroying us all. My son and mother, when I can get them together, get along famously, as you can tell. It's just so, you know, uplifting and fun, fun, fun around my family.

However, I did manage to steal back the glass french press that my mother stole back from me in May. This is good since my coffee machine died last week and since then I've been making coffee by boiling the coffee and water in one saucepan and then pouring it gently through a coffee filter in a colander on top of another, larger saucepan. This works but is way too labor intensive for every day use. Way.

Oh, and then when I got home? The dogs had eaten my favorite shorts, my black bermuda shorts. Ate the entire goddamn crotch out. Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

Monday, August 13, 2007

project 365 #224: orange butterfly 1

Yesterday was C's birthday and so we went up the mountain to Douglas Falls to get out of the heat and celebrate by being in the woods. Douglas Falls, which you get to by turning right in Barnardsville and then driving forever (and by forever, I mean until the point where you're both, like, we must have missed a turn, how could we do that, god I'm sick of being in the car, my back hurts, we have to get out of this car right now before we start to argue and so you finally pull over and then look to the left and realize that, hey, it's the end of the road and the trailhead to the falls!) is one of my favorite spots. It was teeming with butterflies and so, so beautiful. It's also located in one of those little time/space vortices that are so common around here - it takes an hour and a half to get there but only 45 minutes to get home. I swear this has held true every time I've ever been there. Go figure - like severely localized rain, it's one of those WNC things.

So I just got off the phone with Charter yet again and I'm composing a scathing letter of complete fury and disdain that will be posted here and, hopefully, everywhere else in Asheville and the world. I have been assured - for the fourth time - that my account has been fixed, that the money they have been withdrawing from my bank since May has been properly credited and that they are not going to shut my internet off again. Yesterday, in a display of charm, tact and remarkable customer service, they shut it off an hour after their extremely nasty rep had hung up on me. Today I spoke at some length with a supervisor. I also found out where their Asheville offices are and it's all I can do not to go straight on down there. Heavily armed. Or at least with a lawyer or six. Honestly, this whole thing has been unbelievable and horrific and if there was any, any viable alternative to Charter in the internet/TV world around here, I'd be going for it right now. Charter Communications are loathesome scum who deserve to be imprisoned in some kind of Dantean nightmare for eternity. Charter sucks. And sucks some more. And did I mention that they're evil scumsucking pig bastards? Because they are.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

project 365 #222: jodi on her birthday

So I didn't blog on Friday because I was getting ready for my friend J's surprise birthday party, which I organized (with mucho help from J's boyfriend D and our friend S) and which happened Friday night at Broadways and was, let me tell you, one of the great blowout gigandor fun party bashes of our time. Like, monumental. Like, it's Sunday now and I've finally mostly recovered.

On Thursday night I made two cakes - a chocolate raspberry pound bundt cake and a cappuccino chocolate chip cheese cake. This meant that I had the oven on in my unairconditioned house for two and a half hours, which in turn meant that my house went from its recent normal average of about 88 degrees to about 116 degrees and stayed there. It's been so fucking hot lately that it just sort of never cools off inside. But anyhow. Pictures of the cakes are on my computer at work. I dared not upload them lest J by some fluke look at my blog or flickr stream and deduce our plans. She called me on Thursday and said wistfully that, well, tomorrow was her birthday and would I like to have a beer or something? "Oh, sorry hon," I said nonchalantly, as if I wasn't aware that this was one of those birthdays, "I have to work late."

So I carried my cakes to work that morning (in a Doc Martens box; that cheesecake was keepin' it real, yo) and then to Broadways that evening where I met S who had a huge bag full of funky wild decorations and we decorated the back patio up and then D brought the unsuspecting J out there and we all yelled surprise and she was completely and utterly surprised and a whole bunch more people showed up and, yowza, it started around 6ish on Friday night and we were walking around looking for somewhere to go dancing at 1:30 Saturday morning. So yeah, it was an excellent party. Huge thanks to Broadways for being the coollest bar ever and letting us do this on two days notice. Huge thanks to my co-conspirators. And huge thanks to J for being the most awesome chick on the planet; we love you hon.

Charter Communication SUCKS

Hey, y'all, guess what? My internet got turned off again! For the same spurious reason it got turned off the last three times in the last week! So I just got off the fucking phone with Charter again! I'm so fucking lucky! I get to call Charter Communications EVERY SINGLE FUCKING WEEKEND AND STAY ON THE PHONE WITH THEM FOR A FUCKING HOUR WHILE THEY FIGURE OUT EXACTLY THE SAME THING THEY DID LAST TIME WHICH IS THAT THEY ROYALLY FUCKED UP MY ACCOUNT IN MAY WHEN I MOVED! WOW, I'M JUST LOVING THIS! THEY JUST ALSO FUCKING HUNG UP ON ME! I AM SO ANGRY I'M SHAKING!

