29 May, 2006

Swimwear Optional

...She got famous doing tricks underwater/ She'll do the scuba till your boat won't go....

There was the PreParty Cleanup Party, The Party, and the PostParty Brunch and WashingUp.

Of the PreParty Cleanup, I must say this: there were lessons learned.

Lesson # 1: "Auntie Coco has done the unthinkable and actually asked for help. We have to teach her that when you ask for help, you get it."

Lesson # 2: When you get a bunch of freaks on the job, strange surprises are to be expected.

Lesson # 3: A couple of kids can be a hellluva lot more useful than even they think they can be.

Lesson # 4: Some people have weird taste in outdoor decor.

Lesson # 5: Scrubbing a bathroom is much more entertaining when done with your favorite pal.

At The Party, memorable quotes, including:

"Mama, you need to lose weight before you wear that bikini." -Fuzzy

"Your daughter asked intelligent questions. Not kid questions, either. Intelligent questions." -Blanche

"I don't know if I'm good or bad. I haven't decided." -TekChik

"We were all impressed by some of the things your son wrote in his journal. He's quite imaginative." -the Pest

"Cybbie, come help us wake up BirthdayBoy. Go vamp him a little." -the Prince

"Your butt gets any bigger, I'll have to declare you Black." -the Animal

"I can put makeup on him. I'm qualified to do that, you know." -HelpMe

"Hey, come here so I can turn that swimsuit into a thong for you." -Coco

"She's wearing what? I'll be there in thirty-five minutes." -MightyJoe

"Whoa, this is early. Usually Cybbie's kids are gone before people start getting naked." -BuddahPat

"BirthdayBoy's hogging the toilet. I think he passed out on it." -Sparkey

"Who wants a blender drink?" -Tiberius

"There's some serious water displacement from those boobies." -Coco

"Get my man. I'm done." -DesdemonaOne


"The kids are officially gone! ADULT SWIM!" -Lance

For the PostParty Brunch and WashingUp, I ride over in the convertible, and the weather is fine. It's a great day for sunning, swimming and tidying up in a bikini, mimosa in hand. "The yellow one," BuddahPat decides when offered a choice. He's partial to the polka dots, I think. Peppermint Patty objects. "I haven't seen the pink one yet." The season's just begun, sweetie.

The Mermaid arrives, and I convince her to borrow one of my suits so she can float on the pool with me. After awhile, she decides she's ready to learn to swim. It's only taken three years. She does well with the mechanics, and just needs some practice. And, best, she busted through her fear.

"Let Cybbie hold you up. She won't cop a feel. Or, maybe she will, but at least she's not Max."

Mermaid laughs so hard she doesn't even mind swallowing a bit of pool water.

(Skindiver; Crack The Sky)

26 May, 2006

Brief Highlights

"...The harder you beat 'em, the dumber they get." ---responding officer Watts

The Incident:

The alarm on Hawk's car wakes us. We didn't know the car had an alarm when we bought it, and had to call the dealer to find out how to turn it off. We know now.

The Officer:

"Did you have the Club TM on? You gotta get the Club TM. Nobody will touch your car if you've got the Club TM on.

Oh, already this is my fault?

"It's just a couple of knuckleheaded teenagers out making trouble. We were after them two nights running, but then last night, we had that murder, so..."

I feel so reassured now.

The Agent:

No, Ma'am, I can't tell you what your coverage is. You have to file a claim, and then the representative will get back to in two hours, get a few more facts, let you know if you're covered."

And because I've filed a claim, my rates will go up whether I'm covered or not.

"No, Ma'am, that's not true. That's not true at all."

Oh, come on. I've had insurance for twenty years. I know how you people operate.

So why can't you tell me if I'm covered? You've got my file right in front of you.

"No, Ma'am, I'm not allowed to discuss this with you. You see, you're in Maryland,"

Thanks for that, I'd forgotten.

"and things might be different there. I'm in Texas."

Oh, you're in TEXAS. That explains everything.

The Representative:

"I'd like to record this, for our records. You realize you're being recorded? And you agree to this?"

Yes. That's fine. Can you tell me, now that I've been forced to file a claim, exactly what my coverage is?

"Right, so the LeBaron, you have only liability,"

That's right, because my ancient vehicle from way back yonder in 1993, was deemed too old by your company for them to agree to anything BUT liability, which, by the way, part of the reason I drive something this old is so that punkass kids out to steal cars in the 'hood will leave it alone. Sorry, you were saying?

"and on the Jeep, you've got collision and comprehensive with a $500.00 deductible."

