Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekends Go Too Quick

Well, I think there was a weekend there. It seems to have disappeared and left me back at work, without so much as a clean house to go home to. Damn. Also, I still have three dogs. Yup. Three. Sigh. It's getting harder and harder to be strong about getting rid of her.

Let's see, what news is there? On Friday night Jodi & Susan & I went to Broadways, as we often do on Fridays and then Susan came over to my house for more beers and then later Charles came over too. Thus I was a bit out of it on Saturday, when it rained and I took my sleepy rain exhausted self for some retail therapy. I am currently wearing a very great new purple sweater, so that was good; I got a copy of an Iain M. Banks Culture novel I had never read before, which fills me with glee and I ordered a bunch of plants from SpringHill. Can I afford this? No, of course not, but I did manage to talk myself out of a new camera lens, so, you know, whatever.

Saturday night I watched more Dr. Who, cementing my love affair with Christopher Eccleston and destroying the hat I was knitting. I ignored Earth Hour because I suck and then on Sunday I met Susan over at Annie's house to theoretically help with titling more of Annie's paintings and work on the Great Website but in actual fact to drink champagne mixed with exotic fruit juices (great discovery of our time: mimosas are actually better with Odwalla type juice drinks like strawberry banana than they are with just orange juice) smoke cigarettes and perambulate slowly around the yard looking at daffodils and discussing the possibilities of croquet.

After that, I went over to take pictures of my friend Gordon, who is running for City Council. I now have several pictures of him looking almost unutterably goofy, so I'm looking forward to a fruitful eventual career of political blackmail in which my neighborhood will get sidewalks and speed bumps.

That would be about that for the weekend although I'm sorry to have to report that I had one of those door to door beggars last night. They always creep me right the hell out, particularly after dark. "No," I said after her fast and garbled can-you-help-me-my-car-ran-out-of-gas-just -down-the-street spiel, "I don't have any cash at all." and I shut the door. What I should have done, of course, is what we used to do, which is to say, "Sure! I have some gas in the garage for the lawnmower; not enough to get you far but probably will get you to the gas station! Let me go get it and I'll help you put it in your car!" Then I would have had the schadenfreude of watching her stumble her way out of my kind offer but I was not in the mood to play that game. Sometimes I am kind of glad that I have three dogs.

I feel bad for these people, of course, but I've seen too many of them to ever believe a single word they say. I've offered to drive the ones who claim they need money for a child's prescription to the drugstore and I've been refused. I've offered to take someone to a gas station and been refused. I know they're looking for quick money for a quick whatever and honestly I feel kind of bad begrudging them that because, obviously, I have no high moral ground to stand on and I know a little bit about desperation. But still I don't like it. While I will happily give the Earls of this world a dollar or two almost every day downtown, there's a Calvinist core to me - maybe it's just fear - that makes me wary and distrustful and angry with the door to door beggars.

Friday, March 27, 2009

New Phone

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I have joined the Legions of the Doomed - no, wait, I mean the Legions of the SmartPhone owners. I have given up the DarthPhone (black, shiny, evil and mind bogglingly incompetent) and am now the proud owner of a green Palm Centro with a tiny, adorable keyboard I can barely see and a fancy touch screen that I don't understand at all. That's okay though. I look cool. Really cool. Like, this is a cool phone. I am back in the cool geeky kids club and no longer will I be sneered at because of the DarthPhone. Yes, okay, the iPhone people will still sneer at me but that's okay: I'm not worthy of an iPhone. I can't be, because as I have previously explained, I am, through some kind of hellish contract, permanently indentured to Sprint. Or I belong to them or something, as do my children even unto the seventh generation. I'm not sure. It's hard to read the fine print in that funky Gothic type and the blood it was written in has faded a bit. Nevertheless, I am sure of one thing: I will never be free. So I caved and got myself this nifty phone. Perhaps I will learn to use it someday. That will be nice. In the meantime, y'all will have to call me, because while I might be able to figure out how to answer it, actually making a call is going to take some studying.

My inner geek is strong these days. Last night I went into full geeky heaven mode: first I watched the last episode of the Tudors - here's the deal with the Tudors: the original decision to wildly miscast Henry VIII as a young, short guy is now coming back to haunt them big time. The next few episodes of Henry's life will make no sense at all unless you realize that by that time he was middle aged, fat, in pain a lot from a really gross wound of some kind that people don't get anymore, and completely batshit. The Tudors actor is a good actor, but he's young, skinny and (I guess) sane. He's doing a good job at batshit but the rest of it is just not following and that's too bad. Look, Tudors director: adventurous nontraditional casting is all very well but this is history, not fiction. Making somebody 20 years younger because you think that makes the sex scenes hotter is no doubt great for your bottom line but it completely fucks the narrative. Okay? Got it? Great. Oh, and I cried when Anne Boleyn died, so you're doing something right. - and then, I watched some Dr. Who.

Dr. Who! I love Dr. Who so much! How can I have let so much time - ten years or so? - go by without watching Dr. Who? And this new Dr. - Christopher Eccleston, the 9th Doctor - is even cute and sexy. Not as sexy as Tom Baker, no, but then who is?
Anyway, last night I watched one episode and it was totally great and I am all happy because I have more episodes to watch and I am perfectly content to curl up in the basement with all my damp smelly dogs and Pebble and watch the Doctor forever. More crazy rubber monsters! Mannequins on a killing spree! The Tardis! Ah, joy.

