Wednesday, January 31, 2007


So there are lots of magazines in our house. It’s strange though. He gets some lad mags, a car magazine and at least one sports magazine. I get a lot of cooking and health related stuff. Cooking Light and Self and Herbivore, because even though I am not a vegan, I find they put out a damn fine magazine. From time to time I pick up copies of Vegetarian Times or the like. And I don’t actually have a subscription to BUST but I always pick it up when I see it. That and Malt Advocate which we will just consider a “health magazine”. OK?

If there is something that catches my interest on the cover of a magazine, I will most likely buy it. The most recent issue of Juxtapose caught my eye because it had articles about Tara McPherson and David Cho. And I recently sought out a copy of Hi Fructose just for an article about Mark Ryden. But sometimes I pick up Allure because it will say “GIANT MAKE-OVER ISSUE” and I am a sucker for before and after pictures. Or I’ll buy Ready-Made because it has instructions for making something I will never ever make but like to think I will…someday.

Like I said, there are a lot of magazines in our house. And I read a little of all of them. I will pick up his ESPN magazine even though I have very little interest in sports because I think it’s pretty well written and I like their designer. I will read the articles in his car magazine about cars I like, Volkswagons or Jeeps, just because I think they are nicely designed cars. I read his lad mags because when you get done reading all that other stuff there is not much left (Although I did demand his Playboy the other day because I wanted to see what Number Six looks like when she’s not a cylon. She looks nice).

But I think our magazines tell more of a tale than one would suspect.

I called home in the middle of the day to ask a question of him. I don’t remember what the question was but that’s not important to my rambling story. And, as is my wont, I asked if I had received any mail. I do this a lot and I don’t really know why except that I really like getting mail and sometimes I even get packages! Anyway, he said “Oh you got some magazines…there’s a Wired here. It has that guy from the Daily Show on it…you know the PC guy.”

My husband has his lad mags. The one with his beloved Eva Mendez arrived the other day and I haven’t seen it…I think he’s hiding it. But me, I get my own pin-up…John Hodgman is on the cover of Wired. I am thinking I need to hang that up in my cubicle.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Last night I was messing around with my mp3 thingy, taking things off, putting things on, trying to organize but not succeeding at all and I kept coming across one song. By the time I got in my car to head out to a friends’ house, all I could think of was that one band and I burrowed around in my bag of cds to find them, popped them in the stereo and…INSTANT HAPPINESS! YAY!

That got me to thinking about all the little things that never fail to make me happy. Simple things. And I know it seems trite and out of character for me, the saddest little wanna-be goth girl in the world, to say it but I decided I needed to make a list to share some happy things with the world.

I do not guarantee results, and I cannot account for any side effects such as headaches, swelling of the throat or rashes on the hands and face, call your doctor if such a thing occurs but here are some things that (so far) never fail to make me happy:

The music of:
The Clash
The Cramps (most specifically, “Goo Goo Muck”)
Violent Femmes

Video footage of really cool robots. Go figure.

Chocolate (dark and bitter, like your soul)
Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing (from a box if you want to get specific)
Scrambled tofu with green onions

Jodi’s text messages.
I tend to save texts from Jodi because they always make me laugh. When I got a new phone recently, I deleted some of my favorites due to memory issues but I remember most of them:
Robots. Fire. Cool.
I just saw a bumper sticker that said “Gwar is not the answer.”
Yay! I am in your house moving everything an inch to the left!
Hello Kitty has cool shoes.
And most recently:
Utah smells like cow poop.

Postcards make me happy. Getting them, receiving them and sometimes just looking at them. Right now I have a big stack of them on my desk. I intend to eventually send them to my nephews and in fact, picked out the silliest ones along our cross-country drive just for that purpose. But I also have a lovely art postcard from the Little Otsu store and on my pin board here, I have two postcards that Jules brought me back from England. One is of Shakespeare’s non-tomb and one is a pictorial description of my favorite Jane Austen novel (Persuasion). Oh and there’s one of Sky Ape, signed by one of the creators and there’s a promotional one of Eddie Izzard that has a really nice picture. Postcards are cool. I like them and they make me happy. Yay.

See, sometimes it really is the simple things.


A guy in my office, a very nice guy, just walked through the room. I swear that I heard him say “It’s porno day!” and all the boys cheered.

Sadly he only said, “It’s Porto’s day” Which means he brought in pastries from a local bakery.

I mean, muffins are nice. Yes. And thank you for bringing them. But we wouldn’t have said no to the porn either.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


OOPS! Sorry, sorry. Didn't mean to give any spoilers to Battlestar there. If you haven't read the past few posts and you do watch Battlestar Galactica, there is a spoiler from the last season. I thought that I was the most behind viewer, not taking into account the people who watch a season at a time on DVD. So when you get to the "What I am watching" bit of the "Bits...and Bobs" entry...don't read it.



