Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hot, At Last

Okay, so now it's finally hot. You don't hear me admit that very often, but how often does it get to be 88F in my bedroom? That's about 8F too hot for me to sleep, so I'm hoping that it cools off a little sooner than later. Too bad I didn't turn up the fan a couple of hours ago, but I didn't notice it was hot until a little while ago.

All week long people have asked me, "is it hot?" and my honest answer has been "no." Maybe it is, but I don't get hot nearly as quick as most other people seem to. Unfortunately for me, the converse it true too, so when my mom asked me last February if I was cold, my honest answer to that was, "I've been cold since November."

Speaking of hot, my mind was truly blown by someone in the midwest a few days ago. We were discussing what summer has been like on a messageboard, and they said that they were suffering because the humidity was 18%, and he wished it were lower. This floored me and another poster from the east coast, because we can't conceptualize what that would even be like. Even during the winter when it's so dry that the backs of my fingers crack and bleed, humidity doesn't drop below 30%. Ever. Right now it's 85F (yes, at 11:30pm) and the humidity is 93%. That's normal: I discovered a few years back that it's possible for humidity to be higher than 100% because of that super saturation we learned about back in chem. Right before 4th of July the year before last it was right around 100F and the humidity was only in the 40s. That's the closest I've ever come to experiencing a dry heat. It was kind of nice. Before that I thought that it was made up, like job security and other things people claim exist.

I didn't post yesterday. I know. I've decided that I'm not going to continue with daily posting, because I've fulfilled my experiment. Besides, I wrote 1,500 words on a story this morning, and that's a little more important than this, right?

"I love the summer, when it's hot, hot, hot!" - Mercy Rule, Summer

Monday, July 27, 2009

Carriage Story

I have a history of claiming I'll tell stories later, then never returning to them. So, to distract myself from unhappy realities, I'm actually going to tell you one of those stories. Gather 'round, Boys and Girls, and I'll tell you the story of the shopping carriage.

Twelve years ago, almost, my baby brother spent a couple of days with me while I was a junior in college. After more than two and a half years in MA, we were finally moving back to NH. Our house was supposed to have been completed before he started high school, but it wasn't, and it was going to be a couple of days into the school year before my mom could rent a place. Anyway, I had a bored fourteen-year-old on my hands for 48 hours, so he wouldn't miss the first two days of school.

Colleen, Kristia and just about everyone else was busy one of those days, but Sarah suggested that we take a walk to Mill Pond and see the swans (Mill Pond is the technical name, but most people called in Swan Pond). Vynce seemed game enough, so off we went. Most of you probably aren't the least bit familiar with the UNH campus, but you access the road the pond is on through the rear of a parking lot for the grocery store plaza. As we were going through, Vynce saw a shopping carriage at the far end of the lot and began pushing it. Of course we told him not to. And as you can imagine, this made him more determined to tick us off by bringing it with us.

So there we went, arguing with him the whole time that he should bring the carriage back. Nothing doing. He still had it when we arrived at the pond, half a mile away. As soon as we got there, we firmly told him not to get any ideas about pushing the carriage into the pond. I don't know about Sarah, but I'll admit that it wasn't just doing my big sister duty: I was curious to see what he'd do.

We'd brought so bread with us, so Sarah and I headed around a copse of trees to feed the ducks and swans, and Vynce declared he'd stay were the benches were. (there'd been an incident with the swans earlier - he and they weren't on particularly good terms) As we fed the birds, we heard thumping noises, and popped back around a couple of times to see what he was doing, which was sitting on a bench, pushing the carriage forward a few inches, and pulling it back. We repeated our demand that he not push it into the water, and he waved us off.

A couple of minutes later, we wandered back and sat on the other bench. He continued to push the carriage back and forth, watching us. Then suddenly, he gave it a huge shove instead and it went careening down the hill into the water. It only went in about two feet, so the rest of it stuck out of the water quite conspicuously.

The look he gave us was half astonished, and half worried. "I didn't push it!" He yelled suddenly. "It rolled in!"

And that, Boys and Girls, is when Sarah and I lost our composure. Neither of us expected such an explanation, and we laughed so hard that tears streamed down our faces, and we couldn't breathe, so we collapsed on the bench. This was quite obviously not the reaction my brother expected, so the confused look on his face set us off further.

Eventually we calmed down enough to force him to take off his socks and shoes and pull the carriage back out of the water. He was still smaller than me at that point, so the image of this little kid swearing and working hard to pull the thing out of the muck was pretty funny too. When he was done we waited for him to put his shoes back on and tried to think of what to do with the wet, dirty carriage. No worries, Vynce had an idea.

He pushed it all the way back to the store: but every time we encountered another person, he bragged about how he'd done "a good deed" by pulling a carriage out of the pond. As you can imagine, this earned him the praise of the elderly passersby. We told him that he couldn't claim that it was a good deed because he'd been the idiot to push it in, but he insisted that didn't matter, and it was a good deed. Do you have any idea how hard it was to keep a straight face as he kept repeating this story?

At last the purloined carriage was returned, and no one seemed to think it was odd that a boy was pushing a carriage full of wet weeds and mud into the parking lot.

"I'm so tired of everything I am, breaking promises to myself while I pretend, writing letters in my mind that I'll never send" - Silverline, Letters Never Sent

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Proposals vs Sharks

Apparently swimming with real live sharks is slightly scarier to British men than proposing to a woman, with 80% of them to scared to make a move towards the alter before their girlfriends do. Good to know. Remind me not to date any guys from the UK...

And I guess that makes Cal on Harper's Island even braver than I thought!

"Earthquakes and sharks to start us off/If Chupacabras ain't enough, black widow spiders and killer bees..." - Brandtson, Earthquakes and Sharks

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Political Commercials, 2012

You know what might be an interesting career? Being one of the people who comes up with political commercials. You get to drag out all the dirt from the last four years. I'd love that job!

If I were to design a commerical for the 2012 election, it'd go something like this:
Democrats said for years that we couldn't afford George W Bush's war. A war that cost the US taxpayers 752 billion dollars in its first five years. Barack Obama introduced 787 billion dollars of new spending in his first five weeks in office. Even Democrats must agree that we can't afford four more years of record spending. Vote for [insert anyone else]

I don't know if it'd be effective or not, but it'd be fun to point out that the democrats who whine about the cost of the war but don't say a peep about the stimulus spend (oh, sorry, they say "all spending is stimulus!" when people point out that it was full of pork, so I guess they're not totally silent) are a bunch of f*cking hypocrits.

Then there's:
Obama promised change if the American Public elected him. With record spending that doubled the deficit in his first year in office, pocket change is just about all we have left. Vote for [insert anyone else]

Isn't this fun? We could do ones about scare tactics and use clips of him saying the word "crisis" over and over again. And ones about his trying to force bills through as quickly as possible, with clips of him and others admitting that they haven't even read the bills they're trying to strong-arm into law. Oh, and how he had the audacity to claim that he and his foolish stimulus bill "saved" the economy when we've a 10% unemployment rate! (and a neat trick that is too, considering 90% of money is as of yet unspent) There's already a wealth of damning things on film, so why not make the most of them?

