Thursday, September 10, 2009

family... can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em

So, I’m doing this road trip with my brother Joe, and the midway stop is grandma’s house in Duck River, TN. It’s been a sad and enlightening visit.

It’s been about three years since my grandpa died. I’m pretty sure he’d be upset to see the way things are here, the siding on the house is dirty, and unkempt. The lawn is mowed but the bushes, plants, trees and shrubs are all overgrown. Everything seems…. unmaintained. It’s sad to see the absence of evidence of his presence. My aunt Doris lives in a trailer on my grandfather’s property. He may have passed on, but my grandma never held a job. Grandpa put in 30+ hard years at GM to pay for his life, their life. This is his property. My aunt lives there with her unemployed, backwoods, redneck, Fox News watching, Wal Mart shopping, Obama-hating, beer-drinking, Bill O’Reilly loving, N-word using useless sack of bones and hangover. Yeah, I guess I don’t really like him.

We arrive and grandma is pleased to see me, which is cool. I like grandma. She’s got her ways, but she is my grandma and she keeps telling me she’s glad to have me here. That’s nice.
I go to my Aunt Doris’s place the evening we arrive and that McCoy descendant husband of hers is tying one on. I don’t have a lot of patience for this kind of drunkenness, so yeah... I’m a little bitchy. You live in Tennessee, and I live in Michigan. You have a union flag in your backyard. I voted for Obama and have gay friends. After failing to gain my approval of his telling of a racist joke, he then insisted that I explain to him just what it was about the N-word that was offensive to me. I tried to explain my feelings, but decided I’d had enough and headed back over to grandmas, pretty sure they were all gathering around to bitch about me in my absence.

Once back there, my grandma wouldn’t go to sleep, her prized grandkid Robbie was still at his mom’s (aunt Doris) and she was waiting up for him to come ‘home’ to sleep. She got up and had me follow her around the darkened house, now 1am and was handing me things. “Here, I’m getting rid of some of my collections,” and opened a cabinet filled with different kinds of salt and pepper shakers. “What ones do you like?” She asks, and then hands me four roosters. Um, thanks grandma? That’s a very nice gesture? She then has me follow her to another shelf covered in bells, and hands me one of those, and then to another shelf, and hands me another bell – which happens to match the first one. To me this is kind of comical, following my grandma around the house at 1am while she hands me rooster salt and pepper shakers, and glass bells.
I finally settle down to go to sleep and fade away. Soon, I’m awakened by talking in the hallway. My stupid drunk brother is yammering about something so I go in the hall and tell him to shut up. He’s all blah blah blah bullshit bullshit bullshit, so I grumbled, “You woke me up, shut up, shut up, go away.” Inconsiderate idiot. Seriously.

So then, I’m back to sleep and sleep uninterrupted until about 8am. And I’m awakened by a sharp coo coo coo cooookoooooo! Then again a few seconds later, coo coo coo cooookoooooo! I am disoriented by sleep all at once I wonder if my phone is ringing in my bag, why it sounds like a rooster, or if there might be a rooster alarm clock in the room. The room I’m sleeping in has a door in it (no, I don’t know why) I get up and look out the back door window and there on the top step is a fucking rooster. COO COO COO COOKOOOOOO! Aw, shut the fuck up. I give it the stinkeye and it wanders away.
Later that day the crowd goes to Dickson and I stay home with grandma. All the ESPN news coverage is about this football fight, and good ol’ grandma pipes up, “That’s what you get for hiring a bunch of N******! All they wanna do is fight.” Wow, grandma. Not cool.

Later that day my family returns, and my cousin Allan also arrives with his daughter Allanna, who is almost one, and to be fair is cute as a button. We’re all gonna watch a movie, and I’m relieved nobody seems to be getting drunk. Soon after dinner Robbie leaves, but first drives over to grandmas to say goodbye, and I now know for certain, to ask for money. I don’t know why this irritates me but I’ve given him shit before for taking money from her, to which he has denied. She’s got five kids and a dozen or more grandkids and he is a twenty-eight year old man with a job and his own place, coming here with his hand out. Fucking mooch. I’m unf-friending him on Facebook as soon as I get the chance.

My cell phone doesn’t even pretend it’s trying to get a signal out here, and I use the house phone to call the husband for a little venting. After 7 days of holding my tongue, I needed to blow some steam. Until grandma comes in and scolds me for being on the phone ‘for an hour.’ Sorry grandma, I know it’s long distance, but it’s not costing you any extra. Here’s the phone. I haven’t been chastised for the length of a phone call in nearly 20 years.

Anyway, I didn’t intend to ramble here,, but geez…. all this in just one day. And I’ve got one more day to go.
Husband suggested I fly home from here and spend Labor Day weekend with him…. So, so tempting……

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


This has got to be a quickie, my battery is running low and I need to go to Graceland!
Anyway, I'm driving across the country with my brother Joe, and I'm facebook mobile all along the way! Anyway, we decide to stop in Amarillo, TX at the BIG STEAK place where if you eat a 72 oz. steak dinner in less than an hour it is free! The place is pretty cool, and the food is pretty good. We did not go for the 72 oz steak.

Anyway, my brother's friend James lives in Canyon, TX, up the road from Amarillo, so we all have dinner together.
There's a little three-man band wandering from table to table, old cowboy types, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, playing old-timey cowboy songs for tips. We finish with our dinner and they wander over to our table and one gentleman says,"Yall got anything you wanna hear?"
I hate it when these people come to the table anyway, I don't make eye contact and James is sitting across from me, he doesn't look up either. Joe is sitting to my right and doesn't say anything for a moment. We all kind of sit waiting for a second and then Joe says, "Stand by your man?" and we all begin to snicker.
The man pauses for a moment. I don't remember if he said anything because we were laughing like a bunch of idiots.
Joe then says, "Rawhide?"
The man, apparently insulted by his request, says gruffly to Joe, "We don't play that kinda music here" and walks off.
We burst into fits of giggles.
Good Job, Joe. Less than one day in Texas and you're already pissing off the locals.

