Monday, September 29, 2008

Hey, that was dumb!

This afternoon, I reached down to pick up something on the floor in my office. I completely miscalculated - or simply didn't think - and slammed my head full speed and full force into the edge of my desk. Nice, huh?

I saw stars, actually said, "Oh god, not good. Wow oh wow oh wow, not good..." several times, I think, and almost passed out. Now, I have a big old bump on my forehead, and I think it's bruising. Plus, my bad eye hurts, and I can feel pain all the way down to my shoulder (yes, the broken one, of course.)

I have no idea what I was thinking when I cleaned my own clock. I should put rubber bumpers on everything around me. Seriously.

Geography, Bering Strait-Style

No comments, for none are needed:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A short road trip in the rain

My car is dying. Despite all the money I've put into it in the past few weeks, it's going to go belly-up. Trust me, there have been many tears about this. And a lot of nausea. There has also been near rage, too, as I believe I have been screwed over by the no-more mechanic. The car now needs the rack and pinion steering replaced. That's at least $900, and very simply, it ain't happenin'. So, for now, I'm putting power steering fluid in bit by bit, day by day, and it slowly (and sometimes not so slowly) leaks out. Not much to do about it but run this bastard into the ground. I've kinda given up at this point. The car problems increase my stress levels so high, I can't express myself properly. I'm trying to be as Zen as possible about it. Honest. Serenity now, serenity now... SERENITY NOW!!!

Eh, screw it. I suck at Zen.

I'm nursing a cold, and I really needed to spend today cleaning my apartment, as my brother, Air Jordan, is flying in next weekend, but I woke up to an apartment with no power. We had dramatic thunderstorms all night, but ironically the power didn't fail until a couple of hours after the rain moved through.

When the power still wasn't back at noon, I gave up. Knowing that my life will be seriously local for a long time to come, I decided to take a "final for now" super short road trip. It was also a bit of a test drive to see how much travel time my back can handle.I took my camera, got in the car, and drove about 50 miles north-ish to Westminster, Maryland. It's near the Maryland/Pennsylvania border, not far from Gettysburg. There were a handful of autumn festivals scheduled in town, plus (and please, remember, I'm a middle-aged fat woman) a rubber stamp show. Good day for snapping a few photos. I have taken so few in recent months.

I figured the skies in Westminster would be overcast and grey, like they were here in Bethesda. The Sasquatch told me that would offer really ideal conditions for outdoor photos - no bright, direct sunlight.


The skies stayed grey for a while, but then the heavens opened up. (Much like my power steering.) I ended up a drowned rat driving home in the misty dark, but I got a few cool photos (and a lot of lousy ones) of rural Maryland as autumn entered the scene...

Hope you enjoyed a little rural America. It was nice to get away for a few hours. Power's back on here at home (obviously), although Comcast is running some insanely loud generator directly outside my bedroom window, so I imagine tonight will be spent curled up on the La-Z-Boy in the living room...

Enough for tonight. My spine is telling me it's Sofa Time. (It's a little like Hammer Time, without the parachute pants and the flat top 'do.)

Remind me, next time, and I'll tell you more about the "concerned citizen" (aka Mr. Total Tool) who decided tonight that I had no right to take a photo of a neon sign on Rockville Pike, then screamed at me, and attempted to take my camera away from me. Bad move, Mr. Tool.

And it was all because I took this photo:

(I think it's possible Mr. Tool has one of those hot metal rods up his ass, too.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Congrats to my sister, a Hometown Hero

Hooray to Sister Social Worker. And thanks to Modern Woodmen of America for honoring her. Wish I could be there for the dinner!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Celebrating One Year of Intense Pain

Has it really been a year? Why yes. Yes, it has.

One year ago today, as I was heading off to a Thomas Dolby concert, a SUV-driving bonehead on a cell phone plowed into me, setting of a chain of wacky car accident hijinks that has left me pretty wussy 12 months on. Twice now, I have encountered the first woman who hit me. Both times were at the machine at the condo office where you add money to your laundry card. Each time, she has refused to acknowledge me as I sway on my cane, waiting for her to add value to her card. And, each time, I've had to fight the urge to curse her and grab her skull in an attempt to Vulcan mind-meld her into feeling my back pain.

