April 2003

Tomorrow, I head out to AZ to find a place!

I’ll be back in mid-week, but of course, no e-mail or commentary until then. I’m not jittery. No, not at all. Ignore my spastic leg jiggling. James claims that I am giddy (for me) which he explains as a kind of cheerful contempt. He is also giddy, which means the non sequitors and truly bizarre metaphors are flowing more rapidly than usual, and I caught him singing the Star Trek fight music to our cat (inserting “Loki no no no Lokino Lokino…!” in place of the more familiar “Da dah da dahn da da”) which is a telltale sign of excitement, and since the cat answers happily to anything said in the right tone of voice, including “Lardbutt” and “Fatness” there was probably no harm done.

This is the first time I’ve flown since y’know, terrorism, nastiness, all that, but I’m not particularly worried–when faith in one’s fellow man fails, one can always take comfort in statistics. Also, I’ll leave the steel-toed boots at home.

I had a vivid dream t’other night that I was bitten by a rattlesnake. Whereupon I called 911, told them where I was and that I needed antivenin, elevated my bitten hand, and sat around and waited, which I think is about what you’re supposed to do. I could actually feel the doctor injecting something into my fingers (“Will this hurt?” “A great deal, yes.”) but when I woke up I discovered I’d been laying on my arm and it was dead asleep and pins-and-needling, which probably explains it all without need for prophecy or Freud.

Jenwolf, you’ve raised the bar on bribery. That was profoundly awesome. I will grin involuntarily every time I drink lemonade or iced tea, which given that I’m moving to the desert, will be frequently and with gusto. (I’d send you an e-mail, but I can’t find an e-mail address anywhere…) I am being swayed…I may attend Midwest Furfest after all this year. Even though it’s nowhere near Phoenix, airfares aren’t expensive at the moment, and since it’s in November, I’ll have plenty of time to recuperate from the Anthrocon/TrinocCon blitz of the summer. Somebody remind me to register for a dealer table.

In other news, my mother tells me that my three-year-old brother Max is trying to cast magic spells after exposure to Harry Potter (which he loves), which I find deeply amusing. Particularly since I sent them the first book. Muahhahah! All of Falwell’s worst fears, confirmed! Of course, the fact that none of my family believes that a small child wandering around waving his hands and going “Poof!” is a sign of the imminent arrival of Beelzebub and cohorts helps. I mean, sheesh.

Which reminds me…has believing that there are Satanists everywhere become uncool, or have I just started wandering in different circles and no longer hear about it? I remember when my mother was making her valiant last-ditch effort to cling to Christianity, we’d go to these seminars where they’d tell us that Satanists were the largest religious group in America and dedicated to wiping Christianity out and were constantly sacrificing babies and puppies and kitties and goaties and controlled the recording industry and were responsible for KISS and so forth, and the fact that we’d never seen any of them just proved they were really sneaky. (I dunno, KISS wasn’t that subtle…) These days, of course, I never hear anything about that, other than the occasional Harry-Potter-is-a-tool-of-the-devil rant. Did that die out with the 80’s and the repressed memory fad, or is it still going strong and I just miss out on it because I’m a godless heathen? I recall going “My, somebody sure wants to feel persecuted!” at the time, but I was a jaded little puppy even then. My mother, who is fundamentally an intelligent and well-meaning person seemed embarassed by it all, which I think is usually the response of normal, reasonably sane Christians when confronted by such profound rabid silliness.

Come to think of it, if there’s a universal emotion that almost never gets touched upon, “that sinking embarassment when someone who professes to be of your group/ilk/type begins doing and saying horribly embarassing things, which you cannot in good conscience denounce completely because, y’know… (There’s always a y’know. It may vary from group to group, but there’s still always a y’know.) but really really really want to, and so find yourself sitting with a fixed grin of horror while hissing “We’re not all like that, I swear,” under your breath” may be it. Whether it’s christians with Jack Chick, pagans with people who call themselves Lady Starmoonsilverwolfravengoddessfeather and wear over a metric ton of silver jewelry and dances nude in the woods (a really bad idea with most climates/body types) furries with people who think they’re unicorns, Lord of the Rings fans with people who recite their wedding vows in Elvish…well, y’know. If we could just tap that universal embarassment and harness it towards something constructive, it’d probably be a better world.

