Saturday, September 23, 2006

steal this meme

Heres one from the lovely and talented Pam Troeppl!
In fact, I think the lovely and talented Homo Escapeons invented this one. Lets all give his irascable ass a big hand!

That came out wrong.

Here is how I see me:

How a certain former boss saw me:

...And here is how I saw him:

How a stranger might see me:

How my husband sees me:

how my daughter sees me now:

How my daughter saw me in her teens:

how my former 'family' sees me (if they're smart):

how my dogs see me:

How my next door neibors see me:

how my grandson The Goonybird sees me:

Friday, September 22, 2006

UPDATE: just tab down to the last paragraph

During the summer I go through an average of five books a week, fiction. More accurately, I check out about five books at a time from the library, twice a week, and out of those five two might be readable. Not good, not acceptable, just readable.
So - ten actual physical books a week, perhaps five of which I read beginning to end, and unfortunately NONE of which may prove to be anything other than a way to kill some time.

This is what it's like to be me, as a reader: I can spot a flaw a mile away. The author runs out of interest in his own story, I know it before he does. If the writing gets threadbare and the mechanics show, I'll see them in luminescent colors. The psychology doesn't hold up under scrutiny, the facts are wrong, or any one of a hundred and fifty things concerning plot development, symbolism, you name it- it doesn't pass muster I close the covers and move on to the next book in the stack. And this is a fact: I pretend to no great skill myself, see, otherwise I'd be trying to make a go of this for money, but I can find my way around writing by sense of smell, just like the Pinball Wizard - if I do brag so myself. Do not play with me.

In other words, I know what the fuck I'm talking about. Now go read
"The Smallest People in the World" by Keith Banner
"The Book of Illusions" by Paul Auster


And now, on a completely unrelated note...
Today we went in to the Playboy of the Western Worlds residence to run some errands. As it so happens the local Orthodox Synagogue had hired the Residence's gorgeous ballroom to hold Rosh Hashana services. Everyone was so beautifully turned out. You could hear the cantors tenor voice carry all the way out onto the sidewalk out front.
I am so ashamed I could cry.
This is not my America.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

UPDATE: Steal Diamonds! Variegated Plumage Ovenbird Vile Revenge!

for DANATOR. this is an overhead donut syringe. or whatever you call it.

Now. Onward through the fog.

I ran in to do some errands with the Playboy of the Western World the day before yesterday. He met me in the glittering lobby of his new residence, his jaunty little motoring cap worn to one side, walker deployed, carrying a purse.
This is new.
A maroon ladies leather clutch with a wrist strap.
It is a purse, it is clearly a purse, it is nothing other than what it is, which is a purse. He refers to it as his purse.
When we went in to the doctors office he asked me if I thought his purse would fit under the seat of the car. I said yes.
And off we went to see the optical surgeon.
Everyone in the surgeon's office was talking like a pirate.
If we had been pirates, it would have been a very professional atmosphere.
As it was, if I'd seen anyone with a hook hand I was going to grab the Playboy and run like hell.

Afterwards he announced that he was buying us lunch at The Village Inn.

The Village Inn had the reputation of attracting the kind of 'back to nature' clientele who think nothing of taking a big ol' chunky wino dump on the sidewalk out front. Waving as the cars go by.

Why, oh why do you want to go have lunch at this place, Playboy of the Western World?

Not to worry.
It is now an olde englishe halfe-timberede lesbian bar.*
No more pooping winos.

Now it's full of chunky ladies with facial piercings in kufi caps. The cars in the parking lot have pink triangle stickers. The carpet was brand-new. Our excellent waitress had brown teeth that looked as though she'd grown up drinking muriatic acid.
The food was good. I had a Reuben sandwich.
"Oh, before I forget", said the Playboy.
He handed me a 20$ bill and sent me across the street to buy him some Metamucil. "Get the biggest one they make" he instructed.
The biggest one they make is about the size of a howitzer shell.
It is bright orange.
As I was carrying it back across the street I could feel the waves of pity following me.

My life is a David Lynch movie.

*The Village Inn, across from Yeagers on Northwest Avenue, Bellingham, WA. If you're a gay woman in the Fourth Corner area who likes a good beer buzz early in the morning, this is the place to go.

Monday, September 18, 2006

rex wrecks reckless wrecker

The Yummy Biker started out customizing cars. The man is a wizard at anything automotive (and if it exists in three dimensional space he can paint it purdy colors, too). So it has come to pass that I have spent a lot of time in auto wrecking yards. And I'll tell you what; I'd just as soon wander around a wrecking yard as I would choose to do a lot of other things.
1. There's always something cool to see and find.
2. Sometimes there's dogs. Not crappy dogs but cool dogs named 'Satan' that play fetch with truck recaps.
3. If you're very, very lucky, the crusher will be running that day.