Not being a Vulcan, I fear this attempt would fail, and I would be facing some sort of assault charge.

But hey, a girl can dream, no?

Making tasty lemonade out of bitter lemons, I celebrated today's momentous anniversary by going to the 9:30 Club with the Sasquatch to hear the astoundingly fine Booker T. and M.G.'s. Damn, damn, damn, these men are not just legends. They are still kicking serious musical ass, just like they did back in the day:

There were dancing girls tonight, too, but only the two women Eddie Floyd pulled out of the audience to share the stage with him when he came on as the band's special guest.

God, it was great. Really, really great.

And youngin's - if you don't know who Booker T. and the M.G.'s are, go pick up a greatest hits CD. You're going to realize you know who they are even if you don't know who they are.

Great night. Thanks, Squatchito - this totally rocked! Maybe my concert-car accident curse is now ended.

Selling Domain Names

Hey, Internet-savvy friends,

I have two domain names I've owned since the days of my self-employment. For a while I wanted to hold onto them, thinking I might be able to make a go of things with my little businesses. Clearly, that's not happening.

I forgot that they auto-renewed with Go Daddy today. Sure, it's not much money for a year for most people - thirty-some-odd bucks. Unfortunately, that loss of thirty-some-odd bucks now leaves me with $4 in my bank account until next Friday. Can you say "majorly screwed"? I can. I can also say, "Hey, moron! You should have gotten rid of these domains last year!" I have no excuse except for the absentmindedness that comes from stress (serious about that.) Plus, I was still hopeful about doing something then.

But hey - I have $7 in my purse and four Lean Pockets in the freezer. Not the ideal healthy eating plan. Eh, what can you do?

Can anyone recommend a good service/website for selling domains?

Thanks to anyone with skinny!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Did I mention...

...when I was doubled up in misery on Monday, taking those pictures on M Street, a very ruddy-faced and cranky looking Christopher Hitchens walked past me, staring all the time?

I asked the Sasquatch if having Hitchens walk past you, scowling, is like walking under a ladder or passing a black cat. "No," the Squatch replied, "I think it means you're going to get drunk. Or waterboarded."

Yes, I'm posting at 5:50 in the morning. I'm supposed to be at physical therapy in 10 minutes, but I've been sick on and off all night, and I'm too wobbly to drive anywhere right now. The irony - the back and shoulder and all the stress creates a need for therapy, but the back and shoulder and all the stress has made me too sick to drive safely.

Queue Alanis Morrisette.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Altered Images from an Altered Mind

On Monday evening, I staggered out of work in a stunning amount of pain. I couldn't find a single comfortable position - sitting, standing, doubled over... hell, I probably would have been thrashing around, sobbing, had I been in a place where I could lie down.

For a minute or two, I found a relatively decent spot, leaning up against a pillar on M Street. The pillar was broad, and the cool stone felt so good on my spine. I have been trying to teach myself calming breathing techniques, although I forget to stop and breathe as often as I should. But on Monday, I tried my best to invoke some zen as I took in somewhat jagged cleansing breaths on a rush hour sidewalk.

My cell phone was in my pocket, and I pulled it out to call the Sasquatch to ask if he could drive me home. I could hear the "bees" buzzing around my head - a sure sign that I'm about to pass out. My hand was shaking as I held my phone, and I accidentally turned on the camera function. Looking up, I saw the most fascinating, fast-moving cloud formations passing overhead. To be honest, I wasn't sure if it was real weather or just my vision fuzzing out before fainting. From my spot leaning on the post, I clicked a photo. I'd forgotten that I had set the camera to "aqua" mode a few days before. This is what I saw. Click on the images - they're much cooler in larger format:

Aqua sky over the National Education Association building

I switched the setting to sepia, and another cool image of the rapidly changing sky appeared:

NEA in the sepia light

Switching back to aqua, I caught the pavement beneath my feet:

M Street. Blue street.

