Sunday, November 27, 2011

BABY DWARF BEARS ARE EASILY OFFENDED

From the back cover of "Skelebunnies Spanktacular"
          I recently applied for a Capital One card, and used the "upload image" option so I could personalize the image on my card. Above is the image I uploaded, which I do have the rights to, since I drew it. Then I received the following message from Capital One:

Sorry, we were unable to approve the image you submitted


The image you submitted for your Capital One Image Card has been rejected. We will not approve any images that contain the following:


Libelous, defamatory, sexually explicit, or other content we deem offensive, including discrimination, "hate speech," or socially unacceptable groups (gangs).


If you believe that you have been declined in error, please call us at...

          I seriously doubt the crying baby dwarf bear would be deemed hateful or socially unacceptable, and he certainly not in a gang. His penis is not visible, and the Skelebunny doesn't have genitalia. The mummified heads in the ice cream cone don't seem to fit any of the forbidden categories, either. Unless there is a baby dwarf bear working at Capital One who objected to my portrayal of his kind as being defamatory, I believe they declined the image in error.
          I called the number, explained my case, and the helpful employee giggled, apologized, and wrote up a counter-claim or something. When I told her I actually drew the image and have the right to use it, she asked if I had a website, and took that down. Maybe I'll end up with a new fan because of this. Or else they'll blacklist me from ever getting credit with them again. Because of the offended baby dwarf bears on their payroll.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I KNEW AN OLD WITCH

     When I was in kindergarten, we were taught a Halloween song called "I Knew an Old Witch." I memorized it, and my parents had a cassette tape recording of me singing it, bubbling over with enthusiasm and giggles. That tape is still around somewhere, and occasionally resurfaces. And I still sing that song every year, at least once. Here are the lyrics as I learned them:

I Knew an Old Witch

I knew an old witch
believe it if you can!
She knocked on the windowsill and ran, ran, ran.
She ran helter-skelter with her toes in the air,
Corn stalks flying out of the old witch's hair.
Swish went the broom,
Meow went the cat,
PLOP went the old frog sitting on her hat.
It was the funniest thing I'd ever seen,
Hurrah hooray for Halloween!

     I looked around online for it, and all I could track down was this page: http://canteach.ca/elementary/songspoems8.html
     It's a teacher resource page of Halloween songs, and they're not accredited to anyone, so I'm not sure where the song originally came from. Plus, the lyrics are a little different from the way I learned them. Which means they're wrong. But here they are anyway:

There Was an Old Witch
There was an old witch
Believe it if you can,
She tapped on the windows
And she ran, ran, ran.
she ran helter skelter with her toes in the air,
Cornstalks flying from the old witches' hair.
Swish goes the broomstick, meow goes the cat,
Plop goes the hop-toad sitting on her hat.
"Whee,"chuckled I, "What fun, what fun!"
Hallowe'en night when the witches run!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The '90s...

          A student with the school newspaper just did a short interview with me about the '90s. She's writing an article about things that were popular then, and trying to get the perspective of those who were either teens or young adults in that decade. She had a list of TV shows (My So-Called Life, Twin Peaks, Friends, South Park, etc), fashion and music (grunge, etc), and even toys from the '90s.
          One of the toys listed was "Furbies." I admitted I DID own a baby Furby that wouldn't die. It kept blinking its eyes and chattering and groaning and cooing until we finally put it underneath a cabinet, way back against the wall where it would get very little light/stimulation. It's probably still there.
I will not die. I WILL NOT DIE.

          I brought up "Riot Grrl," which the student had heard of, and she immediately said, "Oh, like Bikini Kill!" I was VERY pleased that she knew of them. She also knows who Courtney Love is. I told her one of the best concerts I've ever been to was Hole, up in L.A. right after the release of "Live Through This." We talked about Nirvana, and Korn, too. She'd never heard of Babes in Toyland, which is a shame. I hope she looks them up.
I miss Courtney's '90s face. The plastic surgery is a tragedy.

          I told her I loved grunge fashion, like the plaid flannel shirts, slouchy jeans, and wallet chains. I said I thought maybe the term "indie," short for independent, was a particularly '90s buzzword. I asked her if she knew what "zines" were, and she did. She even knew they were related to the feminist/Riot Grrl movement. She did NOT know that Bikini Kill was a zine before it was a band, and she seemed to find that very interesting.

          When I started to make a pot of coffee, I suddenly remembered that "goth" was a pop culture explosion in the '90s, so I crept over and told her that, too. I explained that the movement existed before, but was called different things, regionally. Like in my high school it was "deathrock." But sometime in the '90s (because of Marilyn Manson, maybe) the term "Goth" invaded pop culture so that everyone was familiar with it, or at least the bastard pop culture version of it.
          She suggested that the movie The Craft had something to do with the '90s popularity of "Goth," and I chirped, "I love that movie! It's one of my favorites!" I did NOT tell her that I've watched it probably 50 times, and own it on VHS and DVD.
          I feel like a child of the '70s, '80s, AND '90s. I guess I've had a protracted childhood.

