Thursday, April 29, 2010

green and clouds and rain and road

Forget all the happy happy joy joy love love spring spring flowers flowers birds birds shit, okay? Just forget all that and focus on, well, the other stuff, the stuff we like, the aesthetic of our formative years, which is to say, sleet, darkness, barbed wire, rats, crushed dreams and big hair. Yeah, the big hair is a problem. On the bright side, the latest haircut does mean I get to keep the unemployment longer. On the dark side, or, fuck, maybe it's the bright side too, because who the fuck knows except possibly Krishna in his unquiet dreams and he isn't telling, I'm single again.

Well, I'm goddamn good at it by now.

It Takes Skill

I have somehow achieved a perfect duet of feet: I have terrible, giant, itchy and possibly infected bug bites on my left foot and a nice big clump of poison ivy between the second and third toes of my right foot. What the hell are the odds? Most people would have settled for one or the other, but not me, no, driven by that relentless quest for perfection which has so characterized my life thus far, I have achieved two of the itchiest plagues known to humankind simultaneously. Thank you. It was difficult but I managed it.

The thing about itching, besides the undeniable yet so frustrating fact that if you scratch it gets worse not better (and I scratch; I always scratch; I have always scratched and I will always scratch, world without end) is that it takes up a corner of your mind. Yesterday I was busy as hell running errands around town - I believe I drove up and down Haywood Road at least six times - and while I was thinking efficiently about all the things I had done and was doing and would do, part of my brain was saying, over and over, my feet itch. Itch! My feet! They itch! It gets annoying, rather in the same way a small urinary tract infection will make you oh so annoyingly aware of the fact that you do possess a urinary tract, a thing you ordinarily are completely unaware of the 90% of the time you are not actively peeing.

In other news, I spent yesterday afternoon making these cupcakes and also a couple of sandwiches of magnificence - not one, not two, but three kinds of meat - for several of the men in my life. These cupcakes were fucking ambrosial, y'all, as in, they might be the best things ever and I don't even like cupcakes all that much ordinarily. Not only that, my house smelled amazing and still smells amazing, so I recommend them heartily. This is the recipe I used with these changes: I added fresh grated ginger to the grated carrots - like a scant handful or so; I used half light brown sugar and half white sugar and I tossed in a pinch of nutmeg, a teaspoon or so of vanilla and some lemon juice. Oh and I didn't add the nuts. I don't, for the most part, like nuts in baked goods; they're always kind of an unpleasant surprise. I didn't use his icing either - for the frosting I just mixed a block of cream cheese with 3/4 cup of powdered sugar and about 2 or 3 tablespoons of apricot preserves and a little lemon juice. Enjoy - and you will. You're welcome.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Buying Carpet

at the drum circle
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I got an unexpected check in the mail today - whoo! Always the best thing ever! - and I promptly went out with Audrey and spent it on carpet. Yes, I am the most boring person ever: a few weeks ago I was at the Admiral with some of my friends and the talk turned to lottery dreams. "If I was really rich," I said with a faraway look in my eyes, "I'd carpet the basement!" My friend Kyle laughed at me. "That's probably the first time," he said, "that anyone has ever said that sentence." True. It's what middle age does to you - you go from the yacht and round the world trip (this particular lottery fantasy always ends up with me worrying about the dogs falling overboard as we round the horn anyway) to carpeting the basement and maybe a nice entertainment center in burled pine.

Yes, it's not a grandiose dream, but it's mine and as of Friday afternoon, it will be a reality: Enrique the carpet guy will have come and gone and dark green carpet will have replaced the blue concrete - decorated here and there with puddles and stains of uncertain origin, let's not think about those - that's there now. Then we can unload the garage into this room, move Audrey downstairs into the newly glamorous, newly carpeted basement room and I can turn the upstairs room into a studio/office again. That means I get the upstairs and the kids get the downstairs, which is going to help the hell out of everyone's sex life, let me tell you.

