Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Do I even need to tell you how totally pissed my four cats are?

This kitten is a visitor. A visitor. We are taking care of it for two weeks while its owner, a school friend of Katie's, is visiting her large-dog-owning dad and her mom is out of town.

Somewhat alarming, though, is the fact that the kitten does not have a name, and according to Katie, we've been invited to give it one. Also, Katie's friend appeared to believe that it was a boy kitten, when in fact it is a girl.

Let me tell you something about that. You can tell by lifting up a kitten's tail, and if what you see looks like this ¡ then you've got a girl kitten. If it looks like this : then you've got a boy. Easy, right? Don't try it on state employees.

So I hope nobody's trying to pull a fast one on me, because I need a fifth cat about like I need a 27th hole in my head. It's bad enough with the four. Whenever I go to take out the garbage or check the mail or do the laundry, I have this sort of Oort cloud of loosely orbiting cats trailing me around the apartment complex. It's kind of obvious. When we moved in, I told the landlord we only had two. I kind of suspect he's noticed that's only half right.

But ooooh, she is cute. Last night she knocked a potted plant over into some electronics and dug a small hole in the nape of my neck. She tries to nurse on my son's finger. She wanted to eat the dirty laundry, and I for one would have let her. This morning, sharpening her claws on the rug, she was so enthusiastic that her whole little body was bouncing up into the air. She keeps jumping up on the table and attempting to eat people's dinner. Cute!

My cats are so pissed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Turn That Frown Upside Down!

Forget Myers-Briggs. There are really only two types of people in the world:

1. People who cheerfully exhort complete strangers to "Smile!"
2. People who fucking HATE that.

It's incredibly presumptuous, isn't it? You're walking along, minding your own business: maybe sad, maybe nursing a broken heart, or just lost in contemplation. You might be running through the entire choral movement from Beethoven's Ninth in your head, or wondering what you'll have for dinner. Perhaps you're PMSing like a rabid wildebeest on angel dust.* And then, out of nowhere, some cheese-ass wanker chirps at you to "Smile!"

(One time I got, "Hey, smile! It can't be that bad!" Ooooooooooooh.)

What's worst is that you - or I, at least - automatically comply. A much more appropriate response would be, "Go fuck yourself!" followed by a good solid whap upside the head. You don't want to encourage these people, after all. But no, some dipshit on the hike-and-bike today caught my eye as he passed (it's always men who do this, have you noticed? - and as a corollary to that, is it ever done to men?) and said, "Hey, you gotta smile!" and I did. Shit.

Next time some cretin pops into your awareness and orders you to "Smile," fight back! Try bursting into tears and sobbing, "My (goldfish/boyfriend/iPod/faith in humanity) just died!" Alternately, bare your teeth and lunge for his jugular. Or make the face I made once the asshole had passed me on the trail and it was too late for him to see it; and if, like me, you don't make the face fast enough, go back and show it to him. Grip his shirtfront to make sure he's paying attention. You might also scream, "I hate you - hate you with the eternal white-hot fire of a thousand suns!" Do something. Negative reinforcement, here, is basically what I'm trying to get across. Maybe you'll convert a Type 1, or failing that, at least kill one of them off. The world needs more Type 2s.

*Readers may find it inadvisable to speculate which one of these things I was doing today.

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Well, just six "weird" things, having been tagged by Pam. But it is before breakfast!

Here are the "official rules":
Each player of this game starts with the “6 weird things about you”. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says “you are tagged” in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

What's weird enough to go on this list that (1) you don't already know, or (2) I don't want you to know?

1. My thumbs are double-jointed. I can gross people out with them. Wanna see?

2. The main reason I blog so much is because I'm always intensely self-conscious of what I write, so pretty much everything I post is an attempt to bury the post before it.

3. I have never seen a porn flick, internet porn, porn anything actually.

4. I'm terrified of dental work, to the point of lying awake trembling the night before an appointment.

5. I can't whistle or snap my fingers.

6. (Dooming myself): Excepting the occasional hangover, I have not been sick with so much as the sniffles in around four years. But that didn't stop me calling in sick today!