Monday, October 10, 2011

HALLOWEEN PLAYLIST

          I cannot sleep tonight for some stupid reason, so I created a Halloween playlist in iTunes. Here's a link to it:

http://c.itunes.apple.com/us/imix/halloween-playlist-2011/id471835573

          I had to sign up for "Ping" to do it. You don't have to sign up for Ping to view the list, though. I've been avoiding Ping because the name is irritating, like a sound your car would make that signifies a problem. Plus it's yet another "social networking" thing. Ugh. But here I am using it...

Monday, September 26, 2011

DUMPSTER DIVING : Viny L Baby

"Oh my god! I swear the body was there when we buried it!"
          Covered in creeping vines, the Lesbian baby crawled out of its coffin in the dumpster and made its way out into the hungry night...

Friday, September 23, 2011

DUMPSTER DIVING : Hannah Montana bicycle


          Please, please tell me this is a sign that she is finally past her prime, that her deal with the devil has expired and maybe kids will stop wanting anything and everything with her name on it. Either of her names.
          Something was wrong with the seat of this discarded bicycle. Shredded or worn down to the metal or something. I didn't want to inspect closer, and would rather not hypothesize about why the bike itself looks fairly new but the seat is totally thrashed.
          Maybe next year there'll be a Bieber bike out by the dumpster.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

MY FRIEND STEPHANIE'S BLOG INTERVIEW WITH LIL' OL' ME

If you might be interested in reading about my life as a writer and artist, with questions carefully concocted by fellow writer Stephanie Jefferson, please go HERE.

If you are NOT interested in such a thing, you may go HERE instead.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

MY FRIEND LYNN'S PROFILE OF LIL' OL' ME

If you would like to read my friend Lynn Kelley's blog post about me and my creative works, then go HERE.

If you would NOT like to read more of my ramblings, then go HERE.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

IN THE DREAMHOUSE: Churros, and toy garlands

Unfortunately, in my dream there was no chocolate.
 
Written 8/20/2011 

             The first dream last night was dark and disturbing, and featured churros prominently. It was Christmas Eve, and I had come to an outdoor churro restaurant with Anthony, Mom & Dan, and Vincent D'Onofrio. It was night, and crowded.

              I had no cash in my pockets, and needed to pay with credit. The restaurant made you call in your own credit charge by phone, but you had to use a floppy menu that doubled as a cell phone to make the call. There were puffy buttons built into it. I had no flat surface to work on, just standing around in the  crowded outdoor restaurant, so I kept fucking up and misdialing because of the weird buttons and floppy multi-fold menu.

              It took forever, and a rude little boy kept purposely bumping into me. I made loud huffy noises and moved further away, hoping to get the message across to the kid’s lazy father. It didn’t work and the kid kept bugging me.

              When I managed to poke in the correct number on the menu/phone, the operator running my transaction through tried to counsel me on being wiser with my money, and how maybe going out to eat was an unnecessary expense. I was like, “Yeah, but it’s CHRISTMAS and I’m out with my family to celebrate.”

              I finally completed my transaction and obtained my churros, which weren’t that great. But I couldn’t find the rest of my party, and was in a panic since it was deepest night. I ran down a dirt path bordered by high weeds looking for them, then finally found them at the car.

              *



              In the second part of the dream, I had to use an old person’s walker to get to a new house Anthony was staying at. I scrape-walked miles through Orange to get to it (in the middle of the night of course), and I think it was off of Palmyra. The house was in a tract behind some other houses, with dirt roads and chainlink fence. Pretty ghetto. The house looked monochromatic and shitty at first glance.

              You had to climb up a short ladder to the door hatch, which opened like some kind of submarine or space ship hatch. Anthony met me at the entrance. There was a rack to hang the walker on, and I had to chain it up like a bike so nobody would steal it. I had a hard time maneuvering the ladder and the chaining of the walker, which Anthony had no patience for. Once inside you had to climb down another short ladder through a very narrow and claustrophobic chute. I got really nervous and ill-tempered with Anthony because he was lagging in front of me, keeping me trapped in that little space. It was lined with shag carpeting.

Shag carpeting everywhere. Mostly mustardy shades. Was it the '70s?


              Then we emerged into the main house which was large and interesting.

              At first I thought we had bought the house together, but then realized he was renting, and there were MANY other roommates. There were hip young people everywhere. Not sure why we weren’t living together, like maybe it was before we cohabitated.

              As Anthony was leading me off to his room a guy who looked sort of like Perez Hilton but not quite as faggy stopped me to ask if it was true that I worked in a library. I said yes, and he immediately pulled out his wallet and offered me his business card, then wanted me to just look through his whole wallet, which he seemed very proud of. It was full of arty paper crafts featuring children’s picture book style art. I couldn’t really figure out what the deal with all of it was, or what HIS deal was. But I was trying to be nice. I couldn’t find anything that looked like an actual business card. I told him I was Anthony’s husband, just to make sure that was understood, and he said, “Yeah, like, we all know that already.” Good, I thought. But I still couldn’t find a business card in all that paper artiness. Confused, I just handed his wallet back and took off after Anthony.

              A weird guy with dark hair kept following Anthony around and hanging all over him. The Perez Hilton guy also caught up with Anthony and me.

              We were hanging out on a bare mattress, nothing sexual, just sitting there talking in some common room where a bunch of the bohemian inhabitants had gathered. Then Perez gave me a pointed look and said, “You better warn him what’s coming up behind,” and nodded toward Anthony. I looked behind Anthony and that god damn brunette dude was crawling across the mattress behind him, and actually lunged up to HUG him. Anthony was startled, like a deer in the headlights as the brunette hung all over him. I lost it and told the guy to back the fuck OFF, because that was MY HUSBAND. I was totally posturing like a tough guy, until the weird guy backed down and took off.

