Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The 1980's High School Geek: A Schemata

The topic of the high school reunion has been broached.

Thus, it is endemic upon me to SHARE with you WHY exactly these years are so very painful to reminisce about. And, words just cannot do justice to the pain of the high school geek.

You must see the painful reality for yourself.

What, you don't want to? You're frightened? TOO BAD.

Sadly, though, I have very little in the way of high school memorabilia in my house in Austin. Whatever I have left in the way of high school stuff is still at my parents' house. And I'll be damned if I'm going to schlep it all back here, as, you know, more STUFF crammed into my small house is not exactly high on my list of priorities.

So, this is what I have:

First, a casual shot, of a typical daily Mags look, circa 1987:

1. You will notice the hair, straight off the curling iron; no need to brush those suckers out! Just let 'em sit there like blonde sausages!

2) Oversized hand-me-down (from my sister) dyed pink paisley shirt, buttoned all the way to the collar, accessorized by flea market rhinestone earrings and brooch.

I wore this shirt or my Iggy Pop t-shirt (also courtesy of my sister) every week during my senior year. And I always wore rhinestones.

3) Highlights/hair color courtesy of one friend or another...it was something you used a brush to paint on? What was that crap called? I can't remember.

Next, the Formal Senior Portrait:

1) I've worked on this hair...it is poufier and shellacky!
There's clearly a lot of product in it. I might have been sophisticated enough by that point to have been using Paul Mitchell (awapuhi! awapuhi!) but this was in the dark, pre-Aveda days. It's uncharacteristically brown. Must not have had friends around willing to paint my hair that summer.

But no, look closer! It's really a NEW WAVE hairdo, in disguise! See? It's spiked up on the right side and flipped over to the left! I WAS SO VERY ALTERNATIVE!

2) I, for some reason, must have decided to PREP UP for this day! When, exactly, did I wear fuschia shirts with erect collars and black button earrings? Um...that day! (Someone must have dressed me. This outfit does not smack of something that I could have come up with on my own.)

3) I bet, if you looked closely, that eye shadow might have been purple and sparkly.

4) I used to think that this was a good picture of me, but now I can see that I'm totally gritting my teeth in it. I was probably asphyxiating from the hairspray.

Oh, wait, here's one more, of me and Jimmy, BFFs before BFFs were cool:

I'm so snarly! Aren't I punk?
Anyways, internets, I never got the hang of the "Forenza sweater with an add-a-bead necklace and Guess jeans" thing that everyone else seemed to be able to do. The hair was never feathered when it was supposed to be feathered, or poufed to the nth degree when it was supposed to be large.

Of course, this is all good now. Clearly, it is with the geeks and outsiders that I stand, now and forever. As it turns out, they're nice, kind, smart, and funny.

In fact, now that I think about it, perhaps I'm being too hard on high school me.

Mags from the past: I take it back. You're all right by me. You go on and let your freak paisley shirt flag fly.

(With that in mind, maybe I just will wear my cowboy boots to the reunion.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Twelve Days And Counting

OK, people, we have a situation. It's twelve days until my high school reunion.

And I have very mixed emotions about attending it.

And I have not yet lost that 20 pounds that I had planned to.

And it cost me $120 just for the tickets.

And I don't know what to wear.

Musings on this to follow...

Friday, May 25, 2007


Oh, fuck, this site is funny.

(If you like pictures of cats with hysterical pidgin captions on them, that is.)

(Which I do.)

I'm so going to make my own later.

Thanks for the heads up, KM!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My word!

The other day, in a meme from Bookhart, there was the question, if I were a word, what word would I be? I responded "fuck."

Now that I think about it, though I do dearly love that word, it's probably not really emblematic of me. I like to put myself out there as all harsh and punk and sharp edges - and YES, I DO TOO pull that off, shut up! - but I'm really probably not as all bad as "fuck."

A better word to describe me? Hmm...how about "quiescently?"

I don't really know what it means, except that it has some connection to popsicles. But it sounds like it could be an adverb that perfectly describes me, doesn't it? You know, something like, "'Of course I'll take the one with the sequins,' she laughed quiescently."

The other day, I posted the video for "Indian Drum" by The Kids in the Hall, one of my favorite bits of complete randomness. That day, I watched it a couple of times, and suddenly it occurred to me that this would be right up OG's humor alley.

Sure enough, I bet she has watched that clip about twenty times since then.

We walk around the house just looking at each other, giggling, and going, "Drum lost!" "Drum fooound!"

It feels really, really good to laugh with her.

And I can't believe what a geek she's going to turn into.

