Sunday, December 27, 2009

Maybe the Last Post Before My Kickass 2010 Posts Begin

As I may have warned you, I am turning over a new leaf in 2010. No more Lazy Piglet. Hello, Get Some Shit Done Piglet, and the accompanying Amazing Shit Piglet Has Accomplished.

First New Year's Resolution: Take the impending Rose Bowl Loss In Stride. Gonna start out with an easy one. This one comes standard with all University of Oregon degrees.

Second New Year's Resolution: Go Back To South Beach. The South Beach Diet, that is. It worked in 2007, it has to doubly work in 2010, as I have gained back the 10 pounds I lost in 2007 and added another another 8 for ballast. Leafy green vegetables, here I come (a single tear drops as she finishes off the Christmas candy).

Third New Year's Resolution: Put Down Those Crutches And Walk! Those crutches being the two glasses of wine I have been drinking every night. I'm not sure that yoga and an evening knitting project will patch the personality hole that is my natural twitchiness, which wine serves such a valiant job in soothing, but I need to cure this without (much) chemical medication. The South Beach diet requires that I knock this off anyway, so here goes.

Fourth New Year's Resolution: Shut Off the Noise. Less input, more output. This means a media brown-out. There's just too much - radio, podcasts, TV, and all so easy to vegetate to. I will not go cold turkey - that wouldn't be being a good citizen or a good life scholar - but it does mean that I will have to do a better job of choosing what I spend my time on, and budgeting output time - both writing time and painting time. Remind me of this in March. My instincts are to cuddle up and be entertained. And that's not evil. Input just needs to be balanced with output.

Fifth New Year's Resolution: Be Awesome.

By September, if you remind me how close my accomplishments have come to meeting my own expectations, I will personally stab you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 07, 2009

Dog Lessons Part II

You know when someone says, "Living with [name here] has taught me patience," you know that [name here] is a pain in the ass.

Annie has taught me patience.

She won't relieve herself in the backyard when it rains, no matter how much it must hurt to hold it in (and she doesn't always succeed at holding it in). I might remind you here that we get 155 days of measurable precipitation a year.

She will pee on other people's lawns when it rains - no problem! - so I try to take her for a walk, but it hurts her to walk (arthritis), and one of our neighbors is a self-satisfied, velour-track-suit-wearing dog hater. We end up walking very slowly in odd dotted lines, kind of like a Family Circle cartoon read in slow motion.

She uses the furniture as her personal napkin and back scratcher, and has taught Scotty to do the same.

She spends all day in bed, getting up only for meals and treats and an occasional romp with Scotty.

In grooming jargon, she "blows" her coat twice a year, completely shedding and rebuilding her coat, top layer, undercoat, everything. To pet her during one of her shedding seasons is to get a handful of dog hair. Not her fault, but still.

Before her arthritis got bad, she would bolt at the first sign of an open door or open fence gate. To what purpose? Even if she could speak English, she would not be able to tell you, because I am pretty sure this is only one of the signs that she was dropped on her head as a puppy. For a dog who likes nothing more than spending the entire day in her fluffy bed, this behavior just does not compute. Yet, I have had to pick her up from the pound once, from the local water treatment plant once, and had to chase her down too often to remember.

But. Scotty likes her. It's fun to watch her outwit Scotty over toys and treats. And who else would put up with her? Besides, she's cute.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Grammar Rant No. MCXXVI

Oh, Facebook, I hate you so.

Before you, I never knew how many of my friends and relatives were grammatically retarded. No, that's not fair. Let's call them Grammatically Apathetic.

A story:

There are some really annoying people who seem to have come from the womb knowing grammar, who could diagram sentences under heavy fire, and who may or may not have been kicked out of classes for correcting their teacher too many times. I am one of those people. It's like being able to hear at a frequency that only dogs and English majors can hear. Bad grammar can be absolutely earsplitting when others are unaware of any sound whatsoever. You can imagine that Facebook can cause such insufferable prigs (such as myself) some degree of discomfort.

So just for fun, let's review one of my pet peeves quickly, shall we?

TO is a preposition, identifying the object or expressing motion. For instance: Erma is married to Percy, or He left his bike chained to a post.

TOO is an adverb (modifier) or an adjective. For instance: I ate too much. Too can also be used as "also." For instance: Eunice is coming too.

Sorry about that. You may go now.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanks, everybody, for reading this lame blog.

I appreciate you sticking through the right-brain periods, where I can't think in words, and the times where I'm obviously just dumping stuff I find on other websites because I have been too busy consuming to produce (which is a bit of an American epidemic). I think my New Year Resolution will include fewer hours plugged into podcasts, and more hours stirring up my own brain matter and moulding it into interesting shapes.

Hope you stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meet Dave Hill

Do you know this renaissance dude? Because you will. This much talent can't stay a secret for long. Does he do stand-up? Yes. Does he have a one-man show? Yes. Does he host comedy nights with guests the likes of Dick Cavett? Yes. Does he play in a rock band? Duh. How does he do it all? I'm not sure. I'm guessing bipolar disorder with lengthy manic phase.

Valley Lodge "All of My Loving" from Valley Lodge on Vimeo.

You can find out more above Dave Hill at his website. You can also follow him on Twitter, if you don't mind copious joke makings, some of which are LOL funny.

Just thought I'd pass on my pretty gestaltic knowledge of what makes me laugh.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Past Lives

Now that I'm slipping into the regrets age I'm starting to understand certain mystical obsessions such as the Shirley MacLaine-style fascination with past life regression, where someone with more money than they need finds someone with an enterprising way to help relieve them of some of that money by helping them "remember" a past life - always a romantic one involving royalty or beauty - in which she relives the time when she was a prince, a knight of the round table, or a sultan's favorite concubine.

