You Can Swank on It

Last night was the Academy Awards, which I watched dutifully as a Gay American. Rob was horrified by the successes of Hillary Swank and Million Dollar Baby, but that’s the way it goes. You can’t keep Swanky down in the trailer park. Swanky has wings and a beak and knows what car you drive.

Friday night, my sister-in-law Cate made an appearance on NBC’s “Third Watch” as an extra. She played a waitress in some sort of underground bar where kids pretending to be vampires drank cocktails pretending to be blood. Although she had participated in many scenes while filming, most of her nationwide television debut ended up on the cutting room floor . . . but there is one good shot of her with a fabulous goth hair-do that I believe she should wear every day. It is well within the limits of possibility that one day Cate will receive an Academy Award. Rather than her husband, who she could not persuade to wear a tuxedo even at their wedding, she will take me to the venue as her date. We will parade down the red carpet wearing our finest evening clothes in the high noon sun, and when Matt Damon comes crawling over trying to win me back, I will point at him and laugh and laugh.

Later, we will be caught together in the men’s room during Cate’s gracious acceptance speech.


Film at Eleven

Today, I went to a craft show.

There were a lot of crafts there.

Update: In the program, there was a letter to the craft show participants that began, “Dear lover of craft.” Clearly, I am out of my league.


Supernatural Swankification

We are trying to decide if we will go to hcoL sseN when we get to dnaltocS. It would be nice to see el monstruo, but it’s sorta out of the way from hgrubnidE, where we will be most of the time . . . and I know some good ghosts we could see in hgrubnidE, so it’s not as if the trip will lack that supernatural flair.

Speaking of babies, last night, I saw something called Million Dollar Baby. Thankfully, the movie was not about an actual baby and, for once, there were none screaming in the audience. Million Dollar Baby is about Hillary Swank becoming a boxer who keeps knocking her opponents out in the first round. The lesson we can all take away from this is that it would probably be a mistake to box with Hillary Swank if you don’t want to get knocked out in the first round. Another lesson we can all take away from this is that when Hillary Swank was in school, I bet the other kids called her “Swanky.”


“I will not hold down the fort.” –GFU

Protesting her exclusion from Rob’s and my upcoming trip to dnaltocS, Goblin has begun hanging out with an unsavory element.

“Condi gets to go to Europe!” she whined. “How many perjuries do I have to commit?”



I’m going on a vacation, my first real one in over a year and quite possibly the last one I will ever take in my life, what with all the other stuff I gotta do. Rob is coming, too. Goblin is going to hold down the fort. She said she doesn’t want to hold down a fort, but what does she know, anyway? I bought the tickets the other day. Just two. Poor Goblin Foo.

I’m going to write the rest of this entry in a super-special secret language that you’ll not understand.

.stenmom nihtiw napniarb sih otni yrtnuoc eritne eht brosba lliw tub dnaltocS ot neeb reven sah boR .retsiger yllaer ot meht rof ecno naht erom secalp og ot deen I tub ,danltocS ot neeb ydaerla evah I .dnaltocS ot gniog era eW


Seasons of Love

I am wearing uncomfortable underpants and having an earnest conversation in my mind, discussing the seasons of the year with the busker who fell asleep while his electronic keyboard played on without him. It worries me (I tell the busker) that I’m tired of the winter, the season I used to love the most. But this winter, I’m cold all the time, sick of immobilizing myself within thirty layers of clothing, and annoyed by the perpetual ballet of adjusting the two heat pumps in our house to achieve the most precisely comfortable climate. The busker suggests I try the other seasons out for size. Traditionally, spring has delivered to me allergies, chronic bronchitis, and the looming anxiety of summer; summer is a three-month purgatory of weather, activities, and fashions I loathe with every molecule of my being. Fall is nice. I love light jackets and the colors on trees. Even though I don’t have any children of my own, I’m comforted knowing that the little monsters have gone back to school and might against all odds be learning something that will make them productive in society.

The busker agrees with me on all counts and politely looks away as I stop to adjust my underpants.