And, before finally sliding down the column to a very uncomfortable, very lightheaded crouch, I caught these buildings at the corner of M & 15th:

The ordinary, transformed, by simple pocket technology

I was so ill Monday night, I completely forgot I took these pictures until just now, when I received a message from a family member. Once again, I bumped the photo button, and my little gallery of images appeared. Not bad for a nearly unconscious, non-photographer!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I wish I could adequately describe...

...the level of pain I'm experiencing right now.

I've been up all night. Every hour I've spent 15 minutes icing my back. My lower back is throbbing, and my left leg is numb. It's been numb since slightly before 5 o'clock yesterday evening. Out of the blue, it came on. I had felt some discomfort around 4. Even laughed with a colleague about how I had to stretch out over my desk to try to relieve some of the pressure. But that's happened before. Many times.

But it was different at 5. I shifted in my chair at work ever so slightly, and I screamed. The pain was so intense, I got dizzy. I almost blacked out. Thank god the Sasquatch could drive me home.

I'm cutting this short. This is all the time I can sit up. The computer is in the hall between the living room, bedroom, and bathroom. I really only sat down because right now I can't walk all the way (all of a few feet) without stopping to sit.

This is horrible. Very, very sincerely, I hope none of you ever has to experience this.

Right now, I wish I could mind-meld a la Spock with all the morons who have caused my accidents so they could understand what they've made me go through. And I wish this sensation - and lack of sensation - would just stop.

Seacrest, out.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

If the party's here...

...I'm leaving. NOW.

I went to (god help me) the Walmart website looking for these ridiculous things they sell called "Bubba Jugs." No, they are not enormous he-boobies. Bubba Jugs are huge drink containers. I thought it might be good to buy one so I could bring filtered water from home to drink all day rather than take a chance on DC tap water. (Sorry, tap water enthusiasts - I still remember when the sewage backed up in the DC system, thanks.)

In looking up "mugs" I came across the following atrocity - a four-foot tall inflatable indoor beer mug emblazoned with the words "THE PARTY'S HERE." Here's the description:

"This airblown beer mug with pretzel leaves no doubt that your partygoers have arrived at the right place. At four feet tall, this self-inflatable d├ęcor makes a fun statement. For indoor use only."

Uhnmmm... if this is a giant pretzel, I'm Paris Hilton:
I'm sorry, guys. But if someone has left behind a two-foot tall pile of feces, the par-tay is o-ver.

God bless Walmart. They're slashing prices and keeping America super-classy!

Merujo Flickr Mosaic

The lovely J.M. Tewkesbury, proprietress of The Chronicles of Tewkesbury, recently featured a meme-ish concept where you you take images from Flickr to answer questions about yourself and use this nifty piece of software to turn it into a mosaic. I started to do this the other day when I stumbled on one of the questions - what high school did you attend? In doing the Flickr search, I discovered photos of a man I knew back in the day. He was a very young freshman the year I was a senior. He had that "theatre gene" deep in his DNA - a musically-talented actor who I felt would be coming out of the closet soon. Apparently he did, and, from some of the photos I saw, he must have had some very good, very happy years. But then, he fell into addiction, lost himself along the way, and, in 2007, took his own life. I wrote to the man who'd posted the Flickr images, and he told me the sad story.

I was a little bit shaken up by this. To give you an idea of the strong, warm feelings he left with people, one of my co-workers at Major Non-Profit and TV Network With Its Own Theme Music also went to my high school and remembered him fondly, too. She had been the young, musically-talented actor-type freshman when he was a senior.

I hope he has found peace.

My friend Spencer had come across the Flickr mosaic post on Madame Tewkesbury's blog and posted his own. So, I finally decided to get my rump in gear and do it. BTW, small world that this is, the purveyor of Tewkeshness is a local friend of mine here. Spencer is a friend I met via the Internet. I decide to do this mosaic that one of them got from the other, and, in answering the last question, the ONLY photo on Flickr that features my Flickr name is... one of Spencer, his lovely spouse Kristen, the Sasquatch, Cynicsgirl, her husband the RadioCynic, and me. Go figure, eh?

