Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cue The Spooky Vineyard Music

I'm amused by the idea that the scary, scrawny, writhing guy with a spinal tattoo of a huge scorpion who famously sang: 'Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona bay....' is now the proud owner of Caduceus Wines in Northern Arizona. I'm generally not the star-struck kind, but there is a certain roadside attraction quality to the idea of this place. It is all the more appealing considering one of his bottles is called 'Chupacabra,' or goat sucker. If the wine has anything in common with that craziness, well, it might just be good. Or at least quite red.

Forty Six and Two

Cold And Ugly


What next? Rob Zombie is going to open an upscale Hollywood Baby Boutique for newly expectant starlets such as Nicole Richey and Christina Aguilera? Rachel Ray will design a new line of household goods for Emo Kids? This just might work.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jive Turkey

One day until Thanksgiving.

I like this holiday. No presents. Nothing too churchy. Just family and friends and a pair of really big pants and the goal of being prone on the floor, so full that the only noise possible is this one:


I'm in charge of the yams this year. This is exciting, since I am a Super Yam Fan. In years past, all manner of yam atrocities have been committed - marshmallows, nuts, pineapple, apples, brown sugar, corn, lemons, coconut, orange zest, raisins. Not this year. Nope, I'm making Baptist Lady Yam Pie. It will be so fantastic that I am thinking about making some right.this.moment.

In other news, I've been talking like a robot from the 70's today. I've noticed that using a fake accent (this robot is from Ukraine) makes me feel more creative. I've been looking for a link that properly illustrates exactly how one could replicate this sound, but to no avail. Instead, I got sidetracked and listened to a series of Neko Case songs.

Hold On, Hold On

That Teenage Feeling

Which made me think about the Ditty Bops:

Wishful Thinking

Which made me think of Mike Doughty:

27 Jennifers

Which made me think about that surfer who recently explained the way the world works, but charmingly couched in 'Whoa Dude' Speak:

Just goes to show you that sleeping in a yurt really is the way to go.

Which then made me remember that I've been meaning to listen to the absolute best Andrew Bird song that I like so much, which, in turn, always makes me think of Anita Blake, Vampire Slayer:

Fake Palindromes

This, friends, is exactly the way that my mind works.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Third Best Day of the Year

All Souls Procession 2007

I look for
ward to this event all.year.long. It fulfills some of the key elements of any great fantasy: Walking in a parade, waving to onlookers as though I am the Queen of Holland, wearing a fantastic costume for which I already had the belly dancer's coin belt, feeling both famous and anonymous at the same time, and being amongst my kin -- those who find it completely reasonable to dress in costume and walk down the street for several miles and then go out to dinner on the other side of town.

Oh -- you want to see photos? Above, we have the lighting of the urn. Filled with prayers, hopes, wishes and messages to the dead, this is the reason for the parade. All 10,000 of us walked behind it, some more jingly jangly than others. Of course, it was the grand finale, but I'm just so proud of this photo. Brassai, anyone?

Media from the event -- the videos and slide shows capture the grander scheme of things. One cannot simultaneously participate and photograph 10,000 people. I tried.

One of the best quotes from the Procession: 'Yeah -- the bellydancers always slow things down. It doesn't matter how many times we wait for them to catch up, they just can't help it. This year, several groups from Vegas flew in for the event. We recruited extra volunteers to keep them moving." Dang those slow bellydancers.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Le singe est sur la branche

While working on a Power Point Presentation for one of my classes, I got a little distracted. Don't tell anyone, but my middle name is Procrastination.

While we're on the topic of PPP's, as they are known in the more erudite circles, I have to say they do nothing for me. I can recall sitting in an undergraduate class watching slide after slide of whistling and beeping material wishing that I had a hearing aide with a dead battery. It wasn't the case, of course. Somehow, my education has not been enhanced by the introduction of fancy slides. One day, though, all students will be unable to learn unless the material comes directly from a computer. It is true -- I learned it in teacher school this week. Me and my graphic black board fantasies are doomed.

Yet, I digress. The real issue is the video that I found that prompted this post. My friends, I give you:

Eddie Izzard Speaks French

And yes, I am the President of Burundi.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Hear You

There are just some days when I want all of my time for me. ME. I don't have any charitable feelings available for anyone, no desire to do any sort of mindless work for my classes, nothing. All I have, on days such as this, is the willingness to give in to the call of my own muse. She comes on the wind, ringing the chimes and blasting day old blossoms from the bushes. Most days, I fight her off. Shoo her away with my 'I'll do it laters' and wine drinking and reading of other people's books. I piddle hours away in my garden, artfully clipping vines Mr. Miyagi style and stalking ants. I spend too much time online, giving away travel advice or looking up dirty Latin phrases that keep me giggling for hours. Nerd that I am.

