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Archive for July, 2007

book talk

I did finish Harry Potter but I don’t feel like writing a whole review of it. For a real in depth review, see here.

I was mostly satisfied with the way things turned out. I’m not sad to see the stories end; I think it ran its course and adding any more chapters to it would have been unnecessary. However, I do think the epilogue was cheesy and trite. I don’t like that she wrapped everything up in such a neat little package. I would have preferred to been left wondering what happened to everyone than to have it laid out for me in what seemed like a hokey and forced manner.

Oh, and one of the predictions I made at the end of the previous book was right! I won’t discuss it in full though, because I know some of you have not finished reading it yet.

Now that that’s over, I started in on JPod by Douglas Coupland. Enjoying it so far, which is not a surprise, as I’ve enjoyed all his books.

I also finished Neil Gaiman’s Stardust (for the third or fourth time, I lost count), and I’m looking forward to the movie version.

My son is reading A Separate Peace (required, not by choice). His other choice was Jack London’s White Fang and I had this conversation with a bitchy little woman in the bookstore regarding my choice:

Her: What are you looking for?
Me (rattling off the summer reading list): Annie, A Separate Peace, White Fang…
Her: Boy or girl? What grade?
Me: Ninth grade boy/
Her (all haughty): Forget Annie. That’s for girls.
Me: Ok…then I’ll get A Separate Peace.
Her (rolling eyes): Please. Every boy wants to read Jack London.
Me: Not my boy.
Her: I’ll have you know White Fang is what got me reading. It made me what I am today.
Me (to myself, not out loud): An obnoxious book store clerk?
Me: (out loud): I think he’d rather read A Separate Peace.
Her: Then you don’t know your son so well. Boys want Jack London.
Me: Jack London is boring.
Her: What?? (she looks at me with such utter disdain I almost laugh. I notice she looks like a disgruntled weasel)
Me: I’ll get the other book myself, thanks.

She follows me to where there is a display of summer reading books. She picks up A Separate Peace before I can.

Her: Is your son a reader?
Me: Not so much.
Her: Then he’ll hate this.
Me: Trust me, he’ll hate Jack London more.
Her: But this takes place during WWII, I don’t think he’ll….
Me: Great. I’ll take it. He loves WWII.
Her: But….it’s not about the war….he’d much rather read White Fang….Jack London….
Me: Thanks for your help.
Her: Whatever.

And she slams the copy of White Fang down on the table and walks away.

My son better damn well LOVE A Separate Peace just so I can go back to the bookstore and shove it in that weasel’s face.

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Got an email last night reminding me that I promised to tell the mescaline camping story a few weeks ago. So, here it is.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Really, when someone asks you about your experiences with hallucinogenic drugs, that’s a pretty good answer. You win some, you lose some. When the L column starts outnumbering the W column, you call it quits.

This was the 70’s. Most of our drug use involved using bongs made out of household products, sitting around in someone’s art deco basement discussing Syd Barrett’s sanity or Jim Morrison’s dick. Every bong hit was chased with piss warm Miller Lite stolen from someone’s garage. Sometimes there was hash – smooth, blessed hash – and sometimes – ok, a lot of times, there was acid and mescaline.

Oh, mescaline. To this day, whenever I think of that beautiful purple microdot, I can almost feel that metallic taste form on my tongue, that signal that the mesc was working its way through my body and I was about to fly. Most of my friends preferred LSD as their means of flying; I preferred the mesc. Never a bad trip. Never a dull moment. And never a feeling of disappointment when you realize that the Mickey Mouse blotter you just licked was a fake, which is the price you pay for trusting your drug money to hippies camped outside a Hot Tuna concert. I knew that when I drove all the way to Alley Pond Park and placed my bills in Fat Albert’s hands, I was getting the real deal. Fat Al didn’t mess around. Fat Al had a reputation to uphold. And I’m sure he’s still upholding it on Riker’s Island. But that’s another story.

Let me just cut right to the camping trip. Guys, I am not a camper. Do I seem like a camper to you? Hell no. I need electricity. I need a real bed. I need to not have to take a piss in the middle of some godforsaken woods in upstate New York. I need to not hear someone reprimand me for not using “nature’s toilet paper” a/k/a, a leaf, and using a page from their notebook instead. Yet, I went on a camping trip. They talked me into it. I don’t know how the hell they did it, but they talked me into it.