Merujo Flickr Mosaic

1. melissa in a long beach diner, 2. New York Steak, 3. Patrick Dixon R.I.P., 4. Just an Orchid, 5. Damian Lewis, 6. Raspberry Seltzer, 7. Indigo & Aqua, 8. Sweet Cherry Pie, 9. storyteller, 10. Leapin' for Obama, 11. Hacia "El Paso de Jama", 12. MIchael Penn - WCL Philly 2007

I thought you should know what my search was for #10 on my list: hope - the thing I love most in life right now. That photo, of some deliriously rapturous random happy fat dude jumping for joy, next to an Obama "Hope" poster kinda said it all for me right now. "Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies." Thank you, Stephen King. Without hope, some days, I'm not sure how I get through.

Now, if you have a hankering to try this yourself (it's a neat way to see some very beautiful - and sometimes very strange - photos), here's the skinny:
  1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
  2. Using only the first page, pick an image. (You can arrange by “Most relevant,” “Most recent,” or “Most interesting.”)
  3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you?
12. Your flickr name?

Have fun!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Time to fess up

Well, as I mentioned in the last post, the Nixon story is true. And, for a little background, I'll quote an e-mail I sent out to a friend of mine this week:

"It was either late 1973 or the beginning of 1974 when we had this sleepover. It was wintertime, I recall. My family had just moved out to Illinois late in the summer of 1973 (right after the end of taping in the White House) just before I started second grade. The slumber party was hosted by my new friend L., whose dad was a Republican congressman. I have no idea if the call that night was related to the Vietnam trip he'd just taken or a "please don't hurt me" call from Nixon, as L.'s father was one of very few Republicans in Congress to support any articles of impeachment. (Can you say... uncomfortable?) Nixon was very patient with us being goofy kids. Considering the shitstorm around him, I'm amazed by that in retrospect.

I actually thought about that when I ran into Nixon in the lobby of the embassy in Moscow just a few months before he died. He was there privately as an advisor, and the embassy had been told by Washington to offer him no support. It felt very wrong. So, seeing him standing there, alone, in the lobby, I went over and asked him if I could help him. I found his car and driver and escorted him to his ride. He was very gracious (and looked very ill.)"

So, yeah, I ate chocolatey roaches and spoke to Tricky Dick himself. Strange world, eh?

The truth about my fabrication? Well... Justin was pretty much right. All the stories are true.


Wolfgang, the Armenian guy? The space aliens didn't appear outside his place of work, they appeared outside his apartment balcony. He had his wife take photos every time the UFOs appeared. He had a vast collection of shots of small white lights with his finger pointing to them. I had to sit through a presentation of all the blurry shots during a briefing on humanitarian aid in his city council office. He carried them around in his briefcase. It was pretty messed up.

I know, I kinda pulled a fast one there, but I realized some of the stories I have are so messed up, I couldn't think of something to make up that would sound more absurd. So, the visit to the Caucasus ended up with a wee fib in it.

The Sasquatch
told me I was cheating, but hey - I did just say one of them wasn't *completely* true!

Just proof positive that real life beats fiction 99.9% of the time.

Justin, the coffee's on me. :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Nixon? Totally true.

I'll reveal the not completely true bit this weekend...

So, whaddya think?

I've changed the template a bit here, courtesy of the instructions from The Blogger Guide website, and expanded the page to three columns. I may be adding some (non-Google) ads to the page in the near future, hoping that the odd stranger here and there will click on them. Blogher has an ad program, and you can be incredibly detailed in indicating what types of ads you will not accept, which means there would be no dating/hook-up sites, sex crime attorneys, or other thing I don't care to deal with appearing on a sidebar here.

Yesterday the Sasquatch made a favicon for me, so now, when you visit here, you'll see my little one-eyed cartoon devil girl in the location bar next to the URL. Neat, huh? Also, very kindly, he is going to help me create an array of banner images for the site from my odd collection of photos, and, using code from the Tips for New Bloggers site, we'll set it up to rotate images. Whoo-hoo!