Okay, so, tired of winter. Right. Monday, I snuck up to New York to spend a day alone with my husband. After the snowstorm, we walked over to see The Gates in Central Park, a trail of saffron fluttering against the white. Snow is good for some things, I suppose. Like The Gates, it’s an equal-opportunity reminder to look at the familiar world in a new way.

The busker reminds me that one might achieve the same effect by wearing uncomfortable underpants, during which time the world transforms into a dichotomy of highly visible public areas and secret corners in which one might stop and scratch the roses.


An Exchange

We were sitting in a diner. Rob couldn’t think of the name of a television show. I supplied a name I had just made up out of thin air as a joke. Rob said that he had been thinking of the same name but not as a joke. “Stay out of my brainpan!” he ordered, referring to our alleged psychic link.

So now I have to stay out of his brainpan. It’s just as well. I might get brainpan hands.

(He was just thinking of the same joke. Ha ha.)


Condi Sez: “Happy Weekend, Biyatches!”


Dumpster-Free Days Are Here Again

Yesterday, I wrote more than three pages in my novel.

I will have you know that this has never happened before in the history of the universe. It’s usually bloody torture to write just a sentence, and a logical analysis of my New Year’s commitment to write a page every day would lead one to believe either that two thousand five has only had twenty-one days so far, or I have been doing some serious slacking.

But yesterday, when I sat down to write, the energy flowed freely. I was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I was Superwriter!

And then I discovered why. When Amy and ding0 came by to pick up some stuff, they pointed out that the contractor’s Dumpster which has been parked before my front window for a year was gone! Actually, it wasn’t gone, it had just been pushed in front of someone else’s house, but the shift in energy was palpable. For months, I had been convinced that the Dumpster (which was stuffed to overflowing with garbage from the home renovation, as well as neighborhood junk like someone’s old mattresses, and never emptied) was sucking the life out of me, but it’s probably more accurate to say that it was permeating our dwelling with negative qi. Now, it’s as if a cloud has moved away from blocking the sun.

Of course, this doesn’t take into account the several years of minimal writing progress before the Advent of the Dumpster, but one excuse at a time, please. Today, I’m basking in the sun.


That’s . . . a Poltergeist!

When I was a kid, I used to watch a television show called “That’s Incredible!”, which featured hosts John Davidson, Fran Tarkenton,* and Cathy Lee Crosby. One could get on this show by performing death-defying feats, having an unusual or scary talent, having a disgusting-yet-miraculous medical operation performed upon him, or catching on fire for no apparent reason. (Tiger Woods got his first major publicity from this show, a Chinese man with two faces had one of them surgically removed, and the rumor is that at least five people died in ridiculous stunts as they auditioned for a slot.)

I used to be terrified of spontaneous human combustion and poltergeists, statistically improbable fates that nevertheless seemed imminent thanks to the crack reportage of “That’s Incredible!” Well into high school, whenever I had a high fever, I became convinced I was going to burst into flames at any moment. Come to think of it, I never became any less convinced of this, I merely ceased to care as much. Poltergeists were a bugaboo I lived in constant fear of and secretly craved. Angst-ridden teenagers were typical targets of these noisy spirits, and I spent seven years expecting to wake up on the ceiling with candelabra whirling around the room.**

Which brings us to Zenchick’s fortieth birthday party, which I attended this past weekend. I had been designing a web site all day and was still in “creative head” (i.e. completely unsociable, a mindset not one iota diminished by my ride over with jwer). I ended up sitting in one place the entire evening and demanding that cake be brought to me at once. It’s interesting how frequent demands for cake will eventually lead one to come sailing at one’s head . . . and with nary a poltergeist in sight.

Now THAT’S incredible!


* Who did Fran Tarkenton think he was fooling? Football player or no, “Fran” wasn’t any manlier than “Francis.”

** Although I am now in my early twenties, I am more tormented than ever. The Bush Administration alone has generated enough angst to propel me into orbit around Jupiter; that this hasn’t yet happened I attribute to my lack of candelabra.


My Therapist Says . . .