There must be a viable alternative out there. I'm so over this I could hurl. Fuck it. I'm going to write an angry letter - a real letter, on paper - and mail it to them and cancel my fucking service. Not only are they incompetent, they're assholes. They suck. This is a total pain in the ass.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

project 365 #220: wulfenite

Last night, in a fit of boredom, I watched the movie Dodgeball on the FX channel. I like the FX channel in a kind of horrified way: I'm all for explosions as an art form, but the commercials skeeve me out. I had actually never seen Dodgeball and I was surprised at how many little bits of that movie have made it into pop culture. Or at least internet culture, which is sort of what passes for pop culture these days. Among geeks, that is. In which category I more or less include myself. However. It was a pretty cute movie. It was mostly inoffensive, or as inoffensive as any movie that has only one "real" female character can be. Not to mention that that female character gets to pick between the lesser of two sexist bastards because, of course, she has to be mated off by the end of the movie. But, I know, I'm overthinking it; it wasn't intended to be a serious movie and so on. And I did kind of like it. I thought it was sort of sweet.

In other news, I haven't really got any. This, by the way, is a picture of the mineral Wulfenite, which should not be confused, sadly, with the movie Wolfen. Too bad, really, because a horror movie about werewolves and killer orange rocks would be excellent. Wulfenite, I have learned, comes from molybdenum, which is totally fun to say out loud but, alas, rarely comes up in conversation. At least not in the conversations I'm in.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

project 365 #218: my soapstone dog

On Monday night I went to a small stone carving workshop and it was totally fun. I think I've discovered a new hobby. Soapstone carving, it turns out, is extremely easy and, to make things even more excellent, surprisingly cheap, in that you can carve this stuff with, like, paring knives and a nail file. I was a little dubious at first, since we had to start with precut forms that were, predictably, a coyote, a buffalo or a bear. (You may have noticed, as I have, that soapstone is the accepted media for bear sculptures. Your half naked women with laurel wreaths or conquering heroes on horseback get bronze but bears? Soapstone.) However, I was kind of glad of the form and anyway, I quickly turned my coyote into a dog. "This looks like a dog," said the teacher suspiciously, "Do you want it to be a dog? I can make it back into a coyote for you."

"NO!" I said, "I want it to be a dog." She handed it back with a look that clearly said I was nuts for preferring dogs over coyotes but there you have it. Among other things, I've only ever seen like 3 coyotes in my life and I didn't exactly get a chance to study them, whereas I am somewhat familiar with dogs. Somewhat.

Monday, August 06, 2007

project 365 #217: still life with garlic

I did a lot of various stuff this weekend, from the Biltmore Estate to getting new tires to a fabulous score at Salvation Army (patience, grasshopper, details are forthcoming) to hot, buggy but beautiful hiking in Bent Creek with the dogs to the Biltmore Village Arts & Crafts Fair. And other stuff, too, that included beer drinking and general fun and alas, smoking waaaay too many cigarettes, for which I am paying in today's smoggy heat. I would have liked to blog about this stuff. But I did not, which leads me to the following two observations about this past weekend:

It was hot as fucking Hades and I HATE CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS. I had no internet last week. So on Friday, since I had divined that this was going to be one of those things that involved hours on the phone during working hours, I called up Charter. Before I called up Charter, I dug through my recent correspondence with Charter, which I hadn't opened because, beacon of efficiency that I am, I let them just take their monthly pound of flesh out of my bank account directly and they send me a statement. I knew the money had been disappearing, so I didn't bother to open the statements. Charter, for their part in this symphony of ignoring, hadn't bothered to switch my account over from my old house and had happily been double billing me since May 15. Yeah. So they felt that I had never paid my bills at the new house and consequently they had taken away my internet although not, for some inscrutable reason, my TV.

It took a while to sort all this out and at the point where the customer service rep started to get snooty and suggest that perhaps I was some kind of evil fraud meister who was simultaneously getting cable at two separate houses, I lost it. Unfortunately or fortunately, in this day and age, losing it completely and shrieking like a batshitinsane bitch on steroids is the only way you can get these people to actually do anything. So they got my cable on again, in the midst of which we discovered that they had never switched my modem over and I should probably never have had working cable internet and so on and so forth and then finally it was done and I was content.

