Quote of the Day, Love: Oscar Wilde

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Go ahead and search it up

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mysterious Sounds

It was the couple's first trip out of town together. Maggie was extremely nervous about meeting his family and wanted to make a great impression. Elliot didn't really like his family, but his sister and brother in-law were new parents and this would be his first time seeing his niece. Maggie knew that at least she could always be polite and offer to help with various chores. When they arrived in Eastern Washington, Elliot's mother had set up a huge tent for them in the back near the river with a big air mattress, pillows, and even a removable top flap to look at the stars.
There isn't much to do in the country except talk,play boardgames and eat. Maggie brought her laptop along to finish some research for class, but she didn't get much done. The new baby was adorable if a bit fussy. The new parents had no experience with infants and when Maggie offered to put the baby in a sling and walk around, they were amazed at the result. As she brushed her teeth before bed, Maggie heard the whole family telling Elliot what a great woman she was. She let out a relieved sigh; at least that bit was fine.
The only  slightly negative thing to be said about Elliot's mother was the small portions of food she offered. Elliot's sister was a vegetarian and Maggie couldn't eat pork, so the evening meal of hot dogs and fruit salad didn't prove to be very filling. About midnight, Elliot and Maggie went to the tent to sleep. They joked and listened to the raccoons across the river fighting.
He leaned over to kiss her and suddenly, they both heard a loud dangerous low pitched growl that sounded very close. Though raccoons look fairly  harmless, they can inflict real damage with their claws and teeth even slicing through a tent.
He grabbed the flashlight, turned rapidly to her and said, "Stay here, I'll check it out!"
She started laughing uncontrolably.
"don't panic, I'll figure this out," he said gllantly.
"No, no, it was my stomach."
They were both amazed that something that small could make such a ferocious sound and they laughed for a good ten minutes until a light went on in the house.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Coming soon:The Bride Not-to-Be

Coming Soon, the unusual request

The Prom Date

The Prom Date
I went to the prom the first time when I was a junior in high school. A friend from orchestra asked me to go with him and I said sure. It would be the first time I ever wore a formal dress. Though I had only two week’s notice, I found a cute teal green strapless dress with a full skirt that went well with my hair and complexion. More people went with friends than with romantic interests and so it seemed fine. Two days before the prom, I went to the beach and fell asleep in an awkward position. Wearing a short sleeved shirt shielded some of my arms and my positioning meant that about half of my legs were spared. The rest of me was lobster red and beginning to blister. Even my neck and collarbones were bright red. Even the softest t-shirt felt like sandpaper. I only understood the extent of the damage when I tried my dress. My upper half looked like a candy cane that burned and caused red sugar bubbles everywhere and my upper arms were bright white.  I got out the aloe, soaked I milk baths, took aspirin, prayed, but the burn’s only response was to peel in large sheets the evening of the prom. I contemplated exfoliating but as soon as the soap toughed my skin, I yelped, doused myself with Bactine and aloe, and then hoped that the room would be dark.
The day of the prom, I was no longer in pain, but the peeling became worse and worse as did the itching.  I tried a pair of opera gloves to hide the burn, but they looked strange on a sixteen year old. I hoped that at least my black nylons would cover up my legs which still radiated a red-orange heat. After fixing my hair and applying perfect makeup, my date finally showed up.
I heard a horn and looked out the window. My date Mark sat in his car impatiently and I went out. As I stepped in, I noticed him applying a thick greasy layer of Vaseline to his lips. For some reason, the front of his hair was curled into a combination of feathers or a swoop. Instead of wearing a tuxedo, he chose the orchestra uniform. I coughed as the sharp scent of Drakon Noir filled the car and rolled down a window. My nose burned and my tastebuds didn't adjust for three days later.
“You look nice, “he said.
“Thanks, you too,” I replied.
“Ok, so we’re going to a restaurant, but don’t order anything expensive and don’t ask for anything to drink,” he said loudly.
“Ok,” I said. It should be noted that I have never been the kind of date who orders the expensive items from the menu. In fact, I usually order the cheapest or second cheapest thing there and water. I chalked his behavior up to nerves and watched the road.
We ate at a nice seafood restaurant overlooking Lake Washington and as I ordered the small Cesar salad, I noticed him looking intently across the room. A few feet away, I spotted a girl wearing a bright pink dress and her date, a male friend from class.  Mark stared at her the whole time we ate. Every few minutes, he reapplied a coat of vaseline to his lips and they glistened like a cold porkchop.  He quickly reached for my hand to try to hold it. I was taken by surprise and didn’t remove it until a few seconds later.
“Right, I shouldn’t hold your hand because I don’t want anyone thinking we’re together,” he snapped and then sulked off to the men’s room.
I considered trying to escape out the bathroom window or just bolting out the door and calling a cab The allure of the potential glamor of a prom, even with a weird date, was just too strong. So, I stayed.
We arrived fairly early and I was glad to see several people I knew from orchestra or classes. One of my cousins was even there with his girlfriend.  Mark ran his hands through his hair and then disappeared. I sat at the table alone until a friend asked me to dance.
While we danced, I noticed out of the corner of my eye the arrival of the sexiest girl in the senior class. She looked like a blond Jessica Rabbit in a fitted red dress and measurements that are almost impossible to attain naturally. She was accompanied by her 6’3 boyfriend, a marine whose neck was as big around as my waist.  As we danced, I plead my case to my friend.
“Since you guys are going to Denny’s could you drop me off at the bus stop? It’s on your way?”
He agreed but I still had to wait a few hours to get out of there.  I talked with some friends and danced as well. The girl with the pink dress sat one out and her date asked me to dance. We had known each other since the second grade and were both there as, “just friends.”
“Didn’t you know that Mark and Patty were together for almost a year?” he asked as we danced.
“Patty, your date?”
“Exactly. That’s why she asked me, she didn’t want to go alone, but didn’t want to miss it either.”
We looked over to Patty’s table. Mark stood very close to her trying to look every bit the sophisticate, his jacket carelessly tossed over his shoulder and green cummerbund riding up to his skinny chest.  She looked horrified and it seemed like her eyes were blinking SOS. My friend came to her rescue in seconds.. Mark returned to our table and started talking to me.
“You know, “he said taking out his Chapstick again, “my mom gave me a condom for tonight.” He leaned in and I contorted my neck to miss him, but still I felt those greasy lips brush against my cheek and I think I felt the flick of a wet and slimy tongue on my neck. It gave me shivers and not the good kind. “I’m going to get some punch, be right back,” he said. abruptly. As he stalked away, he tossed his jacket over his right shoulder his cummberbund climbed up the crazy staircase of his thin ribs and settled at a jaunty angle; half up, half down.
I looked around the room, trying to figure out how to escape unseen. Glancing at the punchbowl, I saw Mark chatting up the red dress beauty. She looked at him in disgust and ignored him. He tugged on her dress and across the dance floor, her befriend took a nearly vertical leap at Mark. Before any violence occurred, Mark put up his hands in a, “my bad,” kind of gesture and sneaked away to another corner of the room.  My sunburn was itching like crazy and the night wasn’t getting any better. I thanked the friend who offered me a ride and started towards the door. The last thing I saw, Mark was enthusiastically doing the Electric Slide by himself; the other dancers had parted like the Red Sea .Either didn’t notice or he didn’t care.
Even a senior prom was not worth that kind of hassle and humiliation. It was early June and the cool summer air felt wonderful on my skin. The sun was not quite down and I noticed the streetlights start to flicker to life. After a few blocks, I found a bus stop and luckily a bus pulled up a few minutes later. As I stepped on board the crinolines and taffeta rustled and woke sleeping passengers. Looking out the window, I noticed rented limos lining the road with half-drunk girls whooping out of the sun roof. Adjusting my dress, I tried to blend in and rode home.