Stand by your man. Indeed.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Require exposure to people

So, I am hoping to post more often. I was taking a look at the side column there.... down, to the right... yeah, with the old posts. And I see I kinda dropped off around the end of 2008. I also began working at home the end of 2008? Coincidence?
It's hard to put my little stories in here, when they now consist of... woke up... talked to the cat... made tea.... worked.... ate a sandwich... talked to the cat some more.... finished working.... made dinner.... watched tv/movie/played video games .... slept.... REPEAT. It would be like a never ending facebook status. Working at home is BoRinG, people. Bor-fucking-ing.

I'm sure in past posts I had little ideas of things I should write about. I guess I could go back to them and dig up the ideas, or I could just be more aware of crazy shit going on around me. Like the crazy bitch at the farmers market a week or so ago that was trying to get a free melon because the last one she bought was bad. A. She didn't return the melon. B. She bought it two weeks ago. C. She's a whiny bitch and I overhear this because she's making a big fucking stink about it. Bitching at the poor teenage checkout girl at the counter who could give two shits about her rotten melon.
So melon lady walks away and then starts complaining at anyone, then me. "This place is awful, I'm not shopping here anymore." So I tell her maybe she should have brought the melon back if it was such a big deal.
"It was ROTTEN! and it was weeks ago!" I ask her if $2 really that big of a deal - and she snaps, "It's a big deal to me!"
I reply, "whatever lady, you're the one who started talking to me - and I'm not on your side."
Go try that whiny shit at Kroger. Stupid bitch.

Happy Friday : D

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More awesome stuff about Detroit

Hopefully the link works.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Need famous person, must already look famous

What is it with these celebrities all fricking looking alike?

To me, there's about twelve girls that look like Kristen Stewart. The one from White Oleander, she looks like her. And several other skinny dark-eyed angry teenagers.
Then, there's like 7 chicks that look like Rachel Weisz.

Oh and to me, in several instances, Al Pacino looks like Robert DeNiro.

But here's the kicker. Which one is Rachel McAdams and which one is Elizabeth Banks??

C'mon Hollywood, you can do better!

Voice Control

Hi Kiddies,
I'm sorry I haven't written. I've been outside playing. I love me some SUMMER. Maybe when the weather is grey and ass-like I will write more often, eh?

So, anyway I got me one of those iPhones for my birthday and just like almost everyone else with an iPhone, I love it. I am one of those people that is constantly making out with their phone. It has new toys and tricks and fancy widgets and gadgets and pings that the old phone could only cry itself to sleep wishing it could do.

Well, I'm driving along and I get this idea that I want to listen to music, crazy right? I remember the phone has voice control so I decide to give it a whirl, I hold the home button for two seconds, voice control pops up. I yell at the phone "Play, Kelly Clarkson!"

Yeah, so I listen to Kelly Clarkson, don't judge me. Suck it.

The phone pings, and promptly says "Playing songs by Train" and begins to play "Meet Virginia."

Um, no iPhone, that isn't what I wanted!

I repeat the actions, and speak louder, "PLAY, KELLY CLARKSON!"

The phone pings, and then promptly says, "Playing album Elephant" and begins to play "Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes."

Grr. No iPhone, that isn't even close!! What are you doing?? I scream at the phone, "PLAY, MY LIFE WOULD SUCK WITHOUT YOU"
The phone pings, and then begins to call my eye doctor.

Augh, phone! That is not it! I focus on the road, cancel the call, hit the home button and try again. I try speaking quieter, maybe it doesn't like to be yelled at. "Play, my life would suck without you."

The phone pings, and then says, "Playing songs by Britney Spears" and begins to play "Circus."

For crap sakes iPhone what is your problem? What part of Kelly Clarkson, or My Life Would Suck Without You, makes you think Elephant, Eye Doctor, Britney Spears and Train????

This, my dear friends is what causes car accidents. I find the damn song on my own by poking through the menu and began rocking out to my fun Kelly C. Dear Apple, Voice Control needs some work.

Thank you very much.


Friday, June 5, 2009

a very strange week

So, went to the UK and now I'm back. I've got a few stories about ill travelers and ridiculous parties, but I'll get to that later.
I've had the strangest week since I got home.
First, I found out one of my cousins (one I'm actually somewhat close to) has been in the hospital for the past two weeks for post-baby depression. And not just any kind of depression, but the pill taking wrist cutting kind. Sheesh. And her "supportive" boyfriend is there for her at every moment. If "there for her" means disappearing, selling their kids toys for drugs, and giving her shit for being in the hospital instead of being at home taking care of him, and threatening to kidnap her children. He's a great guy so I can see why she'd be with him. So, that's pretty fucked up. Moving on.

And there's this other thing. I get this email from this C*** (with a capital C mind you, and that's fightin' words. You don't throw the C-word out lightly.) So, essentially this one sentence email is from this girl who is trying to find my sister.

I remembered her name, I remembered her as being the queen bee of the bitches that were horrendously mean to my sister in school. So, my reply: "I'm not sure why you would be searching for her...?"

And crazy of all crazy, this is what I get back.

"Because I was real mean at times to her in high school and I really wanted to apologize to her for it, I also wanted to hear about what happened to her after she graduated. If you want you can pass along the apologie but I think she would enjoy shoving it back in my face because I would really deserve it and she is the one thing I regretted in my life and I think she should know that. Now that I have talked in circles please tell her I am really sorry."

Wow, right?