Woe. I just made the terrible mistake of googling. My cute doctor will be replaced in the time it takes me to finish watching this disc. Drat. Well, I'll still have the Tardis. And the rubber monsters. Maybe they'll even bring back K-9 for complete happiness.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rain, Etc.

bud and raindrops
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
"It is raining, rainy rain rain rainish rain. . . falling on my head like a box of rain. . . " I sang to the dogs this morning by way of making them less sad about not going on a walk. The best thing about having dogs around rather than kids is that dogs never look at you in horror when you sing nonsense early in the morning and they never say "GOD, will you SHUT UP? You are SO WEIRD." Well. Almost never, anyway. They do get that miserable "She is not going to take us to the park today either is she? I will just go lie sadly under the bed now because I never get to go to the park." face that makes me feel guilty but then it is, as always, possible that I anthropomorphize too much. They just feel like going back under the bed when I don't put my hiking boots on and who could blame them? One of these mornings I might go under there myself, down in the dark with the dust bunnies where nobody can find me.

I actually woke up kind of early this morning despite the darkness and I was going to take them for the first walk in way too long - the thought of taking all three of them out on leashes in the neighborhood by myself makes me fear and tremble and gnash my teeth - but when confronted with utter darkness and pouring rain and the terrible fact that walking dogs in the rain means coming back inside with soaking wet dogs, I chickened out. So I had to sing to them instead, in between bouts of rereading Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy, wishing I could go to Zurich for deep Jungian analysis of the type that doesn't exist anymore if it ever did and puttering about the kitchen moaning about this whole having to go to work thing on a day when any sane person would clearly just say fuck it and go back to bed. Now it is afternoon; the rain, it does not cease and tonight I have allowed myself to be talked into attending a belly dancing class. That should be wildly entertaining. Wildly.

Meanwhile, as the rain falls and the temperature drops and my mood darkens, let us discuss The Google. After a year or two of the boring but predictable cityscape theme, which changed its light at different times of day rather preciously (is preciously a word? Should it be? What if I said, in a precious manner? Wouldn't that be just precious?) I have discovered that not only can you get new themes, you can get themes that change every day. This would be truly fabulous except for the very high number of themes that feature young women standing around looking pouty and half clad or, in todays particularly awful example, looking at flowers while eating enormous lollipops. Ewww. Stop now, internet, with the stupid models. I do not want them overseeing my email, horoscope and National Geographic picture of the day plus spammy ad. It might be futile to ask the internet to slow up on the half naked chicks, I know, but oh well, what the hell, everyone needs a pointless, futile quest once in a while.

Monday, March 23, 2009

We Haz Bears, or, rather, the Governor Does

Check it out:

I have lived here for almost 10 years and I have yet to see a bear. That's okay with me - I'm not in any hurry whatsoever to see a bear outside the Nature Center - but I'm kind of blown away by the sheer number of bears hanging out at the Governor's Western Residence. I mean, even assuming that that's the same bear over and over, that's a lotta bears. Three. Four, maybe. Hanging out together, even. I thought bears were solitary but this lot is downright social. Also, I thought they were still asleep but no: I venture to believe that these bears are not somnambulating. This is kind of a drag, since I'm always nervous about walking the dogs out at Bent Creek after the bears wake up, although bears don't like dogs and my dogs are too dumb, except possibly Perdita (who isn't mine! No! She is not! She belongs to YOU! Yes! You need to adopt her!) to even notice a bear unless it is right in front of them. Witness the fact that I've never seen a bear while out with the dogs. Yet.

The Governor's Western Residence up on Town Mountain Road, if you've never been there, is where the Governor is supposed to sleep on those days that s/he leaves Raleigh by post coach and arrives in Asheville several days or weeks later. It is a harrowing journey across our great state and the dangers cannot be overestimated. Therefore, you would think that the house would be older. Since the house was very clearly designed by Mike Brady (architect and father of six rapscallion kids, remarkably psychologically unscathed by the loss of their other parent, also Oliver, who had a great haircut but was otherwise sort of inexplicable) you know that modern methods of transportation, to say nothing of TV, have been available to the Governor since the Residence was built, thus rendering the Residence even stranger. It's already pretty strange. It is a large split level, is what it is, and not beautiful, but full of nifty gifts that the Governor has no room for in Raleigh. Also, it has a kickass view and some gardens and a really small kitchen. Presumably the Governor mostly orders pizza although, wait, this is Asheville and pizza delivery is hard to come by. Who knows? Something tasty is in that dumpster, apparently.

Anyway, I found this video on Ashevegas, so props to him, and also, hey, I see it was originally posted by the Governor. Good, I'm all for the Governor spending her workdays uploading bear videos to Youtube. It's an excellent use of her time and my tax dollars and if I had security cameras and footage like that around my house (coyotes, coyotes, they live nearby) you can bet that I would also put it up on Youtube and show all my friends. Even if I was the Governor.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

why my neighbors hate me now

Well, my front yard looks not unlike Berlin immediately after the fall of the Wall. Much to the joy of the neighborhood association (thank the gods there isn't one, or, if there is, nobody has asked me to join) I have spent the weekend building the kind of raised vegetable beds that can easily double as machine gun emplacements, should the zombie apocalypse decide to happen. The story is long and dull but to the point: I had free cinderblocks from when Adam tore down Annie's decaying shed. Then we went out looking for more free cinderblocks and hit the motherlode in the form of a giant pile behind the stockyard. A lady there said we could take all we wanted, nobody cared, and so yesterday we ferried cinderblocks back and forth until we had around a hundred. Or something, because math is not my strong point and neither is it Adams and we couldn't quite figure out how many were needed to build the bunkers, oops, vegetable beds. Therefore my lawn is covered with cinderblocks and my back hurts.