I never bought carpet before. I've torn up a fair amount of carpet in my life: I'm supposed to be the kind of person, i.e., vaguely hippie, vaguely liberal, vaguely anti industrial and artsy, who hates carpet and, sure, yeah, absolutely, I'm down with believing that carpet is bourgeois and tacky and also made of some kind of evil chemical slave labor strip mined fibers of ultimate darkness. However, look: not every house has 14" heart of pine boards lurking under the death star wall to wall. My house, for example, has concrete floors downstairs that someone painted bright blue and blue concrete is, well, blue concrete, which is to say, carpet is going to feel a whole lot nicer on the feet. Sure, hardwood would be excellent, but that mystery check wasn't that big and principles only go so far. I just wish I had the guts and the money to have gone for bright purple instead of dark green.

We went to two carpet places. We would have gone to more, but carpet places don't seem to be making it in this economy: two of the four we checked were out of business. We had this theory that Leicester Highway was sort of the epicenter of carpet in this universe but unfortunately, there was only one carpet place and the carpet they had in stock was, um, uninspiring. The carpet was uninspiring but the names for the carpet were amazing. There was one sort of purpley black mottled thing that was called Radical Punk Departure - I wanted to buy that one just for the name but Audrey nixed it because it made her hands go glurgh when she rubbed them across it. Yes, glurgh. The Glurgh Test, as it came to be called, was helpful. You don't want your feet glurghing along in the mornings; it's just too depressing. I was forced to walk away from Radical Punk Departure - in carpet, as in life. There was another brownish carpet called Rustic Barn Wood that was actually the much beloved Baby Shit Brown and one called Bales O' Straw or something like that which was simply inexplicable, bearing no resemblance to straw or bales or, really, anything much at all. We were forced to give up on the Leicester carpet epicenter and tried the other, Brevard Road carpet epicenter, where, as on Leicester Highway, there used to be two carpet places and now there is only one. Maybe there can be only one. I can totally see the salespeople battling it out by dead of night.

On Brevard Road, we met a woman named Tammy who was really nice and, after we had duly admired the demonstration heated floor tile on her desk - add that to my lottery fantasy if you're keeping track, also the sort of carnival glass looking iridescent funky wall tile in the background - she cheerfully and efficiently sold us carpet that was a normal color, called, I believe, Green and did not make our hands go glurgh. There was one bad moment where she asked us if our measurements - we drew the whole room out on graph paper and were proud as hell of our efficient selves - were accurate. We looked at each other. "Um, define accurate," I started to say while Audrey said, "Within 5 inches or so!" brightly and Tammy said that was no problem, she would make sure they measured before they cut. Phew. Carpet at last! All my bourgeois dreams are coming true.

Monday, April 26, 2010

At Least I Didn't Have to Take a Sick Day

Well, something, either hormones or delayed onset hangover or a virus or, my personal top suspect, Dragon China takeout (damn you, Dragon! You may have won this time but I'll be back! No, wait, I won't. I really, really won't.) laid me utterly low today with the kind of miserable intestinal symptoms you don't want to read about and I don't want to be experiencing. Suffice it to say that I have spent the day in bed, sleeping and having weird as hell dreams and watching episode after episode of Robin Hood on Audrey's laptop. I don't even like this version of Robin Hood - the relatively new one from the BBC - all that much: the only guy in it who is passingly adorable is Guy of Gisbon and I can't have a crush on Guy of Gisbon, I just can't. I have therefore ordered discs of the early 80s British Robin Hood from Netflix, because as I recall, all those Merry Men were smoking hot and also had druids, Celtic gods, a vaguely new age soundtrack and a fog machine, all things sadly lacking from the new rendition.

Spent the weekend having entirely too much fun, which is why this malaise may just be a delayed hangover from hell. On Friday we went out to dinner at Sadie's Seafood Pub. I was kind of dubious about this place but lo, it turns out to be very good and totally affordable and everyone there was cute and nice and the oysters and mussels were out of this world. That was all good and then Charlie and I stayed up way too late drinking beer and talking so it wasn't until like 7:30 the next night that we ventured out into the rain and the new West Fest which isn't WestFest exactly but something else very similar to WestFest but in my neighborhood instead of over by Vermont Avenue. However, just as is the tradition with WestFest, it was totally rained on, so it is good something stays the same. It was actually a lot of fun hanging out in the rain drinking rum and taking pictures; eventually we ended up at the Admiral where we ran into Jodi and Dillon and the evening went on, as it does.

