Saturday, January 30, 2021

Tore Up From The Floor Up

Sorry I haven't been around.  I've had a terrible case of Old Ladyitis; just generally feeling like absolute shit.  I had to start exercising and I've made some drastic changes in my diet, and now I'm feeling a lot better, but it was grim there for awhile.

I honestly think I've reached my limit when it comes to isolation.  Winter weather just makes it worse, and I've become terribly cold-sensitive in my dotage, which is nobody's idea of fun either.  In other news, I got all my yearly check-ups and tests done, and I'm apparently doing great.  I mean, 'really unusual for my age' great.  I'm told that the difficulties I've been having are due to age, pure and simple, and Mr. Internet seems to agree, so I'm taking aspirin and sitting on cushions, chucking down the fiber and wearing two layers of clothes indoors. 

And reading the Septuagint.

This is the original Old Testament, the one that was in use back when Jesus and his buddies were alive.  The one used now? King James thought it needed some tidying up so he 'fixed' it in the 1600's, and cut out a lot of stuff.  I now see why.  The Septuagint is metal.  This is a scary, scary collection of writing.  Not a light read either, but it explains So Many Things.  The Church used the Septuagint until 1611, all across Europe, throughout the Christian world, and it explains a lot of the base beliefs, the art, the traditions and stories, the weird heresies, just on and on.  I should have read this years ago.  Anyone who is a history freak should read this.  It clears up everything, every question you might have had about the medieval and renaissance mindset. 

Human nature hasn't changed.  People naturally head for the gore and violence, and the Septuagint has it all.  God gets pissed off A Lot. (Deuteronomy chapter 32, verses 1 - 43 is a masterpiece of God being fed up to here with everybody's bullshit.) Everyone is knifing one another. The concept of circumcision is applied ways. Angels appear, do strange things like kick the crap out of you for no reason, and then leave.  Lots of prostitutes around.  Giants pop up here and there.  Other gods exist.  Houses get leprosy.  People live for hundreds of years and have babies way up into their nineties.  

Meanwhile Christianity is supposed to begin with the New Testament, and yeah, that's a nice book, but it loses something against the flamboyant wtf of the Septuagint, and priests had to catch and hold the interest of an audience.  You don't do that with "Blessed are the meek." You do that with "A dude gets raped by his daughters."

So I still know how to party.  

Friday, January 22, 2021

197,907,654,787,740.889.2, Give Or Take

 That is the number of car crash videos I'll be watching this weekend.

Life with a Biker is sometimes a trial.  Life with a confirmed Biker motorhead - planes, cars, motorcycles, trucks and variations on those themes - can be a LIVING FUCKING NIGHTMARE at times.

  Now over the course of our 32 years together I have learned to tolerate his compulsive interest in all things combustion related.  But until recently, that interest was restricted to magazines, car shows (which you actually attended in person; remember events like that? People all in a group? They were fun!) and the garage. Hence toleration.  Keep it out of my face, we're cool. 

Now, we have YouTube on our television!

I understand that he gets to watch what he wants when he comes home from work.  My busted up old ass is sitting here while he goes out and deals with shit all day, so here, sweetheart, have the remote; and then it's nothing but:

1. Supercar crashes.  

Now I have to admit, I do love to see someone who has way too much money crash their expensive, overpowered toy.  I do like that.  I also like to see those expensive, ridiculous cars spontaneously combust - they do!  Just going down the road, for no reason!  

Go out in a blaze of glory.  An expensive blaze of glory.  Just, go out.  

No, what I don't like is a solid fucking hour of Supercar crashes.  There are more idiots per square foot in a supercar video than in any other form of gearhead video, and they're all young and dressed in expensive clothes, and they mill around like the undead, just dead flat 'Whuuuoh huh. I think it crashed, whu happened, izzat burning...uh...'  This is not entertaining after awhile.  This is just angering.  "Look at all those wealthy little pricks.  She's wearing shoes that cost more than my car and she's walking in the grass with them. Bitch." And then you get all grouchy which is not a good look.

2. Car crashes.  Shit, I've been in a lot of close calls.  I find nothing entertaining about having those emotional memories re-stimulated by watching 1683554 videos of them. 

