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Friday, September 4, 2015

The Problem With Walking and Shopping

Here, let me help you avoid the prime grade doofusosity that I rock so finely.

Are you spending a hot, late summer day gallery and shop hopping? Are you starting in Coolidge Corner, Brookline and walking down to Park Street Station (four miles, not counting all the wandering about). Are you planning on stops at the comic book emporium in Kenmore Square? Maybe popping into Newbury Comics while you’re at it? Sounds like a lot of walking, eh? Best to travel light and wear your fabulously supportive New Balance sneaks—amirite?

Did I? Pfffft. You know I didn’t.
After a grand walk down Beacon Street, I got to Kenmore Square where I was meeting Joe. He was running a little late so I had time to stop into Hunt’s to check out the mirrorless cameras. Word is, they’re small (so will fit in my wee triking pack), light and able to take high, high, high resolution images. Why do I need a lot of resolution? Printing. Sometimes I need to output my shots and, what looks great on screen, won’t necessarily print pretty.

Hunt’s had an A6000 Sony package deal (lens et al included) for $700. How’s this compare quality/price-wise with an Olympus or a Canon. In a fit of maturity and general good sense, I decided that I need to do more research before shelling out that huge stack ‘o’ skrilla.

Comicopia was next where I was not so successful in keeping my wallet shut. I managed to walk outta there with just two books (I KNOW—shocking innit!). After mega dithering, I winnowed my stack to There Is A Cat On The Internet by R. Stevens  and The Cartoon Guide to Sex by Larry Gonick and Christine DeVault. It was that or The Cartoon Guide to Physics. That’s next!

My pack did NOT feel as though I was toting a pair of sumo wrestlers. Yet.

We stopped at Newbury Comics where I bravely, admirably didn’t buy the Wonder Woman T. Couldn’t. I’d passed over the Wonder Woman collection at Comicopia (too heavy to tote all day AND too pricey)—can’t have one and not the other, don’cha know.

Hieronymus Bosch—The Garden of Eartly Delights
Much has changed in the, mebbe, ten years since I worked in Back Bay. There used to be a BRILL used bookstore across of Newbury Comics—The Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop—seller of used and rare books. They were YUUUGE! Two floors of rows and rows, stacks upon stacks, a seemingly endless labyrinth of paperbacks, hardcovers and mags. Yeah, in short—Book Heaven.

They’re gone from Bricks and Mortar Land—priced out by the Gods of Greed. Landlords. I’ve not found another, similar, Novel Nirvana though Rodney’s in Central Square, while lacking Victor Hugo’s atmosphere, comes close.

Mind you, if Victor Hugo was still there, I’d have loaded myself down with a dozen MUST HAVE tomes. I have exceptionally poor impulse control in used book stores.

Earthly Delights panel three on Docs!!!
In and amongst all the actual art gallery hopping, we came across the Doc Marten’s store. Oh baby, OF COURSE I dragged Joe in there! I was doing OK, not overly tempted and then, THEN, my pal points out the most exquisite pair of boots I’ve ever seen. Heironymous Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights Docs? C’MON these are an obvs necessity!

I had a brill bright purple pair. I saw them in an Edinburgh shop window 20 years ago and couldn’t resist. After tramping all over hell and back in ‘em (for TWO decades), they died a righteous death. Between their passing and the fact that winter’s just a few months away, I TOTES think I should invest in these.

Oh yes I do!

More on all the cool galleries that we popped into tomorrow. Meantime, I gotta go find the Ibuprofen. My back and me dogs are still barking madly at me for all the walking in my beloved but not terribly cushioned Vans while carrying a purse, the weight of which might very well have equaled the Queen Mary’s.

RILLY!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Everybody Must Get Stoned

While Kim Davis’ four marriages, three divorces and her becoming pregnant and having kids by eventual husband number three, while married to hubby number one, is all pretty damned hilarious, it’s also irrelevant.

She converted to one of those not-terribly-Christ-like christianist sects just four years ago. Her twins are 21 so the adultery (that particular episode anyway) happened well before the I’m-a-Born-Again-Asshole cut off point. See? She's free and clear to be a cretinous, judgemental embarrassment to the planet.

One of the “lay leaders” (is it just me or is everyone snorting and giggling over the pun there?) of her denomination explained that:
“We use the King James Bible,” he said, repeating the phrase several times when asked specific theological questions.