I like words. I like them a lot. I like to use them, I like to read them and I like to adorn myself and my home with them. Again and again I find myself attracted to things with words on them…other than the obvious I mean. Not just books and remote controls and the back of the cereal box. Things like pillows and paintings and jewelry. I am particularly fond of things that have Shakespeare’s words printed on them. But that’s probably because there are a lot less things printed with lines from John Donne’s poetry.

Anyway, I like words, not a big surprise, but sadly, there are two things that show up over and over again, printed on pillows and sun catchers and rings and bracelets that just drive me…bugnuts. It’s mean of me, I know, petty even. But I hate things printed with the word “dream.” I like the word “dream” just fine…in context. But the word “dream” on it’s own…sounds lazy to me. Why “dream”? Why not “do”? And for that matter, why not “nap”? I would totally buy a ring with the word “nap” engraved on it. I know, I know. It’s good to dream. It’s good to aspire to something more than what you have or are or could even possibly be. But to me, “dream” sounds weak. And I just don’t like it.

I also hate things with the phrase “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” It’s a tricky question that. It sounds deep but in my mind, we learn by failure. Why bother to only do the things you know you can do? Maybe I am just nitpicky but if I only did things that I knew I couldn’t fail at, I wouldn’t do anything…not that I do all that much now. I’m just sayin’. And it’s kind of one of those monkey paw situations. Like say, what would you do if you knew that you could not fail…well, I’d play the lottery. But playing doesn’t mean you’d win. And you can’t win the lottery just by playing right? Or even, what would you do if you knew you could not fail? Well, I’d fly. Yes, but does that include the landing. Because you could totally not fail to fly but then totally fail to land, right? Be careful people. Be careful.

Today I am wearing one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. It is a bracelet with my favorite line from a favorite poem by a favorite poet. It…it’s not…uplifting. But somedays don’t we all feel like we have been “run down by the drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality”? I don’t know why there isn’t more stuff printed with the words I like.

Ok, yes I do.

Still, I would buy that set of three inspirational rings engraved with the words, “nap”, “drink whisky”, and “go barefoot.”

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bits...and Bobs.

The last three things I read were about:

1. Cupcakes
2. Music
3. Knitting

What I am listening to right now:
An ambient music podcast

What I was listening to before that:
A grammar podcast

What I had for lunch:
Four leftover whole wheat and cheese ravioli. Whole wheat ravioli does not stand the test of time. And someone, please remind me that I can’t eat cheese. Ugh.

Oooh, I had some cherries before lunch though and those were good.

What I ate for dinner last nigh:
“Tuscan chicken.” It was not good. Don’t ask.

What I intend to eat for dinner tonight:
Something that does not involve whole wheat pasta, cheese or anything called “tuscan.”

As long as I am rambling on and making lists…

What I am reading: The Falls, by Ian Rankin. I was listening to a pod cast (I think it was from the Guardian) of Ian Rankin giving the reporter a tour around Edinburgh. At one point he took her to the Royal Museum of Scotland and mentioned that he liked the display on death. Of course, being obsessed with funerial trappings as I am, I immediately HAD to read the book that he mentioned in conjunction with the Authur’s Seat coffins.

What I am watching: I am desperately trying to catch up on Heroes because I know my darling former Doctor is now appearing on that program. I think, however, I am giving up on Battlestar Galactica. Now before you give me attitude for not watching THE BEST SHOW ON TELEVISON, let me just say, I think it’s a good show. It’s just not a fun show for me and I tend to like my tv to be fun. Also, they killed off my favorite character (Ellen Tigh). So there.

What I am listening to: I kind of burned out on the cds I have in my car on the cross-country trip and I am trying to find new things to listen to. Any suggestions? At the moment I am kind of interested in ambient music or, at the very least, music without lyrics. I like the words just fine but I am starting on some work that requires more concentration than I can give if I am dancing around in my chair singing “Does Your Mother Know.”

What I am drinking: one of the TEN pounds of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee procured on the east coast portion of our trip with steamed and frothed soymilk. You can trash talk the Dunkin’ coffee as much as you want, I like it!

What I am drawing: Um…not what I should be, ok? Stop asking so many questions.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


What I was doing when I should have been doing something else.
A sort-of self portrait. (She's much cuter.)

The flag of my nation.

Monday, January 22, 2007


It’s not just me, right? Tell me you do it to. Tell me that I am not weird.

Tell me you obsess over things, things that you probably saw once, in passing and thought “That’s cool.” and then walked away from. You didn’t buy it, you didn’t need it, you didn’t care about it…until the middle of the night. When you suddenly decided that you couldn’t live without it.

It’s not just me, is it?

It’s not as bad as it sounds really. I am obsessive mostly about books. I read about a book, a review, or a preview and I think, “That’s cool.” But I know that I currently own more books than I could realistically read in one lifetime…well, if you read as slow as I suddenly do, and that I do not need that one more book. It will sit there for weeks, possibly years, until I even remember that I had to have it and I still won’t read it. Or, worse yet, I will buy it and begin it immediately, pushing aside all other books in its favor. All those other books that are taking up so much space and that I really had to have at some earlier date, but I haven’t read yet.

