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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Borgovian Martini Fascists

I suck giant Borgovian Land Worm toenails when it comes to remembering birthdays. Really. If it weren’t for those alerts that Facebook throws at me, I’d miss every last one of my chum's happy-joy-joy events. If a pal isn’t on MugMag, Cake Day will likely pass by unobserved by yurs truly. A week later, I’ll remember, feel simply awful and send a thousand apologies and invitations to take the friend out for a celebratory drinkie. You can count on it.

One exception to this sad tendency of mine is this—if your day is in August, I’m inclined to remember. Not the precise day mind you but def that it happens sometime during this month. Why? Well, shit and boyhowdy, MY big day is this month too! (the 18th in case anyone’s keeping track)

This is how I remembered that a pal ‘o’ mine who I’ve not seen in maybe 15 years or so, is having a birthday soon. Jim’s birthday is this month—maybe today. Naturally, I’m unsure.

Just in case…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM!

Jim was (probably still is) a big going concern in the biz community—some big league marketing mucky muck. You may wonder, how did you and some suit become buds, Donna? You're a spectacularly unlikely friend match up, are you not?

For starters, he wasn’t (isn’t) just a suit and most certainly NOT an empty one. I forget how we met but imagine it was at one of the 50 bazillion parties or clubs I frequented back then. Jim was a music appreciator (like moi!) which makes T.T.s or The Middle East a good bet.

Jim was in the process of moving here, with wife and kids, from one of the Carolinas (natch, I forget which) to work for one of the budding Biotech concerns in Kendall Square. This was at the very beginning of the industry’s terraforming of that gritty Cambridge neighborhood that Jen, Oni, The Amazing Bob and I called home.

Ultimately, Massachusetts didn’t agree with Jim en famiglia. They were used to a more reasonable, temperate clime. You know, an area with four seasons but little, if any, snowfall (except in the mountains) and no months on end of below freezing temps. What can I say, re: cold and snow, us New Englanders are  semi hardcore (Canadians—now they’re hard core!).

So then, what happened? Eh, they moved out West which is where, I believe, they originally hailed from. Utah maybe. I know the place was chock full of bodacious ski resorts and the snow out there, Jim claimed, was infinitely superior. Not being a skier, I took his word for it.

Part of the reason I was a wee bit moofy that he decamped was that Jim was one of my best models EVAH. It helped that he was a triathlete. Yeah, between the biz stuff and the athleticism, we had, pretty much, fuck-all in common BUT he was a lot of fun.

I credit Jim with turning me into Martini Fascist. Yup—martinis are made of gin (preferably Sapphire), the barest whisper of Vermouth and an olive. As a change up, jalapeño stuffed olives are acceptable. Anything else is a cocktail. A drink is NOT a martini just because you serve it in a martini glass.

Dammit.

Jim, if you’re out there, I’ll tip a martini in your honor tonight.

Monday, August 3, 2015

My Dog Has Fleas

That’s the little bit you sing when your ukulele needs tuningG-My C-Dog E-Has A-Fleas. WHY do I know this and WHY is it sticking in my head lately? I've never played uke AND it’s not even one of those fab mnemonic dealies like Every Good Boy Does Fine (for the lines of the treble clef) or FACE (for the treble clef spaces). Yup, those got drilled into me at my first lessons when I was a tiny tot of eight.

My first instrument? Clarinet and I HATED it! Mostly, that was due to all the squeaking and honking. I got that, if I progressed in my playing, the instrument wouldn't beep and bark so much. Didn't care. I wasn't yet a Benny Goodman fan.
Rocco—annoyed yet patient with my paparazzi tendencies

Coco—dreaming of her next big outdoor adventure
I wanted to play trumpet. It was pretty, I liked the shape of it AND I loved the sound. Classical music was always playing in our home (except when Daddy had Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Dylan on the turntable) so I knew which sounds I liked, what I wanted to make. My mother ixnayed my choice saying, Girls don't play trumpet. You can play either flute or clarinet. The school wasn't offering stringed instrument classes or else I could've had violin lessons—this being a gender appropriate, approved instrument in mia madre's eyes.