Technology rant!

After reading that a Facebook user can not play games unless he or she gives up more of their privacy by opting to go with http instead of https, I've vowed to stop playing Farmville. Growing fake crops and trees just isn't as interesting as it once seemed. Why on earth did it seem interesting in the first place?  Facebook puts up old people's ads for me and I'm beginning not to like it. To cement this notion of having my privacy sold out, I learned last week that some one tried to hack into my Facebook and yahoo accounts. My cousin Heidi alerted me to the fact that about a week ago, Facebook decided to display people's phone numbers without telling users about it. Because, you can never get enough telemarketers at 5AM.
Early this morning, I read an e-mail from a high school friend claiming he and his wife were stuck in England and they were robbed, send money. Anyone who knows me at all knows I don't have money. geesh, what a bad con -artist this person must be.. Keep in mind that I haven't talked to this guy in over 15 years and the fact that he only makes a teacher's salary and the whole situation is very fishy.
I sometimes wonder who exactly gets up in the morning and says to him or herself, "I'm going to monkey with other people's computers." I understand that sometimes there is a profit to be made, but  I don't understand the purpose of computer viruses. Are these people trying to make a statement? Is it some kind of revenge for not going to the prom in high school?  The very existence of these nae'r do-wells makes life more difficult for everyone. I have to change my Western password ever few weeks and they won't let me do a predictable pattern like" abc!this is my password" .If I forgot my new password in this instance, I could just try defthisismypassword and so on. Between setting up a webpage, blog, school addresses and problems on yahoo, I've had to change  passwords at least twelve times in as many weeks. The number of passwords I need to get into different web sites is even more varied. I suppose  I could keep a list of them on my computer, but that would defeat my purpose.
I like technology for the most part, but I find that I am far too reliant on it. If my printer breaks,, if I forget to save something the right way , if I can't connect to the web, if I can't find answers to complex questions simply by typing the words into google, or if things move to slowly, I become livid and frustrated.
Sometimes, and I do mean only sometimes, becoming a Luddite doesn't look so terrible after all.

Not to be Counfused with

I posted this before, but it disappeared. So again:
I googled myself the other day to see if I could find the blog. Instead, I found another Katherine Margeson who has a blog. She seems pretty cool but has many naked pics up. Just FYI, no, that's not me.  Burlesque isn't my thing.

I'm Not Crying - Flight Of The Conchords: I'm making a lasagna ...for one.

Hello International Readers

Hello international readers.  The translations may not be exact because I used google translate. Still, you will probably get the gist of what I'm trying to say.

China 您好,如果您喜欢这个博客,请留下评论,告诉您的朋友。如果你不喜欢,请随时给自己。                                                
England: Hello, if you like this blog, please leave a comment and tell a friend. If you don't like it, please keep it to yourself. 
Finland: Hei, jos pidät tätä blogia, jätä kommentti ja kerro kavereillesi. Jos et pidä siitä, pidä se itse.
France and Canada: Bonjour, si vous aimez ce blog, s'il vous plaît laissez un commentaire et dites à vos amis. Si vous ne l'aimeront pas, s'il vous plaît gardez pas pour vous.
Germany: Hallo, wenn Sie dieses Blog gefällt, lassen Sie einen Kommentar und erzählen Sie Ihren Freunden. Wenn Sie nicht mögen, bitte halten Sie es für sich.
Malay: Halo, jika anda suka blog ini, sila tinggalkan komen dan memberitahu rakan-rakan anda. Jika anda tidak akan menyukainya, sila simpan untuk diri sendiri. 
Phillipines: Hello, kung gusto mo ang blog na ito, mangyaring mag-iwan ng puna at sabihin sa iyong mga kaibigan. Kung hindi mo gusto ito, mangyaring panatilihin ito sa iyong sarili.
Portugal and Brazil: Hola, si te gusta este blog, por favor deje un comentario y dile a tus amigos. Si no le va a gustar, por favor mantenga a sí mismo. 
Russia: Здравствуйте, если вам нравится этот блог, пожалуйста, оставьте комментарий, и рассказать своим друзьям. Если вы не будете, как его, пожалуйста, сохранить его для себя.
Spain, Mexico, South America: Hola, si te gusta este blog, por favor deje un comentario y dile a tus amigos. Si no le va a gustar, por favor mantenga a sí mismo.
United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Morocco مرحبا، إذا كنت مثل هذا بلوق ، يرجى ترك التعليق وأخبر أصدقائك. إذا كنت لن ترغب في ذلك، يرجى الاحتفاظ بها لنفسك.