I think these things are great fun, but I don't like to call on anyone, so I'll reverse-tag. If you want to play, post a link in the comments.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Top Ten Things I Can't Understand As of November 27

10. David Bowie never calls me.

9. How is it that Austin finally gets an IKEA just as I am supporting an unprecedented number of children on a state employee's salary?

8. New! Bic Soleil "Twilight" triple bladed disposable razors for women with lavender-scented handles. This might need to go higher on the list, I'm not sure. For the record, I sniffed one up close in the shower today and yes, they do smell sort of like lavender.

Does anybody have a Band-Aid handy?

7. This whole new-fangled "internet" thingummy.

6. My hair. I will never understand it, never.

5. My burgeoning friendship at work with the Bitching Smoker. Turns out we are united in our distaste for Coworker-You-Idiot. We have been spending - well, not a lot of time, but more time than I would ever have thought probable - together, just discussing this subject. Well, necessity makes strange bedfellows. Not to imply anything. Good lord. And no, I will not take up smoking.

4. How did my teenaged daughter persuade me to agree to babysit a six-week old kitten for two weeks?

3. I am not brilliant, wealthy and beautiful. Please explain.

2. Why do people die? Don't give me any of that tired old crap about the "cycle of life," because I'm just not buying it.

And the number one thing I can't understand today:

1. Marshmallows. Everything else I could think of was unprintable.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Casino Royale

Let's get something straight here.

Casino Royale is a very silly James Bond spoof sixties sex romp starring Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and David Niven. Alternately, it's an enthusiastically misnamed dive bar housed in a prefab metal warehouse shell on Saturn Road in Corpus Christi. It is not, repeat, not a serious movie.

I only bring this up because every time I hear the name I get the theme song (scroll down, track #13) for the original movie stuck in my head, so that I finally had to break down and buy it off iTunes. Isn't it great? It's impossible to listen to this and feel gloomy. In fact, if you listen to it enough you may suddenly find yourself clad in a fluffy peignoir, with teased hair and false eyelashes and marabou slippers. Or whatever the male equivalent is, I don't know.

I also bought a Captain and Tennille song while I was at it. I'm a little concerned. That can't be normal.


Hey. As of today I have been inundating the blogosphere with pointless, self-absorbed drivel for exactly one year. Well. That is cause for celebration.

So may I offer you a piece of devil's-food cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream and hot fudge sauce? Honestly, it's the least I can do.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

See? Cats Are Useful!

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Some cats are superheroes. This is Smoochie the Puppy, who, as you can see, could fly - just at a very, very low altitude.

Here, Squid demonstrates that cats come in very handy in the kitchen. If you've ever wondered what a calamari bundt cake looks like, well, now you know.

This is Bingo. Cats make wonderful Christmas gifts.

And if you have a ridiculous, fluffy Peach kitten that isn't good for anything at all? Just throw it away.

Friday, November 24, 2006

From San Antonio, With Love

Last night I had this very stressful dream that I had been offered a job working for the city, but I had to start right away and couldn't give notice at the state. And I couldn't get my phone to work to call my (former) lead worker and let him know; and then my supervisor kept meandering by while I was waiting in the extremely long line at the city new-hire admittance desk (it was a dream, okay?) and I was worried that she'd think I was just slacking off; and I felt terribly guilty about just quitting my old job without any warning.

Lousy Motel 6 mattresses!

Today I've been playing Barbie with Anna. Who knew the kid was so into Barbies? You think you haven't conditioned your child with gender role stereotypes; then you turn your back for an hour only to find your brilliant, enlightened little daughter up to her skivvies in fashion doll paraphernalia.

Then again, they are pretty hard to resist. I don't care that much about the clothes, but they have some totally hot shoes. Ooh, there's this one pair of boots that -


My in-laws have a visitor over right now, and this is a new experience for me: I am blogging with a priest in the house. Quick - say something sacrilegious! I'm too tired to think of anything. I didn't sleep very well last night.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Or Not Turkey...

Sometimes Mom would make turkey with all the trimmings on Thanksgiving, but sometimes she was more in the mood for boeuf bourguignon or chicken marengo. Sometimes she felt like making turkey with all the trimmings on some other day. You didn't know.