Case #234961: The People Vs. Women’s Underwear

Women’s underwear has major problems.

I just went to Target and bought two packs of generic women’s undies, which is a lot harder than you’d think. I had to wade through an armada of lace and floofy bits to find straightforward underwear without lace, tassels, or Piglet. I do not need Piglet on my underwear. Piglet is a symbol of happy childhood memories, and thus should not come in contact with my groinal regions, damnit.

Despite the fact that I am so average in build as to be virtually invisible–some minor pudge around the hips and belly, pretty what you’d expect from post-post-adolescence, since my body assumes we’ll want some fat storage for reproduction and I’ve hit the age when, were I so inclined, I would be in prime shape to start having children. (Foolish body! Little do you realize…) But anyway, it’s nothing you look at and go “Whoa, chunktactular!” I am deeply average in physique. However, I seem to be a size Large. I realize that I live in some depraved dream world, but I still think that “medium” in women’s sizes should fit the average woman. I remember being a size three once, when I was a gruellingly thin teen, and I had to buy extra-petite. Now that I am a significantly more normal size, I’m buying large. Where was I a medium? Did I miss mediumhood? It’s not like I’m one of those women with, as my grandmother used to say, “hips six axehandles apart” (I have no idea what this translates to in actual measurement, but it sounds scary) who might presumably miss being a medium by virtue of bone structure alone.

So annnnyway, I get home, and try these on, and discover to my annoyance that one pair is extra-snug, and the other is extra-loose. They are both labelled Large. However, according to the manufacturers of one brand, I am an Extra Large, and according to the manufacturers of the other, I am, indeed, a Medium. Being that it’s underwear, it’s not like you can try it on in the store or anything. Which makes me wonder–if I was actually chunky, what the hell would I do? An XL in the first brand wouldn’t cut it. Can fat people just not buy underwear at Target?

Why aren’t there standard sizes? Like shoes. Shoes are standardized. However, having talked to the occasional woman who I trust not to have any great emotional stake in her dress size, I am assured that it’s not my imagination–women’s sizes really have shrunk over the past ten or fifteen years. What used to be a size ten is now a size twelve. What the hell?

I am not gonna bitch about media stereotypes, because it’s such a tired old complaint that you can all probably recite it in your heads without me saying anything. However, I’ve gotten to the point where I buy pretty much all male clothing because at least I know that if a 34 waist is comfy in one brand, the odds are at least good that it will be comfy in another brand, because you can’t pull that kinda crap with men’s clothes. I don’t care about how thin or fat I may be, I don’t care if they decide I wear a size XXXL–just make sure that all the bloody XXXL are the same size, and I’ll be happy.

Woot! I got paid! There’s nothin’ like pulling open the mailbox and finding a check, particularly when the check is for four book covers and will pay the entire month’s bills in one fell swoop. Life is goooood.

In other news, I put up an auction for a Caliban watercolor–James and I had the usual wrangle over price (“I’ll start it at $25…” “The hell you will! It’s an original!”) He’s good for my ego, and anyway, if it doesn’t sell, it’s one more for Anthrocon. (Given the current economy, it seems like I only sell to a few people anyway, who are specifically collecting my work. And that’s cool, inherently, it just means sales are otherwise slow.) For a silly quick little piece of a serval chick, it was fun. One of the advantages to having either wrapped up all my work work before moving or delaying it until after is that I have more time to do some originals for the conventions I’ll be doing this summer. I gotta do a few straight fantasy for Trinoc.

The bedroom is filling up with apple boxes. Schedules are being discussed. I feel as if I’ve been hucking pebbles down the slope, and finally it’s starting to go–loose rocks are sliding and dust is kicking up and some of the smaller rocks are going boing! boing! pling! as they bounce over the shale and pretty soon there’ll be a godawful roar and the unstoppable avalanche of Moving will let go and crush helpless villagers underneath or something. Or possibly I’ve just had too much caffiene and it’s making my metaphors run wild.

