Archive for July, 2007

In which I respond to some of the comments Akismet has identified as spam on my blog

Akismet has protected your site from 618 spam comments! 

Wow, I never knew I was so popular.  This actually makes me a LOT more popular than I ever was in high school when I only averaged about 5 spam comments per day, usually in the form of “Hey four eyes” or “Hey band dork” or “Out of my way hippie freak.” 

Let’s take a look at some of the spam mail from today, shall we? 

 Our first important message is from Ideagmaerorgo, who writes:  searching people for seo worck for thems furniture
I don’t know what planet you’re from Ideagmarorgo, but on Earth, the sentence should read Searching people is fun! Word of advice:  Learn the language and get a normal name for God’s sake.

Next we have a couple of nice folks who really want me to produce more cum.  The first one is from – ironically – produce more cum who writes:  produce more cum.  The second message is from a person who appears to a relative of produce more cum, named how to produce more cum.   Thanks, but I’m very happy with the way things are and producing more cum isn’t really necessary for me.

A number of folks are very interested in showing me pictures of Kelly Clarkson naked and Britney Spears’ pussy.  One person has even offered me pictures of his mom.  my mom naked gives a hearty shout out to everyone and extends an invitation to view naked pictures of his mother over at !  I hope she doesn’t look like my mom naked, because I’m pretty sure the only person who wants to see that is my dad.   Private message to my mom naked – Therapy works. Look into it.

Many more of my faithful spam fan club want to offer me links to car sites, sites on how to improve my golf swing, and places to buy medications to cure my erectile dysfunction.  This is so disappointing.  It seems these people haven’t even taken the time to really get to know me because if they had, they’d be sending me links to sites that offer free liquor and cigarettes.  Or sites that give tips on how to turbocharge a vibrator.  And hey, how about a link to a site that shows George Clooney naked?  That would be cool.

Now excuse me while I slip over to monstermarketplace for some bootleg Lortabs.


Gloom, despair, and agony on me

Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, just when you think depression2.jpgyou’ve licked the hateful demons who lurk inside your head, just when you think you just might be coming into your own and shedding those self-esteem issues – your brain starts to rebel.

“Wait just a doggone second, here” it says.  “I think you’re feeling a little too good, a little too cocky, a little too self-assured.  Tell you what – I’m going to serve you up a healthy dose of self-loathing and self-hate, make you question everything you do for awhile, and knock you down a few pegs.”

And it works.  It works every time.  I begin to revisit every little interaction I’ve had over the past few weeks – evalulating and second-guessing myself.  Eventually I’ve convinced myself that I’m a horrible misfit.  That I’m socially inept and just plain weird.  That having normal conversations about normal things with normal people will never be possible for me.  That I lack the skill for simple chitchat that other people take for granted.  That I will never feel comfortable in groups larger than 3 or 4 and will fail miserably when I try.

This is my depression; my lifelong sidekick.  Medication creates a barrier, but the sadness eventually finds a way through the hairline cracks of the wall of confidence I’ve been able to erect, brick by brick, action by action, day by day.  Its power to blacken every thought is insidious, stealthy.  It subtly creeps in, a few thoughts at a time, and is not satisfied until my self-loathing is complete.  If not for my medication, the sadness becomes a yawning black chasm of despair that whispers things to me.  Things like “you’re no good to anyone here, your life is a burden to others, the world would be better off without you.”  Self-annhilation begins as a comforting fantasy, then a metamorphizes into a plan. 

The voice continues to whisper its taunts and its encouragements to give in, give up.

That is the way it used to be.  The sadness and the blackness would have its way with me and I would fall into the yawning black chasm and lose myself, almost unable to crawl back into the light. 

But today I take my pill.  Today I dress myself.  Today I get into my car and drive myself to a dark movie theater where I can sit and lose myself in a story.  Today I turn on some music – a new Richard Thompson CD and find pleasure in the sound of the guitars and the voice and the lyrics of a song.

(red hair, black leather, my favorite color scheme)

Today I write out my thoughts and feelings, and take solace in finding the words to create the sentences that tell my story.   Today I read the words that others have written about themselves and find refuge there.   Today I might not be completely engaged with the ones I love, but I also have no plans to leave them forever. 

Today I will make it.  Today I will cope – and the next day and the next and the next…

Cat of doom

A sweet little story about a cat that’s able to sense the approaching death of patients at the nursing home where he lives was circulating in the news today.  That’s really nice.  A cat that intuits death and comes in for a little nuzzling and purring approximately 2 hours before the time of death.   I hate to be cynical, but it’s my job, and I’m thinking that maybe the cat’s a soul sucker and he just hangs around to suck up the souls of the newly departed.   Or maybe the cat’s hanging around, hoping the dying person will make a last-minute will change, naming him as sole heir.  That really pisses off the human relatives.  Or maybe he’s the reincarnated soul of a frustrated hospice worker who died too young.

