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The Fun I’m Not Missing

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Department Of What’s The Point

The problem with speaking the truth to power is that power can’t be bothered to listen.

*   *   *

Department Of Pleasant Surprises

Last Saturday morning when I finished exercising I popped out the workout DVD and did my cool down/stretches to the background noise of a college football game on TV. During one brief timeout in the game over a disputed call or something I swear I heard one team’s marching band play the distinctive opening riff to the White Stripe‘s Seven Nation Army.  It was at once bizarre and totally appropriate…and almost as emotionally satisfying as hearing the Roto Rooter Goodtime Christmas Band ‘s rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic rock anthem, Purple Haze.

 

 

*   *   *

Department of Yet Another Podcast Adventure

The podcast, an interview with a historian specializing in ancient Rome (Mary Beard/Fresh Air show), began with the show’s host reciting an intriguing description of the guest’s professional accomplishments: “…a professor of classics, does TV and radio documentaries, writes a well-read blog…and has become somewhat famous for taking on internet trolls.”

 

trolls

 

I couldn’t help but wonder: Why, oh why, would someone do that, or become “famous” for doing that?  Especially someone who is an academic, or at least educated. I thought that, by definition, if you “take on” an internet troll, or engage them in any way, the troll wins.[1]

I am not fully convinced that individual internet trolls exist.  I think there is a troll generator somewhere, created and controlled by a man-boy who resembles a cross between Jabba the Hutt and a meerkat. This Jabbakat occupies a bunker designed to resemble his parent’s basement, where, hunkered down amid cases of Red Bull, Hot Pockets and survivalist grade toilet paper, he froths and seethes over the Unfairness of Life ® , including what happened eight years ago when, after hearing that girls go for guys in uniform, he dropped out of community college to take a job as a pizza delivery boy.

My favorite comment/observation about trolls of any kind is from Tina Fey, in her book, Bossypants . [2]

Bring on the babes.

Bring on the babes.

*   *   *

Department  Of Just Think About All The Fun You Missed

Wednesday was my annual Ladies Lefse dinner party. It is not too late for you to plan your own.  You don’t even have to make it an all-lady affair – you can define the term “lady” loosely (as most of us do these days, yuckity yuckaroo). In the spirit of open-minded heteronormativity, [3] you could make it a party for Lefse Ladies and Those Who Identify as Lefse Ladies.

 

Who wouldn't want to identify with these festive, frisky females?

Who wouldn’t want to identify with these festive, frisky females?

 

*   *   *

I kept hearing erstwhile respected actor Danny Glover’s voice on a TV ad, publicizing a medication to treat “pseudo bulbous effect.”  And I kept thinking, Wow, there’s a drug for everyone, including people who obsessively don large fake noses.

I stand corrected. It’s Pseudobulbar affect, and it’s apparently a thing. Pseudobulbar affect is a neurological disorder, that just happens to have one of the best disorder nicknames ever:

“also known as emotional incontinence.”

 

 I can quit any time I want to, okay?

I can quit any time I want to, okay?

 

*   *   *

A Special Holiday Message For A Special Guy

To the dude I was driving behind on Monday – the guy in the Ford pickup heading west on Cornell Road in the early afternoon. After watching you weave in and out of traffic lanes and tailgate other drivers, I humbly suggest that your holiday thankfulness this year be directed toward the following government agencies and employees:

* the DMV, for not having a basic reading comprehension and IQ test as part of its licensing procedures

* those current and former U.S. Marines, [4] who might be embarrassed/appalled by your proudly displayed ignorance as evinced by your various anti-Obama, anti-government, bumperstickers and window decals sharing bumper and window space with your pro-U.S. Marines stickers.

BTW, duuuuuuuuude: Obama is an American, not a Kenyan, for crying’ out loud in the fucking Halls of Montezuma‘s sake.

I can only assume your truck’s OR license plate was crafted personally, for you, and that YRT 987 stands for, Your Retard Tendencies 987 (on a scale of 990). [5] [6]

 

 

He forgot the sticker that says, Honk If You're Following a Bigoted Asshat

He forgot the sticker that says, Honk If You’re Following a Bigoted Asshat

*   *   *

Holiday haiku

At this time of year
no joy is as pure as that
which arises from

seeing Christian
right wing nutjobs twisting their
tinsel-lined panties

when they hear the phrase
Happy Holidays! and/or
another greeting

which acknowledges
the wealth of celebrations
at this time of year.

solsticegreetings

It’s Merry Christmas
or nothing for those pinch-nosed

paranoid Scrooges.

Their faces turn red
and green – which, fittingly, are
the Christmas colors.

I am delighted
to wish them, “Happy Solstice,”
and hope that one day

they’ll understand this:
“Axial tilt – The Reason
For (all the) Seasons!”

axial tilt

*   *   *

May you avoid troll engagement;
May you embrace the season’s greetings;
May you remain emotionally continent;
and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

 

[1] Or at least, you lose.

[2] Look it up. You won’t regret it. While you’re at it, just read the whole damn book.

[3] Belle is going to be taking a Gender Studies class next semester. I’m practicing.