I'm guessing that "remembering" past lives is a way to enjoy more life than you have been allotted. More and different. Once you feel the slightest tingle of the body's long downhill slide, once you realize you are too old, with too many obligations, to move to Scotland to learn to play the drum and develop a passable brogue, once you are past the age of admittance into the Peace Corps, once you realize the window of opportunity to become an Olympic ski jumper or a travel writer has closed, and you hear this idea that you may have lived lives much more exciting and glamorous, it must be very tempting to believe.

The trouble with past lives is that most have been lived before indoor plumbing, central heating, modern feminine hygiene products, and the perfection of chocolate.

However, if I had lived past lives these are the ones I would have liked to live:

European royalty before that ugly head-lopping-off period. Aside from the funk created by the twice-yearly bath (which seems to dog most romantically historical times), this seems to be good living. Nice clothes, decent meals, sitting for portraits, dancing courtly dances, wearing silly wigs...not bad. Maybe the Austrian court during the Mozart period, but only if he really giggled like Tom Hulce.

Scottish castle dweller some time between one horde or the other showing up to claim it for themselves. Everybody wanted Scotland because everybody talked so adorably. I would just want to make sure I was rich enough to afford plenty of warm clothes and firewood. And I would want my own sheep.

Yes, royalty. I'm afraid royalty was where it was at, pre-industrial revolution. Everybody else had it pretty crap. Everybody else was lucky to be less hungry, filthy and disease-ridden than their dead neighbor.

Maybe Lincoln's secretary. He doesn't get killed or stabbed or anything does he? I've never thought of what it would be like to be a dude, but to sit in on Lincoln's administration, I would consider it. Mary Todd Lincoln is definitely out. I'm not keen on either shopping or mourning.

I would kind of (kind of) like to be a pioneer, if only to have acres and acres of primeval Oregon wilderness to myself. It must have been awesome. And really, really difficult. But imagine, after crossing the mountains and deserts, finally getting to stick your flag (okay, your walking stick with your last remaining scrap of calico drooping from it) into an enormous piece of gorgeous land overlooking the Pacific, and saying "MINE!" Sorry, Chinook Indians. Dammit, I just ruined my past life.

Oh, wait. I've got it. A pre-Captain Cook Hawaiian Wahini. Tropical breezes. Dancing the hula (I can still do a passable hula from lessons I took as a kid in Vernonia - don't ask, long story), eating tropical food, swimming in tropical seas and trying to get fat, cause that's what all the fellas were into. Oh, bingo.

Those are the memories I'd like to have. What about you?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I Raise A Finger In Your General Direction

After hearing a joke about a joke, I had to look it up myself: who did flip the first bird? And did he then have to explain what it meant (which would certainly have cut the sting somewhat)?

Here is some of an article by Glenn Church, that I found at Associated Content:

The Romans referred to the middle finger as digitus infamis or digitus impudicus (dirty finger). It had much the same meaning as today. The Emperor Caligula insulted people by making them kiss his middle finger instead of his hand. Another Emperor, Augustus Caesar, expelled an entertainer from his presence by an obscene wave of his middle finger.

The Romans did not invent this gesture, however. The earliest recorded mention is a play "The Clouds", written by the Greek Aristophanes in 423 B.C. Even then, the middle finger has a clear, obscene and sexual use. It is unlikely that the ancient Greeks were the founders for flipping the birdie. More likely, flipping someone off goes back into prehistory.

The middle finger, extended outward from the rest of the fingers, is an unmistakable phallic symbol. Some have even suggested that the middle finger's use as a sexual instrument, in place of the male organ, is its true origin as a phallic symbol.
Fascinating. They can't find an origin, it's such an old habit. Think of it: even the Latin language has died out, yet we still make daily use of this even more ancient relic. I guess when something so perfectly serves its purpose, there's no reason to put it aside.

I like the word digitus impudicus. I think I'll keep it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Vaginas Are Gross. Thanks, Lysol!

The Oregonian sent me to this post on Oddee today. Thanks, Oregonian! I learned that if I don't look lovely in the morning, my husband will find another honey by the end of his work day, and that I better, by Odin's hammer, bring home the right coffee, and if I like a man's slacks, he has a license to kill me, and, well, men are better than women.

Thanks, Mad Men!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our Long National Nightmare Is Over

No, we're still bogged down in Iraq. And Afghanistan. And forty-seven million Americans still are hanging on without health insurance. And unemployment is still hovering around 10%. And the Kardashians are still allowed on television.

But Dean and Jenny are moving back to Portland!

They are going to hang on in Colorado past some of the drearier months ahead, wait out their lease until February-March, but here is something for us all to look forward to.

There is little left to keep them in Colorado Springs. The US Olympic Committee has long since pulled all its funding from the track cycling program (thanks, USOC!), and there is actually less racing action in Colorado Springs, even with a much superior outdoor track, than there is here on the moist, mossy track at Alpenrose Dairy. So he's moving back here where his team is. Jenny is doing well at her job, but there is only so far you can take your career while working at a small (tiny) business. She is ready to fly from that nest.

So get ready, Portland fan base, fam base, and friend base. Dean and Jenny are coming back.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Killer Mom

Do NOT look at this photo if you don't want to smile.

Warned you. From the ever-deadly Zooborns.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

Monty Python geezers on Jimmy Fallon. Good choice of hosts. Fallon is really good here. Doesn't get in the way, and even gets in a few good gags himself. (Hmmm...that's three "good"s in three sentences. Not championship writing.)

There's more somewhere at or here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Avast, Ye Scurvy HTMLs!

I think I pirated these photos, but I can't read Dutch, so I think that covers me, legally. I had to convert them several times by methods that I don't really understand to get them to save as jpegs, but once I did, they were MINE.

There's Dean accepting flowers and smooches alongside the Thighs of Pain that belong to Gregory Bauge, the world sprinting champion. This is for their 2-man team sprint on Monday night.

Lining up for the Keirin on Day 2. If Bauge's are Thighs of Pain, then these are at least Thighs of Discomfort.