Excuse me, but did I tell you I got a new therapist? My old one was in Manhattan and didn’t do much besides sit there and wait for me to tell her things. Sometimes she waited a long time. This Baltimore one has been more proactive. He tells me what he thinks even when I don’t ask. This, dear reader, is a blessing and a curse.

Today, my therapist gave me a suggestion for coping when my mind shifts into hyperdrive and I start thinking things about people. For example, if someone with an unfortunate hair-do comes walking down the street toward me, I will think, “Jesus God, she looks like she was struck by lightning!” I don’t like to do this because it is very negative; that poor woman has enough to worry about.

For a while, when my brain thought this sort of thing of its own volition, I would force it to think two nice things about the same person. “Yes,” I would think, “her hair is a disaster, but she has done a good job of matching her purse to her shoes . . . and I would kill for those cheekbones!”

My therapist thinks this approach is grasping at straws, and I have reluctantly agreed.

Instead, he suggested today, I should rate the veracity of the initial thought and then replace it with a more rational one. For example, “Jesus God, she looks like she was struck by lightning!” does not rate high on the truthfulness scale. If she had actually been struck by lightning, it’s unlikely she would be walking down the street. If nothing else, one would expect scorch marks. Then comes the replacement thought: “She appears to have an unflattering hairstyle, but that has no impact on my own life.*

There are two problems with this, dear reader. The first is that it is only marginally different from my enforced positive thinking. My therapist says that it is very different because my way was artificial and this way is simply stating a fact. Perhaps so, but thinking is thinking in my book, and it takes a lot of thinking indeed to overcome an impulsive emotional judgement.

The second problem is that if I neglect my critical duties, there are plenty of people waiting in the wings to snatch up the mantle. Cara, for example, has brought my attention to one in my own neighborhood. On our online bulletin board, someone posted a message about witnessing “a white Mercury Grand Marquis parked across the street with a white frumpy woman and a black man engaged in oral sex. . . . [The man] was wearing blue jeans and a green military-style jacket and matching cap. . . . I didn’t get a good enough look at the woman to get a description but the impression I remember was that she looked extremely frumpy.”

Really now. Frumpy? Is that the best you can do? Jesus God, she looked like she had been struck by lightning!**


* Strictly speaking, this isn’t true. I’m very sensitive to unflattering hairstyles.

** This statement is only ten percent true. In reality, she appeared to have put on slightly unflattering clothes that day, but that has no impact on my life.


Chairman Dean

I finally figured out why so many people are driving around with American flag stickers on their cars: they are trying to remind themselves what country they’re in. Close your eyes these days and you might decide you’re in another time and another place. We’ve been through all this before, you and I . . . the unspeakable parallels.

Howard Dean, former Vermont governer and two-thousand-four presidential candidate, has just been elected chairman of the Democratic Party. There are some who question if this was a wise move, fearing the attack file the Republicans already have on him from his primary campaign. The sad truth is, however, that the Republicans will attack anyone, anywhere, with any number of malicious lies. It’s obvious that no one is safe.

Atrios, Kos, and a bunch of other leftie bloggers have set up the We’ve Got Dean’s Back fund at ActBlue. The idea is to start Dean out from a position of financial strength so he can right away start building up the party’s grassroots as he promised to do, and as he has demonstrated he is so good at.

Quite a lot of money has already been raised, but I thought I’d put a link here to see if anyone’s interested. I gave fifty dollars I could not afford, but then again, I also felt as if I couldn’t afford not to.

The form below will take you to ActBlue. Click here to see the current donation total.


Too Bad Christmas Is Over

I didn’t sit down today with an idea of what to write about, so I decided to employ the RANDOMIZER™, my patent-pending device that will scour el Interneto for an exciting random topic and automatically generate a web log entry. Those of you who claim I actually do that every day would be shot on sight, except I can’t bear to look at you. (You know who you are.)

Today’s exciting topic is: the Marijuana Vaporizer.

I encountered this by first random Googling the word “cannibal” (a word that happened to be on my mind at that moment for various reasons) and then following a link from an alternative band with the word Cannibal in its name to the web site of a radio station, which featured the Marijuana Vaporizer as an advertisement. You can’t go wrong with a Marijuana Vaporizer, I thought, which is why I instantly ordered ten of them. Then I settled down to analyze the site itself, which appears to have its wires crossed with a Celebrex commercial.

