A quest to make sense of it all. Or a sense to make a quest of it all.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Why he's the Manfriend. Also some stuff about books.

"I read like sharks swim. If I stop for very long, I will die." -Bjorn

So, I was supposed to get my zombie on in Memphis tonight. Lacefield and I had big plans to haul ass westward, get splashed with fake blood, and happily lurch along Beale, loudly and ineloquently discussing BRAAAINS.

However. As all of the purchases I made in Chicago and didn't bother to record are now showing up and announcing that they do, in fact, exist whether or not I wrote them down, I have decided to stay home this weekend (and shove my wallet in the freezer to think about what it did). While I am disappointed that I don't get to stagger
over and reunite with my old buddy Lindsey after a too-long hiatus, this isn't terrible news. Now that Memphis, dining out, going out, entertaining others at my home, and buying anything at all have all been knocked off the table, a quiet three day weekend yawns before me. And I am into it.

There are things that need doing. I still have to get caught up on laundry and (shamefully, yes) finish unpacking. I have a lot of ideas for reorganizing the shelves in my bathroom. I may get around to replacing a few light bulbs. Mostly, I'm going to devour what I can of a stack of unfinished books. The very thought is making my brain salivate (ew?), and I keep glancing at the clock, anxious to get home, pour an ice-cold blueberry-pom & tonic, and settle on the patio. On the menu:

  • Dead Man's Walk, Larry McMurty (This is the first prequel to Lonesome Dove. Don't hate; it's a great series. Well-written, exciting, and occasionally very funny.)

  • My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy, Nora Titone

  • No-No Boy, John Okada

  • The Madness of Mary Lincoln, James Emerson

  • The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien

  • Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives, Brian L. Weiss

  • Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, Nathaniel Philbrick

  • Old Souls: Compelling Evidence from Children Who Remember Past Lives , Tom Shroder
And no, I'm not turning into a reincarnation-crazed hippie...but the thought is certainly intriguing. And who doesn't like the idea that if you mess up in this life, you get another crack at it in the next? It's attractive, for sure. I'm going to rein this in before I segue into a meandering, possibly offensive post that will probably show up here sometime this weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Definitely the best decision I've made today.

Cooking my quinoa in chicken broth instead of water...and adding celery seed while it was simmering. There's no end to my madness and depravity.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Severe Weather 5/25/24

10 pm
74°FStrong Storms

11 pm
72°FStrong Storms

Thursday, May 26
12 am
72°FStrong Storms

1 am
71°FStrong Storms

2 am
70°FStrong Storms

As always, we are under the biggest threat between 10pm and 3am.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Well, it would make an artillery demonstration that much more interesting.

Dad: I almost shot your cat while you were gone.
Me: You don't have a gun.
Dad: No, I almost shot her out of a cannon.
Me: You don't have a cannon.
Dad: Yeah? I know where to get one.

A very special episode of "As The Saint Spins".

"You make me feel a little older,
like a full grown woman might" -The White Stripes, Cold Cold Night

Over the last couple months, I've been experiencing a sort of renewal. I recently described it to someone as feeling like I've been napping for a long time, and I'm starting to wake up. I feel all the signals firing in my brain, sometimes coordinating and producing thoughts that other people seem to be interested in, which surprises me. I also feel another part of my brain lighting up like a switchboard: the part that decides what I'm interested in and what's best for me, and moreso, the part that's decided that I don't have to care how all that is received by others. I've really hurt myself and thrown off my timeline, allowing myself to curl up into a stifling mold that's never, ever been a good fit. There are a lot of contributing factors for this: a very poor choice when it came to a spouse, an even poorer choice regarding timing and importance of education, deciding I was pretty much trapped here and that I might as well shut off the part of me that wants more.

Assimilation. Stagnation.

Eff it.