Me?  cat.jpgI imagine if I were on my deathbed, my cat Tink would jump up on the bed and yowl to be fed until I died. Then he’d go bother someone else. 

What DO they think about?

I have been surrounded by men all day long for the past 11 years, which has allowed me to do what I do best: Observe. Observing men in their natural habitat (surrounded by tools and equipment and stuff with motors) has often been frustrating, but as study material, they’re terribly fascinating creatures. I’m old enough to be off their chick-cruising radar plus, matter-of-fact and unobtrusive enough for them to sometimes forget I’m there. That’s when I gather my best material – sort of like Jane Goodall with the chimpanzees – and here’s a real news flash you women probably won’t believe: 1) Men can’t find anything that’s hidden behind something else and 2) Men have an aversion to throwing trash in a trash can. Women seem to possess these relatively simple skills and I wonder if having a uterus gives us special powers above and beyond childbearing. I swear someday I’m going to write a book and call it “It Takes a Uterus.”

Sometimes I like to take impromptu polls, just to see what’s going on in those brains of theirs. Once I asked some of the guys what the bathroom door policy was between them and their SO: Bathroom door open or bathroom door closed? The answers were so surprising – Men who I pegged as really shy had a complete open door policy – they did everything right out in the open. Men who came off as open and really loud-mouthed were totally closed door people. Blew that hypothesis all to hell.

For the past two days I’ve been asking the question “What do men think about?” rodin-thinker.jpgSpecifically I wanted to know which topics dominated their brains on a day-to-day basis, and ladies, I’m sure you won’t be too surprised to find out it’s NOT your relationship or which color shirt goes with which pair of pants. So without further ado, I present to you my findings. Note that the study group contains males, ages 21-35 living in the rural Midwest, working construction for a living (but I have a sneaking suspician that the demographic doesn’t really matter…)

  1. Sex. Wow, I’ll bet you’re shocked by this one. The #1 thing men think about is sex, though the frequency varies depending on age. The younger the guy, the higher the thought frequency. No one was really willing to give me a definitive number – like every 38 seconds – but one guy said “a lot, that’s how much” so every 38 seconds sounds right to me.
  2. Sports I was surprised. I really thought food would have been #2 on the list, but sports was almost always their second favorite thing. I included all sports, including golf and fishing and hunting in this one. Guys just love competition no matter if they’re playing it or watching other guys do it.
  3. Cars, or anything else with a motor. Again, I’m surprised food doesn’t make an appearance yet. Guys around here enjoy car racing a lot – so I guess watching a sport that includes something with a motor is a lot like a multiple orgasm for them.
  4. Food. Ah, I knew it was on here somewhere. Men and women definitely have different food tastes and needs. Men seem to think about meats, as in the cooking of meats and the taste of meat and how much meat there is to eat. Women think about chocolate and salads. Every Friday we bring doughnuts in for the work crews and you’d think every last one of ’em had just died and gone to heaven. Meat and doughnuts. That’s really all they need for sustanence.
  5. Explosions and other things that go boom: This includes guns, TNT, firecrackers, and rocket ships. Guys love to blow shit up, they love to watch shit get blown up, and they love the sound of shit being blown up.
  6. Money: Men think about money a lot – how much money they have, how much money they don’t have, how to get more money, what to spend their money on. Guys prefer to spend their money on stuff that explodes, stuff that has a motor, or stuff you can play sports with.
  7. TV Sets: Guys also like to spend money on TV sets. Anecdotely, I was told by many of my subjects that they like to think about the next kind of TV they’re going to buy, just as soon as they have enough money. Take a minute to observe men the next time you’re in an electronics store. It’s weird the way guys will gravitate to the television section and just stand there, staring at all the screens, like moths to a flame.

“Gee honey, whatcha doing?”
“I’m evaluating the picture quality of these sets.

Bullshit. They are fucking mesmerized by all the pretty flashing colors coming at them from all 4 directions at once.

So there you have it. Only one of my test subjects admitted to thinking about his relationship on a regular basis, but when I told him what some of the other answers had been, he decided that he probably thought about food and sports more than he actually thought about his SO. Some of the other answers given were: music, work, video games (again, sports), and dirt (WTF????).  All in all, I’d say there were no surprises here.  When the guys wanted to turn the tables and asked me what women thought about, I told them “Oh, you know, unicorns, gingersnaps, puppies, rainbows, and horses.”  Man, if they get wind of our plan for a massive world takeover, they’d shit.  Mum’s the word, ladies.

