Thursday, December 22, 2005

Across from the Hilton

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Or, wasting time. Depends on your perspective, really.

I found this:
which includes this:

and then this:

both from Making Light.

And if you're interested in webcomics, you can check out some good ones from here:
The Best Webcomics of 2005

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Subcutaneous Fluids

So I'm inserting the needle of the fluid bag in the cat's skin right above her shoulder blades, she tries to bolt and I nick my index finger. As I'm attempting to successfully insert the needle I get blood drops on her white fur, which look redder than they should.

I hold the needle into her skin with one hand and open the valve, while simultaneously grabbing a tissue to staunch the trickle of blood. She fidgets and I panic, remembering yesterday when she got away from me and the solution in the bag started spraying into the air from the suddenly loose needle.

All the fluid goes in, and then I look down. Either my cat has a lopsided case of giantism, or all of the liquid from the injection has settled into one paw. I remove the needle (after closing the valve again, learned that one, didn't I?) and she jumps onto the side of the tub, but stumbles because of her newly unbalanced body.

Earlier she nearly took the skin off my hand for trying to make her swallow her antibiotics. She's a crafty one too. She doesn't swallow but does stick her tongue out a litte, so I let go of her jaw because I think she's taken it. Then she opens her mouth and coughs lightly and the pill pops out onto the tile. She's held a pill in her mouth for over a minute so I'd think she's done and let go.

Blowing in her nose doesn't help one bit, no matter what the vet said. I think that I'd have to do the CPR bit, and put my mouth over her entire muzzle and blow to get the stubborn bitch to swallow. Maybe not even then.

Swollen Foot

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

White Blood Cells

Gross Description Ahead!

Did you know that if a cat has a severe intestinal infection, white blood cells will come out of her ass for three days? That's a fun little fact I didn't know until I got home Friday night and saw it all over my bedroom.

She's finally feeling better, after I shove the daily antibiotics down her throat and insert a needle under her skin to give her subcutaneous fluids to counteract the dehydration of not eating.

And, the vet can't tell me definitively what's wrong with her without an expensive biopsy of colon tissue...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am preparing some things in the kitchen for our day in (insert city name here) with my sister Chloe and Cletus and Zoe and little Luke. One of the things that I always remember about Thanksgiving is that we would get up and smell the stuffing ingredients. I'd pick at the stuffing before it went into the bird, and then mom and dad would put it in the oven. They'd tell us what time it'd be ready.

Hours would pass, wonderful smells would emanate from the oven and our mouths would water. At the appointed time, the turkey was never ready. Mom and dad would check it and say, "Oh, about another hour," so we'd all be hungry with nothing to eat. So we'd have snacks. Today I'm making some snacks for the inevitable delay.

Unlike some other people that I know, we always eat Thanksgiving dinner in the afternoon instead of evening. Mom and dad would shoot for 1pm and hit 2:30 instead. I feel prepared now.

The kittens Calvin and Hobbes came through their operation with no problems, and no neuticles thank you very much. They're currently doing their very best to annoy me, and my other cat and my roommate. Though it does make me laugh when they annoy my roommate. He likes to threaten them with death as he cuddles them.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Three Things Tuesday

I don't have 10,000 words yet, but I'm working on my outline. Last year I think went better because I had some places to go with the characters. Things progress, sometimes as they choose.

Don't forget: Bread needs leavening.

My little boys lose their manhood tomorrow, which would make me a whole lot sadder if it meant more peeing on things instead of less.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

NaNoWriMo Progress

National Novel Writing Month. I like the concept, but the execution seems to escape me. And I do appear to work slightly better when under a deadline.

I've fallen behind. I started one story but it wasn't flowing, so I started another. Both seem highly derivative at this point, but might end up less so by the time I'm finished.

Today I've got around 5,500 words, and I should have close to 30,000. I would be more concerned except that last year I got more than 40,000 in the last 15 days of November. I might not make it to 50,000, but I am enjoying the journey.

I hope to get to 10,000 today, and that might actually happen. I'll let you know.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Seven Meme

In the mold of the Diva and CW Murphy

7 Things I can do
make people laugh, and sometimes not at me
shave my head
tell the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff out loud, with voices

7 Things I can’t do
ride a motorcycle
pilot a plane or helicopter
believe conspiracy theories
shop at Wal-Mart
go to any more baby showers
throw a really good party
keep my mouth shut when I need to

7 Things I have in my life now that I’m so incredibly thankful for
my brother
and sisters
and nephew
and nieces
my parents
that's 8,
if I add the job
and the cats and the best friend I'm way over the limit

7 things I hope to do before I die
publish a novel
start an art school for kids
learn some French
see the Parthenon
fly somewhere first class
go on the radio or do other voice-over work
live near the beach, even briefly

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Three Things Again

Albuterol inhaler makes me sicker. Not, I think, my doctor's objective.

My principal expects me to give up my conference and lunch once a week for an In School Suspension Room. Illegal, unethical and just mean.

I've written almost nothing for NaNoWriMo. I'm outlining, but I doubt that I'll finish this year. I'm not giving up, just trying to get the disappointment out of the way now.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Blurry Capitol

I wanted to see what would happen if I moved the camera on purpose, instead of moving it while trying really hard to hold it still. Like the one below.

Long exposure shots without a tripod suck unless you're open to some experimentation.

The Capitol

The state Capitol as seen from near the top of the Hilton. See above for my less clear photo.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

TAEA Conference

I'm here at the Hilton in Austin. I don't even want tell you how much it's costing me, but on the plus side the room is very nice.

I've been to some interesting presentations, and the facilities here are good. I can't say the same about some of the other conferences that I've attended. I went to some technology workshops today, and I'll be using some of that information in my classroom although most of it's intended for older students.

I have not yet started writing for NaNoWriMo, as I've been pretty busy, but I think I've finally got a good idea for that. I'll be writing long hand because I decided at the last minute not to bring my laptop. Next time I'll definitely need to do that.

I can recommend a good barbecue place here. Around the corner from the convention center is a place called Ironworks. Inexpensive and very good. Tonight we're supposed to go get some Japanese. I hope we do, I haven't had good noodles in a while.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I'm off to Austin to attend the TAEA Conference.

Lucky me, there's a KKK rally about the proposition to ban same-sex marriage.
You know all usn's in the art profession could get behind legislation like that.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tagged by CW Murphy

1. Go into your archives.
Okay, but they're on my hard drive and I'll have to look a bit.

2. Find your 23rd post.
July of 2004.

3. Post the fifth sentence.
I'm having a hard time counting because of my (indiscriminate) use of colons and parentheticals, but here it is:

Please don't tell me about your bathroom rituals or otherwise none-of-my-business stuff, and I will do the same for you.

4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.
Sorry, don't want to. Feel free to participate though. Gotta go write my 2000 NaNoWriMo words for today. Give or take.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


I LOVE Halloween. It's my favorite holiday. I really look forward to the candy and the costumes and the feeling in the air.

I'm having a party tonight, and though I sent out an invitation, I didn't write RSVP, so no one's let me know whether or not they'll be here. Except my family, but they have to come. I asked everyone to dress up as someone/thing from an eighties movie.

My brother Brad and I talked about dressing him up as John Cusack from Better Off Dead, the part where he's about to immolate himself, wearing a sheet and a tie wrapped around his head, and carrying a mason jar full of gasoline. Got to make sure I've got batteries in my camera.

I'm going to be Veronica Sawyer from Heathers. I had most of the stuff already, so I've spent only about $20 on hair color and a skirt.

So, Happy Halloween everyone! I hope that you dance, laugh, and in general have enough candy to get a really good sugar high.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Television Genius

I watch a lot of TV. So much so that my friends and family mock me mercilessly. Especially at the beginning of the fall season when I create my TV watching grid. It's got all the networks and all the shows and I mark the ones that I like already or are recommended by whatever critics. I am not quite as bad (or good, depending on your point of view) as Laurel.

