30 November, 2005

Dress Code

...You -/ Can dress in pink and blue just like a child....

It's nice to come in third place, (Yaay, me!) and there's even a cash remuer- renumer- uh, prize. (Did you think Primarily Decorative was on PERMANANT vacation?) Here it is.

Please come see Do Or Die's production of Slay Ride at the Chesapeake Arts Center. I promise I won't wear a beret, and neither should you.

Now that I've gotten the shameless plugs out of the way, here's a post.

We are at a movie theatre. A group of people have come in costume. This is not as disturbing as the fact that the costumes of the adults are more elaborately accurate than those of the children. I assume the Harry Potter outing is a child's birthday party; possibly it's not.

I suddenly think of people listening to me complain about Day of Wrong. One frowns at me.

"What is proper dress code for a Renaissance festival?" he asks. My face changes shape several times, I can feel it. I puzzle over the question, because I've never really thought about what standard dress IS; I just know when I see it what it isn't.

There is in fact a fairly strict dress code for the performers, crafters and general staff of the Renaissance Festival. For the patrons, not so much.

Appropriate wear: cutoff jean shorts and a tank top. Golf shirt and khaki shorts with sneakers or boat shoes, either gender. Peasant or pirate blouse and leather pants, either gender. Jeans and a t-shirt from your favorite Ren performer: Hack and Slash, the Skinny German Juggle Boy, Renaissance Man, Puke and Snot, Sinius Vice, Mike Rose, The Rogues, Stupina...or any one of a number of Maryland Renaissance Festival shirts, or indeed a shirt from any Renaissance Festival.

A shirt that says I Can't Even Think Straight. A shirt with the name of your favorite team, your favorite beer, your favorite brand or your favorite bar. If you wear one that says Kiss Me, I'm a Pirate, beware, for there are those of us that will. A camisole top and a peasant skirt is appropriate, if you're female. Or a peasant blouse with too tight jeans, high heeled boots, big hair and a floral wreath. The costume you bought here last year. Or last week. The costume you spent the last nine months building with your own hands. The costume you bought at Wal-Mart last Halloween, if you're under fifteen and were a fairy, a princess, a fairy princess, a pirate, a knight, Robin Hood, a crusader, or a dragon. Unicorns also acceptable.

Biker wear. A sweatshirt with nothing on it at all. Your kilt. Chain mail. Jeans and sneakers and a velvet vest, with or without something underneath. Fake fur. Real fur. Nearly anything plus a cloak. A black mesh shirt, plaid skirt, knee high socks and Doc Martins, but only if you're wearing eyeliner and black lipstick, either gender. A clown suit pushes the boundaries, but a jester outfit is fine. Nearly anything plus a hat. Velvet tights. Flowing skirts. Tight skirts. Low heels. Sandals. High heeled boots. Swashbuckling boots. Tattoos. Multiple piercings. Short hair. Long hair. No hair. Military uniform, if you’re in the military. A suit of armor. Elf ears.

Not appropriate: Storm Troopers. A chain leash on your lover. A Tigger suit. Bedroom slippers. Silver makeup. Ghostbusters. Wifebeater and boxer shorts. Prosthetic noses.

Dress carefully. Mimi's watching.

(Steppin' Out; Joe Jackson)

28 November, 2005

Ninjas Everywhere

...I'm gonna flip out like a ninja coz that's what ninjas do....

I had a post, but I reread it and it was kind of whiny so I ditched it. In other news, I've never been so anxious to not finish a book that I'm reading. I'm considering returning it to the library and waiting for somebody to give it to me for a gift, I'm that desperate to not finish it. Although, I must confess that the author's use of the tongue-tangling names of Schtitt, Stice, Shut and Schact is more like a mind-schtupp, because Bergen and Goldthwait and Hobart and Krautt would have worked just as well.

Therefore, ninjas. An obvious choice, but it's November.

For the uninitiated, some ninja facts.

Meet the most ninja-happy fellow on the 'net.

Play the ninja monkey game! Or the last ninja game!

And if your preferenece is for the junior variety, here are the teenage turtles. Check out the art contest.

I know you wondered. Yes, ninjas are nocturnal.

A serious ninja weapon website, which of course I can't take very seriously, and which leads me of course to Engrish.

I dare you to leave this website not singing the ninja song. Though anything by the rathergood progenitor is bound to be fun.

(Ninja; 7 Seconds of Love)

24 November, 2005

Shah, yathink?

...Our space songs on a spider web sitar/Life is around you and in you....