"What if there's no one who I would put up with? What if there's no one who'd put up with me? What if I'm destined to always remain alone? What if this question's as stupid as it seems?" - Rachel Sage, What If

Friday, July 24, 2009

Channeling Eliot

They still teach TS Eliot to high school kids, right? If so, you're probably vaguely familiar with his work. I have The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock on my mind tonight, particularly the part where he goes from "do I dare disturb the universe" to the timid "Do I dare to eat a peach?" all because of something I half-wish I'd had the nerve to say tonight.

I went to the mall tonight to look for two things, and struck out on both. As I walked by a vendor hawking cell phones, the guy there tried to convince me to talk about my cell phone needs. I wish I'd told him the truth, "Sorry, I only smiled because you're cute, not because I need a cell phone provider." The half of me that isn't making fun of myself for being a coward reminds me that I've worked retail, and I would have been pretty uncomfortable with such a remark myself. I guess being daring isn't worth potentially upsetting a stranger. But on the other hand, what if I said something and...

Anyway, poetry. Who are your favorites? I used to upset people in college who'd agitatedly ask how could I major in English and hate Romantic and Victorian era poets. I could only tell them that I was and I did. With a few exceptions like Dickens, I'm not fond of novelists from those time periods, either. I'm a fan of modernism and post-modernism all the way. I like Eliot well enough, but my true favorites are Sexton, Plath, Ginsberg and Jim Carroll. I wish I could link you to a few of their poems like "In This Room Particularly" by Jim Carroll but they don't seem to be out there. sigh.

A few of my favorite poems that are actually online:
Opal by Amy Lowell, which might be my favorite poem of all
Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney
Not Waving But Drowning by Stevie Smith
Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

"I only want sympathy in the form of you crawling into bed with me" - Fall Out Boy, Dance Dance

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Missed Photos

Beyond wishing I'd had a camera with me a week ago tonight for the last Carbon Leaf concert, there are things I wish I had pictures of. And I don't just mean things like I wish I hadn't somehow left my camera behind during the senior class trip, either.

Instead I mean things that were so totally unexpected that it wasn't reasonable to expect to take pictures. These are things I wish I had photos of:

* Contrails? When we were tiny, maybe four and five, Eric and I thought we saw a distressed plane spell out the word "help." His father told us that it was just regular contrails, but by the time we'd gotten him out of the house, they'd mostly faded, so of course he didn't see the word. I still wonder if it spelled anything out - I could read at that age, so maybe it really did.

* Vynce, knee-deep in water, and swearing as he dragged a shopping cart out of Mill Pond. Maybe if someone requests it I'll have to tell this story someday, but it's definitely the funniest thing I've ever seen, even to this day. Sarah and I were crying and hanging on each other because we were laughing so hard.

* The fire ball that shot out of the heating vent at work a few years ago. A chunk of ice broke the gas main, and as soon as the gas accumulated and the heat kicked on, the heat pipe had a 2' fire ball shoot out of it. It was scary, but also kind of exciting. I don't want to see it in person again, but photos would have been neat.

* Lightning striking power transformers during the ice storm. We weren't close enough to see the strikes, but both times lightning nailed transformers in the distance, the 11 o'clock sky was lit up an errie blue flash that filled the horizon. Very cool.

* Ice-coated tree in the headlights. Same night. When the lights of the car hit a certain tree in the median, it looked like crystal. Much prettier than all those crystal figurines people keep making me look at in the mall.

* Fire on snow. I had no idea how incredible this looked until I helped my mom burn some brush this winter. The lighter fluid does not sink into the snow like most liquids do, but instead pools on the surface. Fire does too, licking along the snow and barely melting it. If I can find a foolhearty assistant, I'm going to try for pictures this winter.

I guess some of those are kind of dangerous, but they are the things I wish I had photos to show people, so they could see them too.

"If I go everywhere you want me to go how will I know you'll still follow?" - Silversun Pickups, Panic Switch

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

P. Singer? SERIOUSLY???

Please, for the love of God, tell me that Obama isn't really appointing Peter Singer as a czar of anything. Please please please let this be some sort of joke that the right-wing talking heads are playing on us, because... ::shakes head in dispair:: I actually yelled when I was told who the new appointee is rumored to be.

That's exactly what this country needs: an unelected, unfettered science official who thinks it should be legal to kill babies up until the age of two, that monkeys are more human and deserving of rights and protection than small children, and that we have a duty to euthanize disabled people. As someone who is both pro-life and who has worked with special needs children, I've found his ideas deeply offensive for years, and I think you should too.

As if I needed another reason to loathe Obama and doubt his judgment.

"If I'm away from you long enough to make you cry at least you feel something" - Dropping Daylight, Til You Feel Something

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reconnection Epiphany

So, I've been trying to work out why it is that when I daydream about meeting someone, it's more often that I meet someone again rather than for the first time. There are several people I've imagined what it might be like to meet again someday: Georgie and Eric, who were my best friends up until the age of eleven but got lost after one too many move on my part; Jared or Brian from high school; Matt or Matt or Courtney or a few other guys from college; Jon, Brendan and a small handful of other guys I've worked with over the last few years...

It's not a lack of imagination. I write fiction for God's sake, so it's not as though I can't imagine meeting someone I've never met. But I guess it's because there's a lack of satisfaction in imagining someone you're never actually going to meet. I've had dreams about doing just this, and I inevitably wake up depressed when I realize that as nice as the person in the dream was, he's simply not out there.

The other issue is that reconnecting with someone is just less work. For social butterflies I'm sure that the effort that goes into meeting someone is energizing and there's a sense of excitement over the possibility that s/he might be someone you'll make a real connection with, but for those of us for whom it is a real effort...the worst part is when one of those people exits your life without anything ever really happening, so it seems like so much invested time was wasted.

Maybe, at least judging from TV shows where women on the far side of thirty talk about having kids "someday," not everyone hears the ticking of a clock, but I'm afraid of wasting much more time myself, which makes the idea of starting over with people I've never met a less than thrilling prospect. But what can you do? I've never been a good enough stalker to track down any of those guys I find myself wondering about now and again.

"Will we be more than friends? I'm still waiting for that look. This might be my last chance. When the fire dies and the stars burn up maybe you'll want to dance" - Tijuana Strip Club, The Way You Looked At Me Once

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Fade

It's become tradition that my dad, C, and I go to see the Harry Potter movies together because we all liked the books. C called yesterday afternoon because her grandmother died, which means we'll have to postpone this weekend's plans until the next. She's taking the death pretty calmly, and I understand exactly why. Her grandmother had Alzheimer's.