Aaand, they're off. Dean ended up third on this day, which is damn respectable with this group.

More to come, I'm guessing. There are four more days of racing to go.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Continental Sucks, but Dean Survives

When it's 12:30 am here, it's 9:30 am in Amsterdam, so I have been leaving my iPhone on the bedside table for late-night texting breaks when Dean finds, each day, that Continental still has no clue where his clothes and bike are.

Here is our conversation from last night (includes surprise ending):

12:34 a.m.:

Dean: Still no bag. Tracking number shows it as "missing."


Dean: Yeah. Beyond frustrated. Racing starts tomorrow. Only one more flight coming from Houston tomorrow morning. Hopefully it's on that flight.

Dean: On the bright side, Amsterdam is the greatest city on the planet. I want to move here.

Me: Glad there's a bright side - besides Scooby Doo (Dean earlier tweeted that Scooby Doo is better in Dutch.)

Dean: Yeah. Couldn't pick a better place to be stranded, really. Plenty to do/see.

Me: Are you in touch with race promoters?

Dean: Yeah. They are great. Yelling at the airline people in Dutch for me. Looking into options for borrowing equipment, and trying to get airlines to give me money.

Me: Awesome.

2:53 am:

Dean: Last bag arrived out of the blue. Rejoice! Clean clothes! Bike parts!

Me: Yay! This trip is going to make such a great story and you haven't even started to race.

Question: If the only flight that they thought might have the bag wasn't due until the next day, where did they find the bag? Neglected in a corner somewhere? Were they sitting on it on their lunch breaks? I call major incompetence. Off with their heads!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Continental Airlines will Steal Your Luggage and Ruin Your Career

More on this as the story unfolds. I was kind of hoping this saga would be over by now, but no. This is Day 3 of Dean stuck in Amsterdam with no luggage, no bike (for which he paid a surprise $150 fee when bikes are supposed to ship free on international flights unless they don't like the way you look), and no way to compete in the 6-day racing event in which he was contracted to appear.

Continental doesn't even know where his luggage is. "Luggage" meaning a custom-built track bike, uniforms, bike shoes, and peripherals valued at - I don't know - lots.

I've never wished for a large blog audience, until now, when I want to shame Continental into getting off their collective asses and fulfilling their obligations.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nothing Much

I just want to go watch TV and decompress after a dense couple of days drafting documents. Over the past week, as I was busy living or just breathing, I had multiple cases of "I should write about that" followed by the inevitable slate-wiping effect of age and input overload. So I'm trying the old "just start writing" technique. Nothing yet.

We went to see Doug Benson and Graham "Palm Strike" Elwood at the Mission Theater in Portland last Friday. I enjoy the comedy. Drew, um, thinks its okay. I don't understand why there is always a heckler. Although at this particular show it seemed to be a happy, drunky, horny girl heckler, with only lust in her heart for Benson. Hello, who gets a girl hard-on for Doug Benson? No offense, but he's a teddy bear of a fellow. Oh. Never mind. I understand teddy bears are "a thing." I prefer dangerous, growly bears with long sharp talons. Yes, eagle talons. On a bear.

We painted the shed all last weekend. "After" pictures to follow shortly. If it's not too awfully wet, we will clean out the garage this weekend, and fill that baby up. Drew will have such an awesome Guy Garage.

The rest of the week, the two of us have been battling some sort of fatigue thing that just plastered me to the couch on Wednesday, but has slowly been wearing off since.

Okay, this has been going downhill ever since the eagle talons bit. I'm going to go watch the Daily Show from last night. Enjoy not having to read any further.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Another Summer-End Flurry of Activity Chez Tracy

The great question...which I have not been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?' - Sigmund Freud
After some quality horn-locking and soul searching this summer, Drew took a long look at this question and answered, "a shed."

Actually, this is not a bad answer. I believe a garage is for garden tools, garden implements, and yard waste containers. Drew believes it is for road bikes, mountain bikes, cross bikes, dirt bikes, motorcycles, and tools to keep said two-wheeled vehicles in tip-top shape. Garden stuff just creates clutter, which he cannot abide.

In the heat of this friction, the "shed" answer doesn't look so crazy.

So, during his late September-early October vacation block, which he had originally planned to use for some (more) dirt bike riding, he and his friends, who swore that, with their help, we could have a better shed, built in a day, from scratch, for less money than it took to buy a ready-made or kit-made shed, fell upon the side yard with lumber, saws, earth-moving equipment, muscle, and some (some) brains.

When the day was over, we had a ten-by-twelve dance floor. Guess it takes longer than a day after all.

Day Two: walls!

Yes, it rained. Almost every day.

When the week was over, we had most of a shed, but much less money in the bank than we would have if we would have gone with the ready-made job. However, these are fire fighters, and they know what it takes to build something sturdy. We could use this baby as a storm shelter. Make that a fallout shelter. This thing has more studs than the house does.

...and a couple studs on top.

No, it's not quite done yet. It needs a coat of paint and a door latch. But it's a shed that wasn't there a week ago. So it's beautiful.

Test Your Awareness: Do The Test

This is worth sharing. Dean says Do The Test.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A Post As Exciting As Watching Plants Grow

So we had these bushes bordering the back yard. When we had the fence installed in the fall of 2005, we were able to clip them back from the property line almost to the foot required by the fence installers. That was the last time anybody (other than the odd squirrel or bunny) was able to get between the bushes and the fence.

The bushes came out of this winter looking like a bunch of dead sticks, as appealing as poisoned blackberry brambles along the highway. We had seen them weather several winters without any discernible loss of leaf, so we started thinking about how to replace them. Then they rallied in time to push out a record-breaking growth spurt, taking over not only our yard, but sticking through the fence and ten feet into the sky, so annoying that our shy, also-quite-pigletty neighbor started asking about our plans for them.

I had to hunt for pictures with the bushes in them, because we keep forgetting that before-and-after shots require you to remember to take before shots. This is what the bushes looked like last year.