I'm Too Sexy For...


Thursday, February 24, 2011

A dramatic reading of a real break-up letter


Nostalgia for a Time that Never Really Was

I know it dates me, but I love watching the re-runs of Almost Live after SNL  It makes me nostalgic for the era when there were fewer strip malls, arrogant microserfs and ironic hipsters. It was just Seattle, the place all fictional characters go when they have to move.When only three blocks from my childhood home, stood a forest rumored to have bears walking around.  It reminds me other Center with the bubble elevator and the Fun Forest, the ornate displays outside of Fredrick and Nelsons. A time when Ballard really was made up of Scandinavians, Renton was a working class semi-hick town, when working people could afford a house near the University district which now would cost at least half a million.  I remember when traffic jams in  Woodinville were rare. Now every neighborhood looks roughly the same and despite the huge number of choices we can make, most people choose to be similar to one another. Everyone has the same cars, same three or four different styles of clothing and hair. I even had a teacher who kept sheep just off of what is now a main intersection of 405. I remember when nights were silent except for frogs and crickets or rain. Now, I can hear traffic from the main road twenty two out of twenty-four hours a day.I miss that space, the quiet, the different neighborhoods good or bad.  I drive down roads which used to have a grocery and maybe a feed store or burger stand and they are wall to wall nail salons, and chain stores. Now, this part of the world is just like anywhere else really.

Single Heterosexual Men Age 30-40 in Greater Seattle Area (a Chart)

Based only on my observations

The Adultolescent

The Adultolescent AKA the Man-child:  His photos have one common theme, red solo cups and raised arms either in a bar or standing by expensive car. This species is split into two sections: adultolescents who have never married and those who are divorced. For some reason, this species suffers from Peter Pan syndrome and has decided that he should live like he wanted to when he was 21 This species is  often still trying to get their grunge band a record deal. He wears short pants, t-shirts with holes in them, and is sporting at least two huge tattoos. Claiming that he needs to find himself, he behaves like an angsty twenty- year- old. He usually lives in a loft or a basement of a friend or relative's house. His abode is sparse and usually only contains a bed, desk and computer. It is usually quite similar to a freshman's dorm room in appearance.
Typical Pick up Line
 " I usually date women much younger than me. I'm a
renaissance man really. I'm dropping out of clown college tomorrow and I think I'll learn how to be a physical therapist. Either that or maybe go to bartending school, or maybe open my own guitar manufacturing business, or flip houses.I'm going through, you know an existential crisis.  I went to the best party the other night and then I came home, ate a frozen pizza and played second life drunk all night. My roommate has the best hookup for weed Besides, I only want something casual, you know Friends with benefits. So, are you a "real," redhead. (Snicker)."

The Grumpy Old Man

The Grumpy Old Man: The Grumpy Old man is similar to the Self-Proclaimed -Genius except he often has the academic background to partially back it up. Usually in his late thirties or early 40s, he is often mistaken as being his date's  father.  His affectations include saying Tuesday as teeoosday whereas in the NW we say it more like “twosday.” Though he may possess a fine academic mind, his interpersonal skills are appallingly bad. In a similar nuniform to that of an 80 year-old English sheep farmer from the 19th century, all wool cap and patches on the elbows of his jacket, he will talk about his problems with bowel regularity or how teenagers are scandalous
Though he doesn’t know anything about even the most basic pop culture or news, he is well read on his area of expertise which he will talk about for at least two hours. Guilty of putting women on a pedestal, he can be brutal;y cruel when they do not match is expectations exactly.He looks down upon women who can cook or who think marriage and having a family can be a good idea. He calls such women Plebes.
Typical Pick up line:
Him: I don’t’ like television or modern music or most books or people. I only like bee bop jazz, vegan food, and tap water, much younger women who are beautiful and geniuses.. My attitudes are very European in that sense. ”

The Amateur Pick up Artist

The Amateur Pick up Artist: A man has taken a class or read a book on how to pick up women, use them, and discard them. Often he is a misogynist, and a misanthrope at the same time. Think about the audience for the Tom Cruise character in Magnolia and you won’t be far off. Often the pickup artist married young and has been divorced for a few years. His game hasn’t evolved since high school and neither has his personality. He can be distinguished from other men by peacocking which usually means he wears a weird hat, a  feather boa, or a slightly naughty belt buckle to draw the eye to the groin region. To seem even more alternative, he often paints his nails black. This species appears especially slimy and is guilty of invading other people's olfactory space by dousing himself in Axe body spray.Unlike the locust who at least thinks he is being honest, the APA is a ruthless jerk with some deep seeded issues about women.
Typical Pickup Line
“You’re kind of attractive I guess and probably somewhat intelligent, but what else do you have going for you? I don’t think you’re good enough for me.” (All said while playing with a feather boa or  adjusting a ridiculous hat.)

