Thursday, October 30, 2003


OK. So I'm tired and blogless.

I actually began a blog yesterday, and Lord have mercy, it was the strangest thing. It was going to tell the story of one of our clients, someone I really like, and a story of something that happened to her, and it was going to incorporate some of the folksy whimsy that comes with living in a small town. Instead it started about living in a small town, and took a turn into telling about clients I've been very fond of here at TheCompanyIWorkFor who've died. It got really dark and ugly. I saved it, unfinished, onto a disk. Maybe I'll work on it when I take a dip into depression and can give it the treatment it deserves.

Right now all that seems to be on my mind is the end of Oktoberfest. It's ending with a rush. I had to go to B'burg for Community Band practice last night, then tonight it's back to B'burg for a Sauerkraut Band gig for some old folks, and Friday and Saturday it'll be up to Mountain Lake for the Final Oktoberfest Weekend Blowout.

And on Sunday, I'll sleep. And Monday, and Tuesday. So don't call me or ring my doorbell. I won't answer.

And I won't wear a dress and hose again for months.

And then maybe I can get back to some real movie watching. I'd been averaging about 20 movies a month up until September, then in September and October, about 8 a month. Piddly. Piddly, piddly, piddly. I need a big November and December flourish to make sure I get past my 200 for the year. I also need to write about some movies I've seen lately. There've been some interesting ones in there, and I don't just mean "Thunderbirds Are Go!" either.

Seems Mr M's arm is not healing as it should, and he may have to have surgery and physical therapy. Not that I'd ever say "I told you so," we all know I'm not that kind of girl, but I kept telling him that 1) there was no way he would be healed in 3 weeks (he was sure he would, I don't know if he got that from a doctor or concocted it in his head), and 2) that with no kind of stablization of that arm (cast, sling) and him swinging it around and playing the clarinet with it, it'd probably never heal. So there.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Bet Is Go! (Bet Is Not Go? No, Bet Is Go!)

I'm a reasonably semi-intelligent woman, who's allowed to vote and drive a car and buy liquor and have a checkbook and everything. But I have a confession to make. I love the movie "Thunderbirds Are Go!"

The Thunderbirds, of course, were the British marionettes who starred in their own self-titled kids' TV series back in the 60s. Who were they? What did they do? Not a fuckin' clue. They were just puppet spacemen and there was a lady puppet named Lady Penelope and she had a limo driver with a Dick Van Dyke cockney accent. And there was a puppet named Brains who looked like the love child of Dean Jones and Paul Shaffer. That's all you need to know, really. That alone makes them worth a watch.

All I know about the Thunderbirds I got from "Thunderbirds Are Go!" the movie. I've never seen the TV series. I've seen it for sale on dvd. And at one point where I almost had more money than sense I was going to buy it. But cooler heads prevailed and I purchased something else, which happened to be the Criterion Collection release of Fellini's "8 ½." So I guess much cooler heads - and hotter loins - prevailed.

Anyway, I don't know how the Thunderbirds TV series could be better than the movie. See, the movie has a special secret ingredient. The movie has an appearance by Cliff Richard and the Shadows.

I remember the first time I saw "Thunderbirds Are Go!" - and believe me folks, I've seen it a lot, thanks to the repetition of TV cable - I was lying on the couch on a cold Sunday afternoon. I came in about 20 minutes into things, and when I saw this was the Thunderbirds (I'd recognized them from their tiny "cameo" in "That Thing You Do!," another movie that ends in a "!"), I had to sit and watch. Well, lie and watch. And it was so campy and kitschy and oh-so British 60s culture, everything I loved in my childhood. And then... (pronounced, "And then! dot dot dot")

And then the movie's dream sequence takes place, where Lady Penelope and one of the Thunderbirds go to the Swinging Star, the coolest outer space nightclub in the galaxy. And appearing at the Swinging Star are Cliff Richard and the Shadows. And yep, there on the Swinging Star Stage are marionettes of all of the Shadows, led by no less a person than Cliff himself. And it's amazing. They look like Cliff and the Shadows, they dance like Cliff and the Shadows. Then their song takes off in a little music video effect that has them dancing and playing on the moon, and on a giant guitar. Well, this is just wonderful. It's probably stupendously terrific if you're stoned, but it's still wonderful when you're sober as a judge.

I happened home from work today, all cold and downtrodden, threw a load of laundry in the washer, flopped down on the couch, and turned on the TV. To find "Thunderbirds Are Go!" Yep, making its 14,587th appearance on my cable in the past 2 years, and again winging its way right into my heart. I poured a glass of wine, relaxed, and did my best dance-along impression to Cliff singing "Shooting Star." And was happy. Thanks, Thunderbirds. I guess you really are Go.

(As a PS to this story, I decided to see if there was a Thunderbirds website. There is, and this is it. I found out that not only is Lady Penelope's cockney limo driver named Parker (nickname: Nosey Parker), but that the Thunderbirds are named Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon, and Alan. All names of our original astronauts. Kinda cute.)


Yes, wherever there is an acrochallenge, there must be acrowinners. And we have some tonight.

Captain Asshole is making his final decisions upon your fates as we speak. Until the cheering and weeping begins, let me tell you that the letters this week were O C Y E L. And the entries were:

*Orgasm: claw, yell, ejaculate, laugh.
*OxyContin ceases your ecstasy levels.
*Olga cuts Yasmin’s eel lovingly.
*Oy! Criminy! Yikes! Eek! Lawdy!
*Odd college, Yale. Excesssively lesbian.
*Onanists: cheesecake yields excellent lube.
*Oh, crap. You're Evan's Lover??
*Oreo Cookies: Yummy Edible Lobes
*Otis Christ: Your Eternal Light
*Oh, California. You elected louts.
*On cocaine? Your euphoria's limitless!
*Openly Canadian yodellers enraged Loverboy.

Yep, that's it, I'm afraid. Small acroing crowd this week. I hope acromania isn't waning. But anyway, let's turn it over now to the Captain and see what he has to say....

Thank goodness the field was small this week. It’s taxing to have to wade through multifarious examples of intellectual pyrotechnics. But this week, I have only a few to deal with, and those from the elite, so I can put my whole mind to it.

First, the honorable mentions:

The first goes to Bet, whose “Otis Christ: Your Eternal Light” makes absolutely no sense to me, and gets mention for only that reason.

The second goes to Mike for “Openly Canadian yodelers enraged Loverboy.” There’s just something about a Canadian coming out of the closet.

The third goes to Flipsycab, whose “Olga cuts Yasmin’s eel lovingly” made me wince.

Now, for the winner!

The winner is DeepFatFriar for “Odd college, Yale. Excessively lesbian.” Talk about hitting the proverbial nail on the proverbial head!

Congratulations, Dave. Your lexical talent this week was only exceeded by your pithiness.

(No points taken from anyone’s score for misspellings…THIS TIME!)


Captain Asshole

And there you have it. Tune in next Monday for Acro.

Monday, October 27, 2003


Woa, I almost forgot!

It is Monday and time for another life-affirming round of Acromania. We have a guest judge this week, none other than everyone's favorite superhero, who went into serious superhero mode Saturday at Oktoberfest btw, the one and only Captain Asshole.

Everyone gets three entries to try and come up with the best acronym they can to the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. Tomorrow night around 10pm est, the Captain will make his choices and the winners will be announced.

Now for the letters:


There you have it. Let the acroing begin!

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Another Boring Blog

Part of my new "call a spade a spade" campaign.

Well, we're down to one Oktoberfest weekend to go. Friday was the night my sister, brother-in-law, and DJTaytieMac came up. I went with them, which of course gave me yet another license to get totally shitfaced. They seem to hand those licenses out real easy.