Bear Mountain, New York. April, also known as the rainy season around here. I swear, the second we got up there it started pouring on and off. We sat in this thin, falling apart tent watching the water seep in. Gee, I’m so glad I came on this camping trip with you. How else would I get the experience of drowning in my sleep?

I spent about two hours cursing my decision before I said, the hell with this. I know we were supposed to save the mesc for the next night, but I was going to make this camping trip work somehow. If I had to trip to do it, so be it.

I was finally able to convince everyone that tonight was the night to have our big party because if this rain kept up, we’d all be boarding an ark the next day and asking Noah to make us breakfast. Let’s live while we can. So we did. We broke out the beers, broke out the bongs, broke out the mescaline. All at once. I’m not going to say how many tabs we had each. Suffice it to say it was more than the daily recommended dosage.

Let me tell you, when you are high and drunk and feeling the beginnings of a drug induced euphoria, you don’t care if it’s raining piss from heaven. You just don’t care. You open your mouth and catch the drops and think jesus christ himself is feeding you liquid gold. We cranked the tunes and listened to Shine On You Crazy Diamond echo around the mountains. We were all kind of floating.

And then I heard it. What the hell was that? Singing? Guys singing? Huh? Was that… 99 bottles of beer on the wall? Except they weren’t saying beer….”98 bottles of”…….”97 bottles of..”….we turned down the Pink Floyd and listened. Hell, I was so relieved everyone else had heard it too because if this was going to be my hallucination for the night, I was gonna be pissed. Fat Albert would pay. But no, we all heard it. “95 bottles of Pepsi on the wall, 95 bottles of Pepsi…….if one of those bottles just happens to fall, what a waste of…..soda?” SODA?

A few of us started walking in the general direction of the singing. I stopped short when I got to the clearing where the singing guys were. I stared. No. No fucking way. Bad mesc. Bad trip. No bueno. I shook my head to clear it. You ever do that when you’re tripping out? boyscouts.jpgYou think you can rattle your brains back to reality. But I shook and shook and those guys were still standing there. Boy scouts. No, not boy scouts. Men scouts. And it wasn’t bad drugs. It was real. They were sitting around a raging campfire in full boy scout regalia, the tie and cap and shorts and knee socks, I kid you not. They stared up at us, a couple of teenagers all messed up on drugs, wearing soaking wet clothes, staring with incredulity at these guys. And they just stared back at us until we were caught in some bizarre showdown of the stares with these dorks. Finally, I broke the contest and just blurted out, “It’s boy scouts!” The lead scout (you can tell he was the lead guy because he was holding the lantern) stood up and said, kind of obnoxiously, “That’s Eagle Scouts, young lady. Eagle Scouts.” Well holy fuck, we were in the presence of super scouts! I mean, there’s nothing wrong with being an Eagle Scout, but there’s something wrong with being an Eagle Scout in full uniform on a camping trip singing 95 bottles of Pepsi on the wall at 10 pm on a Friday night. Something seriously wrong. So I did what anyone else would have done under the circumstances. I said, “Hey guys. Wanna party?”

Something about reporting us to the authorities. Something about disrespect for the wonders of our natural habitat. Something about bears coming down from the mountain and eating us for breakfast. We got bored with their lecture and headed down toward the lake. By this time the mesc was really starting to take hold. That familiar taste on my tongue, the light buzz in my head, the feeling that this all may or may not be a dream and that I was suddenly sure I had the answer to life, the universe and everything and it wasn’t 42. No, it was…….the Statue of Liberty. What?

Oh yea. There it was. See, I had somehow found myself sitting on this huge boulder that was sticking out of the lake. And I was piloting this boulder because it was gonna lift off and take us toward…toward there. You see it? Up there on the top of Bear Mountain? It’s Lady Liberty. Lady Liberty waving her torch and she’s whispering to me. It’s like a Neil Diamond song come to life. What? You don’t see that? How can you not see it, it’s like 700 feet tall? I start humming America the Beautiful. And I think about the Eagles Scouts and how I disrespected nature by making a bong out of a tree branch and I may have a tear rolling down my cheek like that Indian in the commercial.