Back to the dog with fleas though—why am I tuning tiny Hawaiian guitars in my head now? Eh, my cats have fleas. I’ve no damn clue how they got them either. Apart from Coco’s big adventure the other week, neither are outdoor beasties. Could she have brought 'friends' home with her?

I’m coated in tiny bites and anti-itch lotion now and, lemme just tell you, this is not making me all happy, joy-joy.

Yesterday, I vacuumed, dusted, washed all the bedding, brushed and applied flea-be-gone to the napes of Rocco and Coco’s necks. This BETTAH work!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Grandkiddle O!

O & TAB making a break for it
“You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
~Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)

Yesterday, The Amazing Bob and I braved the weekend Cape bound traffic so that we could go visit The Green Miles en familglia. It’s summer—EVERYone goes to the Cape. Unless of course they’re headed for Maine or the Berkshires or the White Mountains or some such. We’ve not seem Miles, Bethanie and Olivia in much, much too long (possibly a whole month!)—I simply had to put my muscular driving anxiety aside.

See? I can so be a mature, un-neurotic adult!

As luck would have it, traffic wasn't wickedly heinous AND, flying in the face of my usual talents for misplacement, I only got us slightly lost. Yea me.

TAB wore his special Winnie the Pooh shirt just for little Olivia's entertainment. I bought him that T when I was up in the Orkney Islands for the very first time. Yes, Pooh doesn't exactly evoke Norse dreams and the Orkneyinga Saga BUT it was perfect for him and not a design I'd seen at home.

Can I have cheesecake now?
In any case, O and TAB bonded over the bear. TAB's a natural with the wee ones—cats and kids certainly.

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?”
~Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)

At lunch the two of them had a fine time with TAB's french fries. They played dancing wiggly worms with them. Ya know, it's always a strange event when I'm the low-key, staid one in the bunch. OK, so was Miles.

“The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.” 
~Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne

Despite yesterday's sober display, Miles and I are NOT Eeyore (who I love but don't wanna emulate. Well, except for the deep thinking shit. That's good, right?).

I believe, next time Olivia's up here, we'll have to go for a little ocean float. Afterwards, TAB can begin teaching her how to throw junk and then he can introduce her to the joys of Saint Fratelli's half moons.

Of course.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole Once Again

In one of my morning words with friends games, I had a collection of letters that were utterly brill AND, as long as they overlaid neatly with another word, I could score 210 points (!!!) too. Yeehaw!  Nope, no-can-do. Apparently "gg" is not a word.

Merde!
Orgone 
  Etheric energy distributed throughout the universe and available for collection, storage, and further use.
            1959: So, boys, when those hot licks play over your balls and prick and dart up your ass like an invisible blue blow torch of orgones, in the words of T. J. Watson, Think. Stop panting and start palpating
~ William Burroughs, Naked Lunch
Between games (I've way too many going on), an ad plays. Usually, it seems, it’s for an insurance company. This morning’s ad was for Liberty “University”  though. You know, this is one of those christianist joints which cater to the “right” wing, low to no critical thinking set, the knee jerk bigotry crowd—the American Talban.

Naturally all the women in the commercial are white, generally blond, usually wearing pink and playing with small children (presumably their own). At the end there’s a shot of a graduation ceremony with a young Mitt Romney clone in cap and gown, carrying a toddler with three more small children and wife following, respectfully, three steps behind. I guess their advice to young folk is marry young and start pumping out the future Republican voting christianists.

FYI, marrying young and starting a BIG family when you're fresh out of adolecence, studying for a degree and attempting to begin a career, is not often a winning combo. Ya know, just in case you were wondering.

 If I’d had a kiddle who actually wanted to go to this college manqué, I’d need to get them deprogrammed. STAT! This could possibly be accomplished by sending them to Amsterdam (specifically the Leidesplein neighborhood) for a month with Gloria Steinem, Patti Smith and Kathleen Hanna. After that they’d have to spend a year with the Dalai Lama and the ghost of Maya Angelou so they can learn about real compassion versus the 1984 doublethink horseshit that’s peddled by the “right.”