It doesn't matter how many contributing factors there were or how many obstacles are still there. This life I've been living here in Corinth simply isn't good enough for me, and I'm not going to be ok with it anymore. I don't mean I'm not going to be happy while I'm here (I firmly believe that happiness is 75%attitude), but rather that I'm not going to be satisfied to stay here. This is not where it ends for me, under fluorescents and being forced to listen to pop all day and watching the light in my eyes dim a little more every morning when I brush my teeth.

So I'm currently in the process of looking for an additional job in order to pay off the last of my debts even faster. It's crucial to 1) get this brain to a real city, and 2) get this brain back into school and give it some formal feeding. Untapped intelligence isn't cutting it. I've been coasting on potential for a long time. Enough of that. It's time to see what I can do, and what I want to do with it. The more I talk to my eloquent, scary-smart boyfriend, the clearer all this becomes to me. Ditto Tamara and Lindsey. I'm so jealous of Tamara and her back-to-school goings on, I can barely see straight. (I ain't hatin', lady. Just sayin'.)

It's time for some major changes. The first big change, I think, is the decision to act like the adult that I am and stop making excuses as to why I haven't pursued excellence until now.

Changes to follow: my body and how I treat it; the way I organize everything in my home, my car, and my skull; choosing a school, and relatedly, choosing a city toward which to haul my ass as soon as possible. And to aid in those last two, I'll be securing a nights&weekends job within the next two weeks. I want to make this move happen by January. A lot of decision making to do during that time, but I'll at least have a nest egg ready for when the final decision is made.

I really, really like Chicago. It's big and exciting, and some parts of it really remind my of my beloved Midtown (Memphis). I particularly dig the transit system and the mind-boggling concept that maybe I don't have to own a car and the corresponding lifelong car payment, gas money, and maintenance headache. I love that there's something really fun to do in a five minute's walk in any direction, and that if you know how to look, said fun is free. People were surprisingly friendly and helpful, there are unlimited dining options, and don't get me started on education options. That's another post entirely. And while I would not consider moving to another city solely because of a man, it certainly helps that there is a man I'm nuts about in that particular city. Just as when I was considering moving to Buffalo, the one big thing holding me back is the godforsaken climate. I have been raised mostly in the south. As our comparatively mild winters come to a close around March every year, all I want to do is lie still out on a flat rock and absorb the sunshine like a lizard. When the temperature cruelly dips to anything below 40, I burrow into layers of cuddly long sleeve t-shirts and homemade socks, guzzle gallons of hot tea, and pat myself on the back for making it through when the sun smiles down on me again. I like the feeling of my bare shoulders starting to sizzle in April, when the mercury starts hitting the 80's. I go through June, July, and August, prettily glistening and happy. I am assured that there is indeed of brief window of terrible, suffocating heat every summer in Chicago, and the idea of that is what I know I'll cling to all winter, should I decide to head North.

I know that the weather seems like kind of a dumb reason to move or not move somewhere. But I really, really hate being cold.

This was how Buffalo was described to me, and why I decided not to move there:

Let me just make it clear, in case I haven't, that it gets COLD here. Bitterly, finger-eating, face-shattering COLD. We are situated right next to the largest collection of fresh water in the world, and the winds that come off Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are f*cking blustery nose eaters. The low pressure systems that move across the lake suck moisture as they travel and when they make landfall on the metro Buffalo area they vomit snow in torrents. It's a weather phenomenon called the Lake Effect. There are beers and diners named after it. For at least three solid months a year you deal with mass quantities of snow, and for six months out of the year you deal with the cold. You MUST have special clothing - padded, insulated socks, shoes big enough to accommodate said socks, thermal underwear, insulated wind-resistant gloves, scarves, ear muffs AND winter hats. None of these are optional. Your heat costs will be astronomical if you're not okay with sitting at home in four layers, two pairs of socks and slippers, a winter hat, and never feeling your nose. Snow is heavy. It looks fluffy and light, but wait until you start having to get up at 5AM to shovel the stuff out of your driveway for 2 hours so your car doesn't get stuck / can movie. It is cardio, and it is work. Ordinarily simple tasks - like taking out the garbage / recycling, running to the grocery store, going to work - take on whole new worlds on complexity when there is snow on the ground. If your gloves get wet with it and they're not waterproof, you're f*cked. If you're cold natured or get cold easily you will freeze your ass off all winter long. Ice can be invisible and you will bust your ass if you're not totally careful. If you have a dog, taking it out multiple times a day will a tremendous amount of work to your daily tasks.I just want to make sure you fully realize what you might be getting into. --Tamara