 I live in a part of the world where there is a lot of big truck traffic and general large machinery of various types headed down the road very rapidly, too.  Did you know that if you live on a farm you can drive a large and deadly farm machine and be eight years old?  And it's legal?  These little pricks out here know the cops are on their side, and they'll be driving THIS goddamn thing here:

This machine is the size and height of a semi tractor!  See those things on front?  They twirl around.  This is some Mad Max bullshit right here. 
on the public two-lane, in town, doing 35 mph in a 20mph zone.  An eight year old kid, driving a zombie killers' dream vehicle!  And they're all up your tailpipe and you check your mirror and there's an EIGHT YEAR OLD KID DRIVING THIS THING and you're the one worried about getting a ticket!  That's my life right there! 
 Not to mention all the times I've seen what happens to a car full of shavetails trying to get back to base in time for roll call after a late night of drinking.  I've seen cars suddenly head toward the sky for no apparent reason and then go cartwheeling in flames off into the roadside brush and disappear.  Like Nascar on the freeway,  man.  I've driven past the fiery remains of four guys' lives and careers way too many times.  It is not entertaining.

3. UNLESS IT'S RUSSIA.  Ever since Russia pulled it's head out, stopped being the CCCP and started being 'hey, money is good!' this once former Workers' Paradise has turned into Alabama.  
There is so much highway WTF going on in Russia right now I want to set up a lawn chair and an umbrella in downtown Moscow and just watch stupid shit happen all day long.  People losing tires and tying logs onto the hub, just going down the road on three tires and a log, scraaaaaaaaape.  All four wheels suddenly falling off a vehicle all at once!  Boom!  Car falls flat on the ground, in the middle of an eight lane freeway! and the driver is still trying to rev the engine as his tires are bounding down the road ahead of him! "This is a big pothole!" is what I imagine they're thinking.  Cars actually driving up and over other cars - and both cars just drive away.  Just 'gosh, that was weird, huh?'  And the loads - imagine a Lada carrying a whole pallet's worth of ten by's tied to the top of the car with men's belts, touching the road ahead of the car and also behind it - on the freeway, tootling along.  Kid lying in the back package try waving.  Goat hanging out the passengers side window.

4. Junkyard crawls.  Now I love junkyards.  I do.  I love digging through those places and seeing all the stuff.  What I don't like is watching other people do it while I sit at home.  They're not even good junk yards, they're just huge plots owned by car hoarders, automobiles rusted to the door handles with trees and shit growing up through them. The narrator is in ecstasies of automotive archeology. "Oooh, lookit this! Hey, get a shot of this. There now.  That's a 1975 Ford Donkeymax  three litre.  That's raaaare! Boy.  Someone is gonna want this!  Look here, wow, the interior, that floor is rusted out.  Someone is gonna want this!  Windows are all broken out... Oooh look, the trim ring on the steering wheel!  I need one a' those!  I have me a 1968 Ford Donkeymax three litre point eight in the yard I been meaning to work on and that trim ring broke on it.  I wonder if this guy'll sell it to me.  I'd sure like to have that.  That's a rare piece, boy!"  *old codger voice in the background* 'Not for sale!  I toldja I'm not sellin. None a this is for sale!  Now lookit here, I got an old milk truck, it's a Divco...'  *chorus of 'Ooooooo's* 'Yeah, she's a beauty, that one, my dad used to carry his victims heads in the back there...'
And so forth.

5. Third world WTF.  Here I am put into the position of looking at the product of someone elses' misfortune and efforts to cope with a broken system, and sometimes, it's hilarious.  I am not sitting in my own home to experience moral dilemmas like that.  But there are some points where you just have to say "Buddy, a sewing machine is not gonna do that."

