Sunday, April 30, 2006

Things good and bad

And tense. Don't forget tense!

By Friday, all will be Mostly Good. But until then...

I have a busy week coming up. Work will be fraught with stress thanks to deadlines, large events, and more deadlines.

I still have this lingering "kennel cough" I picked up on the plane back from San Francisco, and I need to be rid of it by next Saturday when the wonderfully fun weekend of Dolby-Fest 2006 starts at Rams Head in Annapolis. I refuse to be the annoying person in the audience hacking up a lung and irritating the crap out of everyone at the gig. Of course, even if I am still coughing, I will not be as annoying as the one idiot who will be yelling "SCIENCE!" all evening, or the couple who, invariably, will show up to play deep throat tonsil hockey at a front row table, despite having paid $33 a pop to listen to the music.

Man, am I ever irritable and cranky today, eh? I need some caffeine and a little sugar, I'm betting.

I will cut myself a little slack. One of my brothers, whose health is fragile, had a pacemaker put in at the end of last week. He did not tolerate the procedure well. I keep thinking about that.

I snapped at a woman in traffic today. She *did* deserve it, frankly. But I think the Sasquatch might be right, and I could have toned it down a little. Let me paint you the picture: suburban mom, probably around 40. Mini van, two kids in back. She's exceeding the speed limit and swerving.


She was cutting paper and gluing pictures as she drove. That's right folks, she was freaking scrapbooking behind the wheel of her car! Look, someone wants to kill themselves behind the wheel, fine. But she had two kids in there, plus all the rest of us. I honked at her, got next to her at a light and did the "shame on you" hand gesture. She tossed the scrapbook in the passenger seat, but she still had her little red adhesive tape roller in her right hand and little edging shears in her left. Her window came down and she giggled, saying, "Sorry, I'm in a hurry. Hee hee."

Here's where I may have gone a bit too far, since she did have kids in the car. I said, "You're a fucking idiot." And I said it loudly.

She put down her adhesive roller and started to cry. The light changed, and I drove away. Yes, as the Sasquatch later pointed out to me, it was pretty harsh for me to call her a "fucking idiot." But, frankly, she was a Fucking Idiot. She was doing crafts while driving 50+ mph down a busy road with two children in her car. Kids deserve a mom behind the wheel who isn't trying to glue a picture of Jimmy Joe Bob's graduation into a scrapbook at the same time she is accelerating and decelerating. Color me a jerk, but that's my take on it.

Scrapbooks don't kill people; people kill people...

Unless that scrapbook is a ransom, and the kidnappers are going to kill someone if that BBQ page isn't finished by noon, you save the crafts for home. And I'm speaking as someone who owns a couple of shelves of rubber stamps and funky paper.

I dunno. Maybe getting hit by that car has made me a little more edgy about stuff like this, but, c'mon people! Just a little common sense would be nice, no?

Cranky chick signing off.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Gremlins and Widgets and Disney, Oh My!

Recently, I sent a little talisman out to a musician friend who was headed out on tour. The talisman has a neat story behind it that, likely, most people don't know. So, I've adapted the text of the letter to my friend to share the story here with you.


Back in 1942, before he was a writer, Roald Dahl was simply RAF Flight Lieutenant Dahl, a fighter pilot badly injured after a terrible combat crash. During his recuperation, Dahl was sent to the United States to serve as an attache and started dabbling with words in his free time. Eventually, he wrote a serialized tale of little cantankerous creatures that engaged in the “diabolical sabotage” of RAF aircraft. The crafty critters end up befriending an injured British pilot (like Dahl himself) and become RAF allies, damaging German aircraft in battle above Europe.

Dahl dubbed these creatures “gremlins,” and, the next year, Walt Disney decided to publish an illustrated book of Dahl’s work (his very first children’s book) and turn it into an animated film. Though the film was never made and the book only published in a run of 5,000 now-rare copies, Dahl’s work left us with his invented words that are part of our every day life now: “gremlin” and “widget” - his name for gremlin younglings, the little cogs in the works. The story gave us another word, too, but one that only a few people remember: fifinella. That was Dahl’s word for the female gremlins.