I got a gift card to Barnes and Noble for Christmas. (I read somewhere about someone whose mother insists on referring to the store as “Barnes and Nobles”, not the plural, just the…wrong name, and now, every time I think of Barnes and Noble, it comes out “Barnes and Nobles” and I am driving myself crazy.) It wasn’t a huge gift card, but it was enough of a chunk to buy a few books. I could feel it burning a hole in my pocket, nay, in my SOUL. I had to spend it as soon as possible. It was all I could do not to spend it while on the east coast thereby forcing myself to truck another several pounds of stuff across the U.S. (And let me just mention here that I visited Borders no less than three times while in New Jersey, ostensibly to buy presents for other people…and perhaps just a thing or two for myself.) I don’t sleep well and falling asleep is the hardest part of that for me. Sometimes I actually count sheep, sometimes I meditate, but when I have a book store gift card, I mentally run down all the books I could buy with it. I make lists, I debate the merits of cook, I fret over what I could buy vs .what I will buy. It’s sick. But it’s entertaining.

I spent the gift card. I bought two books with it, a book on crochet, something that I don’t know how to do and will probably never learn, even though I have a book on it, and a mystery novel. And despite everything else I have half-read or sitting on the top of the reading pile, I immediately dove into “The Falls” by Ian Rankin.

It’s a very good book.

Friday, January 19, 2007

You're not invited...neither am I.

Shamelessly stolen from Fond of Snape who has excellent taste in Hogwart’s professors.

1. Guest one must be someone who is/was creative with words - a novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, journalist, etc. Who would you invite?

Hmmm, gotta say, I am torn between my beloved China Miéville, Douglas Adams and Tom Stoppard. Who to choose? Who to choose? They are are such smart guys and hopefully, smart guys make good conversation. And they have some pretty interesting theories on…stuff…and junk. Hmmmm…I am going to go with Tom Stoppard on this one, mostly because he’s my current flavor of the month. His new plays have been making the rounds and I’ve been reading a lot of articles about him and…I think I am in love. Such a quick mind. He’ll have to go outside to smoke though, I don’t actually mind but it’s not nice to smoke at the dinner table.

2. Guest two must be someone who is/was creative with images - a painter, photographer, sculptor, fabric artist, collage artist, etc. Who would you invite?

Mark Ryden. I know very little of Mark Ryden beyond his art. But his art…well, it’s something to see. I have the feeling that he might actually be the kind of guest that just lurks there at the end of the dinner table, picking at his food and not saying much until you are just at that point, you know the one, where you are tired of hosting a dinner party and at least one of your guests is waaaay too drunk and getting all annoying and grabby and suddenly, from that other end of the table, the shy one starts to hold forth on literature and art and tells some great joke and a really funny story about the time he was working on this thing and this famous guy came in and…ok, I could be wrong, but that’s just my feeling of Mark Ryden. But I really like his art. So he’s invited to my imaginary dinner too.

3. Guest three must be someone who is/was a performer - an actor, singer, musician, comedian, acrobat, etc. Who would you invite?

Eddie Izzard. Oh hell yes Eddie Izzard. Funny, sexy, smart and he has nice shoes. He’s got an opinion and I bet he’s like to tell you about it. And somehow, I think the fact that he could show up in a dress makes it all the better. I wouldn’t care either way though. I just like him. And wouldn’t it be cool if Mark Ryden wanted to paint him. Eddie Izzard looks like he would fit right in a Ryden painting.

4. Guest four must be someone who is charting/charted new territory - either in the physical sense, like an explorer, adventurer, or astronaut, or someone like a groundbreaking scientist or inventor. Who would you invite?

Gregor Mendel. I don’t know why. I have long had a fondess for ol’ Gregor. I remember learning about him in 7th grade science class and for some reason he just stuck. I have some small interest in genetics but no great scientific thing, it just interests me and Gregor seems like a nice guy. I don’t know what he would make of Eddie though. I suspect Tom Stoppard might have a good conversation with him too. I don’t know why I think that but I do. And for some reason I have always loved the drawings of peas that accompany every story about Gregor Mendel.

5. Guest five must be someone who is/was a leader of other people - perhaps in the area of politics, like the literal leader of a country, or perhaps a leader in the area of religion, military, business, or even a great philosopher or teacher, or an inspiring athlete. Who would you invite?

I am picking one of my former college professors for this one. It seems like a totally cheesy and contrived move (Hunh, the auto spell check just corrected my cheezy with a z to a cheesy with an s...Bastard. Spelled that right, didn’t I?) but he really is a very interesting guy. I won’t actually use his name because the last thing he needs is to know that I sing his praises. He is a history professor and fan of literature and the only college professor I know of that had Monty Python’s Holy Grail as required viewing. He also had a poster of Rasputin in his office, which I thought was funny (he did not, however have a beard down to his knees). But that gives you some idea of his sense of humor.