In other news, I'm still unemployed - hard to apply for jobs when you're lying around in bed moaning - and April is just ticking out its last few days. Oh and I have broken up with the Patton Avenue K-Mart for good. No, really, I mean it this time. Patton Avenue K-Mart, you are dead to me now! Nevermore shall I darken your door! Nevermore will your blue light specials inveigle me, no more shall I purchase from you socks and sundry other useful items, no, it cannot be, because K-Mart has broken up with Martha Stewart and when you break up with Martha, baby, you break up with me. I went over there to get Martha Stewart seeds, specifically, her purple green beans and white pumpkins, which are fabulous, as is her cosmos, and discovered from a taciturn individual in the garden department that K-Mart and Martha have had a falling out. I am saddened and this, K-Mart of the deadly insane parking lot, K-Mart that never has a goddamn thing, actually, that I want, is it for us.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Internet

desoto front
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Charter went down across all of Asheville today, which meant that there was no internet and no TV for anyone. It was awful. Rioting in the streets. Madness rampant. Annie asked a question about her favorite singer and, bereft in the hideous lack of Google, my brother and I had to search our actual brains for the answer (Sam Cooke. He came up with it. I just stared sadly at the screen and burst into tears.) And, worst of all, my teenage son cleaned his whole room and did all his laundry. Sure signs of the apocalypse, in other words, which made it the perfect evening for Audrey and I to finally watch 2012, which I have been trying to get someone to watch with me ever since it came out.

Well. It would have been the perfect evening for 2012 except that when I was at the Redbox machine on Monday - do you not love the Redbox machine? The Redbox machine is the most efficient way to part people from their money that has possibly ever been devised - I got the wrong 2012. Yes, as impossible as it sounds, as catering to a desire on the part of the moviegoing public that nobody knew existed, there's more than one movie about the forthcoming end of the world in 2012. There's the big one, the 2012 that hit the movie theatres last winter and was soundly ridiculed by every single movie critic on Earth, which means, of course, that it is almost certainly well worth watching (I have it on good authority that it features not just one but many a bus plunge into a ravine.) And then, apparently, there's a Christian version, called 2012: Doomsday - because I guess the original, based as it is on decidedly unChristian prophecies, was not at all Jesusy enough, or, hell, for all I know there are now Christian versions of every movie made, which is either a hilariously entertaining idea or terrifying or, as is usually the case, both.

Anyway, we figured out something was wrong pretty quickly, because 2012: Doomsday is made by an outfit called Faith Films which right there sounds pretty damn ominous. There were only two previews, too, and you know that's impossible for a major movie. One of them featured Tyrannosaurus Rexes on the loose in New York and the other was apparently about giant spiders, so they looked like excellent movies. Any movie with a T. Rex in Central Park, as in the first preview, is de facto good and the second one, which showed a giant spider waving a blonde around in the air with one of its legs, (this is probably arachnoidally incorrect yet is still, let's face it, highly excellent) looked great too, yet somehow these previews lacked conviction. They were narrated by the same guy with a deep spooky appropriate to previews featuring animatronic giant monsters voice but they were sadly lacking a release date. Still. They gave me high hopes for 2012: Doomsday.

The movie opened with a terrifically apocalyptic soundtrack that more or less made up for the fact that it was accompanied by a really boring film of what I think was the Amazon but could well have been the Potomac or possibly the French Broad shot from over head with a veering camera. "Five bucks," I said to Audrey, "says he works the Carmina Burana in here any minute."
Then the movie became highly confusing.

"Is this soft core porn?" said Audrey, as the army guy first snapped at the young female scientist.
"Why is she here?" he demanded, and I said, "So she can wear that wet T-shirt."
That must have been the reason, because after they left the rain to wander into the ancient tunnels really quickly to retrieve a glowing crucifix, they came back out into perfect weather - after passing a large lamp that wasn't there on the way in. I thought they were going to spin the glowing crucifix to open a gate into somewhere much more interesting, like the Lost World or the demon dimension but instead they just bore it reverently away. I have a feeling that Christians aren't supposed to spin Jesus like the pointer on a Twister game (left stigmata, yellow!) but one can always hope. After the tunnels, there were several more jump cuts leading to mysterious encounters between almost attractive people with the kind of stilted dialogue that usually ends up in the bedroom but disappointingly, in this case, did not. Finally a scientist kinda guy from Baltimore explained how there was a black hole at the center of the earth and then, alas, we had to turn the movie off.