In that post a week or two ago about summers past, I mentioned that we moved in with my great-grandmother to care for her because she had Alzheimer's too. I think that was to the detriment of the entire family; except perhaps my grandfather who didn't have to see his mother go into a home. Nothing before or after turned our lives upside down like that did, and in some minor ways the ripples continue still, thirteen years later. I hope I'm not tempting fate by saying that it's the worst!

Hopefully you got the sense from the other post that I really cared for my great-grandmother while I was growing up. By the time I was seven, I was out of grandmothers, but she made the loss easier to bear. The very worst thing about this disease is it rips away all the good from some of the victims, and my great-grandmother wasn't an exception.

One of the only worthwhile personal conversations I had with a professor was about my great-grandmother shortly after she died. Q (he really went by Q) said that he coped with his mother's progression with the disease the same way I did - we both created two people out of one. The first person was the one you loved. The second one was the person who caused pain and destroyed normalcy. If you manage to convince yourself that the person who is tormenting everyone isn't the person you loved, then you can protect your feelings for the person they used to be. Like, Great-Grammy wasn't the person who laughed when she discovered that her son died (he died of cancer four months before her). Nope. That was the mean old bitch who stole her identity. The real Great-Grammy wouldn't have ever done any of the things that the imposter did...things that are terrible and better left unsaid. All these years later, I still think of her as two different people, because I can't hate who she was, but I sure hated the woman she became. I skipped her funeral. I had to, you see, because I wasn't grieving, I was relieved.

Though there are probably worse ways to die, Alzheimer's is one of the most cruel. Not only does it often inspire loved ones to hate the victim in the way few other diseases do, there's also what it does to the victim that's terrible too. A lot of people think that the victims are just out of it, but they're not always and that's the real horror of it. Even towards the end Great-Grammy had lucid periods, though we all wished she wouldn't. It was easy to tell when she was lucid, because that's when she'd cry with guilt over things she did but no longer had any control over.

She wanted it to be over, but our country doesn't believe in letting people die with the dignity we bestow upon pets, so she lingered for exactly a year after my mom and brother moved in with her. (ostensibly my dad "lived" with me the last two semesters of high school because I was under 18 the first one, but really, I saw him at home just two days a week because Mom and Vynce needed him there more - and I spent the last three months of high school driving 120 miles each way myself every weekend. I myself moved the day after graduation. I'm sure Vynce and I are more f*cked up people due to all of this, but that's not the point of this post.) We were all at peace once she died, sad to say.

So...I can understand why C isn't broken up by her grandmother's death. She said "she's been dead a long time, this was just her body catching up" and it's hard to disagree with that.

"Get in to my car, drive into the night/Then lie as I scream to the heavens above/That I was the last one you ever loved" - Better Than Ezra, Porcelain

Sunday, July 19, 2009

They're Surprised

Since one of these things has just come up yet again, this theme is on my mind: there are probably a number of things about each of us that others find surprising. Some of those things we can understand, others, not so much.

In my case these four things have led to a lot of disbelief from others:

Age - No one ever guesses my age correctly, always guessing too young. Better than 90% of people can't even come within four years of making the correct guess, and a good third of those people think I'm much younger than that, even. This one is easy to understand, because even I can see that I don't look thirty-two: it's partly genetic, partly because I've never smoked, and partly because I've always used sunscreen (not to mention I didn't grow at all between the ages of two and four, and didn't start puberty until two or three years after most of my classmates). So by now, I'm used to people guessing I'm in my mid-twenties, and only raise my eyebrows when they think I'm even younger than that.

Ethnicity - Red hair, blue eyes, and just about the fairest skin possible makes many people guess that I'm all Irish. I'm sure that having an Irish first name leads them to that guess too, even though my last name is Americanized French (my middle name is French too, but maybe .5% of people who know me know what it is). Some people realize that I'm partly Scottish, because of my bone structure and the historical knowledge that Scotts are even more likely to have red hair. No one ever ever guesses that I'm also English, French and Portuguese. Or that I had a black great-great grandfather. The funny thing is that several people have gotten mad at me for protesting when they've said I'm all Irish, and assume I'm lying to them!

Handedness - This one I don't understand: it comes as a shock to a lot of people that I'm left-handed. The only conclusion I can draw is that right-handed people don't observe how many people are left or right handed in a group situation. I know I'm not the only leftie who assesses that immediately when there are a lot of people taking notes. While it's true that I'm one of the 40% of lefties who only use their mouse with their right hand, I do almost everything else with my left hand. And of those few other things I do with my right hand, people don't ever see two of them, so that leaves bowling and skeetball as possibly leading them astray. These are people who have seen me write often too, so I don't get it.

Height - Women rarely talk about the heights of women, but men do, so I can only apply this one to the fellows. To my confusion, I've had men express disbelief about my height in the exact opposite directions. Some men say "but you're so little!" and refuse to believe that I'm really just shy of five-four. And other men are surprised because they think I'm taller. Men are weird. I don't know what accounts for the former though I suspect that attitude comes from men who feel protective of women, but Vynce has a theory about the latter because Megan who is just 5'1" hears the same thing frequently too: he says we "don't have little personalities" and therefore seem bigger/more imposing. I asked him if this meant we were occasionally bitchy, and he said no =) He says that it has to do with having no fear about expressing firm opinions even if they'll be at odds with others'. Maybe he's got something there.

So, how about you? How do you confound people too?

"I can't keep telling myself what I want to hear, what I want to hear. I can't just close my eyes." - Atreyu, Slow Burn

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dead and Gone (vague spoilers)

I've felt miserable almost all day, so I haven't done much other than play The Sims 2, struggle with an emotional quandary that needs to be dealt with much sooner than later, and finish reading a book while hoping that my head and right ear would stop hurting (I'm beginning to suspect an ear infection. joy). Anyway, since the sims has no plot, I think I'll review the book.

Dead And Gone (southern vampire mysteries #9) by Charlaine Harris

If you've looked at my profile and if you recognize the authors, you might realize that I read a lot of Urban Fantasy. It's not deep and meaningful, but I had enough of that whilst studying for my English education degree. These days I only read the classics when I want to. That happens once or twice a year. Anyway, this series is one of my current favorites.

I've mentioned Eric and Sookie - a mind reader and her vampire on again, off again lover - in another post, and if you like them as a couple too, you'll like this book because issues going on since book 4 reach a bit more resolution. Of course a murder gets in the way just when things seem to be headed somewhere. They don't work things out by the end of the book. I don't read many romance novels, but I like a bit of romance to the plots of "normal" books too. I'd say I do as much as the next girl, but I know from the disappointingly limited results from googling "practical romance" ages ago that it's probably not true. Damn my *INTJ-ness Anyway, the romantic elements of Dead and Gone are responsible for my gleeful giggles while reading the first two thirds of the book.

As for the rest of the plot, it was a bit of so what. Sookie loses a couple of friends to the dangerous situation that her great-grandfather pulls her into, and I'm only really sorry to see one of the characters go. It was touch and go for one of the major characters, and even though I don't like him much I found myself hoping he wouldn't be killed off. Maybe he's growing on me a bit again.