6. Guest six must be someone from any field who you believe is/was underrated and under-appreciated by most people, but whom you admire. Who would you invite?

I think I can sneak Douglas Adams in here as an underrated philosopher or computer guy, so there’s one of my first picks back in the game.

7. Guest seven is a wild card - your choice! Is there someone you'd like to invite who didn't seem to quite fit into any category, or was there a category where you'd have really liked to invite two different people? Then this is your chance to add the person you missed to the table. Who would you invite?

Ooh, I can get China in too! This works out perfectly. Now I have everyone I want at my party…except some women. And people that I actually know. And people that I could talk to without being intimidated. I think I just planned a party to which I wouldn’t actually be invited. Damn.

Bonus: Uh Oh! The dinner party is just about to end, all your guests are about to disappear, and you realize that you've forgotten to ask one important question of one of your guests. You just barely have time to squeeze in that last question, so quick! - what was the question and who did you ask?

Wait! Wait! What did I serve for dinner? Did Douglas Adams get along with my history professor or did he fight with Gregor Mendel over the creation of the universe (Mendel was a monk, Adams was an atheist), did Mark Ryden eat his meat or did he paint it? Did Eddie Izzard and China Miéville sit in the corner and talk trash about the rest of us? Did Tom Stoppard like the dessert or was it too sweet? I have so many questions…

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


OK, first of all I am sitting here, wearing two sweaters, sipping hot cocoa and listening to opera. Suddenly I have turned 82. What the hell is going on?

And yes, LA is cold. Really, really cold. For LA. Chris just called to tell me that there was snow on the side of Sepulveda Blvd. Snow. In LA. Well, actually, that may have been some left over hail. But he says snow, so I say snow. And I reminded him when we worked on the sixteenth floor we could see the snow before it became rain by the fourteenth floor. So, you know, it happens.

The real issue? I live in a 60’s apt. From before they decided that central heat was a good idea. Aside from suddenly becoming 82, my evenings now look something like “Little House on the Prairie” gone horribly wrong as James, the cat and I huddle around the pitiful little wall heater to keep warm. There are blankets everywhere (save the bathroom) so that if you have to hold still for more than five minutes you don’t freeze in place and I have been finding excuses to cook things in the oven just to warm the apartment up a little.

Hunh, thinking about it, the bathroom is actually the coldest room in the apartment. There is a little wall heater in there, it’s called a THERMADOR and it has a little picture of a matador on it. Basically it’s just an electric fire crammed in the wall and it has a tendency to set things ablaze, so I have a tendency to not use it. Call me crazy.

Brr. I am going to go get some more cocoa…and stick my feet in it.

p.s. For the record:

Brenda: I read Laurel K. Hamilton books too. I am not ashamed to read them as long as she is not ashamed to write them…although sometimes I think she should be!

A.C.: I didn’t speak to the dead poet, I don’t chat with zombies when I can avoid it. I’m not totally crazy…or am I?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Calls from beyond the grave.

How strange. My phone just rang and the caller ID said “Matthew Arnold” and my first thought was not, “Do I want to answer the phone?” or “Who is going to answer the phone?” or even “Why am I so slow answering the phone?” but rather “Why is a dead Victorian poet calling me?”

Sometimes my mind just wanders like that.

Friday, January 12, 2007

By the way.

There were many fewer tears than implied. It really was a good trip, if a little stressful at times. But let me tell you, if you have to drive up a mountain, at night, in the fog and rain, a GPS goes a long way towards making it less stressful and more like a video game.
Stolen from a cup of tea and a wheat penny, whose answers are so much more…educated than mine, but she’s a very entertaining blogger…go see…

Books you’ve been planning to read for ages:
That damn Darwin biography that I have been carrying around from home to home for something like 20 years now.
Anna Karenina
That John Banneville book…what’s it called? It’s sitting in that stack on the end table…
The Sisters, which is a biography of the Mitford sisters, who were pretty interesting. Jessica wrote my favorite book of last year (The American Way of Death Revisited), Nancy wrote this oddly cold but really entertaining slice of life/love stories. And Unity was friends with Hitler…or something.

Books you’ve been hunting for years without success:
For a long time it was the first few books by Carl Hiaasen that he wrote with a partner. I did eventually find them and read them. Currently, I can’t think of anything that I am looking for but there is always something, isn’t there? For a while it was a used copy of Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh but I have that now. Hmmm…I think I need a new quest. Actually, there are a lot of books I want that I am kind of waiting for someone to sell cheap on

Books dealing with something you’re working on at the moment:
For Christmas, I received a book titled Everything I ate in a Year which is a photographic journal about…well, everything this dude ate in a year. I find it endlessly fascinating and I am trying to figure out a way to take advantage of his concept. Maybe I will do “everything I drew on my computer in a year” or “everything I should have done in a year but didn’t”…I also have recently picked up some nice trade paperbacks of comics I like, which reminds me that I should be working on my comic-con stuff. Oh and I also was given Never Threaten to Eat your Co-workers which is a book of excerpts from blogs, so I guess that is relevant too. AND…We’re Just Like You Only Prettier…which doesn’t apply to me at all actually but it made me laugh anyway.