Speaking of images, I was tickled pink to find out that Bar Pilar on 14th Street has a photobooth!
$3 for a strip of four black & white photos! Mere minutes from my office! It's like Christmas for a photobooth freak! Can't wait to try it out.

Three bucks and a photobooth. That's all you need to entertain me. Yeah, I'm all about the lifestyles of the rich and famous, baby!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Screaming Memes, or...

Nuthin' but the truth...

I'm not much of a meme'er these days. Several friends have sent memes around in recent weeks and I've promised to respond, but I never seem to get to them. Also, because of my strange ability to attract Crazy Ass Blog Stalkers (or CABS), I'm a little reluctant to share more personal information than I already spew forth out here. I can just imagine someone reaching out and saying, "You like Toblerone? I *love* Toblerone! I'm gonna send you a case! We should be sisters!"


However, in the interest of making sure my friends don't think I'm ignoring them, I've come up with a combination meme response. This meme has elements of several friendly tags I've gotten and yet provides would-be CABbieS (or should that be CABieS - like rabies?) with no useful information.

Here goes.

Below are five odd things you might not know about me.

Four of them are completely true.

Guess which one isn't:

1. As soon as I learned to walk, I started turning my toes under my feet and running on the tops of my toes. This made some of my siblings want to hurl. Somewhere, this bizarre form of conveyance is documented in an old family movie, in which I run through our yard in New Jersey, on the tops of my toes, carrying a very large dead fish and chasing my screaming relatives.

2. I have eaten chocolate covered cockroaches. They were in a lovely presentation box from Vietnam. My friend's father was a congressman, and he brought them back from a fact-finding trip to Southeast Asia in the waning days of the war. He bought them as a joke. He should not have left them in the kitchen for a slumber party of second grade girls to find.

They were like chocolate-covered Aplets or Cotlets.

Except they had exo-skeletons.

President Nixon called during that slumber party. Before we got my friend's dad on the phone, we passed it around and talked to him while we ate the roaches.

3. On a business trip to Armenia, I sneaked over the border into Turkey with an Armenian Orthodox priest, so we could get a closer look at Mt. Ararat. We did not see Noah's Ark.

Or a Yeti.

Or Leonard Nimoy.

But a city official in Yerevan did show me his massive UFO photo portfolio. He claimed they hovered outside the balcony of his office during city council meetings. His name was Wolfgang (the Armenian guy, not the alien.) Unusual name for an Armenian dude.

4. Two friends and I accidentally ended up as extras in a Soviet science fiction film called "The Blue-Green Alien" (working title, I assume.) We were lounging on a Black Sea beach when the film crew arrived and repeatedly filmed a man in a suit walking into the sea. Someone asked us to all look to the sky and point. We did, while saying things in English like, "You see anything? Nope? Me neither! I feel stupid!"

I am not thrilled that my (likely) one and only performance on the big screen was in a swimsuit.

Maybe I can find the filmmakers and have them pay for my therapy.

5. I once purchased the most gorgeous, enormous, sweet strawberries from a roadside berry patch in the outskirts of Moscow and brought them back to my office for everyone to enjoy. That night, I saw on the news that the patch where I bought the berries was the location of a Stalin-era mass grave. My supersized berries had been growing in Soylent Fucking Green.

I got to work the next day and dumped the berries as quickly as possible before they were all eaten by my unsuspecting colleagues.

I didn't eat strawberries for a loooong time after that.


Well, there you go. Enjoy. Leave a comment and tell me which story you think doesn't ring completely true.

This is fun.

And now, there is warm laundry in the dryer waiting for me. Aloha, mah peeps.

You've *got* to be kidding!

Leaving home this morning, some moron made a crazy, last second, ill-advised u-turn directly in front of my car. He was on his cell phone. Making his herky-jerky gun-the-gas u-turn with one hand.