Today Adam and lovely Ruby, who has somehow suddenly become a Young Lady overnight after having been a Kid for so long, well, ever since she stopped being Danger Baby, anyway, arrived and mortared one full bed of cinderblocks together. Meanwhile, I chipped cement off some of the blocks, which is the kind of highly satisfying job that makes you think you need a harmonica, a straw hat and a striped jumpsuit. Then I raked leaves and wished I knew anything at all about pruning and all in all it was a lot of manual labor fun.

In the middle of all this, or anyway on Friday night, Jodi and Susan and I went over to Annies - soon her website will launch with accompanying launch party, watch for it - and then to the Admiral, which was as always fun and then last night we all went to the circus. The Runaway Circus to be precise, which was full of jugglers and acrobats, most of whom were women. I could wax lengthily on how this represents the kind of giant social shift that took place initially in the 70s and has grown to fruition now, but I won't, here. Buy me a beer and I will expound. Or promise not to, either or.

Then Susan and I drank some beers at my house and then today, after chipping blocks and raking leaves and all that kind of thing, in the middle of which I decided I was having a heart attack, except actually I think I pulled a muscle or something, seeing as how I'm not dead yet as far as I know, Charles had us over for dinner. Some of his neighbors came as well and they were very cool, also, always a bonus, the food was fantastic. There was beer and guitar playing and much laughter and now it is Sunday night; I'm home and that was my weekend.

I still have three dogs. You know there's something wrong with this picture. So come on, somebody needs a dog. This dog. Bonus: you can leave her with me if you travel. I went and looked at the lost dog flyers by Sunny Point and the little grocery and they are not Perdita. They are looking for a long haired dachsund, which is to say, pretty much the only dog breed who is not represented at all in Perdita's tangled, thick and lovely DNA. Free to good home! Perdita!

Friday, March 20, 2009

March On

spring blossom
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Everything is in bloom. There's a weeping cherry surrounded by daffodils up the street from me that is enough to make long dead Japanese poets take off their clothes and weep in joy; me, I just want to take pictures, although I'm not sure I can do it justice. But possibly my photo might just be better than my Xtreme spring haiku:

Cherry blossoms yeah
And daffodils too, wow, cool
Like, spring or something.

Just possibly, yes, a photo might be slightly better. If I was a long dead Japanese poet I might well not be a remembered one.

With all this spring stuff going on it is time to start gardening. This weekend it is not going to rain, which will be novel, and I am going to haul a whole lot of concrete blocks around so as to make an unsightly Victory Garden of raised beds in my front yard. Possibly the concrete blocks will get mosaiced eventually so as to make them less (or more, depending on your mosaic tolerance) hideous. Or not. But hopefully having them in the front yard will shame me into keeping the vegetable garden weeded and neat instead of letting it turn into the dry shambles of morning glories and grass that is the usual eventual fate of my vegetable gardens.

The backyard also needs work. Somebody hopeful and broke planted a few very small trees back there at one point, neglecting utterly to ponder upon the fact that the backyard is full of large trees already, and they brook no competition. The small trees are trying, but the odds are against them: the combination of almost total shade and three dogs is a bit much for anything to grow in except broken lawn furniture, which flourishes in that microclimate. However, they're blooming tinily, as shown here and staging a minuscule battle against the sea of mud, dogshit and shredded recycling that my backyard has scenically become. In 60 years they might even be 8 feet tall, which I will totally enjoy from my haiku writing coffin under the solarium.

But in the meantime, it's, like, all springy and shit. There are blossoms and pollen and most of the population of Asheville has red eyes and is sneezing. My friend Adam is back in the mountains (without my son, who has been apparently permanently seduced by those tricksy, traitorous, lights of Baltimore and seems to believe that basically starting his adult life is more fun than visiting his Mother. Imagine.) and promises to fix or replace my water heater, so that will be cool and I can stop changing out the towels and then visit fiery death upon the mold civilizations growing along the baseboard there. Hurrah, spring.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Small Irritations

There's a sticker on the paper towel dispenser at work that says "These are made from trees." There's a little leaf on it and under the leaf it helpfully informs you that this sticker will save 100 trees or 1000 trees or 100 pounds of trees or something. The print is small and I can't be bothered to go up and look at it. I have taken against this sticker. For one thing, if paper towels come from trees, then where do stickers come from? Immaculate conception of purely green space fuel that doesn't affect the planet? And also, it's like those baby on board signs that used to be on every other car in the mid 90s. Just as those made me quit my habit of ramming random cars for fun and profit, this sticker is really cramping my style: now I feel guilty when I sit on the toilet at work and compulsively shred paper towels by the hundreds. Now that I know they come from trees, gee. I guess I should cut them in half before drying my hands or something, because the next person who comes into the bathroom is so totally going to use a half paper towel that's sitting by the sink instead of grabbing one out of the dispenser.

In other news, I took all three dogs to the park this morning and didn't manage to lose even one of them. Rats. Three dogs, while a nice idea, is one dog too many for my lifestyle. I've long since resigned myself to the fact that I will always have animals - that's just how I masochistically roll and really, I love the fact that when you sit on the chairs in my living room a puff of dust and dog dander rises to the ceiling - but while two dogs can be laughed off as a charming affectation, three dogs is skating perilously close to the beginning of one of those obsessions where finally the cops have to come and repossess your 857 animals and burn your house down. It would be better not to go there, I feel.