In 1943, one of my mom’s colleagues, having been given a copy of “The Gremlins,” approached the Disney Company to see if Uncle Walt might be willing to do the Women Airforce Service Pilots (W.A.S.P.) a favor: could these women pilots adopt “Fifinella” as their mascot? Not only was Uncle Walt willing, but he personally drew a feisty version of the female gremlin, begoggled and fierce, for the W.A.S.P. to use. With the permission of Disney and the blessing of Roald Dahl, Fifinella became the W.A.S.P. mascot and guardian angel.

“Fifi” has been part of my life as long as I can remember. And my mom liked to give out pins and patches with the she-gremlin’s likeness to family and friends to commemorate Important Life Moments. I remember her giving me a Fifinella pin when I moved to Moscow back in 1989 - just a little good luck from the Greatest Generation. When I moved back from Moscow, my sister Nurse Rachet had found a little machine embroidery shop in our local mall in Moline, Illinois where the seamstress was willing to scan and program Fifinella into her machine. I now have this rockin' denim jacket with Fifi embroidered in a wide circle on the back - I wear a set of Mom's sweetheart wings on the collar. It's just a neat connection to a bygone era, and to my mom.

So, in honor of my friend going out on tour, taking a big step and having an Important Life Moment, I sent him a little Fifinella lapel pin. I figure a little good luck can't be a bad thing, and it's always smart to remind the gremlins whose side they're supposed to be on!

The pin in question...

May we all have an Important Life Moment now and then. And may our gremlins always serve us well.


Merujo (merely a widget...)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Busy Bee

My first name means "bee" in Greek. "Honeybee" to be precise. And, for once, I've been living up to that "busy as a bee" cliché the past couple of weeks.

I went to the San Francisco Bay Area for a one-day meeting last week (12 hours of flight time for 6 hours of meeting - whoo-hoo!), with a free Saturday as a delightful reward. Of course, I was up at 3:45 for a 6:30 a.m. flight back to DC that Sunday. Ugh. I sat next to a man who was feverish, hacking, and snorfling terribly for the whole flight. I felt like I was flying "Dengue Fever Class." Naturally, I was sick by the next morning.

I'm feeling marginally better now (hooray!), and through the wonders of chicken soup and Vitamin C, I was ready for some great R&R time last night with the Sasquatch and another friend at the 9:30 Club, gleefully listening to They Might Be Giants. I'd never heard them play "Istanbul" live until last night, and that rocked.

I'll have a little time to write this weekend, and I'll go through my small handful of San Francisco pictures and see if there are any worth posting. My camera really is near death, so I didn't take that many pics. Regardless, I had a great time. If you love the Arts & Crafts Movement and get get yourself to San Francisco, definitely go to the big exhibit at the deYoung. It's magnificent, and they have Edward Johnston's original hand drawn "London Transport" font. Wow.

More soon...

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Alone time. Museum time. Bay time. Ocean time. Lunchtime with a friend. More alone time. Pacific sunset time.

Yeah, that was pretty much what I needed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Blog break...

Taking a wee break through Sunday night or Monday, likely. I actually think a few days away will be beneficial for me.

I had a dental appointment today and found out I need a root canal & a new crown. Ka-ching.

I also unintentially annoyed someone I genuinely, sincerely, and truly did not mean to annoy. Honestly, the whole thing wiped the smile right off my face. Some days, you're more fragile than others, plain and simple.

I'm tired, my teeth hurt, and quite possibly, someone I respect thinks I'm a kind of a jerk right now. So, it's a good point for some alone time...

I'll be back in a few days with a new perspective. Hopefully. Of course, you can still listen to me on Metro Connection on Friday. Enjoy, hasta la vista, au revoir, and all that stuff.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Radio, Radio: the Whacked By a Murano Edition

Hello, kids!

I'll be on the radio this Friday afternoon, with 3.5 minutes of crankiness for your listening pleasure. It's the same Bat Time and Bat Channel as usual: WAMU's Metro Connection show, which runs from 1-2 p.m. EST, 88.5FM on your dial here in metro DC, and streaming live on I'll be on shortly before the end of the hour to kvetch about my recent SUV-flesh contact, and my resolutions for spring. (I will let you know, I blew one of those resolutions this morning, when I was less than cordial to a tourist...)