Readers of the series will probably like this one. It's not my favorite, but it's definitely not the weakest book in the series either - that would be book 2. I look forward to seeing what happens in book 10, whenever that comes out.

* A beautiful piece of advice in one of those INTJ threads: "If you ARE trying to feel out an INTJ type person, I would recommend asking that person how they feel about you. As uncomfortable as it is, you may save alot of time by asking some very specific questions. You'll probably get some specific answers." True, that.

"Reaching for a hand as my heart starts to sway...crawl through the darkness. Fear all that don't. Fate is a gift" - The Von Bondies, Crawl Through The Darkness

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tupelo Music Hall 7/16

Since I'm doing so well with sticking with posting daily, I thought I'd better post before I go and torture myself for an hour or so. Well, the first half hour goes okay, but then I give my timer disbelieving looks for the next thirty minutes. Because I'm masochistic, I've decided to exercise forty-five minutes, an hour a day the next week I have off...

Anyway, last night. As I said, I was going to see Carbon Leaf for the third time, the second at the Tupelo Music Hall. Last time was the night of the ice storm. Yikes! Last night's show wasn't cut short like the encore was in December. I like the Tupelo, it's definitely what one calls an "intimate" setting. So tiny! We were in the 4th row, so it was just a few feet from the stage.

One of the nice things about the venue is that it's so relaxed. Before the show started C and I spent a while talking about our jobs, our semi-insane mothers and guys who are sadly going away, won't go away, and in her case one who is sticking around. We also talked a little with the group of boys in our row and the one in front of us but they seemed pretty young, though, oh well.

Besides being ungodly hot, it was a really good show. It being hot got me applause - between songs Barry (the lead singer) said it felt like a barn and people began to moo in jest, so he asked if we messed with cows: so I yelled "No, that's Vermont!" which people appreciated =) Especially the drunk lady in front of us who wanted a high five. Nope, I wasn't drinking myself, why do you ask?

Some people know every single song, but I don't. So I kind of let my mind drift during songs I didn't recognize and/or ones I'm not as fond of. I kind of got distracted by a rip in Barry's shirt that I wanted to fix - I got distracted during a play years ago when an actress had the same problem. Don't they know people who can sew? I'd do it for them, really - and thinking about how for someone right around thirty-eight Barry has a nice body: in this photo he's the guy on the far left. Thirty-eight is older than I'm usually interested in, but sometimes you have to make exceptions. The oldest man I've ever been attracted to, Wally, is now 45 or almost, and the youngest, Oliver, turned 26 sometime before June given he was 17 when I knew him the summer of 2000 (I'm a lot more at peace with age differences like that than when I was myself barely 23, and no longer feel guilty like I did back then for not even acted upon attraction). I've been attracted to more guys who are currently under 30 than over 35, though because I'm kind of immature myself. I tend to ramble, don't I? Since it seems I'm mostly writing for my own viewing, I guess I won't bother to worry about it.

There are some interesting songs off the new cd, which I don't have. Yet. I like "Another Man's Woman" best, then "Pink" and "Lake Of Silver Bells." I'll have to find that one too. If you'd like to hear them, two of the three are on this page in the player on the left.

The cursed song, "The Boxer" didn't cause anything bad to happen this time: the first time we saw them was outdoors in Lowell, and they had to stop when lightning got perilously close, and in December that's the same damn song they were playing when the power cut out for the first time. However, they didn't play "American Tale" or "Desperation Song." Sigh. I wish they had.

All in all, it was worth getting home after midnight, and slogging through a nine-hour work day on too little sleep. Thank God I still had a couple caffeine pills left, though they make me need to use the facilities pretty often. Why did I never take them during college when they were more ready at hand?

* Photo not by me.

"Is this all a game? Was this all a ruse? I've waited by the phone. Cold as river stone. Anxiety. Alone" - Carbon Leaf, Desperation Song

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Carbon Leaf

I'm posting this now during the wee hours because I doubt I'll be home much before midnight - I will regret that at work tomorrow, I'm sure. Anyway, tonight I'm going to see Carbon Leaf for the third time. They're a folk rock band, which isn't always my thing (I do own every Toad The Wet Sprocket cd, however) but I like them a lot.

"American Tale" <-- my absolute favorite
"Life Less Ordinary"
"Desperation Song"

Yesterday's Two Truths and a Lie game:

1. True. My date was younger than me, and Sophmores could only go if they were the guests of a Junior or Senior, so if I wanted to go with him, I had to ask him. And I really wanted to go with him =)

2. False. I don't think there were any regular columns, actually.

3. True. Yup, even though I'm an introvert, I tried out for Theater Sports. I didn't expect to join, but it was fun anyway.

So, did you guess correctly?

"What if we make reason an act of treason?" - Carbon Leaf, American Tale

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Two Truths and a Lie

You know how the game is played, right? A person gives you two truthful statements and tells you one lie. It's your job to guess which is which. Let's play that, you can make your guess as a comment - and if you will post your own truths and a lie on your own blog, give us a link in the comment too and we'll come guess yours

Here we go:

1. I successfully asked a boy to the prom
2. I wrote a column for my college newspaper
3. I tried out for an improv comedy troupe

I'll post the correct answers tomorrow.

"If I looked how I felt on the inside suddenly you would be gone/It would kill you to see all this darkness is me but maybe you’ve known all along" - Dirty Children, Beautiful Freak (if you like this song, download it here)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Loose Ends

Have you ever heard the song Just by Radiohead? It has the chorus, "You do it to yourself, you do, and that's why it really hurts." I've had a blue day, and it's entirely my own fault. I don't think I'm psychic, but sometimes I have strong feelings about things that really do happen. I've had the feeling lately that someone I still miss a lot will come back to work where I do (perhaps because the industry he left to work for is troubled) and I've disappointed myself when we started a new project today and he still didn't appear to fulfill my wish. sigh.

You know that guy or girl that was completely perfect - except for the fact that someone claimed them first? He's that guy. You can't blame me for liking him anyway, he's smart and funny in the sarcastic way that gets me going, cute in a Kevin Smith circa Clerks sort of way, and as a bonus republican. That last one is pretty rare in cute 30-year-olds, because while I know a fair number of republicans in real life, only those of us who are cradle conservatives are so young; most people don't take to conservatism before their 40s it seems (don't get me wrong, I don't turn away liberal boys, but it's nice to see eye to eye on something important). Anyway, that stuff is probably why I still foolishly miss him over a year and a half since I last saw or heard from him, and even though I'm sort of mad he made no effort to keep in touch. If he showed up tomorrow, I'd forgive him that. Hell, if he showed up tomorrow and said that he was available and thought we should elope to Vegas that night, I'd consider know, I probably have the residual feelings for him to thank for having kept my moderate, unwise, and increasingly pointless infatuation with an insufficiently interested guy from being worse. A small blessing, I guess, since it's a near certainty that nothing will come from that.