Sunday, church, and a schoolgirl crush

My mother took us to church when I was a kid.  easter-morning.jpgMy father did not attend, except for C&E, but preferred to stay home alone to read the paper, drink his coffee and smoke his Winstons in peace.  My brothers and I would lay around the living room in our pajamas, draped over the furniture, watching TV and ignoring my mom’s pleadings for us to get dressed for church until my dad would finally yell “Goddamn it.  Get in your rooms and get dressed NOW!”  He hung on to the chance for Sunday morning solitude like grim death.  Once in the car, Mark and I would continue our sulk, complaining during the entire 3-mile drive:  “Why do we have to go?  We hate it.  We’re tiiiiiired.”  Mom would grit her teeth, grip the steering wheel tight and ignore us.  

Mother only seemed to be able to face the Sunday morning pre-church horror show at home about once or twice a month, so we weren’t one of the “regular” families, and I intuited that our lack of enthusiasm for God and Jesus was apparent to the real church people. First was Sunday School.  Sunday school was a horror for my brother Mark and I.  Our other brother Paul was too young to notice, but Mark and I knew we were the odd kids – the ones who didn’t have a clue what was being taught or why.  Other kids seemed to be right on top of all the Bible stories, asking and answering questions, drawing appropriate pictures to go along with the week’s lesson, but we didn’t have a clue.  Abraham and the sacrificial lamb?  Jacob and the ladder?  These stories didn’t make sense to us, not in the way ScoobyDo and The Jetsons did -THAT we totally got – but it seemed the other children were enraptured by the Bible stories and understood their deeper meaning in a way we just didn’t get.  Next was real church, which was another of nightmare of confusing stories, coupled with open-mouthed yawning and butt-numbing boredom.  “Stop slinking.  Sit up straight! my mother would hiss at us under her breath.  We were an absolute embarrassment to her and I didn’t care one bit. 

At age 12, I joined the church youth group and my mom couldn’t have been more pleased.  Finally, one of her wayward children had seen the light and was choosing to walk the path of God!  All her-hard fought efforts had finally paid off.  I wish I could say this were the case.  Instead, my main interest in the church’s youth group was not a newfound dedication to God, it was a pre-teen crush on the youth group director – Youth Minister Mr. Smith.  Young, handsome, single Mr. Smith.  Hunky, golden-haired, smile-like-a-rock star Mr. Smith.   No, I wasn’t interested in forming a personal relationship with Jesus, I just wanted some face time with the church’s new heartthrob.  

Now my mom didn’t have to nag me and my dad didn’t have to work up a few choice curse words for me to get ready for church.  I was ready on Sunday, and every Saturday afternoon when youth group met.  I joined the church choir.  Any chance to be around the object of my heart’s desire I took.  Of course I was coy about it, or I tried to be.  Not like the other girls who were soooo obvious with their flirtations.  They made me sick with their “That’s a nice tie Mr. Smith” and “Isn’t there anything else I can do to help you Mr. Smith??”  Losers.  I spent a lot of time fantasizing about Mr. Smith and our fabulous life together after we were married – studying the Bible a little and studying each other A LOT.  I could imagine him kissing me long and hard, then sliding his hand up my shirt and then….well I wasn’t real sure what happened next but it was bound to be way cool.  Yes, Mr. Smith and I were going to be very, very happy together. 

That fall, Mr. Smith decided that the youth group would go trick or treating for UNICEF.  Oooookay.  I guess.  It’s a well-known fact that only losers go trick or treating for UNICEF.  But if Mr. Smith wanted me to do it, I was by-God going to do it.  Instead of going on Halloween night, he decided we would go the Saturday afternoon before Halloween.  Which meant I would probably be knocking on the doors of some of my own classmates, who would probably be home, setting me up for merciless teasing for the next few days. “Ha ha.  Karen came to my house to trick or treat for UNICEF!”  “Did you have fun with your little church group??”  Blah, blah, blah.   I felt like my mom, just gritting her teeth and willilng herself through the ordeal.

That day I dressed with the utmost care, knowing that I’d be spending a lot time in close proximity to Mr. Smith.  The event was going to last all afternoon and he’d be driving us around in the church van.  I looked as hot as a 12-year old girl could in home-sewn clothing and decidedly unsexy black-framed eyeglasses.  I decided to not think about it – “Pretend you’re one of the girls on American Bandstand”  I told myself.  About halfway through the afternoon, after ringing doorbells and, yes, facing some of the sneering 6th grade boys from my class at school, my enthusiasm started to flag.  Instead of being out there with the rest of us, Mr. Smith stayed in the van, following our little group slowly up and down the neighborhood streets.  “I’m sick of this” I muttered to one of my girlfriends.  “Yeah, well I know the only reason YOU’RE here and it’s not because you care about poor kids!” she said snidely.  “You have a crush on Mr. Smith and it’s soooo obvious.”  “I do not!”  I yelled.  “Oh you do too, so stop pretending.” 