So, gentle reader, do you not need a dog? You do. You need a 6 month old brown girl dog who is very smart and sweet, really you do. Or possibly you need a 6 or 7 year old collie who is awesome at scaring away squirrels. I'm not even going to try to convince you that you need a hyper 2 year old springer spaniel who eats furniture - that's how nice I am - but you need a puppy. Yes, yes you do. Email me and I will give you one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Erin Go Braless

Well, Happy St. Paddy's and all that. I am celebrating by having a Jamesons and soda and a beer back, because I just got home after putting in a nice 12 hour work day and my feet hurt. Downtown is full of twenty somethings in green t-shirts and sparkly wigs falling all over each other on the sidewalk. On three blocks of Biltmore Avenue alone I saw one couple who were clutched in a tight embrace - gods, I'm getting old. Susan and I went to the Admiral on Saturday night for a couple of drinks and there were people dancing. "Look," I said, pointing. "That couple is slow dancing. Do you think we should go over there with a ruler and get them to separate?" - and another couple who were having a nice loud drunken spat all the way up the street. I stopped and gave a dollar to Earl. "How you doin'?" I said, which is code for "Is anybody giving you money?"
And he said, as he usually does, "Not good, baby, not good."
"But these people are all drunk," I said, fishing a dollar out of my purse. "You'd think they'd be generous."
"They just walk right on by me like they don't even see." he said bitterly and I watched for a moment and agreed. Well. It's not like I haven't walked by my share of beggars over the years.

I wore green today just like I do every year. I wore a skirt with green in it and green earrings and green bracelets and even a green camisole although nobody except me saw that, which is somewhat of a pity, because it is a very stridently lime green camisole. It's important to wear green on St. Patrick's day or the anti Irish demons will, um, do something. I've always worn green and forced my children to do so as well, going so far as to actually MAKE my daughter a green skirt before afternoon kindergarten one memorable year, but nothing much has ever resulted from this religious observance. One year somebody did buy me a drink unexpectedly, so, well, I suppose it's all good.

In other news, an old boyfriend found me on Facebook and that was cool, except it suddenly occurred to me while I was driving home that he is now in his mid forties! Agh! How can this be? Old girlfriends of mine have been contacting me via the horrible vortex that is Facebook (I thought I didn't understand it before. Now they have changed the interface. Forget it. You know, I've been active online for a long, long time. I have a blog and I know simple HTML tags and all in all I pride myself on being pretty damn tech savvy, at least when compared to a control group of elderly peasant women from a small country in the Mongolian hills, but Facebook is beyond me. I just cannot figure it out. ) and I realize, in some abstract way that hey, I am over forty and they are therefore over forty but it doesn't seem, somehow, surprising or wrong. Realizing that my old boyfriend Jack from the dim and distant past is now, as he always has been, my age, freaked me right the fuck out. This aging thing is too damn inescapable, I feel. It needs to be caught and stopped now. Although not by becoming a vampire because, ew. Too trendy.

Monday, March 16, 2009


perdita 1
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
This is a picture of the puppy my neighbor found. I'd been resisting putting any pictures of her up on the web because my brain occasionally gives in to freaky 11 o'clock news style paranoia: someone will see her and claim her and then sell her for evil science research! Or to torture! Or something else really bad will happen! Given that it would take somebody with evil intentions and any minimal amount of Google-fu approximately 3 minutes to track down where I live, work, play, my habits and also a rough idea of my daily schedule, I don't know why I got so much more paranoid about one stray puppy than about myself but there you have it.

However, Perdita has now been living at my house since last Wednesday and I think we need to either find her real owners or a new home ASAP. Therefore, look! Is she not adorable? She's adorable. She's sweet as all get out. She's housetrained. She's good. I love her. And I cannot have three dogs - not now, not ever. Three dogs is one dog too many. Three dogs is one leash more than I have hands for. I'm giving her real owners another couple days to show up and then my neighbor and I are finding her a nice new home.

In other news, I'm cranky. Three straight days of rain exceeds my personal rain management ability by at least one day, sort of like the dogs. The backyard is a sea of mud and so is the kitchen floor. I went to the gym this morning and it was insanely crowded and that's already getting really, really old. I also forgot my towel. I had to work; my lunch was ick; I'm worrying about money; and boo, hiss, whine, complain, bitch and moan. Also, I'm smoking again, goddamnit. That didn't last long. I tried the "only smoking when I drink" thing but that backfired badly: it turns out that if I only smoke when I drink then I go lunging out the door at work at 5 every day with only beer in mind and that's just not going to end well. It's going to end, in fact, with me deciding that I absolutely have to have a slug of whiskey at 11 am or something just so I can have a cigarette: this isn't pretty. So I'm just smoking. Maybe next time, soon, hopefully, the quit will stick. Maybe.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Home Improvements

I suppose it's inevitable that when you grow up in a family like mine, who treated moving the way some families treat games of Monopoly or touch football - a fun sport to engage in once or twice a year - you wind up always wanting to fix up and change your living space. I knew when I bought this house that it needed some help and I'm all about launching into those projects. Unfortunately, as usual, I have way more enthusiasm than money or skill.