“No, but the lights, people put them up early because the scenery’s so monochromatic. It adds some color.”

The thing is, late November is about subtlety. It’s about appreciating the soot on slate on silver of cumulus on sky on water, or the smoke on dun on charcoal of cirrus on sky on asphalt; the difference between cold, not so cold, really damn cold and almost warm. It’s about mornings wrapped in shimmering fog that turn into fretful sleety afternoons and cold crisp light on concrete. It’s paying attention to which days are dreary and which ones are dismal. It’s the brief pause when the motherfucking rain takes a breath before resuming its relentless drumming. It’s the color of your breath on the air, subtlely different from the color of mine.

Demetri Martin is on Conan. He looks more like a fourteen-year old than a standup comic in his torn jeans and Ringo Starr haircut. "I saw an ugly pregnant woman yesterday," he says. "And I thought, good for you."

You may not think Vin Diesel is funny. In fact, you may not think of Vin Diesel at all. Personally, I find the very CONCEPT of Vin Diesel funny. But here are facts about Vin Diesel that I never knew.

Funny how everybody goes apeshit over black and white bears. Here they are, cute with a capital C and more than one u. Yes, cute, cute, Cuuuuute.

Oddly enough, Publication DQ
comes through with the goods
. Scroll down, but enjoy the grammar lesson and the Political Animal hatemail while you’re at it.

Some seriously funny shit happens in Washington DC.

(What? WHAT? I thought it was funny.)

“My wife’s family is coming for the holiday. They’re mostly retarded.”

If anyone else was talking, I’d think you were being insulting.

“No. Retarded is a medical term. Big difference between being retarded and being a retard. They’re spelled the same, though.”

I let the spelling comment pass.

So the family’s retarded, but your teenager’s friends are retards?

“That’s about it, yeah.”

And you thought you were going to find some sappyass shit about how grateful I am for allathatthere.

(Let The Sun Shine; HAIR)

23 November, 2005

Head Scratching

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

It is a puzzle: I wondered last week how K, of Publication DQ, got my telephone number in order to phone me for permission to yadda yadda yadda one of my poems.

I am at CAC and I mention that K of Publication DQ called me. “Oh, is that who that was?” the Prince asks absently. “I wondered.”

(And now I know why he said “You’re trying to compute ratios in your head? Hah! Poet, playwright, writer, sure.....math skills? Hah!” At the time, I wondered what would make him put ‘poet’ first.)

“Yeah,” says BirthdayBoy. “It was Publication DQ. I thought I told you.”

He called here? Why did he do that? He called my cell phone.

“I know. I was the one who gave him your number. I told him to tell you that it was me that gave it to him, so you wouldn’t wonder. Of course, he didn’t. Figures.”

Okay, so that explains how K got my phone number. Next question: Why did K call here? How did looking for me lead him to you?

“Well, not me personally, Cyb. Just...”

...I know, the Center. But...oh, this is freaking me out.

“So did they run it?”

No. Or at least, not yet.

Also putting a twist in my tights? Christmas lights. Look here, folks: I’m all for festivity and shit, but put a lid on it, willya? Day after Thanksgiving’s soon enough, mmkay? Those of you who were out last weekend decorating, I respectfully suggest that you Get A Life.

Admittedly, I'm participating in the earlification of Christmas myself, by virtue of being in a Murder Mystery on Saturday, December 3, but I have an excuse: I co-wrote it.

You're invited- no beret required.

22 November, 2005

Delayed Gratification

"You may find that 'having' is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as 'wanting'. It is not logical, but it is often true."

Tiny yellow leaves pile in on the sidewalk, small fans, skirts of fairies, a mound of rustling gold. Breeze ruffles them, and they glitter on the ground.


Naked conversation:

What color today, do you think?

“You’re running lights, helping with strike, taking apart a set, all that techie stuff, right? So, black.”

It’s not like they’ll show.

“I know. But still.”

Black it is.


“Lookit them thighs! Girl, you could crack nuts with them thighs! You could kill a man!”

This makes me grin in rememberance. “My partner can crack walnuts with her thighs” was a line my partner used to use in our show. I sat on his shoulders eating torches blindfolded while he juggled two beanbag balls and an apple. But we haven’t done that show for so long; it’s been ten or eleven years now since my thighs have been assesed as weapons.

“I’m not really trying to read your handwriting,” he says, leaning over me. “I’m just looking at your tits.”

This is the price I pay for not drinking my beer at home.