Serval Auction

Poking around, packing a few random objects, doodling, re-reading Discworld novels for the nth time. (I love Granny Weatherwax. I want to be her when I grow up.) I put up a few auctions recently, so in t’interests of plugging…

Spike and the Mice Print
and a Caliban piece, which features tasteful nudity, so if your eyes leap out of your head, grow little legs, and run around the floor shrieking at the sight of a nipple, don’t click the link, or at least, get someone to film it.
Ke’Li 4 Print

My big cat charity auction got up to $40, which is snazzy–it’s not a huge amount, but with the donation matching this month, maybe they can buy a day’s worth of tiger chow or something, and I’m grateful to my altruistic bidder for bidding. Trying to do a few quick watercolor pieces for sale at the various Cons this summer. And other than that, not much goin’ on today at all. Had an odd dream last night that I had an underwater dirigible. What the hell good is an underwater dirigible, I ask you? The cat got excited about something and ran over my head before I could get much use out of it though, and once you’ve been woken up by the rampaging paws of a small Siamese, there’s not much point in trying to go back asleep to get back to your dirigible.

So last night my husband insisted we watch “Pet Cemetary,” which is further proof that cable is not so much about providing good entertainment as providing bad entertainment at all hours. I’d never seen it all the way through. I didn’t miss much.

However, it got me thinking–horror movies are always about stupid or at least not terribly sensible people. I mean, sure, everybody raises the dead ONCE. Maybe even twice, if you were drunk and it was late and there was nothing good on TV, although usually you have the sense to stick to the less intelligent species. (If you want to make a few dozen zombie flatworms, of course, that’s your business.) But you gotta be a real numbskull to be dabbling in necromancy with your higher vertebrates on multiple occasions, particularly when they’ve already gone on a rampage with the killing and the stabbing and the giggling and the cameo appearances by Stephen King.

Of course, on further contemplation, this is probably because sensible people would short circuit a plot and make for a really short movie/story/whatever. If Faust had read through the contract and said “You know, this is bullshit, I’m not signing, I’m gonna go take up pottery and date that hot chick next door,” then it would have been two chapters long and never seen print. Had the residents of the Bates motel said “Shit, this place looks kinda creepy and Norm is really weirding me out–I think we passed a Holiday Inn a few miles back,” no story. And don’t get me started on the Blair Witch Project. Jesus H. Christ, follow the goddamn river for a few miles and you’ll come out in a Walmart. And if you’re being stalked by a madman, maybe you could, I dunno, build a really big fire and put your backs to it and put down the camera and pick up a whomping stick? There’s three of you and one of it and anything solid enough to chop your buddy’s fingers off is solid enough to go down when you smack it in the head with a log.

Now, the people in “The Birds” I feel for. There’s a limit to what human ingenuity can do in cases like that if you don’t have a whole bunch of birdseed on hand. But generally, the denizens of horror movies do not seem to be a bright bunch. I never saw “Scream” but supposedly it is based on this premise, so maybe I’ll have to rent it one of these days.

Not surprisingly, given the movie, I dreamed that I was being chased by the living dead, being led by–for reasons I am not entirely clear on–an undead Mark Twain. James claims that Twain is out to get me for having read so much terrible American literature, and I can’t say he’s wrong, but I’d think the man would have plenty of places he’d want to stop first, like Jean Auel’s house. (The first one was good. The rest…well, anyway, the first one was good.) Being me, I took down quite a lot of said living dead, although that slippery bastard Mark Twain got away…there was something confusing involving a southern family and a car that shot lasers out of its headlights. I did not bury the dead in a pet cemetary, because I figure once they’re zombies, it’s not really my job to give them a decent burial while they’re trying to eat me. It was a surprisingly non-scary dream. I woke up and went “Crap! I almost had that bastard Twain!” The symbolism of this is unclear, but perhaps it’s better that way.