Hoffman did hint that issues of both homosexuality and divorce could be grounds for loss of church membership, however, although he insisted such things would be handled on a case-by-case basis and that forgiveness and reconciliation are possible.
So, if I understand this correctly, if you’re one of the elders favs, you get a pass on the whole divorce, adultery thing. If not? Well, boyhowdy, I’m guessing you get stoned (and not in the fun way).

The King James Bible Online had some conflicting info on adultery punishments (I KNOW, quell shock!)
Deuteronomy 22:21 - Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
So then, stoning (with stones!) happens only if you
a) still live with your father?
b) live with Daddy AND live in Israel? Do I have that right? Kentucky doesn’t count?
Leviticus 21:9 - And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.
Not stoning but being burnt with fire. Okey-dokey. Leviticus, gosh, he seems nice, eh? Is this extra specially evil penalty just for the girls who're saddled with preachers as fathers? Plumber’s girls get a pass?
Hebrews 13:4 - Marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
This snippet seems to clearly indicate that it’s not up to humans to judge and punish—that’s god’s bailiwick. BUT Hebrews is in the New Testament and, from what I understand of these hard right cults, it’s totes cool to ignore all of Jesus’ squishy sermons. You know, feed the hungry, take care of the poors, judge not lest….oh, you know.
Luke 6:31 - And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
Yeah, christianists aren’t so much into this directive.
Proverbs 6:32 - [But] whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he [that] doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
Back in the old testament, it seems that men get off scot-free from stonings and immolations. Oh sure, sure, their soul’s destroyed but, damn, that’s a temp condition. Right? Being dead’s kinda permanent and shit.

See? This is why I’m not into religions. The vast majority of ‘em seem to be created and run by bullying, insecure men, for men.

Back to Kimmy Baby though, Dan Savage had this to say:
“I think Kim Davis is waiting to cash in,” Savage said. “I predicted from the beginning that she would defy all the court orders, defy the Supreme Court. She would be ultimately be held in contempt of court, lose her job, perhaps go to prison for a short amount of time… she will go on the right-wing lecture circuit and she'll never have to do an honest day's work ever again in her life.”
In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.
~Andy Warhol

With the wingnut, Teabaggian lecture circuit, those 15 minutes can last years.
Rainy Day Women #12 & #35Dylan

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

On Facebook You're Never Really Gone

A woman I used to work with and was connected with on Facebook died back in January. Yesterday Shoutyface told all her chums to wish her a happy day. The Birthday Reminder arrived in my email box and there was an alert in the upper right corner of my screen.

It was jarring.


Some of her friends left wistful, thoughtful messages, knowing she’s gone.
Your friends and family love and miss you every day. Thank you for being my friend. Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday in heaven, Marianne. RIP

Thinking of you with a smile today, Marianne. RIP, dear one…
There was a raft of folks who were/are unaware that she checked out of the Life Hotel on January 10th of this past winter.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIANNE. HAVE MANY MORE

Happy Birthday! Enjoy your day

Happy Birthday Marianne. Hope you have a great day.
It just gave me a case of the radical shudders. I wanted to yell Don't you know? She's dead! Have some respect! Makes sense? No but then, I'm sad. I miss her. I feel as though everyone should.

Could her loved ones take down her Facebook page or maybe announce that Marianne’s outta here?

She was only 69 years old. Young.

We were friendly, not close, in the years we worked together. She had a nasty rep for being, well, a condescending battle-ax. Marianne and I got on well but I found that I generally had my Diplomacy Hat on when we spoke.

When I became the Training Director at the large print company where we worked, Marianne was teaching a few classes or so. She’d been in Human Resources and regular instructor before I came on the scene. Sadly, like in a lot of companies, HR was the dumping ground for otherwise intelligent employees who just didn’t fit in anywhere else in the organization. There were def total gems but also a big bunch of misfits.

The student’s reviews of Marianne were pretty awful—she could be disdainful, mean and often spoke over many of the student’s heads. If she was good at straight forward, linear delivery of complicated concepts, she shot that right in the ass with her attitude. Students don’t learn when they’re dissed.

Doing my level best to not point fingers, not cast aspersions, I told her that it was time to shake up the department, have some new faces on the teaching squad—you've done a big job and now it's time to kick back and let others impart knowledge as well as learn and grow from the experience of being an instructor. Mind, this was all true but, more, I had to get her out of the ranks—her superior, nasty shtick was hurting our overall efforts.

Marianne was GREAT at organizing things—creating, crafting and keeping track of truly comprehensive records. That’s a talent, a skill that a lot of us don’t rock. Later, she found a niche, within the same company, where she could excel.