Monday, May 21, 2007

In Praise of Teachers

Three days left; three short days that OG has to go in this, her first-grade year.

I can't praise her teachers, last year and this year, enough. I know, I just KNOW, that she is more challenging than they let on. But, they've never called me, never gotten her in trouble. (The only school area that OG has ever had difficulty in is music, and even then, it's been fairly minor, and pretty rare.)

This being the end of school, I send a tribute to them, and to all teachers:

Ladies, and gentlemen, of the profession; you have earned my respect.

I've been one of you. I taught for seven years in the public schools. My mother was one of you, but better than I; she lasted for 35 years. And, I continue to count many, many of you amongst my friends.

You hold up, don't you? You show up every year, ready to form twenty-two (or vastly more) wayward minds into some semblance of a civilized human being. In the best-case scenario, you have raw materials that are fed, rested, and parented by concerned individuals, and 185 days, to get this accomplished.

Most of you do not have the best-case scenario. Many of you have the worst-case scenario. If you've been in the profession for longer than a year, you have heard stories that make you shudder. If you've been in it for longer than three years, you have heard stories that have made you cry.

And, what do we hear in the papers about you? Sex scandals! No Child Left Behind! Everything, it seems, is printed to ensure that the American public becomes more and more distrustful of you. You are portrayed essentially as either child molesters or slackers, or people who weren't smart enough to make it in the business world.

All of you out there - teachers, people who had good teachers, people whose parents were teachers, people whose children have good teachers - FIGHT THIS PERCEPTION.

I have known hundreds of teachers in my life. Some were incredibly excellent; most were good to really good. Some, yes, were mediocre, or even poor to really crappy. But they were a SLIM minority. (Sadly, they stand out, even in my memory.)

Undeniably, like in any profession, some are gifted, and others are absolutely not. What's important to realize is is that vast majority of teachers are, at the very least, dedicated and caring professionals who work very, very hard, constantly, to become better at what they do. And buying into the media perception - and yes, that of this anti-education administration - degrades and diminishes them.

I think Taylor Mali says it best, in three minutes:

Send this to a teacher you know, and love.

And, happy summer, y'all.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

My Secret Fantasy

(There, let's see if that title brings my Google hits up...)

Now that I've been an official blogger for nearly a year now (it'll be a year on Thursday, I believe,) it has struck me how frequently the paths of my mind intersect with those of the friends and bloggers that I usually read. I can't tell you how many times I've started to formulate in my mind a blog entry about a particular topic, only to check out one of my friends' blogs to find out that they've beat me to it. (And they're usually better written, or funnier, than mine would have been. Damn them. DAMN THEM ALL TO HELL!)

So, the other night, while watching the season finale of Reno 911! - frigging hilarious, by the way, if you haven't seen it - it struck me how much I love and am fascinated by improv/sketch comedy. I was just starting to consider what sort of blog entry it would make when - lo, I check out Badger yesterday, and she has BEATEN ME TO IT.

I swear, I was already going to write it! I'm not copying! I mean, I do copy from her ALL THE TIME, but I'm not doing it now!

So, sadly, and as an also-ran, here it is:

I guess it started in college with The Kids in the Hall (and our old home-grown comedy troupe from Columbia, Missouri, the Monkey Wrench Gang - eh? eh? Trish? You were so good at it!) After that, I got into The State on MTV - who morphed later into the cast of Reno 911! - The Upright Citizen's Brigade, and the British version of "Whose Line is it Anyway." (The American version sucked, but I do have a kind of secret admiration for Wayne Brady...especially after I saw him on "Chappelle's Show" mocking his image. Come on, is Wayne Brady going to have to choke a bitch?)

Anyway, I think that part of my appreciation for improv is because, when I watch it, I am totally consumed by wondering how I would do, up there on the stage, in an improv comedy setting. See, I'll never find out, because I am far too frightened to ever try it for reals.

I suspect I wouldn't be good at it. I'm a writer, always more comfortable with the words in front of me; I'm not the best extemporaneous speaker. The nerves get in the way.

But, oh, how I wish that I could just stand up and be funny, off the cuff, all the time.

Awesome bits of awesomeness, just on comedy in general:

Wayne Brady on Chappelle:

The Kids in the Hall: I've Lost My Indian Drum!