When I was pregnant with Miles, my then husband and I lived in this crazy decaying Victorian mansion in Baltimore, specifically, in Waverly, which has always been one of my favorite Baltimore neighborhoods - it has trees - but which is, um, edgy. Particularly the part where we lived, bordering Govans. The edginess didn't bother us at first (it only started bothering us after the drive by shooting, go figure) and what the hell, it was a really affordable six bedroom house with 15 foot ceilings and a crystal chandelier. Okay, there was no kitchen floor; the roof leaked like a sieve and the whole house leaned - that happens when your main method of structural support is asbestos siding and 200 layers of floral wallpaper. My mother came to visit soon after Miles was born.
"Felicity," she said, looking around despairingly, "A couple coats of paint can't fix everything."

When I was first entering negotiations to buy this house, my mother told me that she'd been describing it to a friend of hers.
"Oh," said the friend knowingly, "A project house."

Yeah, it's a project house. So far I've pulled up the living room carpet, taken down the crazy "shelving" unit that divided the living room from the stairwell, painted the kitchen and cut a large hole in the wall between the kitchen and the living room. Now, the question is, what next? I want to carpet the basement, which currently has blue concrete floors which are a) hideous and b) cold. I want to build a low glass brick wall between the kitchen and the staircase because it will look amazing. I want to paint the blue room white. And, of course, I want to paint murals on the garage and the side of the house where there's just unfinished wood. And, hell, while we're at it, I want to frame out that one room in the basement and add a window and drywall off that other room and, going for broke, frame out and plumb and turn the garage into a charming apartment/studio with a loft. Yeah. The technical term for that one is, I believe, "pipe dream".

So today I looked into glass block. It turns out that you can't just go buy a bunch of glass block and slap it into place; no, you need spacers and mortar and anchors and all kinds of other technical shit that is scaring me, because while a well done glass block wall would look awesome, a really badly done one would, um, not. And the project, which had way too many steps, looked a bit beyond my technical abilities. Also, it's going to cost like $400. Therefore, I'm thinking that instead I'm going to screw sheets of plexiglass on the existing wood there and run Christmas lights through the plexi so that the wall is transparent and lights up. I could also put stuff inside the wall, like poison dart frogs, although that might be a little more upkeep than I wanted. I thought of plastic flowers, but they are too tacky; headless Barbie dolls, but they're too creepy; and pink flamingos, but they're too busy. So I think I will just put in lights. I think I can even do this all by myself. I could be terribly, tragically wrong, of course, but I think it's just vaguely possible.

In other news I got whistled at in the Patton Avenue K Mart parking lot. Yes, oh yes. I know, I'm supposed to be offended and shit but frankly, my dear, the time for offense at a whistle has long since passed. These days, hon, I am thrilled. Perhaps I should wear my hungover and slouching weekend uniform of 15 year old leggings, black cotton skirt, giant Wal Mart men's black thermal undershirt and pea coat with holes in the pockets more often.

Friday, March 13, 2009

the flamingos are not looking at you

Okay, I have this puppy. Yes. Yes, I know. I didn't set out to get a puppy; I just made the hideous mistake of answering the door the other morning at around 8:30. My next door neighbor was standing there with a young brown dog on a leash. She told me she'd just found the dog and what should she do? Call Animal Control, I said hard heartedly, but I was wearing my bathrobe, which put me at a psychological disadvantage and my neighbor is persistent, has cats and no fenced yard. This is how Perdita, who I think is a little pit bull, a little retriever, and a lot of god only knows what - a brown chicka brown dog - came into my life. She's been in my house for almost 48 hours and she's running the place already. She can even tire Django out, which is a beautiful thing to see. She is also smart and sweet and housetrained and I cannot believe that her owners haven't come looking for her yet. My neighbor put flyers up and put her on Craigslist; I put her up on BlogAsheville and the West Asheville Ning group and Twitter and yet, nobody has come forward. Anyway, if you or someone you know is missing a very sweet little brown dog who I think is probably around 6 months old, email me, describe her and take her home before I do something monumentally stupid like say "I'll keep her."

In other news, while I was in Atlanta at the Pogues show I did perhaps the single most uncoordinated thing I've ever done and because it was so idiotic, I have to share the joy with you. First off, you must know that it was hot and crowded at the Tabernacle. Really hot, like sweat dripping down your face, take off your shirt and just stand around in your camisole hot and really crowded. I was standing there holding an almost full beer in a plastic cup and my purse and my camera and, in my fourth hand, something else and yet I wanted to put my hair up because I was, yes, so hot. Therefore I held the beer in my teeth. Picture me now, if you will, with the plastic cup full of beer dangling from my mouth as I was pulling my hair out from under the camera strap and the purse strap. The whole thing wasn't working very well which is probably why I snapped and threw my head back to better free up my hair.


Threw my head back while holding a full cup of beer in my teeth.

Do you know what a full cup of beer does when it's suddenly and with force turned upside down over your face? It goes up your nose, among other things. I had beer everywhere and dabbing at the beer streaming from my nose with elderly kleenex shreds from my purse just wasn't effective - or attractive. And it could have been fatal: I am surprised nobody fell down and died laughing. In a lifetime of uncoordinated actions, I think this wins. On the bright side, it did cool me off. And make me sticky. You know, I probably wasn't sticky enough before that.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Whirlwind Atlanta Trip With the Pogues

Well, I did it. I went, I saw, I listened, I had a blast, I drank a lot of beer, I smoked cigarettes (yeah, I know, I have no willpower and Atlanta has less stringent smoking rules than Asheville) I traded hilarious stories with people I hadn't seen for almost 30 years and by god I saw the Pogues again for the first time since 1989 and they still rocked to the nth degree. They were awesome. The place they played - the Tabernacle - was awesome (except or even the way the 2nd floor shook and the bouncers started thinning the crowd way out before it collapsed or something so, um, note that if you're going there, stay off the 2nd floor if it's crowded) Atlanta was awesome and in general, awesome, though an overused word, fits the whole trip pretty well. Super fantabulous. Extra specially nifty. You know. All good, my brothers and sisters, all good.