              Then I was mad at Anthony for not telling the guy to get away from him. Some of the other roommates made me feel guilty for taking my jealousy out on Anthony, so I apologized.

              It seemed like all the other roommates were working on fascinating art/craft projects. Why were they all so artsy and creative? How had they all happened to end up there together?

Heads up, chicken butt!
              Finally Anthony and I were alone in his room, but one whole wall of it was open to the hallway, and another bedroom. Right across from us a strange girl was curled up in a drawer that had been pulled out onto the carpet. The floor around her was littered with craft projects. She had a strip of cloth wrapped tightly around one arm, making me think she was a junky. But she was funny and nice. She and another girl were making a garland of plush animal heads and I was SO interested in that. There was also a garland nearby that was strung with little toys, like vinyl figures.

              I woke up wanting churros, and thinking about making garlands from stuffed animal parts and vinyl figures.

Friday, August 19, 2011

OFFICE PRODUCT OF THE MONTH : bedazzled blue stapler

You know you want one, but you can't touch this.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

IN THE DREAMHOUSE: 3-headed sock puppet

          A few nights ago I had this surreal dream (hard to describe) that involved sock puppets I had made, and putting on a show with them, and stringing little Christmas tree lights through them for eyes. There was also playground equipment; swings hanging from chains, that sort of thing. I levitated up to a chalked gymnastics bar and was performing puppet shows on the monkey bars or whatever they were. Before I went to bed I had NOT been drinking or smoking anything, so I'm not sure why my dreams were so loopy.
This was my first attempt at drawing the 3-headed sock puppet from my dream
          The first time I tried drawing that 3-headed puppet, my creative license took over and I made it too cute, with a little hat and some props. Then I realized the REAL 3-headed sock puppet with lights for eyes looked more like this:
More lumpen, less jaunty
          Now maybe I can stop thinking about that stupid puppet.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

DUMPSTER DIVING : sickroom toilet

I love a man who's willing to go this far for comedy.
          Whoever left this NEXT to the dumpster instead of INSIDE it must have thought, "It's new, still in the plastic, it would be a shame for this lovely wheeled sickroom toilet to go to waste! Someone will want it."
          They probably envisioned some decrepit old person in the throws of some depressing illness spotting the little toilet out by the dumpster and crying, "Oh, how delightful! I was just NEEDING one of those nearby because I keep shitting myself uncontrollably. This is a good day indeed."
          When Anthony and I spotted it, we joked and then I said, "You know, someone should really take it over to the senior center downtown, I bet THEY could easily find someone who needed it."
          Anthony was like, "Well, go ahead then."
          I stared at it. It's obviously new and unwrapped. But it's still a toilet. By the dumpster. A grim little sickroom toilet. Reminder of the inevitable indignities of old age and failing health.
          I walked away, feeling guilty.
          But not before we had Anthony pose for me to take a silly picture, both of us giggling like assholes.

I TURNED 40 : second installment

WELCOME BACK TO "WHAT I DID OVER SUMMER VACATION PART I," SECOND INSTALLMENT, IN WHICH I WILL SHARE EVEN MORE PICTURES AND ANECDOTES.

          When last we left my 40th birthday party, Sugar the pretty pony had just come 'round the corner to visit.

Look at my pretty pretty purple tail... I'm a little birthday pony.

Me and Anthony hangin' with Sugar

          Sugar was immediately surrounded by friends and family eager to pet and praise. My mom had a vegetable platter nearby, so we started feeding baby carrots to Sugar. That was totally fun because of her snuffly horse mouth. Way cute.


Matt with Sugar, Julie with Sugar, Doug making out with Sugar

Aunt Wanda and Lauren with the pony of honor

          After a while, we decided to release the pony and her handler, since they weren't going to let any of us RIDE the pony. But whatever. Anthony, Lauren & Eric, and my stepmom and I all followed Sugar out to her little trailer and got to see all her party clothes and costumes. We waved a fond farewell as the pony was chauffered away...


The birthday pony cake

          Anthony made my official birthday cake, which was chocolate, of the bundt persuasion, and topped with chocolate frosting and MY LITTLE PONIES yes it was! I felt guilty cutting into it. But not that guilty. It was delicious and then gone.


Anthony goes berserk, resulting in the tragic death of the pony pinata

          I LOVE pinatas. I love busting the crap out of them. I love it when adults nervously suffer the indignity of a blindfold and a crowd of people spinning them in circles and then yelling directions at them while the blind one swings a gaily festooned stick around in the air.
          Little did we know that typically gentle Anthony would be the one to bash that little crepe paper pony wide open in a whirlwind of power and fury. Actually, I was not that surprised because I know the warrior that lurks within the quiet man, but everybody else was stunned and excited. During Anthony's sudden attack on the pinata, he even bashed a bird feeder to smithereens and sent shrapnel flying!
          Later on in the day, fired up on candy, I grabbed the poor crippled pinata pony and savagely broke one of its remaining legs, then threw the corpse on the ground and stomped the shit out of it. My Aunt Penney witnessed my act of brutality and said, "Gosh, Tommy, we've never seen that dark & violent side of you..."
          Judging by the pinata incident, if Anthony and I were warriors or soldiers (don't laugh), Anthony would be the one to inflict the mortal wound on our enemy, and I would be the one to run up and kick him while he's down, shouting, "Yeah! Take THAT!"