Great. For a $200.00 piece of glass. Fabulous. And we don't have any idea what it's going to cost to replace the ignition switch and fix the steering column, which the punkass kids destroyed, after they tore their way through my back window, which by the way, was not necessary, as I'd left the rear passenger window down, so they could have just reached in and unlocked the door.

So, even though my insurance won't take care of any of this, because we've made a claim, our rates will go up?

"You know, I don't know the answer to that. That's the most frequent question I get, but I don't have the answer."

Well, if it's the most frequent question you get, don't you think you SHOULD know the answer?

Dead silence.


"Oh, Gawd, Cyb. I know exactly how you feel."

Thanks. I needed that.

24 May, 2006

Simple Equation

"...where de trash at, baby? Show me where de trash at!"-- Garbage collector, speaking to the neighbor's dog.

For anyone who hasn't already figured this out.

FOUND! + PostSecret = Fabulous

The Golden West Cafe on The Avenue was packed, just packed. Great food, for though I didn't manage to get near any of , everybody who did seemed impressed. Well, as impressed as hip urbanites get. If you make it "downee avnuue" for Honfest, check it out.

Davy was amazingly warm and sweet. Frank was reserved, but genuine. Peter was funny, and autographed something cute on the CD I was compelled to buy for Hawk. I mean, really, "The Booty Don't Stop" outlines pretty accurately our early romance. I'm trying to be only a tiny bit peeved that I have to wait for the next album (oops, showing my age) for "Bus or Beer?"

Both these projects are about stuff taken out of context, and the stories that go with them. The ones that you, the viewer, have to invent. Sort of the same thing that Gavin is doing with snippets of conversation over at DialogBlog. It's a more interactive form of media than the usual pap.

One big surprise that I wasn't expecting: I recognized no one. NOT ONE PERSON. I would have thought that with all of the supposedly hip people I know, there would have been someone with a familiar face- you know, one person? I mean, I know three people who showed up to the recent Trixie Little show, right? Okay, maybe not even someone I know personally, but, like, the guy with the dreadlocks from the bookstore? Or somebody from Red Emma's coffehouse? Somebody from CityPaper or the Baltimore School for the Arts? Actually, there might've been a CityPaper rep there; there are only three people who contribute whose faces I would recognize- no, four; sorry, Joab, almost missed you. (Speaking of which, check out The Animal. It's last week's, but still good.) So I guess the only logical conclusion is that my friends are not, in fact, hip. They're dorks who have grown up to be cool, which is different from hip.

I guess.

22 May, 2006

Poor Excuse

...Ruby lips above the water/Blowing bubbles, soft and fine/But, alas, I was no swimmer/So I lost my Clementine.....

"I can't swim" has got to be about the lamest thing I've ever heard. Okay, if you live in a desert and the largest body of water is a raindrop, maybe I would consider letting it pass. But on a shoreline state? In a neighborhood where there are pools? What the hell are you thinking?

Close behind are "I don't know CPR" and "I can't drive a stickshift."

Learn, damn you. It might be important.

(Oh My Darling Clementine; Percy Montrose or Barker Bradford, 1884)

19 May, 2006

You Asked

...now I'm dead, now I'm dead, now I'm dead....

In deference to those who occasionally e-mail me wanting to know when I will next appear, and as what, I post this. I am not, by nature, particularly self-promotional, as my writer friends will testify.

I'll perform as a gunslinging gal on Saturday evening in a show Hawk wrote, Murder At The Oh! No! Corral, presented in the Studio Theatre of the Chesapeake Arts Center. Showtime is 8 PM.

Sunday, at our new dinner-inclusive murder mystery venue, Whispers, you can see me as ultra-chipper Dana Friendly, in Death Warmed Over. Buffet starts at 5 PM, show at 6 PM.

For those who are interested in a more Renaissance venue, some of my friends will be at the opening weekend of the Virginia Renaissance Festival, or VARF.

I recently was in a room with a bunch of boaty Annapolitans, i.e.; people from Annapolis, MD who own boats. It's not that they weren't friendly; they were. They were very, very nice. I felt kind of out of place, though, as I had little to contribute to the redecorating/stockmarket/private school/sailing conversations they were having.

It occurred to me that someone very much at home with a gang of freaks who comfortably murder one another for the dining entertainment of others will by definition probably not be at ease elsewhere.

(God's Comic; Elvis Costello)

16 May, 2006

Laugh, Goddamnit.

....if there's a smile on my face/ It's only there trying to fool the public...

Darwin vs the Bible? No, this is the Evolution Of Dance. Wonder how many of those moves I can do on stilts.

Not your brothers, not my brothers. No, says Fuzzy, they're Mark's brothers.

(With a big thank you to Patrick Cashin for sharing these clips.)