Actually, the black hole did not finish the movie for us - it wasn't even the exciting "diagram" which the scientist was waving around, an orange circle with a black circle in the middle representing, one imagines, the black hole, that led to the lunge for the off button. Neither was it the part where everyone starts drawing crosses in front of three rocks a la Close Encounters, although that was pretty funny. No, it was the soft porn dialogue. See, this girl jogs sexily into the Mexican village - yeah, right after the black hole bit and yes, the movie was a bit disjointed, why do you ask? - and meets a cute guy who is creepily taking pictures of her with a telephoto lens. That big lens is always just so hard to resist and so subtle, too. Anyway, once he had achieved a series of bad pictures of her looking confused, he came vaulting in all, "Hey Baybeee." He wasn't really far enough away to need a lens that size. This, naturally, caused her to frown disapprovingly yet edge in closer. Then she said, gaspingly (she was jogging and all, that's why the shorts and camisole) that she was just looking for a doctor for the remote village where she was a missionary. A perfectly reasonable request, after all, and right in tune with the rest of the movie and we could probably have finished watching it if camera guy had not then said, "Well, I am a photojournalist but I have had many years of medical school."

And yet they still didn't fade into sex! Even a trained professional at watching bad movies such as myself cannot in all good conscience keep watching after a sentence like that.

Monday, April 19, 2010

So, Unemployment

abner begging 1
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I am considering today my first actual day of being unemployed, because Thursday and Friday basically just felt like a long holiday weekend and Monday is traditionally the day when one, or, well, me, wakes up and says "OH FUCK." This Monday that particular exclamation was followed by the sad realization that that paycheck did come in pretty handy after all, didn't it? That was bad enough and then I paid a visit to the unemployment office, which I will be revisiting tomorrow morning for, god help me, a video. A training video, I think - I guess it's to train me to be unemployed, perhaps with two perky people saying useful things like, "Consider getting up in the morning! Pajamas are overrated while clothes are a good thing! Perhaps a brisk walk around the block before immediately going for the vodka would be helpful in your new life!"

This is my second bout with unemployment. When I did it five years ago, it was totally simple. I filled out a form online and then every so often went back to the same site to type in a response that went more or less like "Nope, no job yet. Send more money! Thanks!" and it was generally quite painless. I will always go for the website over actual human contact (note to potential employers: I am lying! I am cracking jokes! I love making phone calls! Now that was lying!) and my experience with unemployment was pretty much all positive except for the part where it came to an end. This time around, however, probably because just about everyone except the myriad people who work at the unemployment office are unemployed now, they have made getting unemployment money incrementally more difficult. There is no more registering online, free and easy. Oh no. You have to actually go down to the office now and be surrounded by other desperate people - and by that I mean the employees, not the clients. You have to answer questions and explain your checkered work history and say politely that you think, ha ha, driving to Greeneville, Tennessee for a $7.25 an hour job is just not what you really, really want to go for right now. Ha ha! Let's chortle nervously!

And, in a complete nonsequitur from the weekend update news team, we had a successful dinner party on Friday night. Flat out telling everyone you're poor and demanding food from them turns out to work really well; I recommend it. Parties are also a great way to hear about interesting community events, which is how the next morning, Charlie and I went to a UFO yard sale, where, alas, we failed to summon up the nerve to ask to see the UFO room. You see, we had been told that the people throwing the yard sale were flying saucer enthusiasts with a UFO room - this is, of course why we went. Well, that and the possibility that they were selling off their alien artifacts. It was a good yard sale, if disappointingly earthbound, and they probably would have shown us Area 51 if we'd asked. Somehow, though, just looking at strangers and saying "HEY! Can we see your freaky alien room? We heard you had one of them freaky alien rooms." wasn't in our repertoire, given not only the Saturday morning yard sale ambiance of it all but also the undeniable malign next day influence of the margaritas from the night before. We did, however, buy some random excellent shit including the worlds' most awesome orange ashtray, a Hawaiian shirt and a strange glass object that just might be an oil lamp - from Venus. It was a good yard sale Saturday.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Okay Look I'm Busy

This has been an eventful week and actually, it's been pretty much all good except for that part where I got laid off. The last few days of that were rough. Still, that part isn't even bad at the moment because let me tell you, it is hard to feel bad about not having a job when the weather is all beautiful and warm and the birds are singing and flowers are blooming. On days like this, somehow - go figure! - the thought "Gee, I wish I was in a windowless basement office right now working on spreadsheets" just doesn't enter one's head. Or it doesn't enter mine, anyway, but then I claim exemption from the Protestant work ethic since I was sort of raised Catholic inasmuch as I was raised anything. We get guilt instead of a work ethic. It works just as well - guilt, like duct tape, is good for all kinds of repair jobs! - but I seem to have misplaced mine somewhere along the way and I'm not looking for it very hard.