Why be a slave to the calendar?

Have a happy Thanksgiving, eat some turkey, watch some football (and like it for me, okay?), and be thankful for something or other. One year ago I was living in skanky-ass Corpus and toiling away in the workplace from Hell. Now I'm in beautiful Austin, and strictly speaking I could probably stand to toil a little harder - but it's all good. At the moment, actually, I'm in San Antonio at my in-laws' house. Some of them have just finished playing Madden on the PS2. There's real football coming from the TV in the kitchen, though. I'm not thankful for all the football, but on the other hand, I am deeply thankful that cilantro isn't a traditional ingredient in turkey stuffing. That would suck.

Here's a nice recipe for boeuf bourguignon. It's too late to make it today, but hey, you've got the long weekend. Mom used to serve it over egg noodles. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Song of the Open Road

Try not to begin work conversations with "[Coworker], you idiot..." It starts you off on the wrong foot. You want to start off on the right foot, because you'll be needing to put that right foot right up somebody's ass.

I've written before about this optical scanning project we're doing to get a lot of ancient roadway data, currently all in paper files, into a database. There's a certain someone who's been put in charge of this project. I believe this certain someone was put in charge because he wasn't doing anything else, so it was a way to keep him busy; and because this project is unimportant enough that it doesn't really matter if he screws it up. Which is fine, except that the powers-that-be gave him a few other people to work on the project under him, and one of those people is me.

It feels a little sketchy to make fun of him. I'm not sure where the line is between "dumber than a box of hair" and "mentally disabled," but wherever it is, he's awfully close, if not clear on the other side. Then again, he is a few pay grades higher than I am. Add to this the fact that he's obviously a little too desperate for female attention, and obviously a little too glad of the excuse to come talk to me on a regular basis. There are five or six other people on the project, all men and one older woman. They hardly ever see him.

We recently abandoned the optical recognition software and began 10-keying. I can now 10-key by touch, and pretty fast, too. Isn't that great news? Maybe now I can get that data entry clerk job I've been dreaming of!

Coworker-You-Idiot has nothing to do but (1) scan in the paper documents, (2) coordinate who's entering which reports, and (3) call meetings.

1. With some help, he eventually figured out how to work the scanner - but not before scanning several documents crooked, cutting off columns we had to go in and re-enter later, and capturing a perfect image of his wristwatch.

2. Yesterday he assigned me a batch of reports which I discovered, after 10-keying in the first one and saving it to the project folder, had already been done. I sent him an email to call this to his attention. It cost me some effort to refrain from opening with "[Coworker], you idiot..."

3. He does manage to call meetings. Two a week, in fact, though everyone eventually protested enough to get it down to just one. But he keeps forgetting to reserve the conference room for them. The meetings basically consist of C-Y-I giving a long update on how many documents have been entered to date (only of interest to his boss, who never shows up) and explaining to the rest of us - again and again, at length, ad infinitum, ad nauseam - the project background, and how to do what we've been doing for months now. They take about an hour.

"Calm Blue Ocean," say the magnetic letters on my cube cabinet. "Send Help" is spelled out on the other side. Send a foot to put up C-Y-I's ass, is more like it. I'm not using mine. It would only give him ideas.


Don't call your cohorts idiots,
Or heckle as they pass;
It puts you on the wrong foot when you need to have the right foot
To put it up their ass.

We have old roadway data
That must be digitized,
But management, who wants it done, really only wants it done
To keep us tranquilized.

And so they formed a project
And appointed as its guide
A man of such incompetence that other men's incompetence
Looks like brilliance beside.

Next they bought some software
Which supposedly can read;
But the optical recognition garbles beyond recognition
And all must be 10-keyed.

This isn't rocket science!
Just let your fingers run.
But instead we have meetings on top of more meetings
So that no work can get done.

Not that it really matters,
For it's quite clear to see:
The one thing more unimportant than a job this unimportant
Is a T***T employee!