[4] Government employees, yep – although not often thought as such. Who pays the military salaries?

[5] I know, I know, retard is no longer an acceptable pejorative. I’m making a New Year’s Resolution to stop using it.

[6] If you believe the previous footnote, you’re a ‘tard.

The Blog I’m Not (not) Writing.

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THE BLOG I’M NOT WRITING

– Do you know what Annabelle’s doing now?
– A blog.
– Of what?
– What do you mean “of what”? A blog of Annabelle.  Of every thought that passes through her brain. Her stupid, vapid, insipid…I could write a blog!  I have thoughts! 

(from Julie and Julia, written and directed by the late great Nora Ephron)

*   *   *

You should write a blog; you’re a writer!
I can’t believe you, of all people, are not blogging.

*   *   *

The name of this venture is inspired by my favorite Patty Larkin song, as well as my long-held reluctance to never do…what I’m apparently doing.

I wasn’t going to write a blog, for myriad of reasons.[1] The #1 reason is that you don’t get paid for doing it. There are many, many ways writers don’t get paid for writing.  I’m not keen to take part in yet another.

Professional  excuse reasons?  Despite the plethora of trade publications and associations desperate to sell you a plethora of social media tutorials, a dirty little realization among social media-proficient fiction writers is that author blogs do not sell books.

Perhaps the reasons are more personal; as in, keeping a journal of some sort?  Wait a minute: what about a new way to communicate and reflect on life, one that, if done with discrimination and  integrity, might aspire to be a form of entertainment for readers, more than just a regularly updated entry of events, transactions, or observations, or a chronicle of excessive self-contemplation?  What about an informational and personal site, a log of sorts, published on the web…log…web…log…. 

Why hasn’t someone thought of this before??!?!?!

Reluctance, schmuctance.

I surrender, at least temporarily, to the culture of social MEdia.  After all, I am so significant, my every thought must be documented, and ME is too vast, too important for a mere private journal. I must announce it for the world to see.  Think of what I’ve been missing – what you’ve been missing. No longer shall we live without me posting my every reflection on the smell wafting down the hallway from the unscooped litter boxes.[2]

So, yeah, that will also be the blog I’m not writing.  I’m still refusing to join the tumblr-ing tweeting twats and don’t care to see someone’s pinterest pictures of their pinworms.  A relative latecomer to Facebook, I am a sporadic and not particularly competent FB poster and commentator. And despite me sticking another toe into what I once heard described as the “vast ocean” of social media, the waters I’m testing still remind me of those that pool on portions of the nearby Tualatin Valley Highway after it rains.  From a distance it can look like the deep blue sea, but the closer you get, you see that it’s just a really, really, big puddle – wide, but shallow.

Now that I’ve lowered your expectations to fit my comfort level….

Ground rules/expectations:

1.  I shall attempt to post every Friday.
2.  Except when I don’t.
3. There shall be some regular entertainment features.  Perhaps even recipes:

Now that the Autumn chill is setting in, it’s time for a
Hot pepper jelly glaze and sauce to warm the cockles of your heart

– 2-3 T of your favorite hot pepper jelly (Republic of Jam’s habañero Hellfire & Jamnation is what floats my boat)
– 3T orange juice; 2T fresh lemon or lime juice; 1t low sodium soy sauce
– ~1 c nonfat regular yogurt, drained over a fine mesh colander, or NF Greek-style yogurt 

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Amounts are approximate.  Taste and adjust to get the consistency, flavor and tongue-tickling (or burning) sensation you desire. Use as an accompanying sauce and/or finishing glaze for pan-seared or grilled tofu, chicken, catfish… 

Wondering what to do with the homegrown, truncheon-sized zucchini your vegetable-gardening neighbor foisted off on so generously gifted you? Thinly slice the zucchini, then add it to the compost pile and ask yourself, What was I thinking? Don’t even consider wasting a yummers hot pepper sauce on a vapid, overgrown zucc.

4.  Or maybe just pretty pictures of my mascot.

Everybody loves a new, shiny blue mouse

(everyone loves a new, shiny blue mouse)

5.  There will be the occasional link to recommended books, films, TV shows, videos and music (my daughter made me promise never to link to that Friday song she so loathes )
6. I shall not excessively write about nor embarrass my offspring.
7. Except that it is my parental obligation to embarrass my offspring, or so said the instructional pamphlet that was attached to their respective placentas.
8.  I shall try to respond to insightful and respectful comments, despite my fear of entering into dialog that would take away from what I actually should be writing….
9.  Although I’d’ have to have a certain critical mass of readership before the fear expressed in #8 would be a problem; thus, problem #8 may solve itself by never arising.
10. I am not going to censor myself.
11. Except when I do.
12. This list has no item #12.

*   *   *

The working title of this venture was The F-Blog.  F for Friday, and for the first thing that came to my mind when I realized I might actually try this out (like the world needs another F-ing blogger?).  Also, I am a fan of so many things F [3], including:

– the Fab Four; Tina Fey; flippancy, footnotes [4]; fermentation; forty winks; feasts; FAQ; flamingoes and flamenco; facts; fart jokes; friends and family and felines…

I am fond of many, but not all, F-things.  Some I find downright dreadful to even consider.  Fistulas?  Ick.  And please, don’t feed me fennel.  One especially unpleasant, recently acquired F-thing is partly responsible for me having time to ruminate about finally doing a blog – a fracture (luckily not a femur or fibula).