Yes, okay, of course there is another reason for my sudden attention to bird songs and blue skies and also for the little cloud of circling animated tweety flying things that keep circling around my head and the way everyone in my path keeps breaking into one of those choreographed song and dance routines a la any number of overproduced 1950s and 60s musicals. The reason is this: I have changed my Facebook status.

I had never changed my Facebook status before and it was extremely exciting, which may go to show you that either my perceptions are on the altered side or my life is really damn boring. Anyway, I am finding this twenty first century Facebook status thing completely fascinating. Back in the day when you started dating somebody you thought, perhaps, of an eventual ivy covered cottage or maybe one of those commercials where two impossibly beautiful people in jeans go somewhere impossibly cool or a music video or, possibly, if your father and his were dedicated arch rivals in 15th century Venice, a romantic death by poison, but now you start contemplating the changing of the Facebook status. It is the equivalent of people in the middle ages having their first child or jumping over a Beltane fire or having the banns read or plucking three feathers from the sacred swan of some misty loch - if you read the kind of endless fantasy novels I do, you get to pick from a wide assortment of dubious traditions! - and yet it is accomplished with the click of a button and an email that asks you if you are, in fact, going to do this. Then you hover around Facebook all day to see what your friends have to say and all in all it's almost exactly, but not quite, the same as it was in 9th grade or so when you went out for a slice of pizza with a real, live, genuine Boy. Or, okay, not pizza but a joint behind the gym, whatever, but the eventual reunion with the friends after the Going Steady part was established is the same. Facebook has turned us all into perpetual adolescents, which I must say is totally okay with me.

So who am I dating? Well. He's my age. He's remarkably calm, stable and just about as sane as I am despite the affliction of being a poet. I could say more but in the interest of everyone's blood sugar level, I won't. Yeah, you're welcome, I know, it's the sickening googly eyed stage. Basically, he talks nerdy to me and this is a good thing all around.

In other good news, my taxes, which I have been dreading to the point of waiting to start them until 4 in the afternoon on April 15, turned out great after all. I do get to keep my son as a dependent for one more year - which is only fair, if you consider the astronomical numbers of chicken fingers he puts away - and all in all, my personal financial crisis has been temporarily relieved. Do you believe this? No, neither do I, but right now I'm all about taking in the gift horses and not even glancing at their mouths.

All this good news is making me nervous as hell but at the same time I can almost see just going right along with the flow, here. This reprieve from cursing the gods and struggling through the darkness has its points. Who knew?! I don't really know how to act but I tell you, I think I am willing to learn.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Birds, the Bees and the Fish

baby fish
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
My fish have spawned. Oooh, that sounds so much better, doesn't it, when you say it about fish than about humans? At any rate, the orange platys in my fish tank have produced an only child: a tiny replica of themselves. He - or she - is cute, or, well, since as mammals we are programmed to think babies are cute, even babies of other species (this doesn't stop us from eating them or doing other dire things, mind you, it's just that usually right before the first bite we say something like, oooh, so cute! And so delicious!) I'm calling it cute. Actually, it's not really all that cute in the way that puppies and kittens and many but not all human babies are cute. It just looks exactly like its parents, only smaller, but, let's face it, small is cute or Polly Pocket dolls wouldn't sell so damn well.

The pet shop lady told us that the fish would have babies but I didn't believe her, despite the way she went on about how this one fish was a girl and this other fish was not a girl. No doubt, she slyly intimated, these two fish would get together and do the horizontal bop, or, since they are fish, perhaps they have fishy positions of which we can only dream. Like fireflies, who not only glow but can fuck in mid air, thus making them officially probably the coolest living things on planet Earth, up to and including the naked mole rat. Anyhow, since I have never seen my fish getting down or even doing any of the necessary precursors to getting down, like drinking beer and giggling and admiring each other's taste in obscure late 80s punk vinyl, I figured that my fish were probably just asexual.