6. First World WTF.  This is when a group of building contractors and real estate salesmen pool their egos and attempt to add inches and girth to their penises by taking a perfectly good car and cutting it up so that it not only looks worse, it runs worse - ON PURPOSE.  See, they're making a Rat Rod.  Its 'cool.'
No.  No, what it is, is you fucked up a perfectly good car, so now you're using P12 grit sandpaper adding 'patina', and installing capped truck exhaust stacks, and running barbed wire to your spark plugs.  Not even hipsters think that shit is cool anymore.  Or the Tiki/Rockabilly crowd (who are aging at an alarming rate) and certainly not the Nametags.  No.  What the Nametags want are

7. Really lame stupid cars, weenie motorcycles and dorkus vehicles.  Austin Americas! (I actually owned and drove one of these back in the 1980's!  It SUCKED.)  Honda Trail 90's!  Scooters!  Like, vintage, optioned-out Vespa stock scooters! IT'S A VESPA! YOUR SOUL IS DEAD!  Soviet cars-really? No.  Canadian models like the Mayfair, the Frontenac, the Fargo, the Laurentian - listen.  It's an American car, people, with a few minor body tweaks and different badges.  The Frontenac is a mid-range FORD, y'all.  Just uglier.  

But here I am at home, and I've got the Biker sitting beside me, and he knows AND WILL TELL YOU, whether or not you're reading a book or online or even in the room, the names and dates of EVERY FUCKING THING THAT COMES ONSCREEN and which one had a modified transmission and what colors it came in and I DON'T CARE AND I'M NOT GOING TO REMEMBER ANY OF THIS. 
You'd think after 32 years this man would realize that I am not a motorhead.  No.  I do not remember  that car that was on the cover of Hot Rod magazine last month, and how it looked just like that car we saw for sale three years ago in Centralia.  I DO NOT.  I know, right?  Even though the magazine was in the bathroom (where I went to take a whiz, not read.)  Even though we drove past the car in Centralia three years ago, and it was on a distant hill, and we were going 75 mph, and I saw as much of it as it took you to say "Look, there's a" and then it was gone, and I was still turning my head.  I suck.  I don't remember it.

People, I am not even exaggerating.  He does this to me!  He does this to me at least twice a week!

"Remember that Pontiac we owned?" he'll ask.
Folks, we've owned us some Pontiacs.  Buying old cars and motorcycle, fixing them up and selling them is his side hustle and always has been, since before I knew him.  We'll drive what we own, get all the bugs out of it, sell it a few months later, time for a new car.  WE HAVE OWNED PONTIACS.  
This means that if I want to keep peace in my house I have to engage in this conversation, so I have to say "Which one?" in a reasonable tone of voice.

"You know, the one we owned while we still had the Buick."

Folks, we have OWNED SOME BUICKS.  

"Which Buick?"  asks Ms. Reasonable.

"The one we had when we had the Pontiac."  And he'll be getting exasperated at this point!

"Well, honey, fuck off and jam your Buick up your ass," I'll say.

 - nah.  I won't really say that.  

But I'll be thinking it.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Distracted By Leprosy

 I have not been around lately, I know.  I got distracted by leprosy.

Specifically the role that lepers played in medieval life, the Cathedral of Autun, the East entrance of the Cathedral of Autun, the West Entrance of the Cathedral of Autun, the patron saint of TCOA who is St. Lazarus the leper, Gislebertus the stonemason and artist responsible for all the fantastic weirdery of TCOA, medieval Catholic dogma, Ad Orientum, and how much masonry can a stonemason mase if a stonemason could mase masonry - and he could.  Like a boss.

Shit's been wild around here, people.  The cabana boys have hidden on the roof and I have to throw them their pizza deliveries like frisbees.  The guests had a 'creamed corn' orgy in the Comments Lounge and now I have to call ServPro. Will whoever keeps feeding these people Adderal please just stop?  I'm not asking you to come forward, I'm not naming names or pointing fingers, Savannah.  Just stop.  Rancho FirstNations is a (last) resort, not a tarp-lined pit in Sturgis, OK? WHATS WITH THE CREAMED CORN WHY GOD WHY


Pet Teenager checks in from Las Vegas to tell me that life in Sin City has been enlightening.  She has her first full time adult job, working for A Place, and is the youngest person on staff.  She is being introduced to the strange rituals and inner workings of Employee Culture 101, and it is messing with her something fierce, but in a good way, because it's ridiculous.  