Several new shows were recommended by TV Guide for this season, and for the most part I agree with them. I really like Prison Break. It's got a 24ish vibe, and they do the suspense and cliffhangers and violence well. I like How I Met Your Mother, if only because Neil Patrick Harris is my new hero. I like My Name is Earl. I've liked Jason Lee ever since his role as Banky in Chasing Amy. He and Joey Lauren Adams have the funniest one-upsmanship on scars that I've ever seen.

I want to like Threshold. I'm having some problems with it. If NBC hadn't cancelled Karen Sisco, I wouldn't have to worry about it, since Carla Gugino would then be on that.

Threshold's premise is that a genius, played by Carla, has come up with some contingency plans for the US government. What to do if terrorists take out the president, what to do if avian flu gets to our country, stuff like that. Threshold is the name of her plan for what to do if aliens land on our planet, which they do. She recruits some other people to help, including Data as a doctor, Peter Dinklage as a linguistics expert, Roc as her boss, some chiseled merc as muscle and the guy who played Richard on Felicity as a math genius.

But then the supposed genius, and her crack team of geniuses, keep telling their protective agents to leave them alone. And every time they do, the aliens attack. And the aliens look like humans, 'cuz they didn't come themselves they sent a signal that changes human DNA into alien DNA.

Last night, Ms. Genius took a US senator on a tour of the Threshold facility and let him steal something from the tiny vault. Then he played the alien signal to some other senators and high ranking government people, and Ms. Genius had to shoot down their plane. Then she cried.

Threshold has an interesting idea, that maybe aliens could change us without ever having to land and fight. But then it takes the dumbest geniuses on the planet and puts them in charge of our safety. I'm still watching, but not for long.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Feeling Less Dead

Today is the first day in about a week that I haven't felt like Green Mucus Death. I went to work today and everything was okay until the staff meeting about Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol. Say that five times fast. That gave me a headache and it was about sixty degrees in the library.

I ended up drawing my sunglasses on the table. Lots o' learnin'.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Small Piece of Advice

If your mom ever goes into the hospital, after smoking two packs of cigarettes a day for forty years, and she tells you a story about the nurse and how the nurse used a stethoscope on her chest to listen to her lungs, DON'T ask your mother if the nurse could her the alveoli bursting. Your mom won't think that it's funny.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Not Working

I'm not going to work again tomorrow. The guilt is NOT getting to me. I'm perfectly fine, and I won't be looking at the clock all day tomorrow trying to figure out what's happening at school.

I'm sure that I'll sleep most of tomorrow, just like I did today. That was very nice.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Teaching and Sickness

Any teacher will tell you that a school is basically a germ factory. Kids get sick, they pass it on. Adults get sick, they pass it on. No one wants to stay home when they're actually sick, so more people get infected.

I hate being absent. I can come up with lessons on the fly when I'll be teaching them, but I get all bogged down in details when I write lesson plans for someone else. It takes me at least three hours to write a good plan for a substitute. Then I usually have to take my chances on the substitute system lottery.

My student teacher got sick last week, and now I've got it. I almost fell asleep at school today in the conference room. I've been letting her teach all by herself and doing my e-mail and other administrative work in other rooms, and today I took two Benadryl for this cold.

I learned that I should never take two Benadryl, and that the end of student teaching, where I let her do her thing, bores me more than I thought it would.

So I'll be staying home tomorrow and popping Dayquil. And getting harassed by two increasingly active and destructive kittens. They tore up another roll of toilet paper today, and got pieces all over the bathroom. Then I accidentally left one of the upper cabinets open and they knocked a bunch of the plasticware all over the floor.

Now that I think about it, a photo of the torn up toilet paper would have been great, but I already cleaned it up.

Comment Spam

I don't know how they do it. It seems that every time I post something in the evening, I get comment spam. And now I can't even find the spam, cuz they started to put it in the archived posts. So I activated the word verification for comments. Sorry.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Home from the Hospital

My mother's home from the hospital, yesterday at about noon. She's stated her intention to exercise, cut down on the smoking and eat better. And we're not to bug her about the not smoking, nor are we to keep any sorts of statistics should she smoke a little more on some days.

She's gone from saying she's ready to die to she doesn't want to die. I'm glad, cuz that all sucked.

Thank you for the well wishes. My mother appreciates them also.

Monday, October 03, 2005

My Mother

My mother is in the hospital. For the fourth time in the past six or eight years. The first time was a heart attack. She had angioplasty. The second time was another heart attack. She got a stent. The third time was a reaction to too much aspirin. That time she didn't even have to stay overnight.

This is the fourth time. Saturday night she couldn't breathe. She'd been unable to breathe properly for five days, but ignored it because it would go away. As those things always do, right?

My father called me on Sunday, wait, no. My father didn't call me on Sunday. I was working out and the phone rang. I couldn't get to it in time so my roommate answered. He said it was my mom, and she wanted me to call her back. I grabbed the phone and looked at the caller id, which said "Medical Center." I said "Did she leave a number?" and he said no.

I called my parents' house. My dad answered, and I said good morning and where's Mom? He told me about the shortness of breath, and that he hadn't wanted to wake us up last night. I got a bit irate at that. He said, "It's not like she had another heart attack."

I called my mom at the Medical Center. She almost started to cry when she told me how scared she was. She said that they'd told her she has fluid in her lungs, but don't know why.

We went to visit later, dad was in her room when we got there after navigating the maze. We spent a while, she ordered lunch, and we went home. I called her again and she said she felt better, but didn't like it and wanted to go home.

This morning my brother Brad and I are going to visit. She told me on the phone that the physician's assistant told her she's got congestive heart failure, and they're going to do a catheterization tomorrow. She doesn't want to call my dad because she thinks she'll start to cry, and he won't be able to do anything.

I have found out that people can live for years with congestive heart failure, if they take care of themselves. Too bad my mother won't do that.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Verizon Sucks

I came home yesterday to find that I couldn't go down the alley to my garage* as a truck had blocked it. I parked in front, which I hate to do because it gets so hot, and then you get the dew in the morning. I got in, and didn't feel that familiar rush of cool air. It was about 87 degrees in my house.

I called my roommate at work, and he told me that the air conditioner had been off since noon, and the power had been on and off, and that Verizon and their contractors had to cut off the electric. He didn't call them to find out what was going on, he went out to speak to the mostly Spanish-speaking men in the alley during their furious digging.

When I called, Shaniqua told me that she had no idea why anyone from Verizon would want or need to cut off my electricity. All in a tone that spoke of my extreme ignorance for calling the phone company about an electrical outage. I told her that in the near-100 degree heat that I'd need to have it back on very soon. She promised to find out what was going on, and that she'd call me back.

Meantime, I called my brother who lives just down the way to ask if I and the cats could come stay with him in his cool, cool house. He said yes, so then I went outside to say to the men in the alley, "?CUANDO?" to which one of them replied, "Thutty minute." Usually that means three hours, right?

I went back into the house, packed up the cats (pushing one of them into the cat carrier butt first cuz she won't go otherwise) and got ready to put on my shoes. Just then the refrigerator came on. I went to the kitchen to look. Yes, the refrigerator had started, but the microwave still had no power. The ceiling fan came on, so I wandered the house turning off switches.

The electrical poltergeist visited the television and started to turn it on and off very rapidly. I went to unplug the surge protector, which I thought was supposed to eliminate things like that. I went into the kitchen again, and the microwave had reverted to its facist but active state. (After the power goes out, it won't let me microwave unless I reprogram the clock.)

Then, finally all the house had power. I turned the air conditioner back down to cool off, and finally got it to a decent temperature around eight pm, and there was another surge and the power went off again for a minute but came back on. In the dark. With no workmen anywhere near my house.