If somebody will put that to music for me, maybe we can perform it at the next agency function.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Night at the Opera - Austin Style

My sister wore boots to the Austin Lyric Opera's production of Madame Butterfly Friday night. That's kind of like using exclamation points and laughing at your own jokes, but then again, this is Austin.

They were in fact Doc Martens. Margie is freakier than I am. She wore them with fishnet stockings, a black velvet minidress, and a Muppet-fur coat. "It's 100% pure Grover," she told me, though I thought it looked more like Cookie Monster.

When I was little, Austin didn't have an opera company, but they did (and still do) have an excellent ballet, which used to perform at the Armadillo World Headquarters. Now, there's an Austin cultural experience for you. We sat in metal folding chairs, surrounded by giant murals of armadillos doing the things armadillos do, ate chocolate chip cookies the size of small pizzas, and drank enormous sodas. Some of the other little kids in the audience danced along, down in front of the stage; though the only reason I really remember that is because I was deeply offended when an older kid came up to my family during intermission and told me not to do that because it was distracting. Well, of course I wasn't dancing! Just because I'm four years old doesn't mean I don't know how to behave in polite society, fer crissakes.

And after the performance, you could go backstage to get the dancers' autographs. Audience members meandered freely in and out of the dressing room, where the dancers were changing clothes, and I saw at least one completely naked. She didn't seem to care. This was Austin - and Austin circa 1973, at that.

The ALO is really quite a good company, and Butterfly was beautifully staged and performed. You don't see cast members naked, but you also don't see the kind of mink and glitter on the audience that I remember from audiences in other cities - Detroit, DC, Cincinnati, Houston - when I was growing up. There are tuxedos and evening gowns and cocktail dresses; but there are hippies and slackers and freaks as well. And there was one Japanese woman in full kimono.

And for afters? Chez Zee is a good post-operatic regrouping spot, although I liked it better for the purpose when it was Chez Fred. Magnolia Cafe is another. If you're not hungry for a big late supper, you can go to any of a couple dozen lovely indie coffeehouses. But Margie and I decided to take our more-or-less elegantly-attired selves to the Horseshoe Lounge, where, even though it's Austin, you stick out a bit by wearing such alien garments as dresses and stockings and high-heeled shoes. The novelty did get a couple of Lone Stars bought for us, though, and Margie and I wound up the evening watching the shuffleboard players and evaluating their probable sexual performance based on their playing style.

And do you know what? The player who consistently outshone all the others was a dead ringer for Wilford Brimley. Alas! Grand opera generally does end in tragedy. Even in Austin.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Good Point

You know the whole Ted Haggard fundie-church-leader-gay-hooker-crystal-meth scandal, right?

(See if that doesn't get me some Google hits.)

You may also have heard of Mark Driscoll's apologia for Haggard's behavior on his theology blog, specifically this point:

Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

Last night I was in a group of several gay men discussing this topic, and one remarked, "You know what's interesting about that is that Haggard was a bottom. So how'd his wife let herself go, was her fist getting too skinny?!"

Saturday, November 18, 2006

People Who Leave

Must they? I mean, really?

And of course they must. When people have a better opportunity somewhere else, they should take it. No two ways about it.

I hate being left behind, though. I miss Justin awfully. He's in College Station working on his master's at A&M, so I don't see him often now. I also hate not seeing Tony every day. He's still in Austin, or at least officially. Seems like every time I try to get a hold of him, he's off in some other city! And Bill is only one building over now, but he was my next-door cube neighbor for ten months, and his departure has left a painful gap in my little universe. No more Word O' the Day on the whiteboard. No more cozy lunches smoking his ass on the crossword puzzle and getting my own ass smoked on the Sudoku. Hell, I get so sad just walking past his empty cubicle every day that I probably need to give up coffee until I get used to it.

There's more probable news along the same lines, but it's not my news to post so I won't. It's on my dear friend's blog, though. It should be fair enough game to post a hint. You can find it it you want to!

I wish the place where we work were so perfect that no one would need to leave. Well, no, I don't. What would we laugh at? It's a complete freakshow. At three-martini breaks in the afternoon, we spend a lot of time regaling each other with the day's strange and fearful happenings; the exploits of the chain-smokers, the microwave-popcorn-eaters; the I-haven't-gotten-any-since-1973ers; the bodily-emissions experts. It wouldn't be right if we didn't. But people I love keep finding other places they'd rather be.

