Wednesday, August 30, 2006

eBay for the eYeball: Round Two

I've added my massive Magritte-inspired "Close But No Cigar" Dolby poster up on eBay. This sucker is more than 3 feet wide and an inch shy of 5 feet long. It is pretty damn cool.

I will be adding a piece of Sovietica to my eBay auctions tonight, too. My Soviet pay phone sign. I bought it on the street in Moscow years ago. I assume that just hours or minutes before I bought it, it either fell off a building or was wrenched off a wall. Either way, I've enjoyed having it next to my phone at home. But now, it's time for it to move on and look all cool and vintage in someone else's home, in a delightfully half-assed, product of craptacular workmanship, slightly rusted Soviet way.

From a graphic design standpoint, I adore it this piece of enameled metal. And I will miss it. It is so Moscow to me.

Man, I love my dumb stuff even more than I ever thought.

And the hits just keep on comin'!

Guess who's allergic to:

1. several varieties of grass
2. several varieties of trees
3. just about every mold on the planet
4. warm, fuzzy kittycats
5. dust
6. roaches (yes, roaches)

Yes, it's me. I know, what a shock, huh?

I get bronchitis all the flipping time, and, finally, at age 40, I went in for allergy testing. There's a scale from 1-6 that shows just how allergic you are to certain things. I didn't ask where the roaches fell on my personal scale of Things That Make You Itch and Sneeze. Frankly, I just didn't want to know. I bet they don't test people in rural areas for roach reactions. Damn cities.

Topping my hit parade of of allergies? Nearly off the charts? Dust. I'm in the 1-3 range for most stuff, but dust? That's a 6+++. Or, as my doctor said today, looking over the results, "Huh. Dust. Go figure. It's everywhere. Only way to deal with this is desensitization shots."

MORE SHOTS?!?!? Awww, c'mon!!!

Yep, it's true. As if the eyeball shots weren't enough. Now, I get to go in - get this - once a week for the next three months for a shot. Then, after that, bi-weekly for the following three months. And then, after that, once a month for the next YEAR.



Well, I will say this - the doc's office is a short $1 Circulator ride away from my office, and there is a great Thai place next door... but damn!

A year?

If these shots aren't covered by insurance, you're gonna see me on the cover of the Washington Post soon, up in a bell tower with a rifle...

Oh wait - did I tell you that, actually, I'm allergic to so much stuff they won't be able to mix all the right serums in one injection? That's right, kids! It's really gonna be TWO shots every week.

Someone make it stop, please!!!!!!

Sing me to sleep

It's 3:24 in the morning.

And it's Wednesday.

I woke up about thirty minutes ago with my eye hurting so much, it was impossible to sleep. The sensation is hard to describe, but there is so much pressure behind my eye that I get slammed with waves of nausea.

It's worst when it hits me at work. In the past week, it's happened at a couple of meetings. I wait for the day when I can't control it by just being quiet and calm, and I hurl at a conference table. I fear that because the super-fun nausea waves come on so suddenly - there simply isn't any warning and no time to prepare.

And so, here I am, at 3:27 now, riding the wave. There is some lame-ass pyramid scheme money-sucker infomercial on the TV in the living room. I didn't even have the energy to turn on something edjamacational and soothing on cable.

My favorite thing on mornings when I'm feeling sick? A&E in the Classroom. Makes me feel more virtuous about being home & nonfunctional that flipping two channels down to "Drama in the Daytime." (I think I've finally hit my saturation point on reruns of "Charmed" and "ER"...) And now that reading for pleasure has, well, lost its pleasure, the TV is more of a friend than I ever intended it to be. Ugh.

I think I need a couple of days at a beach. A quiet, post-holiday, kids-back-in-school beach. I want to be somewhere where I can hear the surf and track satellites against a starry sky. I want to be someplace other than here right now. I feel like a day and a night at the ocean might suck this nausea out of me.

I wish it could suck this illness right out of me. Suck this blindness right out of me.

I want to enjoy reading again.

I want to drive without fear again.

I want to sleep without interruption again.

I want to be unafraid of being broke all the time.

Boy, I sure do want a lot of stuff, huh? Greedy girl!