Today, my phone has no dial tone. I decided to forego the massive consumption of minutes that my cell phone would experience during an eternal hold, and went to the website to send them an e-mail. Once there, they encourage the troubleshooting option.

I went through the troubleshooting steps, found out that I'd done everything already as I 'd suspected, and came across the following:

The text around the image tells people to

1. Open the Network Interface Device. You may have to remove a screw first.
2. Open the latch inside the box. Unplug the line that is not working.
3. Connect a working telephone to the jack on the Network Interface Device.

I don't know about you, but I'm uncomfortable with the phone company telling every idiot (including me) that has internet access to go outside and mess with the phone equipment. What the hell are they thinking?

I submitted a "repair request" and got an automatic response that said:

Thank you for contacting the Verizon eCenter, where we never stop working for you.
We will respond to you within one business day.

I am just in awe, really, really impressed with the customer service that tells people to go fix their own crap and then promises to respond in a day. Who'd like to join me in a toast to Verizon?

*Our suburb has mostly rear garages, and alleys that run behind the houses to access them

Monday, September 19, 2005

Calvin Reclines

I tried to keep the waste can upright, but they kept knocking it over. Now I know why. It's a fort. Calvin crawled into it and curled right up, letting me take a bunch of photos.
This one came out well, if kind of creepy because I didn't use the flash and he moved. It's interesting the cool effects you can get by turning off the flash.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Happy Birthday Cletus!

My brother-in-law just had a birthday. We celebrated by hanging out at his house by the pool. His wife got him this great chocolate cake, and fun was had by all. Even our friend Neil, who took a nap, had a good time. I got to spend some time with my sister's baby and also with some friends I don't see that often and their children. Then my brother Brad had me drive his car home, and groused the whole time from the back seat.

My parents wimped out again, but they're worse homebodies than me. Of course, my mom did ask us to take her camera with us so she could get some photos. I think I'll hold out on those.
Brad, my brother, said that we should tell my mom that she missed the baby's first word. And that he said "Grandma." And that he said, "Where Grandma?" And then we had to say "Grandma doesn't love you anymore."

We've got a sick sense of humor, us Crowes.

Cletus and Junior

Cletus and his boy, my nephew Luke. That's the name I'd have given him anyway. He loves to swim, and his mother says that she thinks he looks like me. I like to think that I'm that cute.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


A friend of mine recently lost her stepfather. I've been meaning to write her a note, expressing my sympathy for her loss, but I've not been writing much lately. No real excuse for that, other than lots of work and stress and decompressing from said stress. I went to a website about writing, and it had some advice about writing a condolence letter. And now, having visited my friend recently, I know that I've delayed this too long and have hurt her, for which I deeply apologize.

I met Lynn a while ago. She dated my friend James right after high school, and we spent a great summer at various houses having fun. She fit in well with our group, right from the start. In some ways she took on the role of caretaker, and we were okay with that. We spent quite a few hours at her Mom's house in a small town down the road. One that didn't sell alcohol in the city limits, so we had to make a longer trip than you'd usually think to make a beer run. Her mother and stepfather allowed us the use of the house, and one of the teenage perennials, a pool table. I didn't know her stepfather well. He was kind and polite to us when we came over, even when we got rowdy, which happened fairly frequently.

The one thing that I remember well concerned a day when we'd been hanging out at Lynn's mom's house, a smaller group than usual. Someone put on some music, a little older than we usually chose. Lynn's stepfather walked up to his wife, put his arms around her, and they started to dance.

The way they danced. It didn't remind me of my parents, who loved one another but mostly swayed to music. This was different. They glided across the floor, graceful and perfect. He twirled her, and she let herself be twirled, and I remember thinking that I'd never seen people dance that well, that comfortable together in real life. They belonged together in that small stretch of time, and they knew it. You could see it in the smiles on their faces. We knew it too, and it made all of us smile to see how well they moved together. It made me wish that someday I'd have a partner like that, with whom I'd move so beautifully that we'd be like one person.

As soon as I heard about Lynn's stepfather's death, I tried to remember something personal about him. That's what I've got, and I hope that Lynn remembers that day with all the joy that her mother and stepfather felt in those moments.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Growing Apart

I learned last night at a friend's birthday party that I have managed to alienate a couple of acquaintances that used to be good friends. I'm having difficulty in deciding what to do.

You see, the friends that I've alienated and I grew apart. I tried to initiate a few things with both of them several years back, but didn't get responses and so assumed they weren't interested. But now they're upset that I didn't attend weddings or funerals or showers.

I've been to more showers than I care to remember, most of them at my job that has 50 other women. And one man. If I can avoid them, I do. When I got the shower and wedding invitations, I wasn't sure if I should feel included or insulted.

These are people that I see maybe, maybe twice a year at a party given by someone else. When I tried in the past to do things with them, most of the time they couldn't be bothered. Now I wonder why I'm expected to do friend things with people that don't treat me as a friend.

The reason I don't know what to do is that I don't like to hurt people's feelings. I honestly had no clue that these women would care about either my presence or my opinion any more. Now a third friend feels caught in the middle and has taken their pain to her heart.

I'm not asking for advice really, just thinking out loud-ish. Do I apologize, do I try to explain, do I tell them that while I used to be friends with them that I didn't thing we were anymore? My sister Jenny is better at not caring what people think than I am. I take most things too seriously and worry way too much about other people.

It's interesting how not doing something can make your life more complicated.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hermosa Beach

The view from our window at the Beach House in Hermosa. Off to the left you can see Hermosa Beach Pier, and down in front, harder to see are the beach volleyball nets. It's a great place for people watching. The Strand, a bicycling/skating/skateboarding and walking path that runs right underneath the balcony, allowed for lots of eavesdropping on sections of conversations. It's also a great place to drink beer and watch the sunset.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

English Learner on Mars

I found this site the other day hitting Next Blog button. Odd, but interesting, and short.

english learner on mars

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Congratulations to one of the coolest bloggers that I know. I almost don't know what to say.

Here's to you, Darling Diva, and your kind and loving man.

School is Kicking My Ass

I'm sorry. I didn't intend to become the latest blog world casualty, and I still don't. School is kicking my ass but good. I'll do better, I promise, but it'll have to wait until Tuesday of next week 'cuz I'm going to LA to hang with a friend.

I'm going to do my best to sketch while I'm there, and post some photos. We'll be staying in this great hotel where we stayed last year in Hermosa Beach, and dining at least once at this wonderful little restaurant called Christine. Best lamb chops I've ever had.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Sibling Rivalry

Calvin and Hobbes chew on each other. They beat the crap out of each other almost hourly, and then nap with full body contact.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Bailey sat in the back, playing with the cabinet instead of listening. The teacher moved her to the front. Bailey sat, isolated. In a few minutes, the teacher let her move to the back. After school, Bailey's mom told the teacher, "Bailey had the best time in art class today."

My day, in fifty words.
Read some other fifty word stories at fifty word fiction.

Monday, August 15, 2005

School's In

School. I used to get butterflies for the first day. Those lasted from the time I was in kindergarten all the way up to a couple of years ago.

I got them really bad the first time I stepped into the high school where I got my first job. As I walked, I heard some kids whispering about me. "Who's that? That's a teacher? No way!"
I've always looked young for my age, and at 5' 2", most of those kids towered over me.

This year my biggest anxiety was not finishing the materials that I planned to give to the other teachers at my presentation. It went well though, and I hope they learned something useful. Though I did forget how slow you have to go to teach computer skills. I haven't done anything similar with a large group of people in a long.

The interesting thing? The teachers worked at a speed comparable to the third graders. Not because they don't understand, but because many of them didn't exit their e-mail when I started, and also because their skill levels ranged all over the place.