I left Asheville around 1 on Monday. Well. That is, I got to Brevard Road and thought I would stop at the Kwikee mart gas station there and check the oil which I did only to discover that hey, surprise, basically I had no oil. I bought some oil and would have put it in except I couldn't get the damn oil cap off. Therefore I drove it over to the Saturn dealership which is right around the corner in a flaming temper and now I would just like to give them a shoutout because they were REALLY NICE to me. The lovely mechanic not only got my oil cap off but he filled it up with oil and then he checked all the other fluids and put windshield washer fluid in and checked my tires and put air in the tire with the slow leak that I didn't get fixed yet and gave me fatherly advice and told me to be careful in the large scary metropolis of Atlanta and he did all of this immediately as I drove in for no charge whatsoever and, I fear, the loss of his lunch hour. So, Saturn of Asheville is a wonderful place and everybody should go there and get their cars fixed or buy cars or, I don't know, just to hang out.

Then I got to Spartanburg and picked up Hack and petted his nice dog Zak and then we drove on to Atlanta and found our way quite quickly and easily to Manuels Tavern, where I had of course never been before. My friend Lee met us there and also Merrick, an old friend of my brother's who I also vaguely vaguely remember from Charleston way way back in the day and then about six other people, some also from the distant storied Charleston of legend, showed up and a good time was had by all, also dinner and beer.

Then, eventually, we made our way to the concert just in time for the Pogues first song. It was a great show. Here is a video. (I didn't make it.) Shane McGowan looked great. Everyone looked great. It was hot as hell. And, last but not least, I managed to pour beer all over myself - including up my nose - in one of the most amazingly uncoordinated feats of skill I have ever managed. If that was on video I'd be famous at last.

From the concert - and I took a bunch of crowd scene pictures in front that I kind of like and you might as well if you like that kind of thing - we went over to a bar called the Yacht Club in LIttle Five Points to make sure that our beer levels were kept at a constant high and then we went back to Merrick & Jinny's really lovely wonderful house and slept. Huge thank yous to them for being fantastic hosts and not even killing us for coming in late and drunk and making noise. Also, their house is totally beautiful and full of cool stuff and I now have a small case of house envy. The next morning we went out to a nice Cajun brunch - yum bloody mary and fried shrimp po boy, mostly fixed the hangover - and then Haskell and I went to the zoo. The zoo was great. Who knew they had a great zoo in Atlanta? Not, obviously, me. They even had pandas! Pandas eating bamboo! I was forced to go to the gift shop and buy another coffee mug. We wandered around the zoo for a long time - pictures will go up tonight - and then it was time alas to drive back to the Carolinas both South and North and so we did.

I got home and went right over to Susans and hung out a bit with her and Kyle and Jen and then Susan and I ended up at the Admiral for an exquisitely delicious tiny dinner. When I finally got home my dogs were beside themselves and insisted on sniffing every single item of clothing that I'd brought with me, because, okay, I confess: I had been seeing other dogs. And petting them. My god I am a shameless dog harlot and Django and Theo - and Pebble, I swear she's really a very strange looking dog, not a cat at all - know all. It was really funny to watch them all sniffing first the backpack and then my purse and then every single object that came out of the backpack with this intently serious look on their faces, glancing back and forth from each new sniff to my face like the Pet Betrayed.

Anyway, my take from these 40 hours or thereabout is this: it is GOOD to break the hell out of your routine and go and do different fun stuff once in a while. It is GOOD to go and party like a maniac on a Monday night for a change. It is GOOD to see the Pogues. And early 80s Charleston is still very much with me, which is, yeah, GOOD.


ray is disgruntled
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
This is Ray. He wanted - nay, demanded - to be talked about on this blog so here it is: this is my friend Ray. He was also at the Pogues concert in Atlanta on Monday night. More about that, momentarily but actually I am just now going to highjack Ray's blog post and discuss a blog change that I've been wanting to make for some time now: Real Names.

I'm tired after almost five years of using just the first initials. All my friends names start with J anyway and it makes the blog confusing so that when I go back in time to read the archives I can't figure out who was actually at that party and so on. What, you thought I just was writing this thing for fun? Actually, my memory died years ago when that last vital brain synapse got fried, so I need to write things down now.

However I started with the initial thing to sort of protect people's privacy a little, even though we now know that privacy, in the 21st century or in my bedroom with the transparent blinds, is a myth. So therefore my friends is it going to bug you if I use your first names in the blog from now on? I promise I won't post your full name with birthdate and social security number unless you really piss me off. Or, if you don't want me to use your first name, give me an alias. I will happily use aliases (aliiii?) - the more ridiculous, the better.

Let me know what you think but, as a sort of first step, let me just say, this is Ray.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sprung Forward

I hate springing forward. Everyone waxes all enthusiastic about light at the end of the day but those few weirdos of us who like to get exercise and dog walking and all that stuff over before we're fully awake and have thought of good excuses to get out of it are now screwed for a month or two. If I get up on time tomorrow it will feel like 6 am (which is never good) and it will be pitch dark. So that kind of sucks and so does this, Asheville: freezing rain by Thursday night. Don't get comfy in those T-shirts & flip flops just yet.