Besides, I have never had any animals other than dogs and cats - and of those only the ones who come unneutered from the hippies or the street, either/or - have babies. I tried to interest my parakeets in parenting but they were steadfastly uninspired. I've had dozens of tanks of fish over the years but never before have I had baby fish - I figured special equipment, like possibly small underwater stereos and mood lighting, was needed. But it turns out that no, fish do indeed create other fish! So clever! I am all excited. I want to knit him or her a tiny baby hat or possibly some booties - fish booties! - because, hey, that's what you do. Granted, if you're me it's sort of more like you think about knitting these things but don't actually get around to it until the kid is entering first grade or college or something but still, the kind thoughts are there.

Rock on with your breeder selves, fish! Congratulations! But all is not entirely well and full of fuzzy warm squooshy thoughts, here. We are all going to steadfastly not think about how unusual it seems that fish would produce an only child. Survival of the fittest and all that, not to mention a billion Jacques Cousteau films, would argue against fish children coming along one at a time. I am sure there is no cannibalism going on here - Anthony! Marc Antony! I've got my asps and I'm coming! - but there should probably be more than one. I'm damned if I'm looking that closely into the marbles at the bottom of the tank for tiny, lifeless, orange bodies or, worse, miniature orange zombies or, the nadir: minuscule vengeful fish ghosts. Vengeful fish ghosts are always a problem - they leave small splats of angry water around and whisper creepy fish stories where the shark is happily waiting just under the boat in your ears at night.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Changes and All That

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Remember how on Monday I said that there were big changes afoot and all that good stuff? Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, yes, thank you, David. Well, they're more or less here: as of this coming Wednesday, I am joining the ranks of the great American unemployed. Hello recession blues! Hello, unemployment office! Hello, dusty black and white Dorothea Lange style photographs, men in fedoras and kids in dresses made from flour sacks! Yep, the recession was a little late in reaching Asheville (just like fashion) but it seems to be here and due to budget crises and crunches, my job has been eliminated. The museum has been really nice about it, though, and I still like the place and the people and the rocks and all that good stuff. It is, as they say, just one of those things. Who they are that say something so simultaneously banal and evil, I don't know, but there it is: just one of those things.

It's okay, though. I am somehow not entirely depressed about this but instead am seeing it as an opportunity. No, seriously. There are a whole lot of things that I want to accomplish in the next few years and I'm hoping that maybe this is the kick in the pants that I have been needing in order to get me to actually do those things. I've been here almost four years and they've been good years, but, well, all things come to an end.

However, yes, being unemployed would be highly excellent if I had won the lottery but as of today, I have not. Therefore there is gonna be a serious cash flow problem around Hangover Headquarters quite soon, so, HEY! Facebook people! I NEED YOU TO STOP READING THIS BLOG ON FACEBOOK AND ACTUALLY CLICK ON THE LINK AND LOOK AT IT HERE. I know, you'll get that scary little warning that says you're leaving Facebook and I understand that that makes you all edgy and afraid but you can do it. There's a whole other internet out here! And if you look at my blog on its own proper page, you will be counted as looking at the ads (if you wish to click them that is also awesome.) The paltry revenue I am expecting from my first blog foray into crass commercialism will only appear if people look at the actual blog, off Facebook, so I'm asking for your sacrifice here. I mean, look, this is now going to be my only source of beer money so you know it's desperate. And if you're not on Facebook, well, then thank you for visiting the blog! Come back like a million times and you will have bought me a PBR, a PBR which I really need. Will write sort of semi funny shit for beer! Cheap beer! More expensive beer gets you better jokes, I swear.

I am also looking for a job, or possibly more than one job, and if you know of any jobs or if you yourself have a job that needs filling, please consider me. I can type. I have access to the internet. I have mad Social Media Skillz. I can do all kinds of nifty things with Adobe creative suite which will result in you having totally cool ads and flyers and brochures and logos and shit and I can even update your website if it's not too complicated. I know MS Office - even access and excel - and I am really excellent with things like mail merge and databases and filing, not to mention I may just be the best writer of press releases in the discovered universe. I also know how to crack geodes, reboot servers and, almost always, fix copiers, so, hey, clearly I am an invaluable potential Team Member. Besides, I bring banana bread - good banana bread - at least once every couple of months and therefore you should hire me pronto.