The Self-Proclaimed Genius

The Self-Proclaimed Genius: This species is made up almost entirely of computer techs that make more than I ever will after earning a one year degree. His insecurity about the lack of formal education and the need to always be right leads him to pronounce psychiatric diagnosis on people he has just met. He must be the authority on everything.  To be happy, he must be seen doing these scholarly things. He writes his profile partly in Haiku or discusses why he doesn’t believe in TV. (It still believes in you though SPG!). The SPG has many affectations, but the most frequent, is the use of the phrase, “well I read a study,” when ever someone questions him. 
 Anyone who disagrees with him isto be pitied and reviled for their ignorance of such important topics as locking a car door once inside. He believes himself to be a sage council. His uniform usually consists of concert or event t-shirts, sock shoes for everyday where, and one pair of jeans. Often a serious game player, he spends most of his free time either talking to online friends or playing WoW.
A typical pickup line:

"I see that you are working on your masters. I have a year of college, but I taught myself everything I need to now and I can more than hold my own with Ph.ds in any subject. Well, teaching though, that's not really an academic area; it's more of craft like woodworking or a trade like plumbing. It looks pretty easy and you know what they say, those that can, do, those that can't teach. Did you notice that my profile was written in the form of a sonnet? I like to study political theory, economics, and game theory… (Long pause,) for fun. (this statement is supposed to awe the female but typically it leaves her wanting to laugh.) You have a cat; I have two feline lap seeking missiles. Wink. I don't think you're smart enough for me, but I suppose I could try and tutor you because let's face it, you are pretty hawt.”

the Inquisitor

The Inquisitor:  Often this species is just nervous and because the whole chat scenario does feel a bit like a job interview, one cuts the inquisitor a bit more slack at first.  Many Inquisitors end up being perfectly nice normal men.
typical Pick up line:
Where did you go to school, what you mean by social justice, what is your ideal partner like? Do you like Korean food, how tall are you? Oh, and is it true what they say about redheads? It must be great to be able to see in the dark and land on your feet whenever you fall, that must be good to have."
Female: “No, that would be a cat. Here are some answers to your questions”

The Bootycaller

The Subtle Booty caller: Perhaps in real life, the bootycaller’s message would seem funny or outrageous. When it is there in black and white though, the mere site of it makes me want to run and take a long shower to scrub off the icky factor. He will often describe himself as in an open relationship or as separated. These words are code for cheating on his wife or girlfriend. He wears a wool cap year round and smells like cigarettes and Redbull.
A typical pick up line:
"U r cute, I don't like chatting without meeting a person. My wife and I are just friends, but she wants to meet you too. It’s totally cool. Do you have any other photos that show more skin? What are you doing in three hours? And is it true what they say about redheads wink wink."                                                                                    

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Locust

Anyone who ever watched Little House on the Prairie knows that locusts come out every few years and leave only destruction in their path. There are a few ways to get rid of them including burning the crops, hoping a flock of birds will come and eat them, or having them hit another town. After the destruction, these insects go back to their hiding places and lay eggs so the whole thing can start again next year. No one knows where they will strike or exactly when.
So it was with Elliot. Of the class IT guy, order single, wearer of ripped t-shirts, genus: Computerland dropout, and species, locust. Locust in disguise.
Their first date was at a tea shop and the conversation was fun. He was nice enough looking and paid for the check and even walked me to my car. These two actions put him far above many of my dates. So when he asked me if I’d like to learn a quick dance step, I said sure. And we did a little Charleston on the sidewalk. The next date, they went to a play and dinner. Again, he was polite paid the bill and they seemed to hit it off. He noticed that her high heels were giving her some trouble and offered her his arm. He seemed even charming when he kissed her goodnight. After that, they were together most of the time and it was fun.
   About one month in, they went to a fancy show and he professed his great love for her. He had the future planned out, after the wedding, she would move in there and so on. She met his family at their vacation place east of the mountains and his niece and nephew were instructed to call her auntie. They went on a romantic trip to Victoria and I was planning on having a great time. When she woke up in the middle of the night to hear him calling out his ex girlfriend’s name and then crying about it, as he had done several times, even calling her by the  pretty doctor’s name, when he was awake ,her temper kicked in and she  packed and almost got out of the house before he stopped her. When they got back, things continued as they had and he brought up how excited he was to marry her and have children. When they went out to eat, he’d comment that it would be a good caterer for the wedding. He went so far as to even tell her parents that. By August he had promised that he would propose by the end of the year and wooed her with words of family and love. People who saw them together sighed and said they were a great couple. They had never seen him so happy and on her side they said that even though he was socially awkward he was good to her. Even her eagle-eyed parents and sister didn’t see it coming.
As soon as fall set in, he brutally dumped her saying only, “I don’t love you, I’m not attracted to you, and you just aren’t good enough I won’t settle.” Boom. She walked out after gathering a few things she kept there and as she approached her car she felt someone following her. It was Eliot and he said, “I’m sorry.”
“Bullshit!” she replied and peeled out. And truly, it was pure bullshit.
Some people are in love with the idea of love and anything like sickness, arguments, or any perceived imperfection is unacceptable to his ideas. 