TKITH: The Daves I Know

The State: Kill Tim

and of course the grandfathers of all excellent sketch comedy:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Meme stolen from Bookhart

If I were an hour of the day... I would be 10:00 P.M.
If I were a planet... I would be Venus. (It's cloudy, and mysterious; and HOT. And a bit gassy.)
If I were a direction... I would be West.
If I were a piece of furniture... I would be a pillowtop mattress.
If I were a liquid... I would be a pina colada. With a sparkler and a gardenia in it.
If I were a sin... I would be jealousy.
If I were a rock... I would be mica.
If I were a tree... I would be a palm.
If I were a fruit... I would be a pineapple.
If I were a flower... I would be a hibiscus. (Damn, this pattern of responding is suggesting that maybe I need a beach trip!)
If I were a climate... I would be - what Bookhart said; mid-80's to 90 during the day, 60 at night
If I were a musical instrument... I would be a piano
If I were an element... I would be water
If I were a color... I would be red
If I were an animal... I would be a cat
If I were a sound... I would be "Shave and a haircut, two bits"
If I were music... I would be loud.
If I were a music style... I would be jangly white-boy alternative
If I were a feeling... I would be pleasure
If I were a book... I would be Le Morte d'Arthur
If I were a food... I would be cheese
If I were a place... I would be Bora Bora
If I were a flavor... I would be almond
If I were a scent... I would be vanilla
If I were a word... I would be "fuck"
If I were a verb... I would be "fuck"
If I were an object... I would be a book
If I were a part of the body... I would be the naughty bits
If I were a facial expression... I would be a stoned smile
If I were a cartoon character... I would be Wonder Woman/Diana Prince
If I were a movie... I would be Clue.
If I were a shape... I would be a circle.
If I were a number... I would be 69. Haw!
If I were a season... I would be summer
If I was a sentence... I would be "Holy Christ, I'm tired."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The sum of a cat's life

This is the "Harper's Index" of the summation of the soap opera "Finding Molly" that has occupied me, day and night, during the past week:

Late-night Saturday night animal emergency room visit and 36-hour ER stay: $500

24-hour stay (Monday morning thru Tuesday morning) at the regular vet's office: $75

Tuesday all-day observation and treatment by veterinary specialists and opthamologists at a specialty clinic in South Austin, plus medications: roughly $600

Cost of a cat CT scan that was proposed to me (I declined) - $800-$1000

Projected veterinary visits: possibly many

Number of medications that Molly is currently on: four; two eye drops, and two pills

Number of times per day that I must administer the two different types of eye drops ALONE: four

Diagnosis: Herpes infection in eye and mouth, retinal atrophy (possibly causing disorientation, probably contributing to her getting lost in the first place,) weight loss and dehydration due to being gone so long without food or water. Happily, no kidney or liver failure, though.

Prognosis: She'll lose her eyesight within a year or two, and she may be getting senile. But, she's eaten well since she's been home, and shown every sign of being bloody well relieved that we saved her.

So: in summation; though this has been an enormous friggin' ordeal, I am so glad she's back. And, though I'm shocked beyond reason that saving her cost such an enormous sum of money, I can't think of how I could have not paid it, you know? I take the sucker badge willingly, I suppose.
On another topic...there are exactly six days of school left.

I have such mixed emotions about this...there's unbridled joy on my part, as my work allows me to follow a school calendar, more or less. (It is my opinion that EVERYONE needs to do this by the way. I believe that the right to a two-month long summer vacation should be written into the constitution.)

But, yes, as always, there is trepidation; what, oh what, will we all do together, all effing summer long?

The summer that OG turned three was such an eye-opener for me. I had so looked forward to spending that summer taking her to the park, to swim lessons, Symphony Square, the library, etc. And, yes, we did all of those things, but in my memory, each event was punctuated by a nightmarish temper tantrum. It was that summer that I really thought that one of us was NOT GOING TO MAKE IT.

YG is three, now. I don't think we'll have quite the same difficulty. Though she is a whining machine, she's not so much for the "throw yourself on the floor and cry" scheme of temper tantrums.

So far, we have a few camps lined up, and are looking for the library and Alamo Drafthouse kids movie schedules. There's swim lessons, of course, and a couple of trips here and there. I'm sure we'll end up at Deep Eddy more often than not.

Yourselves? What are you doing with your children? Anyone got a sweatshop going ?

OK, my eyes were closed and my head just dipped down a little as I typed this. I think that's a sign.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Stop the Presses!

Molly has been found! And she's alive!

Last night, after a nice gathering over at Clark and Milena's house, The Man and I were just retiring when I thought to look at the answering machine. And, lo, due to OG's signs that I dutifully went with her to hang up (though privately did not feel would help,) there was a phone message sayin that she has been in a backyard, a few houses down.

The Man and I wasted no time in running over there, and when there was no answer to my tentative tapping at the door, I went around to their back fence, as nobody appeared to be home. And, when I heard Molly meow feebly back to me, I totally trespassed and barged into their backyard. (And, that's when I found out that they WERE home. And very nice, thankfully.)