A surprise: since nobody's ever heard of I'll Say She Is, check it out. Of course, these days, who's heard of Chevalier? But look, Harpo's doing the move that my family always referred to as 'giving a leg', and when I went forth into the world, no one knew what the hell that meant. Idiots.

You've gotta love a site with the disclaimer "some material may offend".

The weather has returned to Pure Evil, but I am stubborn and refuse to put on socks. Thus, I am saddled with a sore throat and a severe case of the grouchies. This situation is only very slightly alleviated by my Fluffy shouting, at random intervals, "Fewer soup! DVDs with an apostrophe!* TWELVE ITEMS OR LESS!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAH!"

Oh, yes, very funny.

(Tears of a Clown; Smokey Robinson and the Miracles)

*And the goddam spellchecker wanted to replace my "DVDs" with "DVD's". Just kill me now.

13 May, 2006

Quirky? Me?

...some kind of demon messing in the glue/ If you don’t watch out it’ll stick to you.....

Here it is, an urban quirk: there is a parking lot in my neighborhood, on which is built, on a near-daily basis, an impromptu skatepark. While I've never been a skaterat (too old, I think; too terrified of perils to my skin, I suspect may be more accurate) but I admire the devotion to the activity, the cobbled-together nature of found objects -cum- obstacle course and the fact that it disappears EVERY DAY.

There are plans to evacuate the two or three sad tenants of the strip shop surrounding that parking lot, and turn the whole area into a 300-home development. Though I know the skaterats are resourceful enough to find another place, or may be too old to be skating by the time this happens, the thought of not having that concrete evidence of the temporary nature of things makes me a little sad.

Here it is, I am officially quirky.

Your Quirk Factor: 80%

You're so quirky, it's hard for you to tell the difference between quirky and normal.
No doubt about it, there's little about you that's "normal" or "average."

Here it is, on a blog by a guy named Phil, Korea's answer to England's RatherGood.com, by way of the blog of James Lileks, author of such classics as Interior Desecrations and Mommie Knows Worst. If my stepmother doesn't already have it, I'm buying her The Gallery of Regrettable Food for Mother's Day.

Speaking of which, since most of you have mothers, if you're stumped for gifts, do visit Archie McPhee. They're quirkier than most.

(Strange Brew; Cream)

12 May, 2006

Sports Trivia:

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

What is the proper spelling of Jaelodie Gnada Jellodey Knotta Hellodie Nada the Ravens' new hire?

09 May, 2006

Busy. You?

...some folks say it’s too big and uses too much gas/ Some folks say it’s too old and that it goes too fast/ But my love is bigger than a Honda, it’s bigger than a Subaru....


Would you rather ride to the train station in a convertible?

He looks up from the phone book, finger still poised over the name of a taxi service.

He needs to get to the station for a six o'clock train. It's fifteen minutes from here, certainly not worth nearly fifty dollars in cab fare. Besides, I have a soft spot for men with three-letter names. Jon. Wil. Tim. This tall rugged fellow with Midwestern skin, 'seventies hair and a tiny gap between his teeth sports a nametag that dubs him 'Wes'.

"Well, sure," he answers after a moment of slack-jawed silence.

Friday, I dug a creation out of the bodacious basement (and no, this time I'm not talking about my ass, but about the actual basement, the one beneath the house) that I wore when Fluffy and I had our first gig together. He and assorted other children wore bright colors and carried a butterfly on a stick. I led the parade of children as a spring fairy, or garden sprite, or some other impractical nonsense in the middle of January five or more years ago. Today, I'll wear it to the Fairie Festival at Sproutwood Farms in Glen Rock, PA. Fuzzy gets a glimpse of the gown and nothing will do but that she has one, too. Ten minutes and a handful of notions later, she has a scarf- and ribbon-bedecked knit tank dress. If only all wishes were this simple to grant. The boys wear tie-dyed tee shirts and try hard to not be bored. I think we fit in.

We've seen a lot of theatre lately: Damn Yankees! at Mt. St. Joe high school, and The Phantom Tollbooth at Severna Park . Upcoming events include the MWA Poetry Cafe at the CAC, a guest appearance at the Coffee Beanery Cafe in Annapolis with the Green Moon Poets' Society (of which, I have been informed, I am now a lifetime member- if only everything was this embracing) and the kids' dance recital on Saturday on the Mainstage of CAC.

Sunday, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival allows us to touch sheep and llamas and rabbits and goats, while offering yarns and garments and wool roving for our purchase. A woman spins thread on a wooden wheel, pulling fur from the rabbit on her lap in tiny bunches. Woolen-clad 4-H kids lead animals before a group of judges, hoping for a ribbon. "The sweater was made oversized, so that Emily can continue to wear it as she grows. It was designed and created by her aunt, from Shadow's first shearing. Notice that the back of the sweater matches the pattern on Shadow's back, and the front of it mirrors his belly." The 2005 Wool Queen reads the bios of the competitors. I guess the 2006 Queen has yet to be chosen.