Well, that was the uncool news. In other, cooler, news, I have a new friend and that is pretty cool. Perdita has a new collar, blue, which is pretty cool. The fish are all still alive and even thriving - highly cool. My son went to Florida and became tan, which was pretty cool and my daughter is always pretty cool. And spring has sprung, ish, which would be extremely cool except that now I have to attempt to dig the lawnmower out of the back of the garage and mow the lawn, which is, sadly, not really cool at all.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Slorpity Guilt

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
See this dog? He has allergies. He has ear infections and allergies and possibly a thyroid condition and also, most definitely, he is fat. My dog is overweight! That part, actually, I had figured out without certified veterinary help. Django is what you could enthusiastically call solid, perhaps, or thick (ha ha! In more ways than one!) or sturdy, even, if you were feeling particularly tactful. A lot of the time we just say ooomph, because Django has not, despite his advanced age of four, himself twigged to the fact that he is no longer a tiny puppy who can sit on people's laps and thus, if you have a lap he will try to curl up on it.

I knew he had ear issues but I kept putting off doing anything about it until finally Audrey took him to a new vet yesterday and they told her he had more yeast in his ears than any dog they had ever seen. This, they said, is food allergies and I thought, oh jesus, I can't afford this. And I can't. It's annoying, anyway, because the dogs have some kind of crazy strange dog politics thing going on with their food and I've never been able to break them of it.

What happens is that I feed all three dogs every morning. Usually they get two and a third cups of kibble - relatively good kibble, here, I'm not feeding them Ol' Kreepy's Cheapass Floor Scrapin's for Kanines - and a third of a can of Alpo each. Sometimes they get something a little more gourmet which we like to call Le Leftovairs - on those mornings we don't have dog politics and they all eat up happily. My mother used to say that if you have a dog who won't eat, pretend to cook his food in a pot on the stove where he can see you do it. They're all waiting, she said, for the day when Mom gives up this dogfood nonsense and cooks them a nice steak. However, on a regular kibble and Alpo day, I put down three identical bowls of food and then for the rest of the day the dogs dance delicately around them like debutantes with eating disorders.

Django waits until the other dogs go out the door and then he snatches a few mouthfuls, a strategy that is more effective, apparently (the other two dogs are not fat) than you would think. Theo stakes out one bowl and guards it for a while without eating, then loses interest and wanders off. Perdita waits until there's a human around and then eats as much as she can as quickly as possible. At least I think this is what they do. Half the time they act as if food is a crass thing that they, pure spiritual beings, can do without as they navigate their way through the celestial plains and also bark at squirrels.

I have tried to separate them out and feed them each in their own room. This never has worked yet. They lie down by the bowl and refuse to eat and/or they cry and scratch at the closed door until I let them out, at which point the other dogs dart in to make sure nobody is getting anything good. They don't eat - they just sniff. So I take the food away and then I try it again the next day and they still don't eat and then by day five or six, I crack. I can't stand it. They start to get thinner in front of my eyes and I think they are starving. This makes me become all over emotional and angst ridden and then I start to think about how food is love and emotional sustenance and at that point usually I end up making them something incredibly extra special and apologize a lot. This accomplishes very little.

Now we will have to try it again, with special allergy diet food for Django and regular food for Theo and Perdita and I have already got that sinking feeling that tells me, oh god, in a week or two I will have to cook steak for the dogs.

Monday, April 05, 2010


sunset 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Things are moving and changing in my life, which was somewhat unexpected. Eventually I will probably write more about these changes but at the moment they are all sort of amorphous and potential - kind of like Schrodinger's Cat - and so I will say only that hmmmm, I would appear to be living in interesting times. Just to dispel any rumours, though, let me say that things are not all bad although they are not, either, all good and address any guesses you may have about the nature of these changes, to wit: 1) alas, no, I have not won the lottery that I know of, although someone in Britain keeps emailing me to say I did; 2) no, I am not moving, thank all the gods and goddesses; 3) no, I am not pregnant and have not adopted another dog because while I may be stupid I 'm not actually THAT stupid and 4) I have not, inexplicably, been named supreme high commander of the universe just yet. Never can figure out why not.