I thought kids were mean to her, but it's hard to separate my sister's reality from actual reality.

My last message back to her:

"Yeah, I was just a kid, so I just overheard stuff, but remembered you. She's never really had many friends, I don't remember names of her friends, I get to remember names of people that were not her friends. My sister and I don't really see eye to eye these days, but I'm pretty sure she would appreciate hearing this from you. I think this is her email address: {deleted} She's still a very sensitive person and I doubt she would be the type to shove it back in your face. Good luck and let me know if the email doesn't work and I'll find a way you can get in touch with her."

So, she said thanks and "I will" and that's the last I've heard of it so far.

Which made me think for a moment about friends and I realized... I'm pretty sure my sister has never had any friends. As far as I can remember, nobody ever came over as a kid to play with her, ever. No friends as a teenager and I don't think now either. I mean, that is weird. Even the misfit kids seem to find other misfit kids to pair with.

Then again, when I think back to grade school, middle school, high school - I remember some boys being really mean to me, and girls saying mean things. But honestly, the worst things that have ever been said or done to me were by the people who were supposed to be my friends. I'm not friends with any of them anymore. Friendly, but not friends.

So, which is better, friends who do mean things to you or having no friends, but enemies who do mean things to you?

Kids are fucked up, man. And mean.

That is all.

Friday, May 8, 2009


I know.
It's that time of year. I'm busy as shit. I should have blogged about breaking my ankle.
I was angry and bitter.
I should be blogging about other stuff, but really, I'm going to physical therapy three mornings a week. Working on projects in my yard before work, during lunch, after work and on weekends. Working on the lawn, the little garden areas, the inside of the house, painting, the deck, etc. Never ends.
Also doing fun stuff - seeing friends - going out. I went to Turks & Caicos. I went to New Orleans.
I'm working full time. I have a work trip coming soon and I'm busting my ass to get ready. I'm taking a class, cooking dinner nearly every night, grocery shopping, exercising. I'm so busy I made myself sick.

But this? This MUST be blogged.

My brother's birthday is today (May 8, it's now official) - and his friend/landlord Annette got tickets for them to see "God of Carnage." Kind of a big deal as all four actors (Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden and James Gandolfini are all nominated for Tony Awards, in addition to the play itself). So, being a former employee of Jeff, Joe emailed him and said he would be coming to the show and asked if he could stop in before or after the show to see Jeff and say hi. Jeff was enthusiastic and said, of course!

Joe and Annette go to see the show... upon walking in, they are going to their seats and they see somebody... you know the show Medium? They see the husband, you know. The dad from the show. Joe thinks, oh that's pretty cool.. and then sees who is standing next to him. Joe tells him he likes his work, and shakes his hand. The man looks at Joe curiously. The man is EDWARD FUCKING NORTON. Fight Club Edward Norton. American History X Edward Norton. OMFG. I would have exploded, or licked him, or both. Holy crap, right? How can you see Edward Fucking Norton and just keep walking. Get a motherfucking handshake. Seriously.

So, they see the show and it's awesome. Just top rate, balls to the wall bad ass. Joe and his friend Annette go to head backstage, they get checked on the list, approved by Jeff Daniels and head toward his dressing room. Ed Norton (yeah I'm calling him Ed now) spies Joe and gives him a less confused look (sort of, oh you aren't just some guy, you know people here look....) and Joe enters Jeff's dressing room and is greeted with a big hug. Some friendly chatting about the ways of the world, the how's your job, thank you's and I love your work kind of stuff. Joe and Annette are having a nice chat with his friend Jeff. Then a man pops his head in the door to say hi to Jeff... congratulates him on a great show. He and Jeff and Joe and Annette all stand in a little semi circle as Jeff and this new guest engage in their friendly chatting about the ways of the world the how's your job thank you's and I love your work kind of stuff. Oh, who is it? This guy? Yeah. It's STEVE FUCKING BUSCEMI.
OMFG. Fargo Steve Buscemi. Mister Fucking Pink Reservoir Dogs Steve Buscemi. My eyeballs would have fallen out of my head.
Holee shit.

No, we aren't done yet. Steve and Jeff finish their chat and Steve shakes hands with Jeff, Joe, and Annette and says goodbye. Joe and Jeff and Annette finish up and Joe & Annette head out to leave. Joe's heading down the stairs to exit and somebody at the end is blocking the stairs. Big imposing guy, 6'2" ... Joe sees who it is and pats him on the shoulder, congratulates him on a great show... JAMES FUCKING GANDOLFINI turns and gives my brother Joe a big thank you. Tony Fucking Soprano James Gandolfini. SERIOUSLY!?!??!? People would have to pick my jaw up off the floor and tape my hands to my sides. Annette (a friendly actress who's accustomed to this sort of thing) would kick joe in the back of the knee if he missed someone important or got out of hand. Well done, Annette!

Joe exits the building at the place where throngs of fans are waiting to see the exiting celebrities. Marcia Gay Harden is standing there signing autographs, and Joe's had a winning night. He congratulates Marcia and is given a smile and a thank you.

He asks me how the hell he's ever going to top that night. I mean the trifecta (five-fecta?) of Awesome. Really fucking cool.
So, I tell him what would top it, "Bang Angelina Jolie."

"DONE!" He says.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Detroit needs a Katrina

So, I was talking with my co-worker about Katrina and New Orleans and the revitalization that has taken place since that fateful storm a few years ago, and she took the unpopular position that really, it did a lot of good for the city to wipe away a lot of the problems the city was having. Abandoned buildings, no federal funding, etc etc... and I think Detroit needs a big ass hurricane to wipe the slate clean. It's not mean. Sometimes mother nature needs to clean house. Take things out with some volcanoes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods and the like.... Detroit needs a natural disaster.