The best stick pony. (But don't tell the others)

          At the end of the party my mom seemed surprised that I actually wanted to KEEP the stick ponies, and other pony decorations, including the little rocking singing pony. She was like, "But isn't there such a thing as TOO MANY ponies?"
          No. There is not.
          I allowed guests to each take one plush hanging pony and one collapsible pony as souvenirs, but the rest were all MINE. Especially the stick ponies and the little flocked ponies.
          People kept asking me how it felt to be 40, and I kept saying it felt fine. But the next morning I woke up and looked in the mirror. I looked like SHIT.


Wait, I'm HOW old?!

Friday, August 12, 2011

WHAT I DID OVER SUMMER VACATION PART 1 : I turned 40

This picture is kind of dark and blurry, but maybe that's appropriate for the occasion?
          Well, I turned 40 this summer, on July 4th. I don't hate it, due in large part to the fact that 4 is my favorite number, and turning 40 on July 4th seems kind of cool. And I felt very loved indeed, since my husband, my mom, and my Aunt Wanda put together an amazing party for me, with a PONY theme! I bet I'm the envy of every other 40-year-old man out there. Right? Because all 40-year-old men love ponies?

A pre-birthday strawberry shortcake at Aunt Wanda's

Anthony created these handmade invitations using prints of an old photo of me


At left: me and my handsome husband Anthony. At right: me with my dad & my mom.
          I feel very lucky that although divorced, my parents get along well with each other for special occasions that involve lil' ol' me. My stepdad and my stepmom are very cool about it, too. Not everybody can say that!
          NOTE ON PHOTOS: All the photos that have black borders around them are courtesy of my awesome sister-in-law, Lauren. She took tons of pictures that day, and then had them printed in a beautiful photo book, which I scanned so I could share them.  :)
          The photos WITHOUT black borders were taken with my cell phone, probably by me unless I'm IN the picture, and then Anthony probably took it. Unless HE'S in the picture, TOO, and then the pony probably took it.

Three shots of the enchanting pony decor, some of which was official "My Little Pony"

          Every little detail of the decorations was tailor-made for me. There were balloons in my favorite colors, teal blue and black, and even black HEART balloons!


Little collapsible ponies, little flocked ponies, pony pinata, rocking pony that sings... (it really does!)

My stepdad, Dan, being a good sport with a bow on his head. You have to do that with bald heads.

Hanging pony garlands: Threat or ill omen?
          At one point between presents and cake, my mom came over to me and said, "I know you would have loved having Courtney Love as a special guest at your 40th birthday party, but we couldn't get her. We have someone else, instead, which I hope will be just as good. They're about to come around the side of the house right now..."
          I froze in terror, staring at the corner of the house, wondering who or what was about to come around the corner. After a few breathless moments, all was revealed...


Sugar, the little birthday pony

          My mom had hired an ACTUAL LIVE PONY to make an appearance! Her name is Sugar, and she was done up in My Little Pony style with a purple tail, purple-painted hooves, and flowers braided into her mane. Admit it, you're jealous! My mom asked me if it was a good surprise, and I said, "Yes, and Sugar is definitely more sanitary than Courtney Love!"
          Julie and I were a little concerned that Sugar would notice the hanging garland ponies and take it as some sort of threat.
          There are more pictures to share, but I'll save it for a second birthday post, so the page doesn't take forever to load. Can you hardly wait?



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

SQUIRMLES & PUNCH BALLS

          While out shopping with my mom, I found these in a novelty paper goods store. Dude, I used to LOVE punch balls! I made my Grampa get them for me at K-Mart all the time (right before riding the little coin-operated carousel, airplane, and pony in front of the store), and just go batshit on it. For a gentle kid I sure enjoyed giving a punch ball a vicious rapid pummeling. Also loved the way a punch ball just keeps coming back for more. It HAS to, 'cause it's on a leash! That punch ball is your BITCH. It's like a hyper, suicidal yo-yo.
          And Squirmles! Totally exciting because they move almost like they're ALIIIVE. When I was little I loved any sort of fake pet. Pet rocks, invisible dogs, whatever. Squirmles are bigger, softer pipe cleaners you can name. And don't underestimate the transformative magic of googly eyes.
          Anyway, I had to buy these because they gave me a rush of childhood joy.

Squirmles & Punch Balls: that's how I roll, bitches.