I'm glad I did it, and I'd really like to do it again. Next time I'll ask for more time, and go slower.

I didn't get butterflies the first day. What I did get was a really great feeling when I saw written in the dirt on my window outside, "We love you Ms. Crowe!" Whoever did it wrote it backwards so that I could read it from the inside.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

New Fiction

I've been busy with preparing for school, and my presentation to the teachers, but I posted a bunch of new stories at fifty word fiction, so please go take a look.

My apologies to anyone who submitted recently and waited for their story. If it's not posted yet, please be just a little more patient and it will be posted before the end of the week.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


My cats have fleas. For the second time in a week.

You see, when I got them they seemed clean. But, several days later, I noticed little black specks all over my bed. It's called flea dirt sometimes, but really it's excrement. If you wet it, it turns red.

A friend and I shampooed them in the bathtub. They scratched and hissed and one of them bit my thumb. But then they were clean, and I powdered the carpet and vacuumed. I assumed the fleas died.

Tuesday I saw some more flea dirt, but I was too tired to do anything about it. Wednesday I went to the grocery store to get some treatment. Can't use it on cats under 12 weeks, which these definitely are.

So I called the vet. She agreed to just give me the medicine without an appointment, so I went and picked up these pills called Capstar, I think, and some Advantage. And it only cost $60.

I almost lost my hand giving the pill to the first kitten. As I was on the phone to my pest-control guy, trying to arrange the bombing of my house, I pried open his jaws about seven times, and he just spit it out after using his claws to peel my hands off his head.

At one point I though he'd swallowed it. He foamed at the mouth a bit, from the pill, and then stayed still for a second, but when I let go he spit out a slightly smaller pill. Little bastard. I remembered some wet catfood I had from a month ago, and put the pills in that and he ate it.

The fourteen year old took two tries, but it's easier to hold her head back to use gravity to help get the pill in. Then I used the food for the second kitten.

So, on Monday, I get to take the cats to my sister's house, lock them in her bathroom, and stay out of my house for four hours while the poison works. Then, I get to vacuum my house, corner to corner every day for eleven days.

Don't you just love pets?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Back to School

School starts soon here in the DFW area. Some schools petition the state for a waiver from the legislated start date. The tourism lobby helped to pass that law, BTW.

Here's a question for you. Why do we keep the same school calendar necessitated by a farming lifestyle? Used to, families needed the kids home during the summer to help with the crops and the harvest. How many families do you know whose kids help to bring in the crops?

I've finally finished my work that kept me from blogging these last two weeks. You have my apologies. PowerPoint presentations take a lot of time to make if you're making step-by-steps to work software, and doing a screenshot of each step. I'm really tired, because I did that for seven different programs.

I'll present to my staff, and then I'll be so relieved that I'll have to do a dance of joy. With or without music. Enjoy the mental image of a short, plump blonde woman wearing board shorts and a Gladstone's t-shirt doing a dance of joy. It'll only happen once or twice this year, mostly because the PE coaches have already managed to piss me off.

It's too bad, because now I'll be disinclined to cooperate with them on anything this year. They should have given me what I wanted, but now they'll just have to pay for it over and over again.

What an angry group of mannish women that'll be.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Zaphod and Ford

Lister and Holly
Castor and Pollux
Crockett and Tubbs :)
Bill and Ted
Vincent and Theo.

What would you name them? Not just random names, either, you need to pick two that go together.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Yahoo! Picks

I've gotten about twelve e-mail submissions for fifty word fiction today. I've only had nineteen in the last two months, so I knew something was going on. I went to StatCounter to see where all the people heard of me, and found this.

Pretty cool, huh? Thanks, Yahoo.

Monday, July 25, 2005



Might have a visitor on Wednesday. If so will post photos.

Note to CW Murphy: I still can't get my Odeo Syncr to work. Staff told me problems fixed, but nah. Any ideas appreciated.

I exagerrate, but this is going to take way more time than I thought to put together. Damn my perfectionistic streak. I'm being extra careful, and someone will point out at least three errors on the day that I present. Unclenching. . . . . . . now.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


In the midst of cramming about a week's worth of work into two days, I sigh, wipe my brow and think "What the hell is wrong with me?" or something to that effect.

So, to entertain you, a few links.

Animator Nina Paley did this cartoon about conspicuous consumerism, and also this one about the role of Sita in the Ramayana, told in old songs from the 20's. What a style.

Mind Hacks, when you want to think about thinking.

A comic called Orneryboy, by Michael Lalonde.

And Stay Free.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My Niece

My niece came to visit from July 4th through July 8th, and then from July 11 through July 13th. She's a great kid. I asked her what pseudonym she'd prefer, and she said Zin. That's her web name, and it's on the website she designed using html. (!) I asked her if we could use a less Pokemon kind of name, and she said no, not really.

We spent some time with my sister Chloe in the West, and also some time with my sister Jenny down the street. Zin loves to swim and draw and read. She takes after her father, who doesn't spend much time with her. She spends her days and nights at my house when she comes. Possibly because I'm the one who doesn't have to go to work during the summer, but possibly not.

Everytime she visits I take her to the grocery with me to buy the things she'd like to eat. Her favorite food, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, ends up in my house more times than not, but she didn't want any soda or Captain Crunch. We swam and visited relatives and ate a lot, and on one of the days we made a book. Zin also spent lots of time drawing on my digital drawing tablet. She's currently writing a comic, and created a character for it called Angel, which you can see above.


I've been checking out Odeo, a new service for subscribing to podcasts. I can't seem to get part of it to work, but that's probably user error. I still don't understand some of the features and terms, but I'm working on that, because it's such a cool thing in this era of mega-corporate-conglomerate radio stations. Radio Stations that play the same songs over and over and censor music and have the same lame DJ's do the same lame jokes every day.

If you're really into music, Melleners at Vexed and Glorious has some great links and downloads. I go there every couple of days to download some new music.

I'm supposed to teach the art teachers when school starts soon. I'll be presenting Basic Tech and Computer Graphics, and since I don't like to prepare I'm avoiding working on that. I've posted some new drawings and paintings on my other blog, Distilled. Procrastination, how I love to indulge thee.

And, if you haven't heard, some New York woman fired her nanny. For almost blogging about her. The ensuing controversy favors the blogger. You can read about it at majikthise, Making Light, Bitch PhD. The nanny contributes to the comments at Bitch PhD.

Highlights of my niece's visit on the way. Some of her drawings too. She's very talented.

Friday, July 15, 2005

fifty word fiction

I've been linked on someone else's site recently (Thanks, Jeffrey!), so I've been getting more submissions to fifty word fiction. I got four just yesterday, so take a look.

There's a site called Language is a Virus with some cool things on it too.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Game of Thrones

I'm still in the middle of this world. This is why I don't read fiction during the school year. I've been spending every moment wrapped up in these characters, and some of them really suck. I think that's one of the signs of a good author. They can make you really hate someone.

If any of you haven't started to read this, I recommend that you do. The first pages of the first book take some patience, but after that, you might be as hooked as I am.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Short Takes


About a year ago I'm driving across town to have dinner with my parents. There's this canary yellow Hummer H2 in front of me. You know those little national flags you see on diplomatic vehicles? Guy in the Hummer has four of 'em. On every corner of the vehicle. Little flappin' Murkan flags. On the back of the Hummer is a giant Murkan flag decal; it covers up a good portion of the rear of the vehicle. So I'm following this guy, snickering to myself, thinkin' "geeze, got enough flags?" Just as I'm about to take a right turn to my parents' street, I snap the guy a smart salute. A salute that looked like this:

Awesome thing is, the guy salutes me back. Properly.

I Blame . . .

I know I haven't posted recently. Although Bear's trying to pick up the slack, he's a bit slow.