A & I went to see Coraline, which was really good. Also, quite creepy and, in case you care, I don't think I'd take a young child to it. Fourth grade and up because there is some stuff in that movie that is going to haunt me - granted, I scare easier than your average 21st century 9 year old, but still. It was preceded by about four previews for other movies in 3-D, which struck me as kind of weird. I mean, why are they suddenly making a gazillion - well, okay, four - movies in 3-D? And why are none of them a remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon? The 3-D glasses have definitely improved though. They were excellently cool in a very Blues Brothers way even though I had to put them on over my real glasses (good thing, you know, that it's dark in the movies.) The minute I pitched them into the recycling box on the way out of the theater I began to regret it. I mean, I paid for them and they were not cheap. That was the most expensive movie experience I've ever had, actually - $9 a ticket plus a $2.50 surcharge for the glasses. And I didn't keep the glasses. I mourn. I fret. Something 3-D might happen late at night and I won't be able to see it. I guess I'm stuck in Flatland forever.

So I'm off to Atlanta tomorrow to see the Pogues. Woot! Shane McGowan and I are both still alive! Go figure! Tuesday if I'm not all hungover and tired perhaps there will be pictures and good stuff like that. It looks like I will have another cat when I get home, too. Oh joy. Oh glee. Oh two opinionated semi Siamese loudly sharing their discontents with the universe all night long. I have lost my mind.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Ah Spring

we came up thataway
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It was a lovely amazing spring Saturday here with the temperature in the 80s, making last Monday - when, as you will recall, there was snow and ice and winds and frozen things - seem like some kind of crazy impossible dream even more than Mondays usually do. I love weeks like this, when the weather makes absolutely no sense. Because it was so beautiful I took the dogs hiking up at Bent Creek this morning. We got in early enough to avoid most of the crowds and the dogs were good; they didn't jump on a single jogger even though looking at their furry doggy faces you just know they're thinking, "Why would they run if they don't want to be jumped on? Huh?" and, frankly, who can argue with dog logic? We had a nice hike wherein I even cut cross country instead of staying right on the trails, which surprised the dogs and made me feel macho and orienteering oriented.

Then I got my hair cut, which was lovely and then I went to the Patton Avenue Tire Barn and got them to fix my tire. I discovered my flat tire yesterday when I drove around the block to pick up my favorite homeless guy, Earl. I had agreed to drive Earl and Pretty, his wife, out to the motel where they are currently living (and I think somehow, something should be done about this, some housing for Earl & Pretty must be possible) and when I pulled up Earl said, "Red, baby, you know you got a flat tire?"
"Oh," I said cluelessly, "I noticed it was driving a little funny."
So I drove my flat tire over to the gas station on Merrimon & filled the tire and then drove Earl and Pretty way out Patton Avenue, during which drive I learned how Earl has 12 kids and he himself was one of 24 and how he went to Vietnam and how once, he drove a tractor trailer over the old Cooper River Bridge when there was ice on it and at the bottom he just pulled over and got out and walked away. I like Earl, who calls me Red and shouts out to me twice a day, on my way to work in the mornings and on my way back. I stop and talk to him almost every day and although Earl has become a line item in my budget which I can't really afford, I try to help him out as best I can. Dude has one leg. I think that if I had one leg and spent my days sitting by Doc Cheys asking for money I would be one whole hell of a lot less pleasant and cheerful than he is.

Anyway, my tire was fixed and then there was a DITLOA meetup which was also very fun and then Z & H invited me over for a most delicious dinner and now I am home with all the windows open and the lovely spring warm air coming in, right along with a surprising amount of street noises - remember, I moved here in late October. I don't know what this neighborhood is like with the windows open but man, I am so ready to find out.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Crazy Health Kick

django airborne
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I am on a super amazing healthy kick and I would like to share my sense of smug superiority with all of y'all. Ha ha! I haven't had a cigarette in 12 days (yeah, yeah, just forget about last Thursday, would you?) and I went to the gym again today and yesterday I took the dogs to the park for a 40 minute run. Is this not freaky? Are you not astounded? I am. Well, I had to do something to outwit the stress baking. Also, this is how I'm quitting smoking: I'm exercising a lot so I keep on hoicking up really horrible unsavory shit from the depths of my abused lungs and it keeps making me think EWWW this is DISGUSTING EWWW braaargh (that is the patented barfing noise code used in our family) and that in turn makes me think that I am damned if I'm ever going though this fresh hell again so therefore I cannot start smoking again. Besides, I enjoy the people watching at the Y. I am not the fattest, freakiest looking person there, nor am I the skinniest, most beautiful by a long, long run. It's good to be in the middle. I feel normal.

Here, by the way, is what normal looks like naked (via, naturally, Metafilter.) I might at some point (after, probably, the gym has had an effect other than making me feel smug) take some naked pix and send them to this site because I find it a little annoying/disturbing that the vast majority of the pictures are young women and older men. That is because, I think (wild generalization alert!) that young women, even the non traditionally beautiful, are confident that they are young and therefore attractive, while older women think they should be put on the ice floes. Meanwhile, men get more self and body confident with age and it doesn't faze them at all to be 50 and, well, ginormous. Sometimes it should. You see this at the beach occasionally and it's like hooo, daddy! Put on some clothes!

There was a guy in the pool at the Y today who I was totally sure was naked. I was getting my new picture taken for my new gym ID and while I was standing there waiting for the Y person to figure out how to work the ID machine I was watching the pool out the window. I kept seeing this guy doing laps and I was all, wow, he is so naked, that is totally his butt, how liberated they are here, naked swimming, huh, you wouldn't think that would go over well even in Asheville, I wonder if his bathing suit fell off, that would be amusing, perhaps the lifeguard will go racing over there, ha ha, high drama! Then I realized finally that he was merely wearing a completely flesh toned bathing suit. Why? Why was he wearing that? Why is that even manufactured? I do not know.