Meanwhile, there are several books piled up around my desk concerning making books… so…yeah. I should get on that. Oh right, that knitting book…crap I have a lot of things I should be doing.

Books you want to own so they’ll be handy just in case:
Oooh, I like survival guides although the chances of finding me out in the wilderness are pretty slim. I like to know how to do things; so I am thinking some of those worst-case scenario books would be a good idea. And I could really use some books on programming because I might get around to learning that eventually. But see, if I am more specific than that I would actually have to go and find some books and learn things and really, how likely is that?

Books you could put aside maybe to read this summer:
That biography of P.L Travers that has been hanging around for a while. And that complete Bone may wait because that seems like good summer reading.

Books you need to go with other books on your shelves:
I think my Nigella cookbooks are getting lonely and would like to share some space with a few Ina Garten books. And they would look good with that nice copy of the MFK Fisher books I’d like to have…

Books that fill you with a sudden, inexplicable curiosity, not easily justified:
Books on death, forensics and the kind of cooking that people don’t do anymore. Like renaissance recipes or depression era recipes. But not together…although there is a curious similarity there, a “using every last bit” kind of idea.

Books read long ago that it’s now time to re-read:
I think I need to re-read the Mary Poppins books if I am going to read that PL Travers bio. And perhaps something a little quest-y to go with Bone, maybe Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?

Books that if you had more than one life you’d certainly read but unfortunately your days are numbered:
There a bunch of classics that I have never read that I feel like I SHOULD read, but I don’t really want to. A few years ago I tried to read the “100 Most Important American Novels”, I had read a good bunch of them but then I discovered there was a reason I had not read a lot of the others. I try not to be a snob about books. I read a lot of different things and I would never dismiss a mystery or a romance novel out of hand, good books are good books, but apparently, I don’t agree with whoever decided these were the “100 Most Important American Novels”. After three in a row that I really hated, I put the list aside and started reading things that just looked more appealing. Do I feel guilty that I didn’t like some of the MOST IMPORTANT NOVELS? Yep, but a girl only has so much time. So, I feel like, if I had another lifetime, I might try to read those MOST IMPORTANT NOVELS again. But I’d probably get disgusted again and give up again. So I think I’ll just stick with what sounds good to me, not to someone else.

Well, I guess I have that idea that I would like to read more…sophisticated stuff. I have pretty eclectic reading habits and I tend to go from classics, to post modern sort of fiction to non-fiction pretty randomly. But in the end, all that really matters to me is that I appreciate the book on some level. Even if I don’t love the story, I need to love the style, or one character, or at the very least, the cover. I don’t think that’s asking for much.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The way back home.

Day one:

Leave parents home at 7:30 am to pick up partner. See how much more to be packed in car. Cry a little.

Arrive at the blessed Wawa. (Wawa is the one (non-people) thing I truly miss about the Delaware valley. In the morning, they have something like fifteen different coffee pots set up and attended by two nice ladies. Every type of coffee you can imagine. Pour it yourself, add what you need (and there are plenty of things to add) and pay. Out the door in a matter of minutes. It’s good. Really good. And they have an excellent deli too. Wawa, I miss you!).

Drive to Wilmington, NC to see Donovan, his mama and his daddy.

Arrive in Wilmington. Get lost. Call for directions. Get lost. Am directed turn by turn on the phone until…YAY!

Arrive at casa de Donovan.

Dinner at brew pub. Drink beer. Contemplate drinking more beer. (Vanilla stout=yum). Eat half a hamburger.

Sleep. Finally.

Day two:

Contemplate wandering around Wilmington.

Sit in sunroom and watch documentary shows that Donovan’s daddy made.

Contemplate being more productive, seeing sites, shopping…

Eat chips and salsa

Informed by Donvan (age 2.5) that it is “a beautiful day outside” and that “we should all go to the playground!”

Go to playground.

Eat ribs for dinner. Watch in awe as Donovan (age 2.5) eats a half rack of ribs, two chicken wings and some “git ‘er dononions”.

Drink port.


Day three (New Year’s Eve):

Leave Wilmington.

Drive until dusk when partner points out that headlights appear not to be working.

Change fuse.

Headlights still don’t work.

Cry a little.

Drive with brights until terror alone makes me pull over. Positive we will be killed by a blinded and enraged trucker.

Eat chicken soup and salad at “Steak and Shake”. Endure mockery for having neither steak nor shake.

Break down and have a yogurt shake.