Monday, August 8, 2011

JOCK STRAP : mystery solved

          Way back when I was getting ready to enter the 7th grade, they required all boys to obtain jock straps for P.E. To my shame I was never able to figure out how it worked, even though it certainly isn't that complicated. Recently it suddenly dawned on me in a moment of forehead-smacking clarity that I had confused the "strap" with the "cup," thinking they were one and the same when in fact they are not. Come with me on this lifelong journey from ignorance to understanding.
          It was during the last dying days of the summer of 1983. My dad had taken me to Army Navy, which is a dreadful place for a "sensitive" boy to find himself during the nightmare blur of days leading up to the first day of junior high. Most of the Army Navy is devoted to fishing, hunting, camping, and sporting. Lots of plaid, brown, beige, and camouflage. I was more of a unicorn, Scratch 'n' Sniff sticker, stuffed animal kind of boy, so I totally felt like I was in enemy territory.
          I swear no one told me about the cup. Or if they did, they didn't bother to explain it was something separate that is placed into the jock strap pouch that goes over your junk. I really had no idea. I was in a blind haze of denial, mortified that I had to go out and buy something specifically for my PENIS & BALLS. It seemed like a form of torture, an intentional humiliation forced on me by the public school system. I was pretty sure girls did not have a checklist that included tampons and Gynelotrimin.
           I resentfully stomped into the Army Navy dressing room and glared at the ugly beige standard issue jock strap. It looked kind of like an old pair of underpants that had fallen apart from wear until all that was left was the elastic band, and that mysterious pouch. A pouch facing OUTWARD with snaps to fasten it shut. How the hell was my google supposed to fit into that? And get SNAPPED IN?!
           My bits were firmly attached to my body (still are), and as far as I knew detachable penises only existed in novelty songs.* It was baffling.
          "How is everything going in there?" my dad called from outside the dressing room.
          "Fine!" I blurted, turning the jockstrap inside-out and yanking it up my thighs to see if that made more sense. It didn't, because I was still convinced my junk was supposed to go INTO the snapping pouch, otherwise what's it for?
          "You need any help in there?"
          "NO!" I screeched, stuffing my balls into the pouch and getting horribly tangled in the strap. Wrong. All wrong. I gave up and pulled it back off.
          I emerged grimly from the dressing room, insisting everything was great, the strap is just nifty, let's GO, Dad.
          On the first day of junior high my best friend and I hunkered in the corner of the boys' locker room, wide-eyed and disgusted, trying to appear as inconspicuous and NOT gay as possible. We both rolled our eyes and shook our heads at the idea of the jock strap and agreed we would NEVER wear one of those things. I don't remember if I actually threw it away, or just kept it in my P.E. locker in case I ever had to prove I had one.
          It should go without saying that I couldn't WATCH the other boys and observe how they donned their straps and dealt with the pouch, any more than I could just walk up to one of them and say, "Excuse me, may I ask you for some help with my jock?" For a bullied little pudgy gay nerd, the only way to even SURVIVE in P.E. was to keep your head down, not make eye contact with anyone, and strive for invisibility.
          A few weeks ago I caught some of "America's Funniest Videos," and saw a disturbing clip of two little league boys knocking the baseball against their athletic cup-protected crotches. A little light went off in my brain. Athletic cup. An athletic cup is one of those hard plastic thingies, which must be what goes...
          INTO THE POUCH!
          My jaw dropped. I smacked my forehead. Not having been an athletically inclined boy, the idea of special gear to protect your crotch was just never a practical reality, and not something that ever would have occurred to me. And if either of my parents had started to say, "Do you understand what a jock strap is for?" I would have interrupted, "YES, I understand everything, I have no questions, now can we talk about something ELSE?"
          I guess in today's world a scared little queer boy faced with jock strap uncertainty could use the internet for help. But then his parents would probably just find pictures of men in jock straps in the family computer's history, and that would spark a whole dilemma of its own.


*please excuse my creative license, "Detachable Penis" by King Missile didn't come out until 1992.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

OC FAIR 2011


Views from the Ferris Wheel
          Before we skibbled off to Comic-Con, we had already planned to take in the OC Fair the Sunday after with our friend Matt. I wasn't sure if I was really up to it, since I was wiped out and crabby from the con, but the fair sounded fun and distracting.

This was the first ride we went on, that pins you against the wall with centrifugal force
          My stomach was giving me some... "problems," but I was so excited by all the pretty lights and frantic noise and motion that I just toughed it out and went on rides and ate chocolate-covered bacon, a BBQ pork sundae, and a deep-fried Twinkie anyway. This may not have been the best idea I've had recently.

Anthony & Matt on "Cyclone"

          The thing was, once we started going on rides and stuff, I felt great! I couldn't believe I'd regained my energy so quickly. I was like, "I may have just turned 40, but I know how to have a good time!"


Matt & me on "Cyclone"
"The Cyclone." I love this ride. It's simple and fun and looks cool. And maybe you'll get to go to Oz.

          We even perused the arts & crafts exhibit and discovered this really amazing woodworker named Fred Rose, who had done all these really unusual half-organic sculptures. There was a creepy "cabinet of curiosities" element to his work that all three of us really dug.