My niece came to town to visit. So it's her fault. Then, I started to read a book by George R R Martin. So it's his fault. We had to go visit my sister Chloe in the midcities which takes an hour each way. So it's her fault.

There will be a full recap of activities at some point. Right now we're in the middle of creating a sketchbook for her. She's thirteen, loves to draw and has an amazing imagination. She doesn't like boys yet, has no interest in shopping, and doesn't own a cell phone. And, she does things the first time you ask her. Mostly.

I may post her drawings too, but I have to ask her first. And I'm hoping to post some photos of her first handmade book too.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Guest Post: 4th of July Salute!

Like many Murkans in our godly and humble land we---by "we" I mean me, Kate and Kate's niece---celebrated 4th of July the traditional way: we watched shit blow up. And it was real good. Oh the rocket's red glare and the bombs a-burstin' in air... Why, it just makes my little soldier positively turgid with patriotic fervor! When I think of all the souls that made the "ultimate sacrifice" so I can watch a splendid Murkan spectacle of shit blowin' up... Well, you'll hafta excuse me. I'm getting misty eyed just thinking about it.

Rather than drive to the fireworks we decided we'd ride a bike trail to the show, which was at a nearby sports field. (Sorry 'bout the bike thing. I know riding bikes is très Surrender Monkey, but my Freedom SUV... tristement, n'existe pas.) Anyway, adjacent to Maison d'apathie is a quite serviceable, if little used, bike trail that winds its way through an enchanted forest of high voltage power line pylons. 'Round here we call it "Power Line Park." It's really quite scenic. And the low thrum of the power lines is magnificent on a warm July night. It's a little like crickets. Giant, humming mechanical crickets. With mandible-mounted rail guns. OK, not so much. It's much more like the sound of the planet's burgeoning carbon debt. But I digress; that's genuine fossil fuel-fired freedom juice flowin' down them power lines, and that's all ya need to know. Back to the bike ride.

We made our way down Power Line Park at around nine o' clock. There were little gaggles of people sprawled around the pylons---no doubt greatly enjoying the humid, ninety degree night air and soothing buzz of the power lines. We soon arrived at a cross street leading to the field proper. Since traffic was pretty heavy at the cross street we decided to camp out at the end of the bike path. Several minutes later the blowing up of shit real good commenced. As shit blowed up in purty colors I reflected upon what it means to be a Murkan.

I couldn't really think of anything, but that was OK 'cause some upstanding, full-blooded fellow Murkans behind us were thoughtful enough to treat everyone to their scratchy boom box recordings of Murka's finest patriotic songs. As tinny strains of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" crackled though the air, my thoughts about the significance of being a contemporary Murkan fell into place.

Naturally, I reflected on Dear Leader's bold and well-planned war for Eyeraki freedom. My heart swelled near to bursting with nationalistic pride as I considered the foresight and wisdom that went into this wonderful crusade extension of God's great gift of liberty. Truly, our Dear Leader is a tool--of providence. For the life of me I can't help but think back to the day Dear Leader announced, way back in 2003, that the Mission was, indeed, Accomplished. Gentle readers, I even teared up a little when I reminisced how our troops were greeted as liberators, and were showered with rose petals and candies. Of course, I also considered the not-at-all unimpressive number of Eyeraki civilians and brave Murkan servicemen Dear Leader sent to the bosom of the Almighty! If this isn't evidence that Dear Leader truly embraces the culture of life... well, I just don't know what is. All those precious snowflakes landing on the golden lap of the Lord. Glory!

Now I don't really know if these ruminations of mine shed much light on the contemporary Murkan experience... but I do know this: it was one helluva show. And we sure blowed some shit up real good, didn't we?

God bless the USA!

*cross-posted at Ours d'Apathie

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Carnival of Education #21

Go read some entertaining and informative blogs on educational topics.
Hosted by Education Wonks, it's the 21st Carnival of Education!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Three Things Part 2

The landscapers didn't come to trim the trees in my yard today.

I forgot the second thing.

I need a last name, but I think that I came up with a good one with Bear's help.

Oh, yeah. The second thing. On the comment where Bear and Dean talk about using the words Target and fearless leader in the same sentence, I was going to comment that "These aren't the bloggers you're looking for. They can go about their business. Move along."

Before you call me a geek (which I do resemble), realize that if you know what I'm referring to, you also qualify for geekdom.

Obscure Alphabet

My current favorite artist, Ursula Vernon has some prints for sale. A sort of obsure alphabetical bestiary. So far she's got a set of "A", "B", and "C." Take a look, and if you shop early for Christmas, you've got me covered for a measly twenty dollars.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Three Things

Both Tigger and Piglet just died.
Thanks to Transcendental Floss.

I'm going to go to Target tomorrow. Anyone need anything?

Haloscan hates me. I've been trying to leave comments at all my favorite sites, and Haloscan shows my comment in Preview and then throws it out. Fascist comment software!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Teachers Get Paid Too Much

I was over at educationwonks today, reading about the average teacher salary. That's about $10,000 more than I make per year.

Then I got to the comments section, where some guy had this to say:

"I played golf with a few teachers who made 90+ a year they didn't have too many problems with the pay.

The other problem I find in the comparison of pay is the time in the office, where I work starting you get two weeks a year (1-5 years of work), my friends who teach get 18 weeks off. Teaching they got right around 40K a year but normalizing the wages (34 weeks on duty + 2 Vaction to normalize the rate with my standard vaction~$1111.00/36 weeks) then factoring for working a 50 on-2 off schedule its the equvilanet of starting at ~58K a year which is higer than many a starting salary.

Thats the problem I have when they discuss teachers salaries is they always seem to ignore the increased time off compensation that comes with the job." the Pirate

I'm not sure that I understand all of his weird math, but he's wrong about the time off. I wish I knew where to go to get eighteen weeks off in a year. I work in Texas, and we get about eight weeks for the summer and two for winter, then maybe another two for other breaks. He doesn't mention that we don't get paid for these breaks.

Here's the thing. I only get paid for the days that I work, and whether I agree or not, my employer gets to take that amount and divide it up into twelve equal payments. My net pay equals about two-thirds of my gross, since the state gets to take out huge chunks for my "retirement." I have no say in how much goes out or who gets control of my money. I also am not eligible for Social Security, even though I paid into it for at least ten years before I started teaching.

My employer also won't let me work extra days for pay, even if I want to. Think about it this way. You've been offered a really cool job, at a great hourly rate. But the boss tells you after you've accepted the job that you have a mandatory period where you're not allowed to work and you won't get paid for that.

I get paid about two-hundred dollars a day. Sounds great, right? But I only get paid for 187 days, no matter how many hours I work above and beyond. Work through lunch? Too bad. Work from seven am to eight-thirty pm? Thanks for the dedication to your students. Have a cookie on the way out. My contract actually specifies that I undertake any and all "duties assigned" to me by the principal, and my principal frequently reminds us that we don't have hours, that we work "until the job gets done."

I have to use the time in the summer to get an extra job to make my house payments. And I don't even live in the upscale neighborhood where I teach.

If I were to get babysitting wages, I'd earn better than this. Three dollars an hour, five hours a day, twenty students. This is being EXTREMELY conservative, because I work at least seven hours a day, and I have had 34 kids in class before but class size limits don't apply to me as a "specials" teacher. That adds up to $54,000 a year. I make $17,000 less than that, even less if you take out the retirement that I'll never see. Texas has a history of mishandling state employee pensions.

In addition, last year my budget for consumable supplies (paper, crayons, pencils) consisted of less than $0.50 for each of my students. I frequently have to use MY money to make sure that my students have what they need. And I work in one of the more affluent suburban districts.

When was the last time that a corporation required an employees to go to the store and buy pencils and paper and pens not only for themselves, but for 500 other people in the office?