The A and H wrecking yard used to be in Ferndale, waaaaaaay off the beaten track out in the county. Country/Western ballads are written about places like A and H Wrecking.
The place sat at the end of a little country road, behind a feed store. There was a big maple tree out front, and a huge willow, and in between the picturesque barnlike main building with quaint old metal signs on the side.
The office furniture had seat belts. There was the obligatory coffee cans full of tobacco spit and floating cigarette butts next to the cash register. Pigeons kited in lazily like paper airplanes through the front door and roosted in the rafters. Out in front Buff Orp hens sat in the middle of the street, warming their bottoms on the sunny pavement while cars honked to make them scoot and the rooster watched from the top of the Sani-Kan.

A and H had the dirtiest dirt I have ever seen, right inside the main building. It was a true and utter black, and soft as flannel. Years of grease and oil and gasoline and paint had soaked into the dirt floor and dried and redistributed, rehydrated, been blown up, turned to mud, burnt, baked and been scuffed by shoes into an amazing sootlike substance. It floated and clung in fluffy clumps to every protrusion in the place in defiance of natural law. It drifted up and over stacks of drum brakes and hung down in ookey banners from lengths of conduit. It smelled warm and good, like your fathers work jacket or the trunk of a car on a hot day.

The owner was exactly what you'd expect of the type of woman who'd own a wrecking yard...big, blocky, loud, tough and rude. Her name was, and I shit thee not, Lurene. A great big ol' curly Swede permanently coated in grease. She was the nastiest, rastiest, out of her way RUDEST old cow. Oh my, did this old girl have a point to prove. And she succeeded, too; nobody argued with that; she'd smack you with a broke-off car antennae. She kept one next to the phone all wrapped in electrical tape for just that purpose. And when she just got irritated in general she'd fffffWWWHACK! it into the metal filing cabinet. It got your attention.

The office was filled with extra special car parts. At least that's what I'm assuming. Actually it was chrome fenders, axles, cracked engine blocks and power steering columns that looked pretty similar to everything else in the place. I could never see the logic in what was chosen to come off a car and in under cover but God help your sad ass if you ever wandered amongst it or heaven forfend moved any of it; Lurlene would have a goddamn cow. "That's there for a REASON" she'd shout from behind the counter, fixing you with a sneer. To be sure; whatever was there had probably been there since 1962; I never saw a goddamn thing move in the twelve years I visited. It must have been a really good reason.

Lurlene despised two things in this world; mexicans and women who visited wrecking yards. Me she wouldn't even speak to; she spoke to the Biker. Even if I was the one who'd asked the question. Anyone minus a dick got that treatment.
Mexican patrons she had in their hundreds because she was the only wrecking yard in the county open on Sunday. She always went out of her way to speak EXTRA SLOW AND LOUD so they could understand her when she was accusing them of theft. No adverbs or conjunctions either. You could hear her all the way out in the parking lot as you came in. "No no" she'd bellow at some poor little Jaliscan guy in a 'Cenex' cap blushing through his tan. "NO-NO STEALIE. NO TAKE. UNDERSTAND? NO STEALIE YOU."
Naturally, everyone went out of their way to steal something.

It was a trip, too. You'd walk out into the yard and guys would be packing their pockets with shit and grinning at each other. 'I usually don't do this, but after listening to that I feel obligated' I overheard one guy say as he stripped off a piece of trim and packed it into his tool box.

Lurleen kept geese out in the yard thinking this would discourage loitering and thus, theft. Evil geese. They would flatten their wrinkly old necks out along the ground like snakes and hiss as you walked by. Maybe they'd been mutated by being around all the petrochemicals or something; but for whatever reason, boy, they were big, huge bastards. And irritable. And the motherfuckers could run like goddamn horses. They would take off in a pack and chase someone all around the yard, head them off from escaping out the gate and trap them on top of a stack of Pontiacs, which was hysterically funny unless it was happening to you. Guys got to carrying popcorn around and throwing it out behind them so they could get a few moments peace. My Biker got bit hard, and I mean hard enough to raise a blood blister, right on the top of the thigh, dangerously close to the family jewels.
This is why geese guarded the gates of Rome, folks.