First we tried cutting them back. We hired this done, thankfully, because it took the gardeners a full day to cut them back to fence height, and to try to cut them off the fence. It turned out that they had grown so close to the fence that it was impossible to make them look neat. And the things vined up from the ground, making them look like four-foot-tall weeds.

So we made the decision: Off with their heads. And bodies. And roots. The gardener cut them out and the stump grinder came at 8:00 on a Saturday morning (sorry neighbors) and obliterated the last traces of them. What was left was bare and ugly.

As regular readers know, Scotty enjoys helping me take photos. Here he is directing the shot of the newly bare fence.

Now comes the do-over. After some garden shopping and web surfing, we chose Euonymus (the short ones) and Arborvitae (the ones that look like Arborvitae), both which grow up, but not so much out. The corner is reserved for a pine tree. We're thinking white pine.

Directly across from our neighbors (we live on the corner of a cul-de-sac, making our back yard their side yard), we opted for some more fluffy flora - pampas grass and a nice Colorado Spruce. Here's Drew, trying to turn the best side towards the house. I'll have you know I dug about half of the holes for these plants, including this one (Drew was too busy building me a shed - more on that later).

There's more re-landscaping to do: planting the corner pine tree, making the pilgrimage out to the wilds of Hillsboro to buy clumping bamboo to replace the wisteria-destroyed fence in front of the master bath, and then doing something about ground cover to keep from cleaning muddy paws all winter.

Sounds like award-winning blogging to me.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Lush and The Ridiculous: My Recent iTunes History

As I downloaded yet more music today, I noticed that my taste in music could be called either eclectic or schizophrenic. You make the call. Here are some recent downloads.

Washed Out - Life of Leisure.

I learned about Washed Out from the wise Young Americans at The Sound of Young America. It's big and lush and small and intimate. Synth-y and homemade-y and soft and loud. Listen.

Don Edwards - Goin' Back to Texas.

I learned about Don Edwards in a boutique shop in Sunriver, Oregon in the early nineties. I heard yodel-y coyotes and needed to hear more, so I bought the cassette (yes! cassette!) that the shop was playing and put it into the cassette player in the car. I was disappointed at first to learn that I had to wade through a lot of cowboy music to get to the coyote part (no one-song purchase iTunes option - prehistoric!), but soon we were all singing about the sleepy Rio Grand, and those line shack blues. That cassette is long gone and Don Edwards became a Bend memory like the smell of sage and juniper.

Where did I hear those coyotes again recently? I don't remember, but it sent me straight to iTunes. I now carry Don Edwards around in my hip pocket, and can hear that wooo-yip, wooo-yip woo coyote song any time I want. I can also hear musical screeds to barbed wire, asphalt and bankers (a favorite line: "while progress toots her greedy horn/and makes her motor buzz/I thanks the Lord I wasn't born no later than I was") Technology is bizarre and wonderful in that it brings me music about the evils of technology.

Regina Spektor - Far.

I find that Regina Spektor is best loved and understood by women. Men tend to find her music a little twee. Yes, her lyrics can be a little, um, adorable, but her voice is so easy and slippery, and her tunes allow it to slide up and down the scale with such carefree pleasure, it practically makes me skip down the street.

Moby - Wait For Me.

I have a lot of Moby in my library, but nothing since 18, which was released in 2002. But his new one, Wait For Me, was getting much better reviews than his last few, so I gambled on it. It's nice. Like Play and 18. Very much so. I put it in the playlist labeled "chill," but I don't find myself seeking it out for album-long listens.

Ting Tings - We Started Nothing

I should listen to this more. I just don't dance enough.

Franz Ferdinand - Tonight

Franz Ferdinand makes great music for your running playlist. I need to run more.

Juana Molina - Una Dia

Do yourself a favor and listen to the title song (you can listen at her MySpace page at the link above). I learned about her from WNYC's Radio Lab, which I listen to via podcast. They are nothing less than obsessed by her, which is easy to understand for a geek, as her music is woven with layers and layers of sound that she creates single-handedly. The result is both high-energy and hypnotic at once.

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks and Moondance.

I don't know why I felt I needed to have these in my library after all these years. He was really before my time, and has been a radio station given all my life, but after hearing a story about the band that was put together for his Astral Weeks recording sessions, I needed to be able to listen with more than a car radio attention span. Worth it. No wonder everybody who won Grammys in the late 70's and 80's thanked him along with their families. He was new. And different.

I recommend listening to music. Pretty much anything, as long as it has not been featured on the MTV Music Video Awards, or, for that matter, the Grammys.

But The Decemberists are still my favorites.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Dean brought this to my attention. I wasn't going to watch it to the end, because I didn't think I had it in me to watch 9:30 of hate. But it is actually fascinating and enlightening. I don't think there is a cure for this kind of Fox misinformation being gobbled up whole. Is there? I don't see any laws banning Fox News anywhere on the horizon. And there certainly won't be any efforts to tone such hate mongering down, because it sells too well. It sure is disturbing. And disappointing.

In Which I Put Baby In A Category

So Drew and I were talking about drivers who put us in danger in small, everyday ways. This was on the way back from the beach, and we had just been bullied back in a merge situation by a dude who promptly slowed down and turned off the road, and then, not too much later, we slowed to let a swerving map reader decide which exit to take without taking us out in the process.

We came to the conclusion that there are two categories of dangerous drivers: those who drive with a chip on their shoulder, willfully putting others at risk, and those who are oblivious to the danger they pose to those around them, and in fact, are often oblivious that there even is anyone around them. My opinion was that we often miscategorize the oblivious by assuming that they are aware of the havoc they leave in their wake.

And then.

And then.

I was driving south in the left lane of a four-lane road when a gold colored Taurus-style sedan swerved into my lane from the right lane, giving me just enough time to slam on my brakes to avoid rear-ending her, who then slammed on HER brakes to wait for a car to go by in the opposite direction, and then pulled a U-turn right there in the middle of the road.