Okay, I'll try to sleep now. Much to do at work tomorrow. I love my job. I adore the people I work with. Man, am I ever lucky.

Sleep now...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Today's Why

Why do home improvement/interior design cable TV shows always feel the need to incorporate an animal print into a room if the homeowners are African-American?

I saw a show the other day (one where the hosts are there to help you de-clutter and redesign) and the redo on the bedroom was gorgeous - blue-grey walls, bedlinens of French-inspired red and grey silks, etc - so mellow, very subtle. The homeowners were black. So what did the designer do in the middle of that low-key relaxing bedroom of grey and dark red? Why put up yellow and black leopard print curtains, of course!

Oy vey.

This makes me nuts. I mean, it's not like the designers are going to look at me and say, "Hmmm... she's Irish, right? Let's do this room all in shamrocks and shades of green!"

I figure, if a homeowner has a gorgeous collection of Afrocentric art or has expressed an interest in an African-themed room, that's one thing. But this subtle - and sometimes not-so-subtle - last minute inclusion of wild animal hide-ish stuff like some sort of perverse I-want-to-prove-I'm-the-culturally-sensitive-designer move? I dunno. It makes me slightly nuts.

Maybe it's just me.

Rant over. Back to cleaning my office. It's Monday. Time to start the week with a clear desk for once...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

eBay for the eYeball

So, the time has come, my friends, for the pinching of the pennies. Much to my dismay, I'm now putting some of my favorite things up for auction on eBay. I'm starting with some of my beloved Thomas Dolby posters - vintage goodness from the 1980s and early 1990s. As I put up more and more goodies on eBay, I'll put my auctions in a list over on the righthand side of the blog. There will be Things Soviet (including a Soviet submarine clock), things crafty and photographic, movie posters, and random crap from my home.

I am also working with the Sasquatch on designs for t-shirts that will be available on CafePress soon (I hope.) I have drawn a devishly hot chiquita with an eyepatch and a pitchfork. I hope to add her to the banner on this blog eventually. We shall see. My techno-knowledge is fairly limited.

Anyway, the link to my first auction is here. My loss, your gain.

While 90% of each auction's winning bid will go to my eyeball fund, 10% will go to the building and maintenance of a museum for the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII down in Sweetwater, Texas at Avenger Field. So, if you win one of my auctions, not only will you help me with my eye treatments, but you'll also help to sustain the memory of some amazing, pioneering women.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Because Hitler was all about the pizza...

From the "What the hell was this dude thinking?" file comes this story of bad ideas in restaurant monikers.

When I think "Hitler", I think "MEGA joys"!

I mean, c'mon! That's just fucked up, no matter if you're in India or Indiana.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Random Travel Photos: Bad London Haircuts of 1986-87

I attended the London School of Economics and Political Science for a year back in the mid-80s. Ah, Thatcher's Britain! The waning years of the true punk movement! The never-ending 24/7 anti-apartheid protest at the South African Embassy. Nights at tiny clubs listening to new bands that would make it big (like Erasure) and bands that would vanish overnight... Oh yeah - and the studying. I really did study hard. But I drank a lot of cider, too. Killed more than one brain cell.

The death of my brain cells might explain some of my haircut choices over that year. All were short, some of them dyed (I'd just started to go grey - eek), and at least one of them - courtesy of some asshole at the Vidal Sassoon Advanced Academy - that was vile. Truly, truly vile.

I'll let you guess which one that was...

So many ID photos... seriously, being a student is almost as bad
as living in the Soviet Union. May I see your papers?

I look possessed. That's almost a Danny Elfman smile.
And I'm drinking cider. Probably to help me forget the haircut.
(Basement pub at Passfield Hall, London)

Oy. Red hornrims, butchy hair, giant hoop earrings, and a winter coat
with shoulder pads. Shudder. Well, at least the parrot is pretty.
(Portobello Road, London)

Dear god, who let me spray a whole bottle of Sun-In on my head?
No, seriously - someone should have stopped me!
(Somewhere in Wales)

The only excuse I have for ANYTHING in this picture is that it was the 80s... the skinny vintage tie, the overdone makeup, the braided bracelet, the giant hoops, the NHS wirerims, and the Madonna scarf in my hair. The black jumper (that I made) and the crisp white shirt make me look like I should be taking your order at the Cheesecake Factory. What you can't see are my fake leopardskin boots - there were matching earrings at one point...
(Once again, down at the basement pub at Passfield Hall)

There are days when it's hot and stinky and humid and miserable here when I miss my 80s hair, but I think I'd look even freakier with the buzzcut these days. And I'm not gonna run out and test drive that theory any time soon.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Why this man will never get any freelance gigs...