Rather than bore you with even more moping that concludes with wondering what it is that makes me so easy to leave behind and forget about, and wondering if other independent people have trouble making others aware that we want them even if we don't need them, I think I'll tie up loose ends from other posts over the past month.

  • I've sent my DNA samples back to the bone marrow registry and am now waiting for a confirmation e-mail that they've been received.
  • Hopefully mother nature won't take this as a challenge, but it seems as though monsoon season in New Hampshire is over. Thank God.
  • Vynce and Megan hope to marry in October of 2010. That gives me over a year to make someone love me so much he's obligated to be my date to the wedding =)
  • I'm still waiting for a course booklet for fall classes for continuing ed. Maybe I'll take a language or statistics class. Italian would be easy considering I can read it some already, and then there's French which I know very little of but kind of want to learn. Definitely not any kind of writing class, though, and not just because I took the advance fiction class during college. The point of taking a class is mostly to meet people, and the carrying capacity of a relationship is zero to one moody artistic type. I'm the one.
  • Exercising still sucks, and I'm still committed to it. The scale is changing disappointingly slow, though considering I've lost just 4 pounds but already an inch off my hips, I'd hazard a guess that I've traded some fat for muscle. Again. I'd rather just lose weight, but dieting is even harder to stick to than exercise. Considering that I known for a long time that I put on muscle pretty easily, I've started this with a measurement goal in mind rather than a pounds one: I'll be happy when I've taken another 1.5" off my hips which, along with my thighs, is where fat gravitates to on me. (at least it's not like one of my coworkers who is slim but has a large butt. I hope ten years from now she's not one of those women with hips twice as wide as their waists.) I don't think 37" is too unrealistic a goal and as petty as it is, I like the symmetry of 37 & 37.
  • Yesterday I bought a startlingly loud alarm clock. What I wanted was a clock just like the one I've had since high school, but newer. They do not exist, it seems. I guess this one will do. Too soon to tell if it will cure my alarm clock distress dreams, though.
  • Writing is going little better than it was a month ago, but if the weather holds, I should do better. Not only does being agitated over the weather keep me from being creative, nice weather means I can bring my laptop out to the screen house, and I'm pretty productive when I do.

"This goes on and on, you keep me hanging on, it's been going on too damn long/If it's not too soon, it's going to be too late. If you wait too long it's gonna be too late" - The Invisible, Gonna Be Too Late

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Muddled Music Post

Updating my website takes forever, but it does allow me to multitask: I've been trying for the past six weeks or so to listen to all the songs I've downloaded with Stationripper that are from 2007, so I did that while coding the html for all those pages. Yeah, I know, 2007...but I've downloaded several thousand songs over the past few years, so I'm a bit backed up. I've gotten though most of the 2007 songs by now, and I have to say that most Christian Metal really sucks. It all sounds the same, like bad 70s arena rock! I kept less than 10 songs out of the more than 150 I listened to, and almost half of those were Pillar and Red that I already liked. Oh well, I won't be downloading that station again. Don't be surprised, though indie music is my favorite I'll listen to anything, even as my mom asked recently, "Isn't that a country song?" I have less than an hour of country music on my computer, but I do have some.

I also listened to a lot of electronica from a different station, which I had better luck with. But a remix of "Monkey" by Low reminded me what a weird song that is. "Tonight you will be mine. Tonight the monkey dies." Okay, everyone can understand the first part, but why does a monkey need to die? I like monkeys. I hope I never have the sort of relationship that directly causes their deaths. I can't even imagine a scenario where that would be a likely outcome...

Last month someone my parents' age complimented me on my vast knowledge of music. He has no idea: we only were talking about oldies, and that's not even my area of interest in music. He wanted to know if I spend all my time listening to music, and I don't. I have a really good memory for music, though. It's very easy to memorize the minutia that no one else cares about: like the fact that the girls from Smoosh sang vocals on the track "Noisy at The Circus" as part of the musical collective Head Like a Kite, that folks from Death From Above 1979 are now part of Mstrcrft, that Eve 6 and Killswitch Engage took their names from X-Files episodes, that Malcolm Middleton from Arab Strap is now a solo artist, that the Bard Of Ely song "Nicky Wire, You're a Liar" is about a singer for Manic Street Preachers, that contrary to what a lot of people think Billy Talent isn't named after someone in the band but a character in a novel, and just today I learned that the PJ Harvey song "Sheela Na Gig" is about a Celtic fertility godess...these things stick. After seven years of having the same bank account I still don't know my account number without looking at my checkbook, but I'm all about pointless musical trivia.

Preferring indie music can be sort of lonely, though. How many of the bands besides maybe Eve 6 do you recognize from the last paragraph? Not many, I'll bet. Maybe none at all. I don't mind that, though, because that gives me the opportunity to inflict new music on the unsuspecting. I've made a lot of mix cds for people who have no idea who I'm talking about. In fact, the concert I'm going to this week is for a band I introduced C to that way. The only problem with indie music is that I can't ask other people questions. Like, there's this song by Northern State called "Better Already" that I know I've heard the chorus of before, but was it on a soundtrack, or is it sampled? They're a rap band, so it could be either one. I may never know.

"I think I tried too hard to find what was never inside of you...this is the last time I let my heart lead" - Lenny Pierce, Last Time

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Accidental Environmentalist

Let's be honest, as a Republican, you probably don't expect me to be very environmentally conscious. It's certainly never been a goal of mine (in fact, I'm more than a little serious when I claim to be pro-global warming. Have you spent the last couple of winters in New England?) but yet... some how I'm doing more for good ole mother earth than that person with the "Save The Earth" bumper-sticker on their 10/mpg SUV. Let's say that my choices are not motivated by any fine feelings for the Earth, okay?

Take my car, for example. It's true that it gets decent gas mileage. It doesn't qualify for that Cash For Clunkers program because its gas mileage is so high. I can't pretend that's an accident, but it's not because I care about the dwindling oil reserves - you know, though, when I was in second grade they said we only had 20 years worth of oil left. Magically, we still being told the same thing almost 25 years later... - but because I don't really like lining the pockets of the oil industry. I also happen to like small cars, so a compact car suits me well. I used to drive one of these when I was a senior in high school, and then one of these for work, and I'll tell you, I really like small cars better - better pick up, easier to park, I don't need to pull myself into it by the steering wheel like I did the Blazer, so all sorts of advantages. I miss my hatchback because it was even smaller than my current car. Someday I want a Yaris (assuming I can see to back up during a test drive, that is. Their back windows seem awfully high, which is bad for short drivers).

I bring bottles, boxes, and newspapers to the recycling center nearly every week...because in my town you have to pay to throw your trash out, but recycling is free. UNH was big on recycling, so I got into the habit then and it's been easy enough to continue to do so.

I also own, and manage to remember to use 35% of the time, reusable bags. This has lead to more than one cashier and fellow customers remarking about how "good" I am. Yeah... I'm sick of throwing away plastic bags. The recycling center doesn't take them.

