Monday, May 29, 2006

i'm studying, honest

I'm getting heavy into online comics lately. Do you all know these?
And I just realized that three out of my seven favorites involve eating people. Well, two involve eating people and one involves [spoiler! spoiler! oh! spoiler!] one anthropomorphized dinosaur eating another. Is it because a high overall proportion of webcomics are about eating people, or do I just have latent cannibalistic urges?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

more and more one-liners

  • I'm feeling much better tonight. I'd like to be a more interesting person now, please.
  • May is National Masturbation Month! So register for the Masturbate-A-Thon, which is taking place in San Francisco this very Saturday! Seriously, people, let's all do our parts.
  • In the same vein, a big, fat nyah nyah to all you meathounds out there. Keep in mind, this is all according to Pamela Anderson, and she is a respected authority on the subject.
  • And again: Sextris! If you like to work for your porn. Uh, it really does not take long to get to the good stuff, but then you have to kind of scramble to keep it.
  • You there: I know you'll be playing soccer in a field behind the Costco tomorrow afternoon. I will be watching you. You'll see me and I'll be standing there, leaning against a fence, with my false eyelashes, press-on nails, daisy dukes, and 4 inch heels, popping my gum and smoking two cigarettes at once. Don't ask why, it just feels right.
  • The Idler King is now to be referred to as "Emoticon." I am serious. Call him this, get his goat. As Emoticon himself put it: "Like calling the fat man Slim." Actually, I don't know, he's kind of perverse so he might really like this nickname.
  • Hello there, Dr. Clambake. Hello there, Dr. BJ And The Bear.
  • Allow me to be serious for a moment. I'm incredibly annoyed by this article, but since I'm a lady, that science stuff is beyond me. So I can't refute it other than by saying this: How would an infant monkey know what a truck or a doll was unless it had been taught by humans? I'm just saying.
  • P.S.: Kisspeptin. I feel like that tells me everything I need to know about the level of scientific mind involved in this research.
  • I always thought "gonad" was just another word for "testicle." Apparently the term "gonad" refers to either testes or ovaries. Huh. I learned this from that article, but don't worry, I verified it elsewhere.
  • Why do I have the Age of Aquarius song from "Hair" in my head?
  • Yeah, so, I was lying when I said that thing about watching you boys play soccer. I will be getting all gussied up, but I'll just be sitting at home watching reruns of Sex and the City or something.
  • Is this or is it not a heinously perfect work of art?
  • I'm in a totally chatty mood, but I can think of absolutely nothing more to say. Therefore, bedways, I suppose.

And we: onlookers, always, everywhere,
always looking into, never out of, everything.
It fills us. We arrange it. It collapses.
We arrange it again, and collapse ourselves.
I'm having trouble sleeping tonight. Just, you know, thinking about Rilke, and how my daddy never loved me. Helicopters are making their throbbing heartbeat sounds outside. A migraine is beginning to develop, and every time I turn my eyes, curtains of light oscillate wildly, all around me. But don't worry, it's not painful yet.

Because I just picked up the last gift my father gave me and deliberately broke it beyond repair, it feels vitally important to me right now to tell a story in which a member of my family proves herself to be an honorable and compassionate person beyond all normal limits. This story involves a level of ugliness I ordinarily wouldn't inflict on other people, and I'll try to make it brief (and vague), but I just can't make myself leave it alone.

One day when I was something like 10 years old, my mother — a woman who quite literally considers cats to possess a higher level of mental sophistication than many human beings she knows — found a tiny kitten in our neighbor's driveway, mewing piteously and obviously injured. It became clear that the kitten had been shot in the head with a BB gun, and that it was hurt far too badly to recover. My mother wasn't the first person to realize what had happened, but she was the first and the only person willing to do anything about it. She smothered the kitten with a trash bag. First she told the crowd of children gathered what she was doing and why, and because she couldn't make us leave without leaving the kitten herself, she just hid from us what she could. I kept insisting that there was something we could do to save the animal, but she knew better and she didn't waste time humoring me.