But I digress.

Although The Blog I’m Not Writing is not the F-Blog it will frequently reference a few of my favorite F-follies:

1.  food
2.  feminism
3.  freethought
4.  frivolity and festivity
5.  fiction feats and frustrations
6.  whatever the f-word is for politics and/or current affairs
7. – 50. there are no follies numbered 7-50.[5]  Oh, but just you wait.

Is it obvious that I enjoy making lists?  Pity, that activity doesn’t start with an f.

*   *   *

This is getting rather wordy for a first post.  I warned you, I’m new at this.

*   *   *

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
 (Henry David Thoreau)

Or in my case, that require learning new jargon.  I have about a 50 second attention span for tech logistics; they tear me a new one with boredom.  Thus, please excuse the glitches that will inevitably arise.  This won’t be the flashiest blog you’ll read.  But what it will lack in bells and whistles it will make up for with rubber chicken pictures.

*   *   *

Searching the sites, seeking advice for newbie bloggers.  Introduce yourself, they say.

There are blogs I follow on a sporadic-to-regular basis, and I’ve enjoyed reading some of the personal details behind the public opinions. Even with that in mind, composing an author’s bio blurb is one of my least professional favorite tasks.  I’ve been thrown for the proverbial loop when a few editors have requested detailed, personal info along with the standard publication history.  Moiself, I’ve little interest in the personal lives of authors.  Should knowing that a writer spends their spare time volunteering at the Corgi-doodle rescue association affect my appreciation of their latest haiku novella?

Neverthemore, one and all, they clamor for the amazing story of me.  For a meet-the-author blog bio, I need to have some fun to stay on task.  Some of the following is true:

I am the second of four children and the middle daughter, which means I am destined for either ground-breaking gender role usurpations or middle management in Tupperware® Sales.  Orphaned in a tragic Slip ‘n Slide® accident, I was raised by ospreys in Santa Ana, CA.  I live and write in Oregon, in a mid-sized city whose motto is, “Yeah, fine, so we’re not Portland, but at least we’re not Oxnard.”  My blood type is a deep, viscous red, with a bouquet of sun-ripened marionberries.[6] [7]  I like walking along the roses at sunset and always stop to smell the beach.  I’m afraid of anything Fifty Percent Less Filling, of having a supercilious award title (Winner of The Condoleeza Mae Brown Faulkner Prize for Fiction in Support of Social Change and Diverse Personal Hygiene) appended to my name, and of having to pronounce words like supercilious in public.  In my spare time I annoy PETA members by campaigning for the extinction of the spineless weasel.  When not working on innumerable fiction projects I study state and federal Articles of Incorporation, in hopes that by December 2016 I will have opened the doors to “A Goddess in Every Garage,” the nation’s first feminist political consulting firm and[8] auto repair shop.

*   *   *

What else can I add that is of relevance?  I am a W-O-M-A-N, one who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan,[9]  a writer of fiction, a Southern Californian by birth and Oregonian by choice.  I check the decline to state options when a survey asks me to choose my age, racial/ethnic identity, political affiliation and income categories.

A brief introduction to my family, using their respective noms de blog.  I’ve been married to my husband[10], the lovely and talented MH, for 20+ years.  I am the mother of the national average of 2.06 children, that I know of.  For the .06 I count our four cats, two snakes, innumerable house spiders and dust bunnies.

Son K is a college freshman, daughter Belle a high school junior.  My progeny will undoubtedly, inevitably, find their way into subsequent posts.  For now, suffice to say they are the inspiration for my most recently acquired, custom-made [11] bumper sticker:

Proud parent of students
who do not need their academic achievements
bragged about on the back of my car

There are more bumper stickers.  There will be more bumper stickers.  Many more.  Be afraid, be very afraid.[12]

Thanks for stopping by.  Tune in next week, as hijinks ensue.
Au Vendredi!


[1] Okay, certain person out there, Shelley, enjoy doing your Gloaty Dance (For those unfamiliar with the concept,  it’s like the Antler Dance, only less dignified).

[2] Yep, plural.

[3] I know what you’re thinking. Elevate your mind from the gutter.  Right now.

[4] See?

[5] Yes.  Oh, but just you wait.

[6] A yummers  blackberry cross, a mix between the ‘Chehalem’ and ‘Olallie’ berries, developed at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

[7] Yummers = really, really, lip-smackingly delicious. A modifier cross, combining the “yummy” adjective with the surname of the Balmer Word Scientists institute in Manzanita, Oregon.

[8] Nothing to cite.  Just seeing if you’re paying attention.  A gold star for you!

[9] I never do, but I can

[10] How convenient is that?

[11] with a grateful nod to the late, greater-than-great, George Carlin

[12] Did you know that people who read footnotes tend to have higher IQs and mintier breath than non-footnote readers?