This is an ad I just read on my local Craigslist. This dude is looking for work as, and I quote:


Wow. Just... wow. I'm kinda hoping, for his own sake, that he's a better speaker than a writter...

Photo Booth Fun and New Blog Feature

Okay, kids,

I've mentioned before how much I love photo booths. Unfortunately, they are becoming more and more rare, like jackalopes and fur-bearing trout. But the other day, much to my delight, I happened to drive past one in downtown DC! It's on 20th Street NW, just shy of the intersection with I Street. It's a color photo booth, next door to a florist-cum-convenience shop and a fortune-telling booth. $5 for a strip of 4 totally washed out, strangely artistic shots. My glamour shots are posted at left. I look like Joe Strummer in the first one. Thanks, frizzy hair!

Now, here's a challenge for y'all: find your nearest photo booth and have a strip of photos taken. Post them to your blog and then leave a comment here with a link, so we can see you in your automated glory. If your nearest known photobooth isn't on the locator (the link above), be sure to send it to the site, so they can add it to their list!

This is also my chance to tell you I'm going to start a new feature here: random travel photos. I spent a good chunk of the last twenty years overseas, and I have box after box of travel photos. Most of them, to be honest, suck. And, they are all pre-digital photography. This means scanning haphazardly when I have free time, so it will be random photography at random intervals. All for your entertainment!

My first post will be "Bad London Haircuts of 1986-87." Man, I loved living in the UK, but, dear god, I got some crappy haircuts that year. I can assure you, you will agree...

At least it wasn't Bullwinkle...

I had a squirrel in my apartment this morning. I'd like to thank the idiot neighbor who tied the front door of the building open with twine last night, inviting in curious wildlife. When I opened my door to leave for work today, a small brown streak flew past me into my place.

I vaguely remember screaming like a little girl and then grabbing the cheap Big Lots broom I keep next to the door. I then remember the actual broom portion of it flying off into the hallway. Rocket J. Squirrel ran into my bedroom, chattered wildly, and hid under my bed. Fun. I finally poked him out from under my bed and chased him back out in the living room. I had visions of squirrel crap and rabid foam everywhere. At last, I got the little bastard into my kitchen and slammed both doors shut. I stuffed towels under both doors and took up residence on my sofa, feet up off the ground. (After the episode a couple of years ago when I had a rat in the seat next to me - eating my popcorn - and another at my feet at the Uptown, I tend to freak about rodents in my personal space.) With hands shaking and adrenaline rushing, I called for professional help.

So, you may ask, how many people does it take to remove a terrified squirrel from a tiny kitchen full of nooks and crannies?


Three professionals in the kitchen with sticks, nets, and heavy gloves, and one apartment dweller up on the sofa in the next room, waving a broomstick around in some impotent effort to ward off potential squirrel attacks. Super Monday morning fun, kids!

In the end, the poor little scared critter was removed from the premises in a small cage. I sprayed Lysol all over my kitchen (which will be hosed down with bleach tonight), and I removed the twine that had been holding the front door open. One of my neighbors deserved to be smacked upside the head, for certain.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bad Ideas in Logo Design

Come to your own conclusions...

Photo credit: Mr. Sasquatch

40,000 Hits!

I haven't been paying close attention to my hit counter recently. I still go to StatCounter just to see who has visited - I like seeing who my regular visitors are. Makes me feel happy to see familiar "faces" out there. And now that StatCounter has added a map feature, I can see just where everyone is on the planet: big cluster from DC through the Northeast up into Canada, a handful of midwesterners, a few in the Pacific Northwest, Javi in L.A. - who shows up as an ISP in Texas(!!), a group in California, and small but hearty groups in the UK, Norway, Germany, and Australia.