I suppose I'm kidding myself that it matters what motivates what you do. Just don't tell anyone, okay? I've got a reputation to maintain.

As an aside, which I'm sure you're shocked about, aren't you glad I don't usually write about what I do on a given day? Today I watched part of a movie with Dad and Vynce, spent hours updating my website, and won an auction on eBay for a new sewing machine - I'm hoping the new one fits in the case I already have. Riveting stuff, huh?

"Heaven's kinda far/but I swear that when I'm coming it's close." - Rebekah, Sin So Well

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Silver Linings

Now and then it's good to remind yourself that no matter how bad things are, they could always be worse. Now, I don't mean that we should embrace pessimism, just that there are things that we should be grateful for. Mostly.

  • Instead of being unmarried and childless at 32, I could have eight kids (!!!#%@!!!) and be getting a divorce. He's only a little over a week older than me, and I find that mind-blowing.
  • Sure, it's been rainy here for most of the spring and summer, but at least we're not suffering a drought or worrying about wildfires.
  • Summer has been cooler than normal, but it also hasn't been very humid. That means I worry about asthma symptoms less than usual.
  • No one can afford to vacation, so the odds of any one of us dying in a plane crash are lower than normal.
  • And none of us are rich and famous, it's true, but when we die, we're not going to be the subject of public scrutiny. Unless we die in a spectacularly unusual way. I fear I'll be killed by a senile driver, and that sort of death is a dime a dozen, so no worries.
  • Speaking of being rich, we're not, so we don't have to worry about the Democrats planning to tax us for the never-to-materialize health care scheme.

    See? There are all sorts of silver linings

"She's the voice in your head that says 'stay in bed' and she tells you that you're weak. You don't need her critique/she's not worried now because she knows you'll back down. Why do you keep her around?" - The Ropes, Kill Her Off

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summers Past

Before I went to bed last night I was thinking about how I need more pain in my life, which is why I'm considering getting an epilator. Okay, the real reason is simply that like most women I don't really like to shave my legs, and epilators promised that you only need to use them once a month. Which reminded me of something my aunt said to me when I was teenager: while we were getting in the pool she expressed surprise that my mother and I shave our legs all, considering how fair our coloring is. Bear in mind that of the three kids in their family, my aunt is the only one who looks remotely Portuguese, so we are startlingly pale in comparison. I explained that it was motivated as much by how things feel as by how they look.

Now you understand why people who know me seldom ask me what I'm thinking about... because what I really want to talk about is summers past, which thinking about that incident with my aunt has brought to mind.

Starting around the age of eight (the summer after my grandmother died), I began to spend a week with my great-grandmother and grandfather every summer. I would actually spend most of the nights at her house, but my grandfather lived next door to her so I got to spend a lot of time with him too. Usually, I'd spend one or more days at my aunt's house as well. Most of my mom's family lived in the same horrible city, so it was easy to see everyone; except my cousin Joey, whose Mom seldom let him spend time with anyone but her.

I enjoyed these weeks during the summer, at least after the first one. I still remember being slightly daunted at the idea of leaving my parents for an entire week when I was just eight, but it worked out pretty well. Being the only girl, as well as the oldest (i.e. the only one who could remember my grandmother,) I was spoiled by my grandfather. My great-grandmother, on the other hand, would set me to work: I spent a lot of time reorganizing cabinets for her.

A few summers later my mother got pneumonia, so my great-grandmother reluctantly agreed to take Vynce too - it was very brave of a woman in her 70s take on a hyperactive first-grader. When that did not result in the disaster she seemed to anticipate, Vynce was included in subsequent summer plans. I never asked my parents, but I'm sure it was nice to have us both out of the house. Besides the summer when he and I both got blistery second degree sunburns at our aunt's pool when our waterproof sunscreen turned out not to be, and that fightworthy incident over Vynce's scraped knee, having him there made things more fun. We seldom didn't enjoy ourselves.

At least until the last summer. I hadn't wanted to go the summer before my senior year of high school. My father basically guilt me into it, telling me that great-Grammy was quite old, and we didn't know how much time we would have left with her. (Later on this statement would come back as a bitter irony, considering we would be moving in with her less than a year later. Maybe we'll talk about the nightmare that is caring for someone with Alzheimer's later.) Looking back, the things that happened that summer should have been a red flag, but nobody seemed to realize that she was so far gone until Christmas that year. Anyway, that summer turned out to be my grandfather's second to last as well, so a strange and unpleasant as parts of it were, I'm glad Vynce and I went anyway.

When people my age, or even older, talk about their living grandparents, I always feel a sort of disconnect. Both my grandfather and great-grandmother died my freshman year of college, and the one grandmother still living when I was born had died when I was very small, as I already said. (My other grandfather, who I rarely think of, died when I was 23. He wanted little to do with his children or grandchildren and I saw him fewer times than I can count, so I was never attached to him anyway) given that they both died when I was 18, I've had the unshakable sense that grandparents, like summers off from school, are part of childhood. I'm sure that this is even worse for Joey and Vynce considering they were only 11 and 12 when Grampy and great-Grammy died.

"Sometime in the summer your eyes will see me, die to see me, but it's only in the summertime/Something in your eyes says you'll die to see me, die to see me, but it's only in the summertime." - Possum Dixon, Only In The Summertime

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not Really A Gift

You ever think that something sounds fascinating, but learn from someone intimately involved with whatever it is that it's not? Apparently this is how synesthesia is to people who don't have it, at least based on how it's come up yet again and people seem to think it's "cool." I have it, and I'd rather not.

Okay, so you don't know what I'm talking about. Synesthesia is a non-harmful neurological condition that results in a person experiencing stimuli with two senses instead of one. It takes several different forms, and most people (synesthetes) only have one kind. I can't prove it, but I assume people who talk about having lots of different kinds are lying and don't understand how it works. Anyway, I see sound.

Yep. I literally can see some sounds as flashes of color. Fortunately the vast majority of sounds don't have anything visible about them - to me, that is. there are two types of sound-color synesthesia and the other kind involves music - because I think that would make a person go insane. But some sounds do, usually sudden ones. The motor of a refrigerator kicking on is bright white. Motorcycles make a purple noise. Sharp sounds like wood breaking are a kind of gray. And things flung against glass (gravel tossed by a fish, for example) are black and white like snow on a TV without reception. I've seen yellow and blue sounds a couple of times too, though I didn't identify what made those noises. And something I hear pretty often is red and I can't pin-point it even though it's strong enough to see with my eyes open.

Does that sound like fun? I don't know, maybe it does sound fun to you. Well, here's where the dislike comes in: as I implied above, you can't escape it by closing your eyes. In fact, the colors are a lot easier to see with your eyes closed. And when do we most often have our eyes closed while awake? When we're trying to sleep. Motorcycle week and my fish getting restless lead to me not sleeping well because I can't stop seeing startling flashes of color. I've never been a solid sleeper anyway, so this definitely isn't helpful.