Yeah, I know it's milder in Chicago than in Buffalo. But you know what? They're both damn cold.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

If my name was Natty Bumppo, I'd be all, "Yeah, my friends call me 'Hawkeye'," too.

So the other night, I watched Last of the Mohicans with buddy Brandon.This sparked a slew of decent ideas, and I got to typing. Then I realized that no one really wants to read a book report, or a comparative essay. The book and the 1992 film are very different. That's what you need to know. Really, all that needs discussing is Cora's dumbassy decision not to marry Duncan Heyward. (I'm not just saying this because of my well-documented thing for gingers.) Attractive, uniformed, sincere Duncan. I mean, he's going places. And they've known each other since childhood, so there's an excellent foundation in place. He's civilized. Educated. Not prone to showoffy behavior. Aaaand on the other hand, we have Hawkeye, who fancies himself something he's not on so many levels, is hot-tempered, and develops a very unhealthy infatuation with Cora in like eight minutes, when his mind should be on other things. Seriously, they've been hanging out for, what, two days, and he's willing to risk being hanged just so he can stay close to her? Not sweet. Creepy. And really, really dumb. Duncan wouldn't have done anything so stupid. No, he waits until the end to pull his self-sacrifice card, and it works. Because he, you know, knows the girl. It's a lot more effective than Natty "oooh, look at me jump over a waterfall" Bumppo's foolhardy antics for a chick he can't possibly have real feelings for. Cora just got distracted by all the fringe and that big ol' gun, I think.

Here, Hawkeye attempts to lure us in with a smoldering gaze and a low-cut blouse.

To our right, a cool and in-control Duncan negotiates...oh, who cares what he's doing? That's a hot plate of sweet ginger goodness, and that's what matters.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Living Dead Girl.*

. *cracks knuckles*

I just know I'm going to get some guff over this one. But it's stuck in my head, and I will Have. It. Out.

"Two necrophiliacs are standing outside a bar. One says to the other, "Hey! Let's go in and get a cold one." -old joke, retold by Tom Parson this morning over coffee

I'd like to preface this by saying, no, I am not a necrophile. The idea grosses me out, and it makes my moral compass start spinning in flummoxed outrage. I don't care much for dead things. Romantically, the living still very much do it for me. Even if I had the inclination, I wholly lack the motivation. I can be a physically lazy person and grave digging sounds like tiring, smelly work, and I'm just uninterested. Plus it's *%&#ing gross.

Actually, this idea was planted a few months ago, when I watched a ridiculous horror film entitled "Necromentia", with my good buddy Sean. It was one of the more disturbing movies I've seen in some time, mainly because I was completely unprepared for it. I had a few interesting conversations on the subject of necrophilia over the next couple weeks. The responses I got mostly ranged from "Ew" to "EW!!", and each response included, "Um, what got you thinking about this?". I got distracted by other subjects (as usual) and forgot all about it, until this past weekend, when the idea for a horrific short story popped into my head. I found my interest...reanimated, if you will.

So this week, I have been "researching", which actually translates to "devouring handfuls of Cheez-Its while clicking from one shameful webpage to the next and strongly hoping that no one is tracking my internet activity". I've found out all sorts of interesting things I didn't previously know. For example, that Herod was a rumored necrophile. He kept his first wife preserved in honey. I knew that unprocessed raw honey will keep pretty much forever, and that still-edible 5,000 year old honey has been found in Egyptian tombs. But I never thought about it having such a nefarious purpose. Preserving her corpse in it...ok. But I guess he would have to pull her out now and then to dip the comb, so to speak, and that sounds incredibly messy and cumbersome. It also calls for "Sweet Caroline" to be playing in the background, and that isn't always a great thing.