I was understandably shocked at such reckless behavior and wanted to know who just risked my life and my insurance rating to save seconds off her drive time. I craned my neck out the window as she hit the accelerator heading north to see (with my icy glare of doom) a twenty-something blonde in a pair of those hilariously enormous designer sunglasses.

And the look on her face was one of such serenity and composure, it has left me puzzled. Did those sunglasses not allow her to even see me, making her Category O for oblivious? Was she out to scare me, making her a Category R for road rager? Or did my alarm, and her back bumper, just not register in her list of things to be concerned about today? Should we add another category - a Category A for self-centered assholes? And why wasn't she driving a black SUV, so we could all anticipate her douchebaggery?

Not sure, but I'd rather not do the research to find out.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day Rabble Rousing

Working Class Hero by John Lennon

John Lennon was post-Beatles and rich by the time he published this song, but he obviously still had a chip on his shoulder about his early years.

As soon as you're born they make you feel small
by giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever and despise a fool
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

When they've tortured and scared you for 20 odd years
then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function you're so full of fear
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religon, sex and T.V.
and you think you're so clever and classless and free
but you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

There's room at the top I'm telling you still
but first you must learn how to smile as you kill
if you want to be like the folks on the hill
Working Class Hero is something to be

Yes , A Working Class Hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me

Friday, September 04, 2009

Inch = Mile

So I come home from a walk and confess to The Captain that I was daydreaming about traveling the country with a trailer. Seeing New Orleans and Savannah and Taos.

This, as I suspected, got him excited. This is something that he has been talking about since he got his first trailer hitch. In the womb.

However, I did not suspect that this comment would morph into a shopping mission for a touring motorcycle. No, I did NOT say I wanted a touring motorcycle, or that I wanted to tour the US from the back of one. When asked, I said I would try to ride on the back of a borrowed motorcycle one more time if he thought it might change my mind about motorcycles.

The Captain seems to think that since I might enjoy touring the country in the comfort of a four-wheeled, enclosed, air conditioned vehicle with snacks, music, books and iPhone at the ready, that I wouldn't mind taking it one step further. Outdoors. Keeping my balance on a stool going 70 miles an hour, wearing ten pounds of leather and fiberglass for protection, looking at a helmet in front of me.

Yes, I have ridden on the back of a motorcycle. The Captain has had motorcycles before. I have even ridden my own motorcycle or two. I did not enjoy those experiences. But he seems sure that given a soft enough back seat that my opinion of holding on to someone else who is holding on to some handlebars will be (a) exciting, (b) comfortable, and (c) interesting enough to pacify someone who squirms on a car ride of more than one hour and must have a book either in her face or in her ears to keep her brain soothed enough for continued earthly existence.

Stay tuned. Someone is going to learn something. But who? And what?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday at Aunt Dolores' House

My Aunt Pat, who is limited, aerobically wise, by a bum heart, turned 80 yesterday, much to her doctors' embarrassment, who have been giving her six months to live since the Clinton administration.

I went to visit her today over at my Aunt Dolores's house in Beaverton. I had never been to her house before, so I had to Google map it and worry about it a little, but I made it even though the 405 bridge was closed this weekend (again), which I should have remembered but didn't, so it took me twice as long with all the traffic, kind of like this sentence.

It's always so mortifying to realize how happy your Aunties are to see you, when it has been so long since you bothered to visit them. They are really sweet people. And, you know, it's not that much time out of your charmed little life. And it's not that they haven't invited you before.

Ah, well. Another thing to resolve to be better at in the future. Get in line, Aunties. Right behind washing the windows, painting twice a week and vacuuming the house every day.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

$3 Movie Review: Star Trek - The Other Movie

Here is a copy of my iPhone notes I made while watching Star Trek at the Mission Theater on Tuesday night. I deedled away on my iPhone as an attempt to let Drew enjoy the movie in peace. But sometimes I just blurted out my inane snark anyway. A Logorrhea of Lameness. (Me. Not the movie.)

  • That star ship is being eaten by a sea anemone!
  • I'm glad they kept the old, dopey space shuttle design.
  • Ooh, wrong answer! (this nameless dead-meat captain is about to get terminated for not knowing who Spock is.)
  • (Of buildings built like stalactites on the planet Vulcan:) I want an upside down building NOW.
  • (It seems Vulcan children go to school in giant glass muffin tins:) It's amazing vulcan children haven't developed skateboards.
  • Who is Spocks dad? (Turns out he's played by Ben Cross. Been in a million movies, but probably doesn't get followed by paparazzi).
  • Live long and prosper = fuck off (at least when Spock doesn't want to go to your hoity-toity Vulcan academy).
  • Legend-making time! (And here we meet James Tiberius Kirk, getting his ass kicked by four big dudes for mouthing off and continuing to mouth off after his mouth is pulpy with blood).
  • If they have jet Motorcycles in the future, you would thing they would have wet wipes (James Tiberius Kirk continues to discuss the pro and cons of schoolin' while covered in blood).
  • So that's what technology gets us? Invisible hubs and spokes on Motorcycles? (Underwhelming).
  • Facial tattoos equals badass (this is soooo movie shorthand these days - even in the future).
  • Did Chris Pine get cast because he has the Shatner nose? Oh, he's not bad as Kirk, but that nose. It's eerie.
  • There it is! NCC 1701! Ooh, nerd shiver.
  • Oh, no! Not the red matter!
  • Mano a Romulano (I believe at this point Kirk and Sulu are doing some hand-to-hand jujitsu on two Romulans whilst on a tiny platform suspended over Vulcan. Or something just as exciting.)
  • Time travel is a big cop out. (Well, it just is. You can remake a movie a hundred times with time travel. Think Terminator.)
  • Not convinced by New Spock. (It's true. His voice is way too high to be Spock. Nimoy has one of those booming voice-over voices.)
  • I'll be monitoring your frequency. (This is my new favorite way to say goodbye to my loved ones.)
  • Did the two Kirks have the same nose surgeon? (Really. That nose is just a little too wee.)
  • I hope Steven hawking isn't watching this. (I'm no physicist but this is effed up.)