Many people, men and women alike search online to see if they can find evidence as to why the ex did what he or she did and why. To assuage her utter confusion, she gave in and searched. She happened upon a chat room for the socially incurable and chronically undersexed, (otherwise known as IT guys). He wrote about every detail of their relationship except the parts where he professed his love and devotion, strangely that was kept out. He also embellished quite a bit to appear the sensitive and studly man. His buddies would cheer on every cruel action and every very intimate detail. He had painted himself as a player, the man that every woman wanted. He didn’t write that he cried all the time, or that the previous two candidates couldn't get far away from him fast enough.The best posting was when he complained about his life and how he had it sooo hard. Everyone over twelve years old has had something bad happen. It isn’t as though he was in a war zone, had lost his family, been seriously injured or sick. but he seemed to enjoy playing the victim. She was surprised at the initial misogynist entry and they only got worse from there. She read back to the previous year and found the post where he talked about seeing a bus accident. This accident and his need for routine were the reasons he gave for all breakups. She read the postings back to the previous year and wondered what she could find out about the mysterious doctor; the one that got away. The year before, he had met the doc in the spring, had taken her to the exact same places in the exact same order.  Tea, dinner and a show, something fancy, meet the parents. He claimed to have ditched the doc before the Victoria section, but upon reading, it was doubtful that the doc would have stuck around much longer. The problem with being put on a high pedestal is that at some point you will have to move or fall.
This great love of his earned even less respect than the searcher had earned. The doc was too insulated and shy, the searcher was too talky and kind, the doctor was smart, and the searcher was a plebe who knew how to cook. He painted the doctor alternately as a thing made of angel kisses and wisdom while the searcher was pure sexual energy mixed with middle class values and a mediocre mind.  Other witty comments discussed how he never dated between October and late February. “Too many gifts required.‘  he explained.
After each relationship, he vowed not to get into the dating world again and two weeks later he announced that he put his profile on every internet dating site around. Looking back through the discussion boards, she soon realized that he had a pattern and he had no intention of fighting it. She wondered if he even knew what he was doing. For curiosity one day, she looked to see if her hypothesis was correct. It was. this year's choice is short, smart and likes to dance.
And so it begins again, a bit earlier than the previous years. Unless she is a horrible person, thought the woman, I hope she is more perceptive than the 2009 and 2010 versions of her were.  No one save the truly horrid deserves to be lead on and humiliated like that. Maybe she is truly horrible, but probably not. Perhaps people, men and women alike should have a kind of warning label. If they do the same awful things more than once, it will be listed just like the warnings on cigarette packs. “Warning, this man is a man-child, will promise you the world and then dump you because you are not perfect.  Studies have shown immense devastation to all things this man touches. Use wisely.”
His last posting read, “The biologist and I went out for tea, she’s smart and pretty. And then I taught her the Charleston on the sidewalk. Dinner and a show next week. Wish me luck!”
Typical Pick up Line: "I don't really know what I want, but I do know that I like computers. By the way, have you read (insert some obscure book title here.) Hey, would you like to go out for tea?"

February in the Northwest

The convergence zone strikes again! About fifteen minutes ago, heavy wet snow started to fall and it looks like it's sticking. It went from overcast to dark in a few seconds and the air has that particular ozone smell that comes before lightning and thunder. I looked down at my arms and the tiny hairs on them are standing up already. Only one other time has that occurred; the day after my sister's wedding. I drove over the bridge next to the Indian Reservation and the sky went onyx black. The air was charged and I realized that I was over water in a hunk of metal. I could actually feel the hairs on the back of my  neck stand up and as it often does, my flight or fight instinct kicked in (for me, it's almost always flight since lightning is a much bigger opponent.)
If the snow sticks, I'm not driving to class. Last time that happened in January, I got home by the skin of my teeth. Cars spun out all over the road and I had to back down the main hill from the freeway twice. However, my rule of putting the car in low gear and never stopping seemed to work fairly well. I'm a dedicated student, but if I wreck the car and break my leg, I can promise more class will be missed than if I don't go today. I thought after I got out of the K-12 system this waiting would cease, but it seems like Universities are even worse. Maybe it is because they still think most students live within walking distance. In my class we have three people who could walk home but it would be a hike (not to mention the lovely neighborhood they would have to traipse through)
So, here's my question::
If it snows, can thunder and lightning also occur? I'm thinking yes because there was a rapid temperature shift.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cartoons and Music Appreication 101

TCM is airing Oscar nominees and last night there were some cartoons. I forgot how much music I learned from old Warner Bros. cartoons. For example, anytime someone tiptoes, it is accompanied by violin pizzicato. If a sudden influx of work comes along, there is the opening to Sing Sing Sing. All owls wear mortar boards, and all animals either wear no clothes, or just the top. Why on earth does Porky Pig need a hat and wool jacket with no pants. Cartoon or not, that's indecent exposure. I learned some of the great classical pieces while watching Bugs elude and trick Elmer FuddWhich brings me to another cartoon rule: the bad guy must always have a speech impediment.And why, after all of the problems he has with the ACME company, does Wille E. Coyote continue to purchase from them. I suppose they are the only suppliers of modern dayand catapults and anvils for the Coyote on a budget. Why didn't he save his money and get a some steaks? That roadrunner looks like he'd be pretty stringy to me.
Can anyone else enlighten us on cartoon music and rules?

Friday and Sat Night TV

I sometimes wonder if the networks and cable companies are punishing those of us who stay in on Fridays or Saturday night by offering horrible programming. On Friday, I was down with this blasted flu and  thought that The Ricky Gervais Show would be a nice diversion. It wasn't funny at all. The premise of Karl saying funny things and they other two discussing it was ok at first. But now, all that Ricky does is call him an idiot, cackle loudly, and swear at him. This week, Ricky called Carl a whiner because he mentioned that he just got out of hospital for several kidney stones.  I say this: leave the show to Carl and the tall guy and Ricky and his ego could take up at least three more shows. I like satire, improv, etc., but mean-spirited ridicule is not that funny.


