The world is exploding with growth. And bugs. The view from my front porch changes daily as this tree or that leafs out. The crape myrtle that blocks the view of most of the ugly things beyond our front yard has filled out in the past few days, which is nice. The giant neon sign from the adult video store a block over was not the most beautiful thing to contemplate while sitting on the porch.
The gigantic moth that is currently hanging out on my doorframe. This is about actual size.
The mangled chopstick-and-string trellis thingy I set up for the still-growing morning glory. I moved it to a sturdier pot last week, and it slowed down some after that, but it's still growing and spitting out new leaves.
Also, our first hummingbird stopped by today. He swooped over and glanced at the feeder but didn't stay to eat. Nor did he come back when I stood on the edge of the porch and yelled, "COME ON AND GET YOUR LUNCH, YA LITTLE BASTARDS!" So touchy.
I have a reading assignment for everyone. I wouldn't ask, but I think it's important.
These stories I am linking to touch on so many universal themes: loss, reunion, betrayal, journalistic integrity, and a disputed allegation of mutual masturbation with an illegally kept pet monkey. They contain some of the finest quotes you will ever read anywhere, and one in particular employs the inverted pyramid structure to disastrously dispassionate effect.
Furthermore, they take place in Plano, Texas, my all-American hometown, and feature the super-nice "animal guy" who ran the school nature program when I was growing up.
Then, if you like, please come back and leave your favorite quote in the comments. Enjoy.
My friend Melinda gave me a Maine weather stick last Christmas. It always gets a little sad when it's damp out, but it looks especially droopy tonight. Maybe we'll have some nice storms tomorrow.
I know it's just reacting to the moisture in the air, but as an atmospheric observer, it's a hell of a lot more effective than the $30 steel barometer I bought at Breed and Company and mounted on the porch across from the weather stick. That dumb expensive thing is insanely wrong almost all the time, stubbornly insisting the air pressure is so high that if it were accurate, we'd all be carting our internal organs around in wheelbarrows.
Honestly, what does a girl have to do to get a commercial barometer that's worth a damn? I've had terrible luck with them so far. Which is a pretty dumb thing to complain about, but it doesn't seem like it should be that complicated. I mean, we've only had the technology for 400 years or so.
Anyway, I hope the stick is right. We can always use the rain.
I have low thyroid function, which means I do not handle goitrogens very well, which basically means my body does not do well with any of the farty stuff: tofu, beans, cabbage, cauliflower.
I used to be very skeptical of people with allergies and food sensitivities--oh, you special, precious, orchids; you, who are not like the rest of us, go lie down and sequester yourselves while the rest of us go out to breathe air and drink milk and get on with our fucking lives--but here I am, sneezing at pollen and eschewing edamame. I ate a dish with just the barest sprinkling of broccoli tonight, not even half a crown, and now I feel like someone parked a rusty smashed-up tractor trailer in my stomach. It hurts, kind of a lot.
Fortunately, none of the stuff that causes me pain or the heavy dullness that is the hallmark of hypothyroidism is anything I can't live without. If I were this intolerant of cheese and beer, say, I would be a very sad girl indeed.
As it is, my belly hurts and I feel a little bit like a bozo. All my physical problems make me feel that way: I'm hypothryroidic, amblyopic, scoliotic. I know I am so fortunate that they are all relatively mild and none of them interferes very much with what I want to do, but goddamn it, why do my maladies all have to sound so goddamn dorky?
I was a little disappointed that the high-quality images did not also reveal a race of Sun People who thrive in an environment of 10,000-degree plasma and drive around in little Sun planes with their Sun children, but I remain hopeful they will reveal themselves when our Earth technology improves some more.
This image is a bit more modest than those of gigantic sun explosions, but it's impressive all the same. Remember when I proudly posted the photos of the Saturn-shaped blobs that my dad and I took? My dad has been working steadily on his photography and post-production in the meantime, and this is his latest result.