Gosh, I can't imagine why.

Friday, November 17, 2006

On Fire

Some stories are probably better if you don't hear the whole thing. As I was coming back from my lunchtime walk today, the building next to mine was being evacuated. "It's funny," one woman remarked to another as I was walking past. "He's not the sort of person who normally starts fires."

Fire drills aren't too bad on a day like today, which is nice and bright and sunny, but not too warm. But we had a tornado drill a few months ago that didn't go quite so well. Most everyone eventually made their way to the downstairs inside hallway, but several of the smokers went outside - which is generally contraindicated during a tornado. No one ever remarked on this later, so I guess whoever's in charge of building security doesn't object to a few casualties here and there.

Our building was evacuated about fifteen minutes after the neighboring one. Do you know, I've now worked here a little over ten months, and I've never been given any kind of instructions regarding where to regroup during an evacuation? Most of the people who work near me gathered in one area, but Robbie and I meandered off to go hang out with other members of the three-martini break group at the opposite end of the parking lot. I'm not sure if we're supposed to do this. For one thing, how can anyone make a tally to ensure that everyone got out of the building safely? And for another, the flow of traffic from employees getting in their cars and leaving makes crossing the parking lot a little hazardous.

So, not the best-organized of fire drills, plus the alarms seem unnecessarily shrill and likely to cause permanent hearing loss. I was planning to use my ears tonight, dammit! But the guy on the PA announcing the all-clear seemed satisfied. "Please return to your worksites," he said, "and thank you for participating in the 2006 fire drill for Building 118!"

What, no T-shirt?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Men Are Bastards!

Men! Ugh! Lousy, no-good, weasely, sniveling, cowardly, two-timing, freeloading, completely irredeemable schmucks. They all are - no offense to anyone who happens to be one. The only exceptions to this rule are (1) my male family members and (2) my male friends. Particularly male friends who get me comp tickets to Madama Butterfly. Y'all are awesome. Blog readers count as friends. The rest of you? Who aren't reading this? Bastards!

(Happy sigh) Oh, I get so into opera. Tonight I got to go to the final dress rehearsal with Katie's eighth-grade orchestra class. Tomorrow, Margie and I get to go to the opening performance. I'm nicely warmed up for it. I've been crying my eyes out for the last two hours solid.

Why? Because men are bastards!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Word

Dry erase boards are very useful in the workplace. You can use them to jot down task lists and reminders, to sketch out examples or formulas, or perhaps to post useful tidbits of information for the enrichment of general knowledge in the office, like so:

Word o' the Day was running for a few months - though most words lasted for a few days to a week. The little green cat in the upper right-hand corner was a later addition. Here, he performs an essential task of personal hygiene. On Halloween he was hissing, back arched and fur standing on end; the following day, he was sprawled out on his back sleeping, glutted with candy. He's variously curled, stretched, sat, hunted, preened, and other such appropriately feline pursuits.

We had to stop it and erase the board because someone else started playing, and didn't play nice. There were inappropriate messages, poorly spelled and sometimes slightly nasty. My former cube neighbor and cat artist extraordinaire suspected one of the cleaning staff - their contributions being made at some point between my leaving for the day, around 5:15, and my friend's arrival in the morning about 7:30. We locked up the markers, but our mystery participant appears to have his own supply. Every morning for the last week we have a new "word" and a new definition - though they are made-up nonsense words.

They appear to be misspelled anyway.

Another friend suggested that I hide my camcorder near the board so I can discover the mystery participant's identity, then use the whiteboard to expose him. Someone else suggested I take it a step further and dress up as a person the mystery participant knew from high school so I can get close enough to kill him.

Well, I'm not going to do any of that. As you can see, my work keeps me much too busy.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Seek and Ye Shall Find

As of this afternoon (search algorithms do shift around a bit), I'm pleased to announce that my blog is the #4 Google result for "how to get freaky in bed" and the #5 Google result for "but fuck one goat."

