February 2009

I was telling a story to a friend of mine earlier today–one of those that seem like they should be straightforward at the time you start telling them, but get progressively more and more surreal as you try to explain all the contributing factors,* and I had gotten up to the point where I was sitting on a horse on a sheet of black ice in the company of an ex-jockey with Tourette’s–my mother was dating his brother at the time, and we had bonded over the fact that we both disliked his brother–he was an ex-jockey because he’d gained too much weight, plus possibly the Tourette’s didn’t help, so he was a very short, very angry man–who was lecturing me on the advantages of American vs. Japanese horseshoes, punctuated with occasional bouts of profanity, for nearly half an hour while the horse attempted to pick its way across the ice–

Otter stopped me here, and said "Your life…is so…I mean, did you look at this sort of thing at the time, and think "Perhaps this is an omen of things to come?"


She kinda had a point, though, and I offer this by way of explanation for how I wound up painting stuff like this. It was my life, man. It drove me to it.

Holstein Phalloi
Non-DA link

*This seems to occur with the majority of my stories. I start by trying to explain where I learned to use a blowgun, and then I wind up having to explain getting stoned with my stepfather and taking pot shots at the tree trunk holding up the kitchen, and then I have to explain both my stepfather and why there was a tree trunk in the kitchen and then I usually end up at how there was a meth lab across the street from that house and my mother calling me up to narrate the SWAT team raiding the meth lab–"Oooh, they’ve got a battering ram!" and how the guy rolled out on his roof, naked, attempting to escape, and apparently the tip off was the smell because the plumbing hadn’t worked for like six months, and they’d been using the first floor as a toilet, and seriously, WHO DOES THAT?! I mean, if my plumbing stops working, even if I had a meth lab and couldn’t get a plumber in as a result, I’d put in a porta-potty or get frickin’ buckets or something, I wouldn’t just decide "Well, I don’t need BOTH stories!" and anyway, my point is that I do kinda know how to use a blowgun, although only if the darts are made out of nails and shredded cigarette filters, and at this point, generally my companions are staring at me with much the same expression that Otter had. And, um, don’t do meth, kids.

I felt much, much better today.

However, signs would indicate that while my body returns to health, my mind slips ever further towards the edge.

Catgirl Phalloi

Non-DA Link

I felt a little odd painting this. I mean, more than usual. It was as if I was single-handedly inventing a fetish, and I’m not entirely sure if I’m ready for that, particularly since there is something oddly non-sexual about the phalloi and I almost feel a little weird subjecting the poor little critters to such things.

And yet, my desire to paint little phalloi in fursuits is so overwhelming that I might reserve an adult panel in the next Anthrocon just in case.

ETA: Two things on DA horrified me, because I could suddenly see them so very clearly.

The first was the suggestion that there needed to be a phalloi alphabet book (C is for catgirl…X is for XXX subject matter….?)

The second was that if it was indeed a fetish, soon there would be a forum, and people with their own little phalsonas. I believe that word broke my brain. Ganesh have mercy on us all.

If I only work on stuff that doesn’t matter, it doesn’t count as being productive, and so I’m not overworking, right?

The Plague

Kevin brought home some Theraflu that really works. I take it, and my sinuses are as clear as a bell, my cough subsides, my head doesn’t hurt. I am also as high as a goddamn kite. Like fascinated-by-Herculoids-reruns high. If I didn’t have a misspent youth behind me, and a highly developed autopilot as a result, navigating to the bathroom would be a dangerous experience. I am only taking this stuff in the evenings, mostly because it makes it impossible to work, but partly because that’s when the Herculoids come on.

Still feeling like death warmed over. I’m okay in the mornings, but by mid-afternoon I’m dead on my feet and my nose is draining like the Amazon Basin.

Anecdotal reports peg the blaaaaagghghhh stage of thiis plague as lasting around a week–cough lingers awhile longer–so I’ve still got a couple of days to go. Yay.

I really prefer the knock-down-flat BRIEF plague. It’s harder on the system, but easier on the productivity. This lingering malaise doth suck.