Apparently there is a Poop Mystery.  Everyone on staff, and it's a large group of people, is utterly invested in the Poop Mystery.  At the heart of the Poop Mystery is a mysterious Pooper, who regularly (you can say that much for him/her) misuses the wastebasket in the shared bathroom.  A watch has been mounted on the door of the bathroom.  Every time someone goes in, does what they have to and then leaves, another person darts in and takes a look around, checking for Wastebasket Misuse.  It has gotten so stupid that people are going to the bathroom in groups now, and different factions have sprung up as to the gender, ethnicity and motives of the Mystery Pooper.  People at lunch are sitting huddled in their respective groups and all they can talk about is the Poop Mystery, and glare at all the other groups in mistrust.

Pet Teenager is absolutely in hysterics about this.  I had to tell her, life in the work world really is like an episode of The Office.


I have been on a solid Z Nation binge.  I took it up a few months ago, and then laid it down to work on my Portland project and get some reading done.  I took it back up again three nights ago, and I am not sorry. Ten K is my man!  Roberta can lead me anywhere. Citizen Z has your back. Never bet on The Murphy.   Yes, the story starts heading sideways in season three, and season four is really trying to find it's legs (sorry), but I am there and in it to win it. If you have not seen Z Nation, let yourself get hooked.  It is entirely worth it.  Even the one-shots and the incidental characters are awesome.  I don't know where they found these people, but keep on finding them, Z Nation.  Give that casting director a RAISE.  

And remember, head shots, people.  Don't waste ammunition.  Puppies and kittens.

Monday, January 11, 2021

So Very NSFW, With Spoilers

When I went looking for romance novels online I happened on a winner!  

Nobody was more surprised than me. ( Now, this is light and crunchy brain snacks I'm talking about.)  "Lord of Scoundrels" was everything it's title and cover art promised and so very much more.  There was a lot of hot Victorian sex, there were harlots and pert behinds, plump breasts and ripping of bodices and exploring fingers finding dark curls, parting them to explore the wet, heated delights get the picture.  If you have to wait in line at the DMV, take a copy of this book with you.  It's a lot of fun! Really!

And so I went on looking for another, emboldened by this initial success, and by gosh, there was A.N. Roquelaure, aka Anne Rice!  Well well, thought I, she's tolerably readable, and so I came to open the pages of "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty" which is a whole heapin' helping of WTF.  

See, I had searched online for 'Spicy Romance Titles'.  

This is not a spicy romance.  This is a whole shitpile of spanking, is what this is.  

I do not think that my intelligence has ever been so effectively assaulted by a book.  One thing I now know about Sleeping Beauty that I would have never guessed in my youth? Underneath that pretty dress is a cast iron ass.

 "Check this out," said Sleeping Beauty.  All the woodland creatures were astonished. "So that's why she clangs when she runs," they  thought.  Then they all went to therapy.

This woman gets spanked, whipped, whipped and spanked, slapped, spanked, whipped, strapped, spanked, spanked, spanked and whipped and spanked...after awhile, you get 'paddle fatigue'.  It's not just for rowing teams anymore. 

Sleeping Beauty wakes up.  Do not ask how, you do not want to know. She gets taken to a palace the size of Delaware.  And in that palace are 3000 princes and princesses and an empress, and they are just nuts about spanking people.   The usual BDSM stuff happens, but only as a kind of thin, modernist frame around all the goddamn spanking that goes on.  No matter what you're doing, from hanging on a St. Anthony's cross catching a snooze (as you do) to high-stepping around in boots equipped with horseshoes, you will get spanked.  Jammed onto the stone dong of a statue and left there for hours? Hung upside-down all night? Sodomized with a riding crop?  You'll be getting spanked, too.  Eating a sandwich?  Repairing a lawnmower? Here comes Mr. Paddle.  The shit never stops.  

The place has a whole hostage class of slave/nobles, healthy young attractive people who perform most household chores with their teeth, all waiting to get spanked. Or being spanked, or spanking someone else who is being spanked.  Why they put up with this shit is never explained.  They too have cast iron asses.  Everybody does.  You can just tear up any random passer-by with a leather paddle for an hour in this joint and not only will they not bleed, they'll just weep, quietly.  And then get spanked for weeping.

This is not about me being squicky about fetishes.  This is me being appalled by the sheer LSD idiocy of this book. 

And also appalled at myself for devouring it whole in one day.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Make 'em Laugh!