Catullus Poems 30-45

Martial Book III .69-76

Today, though, I am in the hidey-hole. Writing up a tornado. Making myself ignore the million other things that natter in my ear, whip at my back, grind away at the peace that comes from sitting and making. Oh no, I won't clean out the closet today. I refuse to feel badly about that one wall that needs some touch-up paint. I am ignoring the bags of potting soil that are creating an eye sore and likely a safe haven for the dump truck sized mouse that has taken up residence in the back yard. Today, fingers of distraction, you are being left to pester someone else.

Monday, October 1, 2007

This is for my own good.

After staring at my computer screen for what seems like 100 million years, I've noticed it helps to make a sound like this: BLEGGGGHHHHARRGHHHGRRR.

At least, that is the sound that I am making quite often these days, since I started my online classes. Anyone who tells you that it is so much more convenient to take a class online than to spend the time in an actual classroom has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Sure, it eliminates having to listen to the insipid comments of intellectually inferior classmates, saves me the trouble of hypnotically observing their bizarre simian fidget behavior throughout class and I won't have notebooks filled with the number of times the lecturer says certain words, like 'um' or 'gee' or 'amputation.' Ok, yes, I can sit at my computer in my underwear if I feel like it. I can post my required three comments on the discussion board drunk -- Word will catch all of my spelling and grammatical mistakes. I can click through posts that are meaningless or misspelled or clearly written by Gulag inmates sharing only a stick and one finger between them, with no obvious understanding of the English language. I know. Really. And yes, I did willingly sign up for this exercise in irritation. I even paid money to be in these classes.

Gadzooks. It has become clear to me that the intelligent life forms who are out there are not in any of my classes. I'm getting another beer.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Whiskers on Kittens

Dear Universe,

I realize that I was more than snarky for most of yesterday. I feel repentant. Sort of.

Don't take away any more of my brownie points -- I know you already know my transgressions. I list them at my own peril.

Yes, I complained about my neighbor's dogs, retelling the story about the time that a door to door exterminator rang the bell and I asked if, as part of their new customer special, they could include dogs in the package that sent my ants and spiders to arthropod heaven. I gleefully laughed about it all over again.

I whined about the stupid things that people I know are doing, right this minute.

I did impressions of some of my work mates. Mean impressions, that, upon reflection, probably did not illuminate their better sides. I suppose that even though they share most of their DNA with monkeys does not actually mean that they are monkeys.

While I did have a beer in my hand by 3:45 pm, and it may have been my second beer of the afternoon, I am not entirely certain that this warrants apology. I leave it to you, universe, to decide that. In my own defense, though, I did go to work extra early yesterday and studies show that getting out of bed early can be detrimental to one's health. I'm just sayin'. Maybe my heart was hurting.

After listening to several hours of Rage Against the Machine, eating 2.3 panninis, crunching up 4 pounds of ice with my teeth and doing some therapeutic vacuuming, I've come up with a list of things that I both like and appreciate. Which, according to my calculations, should just about right the balance of foul stinking negativity that I ash clouded into the world yesterday.

Toaster Pastries - Filled with cheesy goodness and pre-packaged with tiny tubes of frosting, they guarantee a good start to a happier day. Eat two for best results.

Cherry Pie Filling - Need I say more?

Hurricane Leftovers - Sure, big storms with scary names like Dean and Henriette make ruin in their paths. You would too, if saddled with names like Henriette and Dean. Once they work out all that wrath upon the coast and reach Arizona, they are mild mannered little pussy cats, with hearts made of gooey chocolate chip cookies and rain that caresses, not catastrophizes.

The Hardiness of Mint - It survives the boot camp that is my backyard and thrives. Chewed on by ants? No problem. Infested with aphids? Pshaw! Too much sun? So? Not enough water? Who cares. Still delicious in mojitos? But of course.

$4.99 six packs of beer at Trader Joe's AND $3.00 bottles of Chilean wine - Why yes, I do have good taste in cheap alcohol. You aren't the first to say so. Tee-hee. Hic.

The funky imported Asian tea aisle - I didn't know I needed Lotus Placenta Tea. But I did.

Jilebi -- After six beers and a backyard bonfire, shouting the guttural pronunciation of this pan fried donut is only made better when attempting to spell it. In an accent. Loudly.

An inside joke about fermented tiger penis - You know who you are.

The flowing ink from a fountain pen - Even better if it ends in a feather.

Wind chimes made out of bottlecaps - What they lack in noise they make up in the awesome fact that each one topped a beer that I drank.