But Saturday, the day of the MWA Annual Writer's Conference, Saturday is glorious. I hesitate to wax too poetical, knowing that other parts of the country are dismal, realizing that a day like this is a gift, a treasure, a treat. Tomorrow will be cloudy and cool, but today is topless weather. Perfect.

Someone I was friendly with in high school has arrived. The Professor holds no surprises for me. He is like he was then, only moreso. What surprises me is me. I like him even better now. He's finished a novel, and wants an agent. This is a good place to look.

"I tried going to one of those local author signings. I'd never heard of the author, but I bought the book, waited at the back of the line, feeling totally cheesy, and told her I'd finished a book and wondered how she'd gotten her agent. She just shut down.. I felt so slimy."

Mmm. Sounds like you need to listen to Running Bear Loved Little White Dove a couple of times in a row. Embrace your inner cheeseball.

"I love that song!"

And Teen Angel?

"That, too. No, I think I'm pretty comfortable with my inner cheeseball. It's the outer one I'm having trouble with."

Right. You have to be the cheese. Own the cheese. Display your cheese.

Wes and I ride in perfect topless weather to the train station. He chats about his kid, his fiancee. No, baby, I'm not hitting on you. When I offer a ride, a ride is all I'm offering.

He offers compensation.

"Can I give you gas money? Anything?"

Think of me kindly. Do a favor for a stranger.

"Well, let me give you a story." He digs through, selects one. "This is the one the agent asked to see," he tells me.

If only all exchanges were so casual and so kind.

(Pink Cadillac; Bruce Springsteen)

07 May, 2006

Tomorrow, figuratively.

...Smoke was rollin' outta the back/ When I started to gain on that Cadillac/ I knew I could catch him and hoped I could pass....

Okay, Mister Gold Jag-u-wahr Convertible, just pull around me in traffic and cut me off, mm-hmmm, thass right, because you spent umptybillion dollars on your car, that gives you the right to drive like a jerk. Your ride's shweet and mine's a beater, guess what- - you're an asshole, and you're OLD.

And even if you were young, I'd still be better-looking.


(Hot Rod Lincoln; Charlie Ryan)

03 May, 2006

Cheese sandwich?

...freedom and security/ militant enforcement of democracy....

The Pyrate sings softly to me.

"Gee, it's almost as though you were paying attention when you wrote those lyrics," quips The Animal.

Oh, sure. That NEVER happens.

I am surrounded by 'Gaties, former cast members of Watergate! the Musical, who happen to be some of my favorite humans ever. Maureen Dean is here, Nixon, Villo Gonzales, Coco, who was the director, Tony "Tony Who?" Ulacewicz and G. Gordon Liddy.

I love these voices and faces, and the familiar warmth that makes a two-hour wait before a show not just bearable but nearly pleasant.

BuddahPat was my driving companion on the way here.

"We might get caught in the traffic backup ahead," he warns, after a heads-up call from Coco.

'S'okay. We've got plenty of time, each other for company, and if it could be a better day for a ride in a convertible, I'm not sure how.

"What you say is true. There are many possible miseries, of which we have none."

The murder goes well, the audience is happy, we are praised and beered afterwards. I don't make it home until midnight, but life is good.

Something snarky tomorrow, I promise.

(Goodbye, Mrs. Liddy; Pomeroy&Brown, from Watergate! the Musical)

02 May, 2006

Five Minutes

...Here in an instant, gone in a flash/ What does it mean? What does it mean?....

She was wearing hot pink boots. I noticed because I own some. They just met the hem of her capri-length jeans, which were topped by a ruched hot pink top and a cropped denim jacket with 3/4 length sleeves. A longer sleeve of hot pink mesh showed between elbow and wrist. I couldn't see her earrings, and didn't notice her hair. Her nails were two inches long. Each.

If she was in style when she walked in the store, she most certainly wasn't by the time she walked out.

(Jack's Obsession; Danny Elfman from The Nightmare Before Christmas)

01 May, 2006

Blown Out

...we spell out the words we don't want him to understand/ Like T-O-Y or maybe S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E....

"Mama, are you and Papa going to get a divorce?"

Not today, baby.

"You sure?"

Yes, baby, I'm sure.

"How do you know?"

Because it's Saturday, sweetie. Lawyers don't work on Saturdays.

What? You know one that does?

(D-I-V-O-R-C-E; Tammy Wynett)