This is just a mere sampling of some of his smaller pieces, but it had his name so I snapped this pic so I wouldn't forget.
          Here's the Fred Rose website: http://fredrosestudio.com/

          We had a great time, but later that night, maybe around 2 in the morning, I woke up and thought I was DYING. My stomach was cramping like a mutha, and felt like a burning pit of nausea. My head was throbbing, my skin felt like it was being pricked by fiery needles, and I could hardly walk. I was really light-headed and almost afraid I was gonna pass out on the bathroom floor. I was only half-conscious of sinking to the floor and just laying there for I don't know how long, in misery. Oh, and did I mention I was sweating profusely? That was a nice extra touch.
          I somehow managed not to throw up by sheer force of will. I kept thinking of what I'd eaten at the fair and just REFUSED to revisit that. Around 3:30 in the morning I took a bath, thinking it might sooth my furious stomach. Then I ended up lying on the bathroom floor for another unspecified amount of time. I eventually made it out to the couch, and stayed there in a fetal twist of delirium through the entire next day.
          When Anthony woke up and discovered my sorry state, he went and got me Pepto, Tums, and ginger ale. Which helped a lot. But I kept starting to remember what I'd eaten at the fair, and then my stomach would start to go into this horrible massive churn, and I'd have to will myself to forget, to pretend it NEVER HAPPENED.
          It took a little over 24 hours for me to feel normal again, and I still feel weak and emptied out, like one of those whole vanilla beans that Martha Stewart likes to pry open and scrape out brutally with a sharp knife.



Monday, July 11, 2011

ERNEST GOES TO WONDERLAND : Tim Burton's painful "Alice"

          I know it came out quite a while ago, but it was on cable this morning, and I ended up watching the last half of it, with the same nauseating mixture of bafflement and disappointment I felt when we first saw it in the theater in 3D.
          And by the way, the ONLY thing in the film worthy of 3D was the Cheshire Cat's all-too-brief appearances. There was no other point to the inflated ticket price and stupid glasses.
          I don't know whether to blame Burton, or Disney, or both, for the many horrendous flaws and massive errors in judgment. The only ones involved in the film I DON'T heap loathing upon are the artists directly responsible for the many stunning visuals. I admit it all LOOKS great.
          To begin with, the idea of Alice returning to Wonderland as an adult and having only a hazy memory of her past visit is certainly nothing new. It's been done many times over, pornfully and otherwise. And I don't like it.
          I read part of an interview with Burton before the film came out in which he states that he doesn't really like the original story, or even the original animated Disney movie. It came across sounding like this was Burton's way of "fixing" all the things he felt were wrong with the original story. The end result is a Wonderland stripped of its unique and delightful nonsense. One of the qualities that makes Carroll's work memorable is the wandering & dreamlike anecdotal structure. (or non-structure, as the case may be) Things end abruptly, happen for no apparent reason, and transition in strange nonsensical ways.
          Wonderland should not be linear or plot-driven! Forcing it to be so just makes it feel like Burton &/or Disney don't understand the original property. Who wants a non-dreamlike Wonderland?!
          Johnny Depp used to be cool. Now he has done about 2 "Pirates" movies too many. Some of us are pretty tired of his "Jack Sparrow" shtick. Some of us don't want to see Jack Sparrow aping about and mugging for the kids as the Mad Hatter. Some of us think the Mad Hatter makes a very creepy love interest for Alice, since he first met her when she was 7 and he was already clearly much older. Maybe Disney & Burton think the Hatter/Alice crush element was subtle, but it was not.
          I didn't like the special effects used to make the Queen of Hearts' head look huge. It was distracting. Likewise the awkward elongating of the Knave of Hearts. And the thing about her court wearing fake enlarged prosthetics was totally stupid and not Wonderland-y. Why would they have to use prosthetics when it would be more in keeping with the fantasy to have them just rub a bit of that enlarging cake on whatever they want bigger, or drop a bit of the shrinking stuff on anything to make it smaller? Know what I mean? Rather than swallowing the size-changing stuff, which obviously affects the entire body, just use it topically on certain parts. That's nonsense logic.
          Didn't like the Burton/Disney Dormouse, either. Didn't like her having the voice of an old lady, or being all vicious and wanting to stab things with her sword. That is so unlike the book they should have just used another character entirely. The Dormouse is supposed to be little and cute, dozing drunkenly in a teapot and mumbling bits of stories and songs.
          Epic battles between organized armies do not belong in Wonderland. Neither do prophecies. The residents of Wonderland have short attention spans and very poor organizational skills, and that's part of why I love them. Dum & Dee can occasionally fight it out with pots and pans until they both get winded and fall down, but that's it. If you want epic battles and crap like that, look to Narnia, Middle Earth, or Prydain.
          Also, the POEM is called "Jabberwocky," the creature itself is "the Jabberwock." Yet in the Burton/Disney version, they all refer to the creature as "the Jabberwocky." This is unforgivable. It's like not knowing the difference between Frankenstein the mad scientist, and Frankenstein's MONSTER.
          The worst moment of the entire film, the "bottom of the barrel" moment, is the Mad Hatter's shockingly lame dance of victory after the "Jabberwocky" is slain. It has some stupid name like "the fluffernutter" or whatever, and has no basis from the original books. It's so lame, with anachronistic almost hip-hop music, it makes you feel like you're watching "Ernest Goes To Wonderland." And I do not want to feel like that. I don't need to see Johnny Depp staining Carroll's creative property with a puerile Michael Jackson imitation. But I've already seen it and it cannot be unseen.  :(
          Avril Lavigne over the end credits. Seriously? Who thought Lewis Carroll's classic story would be best honored by Avril fucking Lavigne?! There are not enough words in the English language to describe the injustice. Robert Smith did a much more appropriate song for the soundtrack, called "Very Good Advice," based on the Caterpillar's dialogue from the book. Why didn't they use that instead? Did they just want to make absolutely sure that only 13 year-old Hot Topic shoppers would leave the film happy?
          Did I like ANYTHING about the film? Well, I enjoyed Anne Hathaway, because I like her and thought she was kind of funny. It was weird having the Queen of Hearts from a game of cards, and then the White Queen presumably from a game of Chess, especially since they were supposed to be sisters. But I still liked Hathaway's performance for some reason.
          The Jabberwock looked totally awesome, despite everyone calling it the wrong thing.
          I loved the Cheshire Cat, and thought that one character probably hit the only really appropriate note in the entire film. The way he lazily rolled about in mid-air and appeared and vanished like smoke was great. The big glowing eyes were cool, too.
          Okay, and Alan Rickman voicing the Caterpillar was cool. Visually the Caterpillar was cute and looked right.
          But I would never want to own this movie because it ultimately just pisses me off, as you can tell.