If you miss it live, the the show will be available on WAMU's archives a couple of hours later. The broadcast is also downloadable as a podcast. Enjoy!

I likely will be away from the blog for a few days. Back on Sunday or Monday with stories to tell, and, if the Nikon will cooperate, a few pictures, too...

Monday, April 17, 2006

30,000 hits by morning?

If you happen to notice that you're visitor #30,000 to the Church of the Big Sky, be sure to leave me a comment. I'm curious who you are. Heck, I'll even send you a congratulatory postcard. No, not an e-postcard, but a real-deal one. I have all sorts of weird postcards, and I'll choose one for you. Or, maybe I'll make one for you.

We'll see just how creative I'm feeling...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

More Peepage!

My friend Gonzomantis has a great Peep photo and link on his blog. Enjoy!

I've told them a hundred times, first Spinal Tap, then "Peep Show." (Just me taking appropriate liberties with a classic...)

Hippity Hoppity

In looking for Easter images this morning, I discovered that Rhino Records has a website with great moments in rock 'n' roll, recreated with Peeps. Very cute, except for this disturbing tableau:

Yes, it's the death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper, all in festive holiday colors. Please note that the plane has crashed into shredded Easter grass.


For my friends outside of North America, a "Peep" is a marshmallow, shaped like a chick (or a bunny), brightly colored, and most frequently seen for sale around Easter. However, these festive balls of sugary crap are actually a year round phenomenon. Peeps are made by a company called Just Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. (I'll let y'all go all Dan Brown on that one.) Peeps have their own website (which is much perkier than Dan Brown's page.)

I will admit that, in my sadistic past, I have put more than one Peep in the microwave to see how big it would get on high heat before imploding. My high school boyfriend liked nuking Peeps and then basically turning them into taffy. Then again, he also knit his own Dr. Who scarf. (Reminder, girls: if your high school boyfriend is knitting his own Dr. Who scarf, he may not be straight. Take it from me.)

Hmmm... somehow I managed to go from Easter to dead rock stars to biblical conspiracy theory to gay boyfriends.

How does she do it, folks?

Considering that it is a holy day, maybe I should offer a palate cleanser, no?

Happy Easter to my peeps. And a blessed Passover, too.

Remember - Cadbury eggs will be half price at CVS tomorrow. Sugar shock at work! Whoo-hoo!

Shalom, y'all! Peace out.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Good (grief) Friday

Anyone attempting to leave DC on Friday afternoon was met with hellish traffic in every direction. I heard that I-95 south of the District had a 50-mile backup that didn't really move until late evening. I felt bad for those poor bastards, especially as they were all burning $3.05/gallon gas, going nowhere.

Just getting out of downtown proved to be fairly bizarre, as my departure from work coincided with a strange Easter parade on Connecticut Avenue, bringing traffic to a complete standstill. I grew up in the Catholic Church, and, specifically, in a town with a very large Mexican population. I am relatively familiar with most of the festivals and traditions specific to Mexican Catholicism. However, I'm not as well-versed in some of the rituals in other parts of Latin America, and DC has a very, very large Central American population.

This ritual on Friday? Well, dudes... I'm stumped.

There was the "Our Lady of Guadalupe" statue (check), an "Infant of Prague"-type statue (check)... and then came the freaky-deaky part: hefted on the shoulders of several men, an adult-size glass casket, the panes held together in gold, with a lifesize dead Jesus statue inside.

Lifesize. Dead. Jesus.

He was lying on his side, in a sort of fetal ball, blood coming from his hands, feet, and head, with lilies tossed over him.

Lifesize. Dead. Jesus.

In a big glass casket.

Seriously, folks - I've seen a lot of odd stuff, but this definitely ranks up there.

Add to this the incredibly loud chicken squawks coming from the minivan next to me when I finally reached Friendship Heights. I crept up alongside the open passenger window, curious to know what the hell was going on. Turns out, the driver had the biggest stereo speakers I'd ever seen crammed into an Aerostar, all hooked up to a DVD player. He was watching home movies of cockfighting while he drove up Wisconsin Avenue.