In summary, I thought the movie was entertaining, as long as I could unload the ridiculousness building up in my brain every once in a while. Sorry.

FP in an SB

Patton Oswalt. Cultural commentary with funny words.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's Coco Day

The damn dogs always get all the attention. They outweigh, outbark, outpuke, and outplay Coco, a kind of midgetty, curmudgeonly cat. Besides all that, she's black, which is a challenge to photograph without ending up with a camera full of black blobs.

But she does do some cute things occasionally, and even less occasionally when I have my camera handy.

So here are a sorry few photos of Coco.

Now it's 5:00 p.m. Time to feed the cat. I know because she is reminding me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Infected - The Movie

I have an infection that I'm trying to clear holistically by drinking copious amounts of water and cranberry juice. I'm doing this not because I believe wholeheartedly in the shunning of western medicine over the gentler, less chemical superiority of alternative wellnessness, but simply because it's the weekend and I would prefer to stay clear of the Urgent Care Sputum Cesspool.

I'm not sure whether the sores in the back of my palate are due to the infection, possible water-induced hyponatremia, or possible fever-induced eating of too-hot jambalaya (I swear it wasn't hot to me, but Drew, the fire breathing oven mitt non-user, had to let it cool), but whatever the cause, they are a constant source of annoyance today. I can't seem to ignore the bumpy surface, and it's too far back on my palate for my tongue to do a thorough investigation, so I am constantly noodling around with my tongue to no avail.

Since I can't stray far from the bathroom in order to send all that cleansing water out the other end (I'm making up in toilet paper usage what I am saving in Urgent Care visit copay expenses), I am spending a lot of time folding laundry (unrelated but necessary), watching Netflix instant movies, and eating things that will momentarily mask the palate-scab feeling.

Speaking of movies, here are some that I have watched on Netflix recently and my ratings (Netflix rates movies on a five-star system):

The Real Dirt on Farmer John
I gave this one four stars, which may be a little generous, but I really enjoyed this story of a farmer's son, one part salt-of-the-earth farmer and one part bohemian drama school butterfly, who lost his father while still in his teens, and yet tried to keep the family farm going through his college years, his hippy years, the gobbling up of family farms by corporate interests in the 80's, and his own broadway style wanderlust. I had been wanting to get around to seeing this since it was released in 2006 and I'm glad it finally made it to the top of my queue.

Harvard Beats Yale 29-29
This is about a football game played in 1968. It seems to be a legend at Harvard and Yale that leaves hard feelings to this day. Very well-made documentary using film of the game and interviews from the players on both teams. Four stars.

Reefer Madness (with Rifftrax)
I thought this 1938 antimarijuana propaganda movie would be a prime target for Rifftrax, the audio auxiliary of snark from the cast of MST3K that can be added to lots of new and old movies to make them much more hilariouser, and it is, but never having seen the movie before, I was a little stunned by the bizarreness of the movie itself. One of those movies so odd, they really take no effort to poke further fun at. The movie itself left me shaking my head. That's just nuts. Three Stars.

Rescue Dawn
Werner Herzog's dramatization of the story of Dieter Dengler, Vietnam War POW who escaped to freedom through the Viet Cong and leech-infested jungle. Drew liked it. I enjoyed it even more, having previously watched Herzog's documentary about Dengler, entitled Little Dieter Needs To Fly. Also recommended. Four stars.

Hellboy II
Fell asleep. Even though I rather enjoyed the first Hellboy (I stayed awake), this one did not capture my interest in the least. (What? A magical elf kingdom? An evil pixie world? Are they trolls? Bat people? Zzzzzzz....) Drew liked it. One star for me, three for Drew.

Night of the Living Dead (with Rifftrax)
I like this movie. I like that it had a black hero in 1968, I like that Romero knows a thing or two about suspense, I even like that he doesn't spare anyone for the sake of a happy ending (Oops - did I say spoiler alert? Ah, hell, it was made in 1968. If you haven't seen it by now, it's your own damn fault.) Seriously, that ending gets me every time. I DON'T like how the women are all hysterical screaming fools who must be dragged away from danger by their dainty wrists. Okay, I know, 1968. Still. They got the race thing right. Deep breath. If you have already seen it, it's worth seeing again in the Rifftrax version (yes, the Rifftrax is integrated into this DVD, instead of being a separate audio file that you must sync up. Nice.) Four stars.

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Oh, my God. Awful. One star.

Yeah, she's happy-go-lucky and all, we get it, but a movie still requires a plot. Two stars.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Miracle of Dirt

This gets me every year, kind of the way the sun going down earlier and earlier seems to surprise Drew every winter. You put a seed in the dirt. Dirt. It's dirt. Bits of dust and rocks and rotting plants from last year, maybe some bunny poop and worms.

You mix in the rotting stuff and bunny poop, and maybe some extra rotting stuff if you have some. (This dirt is mostly clay, so this rented tiller was a back breaker for Drew. I think it would be a hoot to get one of those riding tillers for our two little ten-by-ten garden plots next year.)

You plant a seed and give the seed some water. Somehow the seed gets the message, and knows what to do. It sticks out some feelers, finds some of that dirt and water, and makes something out of nothing. Out of dirt, water and sun! What?

Here it goes! Whoops! Time to put down some mulch.

And before you know it, you are eating stuff that was dirt a few months ago. It boggles. Just boggles.

Scotty likes to sleep in the garden. The onions and green beans have suffered for it, but when I'm not around, I can't really shoo him out. I guess some people like to eat their garden vegetables, some just find them comfy.