I've also found out that, at this time, there is no federal legislation against getting your skank on with a carcass. Several states have their own laws against this (Connecticut: Class A misdemeanor; Alabama: Class C felony. Bite us, North. The South's got it right on this one thing, ok?). I read an interesting case in which three young men disinterred the corpse of a recently deceased woman with the intention of a particularly disturbing group activity. At the time, Wisconsin had no laws against violating a corpse in that manner, so the young men were charged with Attempt Misdemeanor Theft and Attempt Third Degree Sexual Assault, and the latter was dismissed. This has since been rectified, but still.

I've been reading about the fascinating Dr. Carl Tanzler, a German-born radiologist who in the late 1920's, fell in love with Elena Milagro de Hoyos, one of his tuberculosis patients the United States Marine Hospital in Florida. Although his beloved never showed any sign of reciprocation, the man was completely obsessed. He tried everything he could to keep her alive, but she died...and he saw no reason for that to get in the way of wooing her. No, a couple years after her death, he decided that people were starting to talk too much about his frequent visits to her mausoleum (for which he paid), and figured it would be better just bring her on home. So he did, and kept her for most of a decade. During this time, of course, Elena sort of lost her youthful good looks and Carl had to constantly renovate, refinish, and revarnish her with assorted waxes and silks. He made a wig for her, a plaster of paris face, and gave her glass eyes. He also reworked some lower plumbing with a tube in order to continue having relations with her. (In addition, he went through tremendous amounts of disinfectants and perfumes.) It's not all formaldehyde and dry-heaving, though. For all these years, he wrote her daily love letters, which he read aloud to her. He had a telephone installed in her room, should she want to call him when he wasn't there. It's kind of a sweet story, really, except for the parts where he preserves a corpse and has sex with it for nine years. It's rare to find love like that. (I hope I never do. This gives new meaning to "Tainted Love".)

...which leads me to this question: is necrophilia really all that bad? Hold on, hold on. Don't get your underpants in a bunch. It's repugnant, sure. It's physically icky and probably pretty damn unsanitary, and there's something about it that makes us instinctively wrinkle our noses and declare "wrong". Ok. On what grounds? The corpse has no opinion. Is it still violation if you're not violating an actual person? I think we can all agree that it's not like there's a soul or spirit or even an energy still in there. It's basically the equivalent of violating a side of beef: gross, but morally reprehensible? The living attach all sorts of meaning and feelings to earthly remains, and I can't figure out why. We flush out their blood and pump them full of preservatives. We sew their mouths shut. We groom them and do all sorts of medically freaky things to them to make them more...palatable (not in the edible sense; that's a post for another day), but angrily shout "let them rest in peace!" when the subject of necrophilia arises.

Interesting. Is it the sex part? Would we be so offended if people had, say, an uncontrollable urge to cover the corpse in toy unicorns and sing to it? Ok, still pretty weird, but not as offensive. To us. The corpse, as stated, has no opinion.

I don't know. I can tell myself these facts, I can rationally sort through the heap, I can understand that when it occurs, the other half of the tryst is not actually being harmed in any way. But it still makes me queasy and I still want to declare "wrong."

Ok, I think it's out now. I need to watch Pollyanna or Bambi.

*I realize that I chose the most obvious possible song title for a post of this nature. But it's just such a darn fun song. And honestly, there are sooo very many songs/movies/books/poems that deal with the subject...you know what? This post is going to need a sequel just to cover necrophilia in pop culture. I'm starting with you, Tom Petty, and your creative homage to Poe's Annabel Lee.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Things I apparently don't get.

1) Why anyone would attempt to turn left onto Shiloh Road from Madison at 5 p.m.
2) Balut, or why anyone would put in their mouth.
3) If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it...
4) White Sox schedules. Or maybe I just have a poor memory.
5) Why catfish is listed in the "seafood" section of grocery circulars.
6) Precisely how car engines work, or don't work.