I'm not counting the people in Russia and Ukraine who hit my blog looking for "cannibals" or "Moscow hookers." I don't think they're regular readers. That, my friends, is what is known as a "specialty search hit."


But last night, I actually looked at the hit counter and was surprised to see it just fifteen clicks away from 40K. I thought I might stay up and see it turn over (I'm that way, too, about my car's odometer - if I miss it turn at a 1,000-point, I'm bummed.) However, my body had other ideas, and sleep won out.

So, while I dreamed really freaky dreams, someone turned my blog odometer to 40,000. It was about 2:20 in the a.m. here, which isn't a surprise, as the visitor was someone whose IP I recognize as a regular visitor from California.

I don't know who you are, friend, but when you visit, it's via the blog of the talented and accident prone Magazine Man. I've come to call you "Snuh-loca" when I see you on StatCounter, as your IP address includes the letters "snloca"... As in, "ah, 'Snuh-loca from California' was here today!"

So, thanks, Snuh-loca, unknown Verizon DSL user! Decloak sometime and let me know who you are.

And thanks, everyone, for visting, reading, and - most recently - for all the kind words, good thoughts, and support while I try to deal with the eye. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.

Best to you all,


Friday, August 18, 2006

What I learned today...

It'll be $650, not $500 every 3-4 weeks for the eye injections, tests, and photos, etc. Oh joy!

Somebody shoot me now...

My kingdom for a winning lottery ticket! I guess this is finally the weekend when I start putting my stuff up for auction on eBay, starting with my vintage Thomas Dolby posters. Sigh. Ah well!

In the end, they are only things. Things can be replaced. Vision, on the other hand, can't.

I know I shouldn't complain. It really is a miracle that the docs can do anything at all to try to save my sight. I'm just really worried about making ends meet in the middle of this muddle. I actually lost it at work today. Sat with my office with the door closed and just cried and cried - it was a combination of being overtired, constantly worried, and really nauseated from the pressure behind the eye. Oof. I hate being a weenie at work. I really don't want my colleagues to see me lose my cool, although they are all very, very kind.

A little bit of good karma did come my way after work tonight, though. I needed new shoes, as my old reliable black walkers are dying a horrible death and require a speedy Christian burial in a Hefty bag. Miraculously -especially since I have incredibly wide tootsies - I found a pair of $140 Italian "comfort shoes" (really trendy suckers, too) marked down to $19 at an upscale Bethesda shoe emporium I couldn't possibly afford even in my best financial times. So, thank you, Shoe Fairy! I owe ya one, big time!!

Yin... yang... I can't afford rent next month, but at least I have new, incredibly inexpensive shoes. (So, har dee har har - at least I'll be able to walk to work if I can't afford gas!)

Ah, gallows humor. What would I do without ye?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Manly Man with Corn Dog

How do you make a Nebraskan happy at the fair?
Bring on the breading, hot dogs, and loads of sodium!

Note: This photo actually published with the permission of the Sasquatch.
Yep, even though he looks slightly lobotomized, he's cool with it...

Two-Headed Rats, Devil Babies, Bridezillas, and Yaz, Oh My!

In which I have a very un-Lifetime-Television-For-Women moment...

this is an audio post - click to play

Now, this is Yaz...

Monday, August 14, 2006

A night at the county fair

On Sunday evening, the Sasquatch and I took a brief ramble down the midway at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair in Gaithersburg, Maryland. We went to snap some nighttime photos and enjoy the people watching... and corn dogs... and funnel cakes...

Handy hint: if you're around 40 and don't need the empty calories and sugar rush, share a funnel cake with a friend. No one needs a whole damn funnel cake....

My photos aren't particularly good, especially as this was my first nighttime effort with the Canon A620 (bought right before my eye went all funky) and my depth perception is now total crap. But, if you haven't been to the county fair in a long time (or have never been to an American county fair), this'll give you a good taste of the midway action. The Sasquatch got some good shots in front of the sideshow with the freaky animals. Somehow, I missed those snaps. (The Sasquatch has one of me in front of the "Devil baby" sign.)


It was a lot of fun. If you ask nicely, I might even post a bonus photo of the Sasquatch with a corndog...