I will not lie to you; she did not look good. She had clearly not eaten or drank anything in four days, and flies had laid eggs in her fur. I rushed her up to the emergency room - and waited for a good hour in a room that was conservatively, oh, 55 degrees - and left her there overnight after they evaluated her.

The good news is that the fly eggs hadn't hatched yet - oh, and can I just say, EWWWWWW? - but, they were JUST about to. They shaved all of those off, and gave her a pill to kill anything else.

The report this morning is that she's eaten a little bit, and is more or less stable, but still needs a lot of care.

Wow; who would have thunk it possible? I must give OG big snaps when she wakes up.

For the record, it's 6:30 A.M. right now, thanks to being woken up by the idiot puppy; I made it home at 2:30 last night. But, despite the lack of sleep, and still more or less unfavorable prognosis for my cat, OG gave me a good gift.

Happy Mother's Day, y'all.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Molly, April, 1994- May, 2007

I'm calling it. 72 hours gone is long enough.

I think she saw the cat carrier, and said, finally, fuck you, I'm not going back to the doctor. I can't believe it took her this long, actually.

Well, Molly...Dizzy got one, so here is yours:

I've had you since you were a week old, and found in a shed outside my work, while I was in graduate school. I've known you longer than almost anyone here; longer than the kids, longer than The Man, even. Since I found you so young, you had not resolved the need to nurse, and you nursed into blankets, cloths, and my shirt your entire life. (Might have caused some of those major neuroses, too, come to think of it.)

Nobody liked you but us. Perhaps it was your vicious, murderous hatred for all of them; we'll never know. But we knew you were deeply sweet inside, and loved nothing in the world more than me. (And kibble.)

I'll miss your grumpy self, sweetie. Karla May, I may finally buy that book.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


My cat, Molly, has been pretty ill for some time, really since about December.

She had a horrible paw infection right before Christmas. After that, she got a lengthy respiratory infection. This was immediately followed by mouth sores that made it difficult to eat, and then an eye infection that would not leave. (My good veterinarian, Dr. Jacob at Brykerwoods, discovered that she had a feline herpes virus, probably contracted at birth, which was causing all of this later stuff.)

Through all of this, Molly has spent many, many nights at the vet's office, hooked up to IV fluids and antibiotics. When she's been home, I've been hitting her at least twice daily with oral antibiotics and eye drops, sometimes more than that.

And - and I cannot stress this enough - she HATED EVERY FUCKING SECOND of all of this. They had to sedate her every time the vet or vet techs wanted to even put their hands in her cage, because she would sooner rip your finger off than let you touch her. And, she would get so depressed, being away from home, that I would generally come get her out a day or so before they wanted me to, just because I didn't want her to give up.

Well, today, I had made an appointment for yet another vet appointment, this time to a veterinary opthamologist, who would hopefully be able to address this nagging eye problem. I didn't feel really optimistic. She's lost a lot of weight, and she was starting to smell a certain way that suggested that there were things wrong inside.

But, sadly, I let Molly outside to sit in the sun yesterday morning. And she - she, who has never left the porch or the back yard, not once, not in thirteen years - has not returned.

I cannot decide whether I should be grieving right now or totally pissed off at her.

By default, I'm grieving.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Warning: NOT for the squeamish!

We have ants. Lots and lots of little, tiny sugar ants, and they are on my bathroom sink.

And I don't know how to get rid of them.

You see, in spite of the fact that I regularly pay incredible sums for Aveda haircare products, I generally subscribe to the hippie-earthy sensibility. I'm an Al Gore devotee, a recycler, a composter. I subdue my convertible dreams so that I may drive a low gas-mileage mom car. (Admittedly, I do harbor a white-hot hatred for buses, but I am working on it. It's not the bus, it's the people that inevitably must sit next to me and talk to me. And the fact that, though I know Capital Metro is generally well-run and on-time, for some reason whenever I have to ride it, it is twenty to thirty minutes late. Twiddling my thumbs at a bus stop, being late for what I want to attend, and knowing I have to ride a bus in order to GET to be LATE there...that is nothing short of a small death to me. But, I digress.)

Thus, I am loath to spray poison all over my house. I have two young children, one of whom may have problems from environmental toxins (I've been listening to the voodoo folk from the HaHaSucker Clinic in West Austin,) plus I have a puppy that does NOT need to lose any of the few brain cells that it currently has.

