Sunday, November 30, 2008

Some of you won't get this.

Here is a little more evidence that Wil Wheaton and I should totally be best friends.

I have watched this three times and I am still helpless with laughter.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Experiencing technical difficulties. Please stand by.

Sorry, kids. There seem to be some issues with my computer (I know, sounds familiar, huh?) and so I have been unable to entertain (or depress, depending on the day) you with the usual regularity. Rest assured that we are working to resolve the problems just as quickly as we can, and by we I mean Reber, because he is a genius and a superhero. I am building an altar for him. Or maybe a whole temple. I don't know yet.

Until things return to normal, please feel free to peruse my links bar, or just go type weird combinations of letters into Wikipedia. That's what I do when I get bored, sometimes. Or go to the Sugar Shakers' MySpace page and leave nice comments on how nice we all looked at the Grind, and how sad you are that you live across the country and are able to see us play so rarely. In any case, don't be morose. If you really miss my stellar wit so much, why the hell don't you call me more often? Or write me real letters? I love getting mail...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

10 reasons why I'm awesomer than you

1) I'll laugh at inappropriate jokes. Filthy ones. Disgusting ones. I don't always LIKE that I laugh, but I do. Every. Single. Time.

2) I can hold a pretty good conversation about entropy, the laws of thermodynamics, and the tendencies of systems toward equilibrium. It won't be RIGHT, but it'll be more entertaining than any other conversation you've had about the conservation of energy in a long, long time.

3) I used to play a rogue just for the backstab modifiers. This was back when it was still fun to play D&D. Thanks a lot, WotC.

4) I look like a million bucks these days. I know it must be true, because not only are the usual suspects being more effusive, I have received appreciative comments from several men - and a few women - who have no vested interest in getting into my pants. Just tonight a perfect stranger witnessed my coquetting for my companion, and felt compelled to say my new jeans fit very, very well indeed.

5) I know how to make shit. Wedding cakes. Corsets. Cozies for... umm... BOBs. Buttered turnips. Dioramas of the Nile River Valley. Good radio.

6) I am not afraid of spiders or most insects. Except centipedes, but really. Those aren't even insects. They are some kind of nightmare made flesh.

7) I don't own any pantyhose anymore. Only stockings with garters.

8) I am not a snob. I am discerning, yes, about coffee and liquor and music and fashion and books and movies and scores of other things, but I am not a snob. I just have standards.

9) I always find fantastic places to eat when I travel.

10) I play the goddamn stand-up bass in a motherfucking ROCKABILLY band.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Love is a tiny, jittery primate.

I am not a great believer in destiny or kismet or what have you, but I am left stunned and wary by the depth and intensity of this thing I'm in right now, because the most worrisome thing about it is how perfectly mundane it feels. When we talk, or in the few brief hours I have had with him, there is no heart-pounding dizziness. I never feel tongue-tied or awkward or at a loss for words with him. I never wish I were lovelier or more articulate or vivacious. I am at home being myself with him, in a way I've never felt before, and all of a sudden words like fate start to ring faint alarm bells in my cerebellum. I am hesitant to bandy around words like love, but I don't have another name for this fragile egg of emotion that is rising in my chest. I'm afraid I will drop it and it will crack into a hundred thousand pieces too small to glue together. I'm afraid I will crush it by holding it too tightly in my hand. I am afraid that I will thoughtlessly leave it lying unprotected and it will be stolen, or I will forget where I put it.

I read Andrew Davis' The Gargoyle recently; I actually brought it with me on the plane to New Orleans. It touched me more deeply than I had supposed it would; since I made an offhand review of it on ing&ed, I have thought about its message of fate over and over again. Davis' metaphor makes even more sense than mine:

Love is not robust and love is not unyielding. Love can crumble under a few harsh words, or be tossed away with a handful of careless actions. Love is not a steadfast dog at all; love is more like a pygmy mouse lemur.

Yes, that's exactly what love is: a tiny, jittery primate with eyes that are permanently pulled open in fear. For those of you who cannot quite picture a pygmy mouse lemur, imagine a miniature Don Knotts or Steve Buscemi wearing a fur coat. Imagine the cutest animal you can, after it has been squeezed so hard that all its stuffing has been pushed up into an oversized head and its eyes are now popping out in overflow. The lemur looks so vulnerable that one cannot help but worry that a predator might swoop in at any instant to snatch it away.

That summarizes it very well indeed. There are predators at every turn. Even the specters of past loves can be enough to scare the skittish creature back into the safety of its dark branches. The worst part? That damn pygmy mouse lemur only lives in one forest on one island in the world. We aren't quite sure what it eats, or how it reproduces, or even how many of them there are in the world. Too few.

For those of you who, as Davis would say, cannot quite picture it, here is a pygmy mouse lemur:It's cute. And small. And very, very vulnerable.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Just no.

I warned you, Abrams. There is going to be hell to pay.