On the bright side, one of my older paintings–the Water Mouse–got a daily deviation outta the blue over at DA. So that’s cool!

This is an extremely long-lasting plague. I feel like shit. I mean, I’m cheerful, don’t get me wrong, everything’s goin’ fine, it’s just that my head is swathed in cotton concrete and my sore throat became a cough and I am taking vast quantities of Robitussin (why the hell anybody would do Robitussin toget high is utterly beyond me–the taste! The horrible taste! I can barely choke down the medicinal dose.) 

The vet having been consulted, she points out that, absent any other symptoms, it’s highly unlikely anything going wrong with Ben at this point is unrelated to his mouth, particularly since he’s not congested or sneezy, and his case is so very very bad. So…time to bite the bullet. Ben’s getting his teeth pulled. Of course, since I live in a very small town, the vet has to go borrow a high-speed drill from another practice somewhere–she’s done the procedure at other clinics, but this clinic doesn’t have one. However, since they’re taking ALL his teeth in one go, she really wants the high-speed option, so she doesn’t have to keep him under for a hundred years, and she’s off calling around to locate the equipment. (I find this amusing. Never let it be said these vets don’t go the extra mile!)

My real fear isn’t that he won’t like having no teeth–and thank you all for your tales of toothless cats taking on the world!–but that it won’t WORK. If he’s still having uncontrollable herpes outbreaks every month despite meds and shots and lysine and all the rest…well, we get into quality of life issues there, and decisions that Ursula Does Not Want To Have To Make, Thank You Very Much.

So everybody keep your fingers crossed that losing his teeth will restore Benjamin Ninjabane to his normal fightin’ trim.

Wildlife Disposal Double Whammy

Last night, we had not one but TWO rogue bits of wildlife invade our lives and need to be…err…removed.

(**Warning, unfortunate fate of small animal to follow, sensitive readers are advised to sit this one out**)

The first involved me coming downstairs, seeing Winston (the idiot) with a mouth full of something that did not look like a cat toy, and yelling up the stairs "Kevin! Kevin, we have a problem…"

"I’ll be down in a minute…"

"Time is a factor, hon."

He came running, and we corralled the cat, who had caught a deer mouse and was attempting to defend it against two other interested cats, who wanted to know why HE got a toy that ran around and twitched and they didn’t.

Even mortally wounded, a deer mouse is a surprisingly agile creature, so we had to trap him under bowls, slide a cookie sheet under, and take him out front, where Kevin shuffled him off this mortal coil as rapidly as possible, a process that, even with a shovel, never seems to be as quick and painless as all those involved would like it to be.* Still, it beats the hell out of being tortured by cats for an hour. (I have been lucky–the two mouse-catching cats I have known have been executioners rather than playing with their prey. Winston, however, will play with kibble given the option, and the mouse was very exciting for him. We told him he was a mighty hunter. He seemed proud.)

The other wildlife disposal was less sympathetic and more purely awful, as I was undressing for bed and discovered a black spot on the hinge between thigh and groin. I brushed at it, unthinking, assuming it was a bit of lint and it…stayed attached.

Ah. Apparently our spring-like weather has brought out more than the spring peepers.

"Kevin," I said, with hysterical calm, "There is a tick. Near my nether regions. Could you remove it for me?" 

He did so, while I stared at the ceiling and tried not to scream or faint or run around the room clucking like a chicken. He was then forced to inspect some fairly intimate bits for tick colonization, which is about as sexy as a root canal, although mercifully much briefer.

"Now what have we learned?" he said, returning from burying the tick at sea.

I stared at him, having thrown my clothing in all directions and begun frantically checking all of my freckles for legs. "What?"

"…actually, I suppose all we’ve learned is that it’s a very early tick season," he allowed.