However so as to leave you with better people watching anecdotes this morning as I was driving down Haywood by the cathedral I saw a lady and her dog who I want to photograph and enter into one of those dog/owner lookalike contests. The dog was fuzzy and round and white and the lady was round and wearing a fuzzy coat and had fuzzy white hair and they were just delightful and it made me happy.

Then I went to the gym? Did I mention my gym trip? Ha ha I am more exercisey than you!!

Oh and also I AM GOING TO ATLANTA TO SEE THE POGUES. On Monday. I have not seen Shane McGowan in the decaying flesh since 1989 when I saw the Pogues and the Violent Femmes and Mojo Nixon in NYC, so I am extremely, but extremely, psyched. Yay yay.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


I am down, which is common for me this time of year. Hell, let's face it, it's not uncommon the other eleven months either anyway. However, I am taking steps to combat this: I went to the gym yesterday. It was actually far less painful than I had anticipated and the Australian guy who explained to me what I was doing wrong (not signing up for a machine & just hopping on; granted, I am socially clueless but there were three open machines for heaven's sake) was very nice about it. Also, I did not fall off the treadmill and I found the locker room. These are good things. I still just want to get into bed and stay there.

I'm also not smoking. I wasn't going to tell anyone about this so that I wouldn't have to hear about it if I failed but it occurs to me that possibly that is just allowing myself to fail again. On the other hand, it's never bothered me before, so, whatever. I'm not smoking and it's not easy. It's been 11 days already if you don't count last Thursday night which I, personally, do not. Thursday night, you are as nothing to me. You didn't happen. Fortunately, I left my cigarettes out there on Thursday night and then they got snowed on and then the dogs ate them (don't get all PETA; they've eaten far worse things than that and been fine) so now I cannot smoke even if I want to. That's okay. It's good. And I keep telling myself that I don't want to smoke; it's just the addiction talking, telling me that I want or like or need a cigarette. Really, I don't want one. Really. I wish.

I know I've quit before, many times, but this time I swear will be it; I'm tired of sore throats and coughing and ah well, all the general things that people get tired of when they decide they don't really want to smoke anymore. The money. The smell. The embarrassing fact that hardly anybody smokes anymore and standing outside alone with a cigarette when you're in your forties is just not as cool and edgy as it was when you were in your twenties. And hey, my skin already looks better.

So I'm not smoking and I'm not drinking because I think if I drink I'll smoke and thus, I have nothing whatsoever to do in the evenings except read bad novels, bake - yeah, yeah, I'm a stress baker, it's weird; I just mailed young M some banana chocolate chip bread - and sniffle about my misspent life. This is getting old. I need some kind of new thing to do after work and before bed. Last night I did this drawing and the night before that I watched Hellboy II, which was awesome, but still, there is some kind of void here that needs filling.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Snow Again

snow in the back
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I wasn't expecting the blizzard of the century; good god, I thought it was just going to be another rainy lonely weekend wherein I didn't feel very well and kind of aimlessly puttered around twittering, reading bad novels and trying futilely to vacuum pet hair out of small Oriental rugs. It's a good thing that I actually got my ass out of the house this morning and took a muffin and a cinnamon roll and the NY Times (picking up the Sunday paper is so poignant these days, you know, I mean it's like what's black and white and red all over and DYING) over to the QOB in the rain. We didn't know it was going to snow; in fact, I was pointing out the tulips in her front yard and telling her about surprising daffodils on the corner. Yes, that was March 1 but apparently somebody's been fucking around with the space time continuum again and we're back in January. Argh.

The snow is beautiful but somehow I am less enthusiastic about this snow day than I have been about all the others. The novelty has worn off and besides, given all the flus I've had lately, I can't really have any fun. Drinking makes me throw up - so does eating, for that matter, so I have high hopes for the diet - and cigarettes make me cough AND throw up which is too much even for a dedicated addict like me. This is horribly like pregnancy: if it was even vaguely possible I'd be peeing on a plastic stick right around now, I must say. Meanwhile, the dogs, for some reason possibly related to the fact that I cleaned the house up (it is fairly embarrassing, yes, to have your dogs think that you only clean up when company is coming) keep assuming that there's a party about to happen. They keep dashing to the door with their tails wagging, barking expectantly but there is nobody there. How metaphoric of them.

Yesterday I finished the first Haruki Murakami book I've ever read: Kafka on the Shore. It was excellent. I want to talk to somebody about it. I have questions. I have comments. I am all excited. It made my brain spin around in circles and I'm almost - not quite, but almost - driven to either google Hegel or ask my philosopher brother to give me the Cliffs Notes version. I'm not used to books doing that. I'm used to books that I can sink into, watch a lot of muscly, very good looking people trade sword blows and quips and save some world vaguely based on middle earth while they're at it and then I can emerge, notice that a week in the real world has gone by and then forget the book entirely. And I like those books a lot, but you know, there are some books - not, alas, all that many - where you can do both: disappear and think. Or, as Kafka on the Shore would have it, lose and find yourself, simultaneously.

In other news, it's been just a little over six months since my mother died. I miss her every day and part of me is still floating a little over my head, looking down, looking for her, looking for me, trying to figure out what there is, now, you know, when my anchor is gone. I hope I'll find my way before I hit the rocks.