Growing up as a gen xer, I noticed how many people had the same names. In my graduating class there were at least forty Jeffs, 50 Joshes, 30 Jasons,  and 15 Scotts. It was probably just coincidence, but we thought there was more to it than that.  So, my sister and I came up with a system for names. Jason, Jeff and Scott were generally jerks. Most of the Joshes were jerks too except those of Jewish background; they had the same chance of being good or bad as anyone else.  Using our scientific methods we scoured every year book and made lists off all the boys with the correct names. Our research proved to be prescient and through my adult life, I still assume that any man with one of those names will be awful. I've tried to go out with a few Jeffs and even one Jason in the hopes that their names were not really that important. Again, though, my research has shown the hypothesis to be spot on.
We even identified people of our parents' generation and found that Rons were usually used car salesmen dressed in plaid suits. I still keep that list in my head and am surprised when I meet a Josh, Jason, Scott or Jeff who are good guys.  Because they somehow have avoided the curse of their name, we decided to call these decent guys Ronomalies. To use it in a sentence: "You know what, Jeff was really nice, polite, all around cool . He's a real ronamoly."'

The wedding part I

At some point, almost everyone asks God for a sign, a favor, or some help. Some say that God doesn't do signs by request since he's not a telephone operator or Santa Claus.At best, most of us can expect a sort of "maybe. what do you think?" kind of answer.'
It was two weeks before the wedding and the bride was starting to get if not cold, maybe tepid feet over the matter. So she asked God for a sign to tell her what to do and waited. Looking back, maybe she should have been more specific in her request.
She  should have known, when the church secretary phoned and said Pastor Steve was being held in Monroe state prison after being caught by two undercover policewomen posing as mother and (15 year old,) daughter. adn that they would have to find a new officiant. They should have known when the flowers wilted before they left the florist and the bride's ivory dress came back with bright pink splotches and a torn hemline. And lastsly they shouldhave known when people were 45 minutes late for the wedding becaue of mudslides.
But the bride was determined  and as we all know, a determined bride is not to be trifled with.

Plague in a cement box

I finally got over my last bout with the flu one week ago. I could stay awake for more than two hours at a time and I could even keep food down for long periods of time. Then on Tuesday night I went to class.
Before I continue, it is important to understand a bit about the people who go to night school whether it is to learn a trade, earn their GED, or in my case, get my Masters. Everett community college doesn't have the distractions of flowers, fountains, or interesting architecture in the daytime and it is even bleaker at night when the only illumination comes from flickering fluorescent lights. Those lights make us all look a little green to begin with so it sometimes difficult to tell if someone is sick. The halls are polished cement, the walls a pale gray and the furniture a mix of the two. People who go to Everett CC aren't there to play hackeysack, run for student council, or join a Greek system. We're all there to learn a specific program. It is not the place to, “find yourself.” Most of my fellow students work at least part time during the day and several of them have young families as well. Because each class lasts four hours, to miss even one would be like missing an entire week's worth of instruction. And so, people show up in all kinds of horrible conditions. It is my theory then, that the germs at Everett CC are the harshest strain available. At the University of Washington and other schools, people get sick, they stay home a day and the whole campus can go about its business. Now, all it takes is one martyr and we’re all sick. By the time the afflicted feel better in my scenario, everyone else is sick or getting there. I’m no scientist but this doesn’t seem like a difficult task to manage. Heck, the Washington State health department even has songs aimed at the ten and under crowd on the radio. “Be a washertonion, wash your hands, cover your mouth, and stay home if you are sick.” The people we're dealing with here, however are not only well into their 20s or 30s, they are masters candidates!
And last Tuesday and Wednesday that is exactly what happened. On Tuesday we were down two people and on Wednesday they were back hacking away and trying to answer questions with cracked voices. Most of the afflicted sat at least ten feet away from me, but perhaps germs are super energized at that hour or that place. I tried not to shoot dirty looks at those who were sick because illness is not a moral failing or a question of willpower to me; it just IS.
I have come to class with an ankle sprained that day, migraines with throwing up and other non-contagious problems. If, however I'm running a fever, coughing like Lucille Ball circa 1965, I bring handfuls of tissues, hand sanitizer and cough into my sleeve. I will not to touch anything or anyone. No doorknobs, vending machines, shared pens etc. This is just good manners in my opinion.
 Not everyone agrees with me though and when they sneeze. How rude of me to say something as offensive as, "Here are some tissues, could you cover your mouth please." Then the perpetrator acts all wounded and ticked off as though rejecting their gift of plague is a major faux pas.
And so, by five-thirty Thursday morning I woke up chilled and shaking, throat raw as though someone had taken a meat tenderizer to it, feverish and physically exhausted. Then the coughing started. I've been awake or moving for only a few hours a day since Wednesday night. 
Here’s the deal: If you feel well enough to go to work or class, but are still coughing or have a fever, wear a mask and carry some spray Lysol with you. If you don’t, I will. If my fever breaks by tomorrow, I’ll go to class toting mountains of tissue and Purell. And if someone else sits there and coughs, he or she will get a mask and a spray of Lysol too, I don’t care if it looks silly. A black eye from me would look much worse. It’s not unreasonable to assume that I don’t need a hazmat suit to go to class, but I could be wrong. I’ll tell those germish jokers a thing or two…just as soon as these chills stop.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hello Readers of the World!