I love living in the country, but sometimes…

*The exception to this rule was an old acquaintance of mine who was a large animal vet. When her husband, in one of those weird random chains of reflex-over-thought, wound up with an injured gopher pinned under a shovel–I believe he’d escaped from a neighbor’s gopher trap, and was trying to get back underground, and wasn’t doing well at all, and you can’t let them go at that point, they’ll just go die miserably underground–she whipped out her kit, panicked on the dosage, grabbed the Big Syringe, and proceeded to inject the gopher with enough sodium pentobarbital to drop multiple horses. The gopher expired instantly, so it was a success on the humane front, but since that’s a reasonably controlled substance, she had to go back in to her clinic and explain that she had just used approximately a hundred times the necessary dosage on a gopher and needed a refill. There was much amused inquiry as to the SIZE of the late gopher…was it perhaps six or seven hundred pounds? Had it been a dire gopher? Was there firebreathing involved? She was entirely humorless on the subject of gophers for some years after.

Also, the weather here is spectacular, we’re having reports of spring peepers starting up, and the daffodils are visible from my window.

Unfortunately, so is the bindweed, and despite lingering illness, body ache, and sore throat, I am feeling the itch to go out and kill that stuff.

ETA: EEE! EEE! My anise hyssop is growing! There are wee little leaves starting up down by the base!

There’s a green flush on the Mt. Airy witch hazel, too…nothing yet on the snakeroot or the American holly, but EEE! LIFE!

I broke down–since I was ripping out bindweed ANYWAY–and put three bareroot red chokeberry into the ground. My bareroot order did not arrive before the freeze–we had an unseasonably early freeze, followed by snow, followed by early warmth–and I’d pretty much written them off. Today, however, I cracked open the box that’s been sitting on the deck, and lo and behold, most of them appear to be alive! (A couple of the Indian currants are iffy, but the spicebush and the chokeberry were rarin’ to go.) 

I’m still rather sick, and should not be working in the garden, but eh, screw it. The weather is too glorious to waste.

My talk last night went well!

At least, I think it went well…I kept ’em laughing, anyway, and I think that’s the important thing. I may have agreed to speak to various classes. It’s all a bit of blur. Kevin says I didn’t disgrace myself, anyway, although I do tend to get a little manic when I’m on.

I do know that I gave out the URL for this blog, so if any librarians and/or teachers from the International Reading Association are here as a result, let me apologize in advance–the last two entries are about diarrhea and strip clubs, and I swear, we’re usually more high brow than that! Honest!

A little more. Somewhat. Occasionally.


In the interests of high-browing it up–and of course, for pure coolness–let me point out that it is Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday today! Go out and observe a finch, or breed a pigeon or something. Race earthworms. (He was big into earthworms too, wasn’t he?) Go be the fittest survivor you can be!


Blargh! The con crud seems to be catching me. I have to give a talk tomorrow evening, so the sore throat is not welcome.

Generally I come through these things as healthy as a horse, but this was a bad con for plague for me for some reason–something hit me wrong on Sunday morning, and caused what Kevin suggested was a mass bacteria die-off–i.e. I was feeling fine, and then suddenly my entire lower intestinal tract decided it was spring cleaning time. I developed quite an attachment to the handicapped stall in the women’s restroom, since I was in there approximately every fifteen minutes from about ten AM until I got home around 4. (We broke down about anhour early–nobody was buying any more, and I was really jonesing for a toilet that I didn’t need to cover with paper.)

The problem–and forgive the vividness and entirely TMIness of the following–is that it wasn’t enough to crap myself empty. No, my colon was on a serious witch hunt, so even after there was nothing even approaching solid waste anywhere in my system, when lunch was clinging to my stomach lining and begging me not to send it down there, please god, it could hear breakfast screaming, oh god, the humanity–it was still kicking out this horrible burning mucus every few minutes.

This was not pleasant. Kevin–further testament to his awesomeness–can offer intelligent commentary on statements like "horrible burning mucus" while finding a gas station in rural North Carolina that I might rid myself of same.

I stuffed myself with fiber yesterday, and while things are still not exactly back to normal, they are nothing like as bad as they were. Of course, now the sore throat kicks in, but I’d much rather deal with that.

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