Many other things, too. Make your own list.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Under Cover Exterminator

The ants have started to recognize me; one attempted to eat his way through my chest and into my heart. He didn't live to tell the tale, but I did. I've taken to wearing a fake mustache and large hat to fool them. If this continues, I will be forced to use gasoline. Really, can't we settle this like adults?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Conquering the World from the 2nd Street Garage

I have a special place in my heart for the U of A campus -- I know which buildings are left open all night, what time the sprinklers are switched on, the best place in the library to have a picnic, and even the cheapest secret DIY meal available in the entire Student Union. In case you need it: that little Mexican cantina sells bundles of warm flour tortillas, two for fifty cents. You'll feel the heavy Thanksgiving satisfaction after eating that paper swathed packet of glue, though for some reason, it doesn't appear on any food pyramid.

I can tell you about the best bench spot to appreciate the beauty of Fall, an event that is difficult to see in Tucson, since most trees don't ever lose their leaves. I can take you to a hidden courtyard with a tiny fountain, a tremendous rose bush and the rhum-rhum-rhum of air conditioners that sound just like high tide against the stone cliffs of Encinitas.

I've stood in line to change my schedule, agreed to sign over portions of my paychecks for the next 50 years, bought iced coffee, been the first one into the old Cellar to snag the best wooden booth with the only table that doesn't wobble when written upon. I've watched skaters grind against those ridiculous brass statues, couples kiss inside of empty flower pots and Brazilian students start a pick up game of soccer frisbee at 3:00 in the morning. I've been celebritized by hearing Li Young Li read poems from The City In Which I Love You and giddy when Jimmy Santiago Baca gave me his autograph. This love song goes on longer than In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida so I'll spare you the refrain.

Here is the thing that absolutely gets me every time I put one foot in front of the other on this campus --- I instantly turn back into that student in love with the world. My being fills with lines of poetry, all banging around in my head, hammering to escape through my eyeballs. I adopt the collegiate stroll, know things that you don't know and take the stairs. I want to stay up late and I need an espresso. My pens write more smoothly and I start adding letters after my name. In my never ending quest to figure out the point, maybe it is somewhere on campus, pulling my compass needle toward Speedway and Mountain. I'm making Valentines for my perpetual student.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I guess this means I'm a student again?

I just took the writing assessment and blasted it out of the park. Earned the highest score possible...the recommendation of the local community college? Take Writing 101. Does this mean that all of those years in grad school were for naught? Am I really only capable of beginning analysis of The Red Pony and Romeo and Juliet? I feel an existential crisis coming on. Good thing I am on the verge of going back to school -- angst and being a student seem to go hand in hand. I'm firing up the coffee pot, sharpening my pencils, practicing my condescending comebacks and eye rolling. I think I might just be ready. *Sigh*.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The End of Days, Tiny Tiny End of Days

I've heard them laughing at me for several weeks, those crafty ants that live in my backyard. I've had enough of their insouciance; The Ant Annihilation has begun.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Traveling with the Shambling Zombies

While trying to choose the perfect book on cd for your next road/camping trip, consider carefully the ramifications of listening to survival tales from the Zombie Apocalypse. I was just too cavalier, standing there in the relative safety of the public library, deliberating between cute anecdotes about the hijinks of the new family puppy versus the pseudo-documentary of the 10 year global aftermath of a zombie viral infection. I thought to myself, 'It is just *fiction* and who really believes in zombies, anyway?' This was going to be the last road/camping trip of my official summer vacation and I was feeling cynical, tough, even, well, brazen. No G rated puppy stories for this girl, no, I had to pick the zombies.

The fantastic thing about listening to a book on cd while on a road trip is that after a few hours of uninterrupted play, I really start to believe that I am in the story. I am actually surprised to find that the rest of the world is going on as usual when I stop to fill my gas tank or bolster myself with an ice cream cone. Why aren't the gas station attendants more concerned about standing around in the open air, easy potential targets of a zombie attack? How can those drive- through windows be left open, without any protective bars? Hasn't anyone noticed that abandoned car in the parking lot, the one that could be filled with a zombie family, still locked in the vehicle because they turned undead while they were driving and can't figure out how to unlatch their seatbelts? What about that huge truck filled with cattle, just one big all-zombies-can-eat-buffet of beef, rolling down the freeway? Was I the only one concerned about the safety of South Eastern Arizona? This place was the Shangri-La destination for zombies everywhere and I was driving through Ground Zero, unarmed!