I'm so proud!

I love Google, and if you aren't familiar with them, here are a couple of fun variations on it:

Gizoogle, here applied to my friend Justin's blog. One, because he hasn't posted an entry in a while; two, because of his new profile picture.

And Googlisms. Put in your name and see what you get! I like the results for my number two cat, Slappy White (who due to a childhood confusion is named after 70's Hollywood Squares regular Nipsey Russell).

slappy white is on sabbatical this week
slappy white is
slappy white is dead
slappy white is the greatest
slappy white is the best we could do on such short notice

You should see what results your name yields and post them in the comments, especially if they're naughty. Maybe you'll come up with something someone is looking for.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Hey! Let's Play "Find the Floor!"

No really, it's a really fun game!

Well, no. Not really. But if you have to play, for God's sake, play to win!

Now, where's the last place I saw the vacuum cleaner?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hardly Working, or Totally Kaput?

If you've never wrapped up your workday by hanging around with a few coworkers you barely know, chatting convivially about how you never really do anything, you should give it a try.

"I don't think I've put in a 40-hour week this year," said one guy.

"Hell, I don't think I've put one in since my initial six-month probationary period ended," said another - who has been there for years and years and years, incidentally.

"I find that, by the time I've gotten all set up and ready to get started in the morning, it's about time for break," I remarked.

"I probably don't put in but about five hours a day," the first guy added.

The rest of us just stared at him. Five hours? Sounds like somebody's bucking for a promotion.

And I know she terrorizes my dear friend Robbie, but I do like Bitching Smoker, I do. One of the guys was complaining - humorously, but still a little misogynistically - about how much money his wife spends. "I just can't keep up with her," he was saying as B.S. walked by.

She stopped, and snorted. "Can't keep up with who - your mother?"

"No, no, I can't keep up with my wife!"

"Well, that's hardly surprising. She's half your age!"

Oh, snap!

B.S. was also highly annoyed that we are not having a going-away lunch for my friend and next-door cube neighbor (until Monday - sniff), Bill, though I explained that he preferred not to have one. "Who cares what he wants?!" she demanded. "The rest of us want to go to lunch!"*

She kept looking at me, and I didn't know what to say. So I just shrugged, and brought out the time-honored feminine exclamation: "Men!"

Then it was time to go home, and not a moment too soon. I probably put in a good two and a half, three hours' solid work today. Don't hate me because I'm industrious.

*I know, I know.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Cautionary Tale

"serious stress solution is sex on my desk," read one of the first sentences spelled out in the corporate-themed magnetic word set that the evil president of the evil internet marketing company I worked for in Corpus put on our breakroom fridge. Disgusted, she threw away "sex," but it didn't do any good. We were hired for creativity, after all, and they were putting us all through hell.

Our office was terribly modern: bright colors, glass-and-chrome desks, IP phones and laptops for everyone, and we used MSN Messenger for internal communications. Giggling, I changed my IM tagline to "in need of a serious stress solution." But within minutes, I got an IM from one of the web design guys, a few doors down the hall. "Feeling stressed?" he wrote. "I have a solution."

Oh no, I thought, feeling suddenly very uncomfortable. Is he hitting on me?!

"His name is Jesus Christ," he typed, and I almost screamed.

Questions for further study:

1. Would it have been better if he had been hitting on me? Why or why not?
2. Would sex on a glass desk actually help relieve stress? I mean, what if the desk broke? That would suck.
3. Use the words "cross-functional," "synergy," "office," and "client" in an extremely naughty sentence.
4. Aren't you glad you don't work in marketing?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

On Queue

Having an exposition-heavy cell phone conversation so that the people around you will know how clever, popular, important, well-to-do, busy, and/or (insert adjective here) you are is just SO 90s.

I voted today. Today was actually the first time I've ever waited in any kind of real line to vote: just over one hour from joining the end of the line to walking out of the polling place. The experience lends an interesting new perspective to what, for want of a better term, I will whimsically call the democratic process. Travis Heights, you may know, is a hotbed's hotbed of liberalism; so I suspect the extremely high turnout is to some extent reactionary.