 So I'm going to lay it out for you.  I have Juvenile Onset Clinical Depression. Never going to go away.  They figure it's from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome that I was lucky enough to dodge in the womb, although I got a little on me.  My poor 15 year old mother must have looked like she was carrying a bag of bullfrogs when she walked across the room, with me in there trying to get out from under the Mad Dog-Everclear showerhead in there.

Now, every single day of my life is an exercise in fighting off that well-worn groove, because I was in my late-ish twenties before I got that diagnosis figured out, and the angel Prozac blessed me with relief.  Because you still carry those ingrained thinking patterns in your mind, you see, and while you might not be feeling like everything is made of shit, you're still habitually sniffing to make sure, if you see what I mean, and I know that you do.

The first thing in the morning when I wake up, the last thing I ever had seriously mess with my mellow and piss me off is right there.  Right there waiting on my pillow.  And my first response is to start in bitching. "Yeah, you thought you were sly but you found out different ya idiot," I'll mutter.  And if I let myself, that will go on all day.  And build.  I'll be folding laundry. "You think you can pass shit around on me and I won't say a word? Well you thought wrong, motherfucker!" and my yoga pants will cringe. "Because I told your shit, didn't I?  And you had the nerve to get all O-Fended, like you have a right," and all my towels just go unch ooch unch ooch under the couch and hide there trembling.  I'll be spitting fire. Walking around!  Telling people!

This is demented.  

I know it.  

My house has two hyoooge picture windows that face the sidewalk, and if I really let myself go, I'll be striding around my house doing chores, stopping to tell off the malefactors in my past with my hands on my hips and my head snaking around, stabbing my finger at them to make a particular point, turning on my heel dramatically and walking out of their imaginary life and some group of kids walking home from school is standing out on the sidewalk just staring at me, like I'm on the worlds largest television screen, and all their braincells are dying,' pft, pft, pft, pft...' because I'm the nice old lady in the neighborhood, and here I am acting like Gods motley fool gesturing and and tripping...

... and I'm The Only One In The Room.

So instead, the very instant that image begins to form in my head in the morning, the instant that I'm fully awake and the last time my daughter said some dumbass thing to me tries to make it self manifest, I cut that thought off short, say 'This goes at the foot of the Throne' and I do one of two things.  I count ten real things in my life that are positive, and I say them out loud.  It can be any ten real things in my life. 1. I have great hair. 2. We still have power. 3. I don't have to run the washing machine today.  And on that way.  It works!  It really does!  It gets me back Here NOW.  In TODAY.  And today isn't bad at all!

The other thing I do is start right in and seek out things that are positive, things to see and experience.  Early morning things.  A nice little breakfast.  Straightening things up.  Looking out at my view of the mountains.  Sitting down with a cup of coffee and watching some stand-up comedy on YouTube.

We have YouTube on our Visio, and you can find stand-up on there from way back in time.  It's a playground!  And you start your day laughing!  This is like being that one person who, when the Titanic was sinking, thought to put on every layer of clothes they had, steal a bottle of high-end bourbon on the fly from the First Class bar, sprint like a motherfucker to the nearest lifeboat and wedge themselves in tight.  FTW! I am going to survive this shit in style!  Row you bastards, row!

I have my favorite comedians past and present. Jonathan Winters, Flip Wilson, Robin Williams, George Carlin, Phyllis Diller, Margaret Cho, Patton Oswalt, John Cleese (BOW DOWN) Dave Chappelle, Ron White, and Christopher Titus come immediately to mind.  

Now that last name needs to come to the fore.  I saw a full length special the other day that had me riveted to the screen.  It was called "Born With A Defect" and it was Christopher Titus.

Remember his T.V. show on Fox?  That show was amazing.  Christopher Titus did not just go crawl off under a rock after it was cancelled.  He went on the road and honed his craft.  And as a connoisseur of comedy, for my money he is the best one out there by a landslide.  A. Landslide.

Now if you're white and you can take some rough stuff, you probably love Ron White.  And Ron White, in his prime, is one of the greats. Comedy is music, and the whole thing underpinning it are the elements of tone, rhythm and timing.  Ron White is all over that shit.  He's the grand master.  He's the well-trained Pavrotti to Robin Williams' rogue prodigy Glen Gould.