Now, I have no intention of turning my blog into a "Tales of the Drunken Reprobate" confessional. First of all, it's boring, and second of all, I really don't drink that much. Oktoberfest just affords me one of those opportunities I guess I should be thankful only happens a few weekends a year.

Anyway, Friday night we were sans Mr M, who decided to piss off and go do his own thing at a Gestalt workshop. Yes, you heard me correctly. And even with one clarinet gone, I got an affirmative answer when I told Ed we really needed to do the "Clarinet Polka" that night. Can't help it, I like the song, and yeah, I probably wanted to show off a little in front of the family as well. So sue me. Therefore, I tried to keep the drinking to a "having a great time, but still in possession of my legs" level.

Then we made it to the break, and no "Clarinet Polka" was forthcoming. And if it hasn't happened by the break, well, it's not gonna happen at all. Okay! Time to give up my legs!

And so I did. I took my stein back outside and got a heaping top-up of beer, and while I was out there Susan, the very nice lady who mans (or would that be womans) the sales table at Oktoberfest had a private stash of a couple of different schnapps back there. She offered, and I accepted. Peach schnapps. She also gave my sister one. I bounced back inside (I distinctly remember bouncing; I remember this because I'm not by nature a bouncer in the least), and it seemed like once I hit the stage, everyone from every direction was toasting me and handing me Jagermeister shots. And since it would have been rude to refuse hospitality, I, of course, accepted them all. Especially the ones I asked for.

By the time the evening ended, I was so happy. I was a happy girl. I was so happy that while my sister and her husband went and got the car, Taytie felt the need to stay with me and be my personal looker-after. (He's such a nice young man. He also once told me I'm funny when I'm drunk.) And so we headed home.

We stopped about halfway, at a convenience store, to get a Coke and some snacks, and I strolled in, advising everyone I saw that I was in fact not driving, so please don't worry about me (I'm sure they were all so concerned). I also realized whilst paying for my loot (a Coke and a pack of Boston Baked Beans, a candy from my childhood I didn't realize they still made), that I'd forgotten to remove my geeky clarinet neckstrap. I was wearing it like a necklace.

I got home, spoke to Mr M online, proceeded to start an argument with him that I don't even remember, I guess that was the "bullying" phase of my drunkenness, then decided lying outstretched was not a good idea and that maybe sleeping in the Comfy Chair was what I needed. And so I slept in the Comfy Chair.

I woke up at about 6:30am with my heart pounding in my head. About 125 beats a minute. It was excruciating. I stumbled up and swallowed a handful of aspirin and forced myself back to sleep. Just as I was beginning to feel human, the parents rang my doorbell, coming to say goodbye (they were on their way back to Florida) and to bring me a biscuit. Boy, did I need that biscuit.

Now, here's the thing. My drunkenness last weekend was all good. I laughed, I yodelled, I got my picture taken, I slept, and I got up the next morning. Friday night it went waaaaay beyond that. I got ugly, I wanted to fight with Mr M for some reason I pulled out of my psyche (it may have been the Weds night 'therapy session'). I woke up in the Comfy Chair in pajamas I never remember putting on, wearing glasses I never remembered removing contact lenses for.

And thinking about stuff like that makes me realize how people die drinking alcohol. I mean, not that I was at that point, or even in the same county, but I can see how just the right combo of beer, shots, wine, liquor, or whatever can send someone right over the edge into that sleep that really lasts. I'm tempted to say "a sobering thought," but I won't, because I don't want to get that heavy. In a figurative way. The literal way, too late.

I skipped the elementary school thing on Saturday afternoon. And Saturday night I drank iced tea. Unsweetened.

Oh, a quick aside here. This weekend, for the first time I can remember in at least five years, Ed pulled out the old Schnitzelbank song. They used to do that when I first started going to Oktoberfest as an audience member and my sister and I would make up our own "translations" to the words. (You should hear our translation of band favorite "En Munchen Steht Ein Hofbrau Haus." Not for the squeamish.)

So anyway. Sober Saturday, went to Mr M's afterward, watched my new Eddie Izzard dvd. Played some duets and practiced a little today, and got a few glowing words from M himself, which really buoyed my mood and confidence level.

And that's the weird thing about Oktoberfest, in the end. I mean, besides all the fun, and the drinking, and the friends I feel I've made this year, sitting back there blowing my brains out for three hours a night, feeling like I'm not even being heard has made me a better player. Because I can't play for 30 minutes and put my horn down to go watch TV. My chops are better, my sightreading is better. Hey, I'm better!

And now that you've heard me say something positive about myself, that means it must be time to sign off. Right?

Friday, October 24, 2003

Things I Could Blog About Today, But Won't

1. My and Mr M's "I'm not your therapist, I don't want to be your therapist, but I'm going to practice therapy on you tonight" conversation of Wednesday night and Thursday morning. (Too deep)

2. Why I don't want to go to the Sauerkraut Band gig at the Elementary School tomorrow. (Too scary)

3. How I seem to be totally out of the loop with the current music scene. (Too depressing)

4. I have another designated driver this weekend - I'm gonna get drunk! (Too repetitive)

5. My life, from birth to nowth. (Too boring)

6. Things I still need to do at the Poderosa. (Too long)

7. People I hate. (Way too long)

8. Why I can't come up with better blog topics. (Too mysterious)

Thursday, October 23, 2003


It seems like I had a short idea to expound upon for a moment. I forgot it. So I'll just tell you to go to Bitterspice and play Rewrite Theatre.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I'm Cute And Cuddly! Eat Me!

For Michelle, who said Guinea Pigs could not be eaten (this is in the comments regarding my own comments about the Heifer International catalog), I submit this passage word for word from the publication:

2 Trios of Guinea Pigs:
To help Peruvian families add protein to their diets and increase their income. (Not to editorialize, but shouldn't that have been incomes plural?)

However, two species have different purposes for their recipients:

2 Goats:
To help two Guatemalan families provide milk for their children, and earn extra income. (I hope that doesn't mean the goats have to take in laundry and wait tables in cantinas.)

2 Pigs:
To enable families in Cambodia to attain greater self-reliance. (Does this mean the pigs sit around in Cambodian lounge chairs and make sure the families do everything for themselves?)

Hey, a llama's only $120. Wonder if I could buy one and keep him in the backyard?

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Order Up

Hello folks, it's October.

I know this must be true, because my annual deluge of Catalogs for the Christmas Season are starting to arrive. Catalog People know me well. You see, they send me catalogs starting in early October, to let me ponder; then they wait till I eventually lose or throw away all those catalogs, and they send me a brand new batch around the first of December. Out of which I may or may not begin ordering.

It doesn't embarrass me in the least to say I'm not much of a shopper. I hate traffic, I hate parking, and most of all, I hate people. Especially when they all decide to congregate in one area, and that area is in the vicinity of me. I hate browsing between two aisles. Do I want to buy the flowered dish on aisle four or the striped plate on aisle six? And I walk back and forth, back and forth, stripes or flowers, till I eventually end up hating both items and have to come up with an altogether new idea completely.

Catalogs and the internet take quite a lot of the general crappiness out of shopping, and frankly, it's spoiled me rotten. I virtual shop virtually the whole virtual year, and when it's time to actual shop, like when my office takes their annual Christmas Weekend Away each year, the thought of schlubbing through malls and being excited about it is, well, pretty damn hard to feign. So I don't. I say, "Hey, let's split up and meet at 4:00," then find a bar or bookshop to hang in for an hour or so.