Homemade. Cockfighting. Videos. That's kind of an anomaly rolling past Nieman Marcus.

Yes, it's just another Easter weekend in Washington, DC.

Hippity hoppity. Someone give me some Advil, please.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

When Sweeps Attack!

The ad NBC is running for upcoming episodes of the show "Medium" makes me giggle. Shall I quote? (Invoke a great gravelly voiceover voice for this):

"Next week, Allison faces her greatest challenge: AN EVIL MEDIUM!"

(Dear lord.)

"And soon, Molly Ringwald... and Kelsey Grammer as... THE ANGEL OF DEATH!"


Holy crap! That's not jumping the shark, that's saddling it and riding it through hoops of fire. Sweeps - what a panderfest!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Yes, we all see your penis, and it's very nice.

Now, put it away, please.

There's a tiny side street in downtown Bethesda - just a block long - right off Wisconsin Avenue. It's home to a 7-11 on one side and some craptacular little "luxury" apartments on the other. I looked at those apartments once - the one bedroom, with chipped, awful parquet flooring, was the most claustrophobic living space I'd ever encountered. The sleeping quarters were not large enough for a bed and a dresser. The entire flat only had one small closet. When I asked if there was any additional storage in the building, the young woman from the rental office laughed nervously:

"Ahah hah hah... well, ahah hah... no, there's no more storage, ahah hah hah, but you know, if you have more stuff than would fit in this unit, well, then you have too much stuff, ahah hah hah... then, you're not living, you're just collecting, ahah hah hah..."

Ahah hah this, chickie - for $1650 a month, I want to be able to walk between the sofa and TV without turning sideways. Ugh.

Tonight I stopped in at the (non-Hellmouth) 7-11 to get a lottery ticket. Lord knows, I could use the cash right now. As I pulled in to the tiny lot, I saw him: a studly youngish man pacing back and forth in front of Chez Merde Luxury Living. Stud Boy had a Maserati. A very nice, metallic grey, brand spankin' new Maserati.

And Stud Boy needed to be seen. Oh, great jump-roping jeezus, did he ever need to be seen! Why he was parked at Chez Merde, I will never know, but this is the hilarious part: every single time a pedestrian walked by, he hit the alarm and posed in front of the car. When the ped was gone, he turned the alarm off.

I was fascinated.

I sat in my car outside 7-11 for fifteen minutes, just to see how many times Stud Boy would work his alarm magic.


10 times.

10 times in fifteen minutes he turned on the alarm and posed for passers-by! (In between, he'd rub at imaginary smudges on the car - at one point, he hunkered down with his back to me, and I had the unfortunate view of his buttcheeks poking out of his jeans. Thanks, Stud Boy.) It was, all at once, hilarious and sad. Very sad. One woman walking into the 7-11 looked at him, rolled her eyes and giggled to her companion, making the universal monkey spank-wank gesture.

I assume someone in the apartment building finally complained to the police (I would have been dumping crap off the balcony onto his hood after the fifth alarm 'n' pose, frankly.) A patrol car showed up, and Stud Boy, his head hung low, sadly got in the Maserati and drove away.

Now, I love a nice, fast, expensive car as much as the next fool. (I think I'd be utterly uncomfortable in most of them, but that's besides the point - they're cool-looking!) But here's the deal - if you buy a $120K car, and you're just trying to show it off to commuters stopping for a Slurpee and a MegaMillions ticket, you just should have your keys taken away from you. Plain and simple. You're quite possibly too stupid to own a mega-luxury sports car.

Ah well. Maybe he was just getting his confidence up...

Godspeed, Stud Boy. May you find greener pastures to display your manhood! Might I suggest the new row of uber-high-end shops in Chevy Chase? There's a spot between Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo with your name on it.

Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard to marry, have baby

Plan to name the baby "aaaaaaaaaarllll" after both parents.

Suddenly, I'm thinking of that awful SNL sketch with Peter Sarrrrrsgaaaaarrrrd and the pirates...