Christopher Titus has Ron White beat by a country mile, folks. And, it must be said, Robin Williams too. 

I have never seen someone so absolutely the master of his craft.  He gets older, he gets better.  He gains depth.  He learns to use the stage. He learns to use his whole body.  He learns to bring the audience right up next to his face and them toss them back to deal with what he just said, and make them like it.  You  have just surrendered completely the instant he comes on the stage.  You are going to laugh at things so fucked up and so out of bounds and wrong that you'll wonder what you're all about really when it's all over, but during the performance you will be pounding the armrests and sliding onto the floor in hysterics! No choice!

Dave Chappelle goes there.  Ron White goes there.  Same thing. Same effect.  Same soul searching afterwards. (Did I really just laugh at a story about cumming down Mamie Eisenhowers' trachea?  What kind of animal am I?) 

Christopher Titus goes there and stays there, and it just gets more fucked up and funnier until you have tears running down your face and you're lying on your side on the floor laughing, and you're glad the blinds are down because you are making some sounds.

Now let's hop in the Wayback Machine and visit Milton Berle.  He could get a laugh with a pause and a change of expression.  Beautiful stuff. Phillis Diller could get a laugh by just standing a certain way.  Goldie Hawn would just roll her eyes and shrug, you laughed.  That's talent. You have the full attention of the audience.

Come back with me now, yes, I'm wearing an oven mitt, just take my hand and baaack to TODAY.  

I went to see John Cleese live. That man is as old as dirt.  He was urbane.  He spoke in dulcet tones, with an impeccable command of the art.  He spoke in metaphors and used multisyllabic terms, and strode gently about the stage like an elder statesman, and everyone in the audience was pissing themselves laughing.  He began his show with a fucking Powerpoint presentation.  Come on!  And it was hysterical!  Brass balls?  SOLID BRASS.  My Johnny boy is The Man and he should have been the father of my children, even though, and let's not forget this, John Cleese is entirely filled with self-centered disdain for all of humanity, a vessel made of hate gilded with rage and petulance.  I have no illusions about him, and I'd still suck his ancient dick for a nickle.

So take the erudition and icepick observations of Cleese.  Throw in some Patton Oswalt and all his education for that chip on the shoulder acid. Throw in Dave Chappelle, the whole dude.  Stir. Add the mania of Robin Williams, the ability to let the universe use him as it's jester on the fly, that improvisational madness.  Take Ron White, chop coarsely, as befits, and chunk him in there too. Grate George Carlin, and make sure to use the hardest part of that old cheese.  Pour all that into a greyhound of a man with a bad attitude from a fucked up family, who is up and fighting his demons every morning, in trim, a super-featherweight class boxer up there in the ring, duck and weave, man, with a lightning right and a left like a scimitar, straight up from the soles of his feet. (Forgive the boxing metaphors, but my father was a heavyweight semi-pro in his youth, for real, and I like the sport; sue me.)  

Go sit your ass down and watch "Born With A Defect."


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A Maidens Tender Plea For Succor

 You know what I like to do?  I like to sit here after my husband goes to bed, turn on one of those 'instrumental music' channels, jazz and bossa nova, and just cuddle in.  Rain pattering on the windows, the wind sounding around the corners, and write about serial killers who eviscerate women and leave them hanging upside down over tubs, like Ed Gein did.

Remember when I said I was going to write a romance story?  (hint:  last post)  Well, it started in the wrecking yard, and ended up in a Youth Conservation Corps camp in Eastern Washington, our heroine hacking at the undergrowth with a machete by day and sneaking out of her bunkhouse at night to go get stoned, with a serial killer mixed up in there someplace.

Now I am not even kidding.  I have a love interest in mind, I have a counter-love interest, I have a sub-plot that involves coming of age, but of taffeta and pearls there is not one atom.  Or crinoline, Jon.  I had to look that shit up online.

I like kittens!  I like pretty things!  Yes, I have a collection of Tonka Toys, but I also have a collection of medieval music and opera, too.  I cry when I hear Luciano Pavrotti sing 'Nessa un Dorma'.  I do! I like babies! I own makeup! (I do not wear it, because life is just too damn short, unless I have to go to a wedding or something.)  And I have perfume, patchouli essential oil in fact, so I smell like a sweet psychedelic butterfly.  I garden, I love roses, and I put up my hair...but the romance thing is absolutely eluding me. And the more it eludes me, the more I want to hunt it down and strangle it and hang it over a washtub and...