Day four:

Awake early hoping that the headlight fairy has arrived during the night.

Cry a little when the headlights remain burnt out.

Realize that cannot change headlights (easily) on own.

Drive through Tennesee, Arkansas and part of Oklahoma worried about dusk.

Drive with brights, blinding all oncoming traffic and causing searing pain of worry in own head and back.

Cry a little.


Day five:

Awake early, have partner find a Hyundai dealership off the 40 along route.

Sit in shock when he does.
Drive to dealership, explain problem and gaze pleadingly at tall, handsome mechanic.

Sit in waiting room worrying about what else could be found wrong with car.

Nearly kiss tall, handsome mechanic when he says lights are fixed, all is well, good luck.

Head for Texas

Lunch at The Big Texan. Watch man finish 72 oz. steak in one hour. Swear I see him cry a little.

Leave The Big Texan. Man with steak still there, looking…unwell.

Drive to Gallup. Gallup is cold. And snowy. Long for home. Cry a little. Eat a taco. Feel better.


Day four:


Arrive in California and drive into…traffic.

Accident cleared after 45 minutes of swearing.

Continue on just in time to hit…rush hour.

Cry a little.

Arrive home around 6pm.

Contemplate unpacking car.

Cry a little.

So there it is in too much detail (even I am bored with it). No one was left behind (ad far as you know) and so far the car continues to run. I am glad we did it. I am happy to have seen a little more of the U.S.

I never need to do it again.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Yeah, I know. There is probably nothing more unnerving than a dauchshund playing the oboe. There's something just kind of...evil...about it.

I drew this for a friend for Christmas. I figured she likes dogs, she plays the oboe...what's not to love? But now I think I understand why she gave me that strange look...


Resolutions are tough for me. As my mother will tell you, I don’t respond well to authority (which is totally untrue, just because authority doesn’t like my response doesn’t mean it isn’t well done) and resolutions smack of authority to me, even if I am the one in charge of them. I have had to find a way to make them more…Ren-friendly, as it were.

I could just say,

Resolutions for 2007:
Lose weight.
Draw more.
Set up etsy store.
Eat healthier.
Blah, blah, blah.

But that never works. We all make the same generic resolutions and most of us give up pretty quickly.

My dad always says that you should make resolutions that you know you can keep and last year I resolved to “eat more chocolate (the dark kind is good for you!), read more books and have more fun…oh, and drink more gin.” But, even though those seem like easy goals, I got pissy with my own authority and copped out. I suck.

Fine, now I need to find a way to make my resolutions more appealing. Instead of telling myself to lose weight and exercise, I resolve to:


This shouldn’t be so hard. Turns out, I am not bad ass at all. I was informed of this fact by Schwee and Jodi while shopping at the Bizarre Bazaar. I was having difficulty choosing between a purse embroidered with either a kitty playing the flute or with a kitty rocking out on the drums. When I hesitated, Schwee and Jodi took the opportunity to inform me that I was far more “kitty playing the flute” than “kitty rocking the drums”. And then they laughed at me for being surprised that I am not bad-ass at all.

In truth I am not surprised. I am cupcakes with pink icing, Hello Kitty and soymilk when what I really want to be is raw steaks, Lemmy from Motorhead and whisky, neat. So that’s something to work on this year. Become more bad-ass. And even a little is more than none, right? And if being bad-ass means building muscles that I didn’t have before, then so be it! If being bad-ass requires me to work my core or meditate into a zen-like state of dangerously threatening calm, then I shall.

I shall also resolve to:


I’ve got a head start on this one. I haven’t seen anyone else drawing happy bunnies dreaming of meat, bad attitude lollipops or koalas with handguns. But I need to do more. And I have things planned. Oh, do I have things planned. The two little illustrated books that I didn’t finish last year top the list. It will be a challenge, but someone has to draw ducklings wearing mittens and turtles gone horribly wrong and why shouldn’t that someone be me?

And hey, if I am going to do all that drawing then I guess I should also resolve to:


It was a much bigger thing for me to sell stuff at comic-con last year than anyone seemed to realize. But I did it. And the world didn’t end. And the mean girls didn’t come out to mock my stuff and the sun didn’t go black and the milk didn’t spoil. So what’s the big deal? I did it. And I intend to do it again, and more often. So there.

Hmmm, what’s next? “Eat Healthier”? Easy peasy, people. I resolve to:


Dark chocolate? Hey, a little every day is good for you. And if you spend the money on the good stuff, a little will go a long way. And wine? Do you know that I have probably only had 3 or 4 bottles of wine over the course of the past year? That’s just…wrong. And what about those things I don’t really want to eat? Like that hamburger that was the only thing available at that moment? Well, I can just go somewhere else and get a salad sandwich, can’t I? Or those fries that came with the combo that I just wasn’t in the mood for? Well, you’d eat them wouldn’t you? You can have them. (OK, let’s be a little realistic here…I have never NOT been in the mood for fries. But you know what I am saying, right?). And if I want fruit, I shall have fruit. And if I wake up craving soymilk, then off to the store to get some soymilk. This stuff is easy. And if I throw my cares to the wind and go about doing it just how I want to do it, then in the end, I should actually come out with a decent meal.