After looking at the page's stats, I've noted readers from Finland, Malaysia, and Canada.
Canada:  Hello and thanks for reading. If you enjoy the blog tell your friends, if you don't please keep it to yourself. 
French: Bonjour, merci pour la lecture. Si vous aimez le blog dites à vos amis, si vous n'avez pas s'il vous plaît gardez pas pour vous.
Finnish: Hei ja kiitos käsittelyssä.Jos pidät blogia kertoa ystävillesi, jos et pidä sitä itse.
Malay: Halo dan terima kasih untuk membaca. Jika anda menikmati blog memberitahu rakan-rakan anda, jika anda tidak berharap simpan untuk diri sendiri..
I love google translate!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Portlandia: Is It Local? For my pepes in Cohort 21

Pan Apple Crisp

Makes 4 generous portions:
3 medium apples (Sub. pears, nectarines, and peaches also work well. Use mixed fruits if you like. If you use the softer fruits, cook for a shorter time so they do not become mushy. )
  3Tbsp. brown sugar (honey, agave syrup or white sugar can all be substituted.) Play with the amount of sweetness you want and remember, you can always add more if you want.
 1/4 cup orange juice or juice of 1 lemon, 1 orange
1 1/2 cup plain rolled outs     1/2 tsp. cinnamon      
1/8 tsp.powdered ginger or a pinch of fresh grated ginger
1/8 tsp. cardamom (if you like)         part of butter or cooking spray
1. Core. Peel, and cut apples into slices, then cut the slices in half
2. Turn the stove top to medium-high
3. Add cooking spray or butter to pan and set over heat.
4. Add fresh ginger to butter or spray in pan. If using powdered, leave until later
5.  Add apples, stir and let them get a bit less crispy
6. Add oats (you may want to add more butter or cooking spray here), stir frequently until they are lightly brown then turn heat to medium
7. Add orange and/or lemon juice and water to mix and let soak in.
8. Stir and add spices and sugar
9.  Stir mixture until most of the liquid is cooked off
10. Serve by itself or with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

The World's Greatest Thief

Shorts was a thief. He  was either the best or the worst thief ever, depending how you look at it. Wearing tight very short nylon running shorts every day, his pudgy legs stuck out painfully bare and covering much too little for modesty, fashion, or good taste. Rain or shine, he wore one of two pairs with high knee socks and anything from a t-shirt to a full winter coat on top. That winter, his pale legs turned pink from the exposure to the cold, but he never complained. He never said much of anything really. A matching shade of beige, his hair and face would have blended together if not for his rosy cheeks which provided some distinction and gave him the look of a very large baby. Despite his quiet demeanor, Shorts drove an extravagant early ‘60s Jaguar that, even at a fairly wealthy school, garnered him attention. Walking  to my 1976 yellow station wagon each day, I saw him repeat the same ritual of getting in his car. First, he wrapped a cream colored scarf around his neck, pulled kid driving gloves on and then donned large black sunglasses. Then he revved the motor which sounded like an outboard boat in its revolutions and drove out of sight. Despite the fact that he left the top off of the car, the interior gleamed with soft leather and dark wood paneling as the elements could not touch  the vehicle.It was protected. And like Shorts, its appearance could divert even a person in the deepest train of thought for a second or two.Though  I never knew his first name, his middle name definitely should have been Mysterious. As for the sports car, the joke went around that  he saved enough money from never buying full length jeans or trousers so he could afford the car.Maybe he was onto something.
 No one remembered when Shorts first appeared in school. It seemed like he had always  and never been there. Looking for him in all of the yearbooks from grade four through high school, I could find  neither name nor photo. To this day, I can’t remember his real name; no one could, and in reference to his apparel, he was dubbed Shorts.  Shorts never talked in class and no one ever saw him hanging out with other people.  Maybe he was hiding in plain site or maybe his outrageous clothing was a way he eluded suspicion. As it turned out, he had other, more important, things on his mind.
German class was dull. The teacher Herr Olsen, had a much younger wife who had just run off with their electrician and the ensuing divorce had left him simultaneously raw and in a constant fog. On a typical day, he would assign reading and vocabulary and then return to his desk and stare out the window. At first, this seemed great to have that freedom, but after a few weeks of chatting and writing notes, we all had exhausted our repertoire we and resorted to writing goofy skits to perform for each other and then we’d gossip or do homework for other classes. Each student had to choose a German name and though we were supposed to call each other by them for practice, we never did. Except in Shorts' case. It seemed more decent somehow to call him Norbert than to constantly refer to his very skimpy trousers.
On that eventful day, Herr Olsen didn’t even try to give a lesson and sat in the back of the room sipping vodka out of his thermos. Shorts sat on the other end of the room with is back to the far wall. Next to him, sat Matt, the star running back from the football team. On the other end of the room,  I had a huge crush on the guy who sat in front of me and paid little attention to the other side of the room. Every subtle clue that Seventeen Magazine published, I tried to no avail. Subtle doesn't play well in high school and I wasn't willing to move on to obvious or desperate. Working on a skit involving aliens and soccer, Jason stood next to me and reached his arm out to touch my head as directed in the script. Before he could speak though, we all heard a loud accusatory, “Where is it?”
Matt glared at Shorts, “Look Norbert I had it on the desk just a second ago and now it’s gone. Have you seen it? Did you accidentally pick it up? Anyone?"
The class fell silent with tension and for a short second, Herr Olsen snapped out of his gloom and looked around the room. We all wondered if he would finally do something, but he didn’t and a second later, he  returned to his regularly scheduled programming. Scientific calculators were expensive then, and even in an upper-middle class suburb, losing one did not guarantee getting another any time soon. Jason’s hand snapped back to his side as he strode to the other side of the room.
“Here, I'll help, " he said. The room was otherwise frozen in anticipation. I looked at each person casually and every face wore an expression of excited curiosity mixed with an undertone of a bloodthirsty mob mentality. Everyone that is, except Shorts.  His face remained expressionless and calm even when the six-foot-three  Matt towered over his seated figure and with a barely hidden fury said,
“Come on Norbert, could you at least look in your bag? Maybe you put it there accidentally.”
Shorts didn’t answer. He just blinked his eyes not focused on anything particular.
‘Dude, what’s the problem?” Jason asked bluntly.
As the episode unfolded, I focused my attention on Shorts’ expression. Even his cheeks remained an unchanging shade of pink.
“I’ll look in my bag, hang on,” said Renee who sat on the other side of him.
We all waited, “Nope, just my books and a lipstick, but you’re free to look if you want Matt.
“No problem,“ he said, “I just can’t afford to lose another one of these. My dad will be furious and I’m having a hard enough time in Trig.”
All at once, the rest of the class followed suit opening their backpacks and showing each other the contents.  All silent resolve, Jason and Matt walked around the room, looking under tables, and near the door.
Shorts remained motionless and a minute later his cloak of invisibility dissolved.Suddenly he was in the spotlight and no diversionary tactics worked.
“Come on Shorts,” Matt was angry now. “At least look!”
Shorts made eye contact with Matt, quietly clapped his hands together, and then, suddenly sprinted out of the room in a blur of beige and blue. Come to think of it, maybe they really were running shorts after all. Puzzled and surprised, we all whispered feverishly back and forth. Jason pulled Shorts’ huge duffle bag to the table, unzipped it, and dumped its contents out on the desk. Some twenty -three calculators, twelve pairs of sunglasses, two car radios, a bunch of staplers, pens, a ream of bright green paper, and what appeared to be a desiccated tuna sandwich spilled out clattering together as they landed. Matt searched the contents and found two calculators with his name engraved on the back. As it turned out, all but three of them were engraved and belonged to someone other than Shorts.  By that time, Shorts was probably on the road and Herr Olsen never inquired about the disruption. Shorts was not punished, at least not by the school
No one ever saw Shorts after that day. For a while, I debated if he even existed or if he was some kind of magical or interdimensional creature, or maybe an imp.
 A few weeks later, Herr Olsen snapped out of his funk and took attendance, “Birgit, check, Tomas, check, Norbert, no Norbert eh?”
That attendance sheet is the only official record of Shorts I remember. He never took yearbook photos and didn’t come up in conversation. Despite the dramatic episode, no one ever talked about him again. 
A few weeks later, the orchestra drove to Canada for a contest and as our bus crossed the border, I saw a beautiful green sports car. A short beige boy with a cream scarf drove with a gorgeous willowy brunette throwing her head back and laughing  in the passenger seat. Was it Shorts? To this day I'm not sure.  I picture him eternally seventeen years old making the rounds of rich schools, all the time, planning his next heist while folding and stacking hundreds of pairs of identical shorts. And when his job is done, he pulls on his drivers gloves and disappears into the thin air from whence he came.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Don't know Karate, but I do Know Karazy!