I think what I'm going to have to do is get over myself and actually read some romance novels.  Dear sweet baby Jesus I am not looking forward to this at all, I really am not, I have those Jackie Collins novels burnt into my brain and those long discursions into the importance of getting just the right handbag and exchanging bitchy gossip and making shallow judgements based on shoes, and having pouting, moist lips aching for the kiss of GAAAAAAAH NO NO NO NO.

So.  You unromantic people, you.  Is there such a thing as a good, readable and most importantly ROMANTIC novel out there that isn't going to make me want to hide under the bathroom sink from self loathing?


Monday, January 4, 2021

Romance: What it is, and where to find it.

 I am not a romance reader.  At all.  Even though it turns out that one of my favorite books of all time was the pattern for all further romance novels - Jane Eyre - I didn't realize this until years later, because there was so much story and detail, and Jane herself was such a sensible, intelligent woman that the romance angle just flowed.  Reader, it flew by me. (That's some funny shit right there if you've ever read Jane Eyre.)

I like to go out of my comfort zone these days in my reading and writing.  I've even made forays into poetry, which turned out to be an amazing and wonderful thing, to my vast astonishment.  Not that I'm going to binge on the stuff, but my attitude has been reformed since the days of sixth grade, when we were all introduced to the stuff by way of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Bells" and "Annabelle Lee" and "The Raven." You know what I got out of that?

Tumpity, tumpity, tumpity tump, tumpity tumpity, tumpity tump.  Ta tump da dump, ta tump, da dump. Tumpity, tumpity, tumpity tump.


I mean, that's enough to sour anyone on the stuff.  I understand the teacher was trying to hook us with the magic of 'The Pit and the Pendulum' and 'The Cask of Amontillado' - hey, if Poe wrote cool stuff like that his poetry might not be so terrible, right?  And I'm no judge of the stuff, maybe it was good.  All I heard was kick-drum.

And I've tried writing poetry, and I don't know if it's good or bad and I certainly  am not going to inflict it on anyone because you don't just do that to people.  But it was out of my comfort zone, and it gave me a feel for the music of the language. So points for going out of your comfort zone!  It works!

I joined a writers group at one point here in Sumas, and found that it contained a group of people who never went beyond video games or anime, thought that 'Twilight' was high art, and wrote a lot of fur-fiction. You know, Shape-shifter stuff. People who could turn into bulls and horses and cats and lived in the deep wilderness in clans and had fights with other clans.  

Well, all right, I thought in those first few meetings.  This is appalling, but it's certainly  out of my comfort zone, so I tried to write a little fur fiction.  I wrote a story about a guy who could turn into a wolf.  You know, take it easy dipping my toe into the world of fur-fic.  It came out as something between 'Interview with the Vampire' and 'Trucker Serial Killer'.  It took place at a Burns Brothers (shout out to Oregon!) truck stop all-in-one, like the transcript of an oral history.

The writers group were...kind.  Apparently if you're a Shape Shifter, you live in a clan in the backwoods and have battles with other clans of Shape Shifters. You are not a Were-Wo0f.  You are a Shape Shifter.  You do not attack humans and glory in the experience.  You do not have a job.  Oh, I got a million things wrong.  I thought what I turned out was perfectly readable, if pedestrian.  It made sense to me that if you were able to change into a wolf, that you'd want to keep moving around, and have a job, and be a carnivore, and so 'murderous long haul trucker' came to mind.  

Now I am setting myself the difficult task of writing a Romance Novel.