Were my feelings that transparent?  Being a naturally shy girl, I was humiliated and embarrassed beyond belief, as if all the others had read my mind and knew about my secret fantasies about Mr. Smith.   And if they could tell, then surely Mr. Smith could too.  I slogged on and finished the afternoon, then waited impatiently for my mom to pick me up at the church.   During the next few weeks, my enthusiam for youth group and Mr. Smith deflated like a week-old balloon.  The party was over.  Mr. Smith and I were not going to get married and live happily ever after.  He would never move his hands over my body and whisper into my ear how he loves me just as much he loves Jesus.  

Just after the new year, Mr. Smith was suddenly gone.  “Moved on” was the reason given when I asked where he was.  “Why?” I wanted to know.  “People do that, they move on.” 

We all quit going to church around that time.  Mom was tired of forcing God on her obviously atheist/agnostic children and we were glad of it.  Sleeping in on Sunday mornings became the norm.  The usual sugared-down cereals and toasted breads with margerine would be consumed in enormous quantities by myself and my brothers in front of the television set.  Dad read the paper, drank his coffee and smoked his Winstons alone in the kitchen, and no longer needed to shout “You kids get your asses up and dressed for church now, Goddamn it!”.   

It’s as close to God as our family was going to get.

No longer a reject

Caution:  This post is just me gloating 

I’m so freaking happy to report that I have now had 3 posts on the FEATURE page of IndieBloggers!  And after being rejected by McSweeney’s for this {how dare they say I’m not “right” (their way of saying “not funny enough) at this time}.  I’m a goddamn laugh riot!  Take THAT, McSweeney’s.  Booya!

Old friends, bookends

A postcard out of the blue arrived the other day from an old friend who was touring Greece.  menage.jpgOn the front, a photograph of ancient Greek erotica on pottery and on the back, the words she wrote:  Greetings! We thought you would appreciate this card – cracked us up!

I met her husband first, when we both worked at the same hospital in the late 70’s.  When Jim met Diane and he introduced me to her as his fiance,  she and I fell instantly in love.  Not in the sense that lovers fall in love, but in the way two women can fall in love each other’s souls.   She was the tall one, I was the short one.  She was the stable, fertile goddess, I was was the unattached and childless free spirit.  Their house was the scene of so many wonderful gatherings of friends because that’s the kind of people they are – the kind that welcome you as a member of their family.  I spent so much time in Diane’s kitchen – drinking coffee on Sunday mornings, or mixing drinks on Saturday nights – there were times I seriously wondered if they wished they could just tell me to go the hell home.  On one very memorable night, Diane and I danced together with a total lack of self-consciousness and ease that I’ve rarely felt dancing with a man – her laugh ringing through the air and her wild hair tossing about.  Her favorite song was “Boys of Summer” and to this day I cannot hear that song without thinking of her.  They were, for me, a link to the family life I didn’t have in Texas.  They were my adopted brother and sister and their 3 children became like neice & nephews to me.  I was, in fact, called Aunt Karen by the children, which touched me enormously. 

Our lives were entertwined for about 10 years, until we both moved our families away from Austin at about the same time in 1991 – me to Kansas City, she to upstate Washington – and our contact became sporadic, as often happens when geographical distance interferes.  Monthly phone calls became yearly calls, then eventually stopped.  I went through a very distressful and difficult divorce from Julian’s dad and closeted myself away from civilization for a long time.  Diane sent me letters I did not answer with any regularity.  One letter to her from me went missing the mail (where DOES that stuff end up?).  I would email occasionally, but Diane is not a computer person so I never heard back from her.  In the meantime, I felt terrible, knowing I wasn’t actually trying to put forth the effort to stay in touch and the longer it went on, the worse I felt.  It got to the point where I was actually afraid if I called, she wouldn’t really want to hear from me.  I missed her terribly but felt like I’d been a bad friend.

Then the postcard from Greece came last week and I made a mental committment to get in touch with her as soon as possible.  Today was the 21st, their card was postmarked the 11th.   Surely they were back in the states by now.   Today was the day to make the phone call. 

“I’m going to call Diane tonight” I said to Ken
“You should” he said
“I’m afraid. What if she hates me?”
“She doesn’t hate you.  Just call.”

And I did.  And it was wonderful.  It was like we’d just seen each other the day before, even though it’s now been 16 years since we last laid eyes on each other.  It was a phone call that I was long overdue in making, and one that, again, proves the power of true friendship.  True friends love you in spite of your flaws and quirks, and forgive you your temporary lapses in attention.  True friends think of you when they see that certain nasty postcard they just know you’ll love.  True friendship never dies and I am thankful for that today.

Cheers, Di.  I’m looking forward to dancing with you next year at your son’s wedding.  Maybe they’ll play Boys of Summer, just for us.

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