The auto industry is a wreck, the city is a shithole. It is. Housing market is a joke. Jobs are scarce and becoming scarcer.

Just out of curiosity, I searched for houses for sale that cost less than $10,000.
In New Orleans? = one
In Detroit? = 1,664 listings.

How about $5,000 or less, for a three bedroom house? There are 567 listings.

I can't believe it myself. There are 108 listings for homes in Detroit for $1,000 or less.

A four bedroom 3,500 square foot house? $1,000.


Holy shit, three bedroom houses for $100, $50, $1.


I know there must be some BS in the fine print, but wow.

The median price of a house in Detroit is $7,500. Really.

Some more interesting stuff.........

About the 1967 Riots


Decline in Detroit, Time Magazine - Oct 1961,29307,1882089_1850973,00.html

More photos

More about the auto industry

And some dude even wrote a book about it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

saint patrick is not my lucky day

Several years ago, I somehow got the flu on St. Patty's day. I lay on the couch in my misery, not sure what to do - as I hadn't had the flu since I was a child. My temp was 99. I decided to sleep a while and I don't remember why, but husband came to check on me an hour later, and my temp had shot to 104. That's borderline brain-baking, so he got me up and said we're going to the hospital. I'm too unaware to protest. We arrive and I stand at the entrance, dazed while husband explains the temperature spike to triage. We don't wait in the lobby, we go inside and a nice lady takes my blood pressure while standing up. I don't remember much, but I saw the numbers go up and up and up, somewhere around 186 and she looked nervous and told me to sit down before I pass out.
They walk me straight to a bed and prod me with a needle to start putting some fluid back in. I've been here less than 10 minutes and I'm already laying down. When I go to the emergency room I do it right, eh?
Couple of pints and some ibuprofen to bring down the temp and I'm given clearance to go home. Now I understand how people die from the flu. It's just that easy.

Fast forward to 2009. I'm hanging with some friends at Sticks in Depot Town for St. Pattys day. I'm under pregnancy suspicion because I'm the only one without a beer. Blow me, I've got a volleyball game at 9:20pm, and if I have a beer it just makes me sleepy. Not good. I leave the group and head to my game. I really love volleyball, and our A league consistently comes in first or second place each season. We were also playing a team that would be a challenge, but a good game.
It was some point in the middle of the first match, and normally when I injure myself I remember the details well, but for some reason this time I don't. I remember that I landed on my right foot wrong, I landed on the side and rolled it, hard. I heard a quick succession of 5 or 6 small cracks from my foot, like cracking your knuckles. Without thinking, I grabbed the net and pulled myself back up, pain quickly radiating from my foot. I don't remember if it was during play, if we got the point, or if the ref called me for being in the net. All those game details are gone. My team surrounds me and I tell them what I did and that it really hurts and I need to just sit for a minute. I hobble to the sidelines, someone puts an ice pack down my sock. And it hurts. Holy hell it really motherfucking hurts.
I once dislocated my knee and in the ambulance I told the man on a scale of 1 to 10, my pain was a 9. I thought somehow, just before you died, that's where you reach a 10. I've been told patellar dislocation is more painful than childbirth.
I'd rate this immediate ankle thing at about a 6 or 7. It fucking just hurts.
I'm pretty good with pain. I broke my finger last year playing volleyball and kept playing. Sprained my knee last november, too. Maybe all these injuries would make me stop playing? Nah. Just pisses me off.
Why can't I just play without getting hurt?
I watch my team play without me and we start losing. I'm sad because I so badly wanted to be on the court. Ankle is not letting up. Pain just keeps on. I know I'm not getting back on the court. I peek at my ankle and it looks like someone stuffed an egg in there. Already a knot of swelling, that isn't a good sign.
I borrow crutches of a girl on the opposite team, who blew her knee out a few weeks ago. My teammate helps me out and I now have to drive to Depot Town to pick up husband and friend. My car is too small to drive left footed, so I brake with the left and gas with the right. It really fucking hurts. I get the boys and make one of them drive home. I just can't.
The next morning husband and I visit my doctor, and they poke and prod at my very swollen ankle. She thinks it's a sprain, maybe be okay in a 3-4 weeks. We have to get xrays just in case. The xray positions my foot in several uncomfortable ways, once grabbing my ankle and causing me to shriek, "OW OW OW OW OW." I mean, what are you, fucking retarted? That part of my ankle is swollen, and I'm GETTING X RAYS. You don't think manhandling me will hurt? Be gentle you fucktard.
This is the second time an x ray tech has done shit like this to me.
Anyway, back to the doc. She comes in and says I actually broke it. We are all surprised. I'm to be fitted with a walking boot and have to return in 6 weeks. The boot. 6 weeks. None of this really sinks in. I'm going through the motions.
I am supposed to fly to Providenciales the next day. I'm given permission to go.
In Provo, we hunt down a second boot at the "government clinic" which looks like something you'd see on CNN if they were talking about poor countries and medical care. I get my boot here for $40. At least I can go swimming.
Walking is a pain. Walking on the beach is way fucking harder than I think it should be. I'm annoyed that my ankle is broken. After the first couple days it pretty much stops hurting. The swelling continues until I have no ankle bones, just flat on each side. I've got... a cankle. As the days go by the swelling goes down and the colors start. Dark purple and blue on one side, purple on the other side, from heel to toe, green on top. Many rainbows of damage in this foot.
I enjoy my vacation despite my handicap and the fact that EVERYONE wants to comment on it. I talked to probably 100 different people. I started making up stories. I told someone I beat up a hobo. Two guessed right off the bat that it was volleyball. That was pretty awesome.
I get home and I finally crack. I spend the entire day being absolutely foul and pissed off. It wasn't at anyone (poor husband) I just needed my day to crack. Maybe crying a couple times, but mostly just fuming the entire day. I'm over that hurdle, I hope.
Five more fucking weeks to go. (Husband needs to stop saying 6 to 8 weeks. In five, I'm having a bonfire and the star will be this goddamn boot.) It's an obstacle to walk, sleep, shower, anything. I should just enjoy this and play video games, watch tv, but I like being active. I don't want to get all squishy and weak. I want to be in shape, but after this I know I'll need physical therapy to put it back to normal again. And a friggin diet to lose the weight I'll put on sitting on my ass all the time. Oh, and I still can't drive! This sucks.
Next year, on St. Patty's day... tell me to STAY HOME!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

maybe this is boring? ymmv

I’d been dreading it for weeks.