I have never felt so intellectually challenged in my life.  When I was pregnant, in that last month, I read some Jackie Collins and Barbara Cartland out of sheer desperation and immobility.  I couldn't waddle any further than to the bookcase in the house, and all the former tenants had left behind was not cream of the crop stuff.  And I have to say that using Jane Eyre as a yardstick, Jackie Collins falls far, far from the mark.  Barbara Cartland utterly mystified me.  I found nothing whatsoever in her stories to hang my hat on.  It was like reading something that someone who understood English but came from a completely different culture would write, like, from Saturn.  They knew the language, but the societal forms where just alien as fuck.  Why do I have to read two pages worth of description of what everyone is wearing down to the type of fabric and the cut? Why is everyone a duke or a marquis or a sheikh? Why is everyone heaving and panting and yearning?  Jesus, go for a walk or something.  If you like the guy, fuckin' tell him already.  Send him a note.  LOOK AT HIM.  I mean I did not get it at all.

But I have this resolution, and I gave it a try last night.  I figured I'd use Jane Eyre as my guiding light.  Jane Eyre starts out in her childhood and explains to us how Jane got to be Jane, the boarding school, the mistreatment, the development of patience, intelligence and independence, the making of her spirit in the orphanage.  So I went to my childhood for inspiration, and I ended up in a wrecking yard going through cars looking for spare change while my dad hunted down parts to strip off the hulks.

This is not the way to start a romance novel.  Even I know that.

I mean, what even is romance?  I did not see it, except on television.  I did not have suitors, I was not particularly popular, no boys ever yearned after me (until after high school, when it stopped being an issue of getting a peer trophy to show off to the other boys - then they came a-running.  And I said no thank you, but I do seem to recall not having been good enough for you mere months ago, before graduation, and nothing's changed here.  Go along now and buy some porn.) 

So that is my question for you all.  What is ROMANCE?  

Saturday, January 2, 2021

No More Grumpy-Pants!

 Do any of you follow America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Country?  Have you notice how HAPPY everyone on staff is now that Chris Kimball is out of the picture?  I swear, I've seen every episode at least twice, and you can see ol' Kimball getting more and more bitchy and nitpicky the more his hairline recedes.  By the last few of his episodes people were literally backing away inadvertently as he approached them - even the Biker noticed.  Now he's apparently found a new love and has flown the coop, leaving behind a very, very relieved and cheerful staff.  I can imagine the hush-hush private party that must have been held after his last shoot.  He was what was wrong with that whole franchise.  Well that, and the most aggressive advertising campaign out there.  NEVER visit one of their websites.  The very least you'll come away with is computer herpes in the form of a deluge of cookies and trackers the instant it comes up.

This is actually what they look like.  Really.

Do you ever check your cookies?  It's in the settings.  They make it kind of hard to get to, but there's tutorials out there that you can split-screen.  You eventually find the actual list of of crap, bot by bot, that different sites have been slipping onto your computer.  Cooks Country dumps page after page of the damn things, and each one contains other ones and sub-ones and sub-sub ones and other computer yuck.  The only site worse in my experience is that one allegedly 'Free Porn' site.  Oh, it's free...if you like computer viruses and no hard drive space. Again, the instant that screen downloads the crawlers and trackers start loading. Page after page.  What we need to take away from this is CLEAR YOUR SEARCH HISTORY/COOKIES at least once a week.  That, and if you see Chris Kimball, hold up a book by your face and hope like hell he doesn't recognize you. Hide behind a building. He's a dick.

He said it, I didn't.

Another thing I don't like about the guy is that he's all impressed with himself for living on a FARM in VERMONT. (I used to get 'Cooks Country' magazine and he'd always write a sentimental, schmaltzy editorial piece on just how awesome he was for living in Vermont and it was just SAD.) You know the type of person I mean? They think they're really roughing it, in touch with the land, man, the real outdoors, tough, maple syrup, colorful fall leaves, mud season, LL Bean - wearing white people with cash. Certain residents of Maine are the same way.  Believe me, Kimball isn't out there sweating blood hoping that his next crop doesn't fail or delivering calfs in the snow.  

What is this odd mystique about Vermont?  It sounds like Washington with more maple trees.  I think people from Vermont and Maine need to get over themselves.  You live in a northerly state with shitty weather.   New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington are all northerly states with shitty weather too and we don't go around rhapsodizing about how wonderful and how 'real' and 'authentic' and 'back to the land' it is because shitty weather sucks and we aren't exactly unique weasels up North here.  

And then you have an entire fuckin' country just over the border that makes Vermont look like a pussy.  So shut up, Vermont snobs.  And you Maine snobs too.  Nobody is impressed.