We have had bugs before. It's an old house; we get silverfish a lot, and about once a year, we do get a couple of trails of sugar ants. I used to call ChemFree, the organic pest control company. They were always very nice, but kind of pricey, and I was never really convinced they were doing anything for the bugs other than giving them a nice herbal spa treatment. Usually, I could get rid of the ants with a couple of bait trays, and that would be the end of it.

But, this year, we apparently have been invaded by hyperintelligent ants, ones that recognize my bait trays, and say to their workers "Comrades, avoid the running dog plastic trays; they are a capitalist tool meant to oppress the masses." I put them down over a week ago, and, as far as I can tell, not one of them has been visited, and the ants keep coming.

So, I went back to the store to see what other sort of non-toxic toxin I could lay down on the little fuckers. I found this stuff:

It's this liquid, see, and it's ostensibly "for sweet-loving ants." (That's what mine are, apparently; one night I came upon a carelessly overlooked dab of toothpaste that had become a scene that was absolutely disgusting. And kind of interesting. I found myself watching them for a long time, actually.) But I digress again.) You squeeze a drop of it onto a piece of cardboard, helpfully provided for you on the back of the box, and set it down in the path of the ants.

So...it's been a week now since I put this crap down. This, friends, was what I saw when I woke up this morning:

GAAAAH! I dutifully put down my little droplets, they guzzle the shit up, and then...they DON'T die, they just come back for more, like it's some big fucking kegger!

I am starting to BREAK DOWN. The box on this Terro stuff says that it may take two weeks to take effect. I'm not sure I can wait that long.

Earth: Consider yourself warned. You have exactly one more week to kill these bastards before I pull out the Agent Orange.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

I'm totally serious!

Show of hands:

Who, out there, spent every Saturday morning, between about fourth and sixth grade, at the roller skating rink?

Who, when certain songs come on (e.g. "Bad Girls," "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" "Babe,") will immediately, and forever, think "skating song?"

Who's with me?

OK, you guys? You are my target audience here. You, skating geeks, are hereby directed to go rent this movie:

(Yes, I KNOW it has Bow Wow in it. I don't care. He's really good, as it turns out. And I'm not even defensive.

Mick turned this movie on for me the other night, and man, is it cute! The story's nothing much - it' s the 70's, a roller rink on the south side of Chicago shuts down, and the gang of roller-skating kids has to take the bus to another part of town if they want to skate. WHICH, of course, they do. There's a badass skater at that rink (who is very hilarious, BTW,) and there's a big skate-off, of course.

But...the skating! Is so awesome! And the soundtrack...which is sadly not available in a package, but should absolutely be assembled on iTunes:

"Flashlight" - Parliament
"Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll" - Vaughan Mason & Crew
"I Wanna Know Your Name" - Keith Sweat
"Lovely Day" - Bill Withers
"Emotion" - Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb
"Love to Love You Baby" - Donna Summer
"Superman Lover" - Johnny "Guitar" Watson
"I'll Keep Loving You" - Carl Douglas
"Barracuda" - Heart
"Rock the Boat" - Hues Corporation
"Baby Hold On" - Eddie Money
"Kung Fu Fighting" = Carl Douglas
"I'm Your Boogie Man" - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
"Pure Gold" - Earth, Wind & Fire
"Let's Roll" - Chaka Khan
"Easy" - The Commodores
"For All We Know" - Donny Hathaway
"Boogie Fever" - The Sylvers
"Pick Up the Pieces" - The Average White Band
"Le Freak" - Chic
"Hollywood Swinging" - Kool & The Gang
"Get Off" - Foxy
"He's the Greatest Dancer" - Sister Sledge
"Boogie Oogie Oogie" - Taste of Honey

Anyhoo, I can promise you that, while nowhere near a really good movie, it is very enjoyable, and has RAD skating scenes. Plus, if you're bored with the storyline, you can amuse yourself by picking out the cameos (Look! It's Tim Kasurinsky! And Wayne Brady!)
I'm home, in my nice soft bed, while The Man indulges OG in her biannual desperate desire to go camping.

I really do appreciate that, as, though I like many of the trappings of camping (e.g. hiking, swimming, cooking outside,) I really do not enjoy sleeping outside, particularly not in hot, sweaty Austin.

I probably owe him something. (And, I'm certain that he can come up with some way to repay him.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007


A totally not-made-up headline that was sent to me by The Man:

Royals To Get A Taste Of Angels' Colon

(Sports Network) - Bartolo Colon attempts to win his third consecutive start off the disabled list tonight for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who will be aiming to continue their recent dominance of the Kansas City Royals.

Seriously. I shit you not.


On a related note, GOD how I love the wireless, as I post this from a workshop (that is indeed interesting, but hey, I'm ADHD).