The upcoming Red-Eye Flight. Number seventeen in my lifespan of just thirty years. I love to travel but something about red-eye flights to Europe make me want to slit my wrists. From the moment you depart for the airport, until about 48 hours later – it’s all pretty much pure torture.

I depart my home for Detroit airport, knowing that a blizzard is wreaking havoc on the Eastern Seaboard, and upon arrival find my connecting flight to Newark has been cancelled. I sweet-talk the nice lady behind the counter, explaining that I’m the group leader for a tour and without me my traveling companions will be hopelessly lost. She puts me on standby for a 1pm flight delayed until nearly 3pm. I go to the gate, make a few phone calls and wait. If I make stand-by I arrive in time for my 7pm flight to Birmingham. If not, I leave tomorrow.

My luck is good today and I make the stand-by flight, arrive in time to make my flight to Birmingham. I decide to go and get a better seat, as my recent trick I like is to pick a window seat in the rows of the high 20s and low 30s – where the middle seat is empty and the aisle is occupied. Nine times out of ten, the middle seat remains empty and I can spread out. I’m in luck. Nice guy behind the counter gives me an entire row to myself. Score! He also realizes I’m not even checked in. When I “checked in” earlier, the gate agent checked in the wrong person on my group itinerary. Good job asshat. You could have made me miss my flight. And, you even looked at my ID. Did you not notice my ID didn’t match the boarding pass you handed me? (Yeah, neither did I.) You’re still an asshat.

The chance to spread out offered no opportunity for sleep. I change position over and over and sleep will not come. I consider taking the Tylenol PM I brought with me but with a 5.45 hour flight, that may be a bad idea. After dinner I’d get three hours of sleep at the most and then possibly feel more miserable with the sleepy drugs. I went without. I pacified myself with my own personal TV monitor and watched “Twilight.” I’m pretty sure husband wouldn’t want to watch it, and I was intrigued. Happy I watched it, because I really liked it. Completely absorbing (as If I had other things to do), a little bit obvious the target audience was 13, but overall pretty good movie.

We eventually are served breakfast of a flat warm croissant and a fruit salad of un-ripened honeydew, canteloupe and grapes. At least it isn’t yogurt.

We land and shuffle to baggage claim. My bag is the first to arrive as it was gate checked in Newark. I had to lug it around from DTW to EWR because of my stand-by status.
All bags arrive. We depart the airport for the hotel. We arrive and are told by the cold front-desk staff that check-in is at 2pm. I explain that I know when check-in is, but we’d like rooms as soon as they are ready, as we’ve come off red-eye flights and will be sleeping in your lobby until rooms are ready. I ask every other hour and am continually told no. Find my travelers a room or I’ll annoy the crap out of you. After waiting in the lobby for about three hours (which seems like a freakin’ eternity when your body thinks it’s awake 3am – 6am). I go to my room, unpack and light-nap for about 4 hours. I get up, shower, brush teeth, and go to dinner. I turn on my sociable front and buy a round of drinks for everyone, and then dinner for everyone. My co-worker does not arrive after a severe-onslaught of the flu stomach has rendered her unable to leave the bathroom. I’m asked by all the dog lovers on this dog trip what kind of dog I have. I’ve never in my live owned a dog. I tell them he’s small and furry and his name is Sebastian. And he meows. Owning a dog is not a prerequisite for escorting a dog tour. We also do tours to two of the world’s largest flower shows, Wimbledon, Oktoberfest, and Blackpool Ballroom dance. I also do not garden, play tennis, care much about beer, and really don’t like dancing. So, there you go. I’m still good at my job.

Afterward, I return to my room and my lovely pajamas. I again consider putting myself to sleep with Tylenol PM and forgo the idea. For some reason this first night I can always fall asleep easily, but will always wake up somewhere between 3am and 5am and be up for about two hours. Upon returning to sleep when the alarm goes off I am too exhausted to get up. This particular trip, I’m up from 4:39 am until about 6:30. I finish off “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris. The alarm goes off at 8am, I reset it for 9am. I awake at 9, jump into the shower and begin to feel weak. I feel weaker and woozier and horrible and odd. It worsens until waves of nausea set in. I begin to think I’m pretty sure I’m gonna throw up in the shower. I quickly rinse off and get out. If I don’t lie down immediately, I’m going to pass out. I look in the mirror and I’m white as a sheet, no color in my lips, cheeks or anything. I throw on the robe and lie down on the bed and curl up in a ball, waiting for this … this whatever it is to pass. I must be dehydrated. Maybe I’m getting sick? Maybe I got up and got moving too fast? I remember one trip to Italy where I was hit with early-morning nausea. It must be the jet-lag. Slow down. I lay there for about 5 minutes and then slowly get ready. I go downstairs and get cereal, pineapple and a croissant and coffee. I sit and stare at my food for about ten minutes, with no desire to eat. I eat a few bites of each item and sip a bit of coffee. Slowly throughout the day I feel better and better, but cautious because of the weird wave of whatever that knocked me on my ass this morning. And, as I predicted about 48 hours after leaving my house… I begin to feel normal. Optimistic about exploring Birmingham and enjoying the UK.