Didn’t do much today. Took the cats for a ride–the vet suggests that we take a few short car trips to acclimate them to being in a car, and so that they learn that car rides don’t always end up at the dreaded Vet. They were surprisingly mellow. Loki has a “Mmaaaaraaaaaaooooowowwwwgghghghh!” that could wake a fossil, but since we got him a larger carrier, he only saw fit to serenade us a few times, instead of his usual constant fire-engine wail. This is a good thing. I don’t know if I could handle a four day car trip with that going on in the background. It would be a race against time to see whether he’d go hoarse before I went barmy and drove the car into something large and unyielding.

Hit a flea market. Biiiig flea market. They held it at the fairgrounds, and I saw maybe a third of it before my feet froze in my sandals. Why was I wearing sandals in thirty-some degree weather, you ask? Well, I thought I was just doing a five minute jaunt to Michaels and then I saw a flea market sign and…y’know. Got two cool little wooden boxes, one of which is the perfect size for my standard acrylic paints (which is a good thing, because it gets annoying if you keep ’em all in one large box and the ones you NEVER USE migrate the top. It’s like Quinacradone Violet secret hates Burnt Umber and is always trying to keep it down. Or Iridescent Gold. I mean, I bought a tube of Iridescent Gold for one friggin’ painting four years ago, and nevertheless, as soon as I shut the box, it turns up on top and I have to fling tubes around like a deranged burrower (possibly even a wombat) to turn up the Payne’s Gray. There may be some kind of highly specific art-law of the universe in there somewhere–sort’ve like toast landing butter side down–but I dunno what it is.

Okay, public service annoucement time…(again! Two in a week!)

The Baghdad Zoo is suffering about as much as you’d expect it to be, given the hunger and the chaos and the lack of people providing the daily, extensive care that zoo animals need in these troubled times. I realize we’re innundated with charities, and I also know that many of us have lethally mixed feelings about the war, but hopefully we can all agree that the zoo animals, at least, are completely blameless and need help. The association taking the money in this case is not a governmental one but one that runs zoos and aquariums.

Press Release and Address for Donations Here

I haven’t found a site that takes Paypal donations yet, but if anyone trips over one, feel free to post it below, since a lot of us have an easier time running charity auctions and so forth via Paypal. Thank you, and back to your regularly scheduled rants!

Today I drove out to the middle of nowhere–also known as Fridley–to get a used taillight to replace the old taillight on my Honda, which got broken out when someone who shall remain nameless but bears a suspicious resemblance to my husband backed into a dumpster. (The dumpster was at fault, mind you.) Continued reading “A Storm of Swords” which I hadn’t ever finished. George R. R. Martin. Good stuff. Dynastic complicated political fantasy and yet not painful, which is rare, even if I find that the character I like the most and identify with is not the array of plucky young girls and young men coming of age, but the middle-aged politicking drunken wenching and generally embittered dwarf. (As in short, not as in beard, Hi ho, hi ho.) This may say something profound about me, but I’m not sure what.

I lost a day somewhere this week. I thought it was Wednesday. It can’t be Thursday already. Time is moving so fast that I am beginning to suspect that my car gets light-years to the gallon and that I am moving in some funky relativity rift and going faster than everybody else, making time pass more rapidly for the rest of the world. Or…er…would it be the other way around? Would they be moving faster and so time would be going slower for them and…um….

Oh, that’s right…I went into the social sciences to avoid equations. Now I remember.

By the way, kids, anyone who tells you that you will use geometry in art in an effort to make you memorize pi-r-squared is lying. I remember my algebra teacher telling me this, and now that I’ve gone into art, I can safely say that I’ve never even used the Pythagorean theorem, even on my most complicated perspective pieces. In fact, the place I use higher math the most is playing Shadowrun. That’s the only time I trot out equations for anything. I’m still smarting from the time we miscarried the one, read the map wrong, and accidentally turned a gently rolling slope into a near vertical grade, which my samurai had to climb up, barehanded, while fighting off a gargoyle. Had I payed attention in geometry, I might have been spared. I have no idea what the moral of this story is, but then, I hardly ever do.

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