It still blows my mind that he takes these with a digital Elph. In conjunction with a really good telescope, sure, but still.
And with that, I'm done being amazed by the mysteries of our solar system and am now going to mix up a tasty tequila-and-grapefruit juice* and drink it before I go to bed.
*Is this an actual drink with, like, a cutesy drink name? Please advise.
Happy vernal equinox!
"Equal night." I like the word, even though I just learned it's not a totally accurate description, thanks to the spoilsports at the U.S. Naval Observatory. They're all Ooh, look at me, I'm a scientist, I'm more interested in accuracy than poetics, nee nee nee nee nee nee. Pfft. Whatever.
The comics section has not given me such delight since 1989.
The city is choked with SXSW stuff, and so far I have not taken advantage of any of it. Every year I say I don't care, but while I've never gone way out of my way for it, I usually end up wandering around most of the week anyway, hitting a few parties and shows and generally having a great time.
This year, though, I was surprised to realize that I really, truly don't give a damn. I rode my bike straight home from work tonight as the loud, loud music downtown receded behind me, wondering what was wrong with me that I was racing so hard away from all that supposed fun.
But I don't like crowds, I can afford to buy my own beer, and most of the bands and people I could see this week in glimpses and glances I almost certainly will be able see later, at more length and leisure, and with much more convenient parking. Even the last great fallback source of entertainment, the sneer-at-the-douchebags-from- LA/NY/Chicago routine, has grown pretty thin.
It's funny. I think I used to care, and then I didn't care but it bothered me because I felt like I should care, but now I really don't care. I guess I still care enough to talk about how I don't care, though. That's something.
I almost forgot to post today. Not that it really matters, but I do try to post at least every Sunday through Thursday. I generally lack discipline, but this much I can do.* That, and clean the cat box every day. A gold star and a cookie for me! Except I forgot to clean the cat box today too. But I think I'll skip that tonight. I'd much rather post than mine for cat shit.
To add some visual interest to this half-assed post, here is a picture of my coworker's smashed toe. He dropped a weight on it at the gym a few weeks ago. He's okay now, but we were all very sorry when it happened because he's a nice coworker who makes pot after pot of coffee for people and does spot-on imitations of everybody, but never in a malicious way.
*Actually, I don't know why I'm making a thing of this, especially since I'd usually rather post than not. That's not exactly discipline, is it? And isn't discipline a little dreary and overrated anyway? What a crock of shit. Forget I ever said that.
Actually, don't forget it. Instead, revel in it. Picture me in high-contrast black and white, hunched over the keyboard, typing fiercely, with a single drop of sweat trickling down my brow and my Greyhound conveniently Photoshopped out, like an inspirational Nike ad: DISCIPLINE.
Oh, yes, you've got it. That's perfect.
I have this pain in my neck and shoulder that reminds me of a toothache, sullen and dull with agonizingly sharp twinges when I move the wrong way. I have concocted a remedy for it, though, which consists of four ibuprofen, three bottles of beer, and a muscle relaxer left over from Eric's back episode last fall. I call it the LiverBuster, and I have great faith in its powers.
Now I think I'm going to sit very still and watch a boxing match. I like to watch boxing; as far as I'm concerned, it's just like every other contact sport, except with the ball and the field and all the rest of that crap stripped away until there's nothing left but what I really want to see: two guys trying to beat the living shit out of each other.
Oh, oops, never mind. I guess I'm not going to watch boxing after all. The match just ended when the freakishly huge Ukrainian boxer knocked his opponent out in the first 45 seconds of the second round. See what I mean? If only football games would end that quickly and decisively.
I am practicing block printing with oil-based ink so I can print on fabric. Fabric is kind of tricky, especially I haven't done much printing at all in the past few months. And it's a little scary, too. If I screw it up, that's a whole T-shirt (or whatever) ruined, not just a piece of card stock.
Oil-based is also a huge pain to clean up. Luckily, I discovered you can clean the ink off with olive oil instead of turpentine, which is much cheaper and, as a super bonus, makes the kitchen smell like Italian food instead of a toxic waste dump.