After all this, I get to do it all over again in May. And June. Don’t cha just love travel?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

crazy for april

I like to stalk my friends from time to time. Emails. Texts... whatever strikes my fancy.

April recently went out of town and this hilarity ensued. Enjoy.

First I send some random message to April, and then... AutoReply:

Hey kids--this is an auto-response.

I won't be checking email for the next few weeks so please try to hold off for a while.
(Oh and I won't have my phone or have access to vm either).

Feel free to contact Mike if need be---he'll be around taking care of things.


Smooches & ass slaps,


My Response:

Your smooches and ass slaps are no good to me now. I miss you.
Where are you?
Is it warm?

Another AutoReply:
Hey kids--this is an auto-response.

I won't be checking email for the next few weeks so please try to hold off for a while.
(Oh and I won't have my phone or have access to vm either).

Feel free to contact Mike if need be---he'll be around taking care of things.


Smooches & ass slaps,


My immediate response:

Oh is that you? I got all hopeful. It isn't you. You aren't back.
Your auto reply taunts me.
I was holding a piece of your hair and thinking of you.
and stroking the hair.
While watching Private Practice.
And thinking of you.
And Indian Food.
And Rice.
And Beads.
I miss you. Your pretty eyes.
The way you make my ass quiver.
Your hot tub.
The sexy way you take off your braces before you eat and floss and brush your teeth when you are done.
That's hot.

Call me.

Wait, this hair isn't yours.

And the next day... I send yet another message:

So, I was just curled up in a ball on the floor in a corner in the dark. Rocking back and forth, holding a crumpled, moist photo of you and me... together. And I made a haiku for you.

I call it... "Impatiently waiting for you to return home because life just isn't the same"

Lonely for April
Showers of love to bring me
Fowers of Awesome.

I will read it to myself over and over again until you return. I will cry until there are no more tears.


And it's immediate follow-up:

In my impatient-ness and brainstorming I messed up your haiku.
Please still be my friend. I will make it up to you!

Fowers = Flowers.

P.S. If you were stung by a jellyfish I'd pee on you.

A few hours later that day.... more emailing:

I googled "haiku" and it said you're supposed to make an image that goes with your haiku.
Attached to this email is an image that I think accurately reflects the haiku I wrote for you.

I also wrote a song.
But I cannot tell it to you.
And I cannot sing it.
I'm afraid the pain is so palpaple, (in my song of mourning)
That to release it will make all the unicorns in the world die.
And David Bowie will no longer be able to rock it.
And Chuck Norris would collapse and weep.
And all the puppies in the world would leap off a tall, tall cliff.
And Rapunzel, oh dear sweet Rapunzel. Need I go on? How much longer can I describe
the torture of innocent things that would surely happen, should I set free the song of such pain?
Of such longing? Of such hopeless need?
I could not tell it.
I could not sing it.
For I love the unicorns and do not wish them to die.
For I love David Bowie, and his ability to rock it.
For I love Chuck Norris and his rock-hard man exterior of shiny shining glory and strength. I do not
wish to see his tears, which is sad, because they can cure world hunger.
For I love all the puppies in the world and do not wish them to leap off a tall, tall cliff.
For I love dear sweet Rapunzel and wish her no harm.

For them, I will not do it.
For you, I would do anything. But I won't do that.

Sweet dreams.

And this image was attached:

This one time, April went out of town...
See in this image I made, there's April's favorite things. Little Johnny Depp's, Penguin's and Prince's!

And soon. Soon April returned and replied!!!

Emails like this just make me love you that much more

I saw a tree in the Philippines and it reminded me of you. I took a picture —it was called a “Golden Shower”

April's second reply:

I finally got to open the image.

I mistakenly drank vernor’s as I opened the file.

Vernor’s in your nose is not nice. My nasal passages are moist from Vernor’s now.

You have to sing me my song on Saturday—why must you abandon me in my time of desperate need? I shall cry myself to sleep tonight.

Never gonna give you up.

And my response?:

Oh no,
You should not consume liquids when looking at such things. They will spray.
I apologize for the moistness of your passages. Giggles abound when melissa can't sleep and has the power of photoshop at her fingertips.

I do not want to abandon you in your time of need, but cannot help it - I must go. I will be with many dogs on Saturday and will not see you.
/frowny face

And how can you suggest I sing to you the song of great mourning?!
Have you no love for the unicorns, Chuck Norris, David Bowie, puppies, and dear sweet Rapunzel?

I'm never gonna give you up.
Never gonna let you down.


Let that be a lesson to you all.... I'm a stalker.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

because I can't do better

That beagle just robbed a starbucks
Jack Gray
AC360° Associate Producer

Move over, Sully. The Westminster Dog Show is in town. It’s like a canine version of Fleet Week, only with more one night stands. In fact it’s the one week of the year when Manhattan’s fanciest hotels can be trashed by long-haired creatures roaming the hallways on all fours and management can’t automatically blame Mickey Rourke.

Like all visitors to New York, the Westminster participants try to strike a balance of business and pleasure. The Poodle window shopping at Cartier. The Bichon having his picture taken in front of the Seinfeld diner. The Schnauzer trotting into a Times Square massage parlor.

But if you think an influx of dogs into one of the world’s most populated cities might cause problems, think again. In fact, one of the reasons why I like dog tourists better than regular tourists is that they’re much less disruptive. You’ll never come across a Welsh Corgi blocking a busy sidewalk, digging around in his fanny pack for misplaced tickets to Mamma Mia.

And you don’t have to worry about a posse of Great Danes strutting through SoHo, clad in leather pants, pestering you for directions to Dolce and Gabbana.