First catalog I got for the season was the Metropolitan Museum of Art catalog. They sell nice things, $150 necklaces and earrings, prints of Monet's Water Lillies, etc etc in an artsy way, but the things I like from Metropolitan - and what I bought that keeps getting the catalogs sent to me - are their Christmas cards. I'm picky about certain things, my checks, the pen I write with (and whether or not it keeps a cap upon its point, thanks very much Mr M), and my Christmas cards. I went through several years of only buying my cards from the Metropolitan, I got to be a real snob about it. Then I realized how incredibly much I was paying for them, that there were some neat-o cards out there in regular places, and that I was never going to get a card with a picture of Rudolph and Hermey on it from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I stopped.

But not before buying cards one year because there was a great Chagall print on them, only to find out after buying them they were in fact Hanukkah cards. I mean, they didn't say "Happy Hanukkah" or "Shalom" or have a little menorah on them or anything. They were just a nice print and I liked it. And in the grand scheme of things, who cares, right? As the saying goes, we're all on the same side. Or my friends and I are, anyway. If you don't like getting a pretty Hanukkah card, you're not on my side.

Hearth Song is a catalog that always bounces along to me at the holidays. They sell "Toys You Can Feel Good About Giving." You know, the kind kids don't wanna go anywhere near. Make Your Own Sock Monkey. Creative Finger Puppet Theater. Toys parents who want their kids to go to Yale, go directly to Yale, do not have fun, do not collect silly experiences, give their kids. Now, I must admit I've ordered from this catalog before, because they have one item I love. Little collapsible animals. You know, they're standing there till you push the bottom of the stand, the strings collapse, and suddenly your colorful little calf has contracted mad cow disease and is in a pile on the little stand. I love those things. I have a little collapsible horsey in my office.

I also get Plow & Hearth, "Products for Country Living." Yeah, right. Let's try "products for yuppies who have way too much money and want to pretend to live a simpler life." P & H has socks for $40, and andirons for $120. They do have one adorable item in this year's catalog, though, a "natural" Christmas tree (with the burlap bulb at the bottom), with an adorable little stuffed brown bear climbing it. But since it's 4 feet high and costs $250, I'll give it a pass. Even though having a natural looking fake tree with a natural looking stuffed bear climbing it is some fine, fine country living.

And The Vermont Country Store, "Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find." Hard to find, I'll buy. Practical? Well, they do have some pillows and blankets and stuff, but all my eye roves to are the massive selection of maple fudge products, the lobster bisques, and the old-time 60s candies. I've never ordered from the Vermont Store, but if I did, I'd probably either bankrupt myself or OD on sugar.

And then there's my favorite, the good old Heifer International catalog. "The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World." Well, OK now, just don't sell yourself short or anything.

The first time I saw one of these, I cracked up into the most hilarious fits of laughter. It's a catalog of animals. You buy actual animals and have them sent to developing nations. And the catalog's laid out just like, well, Plow & Hearth. "A Flock of Chicks," and there's some kids posing, happily holding their chickens. "A Gift of Sheep," and there's a girl holding a lamb and cuddling it as if it's her best friend. Which is sweet and adorable.

Until you start thinking about this. You're buying these animals and sending them overseas so people can kill and eat them! Jesus Christ, how better to celebrate the day of your birth than sending a lamb to slaughter?! I'm sorry, I don't want to be two-faced about this, I eat meat and like it, but the thought of some poor cow happily chewing his cud one moment, and the next being lifted upside down by his hoofs into a crate to be shipped overseas and cut apart because I want to say "Merry Christmas" to the world is a little beyond the realm of my comprehension.

I mean, this catalog even has a special program called the Gift Ark, where you can pay $5000 and they'll send a shitload of animals "two by two" to be killed all over the world!

They also sell bees. Had I only known this during the summer, man....

Heifer International. It still makes me laugh and totally freaks the shit outta me at the same time. Please, Archie McPhee - send me your Christmas catalog, cleanse my brain!


Again, a smallish showing in the Acroentries department, but some great nominees nonetheless.

This week's letters were R P R S Q J. The entries:

*Riff-producing rocker seeks quiet Jew.
*Run, Pablo, run! Seek! Quest! Jump!
*Rational people require sushi, quit jobs.
*Randy Provincial reassigns seven queer Jesuits.
*Royal prnces regularly steal queens' jewels.
*Really? "Populus Romanum Senatus Que?" Jeez!
*Ru Paul requires such queenly jewelry!
*Remember Paul Reiser's seven questionable jokes?
*Raiders' pretty rally! Short?! Question Jesus...
*Red poppies really stunned queer juniors.
*Roseanne -- problematic, rowdy sow. Quiet! Jeez.
*Read psalms. Responses sung. Quote Jesus.
*Reading Proust, Rimbaud, Schopenhauer quells jocularity.
*Regis Philbin's racy secret: queue jumper.
*Rock prince Rod Stewart quaffs jizz.

We-hell, that last entry, what do I say, really?

Well, I must congratulate LilyG, who gives us this command from Kansas. "Read psalms. Responses sung. Quote Jesus." Yes ma'am!

And I don't know if this actually existed or not, but I loved Nyssa's "Remeber Paul Reiser's seven questionable jokes?"

But our winner this week turns out to be the very first acro sent in. Congrats to Flipsycab with "Riff-producing rocker seeks quiet Jew." May they be very happy together!

Thanks to all who played, and see you next week.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Rocket Boosties!

Well, today started the long and arduous task that will be the Poderosa Clean-Up Project. You thought Prince William Sound was a mess after the Exxon Valdez cruised by? You haven't seen the cesspit that has become My Humble Home.

I started with (yet again) more laundry, if only to get the massive piles of it out of the floor of my hallway. I then started on the kitchen table, whose top you could not see before tonight, and only now can you see about 15% of it. I went about trying to find a way to deodorize my laundry room cabinets - they have a damp musty smell to them, the same damp musty smell the kitchen cabinets had when I first moved in, only I open and close their doors all the time and they get a lot of fresh air, so their damp musty smell went away. I decided upon Arm & Hammer baking soda. I figure if it'll de-smell a refrigerator, it'll have to have some sort of pull with a cabinet. All laundry room cabinet doors are ajar as we speak, to air them out some.

I also moved most of the masses of clean clothes I have from the laundry room into their rightful places in my bedroom, threw a bunch of stuff away, wrapped my brother-in-law's birthday presents, and cleaned out both of my salt shakers and peppermills.

Interesting thing, that. Back during the Bee Raid of Aught-Three, when the exterminators came, I was afraid to do certain things. Like drink water from my water cooler. Why? Because I'm a pod and I'm weird. You should know that by now. But I somehow became obsessed with the fact that my salt shakers and peppermills had Bee Extermination Fallout (BEF) in them. So I set them both aside and used seasonings from the big boxes in the cabinets. But now, they're all clean and free of any BEF they may or may not have had.

And now I'm tired. Big surprise. I was tired before I started.

I drank a big ol' supersized glass of orange juice this morning, and swore I'd gulp down the vitamins I'd been taking up until I suddenly seemed to forget the fact that I took vitamins. I keep them at work so I see them there and don't forget. I went to work today. I forgot.

I'll remember tomorrow, maybe. But you know, I'm not sure they have vitamins for what I need. I need super-souped up vitamins. The kind you need a prescription for. Or maybe even the kind you buy on the street corner from guys named Skitch. I need "Rocket Boosties! Guaranteed to attach rocket boosters to your lazy ass within a week!" Comes in three forms: Jet Fuel (liquid), Solid Fuel (tablets), and Fuel Cannister (suppository).

Or maybe not.

I left a comment today guessing the answer to Stennie's daily trivia question, and it was meant to be a witty bon mot. It was so not a witty bon mot. After I looked at it I thought, "Rocket Boosties? Shit, I need something else, too. I need Funnykins! Guaranteed to make you cleverly witty within a week!" Chew one every day - pick a blue Dorothy Parker, a purple Mark Twain, a red David Sedaris, a green Calvin Trillin, or a yellow Oscar LeVant.