A Marijuana Vaporizer is a machine that, well, vaporizes the active ingredient in marijuana (THC) into a glass bowl, from whence the mist is inhaled. This is achieved without flames or smoke through the magic of being tapped with the wand of a pixie. The device looks like a gumball machine with a tube coming out of it and comes in two models, standard and deluxe. For seventy dollars more, the deluxe model has an extra-long tube, so the vaporizer can rest on a table while you recline on a sofa. This makes perfect sense although perhaps does not entirely comply with my idea of “deluxe.” Then again, although I have in the past both “inhaled” and imbibed THC in delicious pastry form, I may not be in the target demographic of this company.

This being the case, I reproduce here actual testimonials from people who are:

“Using the vaporizer was a unique experience that I highly recommend; first off, I didn’t hack and felt no irritation whatsoever in my throat or lungs. The buzz was more like an opiate high; clean, sweet, long lasting and consistent. The taste was almost minty with no tar taste at all. It is also true that your bud lasts longer. My boyfriend and I were feeling fabulous for 4 hours on half of what we would normally have smoked in a pipe. We usually partake in very fresh bud with lots of red hairs but the first time we tried the vaporizer (we couldn’t wait!) all we had was some old leftover bud and it still worked great! I will never enjoy my herb any other way!” Kylie Wallace (California, USA)

“So i finally stumbled upon the next step. saves me a lot of money on buying and growing since they are so efficient. I’m a vegetarian and a yoga student who’s always looking for better and healthier ways of doing things. i wish i could give a vaporizer to all my friends, i would be so happy if i could introduce everyone to this fabulos product.” peter badaj (New York, USA)

Maybe I can convince Goblin that she needs this to manage the symptoms of her cancer. She, too, is a yoga student who’s always looking for better and healthier ways of doing things.


Confucious say, “Next time, try watering.”

Goblin had her stitches out and, apparently, is free of cancer for the moment. Rob cooked a lovely dinner last night.

My mother has lost seventeen pounds since the New Year.

I am unspeakably proud of all of them.

My accomplishments are of a different sort, such as forgetting to pay the long-distance bill for several months and murdering yet another house plant (this one a bonsai under which rested a thoughtful little statue of Confucious) in cold chlorophyll. I also, after approximately seven months of legal deliberations, finally signed the lease for my new business.

Which of these, I wonder, was the culprit for last night’s insomnia?

Hint: It probably wasn’t the dinner.


This Just In

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree
And he sang as watched and waited till his billy boiled,
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?”

Which, if you will permit me to editorialize, is ridiculous on the face of it. Everyone knows a watched billy never boils.

Click here for some atmosphere, yo.


Mixed Messages

“Our dog doesn’t, uh, like other dogs.”

This is what Rob and I find ourselves sheepishly explaining to dog owners whose precious creature Goblin has just attempted to mutilate. But it occurs to me that, for all of the aggression she exhibits toward her canine foes in person, she spends a hell of a lot of time sniffing their excretions on the sidewalk.



I dragged myself way from work today to get a haircut with the stylist I have been patronizing for several months.

This is the same stylist to whom I have referred Rob and jwer, and indeed, jwer was just there a day or two before me.

“So, what’s with your friend?” asked the stylist, who is, incidentally, a gay man.

“What about him?”

“I just can’t believe he’s straight. He seems so nice.”

“He has his moments,” I said.

The stylist pondered this for a moment then said, “I’ll bet you want him.”

“Falser words have never been spoken,” I said.

“He is nice, though,” he insisted.

I instantaneously referred to my data banks for all available definitions of the word nice and came up with “characterized by precision or delicacy.” I then cross-referenced that with the idea that jwer’s handwriting looks like it came out of one of the better type foundries.

“In some ways, yes,” I replied carefully.

I am nice, too.



So it's Groundhog Day already. I can't believe it. Just yesterday, it was Saint Lucia Day. Time, it don't stop for nobody.