So there you go. Resolutions for 2007. Done. Oh and hey, let’s add, take more naps and drink more gin and whisky to the list. Because sometimes it’s just necessary.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Oh good lord, why?

Oh you people and your resolutions and your year end reviews. I can hardly remember what happened yesterday, how am I supposed to remember a WHOLE YEAR AGO? And resolutions? I resolve to not resolve anything…but that’s not really true. Let me see what I can do about these…

So year in review but not really. This year I did more drawing than I have ever done. And I decided that I really enjoy it. And that what I enjoy most about it is working on the computer. I used to love to paint but it takes up so much space and it’s so hard to fix something when I don’t like it. But on a computer! Oh joy! I can revise endlessly and that makes me happy. Slightly obsessive compulsive, but happy.

And going hand in hand with drawing more came my first attempt at selling my not quite artistic endeavors. And that was…well, really stressful. But in the end it was fun. And I was really very surprised by the nice response I got to my stuff. Really surprised.

I did a lot of experimentation with vegan baking this year and while I have still not committed myself to a cruelty-free diet, I am starting to think that it will be the eventual outcome of my experimentation. Not just because it would be a nice, peaceful and thoughtful way of life for me (and that’s just me, I am not saying all vegans are nice peaceful, thoughtful people, or that all people should be vegans, this is all about me) but because my experiments have shown me that I can make it taste damn good.

I made a lot of bloggy friends this year. That’s really probably the most exciting part of all this. I have virtually met so many people who are just really cool and some of them I have met in actuality as well. The internets are a strange and scary place, but it’s very cool to randomly come across someone who can teach you something new, show you a new way of looking at something old or just be...well just be. I may never meet all of these people in person, but I am thrilled to have met them online.

I went to the opera twice this year. That may not seem like a big deal but I hadn’t been going because no one else was interested and now I have found an opera buddy. And although I saw one opera I hated and one I loved, I was happy just to have gone. And I hope to go a lot more in the future.

I grew my hair out. I know, I know, that doesn’t seem like a big deal and in reality, it has taken far more than a year, but I have always been a short hair girl and here I sit with hair halfway down my back. In fact, I am getting kind of tired of it BUT I actually did this for a reason and I hope to grow it long enough (and healthy enough) to donate it. Heck, it’s been a renewable resource so far and as long as it grows back, I might as well offer it to someone who might want it, right? Unless they specialize in voodoo…

What I didn’t do this year was a lot of reading and I have plans to remedy that in 2007. I don’t know what happened to me but my “books read” list for 2006 is so small and shameful that I don’t even want to tell you what is on it. I will say that “The Scar”, by my beloved China Mîeville was the highlight but that it also took me a very long time to read because, quite frankly, it was too depressing in parts. I intend to pick up another of his books this year but I think I may have to wait awhile and read some happier things first.

So…resolutions…well, I resolve to tell you about that some other day.

Running it down.

Day one:
Started off with a cheery call to my mom at 9:15 am to tell her we were leaving L.A. so that she could help them with an estimated time of death when they found the bodies.

Drove for 5 hours before giving the wheel to partner. Slept. Awakened by rain. Felt slight bit of sympathy for driver. Fell back asleep. Awakened by freezing rain. Worried for a moment before falling back asleep. Awakened by partner swearing. Observed vision-obscuring snow. Fell back asleep.

Eventually ended up in bad Econo-Lodge, had good dinner and fell asleep to the fitful strains of partner moaning about sandwich and dying.

Day two:
Insisted upon driving south “out of the weather” to Phoenix where we could possibly jump on the 10 “just to see” and then we could head back to L.A. in defeat. Held the wheel steady, entered the 10 and refused to turn off until partner was convinced that we would make it safely to NJ.

Made it to Van Horne, TX. I don’t want to talk about it.

Ate dinner in only restaurant in town. They were obsessed with Jesus and John Madden and in fact had a mural of a giant Jesus overlooking the restaurant and John Madden painted on the wall. Were asked to leave after offering to add Godzilla to mural.

Day three:
Left Van Horne muy rapido. Made it to Shreveport in the rain. Ate in a Cracker Barrel. Got a luxurious hotel room because after two previous hotel rooms thought we would be murdered in the shower. Partner wanted to reserve the right to murder me for himself.

Day four:
Arrived in Huntsville one hour too late to see brother and nephew. Waited in car for sister-in-law to arrive home from airport. Made neighbors nervous.

Had bar-b-cue.

Met ¾ of the Avoidance Central clan and hung out for a bit. Remind me to tell you how I have not gotten in trouble with not one but TWO teenage girls.