And while I'm at it, maybe I need to add to my vitamin regimen "Brainy Buddies! Powdered brain-boosting supplement in your favorite flavors!" Try 'em all - Albert Limestein, Choconfuscius, BF (Blueberry Flavored) Skinner, and Sigmund Fruity.

I'll take them all.


Ta daaaa. I just survived my first day back at work after vacation. It wasn't so bad, just busy enough to keep the time moving, but not busy enough to be suffocating.

But now I'm home, and it's time for another scintillating installment of Acrochallenge! I keep trying to "Reader's Digest" up the rules here, but I still want to make them clear in case a newbie would happen by. Everyone gets three entries to make the best acronym to match the letters below, which are on tiles that will soon be drawn from the acrobasket.

I shall be judge this week, because I schlubbed around and forgot to get anyone to judge for me. The winners shall be announced at 10pm-ish est tomorrow night.

And now.......letters, please:


Wow. That's some acro. Better get started now!

Sunday, October 19, 2003

The Two Things To Remember About Saturday....

It was not hot. And I got drunk.

I got a free pass to Shitfacedville on the Sauerkraut Band Express last night. I knew I was going to have a designated driver in Mr M, so when I arrived I found ET, keeper of the liquor, and gave him a job to do. "Get me drunk. If at any point in the evening you see me not drinking, poke me with a stick and give me shot of something." And apparently when you give ET a job, by damn, he takes it seriously.

I threw the beer-pacing I'd been practicing all season to the four winds and helped myself. I tested the peppermint schnapps, had two shots of the apple schnapps, and, shit, how many Jaegermeister shots? Lost count. Needless to say, Oktoberfest Saturday was a lot of fun. I had a blast with everyone, and probably made a gigantic fool of myself.

I'm not going to go on about my drunken escapades, because, if you weren't there drunk with me, they probably wouldn't be much to read about. However, I do want to tell you that my favorite story of Oktoberfest so far happened last night.

It comes courtesy of Ethan. Ethan's four years old, and Ethan was picked - along with a couple of kids and a bunch of adults - to come up onstage and do the Chicken Dance. Ethan was a serious cutie, little blonde-haired sweetheart. As Ed went down the line interviewing everyone who came up onstage, as he does, adult or kid, he eventually got to Ethan. The conversation went like this:

Ed: And what is your name?
Ethan: Eeee-tan.
Ed: Ethan! And how old are you?
Ethan: Foouh.
Ed: And where do you live?
Ethan: Mawawand.
Ed: Maryland! And do you go to preschool?
Ethan: Yeessssss
Ed: And what do you want to be when you grow up?
Ethan: A....[pause]....a hospital.

I mean, is that not the sweetest thing in the world? I was hoping Ethan's parents would forget him going down the mountain so I could scoop him up and take him home.

Then again, that wouldn't have been much fun for Ethan. "Who is dis dwunk wady taking me away fwom Mommy and Daddy?"

Scratch that thought....

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Five More...

...Oktoberfests to go. I'm tired. Why am I so tired? Is it because I'm old? Is it because I eat nothing nutritional anymore (and in fact have relatively given up on cooking altogether) and have also eschewed the daily vitamin taking?

I saw two pictures of myself last night, and I had dark circles under my eyes of heroin addict proportions.

That makes me miss my old driver's license. I loved the picture on my old driver's license. It looked like a mug shot, like I'd just been arrested for heroin possession. I was unsmiling, with those self-same circles, wearing a denim jacket, giving a "fuck you" look to the camera.

In my latest driver's license picture, I'm clean and scrubbed up, look much older, and have an expression on my face that, well, upon seeing the picture a friend of mine said, "Oh. It looks like you just sat on a tack." I have to live with that till 2005.

Speaking of sitting on tacks, well, not really, speaking of taking pictures, I, on my last day of my first week of vacation, watched an episode of "Freaks and Geeks" on video. As most of you know, this is the last TV series I really liked, so of course it finished in extremely short order (1 season), and found a small afterlife on Fox Family channel, where I was lucky enough to get all the episodes on tape. The show starts out with Joan Jett singing "Bad Reputation," and shows all the cast members getting their school pictures made. And the bad headshots they all get.

By the way, the episode I chose to watch is I guess my favorite of all, the dual-storylined "Mr & Mrs Weir tell Lindsday she can't see Kim Kelly anymore (Mr Weir: "She's as dumb as a crayon! She's a bad banana!"), and "Bill gets tired of being picked last in gym class so he makes an anonymous call to the gym teacher" ("You're a turd. A stinky turd. Go sniff a jockstrap, you poophead. You like patting boys' butts. Butt-patter!"). A classic hour of television watching if there ever was one.

I've become concerned that the upheaval and subsequent move has damaged Betland. I don't think I broke her or anything, I know I didn't drop her. The blogs just haven't been much since I moved. Maybe I need time to work my way into things. Maybe is the Oktoberfest Fatigue. Maybe I need to start vitamins again. Do they have brain vitamins? I think I need some of those too.

Anyway, I'll try not to worry about it too much. I mean, hell, I saw Eddie Izzard this week!

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Kill Bill. And Radio.

After driving to Pittsburgh and back home in two days (well, granted, I was a passenger a goodly portion of the time, but it was long car travel just the same), when 5:30pm arrived yesterday I couldn't bear the thoughts of dragging myself back into the podmobile for a trip to B'burg. So I skipped band last night.

And for a record fourth time this year, I went to the movies. (Yes, 185 movies watched this year, but only four involved leaving a residence.)

I went to see "Kill Bill." "Kill Bill (Vol. 1)" is the fourth film from Quentin Tarantino. I know this because it was right there up on the screen for my subparlysighted eyes to see, "The fourth film from Quentin Tarantino." And even though I knew it anyway, before the announcement, it seems a little hard to fathom. Quentin's been around forever, well, since 1992, which is forever in Hollywoodland. But about five years ago, he kind of faded from the scene and our memories, as snotty wiseacre wundkerkinds sometimes do.

And he is a snotty, wiseacre wunderkind (well, I guess now he's a wundermiddleager). But make no mistake. I like Quentin. I like Quentin a lot. Right from the start of it, which was "Reservoir Dogs," that bloody, violent, profanity-pervaded movie that not only had color-coded characters (Mr White, Mr Pink, etc), but also contained one of modern moviedom's most memorable moments, Michael Madsen mutilating a man's ear, all to the sounds of "Stuck in the Middle With You" by Stealer's Wheel. It also made 70s music, like "Little Green Bag" by the George Baker Selection, ultra cool.

And on a personal level, "Reservoir Dogs" inspired one of the funniest things I've ever read in a book, in Joe Queenan's "The Unkindest Cut," the story of how Joe sees Robert Rodriguez's "El Mariachi," supposedly made for $7000, and sets out to make his own film for $6999. And put it all on his credit card. It'd take waaaay too long to set up the joke, but one of the scenes in Queenan's film, "12 Steps To Death," parodies the "Dogs" ear-cutting scene. With such hilarity I'm laughing now as I type this. Go read "The Unkindest Cut." Go on. I'll wait.

And then, Tarantino unleashed "Pulp Fiction" upon the world. "Pulp Fiction," a movie I loved, saw several times, made friends go see, and went to see once totally hammered. It's been about 10 years now, and so many bits and pieces of "Pulp Fiction" have been raped to make other films, so it's hard to realize just how revolutionary that movie was when it first came out. I remember the first time I saw it, after ducking out of band at half-time to go catch it in B'burg (it wasn't playing B'field). I sat in the theater, alone, grinning like a fool, thinking, "What the fuck is this?? It's amazing!" It blew my mind. And yes, I still love this movie, and yes, it should have won the Academy Award that year for best picture, yeah, bend over "Forrest Gump," and take it just like Marsellus Wallace did in the S & M pawn shop.