Next year: less spinach (goes to seed too quickly) and more Swiss chard. And maybe get the onions in the ground a little earlier.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some Assembly (and a few trips to the hardware store) Required

I spent the last two hours assembling an Ames True Temper 2388700 Hose King Hose Reel. In that time, I've managed to put it together to the point where I'm supposed to mount it onto the side of the house to finish the rest of it, but it's 7:15, I'm missing several screws, I have a few screws loose, and I'm spent.

I've managed to scrounge eight (8!) screws from the old coffee can that are close enough to the right size to work for the holes that the manufacturer forgot to include screws for. I still have to find several more, in two different sizes, to complete the kit that was supposed to be sent to me. I would send it back, but it's easier at this point to go to the hardware store than go to the UPS store.

I've seen this thing in action, and it's a pretty slick set-up. A real time and hassle saver. But I might have changed my mind if I had known how much time and hassle was required to install it. I'm not sure how many years I will have to own it now to make up for the money and effort I will have put into it. Think about it: how many times do you have to roll up a hose to make up the three+ hours it took to install the hose roller?

No, I'm not going to do the math.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Incomplete! Incomplete! Incomplete!

Okay, I owe my several readers much more than this, but it is past my blogging hour, and I'm still far behind in the general duties of living, so here are the first five shots that Blogger would let me download, and a promise of more to come.

These are photos from our recent trip to The Other Vancouver (BC), mostly so Drew could participate in the World Police & Fire Games, but we squeezed in a couple of goofing-off days in order to give the world a picture of a crazy dude who feeds raccoons in Stanley Park.

For reals. These raccoons were hissing and fighting with each other over this dude's scraps, but it didn't seem to phase him any. Man, those things are cute, but vicious and rabies-y.

The view from a fricking gondola, people! We were way up there. I wasn't scared though. This is a two-gondola-and-one-chair-lift loop you can take up in Whistler. Whew, it's like there's money just flying around in the breeze up there.

What country are we in again?

About a hundred forest fires going on in BC while we were there. Maybe good for sunset photos, but not so great for middle-of-the-day photos.

This one's for dad. This was the view from our hotel. It's a pretty busy little float plane "airport."

Monday, July 27, 2009

What I Did This Weekend

I harvested green beans, peas, and blueberries from the garden.

I watched Coco the Basement Cat get stuck in the handle of a paper bag.

Scotty and I, once again, rebelliously trespassed upon the nearby McMansionland walking trails. We are scofflaws.

What I Didn't Do This Weekend

The Seattle-area Marymoor FSA Grand Prix started this past Friday morning and went all weekend. Drew and Dean drove up Thursday evening. I stayed home to work. But here are some pictures that Drew took.

Dean and National Championship Team Sprint partner Kelyn Akuna National Pez Eating Champion Jamie Carney talking about chicks mapping out strategy.

The Thunderdrome Cycle of Violence? Why yes, it belongs to me.

The sprint podium. The second place guy had to get back to Portland for his job. (Jobs. Lame.)

Dean behind the motor and atop the Thunderdrome Cycle of Violence. It's metal.

Thighs that size take more rest than normal size thighs. And extra caffeine.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


ALERT: Not suitable to blast at high volume at work. Or near my mom.

Storm Large makes me want to go on a diet and grow 8 inches taller. Oh, and laugh. She also makes me laugh. Sing along, everybody!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Photo Dump July 2009

Drew and Tessa jumping up the stairs. It's totally fun, from what I hear.

The Great AVC Weekend of 2009 is in the bag. More friends and family than I knew we had. As usual, I worried so much I forgot to enjoy most of it, but I'm sure I'll look back on it fondly.

I also took some pictures during our Hopkins family reunion late in June. But most of them turned out to be of either Drew or scenery. You don't have to tell me what that means. I know.

Homey lake front cabin, needs some TLC, comes furnished with outdoor sofa and indoor raccoons.

Drew demonstrates the proper pointing technique for the beach.

Triathlon numbers. It turns out they don't wash off easily.
No, he didn't do the whole thing - he just did the bike leg of a team effort.

The TV in our room at the Sunriver condo was totally Space Age. This is going to sell for big, ironic bucks some day.

Join me next time for exciting garden shots!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Strippers in the Wild and Wine in the Hood on the Fruit Loop

So we cashed in our raincheck yesterday from the weekend when I got sick and we took off for the Fruit Loop, the Chamber of Commerce name for a scenic loop of highway through the Hood River Valley, which has beautiful views of Mt. Hood and miles and miles of adorable orchards. Pears, peaches, apples, and these days, ripe cherries.

It was one of those days. The sky was blue, the sailboards were shoulder-to-shoulder on the Columbia, the mountain was doing its best Majestic Cascade Lifestyle Magazine pose, the windows were rolled down, and the cherries were ripe.

But, um, practically speaking, with a back yard full of blueberries, rhubarb, zucchinis, salad, and baby green beans and peas, how much fruit do two people need? Luckily for all of us, there is also a healthy sprinkling of wineries on the Fruit Loop as well.

We stopped at four tasting rooms and managed to find something worthy at each one.

The White House, a multi-winery tasting room and fruit stand, is a little museum display its own self, as it was built in 19-oh-something and has the photographs to prove how a century ago the Hood River Valley was cleared from virgin primeval forest to the Disneyland of Fruit that it is today. Our choice (and here I must make a note to you red wine snobs that red wine gives me screaming headaches): White Salmon Vineyard 2004 Spicy White (a mix of mostly Chardonnay with a touch of Gevurtztraminer for spice).

We stopped at Mt. Hood Winery's new tasting room on the first day it was open. So firsties! It's quite a showroom of a tasting room. Beautiful carved multi-wood bar and Mt. Hood practically barging in the windows, somehow bigger and more impressive inside the room than outside. I hope the wedding they had planned for that afternoon went off okay. (Really? A wedding on the first day you're open for business? Ballsy.) Our choice: Mt. Hood Winery Estate Grown and Bottled 2008 Pinot Gris (grapes enjoy mountain views as well, so the label implies).