The further I drove, the longer I listened, the more critical it became that I take a mental inventory of the contents of my own car. Could I down a charging zombie with a good swing of my camp stove? Did I pack the sharp knife in the food box, or just that wimpy steak knife? Could I decapitate a zombie with my tent stakes? Just how long was the jack that was tucked underneath all of that gear and why was I so stupidly unprepared to leave it in the least inaccessible place in the car? As I plotted my protection from certain zombie doom, I reminded myself that I could blame no one else for this looming disaster -- if only I would have chosen that cd about the puppy. As I longed for the hilarity of chewed shoes and yellow puddles hidden behind a half consumed couch, I turned west, starting the 30 mile drive toward the campground.

Even though the forecast called for monsoon rain for the duration of my camping trip, I was unprepared for the wall of zombie hiding fog that hung ahead. Covering Mt. Graham like a clammy clothesline sheet, I pushed through it at a NASCAR speed of 25 miles per hour. Zombies might shamble but I was confident that I could certainly out drive them. My car swirled up the switchbacks, low lights reflecting through the fog. The zombie apocalypse had finally reached the woods and even the hardiest of self sufficient mountain men were finding themselves falling prey to the ever forward marching infected masses. Park rangers were interviewed about forest safety precautions for campers as I went to my happy place and imagined flowers, the smell of baking brownies and fluffy baby ducks. I could have turned the cd off, instead listening to the wind in the trees or the rumble of thunder off in the distance, but I had to know what was going to happen next, if anyone would survive this disaster.

I found my peace of mind in the voice of Alan Alda, who played Arthur Sinclair, the man charged with organizing the Zombie War Recovery Effort. If anyone could calmly organize former music industry executives, rehab recovered starlets and a crew of maids and construction workers into eradicating the Zombie Plague from the world, it was Alda. He spoke of reconstruction efforts, of self reliance, of the creation of Lobotomizers and I was soothed. I knew that I would be safe on the mountain, with Alan in charge.

I pulled into the campground and set up my tent before the sky unzipped and rain muddied my world. I rolled out my sleeping bag, snacked on pretzels and reassured myself that zombies didn't like the rain and were too clumsy to attack through the sucking sludge of the mud. Just in case, it didn't hurt to have my tire iron inside the tent.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Spring Fevah! Oooh - wooo -woo....

I've been out flexing my travel muscles. Mostly the ones that are in my hulking camera hand -- my right index finger is so powerful, it can capture 30 images in under a minute. Watch out, photo shooters, I'm back and I have a full tank of gas.

Here is the thing about visiting somewhere new -- it feels as though I am the very first person to ever be there, to stalk through the strange graveyard, climb the fence covered in rusting pots and pans, wonder at the cactus covered in fading Christmas balls. Filled with pride, adventure, joy, giddiness, I find my legs growing longer and my pace quickening as each new sight unfolds before my ever growing eyeballs. I am invincible on the road, a tornado force of curiosity, Indiana Jones with a stomach full of grubs. No statue is too far off the road, no sign too ridiculous, no historical marker left unread. This huge world is the filling of my Pop Tart and the sun has hung itself above the road, pointing me forward.

Monday, March 19, 2007

La Soledad

Music has an altogether different sound in the dark. It takes on a swirl, a viscosity, a gentle scrape of the teeth along the primitive parts of the ear. My stomach feels it, in a way that reminds me of other nights, when I was a passenger. Not being in charge, for me, is liberating. There is a freedom that comes from just allowing the yes to happen, to seeing what will unfold and trusting that somehow it.will.workout.

Whether I hum it to myself or it brings goosebumps to the backs of my knees with the drowning volume, music is always with me, breathing the soundtrack to my life. There is a song, lately, that I only allow myself once every week. It reminds me of an evening, some months ago -- one of those nights that was deliciously unpredictable. Driving through downtown on to some predetermined *event*, I was surprised. I had joked and giggled and laughed and pinched all the day long and at once, in the moment that the street lights faded to on and the twilight melted into the sidewalks, the piano. I felt my eyes widen as I instantly fell into love. Whatever else happened that night, that song would come up in later nights, twisting me with the memory. I could describe what I wore, the perfume, the way that there were no parking spots to be had until the moment that the song ended. I could tell of the way I recalled the frustration of not remembering the name of it, the composer, nothing but the way I had felt that night.

The important thing is how I know that song, tonight. How it plays and I drive into the dark, just a little too fast along that one curve. The way that I wonder about what happens next.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The First Day

Last day of The Show from I watched every day -- looked forward to it being the first thing that I would do after I returned home from the Lobotomy Factory. I'd unlock the door, get a big glass of ice water, and crunch my way through his thoughtfulness for 3 - 5 minutes.

I never met him. Didn't have some kind of personal connection to the guy. Just liked the idea that someone out there was thinking about the world. Concerned with the prosperity of creativity. Encouraging other people to make things, to be silly, to play. I appreciate the idea that this is a beginning, the leaping off point, for other people to take up the yoke of doing.

So here it is. I'm doing.