Oh, and "Pulp Fiction" had its great musical moments, too. Let us not forget the twist contest and "C'est La Vie," and Link Wray's "Rumble," one of the world's coolest songs. Throw in "Son of a Preacherman" and "Flowers on the Wall," and you've got yourself a soundtrack for the ages.

And then Quentin got famous. Really famous. No, you don't understand. Reeeealllly famous. And he made "Jackie Brown," which did nothing for me at all other than make me relatively happy that both Pam Grier and Robert Forster got rediscovered and put back on the screen. I tried to like "Jackie," really I did, and who knows, if I saw it again now, maybe I'd feel differently. But at the time it just seemed to be made under the influence of major fame.

And then QT, who may have just gotten more famous than we, or Hollywood, wanted him to be, faded. Till he came back this year with "Kill Bill," the major epic that was cut into two mini-epics, the second volume of which will be released next year.

This movie is a mish-mash of Samurai tales, kung-fu flicks, Bruce Lee movies, Japanese anime, "the Matrix," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," and any number of other things I probably missed.

All things, by the way, that I hate.

But the way Tarantino puts them all together in this movie is incredible. Only he would have the mere audacity to throw all this into a movie and make it work. Uma Thurman was amazing, the past-tense/present tense stuff he used in "Pulp Fiction" works just as well here, and the Japanese restaurant dance floor/fight scene that leads to the "fight in the snow" scene with the everpresent water fountain was a classic.

Oh, and "Kill Bill (Vol. 1)" may hold the record for "number of dismemberments."

And it was a great moment when, near the beginning of the film, Uma pays "Pulp Fiction" tribute and makes a little "square" with her finger on the screen. Cute.

Before the movie started last night, I nipped into the ladies' room for a couple-three hefty shots of Goldschlager. I figured, "What the hell, Tarantino was probably high when he made the movie, I may as well have a buzz while I watch it." It provided a nice loosening up effect that was most conducive. Not that I'm recommending everyone do that.

I am highly recommending the movie, though. Can't wait till Volume 2.

And I know I've rambled on way too long, but on a related note, this is the second time I've been to the movies this month that I've been subjected to a trailer for the movie "Radio." "Radio" will soon be coming to a theater near us.

It stars Cuba Gooding, Jr, in what will surely be an award-nominated performance and a set of really bad teeth, as a retarded boy who hangs around the local high school's football field watching practices till one day the gruff but lovable football coach played by Ed Harris, in what will surely be an Academy Award-nominated performance because every time Ed Harris goes to Paramount and farts he's nominated for an Oscar, sees him hanging around the field and puts him to work assisting the team. Disbelief, scorn, hilarity, struggle, heartbreak, and finally triumph of the spirit ensue.

How do I know this? Because they tell us the whole damn movie in the trailer!

I mean, there's really no reason to see it now. All we have to see is that final shot of Cuba riding in a car, sticking out of the sunroof with his arms raised victoriously, to know this is the heartwarming feel-good hit of the year.

And why do movies insist on showing us the entire movie in a trailer? We'll never know. In any case, they've saved me from going to see "Radio," which is a good thing, because very few movies about people overcoming their mental disabilities sit well with me. I feel like they try to make me feel guilty for not being born retarded.

"Sling Blade." There was a good movie about the simple minded. Maybe because Karl didn't stumble and fumble around like, "Look at me, I'm retarded." Also because Karl gets to kill someone with an axe at the end.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003


Pittsburgh is a strangely experienced kind of place. I've been there numerous times, and I still never get over the excitement of seeing the city.

See, when you're driving into the city, from my vantage point, anyway, which is coming north from the sticks, up through West Virginia, into Pennsylvania, through rural land past coal towns, till you start getting close to the city, it works this way.

Seeing as how the drive always takes about 6 hours, and I always leave at about the same time, I-279 is always congested with late afternoon traffic by the time I get to the crucial point. And that crucial point is going through the Fort Pitt Tunnel.

See, that's where the excitement comes in. After going down, down, down the long, slow incline of business-and-residential road that leads to the Fort Pitt Tunnel, you enter and make your way through the tunnel and - voila! - the big fat hulking city of Pittsburgh is staring you right in the face. You go from nothingness to the heart of a major city in 1/4 of a tunneled mile. Exiting that tunnel produces a great giddy feeling.

And yesterday, through the dark and driving rain, I was just as giddy as ever exiting the tunnel and saying hello to Pittsburgh. Because I was there for a reason. I was there to see Eddie!

It took us forever to get to our outskirts-of-the-city hotel, due to a combination of extreme traffic and the rain/wind/thunderstorm from hell. But we finally crept our way in, had a slight rest and change, and headed back towards the city in plenty of time to get rained on, blown away, and, most of all, lost.

Which, amazingly enough, we didn't. Get lost, I mean. We had our map and some instructions from the net, and found our way there in no time, and miracle of miracles for Pittsburgh, City of No Available Parking, there was a parking building right across the street from the Byham Theater. (And kudos to Mr M for the bitchin' left-hand turn into the building he made in front of a taxicab speeding at us from the opposite direction. It was a true city driving move.)

Since we were so early, we milled around the area a bit, went and had a coffee (him), a root beer (me), and a cookie (both of us), and by then it was time to head back and into the theater. And so we walked in and to our seats on the second row. And I was excited.

It took a while for the place to fill, in fact I was a bit worried at one point, but in due time it was full to the rafters. And after sitting and listening to about 40 minutes of Tom Jones numbers on the sound system, the lights lowered and it was time for Eddie Izzard's arrival.

There in the dark, very loud techno music blared through the speakers and abstract animation flashed on the stage. And out he came.

I'd been wondering about his wardrobe. Of course, the talk on this tour was that Eddie had been doing the full-out drag thing. When Stennie & Flipsy saw him in LA he was in a dress. But that's LA; this was Pittsburgh. Would he do it?

The answer was a resounding "yes." Eddie strutted out onto the stage in a knee-length black skirt, red bustier, black stockings, and knee-high black pointy-toed stiletto-heeled boots. And over that, he wore a knee-length military-style jacket that was too cool for words.

When I was asking Stennie about particulars of Eddie's LA show, she said, "I can't really remember anything specific he did, but I can just tell you to be prepared to laugh yourself silly." And she was right. His first 25 or so minutes of the show were a complete off-the-cuff rant and adlib about the Pittsburgh storm, twisters, hecklers, and God-knows-what else, all one leading to the next to the next. I was honestly having trouble taking it all in at first because I was too busy thinking, "My God! I'm seeing Eddie Izzard. I'm sitting thisfuckingclose to Eddie Izzard!"

How his mind works is a marvel to me. Stuff he was ad-libbing at the beginning of the concert, he was remembering well enough to stick into punchlines at the end. He could pick a subject, say, superheroes ("Martian Boy, oh Martian Boy, 15 fingers on each hand~"), go off on a tear that would include 17 different topics, and still pull it back to the original subject, superheroes, at hand.

There were three things that really stick out in my memory as having me absolutely rolling. Two were very long and involved mimes about 1) How we could solve the gun problem if we allowed people to have guns, but only non-motorized field artillery, and 2) Had the neanderthals somehow beat out the homosapiens, and ended up ruling the world. Which led to a whole thing about watching "Trading Spaces" if everyone involved was a neanderthal. The third was a swift one liner about T.E. Lawrence. Who, when he had his vaudeville act, was called T. Hee Lawrence. I don't know, it made me laugh. Lots.