If you can't figure out what's wrong with this, we're not friends anymore. Don't expect a handmade Christmas present.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stella prefers to smell like herself, thank you.

Facebook makes me feel like a stalker. I say that because I suddenly have all of this information about what is happening in my friends' lives, even friends who are not-particularly-close friends, and while I hate myself for it, I can't help checking back and back and back again to see their status updates. In the single year since I've been on Facebook, I have learned more about some of my acquaintances than I was able to in a solid decade of speaking with them face to face. I have come to sense their moods and rhythms. I know what they're eating, when they're feeling sick, what movies and songs are on their minds. The people who name such things are calling this "ambient awareness" and it is a phenomenon that is so uniquely modern that it scares me.

I am not sure that I need to know all this stuff about these people. I am fairly certain I don't want to. Some of it is heartbreaking - a friend, whom I wasn't really close to in high school, but who I liked and admired very much, is flying Blackhawks in Iraq. I hadn't thought seriously of him in fifteen years, since he attended my graduation. Now I think of him in that fucking sandbox every single day, as I look at the pictures of his gorgeous fiancee and read his tender comments. Some of it is too much responsibility - I have access to info about my nieces that I'm fairly certain their moms are better off in the dark about. Some of it is baffling - inside jokes between my friends and their college or high school or summer camp BFFs, broadcast for the world to see, but not understand. Some of it is just plain irritating - political ugliness abounded recently, and some update TOO FREQUENTLY (you know who you are.)

The thing is, though, that I can't stop myself. All these people I didn't really get along with all those years ago? We are more alike than I ever dreamed. All these people I thought I was kindred spirits with? Turns out they have abominable taste in movies, or listen to the sort of Top 40 dreck that turns my stomach. And my real friends, my good friends? Facebook is just one more way to interrupt their work and force them to send me pictures of Jonathon Rhys Meyers dressed as David Bowie. I am addicted to knowing that I am connected, to knowing that people are following my story as I follow theirs. I really write this blog for myself - well, and La Fab - and I am never sure who is reading along and smiling or crying or caring. Facebook, though... I can rest assured that no matter how silly or obscure or profound my update is, someone will see it and get it, or ask about it. Someone out there gives a shit. Kind of. In an incurious, time-killing sort of way. I'll take what I can get.

For those of you who missed my Facebook update this a.m. (or who, heaven forfend, don't Facebook), I posted it as the title of this post. It's because I broke my bottle of Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue on the tile floor in my hotel bathroom in New Orleans, and for a few days, before I could replace it, I used some other scents. This morning, when I opened my shirt drawer, the sweater I wore the other night was on top of everything else, and it smelled of some other woman's perfume. So did everything else in there. I reacted like I would if it were on a lover's coat rather than my own sweater: I reared back and wrinkled my nose in distaste. I dug something to wear from the very bottom, where it was least tainted, and shook it out before putting it on. Then I sprayed my hair with D&G Light Blue, just to maintain equilibrium.

I am obsessed with this song right now, so you have to listen, too:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Science Rules! as Bill Nye would say

I attended the Sitka WhaleFest banquet a few nights ago at the behest of a friend. Normally, it is not something I would go to because 1) I have no ties to the world of marine biology other than the tenuous connection of three semesters studying it and 2) it's kind of an expensive fund raiser, and I rarely have that kind of cash laying around this time of year, having spent it on the makings for Christmas presents. However, I didn't spring for the ticket, and it was a personal invitation, so what the hell. I threw on a nice skirt and a sweater, psyched myself up for the hour-long presentation on high-tech methods of tracking marine mammals, and headed out. Before I left, I fixed a polite, I-really-am-paying-attention-to-your-insufferably-dry-Powerpoint expression on my face along with my lipstick.

The big surprise, other than the icy cold grilled scallop in my salad, was that the presentation was anything but dry. It helps that it wasn't about gadgetry. The speaker, Russ Andrews, is a biologist associated with the Alaska Sealife Center, and rather than spending an hour talking about how he invents the technologies that allow us insight into the daily lives of whales and sea lions (wiretapping for the North Pacific!), he talked about Steller, which is a subject that interests me greatly. I am a sucker for stories about how natural historians in the 19th century faced immense tribulation in order to learn something about our place on this planet. Steller has the distinction of having every animal named for him ecologically threatened in some way. Scientists call it Steller's Curse. In at least two instances, the animals have been hunted into extinction - those would be Steller's sea cow and Steller's cormorant. Bummer. Anyhow, Steller was one of those guys that accomplished more in a single year than most people manage in a whole lifetime, and modern biology owes him a huge debt.

The best thing, though,was when he showed the critter-cam stuff. Basically, they glue a camera on the heads of various kinds of pinnipeds (seals and sea-lions) to get an idea of what kind of prey they're chasing and how much of it they eat. Do you know how extraordinary it is to watch realtime video footage of a northern fur seal swallowing a luminescent squid? It trumped every single thing I've seen since Obama's acceptance speech.