Pirate, please let me know how many teachers actually make $90,000 a year. Last I heard, only superintendents in DISD and football coaches ever got anywhere near that much. I'm in Texas, a "right to work" state. No unions allowed, no tenure, no job security, crappy pay and forced "vacations." Sounds like your dream job now, huh?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Mom and Dad's Wedding

My mom and dad got married in 1961. My mom still has this dress somewhere in a closet, but it's aged a bit. Cigarette smoke will do that. My dad had just gotten out of the Air Force, I think. Soon after this they went to California to live, and my mother had my brother Brad there, in a town called Walnut Creek.

My father got accepted to Berkeley, but never attended. Later, they went back to New York and I and my sisters were born in small towns in upstate New York. We all stayed there until 1979, when we moved to Texas. My dad accepted a job with Texas Instruments. They recruited people from all over the country at that time.

I love this photo. My parents young and with their futures ahead of them. That's my grandpa right behind the cake. I never met him, or my grandmother on my mother's side.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged by the diva with a book meme.

I will not, however, be held to this count. It's only an estimate.

1) Number of books I own.

About 500. I counted up to 478, and then realized that I didn't really want to count all my sketchbooks, so that's what you get.

2) Last book I bought.

Annotated Grimm's Fairy Tales, edited by Maria Tatar. It's got footnotes that tell some alternate story points and tells some fascinating things about these generally gruesome stories.

3) Last book I read.

I went to the library and got two drawing books, and a copy of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel, Vols. I and II. I heard the movie sucked, so I didn't go see that.
I rather liked the comic. I thought that I would, because I've never not liked something by Alan Moore.

4) Books that mean a lot to me.


The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Sure, I know what you're thinking, "like buttah", but that's not why. This book contains really beautiful language, and not a hint of Streisand anywhere.


A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
The first in The Magic of Xanth series, and still the best.

God Stalk by PC Hodgell
The first quest story I read that contained an adventurer GIRL who kicks ass, and it's a really good book. My original paperback copy has been read about fifty times, and looks it. Atheneum published God Stalk in 1982, and the third of the trilogy came out in 2001. Long time to wait for the conclusion to a story.


The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein
The first sci-fi book that I ever read, borrowed from my math teacher. I don't like most of Heinlein's other books. And, I really liked this movie too. B-movies with a sense of humor can be better than A-movies, if you're in the right mood.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Funny in that wonderful dry, British way. If you haven't read Adams' non-Hitchhiker's stuff, you should. I really enjoyed both The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

Graphic Novels
Any of The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman.
Wonderful storytelling, with a framework of myth, legend, gods, magic, life and death. I particularly liked the story arc A Game of You. Neil made me remember that I wanted to tell stories, and that good stories still exist to tell.

Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman
The original four comics tell the story of a young English boy, approached by four men in trenchcoats who wish to show him the ways of magic. Some call him Tim. No, it's not THAT kind of book.

The X-Men by Chris Claremont and John Byrne
I grew up reading the X-Men, and still do when I get a chance.

5) Tag (at least) five more.

Um, not sure I have five more to tag as I seem to remember one or two of these people did it in the past, but here goes.






Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Father's Day

Father's Day began last week for me, and ended Sunday evening.

My mother decided to buy my father a gas grill he wanted, and asked if we (her children) might like to contribute to the hefty price tag. We said yes, so she waited about a week to call the store and find it and put one on hold.

I told her that such a large item might not fit into my trusty, small Honda, so she thought we could put it into my brother's Corolla instead. Sure, mom, as soon as you start using your magic shrinking powers. I asked my friend to loan us his small truck, and he reluctantly agreed, and even said that I could drive it. He's pretty particular about his things, so I'm actually quite greatful.

Saturday morning, mom and I traveled to the Sport & Outdoor Store to pick up the grill. Mary started off being bossy and cranky, and the young man went to the back to find our purchase. He asked if we minded black instead of silver trim in an already assembled version of our grill, so Mary said of course not and paid while I went and got the truck.

Then it took about forty-five minutes for them to load the 350 pound grill into the truck and tie it down. Ever try to fit two not-small people and a large propane tank into the cab of a Tacoma? Not fun. Plus the blanket that cushioned the truck came loose, and I felt like a really old woman driving so slow.

After driving the grill almost there, we stopped at my sibs house and asked them to come to the parents' house for the presentation to Dad. Jenny had to get dressed and Brad had to eat breakfast. Mary took the opportunity to sit in the front yard and have a smoke. That took another hour. But, we got it back to the homestead finally.

Dad looked really shocked and pleased. He thanked us all and hugged us. Apparently the good things didn't last long. I called over after we'd left the parents' and been gone for a while. Dad had hooked up the propane to cook a hotdog, and the damn thing didn't work. So, doing the logical thing*, my father took the grill apart to fix it.

Yeah, you read that right, he took it apart. Still couldn't get it to work. Sunday, he and my friend took the grill back in the little truck, and my father spent about an hour yelling at salespeople to take the damn thing back and give him one that worked, which they did. My father can be quite persuasive when he yells.

So yesterday, he put the new one together, and cooked my mom a burger, so all's well, yeah?
Anyway, I've posted an old photo above of my dad holding me right after I was born. I wish I had one that showed his face better, but you get what you get. He's got his tongue sticking out, so maybe that's better anyway, to show his personality.

*Not sure logic applies here, but he says it does, so I must agree, right?

Monday, June 20, 2005


I read Ursula V.'s livejournal pretty much daily. She's makes great art with a wonderful sense of humor, and her descriptions make me laugh more than the art, most times.

The other day, she made a post related to a discussion (scroll way down to see her comment) that started over at Pharyngula related to Narnia. For those of you that don't click links, the discussion centered on Ursula's disappointment that Narnia turned out to be a Christian allegory. For this statement, she received much grief, and at last count that post has over 200 comments on it.

I have to agree with her. I read Narnia at a pretty young age, but I don't remember exactly. Nine or ten, or something like that. Then, a few years later I learned that Lewis intended Aslan to be Christ. I didn't have a problem with Christianity at twelve, but this struck me as a crappy thing to do to a kid, and like Ursula I felt betrayed.

Here I was, reading a great, wonderful story about a group of kids in a fantasy world, only to find out later that the adult who wrote it had to sneak his agenda into MY* world.

I don't know if I'd have had the reaction had the message been about Buddha, but frankly that's an irrelevant line of thought. It wasn't, and thinking about that won't change the feelings that I had at twelve.

So I have a question for you: Did you read Narnia knowing that it was about Christ, or did you not know and have a similar reaction?

*Because don't we love these worlds we discover and come to feel we own them?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Bateman, er, I mean Batman*

Let me be up front. I don't like Christian Bale. I don't think he's dreamy or cute or hot or any other form of attractive. I don't hate Christian Bale or his work. I do think that either his American accent needs refining or his speech impediment. Not sure which.

I went to see Batman this morning. Our family ritual works like this. Friday or Saturday, Brad or Big Brad (my brother and father, respectively) calls to let me know the name of the designated movie for the weekend. We always go on Sunday morning, the first show available if possible.

We (the Brads and I) always invite my mom, my sister Jenny, our friend Scott, and my friend Bear. We meet at Big Brad and Mary's house, and Brad drives us in his car. It's the biggest. Then, we drive to the theater about twenty minutes before the start, where we meet Scott. Scott parks in the first space under the tree, and Brad directly to the right.

Brad collects money from everyone, or not, and buys the tickets. We go in, no snacks, sit in the middle fairly close to the screen, and make fun of people until the commercials start. The commercials usually suck, but Scott's pretty good with the making fun, so we enjoy that.