From a distance, not working together, she was fabulous—a caring, supportive person. I really enjoyed being friends with her on Facebook. I saw a much sweeter, warmer, giving side of her.

I understand that, in her younger days, she'd been married to a right bastard—a physically and emotionally violent, bullying, pool of rancid fry-o-later leavings. She never spoke of him to me. I can only imagine that his treatment must have effected her worldview. How could it not?

Mondo piles of feces—it’s the only thing that really trickles down hill.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Word to the Wise

After
Before
Don't get into a car accident.Yeah, I know—gee, Donna, RILLY!?

Bix was finally able to come home this past Saturday morning.  Christ, I missed him!

Almost 4 weeks after our sad fender bender and I'm still jumping through hoops to get the insurance payout.

At the three week mark, last Thursday, I received the first of the two payouts. The second one's for supplemental repairs—damage not seen on first, cursory, inspection—and will arrive later today. Hopefully.

I need to then send them off to my car loan's financiers. They, in turn, need to endorse the checks and mail them back to me. Only then can I deposit the dough in my woefully depleted savings account.

I'm lucky as ALL hell that I had the dosh in there (previously unneeded emergency funds—yea!) or else it woulda been another two weeks or so before I'd have had my beloved Bix back.

The insurance customer service rep was bad enough with her poor communication skills—her inability to explain what needed to happen in layman's terms versus industry jargon. This was compounded by her unfortunate habit of supplying incomplete and, occasionally, inaccurate info. Mind you, she was generally, at least in the beginning, very nice. Nice is good but competent would've been better.

Then there was the financial rep from the corp. that holds my car loan. Jen was lovely enough to call them to find out where I should send the check and asked if there was anything else that needed to be done beyond posting the check to the provided address.

The labyrinth of Versailles—simple stuff in comparison
Not only did they give Jen the WRONG address for sending my already late insurance check, their instructions on what to send, were ridiculously deficient. I got the check back, unendorsed, with a cryptic note. Jen called again, got a different rep who provided more complete and, hopefully, accurate info.

I'll send both checks off together. It feels like I'll be sending them off into a void, into deep uncharted waters. How do I know that this second customer service rep gave all the info needed for processing?

HOW do these communication challenged individuals get put into positions where clear, direct, comprehensive, accurate communication skills are imperative? They've obvs never gotten the Pro-Tips that:
  • Someone with info to impart should never assume that, what is evident and all gee-duh-of-course to them is just so for the person to whom they're speaking.
  • Industry jargoning should be avoided at all costs. Customers aren't dimwits, they're just not hip to all the insider lingo. Getting blank stares or emails with many question marks?  Paraphrase to make sure understanding's been achieved.
  • Sequential thinking and it's offspring, sequential communicating, are mega key when explaining complicated concepts (and the rigmarole that I've been put through def counts as complicated). Thoughts, the info, that needs to be conveyed, should be organized and laid it out in one, two, three, consecutive steps.
It really would've helped if the insurance rep had outlined the process from the very beginning. Instead, I was sent through the insurance industry equivalent of a Victorian hedge maze...blindfolded. Funnily enough, accompanying the check I received late last week was an outline of the process I'd just been through. If she'd emailed this to me in the beginning, the path would've been smoother and far less frustrating.

But, hey, that would've made things WAY too simple. Where's the fun in that?

Monday, August 31, 2015

Can't Trust That Day

Monday. Oh hi, you’re back. Again. So soon. Weren’t you just here? I got a question, Monday—don’t you have any hobbies? Isn't there anything that you get all wrapped up in? Something you'd like just one more day to enjoy? Gardening? Scrapbooking, maybe?

How ‘bout friends? Got chums? A crew? I could introduce you around…just not today. It’s Monday.

Again.

“There are no miracles on Mondays.”
~Amy Neftzger, The Orphanage of Miracles

and from Ms. Neftzger's brill blog post How To Kick Monday In The Butt
Wear sensible heels: the pointy kind. Unless, of course, you want Monday to be able to get up easily after you strike the first blow. 
There are three other wonderful tips and a brill reminder. Go. Read. I'll be here when you get back.

“It's just been a long week, that's all."
"It's Monday night, Jess."
"My point exactly.”
~Scott Westerfeld, Touching Darknesss

Monday, Monday—The Mamas & The Papas

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Heinously Humdrum?

Seen while wandering the streets of Reykjavik
I feel as though I must be obscenely dull. All I ever seem to want to do is go look at art but, hey, I like art! Art's fun!