As if the original outfit wasn't good enough, after the intermission, Eddie re-emerged wearing a black bustier, a black sparkly skirt slit right up to his manhood (I'm sure this has to be the skirt Flipsycab was describing from the LA show), no jacket, with the stockings and boots.

All told, he was up there about 2 1/2 hours. It was amazing. I couldn't have been happier. Well, the only way I could have been happier was in getting a James Mason impersonation. But I shan't complain. We got a Christopher Walken, and a Sean Connery - Sean Connery in French, no less.

Oh, and I was right. Eddie is about as short as I thought he was.

Anyway, after the show we made it back to the hotel as easily as we'd gotten into the city. The map gods must have been with us. After I was back in the room, I realized we'd not had any dinner, and it was well after midnight. So I threw caution to the wind and raided the room's mini-bar. My delicious meal consisted of some potato chips - well, Pringle's, which in all actuality are not potato chips at all - a soft drink, and, because I'd wanted a drink all night and had been denied three different times during the evening - at the hotel bar, the Byham Theater going into the show, and the theater during intermission - I got myself a tiny bottle of wine for 5 bucks. Probably spent nine bucks on a soft drink, potato chipettes, and a glass of wine.

Who cares. It was the best expensive glass of cheap wine I believe I've ever had.

And after a good sleep, it was this morning, and time to head back to reality.

And that's the flipside of the strangely experienced city of Pittsburgh. You get packed, you drive back through the great hulking (and I can't help it, I think it's pretty) city, then into the Fort Pitt Tunnel, and *pbbbbbbbbbt*. On the other side of the tunnel is nothingness, coal towns, rural scenes, the sticks, and on back home.


OK. I made something of a misstatement in the below blog. I'm not on vacation this weekend, I'm on vacation this week. Of course, fat lot it means now, I only have two friggin' days left. But it's been fun while it lasted.

But enough of this gay banter. We have some Acrowinners to crown. I came back home today to find a nice lot of entries. The letters were:


The entries:

*Expecting doomsday tactics, the enemy hordes retreated.
*Extremely delicate toilet tissue eliminates heinie rashes.
*Erections don't think, though erections have rationalizations.
*Elizabeth, darling, to thine expansive heart, reply
*Eat donuts. Take the enormous hot roll....
*E-mail Dennis. That twit eternally hotheadedly replies.
*Each day Tom takes ecstasy, he's ridiculed.
*Elizabeth dances the twist, Egyptian, hustle, rumba
*Ed's dwelling: the town entitled "Hell's Rectum"
*Expect Desmond Tutu to eschew hot rods.
*Every day Tom tells Elizabeth horriffic riddles.
*Eggs, dude! Taste these excellent h'uevos rancheros!
*Each dawn Tim tries eliminating his rooster.
*Eager duck tries tricking Elmer's hated rabbit.
*Enraged Dickie thought Tommy's ego hogged routines.
*Ed denied taking Tiffany ever home recently.
*Eulogies don't take time. Ever heard reverend?
*Emphatically deny the truth. Embrace hollow religions.
*Ever do the “Tarty Elizabeth Hurley Rag?”
*Eventually, Dylan thought that everyone hated “Rent.”
*Even David “The Thunderous Ego” Hasselhoff regurgitates.
*Ervin does try Trick-or-treating early. Halloween rules!
*Every dog takes turns eating his roast.
*Edith’s daughter trains turkeys, emus, horses. Really.

There you have it, fine entries all. My mind worked overtime just thinking about the term Mike has given us, "Hell's Rectum."

Honorable mention goes to DeepFatFriar for his most excellent and made me laff out loud, "Extremely delicate toilet tissue eliminates heinie rashes."

As does another H.M. go to Krizzer for her ingenious "Eggs, dude! Taste these excellent h'uevos rancheros!"

But this week's winner is not only for a single acro, but for a sheer body of acroing work this week that is beyond compare. And the Crown of Jumbled Letters this week goes to Jeff, for his three wonderful entries, "Eager duck tries tricking Elmer's hated rabbit," "Enraged Dickie thought Tommy's ego hogged routines," and for some reason my personal favorite, "Each dawn Tim tries eliminating his rooster." I don't know, it just conjures up a picture that makes me laugh. Shame on Tim.

Thanks for playing this week, and be standing by, I may be calling on you to judge next time!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003


Yep, I'm on vacation this weekend. I have a trip coming up, in fact I'll be leaving in mere minutes, and will be back tomorrow eve. I figured, "Two days gone in one week, what the hell, I'll take week one of my vacation while I'm at it." I spent yesterday on laundry detail, shopping detail, and getting the shit kicked out of me by the Town Council detail.

I shall be heading down the road, well, up the road, actually, to Pittsburgh to see the one and only Eddie Izzard. I did an honest-to-God blog on this fact last week, and it was in fact the very first blog not to post in the Comcast Fuckhead Debacle of 2003. It was all about my excitement, fear, and trepidation on making this trip. But mostly excitement. I love Eddie in the extreme and have been wanting to see him for about five years. (he rarely tours) Stennie and Flipsy both have already seen him this tour and have told me I'm in for a treat. I hope so. Boy. I need a treat.

Before I go, just a reminder that there's a new Acrochallenge below you there, yes, one blog (read it too), then the Acro, and since the blog is short I'm giving you a very special link to see Sherman's new outfit. This is Sherm and Ed, the esteemed leader of the Sauerkraut Band.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Zoning Out

I did something tonight I've never done in my whole entire 40-some-odd-year life.

I attended a meeting of the B'field Town Council.

Here's something I've not mentioned to you. Along with everyfuckingthing else that's been going on in my life, the breaking and subsequent tries at mending friendships, the zillion dollar surprise hospital bill that went to the lawyer (which I'm still fighting), the dead headlight and subsequent stoppage by the police, there was one I forgot to throw in there. The Town Council is wanting to re-zone where I live.

I found this out from the owner of a business that neighbors TheCompanyIWorkFor. He's been an on-and-off member of the council for years, and even when he's off, he keeps abreast of everything they do. And this is good. Because our council has this small habit of trying to decide things in secret then perpetrate them upon the citizens.

Mr Businessowner came into the office one day and asked me if I'd gotten my registered letter yet. After I stared blankly at him for a few seconds, he explained to me that I should have gotten one about the re-zoning of Bet Avenue, which isn't called that but you get my drift, and that I was supposed to have already gotten a registered (or certified, whichever kind you have to sign for) letter to advise me of the public hearing the town was having re this issue. He then went on to tell me there was a small ad in the newspaper about it as well, which of course I didn't see as I don't, as they say around here, take the paper.

He later brought me the actual ad that was in the paper, so I'd know when and where all the fun was going to happen. This notification of public hearing was in the classified ads. It was approximately the size of a "Free Kittens to Good Home" ad. It said that Bet Avenue was currently zoned "M-1," "light commercial," (office buildings) and that they were planning on re-zoning it "Something Else-1," which would give car dealerships, funeral homes, fueling stations, restaurants, clubs, and several other types of businesses the opportunity to go in.

The parcel of lots to be re-zoned started at lot 352. The lot right beside mine.

Needless to say, I got a little cranky over this. And so I waited, waited for my registered letter to come. It never did. Finally last week I called the Town Manager's office and was told I "didn't really need one of those," (that's right up there with, "Just sign here, you don't need to read the fine print"), that it basically stated everything that was in the newspaper ad. Oookay. I let it go, and girded my loins to go to the Town Council meeting.