Today, Mary and Jenny didn't go. Mary (my mom) doesn't do sci-fi, cartoons of any kind, or comic books. Jenny loves her sleep. Brad decided to relinquish stewardship of the tickets to me as we walked to the ticket booth. Which is fine, but I don't carry cash with me usually. So I had to ask Big Brad for cash, on Father's Day. I gave it back at the end somehow, but way to bait and switch.

We went in, watched the commercials, made fun of the people etc. The movie started. I didn't expect much, because I didn't know that Christopher Nolan of Memento directed it, and also the not liking Christian Bale. I liked it.

I'm not talking "Hey, this movie made me question my place in the world and all the choices I've made in my life," but "Hey, I think this seems to suit the spirit of the comic book." For those of you who don't know, I love comic books. I've been reading them forever, with the aid of Brad. He's got almost as many comics as a store, and goes for quality more than quantity. I've challenged my students to ask me trivia about the X-Men (comic), and they can't stump me. You can try if you want.

So, the movie. I liked it. First the good stuff. The visuals of the costume, batcave and batmobile worked well. I liked most of the Raz Al Ghul/origin stuff, and also the back in Gotham storyline. Michael Caine did great, loved his accent and character.

Now the iffy parts. Katie Holmes and Chrisitan Bale had NO chemistry. I didn't believe for a second that either one cared about the other. Bale spoke in this awful guttural voice as Batman, I guess to disguise it. The main horrible weapon made no sense for a variety of reasons, and even a cursory mopping up of the mess of the climactic battle didn't make it on film.

I'm unreasonably prejudiced, I'll admit. I watched American Psycho a few years ago, and cannot list all the reasons that movie sucked. Not the least of which was the stupid premise, but also because Bale didn't sell me on the psycho bit, even as he waved around a chainsaw.

Do you like comics? Do you like movies about comics? Do you enjoy Batman as dark, tortured hero-type? Do you like Christian Bale? Do Ninjas do it for you? Do you heart Mrs. Cruise? Would you like seeing Michael Caine play Alfred as a dutiful but smart-ass cockney? Do you enjoy love interests without passion? Will you watch needlessly convoluted super-villian plots and equally convoluted solutions to said plots? Need explosions and car chases in your flicks? Have you got the hots for Liam Neeson?

If you answered yes to two or more of the above, go see Batman.

*Christian Bale plays Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Photo Self Portrait

I've got a self portrait up at Distilled, if you ever wanted to see what I look like. Except I'm in diguise. I guess that's a true measure of my paranoia.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I'm Frightened

When this can happen in our country, the land of the free, I'm a bit scared.

Since when does creating art deserve harrassment by the Secret Service? Perhaps we could take all of it and make a Degenerate Art Show, like Hitler did. Not comparing our fearless leader directly to Nazis, but free speech doesn't really mean free anymore, does it?

Soon, all the amendments but the Second shall disappear. Sucks to be us.

EDIT: Here's a related question. If a piece of art depicts the president with a gun pointed at him, but no overtly stated threat of harm, does it fall under protected speech? Someone I know insists that such art could be construed as an incitement to violence, and thus not protected. Please, let me know what you think. Even if you think that I won't agree.

HHGttG Game

I found the box for my HHGttG game. It came with what you see here. Clockwise from the left: yellow Order for Destruction from Cottingshire County, silver Vogon Order for Destruction, game box, sunglasses made of black cardstock (don't show up in the pic, sorry), Microscopic Space Fleet, navel lint, and 5 1/4" floppy disk.

I downloaded the game yesterday from a site, but haven't yet tried to play.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Text Games

In high school, a friend introduced me to HHGttG text game. I loved it, and bought it, and to this day still own a microscopic space fleet and some bellybutton fluff. I can't use the disk anymore, 'cuz, well, it's a 5" floppy. But, then there was Zork.

Here's a link that I got from Making Light today: Wiki Zork.

Technology at its most advanced.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Airing Your Dirty Laundry

I watched part of *gasp* Oprah the other day. She had on mothers and daughters, and they were hashing all their problems out on stage, in front of a live studio audience. And, you know how that crap goes. (Or do you?)

Oprah tends to side with one or the other, and of course most of her audience follows suit. Not surprisingly, the audience, the doctor and Oprah sided against the mother who was trying to control her twenty-seven year old daughters life. Then, when asked if she felt that they'd ganged up on her, she lied and said no.

I sat in the living room at my mother and father's house, watching this with them.
"Hey, Mom, that could never be you." I said.

"What? What do you mean?" she said.

"Well, this woman wants to know every detail of her daughter's life, and constantly interferes in it." I replied.

"No, that's not me." She said. "I'm not a controlling kind of person."

"Sure," I said, "but not only that. To interfere in your children's lives, you might have to get up off the couch. And nobody really wants that."

My mom looked at me for a second, looked at my dad, and they both started to laugh.

It's a really good thing that both of my parents have a sense of humor.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Carnival of Education #18

Come one, come all to the best roundup of stories from the front lines of education!

Read about the teacher whose students complain to the college dean about too much work! Read about the attitudes kids have toward their parents in public!

Be amazed! Be surprised! Tell your friends!

Visit the Carnival of Education #18!

I know, too many exclamation points. It was a thing. Get over it.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Several New Links

Go watch Pulp Fiction, acted out in thirty seconds, by bunnies.

Then, read about the bible, with illustrations in Legos.

And for Apathy Bear, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Tor, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Boy Next Door

It's been a while since I've told a story about my past, so here's one so that I can move that gross photo down a bit. In my defense, spaceneedl did ask me to post it.

When my family lived in New York, we lived in the middle of Rochester. My parents rented a house on a street pretty close to the center of town, near a park and the reservoir. Our street was a great place, at least us kids thought so. We had block parties once in a while, and kickball games and Halloween rocked.

A new family moved into the house next door, and they only had one kid, but everybody knew he wasn't nice. That's something that's pretty easy to figure out, when you're a kid. It's almost like you can see immediately the deviance from the norm in other kids. This one just seemed wrong, even though he couldn't have been more than nine.

Anyway, I was out in the front yard playing one day. Don't remember what, not that it matters. The year was probably 1977, so I was only eight or so. I don't recollect exactly what I did, if anything, but the crazy kid got mad at me. And he overreacted. He threw a rock, and hit me in the head.

Now, my brother Brad happened to witness all of this. Brad's not exactly the aggressive type. He's a great brother, but beating people up never suited him. On this occasion, he reverted, I guess is a good word.

My brother ran over to that kid, as I ran into the house crying, and picked him up. He picked him up, held him for a second, and threw him onto the ground. I think at this point my sisters and I had gotten to the window, and my mom too, and watched this happen. My brother came into the house, and the crazy kid got up and went into his house crying.

Of course, that wasn't the end of it. Crazy kid's mom came over, all upset that my older brother (Brad's five years older than me) had picked on her little boy. Mom didn't let her in, but kept her on the porch as she enlightened crazy kid's mom about what he'd done to deserve being thrown.

Crazy kid's mom didn't agree with what my brother had done, of course, but she went away after Mom told her crazy kid had thrown a rock at a younger girl. We avoided crazy kid after that, even more than usual. They didn't stay in the neighborhood long, but while they did nobody played with him.

My head wound consisted of a large bump, which healed pretty quickly. I won't ever forget watching my brother defend me though. That part makes it a pretty good memory.

Obscene nectarine

So this image came out a little grosser than I wanted. Not appetizing at all.
Here you go, spaceneedl.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Strawberries. The nectarines looked a little obscene after I cut them.
This is from a challenge by Carmi in his post about photographing food.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Odd Links

A couple of links for those of you so inclined.
First, a story of the Abominable Snowman, told on Post-It notes.

Second, a cool book, that will appeal to our twisted friend, Apathy Bear. It's about bunnies. No, really. Go and take a look. You'll see. Just don't be drinking when you read the title.