So next time you hear someone say that they love having synesthesia and wouldn't part with it for anything, don't forget that some of us would give it away.

"This is a nightmare/I want to date you/You get right under my skin" - IO Echo, Doorway

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blame Barbie and Ken

Like most little girls, I grew up playing with Barbie dolls, and had a fair number of Kens too. Even now I still have one Barbie, though since it's a collector's item (Princess of Ireland) it was never, nor was it ever meant to be, played with.

But let's talk about Ken. He was never a very good boyfriend to Barbie, but he did readily submit to costume changes. Barbie would occasionally balk and keep her arms stiff so you'd have to wrestle her into new outfits, with her sometimes losing a limb in the effort to resist, but Ken never made a fuss when it came time to dress him.

Is this why we occasionally see a man and think to ourselves "Jeez, if he'd just let me redress him..."? Sure, sometimes we're thinking about undressing him too, but mostly it's just the idea that we could dress him in something that suits him better. In something other than in polo shirts for example (I've known a few handsome guys over the years who live in them...sigh. What a waste).

Then there's colors - let me pick some for you that look better. Please! For the most part, though I can think of some glaring exceptions, women tend to be better about wearing colors that look good on them. If you can figure out what season you are, it's even simplier. I have it easy, like the vast majority of redheads I'm an autumn. Even before I knew that, I tended towards the colors that suit autumns best anyway. I do wear black, though. We're not supposed to because it makes autumns "look paler," which is not something I need to worry about; the only thing that makes me look paler is needing to throw up.

Fortunately the urge to play fashion consultant can be forced down so it doesn't come out and make you say something. Still, it's there...I'm thinking it's probably a good thing I usually don't end up drinking around the guys I'd like to redecorate, because I'm a lot more honest while drinking. Remember Vynce's engagement announcement faux pas? That night a couple of Mike's hard lemonades and I wrote him a list of other things that you're expected to announce to family first. He was less than impressed...but he did keep the list =)

"How I wish you could see the potential/The potential of you and me" - Death Cab for Cutie, I Will Possess Your Heart

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


If we keep having this nice weather in New England, the other states are going to get jealous. Usually I only obsessively visit the National Weather Service page in the winter (I like to accurately complain about snowfall amounts) but now I'm visiting this summer too. In May there were 15 rainy days. In June 18 days. So far in July 4 days, and it's only the 7th!

I'm having flashbacks to the "summer" of 2000. Vynce, who spent the summer in Durham, claims it only rained 2-3 days a week that summer. The rest of NH was not in a protective bubble, and I know it really rained twice that often. How do I know? I spent all summer working outdoors, and nearly every day we were trying to keep things from getting wet.

"Llueve sobre la ciudad porque te fuiste ya noqueda nada más" - Los Bunkers, Llueve Sobre La Ciudad (translation: "it rains on the city because you left and there's nothing more" Sí, hablo español. Tomé clases por cuatro y medio años. Recuerdo algunos cosas!)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Goals, Then, Now

When I was twelve, I thought I had things all figured out. I decided that I'd graduate high school at eighteen, college at twenty-two, marry at twenty-three, have my first baby at twenty-five, and be a published novelist by thirty.

So...stuff happens. In the first ten years after that I nailed the first two goals, but at twenty decided I didn't want kids, so having a kid by twenty-five did not happen; I wish I'd come around to the idea of kids again by that age, though. Then at twenty-three the on-again off-again relationship thing since my mid-teens took a permanent turn for off and the less said about why the better (but I'm not the one who changed)... And I was published and wrote a novel long before thirty, but I'm a published poet, and the only novel I completed so far isn't going to see the light of day. Ever. Who knew that published and novelist would be a description of two things, not one?

I'd like to say that I've grown more realistic with my goals, but what fun is that? I'm not as cynical as some people think, you know. Here's proof: ideally I'd like to meet the man of my dreams before the end of this year, get married in a couple of years, have any kids I'm going to between thirty-five and forty, finally publish a damn novel, and own a house. And get a puppy.

I hope I'm not thinking at 42 how naive I still was back in '09.

"I don't want what I did/I had a change of taste/But maybe someday..." - The Cure, Maybe Someday

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lucky Shots

It's in my profile that I enjoy photography, but I haven't talked about that yet that I recall. Some of the best pictures are ones that turn out to be different than you expect.

Take this one for example. I don't know who the little boy who got into the way of my shot was, but this turned out to be my favorite picture from last weekend.

And then there's this one from a damp day at the beach in October. You can't tell from the photo, but I spent most of the time there facinated by this golden quality that the edges of the clouds had once the drizzle let up. I took dozens of photos trying to capture that, but only a handful showed it. This one is a picture that doesn't show it, but I love it anyway. The irony is that I couldn't have set up a shot of the boardwalk like this if I'd tried.

Some times, there's a gift in the unexpected. We should try not to take that for granted.

"I’m a liar, set sh*t on fire" - Brad Sucks, Dirtbag

Saturday, July 4, 2009


What have we learned today, Boys and Girls? Mommies get mad if you announce your engagement on Facebook before you bother to call either sets of parents. Then poor sister (that's me, pay attention) hears bitching from both boy and Mom about how neither has the right to be mad that they are mad back.

Okay, another set of phone calls later things are straightened out, but what did I do to deserve being stuck in the middle of their fights most of my life? He appologized, saying that it wasn't fair to drag me into the middle yet again. I agreed with him. Sometimes you have to.

"Shut up, you talk too much" - The Offspring, Pay the Man

Friday, July 3, 2009

Musings of a Redhead

As you've undoubtedly concluded by now, I write about whatever the heck is on my mind on a given day. My hair has been unruly all day due to the humidity, so why not? And as an aside, why do so many body language articles claim that a woman touching her hair is a sign of interest? I mean, it could be, or it could be constantly escaping like mine does; some days I wish it was straight like it was when I was a little kid. I hope people realize that playing with your hair is a less obvious a tell than, say, maintaining eye contact or not minding what would normally be considered an invasion of personal space. Anyway...

Let's get this out of the way first: It's your fault that redheads are rarely attracted to other redheads. Oh, maybe it's okay over in England judging from Harry Potter, but almost no New Englander who is a redhead - especially one with any siblings - would take serious notice of a redhead of the opposite sex. Do you know why? "_____ has red hair too, is s/he your brother/sister?" Hear that 100 times before puberty, and the redheads of the opposite sex might as well not even exist; would you ever notice anyone that people might well think is your sibling? I didn't think so. Apparently, it's not just Asians and black folks who all look alike, since we look all alike enough to be related too.