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.
~Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness

Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
~Albert Einstein

Compassion is the basis of morality.
~Arthur Schopenhauer

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.
~John Bunyan

The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful then a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
~Mahatma Gandhi

Compassion is a verb.
~Thích Nhất Hạnh

Because the Night—Patti Smith Group

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Body Electric

Yesterday I drove into the smart car dealership in Somerville for two reasons. One, it’s time for Bix’s annual checkup and oil change. Yes, the oil is changed just once a year in a smart car. Cool or what? TwoTodd Whitelaw, the fab-ola brand manager, emailed me with a tremendous offer.

Trade in my, now, two year old Bix (which I’ll fully own once the loan’s paid) for a lease on a 2015 electric. On top of the obvious bennies of owning an electric baby, he's offering fab incentives. I'm now in the midst of considering all the pros and cons and OOF this is gonna be a hard decision!

Pros
1) Though this car is a much more expensive model, my monthly payment would go down by more than $25 dollars.
2) No gas required. Currently I pay $35-$40 a month to feed Bix. With an electric, I’d spend, estimated, $18-$20 per month MAX to charge the battery.
3) No emissions! I won’t be contributing to the environment’s degradation—at least not when I motor about.
4) Electric cars are low maintenance.
5) They’re quiet, not that this is a big deal to this deafie but, em, quiet….that’s nice.
6) The electric ride’s smoother with much faster response time.
Cons
1) Range—Depending on weather conditions the smart electric goes just 55-85 miles on a full charge. Bix can go around 380 to 400 miles on one tank.
2) Recharge Points—I can charge up at home and there are parking lots about town with EV (electric vehicle) chargers BUT they’re not wickedly common YET. Just as I have to watch the gas gauge, I’d need to watch the charge gauge but I’d have to be a LOT more aware and observant than with gas.

Also, to charge a smart, according to cars.com (and this is based on the 2013 model), from totally empty to full would be about 14 hours at 110 volt household outlet and 6 hours at a 240 volt level two charging station.
Weather, unsurprisingly, effects the battery.
How does cold weather affect the performance and battery life?

The short answer is: cold weather can affect your electric drive’s range. Most lithium-ion batteries are affected by cold temperatures, and it may take longer to charge your smart in extreme cold. Super hot temperatures can also affect your smart’s battery. Additionally, anytime you run the heat or A/C, you’re using the battery more. So if we may be so bold as to offer some advice: whenever possible, keep your smart stored inside in a temperate climate so that things stay nice and charged.
So, if I’m driving out to see Helen in Hoosick Falls, which is approximately 190 miles away, I’d need to stop and recharge 3.8 times in cold, snowy January and 2.375 times in gorgeous, sunny May. Even with the best of weather conditions and the availability of public charging stations along the way, I couldn’t make the trip in one day. I’d need to rent a car.

The Amazing Bob and I could tool down to see The Green Miles and fam in Fairhaven on one charge (around 56 miles away) BUT we’d not be able to get back home same day. Again, we’d have to rent.

Ka-ching.

I found a great site—Chargepoint—which tells me where I can fuel up AND, in real-time, how many, if any, available stations they have.

The other expensive drawback, beyond having to rent cars when we want to go see the kids, is that our insurance would go up since the 2015 electric smart is a much more expensive car than my Bix.

I’m doing the math. I’m thinking hard on this. I really want to go electric but, given the short range on a charge and that we’re a one car famiglia, it might not make sense. YET. More research and contemplation is needed.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Walking along the craters

Last night the moon was just about full—this’ll be a Blue Moon.

Could this have anything to do with me waking at 11:30 and not being able to get back to sleep until, mebbe, two AM? I know that, after checking the clock around 1:30 AM, I decided—I’ll give me until three. If I’m still awake then, I’ll just give up on the Zs . And then, then, sleep decided to make an encore.