After months of anticipation, I finally go to Vaccaro’s Pasticcioria on Monday night for pastry and coffee. The coffees are marvelous. The pasteries, not so much. The Napoleon and the cookies are disappointing, though Coco is happy with something called 'Vesuvius.' The cream puff-chocolate mousse-crushed Oreo cookie concotion that I order is less satisfying than I’d hoped.

But the most horrifying bit of all this is that I remembered the quote verbatim.

(Spock to T’pring in Amok Time; Star Trek, the original series)

21 November, 2005

Know? What.

...Something's got me reelin', it stopped me from believin'/Turn me around again/Said that we can do it, you know I wanna do it again...

"You will like it," he said, pushing his cup of chai towards me. "Here, taste."

It was a strange moment, one that held its breath, almost. We didn’t know each other well, and the afternoon had been awkward already. And yet, he knew enough to know. Of all the tense and chilly moments that day, it is this warm one I recall.

It’s at once unnerving and reassuring to be known in that way, the way in which someone can say, She loves Chinese, and be certain.

"I know you only did this because I asked you," he says to me. He is right; I had. I am accustomed to being Wicked Stupid about people. I am accustomed to everyone knowing I am Wicked Stupid about this one, everyone, his spouse, mine, everyone. I am not accustomed to this being acknowledged. He knows, and he acknowledges. "I know you only did this because I asked. I owe you," he says.

I say nothing, poised between a witty response and an honest one. I opt for witty, quickly realize I have no wit for this moment. The silence stretches uncomfortably. I default to honesty, but there is nothing safe to say.

Long pink clouds stretch like birthday party streamers across the evening sky.

Every Morning; Sugar Ray

17 November, 2005

Shadow Dance

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

The sun is out. It's cold, but the sun is out.

This is not news, except to me.

Hormonal fluctuations and grey weather and quotidian annoyances (though these less so) factor into a strange balancing dance I do with my own brain. It's frustrating to spend the bulk of a day, some days, just keeping myself happy.

I've been depressed before, and it's difficult to explain depression to anyone who hasn't. I'm terrified of being depressed again, since every episode increases EXPONENTIALLY your likelyhood of having another episode. And they're bad, suicidal bad, which I certainly don't want.

A package comes in the mail. It's boots, with wooden cutout heels. They seemed like a good idea when I ordered them, but now I'm not sure I like them.

What do you think?

Fuzzy gives me an assessing look. "Snaaaappy," she pronounces.

I bow to her seven-year-old wisdom.

We find for three-ish dollars at a resale shop a CareBear, 2002, talking. Cheer Bear, with a button in its paw and body, this gender-indeterminate bear, says "You're fun to be with," and "How about a CareBear hug?" when you squeeze it. The children perform "surgery," switching it from 'demo' to 'on' to 'off' without warning. It's a Personal Affirmation Bear, is what it is. "You're my best friend," and "A happy day is coming your way." Okay, it's stupid, but it's what I needed.

That day.

Conspicuous consumption of chocolate (ie stimulant) helps, but then the sugar creates a crash, and since I skip right over the supposed sugar 'high' and go directly to the crash, it's momentarily satisfying but ultimately unhelpful. I can't find my book, Constant Craving which seems like a non-sequiter, but isn't. Doreen Virtue has collected data about food dependancies, theorizing that people with particular needs or problems want particular foods to deal with them. Thus, you can decode what you're feeling by what you're eating/craving. Theoretically. What I was thinking was that maybe there was a section in there somewhere about mood-elevating foods, though if there is, it's probably something dull like salad or oatmeal.

I steamed two artichokes for my breakfast and felt decadent eating them dipped in melted lemon butter.

That was yesterday.

Today the sun is out, and even though it's cold, I'll walk and walk and recharge, because it's still thirty-six days to Darkest Day, and I have to survive. Unfortunately, sunlight cannot be stored cumulatively, otherwise my summer sunning would keep me going til Spring.

Spring, when I will again go Topless.

Or maybe I will today, with the heat on full blast, because even when I'm near-on suicidal, I'm no masochist.

14 November, 2005

Funny? Maybe.

On a scale of one to ten, you're an idiot. --Scotty Meltzer

"Our little girl didn't have a problem with me flushing."

Oh. And did you?

"Well, yeah."


"Why? Did you want to bury it?"


"Why didn't you say something?"

I figured you'd think I was foolish.

"I wouldn't...hey, are you choked up about this? You are! Come here."

I really liked that stupid fish.

And if you think that's funny,

The Nerd Test. I got extra points for using a Mac!