Monday, July 4, 2011

MORE SIGNS

Taken in our condo complex today:

"Wait at least one hour after eating before shitting in the pool."

Monday, May 23, 2011

SIGNS

Might these signs we saw at a local park be related,
like "cause & effect?"

Monday, May 16, 2011

BITCH STOLE MY LOOK

          If you've watched "Fashion Police" on "E," then you're familiar with the segment where they find pictures of Hollywood starlets wearing the same or very similar outfits.  Joan Rivers always gets the studio audience to rasp along with her, "Bitch... stole... my... look!"
          Then Joan and her bony, bitchy cohorts vote on which vapid celebrity wore it best.
          Well, in the library we were discarding an encyclopedic set of books about "peoples of the world" or some shit like that, and I happened across this picture and thought, "OMG, that is EXACTLY like 'Bitch Stole My Look!'"
          If you ask me, the woman on the far right wore it best.  Why?  Because she obviously saw her gal pals stealing her look, and ditched her own shawl/mosquito netting.  She probably stuffed it angrily behind a cactus.  The lack of it shows off her figure better, and besides, the two shrouded ladies look like amputees. 
          Our diva on the far right took a fashion risk that sets her apart from those other bitches, and for that I applaud her.

Friday, May 13, 2011

DAY PLANNER 2011

It's crafty!
          A few years ago our tax lady convinced me to keep a day planner with all my appointments, trips, etc.  Now I find it indispensible, and write every deadline or obligation in that one place, rather than scattered between 2 wall calendars at home, and 2 at work.
          The first couple day planners I purchased on the cheap, but then I realized it's pretty stupid simple and I could totally just make my own for even CHEAPER.  So I did.
          I found a 99 cent children's book on birds at the used book store and tore out the interior pages and decorated it all DIY gay, as you can see above.  I even used felt and Velcro for a fastener, and Martha Stewart brand wedding invitation embelishments spray-painted black.  WTF, right?  I was in a frenzy, so I even busted out the pinking shears, duct tape, and Dymo label gun.
          For the interior calendar pages I just used Word and created tables with the right amount of cells and filled in the date info.  I printed and stapled it half-size zine style, which fit inside the book perfectly, and glued the end pages to the inside book covers.
          It's a little ugly.

ALBINO SNAIL: cursed by God

Grainy cell phone photo, but you can see this little fellow is clearly an unnatural freak
          On the way out to my truck this morning I passed a small herd of snails making their ponderous way toward the pool.  One of them was set a little apart from the others, and I noticed right away that it was offensively different from its fellows.  Instead of the normal gray, this one snail was a horrid, god-cursed milky yellow-white.  With just a hint of a greenish tinge.  Exactly the color of glow-in-the-dark stuff, know what I mean?
          I crouched down beside it and hissed, "You make me SICK." 
          Then I took pictures of it and left for work.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

THE DOG BARFED ON MY WEEK

          I've been having a pretty crappy week because I have a really bad cold that started late Sunday evening, thankfully AFTER I had spent a lovely Mother's Day with my lovely mother.
          Monday was my last scheduled furlough day for this school-year, which kind of sucks because I don't get paid for it, and I spent the whole day sitting around at home coughing and blowing my nose and battling a sore throat.
          Tuesday I was still sick, but went to work anyway because the Librarian and I had already planned for me to take about 6 boxes of donated old books to the used book store, to exchange for store credit so I could buy cool stuff for the library.  That was kind of a lot for me to do while still being sick, especially since the used book store does not have air-conditioning.  I was already confused and feverish and it just made me more-so.
          Last night I awoke in the dark because Esther was wiggling around under the covers, licking my leg.  I reached down to move her away and felt something... WRONG.  I lifted the covers to find she had BARFED ALL OVER ME and the bed, and was LICKING IT UP.  That is both disgusting, AND an invasion of my personal space.  What I have learned from this incident is that startling and revolting things can happen when I least expect it, in a place I think I'm safest.
          Anthony the night owl was still up, so I got his attention by running down the hallway yelling "GROSS GROSS GROSS!!!" 
          He was a total lamb.  While I was changing into non-barfy clothes, he helped strip the barfy sheets and put clean ones on.
          When I finally tried to go back to sleep I was torn between wanting to comfort Esther and let her know there were no hard feelings, but also being wary of another barfing episode.  And she was right back at my side again, way too close for comfort if she was gonna blow more chunks.  But those big dark sensitive eyes... how can you turn her away? 
          That's one of the many reasons I'm not sad that Anthony and I chose not to have kids.  When I'm tired I wanna be able to SLEEP, not have to deal with someone else's barf, or pee, or poop or whatever.
          It's gross and inconvenient enough when I barf, pee, or poop.  Or cry. 
          Speaking of things that do all of that, I have to go to a BABY SHOWER today.  I am not thrilled.  It's been sneakily incorporated into a Library meeting, so there's no escape for someone like me who does not think a baby is necessarily a reason to celebrate. 
          Babies are just little people, and people are mostly crappy.  I don't like many of them.  Nobody can give me a guarantee that this baby won't turn out to be a total asshole.  Hitler was once a baby.  Was THAT a reason to celebrate?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