Sure, not every dog is perfect. Border Collies are Kleptomaniacs. And Pugs have an insatiable penchant for prostitutes. But just remember that for every Cocker Spaniel who steals your iPhone there’s a civic-minded Pekingese willing to give you CPR…even if you don’t need it.

It is exhausting, though. There are so many different breeds in the city this week, it’s almost overwhelming for a dog lover like me. As you’ll learn if you watch the telecast of the dog show, each breed has its own special qualities. Take for example the Maltese. They excel at cuddling and conning senior citizens out of their Social Security checks. Then there’s the Scottish Terrier. They’re known for their loyalty and fondness for black market handguns. To say nothing of the Dachshund, a dog small in stature but big in ability to launder money through the Cayman Islands.

And don’t even get me started on Saint Bernards. They say they’re there to rescue you but they’re really just there to steal the gold fillings out of your teeth.

In the meantime, watch out for the Basenji, the so-called barkless dog. As if that isn’t a scam.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things that are awesome!

Construction signs warn
of zombies
Hackers change public safety message

Last Edited: Thursday, 29 Jan 2009, 9:25 AM CST
Created On: Wednesday, 28 Jan 2009, 8:29 PM CST

Shannon Wolfson
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin drivers making their morning commute were in for a surprise when two road signs on a busy stretch of road were taken over by hackers. The signs near the intersection of Lamar and Martin Luther King boulevards usually warn drivers about upcoming construction, but Monday morning they warned of "zombies ahead."

"I thought it was pretty funny," said University of Texas sophomore Jane Shin, who saw the signs while driving down Lamar Bouelvard with friends Sunday night. "We wondered who did it."

The City of Austin does not own the signs, but they are responsible for the message. The contractor on the construction project owns the signs. A city spokesperson said the hacked messages were only up for a few hours, until the construction project manager saw them during his morning commute and immediately ordered them to be changed back.

"Even though this may seem amusing to a lot of people, this is really serious, and it is a crime," said Austin Public Works spokesperson Sara Hartley. "And you can be indicted for it, and we want to make sure our traffic on the roadways stays safe."

Hartley said though it was a locked sign, the padlock for it was cut. Signs such as these have a computer inside that is password-protected.

"And so they had to break in and hack into the computer to do it, so they were pretty determined," said Hartley.

This crime is a class C misdemeanor in Texas, and Hartley said it endangers the public.

"The big problem is public safety," said Hartley. "Those signs are out there to help our traffic on the roadway to stay safe and to know what's coming up."

KXAN Austin News cameras caught many drivers slowing down to read the signs as they approached. Some read, "Zombies ahead! Run for your lives!"

Hartley said the city will discuss more secure safety measures with the manufacturer of the signs.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