Always funny: Bad Puns.

Funny. No Milk. It's eleven minutes, and yes, that good.

I spent part of last week learning to be funny with Scotty Meltzer, a MotionFest veteran.

Nunsense 2 at the Chesapeake Arts Center (don't worry, I'm not in it; just running the light board) is funny, but mostly if you are or have ever been Catholic. I'm not, and haven't so I miss a lot.

Also funny is this, in terrorist news. Okay, not funny-funny, but I-don't-understand-anything,-apparantly funny. A couple wires themselves to explode, and when his wife has trouble detonating, the man PUSHES HER OUT OF THE VENUE. What does this mean? In the midst of terror and death, love? Did he want to save her from death, and only detonated after she was safe? Did he not want to be personally responsible for her death, since she couldn't take responsibility for her own? Did he want her left alive so she could try again later?

I am constantly amazed by the complexity of humans.

While we hate our alien enemy, we designate his motivation 'evil' without attempting to understand. Until we love our enemy, at least a little, our hearts and minds are not open to hearing his motivation. Until we clarify motivation, we lack understanding. When we achieve understanding, there is at last hope for peace.

That's not funny, but it's true.

06 November, 2005

Wrapping Up

...counting the days 'til I'll be with you/counting the hours and the minutes, too/ Bye, baby, goodbye/Bye, baby, goodbye/ Bye, baby, goodbye/ bye-bye, so long, farewell...


We’ve planned to breakfast at the Bizarre Bazaar before tearing down Panto Camp. In my twenty seasons at the Faire, I’ve never been to a Bizarre Bazaar, though it’s held weekly during Fairetimes.

All the testosterone that doesn’t share my DNA is firmly ensconced in the basement showing no signs of activity. I make coffee, post a note, and the children and I leave.

Vultures circle the parking lot, in search of easy meals. One bold fellow sits on the ground, close enough to eye us with beady glitter from his red head. Another swoops low in front of the BoringMobile, looking at us as much as we look at him.

"Look, Mama! There’s their home!" My daugher’s eyesight is as keen as any vulture’s, or moreso. She’s right: there is a leafless tree, decorated with two birds, just beyond the back edge of the joust arena.

Joseph, who gave us plain pins, cooks eggs while Frank the Elephant Trainer cooks potatos behind him. The menu is posted on paper tacked to Heineke’s knife booth. Joseph writes our orders on a scrap of cardboard. The cash register is a clear glass jar and payment is the honor system. An iBook plays CDs through small speakers in what must be the most dramatic display of underutilization of technology I’ve ever seen.

That Girl hands something to me.

"You owe me two bucks."

It’s underwear. Specifically, hot pink satin tanga panties trimmed in black lace.

(Yes, I am wearing them. Why?)

"They still had tags on, and I knew you had to have them. So you owe me two bucks."

We are comfortably covered, our cold-and spandex-induced Nippleometers no longer in evidence.

"Is it the right nipple for temperature and the left for barometric pressure, or the other way around?"

Not sure. Mine's a Swedish model, so it's likely to be different anyway.

Hilby arrives with Martin and Aviv, intent on taking Fluffy with them to the National Aquarium. Martin stays, as does Fuzzy, under duress. She does not appreciate that I am rescuing her from the cruelty of two boys burdened with a little sister.

The Bazaar is...bizarre. I buy a hat, a silk scarf, ponder earrings I do not need. Once the Bazaar and breakfast have finished, we tear down. Seven large plastic totes, six pair of stilts, four big ladders, five folding chairs, two armloads of white costumes, three tarps and two five-gallon buckets fill both the BoringMobile and That Girl’s pickup truck to capacity.

"All this stuff. All this preparation. I suddenly feel inadequate with only stilts, trousers and a baggie of makeup." Martin is a minimalist, it's true.

Yeah, but you pack out and travel in a drill case.

"Please. It’s a chainsaw case. Much more macho."

Fuzzy, still put out with me, opts to drive with That Girl. As we caravan out, I look for vultures.

It's different from this morning.

"What is?"

I drove in with children, and I'm driving out with an adult.

"Bit like life, then, really."

(Fabares Shelley; See You In September)

02 November, 2005

Final Day

...five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes/how do you measure - measure a year?/in daylights - in sunsets/ in midnights - in cups of coffee....

Saturday Night

Hilby arrives, eleven-year-old son Aviv in tow. "Where do you PUT them all?" Rosman asks, incredulous. "And why do they like to stay with you better than with me, anyway?"