IN THE DREAMHOUSE: the Winchester Mystery House

          Last night I dreamed about the Winchester Mystery House YET AGAIN.  I dream about it probably once a month, and have done so fairly regularly since I first visited there with my parents when I was about 7.
          I had been staying there, like it was a hotel, and was actually crying about having to leave it.  There was wallpaper with a pattern of weeping cherub's faces in relief, and I kept running my fingers across their faces.
          In the dream, Anthony and I were staying there with my stepsister and her husband and sons.  Our beds were on this broad second-floor gallery, and our last morning there a sinister man with a black mustache served us brunch.  He obviously hated us, and I was afraid he might be slipping poison into the food and drink.  I glanced up and noticed a procession of ghosts serving themselves from a sideboard along the wall.  I eavesdropped on their conversations, and discovered many of them saying perverse and obscene things.

          Somewhere along the way my stepsister and her family turned into the cast of I Love Lucy.  Anthony and I were moving furniture with them, and of course hijinks ensued.  But the hijinks element was incongruous with the spooky setting and huge unwieldy gothic Victorian furniture.
         
          Part of my dream was also the story of two children, a brother and sister, who were trapped in the Winchester House, and only the girl survived.  She had to fight an evil ghost woman who wanted to trap her soul there forever.  The ghost lured the girl up into the highest reaches of the house, even a vaulted attic.  But the girl managed to trick the woman and cast HER into the heart of the house forever. 
          When the girl finally escaped the house and walked along the seashore, she came across a crab that had her dead brother's face, and realized he had been reincarnated.  This was like a happy ending to their story, though, because she was glad his soul wasn't trapped forever in the Winchester House.
       

Friday, February 11, 2011

THE DEVIL'S CALORIES

          (Obviously these are the Devil Days of February...)
          I go through periods where I'm pretty disciplined about working out.  But then something interrupts my groove and it's a sudden mudslide into donuts, cookies, and lots of cheese and other carbs.  On my way down I grope for something to hold on to, to keep myself from sliding to the very bottom, but all I manage to grab are chocolate bars and extra pounds.
          Lately I've been grimly determined to correct my many wrongs by spending time on the treadmill.  Once I worked up to it, my daily goal became to burn 666 calories, according to the treadmill's readout.  (Maybe not entirely correct, but possibly close?)  I grit my teeth and think of it as "burning the Devil's calories."
          I feel very accomplished every time I reach that goal, which has been a lot lately.  There is much at stake.  But I'm not sure who the triumph is for or against.  Am I keeping the Devil AWAY by burning 666 calories?  Or am I HONORING the Devil?  I figure it's a good thing either way I imagine it.  Maybe if I only burn 665 and 1/2 calories, the Devil wins my soul and drags me to Hell?  By reaching my goal I either please him or defeat him, and either way I'm safe, right?
          The flaming pit yawns hungrily beneath me and I MUST reach 666 calories or the treadmill will bang open like a trap door and down I'll go... 
        

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

DEVIL, DEVIL, WHO'S GOT THE DEVIL?

          We watched M. Night Shyamalan's "Devil" last night.  (Netflix)  I'd really been looking forward to it.  I would also like to mention that I just checked the spelling of his name and I got it correct on the FIRST TRY.  Gold star, please. 
Stuck in an elevator with the Devil!
          Anyway, when it was over Anthony made a dismissive "meh" sound to illustrate his opinion of it, but I was like, "Well, I liked it!  I thought it was pretty good!"
          Anthony had guessed the "twist" about halfway through the movie, and was unimpressed with the way events played out, and the lackluster devily effects.
          The more I thought about it, the more I realized that when I said I "liked" it, and that it was "good," it was by my new and evolving Shyamalan rating system, which isn't really based on how good the movie is, but rather how much or how little I'm disappointed in it.  Because I know going into it that I WILL be disappointed. 
          Shyamalan started out strong with "The Sixth Sense," and "Signs," the latter being only mildly flawed but forgivable because of some really freaky and effective scenes in the first half.  But it was all downhill from there, hence my new rating system.  For example, I was tragically disappointed by "Lady in the Water," and seriously pissed-off with disappointment over "The Village." 
          "The Happening" left me cold, but was of a less furious disappointment, more of a mildly frowning, "Hm.  That's it?"
          So "Devil" actually had a pretty cool concept and a few creepy scenes that might have been chilling if you didn't know you were going to be let down by the end.  If Shyamalan had perhaps turned the concept over to better writers, it could have been very interesting.  Therefore, for a Shyamalan film, it was sort of good.
          But somebody better make a REALLY good Devil film soon, one that is seriously scary.  Is that even possible in this jaded era?