I think it’s when I shouted Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute, that they pulled me off the boulder and dragged me up to the tent. I was repeating over and over, Lady Liberty loves you, Lady Liberty loves you and then guys, tell her to put out her torch cause she’s gonna start a forest fire and Smoky is gonna be pissed the fuck off. I had to make a break for it. I had to get over there and put out the torch before Lady Liberty fell asleep, like that time my grandfather fell asleep with a cigar in his hand and almost burned the kitchen down. I was just about to devise a plan to escape the clutches of my friends when a wave of bliss hit me. Oh yea, Buddha was calling. Buddha was calling. Buddha was saying…..chill out, dude. Relax. I went limp. I laid down on the grass and stared up and oh yes, it had stopped raining. The sky had cleared. Hallelujah and all that. I stared up at the stars and thought I could count them. I started singing softly, “one billion stars in the sky, one billion stars in the sky, if one of those stars just happen to fall……..” and then I shit you not, I am not making this up, I swear on the heart of Neil Diamond, a shooting star streaked across the sky. Wish, wish, I gotta make a wish, what the hell would I wish for? Oh yea. Music would be nice. Waste of a wish, but I was in this alternate universe high. Ok, buddah of the shooting stars, I wish for some music and no more Pink Floyd please.

And I heard it. A harmonica, softly playing something familiar, something that brought back memories of a hot summer day on the back lawn of the local church, lots of kids and…oh, hell. This is what I wished for? Kumbaya on a harmonica with backing vocals by Eagle and the Scouts? Yea, this is where it ends. This is where I find the warm beer and drink enough to put me to sleep. The bliss of mescaline can only take you so far. When you got overgrown boy scouts serenading you with church songs in the middle of a mountain, there’s only so far Fat Albert’s product can take you.

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When I read over at Blood Onion that Scoldy doesn’t love Raymond, I felt a small thrill. Is it wrong that I get excited when I find other people who hate that show as much as I do? Every single character on that show is grating; Raymond, the wife, the mother in law, the brother, even the kids. Any time I have been force fed an episode of Raymond (usually at my parents’ house), I ended up wanting to bitchslap every person on the show. With the wife, I think it’s more my reaction to the way she puts up with Raymond’s absolute thoughtlessness than anything else.

Or maybe it’s just this weird thing I have against sitcom wives. I can’t think of one – save for the sainted Mrs. Cleaver – whose character I have any fondness for. My hatred seems more prevelant with cartoon wives, but that may be attributed to the fact that in a cartoon, the situations and/or characters can be more outrageous and less based in reality.

Take Peggy Hill , for instance. She infuriates me. She’s bossy, self-centered, passive-aggressive, bitchy, ungrateful, sanctimonious, righteous and a martyr. If I were Hank, I would have slammed her head against a propane tank ages ago.

Another one I have no use for is Lois Griffin. Any woman that puts up with the shit Peter has dumped on her deserves what she gets, but she isn’t getting any sympathy from me. Yes, I know. It’s a cartoon. It’s fake. Still, I can’t help but feel frustrated with her sometimes. Plus, she’s a skanky whore. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Let’s keep rolling here. Marge Simpson. Another one who puts up with too much. At least Homer can be loving and sincere, where Peter Griffin is just an ass all the time. Marge also goes to the Peggy Hill school of obnoxious behavior. Another righteous martyr who thinks her way is the only way.

What about some real tv wives (as opposed to cartoons)? I don’t watch any current sitcoms, but I can tell you that Edith Bunker used to get under my skin. She always seemed like she was walking on eggshells with Archie. like she was afraid to do something wrong because he would end up belting her one. Can’t you see that? Archie comes home from work and some neighbor is sitting in his chair and dinner isn’t ready so he goes in the kitchen and asks Edith what the hell is going on and when she doesn’t answer fast enough, he calls her an idiot and then throws her against the wall. He leaves the room and the camera cuts to Edith, crumpled up in a ball on the floor, tears streaming down her face, and she says “he wouldn’t hit me if he didn’t care.” That’s why I hated that show. It wasn’t just Archie’s bigotry or Sally Struthers’s hippie character. I hated that I saw Edith as a deeply unhappy woman with self esteem issues. Wasn’t the show supposed to be funny? It always left me feeling like I was missing the joke.

You know who I miss? Roseanne. Sure, she was foul-mouthed and trashy. But there was a woman who stood up for herself, who didn’t put up with any shit from her kids or husband and who tried to do the right thing most of the time.

The best thing about Roseanne was that the show was consistently funny, even when they took on serious issues. All the characters had personalities that I could either relate to or sympathize with, unlike the sitcoms of today, where everyone is a two dimensional cliche.

Oh, hell if I know. I don’t even watch sitcoms anymore (save for the aforementioned cartoons). I gave up on basic tv ages ago. I now watch a steady diet of the History Channel, Discovery Channel, TLC and HGTV. Give me a few hours of survival, lawn care and Hitler and I’m much happier than if I spent my limited television time yelling at some cartoon wife that she needs therapy.