The yard was shaped like a donut. You walked a letter 'o' path surrounded by a ring of stacked cars, with a mountain of more in the middle. The yard rats drove forklifts around this oval at 30 miles per fuck you; they'd blast past with a big ol' van speared through the side panels and no forward visibility whatsoever and devil take the hindmost because they didn't care. You'd see folks diving through car windows and leaping into car trunks to get out of their way. Between that and the demon geese you really had to work hard to swipe something, but dammit, it had to be done.

They got mostly salvage and abandoned vehicles. It was organized so that you could go to a certain area and find all the Toyotas or Fords or what have you. Then it was up to you to remove whatever you needed. The cars were stacked four high with the occasional tire rim slung on to help level things up, and the car with the best roof on top. Not terribly stable. Or well-thought-out, either. It was common to see people merrily hanging on to either end of a stack and getting it rocking in order to topple it over and get at the car they wanted. You weren't supposed to, but everyone did.
Thick cables of well-armed blackberry grew rampant through the wrecks on the peremeter, and ringing the standing puddles that took the place of a road, nettles grew up tall and rank and full of red hot acid.
So... killer geese, vines full of knives, stinging weeds...Take that with the broken glass, unknown chemicals, rusty steel, teetering piles of jagged iron overhead and homicidal forklift drivers and you have-well, actually you have a really fun place.

Once you had found the part you were looking for and pocketed a few more you didn't know you needed until you saw them, another popular pastime was scavenging. Cars commonly came in crammed to the tits with junk. Kind of a 'kill two expensive birds with one county funded stone'...abandoning a junker car on the side of the road that was full of what you couldn't get rid of at your moving sale so the road department had to haul it off. There was usually a motherlode of change under the carpets and in the seats, too. I've had my pockets so jammed with pennies it made my pants creep down my ass so I was hitchin'. And one time, up in Canada, I found what I thought was a diamond down in the upholstery of a Chrysler Imperial and just about shit myself. Of course it came up a zirconia, but for a little while there I thought I had Christmas paid for.

It was interesting to me to see what could become of a thing like a car. A car seems so big, solid and permanent, like a little house...and yet I've seen them literally wrung in a spiral like a damp dishcloth. One time I glimpsed a steering wheel I liked. Since the car was bent up like a letter 'U' and the doors were jammed shut, the only way in was through the broken side window, so I just hopped up and dove through.
And came face to face with a SHREDDED HUMAN SCALP. Complete with curls. Just hanging there tangled in the little cubes of glass in the caved-in windsheild.

It's not something you see everyday.

It's interesting what happens to the human body at high speed, too. Kind of like what happens to an onion in a Cuisinart.

During the last five years of her life Lurleen started selling Princess Products. You would walk in to the office, and there, amid the filth, the Dodge truck front clips and the snow tires, you would see two sparkling racks of dainty, colorful glass tableware. Which you were not allowed to touch. Or get near. You had to stand in the aisle and lean over and point and describe what you thought you saw, while Lurlene rolled her eyes and puffed and blew and hove her bulk over the truck axles to scrabble around for the box and came up wrong and blamed you for not describing it very well.
Ove the next five years these pretty things got dustier and dirtier and more cobwebby, but despite that I understand she moved a lot of Princess stock. Guys would come in and see it and suddenly remember a birthday or an aniversary. I got a set of beer mugs that way.

Lurleen died a wealthy woman. She left the place to the two yard monkeys, and they retired a couple of years later and abandoned the property. As far as I know the place is still there under three feet of blackberry vines, full of eyeless carniverous geese roaming around the rusting hulks in the darkness and hissing at the mooooooon.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

not a madelaine...although the possibility exists

One of the things that passed to me when the Playboy of the Western World went into assisted living was the small metal recipe box that belonged to his mother.

I set it aside to look through during a time when I was undistracted by other things, and today is that day. But when I went to open it I was just brought to a complete halt by all the possibilities and ideas that came bubbling up.

I am not a sentimental person but I am not immune to the feeling, either. I have nothing like this from my side of the family, nor am I ever likely to. What I mean is a personal thing. A womanly thing. A mother to daughter, women's culture type thing.

So now we come back to this small metal box full of recipes. It's come through a house fire. It's not real clean. It may contain horrors of german cookery that are better left uncooked, as I suspect it does. But it is also mine by marriage. I'm the latest Scrimsher housewife so it comes to me by right as well.
It's proof that I belong a family. That I have a place as a grown woman in it.

It just blows me away.

Heres your tomato pickle recipe. You want it, you make it.
pps: go see this right now. just do it. remember... I don't have a soundcard so if this is saying fuck the pope or bomb the uk or something i didnt hear it; i just saw it. and it's so funny looking that i snorked hot coffee out my nose and on my dog.