I now want to read up on Steller and his work. He might join Alfred Russell Wallace as one of my all-time favorite science-y guys. It will go on the bottom of the ever-growing pile of printed matter next to my bed.

Here's some footage of a Sitka legend, Old Earl. It's no critter-cam, and he doesn't do anything spectacular in this clip, but rest assured, he's a pissy dude who's been known to grab coolers full of fish off the cleaning floats.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

And now the melody haunts my reverie...

It has been a whole week since the Stardust ball, which, as far as I am concerned, is the pinnacle social event of the year here in the sleepy seaside town I live in. I apologize for the lateness of this recap; instead of filling me with the usual glee, the Stardust Ball this year just helped spur the usual bout of blues that besets me each fall, only deeper, darker, and faster than ever before.

Here's the stuff that happened: My favorite boys in a band did not come back. Luckily I got the chance to see them this year when the carpet monkeys and I adventured in Seattle. I missed them anyway. La Fab and Miss E. and Mistress M. all came to town, and there was the sense that everything was just right again, although there was also the sense that something was missing. We got tarted up in our lipsticked best. La Fab wore my clothes and told everyone she was me. My costume was held on with strategically placed safety pins, a piece of gold tulle, and hope. The sum difference between the congratulatory kisses I received this year and the ones I received last year was five for birthdays and uncountable for playing. (That means many, many less this year than last year.) The band, while talented, was difficult to dance to, and I had either a drink too many or two drinks too few, as I reached a state of intoxication characterized by a bad attitude and a slight headache, rather than pleasant warmth or euphoria. Also, I broke my camera.

Perhaps my expectations run a bit high for this event. Perhaps it is just that I am finally coming to realize that the people I love the best really don't live here anymore; we have to fit a whole year's worth of each other into four surreal days. Perhaps I, too, am outgrowing this town. Perhaps it would be easier to not have them around if I weren't here, either. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, right? I am so skillful at second-guessing. Between the bittersweet experience of Stardust and the just plain perfect experience of New Orleans, I am having a hard time adjusting to the idea that I must resign myself the nonevent that is my day-to-day existence. I will drown my sorrows in rock and roll movies. It's what got me through the last two winters. If you have suggestions for good ones, leave them in the comments.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Cool! I was there!

By the way, I am wearing three and a half inch platform wedges; Z. is wearing regular, no heel to speak of boots. Please note how short I actually am.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In which our heroine carries a metaphor much too far.

I have cried every day for more than a week. My near and dears are rolling their eyes, because this is hardly stop-the-presses stuff, but I have to say that even I am tired of it. In Peter Pan, Peter explains to Wendy that the reason Tinkerbell is so mercurial is that her body is simply too small for more than one feeling at a time. That is how I feel about my own self right now; my emotions seem so big that they overwhelm me, and they have go somewhere - in this case being right out my tearducts. I have wept from sorrow and grief, from frustration and anger, from exhaustion, from loneliness, from jealousy, from longing, from happiness, from fear and self-doubt, from the desire to not cry, and last night, along with so many, from relief and euphoria. I wish I could say that I was done with crying, that I have gotten all the crying out of my system, and we can return now to your regularly scheduled piss and vinegar, but lately the loneliness and longing have been particularly acute. Tonight I have to say goodbye - yet again - and I am already misty. I am so very, very tired of goodbyes.

I feel sometimes that there are fragments of my heart in pockets and purses all across the world. Every time I have to say goodbye, another little splinter chips off and falls into the corners of somebody's metaphorical messenger bag. Some people I know have a whole handful of the glittering flakes of me. There are even a couple of larger pieces out there, prisms, really, that refract rainbows when you hold them to the sun. Occasionally when I think of all the pieces of me that have been passed into other hands over the years, I start to wonder if there's anything left. Certainly it feels like there is an emptiness in my chest.

The thing I need to remember is that I have my own collection of trinkets and sparkles that have been handed to me. I should keep them in my chest instead of in my head, and the hollow won't feel so big.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Just a little housekeeping

Nothing very important to note. I just went back and tagged all the posts that I wrote before Blogger added tags - or possibly just before I knew how to use them - so now if you are dying to see all the ramblings I wrote about, say, corsets, you can search that tag and pretty much every single post I wrote about the MA project will pop up. Also, much to my surprise, the stupid boys tag added only a single post. I thought I was more efficient when it comes to whining about my love life or lack thereof.

I promise I will write more interesting things at some point. I didn't take pictures of my lame attempts at costume construction this Halloween, because my craft fu is not what it normally is. Plus, the time I would have spent over the optimal crafting weekend I spent tripping (literally!) the cobbled streets of the Crescent City. Sorry, all. I'll start work on a corset or something soon so you don't have to listen to my melancholy whining all through the winter months.