It was the same asshat who caused my last accident.

You should have seen the look on his face as he realized he almost got t-boned again.

He dropped his phone, rolled down the window and put his hands up. He yelled, "I'M SORRY! I'M SORRY! I'M SORRY! I SHOULD HAVE LEARNED MY LESSON!"

I have a strong feeling this guy is destined to learn his lesson Darwin Awards-style.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Trying something new

Not sure if I like this color scheme or not. I'll ponder it.

If I had any decent web design skills, I'd revamp the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Less Than Auspicious Return of Adventures in Audioblogging

Whoo-hoo! It's Church of the Big Sky's Gabcast #1


You can visit my "channel" on Gabcast where, if you enjoy masochism, you can subscribe to my audio rambles.

Wish you were here

Happy birthday, Mom.

I miss you.

Anybody know a legal way to make $400 overnight?

I needed a night to just not think about this. Got the car back yesterday afternoon. After $800+ in repairs to the cooling system, it turns out the power steering fluid pump is toast, and now that tension in the system is back to normal for the functioning parts, you can barely turn the steering wheel on my car. I was in tears by the time I got it home last night. Try turning a non-compliant steering with with a fractured shoulder.


I just can't borrow any more money from family or friends. I just can't.

I guess the car will go as far as the Metro station a mile from my place and just stay there during the day. It'll be a couple of months before I can afford to cover this repair.

Just so damn tired, really. Only up for an hour, and I want to go back to bed.

Will all this stop someday?


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It's an honor just to be nominated, or...

Color me all "awww shucks" and humbled.

I don't know who you are, Constant Reader, but thank you very much for nominating me for blogging awards on both Divine Caroline and the Blogger's Choice Awards. I'm nominated in the "Neighborhood & World" category on Divine Caroline and in four categories in the Blogger's Choice Awards: Best Blog About Blogging, Best Blog About Stuff, Freakiest Blogger (I *think* that's a compliment), and the "Blogitzer" which is for the best writing on a blog.

Really, I'm very flattered. It's very kind that someone things this highly of my writing. I imagine I don't stand a snowball's chance in Hell, considering that Dooce is probably nominated in every category, but still, it's nice!

If you have a chance and the inclination, please consider voting for me. I have buttons up on the right for both the Divine Caroline and Blogger's Choice sites. The Divine Caroline "badge" was e-mailed to me this afternoon, which came as a pleasant surprise.

It would be kinda fun to win (and, hell, Divine Caroline comes with cash prizes), but honestly, just the friends I've made through this site make me feel like I've already won the best prize of all.

And now, to the sofa for a Coke Zero and something educational on basic cable.

(You didn't really think I'd be watching the Republican love fest tonight, did you?)

Oh, no, I didn't

This morning, as I took a cranky, sweaty Metro ride downtown, I found a copy of Express sitting on the seat next to me. I hadn't seen a copy of Express in ages - lately, all the streetcorner boxes I've encountered have been emptied by commuters before I've managed to hit one.

I settled in for a read as the Red Line headed down to Farragut North and flipped through the articles. Hurricane Gustav, check. Sarah Palin and her family circus, check. Medical trial ads, check. (I keep hoping to see one reading "Are you karma's bitch? We can help with free investigational drugs!" So far, no luck.)

But then, on page 28, there it was - the Blog Log. Pithy quotes from local bloggers about the day's events. There was a thoughtful quote about being a Red Cross volunteer in the aftermath of a hurricane... two thoughtful quotes about Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin... and then, this, circled in pink, just for you:

For the record, I was amused by the irony of the situation, not by someone going into rehab. Unless it's Amy Winehouse, I'm not going to be that mean! Eight posts over the holiday weekend, and this gets culled from the herd, of course.

Ah well, fame and infamy - sometimes, for fifteen minutes (or the length of someone's post-holiday commute), it's the same thing. I hope that, for every Metro traveler today who thought, "Jeez, what a jerk!" there was an equal number saying, "Yeah, I kinda thought the same thing..."

Another proud moment for me in the land of Internet randomness.