Sunday, July 31, 2005

But it stars Bill Pullman, so I have to watch

"The government has requested that you not fire your guns at the alien aircraft. You may inadvertently spark an interstellar war."

-- from a movie I watched when it came out 12 years ago and thought was kick-ass, but after watching it again tonight on AMC (where apparently you can say "ass" as long as you make the "hole" silent), I realize it hasn't held up. This is the one good line in the whole movie, and it's a throwaway during a news broadcast in the background. Kinda sad, really. Team Devlin/Emmerich had such potential.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

It all comes around to white trash -- you'll see

Yesterday and today, in between job spurts and meetings, I've been reading the archives of The Daily WTF, written by Rachelle, a hilarious writer living in Rhode Island, home of, apparently, rampant white trash who are a constant source of amusement and derision.

I can relate.

I wish I'd taken a "before" pic of my front porch two days ago. Two days ago, and also for eight years prior to that, my porch sported one of the largest animal play tent/tunnels on the planet. You know what a play tent/tunnel is, right? When you were kids and you were bored to tears, but you had company so your overcaffeinated bitchy mom couldn't throw you outside in the rain like she normally would, but she also wouldn't let you watch TV, even though the Million Dollar Movie was showing Gozirrrrra fer chrissakes -- so to get revenge on your mom and her Yahtzee-playing bright-red-lipstick-wearing coffee-slurping friends, you'd set up TV trays in the hall, spaced just right, then throw blankets and quilts over them so you'd have this long tent/tunnel spanning the length of the hall, the only entrances/exits being the kids' rooms and the bathroom. NO entrance/exit to the living room, effectively blocking the one and ONLY bathroom from anyone left behind in the living room or kitchen stinking up the house with Lucky Strikes and Avon Parfum.

You remember that, right?

Okay. Back to my porch. There is one helluva great view of the Pedernales River Valley from my porch. Wouldn't it be a nice place to sit in the morning and meditate, or hang out in the evening to watch the sunset? Why, yes, it would, if only you could actually GET to the collapsible camping style rocking chairs which have been there since Wal-Mart first came out with them -- plus these have the added patina of two solid inches of cat hair.

As if that weren't inviting enough, you'd have to carefully maneuver around a huge play tent/tunnel comprised of everything from old rugs to worn-out comforters to man shirts left outside to "dry" and supported underneath by an old vacuum cleaner, various Mexican pots and a giant stereo speaker, not to mention the Caesar's Palace of scorpion breeding grounds, renowned far and wide in Scorpionland. The purpose of this play tent/tunnel was to keep the animals warm in the winter. I'm talking one weenie dog and four to seven cats, depending on the time of year, NOT ONE of whom I ever saw go near that play tent/tunnel. I mean, honestly, who can blame them? They'd be taking their life in their own paws, what with the scorpions and daddy long legs and whatnot.

So I lived with that mess on my porch for eight years, watching it grow bigger and filthier each year. I wasn't about to touch any of it for fear of catching ebola or getting a scorpion in the eye. I'd make an occasional sarcastic comment, or if I wanted to pick a fight, I'd threaten to go down to the post office and pick up a couple of "green cards" to come out here and help me clean this place up. Mostly, I just ignored the mess.

Then a couple of weeks ago, the weenie dog died. A sad day indeed for the builder of front porch play tent/tunnels. Hell, I even teared up a couple of times. He was 16 years old (the weenie dog, that is) and healthy, unless you count those deaf, dumb and blind afflictions. Gib had been his daddy since he was a little tiny puppy and loved him to excess, and I knew there'd be a period of mourning.

Imagine my surprise when, a few days later, Gib comes home (from Wal-Mart, natch) with a couple of nice wooden rocking chairs, painted white, and proceeds to throw out the old cat hair-ridden camp chairs, replacing them with the new rockers. An improvement, yes, but still there was the problem of actually getting to them.

He sticks his head in the door and invites me out to sit on my new chair. I walk outside and watch him clamber over the tent/tunnel to sit on his. I stand by the front door, the only cleared spot on the porch, and nod approvingly at the chairs. He's beaming with pride, so I hate to burst his dream bubble that I'll ever sit on that chair beside him.

Then he makes the classic mistake of asking what I think. "I think they would look nice if this porch wasn't such an ode to white trash livin'." I instantly regret saying the first thing that pops in my head, as usual, but instead of anger, he slowly nods his head and gazes at the tent/tunnel. Seems he's been thinking it's high time he cleaned up the porch. I don't say anything because I figure it'll get done in approximately the same time frame as the other half-baked projects lying around the property.

This evening I walk out on my porch and the tent/tunnel is gone. Poof. All kinds of crap has been gathered up in industrial strength trash bags and lined up in the "trash area" (beside his parking space), the porch has been swept AND mopped, and for the first time in eight years, I can walk the length of the porch without stumbling or getting stung. Such a beautiful sunset, ignored, as I gaze lovingly at my long-hidden concrete porch floor and beautiful Mexican pots that in a perfect Hill Country world would be overflowing with hibiscus or rosemary.

I no longer have a white trash porch. I feel a plant-buying spree coming on! Then maybe I'll take some pics. You know, while it lasts.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Cosmic Erasure

Yesterday on KGSR, the topic of discussion on "Ask us anything" -- If you could cosmically erase someone in your life (which means they'd still be alive, only you'd never have to see or hear them ever again), who would it be? And leave politics out of it.