Fishmobile at the Cambridge Sculpture Race
Street fairs are fabulous even when it rains. Performance art thrills me to bits. Giant, building covering murals make me all giddy, happy, joy-joy. They fill me awe and envy—I want to paint giant murals!

Given that I, as yet, don’t have a gig painting humongous, panoramic compos, I’m making do with painting the inside of our wee cottage. It’s a work in progress BUT I’m getting close to finishing the koi pond which extends from our second floor hallway, down the stairs to the first floor landing. I finished the fishies and then started adding lily pads. In the bathroom, and on the loo door, are Seuss fish. The kitchen will be all flower doodles. At left is the big one on the door down to the basement. I think, apart from painting the frame (spring green?) it’s complete. Mebbe.

Craft, graphic, fine and photographic art—all fascinating, Even the shit that doesn’t knock me flat has interesting qualities worth considering (as in What the fuck was this person thinking?! or Christ, this is so boring they musta been dead when they painted it! Ya know, I deliberate deeply and provide a well thought out, academic even, reviews. //snort//).

Wanna put my motor into overdrive? Suggest that we spend the day wandering some new museum that I’ve not yet been to, followed by a zip through a few fresh, hot galleries. Oh yeah baby, I’m SO VERY down for that action!

See, there’s grand variety in my art appreciation. Honest!

OK, I also like triking, sci fI novels and flicks. Beaches too but the camera’s out most of the time because, goddammit, I WILL capture the way the light appears when a wave curls over, just before it crashes into foam and froth. That luminous hue is like magic. I wanna live inside the curl.

I'm not dull, I'm focused. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Meanwhile, it's Caturday in Valhalla

Coco playing pretzel
Rocco, the once and future king
So what's the herd up to on this late August, hot, hot, hot, summer's-almost-toast afternoon?

Napping. It's what they do best. Coco's on the couch and Rocco's in his bedroom closet sanctuary.

Jen and Oni's elderly, fluffy wonder nodded off in a deck chair. Years past being an escape risk, she has her own chair and gets minimal supervision.

Coco is deeply envious.

When The Green Miles was a wee bairn, he would always put ice cubes in Rotten Ralf's water dish on hot days. Very thoughtful AND one of the top ten tips from Catster on how to keep felines chill in the heat. Miles—exceptionally bright kid/wise, good, caring adult.
Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head 
Summer In The City—The Lovin' Spoonful

Bix Is Back

Almost.

Momentarily, Jen will be toting my big, round arse over to the smart car repair shop to pick up my poor beleaguered Bix. It’s been more than three weeks since I’ve seen him. The mechanics finished the work yesterday afternoon but motoring over to Somerville and then back home in Friday, end of summer, penultimate Cape weekending, rush hour traffic somehow didn’t appeal. Always impatient me figured I could wait until morning. Huh, very mature and forward thinking of me.

Instead of sitting in stop and more stopped gridlock hell, I went for a trike ride. Mein Gott it was glorious! I’ve a new, bigger flag on the back of my trusty steed which, I hope, makes me more visible to all the thousands of pounds of speeding steel coming up behind me. Nervous, me? You betcha!

Seeing as yellow, or greenish yellow, is the color which grabs people’s eye first, the most visible of hues, I’ve a bright yellow helmet, a mellow yellow trike and now a vibrant yellow patterned flag. I’ve also got neon yellow and orange safety vests which I should wear all the time but, in 80+º weather, I’ve been throwing caution to the wind and going without. I’m figuring that may not be so bright. I’ll mend my ways, I surely will. Probably not until temps drop into the 70s though.

I'm exploring ways to attach saddlebags to my brill stallion. I figure, this way, I can do at least half my daily errands via trike versus car. Better for the environment, better for me and my perpetual weight loss attempts.

Having said this, I am SO psyched to get Bix back! God only knows when the buckolas from the insurance company will come through so I continue to watch every penny.

Interestingly, ease in transportation seems to spark greater spending. I know, DUH, rilly Donna. No kidding?! Going to the book store (a 15 minute drive) versus the library (a 15 minute bus ride). Lunch out with The Amazing Bob as opposed to sammiches at home. If I'm in a gallery hopping mood, followed by art supply shopping—easy peasy. Afterward I can catch a matinee at the lux Braintree movie theater—no prob!

All this can be done without the car BUT it takes more planning and, with T travel, the better part of a day. MUCH easier to go out for a trike ride, dine at home, make do with the art supplies and reread old fav books. Without the car, I’m much more of a non-spendy homebody…sort of.

Mind, it's a brill home to be reluctant to leave.