Had a dream where I was working at an old printshop where I’d toiled throughout my 30s. The owner was reopening a downtown branch that’d been shuttered. For some reason, I was present on this momentous occasion AND the boss was listening to my recommendations on how the store could be better laid out so that customers would flock in like seagulls to a McDonald's dumpster. AND I looked just like Pam from True Blood.  Wow. So much win!

Naturally, given the True Blood connection, there was an intensely bloody scene where the head of the person responsible for the store’s shuttering exploded—all fireworks-like—in a shower of brains and O positive.

Yeah, that’s when I woke up.
Song About the MoonPaul Simon (full lyrics here)
If you want to write a song about the moon
Walk along the craters in the afternoon
When the shadows are deep and the light is alien
And gravity leaps like a knife off the pavement
And you want to write a song about the moon
You want to write a spiritual tune
Na na na na na na
Yeah yeah yeah
Presto, a song about the moon
 Sandwiched into the those few hours of sandman time was a bitty phantasm about an old friend. I’ve not seen or heard from Jim in eons. Maybe 15 years actually.

He was in bad shape. Depressed. Angry. Didn’t feel like speaking. He was laying in bed, face deeply planted in the pillow. I rubbed/petted his back, speaking soothing words. Something useless like: Things will get better. Life will turn around.

In real life, and I heard this from another pal I’d not connected with in forever and a half, Jim’s been going through a very hard bunch of years. The college where he scored a tenured, head-of-the-department, teaching gig ended up being chock full of heinous political douchebaggery and miscreants. His marriage fell apart. His daughter has some strong, unspecified, emotional troubles. I understand his drinking’s gone up. I understand. I wish I could do something to help, something to ease his struggle.

I’d sent him an upbeat, chock-full-of-art-commonalities email. A Hey, let’s reconnect, mon ami kind of an email. I didn’t send that missive out of pure admirable, altruistic, I-want-to-lend-a-hand/ear goodness. Fuck no. We were friends. I was crazy about the sculptures he built. Sure, I want to do whatever I can (if anything) to help him up and out of his swamp but this is also about just plain missing an old friend.

No reply. I’m concerned. Worried.

Blue Moon—The Marcels

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy...

New curtains with lights. YES, we have xmas lights up all year. They're pretty!
 Ya know, it’s really hard to stay engaged when this, THIS is what’s in the news:

Christie Vows Crackdown On Legal Weed As Soon As He's Prez
Yeah dude, sure. That makes total sense.
The gap between the haves and the have nots in this country has become Grand Canyon-esque, the middle class is evaporating but sure, focus on a outlawing a helpful, legal med instead.

North Carolina GOP Chair Ties Hillary Clinton To The KKK
Christ on herbed crostini, the folks on the “Right” just can’t help themselves—can they? They've got no fucking shame OR moral backbone. There’s no level they won’t sink to. What happened? Did they get bored with screaming Benghazi?

I hit up Politifact and History.com for enlightenment.
Details about the hate group’s founding are murky -- including the exact year it began. Some cite 1865 as its start, others say it was 1867. Historians generally agree it was founded by a handful of Confederate veterans in Pulaski, Tenn. as a social fraternity and it quickly changed into a violent group that terrorized newly empowered black and white Republicans in the South.
A group including many former Confederate veterans founded the first branch of the Ku Klux Klan as a social club in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1866.
Bottom line—what was true in 1865 is not in 2015. The Republicans are no longer “The Party of Lincoln.” The Radical Republicans who, in 1865, bucked Lincoln’s leniency, and pushed for insurance that newly freed blacks would be protected and given their rights as Americans are long gone. Those Southern Democrats who joined the KKK? Yeah, they’re toast too.

So, Hasan Harnett baby doll, cut the shit, man. You show yourself as one of the more vile, empty brained, scum suckers of the "right." You’ve a grand future with the GOP. Gotta ask...couldn't you get a real, honest gig anywhere?