strange orleans

It started off innocently enough.
I got here Wednesday, and now Friday afternoon we're going to have a drink and then get dinner. We being K (my new boss) and her husband J. We've been working our asses off. Wednesday was a beer kind of night, Thursday was a margarita kind of night, and tonight? We start with wine. We meet up with three of their friends from where they used to work. The fun one (ie: gay) was Todd, a polite, well dressed man who looks like the love child of Bill Murray and Kevin Spacey. We have our drinks and chat and move on.
I'm told we're going to have dinner, and to get to this place Todd knows, we wander through the French Quarter. Past drunk tourists, and drunk locals, and bars with "hurricanes" and trash on the street and beads beads beads.
We meander our way to our destination and find it's a 45 minute wait. At 8:30pm, it's not time to wait, it's time to eat.
We find another restaurant and the four of us enjoy dinner plus two bottles of Pinot Noir. Todd loosens up, we tell stories about J's mom, about Todd visiting a local "clothing optional" country club. I pay attention to the conversation at about the point where he shouts across the restaurant, "Her c*n! was showing," he yells in this southern accent. "I could see her appendix!"
It's already his twentieth story of the night and he just keeps getting better, we all burst out laughing, this guy is funny.
Then, after dinner we leave and I'm told we're walking back to the car. We went straight from work so I still have my backpack with laptop and after day three, I'm kind of tired. We stop at a bar and Todd knows the guys standing outside and they chat for a minute. Todd knows everybody around here. He knew people at the last two restaurants.
We keep moving and I'm still believing we're going to the car, but I've had wine and I'm content to just follow along.
We walk, not to the car but into a gay bar and next thing I know someone is ordering drinks and we sit down. Twenty minutes here to yell stories and laugh and drink.
We depart, as we're "going to the car" and K makes me visit the restroom with her, she says the last time she went to the ladies room in a gay bar there were dudes doing coke off the sink.
The doors give us pause. One is labeled Adam. One is labeled Steve. The ST in steve is crossed out, and I yell "STEVE EVE! THIS IS THE ONE!" and we enter, do the thing, and we're washing hands when a guy walks in. I guess they're both unisex?
We leave the bar and wander the streets of the French Quarter following Todd. J makes some remark to me about this being some sort of weird gay tour of New Orleans. Indeed.
Todd, getting drunker by the minute, insists we have to stop one more place, The Corner Pocket. We go a few more blocks, past row after row of beautiful houses, going from the million dollar lavish, to the more run down and decayed. We stop in front of the Corner Pocket and the door opens and the first thing I see is a 400 pound man getting attention from a boy dressed only in his underwear. Turns out this bar has about 15 to 20 boys, all in their little undies or little boxer briefs. Tonight is the $100 stripper (though no clothes are being stripped) competition - the best wins the cash, plus all tips. The only chicks in this place besides me & K are two drag queens. I'm not entirely sure they count as chicks.
I get noticed from a few guys right away and my tall girl sense goes into overdrive. Do they think I'm cute or do they think I'm a dude? I start attempting to look more female. As if there's a way to do this.
I feel a pair of hands quickly scan my body and one rests below my hips, a tattooed Russian tells me, "Don't be so scared baby" and I'm spooked. I don't know who you are dude, but your hand is totally on my butt. Russian man moves on after I do not reply with any encouraging gestures. I'm told by Todd that he's not gay. And I said I don't care if he is, but his hand was on my butt and it was weird and wrong!"
I gape at the spectacle before me with my traveling companions. I haven't seen this much penis since... well. I'm don't know but it was a lot of penis. Dudes in underwear over here, over there, touching it, flipping them out, waving them around, moving, adjusting, peeking, playing. All pretty boys in underwear. Then the rest of the people are just normally dressed bar people, fondling the underwear boys, putting tips in the undies, touching, kissing, flirting.
Then this old dude comes in, he's like 112 - has a cane and shuffles to a chair. He orders a sprite and promptly has three boys willing to show him lots of attention for the greenbacks in his wallet. I watch the gyrating boy on the bar, working for his tips, hanging out his derriere, doing all sorts of stripper poses to earn his cash.
Todd grabs this coy boy as he knows everyone and is trying to convince him to do something, I'm behind K and J and can't quite see or hear what is going on. The boy has two blue star tattoos on his lower waist, and Todd is pulling on his underwear, and the boy is being shy. The boy slaps Todd's hands away and walks off.
Todd holds his hands up about a foot apart and mouths to us, " I swear it's this fucking big." We drink and continue watching the shenanigans and I remind myself to close my mouth, as I just keep staring open-mouthed at all the new things I was seeing in this little bar in New Orleans. A minute or so later, coy boy comes back and says something to Katie, and all of a sudden his manhood is right there, all out for us to see and it's like he pulled a damn wine bottle out his pants. Never have I seen something like this, and I just yell Holy Shit! and K and I each fling one arm out and grab Todd who promptly tips the boy well and teases and flirts with him a minute or two. I mean it wouldn't even fit in his underwear, it's like poking out the sides... just not normal!
J says he's glad the kid didn't come over and say "Low Five!" to which we found very funny. It was about this time that the old geezer was really getting a humping from his three boy companions and things went from spectacle to just a bit too creepy and we bailed on the underwear boy bar.
We are going to the car? No, we stop at Todd's place, he stumbles along complaining in his wonderful southern drawl about his new neighbors, "The asians it's like fuckin' hee haw, they hang out the laundry, they stole my chairs. I said you have to give them back and they said you no need dem, he said I don't give a shit they're mine give them back, so there's these three asians in this two room place sitting on the floor. They leave their shoes and shit outside, it's like fucking heehaw!" As he's going about his rant he gestures in turn to the laundry hanging in the courtyard, the shoes on the ground, the umbrella, the chairs.
We meet his love, his dog Ruby. She gleefully greets him with an eager licking on the lips that makes non-dog people (okay most people) cringe. He begins another story about this time he was naked on couch and it was raining. He says his dog just shakes when she needs to go out, "cause she's holding it so hard,"he says. So the dog starts quivering and he throws her (tosses her) down the stairs to poo. And she just lays there on the ground twitching. See, Ruby also has a seizure disorder and this time he couldn't tell the difference between the dog having to poo and having a seizure. He tells us he immediately runs out side and picks her up and holds her, and there's this naked man in the pouring monsoon rain holding a twitching dog. What a sight to see that must have been. He says, "because when she starts a-shaking it's either cause she has to poo or cause she's havin a seizure!"
We depart Todd's place, and I'm sure we're going to the car, but we end up at yet another bar, this one with a smattering of dollar bills stapled to the ceiling and multiple bras and undies hanging above the bar. Nothing can top this night, so as it's getting late we leave Todd here to fend for himself, and we head for home. My little brain can't take any more of this.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

10 reasons to have really good headphones

In no particular order:

1. Misguided Angel, The Cowboy Junkies
Because you can never have enough Margo Timmins.

2. Mining for Gold, The Cowboy Junkies.
This one minute and thirty one second song gives me goosebumps throughout. It sounds like Margo Timmins is in the room, voice soaring in smooth perfection. While you're at it, add the entire "Trinity Session" album. My #1 favorite.

3. Time to Say Goodbye, Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman
You can't beat the Italians.

4. The Greatest, Cat Power.
Something about her voice and song is so familiar, yet I can't place the familiarity. This song never gets old.

5. Teardrop, Massive Attack
Turn it on. Turn it up. Repeat. You're welcome.

6. The Blower's Daughter, Damien Rice.
I'm a sucker for beautifully clear vocals.

7. Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley,
So many delicate notes and little flickers of greatness that just can't be heard without great headphones.

8. Wise Up, Aimee Mann.
I can't entirely justify her on this list, but she's got this voice. You can't deny it.

9. Fade, Mazzy Star.
Almost a tie between "Fade" and "Flowers in December" but this one squeaked ahead. Beautiful song.

10. Everloving, Moby.
There's so much to this song that you can't hear unless you've got the perfect headphones. Rustling, pages turning, little tweaks and imperfections and subtle nuances in the notes, and silence. The sound of silence. Something about Moby makes me so content. Best when combined with a long drive across the desert. Moby's runner up? "The Sky is Broken."

11. Did you seriously think I'd stick to ten?
All Mine, Portishead.
Oh how this got me through a few delicious inappropriate moments in college. Yummy times, indeed.

I realize this list may be lacking, but with only 10 (okay, 11) what can you do? However, get a great pair of headphones, make your own playlist and blissfully float away.

You're welcome.

Oh, I'm also working on compiling a list of 100 reasons to love music. If I neglected it here, it will likely appear there