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Things can only get better... right?

I had a rough weekend. In spending some time with a pile of documents (and three hours with my tax/money hell advisor), I found that I'm in even more dire financial straits than I'd previously thought.

Handy hint, kids - if you are ever out of work involuntarily for 8 months, it's wise to be: 1)part of a 2-income household; 2)independently wealthy; or 3)attractive enough to get yourself a nice sugardaddy. That's all I'm sayin'. Except you should be looking for most of my belongings on eBay really soon.

Driving home, weeping buckets (not a smart move on the Beltway, just FYI), I wished I could reach the box of cassettes behind my seat. I needed some Elvis Costello to comfort me. A slow, sad song in that craggy voice wouldn't uplift me, exactly, but it would make me feel less alone.

WWES? What would Elvis sing? Oh hell. Would it matter? Like Neil Finn, Elvis Costello could sing me the damn Yellow Pages and I would be in A Better Place.

I needed my Elvis. And I needed him bad. I fished and fished and finally found the box. I pulled out a tape, my eyes never leaving the road. There are at least 6 Elvis Costello tapes in this box of 12. Surely, I have found success.

No. I've managed to pull out - god help me - a Thai bootleg of Johnny Hates Jazz. WTF? Why did I buy Johnny Hates Jazz?!? And why did I do it in Thailand, for god's sake? Hey, everybody! I just got back from Thailand, land of magnificent textiles, shadow puppets, and brilliant gems! No, I didn't buy any of that stuff! I got a bootleg of Johnny Hates Jazz! Shattered Dreams! Whoo-hoo!


Elvis is playing at Strathmore Hall, quite literally in my back yard on April 20th. If I had the money, I would go see him. I could use some Elvis therapy right now. I could pretend that he's just singing to me, and that everything is going to be alright. But it is all pretend, after all.

So, here I am this evening, un-Elvised. I soaked my sorrows in a wretchedly high-carb, hideous-for-me Chinese takeout dinner. I ate on the sofa like the bachelorette I am, watched Family Guy, a little about the The Gospel of Judas, and tried not to think about money.

I promised myself I would be in bed by 11 (a failure) and that I would have my clothes laid out for work, all ironed and everything. Ha, bloody ha. I am attending a reception at the embassy of an Islamic nation (think burqa) tomorrow, and I had to dig out something very conservative to wear - round-necked, long-sleeved purple blouse and a long black skirt. It'll match my post-car accident bruises nicely. Hooray for skin/clothing color coordination!

Okay, off to bed. I swear I'll be in a better frame of mind tomorrow. Things will be better.

And after I've sold all my possessions (and my plasma), finances will be better, too.

G'night, y'all.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I've discovered that, as I get older, my desire to sleep in on rainy days has increased dramatically. This morning, it's pouring outside, and I'd just like to stay in bed, frankly. But I can't. I have a pile of things to do, and I'm going in to my office. I kept slapping the snooze button for an hour, but some adult sense of order finally got my rump up and moving.

Of course, it might have been easier to get up had I not found an Erasure concert playing on cable at 1 this morning. (God bless Logo, the gay & lesbian-focused cable channel - it's one of the best things to happen on TV for fat, straight women!) I finally drifted off around 2:30, but it's funny - I was still tapping my feet and muttering lyrics as I closed my eyes. Love, love, love those guys. Unfortunately, they're not playing DC on their upcoming acoustic tour, and there are no pennies in the sofa to cover a trek to New York, the nearest gig.

That's okay - They Might Be Giants at 9:30 is just a few days away, and then Dolby-fest 2006 begins just a handful of days after that.

By the way, if you're in DC and want to hear Thomas Dolby play, there are still some tickets available for his performances at Rams Head in Annapolis and the Birchmere in Alexandria, but not many! Thomas has a blog now, by the way, so I have yet another reading addiction. His dates across the country are filling up rather quickly, by the way. If you're a fan, you really should go if he's coming to your town. You will not be disappointed. Just don't be the idiot who yells "SCIENCE!" all night. Please.

Okay, gotta take a quick shower, get some papers together and get moving. Much to do, much to do...