Slept in nephew’s room and moved everything one half inch to the right. Also may have hidden some cheese and eggs. Not saying.

Day five:
Screwed up alarm and woke up a bit late. Looked at pile of presents that needed to be packed into already full car. Cried a bit. Crammed presents into every available space and then apologized to husband for attempting to cram a train set up his…no, no…just kidding.

Drove to Norfolk. In the rain. Uphill. In the fog. Cried a little.

Day six:
Late breakfast with brother-in-law and sister-in-law and kids. Saw step-nephew for first time in ten years. Got in car. Drove some more (Partially underwater!!! Gotta love the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel).

Drove forty…five…miles…per…hour…arrived at Stuckey’s for a bad sandwich. Got back in car and drove forty…five…miles…per…hour.

Arrived in NJ in time for favorite dinner with family.

Unpacked car with help of brother and nephew.

Drove to liquor store.

Drove to midnight madness comic book sale…what? Why are you looking at me like that?

Came home, brushed my teeth and stayed up late talking with my brother.

It was supposed to be a four-day drive. It wasn’t. But actually it was good.

Return trip breakdown to follow including exciting tales of meat-eating babies and burned out headlights!!!!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Catching up on my correspondence.

Dear Oklahoma,

I know we were only together a short time but I think I need to tell you…I find you enchanting. Your blue skies, your wide open spaces and gently rolling hills…they are…amazing. And I think I may have fallen a little bit in love.

Your people were great to me. Especially Scott, who fixed the low beams with nary a question but I could see in his sweet blue eyes that he thought I was completely crazy.

You, Oklahoma, have stolen my heart. There’s just this one little thing…and maybe it’s nothing but…damn honey, you are cold. And I need a warmer type of love.

But the time we had together was great. I will always remember your chilly embrace fondly. And maybe someday…well…let’s just leave it at that and have our good memories.

Oklahoma, you are more than OK and I will miss you,


Dear West Texas,

Look, I have already told you that you are on notice for those rest stops. Sure, sure, they were sparkling clean but really…open to the elements? Bad idea, West Texas, bad idea.

And hey, I love your liberal speed limits but 65 at night? Well, I might as well walk, for heaven’s sake. You really need to rethink your stand on that and then we can talk.

You seem pleasant enough but I am unconvinced that we could ever be happy together. And it’s not me this time, it’s totally you. East Texas…East Texas gets me but you…

Thanks for the effort but I’m sorry, this just isn’t going to work.


Dear Virginia,

We used to be so close. I loved you and you loved me and I thought we could be happy together. But now…Virginia, I am disappointed in you.

It wasn’t just the rain, or the fog or the treacherous roads. It wasn’t just the 45 mile an hour speed limit. But all of that together, Virginia, it’s just too much.

I don’t understand what happened to us. I thought we would end up together and that we could live happily, but now I think you just don’t want me around and I guess that’s ok. Now I know.

With deep sadness,

Dear Arkansas,

I have nothing more to say to you. We’re through.


Dear Flagstaff,

Fuck you and your weather. Snow? Really Flagstaff? That just sucked. You owe me.


Annnnd....we're back!


No, seriously…whew.

It was a looooong trip but I am back and (as far as you know) we BOTH made it back alive and no one remains on a desert highway…

As far as you know.

It was good. I had fun. I never need to do that again. But that was kind of the point. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and we took it and ran with it. And despite the weather and the distance it was all good. But about noon-ish yesterday I started thinking, “I want this over. I want to be home NOW!” We did get home around 6 pm after being greeted in California by, what else? TRAFFIC! Yay! At least it felt like we were home.

I am sure I will spend way too much time breaking down the trip and Christmas and all the visits and what have you but I just wanted to thank all parties involved for the well wishes, the lovely gifts and the beds to in which to sleep. I am sorry I didn’t make it to Tulsa to visit an Ambitious Hamster or to Atlanta to visit an amazing artist but seriously, you wouldn’t have wanted us in the traveling state of mind that we were in.

So, for today, a few highlights of the cross country tour of insanity…

  • rain
  • followed by freezing rain
  • followed by flurries
  • followed by a big fucking blizzard that very nearly had us turn back (but no. And I will tell you about that at some other time)
  • James eating “the best sandwich” of his life and then spending two hours on the bed in a crappy motel alternately moaning “I’m dying!” and “That was the best sandwich of my life!” (He’ll tell you I am exaggerating…but I am not)
  • GIANT JESUS! (now you’re intrigued, aren’t you?)
  • creepy motels
  • fog, high altitudes and curvy roads don’t mix
  • 45 mph is far too slow
  • and by the way, my little rice cooker can do 105…heh
  • brights only is not a good way to drive if you don’t want people to hate you
  • finally, I have now seen a two year old child eat a half rack of ribs, two chicken wings and a few “Git’er Donions” (don’t ask)

It was grand. Let’s not do it again.