Lots of people's faces fell as they rounded the building and saw how long the line was, but I didn't see anyone leave. One man made a couple of half-hearted passes up and down the length of the line with a posterboard reading Long Lines = No Constitutional Right To Vote! "Some liberal city of freedom, huh?" he called out to us once; but then he wandered away. I almost suspect he'd just lost a bet.

A newcomer, taking his place at the end of the line, called out, "How long have you all been here?" "Oh, about four hours!" called back the guy standing right behind me. The whole line tittered. It's not funny!

Someone was making plans for an indie film. "I don't want to influence your art, but kind of took my lead from something you said," he told his cell phone. "You know that Botticelli painting of St. Sebastian? It's the one with all the arrows. I'd like them to paint you like that. You know - we'd use wires. We'll want to be sure and keep the goats."

I should certainly hope so.

The guy seven or eight people ahead of me had a shirt that stated "I am never wrong." Unfortunately, I wasn't close enough to look over his shoulder when he voted, and determine if that was correct; but I bet he voted for Kinky. After we'd been in line for about twenty minutes ("Like, oh my God! I've been in this line for 40 minutes! I am NOT waiting another 40 minutes!!" exclaimed Miss Exposition behind me to one of her endless string of phone pals), a Fox 7 News van pulled up, leading me to suspect that our precinct might have longer-than-average lines.

Ah, Miss Exposition - my new friend. Not that I've actually met her. But I can tell you that she's going to a funeral Friday for a former sorority sister who was a cheerleading teammate and college classmate, who had just recently graduated from university, who got hit by a car and was thrown 50 feet into an oncoming car; that it's just terribly terribly tragic and all their "sisters" are going to the funeral; that Casey will understand if Miss E.'s mom doesn't go but that she really should; that Miss E. has to take off work from her important marketing job to go to the funeral; that she markets fragrances for women who are (tee-hee!) a bit more matronly than she is; that she has a boyfriend that she doesn't-live-with-but-lives-with (which is the politically correct thing to do for couples before they get married these days, which she knows they will because even though he hasn't "popped the question" yet they talk about it all the time); that they're getting a dog - like a weimarauner, but brown; that she grew up with goldens but they shed everywhere; that she's 24; that she's not normally patient enough to wait in a line this long but she feels it's important to do her civic duty; that she's looking to buy a house but who has the time to look for a house? - that, basically, she's a pretty fucking annoying person I'm really glad I don't know.

Someone asked her at one point what time the polls close. "I don't know, I think, like, four?" she said.

"Four?!" he exclaimed.

"Oh, well, I don't know. Like, ten?"

"At night?!?"

Someone further down in line shouted, "They close at seven!" but not before the guy in front of me turned around and totally busted the expression on my face. Heh heh. Oops.

The next big adventure will come when I try to obtain my two hours' paid time off from work without an "I Voted" sticker. We were told we'd need to show it, but they were all out. Too bad I didn't save mine from last year.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Birthday Party

So Friday night we went out to celebrate Cheryl's BITCH's 36th birthday. Happy Birthday baby!

I lifted a bunch of pictures from his MySpace page, and posted my favorite picture from the evening on my blog, then got self-conscious and removed it, because it's just a little bit racy. I really shouldn't be publishing that kind of smut.

So here's a link to the whole album instead.

Friday's highs: Getting to wear The Boots out on the town, and being added on MySpace by Tracy, which brings my total to 42. Perfect!

Friday's lows: Well, I can't very well accept any new MySpace friends now, so nobody add me. Also, my toenails hurt from wearing those boots all day and all night.

There's always something, isn't there?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

It's Cool for Cats

This morning I woke up and said to myself, "Today I think I'll toilet-train my cats using a method developed by a renowned jazz musician!"

Life's more interesting if you say things like that to yourself when you wake up, at least once in a while. Every morning might be a bit much.