Until Sunday, when it happened again and I had to go through the entire goddamn same conversation (with additional screaming) again with a whole new rep. That's also when I found out that calling Charter's tech support line will get you a dysfunctional voice mail that just says "You have entered an invalid number" no matter what you do until you hang up. I was a bit rabid by the time I finally got through and then I just had to leave the house in disgust, argh.

However. All this is made up for by Friday's score. Friday morning I went to the Tire Barn on Patton Avenue (in WNC, btw, these two words rhyme, which is awesome) and while the really nice older Tire Barn guys were putting 2 new tires on my car I went next door to the Salvation Army. That's another good thing about Tire Barn - it's right next to a lovely strip mall containing not just a big Sally's Army but a head shop, a Sally's Beauty Supply, a giant store of wicker furniture that I have never been in, a taqueria and a KFC. Excellent. So at the thrift shop I perused the paperbacks, as is my invariable habit, and I scored a Wodehouse and a trashy sci fi novel called the Legacy of Heorot and, oddly enough, Minnie Pearl's autobiography. Cool, I thought, I've always liked Minnie Pearl, even though I know nothing about her. Guess what, gentle readers? It was signed! Yeah! I now own a copy of Minnie Pearl's autograph! Yeah! Woot! I have no idea why this excites me so but it does! Go me!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

project 365 #215: biltmore estate

My friend D and I finally used up the free Biltmore Estate passes I got for working the flume there last summer. We spent the afternoon - a rather long, hot, dizziness inducing afternoon, actually - at the Biltmore Estate and we did it all, from the House to the Gardens to the Greenhouse to the Gifte Shoppe to the Winery. Actually, it was really fun. I haven't done the Biltmore like that in, oh, about seven or eight years, which I think is about the right interval.

They won't let you take pictures inside the House, which I think is serious bullshit and so, so dated and ridiculous. But then the Biltmore has been known to be dated and ridiculous before, and also, noone has ever accused the Cecils of being unable to wring every penny of profit out of every single opportunity they can dream up. If you can't take pictures, they reason, you must buy them. So what they do is ambush you as you come around the corner from the formal dining room and take your picture with the Conservatory in the background. Then they give you a coupon and when you leave, your utterly hideous portrait is awaiting, along with an 8 by 10 highly colored glossy of the outside of Biltmore House, for the low low price of, get this, $21.95. Yeah. $21.95 for two, not particularly high quality, digital prints.

Still, the house and gardens and all are amazing. I know, I curse the rich along with the best of them and yield to noone in fury against the running dogs of the imperialist capitalist oppressors of the people but still. It's a wonderful place in some ways. And even if the Biltmore corporate robot drones, who have like the strictest and most insane dress code ever, are evil in their refusal to hire the tattooed, pierced, mohawk'ed, non pantyhose wearing and/or bearded masses (and, one wonders, exactly how DO they staff the place with requirements like those? This IS Asheville.) but if it wasn't there, it would be another horrible Hendersonville Road like sprawl of condos and Mickey Ds. And it's so damn beautiful, so amazingly, achingly beautiful. I'd live there. In fact, I think that when the end of the world comes that's exactly what I'll do - get all my grunged out friends together and clamber onto our spiked out vehicles with our tough dogs and black leather and move into the Biltmore. We can put machine guns on the towers to keep away the zombie aliens flesh eating bacteria monsters and finally fill up the pool in the basement with water and swim in it, which I have wanted to do since the first time I ever went to the Biltmore when I was about 16 or so.

After the house and the gardens and the hothouses and so on, we went to the Winery, where they made us sit through a short and dreary video about the general wonderfulness of Biltmore wines, which, as any Ashevillein will tell you, is something of a joke. Released, we dashed immediately for the tasting bar, where a genial soul poured us small amounts of a panoply of wines. The only good one, and by good I mean you might actually drink it again not under duress, was, distressingly, a Pinot Blanc, which is to say, pink. Quite pink. Rose. Whatever. I bought a bottle for my friend J's birthday next week because the evil Biltmore marketing plan of getting their guests mildly schnockered in the Winery and then steering them through a huge wine themed Gifte Shoppe worked on me like a charm.

Then we went over to my friend S' house where we were joined by none other than J herself, who, during the course of a long and really fun evening of just women drinking beer and laughing for hours, mentioned her eternal hatred and loathing for pink wine from the Biltmore Estate. Well, obviously I had to give it to her right then, which led to much hilarity. It was a long and lovely day, all in all.