Cathedral Ridge Winery also has a lovely bar in their tasting room, a very nice pourer (pouresse?), glasses that reputedly explode upon onset of a peevish mood, and actual grapes on site. Important, I think, for credibility, if not for actual use. They will be honored to know they are this year's winner of Most Pretentious Yet Unintentionally Funny Back Label Sentence ("We are rich in fruit orchards, wild game and fish, and we vinify our wines to embrace these flavors of the region, and to be enjoyed with family and friends.") Mmmmmm, wild and fishy. Our choice: Cathedral Ridge 2007 Pinot Gris.

And finally, we come to the smallest and ugliest of the tasting rooms, one lovingly crafted from the corner of their tin shed, that of Hood River Vineyards. And yet, here we meet most of the characters from my next screenplay, Sideways and Upside Down On a Pole, the story of a young, tanned, surgically-enhanced-to-the-point-where-I-doubt-that-she-could-swing-a-golf-club stripper in a crocheted dress with enhanced boob-viewing capabilities, who meets a gullible young Hummer driver with daddy cash, who finds herself, implausibly, in a tiny wine tasting room with a veteran oenophile at the pour, who is tasked with finding a wine that she can learn to enjoy. I'm sorry we didn't stay long enough to see if the final option, the bing cherry dessert wine, was to her liking. But it was getting crowded in there. Oh, and our wine choice? a Hood River Vineyards 2005 dry Oregon Riesling (only they spell it "Reisling" on the label - for reals. This is backyard wine making at its best).

Oh, yes, I am writing that baby up and mailing it to myself, so don't think about ripping it off, bitches. It's got everything. Alcohol, sex and spelling. See you in Hollywood.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Reason #2 Why I'm Not Signing My Dogs Up for Any IQ Tests

Annie is walking like she is walking on a carpet of Legos, which is how she walks when her arthritis acts up, which is what it does when she goes on a bender, running like a happy fool through the neighborhood. Scotty, the beta-dog jester, followed loyally behind, as always.

The fence gate was left open this morning. I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure that it was closed last night, evidenced by the fact that the dogs did not get out last night. So some time during the night, the gate was opened.

Thinking of someone fiddling with our gate in the night and the aftermath of Annie's flight-or-more-flight tendencies makes me simultaneously glad that I have big dogs while wanting to drive them straight back to the reject bin I rescued them out of for putting me through this every time the gate is left open.

They were found maybe two miles away (as the collie flies), at the neighborhood sewage treatment plant. Luckily not IN the sewage treatment plant, but at the administration building, where a nice man tracked me down by their dog tags.

So Annie is a big hurt burger, and Scotty came back so hot he was unable for a while even to chew on some ice, which is his usual treat on a warm day, and with burrs clumping up his ruff, his tail, his hindquarters, and his front leg hairs. I got most of the burrs out, but I keep finding more, so this may be an ongoing clean-up job.

I'm not sure whether this means I have to check the damn gate every morning, but I will be for a while. And checking the locks on the doors and windows.

UPDATE (INCLUDES CONFESSION!): Drew says he's pretty sure that he left the gate open the day before while he was loading some yard waste into his truck. The dogs are just so, um, brainily challenged that they did not notice until the next morning.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Notes On Birthday XLVII

I've been away for a while. It was in your best interest. You don't want to read thoughts that are either jumbled, vacant, or snide. Why? Pick a reason. My pants were tight. The lawn needed to be mowed. The grapevines needed to be cut back. My eyes itched. I was in NO MOOD. The air felt soggy.

Do I have something to say now? Not really. But here are some thoughts on my birthday back on June 22 that I didn't get around to posting at the time.

  • I got an iPhone 3GS for my birthday. Yeah, it IS that cool.
  • Not only did Drew buy me the iPhone, he gave up HIS upgrade so we could get it at the discounted price. I gave him the Blackberry I bought last year. He's having much more fun with it than I ever did, so it's all working out.
  • Most under-appreciated birthday gift this year: we still have the Prius. Drew, who still gets a little discombobulated driving around in a robot car, left it running (maybe running is the wrong word since it runs on battery when parked) on street parking in downtown Portland while we stood in line at the Apple store. Ironically, Drew worried about somebody stealing his cell phone out of the car while we were gone. When we got back to the car, the radio was still playing and the battery was on red. But it was still there! Thank you Portland, for not stumbling upon our doofy mistake! (We're still not sure whether it could have been driven off. There were no keys in the car. That's the weird thing about this car - the keys do not have to be in the ignition. They just have to be in the vicinity of the sensor in the dashboard.) I'm not sure whether the car was supposed to stay running like that but it did. Maybe I should re-peruse that owner's manual.
  • While waiting in line at the Apple Store (while our car was patiently playing its radio and waiting for us to return), I saw somebody shake someone's bike helmet, like they were shaking their hand, because the bike helmet person didn't have a free hand. Very awkward moment when the hand-shaker realized that he had actually just shook someone's helmet, and he couldn't really get that moment back.
  • Did we go out to a fancy restaurant on my birthday? Um, no. I got a craving for Burgerville at lunch time, and had no room for fancy food at dinner. So we had birthday cake for dinner. Hey, we're adults.
  • I'm pretty sure I don't look a day over 50 (which is a relief, since I'm not 50).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Note This on your Calendars

By proclamation of me, tomorrow is National Nobody Needs Me to Do Anything For Them Day. 

I plan on spending it flouncing about, consuming internet entertainment, and eating sweet things. I may be dressed as a 17th century poet. Or a 300-pound disability defrauder. That part is still up in the air. 

Everyone is welcome to join the festivities, as long as I don't have to assist in any way.

I plan on making it an annual holiday, held on the third Wednesday in June. Years from now, you will be asking yourselves, what did you do on the first NNNMTDAFT Day? You may want to plan your day accordingly.