Throughout the entire second half of class tonight, I heard police and ambulance sirens. Because Everett CC is near a hospital, everyone is used to hearing the occasional ambulance siren wailing ominously; a banshee on duty to collect the dead and dying. Tonight was different; within a five minute period, I counted seven police sirens and three ambulance. Though Everett CC is a block off of the main drag, it is still a bit too close for comfort if trouble is brewing. During the break and drove to the nearby convenience
store to get a soda and in the distance I saw the blue and red flashing lights a few blocks away. Whatever was going on, it was being attended to I thought.
I'm usually one of the first to reach the parking lot when class gets out and today was no exception. As I drove down Broadway, I noted that one police car still remained up the street. As I neared the stadium, I noticed a young man with a white sweatshirt, hood pulled over his head with his arm out as if holding a leash for a dog. As I got closer, my headlights illuminated him and as I looked for the dog, I saw something glinting in his hand. Traffic ahead of me was stopped at the intersection and I looked at him again. He strode down the street with a hefty pistol in is hand. It looked to be about eight inches long with a big chamber and he clearly was on a mission. For a second, I wondered if I should go back and warn my classmates, but my
fight or flight mechanism kicked in and chose flight. I  stomped on the gas pedal instead. Better to get pulled over for speeding, I reasoned, than end up in some standoff crossfire. After all, bullets are no respecter of persons. And I don't want my obituary to read, "Innocent bystander."
My theory of what happened goes like this:
Earlier that night, there had a been a sizable fight resulting in stabbings or shootings. Once the police and medics cleared away those directly involved, the coast seemed clear. Maybe the hoodie guy was walking back to the crime scene to finish business. I didn't look back the entire way home and, maybe  because I am occasionally lucky, or maybe because they were awfully busy with more immediate and dangerous problems, the cops left me alone.

Sax and Violins

The main drag in Everett is called Broadway. It is known for having bail bonds storefronts, tattoo parlors, seedy bars, and the like. I stopped at Safeway to get a sandwich on my way to class today. Standing in line in front of me was a group of young thugs. Ranging in age from about 17 to 25, they were all pale with dark hair and looked like they were strangers to the sun or a shower.  One had clearly been in a fight or had been strangled recently as his right eye was bright purple around the edges and his eyeball itself was bright red. I think his retina may have been detached too. As he rested his hands on the glass case, I noticed that his knuckles looked like he had run them over a dirty cheese grater. Those marks are often called fight bites and as the human mouth is filthier even than those of animals who lick their bottoms, these bites get infected very fast. His buddies were dressed in oversized hoodies and all of them had shaved heads. One guy had a tattoo on his cheek of barbed wire. My guess is that his personal adornment had not helped him in his job search too well. I waited and kept feeling that I was being watched. Clutching my key chain with pepper spray, I avoided all eye contact and waited for them to rob the joint or just leave. Finally, their order was complete and as I stepped up to place mine, I heard the barbed wire guy say to his buddies, “I can’t help it, that redhead over there is so HOT! I bet she smells like soap.” Pretending not to hear them, I went about my business. Maybe it was their aesthetic sensibilities, maybe it was because I was afraid one of these guys was going to pull on a ski mask and tell us all to get on the ground while the others ransacked the pharmacy and cash registers, but I did not feel it was a great compliment.