The first person who sprang to my mind is, um, rather permanently cosmically erased. Funny how sometimes, I have to stop and remind myself she's dead. Such a powerful negative influence she remains on me and the boys and lard knows who else.

So who would I cosmically erase? For starters, the person who keeps sending me high school reunion notices. 27 years I've been gone and she still doesn't get it. "Well, I'm never going back to my old school..."

That organic blackberry applesauce could use some politically correct raw sugar. Not bad, though.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"In the beginning ... he created mountains, trees and a midget."

Flying Spaghetti Monster

The First United Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is petitioning the Kansas School Board to have FSMism taught alongside evolution and "intelligent design" in science classrooms. A hilarious site and great T-shirts, too. My absolute favorite is a graph depicting how the increase in global warming over the last 200 years has directly contributed to the decrease in pirates. (FSM demands full pirate regalia be worn while teaching FSMism, and so this graph is more relevant than one might think.)

I had the cramps and two hours to kill

so naturally I went to Big Lots. Found this organic applesauce with blackberries that I'm totally craving right now. Usually it's Cheetos/Fritos/whatever salty snack is available, but today it's applesauce. If that don't do the trick, I have a backup -- Anna's Almond Cinnamon Thins from Sweden. It's amazing what you can buy for a buck at Big Lots. Their DVDs suck, however.

Had a new experience today -- I dined alone at Gattitown. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking, other than a nice salad would hit the spot after schlepping around Big Lots. I sit down with my nice salad and iced tea (not bad today), trying to find the least lumpy spot in the worn-out booth, when here comes Soccer Mom and Little Alex (not his real name, but I can't remember it, and anyway, he reminded me of Rickie's cousin/my ex-nephew Alex). They sit in the booth behind me. Little Alex, four years old I'd guess, proceeds to do the Dance of the Hungry Hungry Hyper against the back of my seat. Fine, I'll just lean directly over my plate. Sitting up straight while eating is highly overrated anyway.

Take a bite of food, try not to look like you're drooling. Oh, no, what's that, Soccer Mom? "Alex, Mommy will be right back. Sit still and try to be quiet." As soon as SM is out of sight, Little Alex takes this as his cue to begin his gymnastics warmups -- over the back of my booth. I figure if I ignore him, he'll get bored trying to impress me and move along to some other sucker. I am so utterly, inexorably wrong.

The second his elbow connects with my shoulder blade, I grab my purse and dart quickly over to the pizza area. Aha, I've escaped you, Little Alex! ... not realizing I've inadvertently cut in front of about a dozen people hellbent on nabbing the next batch of cinnamon roll pizzas or whatever the hell those things are dripping with icing. Suddenly they're all glaring at me. I slowly back away and pick up a couple of pieces of heretofore untouched veggie pizza. This breaks the tension; I am no longer a threat. They sigh and return their gazes to the plastishield, behind which sits the empty cinnamon roll pizza thingy tray. I mentally unclog their arteries and head back to my booth.

Little Alex has taken up residence in my booth, happily tearing up a napkin and gurgling under his breath. I sit down and smile at him. He freezes. Saucer eyes. I take a bite of pizza. Finally he screws up his courage: "Why are you sitting across from me?" I reply: "I should ask you, why are YOU sitting across from ME?" This throws the poor little guy for a loop. Ah, but he's saved by Soccer Mom, who swoops in and says, "Alex ___ ___, come here right this instant!" And he does.

I suppose I should feel guilty I scared the shit out of a little kid, but hey, I embarrassed a Soccer Mom and got to eat the rest of my meal in peace. I'd say my day is complete.

I just tried the Swedish cookies. Not bad.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Groovin' ... on a Sunday afternoon

Just FYI, B&N on Brodie in Austin has a fairly extensive travel section, everything you could ever want to know about dining in & diseases of foreign lands. Maps, even. No books to be found, however, on MOVING to a foreign land, and no maps of the particular region I need. Sigh. Guess I'll break down and buy off the websites I've been researching.

I went to one of those "blogs we've noticed this week" links on the blogger homepage and started sifting through various blogs. Kinda reminds me of when I had Time Warner cable in Austin and would watch random public access shows just for the hell of it. Sure, a lot of it was boring & bogus, but every once in a while I'd come across something unique.

Today I found
this and read the whole damned thing. Funny stuff, and sad, too. In places, it's alarmingly similar to journal entries I wrote in the late '90s about my husband, stuff I wouldn't dream of publishing to anyone for fear of revealing those suspicious-looking black spots on my soul. As of the 21st, her blog is in archive status, apparently due to threats against her children.

My thoughts are with you, Christine. Don't let the bastards get you down.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Blogging. It's What's for Dinner.

Blogging. It's like a diary printed in large type and left open on one's coffee table. A small-town bunko diva's wet dream.

Here is where I reveal my secret desire which will set my second mid-life crisis in motion. I say "desire," when maybe what I really mean is more like a door at the end of a very long, dark hallway that's just begun to open, revealing bright sunshine and a temperate climate. A door I long to not only one day approach, but walk through and embrace what's on the other side with a toothy grin and a Purpose-full life.

We Capricorns (yep, me and Nostradamus, baby) have this knack for setting and achieving long-range goals. In my experience, some goals take longer than others. This one in particular will take at least two more years of planning and researching and saving money and leaving "things" better than I found them. That's just the way I do things. I'm a ponderer.