I've got another new blog, this one called Distilled. On it I'll be posting drawings, I hope up to three times a week. One for the everyday matters yahoo newsgroup weekly challenge, one for Illustration Friday which has a theme, and then something on Wednesday. I'm working on that one. I think it's going to be digital, since I have a Wacom tablet and Corel Painter and I never use them.

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


My cat died today.

It's my fault really. She was sick, and I waited too long to take her to the vet. She was jaundiced and had liver function problems. She barely moved while on the examination table, and seemed to be laboring to breathe.

I could have spent $1800 to take her to a specialist, or spent hundreds this weekend to build her strength back with IV fluilds and force-feeding. But on Monday, they would have needed to do more tests to see if she could be treated.

My mom said when I told her the cat was sick, "You may have to put her down." That was actually the first thing my mother said.

I keep looking at the pillow on my bed covered with her hair, knowing that she'll never rest her head on my hand or touch my face in the middle of the night or chirp at the birds.

I don't want to talk about it really. I don't want anyone to look at me, because I don't really want to have to explain what happened out loud.

After the regular vet this morning, I took her to the emergency vet. The emergency vet explained all the procedures involved in keeping her over the weekend, and showed me the estimate.

I couldn't even say out loud What if I decide to put her down? but the vet understood my body language, and told me about that. I spent about ten minutes alone with Scully, telling her how sorry I was, and then told the vet that I wouldn't be admitting her for treatment.

So the doctor asked me if I wanted to be present for the shot, but I couldn't do that. And she said, "Do you need more time?" I said no, and she picked her up to take her away. When she got to the door I asked her to wait. I went to my girl and I kissed her on the head and said "Goodbye," and then took an empty cat carrier home.

Then I went and got a hug from my dad and came home to sleep most of the day.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Self Portrait Day

Go out there and discover some new faces. No, not out there, out THERE.

Wait, that's not real life, is it? Maybe you should back away from the keyboard now. I know that I should.

Go out. Go sit in the backyard and just make a quick sketch. It'll make you feel better.

"I'm going outside right now, mom. Yes, I know that I need the fresh air, it'll do me some good."

(mutter: "jeesh, some people. can't just let me do what I want. next thing you know she'll be asking me to do
something with my hair so she can see my pretty face.)"

Me 3, Anxiety 1

I did my presentation today, at a school called Poteet. Hm.

So, I didn't fall over, I only flailed for words twice, and everyone was very nice. It's not my material that I presented, so I wasn't as familiar with it if I had developed it. Still, trying to explain "null curriculum" to a bunch of people can go either way.

I love watching people make their art at these workshops. At least one person in the room disregards every rule the instructor gives, but comes up with a really great piece anyway. I instructed them to create a self-portrait and then fracture it, rearrange the pieces and glue them down to a contrasting sheet.

Several people ripped instead of cutting. One person arranged all of his bits like a waterfall on a really large background. Another decided his needed a three-dimensional piece on the top and built it but didn't like it. (Artists frequently feel this way about their own work. I just tell them that someone at the table is thinking "I wish that I could do that!") And several participants each made two drawings and then wove them together.

I wish I'd remembered my camera. So many of them looked great.

Picasso and Cubism today didn't suck.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Artist Trading Cards

There's this art form called Artist Trading Cards, or ATC. It's a special small format of art, 2.5" x 3.5", and it's one of the new craft things.

Honestly, I prefer my arts and crafts much more arts than crafts. I like drawings and original art far more than rubber-stamped and scrapbooked stuff. I really wish that people weren't so intimidated by drawing, but that's not something I can change for everyone. I do try to make drawing feel accessible to my students. Maybe it's working, I'm not sure.

I found this great site about ATC's today, called Art in Your Pocket: ATCs. It's got some great ideas for making them. Then, you have to trade them. It surprised me to learn that many groups exist for this artform, and they arrange face-to-face swaps or do them by mail.

I just spent the last two hours on my computer trying to make a self-portrait series of ATCs using the helpful PSD download from Art in Your Pocket: ATCs. It's fun, but too time consuming. My computer art teacher told me that for every hour you think it's going to take you to design something on the computer, it takes three actual hours. She was so right.

Tomorrow I'll make some physical ones. I might be able to do that a little more quickly. But, maybe not.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Dark America

In the New York Times, one of the saddest articles that I have ever read.

"American openness has always been an inspiration for the whole world, he concluded. 'If you go dark, the world goes dark.' "

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fifty Word Fiction

Please go look at my new blog, fifty word fiction, and submit something for publication to it. There will be a link to it in the sidebar later.

Picasso for Dummies

I'm doing a presentation on Friday for teacher professional development. I've said before that teachers make the worst audience. They already know everything that you're going to say and so feel no hesitance in speaking right over you. They're much worse than teenagers in that respect. A teacher's attention is harder to capture than that of a hormonal middle-schooler. Sad, huh?

A friend of mine made the proposal, and has some medical issues that keep her from participating, so she asked me to step in. I went to see her on Tuesday of last week, and thought that I got everything that I need, but, Whaddaya know? I really didn't. I spent most of today contacting various people to see if they have what I need, and they don't. Teaching an art unit without the main art print doesn't work all that well. I will have to adapt, well, something.

I checked a laptop out of our school library, plus a projector for the laptop, and the librarian gave me attitude because she didn't get all her crap done. It's really not her fault she didn't finish, because the electricity went out. (Not my fault either, but you really don't want to piss off the librarian when you're the art teacher. Or any teacher.) A transformer caught fire and screwed us all. The power went out for at least four hours on a teacher workday.

I'm not sure if I really want to do this thing. Thing is, I get stage fright in front of adults. I've been teaching for seven years now, but I still can't get up on the stage without freaking out. I teach classes, no problem, but there's something different about speaking to grown-ups. It probably helps that I've known most of my kids a long time. The fifth graders since they turned five.

For those of you at all interested, my workshop consists of a PowerPoint presentation, part of an animated video, some worksheets and a production activity. We'll watch some stuff, write some stuff, and make some art. For about four hours. Then the group switches with another after lunch, and I do it all again. I get paid a few hundred, plus continental breakfast and lunch. Not bad for a little over a day's work. Plus, who wouldn't love spending eight hours talking about Picasso, right?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Weird Searches

The most recent google searches used to find my site:

"use him for sex"
"which types of rice is eaten by morocco persons"
"sperm in his pants"

Only, I tried to use them to find me again, and they didn't work anymore. Guess I've been gone too long.

Here it is

I thought that the best thing to do would be to shut down my blog. I did, and started a new one elsewhere, only somewhat successfully. One of the people that I'd been avoiding followed me anyway.

So, here's the details.

I'm friends with some boys that I met in high school. I've lost touch with some of the others that used to be in the same group, and I've written about them in the past. There are one or two that I don't miss, and I wrote some things that I believe about them.

One of the boys that I don't communicate with read a bit about himself. He heard about the blog from a friend of a friend, and according to my stats read almost the whole thing in one night. Then he posted a very strange and enormously long comment defending himself and his actions in the past. And he posted a link to my blog from his website.

This freaked me out. Horribly. Maybe it shouldn't have, but I let it get to me. I started to think about all of the things that I'd written, and did I really want to leave it out there for anyone to read? (Okay, for people to know that it was me writing about them.)

I talked to Apathy Bear, and his advice will surprise no one who has ever read any of his comments or entries here. He said, "Fuck him." I just couldn't let it go, so I dismantled the blog and thought I might start another, sometime soon.

I missed writing and interacting with other bloggers, so that same weekend I started another blog. I didn't like it as much. So I'm back.

Please excuse the interruption in service, we appreciate your patience. Thank you for visiting Telling Deeds, come again.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

. . . and I'm back

I'm back, with a new screen name. Details to follow.