BC: A shout-out.

American Aquarium- Lonely Ain't Easy

A couple months ago, I had a falling out with with one of my very favorite people. I've been hoping the situation would resolve itself, but it hasn't yet. I can't say how bummed I am about this. We have been buds for a few years now, and we've had a lot of fun and been there for each other through all kinds of gnarly stuff, including our divorces. I tried texting him today, to no avail.

So here's my very unorthodox way of going about this apology.

Bill, I know you still read my blog, so I know you're reading this now. This sucks. Can we please make up already? There's so much to catch up on. I miss you.

*I chose this video because 1) it features him prominently, and 2) it's a really great song. That's another thing, BC: I can't listen to my favorite band's albums right now because your bass is all over them and it makes me sad. I'd really like to listen to Dances For The Lonely sometime soon, so let's bury the hatchet.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Hold on, I'm angry again.

Women who don't want to be raped shouldn't dress provocatively.

At least, according to this asshat cop in Toronto.

Women get sexually assaulted under a lot of circumstances. A rapist can be a "normal" guy, taking advantage of a very drunk friend (and just because she doesn't scream "no" and fight you with her fists does not make it consensual, buddy. You can go ahead and write off a semiconscious woman as off-limits, mmmkay?). He can be the guy in the Lifetime movie, the serial rapist lurking around the corner, having no acquaintance with his victim. He can be your husband. He can be anyone. The varieties are endless, and it's pointless to try to list them here. Perhaps even harmful, because cataloguing the types sort of makes them caricatures, and that makes it easier to forget their very real threat. It doesn't matter what kind of rapist he is, because there remains one constant: he has a damaged chip in his processor that cripples his ability to regard his victims as fellow human beings, deserving of rights and space and privacy. Whether he's motivated by lust, power, humiliation, straight up insanity, whatever. The constant is that damaged chip.

And it has jack to do with whether or not you're wearing a short skirt.

This backwards way of thinking makes me so angry, so hurt, so frustrated. It's flawed and screwed up on so many levels. It doesn't just bring back the archaic, sexist and dangerous "she was asking for it" mentality, though that's enough to piss off anyone with half a brain. What else does it do? Say it with me: It takes the responsibility off men and places it on women. It asserts that a man is just a big dumb animal, and that if he's provoked, he just can't help it and gosh darn it, lookit what happened. She shouldn't have worn such a low cut top. She shouldn't have danced like that. She shouldn't have drank. She shouldn't have flirted. She shouldn't have exhibited any hint of sexuality in any possible way. She shouldn't have gone out. She shouldn't have gone out on Thursday. Because, after all, he's just a man and is thus in no way accountable for his own actions, his desires, or his reactions to those desires, regardless of what motivates them.

Yeah, I'm not buying it. It's sexism, any way you frame it. It's sexist against women to make them responsible for their own victimization, and it's sexist against men to let them slide on the rationalization that because they own testicles, there's an invisible and subjective point of provocation after which it's permissible to dismiss his self-control.

The fact that this asshattish thinking is in the minority doesn't make me feel much better. There are still way too many people who feel the same, as the comments on this article show. This particular worm of sexism is unfortunately deeply embedded in our culture, and it's going to be awhile before we root it out and kill it.

Things like this make the sun come out again.

Ornery hormones are no match for finding out someone found my blog by googling
"powerful lightning lady sarah ".

On top of the world again.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

In 12 days...

I will be on a plane to Chicago, where museums, boat rides, unfamiliar architecture, and the guy I'm stupid for await. We've discussed several places I can go to amuse myself during the day while he's at work, and of course I plan to spend some time here so I can get my nerdy on and be even more jealous of his job than I already am. (Seriously, Universe. You present me with a fella who's into history AND books at the same time. Good form. I owe you a cake or something.) We've also discussed several places we can go in the evenings. I have quite a hankering to see this:

...perhaps after we go to the swanky French restaurant he was telling me about.

I think the black taffeta 50's cocktail dress will do just beautifully.