As a small aside here, there's kind of a funny thing about our council. The running town joke is that if you go to a council meeting and voice your opinion against anything the council is up to, you're thrown out. My friend and workmate San's husband, the Ziffel (we call him), has been thrown out multiple times. There's a local citizen and businessman who's been thrown out more times than anyone can count. In a small, secret way, I was hoping to get thrown out. It would make me a real citizen!

And so tonight was the meeting. And I went. Dear Ol' Dad was nice enough to go with me for moral support. We got there a bit late and some business about rebuilding a bridge was going on, but it finished up in short order, and the public hearing was (thankfully) next on the agenda.

The mayor, a Hokie fan and friend of my sister and her husband's, read the notice from the paper ver batim. Then he asked if anyone in the audience would like to speak on the issue. I found my hand popping right up, and myself walking up to the podium and microphone.

There were about 50-75 people there in the audience. I blithered and blathered and I can't remember anything I said, but I opposed the re-zoning and mentioned how my little house (whom I did not call "The Poderosa") had only been mine for two years but it had become my home, and although all the above-mentioned businesses included in the re-zoning were fine types of businesses, there was a place for them and Bet Avenue was not the place. Then I walked back to my seat in a daze.

My dad, who had been standing up, sat down with me. He said, "I was going to speak too, but you said everything so well there was nothing I could add." Awww, I know you were saying that to make me feel better, Dad. And it did.

Only one other person got up to speak. He owns the business two doors down from my house, an insurance office, and he spoke against the re-zoning too. He spoke quite eloquently, and was wearing a suit, which was a nice plus, seeing as how I was in cotton pants, a polo shirt, and tennis shoes.

I remember while I was blathering on at the podium actually thinking in my mind, "Damn, I write. I should have written something down to read to these jokers." I still can't believe it didn't hit me till I was actually talking.

And that was it. Me and Mr TheCompanyHeWorksFor. No other of my neighbors saw fit to come. The council quickly called the planning commission up onto the stage for a pow-wow, and the planning commission asked me if I realized this re-zoning was actually a good thing for me. "Hmm?" I said. Seems the M-1, or "light commercial," also includes lumber yards, mining battery manufacturing, and several other businesses they named off, businesses which, even if they were included in the M-1 class, and I'm not sure they are, wouldn't fit in any of the lots on Bet Avenue. They kept telling me the new zone would be more restrictive. I wanted to say, "Yeah, I'll remember that when I have a gas station beside my house." But I'm a lady, well, actually I'm not so much a lady as I am chickenshit, and I said nothing.

And in the end, justice, or the lack thereof, was swift. The planning commission sat down, one person said they proposed approval, and bing bang boom bim bam bom, all six members said "approved." So much for blathering impassioned speeches about your home.

The council re-convened, and I turned to Dad and said, "Let's blow this popstand," and he said, "Why not, they've basically told you to piss off." That made me smile and we headed out, where in the lobby we had to walk right through the entire planning commission standing there patting themselves on the back. And one particular member of the planning commission was having a private tete-a-tete with Hadji, a rich local layabout who thinks every growing blade of grass is his own personal excuse to buy land and build something on it. To quote the title of an Elvis Costello song, couldn't call it unexpected.

If one good thing came from the night, it's that on the way out I saw Mr TheCompanyHeWorksFor and his family, who were also told to piss off and were blowing that popstand as well. I went over and introduced myself and thanked him for speaking, and he said he was disappointed, but that I shouldn't worry from where I was because if ever the man who's beside of me (a very small and quiet printing company) decided to sell his land, they were buying it to make improvements on his office. And they're very big on "community improvement," so I felt a lot better about that.

Of course, he could be lying through his teeth. It's just that I trust him a hell of a lot more than I trust anyone in any capacity of our town government.

And I didn't even get thrown out.


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and acroers of all ages - it's back! First acro at the new digs!

I will be judging acro this week. You know the drill; everyone gets three entries to make the best acro they can for the letters I've drawn from the acrobasket. This week, judging won't be till late Wednesday night, seeing as how I'm going out of town tomorrow and won't be back till late Wednesday. Here are the letters:

Oh, dear, I have a bunch of crap lying in the acrobasket! Hang on....


And there you have it. Now, let the acroing begin!

Sunday, October 12, 2003

On Fall, Friends, Fests, Fame, Failures, & Frailty

Hello, Sunday morning. Songs have been written about you, you know.

I've just completed two more nights of Oktoberfest (yes, I've suddenly taken to spelling it with a "k," which I've been resisting for over a year now), and I'm coming to the sad realization that I am indeed too old for any kind of frivolity. It seems like the more fun I have, the worse I feel the next day. And no, no drunkenness/hangover jokes here, I mean my muscles ache, my legs hurt, my shoulders hurt, and I stagger out of bed and tear around with Frankenstein's gait until I can shower, then I creep slowly around trying to get dressed.

Not that there wasn't a little more alcohol consumption than I was expecting last night. On nights I'm driving I really do try to keep it to one beer and a half for enjoyment and toasting purposes, that still leaves me very clear and raring to drive along the downward spiral that is my life. No, wait. Not that downward spiral. It leaves me clear and raring to drive along the downward spiral that is the path from Mountain Lake. Somehow last night I had two full beers and let myself be persuaded into three shots of Jagermeister along the way. Oh, me of little willpower.... Anyway, I was still fine, but I felt bad about driving anyway, because you know, I have a conscience and all.

Now, guess who was at Oktoberfest last night. Acroers take note: it was none other than the Deep Fat Friar himself, who was visiting Mr M and made an appearance at the festivities. Not only was it good to see him again, but it's always nice to have a familiar face out there. And because of that, I found myself playing one of the parts on the clarinet duet the band does. It was the first time I'd played it. It was scary and nerve-wracking. It was funny, though, when it came time to play I was calm, and fine, and found myself doing it pretty well, save for a missed few notes on the second page. Then the last time through, when I started to feel like I might actually make it to the end without dying, I started to get so nervous, my mouth went completely dry, but I held it together till the coda, when I feel like I really shitted it all up. I don't know, hopefully the rest of the band were playing loud enough it didn't sound too bad. Afterwards, Mr M said I'd done well, and I figured, "Hey, he's not going to tell me that if it weren't true," so I accepted it, sat down thankfully, and tried to get the jelly out of my legs....

....Just as Ed then called out for "The Clarinet Polka!" So we all popped back up for a rousing rendition of that! (Which suited me fine because I love "The Clarinet Polka" just as much as Sherman does.)

And speaking of The Boy himself, you wouldn't believe what's happened. Yes, Sherman has really found his niche at Oktoberfest. He's gone from sitting behind us in an empty clarinet case (last year) to sitting in a little chair on my "table" (which is really a small cardboard box I set my mug upon) to being affixed to a clarinet stand, where's he's visible to all there. And on both Friday and Saturday night this week, before the clarinet duet piece, Ed actually introduced him to the crowd! And last night people clapped! And for those of you who were wondering what we could possibly do to top his clarinet, I've got an answer for you. But it will be in the form of a picture, so you must be patient. Maybe tomorrow....

And finally, seems Fall is here in earnest. Not that I'm complaining. Fall is without a doubt my favorite season, I love the leaves turning, I love the sunny days with a decided nip of cold in the air. I love football and Thanksgiving and the sun setting a little earlier. And I love long sleeves.

However, there's one thing I don't love. Yesterday, I got the familiar ring of my doorbell from dear, stalwart, valiant Mowing Boy, telling me that this mow he did Saturday morning was probably going to be the last mow of the season. Alas. Can the ladybugs be far behind?

Mowing Boy was in a very giggly mood at my door. I can only figure one of two things. Either it was because I was standing there in my pajamas and my hair was surely flying six ways of Sunday, as I hadn't been out of bed that long, or it was because he was mowing while I was still asleep, and maybe the sound of my snoring drowned out the sound of his mower. We'll never know what was in that giggle, I guess.