So, my mother: she stumbled onto a situation that was absolutely harrowing for her, a situation which someone else had created through cruel negligence or just plain cruelty, and through her shock and horror she managed to find a way to help the victim — even though it was excruciating, she couldn't make the children leave, and she couldn't stop crying, and it took an unspeakably long time. It was an absolutely appalling thing to watch, and it was still the most heroic thing I've ever seen. I'm sick to my stomach from thinking about it, but at the moment, it's very warm comfort indeed to know that I was raised by at least one person capable of heroic acts, and not just selfish, cruel, and hurtful ones.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

When I was five, my family moved into our first house, and for the first time I was made to share a bedroom with my sister. After a few days of living with a baby, it dawned on me that, from my point of view, the setup was not particularly advantageous. It also began to seem to me that my own comfort was of more importance than my mother's ability to have an entire room dedicated to a sewing machine she never used. I broached the subject with my parents. It was pointed out to me that the sewing room was approximately half as big as the room I and my sister were currently occupying. I had already noticed this, in fact. I had also noticed that my sister was really quite a small person compared to me, and that the larger room had pretty blue walls. I proposed a certain course of action. My parents, however, found my plan to be unworkable, and decreed that because I was being a troublemaker, I could either take the small room, or continue sharing with my sister. Being an excessively private child, I took the small room, and I lived in it for eight years.

I was thinking about all this yesterday for some reason, and guess what? Today, according to my sister, my father got (unsurprisingly) drunk off his ass at my brother's wedding reception, told my sister this exact story, and bragged about how well he had handled the situation — i.e., he stated that he was proud that he, quote, hadn't let me put my sister in the small room. Good job there, Dad, winning a battle of wills with a five year old! And what a beastly little child I was, too, what with the thinking it was reasonable to put a defenseless baby into a room only twice as big as the closet I had lived in for the first five years of my life.

He also told my sister that he believes me, to this day, to be holding an utterly unreasonable grudge against both him and my sister over this. He's right that I totally hate her for being such a selfish 10-month-old and not sticking up for me, but now that I've matured somewhat, how could I be angry with him for wanting to protect his baby daughter from the pure malevolence that was his five year old daughter's desire to have the larger, prettier, sunnier bedroom all to herself?

Seriously though, as hard as I try, I've never been able to hold a grudge for more than a few days. It may not sound like it from my tone here, but I actually got over this whole thing very quickly. However, the explicit insistence that my asking for a room to myself was something for which I deserved to be punished in some way has always baffled me. Now that I know my father was the one who made that call, though, and that he has this freakishly enduring pride at having given both me and my sister what we each deserved, it's beginning to make sense to me. I'm now pretty sure it's as simple as that he was having a bad day, or he was drunk, or both, and for some reason my asking pissed him off, and so I had to be taught a lesson.

So of course now I'm furious about this, furious at the implication that I was a naughty child for wanting a space to myself and also furious that my father decided to spend a family gathering I couldn't attend glorifying himself by bashing me (not to mention apparently trying, foolishly, to turn my sister against me). On top of the anger is also a certain amount of guilt, because I've now realized that my mother's "sewing room" was an attempt — and because she both worked for and lived with my father, and bore the full responsibility for raising three children who were always underfoot, it was the only attempt she would have the chance to make until my father left her for his girlfriend 16 years later — at reserving a space, any space, somewhere, for herself. And I took it from her. Or, and this is even worse: when I look at this thing through ye olde spectacles of feminist paranoia, it would appear that my father self-righteously seized the opportunity to take that space from her while (bonus!) simultaneously giving me an inferiority complex for daring to want the same thing. My little sister, the only female in his life incapable of being uppity enough to express that desire for a space belonging to her alone, was the only female who really deserved such a space.

(Like I said, feminist paranoia. If I acknowledge that I might be crazy, you guys aren't allowed to believe I really am, right?)

* * *

Wait, wait, I found the silver lining in all this! Apparently, my father has at least one memory of something that occurred during my childhood.

* * *

I'm given to understand that today's family gathering was actually not all about me, and it wasn't all bad, either. Here are (a) some treacle (or as close to it as you'll ever get from me); and (b) some jokes about my sister's fecundity which are also meant to express my deep love for her.

(a) I hear through the grapevine that my brother got hitched today. Apparently he cried while speaking his vows. From my brother, this is utterly unfathomable to me, but sweet, I guess. And probably a good sign for his future happiness.

(b) My sister text messaged me this evening that she still has not told anyone she's expecting. She wore a sweater to the wedding and no one noticed there was a baby growing out the front of her. I wish I could tell my parents for her, and exact from them a promise not to be jerks to her about it, but she holds some crazy belief that that would be inappropriate. I also have a plan to pretend the baby is mine and I'm just giving it to her to raise because I don't want the stupid thing. Then they could be jerks to me instead, which with respect to one of them wouldn't appreciably change my situation anyway. Dammit, I promised to give the bitterness a rest, didn't I? Ignore that last part.

Friday, May 19, 2006

what can i get for 10 dollar?

This was fun last time, so what the hell. This is my attempt at writing my own (weekly-appropriate) questions. I believe several of them to be lame. If you also find this to be the case, (a) I apologize, and (b) feel free to make suggestions (or just write your own). Unless you're already tired of this game. I will never tire of it, but that's just me.