Basement, breakfast, blowjobs? I dunno, Michael.

Martin calls Hilby "the perfect anti-German. He's friendly, he's messy, and he's funny."

Aviv looks at a picture on my kitchen wall. "Who are those guys?"

"Who ARE dose guys? Come ON, Aviv," Hilby chides.

"The Three Stooges? This is Curly...and those are, uh, the other two?"

Actually, those guys are Julius, Leonard and Adolph. Better known as Groucho, Chico and Harpo.

"Friends of yours?"

The Marx Brothers.

"Who's Mark?

"No, Aviv, you know the Marx Brozers. Veally, Seabelle? Harpo's name vas Adolph?"

Little known fact. He had it changed to Arthur later, of course, when it became uncomfortable to be named Adolph.

"Ah. In Chermany, nobody is named Adolph anymore."

What, not ever?

"No, the government won't let anybody be named that."

They retired the name.

"Vell, not retired, exactly, but yah, I guess, becauze zey don't..."

So Mrs. Hitler has to name her son Gordon or Wallace now?

"Oh, vell, no, dere's no Mrs. Hitler anymore. Zey retired dat one, too."



I'm still sulking. The weather is perfect, which means that there will be MILLIONS of patrons DEVASTATED by the cancellation of Mimi Flambe. Or...well, not. I have an addendum to post to our Mimi Flambe sign: "...will not be presented today~ photo op and autographs only." Fluffy and I will sit together on the bench, mug for cameras and sign programs.

The final Morning Meeting of the season holds a delightful surprise: David Smith, professional freak. "Michael Rosman brought me in," he says, looking down at me, down, bending his long neck, tossing his long hair, looking down that long gorgeous nose. I am afraid to stand near him more than a moment or two, in fear of babbling like an idiot. "You squealed when he carried you across that broken glass," a girlfriend reminds me, with more memory than tact. She confesses that she's also had a crush on him since, like, ever.

Michael! You've been holding out on me.

"I knew you already had a full house. Stop it. I get to have SOME of the cool people."

Up we go on stilts because the grounds are sloggy and disgusting. In the Wine Garden, (more tasting!) we are given bits of meat by a well-dressed Designated Patron, who stands near a group of...Storm Troopers? Yes. There are Imperial Storm Troopers in our village today. One of them hands me his head. Costumer Cindy shows me how to put it on, demonstrating expressively with her hands while giving clear, simple instructions: "Sideways, and then you turn it. Be careful." Yes. I've a good idea of what these things cost. Through the helmet, I can just barely detect several camera flashes. I'm off balance, can't see. Enough.

It's Day of Wrong. Patrons have invented this. Last year, there were two separate sets of Wizard of Oz characters. Every year, men with full beards dress as wenches. The Twins don't dress at all. I've seen a Tigger costume, a Ghostbuster, and now, Storm Troopers. Wrong. But I love it that the patrons are making up their own show. Talk about interactive.

We change to La Blanca Venti, our white costumes on stilts, for a short photo session with Martin. Fluffy brings him a top hat and tails, by wearing them across the site. It's Day of Wrong; he fits right in.

At Fluffy's suggestion, we all don our white outfits and stand, unstilted, outside the front gate, to bid patrons farewell. A final glimpse of beautiful before they face the reality of the parking lot. So long, farewell...adieu, adieu, to you and you and you... That Girl peels off for parts unknown: the children and I remain a few minutes more.

"This is for you. Thank you for a wonderful Faire season." A gentleman hands me a red rose. No. Thank YOU. Really. All of you.

I mean that. Thank you, everyone, for everything. Thank you for the slick photographs, the picture disc, the food and wine and flowers. Thank you for repairing our pixie Trixie, for the music CD, the tee shirts, and the chocolates. Thank you for the encouragement, the cautions, the concern, the kudos. Thank you for the sips of beer, the oyster shooters, the pins, the laughter. Thank you for the admiring glances, the flirtatious moments, the applause, the hugs and kisses. Most of all, thank you for the promise that next year, you'll come back and love me some more.

Believe it or not, I am also paid for this.

The day is over. Sandy has braided my hair for the last time this season. We're packed to go. Martin is off with Hilby. The children and I slog through mud to find the car.

"Can we put the top down, Mama?"

Son. You can see your breath. If we put the top down, you'll be extremely uncomfortable.

"But Mama. Stop a minute. Look at the stars."

And for a moment, there is nothing but sky and wonder, and the Universe, big enough to give me all the love there is and my son, too.

(Seasons of Love; RENT)