Senate GOP Fast-Tracks Bill To Defund Planned Parenthood

After a group of GOP senators huddled Tuesday afternoon to discuss the recently released undercover “sting" videos of Planned Parenthood, Republicans unveiled legislation to strip the family planning provider of its federal funding.
Yes, they want to defund a medical organization which does incredible good because they’re buying a trumped up lie. A very convenient lie at that. The vid’s a deceitful piece of editorial bullshit shenanigans and reactionery fever dreams but when has truth ever mattered to the “right?”
Congressional Republicans are capitalizing on right-wing media's phony outrage over the deceptively edited videos released by anti-choice conservative group Center for Medical Progress to push legislation to defund Planned Parenthood.
~snip~
In a video released on July 21, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) claimed to have recorded a Planned Parenthood official "haggling over" prices for fetal tissue donations and offering to change abortion procedure techniques "to get more intact fetuses."

American Dentist Identified As Killer Of Famed Lion In Zimbabwe
Cecil the lion was shot with a bow and arrow, then stalked for 40 hours before he was finally killed with a rifle.

A Minnesota dentist who allegedly shot and killed Zimbabwe’s most famous lion had a history of shooting big game outside of legal hunting zones.
I cried when I saw this. Walter James Palmer is one sick bastard as are all the miscreants who assist him in realizing his tiny dicked, Big Game Hunter dreams.

Palmer, you repulsive piece of used jet trash, you collection of misshapen cells, WHY are you killing these magnificent endangered beings!? You’re an abomination and I hope your life crashes and burns for this. 

Okay, I gotta go watch some cartoons, pat Coco and Rocco, take a trike ride, go work on my rabbit-headed nude painting, make The Amazing Bob some breakfast and NOT read any more news.

A Day in the Life—The Beatles

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The End of the Kluge

A lamp in need
offending, big bulb
I may be an early riser, a morning person but (and this is important here so pay attention) I’m not at my most stunningly bright and adept within the first 30 minutes of wakey-wake time. No, I am not. Auto-pilot—on it.

What this meant this morning was that I should not have attempted to fix or even replace shit about the house until AFTER that first cup of coffee. Warum? Apparently I’m quite short tempered pre-caffienation.

Yesterday, I’d picked up the GE energy smart® nine year life babies for our reading lamp with two spent bulbs. Fab, right?  Wrong. They’re too big to fit under the lamp’s hood. No anount of fiddling about helped. Did ya know? Bulbs aren’t fluid, they won’t squeeze or flow into a space. Huh. Fuckers.

And then I was having a bit of a struggle with a dodgy utensil drawer. I knew it needed to be really fixed but I had a klugey, this’ll-get-me-by-until-I’ve-the-time-to-deal-with-it-properly, “fix” in place. Right. Deep down, I knew that I’d never repair the drawer myself. I’d wait until Helen and husband were here (he’s a carpenter and she’s just plain magical) next and ask them to deal with it.
dead utensil drawer

While my espresso roast was brewing (yeah, I don’t mess around—when I caffienate, I go for jet fuel), I was putting away the dishes that I so presciently washed the night before. I knew I’d hate, hate, hate seeing a sink full of cat bowls, spoons, forks and pots the next AM. The utensil drawer didn’t want to budge. It didn’t respond to Open Sesame. Bastard! I gave it a good yank and, of course, everything went flying. The floor was covered in birthday candles, straws, those little clippy things to keep bags shut and, of course, “silverware.”

Great. It’s one hell of an effective way to get me to clean and tidy the joint.

Apparently the drawer’d become home to all manner of odd bit—lids to bottles we no longer have, random rubber bands and twist ties, screws for our dishwasher which has been dead, dead, dead for over a year now and on and on. All finally in the trash now.

The Amazing Bob and I—we’re wonderfully creative souls, amusing company and crackerjack smart. Handy around the house? Not so’s anyone would ever notice.

*sigh*

I think I’ll drink some jet fuel now and stare at the morning light sprinkling and twinkling through my new drapes. That's all I wanted to do first thing this morning anyway. Not a lot to ask of the universe is it?!

At least I've got this lovely, peaceful tune in my head now:
Images of broken light
Which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe

Thoughts meander like a restless wind
Inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make their way
Across the universe
Across the Universe—The Beatles