Anyway, does anyone need a little monster guy on a fabric-based belonging? Get it to me, and I will totally hook you up. Just make sure you don't really really care about whatever it is, because of that whole part about me needing practice. It's a good thing I hate those jeans, huh?
I am a fairly thrifty person, but I have always held that there are some things you just shouldn't skimp on, like shoes and baking ingredients. After this week, I am going to add tampons to that list.
I'm not sure exactly how it came up, but last month Kristy and I were drinking and talking tampons at a gathering at my house. Kristy held that the generic cardboard tampons were the way to go, as they were inexpensive and more environmentally friendly than their plastic applicator sisters.
I prefer plastic applicators and cited comfort as my main concern, and before long, the debate grew lengthy and heated. So heated that I distinctly remember at one point pounding on the table for emphasis as I shouted, "NOTHING IS TOO GOOD FOR MY VAGINA!" and so lengthy that about forty-five minutes after my outburst, Josh looked over at us in disbelief and yelled, "Jesus Christ, are you guys STILL fucking talking about tampons?!?"
As there was no end in sight and we weren't getting any more coherent, we decided to settle the issue with a tampon-off. The next month, Kristy would bite the bullet and shell out the extra two bucks for beautifully tapered plastic-applicator tampons, and I would overcome my fear of blunt-force trauma to the cervix and use the generic cardboard kind.
Well, that month has passed, and our final conclusions have been reached. You can read about Kristy's findings here. Mine are as follows:
Jennifer gave me a morning glory seed last year, which rattled around in my backpack until late last week, when I finally planted it in a pot left empty in my office after my last disastrous attempt at growing plants from seed.
So far, I'm pretty gratified. Look at this little bastard go:
Yesterday, 11:30 p.m.:
Today, same time:
I swear it's even grown some since I got to work this afternoon.
The conditions in my office aren't that great for growing stuff, but I think it would be pretty cool if my entire office was filled with vines and I had to requisition a machete from the supply desk.
I feel run down, but not exactly horrible. Not like I got run over by a truck or anything. Well, maybe a Tonka truck. A Tonka truck filled with tiny, giggling elephants. Evil, bastard elephants.
Enough about the tiny elephants. I will kill them in my sleep.
Eric and I took a walk last weekend to test out his new camera, and I took a bunch of pictures too. Click on the picture to see the rest.
Eric got a digital camera and has recently discovered the fun of flickr, so not much computer fun for me tonight. But you can go and look at his pictures. Did you know he sculpts scary monsters? I keep telling him that figures of bunnies and puppies are the way to go, but there's no telling that boy anything.
I am weary tonight. I may even go to bed before I finish my first beer. But before I do, I feel I should tell you that Sears has a wide variety of hideous garden decorations. They offer many brightly colored frogs, toadstools, turtles, golden retrievers, gnomes, and combinations thereof. My favorite is the frog astride a turtle's shell with his arms stretched out in an approximation of glee, probably because it reminded me of one of my favorite dumb clean jokes. (Q: What did the snail say when he rode on the turtle's back? A: Whee!)
The only problem is everything's a little pricey for tacky cheap stuff, in the $14.99-$24.99 range. I hope later in the season everything will be deeply discounted because then I will buy it all up and dole it out as birthday presents. I also envision a solid ring of alternating gnomes and turtle/frog figures around my front porch. They will make me laugh every day, and they will also hopefully telegraph to unwanted visitors that we are nuts and not to be tangled with.
I picture people walking confidently up to the porch, silently rehearsing their pitch. But then they see all the gnomes 'n' shit, stop dead on the bottom step, and think, Gosh, even if these people are crazy enough to buy this crummy candy/accept the gift of a Watchtower/believe my story about how I just need five dollars for gas so I can drive my baby to dialysis--even then, do I really want to risk getting stuck talking to these kooks? Then I picture them pivoting on one heel and briskly walking away.