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weekend

Rain. More rain. Floods. Home Depot. Electricity off. Electricity on. Finished Harry Potter. Wicked cramps. Barbecue. Friends. Family. Food. Home Depot. Yardwork. More rain. More rain. Home Depot. Tired.

through the window might as well jump
finally! threat or premonition

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games people play

Well, games I played. In my childhood.

Trouble
That damn popping sound. I hated it, but was addicted to the game. I took no prisoners here. I went out of the way to land on your guy and send you back home and then I’d point at you and laugh. I was about ten years old when we were sitting around playing with the whole family. I couldn’t get out of the home slot. I needed a six. Pop. Pop. Pop. I kept getting 1s. Pop. 1. On my next turn, I hold the damn bubble down as hard as I can and yell “WHY CAN’T I GET A FUCKING SIX?” I let go and the dice jumps and lands. Six! It worked!

My three year old sister goes next. She holds her hand over the popper and says “GIMME FUCKING SIX!” I spent the rest of my night in my room, banned from Trouble. I could hear the popping going on for hours and my little sister saying “FUCKING SIX!” over and over. And my mother muttering “I’m going to kill her.”

Which WitchWhat is the deal with these complicated set ups? Who the hell wants to play a game that takes six hours to put together? By the time I got the last of the walls up, the first two would collapse. Fuck it. Who needs this game anyhow? Who cares which damn witch is which? I just took the little plastic kids and the little plastic mice and some red food dye and I brought them into the bathroom and played “Let’s pretend the kids got eaten by mice and are now drowning in a pool of their own blood.” Hey, it’s better than when I found my son in the bathroom playing Bobbing for Barbie Heads.

Perfection
Maybe I just hated games. Because this one drove me crazy, too. I hated hearing that timer wind down. It would go faster and faster. You knew that buzz was coming and the board would pop up and the pieces would go flying. But I had to do it. I had to beat the clock. I had to get those pieces in. It was like a freaking IQ test. How many different ways can a parallelogram face anyhow? Then I’d get angry at the pieces and start yelling at them. “You are fitting in that hole. Get in there. I am not going to lose. God damn it. Get in there, time is running down!” My heart would race, my hands would shake, I’d panic and try to put the square peg in the round hole and then shit would just blow up everywhere. That’s pretty much the story of my life. I hate this game.

And fucking Monopoly. Does anyone really like Monopoly? Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s my attention span. But I get bored after half an hour. I usually end up trying to get the ghetto colors on purpose so I can become a slumlord. You can nickel and dime someone to death by building hotels on shitty property. Just look at Atlantic City.

Eventually I’d be praying for the game to come to an end, so I’d cheat and land myself on Park Place or Boardwalk when their was enough property on them. I’d throw up my hands in feigned disgust, gather up all my property cards and hand them to the owner of the hotels I just crashed. “All yours. I give up.” Sure, I always lost at Monopoly. But I always lost on purpose. Which makes me a winner. Because while everyone else continued playing long after I was gone, I was in my room watching CHIPS while they were bickering over the proper usage of Free Parking.

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random

I have decided that Saturday will be random list day.

Five backup trades I will learn for when Armageddon strikes and we have to start civilization all over again (providing I’m one of the few survivors)

  • School Marm
  • Bar Wench
  • Blacksmith
  • Evil Overlord
  • Spider Man

My favorite Laverne and Shirley moments

  • When Laverne loses her job in the factory and has all kinds of adventures holding up gas stations to get the rent money
  • When Shirley finally gives Squiggy a pity fuck
  • When we find out exactly why they call Carmine The Big Ragoo
  • When Mr. Defazio installs the hidden camera in the girls’ bathroom.
  • The naked lesbian mud wrestling episode

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how about a community ass kicking?

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Friends and community leaders in Newport News plan to hold a “community hug” for Michael Vick tonight.

The Reverend Marcellus Harris says the community wants to emphasize Vick’s right to due process and that the rush to judge him is premature.

People never cease to amaze me.

You know what they should have instead? A community revenge night. Tie the fucker to a pole, dress him in a suit made of raw meat, then let all the dog that he and his cohorts trained to be fighters loose on him.

So we’ve got the Vick football scandal, baseball has steroids, basketball has its douchebag ref…..thank god the worst thing going on in hockey is only that it has a dumbass commissioner. THE NHL IS PURE!

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