We used to have a particularly adorable cat named Mingus, or Ming-a-ling-a-ding-dong-Boot-Boot-Boot for short. I wonder if anyone ever called Charles Mingus that? Or if his fellow musicians ever picked him up and kissed his wee shiny nosey, or firmly rubbed the bridge of it to make him schnerk? I suppose it's somewhat unlikely; unlike his namesake, the original Mingus appears to have been rather irascible, and not particularly cuddly. I bet he almost never took a running leap onto someone's shoulder to bury his head in their hair, say "brrrrrrrrrrrrrip!" and drool on their neck. Or maybe he did, I don't know. All I know is that he was a pretty awesome stand-up bass player.

Also he knew a thing or two about cats. What do you think; should I give it a try?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What To Do?

Recently I changed my preferences on to send me job listings in Austin instead of in Syracuse, NY. Not that I'm looking for a new job, of course. Frankly, I suspect that if I were, Monster would not be the ideal place to look.

Syracuse is a beautiful town, if you've never been there. It's green and leafy, with attractive shops, wooded lanes wending their way up hills, and lots and lots of charming old houses with steep, gabled roofs and cozy glassed-in front porches. The steep roofs are to make sure the snow slides off without piling up enough to do structural damage, and the glassed-in porches are because it's too cold to go outside for much of the year. But on a cool September day, through the dappled sunlight dancing through a canopy of green, to the eyes of a visitor from a place where the temperature has been 100 degrees or higher every single day for over a month, it's terribly picturesque.

My father and stepmother live in Syracuse - they are both native upstate New Yorkers, though my dad has spent most of his adult life elsewhere. I probably flatter the region somewhat by associating it so strongly with them. When I visited late last summer it seemed like a paradise on earth. I really hoped I could move my family up there and get one of those adorable porticoed houses on a hill, and get to see my parents at least once a week, as my stepsister and stepbrother do; and have the benefit of their knowledge and experience and love in helping raise my kids, the way my stepsister does.

The logistics are incredibly forbidding, but I haven't stopped wishing for that - although much of the edge has been taken off by moving back to Austin from Corpus. Don't get me wrong - there are some really wonderful people in Corpus. I should know, because I'm close personal friends with all ten of them. (Hi guys!)

But being in Austin, I did finally get around to updating my profile, and I have been getting such exciting and sincerely worded offers as the following:


You posted your resume on Looking over your resume, we noticed you have a lot of leadership skills. We are currently expanding in the Austin Market and think you could be a potential prospect for our company.

We are an International marketing company in need of people in sales, marketing, and leadership. As opposed to calling you out of the blue I wanted to e-mail you first. The best way we communicate is over the phone.

Please call us directly at the number below so we can discuss your resume qualifications and opportunities with our company.


(Some Dude's Actual-Sounding Name)
Associate Partner
(Some Random Initials)
(A Phone Number That I Bet Is Answered By a Recording)

*Due to the high demand and limited space in our office, your selected resume(s) will be removed from our data base after 72 hours of inactivity.

Gosh, I guess I better hurry up and call right away, then. Wouldn't want this one to slip by.

Actually, I think it's pretty sad when you can look over a letter and instantly identify the mail-merge fields. Which either means they could really benefit from someone with my particular skills, or they really don't want such a person. My experience in working, in various positions, for various different companies and agencies, over the past eighteen years or so, would suggest that the answer is probably both (sigh).

Can I just move back home and live with my parents? I'm tired of being a grown-up.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

These Boots Were Made For...

Getting a new pair of shoes is better than sex.

What a crock! Of course it isn't really, but in some people's case it's about as close as they're likely to get. And actually, new shoes are better than any sex some people have had in recent memory - "recent" being a highly relative term, in this case, roughly translated as "taking place during the current Presidential administration."

Not that I'd have firsthand knowledge of that or anything.

Of course, you can't just come out and make a statement like that anyway. A pair of penny loafers won't do anything much for you. Tennies are nice and practical and comfy, but there's not too much satisfaction in acquiring a pair. So many shoes are just so heartbreakingly practical, I can't even understand why anyone would buy them at all. But these - these are a pair of drop-dead sexy, knee-high, spike-heeled, stretchy black faux leather boots in brand-new condition, mislabeled as a size 10 but they fit me perfectly, discovered today at Goodwill for only $9.99. How perfect is that?!

I don't know about you, but I think I'll take it as a sign.