Friday, August 03, 2007

project 365 #214: valorie miller at the westville pub

I went to the Westville last night with my friend E to see Valorie Miller. It was a lot of fun and the music was totally amazing. E was hilarious; she is a huge, huge fan of Valorie Miller and was just sitting there gushing like a schoolgirl. Kind of the way I behave at a James McMurtry gig, actually.

I was out back smoking cigarettes with my friend R for a while as well. There was an idiot girl there with an intact young male pit bull and it's purely because he was so young and essentially sweet natured that nothing bad happened. Jesus, drunks with dogs: that girl didn't even know there was a dog at the end of her arm. She kept sort of dropping the leash and cooing, "ooooh, he's so cute." Uh huh. He was cute but jesus - there were other drunks with dogs there as well.

My opinion of all this was validated by R, who is a total dog expert and owns the Soapy Dog (which is where you should all go to wash your dog in Asheville, right now, immediately) which made me feel better and also pleasingly expert like. I have nothing against pit bulls who are properly socialized and trained - there's one in Baltimore I purely adore, actually - but they are dog aggressive, there's no getting away from it, and the interactions this one was having with other dogs were right on the borderline of getting very bad indeed. Fucking idiots. My dogs are, of course, perfect. Yeah. And R is going to loan me a crate for my Buddhist dog to prevent him continuing with his teachings - the teachings that inform me that attachment to material possessions, particularly of the delicious pillow and quilt type, is futile. Fucker ate a case of CDs yesterday and really crunched down on Lucinda Williams. Fortunately it was Essence not Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, but still.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

project 365 #213: new lighter from peru

Yesterday some of my coworkers gave me a gift: this beautiful, amazing, googly eyed frog which, you're never gonna believe it, is actually an indigenous art form from Latin America! Yeah! It was handcrafted out of native unspoiled organic sculpy by some disadvantaged yet culturally pure Latin Americans up in the mists of the high Andes, where they have been making lighter cases for thousands of years. A village where the Googly Eyed Frog is a deeply spiritually significant totem animal. I know this because my fabulous new lighter came with a business card which reads (in four colors, yet, no expense was spared, or maybe they're manufactured by the ancient Macchu Picchu business card printing village) Pichincha: Spirit of the Andes. "Spirit of the Andes?" I said, examining my lovely froggy gift, "God, I hope not."

It is about the most fabulous thing ever. On the back there is a sculpy leaf and another small polished stone. There's one under the belly of the frog, too, but you can't see it since I tweaked this in photoshop to make it, you know, artsy and dark and somewhat foreboding. I wish my lighter to inspire fear. Fear and love, that's the ticket.

In other news, Django had another banner day of destruction yesterday. He cannot be left alone in the house all day or he goes nuts and chews stuff up - and I'm already running him for 40 minutes or so every single damn morning, so it isn't a lack of exercise. Theo is there with him but that's not enough, and since young M has apparently moved to his friends' house in Candler and wishes never to return home, soon I will be totally and forever pillow bereft. Yesterday he got two more pillows and most of a sleeping bag, plus he dragged half of M's clothes out of his room and into the den. Goddamn dog.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

project 365 #212: sunset clouds and trees

I'm a bit disgruntled today, partly because I stayed up waaay too late last night listening to music and considering making intensely message filled mix CDs for pretty much all my friends. Fortunately, I didn't carry through on this. Yet. It's such a weird adolescent impulse, the desire to use pop songs to express your every wish, hope, dream and thought. Also, it doesn't work very well. You may be sure that this exact mix that goes from, say, the Buzzcocks to the Jayhawks to Lou Reed is expressing a precise and complicated mix of emotions such as "I miss you but I know you had to leave but all the same I wish you hadn't of left like that, I mean, you could have called me, you shit, plus by the way I have this huge painful bruise on my leg from the dog that reminds me of that day six months ago when you said that thing that almost, but not quite, broke my heart, remember that? Did I tell you about that?" but, once it's in his hands, the recipient is just thinking, "God, I can't believe she put Bitchin' Camaro on there. . . jesus, I hate that song."

I'm not sure what it is in the human soul that believes that it's possible to communicate in complicated ways other than language, because honestly even language doesn't really work all the time and conversations and text messages alike can be and are horribly misinterpreted on a daily basis. Without this fact, hell, we would have no comedy. Or tragedy. But somehow it just seems easier, if more opaque, to sometimes let Warren Zevon say it for you.