Speaking of related, on a related note, I figured out something startling a few years ago. A friend and I were in the mall, minding our own business, when I noticed two things: 1. a small redheaded toddler was acting up. 2. everyone else around said toddler was giving me dirty looks, like I was responsible for the brat. I glanced over at brat's oblivious mom, and saw that she was a brunette. Then I was hit with a shocking epiphany - if I went over, picked the brat up, and walked away with her, people wouldn't think anything of it even if she began to scream her little head off. So I wrote a short story using that idea. Most people who read it admitted that yes, they would think that the real mother was crazy if she claimed kidnapping before they thought the redhead wasn't the kid's mother. Nice.

Not that my kids, if I have any, are likely to be redheads. Well, I suppose it's theoretically possible since Vynce and I are proof that folks with red and brown hair can produce kids with red hair, but my stronger preference has always been for guys with hair even darker than that; the Twilight Singers have the right idea about the appeal of black hair, you know? I'm content with the idea of kids who have a different hair color, so don't worry about me.

Actually, I decided when I was still in elementary school that I didn't want to have kids with red hair. I've talked to redheads from out west, and they seem to have had an easier childhood than most of the redheads I've known growing up here. (My dad noted that when Vynce took a self-defense based karate class as a little boy, that half of the kids in his class were redhead boys. 4% of the US population, but 50% of the class make up. Think about that) My mom, who is herself a redhead thinks that redheads are picked on so mercilessly growing up around here because there's still an undercurrent of anti-Irish, anti-Catholic sentiment all these years later. Maybe she's right. Either way, little redheads have to put up with bullying all through elementary school and it sucks. I don’t want any kids of mine subjected to that!

It was also kind of a confusing way to grow up too. On one hand, you have all your classmates telling you that having red hair is ugly and somehow bad in an unspecified way. And on the other we were taught by eighteen months to respond to the compliments we got from adults about our pretty/lovely/beautiful/gorgeous red hair. Wouldn't you have been confused too?

Having red hair is a lot like going around involuntarily yelling "look at me!" and everyone does...though since being old enough to fill out a training bra the lion's share of notice does come from males now, not chatty older women. Not that women still don't come up to talk to me, or worse yet touch my hair, like I'm still a child. I've had several friends (girls) complain that I don't notice how often guys are looking at me. Of course I notice in a general sense. I'm not autistic. I also realize that redheads aren't held to as high a standard of beauty as usual to attract attention, so why should I be terribly flattered by glances and stares? If I'd been born with brown hair, no one much would notice me.

"I could be the one your love could save/Baby you left your mark but I'm still in the dark" - Aranda, Still in the Dark

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Once upon a time there was a man. And then, suddenly there wasn't.

A year ago today was the most devastating day I had over the past couple of years. I'd returned to work after two days out because the local garage had been wrong about what was amiss with my stupid car, and found that the project I'd been working on had completed in my absence and no one had told me. No matter, I was given Mike's table for the day because he was out sick.

It had been a pretty nice day for the most part, and I guess the memory of that day will remain bittersweet given I met a new coworker that day that I'm now fond of. But at three a shaken Portia came over to me and pulled me aside. She told me that she'd just gotten the worst news: Mike wasn't out sick like everyone thought. Instead, he'd been killed in a car wreck on the way to work, seven hours earlier.

I spent the next seventeen hours hoping that it had all been a horrible misunderstanding, and it hadn't been our Mike. This wasn't so far-fetched, there had been a case of mistaken identity before and that coworker is still alive and kicking. The next morning they gathered us up and broke the news to people who hadn't heard it already, and shattered the illusions of those of us who had. The day after he died is only the second time I've ever cried at work (well, discounting a time when I'd been injured while moving furniture and my partner mistepped on the stairs.).

Mike was a really nice man, but it took most people a while to know this. A long time ago, years before he died, someone once said that he was more teddy bear than grizzly when you got to know him, and I think that’s really apt. He was big and bearded, and often wore an unconscious scowl. A person might take one look at him and have easily pictured him as a bouncer, lumberjack, or riding a Harley. But when he laughed… One day I turned to him and said in exasperation, "Mike! This is the worst Monday since last Monday!" and he laughed his butt off. He had a great laugh. Portia and I, and a few other people, were forever telling people that he wasn't as stern as he seemed, and that he had a great sense of humor.

Despite some people being kind of scared of him, he had a lot of fans. Portia and I both saw him as like a favorite uncle, because he was our parents' ages, but didn't have a "dad" feeling about him. There were other people who took his death hard, though, ones closer to his age as well. Probably those of us who ate lunch with him every day took his death the hardest.

It’s funny how time allows you to get over things. When he died, and when my mentor Lil died three years earlier, it felt like it would always hurt to think of them (of the people who I’ve known and lost, these are the ones outside my own family that I’ve grieved the most) but now I can think of both without tearing up. Thank God for small favors.

"There are things in my life I can't control/I feel the chaos around me, a thing I don't try to deny/I'd better learn to accept that there's a part of my life that will go away" - Phoenix, If I Ever Feel Better

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fangs & Claws

I swear, right here and now, that if I ever write a novel with vampires or werewolves in it, I will not bring them to the vet to have them fixed.

Why do so many women seem to prefer the wussiest of things that go bump in the night? Even if you leave aside the absurdity that is Edward Cullins, the most emo vampire ever, there are still tons of emasculated vampires and werewolves in literature and movies to contend with.

Let's look at True Blood, for example. Based on the Southern Vampire Mystery novels by Charlaine Harris, the show and books feature two vampires. One, Bill, is cowardly and pathetic. The other, Eric, is ruthless and dangerous, but also far more honest about his intentions towards and feelings about the heroine of the series, Sookie. Sooo many women love Bill and I can't understand it. When he's not a coward, he's a jerk. I'm really hoping that the show adhears to cannon at least enough to break up Sookie and Bill in the near future, because they're a terrible couple. Sookie and Eric, on the other hand, is far more interesting. Though there's been a lot more unresolved sexual tension between them in the books than resolved (except book 4. my favorite). But oh, the possibilities…

Of course, there's also the original wussy vampire, Louis, from Interview With The Vampire. Lestat is loathsome, but at least his inherent jerkiness is fully evident. With Louis you're lulled into thinking that he's a nice guy until he commits a monstrous act of indifference that gets two companions that he supposedly cares for destroyed. But many loved him anyway.

Then there's the Anita Blake books by Laurel Hamilton. Her werewolves were fixed at the vets, and her vampires only slightly more alarming. I read as many books as I did because I liked Anita, but her "men" were a sad lot indeed.

Vampires should have fangs, and werewolves should have claws. You should get the sense that the protagonist needs to be mindful that they might get bitten. Like Eric. Like Clay the werewolf in Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld books – he turned the protagonist, Elena, into a werewolf too when he bit her not long after they became engaged. Like Kisten in the Hollows series by Kim Harris – he was always edgy, right up until he died after not giving Rachel up to his leader.

What's even the point of having a character date a date a werewolf or vampire if he's going to be safe? It seems pointless to me. So I promise, I'll never do that to readers. Honest.

"They say it's all about to end...they say, they say" - Scars on Broadway, They Say