What is my week going to be like?
Violent Femmes, "Kiss Off (Demo)"

How long is this week going to feel?
Modest Mouse, "Other People's Lives"

How will I remember this week?
Soul Coughing, "Mr. Bitterness"

Who will I hate this week?
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, "She Passed By My Window"

What song will I spend all goddamn week trying to get out of my head?
M.I.A., "10 Dollar"

Let's talk about my hair for a minute.
Pink Floyd, "Stop"

What is some good advice for me this week?
Oingo Boingo, "Mary"

What time is it?
Elliott Smith, "Bled White"

What is this week's theme song?
Smog, "Natural Decline"

True or false: Time heals all wounds.
Hank Williams, "Ready To Go Home"

How will the world see me this week?
The New Pornographers, "Falling Through Your Clothes"

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

one-liners: hey little sister edition

  • I didn't go to Maryland. I stayed here instead. It's a long story, so to save time you should just be happy for me.
  • Also, I'm on steroids right now. It's another long story, related to the last one. Your emotional response to this news is unimportant to me. I am just giving you a heads up that if you notice any testiclular shrinkage for the next few days, this is why.
  • Now to the fun stuff.
  • Anyone want to go kick the Christian Science Reading Room with me? That counts, right?
  • I cannot explain why I think this is so rad. I suspect the fact that I think this is fucking rad might mean I'm not as cultured a person as I'd like to think I am.
  • I can explain why I think this is rad, but you already get it, so I won't bother.
  • I have nothing to say about this, but I think you should all be subjected to it. A psychotic break loves company.
  • You know you're scared of Peeps too. Do not front.
  • These kittens are named Lemmy and Iggy. Holy crap! How fierce is Lemmy, am I right?
  • Okay, another Overheard. Idler, don't say I never gave you anything. Third one down. Possibly an even better pet name than "Lemmy."
  • This is making me paranoid. Could someone please reassure me that I'm not shaped like a thumb? Right now?
  • I'm going to go ahead and call it: this is the best webcomic ever made.
  • Ahem.
  • I've got to work up to this last one, bear with me.
  • Hem. Huh-huh-huh. Ahhhh-hem. Okay, here goes.
  • Last night, my little sister called to tell me that she voluntarily got herself knocked up about six and a half months ago. In case you're unfamiliar with how the process works in humans, the fact that she got pregnant six and a half months ago means that there are only three (3) months left to go before some kind of event occurs and a baby appears. She hasn't told our parents yet, and is only planning on telling them now because she's attending our brother's wedding on Saturday, and it will be obvious when they see her. In point of fact, I firmly believe that if my sister didn't have to attend a public event in one of her siblings' honor while visibly enceinte, she would have this child secretly, raise it secretly, and never, ever tell my parents that she made a baby. Which, you know, isn't something I would condemn out of hand. It's a boy, by the way.

o wolves of memory! (a public service announcement)

gif animation

"Aubade" (recently mentioned by the Idler) is Poem of the Month at The Philip Larkin Society. Read the whole thing. If you don't already know it by heart, that is.

Friday, May 05, 2006

rumba with me

So, most of you probably know that I'm a huge fan of shaking everyday objects in my hands, throwing them on the ground, and using my own questionable interpretations of the resulting patterns to answer vital questions about the future course of my life.* In that spirit, I present you with the following diversion.

Shuffle up your ipod or whatever, and let the first 15 songs that come up answer the following 15 questions. Do it do it do it! Come on, don't let me be the only one doing this. I promise, it's unbelievably rewarding.

How does the world see you?
Modest Mouse, "The Waydown"

Will I have a happy life?
Roky Erickson, "I Walked With A Zombie"

What do my friends really think of me?
The Clash, "Julie's In The Drug Squad"

Do people secretly lust after me?
They Might Be Giants, "The Statue Got Me High"

How can I make myself happy?
The Futureheads, "Decent Days And Nights"

What should I do with my life?
Mazzy Star, "Look On Down From The Bridge"

Will I ever have children?
The Replacements, "Within Your Reach"

What is some good advice for me?
R.E.M., "Bang And Blame"

How will I be remembered?
Bob Dylan, "Floater (Too Much To Ask)"

What is my signature dancing song?
Duran Duran, "Watching the Detectives"

What do I think my current theme song is?
Rolling Stones, "Country Honk"

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
The Kelley Deal 6000, "Skylark"

What song will play at my funeral?
Wire, "Three Girl Rhumba"
[Please, oh, please, I am dead serious about this, I'm putting it in my will.]

What type of men do I like?
Depeche Mode, "Shake The Disease"

What is my day going to be like?
Cab Calloway, "Doin' The Rumba"

*Figuratively speaking.