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Mutha of gawd, do I ever have writer's block. All I need is three good pages of text for my radio commentary, and yet I'm skunked. I was surrounded by thousands of books tonight, horribly frustrated by the fact that all those tomes had writers who actually got the job done - and someone liked their words enough to pay them to keep writing. Arrrrg!

Why, when I was feeling creatively bereft, did I taunt myself with stacks of books? Well, I went to a book signing at the stripmall Barnes & Noble on Rockville Pike.

Strangely, this B&N location is a hang-out for riders of Japanese motorcycles and peeps who street race Honda Accords. We call it the Fast & Furious Barnes & Noble. Tonight I saw two total doorknobs wearing leather jackets utterly reminiscent of Michael Jackson's cheesy gear in the "Thriller" video. These dudes stood outside the Starbucks entrance to B&N, lattes in hand... with their helmets still on their heads. Yes, we get it. You ride motorcycles. I desperately wanted to see one of the guys coat himself in $4 coffee, trying to get the beverage past his jumbo, oversized, primary-colored brain bucket.

But I digress...

The book signing was for Frank Warren of PostSecret. He gave a talk (which I missed) and showed some cards that have not been published on the website. By the time I arrived, there was an eager sea of folks waiting to get their books signed. I was the very last person in line when I got up to the table, having arrived very late from work. Frank didn't quite remember who I was when I got up to the table, yet he greeted me - as he greeted every person that evening - with a smile, a handshake and an introduction. What a gentleman!

When I reminded Frank who I was, and that I'd interviewed him, he smiled, recalled us having spoken at a DC Blogger Meet-up, and then complimented my writing out here. That was very generous of him. We spoke briefly about the Blogger Meet-up - he's hoping to be there next week - and then I left.

I can't tell you exactly how many people had been there, but the line to meet Frank snaked far around the second floor. Interestingly, the vast majority of fans waiting for a signature (and, often, a photo) were teenagers. Very clearly, the phenomenon of PostSecret has hit home with teens, who are so often wrapped in difficult secrets. One girl was hyperventilating as she left after shaking Frank's hand. Another was crying. Pretty wild.

Well... I've written a handful of paragraphs. That's a nice start, but it hasn't gotten me a dang bit closer to having my commentary finished.


I'm going to bed. Maybe a decent night's sleep will improve the situation...

Things I Never Thought I'd Read. Ever.

The Sci-Fi Channel has picked up its very first Peabody Award for "Battlestar Galactica."

For those of us raised on Lorne Greene and daggits and Richard Hatch and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman wrapped in yards of luxurious Dupont-crafted Qiana, this is quite something. Things have certainly changed since the days of Galactica 1980. {{shudder, shudder}}

Oh, yeah - South Park got a Peabody, too.

I'll be damned.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Radio, Radio: Time To Get Cracking!

I'll have another radio commentary on WAMU on Friday, April 14th! The only problem? I have to record it this coming Tuesday and, well... I haven't written it yet. I have some concepts sketched out, but nothing is done. Eeek!

Originally, it was supposed to be on the April 21st show, but it got moved up today. So, Madame Procrastination really has to get her ass in gear. If you see no new entries here for a couple of days, it's because I'm attempting radio creativity... plus I have to do my taxes. Guess I know how my weekend is gonna look, eh?

Off to ponder... Attempt to be funny... four minutes, fifteen seconds of funny...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

And a big thank you goes out to...

1. The stupid rich neighbors who left their yippy dogs out again all last night. Yip! Yip! Yip! Yip!

2. The overaged frat boys two buildings down who heralded the arrival of spring (and Daylight Savings) by standing out by their cars screaming "WHOO!" like Ric Flair over and over again at 3 a.m.

3. The confused songbird who perched on my balcony at 5 a.m. doing this weird, two-note, slidewhistle thing for half an hour.

4. The giant, scary woodpecker who appeared on the crabapple tree in front of my apartment at 7 a.m. and pounded away for 45 minutes.

Thank you all for making the set-the-clocks-back short night even more fun.

Cranky, but ready for a little alternative history mockumentary goodness today...