In sad news, though, my friend Susan's father passed away unexpectedly on Saturday morning and I am thinking of her and, as the Quakers nicely say, surrounding her in the light and I would ask that you do the same. Losing a parent is just one of the hardest things in the world to get through, much love Susan.

Actually, it is Susan's birthday next week and so we were planning a party for her which has now been put on hold. Since it's on hold I am going to reveal the Secret Party Plans that she knew nothing about in hopes that it cracks her up. Planning her party was extremely fun, because let me tell you, nothing makes you feel younger than hearing yourself, at the ripe old age of forty something, uttering the sentence "Cool, we can afford both the keg and the stripper!"

Yes, we had hired a stripper, a nice guy named Howard who came recommended by a coworker of my friend Jen and actually Jodi and I were going to interview him on Tuesday at noon. I have never, actually, interviewed a stripper before and I was kind of interested in doing so, although completely unsure of what I was going to say. It seemed kind of inappropriate to ask him to demonstrate his skills, particularly since we were meeting in a coffee shop, so what else do you say? "Can you describe a challenge you've faced in your career and how you met it?" That would be awesome.

I guess the point of the interview is to look them over and decide whether they will, uh, do. It would take someone more heartless than me, though, to meet a stripper at a job interview, look them over and say "No, um, sorry, I don't after all want to see you naked." Ouch! It occurs to me that perhaps I could start up a reverse stripping business myself, just as long ago I wanted to start up a reverse band in which bar owners would pay us not to play. In the reverse stripping, I could threaten to reveal the full Monty (is it monty if you're a girl or is that one of those charming gender specific euphemisms?) and collect large sums of cash from the youth of today, who naturally do not want to see middle aged people naked. Entrepreneurism! I haz it!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Hilarity, Photography and Health Care

spring sunset 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Before I talk about anything else, I wish to introduce you to this blog. I found it at work and it made me laugh until I cried and then I went home and showed it to Audrey and we both laughed until we cried and then we decided we wanted to find the author and become her best friend forever or something similar.

And now for something completely different. This is The Daily Shoot, a photo site I've been following for a couple of weeks now because I like getting daily assignments. That is to say, I mostly like them, or I liked them right up until yesterday, when the assignment was to take a picture that showed how I felt about health care. I thought about this one for a while and I considered a) something subtle, like drawing a picture of people bleeding to death on the floor while uncaring politicians stepped over them and insurance company executives stuffed dollars into their pockets with one hand while twirling their enormous moustaches of evil with the other and then photographing that (I could just have photographed it, yes, but I'm not in DC) and b) something more pointed, like a picture of a long tunnel with kind of a foggy sort of light at the end. That would be all allegorical and nifty and impart the sense that hey there might be light at the end of the tunnel and yet there might not. As it stands, I didn't do either.

It doesn't really matter anyway since that end is four entire years away, leaving plenty of time for not only the forthcoming zombie apocalypse but also the 2012 end of the world and the pandemic bird/swine/velociraptor flu, not to mention teabaggers, and, well, I'm not holding my breath. Yes, I'm glad that some attempt was made to change health care or, more correctly, the complete lack thereof in this country, but it didn't go anywhere near far enough. I am not a big fan of profit based health care and insurance companies and I still don't understand why we can't have nice things like socialized medicine since every other damn industrialized or post industrialized nation in the world seems to manage it quite well. But then they don't have the glory and joy of living in the corporatocracy we call home, so, well, there's that.

But let's not get bitter! Today's assignment is to do a fashion shoot and I might just go right on ahead and do that, particularly since I am wearing rather a nifty new stripey shirt from the Goodwill. Spring, you see, has sprung, and everyone is wearing t-shirts and shorts that expose the blinding glare of their white, white legs (this is Appalachia, peopled mostly by descendants of peat farmers and the kind of guys who spent the 17th century leaping around the Scottish highlands in the mist - neither group notable for tanning genes.) If I can just figure out how to use the self timer properly perhaps you can all see this orangey stripey thing that is breaking up my usual determined all black. Or maybe I can put the camera in a paper bag and take some street fashion shots. Or maybe I'll just give up altogether - one never knows and that option is pretty tempting on a day like today.