Friday, October 10, 2003

A Big Blatant Bragging Blog

There were a myriad of blog topics on my mind this past week, probably none of which I'll remember now. Except my exploits of Saturday last. I remember them very well.

Saturday the 4th, I blew off Octoberfest to go see my nephie, the incomparable TaytieMac, march in a band festival. This was a necessity; it was a promise. See, last year, when he was an 8th grade percussion pit player, I found myself missing every single one of his festivals to go to Octoberfest performances. This year, dear TM was prepared. Back in about August, he had a special conversation with me. It consisted of one sentence. "Bet, you're not gonna miss all my festivals again this year, are you?"

This was, of course, accompanied by the Puppy Dog Eyes.

Mr Mac is now 14 years old and a freshman in high school. But he still knows that all he has to do is pop the Puppy Dog Eyes at me and I'm a pushover for anything he asks. It scares me to think of what could be down the road. But in any case, he really needn't have given me the Eyes. Because I wanted to go to at least one of his competition festivals. Not only do I love watching any bands, but I'm a Graham High School Band alumnus, and I think they're still a damn fine band, and fun to watch to boot.

And so on Saturday morning we found ourselves winding down the curvy roads to Wise, VA. (My mom wanted to go along, and after a little convincing, we got Dad to go along too.)

We got there early enough to see almost every band. I think we only missed two. They were grouped into classes, A, AA, AAA, and AAAA, by size of the band. Not of the school. Graham was the last to play, they were the largest band there, and in fact the only band in their division.

I never thought of the Graham band as being that big. Certainly nowhere near the numbers they had back in my band days. But watching this band festival was a sobering experience for me. A sad one and a heartening one.

They were still doing class A bands when we got there and found some good seats. The first band we saw play had 17 members. I was shocked. Bands have as little as 17 members?? The next one had 15. I kept thinking, "Imagine being a band director and showing up at your school to find a band of 15 members. How do you arrange a marching program? How do you arrange a concert??"

But have marching programs they did. There were several bands with 20 members or under. And while this did make me indeed sad, that music seems to hold such a small place in schools nowadays, it was quite heartening to see the kids still getting out there and giving it all they had. And some of them had some really good shows, too.

And like the true band geeks we are, my mom and I clapped wildly for every band that came out there.

There were lots of band members milling around the bleachers, waiting for their turns to play, or having just played. It seems to be a fashion nowadays to have a t-shirt with one's band's program printed on it, with a fancy graphic, and the songs the band plays. I saw about 12 different ones Saturday. Graham's were funny. See, back before band camp, the program was going to have a Robin Hood theme. Then things just weren't coming together, so the director scrapped the whole thing and started over. So the Graham Band shirt had printed on the back "Robin Hood." Then there was a line through that and underneath it just said, "He changed his mind."

Lots of cute ideas and songs came up during the day. One very small band did a Beach Boys-themed show that ended with a really nice chordy arrangement of "In My Room" (my personal favorite Beach Boys song). One band did a fast car-themed show that included "Flirtin' With Disaster." Who ever thought they'd hear a high school band on the field playing that one? Then you had your hi-brow bands who did things like “Carmen” or selections of all classical numbers. One band did “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue,” that was pretty cool.

Our band came from a long way away. There weren’t a great deal of Graham fans and parents in the stands. Other bands had reams of people there, with flags, and shakers and the whole deal. But when it was Graham’s turn to play, we tried to be as vocal as we could.

And so it came their turn to play. And if I may say so myself, as an alumnus and proud aunt, they were terrific. I’ve seen them at a ball game this year, and spend the occasional lazy evening watching them practice, and I’m always blown away – literally blown away! – by the sheer amount of sound they get from their horns. And on this day it all came together, the sound, the marching, the enthusiasm…I was so proud not only of TaytieMac, drummer boy extraordinaire, but of all the kids.

Then it came time for awards to be presented in each class. It was kind of a given we were going to win everything in class AAAA, seeing as how we were the only band in it. But there were final trophies given to bands regardless of their classes. Best band of the day, best color guard, best majorettes, best drum majors, best drumline. And save for the drum major category, Graham swept. Best band of the day, which meant highest judging score of anyone there, that was good. And of course, seeing the drumline win the best of the day was icing on the cake.

(Oh, a small aside here: When you’re the coolest there, folks obviously are quite jealous. Because for all of us who clapped for all the other bands and cheered them on, when our kids got out there, everyone else decidedly sat on their hands. Sour grapes.)

And now for the plug. Wanna hear TM’s band play? Their website has sound files of the whole show, recorded at the festival. Just head right here and go down to “Sounds,” and the last four items are the show in order. You just have to download them all separately. “Mambo” is my favorite, even if they didn’t yell “Mambo!” as we all know they should have.

Oh, and by the way. Section leader of the drumline and there to accept all the drumming awards on Saturday? None other than dear, brave, stalwart Mowing Boy. Can you beat that?

Thursday, October 09, 2003

I'm A Loser....
I'm A Loooooooser....~

And I'm not what I appear to be....~

Well, at least for a while I'm not. But you'll get used to the new look, I hope.


Hi guys! I'm back! My week of hell seems to be winding down, my hands unbound, and the duct tape ripped from my mouth. And I can blog.

I'm not going to go into all the gory details, except to say a few things. First of all, Comcast, my internet people, are total fuckheads and bastards. I mean this, and I will say this from now till the end of time. Or the end of Comcast, whichever comes first. I should have known I'd end up in such a state with them, considering 1) I never thought their TV cable service was worth much, but it's all we here in B'field have access to, and 2) Past internet problems have gone ignored and unsolved before, so I can't say I was surprised at their complete dunderheadedness at the explanation of any problem.

Like I said, I don't want to go too deeply into this problem, but it had to do with ftp and the fact that Comcast wouldn't support the ftp Blogger uses all of a sudden. I've been either online or on the phone with them since Saturday. I've gotten:

*Abruptly disconnected in mid-sentence - twice.
*Told all I needed was to pick Comcast's ftp to their own website, and it would be fine. They wouldn't hear that that's not how Blogger works.
*Told "I know nothing about websites, Blogger, or ftp" - a dozen times.
*Told "I don't know a lot about Comcast's web service. Comcast isn't even my internet provider."
*Told "If you're able to surf the net, there's nothing wrong with your connection."

And finally, today, I was told, by "The Total Expert" on all things websites, that no, Comcast didn't support the ftp type anymore, no, they couldn't enable anything else, that was a higher section of service "In Philadelphia," and that it wasn't going to happen. And that I was out of luck and no amount of staying on the phone would get me what I wanted.

Well, Fuck You, Comcast. I hate your guts.

Now. On the good side. The people at Blogger could not have been nicer. I sent one plea for help and got no answer. So I sent another. And that time got a very quick reply from a lovely lady named Christine, who went way beyond that extra mile to help me out. When I explained that Comcast rudely brushed me off, she said she hoped she could make me smile by offering me a complimentary BlogSpot Plus account. Which I thought was terrific, and I grabbed it and growled. So I opened up a new page, and she upgraded for me, all in the span of about a half hour.

And after my web maven Stennie got my goodies (Weatherpixie, Carey Salt Soldier, Blogroll) moved for me, and after about four changes of template, I think we've got a Betland we can all live with.

All I need to do now is give you a link on the side to get back to my old blog if you need/want any archives.

Oh, and you blogrollers and bookmarkers might want to change me, if you don't mind.

And now things might get back to normal. Um, normalesque.

Just remember: Comcast: Bad. Blogger: Good.

One Small Step For Bet, One Giant Leap For Betkind.